UST Faculty of Civil Law alumnus Ephraim Bie

AN ALUMNUS of the UST Faculty of Civil Law topped the September 2023 Bar examinations, where the University was named the fifth best performing school among those with over 100 candidates. 

Ephraim Bie, who graduated from law school at the top of his batch and with magna cum laude honors, scored 89.2625 percent to lead the batch of new lawyers.

Medyo matagal nang walang [No. 1] ang UST and it is a very prestigious institution,” Bie told the Varsitarian. “I’m just happy to bring honor and pride sa faculty ko.” 

Bie was a fellow of the Varsitarian’s Creative Writing Workshop in 2015 and was captain of the Artlets Pautakan quiz bee team. He graduated from the UST journalism program in 2015.

Another Thomasian, Pio Buencamino, placed eighth with an 88.25-percent score. Buencamino took his undergraduate studies at the UST College of Nursing.  

Placing fifth among institutions with over 100 examinees, the UST Faculty of Civil Law recorded an 85.25-percent passing rate (104 out of 122), an increase from 79.87 percent (127 out of 159) in the 2022 cycle.

Two UST-Legazpi graduates, Nathaniel Tang (No. 4; 88.65 percent) and Zes Non (No. 10; 88.0125 percent), also made it to the top 10.

Some newly minted lawyers in the top 20 took their undergraduate studies at UST: political science alumnus Mark Sivit (No. 2, 89.125 percent), who finished law at the Ateneo de Manila University; legal management alumnus David Flores (No. 5, 88.55 percent), who finished law at De La Salle University; and political science alumna Rockylle Balisong (No. 18; 87.7375 percent), who finished law at San Beda University.

Varsitarian alumni also made the cut: former editor in chief Amierielle Bulan, associate editor Alhex Peralta, news editors Reden Madrid and Crisanta Paloma, and former features editor Erika Cunanan.

Former UST Central Student Council president Nathan Agustin was also on the roster of successful examinees. 

Ateneo de Manila University was named the top-performing law school in the latest Bar exam cycle, with a 94.08-percent passing rate (159 of 169).

The national passing rate for the September 2023 cycle was 36.77 percent (3,812 of 10,387 examinees), down from 43.37 percent (3,992 of 9,183 examinees) in the 2022 cycle. 

The 2023 Bar exams were conducted on Sept. 17, 20 and 24. 

The last time UST produced a Bar topnotcher was in 2002 when Arlene Maneja bested examinees with a 92.90-percent score. Maneja is currently a member of the Special Projects, Banking, Finance & Securities, and Corporate Services groups of the SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan law firm.

Other Thomasian topnotchers were former Philippine president Diosdado Macapagal (1936; 89.95 percent), former senator Jose Diokno (1944; 95.3 percent), and former chief justice Roberto Concepcion (1924; 89.1 percent).


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