MALACAÑANG on Wednesday congratulated the 2016 Bar Examinations passers that included a former janitor at the Commission on Elections (Comelec), and encouraged them to help build the nation by joining the government.
In a statement, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella expressed hope that the new lawyers will consider a career in public service.
“We pray that many of the successful examinees would pursue a career in government and join us in building a progressive and inclusive nation with a trustworthy government run by young people full of idealism, integrity and excellence,” Abella said.
Following a special en banc session, the Supreme Court released on Wednesday the results of the 2016 Bar Examinations, which were held in November last year at the University of Santo Tomas.
Out of 6,344 examinees, 3,747 or 59.06 percent passed, a high passing rate as predicted by The Manila Times. It was the highest passing rate in 16 years.
For the first time, the top 10 examinees came from provincial law schools.
Supreme Court Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr., chairman of the Bar Examinations committee, congratulated the examinees for their hard work.
“The result of the bar exams was good. They should not thank me, it is the students’ effort,” Velasco told The Manila Times.
In 2015, only 26.21 percent or 1,731 out of 6,605 examinees passed the Bar Examinations.
The magistrate announced that the oath-taking of the successful examinees will be on May 22 at 3 p.m. at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Bar Confidant, Christina Layusa, said bar passers may secure their clearances from her office from May 8 to May 21.
San Carlos rules
Karen Mae Calam, a graduate of Cebu’s University of San Carlos, topped this year’s Bar Examinations with the highest over-all rating of 89.05 percent.
“I am still shocked and very thankful. I didn’t expect [it]although I prayed for it. It’s like a dream,” said Calam, who works at the audit firm SGV & Co. “I don’t have any plans yet. I’m considering going to private practice.”
She said she was on her way to the Bureau of Internal Revenue when one of her officemates informed her of the results of the Bar.
“I didn’t believe at first that I topped the Bar but when my officemates called me, I told myself, this is true,” Calam said in a TV news interview.
She wants to visit various churches especially the Basilica of Santo Niño in Cebu, one of her patrons, to thank God for topping the Bar Exams.
Calam is the first in her family to become a lawyer.
Asked what made her top the Bar, Calam said that unlike her classmates who lost sleep studying and reviewing for the exams, she made sure she got enough sleep, especially in the run-up to the exams last November.
“I studied up to six hours a day. You also need rest for your brain to function,” she said.
From janitor to lawyer
Ramil Comendador, who had worked as a janitor at Comelec, was one of the successful examinees.
Comendador, now a legal researcher, said he used his salary as janitor to pay for law school, with the help of his wife, an engineer.
He expressed gratitude to his former boss, Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento, and thanked God for guidance.
“It’s my first time to take the exam. I’m so lucky and I don’t know how to thank the Lord and the people who gave me confidence. Everyone knows the difficulties I went through to pass the exams,” he said.
No examinees from Metro Manila-based law schools landed in the top 10 of the 2016 Bar Examinations.
The University of San Carlos had four graduates in the top 10, while Silliman University in Dumaguete City had three.
Calam was followed by Alanna Gayle Ashley Khio of Siliman with 88.95 percent, while Fiona Cristy Lao, also of San Carlos, and Athalia Liong of Andres Bonifacio College shared the third spot with a rating of 88.80 percent.
At fourth place was Allana Mae Babayen-On of University of San Agustin in Iloilo with a rating of 88.75 percent, followed by Justin Ryan Morilla of Ateneo de Davao University with 88.40 percent, Mark Dave Camaraol of Northwestern University with 88.10 percent, Anne Margaret Momongan of San Carlos with 87.80 percent, and Jefferson Gomez of San Carlos with 87.70 percent.
Nia Rachelle Gonzales of the University of Batangas and Marie Chielo Ybio of Siliman shared ninth place with a rating of 87.50 percent.
At 10th place was Andrew Stephen Liu of Siliman University with a rating of 87.45 percent.
CATHERINE S. VALENTE, JOMAR CANLAS AND PNA