Bar top-notcher thanks parents for triumph

The journey of Judy Lardizabal to the top of last year’s Bar examination was fueled by hard work and perseverance, traits she learned from her parents. Read more: Edu Punay (2009). Bar topnotcher learned hard work from parents. April 5, 2009.

Her parents have always believed that their daughter would go a long way since they sent her to college through their earnings as a tricycle driver and a market vendor.

“She was able to finish her studies because of all our hard work,” Judy’s father Deodato said in an interview with radio station dzMM.

Deodato said he was driving a tricycle while his wife Rebecca was selling goods at a public market in Cavite to support Judy, who finished BS in Social Work, cum laude, at the University of the Philippines-Diliman before entering the San Sebastian College of Law.

Judy is second of three children, the eldest of them also a UP graduate currently working as a restaurant manager in Germany, while the youngest already has a family and is employed as a construction worker.Natural intelligence. Read more: Edu Punay (2009). Bar topnotcher learned hard work from parents. April 5, 2009.

Apart from hard work and determination, Judy is known for her natural intelligence.

San Sebastian Law Dean Willard Reano said Judy’s besting 1,309 other successful examinees did not really come a surprise.

“She was the best student we had. She really deserves it,” Reano said in a phone interview, adding that Judy is a student “whose natural intelligence is supported by her diligence.”

“She was also very analytical. She was always on top. I’m sure these were the qualities that made her number 1,” he said.

Judy topped the 2008 Bar exams with an average score of 85.7 percent, the first Bar topnotcher from SSC.

Judy could not be reached for an interview as of press time.

Dean Reano said they would celebrate Judy’s success with a testimonial dinner “because not everybody gets number 1.”

He also said Judy was known for making history in their college.

She was the first student who scored 100 percent in the taxation exam of Professor Francisco Sababan, a national reviewer, who reportedly even treated Judy out as he was surprised because his class was known to have a passing rate of only 15 percent.

Judy was valedictorian of her class at the SSC College of Law.

Balancing act. Read more: Edu Punay (2009). Bar topnotcher learned hard work from parents. April 5, 2009.

Another successful Bar examinee is The Philippine STAR’s western Visayas correspondent, Ronilo Pamonag.

Ronilo, whose father is a retired judge and brother is a CPA-lawyer, said he is very happy to have passed the Bar exams, touted as one of the most difficult in the world.

Ronilo took up AB English at the University of San Agustin, where he graduated in 2001.

He immediately worked as a reporter for a local newspaper after graduation then entered the University of San Agustin College of Law in 2003.

He resigned from his full-time job in 2004 to focus on his studies, then started writing for The STAR in April 2005.

Ronilo said balancing his law studies and his duties as a journalist was not an easy task but he managed to do so with the support of his family, friends and employers.

72.5 passing rate. Read more: Edu Punay (2009). Bar topnotcher learned hard work from parents. April 5, 2009.

A total of 1,310 law graduates were declared new lawyers by the Supreme Court (SC) Friday after passing last year’s Bar exams.

The new lawyers will take their oath at 2 p.m. on April 28 at the Philippine International Convention Center.

The Bar passers represent only 20.58 percent of a total of 6,364 law graduates from 109 law schools who took and completed the exams during four Sundays of September last year in Manila.

This showed a 2.4-percent drop in the passing rate compared to 2007 when 1,289 out of 5,626 hopefuls, or 22.91 percent, passed.

Associate Justice Dante Tinga, who chairs the 2008 Bar committee of the Supreme Court, announced that they decided to adjust the passing grade from the traditional 75 percent to 72.5 percent. Last year the passing grade was lowered to 70 percent.

“To be fair to everybody, the Supreme Court deemed it best to reduce the passing average to 72.5 percent,” said Tinga in a press conference.

He said the passing rate would have been less than 20 percent if the passing grade was not adjusted.

Following Bar topnotcher Judy Lardizabal is Mylene Amerol-Macumbal of the Mindanao State University, who got 85.65 percent rating.

The third and fourth places were occupied by Ateneo de Manila College of Law graduates Oliver Baclay Jr. and Majesty Eve Jala with 85.6 and 85.55 percent, respectively.

Ma. Elizabeth Liceralde and Michael Macapagal, both of the University of the Philippines College of Law, placed fifth and sixth, respectively, with 85.4 percent and 84.15 percent.

In seventh place, Denise Dy tied with April Love Regis with 84 percent. Both are from ADMU. They were followed by another schoolmate, Christine Joy Tan in eighth place with 83.8 percent.

Jacob Jihan of San Beda College and Shirley Velasquez of UP were in ninth place with 83.75 percent.

Vanessa Raymundo of San Beda College was in 10th place with 83.7 percent.

Extraordinary prominence. Read more: Edu Punay (2009). Bar topnotcher learned hard work from parents. April 5, 2009.

Of the 97 Bar topnotchers so far, some rose to extraordinary prominence after joining politics and government.

Three Bar first placers made history as presidents of the Philippines.

One became a vice president while several others became senators, congressmen, chief justices or associate justices, or were appointed to important government posts.

Manuel Roxas, grandfather of Sen. Mar Roxas of Capiz, made history in 1913 when he topped the 1913 exam with a grade of 92 percent.

Roxas, a UP law graduate, was the first president of an independent Philippine Republic.

Roxas was elected president on April 23, 1946. The Philippines achieved its independence from the United Sates on July 4, 1946. Prior to his election to the presidency, Roxas was also House Speaker and Senate President.

Following Roxas’ footsteps was Diosdado Macapagal, father of President Arroyo. He was elected as ninth president of the Philippines in 1961.

Macapagal, a graduate of the University of Sto. Tomas, topped the Bar in 1936.

Macapagal, however, failed in his reelection bid in 1965, losing to Ferdinand Marcos, who topped the Bar in 1939 with a rating of 92.35 percent. He graduated cum laude from the UP College of Law. He was also a former congressman and Senate president.

As a law student in UP, Marcos was indicted and convicted for the murder of Julio Nalundasan, who twice defeated his father for a seat in the then National Assembly.

He reviewed for the Bar in detention. He appealed and defended his case before the Supreme Court, and won an acquittal. Read more: Edu Punay (2009). Bar topnotcher learned hard work from parents. April 5, 2009.