Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The quest for the bar dragon

Ever since the bar exams were moved to November, the results were released in early May of the following year. But it can be earlier this year for the 2017 bar exams. How about the first week of April?

Justice Lucas P. Bersamin, the 2017 Bar Exams Chairman, is noted for his punctiliousness. We may presume that he has run a tight ship over the 2017 bar exams.

One case in point is the dress code that was imposed in 2017. You would not see an examinee in shorts like this one from the 2016 exams:
CNN Philippines photo
On January 8, the examiner in Civil Law already reported a perfect score to Justice Bersamin according to this FB post:

It was followed by another post on March 18 about a near perfect score in Remedial Law.

Just who is this "demigod'' in the above posts? See this post from before the 2017 exams:

We may also presume that this demigod runs an even tauter ship over his examiners. In the same  FB post, Atty. Morgan, my favorite source of lawyerly chitchat, mentioned  a conversation he had in September 2017 with AJ Bersamin.

With such young and healthy examiners the checking would be over much, much earlier than May. So the results may be out after the Holy Week!

Now here's an interesting item from the Inquirer about the 2017 bar exams:

After at least four years of withering assaults, verbal or otherwise, from their professors these nine examinees just could not finish the race. If there are a couple of thousand bar flunkers, another couple of thousand of bar passers, and 10 or more bar topnotchers, may we call these nine as bar dropouts?

We are often regaled with the stories of the topnotchers. Or of bar passers with interesting names like my schoolmate Habeas Corpuz and his fellow passer Nat King Coles.

Rappler photo.
Forgotten are the dropouts who surely have some fascinating stories of their own. This is a story of one of the 2017 bar dropouts; a story of my pilgrimage to the hallowed grounds of the bar exam dragon.
Actually this is a story of the conclusion of my pilgrimage. To retrace my pilgrimage from law school rooms in Cebu to Room 323, 3rd Floor, St. Martin de Porres Bldg. of the University of Sto. Tomas, Manila you may refer to the footnotes.
In March of 2016 I was finally through with law school. Many of us in the graduating class decided to take the bar exams a year later. And regretted.

In the midst of my online review in May 2017 I experienced dizzy spells. A blood test revealed I was low in all counts of red blood cells, hemoglobin, and hematocrit. I was put on ferrous sulfate. By September they were back to stable levels per another blood test.

So I bought two round trip plane tickets. The first would bring me to Manila on the Thursday prior to the Sunday exams, give me time to pick up my exam permit the following day, rest on Saturday, face the dragon on Sunday and return  home on the Monday. The other ticket was for the next week’s round trip. I planned to buy the other round trip tickets after the 2nd Sunday exam. In fact I was hedging. The ASEAN summit would be around the 2nd Sunday and I was half-expecting chaos. If I couldn't return to Manila, I would only waste one round trip ticket.

There would be no such thing as rest prior to the exams as suggested by many reviewers, at least for the first Sunday. I had this heavy backpack filled with 4-day supply of clothing and my favorite   blanket, without which I could not sleep well, when I reached Manila on the Thursday. From Terminal 3 of NAIA I took the white airport loop bus to the EDSA terminal of LRT 1 and MRT. The first long line I joined happened to be for MRT. Oops!

Finally got onto the LRT coach. It was standing room all the way to Central Station where I alighted, took the jeepney to España, got off and walk my way to Earnshaw to my lodging house.

How did I manage to do this, I who had only been to the vicinity of UST 20 years ago when I was still carrying a printed map I bought in National ? This time I had a mental note of Google map from my desktop PC at home.

On Friday morning I went to the police outpost near the stairs of the footbridge in front of the gate of UST and sought direction to the Supreme Court. The officer pointed out a jeepney that plies the route.  So off I went to Mt. Olympus on Padre Faura, if you know what I meant.

I got down at Luneta prematurely. I had only a bird’s eyeview of the vicinity from my mental note of google map. Padre Faura, to my chagrin, was still some blocks away. After much walking I thought I  had a blister in my toe. It was in fact a toenail  constantly entangled in my sock that was causing discomfort. In my last year in law school I was already retired so I found no need for socks in my dress code. But hey, I was on my way to Mt. Olympus, hence the socks.

It was almost noon when I got my permit. And I missed my midmorning snack depleting my sugar. I went back to Luneta and along the way looked for a Chowking outlet where I could have chop suey and tofu. But found none. So I made my way back to España and ate a meal of chicken at Jolibee then walked back to the lodging house.

In the evening I was feverish after all the anxiety and excitement during the day. Daytime of Saturday I was alone in the lodging room as my three roommates/classmates were still at their last minute review, or whatever it was called. In the evening we made arrangement with the canteen of the lodging place for our breakfast and the lunch packs which we would bring to UST.

1st Sunday. At 4 AM lights were already blazing and my classmates were all dressed because they have to get out early in order to catch the last minute tips. I joined them at early breakfast. There was little choice on the menu and they were those that would not be kind to my stomach: greasy, etc. The boys (they were in their late twenties and they call me Manong) brought their packed lunch with them, while I brought mine back to our room. My plan was to join them at UST at 7AM;  go back to our room for lunch and head back to UST before 1PM. Exam time was 8-12 and 2-6.

Having only some bites of breakfast I was already terribly hungry by 11:30. When a couple of other examinees handed in their booklets, I followed suit and almost run back to our lodging place. On opening my lunch pack, I foresaw trouble in the afternoon exam. I am not sure how it was done, but the chicken looked like it was cooked in water, toyo and oil. I ate half of the rice and planned to last the whole afternoon by stuffing more kitkat chocolate bars into my transparent bag which was actually a transparent ziplock bag.

This is how my ziplock bag looked containing an umbrella, bottled water, kitkat bars, 6 pens (recommended by most just in case 5 would dry up in your quivering fingers), several meds.

Trouble was indeed brewing even before the Labor exam booklets were handed out at 2PM. My kitkat was almost gone. And my fingers would cramp when I would open one. I had to punch the wrapper with my pen before I could tear it apart. Later I felt something sick in my stomach. It was not painful but it seemed that the inside of my belly was hollowed out.  My supply of Maalox was no more. And I sensed that anytime I would just drop asleep on the arm of my chair but I did not have any headache. Back home I always had this sensation when I was late to meal. The quick solution would be hot Milo and crackers or even plain hot water.

Around 4PM I stood up and the male watcher thought I was going to the urinal and made the motion to escort me. I asked him where I could get some hot water. He advised a female watcher to get me to the clinic. The clinic was in one of the classrooms on the ground floor. It was one of the temporary clinics for the exams, one each for every building where the exams were held.

The staff made me smell something, gave me hot water and meds for my stomach, and took my blood pressure which was off the chart according to the doctor. I had to linger until my sick sensation was over. Along the sides of the room I noticed pregnant women writing vigorously on exam booklets.  Apparently they had earlier made arrangements for their excitable state.

When I felt a lot less queasy, the kind doctor, whose name I regretfully failed to know, escorted me back to Room 323. I returned to my booklet but it seemed I already lost my stride. My penmanship became terrible; my thought was all about food.

If there was anybody in the exam room that prayed for the bell to ring the end of the exam, that would be me. In my law school life I’d always wait for someone to pass the exam booklet ahead of me. Finally one got up and queued. He was wearing a blazer of Ateneo. Haha.

I dropped by the clinic and the doctor said my BP had stabilized and suggested I go straight for a hearty meal. There were still only a few examinees on the way out the gate. It was yet about 5:30PM.

It was very festive outside the gates at España. The sidewalk along the UST side was empty. The bar ops of the various law schools were massed at the opposite sidewalk. Every time somebody exited the gate they would shout in unison.

To go to the other side of the street one has to climb a footbridge. In Cebu we would call it skywalk. As an examinee climbs down, the mass would shout words of encouragement. When my turn came to pass through the throng, it was as if the Red Sea parted as they were murmuring  “Congratulations, Sir”. And when I stroked my palm over my gray hair they erupted in applause.  If they only knew!

2nd Sunday. Having nothing else better to do at home, and with the ASEAN summit going on smoothly I decided to go back just for the fun of it and also to make use of my remaining round-trip ticket. 

Near my lodging I found that a nearby 7-Eleven store sold rice with tuna omelet in pre-cooked packs which they would reheat for free. This one I could eat and became my breakfast and lunch for the 2nd Sunday.

At exam time I thought I was doing well; but after doing the arithmetic, I know my 1st Sunday would pull me down. So I bade goodbye to my roommates and the dragon that I came to slay would live to puff another day when I became one of the 9 dropouts of the 2017 bar exams.

My predictions: the topnotchers will be from Bulletin #13 list of takers.

BTW, I'm on iron supplement again because my lab test in the last week of December 2017 showed a dip in my red blood cells and hematocrit. 

Acknowledgements - to those who helped me in my quest to slay my bar dragon, my deepest thanks. Also my apologies for disappointing you.
FOOTNOTES:  Intended mostly for the reading entertainment and learning enjoyment of my children, nephews, and nieces, and their children. May they wisely carve their own paths.
Footnote 1 - Three law schools and a detour

Footnote 2 - My messy transcript of records

Footnote 3 - Work history, 5 so far

Footnote 4 - Religious oddysey

Monday, May 15, 2017

To my fellow non-topnotchers & bar flunkers


I am signing off from blogging until something of "transcendental importance, overreaching significance, or of paramount public interest" crops up. There is a dragon to be slain come November and blogging has become one among the many distractions that may keep me from being a dragon slayer.

My blogging journey started with  Under The Talisay Tree  in 2003.  Here's a sample from that old blog which should be taken with a grain of salt because it's about a fish cum hero - Lapulapu. In 2008 somehow I lost access to my account. So I created another blog under the same name but of different format. That blog has had sporadic postings when I started this one.

Imagine reading a book and suddenly something seems amiss in a particular passage. You go back over the sentence and find a modifier is dangling here or a typo is hovering there. In my case, that will disrupt my concentration on the topic at hand and time gets wasted going back on track. My frustration over these disruptions is the why and wherefore of this blog which was started in 2012. Not all the posts are about typos, though. In one post I had a lighthearted discussion about goat's milk as prestation (see here).

Speaking of typos, as a consequence of my loss of access to my original blog, I am disappointed, nay horrified, that I could not edit a typo on the very first words of one post (see here) which - the post, not the typo -was linked to by Manolo Quezon in his blog (see here).

And if you see from the page views that my posts look visited more than once, that is just me trying to see if a post needs further editing.

OK, I think I can deal with this blogging distraction The other distractions seem insurmountable: TV series and movies on "alam nyo na anong " sites. At the moment it is Designated Survivor, Blacklist, and Scorpion. I usually stop watching a series after a few seasons. TV series usually lose their intensity for lack of new plots like Suits or their stories can get weirder like Game of Thrones or the old  X-Files.

As it is now, instead of reading reviewers, I am reading closed captions or sub-titles when it is already 10PM so that the missus and children will not be disturbed by the sound.

So how can I follow this classic advice from reviewers:
I recommend that your wake-up time should be at 4:30 a.m. and “lights out” should be at 9 p.m. This is to make your body clock adjust to this schedule so that by November, you would be used to sleeping and waking up early.
Sour grapes

On May 3 next year the SC will release the 2017 Bar Exams results. I may not be prepared for the 2017 Bar Exams but I am ready for the results. Here's why:

Who cares about being no. 1. Until the 2016 Bar no one from a Cebu school made it to the top spot. The highest was the 3rd spot which was clinched in 1951 by Pablo P. Garcia, from the University of San Carlos (USC). He is the grandpa of my beauteous Professor in Legal Forensics, Mayor Christina Frasco of Liloan, Cebu.

Noy Pabling was joined at the 3rd spot only in 1975 by Emmanuel R. Pacquiao, of the University of the Visayas, and later in 1981 by Arthur T. Lim, also of USC.

Through the years the 4th to the 10th places were claimed by some 20 other Cebu graduates but it was only in 2015 that the 3rd place was surpassed when Athena Plaza, of USC, got the 2nd place. Which as we know was followed right away this year with a tour de force by USC when the top spot was taken by Karen Mae L. Calam, with three other spots on the top ten to boot. Take a bow, Dean Joan Largo!

Full disclosure: Prof. Joan and Prof. Bretch were my professors in Constitutional Law 1, and Obligations and Contract respectively. How do I rate them and their fellow professors? Let the results speak. Ipse loquator labor. And yes, they should be thankful I did not graduate from USC; else they would not have achieved their dream of 100% passing rate. :-)

So you see, no more record to aspire for. The seat is already taken. I might as well enjoy reading closed captions and subtitles while munching on sour grapes.

What's the fuss about the top 10.  Here's a news item right after the release of the 2016 bar exams:
MANILA - University of the Philippines (UP) President Danilo Concepcion has downplayed the absence of a UP College of Law topnotcher in the 2016 Bar examinations.

Concepcion, a Bar topnotcher in 1983, who is also UP College of Law dean, explained that law schools were not established to produce Bar topnotchers.

“The business of a law school is to teach law in the grand manner and to make great lawyers; it doesn’t say to make Bar topnotchers,” Concepcion was quoted by the Philippine Law Register as saying last Wednesday before successful UP Bar examinees.
 I, too,  fully concur with the sentiment; who cares about being a topnotcher. Let's drink to that with a bottle of sour grape juice.

There is just too many of us. One Manila university, or at least one of its students, posted on social media (I could not find the link anymore) saying that they may not have a topnotcher but they have the "living bodies" of 272 passers. Can anybody beat that?

Then I read the opinion column of Raul J. Palabrica where he mentioned Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate in Economics, bewailing the downside of too many lawyers. Here's the complete paragraph from the book The Price of Inequality:
The macroeconomic effect of America‘s litigious society was suggested by some studies that showed that countries with fewer lawyers (relative to their population) grew faster. Other research suggests that the main channel through which a high proportion of lawyers in a society hurts the economy is the diversion of talent away from more innovative activities (like engineering and science), a finding consistent with our earlier discussion of finance
Wouldn't adding my name to the lawlist  be like rubbing salt to the wound? Please pass the sour grapes.

No more need for a lapida. When I first entered law school I had this classmate who was a middle-aged cop. Asked why he was taking up law, his answer was the classic one for people going back to school in their older years: "Panglapida na lang ni." Just for inscription on one's gravestone.

When I went back to law school, it was my turn to answer the question. And this used to be the lettering I planned to be etched in gold leaf on my gravestone which should be made of the highest quality of marble from Romblon:

Or if you're not one for subtlety, and you missed the rhyme:

By the time I turned 50, however, I decided I would be cremated instead of being buried. Why bother with memorial plans or memorial plots? So there goes the need for the Atty. before my name, the roll number, MCLE compliance, etc.

But what about engraving the epitaph on the urn of my ashes? Or on the top of  paper weights that will contain my ashes? No, never mind, but sour grapes pa more, please.

Sweet lemons?

We'll have to wait for May 3, 2018 whether we'll have sour grapes or sweet lemons. Bring it on.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Voir dire, yes. Boldereaux, what?

From a commercial law reviewer, 2016 edition, page 379:

I thought this could be a good candidate for what is known as  "shock and awe" terms in the bar exams in the mold of "depecage" in the 2015 Civil Law exam. Or the "voir dire" in  Remedial Law.

The reviewer does not say much about the word. No problem; there is always google.

However, it seems there is no such word. But there is bordereaux. And it is the plural of bordereau. See for example this entry in the FreeDictionary:

  (bôr′də-rō′)n. pl. bor·de·reaux (-rō′)detailed memorandum, especially one that lists documents or accounts.

[French, probably from bordedge, marginfrom Old French bortof Germanic origin.]

A report providing premium or loss data with respect to identified specific risks. This report is periodically furnished to a reinsurer by the ceding insurers or reinsurers.
Well, I guess it's one less "shock and awe" word to worry about.

As for depecage and voir dire, they sure did not shock those who read the San Beda Memory Aids. 

Here's depecage on page 574 of the 2014 Memory Aid in Civil Law:

And here's voir dire on page 442 of the 2014 Memory Aid in Remedial Law:

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Saturday typos, 29 April 2017

From a commercial law reviewer, 2016 edition, page 374:

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Not now on docket fees

On page 168 of a remedial law reviewer, vol. 1, 2016 edition:

Section 7, Rule 141 of the Revised Rules of Court actually requires docket fees even for compulsory counterclaims. It seems this was not so before A.M. No. 04-2-04-SC.

I searched high and low for a copy of the A.M. but could only find references to it.

In Korea Technologies Co., vs. Hon. Lerma, G.R. No. 143581, Jan. 7, 2008, the SC made a definitive ruling:
On July 17, 1998, at the time PGSMC filed its Answer incorporating its counterclaims against KOGIES, it was not liable to pay filing fees for said counterclaims being compulsory in nature. We stress, however, that effective August 16, 2004 under Sec. 7, Rule 141, as amended by A.M. No. 04-2-04-SC, docket fees are now required to be paid in compulsory counterclaim or cross-claims. 
The "not" could just be a typo and could readily be changed to "now" and everything would be all right. But the quoted jurisprudence would pose a problem.

Update 30 May 2017: After listening to Prof. Tranquil Salvador discussing the jurisdictional importance of docket fees it seems the reviewer is correct after all. OCA Circular No. 96-2009 dated August 13, 2009 says that in a revised issuance of Korea Technologies  the second sentence in the above-quoted paragraph (which I emphasized in blue letters in this update) has been deleted.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Saturday typos, 22 April 2017

From a remedial law reviewer, Vol. 1, 2016 edition:

Page 74,

Page 108,

Page 116,

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Saturday typos, 1 April 2017

From  a Political Law Reviewer, 2015 Edition:

Page 45,

Page 51,

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Idle and nugatory construction

I am re-reading Agpalo's Statutory Construction. So I immediately felt that something was amiss in this passage on page 14 of a political law reviewer, 2015 edition:

I know I've met this phrase somewhere in Agpalo's text. And indeed there it was on page 626 of the 2009 Edition of the book:

Since the author quoted from Cooley's treatise, what better way than to check with it. This is the cover page of his ancient work:

Note the long title which reminds me of the complete title of Darwin's seminal book on evolution.

On page 92 Cooley wrote:

It seems the author missed a few words. Cooley's treatise is available here for download.

And yes, Darwin's book is also available for download here.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Saturday typos, 25 March 2017

From page 9 of a political law reviewer, 2015 edition: