By Rey Panaligan
A total of 2,103 of the 7,685 law graduates who took the 2019 bar examinations administered by the Supreme Court (SC) last November passed the tests.
Mae Diane M. Azores of the University of Santo Tomas (UST), formerly Aquinas University, in Legazpi City topped the examinations with a rating of 91.049 per cent.
The other topnotchers are Princess Fatima T. Parahiman, University of the East, 2nd place, 89.5330 per cent; Myra M. Baranda, UST-Legaspi, 3rd , 88.8250; Dawna Fya O. Bandiola, San Beda College (Alabang), 4th , 88.3360; Jocelyn B. Fabello, Palawan State University, 5th, 88.2630; Kenneth Glenn L. Manuel, UST, 6th, 88.1730; Rhowee D Buergo, Jose Rizal University, 7th, 87.8710; Anton Luis A. Avila, Saint Louis University, 8th, 87.5820; Jun Dexter H. Rojas, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, 87.5765; and Bebelan A. Madera, University of St. La Salle, 10th, 87.3795.
The results were released online by the SC after its full court session today, April 29.
SC Associate Justice Estela M. Perlas Bernabe is the chairperson of the 2019 bar examinations committee.
Bernabe said that during the SC’s full court session, the passing grade was reduced from 75 to 74 per cent in view of “the discerned need for 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 the transition to the new normal.”
In her message, Bernabe told bar passers to “always be reminded that with the distinction you gained as lawyers comes the concomitant responsibility to further the ideals of justice and the rule of law.”
“Our society, especially during the most trying times, beckons you not only to 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,” she added.
The 2019 bar examiners were Dean Sedfrey M. Candelaria and former commissioner Rene V. Sarmiento for Political Law and Public International Law; Dean Salvador A. Poquiz and retired SC Justice Arturo D. Brion, Labor Law and Social Legislation; Associate Justice Priscilla J. Baltazar Padilla and Dean Cynthia R. Del Castillo, Civil Law; Associate Justice Japar B. Dimaampao and Atty. Lily K. Gruba, Taxation; Associate Justice Maria Rowena G. Modesto San Pedro and Atty. Francisco Ed Lim, Mercantile Law; Judge Selma P. Alaras and Associate Justice Apolinario D. Bruselas Jr., Criminal Law; Associate Justice Maria Filomena D. Singh and Assistant Solicitor General Marissa Macaraig Guillen, Remedial Law; and Associate Justice Maria Theresa V. Mendoza Arcega and Commissioner Pablo C. Espiritu, Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises.
Statistics on the 2019 bar examinations released by the SC’s public information office (PIO) showed:
“There was a total of 8,304 applicants. Of the said number, nine were denied, while 50 withdrew their applications, leaving a total of 8,245 applicants admitted to take the Bar by the Supreme Court En Banc.
“Of this number, 545 examinees did not show up on the First Sunday of the Bar, leaving 7,700 who actually took the exams on the first Sunday. After the fourth Sunday of the bar, only 7,685 examinees completed the examinations, i.e., showed up for all Sundays.
“Of the 7,700 who took or showed up for at least one Sunday, 3,735 were new candidates, while 3,965 were repeaters, i.e., those who had taken the Bar examinations at least once previously.”
The SC had earlier decided to release the bar exams results online through its website, sc.judiciary.gov.ph, “in the light of the government’s call for social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease.”
A deviation from the practices, the SC did no allow visitors or bar examinees to enter the SC compound on Padre Faura Street in Ermita, Manila.
The list of the bar passers was not also displayed on screens that used to be set up in the SC compound.
The SC had also announced that “all bar candidates who were conditionally admitted to take the 2019 Bar Examinations and passed the examinations shall not be allowed to join the oath-taking ceremony, unless they have submitted the requisite documents within the period previously given to them.”
It said the Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) “shall not accept Petitions to Take the Lawyer’s Oath until after the roll signing of those who have submitted their complete documentary requirements,” it said.
It said that “the OBC will issue an announcement once it is ready to accept such petitions.”
The dates for the issuance of clearance, oath-taking, and roll-signing will be announced later, the SC also said.
SEE FULL LIST OF BAR 2019 PASSERS BELOW: