Bar chairperson Marvic Leonen advised the candidates who tested negative for COVID-19 to continue their self-isolation at home days before the historic exams take place.
The Supreme Court earlier announced that fully vaccinated candidates need to undergo an antigen test prior to the Bar exams to ensure that they will not risk infecting others in their examination sites.
The high court has already notified them to self-isolate before the Bar as those who have tested positive will not be allowed to enter for safety protocol.
Leonen reiterated this call on Wednesday, days before the exams.
“Dear Bar Examinees: For those who tested COVID negative, kindly continue to isolate and quarantine. The test was for you. Isolating until you finish the exam is for others,” he tweeted.
“Also, keep in mind that there are those who tested positive. Be kind,” Leonen added.
The 2020/2021 Bar Examinations will take place on February 4 and 6. It is the first digitalized and localized exams in history.
It will also have the biggest batch of candidates as well since the Bar was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Twitter users expressed their sympathies to the “baristas” who tested positive for COVID.
“My heart breaks for the barristers who tested positive for COVID despite taking all the necessary precautions. We hope that there will be a way for you to take the Bar,” 2019 Bar topnotcher Mae Diane Azores wrote with a pleading eyes emoji.
“I tested negative but I am heartbroken for those who tested positive. Pero alam ko’ yung mga pinaglaban nila just to make it this far and only to be halted by this test. Sana po may magagawa pa para sa kanila,” another Twitter user commented.
“Nung nakita ko ang negative result ko pakiramdam ko naipasa ko na ang kalahati ng Bar Exam. Pero hindi ako makapagbunyi ng buong-buo knowing that some of my friends ay positibo. Magpapahinga lang pero never sila susuko,” a different Filipino said.
One of the Bar candidates who claimed to have tested positive commented on Leonen’s post.
“I hope those who tested positive will be given a chance to fight. We can no longer afford to wait for the next Bar. Wala akong symptoms. I don’t have any close interaction with anyone. Sobrang nakakapanlumo, Justice. I don’t know how to start again,” the Twitter user wrote.
Leonen saw the comment and said that they have “tried.”
“Please read Bar Bulletin No. 37 and see how much we tried. The SC (Supreme Court) cannot violate the health protocols of national and local government. These health protocols are there for a reason. That is also why we have laws,” he answered.
A statement from Bar Bulletin No. 37 reads:
“These measures are deemed necessary to protect the health and safety of all examinees and personnel, and to contain the spread of the infection in the locality where the Bar Examinations will take place.”
“Remember that any exercise of a right or a privilege is always balanced with the necessity to protect the safety of our families and the communities we live in. None of us will thrive if we recklessly endanger our society.”