A graduate of the University of Santo Tomas-Legazpi topped the 2019 Bar exams, with a rating of 91.0490%, as 2,103 pass the exams.
Mae Diane Azores of UST Legazpi, formerly Aquinas University, got the highest overall rating among the candidates who passed the 2019 licensure test for lawyers.
Azores was followed by Princess Fatima Parahiman, graduate of the University of the East, who got a score of 89.5230%,.
Myra Baranda, also of UST-Legazpi, was third placer, with a rating of 88.8250%.
The following complete the top 10:
4th place – Dawna Fya Bandiola – San Beda College Alabang – 88.3360%
5th place – Jocelyn Fabello – Palawan State University – 88.2630%
6th place – Kenneth Glenn Manuel – University of Santo Tomas – 88.1730%
7th place – Rhowee Buergo – Jose Rizal University – 87.8710%
8th place – Anton Luis Avila – Saint Louis University – 87.5820%
9th place – Jun Dexter Rojas – Polytechnic University of the Philippines – 87.5765%
10th place – Bebelan Madera – University of St. La Salle – 87.3795%
The complete list (courtesy of GMA network):
The top 10 list was confirmed by Supreme Court spokesman Brian Keith Hosaka.
A total of 2,103 candidates passed the examinations.
This represents 27.36% of the 7,685 examinees who completed the licensure test on November 2019, said Senior Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe, the 2019 Bar chair.
The Bar exams cover political law, international law, labor law and social legislation, civil law, taxation law, mercantile law, criminal law, remedial law, and legal and judicial ethics and practical exercises.
Bernabe congratulated the passers, telling them that society calls on them “to not only become learned experts but more so to fight for the cause of the oppressed, to advance the pleas of the helpless, and to inspire others as a living example of integrity above all.”
Traditionally displayed on a large screen at the SC’s grounds in Manila to a crowd of candidates and their families and friends, the Bar exam results were posted online this year amid prevailing quarantine and social distancing measures due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The passing rate is higher than the previous year’s. In the 2018 Bar exam, 1,800, or 22.07% of the 8,155 candidates passed.
In a video message, Bernabe said the passing grade of 75% was lowered to 74% “in light of, among other considerations, the discerned need for more younger and technologically adept lawyers to help different fronts of society as we meet the peculiar challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and transition to the new normal.”
Meanwhile, Azores, a graduate of the University of Santo Tomas-Legazpi, said she stopped using social media for awhile and prayed the rosary before the release of the exam results.
Upon returning online, Azores found she led the 2,103 passers of the exams.
The certified public accountant works as a state auditor.
She received a score of 91.049 percent.
“No dream is ever big, especially po sa provincial schools. We can always dream bigger. Kung iisipin talaga natin, kung kaya talaga, kaya talaga siya. Tiwala lang sa Diyos. Dasal lang talaga (No dream is ever big, especially for provincial schools. If we really put our minds to it, we can do it. Just trust God and pray.),” Azores told ABS-CBN News.
In an interview with radio DZMM, Azores said she woke up at 4 a.m. and studied for 10 to 12 hours straight to prepare for the tough exams.
“Nung bago pa lang po magstart yung review, may mga tao na nagsasabi na kaya mo yan magiging topnotcher ka, ayusin mo ha. Yung pressure po na ‘yun ginamit ko as motivation and thinking ko na rin po na sige baka kaya naman (Before the review began, there were some who said I could be a topnotcher so I should do a good job. I used that pressure as motivation, thinking I could achieve it.),” she said.
“So ang prayer ko po talaga, Lord ipasa mo ako sa 2019 Bar Exam, and let this be according to your will sana maging topnotcher na rin po ako Lord. Kahit top 8 lang, yun po talaga sinasabi ko kaya nung nakita ko pong top 1 di ko po talaga inexpect (My prayer was, ‘Lord, let me pass in the 2019 Bar Exam and let this be according to your will that I also become a topnotcher. Even just in the top 8.’ I didn’t expect to be number 1.),” she said.
“Then dedication po talaga, disiplina kasi alam ko po talaga na gusto kong maging abogado so yung effort na binigay ko is grabe rin po (Also dedication and discipline, because I knew I wanted to be a lawyer so I gave my all.),” Azores said.
Azores said clinching the top spot in the exams was “good news” amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the Luzon lockdown. Her grandmother had also passed away last March 18.
“Before siya pumanaw sabi niya sa’kin, inaantay ko na lang sana yung results mo bago ako umalis (Before she passed away she told me she was only waiting for my exam results before she leaves.),” she said.
“I believe she’s watching from heaven, cheering for me,” she said.
Azores said she would like to practice as a litigator and delve into labor law.
“Considering the violations of the rights of our employees right now, I think it’s a risky area lawyers should pay attention to,” she said.
In a related development, the Supreme Court has announced that they will postpone the 2020 Bar examinations to next year in view of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.
In a Bar bulletin issued Wednesday, 2020 Bar chair Associate Justice Marvic Leonen said the move was in view of the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country and the “social and economic disruption” caused by the pandemic and the enhanced community quarantine.
“This is to give the Court ample time to determine the necessary adjustments and to make adequate preparations for the safe and orderly conduct of the examinations,” the justice said.
The new schedule will be announced in June. “It shall definitely be held sometime in 2021,” Leonen said.
The SC also resolved to hold the next Bar examinations in Manila and in Cebu City, “acting on the Bar Chairperson’s proposal for regionalization.”
Bar examinations are usually held during the four Sundays of November at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila./Stacy Ang