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7 Things Revealed by Bar Exams Topnotchers PLUS LAW SCHOOL TIPS

Get ready to be inspired as we learn the 7 Things Revealed by Bar Topnotchers on their way to the bar, including law school tips that can help everyone aspiring to be lawyers.

1. Finding out the bar exams result
2. Dreaming of becoming bar topnotchers
3. Destined to become lawyers
4. Daily schedule during bar review
5. Social life during bar review
6. Journey of a working law student
7. Law school tips to aspiring lawyers and bar takers

Law School Life Blog

Top 5 Pre-Law Courses based on 2015-2019 Bar Exams Topnotchers

What is the best pre-law course? Is there such a thing as the best pre-law course?

For a future lawyer to be admitted in law school, two of the sine qua non conditions to the admission at the college of Law are:

(1) One must be a graduate of a four year Bachelor’s Degree course from a recognized university; and

(2) One must have 18 units in English, 18 units Social Sciences, and 6 units in Mathematics in the undergraduate course. Some colleges allow students to enroll even if there are deficiencies in the required units. As long as the deficiency will be completed during your stay at the college of law. Talk to your prospect college of law for their specific policy.

Always remember that there is no such thing as the best pre-law course.

The study of the law is a great equalizer. Everybody starts from zero in their hope to surpass the college of law, and eventually pass the BAR and become Attorneys.

Audiobook BAR FAQs Criminal Law Q&A

BAR Frequently Asked in Criminal Law Part 2

BAR Exams Frequently Asked Questions Q&A – Criminal Law – Audiobook Review Part 2

PART 2 Concepts

QUESTION: What is the ​doctrine of implied conspiracy​? (1998; 2003)

ANSWER: The ​doctrine of implied conspiracy holds two or more persons participating in the commission of a crime collectively responsible and liable as co-conspirators although absent any agreement to that effect, when they act in concert, demonstrating unity of criminal intent and a common purpose or objective. The existence of a conspiracy shall be inferred or deduced from their criminal participation in pursuing the crime and thus the act of one shall be the act of all.

QUESTION: Are ​reclusion perpetua and ​life imprisonment the same? Can they be imposed interchangeably? (1991; 1994; 2001)

ANSWER: NO. ​Reclusion perpetua i​s a penalty prescribed by the RPC, with a fixed duration of imprisonment from 20 years and 1 day to 40 years, and carries with it accessory penalties.

Life imprisonment,​ on the other hand, is a penalty prescribed by special laws, with no fixed duration of imprisonment and without any accessory penalty.

QUESTION: What is a ​memorandum check​? Is a person who issues a memorandum check without sufficient funds guilty of violating B.P Blg. 22? (1994;1995)

ANSWER: A ​memorandum check ​is an ordinary check with the word “Memorandum,” “Memo,” or “Mem” written across the check, signifying that the maker or drawer engages to pay its holder absolutely, thus partaking the nature of a promissory note. It is drawn on a bank and is a bill of exchange within the purview of Sec. 185 of the Negotiable Instruments Law.

A person who issued a memorandum check without sufficient funds is guilty of violating B.P. Blg. 22 as said law covers all checks whether it is an evidence of indebtedness, or in payment of a pre-existing obligation, or as deposit or guarantee.

QUESTION: Distinguish clearly but briefly between ​rebellion and ​coup d’etat based on their constitutive elements as criminal offenses.

ANSWER: ​Rebellion is committed by a public uprising and taking arms against the government while coup d’ etat is committed by means of swift attack accompanied by violence, intimidation, threat, strategy, and stealth.

The purpose of ​rebellion is either to remove from the allegiance to the Philippine Government or its laws the territory of the Philippines or any part thereof or any body of land, naval or other armed forces; or to deprive the Chief Executive or Congress wholly or partially of any of their powers or prerogatives.

On the other hand, the purpose of a coup d’ etat is to seize or diminish state power from the duly constituted authorities of the government or any military camp or the installation communication networks, public utilities and other facilities needed for the exercise of continued possession of powers.

Rebellion may be committed by any group of persons while coup d ‘etat is committed by a person or persons belonging to the military or police, or holding any public office or employment. Rebellion is committed by more than 1 person as it involves a public uprising, while coup d ‘etat may be committed by only one person.

QUESTION: Distinguish clearly but briefly between ​compound and ​complex crimes as concepts in the Penal Code.

ANSWER: ​Compound crime is when a single act constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies while a ​complex crime​ is when an offense is a necessary means for committing the other.

QUESTION: Distinguish clearly but briefly between ​justifying and ​exempting circumstances in criminal law.

ANSWER: ​Justifying circumstances are those when the act of a person is said to be in accordance with law, so that such person is deemed not to have transgressed the law and is free from both criminal and civil liability.

On the other hand, ​exempting circumstances ​are those grounds for exemption from punishment because there is wanting in the agent of the crime any of the conditions which makes the act voluntary or negligent.

QUESTION: Distinguish clearly but briefly between ​intent​ and ​motive​ in the commission of an offense.

ANSWER: ​Intent is the purpose to use a particular means to effect a definite result while ​motive is the moving power which impels one to action for such result.

QUESTION: Distinguish clearly but briefly between​ oral defamation​ and ​criminal conversation.

ANSWER: ​Oral defamation, known as slander, is a malicious imputation of any act, omission or circumstance against a person, done orally in public, tending to cause dishonor, discredit, contempt, embarrassment or ridicule to the latter. This is a crime against honor penalized in Art. 358 of the Revised Penal Code.

Criminal conversation is a term used in making a polite reference to sexual intercourse as in certain crimes, like rape, seduction and adultery. It has no definite concept as a crime.

BAR FAQs Audiobook Criminal Law Q&A

BAR Frequently Asked in Criminal Law Part 1

BAR Exams Frequently Asked Questions Q&A – Criminal Law – Audiobook Review Part 1

See complete list of episodes here.

Philippine Bar Exams
Frequently Asked Questions
Criminal Law Part 1

(1) Distinguish motive from intent. (1996; 1999)


Motive ​is the reason which impels one to commit an act for a definite result, while ​intent ​is the purpose to use a particular means to effect such result. ​Intent ​is an element of the crime (except in unintentional felonies), whereas ​motive ​is not.

( 2 ) W h a t d o y o u u n d e r s t a n d b y a b e r r a t i o i c t u s , ​​e r r o r i n p e r s o n a e  a​ n d p r a e t e r i n t e n t i o n e m ? Do they alter the criminal liability of the accused? (1989; 1993; 1994; 1999)


Aberratio ictus o​ r mistake in the blow occurs when the offender delivered the blow at his intended victim but missed, and instead such blow landed on an unintended victim. The situation generally brings about complex crimes where from a single act, two or more grave or less grave felonies resulted, namely the attempt against the intended victim and the consequences on the unintended victim. As complex crimes, the penalty for the more serious crime shall be the one imposed and in the maximum period. It is only when the resulting felonies are only light that complex crimes do not result and the penalties are to be imposed distinctly for each resulting crime.

Error in personae ​or mistake in identity occurs when the offender actually hit the person to whom the blow was directed but turned out to be different from and not the victim intended. The criminal liability of the offender is not affected, unless the mistake in identity resulted to a crime different from what the offender intended to commit, in which case the lesser penalty between the crime intended and the crime committed shall be imposed but in the maximum period (Art. 49, RPC).

Praeter intentionem o​ r where the consequence went beyond that intended or expected. This is a mitigating circumstance (Art. 13, par. 3, RPC) when there is a notorious disparity between the act or means employed by the offender and the resulting felony, i.e., the resulting felony could not be reasonably anticipated or foreseen by the offender from the act or means employed by him.

(3) Distinguish mala in se from mala prohibita. (1988; 1997; 1998; 2001; 2003)


Mala in se ​is wrong from its very nature, as most of those punished in the RPC. Hence, in its commission, intent is an element and good faith is a defense. The test to determine whether an offense is mala in se is not the law punishing it but the very nature of the act itself.

On the other hand, an act ​mala prohibita i​ s wrong because it is prohibited by law. Without the law punishing the act, it cannot be considered a wrong. Hence, the mere commission of that act is what constitutes the offense punished and criminal intent will be immaterial for reason of public policy.

(4) What are heinous crimes? Name ten specific heinous crimes. (1994; 1995; 1997)


Heinous crimes are those grievous, odious, and hateful offenses and which by reason of their inherent or manifest wickedness, viciousness, atrocity, and perversity, are repugnant and outrageous to the common standards and norms of decency and morality in a just, civilized and ordered society. They are punishable by ​reclusion perpetua ​to death. ​(WHEREAS CLAUSE, R.A. 7659)

The ten specific heinous crimes are:

  1. Treason
  2. Qualified Piracy
  3. Qualified Bribery
  4. Parricide
  5. Murder
  6. Kidnapping and Serious Illegal Detention
  7. Robbery with Homicide
  8. Destructive Arson
  9. Rape committed by two or more persons, or with a deadly weapon or with homicide
  10. Plunder

(5) What are the instances when the death penalty could not be imposed, although it should otherwise be meted out? (1997; 1998)


Under Art. 47 of the RPC, the death penalty shall not be imposed when:

1. The guilty person is below 18 years of age at the time of the commission of the crime, oR

2. Is more than 70 years of age, or

3. When upon appeal of the case by the SC, the required majority vote is not obtained for the imposition of the death penalty.

(6) When is the benefit of the Indeterminate Sentence Law not applicable? (1999; 2003)


The Indeterminate Sentence Law does not apply to:
1. Persons convicted of offenses punishable with death penalty or life imprisonment;

2. Those convicted of treason, conspiracy or proposal to commit treason;
3. Those convicted of misprision of treason, rebellion, sedition or espionage;
4. Those convicted of piracy;
5. Those who are habitual delinquents;
6. Those who shall have escaped from confinement or evaded sentence;
7. Those who violated the terms of conditional pardon granted to them by the Chief Executive;
8. Those whose maximum term of imprisonment does not exceed one year;
9. Those who, upon the approval of the law (December 5, 1933), had been sentenced by final judgment; 10. Those sentenced to the penalty of ​destierro ​or suspension.

(7) What is an impossible crime? (1993; 2003)


It is an act which would be an offense against persons or property, were it not for the inherent impossibility of its accomplishment, or on account of the employment of inadequate or ineffectual means. (Art. 4, par. 2)

But where the acts performed which would have resulted in an impossible crime also 1) constitute an offense under the RPC, or

(2) would subject the accused to criminal liability although of a different category, the penalty to be imposed should be that for the latter and not that for an impossible crime.

(8) Distinguish instigation from entrapment. (1990; 1995; 2003)


Instigation ​takes place when a peace officer induces a person to commit a crime. Without the inducement, the crime would not be committed. Hence, it is exempting by reason of public policy. Otherwise, the peace officer would be a co-principal.

On the other hand, ​entrapment ​signifies the ways and means devised by a peace officer to entrap or apprehend a person who has committed a crime. With or without the entrapment, the crime has been committed already. Hence, entrapment is not mitigating.

(9) What is the purpose of the Probation Law? (1986; 1989)


The purposes of the Probation Law are:

  • To promote the correction and rehabilitation of an offender by providing him with individualized treatment;
  • To provide an opportunity for the reformation of a penitent offender which might be less probable if he were to serve a prison sentence; and
  • To prevent the commission of offenses.

(10) What is the doctrine of implied conspiracy?(1998; 2003)


The doctrine of implied conspiracy holds two or more persons participating in the commission of a crime collectively responsible and liable as co-conspirators although absent any agreement to that effect, when they act in concert, demonstrating unity of criminal intent and a common purpose or objective. The existence of a conspiracy shall be inferred or deduced from their criminal participation in pursuing the crime and thus the act of one shall be the act of all.

News Bar Exams

BAR 2020 date sets further, not earlier than February 2021, says Bar Chair Leonen

The Office of the 2020 Bar Chair through Associate Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen announced today, June 29th, 2020 that the exact schedule for the 2020 BAR examinations is still up for deliberation.

An earlier announcement was made that the next examinations will not happen in 2020 due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the country. As such, the Office of the BAR has moved it to 2021.

Associate Justice Leonen further said that the next Bar Examinations will definitely not be held at a date earlier than February 2021.

Copy of the Bar Bulletin No. 12, S. 2020 from Supreme Court Public Information Office
News Bar Exams Current Events Supreme Court

Making History: First Ever Online Oath-Taking of New Lawyers

The Supreme Court of the Philippines sets new record as it holds the first-ever online oath-taking ceremonies for the successful 2019 Bar passers.

The Supreme Court has earlier announced a resolution allowing the conduct of the oath-taking ceremony of the 2019 BAR examination passers on 25 June 2020 via online video conference and linked to a government television network for broadcast. 

The oath-taking will be televised exclusively on PTV on June 25, 2020, Thursday, 2:00 pm. Netizens may join the ceremonies through PTV’s YouTube Channel.

Related News:

The Supreme Court during technical rehearsal last June 22. Photo from the Supreme Court Public Information Office.

Just the night before the program, 2019 Bar Topnotchers Mae Dian Azores and Kenneth Manuel exchanged some light-hearted tweets. Azores is Top 1, and Manuel is Top 6, both are CPAs and now CPA-Lawyers.

Courtesy of PTV Philippines’ Twitter @ptvph

Lawyer’s Oath:

Bar Exams News

Bar 2019 Top Performing Schools Based on Over-all Passing Percentage

Congratulations to the Top 10 Performing Schools in the 2019 Philippine Bar Exams! Based on over-all percentage of passing.

Bar Exams News

Online Oath Taking for New Lawyers on June 25, 2020

The Supreme Court En Banc approved today, 09 June 2020, a resolution allowing the conduct of the oath-taking ceremony of the 2019 BAR examination passers on 25 June 2020 via online video conference and linked to a government television network for broadcast. 

The Court noted that the current health crisis and COVID-19 pandemic made it not possible to hold the oath-taking ceremony the traditional way, as it had to take into consideration the existing government policies on public health, particularly on mass gatherings. More than 2,000 new lawyers will be taking their oaths. 

However, the Supreme Court made it clear in its resolution that the unorthodox oath-taking was to be “pro hac vice.” This means that due to the current pandemic, the resolution was to be exclusive and limited only on the occasion of the oath-taking of the 2019 BAR passers.

The resolution cited Article VIII, Section 5 (5) of the Constitution which is the rule-making power of the Supreme Court concerning the admission to the practice of law as its basis. 

The Court authorized the Bar Confidant, under the guidance of the 2019 BAR Chairperson, Senior Associate Justice Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe, to perform all necessary acts, under existing rules, regulations, and resources, to carry out the oath taking as contemplated in the resolution.

The Office of the Bar Confidant will be making the necessary announcements on the details, guidelines, and instructions to the new lawyers for the online oath-taking.