FAST FACTS: Law schools of the 2016 Bar topnotchers

Michael Bueza
FAST FACTS: Law schools of the 2016 Bar topnotchers
The top 10 passers for the 2016 Bar exams come from schools outside Metro Manila led by the University of San Carlos in Cebu City

MANILA, Philippines – In the last 7 years, Manila-based universities have dominated the Bar topnotcher lists, with the law schools of Ateneo de Manila, University of the Philippines, and San Beda taking the top spots.

But for the 2016 Bar examinations, the top 10 passers came from schools outside Metro Manila. (READ: List of passers: 2016 Bar Exams)

Four of the top 10 passers are from the University of San Carlos in Cebu City, including the 2016 topnotcher, Karen Mae Calam.

Rappler takes a look at these 7 law schools, and the famous alumni who have passed through their halls.

University of San Carlos (USC)

Location: Cebu City

Founded: by the Jesuits in 1595, tracing its roots to the Colegio de San Ildefonso

  • Became a university in 1948
  • Administered by the Society of the Divine Word since 1935
  • Has 5 campuses in Cebu City

USC College of Law, under its School of Law and Governance

  • Established in 1937
  • Conferred in 2011 with an Award for Excellence in Legal Education by the Legal Education Board
  • Notable alumni include Gabriel Ingles, Executive Justice of the Court of Appeals in Cebu


Silliman University (SU)

Location: Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental

Founded: 1901, as the Silliman Institute, named after Dr Horace Silliman

  • Became a university in 1938
  • Main campus located in Dumaguete City, with a 465-hectare facility in Ticao Island, Masbate

SU College of Law

  • Established in 1935, with a freshman class of only 22 members
  • The first law graduate in 1938 was Marcos Calo, who later became congressman of Agusan
  • Notable alumni include Senator Lorenzo Teves and former Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals Jesus M. Elbinias


Andres Bonifacio College

Location: Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte

Founded: by Amando Amatong in 1940, as the Andres Bonifacio Institute

  • Began as a small institute of 7 students and 5 faculty members
  • Currently offers more than 55 degree and diploma programs in the fields of law, nursing, accountancy, business, education, political science, mass communication, criminology, agriculture, and computer science, among others 


University of San Agustin (USA)

Location: Iloilo City, Iloilo

Founded: by Catholic missionaries under the Order of Saint Augustine in 1904, as a preparatory school for boys

  • Became a university in 1953, making it the first university in Western Visayas
  • Has 2 campuses in Iloilo province (Iloilo City and Jaro)

USA College of Law

  • Established in 1939, under the rector, Fr Dolse Garcia
  • Classes stopped in 1941 due to World War II, with classes resuming 5 years later
  • Notable alumni include former Commission on Elections commissioner Resurreccion Borra, Court of Appeals Justice Mario Guariña III, Bacolod Regional Trial Court Judge Edgar Garvilles


Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU)

Location: Davao City

Founded: 1948, as the Ateneo de Davao

  • Became a university in 1977
  • One of 9 schools operated by the Society of Jesus in the country
  • Has 2 campuses in Davao City (Jacinto and Matina)

AdDU College of Law

  • Established in 1961, under the rector, Rev Hudson Mitchell SJ, with the first batch of students totalling 16
  • The first graduates of the law school took the Bar examinations in 1965
  • Notable alumni include Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process chief Jesus Dureza (10th placer in 1973 bar exams)


Northwestern University (NWU)

Location: Laoag City, Ilocos Norte

Founded: 1932, as the Northwestern Academy

  • Became a university in 1992

NWU College of Law

  • Established in 1949 with the late Judge Felix R. Domingo as the first Dean of the College.
  • In 1977, the law program was phased out. The school re-applied for the opening of the course following the end of the Martial Law regime.


University of Batangas

Location: Batangas City, Batangas

Founded: 1946, as the Western Philippine Colleges

  • Became a university in 1996
  • Has 5 campuses, 4 in Batangas City and 1 in Lipa City
  • From 48 students of the former Western Philippine Colleges, it now has almost 14,000 students

The 2016 bar exams registered a 30-year record high passing rate of 59.06%. The highest percentage of exam passers was in 1954 with 75.17%, while the lowest was in 1999 with 16.59%. – Katerina Francisco/


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Michael Bueza

Michael is a data curator under Rappler's Tech Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.