Widely read columnist Ms.Rina Jimenez-David featured these now famous Bar Questions in her column. These questions are also heavily forwarded through emails. This discussion may a bit delayed as we are towards the last Sunday of the part upon printing. Just the same these very interesting questions are worth noting.

At large likewise quoted Atty. Sarah Lou Arriola, director for special projects of the Ateneo Human Rights Center. “These questions have changed the landscape of the bar exams. It is a great effort on the part of Justice Azcuna to mainstream gender issues in the law profession.”

Gender and the law are hardly given emphasis in law school. There are law schools in Metro Manila that offer it as an elective. However, law students who have the option to enroll in such class however tend to ignore it. The latest bar questions in political law is most welcome. It is a very creative way of mainstreaming gender issues particularly in the study of law. Three Cheers for Justice Azcuna and the examiner whose name will be revealed in time for these questions:

MANILA, Philippines — “The city mayor issues an executive order declaring that the city promotes responsible parenthood and upholds family planning. He prohibits all hospitals operated by the city from prescribing the use of artificial methods of contraception, including condoms, pills, intrauterine devices and surgical sterilization. As a result, poor women in this city lost their access to affordable family planning programs. Private clinics, however, continue to render family planning (counseling) and devices to paying clients.

“(a) Is the executive order in any way constitutionally infirm? Explain.

“(b) Is the Philippines in breach of any obligation under international
law? Explain.

“(c) May the Commission on Human Rights order the mayor to stop the
implementation of the executive order? Explain.”

Question No. 4: In 1993, historians confirmed that during World War II, “comfort women” were forced into serving the Japanese military. These women were either abducted or lured by false promises of jobs as cooks or waitresses, and eventually forced against their will to have sex with Japanese soldiers on a daily basis during the course of the war, and often suffered from severe beatings and venereal diseases. The Japanese government contends that the “comfort stations” were run as “onsite military brothels” (or prostitution houses) by private operators, and not by the Japanese military. There were many Filipina “comfort women.”

(a) Name at least one basic principle or norm of international
humanitarian law that was violated by the Japanese military in the
treatment of the “comfort women.”

(b) The surviving Filipina “comfort women” demand that the Japanese
government apologize and pay them compensation. However, under the 1951
San Francisco Peace Agreement — the legal instrument that ended the state
of war between Japan and Allied Forces — all the injured states,
including the Philippines, received war reparations and, in return, waived
all claims against Japan arising from the war. Is that a valid defense?

(c) The surviving Filipina “comfort women” sue the Japanese government for
damages before Philippine courts. Will that case prosper?

Question No. 5: The Destilleria Felipe Segundo is famous for its 15-year-old rum, which it has produced and marketed successfully for the past 70 years. Its latest commercial advertisemen uses the line: “Nakatikim ka na ba ng kinse anyos? (Have you tasted a 15-year old?)” Very soon, activist groups promoting women’s and children’s rights were up in arms against the advertisement.

(a) All advertising companies in the Philippines have formed an
association, the Philippine Advertising Council, and have agreed to abide
by all the ethical guidelines and decisions by the council. In response to
the protests, the council orders the pull-out of the “kinse anyos”
advertising campaign. Can Destilleria Felipe Segundo claim that its
constitutional rights are thus infringed?

(b) One of the militant groups, the Amazing Amazonas, call on all GOCCs to
boycott any newspaper, radio or TV station that carries “kinse anyos”
advertisements. They call on all government nominees in sequestered
corporations to block any advertising funds allocated for any newspaper,
radio or TV station. Can the GOCCs and sequestered corporations validly
comply?