Bar 2018: La Salle Manila gets first topnotcher as USC continues feat

MANILA, Philippines – Prominent law schools in the Philippines each have something to celebrate with the results of the 2018 Bar Examinations despite a record low 22.07% passing rate.

The 9-year-old De La Salle University (DLSU) College of Law pulled off a first by producing its very first topnotcher since the school opened in 2010. Kathrine Ting is top 8 in the 2018 Bar Examinations.

DLSU Law's founding dean and opposition senatorial bet Chel Diokno was criticized by President Rodrigo Duterte during administration slate sorties for his failure to send a student to the top 10.

"But Duterte was proven wrong as Ting ranked 8 out of 8,155 examinees in the 2018 Bar Exams with a passing rate of 84.857%. Ting is the first graduate of the DLSU College of Law to place in the top 10, which opened only in 2010," a statement from the Diokno campaign said.

Diokno himself said: "Talagang sobrang tuwa ko nang malaman ko na nakapag-top ten na ang De La Salle.... Fight ng fight. Darating rin ang araw na lahat ay makakapasa."

(I was so happy to find out that La Salle landed in the top 10. We should fight and fight. The day will come when all of our students will pass.)

University of San Carlos (USC), Cebu's prime law school, continues its feat in the 2018 Bar Examinations, with 4 graduates making it to the top 10: Marcley Augustus Natu-el in top 2, Mark Lawrence Badayos in top 3, Jebb Lynus Cane in top 9, and Alan Joel Pita in top 10.

In 2016, the top 1 came from USC, while 3 other USC graduates also made it to the top 10. In 2017, there were 3 USC graduates in the top 20. 

USC's 2018 topnotchers said the Philippines needs lawyers who are "really fighting for the rule of law."

Ateneo, UP return to top

The Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) School of Law returned to the top this year with class valedictorian Sean James Borja scoring the top passing grade of 89.306%. Borja said he will be a "voice for people who need a voice."

The last time that AdMU produced the top 1 was in 2012, when Mickey Ingles bested 949 passers or a record low 17.76% passing rate.

The highest percentage of exam passers ever recorded was in 1954 with 75.17%, while the lowest was in 1999 with 16.59%.

University of the Philippines (UP) College of Law returns to the top 10 after two years. UP failed to get to the top 10 in the 2016 and 2017 Bar Examinations.

In the 2015 Bar Examinations, UP Law graduate Rachel Angeli Miranda topped the Bar with a grade of 87.4%. 

The passing rate of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Law fell in the 2018 Bar Examinations, with only 71.5% of its graduates passing. 

In the 2017 Bar Examinations, UST not only scored a record high 89.90% passing rate, it also had the most graduates in the top 20 alongside San Beda College Manila, which also had 5 topnotchers.

UST Law Dean Nilo Divina said their passing rate "is still something to be thankful for."

"While we may not have landed in the top 10, I commend our Thomasian barristers for their valiant efforts and notable accomplishment. We reach out to those who did not make it. Nothing to be ashamed of. You did your best," Divina said.Rappler.com

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 lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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