By Ali Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – A sitting municipal judge in Lanao del Norte was actually the first lady Muslim and Maranao to land in the top 10 of the Philippine Bar Examination, and not Princess Fatima Parahiman, who finished second in the 2019 edition.
Mylene Amerol-Macumbal, a magna cum laude graduate of the Mindanao State University (MSU)-Iligan College of Law, holds that distinction after she finished second in the 2008 bar exams. She scored 85.65 percent, and was a mere .05 percent behind eventual topnotcher Judy Lardizabal of San Sebastian College.
A 2008 feature story on Macumbal noted that she had been observing Ramadan fasting at the time when she was preparing for the bar exams.
According to the story, Macumbal, a devout Muslim and wife to lawyer-husband Arassad, admitted that her fasting somehow took its toll on her. “But the will of God prevailed,” she was quoted as saying a day after the release of the bar exam result.
The Macumbals are both municipal trial court judges in Lanao del Norte. Both hail from Lanao del Sur.
“My wife was formerly a Court Attorney at the Court of Appeals, and an associate at the Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz (ACCRA) Law. She is also presently teaching at MSU College of Law (Iligan) and Xavier University,” Arassad told The Manila Bulletin.
Arassad also said there was another Muslim and Maranao female who finished in the top 10 in the bar exams ahead of Parahiman, and she was Soraya Salubo Laut, who placed eighth in the 2015 bar exams. Interestingly, Laut was a student of his wife.