The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), the national association of lawyers, has requested the Supreme Court (SC) to allow the “remote signing” of the Roll of Attorneys for new lawyers with travel restrictions to Manila.
The IBP made the suggestion in a letter to the SC just as the passers of the 2019 Bar examinations are set to take their oath-taking ceremony on June 25 via online video conference – a first in the history of the legal profession.
“Considering the travel limitations and difficulties brought about by the health emergency (public planes or ships to or from islands are still not available), may we respectfully suggest that those who cannot travel from their provinces to the Supreme Court in Manila be allowed to present themselves before the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court nearest their residence or before the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals in Cebu or Cagayan de Oro for proper identification and “remote signing,” the IBP letter signed by its president Domingo Egon Cayosa said.
“Thereafter, the Executive Judge of the CA Presiding Justice electronically transmits to the Office of the Bar Confidant his/her certification and the signature of the Bar passer. The corresponding roll number will then be issued by the OBC and communicated to the Executive Judge or CA Presiding Justice and the new lawyer who can use the assigned roll number in his pleadings,” the letter added.
The signing of the roll is scheduled from July 6 until Aug. 3 at the SC compound in Padre Faura St. in Manila.
Before they can take sign the roll, the new lawyers will have to submit a proof that they joined the online oath-taking. They are also required to provide a notarized affidavit that they attended the event “within Philippine territory” as well as a photograph or screenshot of their attendance.
To become a full-fledged lawyer, a law graduate should be able to accomplish three things: pass the Bar examinations, take the oath, and sign the Roll of the Attorneys.
In allowing the more than 2,000 new lawyers to take their oaths online, the SC noted that the current health crisis and Covid-19 pandemic made it not possible to hold the oath-taking ceremony the traditional way.