TO prevent any incident similar to the 2010 Bar exam bombing that injured 47 people, Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada has ordered the Manila Police District (MPD) to put up a tight security cordon around the University of Santo Tomas (UST) campus where the 2016 Bar examinations will be held this month.
Estrada said the city government does not take any chances in protecting the safety of the general public, particularly the thousands of examinees who will be taking the bar examinations, which are set to be held on November 6, 13, 20, and 27.
“We will utilize all our available law enforcement and protective units to ensure the orderly and peaceful conduct of the (bar) examinations. We can’t let any untoward incidents to happen again,” the Manila mayor said.
Estrada directed MPD director Senior Supt. Joel Coronel to deploy sufficient number of policemen around the UST campus to maintain peace and order and frustrate any attempt by lawless elements to disrupt the bar examinations.
He 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.
In coordination with the city government and the Supreme Court bar examinations committee headed by Senior Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco, Jr., Coronel said the MPD will secure the UST campus throughout the examinations.
“For this year, again, the whole perimeter of UST shall be secured, so meaning España Avenue, Lacson, Dapitan, and P. Noval streets will be closely guarded,” the MPD chief said.
“We will be deploying round-the-clock patrol and police visibility in the area, especially on the first Sunday where we expect a lot of people will be proceeding to the area,” Coronel added.
A portion of España Avenue (westbound going to Quiapo) will also be closed to vehicular traffic in the morning and in the afternoon during the four Sundays to give way to the thousands of examinees, Coronel announced.
In all the four Sundays of November, police will also enforce the city ordinance that bans the sale, use, or distribution of liquors within 100 meters of examination venue, he added.
“That liquor ban takes effect the night before the bar exams and until the midnight the following day. This is to prevent previous occasions where there are members of fraternities, organizations, and other associations who will be drinking along the streets during the exam,” Coronel explained.
On the afternoon of September 26, 2010, an Mk2 grenade thrown by a fraternity member exploded outside the De La Salle University (DLSU) along Taft Avenue in Malate, just as thousands of bar examinees were exiting the school grounds.
The explosion injured 47 people, including two law graduates who required amputations.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) ordered the indictment of Anthony Leal Nepomuceno, an Alpha Phi Omega (APO) fraternity member and the prime suspect in the grenade attack.
A year after the blast, the yearly SC-administered bar examinations were transferred from DLSU to UST.