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Bar passers told: Be ‘vanguards, protector, stewards of justice’

By: Adrian Parungao - | December 22,2023 - 08:54 PM


FILE PHOTOS: 2023 Bar exam passers erupt in jubilation and embrace their loved ones. INQUIRER/GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

MANILA, Philippines — Those who passed the 2023 Bar examinations were reminded to always bear in mind their duty as ‘vanguards, protectors, and stewards of justice.’

At the Oath-Taking and Roll Signing ceremonies for successful 2023 Bar exam takers on Friday, Supreme Court Associate Justice Mario Lopez also reminded them that they “carry a great responsibility for the people.”

“[On] this occasion, it is apt to ask, ‘What is lawyering?’ The answer is plain and simple, lawyering is doing justice. Being in the noblest profession, you become a vanguard, a protector, and a steward of justice,” Lopez said.

“You are expected to carry a great responsibility for the people. This is the fundamental reason the new lawyer’s oath embedded the concept of justice as your sacred and inviolable commitment. Doing justice is your overriding professional duty, and there can be no valid excuse for lapses in its observance,” he added.

The SC associate justice likewise encouraged the new lawyers to not be afraid of technology, especially with the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI). He assured them that the law profession would neither be obsolete nor antiquated amid AI.

“While there is a threat of antiquity, the good news is, the emerging technology will not threaten nor usher the demise of the law profession because our law profession is the cornerstone of humanity. Machines are but the creatures of human beings and cannot overcome their creators,” Lopez said.

He then debunked the circulating claim in the recent Bar examinations that AI was used to check their tests.

“Last September, during the Bar Examination, a nasty rumor circulated that your exam will be corrected by artificial intelligence. This is totally false and a distortion because if indeed the Bar Exam was corrected by a machine, the result would have been disastrous, especially in Criminal Law, it would have been a murderous Bar Exam,” Lopez said.

‘Noble profession’

The high court magistrate further reiterated to the 2023 Bar exam passers that their line of work is a “noble profession.”

“Lawyering is not a capital to be infused for the purpose of profit or gain. […]  Let me emphasize that a costly and expensive litigation is in itself an injustice, it divests the inherent right of people from access to justice, especially the underprivileged and marginalized ones who should benefit more in terms of law,” he said.

He pointed out that the new layers must prioritize moral responsibility in their practice.

“I hope in your practice, you do not become complicit in supporting, justifying, and condoning legal techniques that are at least unethical, and at worse, illegal. [..] As new lawyers, you are expected that your youthfulness, idealism, moral responsibility, and technological passion, will open a fresh outlook to our law profession and elevate the administration of our justice system,” Lopez said.

According to the Supreme Court, 3,812 of the 10,387 examinees passed the 2023 Bar tests that was held on September 17, 20, and 24. This year’s Bar exam result was released on December 5.


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TAGS: bar, lawyers, oath taking

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