Former Comelec janitor to lawyer – dreams come true at 2016 Bar exams
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Ramil Comendador, 35, can say good-bye to clerical work at the Malabon Commission on Elections (Comelec). He's among the 3,747 passers of the 2016 Bar examinations. (READ: University of San Carlos grad tops 2016 Bar Exams)
He put himself through 5 years of law school at the Universidad de Manila while working as a janitor at the Comelec and endured being away from his wife and two toddlers who are in Bicol. Ramil has since been promoted to elections assistant, helping the Malabon elections officer in electoral activities.
But after passing the Bar, he still hopes to realize one more dream: to see his father.
Ramil said he never knew his father. He hung around the premises of the Supreme Court (SC) to see if he could be interviewed by reporters, so that maybe his father would see the interview and want to meet his future-lawyer son. After passing the Bar, he will take his oath and sign the roll of attorneys before he becomes a full-fledged lawyer.
"Nakita ko yung hirap ng pamilya ko, kaya nilaban ko talaga ang buhay ko. Sa totoo lang po, ultimo damit po hindi po ako bumibili, makapag-tuition lang," Ramil said.
(I saw the difficulty my family went through, that's why I fought for my life. Truth be told, I didn't even buy clothes so I could pay for my tuition.)
Ramil waited for the screens to flash the passers' names but was heartbroken when he couldn't find his – or maybe he just didn't see it. The names scroll pretty fast on the screen. When handed the papers that bear the list of the passers, Ramil, who was by himself, screamed for joy. (READ: 2016 bar passers want to be in public service)
Holding back tears while being interviewed, Ramil said he wants to send a message, first to Filipinos:
"Gusto ko lang pong sabihin sa kanila na kaya po nating putulin ang cycle ng kahirapan, magsumikap lang. Huwag isiping mahirap, sige lang at kumapit sa panginoon." (I just want to tell them we can break the cycle of poverty, just work hard. Don't think that it's difficult, just hold on to the Lord)
A second message to his daughters: "Anak, sabi ko magpray ka lang kay Jesus, ibibigay niya lahat. Maraming salamat anak. Bigyan ko muna ng time anak ko, miss na miss ko na sila, nasa Bicol sila."
(Child, I told you just pray to Jesus, he will provide. Thank you so much. I want to spend time with my daughters, I miss them so much, they're in Bicol.)
And a third message, for the father he never met: "Sana po magkita po tayo." (I hope we meet)
After celebrating at the SC, Ramil headed to the Comelec where he met with Chairman Andres Bautista and Commissioner Luie Guia.
Guia told Rappler in a text message: "I am amazed at his humility. I think (he can be qualified for a lawyer position). He also wants to contribute in making Comelec perform its mandate better."
On Facebook, Bautista said: "Congratulations Atty Ramil Comendador for passing the bar exam and for proving that work designation is not a hindrance to one's desire to quench the thirst for knowledge and to eventually reach their dreams. You are a source of pride and inspiration, not just to your Comelec family but to all those who dare to dream."