FIVE graduates of Cebu City-based law schools landed in the top 20 of the 2017 Bar Examinations.
For the second year in a row, the University of San Carlos (USC) College of Law dominated the Bar exams after three of its graduates landed in the top 10.
Christianne Mae Balili placed second with a score of 90.80 percent, the Supreme Court (SC) announced yesterday.
The two other topnotchers from the USC College of Law are Ivanne D’laureil Hisoler and Rheland Servacio, who placed fourth and seventh, respectively.
Hisoler garnered 89.55 percent, while Servacio got 89 percent.
Stephanie A. Claros of the University of San Jose-Recoletos placed 15th, with a score of 87.55 percent; while Ella Mae C. Mendoza of the University of Cebu place 17th, with a score of 87.35 percent.
Mark John Simondo of the University of St. La Salle Bacolod topped the 2017 Bar exams after getting a grade of 91.05 percent.
SC Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin announced the results after the SC en banc session yesterday afternoon.
A total of 1,724 bar takers, or 25.55 percent, passed out of the 6,748 law graduates who took the exams that were held on four Sundays at the University of Sto. Tomas last November. The national passing percentage was pegged at 75 percent.
In an interview with reporters, Balili, 32, admitted she was “very nervous” while waiting for the Bar exam results.
Juggling work and law school was never easy. as Balili worked full time in a law firm while she studied full time.
She attributed her success to the encouragement of her late grandmother, who passed away prior to the 2017 Bar exams.
“I was really brokenhearted during the bar exam but I think that’s what really pushed me. My grandmother was my number one fan and she believed in me so much,” said Balili.
She aimed to be on the top 10, but she never expected to land second place.
Being a lawyer was her childhood dream, said Balili. But her dream had to wait when she she worked in an accounting firm for several years as a certified public accountant.
She was inspired by her younger brother, who is also a lawyer, to pursue her legal ambition.
Her secrets to success? “Diligence. Faith in yourself and keeping close to people who believe in you.”
She also advised aspiring lawyers to “just go for it.”
Servacio, for his part, said he was in their house when he was told that he landed on the top 10.
“The waiting for the bar results was really agonizing. I was just really hoping for the best,” said Servacio.
Servacio, also a certified public accountant, said that success can be achieved through diligence coupled with sacrifice and prayers.
“Give it your all and pray with full sincerity if you really want to achieve something. Let go and let God do the rest,” he said.
Hisoler, for her part, said she could not believe she made it to fourth place.
“I am very thankful to everyone who supported me,” she said.
Hisoler, 27, who is also a registered nurse from the Cebu Normal University, said that her uncle, who is a lawyer, motivated her to take up law.
USC College of Law Dean Joan Largo said the school’s success boils down to various factors, including being clear in their goals.
“We know what we want and we know how to get there. We map our strategies on the basis of school’s goals plus we have the best and most dedicated professors you can ever wish for,” said Largo.
The USC College of Law registered a 93-percent passing percentage after 65 out of its 70 takers passed the Bar last year.
The other topnotchers are Ateneo de Davao University graduate Camille B. Remoroza (third, 90.7 percent), Monica Anne T. Yap of San Beda College Manila (fifth, 89.45 percent), University of Sto. Tomas graduate Lorenzo Luigi T. Gayya (sixth, 89.1 percent), Krizza Fe P. Alcantara-Bagni of St. Mary’s University and Algie Kwillon B. Mariacos of San Beda College Manila (both eighth, 88.9 percent), and University of Sto. Tomas graduates Klinton M. Torralba (88,65 percent) and Emma Ruby J. Aguilar (88.4 percent), who ranked ninth and 10th place, respectively.