MANILA, Philippines --- The atmosphere at the Supreme Court (SC) compound was anything but festive yesterday, the day the result of the 2012 bar examinations was released.
Unlike the previous years in which cheers of well-wishers and students from various law schools in the Philippines reverberated through the SC compound, the High Court’s parking lot stood almost empty and quiet when SC Justice Martin Villarama Jr. announced the 2012 bar examinations results, as if it served as a bad omen for the bar examiners.
Then came the bad news: Only 949 of the 5,343 law students who took the bar examinations last year passed or 17 percent of the total examinees, the lowest number of passers in 13 years.
Justice Villarama, in fact, said that the SC justices were quite liberal when they deliberated on and decided to lower the passing rate from 75 percent to 70 percent.
If the SC Justices maintain the original 75 percent passing mark, Villarama said only 361 examinees would have passed.
An original 5,686 were admitted to take the bar but only 5,343 completed the four-Sunday examinations,” Villarama said.
Ignatius Ingles, the class salutatorian of the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Law School, led the bar passers with an 85.64 percent rating.
He was followed by Catherine King Kay, the ADMU Law School class valedictorian, who got an 84.72 percent rating.
Ranked No. 3 is April Lacson of University of the Philippines (UP) College of Law who posted an 84.48 percent rating.
Rounding up the top 10 list of successful examinees are: Xavier Romualdo ADMU (4th); Maria Base of UP and Jose Maria Angel Machuca of ADMU (5th); Patrick Salazar of UP ( 6th); Ralph Barcelona of Aquinas University (7th); Marvyn Llamas of ADMU (8th); Carlo Martin Li of ADMU (9th), and Francis Paolo Tiopianco of UP (10th).
Deputy Clerk of Court and Bar Confidant lawyer Ma. Cristina B. Layusa had earlier said each exam would consist of a Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) portion and an essay portion.
The MCQ portion had a weight of 60 percent, while the essay exam part had a weight of 40 percent. There was also a performance test (trial memorandum) in the afternoon of the last Sunday of the exams.
In a telephone interview, Ingles described the bar examination to be “very taxing.”
“Ang daming questions, tapos it’s like you were answering two exams kasi you have the multiple choice and then you have the essay,” he said.
He said he will first celebrate by going to Mass.
“I would like to give thanks to God and then of course to my wife who was always there and to all those who took the bar I hope you all passed and I’m hoping to see my Ateneo batchmates,” he said.
More than 5,000 law school graduates took the bar exams in four Saturdays of October last year at the University of Santo Tomas on España Boulevard in Manila.
Among those who passed this year’s bar examination was Jose Lorenzo A. Sereno, son of Chief Justice Lourdes P.A. Sereno.
The passing rate is lower compared to the 31.95 passing rate in the 2011 bar exams, in which 1,913 examinees passed, led by first placer Raoul Angelo Atadero from the Ateneo College of School.
In the 2011 Bar examinations, 1,913 out of 5,990 examinees passed, comprising a passing rate of 31.95 percent. This was the second highest passing rate since 2000. An Ateneo Law School grad also emerged as the topnotcher in that test. Meanwhile, the passing rate in the 2010 Bar was 20.26 percent.
The list of passers was displayed on the Supreme Court premises and flashed on wide screens in the high court’s front yard near the Padre Faura entrance in Manila.
Meanwhile, Malacañang congratulated the country’s new lawyers and urged them to consider a career in government.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the government has a “big need” for good lawyers and expressed hope the bar topnotchers will choose working in the public sector.
The complete list of bar passers is on page B-6. (With a report from Genalyn D. Kabiling)