LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – A 57-year-old father and his 26-year-old daughter from Bacacay town in Albay took and passed the 2020-2021 Bar together.
Bernardo “Nards” Belarmino, a senior agrarian reform program officer (SARPO) of the Department of Agrarian Reform in Albay passed the Bar examination after seven attempts, a two-year hiatus and two postponements.
Nards graduated from Aquinas University of Legazpi, now University of Santo Tomas-Legazpi, in 1991. He told Rappler in an interview that he took the first Bar exam in 1998 and the last one in 2017 prior to passing.
This year’s Bar had a passing rate of 72.28%, just second to the 1954 Bar with 75.17%. It is also the first digitized and decentralized Bar and the biggest ever, with 11,378 takers, as two batches of law graduates participated.
The pandemic canceled the 2020 Bar, the first time in history that it skipped a year.
When asked what motivated him to take the Bar exam after the seventh try, Nards said, “In all those attempts, I almost got a passing grade.” That kept his hope warm.
The father of two daughters said he will go on private practice after his retirement from the Department of Agrarian Reform three years from now.
“I’m planning to stay at DAR until after my retirement at 60. Then, I’ll go to private practice,” he said.
His eldest daughter, Marie Bernardine, a 2020 graduate of UST-Legazpi, passed the Bar exam in her first try.
Nards’ youngest daughter, now a third year Political Science major in Bicol University, also dreams of becoming a lawyer.
When asked what would be his message to the bar takers who failed to make it this year, he urged the non-passers not to lose hope.
“They should not quit until they reach their goal,” he said.
The father and daughter are among the 11 new lawyers in Bacacay town and 96 new lawyers from the University of Santo Tomas-Legazpi.
The UST-Legaspi said that six of its new lawyers bagged the exemplary performance tag.
“Obtaining grades from 85 to 90, UST-Legazpi puts the spotlight on its six new Legazpi Thomasian Lawyers who achieved exemplary performance in the 2020-21 BAR Examinations,” the statement said, congratulating Mark Anthony O. Arimado, Darwin B. Bradecina, Andrew G. Lanzuela, Marvin Toni Dulci R. Maraña, Marie Charlotte G. Olandriz, and Leo Nekko A. Romero.
“UST-Legazpi recorded a new rate of 83.54% for its new takers and 73.85% for its overall rating performance,” said the statement signed by UST-Legazpi Rector and President, Rev. Fr. Ernesto M. Arceo.
UST-Legazpi graduate Mae Diane Azores topped the November 2019 Bar with 91.0490%, besting 7,699 takers.
Azores’ schoolmate Myra Baranda also landed on No. 3 spot with a grade of 88.825%. – Rappler.com