Cebu Bar topnotchers: PH needs lawyers ‘really fighting for the rule of law’

Micole Gerard Tizon

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Cebu Bar topnotchers: PH needs lawyers ‘really fighting for the rule of law’
Marcley Augustus Natu-el, Mark Lawrence Badayos, Jebb Lynus Cane, Alan Joel Pita of the University of San Carlos place 2nd, 3rd, 9th, and 10th in the 2018 Bar exams

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Four students from the University of San Carlos in Cebu made it to the Top 10 of the 2018 Bar examinations, and 3 of them wasted no time paying tribute to their teachers and promising to uphold the highest standards of the legal profession in a press conference on Friday, May 5. 

In an afternoon press conference arranged by the university, hours after the Bar results were released, the passers said their preparations for this licensure exam started when they first entered the classroom in freshman year in law school.

The 9th placer, Jebb Lynus Cane, was unable to join the press conference. 

“My preparation really started during the first year, first day of law school.” said 3rd placer Mark Badayos. 

Marcley Natu-el, who placed second, said that from Day 1 too he had been praying to God about topping the bar exam.

But his desire to become a lawyer became stronger when her realized there was a need for more ethical lawyers.

Badayos agreed: “I want to become a lawyer because we are at a time where it’s really very trying, we have more reason to uphold the rule of law.”


The country is in need of young lawyers “whose heart is really for fighting for the rule of law,” he addded.

Alen Pita, the 10th placer, said he accepts that the profession of a lawyer “is a privilege, at the same time obligation.”

The 3 revealed that while waiting for the results, they were in separate churches to pray.  

Lawyer Joan Largo, dean of the USC School of Law and Governance, said a confluence of factors contributed to their success in the Bar exams: a supportive administration, dedicated faculty, and hardworking students.

“The students in one batch change year after year, and their variables, but the constant in USC is really the faculty,” said Badayos.

Natu-el said that while he was taking the exam he could hear the voices of his teachers, telling him the correct answer.

Pita revealed that he relied on most of the materials provided by the university during his review: “The training in USC since first year until 4th year, even after graduation, during the Bar review, is enough to pass, or even top the bar.”

Natu-el also said they did not need to purchase books from other schools or professors during the review. He enrolled in a review center but only attended sessions that he felt were important. He, like Pita and Badayos, self-reviewed most of the time.

In 2015, the USC produced two topnotchers; ranked 1st, 3rd, 7th, and 8th in 2016; and ranked 2nd, 4th, and 7th in 2017. 

Largo said that even if they had already been doing well for the past few years, they would continue to innovate to make sure they produce more topnotchers and enjoy a higher passing rate.

“In all honestly and modesty, we really thought of them making it to the top 10,” Largo said.

Largo also said that they are also lobbying for the regionalization of the bar examinations.

“It takes so much more, it asks so much more of us, to take the Bar in Manila. If we can just bring the Bar outside of Manila, then there’ll be more, better chances for us who are outside Metro Manila,” she said.

The three topnotchers agree with Largo, with Badayos saying it takes a toll on their emotional health being away from their families while reviewing.

Largo added that another area about the bar that they are lobbying for is the handwritten exams, “Nobody files pleadings in court, in their own handwriting, it’s always typewritten, and yet handwriting is a very crucial factor in passing and topping the bar examination.”

Natu-el said that he spent a lot of time looking for a pen that would make his handwriting look legible because he is not proud of his handwriting. – 



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