'Salubong' blast victim passes 2014 Bar exams
MANILA, Philippines – In the history of Bar examinations in the Philippines, who could forget the explosion that injured many law students during the 2010 Bar exams Salubong?
Not Joanna Katrina Ledda – then a law student of San Beda College-Manila – who lost her left leg after the incident.
- San Beda College graduate tops 2014 Bar exams
- Antiqueña Bar topnotcher lost mom, brother to Typhoon Frank
- 2014 Bar topnotcher: I hoped to pass, didn't expect to be No. 1
- 2014 Bar exams No. 2 wants to 'influence the influencers'
- 2014 Bar 6th placer: 'Time for San Beda to be recognized'
She was in Taft Avenue in Manila that day, September 26, 2010, to cheer on her sorority sisters who took the exams. After the explosion, she realized that her right leg and left hand were also badly injured.
But her right hand – her writing hand – was intact, and that was enough for her to continue pursuing her childhood dream: to become a lawyer.
"I really want to be a lawyer. God already took my leg, I won’t let my dream be taken away too," Ledda said in a mix of English and Filipino.
Ledda was one of the 1,126 passers of the 2014 Bar exams, one of the hardest licensure exams in the Philippines.
On results day Thursday, March 26, she was praying with her parents in Saint Pio Chapel when her friends told her the good news. She had to double-check whether they looked at the right list.
Soon after confirming the news, she was crying and laughing "like crazy." She finally made it.
Hard work, prayer, luck
If Ledda had her way, she would not take a year off from law school after the 2010 blast.
But she sustained serious injuries after the incident which needed multiple surgeries, so her doctors advised against her immediate return to school.
"I had to take a year off to recover. I had 15 surgeries to fix everything. [I used the time to] do rehabilitation [and] learn how to walk," she told Rappler.
When she want back to school, it was like starting law school all over again. She had a hard time adjusting again to the long reading requirements.
She was delayed for another year to catch up with her subjects, so she graduated from San Beda on March 2014 – two years later than expected.
She just started working for law firm Laguesma Magsalin Consulta & Gastardo Law Offices on March 2, and she’s enjoying her work. She wants to specialize in either labor law or corporate law.
Her success, she said, is equal parts hard work, constant prayer, and luck.
"Lahat kami hirap kasi mahaba [yung exam]. [Kailangan ng] constant dasal, tiwala sa sarili [at] kay Lord. Kung ano yung kinulang mo, pupunan Niya, kasi yun lang din pinanghawakan ko the entire time, dahil ginawa ko naman the best ko," she said.
(We all had a hard time because the exam was long. You need constant prayer, trust in your self and in God. Whatever you lacked in the exam, He will fill in, and that's the only thing I held on to, because I did my best.)
Three of Ledda's schoolmates made it to the top 10 of the 2014 Bar exams, including topnotcher Irene Mae Alcobilla. – Rappler.com