MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The 2019 Bar topnotcher, Bicolana Mae Diane Azores, is a jeepney driver’s daughter who has a heart for public service.
The graduate of University of Santo Tomas (UST) College of Law in Legazpi City is a finance analyst III at the local office of the Commission on Audit (COA), making sure local governments are spending taxpayers’ money properly.
Before she joined COA, she worked at the Bicol office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), serving the vulnerable population in the region.
Azores who lives at the foot of Mount Mayon, always had grand dreams. She never let poverty stop her from achieving her goals. (READ: Bar 2019: Provincial schools again emerge on top)
She finished accountancy at the Bicol University (BU) after graduating from the UST Science High School, formerly known as the Aquinas University Science Oriented High School.
She could have stopped when she became a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), but she didn’t. Azores pursued a law degree at the UST-Legazpi College of Law.
She has made life better for her family, too. Her father Dado now has his own jeepney.
Azores said in a radio interview on Friday, May 1, that she was motivated to pursue law after the tragic death of her friend, Laesybil Almonacid, a fellow student at BU.
On November 2, 2011, the 19-year-old Almonacid was found dead in a grassy field in Barangay Bascaran, in Daraga town. Authorities said she was also raped.
“What happened was so frustrating that it motivated me to take up law…so I could contribute to the justice system,” Azores said in an interview over local radio station Zagitzit-FM.
The rape-slay case remains unsolved.
Azores and Almonacid were both third year accountancy students at BU when the incident happened.
“To the parents of Laesybil, don’t lose hope. Have faith in God. Justice can still be served,“ Azores said.
Azores said she was also interested in the plight of workers who had been displaced by the coronavirus andemic.
She said labor law was among her interests when she was a law student.
“The first person who predicted that I could be a Bar topnotcher was my professor in labor laws,” she said.
Azores’ former professor, retired judge Arnulfo Cabredo, said he knew that the Bicolana would be a Bar topnotcher.
“Diane was a very diligent law student. I knew she would make it to the Top 10,” Cabredo said.
Azores is among the 28 new lawyers of UST-Legazpi, along with another topnotcher, and Myrna Baranda. Being bar topnotcher is just the latest of her achievements. – Rhaydz Barcia/Rappler