Feb. 29, 7:09 p.m.

A THOMASIAN made it to the Top 10 of the Bar examinations
for the first time in a nearly a decade, while UST’s passing rate jumped to
88.52% in what has become a doubly memorable Quadricentennial year for the
Faculty of Civil Law.

Christian Louie Gonzales got a score of 84.09 percent,
placing fifth and ending UST’s nine-year drought in the Top 10 of the Bar

Taking into account only first-timers, UST posted a passing
rate of 88.52 percent as 54 out of 61 first-time examinees made the cut.
Faculty Secretary Arthur Capili said the official passing rate of UST has yet
to be released by the Office of the Bar Confidant of the Supreme Court. In
2010, UST had a passing rate of 68 percent, as only 70 out of 103 aspirants
passed the exam.

The Bar exams were held in UST, the country’s oldest law
school, last November for the first time.

Leading this year’s Bar exam passers is Raoul Angelo Atadero
(85.53 percent) of Ateneo de Manila, who was followed by another Ateneo student
Luz Danielle Bolong (84.56 percent), Cherry Liez Rafal-Roble (84.46 percent) of
Arellano University,
and Rosemil Bañaga (84.12 percent) of Notre Dame University.

The national passing rate, meanwhile, went up to 31.95
percent – the “second-highest passing rate in the millennium”
– from 2010’s 20.26 percent. A total of 1,913 out of 5,987 examinees passed, an
improvement from 982 out of 4,847 the previous year.

“The results of the recent Bar exams indeed confirm that UST
belongs to the premiere law schools in the country and that the collective
efforts of the academic officials, faculty, and students to further improve our
performance in the Bar exams are paying off,” Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina said
in a text message sent to the Varsitarian.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Roberto Abad, a former UST law dean, headed the 2011 Bar Committee.
Major changes were made to the Bar exams, such as the adoption of
multiple-choice questions in the first three exams days and essay-type
questions in the last day. Multiple-choice questions had a weight of 60 percent
while essay questions were weighted 40 percent.

The exam schedule was moved to November from September for
the first time in two decades to prepare for the new system.

In a press release, Abad said the Supreme Court introduced changes
in the Bar exams “to exert pressure on law schools to re-examine the substance
and shape of legal education.”

“First, by asking multiple choice questions or MCQs in the
Bar exams, the Court has put a stop to the practice of requiring students to
memorize the law and its principles. Second, with the help of the academe, the
Supreme Court has redefined the objective of the Bar exams and the competence
and skills that they should measure. Third, we have begun giving essay-type
problems in the Bar examinations that would measure the candidate’s depth of
learning and intelligence.”

The successful examinees will take their oaths on March 21
at the Philippine International Convention Center.

The last time a Thomasian entered the Bar Top 10 was when
Arlene Maneja placed first in 2002. Thomasians Carla Sta. Maria placed fifth in
1994 while Benigno Par placed fourth in 1998. In 2000, Prudence Angelita Kasala
placed eight.

Before Arlene Maneja, Diosdado Macapagal and Roberto
Concepcion topped the Bar in 1936 and 1924, respectively. Rafael L. Antonio


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