Erap: Unruly ‘bar ops’ volunteers risk jail
TO KEEP next month’s 2017 bar examinations at the University of Sto. Tomas peaceful and orderly, the Manila Police District will immediately arrest and imprison any individual doing bar operations that will become unruly or cause disruptions to the proceedings, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada warned.
The Supreme Court, Estrada said, will set up a provisional court presided by a judge right at the UST campus during the examination days to instantly try and hear cases and slap punishments on troublemakers nabbed by the MPD .
“They will be immediately put to prison. The court wants them arrested immediately,” Estrada warned, citing the new measure to be implemented by the SC in the November bar exams.
“So we hope this will serve [as] a warning to everyone,” Estrada said.
Like last year, Estrada instructed MPD director Chief Supt. Joel Coronel to put up a tight security cordon around the UST campus where the examinations would be held.
Estrada also ordered Manila’s rescue units to place on standby at the school grounds teams of paramedics and ambulances to render emergency medical assistance during the four-Sunday examinations.
“We won’t let any incident to happen again,” Estrada pointed out, citing the 2010 bar exam bombing that injured 47 people.
Coronel said the new measure has been set by 2017 bar exams committee chairperson SC Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin in agreement with the university officials.
Under the new rule, any person engaged in bar operations who will disrupt, disturb or create disorder within 200 meters of the UST grounds during the examination days shall be held for direct contempt, apart from violations of penal laws and city ordinances, according to the MPD chief.
“Right there and then, we will arrest them and bring them to the judge on duty, who will prescribe the appropriate sanctions, including prison time,” Coronel said.
“That’s why this early, we’re asking those who will be doing bar operations to keep in mind these new rules and regulations,” he warned.
All those doing “bar ops” within the immediate vicinities of UST, Coronel said, have also been asked to coordinate and make the necessary arrangements with the UST College of Law and the MPD prior to the November examinations.
“Bar ops will still be allowed as long as it will be orderly and not cause any trouble,” the MPD chief stressed.
Popularly known as “bar ops,” bar operations are a long-standing tradition among school organizations and fraternity groups to demonstrate their support to bar examinees.
Part of the tradition includes putting up tents and merry-making on the streets, but its more serious aspect includes helping examinees review for the tough exams, often holed up in hotel rooms during examination days.
However, the festivities and partying around the exam venue have become notorious for flare-ups among rival schools, prompting the SC to ban these during the 2008 and 2011 bar exams.