Category Archives: Law School Life

6 Realizations of a Bar Candidate

October is the petsa de peligro of all Bar reviewees. It’s the time when you’re both supposed to have already memorized what you’ve read and cram as many new information (i.e. tips, possible Bar questions) as you can. 

This is merely a reflection of the year that was. 

“A law student must begin his Bar review on the first day of Law school.” Common Words of Wisdom from our Law professors. Of course, we just took them as words. 

That is until the start of Bar review proper.

Mine started during 4th year 2nd sem. Yep, 2nd sem. Why? I entered 4th year during the 2nd sem while I was also (secretly, so I thought) the Student Council President. That was equivalent to Law school suicide because extra-curriculars=failing grades. 

By the grace of God, I passed that sem with (not so) flying colors. But I made that sem in one piece. I got through the first sem, too. But those two sems didn’t pass by without me banging my head on the wall and saying, “You should’ve mastered this in 1st year.”

1. So, first reflection: Bar Exams preparation doesn’t–cannot– begin during Bar review proper

You cannot read full text cases and  start to memorize new provisions. That’s the reason your profs in your Freshman year assigned them to you in the first place. There’s just no time for that during Bar review. You just stick with the case doctrine or applicable law. 

2. It’s not going to be a smooth ride (but you’ll get all the help you’ll need)

You should’ve learned that in law school. It chews you up, swallows you whole, and spits you out so you could it can mold you into the best version of yourself. 

The profs that I thought hated me during my first three years in Law school totally differed during the 4th year review. They supported me and were genuinely happy to have me in their class, especially when I topped their exams. 

It made me realize that all my profs wanted was for me to become a lawyer. That was when I non-stop barraged them with questions and for advice. When the pre-Bar review started, they even allowed me to sit-in during their lectures before I left for Manila.

Take advantage of that kind of support system. 

3. There will always be surprises

The Supreme Court provides us with a Bar syllabus to limit the topics we should include in our review. But that doesn’t mean they can’t pull a fast one. 2014 Bar, they included jurisprudence not included in the syllabus. 

2016 Bar, every subject except for Labor Law and Legal Ethics were extended. We’ve prepped writing (and staying alert) for 8 hours. But 9 hours is another hour you should psyche yourself up.

4. Magastos ang Bar review

Especially if, like me, you’re fond of frequenting coffee shops and study centers to wake your brain up. On the average, I spent around five hundred pesos (Php 500) per day just to study and eat.

Personally, I took my review at UP Diliman. While there, I stayed in a condominium complex. I used Uber most of the time.

I’d rather not think of how much I spent during the entire duration of my review because I’d just feel guilty. All I said to myself was: “You better not take this exam again!”

5. You’ll feel fragile and strong at the same time

My dad suffered a stroke during the first half of my Bar review. My then-boyfriend accused me of using the Bar as an excuse to be miserable and irritable. 

I had never felt anything like it. I felt depressed, nerve-wracked, friendless, and alone.

I went home for 3 times during the review and stayed home for around 2 weeks each. Imagine that ate up more than a month.

When Bar month came, I had to make up for lost time. I only took half-day breaks during Mondays and immediately went back to reading for the next Sunday.

The best part about the Bar, though, is no matter how dumb you think you were, if you really prepared, you’ll see that you actually know quite a lot.

6. You can make lasting friendships (or break long ones)

As I alone reviewed in UP, I had no friends or classmates I could confide in. Good thing a common friend connected me to my housemate. And it turned out that the latter had her classmates living in the same complex.

We’d study together, ride the trike to UP, eat at Maginhawa or Katips, and pig out at our condo. There were A LOT of tears shed during that period. And you can’t not be friends with people who’ve seen you cry.

The Bar review is such a unique experience that only those who’ve been with you during that time would understand your idiosyncrasies. I gained friends there that I would never have had I not left my comfort zone.

On the other hand, I’ve heard of the closest of friends whose friendships were broken during the Bar review. 

So, in conclusion, the Bar makes you a little crazy. Just don’t let it get to your head. 😉 

“If you work towards a goal, let nothing stop you, not even yourself.”

God bless our Bar candidates! AMDG

AYA ♥️

Advertisements

BACK TO THE BASICS Martial Law under the 1987 Philippine Constitution

FACTS: President Rodrigo R. Duterte issued Proclamation No. 216 on May 23, 2017 suspending the Writ of Habeas Corpus and placing the entire Mindanao under Martial Law for a period of sixty (60) days.

BASICS:

Q: What gives the President authority to declare martial law?

A: Section 18 of Article VII of the 1987 Constitution provides: The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. Within forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the President shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress.

Q: What is the power granted to the Congress/ Legislature?

The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President. Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.

The Congress, if not in session, shall, within twenty-four hours following such proclamation or suspension, convene in accordance with its rules without need of a call.

Q: What is the remedy of any citizen against the proclamation of Martial Law?

The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ or the extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision thereon within thirty days from its filing.

Q: What is the effect of the proclamation of Martial Law?

A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ.

The suspension of the privilege of the writ shall apply only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly connected with invasion.

During the suspension of the privilege of the writ, any person thus arrested or detained shall be judicially charged within three days, otherwise he shall be released.

Q: What is the basis of the President in declaring Martial Law?

In cases of Invasion or Rebellion and public safety requires its declaration.

Q: What is Invasion or Rebellion?

Art. 134. Rebellion or insurrection; How committed. — The crime of rebellion or insurrection is committed by rising publicly and taking arms against the Government for the purpose of removing from the allegiance to said Government or its laws, the territory of the Philippine Islands or any part thereof, of any body of land, naval or other armed forces, depriving the Chief Executive or the Legislature, wholly or partially, of any of their powers or prerogatives. (As amended by R.A. 6968).

 

Deciding to Enter Law School? Some tips from the average law student.

“Law School is like a walk in the park– Jurassic Park.”

This line has been used and overused by many a law student. But is there some truth to it? Yep!

I entered Law school straight from 4 years of undergraduate studies in UP. I took up B.S. Food Technology. That in itself did not prove helpful. But I’m a lawyer now, so I guess I can give some tips to the uninitiated. So, if you’re deciding to enter Law school or if you’re already in one and find yourself constantly at a loss, I hope these tips help you.

  1. Know How to Read

Excuse me, Atty? I’ve graduated from college. Of course I know how to read.

Well, excuse you. 🙂 There’s a big difference between reading novels and online articles and reading laws and jurisprudence (cases). I was a voracious reader before I entered LS but I found myself struggling when I had to read 30 cases before each class.

Don’t make it difficult for yourself.

It’s easier to understand the law by reading jurisprudence or case law. Jurisprudence are cases decided by the Supreme Court. You get to know how they applied a particular provision or if they create a new concept or precedence (basis for future cases).

Here’s how to read your jurisprudence, according to one of our professors: first, read the dispositive portion (the decision itself); then go back to the facts and the issue.

An additional tip from me: Read the case in connection with the subject it was assigned in.

A criminal case, for example, contains constitutional issues, as well. If it’s for Criminal Law, focus on the facts and the elements of the crime. In that manner, you can rid yourself of the distraction of the constitutional issues. While they’re relevant, what you’re discussing in Criminal Law usually are the elements of specific felonies.

2. Allot time for reading

Yes, Law school itself only takes 4 hours of your weekdays (or 2 days of your week, for other programs). However, it’s a far cry from your college 4-hour classes, where you just sat down and gaped at your instructors while they lectured. Consider your everyday in LS as an exam day, with your daily ~recitations~. Our topnotchers allotted a minimum of 8-hours daily for their readings. I, myself, set aside only 3 hours each day. Whatever works for you, as long as you can absorb the material better.

The most important thing is you gave it some time. Hindi nadadala sa talino ang Law school. I found that the intelligent ones did not necessarily excel, but the industrious, conscientious ones–those that used to be average but always put in the work.

3. Don’t be afraid of your professors

Your professors are there to instruct you. They wring you like a wet cloth until you’re dried up and wrinkly and have no hope.… Strike that… until you reach your full potential. Hehe.

Our first year professors were especially brutal. Yes, we actually feared them. Some students were so afraid of them that they quit during the second week of classes, or said “Pass” during recitations. Let that fear lead you to act. Read, study, prepare. It’s true that first impressions last. How your first year teachers perceive you will reach other professors and upperclassmen.

Your professors spend time before the class preparing and studying. They also read the cases they’ve assigned to you. If they can study, so can you. Respect their time and efforts.

Give them your best.

4. Never “Pass”

cum laude of our law school once said that this was the one rule she followed during her entire stint there.

The mortal sin of recitations is “passing” on reciting a provision or case law. Not only does it give your professor the impression that you’re lazy, it also is disrespectful. “Passing” does not actually equate to a free pass. It gives you a grade of zero. And in a world where every point counts, that, my dears, is most definitely unwise.

5. Use your resources

“Atty, I’m really not prepared. I read the first 10 cases, and the prof is calling the 11th!”

That happens to the best of us. So, following the Never “Pass” rule, DO NOT PASS. Use your notes, your classmates’ digest, your textbook, your codal, your iPad, your iPhone, and your seatmate’s whispers. The best weapons you have during these difficult times are your confidence and the power of bluffing. If you’re lucky, your prof might even help you out just to smoothen the flow of the discussion.

6. Lastly, make friends

You all come from different backgrounds. Some of you may know what’s going on. Some watch on cluelessly. The only way to survive the crazies that is law school is to make sure you don’t go through it alone. Get to know your batchmates, befriend your upperclassmen in the library, open up your world. The most helpful tips and materials I got, I got from friends.

Coping from the heartbreaks of failing exams, crappy recitations, and other cringe-worthy experiences is easier when done with friends: from stress eating, to drinking, and shouting your lungs out at a karaoke, and praying together.

Indeed, the crazy world that is law school awaits you. You can make the coming years count by making them the best years of your life. Enjoy! Ciao bella! AYA<3