Jana Monica Valenzuela, one of the examinees who passed the 2013 Bar exams, beams as she is kissed by her parents. PHOTO BY  EDWIN MULI

    Jana Monica Valenzuela, one of the examinees who passed the 2013 Bar exams, beams as she is kissed by her parents. PHOTO BY EDWIN MULI

    THE University of the Philippines dominated last year’s Bar exams, with five of its students landing in the Top 10.

    Only 1,174 of the 5,292 law students who took the tests in October 2013 passed, or 22.18 percent of the examinees.

    Supreme Court Associate Justice Arturo Brion, the chairman of the 2013 Committee on the Bar Examinations, said the High Court lowered the passing grade from 75 percent to 73 percent.

    ”We had a long deliberation to lower it,” he told reporters.

    This year’s percentage of successful examinees is higher than the 17.76 percent in 2012 examinations, where only 949 of the 5,343 examinees passed.

    For the state university, 2011 was a dismal year because not one UP student made it to the Top 10. It did better in 2012, when four UP graduates landed in the list of top examinees. During those two years, Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) dominated the bar exams.

    But last year, five of those in the top 10 come from UP.

    The topnotcher, Nielson G. Pangan, is a graduate of the state university. He had an overall rating of 85.80 percent.

    Tied at second place are Mark Xavier Oyales of UP and Dianna Louise Wilwayco of AdMu. Both got a grade of 85.45 percent.

    Securing the third spot is Rudy Ortea of the University of Batangas who got a grade of 84.20 percent. The fourth placer, Eden Catherine Mopia, also of UP, had a grade of 84.05 percent. She is followed by Tercel Maria Mercado-Gephart of the University of San Carlos, 83.90 percent, Manuel Elijah Sarausad of the University of Cebu, 83.80 percent, Katrine Paula Suyat of San Beda College—Manila, 83.75 percent, Michael Tiu Jr. of UP, 83.70 percent, Marjorie Ivory Fulgueras of AdMU, 83.65 percent and Cyril Arnesto of UP, 83.60 percent.

    Last year’s examiners were Ramon Esguerra for Political and International Law, Soledad Nograles for Labor and Social Legislation, Justice Japar Dimaampao, Civil Law, Jose Mario Buñag, Taxation, Ricardo Blancaflor, Mercantile Law, Judge Juanita Guerrero, Criminal Law, Justice Apolinario Bruselas Jr., Remedial Law, and Justice Jose Reyes Jr., Legal Ethics.

    The 2013 Bar exams were held at the University of Santo Tomas on October 6, 13, 20 and 27. The exams were administered by the Office of the Bar Confidant headed by Deputy Clerk of Court and Bar Confidant Atty. Ma.Cristina Layusa. The tests were more difficult because 80 percent was in essay type.

    The new lawyers will take their oath on April 28, 2014 at the Philippine International Convention Center.


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