Brother and sister pass the 2019 Bar together

Lian Buan
Brother and sister pass the 2019 Bar together
'Only one of us passing was probably never an option for us,' says Jesse Solis of her brother Mijo

MANILA, Philippines – Siblings Jesse and Mijo Solis pulled off a feat for their family – they passed the 2019 Bar examinations together.

The children of former National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) commissioner Pope Solis, the siblings did not always want to be a lawyer, Jesse more so than Mijo.

Jesse initially took up clothing technology at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman “because of the influence of my mom.” She shifted courses and graduated with a degree in public administration.

Mijo wanted to be an astronaut, “or a priest.” Mijo ended up taking history in UP Diliman.

They had different reasons for eventually wanting to take up law.

“My father had a tremendous influence in what I wanted to do with my life. I gradually understood the profession my father was involved in as I grew up, and it cannot be denied that he inspired me to take up law. I would consider him one, if not the best lawyers, in the profession,” said Mijo.

Jesse chalks it up to UP.

“I believe it’s because of my stay in UP that I realized there are people who would need assistance. I realized that I wanted to serve the people, and it was the best way I could do it,” Jesse said.

No sibling rivalry

Jesse ended up going to the De La Salle University (DLSU) College of Law, while Mijo continued on to the UP College of Law.

Going to different schools meant there was no competition between them, said Jesse.

“We didn’t really ask each other how we were doing in law school. We just believed in each other, we have our own strengths and weaknesses, but we just supported each other the best way we can,” said Jesse.

“I personally did not see the need to compete with my sister. We believed in each other’s abilities. We both have our strengths,” said Mijo.

Although Mijo went to law school a year ahead of Jesse, they both took the Bar last November.

“I waited for my sister because two is better than one,” Mijo joked.

“But seriously, I got delayed for a year. As much as that was devastating, it was a blessing in disguise,” he said.

The siblings did not review for the Bar together, but Mijo said sometimes their father would quiz them on the same topics.

“We may have had different opinions but that is how the law works,” said Mijo.

Jesse said she never entertained the thought of one of them failing the Bar.

“Only one of us passing was probably never an option for us. Whenever I would think of such thought that only one of us would pass, I would always pray that nope, both of us should pass,” said Jesse.

On Wednesday, April 29, as most Filipinos were at home and Bar takers were prohibited from trooping to the Supreme Court for the results, the Solis family held their breath.

“Our dad was on his phone waiting for updates, while our mom was attending the online Mass (Our Lady of Manaoag) when the news came out. Imagine rooting for two kids?” said Jesse.

On the list of 2,103, they were the only two Solises, their names right after each other.

The drinks came pouring after that – for the new attorneys of the family. –

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email or tweet @lianbuan.