CHIEF JUSTICE of the Supreme Court (SC) Alexander G. Gesmundo said the bar examinations are necessary for filtering out unsuitable candidates for the legal profession, after Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) Silvestre H. Bello III’s remarks about the need to study the certification process of certain professions.

“I respect the view of Secretary Bello, but as far as the practice of law, I think we should maintain the bar examinations so that we can sift those who are competent, considering the nature of the legal profession,” Mr. Gesmundo told reporters Thursday in a chance interview.

He added that he sees no need to abolish the bar examination as it “has been the traditional way of measuring who can join the legal profession.”

He added that “the legal profession is vested with public interest.”

On Wednesday, Mr. Bello appeared to question the need for qualifying examinations for lawyers, engineers, nurses, dentists, and other professions, noting that trained graduates will have gone through multiple exams during their school days.

He said: “Those who topped the bar examinations are not that good in practice, although I am not trying to demean them.”

On Thursday, however, Mr. Bello clarified in an appearance on the ABS-CBN news channel that he is not proposing to do away with all professional examinations, but was only calling on regulators to study the possibility of removing the requirement to be certified in certain professions.

“My proposal is for the Philippine Nurses Association and PRC (Professional Regulation Commission) to study the possibility (of removing the examination requirement), so I did not propose for the scrapping,” he said.

Mr. Bello said he may back a bill to do away with some board examinations should he become a legislator, but added that he does not have final political plans yet for 2022.

The Senator who chairs the chamber’s labor committee weighed in in support of professional certification exams.

“Despite our disappointment with how the PRC has been failing our graduates with the way they’ve postponed and pushed back scheduled board exams since last year, it is very clear to us that the professional certification exams such as the various boards exam must remain,” Senator Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva said in a statement Thursday.

 Mr. Villanueva filed a resolution in the Senate in March calling on the PRC to find alternative means to conduct board examinations during the pandemic. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago