INSPIRED by Arlene Maneja’s achievement, Civil Law Dean Jaime Lantin has vowed to sustain the University’s campaign to dominate the bar’s top ten.

“The Faculty would strive harder so that Maneja’s feat would be duplicated in the next few years,” Lantin told the Varsitarian.

Before Maneja aced the 2002 bar examinations to break a 66-year drought, only two Thomasians have topped the bar exams since 1913—President Diosdado Macapagal in 1936 and former Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion in 1924.

A handsome reward was put up three years ago to motivate law students to aim for the top. The UST Law Alumni Association promised to give Thomasians placing first in the bar exams P250,000, while ambassador Enrique Syquia, a UST law alumnus, pledged P100,000.

During Civil Law’s testimonial dinner for the new Thomasian lawyers last March 18, alumni president Raul Corro announced a plan to intitutionalize a law center to help students of the Faculty.

Maneja, a magna cum laude graduate, registered a grade of 92.9 per cent, way ahead of the Ateneo de Manila University’s Connie Chu who got 90.4 per cent, to lead this year’s batch of new lawyers.

“I feel very happy. I feel vindicated. I’m tired of people telling me I don’t deserve my grades,” Maneja told the Varsitarian.

Lantin said the Faculty was not surprised at Maneja’s achievement.

“We are very happy about (Maneja topping the bar exams). (But) this is not a surprise because for the past few years (the Faculty has) been striving for this,” Lantin said. “The Faculty would strive harder so that more Thomasians top the bar exams.”

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The closest UST had been to the top recently was when Benigno Par Jr., who had a brief stint as law professor, placed fourth in 1998. The last Thomasian in the top 10 was Prudence Angelita Kasala who ranked eighth in the 2000 bar exams.

“She’s really an exemplary student. We were looking forward to it ever since she was a freshman because she writes and speaks well,” former Civil Law Dean Amado Dimayuga said of Maneja.

Aside from being last year’s class valedictorian, Maneja was also a recipient of the prestigious Thomas Aquinas Award, given to graduating students who have received the Rector’s Academic Award, Benavides Achievement Award, and the Quezon Leadership Award during their stay in the University. Maneja graduated cum laude in Legal Management from the Faculty of Arts and Letters.

As of press time, the total number of Thomasians who took the exams was still unavailable. Lantin said 49 UST graduates passed.

Last year, UST registered an 83 per cent passing rate.

The national passing rate was 19.68 per cent or 917 out of 4,659 examinees. Teodoro Lorenzo Aligada-Fernandez

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