UP grad tops 2013 Bar exams; 22% pass

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

MANILA (3rd Update) -- A law graduate from the University of the Philippines (UP) ruled the Bar examinations for the first time since 2005.

At a press briefing Tuesday, 2013 Bar chairperson Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Arturo Brion said Nielson Pangan got a rating of 85.80 percent, the highest among 1,174 out of 5,292 examinees (22.18 percent) who took the test in four Sundays of October last year at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila.

Four other graduates of the UP College of Law also made it to the top 10. They are Mark Xavier Oyales (second, 85.45 percent), Eden Catherine Mopia (fourth, 84.05 percent), Michael Tiu Jr. (eighth, 83.70 percent) and Cyril Arnesto (tenth, 83.60 percent).

2013 Bar exams
2013 BAR EXAM TOPNOTCHERS. 1st place - Nielson Pangan (University of the Philippines), 85.80%; 2nd - Mark Xavier Oyales (UP), Dianna Wilwayco (Ateneo de Manila University), 85.45%; 3rd - Rudy Ortea (University of Batangas), 84.2%; 4th - Eden Catherine Mopia (UP), 85.04%; 5th - Tercel Mercado-Gephart (University of San Carlos), 83.9%; 6th - Manuel Elijah Sarausad (University of Cebu), 83.8%; 7th - Katrine Suyat (San Beda College-Manila), 83.75%; 8th: Michael Tiu, Jr. (UP), 83.7%; 9th - Marjorie Ivory Fulgueras (ADMU), 83.65%; and, 10th - Cyril Arnesto (UP), 83.6%

The last UP student to top the Bar, arguably the toughest licensure exam in the country, is Joan de Venecia, niece of former House Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr.

Dianna Louise Wilmayco (second, 85.45 percent) and Marjorie Ivory Fulgueras (ninth, 83.65 percent) are from Ateneo de Manila University, which ruled the exam for three consecutive years (2010 to 2012).

Rounding out the top 10 are Rudy Ortea (third, 84.20 percent) from the University of Batangas, Tercel Maria Mercado-Gephart (fifth place, 83.90 percent) from the University of San Carlos and Manuel Elijah Sarausad (sixth place, 83.80 percent) from the University of Cebu and Katrine Paula Suyat from San Beda College-Manila (seventh, 83.75 percent).

In 2012, a total 946 examinees out of 5,343 made it to the roll of attorneys, for a passing rate of 17.7 percent.

It was a great comeback for UP, which received criticism for missing out the top 10 in 2011, a rarity for the state university, which produced most of the presidents and chief justices of the country.

"There was pressure, both expressed and implied, from the UP Law faculty for us to top the Bar. But I'm thankful that the administration decided to take concrete steps to improve UP's performance in the Bar. Even if we are not a Bar-oriented institution, the Bar is still a hurdle we must overcome before we become full-fledged lawyers," Mopia told Sun.Star.

Only bar review subjects were offered by the college as electives, "so our batch was able to review as early as June 2012," she said.

Pangan, on the other hand, underscored the importance of self-study. After graduating in April 2013, he dedicated eight hours each day for review.

Pangan, 27, is working for Migallos and Luna Law Offices, which specializes in corporate law. He is also teaching at the New Era University, where he took up legal management and graduated magna cum laude in 2008.

"I don't think anybody expected him (Pangan) to top. He's a dark horse and he did a very good job," said Mopia, who finished sixth in the UP Law last year.

Pangan placed 96th out of the 170 graduates.

The SC lowered the passing grade from 75 percent to 73 percent as it took into account the structure of the results, the difficulty the candidates encountered with the multiple choice portion of the exam and past precedents.

Had there been no adjustment, only 694 or 13.13 percent could have passed, according to Brion.

The examinees had to hurdle essay and multiple choice questions on eight subjects: political law and public international law, labor and social legislation, civil law, taxation, mercantile law, criminal law, remedial law and legal and judicial ethics.

Passers may secure their clearances from the Office of the Bar Confidant from March 24 to April 25. The oath-taking of the successful Bar candidates will be on April 28 at 2 p.m. at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.

Arellano University had the most number of examinees with 229 followed by Ateneo de Manila with 217 and University of the Philippines with 200.

Last year, a total 946 examinees out of 5,343 made it to the roll of attorneys, for a passing rate of 17.7 percent.

Ateneo's Ignatius Ingles topped the test then with a grade of 85.64 percent. (Sunnex)

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