Senator Leila M. de Lima has filed a measure seeking to harmonize legal education in the country not only for aspiring lawyers but also for those who are already practicing law as part of their continuing legal education.
De Lima, a lawyer by profession, filed Senate Bill No. 1498 which seeks to promote integrated efforts between the Legal Education Board (LEB) and Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA), the institutions that regulate legal education in the country.
“As the practice of law is an ever-evolving discipline whose role is continually increasing in our society, we should have a coordinated effort towards legal education,” she said.
The LEB, an independent unit supervised by the Department of Education (DepEd) and was created under Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7662, deals with the education of aspiring lawyers, while PHILJA, which was created by virtue of R.A. No. 8557, is responsible for the training of those already practicing law, including judges and court personnel, among others.
“While these two institutions cater to different students, both of them teach the same legal system. Thus, there is need to harmonize the direction in which the legal education is being administered,” she added.
Under her proposed measure, De Lima said she is proposing that a PHILJA Chancellor or his representative is designated as the vice chair of LEB.
Through this strategic connection, she explained PHILJA is expected to influence LEB policies to harmonize both institutions’ efforts.
“As such, the PHILJA will be strategically connected with LEB, and thus will be able to influence LEB policies to harmonize both institutions’ efforts,” she said.
The Senator from Bicol also added that PHILJA’s presence in the LEB can serve to provide opportunities to initiate faster reforms based on real time developments in the practice of law because PHILJA is more connected to the judiciary and the bar owing to its mandate.
De Lima is a known human rights defender who values education in general. Recently, she filed Senate Bill No. 1497 seeking to create a “separated and specialized” school subject on human rights.