22 March 2013, 6:37 p.m. –  LESS THAN half of examinees from the Faculty of Civil Law passed the Bar exams, as the national passing rate plunged to the second lowest in history in what was described by the dean himself as a “bloodbath.”

UST posted a 48.57-percent passing rate, with only 34 out of 70 examinees making the cut. Among the 34 who passed, 31 were first-time takers.

The national passing rate plummeted to 17.76 percent, equivalent to 949 out of 5,343 examinees, the lowest since 2000 and the second lowest passing rate in history.

Leading this year’s new batch of lawyers is Ignatius Michael Ingles (85.64%) from Ateneo de Manila, followed by another Ateneo student, Catherine Beatrice King Kay (84.72), and April Carmela Lacson (84.48) from University of the Philippines.

Former Varsitarian editor in chief Nicolo Bernardo and features writer Tanya Justine Baldovino were among those who hurdled the Bar.

“Based on preliminary indications we should still be in the top six or seven. It is sad but the bloodbath is all over, not only for UST but also for other schools. While we may have gotten lower scores compared with the previous years, it is still better compared with many law schools,” Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina said in an interview.

Divina said the 2012 Bar examination was hard compared with the previous examinations. Only two percent of Bar candidates passed Remedial Law, which accounted for 20 percent of the examination.

Associate Justice Martin Villarama, Bar exams committee head, earlier announced that the Supreme Court had lowered the cut-off score to 70 percent from 75 percent due to the poor results.

Divina said two justices proposed to lower the passing score to 68 percent, but were outvoted by the majority.

If the cut-off score was retained at 75 percent, only 343 of the 5,343 examinees would have made the cut.
Villarama attributed the low passing rate to multiple-choice questions (MCQ), which was 60 percent of the exam. This year, the Supreme Court has decided to revert to the original format of 80 percent essay questions and 20 percent MCQ.

The 2012 Bar examination was held for the second consecutive year in UST last October. UST will remain host of the 2013 Bar examinations due to positive feedback from different Law deans.

The successful Bar candidates will have their oath-taking on April 24 at the Philippine International Convention Center. Nikka Lavinia G. Valenzuela


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