ALTHOUGH a top-10 finish remained elusive for Thomasian bar takers, UST’s passing rate skyrocketed to what was described by the Faculty of Civil Law dean as “one of the highest in history.”
UST’s passing rate soared to 96.25 percent with 77 Thomasians passing the test out of 80 first-time Thomasian examinees. This was significantly higher than last year’s 82.22-percent or 38 out of 47 first-time Thomasian examinees.
The total number of Thomasian repeaters and first-timers who passed the 2016 Bar Exams will be released on May 22, a day before the oath-taking of new lawyers, Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina told the Varsitarian.
In the past decade, UST’s bar exam batting average stood at 69.08 percent. UST recorded an 80.85-percent passing rate in 2015, 59.13 percent in 2014, 63.67 percent in 2013, 48.57 percent in 2012, 88.52 percent in 2011, 68 percent in 2010, 54.65 in 2009, 83 percent in 2008, 73 percent in 2007 and 71.43 percent in 2006.
The national passing rate climbed to 59.06 percent or 3,747 successful examinees out of 6,344, one of the highest in history. This was significantly higher than last year’s 26.21 percent or 1,731 out of 6,605 examinees.
UST failed to land a spot in the top 10 list of examinees this year, which was dominated by provincial law schools. The last UST graduate to enter the top 10 was Christian Louie Gonzales, who placed fifth with a score of 84.09 percent in 2011.
Karen Mae Calam of the University of San Carlos in Cebu topped this year’s exam with a score of 89.05 percent. Alanna Gayle Khio from Siliman University in Dumaguete, who scored 88.95 percent, placed second. Fiona Cristy Lao from the University of San Carlos and Athalia Liong from Andres Bonifacio College in Dipolog placed third after getting a score of 88.80 percent.
Former Varsitarian editor in chief Marlon Castor was among those who hurdled the exams.
Divina attributed this year’s improved results to departmental examinations and special lectures, which were on top of pre-bar lectures. Exams for all subjects in the Faculty of Civil Law have been departmentalized since 2015.
“We gave special lectures on top of the pre-bar lectures and non-stop encouragements and prayers for our students,” he said.
Divina said the bar exam results were also better because the chairman, Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco, was “liberal” in checking the papers.
“I think he instructed the examiners to be more liberal in checking the papers [and] internally, he may have set a minimum passing percentage,” Divina said.
The exams, which were all essay questions, covered eight subjects: political and public international law, labor and social legislation, civil law, taxation, mercantile law, criminal law, remedial law, and legal and judicial ethics.
According to bar exam rules, a bar examinee is deemed to have passed his or her examinations successfully if he or she has obtained a general average of 75 percent.
This year’s bar examiners were retired Justice Antonio Eduardo Nachura (Political Law and Public International Law), Justice Magdangal de Leon (Labor Laws and Social Legislation), Justice Japar Dimaampao (Civil Law), Justice Lovell Bautista (Taxation), Justice Ramon Hernando (Mercantile Law), Justice Victoria Paredes (Criminal Law), Justice Noel Tijam (Remedial Law) and Justice Myra Garcia-Fernandez (Ethics and Pratctical Exercises).
Divina confirmed that UST will host the 2017 bar exams anew, with Justice Lucas Bersamin as the next chairman.