MANILA, Philippines – Provincial schools continued their topnotcher streak at the esteemed 2019 Philippine Bar examinations, with two of the top passers – ranked first and third – coming from the same school, the University of Santo Tomas (UST)-Legazpi in Albay.
The last time UST-Legazpi sent someone to the Bar Top 10 was during the 2012 Bar exams, when Ralph Karlo Barcelona placed 7th. UST-Legazpi was then still called Aquinas University of Legazpi.
Of the top 10 in the 2019 Bar exams, 4 are provincial schools. The others are Palawan State University (Top 5 Jocelyn Fabello, 88.26%), Saint Louis University in Baguio City (Top 8 Anton Luis Avila, 87.58%), and the University of St La Salle in Bacolod City (Top 10 Bebelan Madera, 87.37%).
In the 2017 Bar examinations, a year that was also topped by provincial schools, Mark John Simondo of University of St La Salle in Bacolod ranked first.
In the 2019 Bar exams, UST Manila produced another topnotcher in the person of Kenneth Glenn Manuel who placed 6th with a grade of 88.17%. UST returned to the top 10 after its record performance in the 2017 Bar examinations where 5 of the top 20 passers were Thomasians.
The other topnotchers in the 2019 Bar exams came from the University of the East (Top 2 Princess Fatima Parahiman, 89.52%), San Beda College Alabang (Top 4 Dawna Fya Bandiola, 88.33%), Jose Rizal University (Top 7 Rhowee Buergo, 87.87%), and Polytechnic University of the Philippines (Top 9 Jun Dexter Rojas, 87.57%).
In recent years, provincial law schools, especially the University of San Carlos in Cebu, dominated the Top 10 of the Bar exams, edging out more prominent law schools in the National Capital Region.
The 2019 Bar exams recorded a 27.36% passing rate. The Supreme Court lowered the passing grade to 74 to respond to the need for younger and more technologically adept lawyers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Manila law schools
The Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), the University of the Philippines, and San Beda Manila did not send a graduate to the Top 10 this year.
Ateneo’s overall passing rate for the 2019 Bar exams is 82.73%, while UP’s overall passing rate this year is 83.93%. UST’s passing rate is 81%.
In the 2018 Bar exams, Ateneo and UP returned to the Top 10 after a few years of absence. It was also during the 2018 Bar exams that an Atenean again became No. 1 after 6 years, when class valedictorian Sean James Borja clinched the top spot. – Rappler.com