University of San Carlos grad tops 2016 Bar Exams

Lian Buan

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University of San Carlos grad tops 2016 Bar Exams
(3rd UPDATE) The 2016 Bar Exams register a passing rate of 59.06%, the highest in decades

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – Karen Mae Calam of the University of San Carlos in Cebu topped the 2016 Bar Examinations with a grade of 89.05%, besting over 6,000 others who took the grueling tests last November at the University of Santo Tomas (UST).

Four of the top 10 passers – all from schools outside Metro Manila – are from the University of San Carlos. (READ: List of passers: 2016 Bar Exams)

The rest of the Bar topnotchers announced by the Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday, May 3, are the following:

  • 2nd: Alanna Gayle Ashley Khio (Silliman University), 88.95%
  • 3rd: Fiona Cristy Lao (University of San Carlos) and Athalia Liong (Andres Bonifacio College), 88.8%
  • 4th: Allana Mae Babayen-on (University of San Agustin), 88.75%
  • 5th: Justin Ryan Morilla (Ateneo de Davao University), 88.4%
  • 6th: Mark Dave Camarao (Northwestern University), 88.1%
  • 7th: Anne Margaret Momongan (University of San Carlos), 87.8%
  • 8th: Jefferson Gomez  (University of San Carlos), 87.7%
  • 9th: Nia Rachelle Gonzales (University of Batangas) and Marie Chielo Ybio (Silliman University), 87.5%
  • 10th: Andrew Stephen Liu (Silliman University), 87.45%

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella congratulated those who passed, saying: “We pray that many of the successful examinees would pursue a career in government and join us in building a progressive and inclusive nation with a trustworthy government run by young people full of idealism, integrity, and excellence.”

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%.

The results were released by the SC en banc after a special deliberation by the justices on Wednesday morning.

Rumors spread on social media that there was an exam leak for commercial law and criminal law, but they were quickly dismissed for having no basis by 2016 Bar Exams chairperson Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco.

Since 2000, the highest passing rate recorded was in 2011 when 31.95% passed the Bar. That year, Ateneo graduate Raoul Angelo Atadero topped the Bar.

The lowest rate also since 2000 was in 2012 when only 17.76% passed the Bar, despite the passing grade being lowered to 70%. (READ: FAST FACTS: Philippine Bar examination)

For the 2015 Bar Examinations, 26.21% passed as University of the Philippines or UP Law reclaimed the top spot with its own Rachel Angeli Miranda.

In the last 7 years, Ateneo, UP, and San Beda have held the Bar’s plum spot. –

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan is a senior investigative reporter, and minder of Rappler's justice, human rights and crime cluster.