‘Good news’ amid COVID-19 pandemic: Bar topnotchers and their success stories

April 29, 2020 - 7:32 PM
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(Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay)

The new lawyer who topped the 2019 Bar exams, Mae Diane Azores of the University of Santo Tomas-Legazpi, attributed her success to hard work and prayers.  

Azores, who is also a Certified Public Accountant and works as a state auditor, got a score of 91.049% at the Bar exams, according to the Supreme Court Public Information Office. 

To prepare for the tough exams, she recounted that she studied for 10 to 12 hours, disconnected from social media and also praying the rosary.

“No dream is ever big, especially po sa provincial schools. We can always dream bigger. Kung iisipin talaga natin, kung kaya talaga, kaya talaga siyaTiwala lang sa DiyosDasal lang talaga,” Azores said in an interview with ABS-CBN 

In another interview with DZMM, Azores shared that acing the Bar exams became her “good news” amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and the recent passing of her grandmother last March.  

“Before siya pumanaw sabi niya sa’kininaantay ko na lang sana yung results mo bago ako umalis. I believe she’s watching from heaven, cheering for me,” Azores said 

For Azores, the challenge for her and her fellow new lawyers now is not to be overwhelmed with power and title that comes with the profession.  

Nakikita naman po natin sa news and kabi-kabilang violation of human rights, even in broad daylight po nakikita natin. Ang feeling ko and pinaka challenge po talaga ngayon is not to be overwhelmed with the power, title, but instead, just think that this is a profession, this is a vocation,” she told News5 in an interview.  

Kailangan talagang I-serve ang people. ‘Yun talaga ang daapt unang unahinKailangan isipin ng mga bagong abogado ngayon na ang pagiging abogado is a responsibility,” she added.  

Another successful Bar taker who placed fourth in the exams, Dawna Fya Bandiola of the San Beda College-Alabang, also shared that this was her second time after failing in 2018.  

“Hindi naman pala lahat talaga ibibigay sa ‘yo kung kailan mo gusto. Mayroong times na kailangan maka-experience ka ng rejection para mas mabigyan mo ng importansya iyong mga bagay na hindi mo binibigyan ng pansin,” Bandiola said in an interview with ABS-CBN.  

New lawyers amid the current justice system and the pandemic 

Due to the ban on onsite activities under the enhanced community quarantine rules, the SC just released the names of Bar passers online through its official website.  

The photos and names of the top ten passers were also shared on SCPIO’s social accounts.  

Almost half of the topnotchers are CPA lawyers

The SCPIO also announced that the passing rate in the 2019 bar exams is higher at 27.36% compared to the previous year’s 22.07%.  

Several notable figures in the legal community later congratulated the Bar passers on social media. 

Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno wished them good luck in facing the current legal landscape in the country.  

Diokno hoped that the new lawyers will ensure that they would “defend the oppressed and see to it that no one is above the law.” 

To build a better house of justice for our people, we need lawyers who will exert every effort to level the playing field, defend the oppressed, and see to it that no one is above the law. I hope you become those lawyers. Congratulations to my new kompanyeros and kompanyeras!” he said. 

Finding justice in the legal landscape that you will be stepping into won’t be easy. In many ways, our justice system is…

Posted by Chel Diokno on Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, also a human rights activist, acknowledged that majority of the topnotchers are women as she congratulated everyone who passed.  

“Good luck on your journeys, mga attorney! Congratulations also to the topnotchers! (At ang galing talaga ng mga Pinay.) #Girlpower,” Hontiveros said. 

Associate Justice Marvic Leonen also tweeted that their goal in their profession is social justice. 

“Be humble. Resist greed. Learn to sacrifice. Every privilege comes with responsibility. Address inequality. Strive for social justice. Serve the people,” Leonen said.  

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, who used to teach at UP law, reminded Bar passers to keep the profession “noble” and uphold the law.  

“As our successful examinees enter the legal profession, please keep in mind that they studied law because of their ideal that the legal profession is a ‘noble profession’,” he said. 

Roque is hopeful that some of them would consider a career in public service.   

“This would be a great opportunity to give back to the community for earning the privilege to practice law in the country,” he said. 

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, meanwhile, wished them well as they enter the field during the duration of strict quarantine measures and the battle against a deadly virus.  

“The country is in quarantine, our courts of justice have temporarily ceased operations, and the conduct and practice of law will surely change once we settle into an anticipated ‘new reality,’” Nograles said on Twitter.  

“It is your duty and obligation to find your place and define your own respective roles in this new legal and professional environment,” he added.