Release of exemplary, excellent passers instead of Bar topnotchers lauded

April 12, 2022 - 2:08 PM
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This April 12, 2022 photo shows the screen where the 2020-21 Bar examinations results will be released at the Supreme Court. (SC PIO/Twitter)

The historic 2020/2021 Bar exams produced 761 exemplary passers or those who obtained an 85% and above the passing rate.

There are also 14 examinees who earned “excellent” scores.

These groups of passers replaced the traditional topnotcher list or the top ten highest scorers of the Bar examinations.

Bar topnotchers normally make headlines and are considered the cream of the crop of bar passers.

This year, instead of a Top 10 roster, the Supreme Court released separate lists for exemplary passers and excellent passers, according to Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, who chaired the Bar exams.

The exemplary passers are listed in alphabetical order.

Here are the following top five schools with the highest exemplary passers:

    1. The University of the Philippines—147
    2. Ateneo de Manila University—100
    3. San Beda University—94
    4. University of San Carlos—57
    5. Arrelano University—39

Some law-related accounts and Filipinos congratulated the passers online.

Others, meanwhile, hoped that this new crop of passers will do away with the “topnotcher culture” among Filipinos.

“About time the topnotcher list is replaced,” one user said.

“Important step to ending topnotcher culture,” another user tweeted.

Kenneth Manuel, a 2019 Bar topnotcher, shared that he was pleased with the new exemplary passer list.

“Bet ko ‘yung exemplary passer kineme kasi more bar examinees talaga deserve special recognition than the usual ten. 🙂 and of course, everyone deserves recognition naman talaga to begin with,” Manuel said.

In 2020, following the release of the 2019 bar exam results, local Twitter erupted with a discussion on school elitism among students and alumni of some prominent law schools in the country. It was also the last time the Supreme Court named the top ten bar topnotchers.

Mae Diane Azores, an alumna of the University of Santo Tomas, topped this list with a score of 91.049%.

READ: ‘School elitism’ and Guanzon: Realizations after SC names 2019 Bar exam topnotchers

Highest passing rate so far

The historic licensure test also posted a new first in Philippine history.

This batch posted a 72.28% passing rate, the highest so far since the 1954 Bar exams. This means that 8,241 will take their oath as the country’s new lawyers on May 2.

The top schools with the highest bar passers are the following:

  1. Ateneo de Manila University – 99.64%
  2. University of the Philippines-Diliman – 98.84%
  3. San Beda University – 98.11%
  4. University of San Carlos – 98.00%
  5. University of Santo Tomas – 93.06%

The hashtag “#BestBarEver20_21” and the keywords “Atty,” “Bar Exam,” “Abogado” and “Lawyers” reached the trending topics of Twitter following the announcement of results.

Congratulatory remarks and other positive messages were shared on the micro-blogging platform for the new lawyers.

Theodore Te, former SC spokesperson, also shared an encouraging statement to all bar takers.

“I’m on record as saying those who took the #BestBarEver20_21 are sui generis because none of us can ever claim to have prepared for and taken the bar under a pandemic,” Te said.

“It took courage, fortitude, and strength to do that; regardless of the results tomorrow, be proud of that,” he added.

Prior to the release of results, there were concerns that the event will not push through after a fire broke out in one of the offices of the SC. Leonen, however, assured the public that all their data files are secured.

“We have secured the data files and our chambers and OBC are fully operational. As has characterized our operations, we have preparations for every contingency,” he said.