MY FATHER was a product of the UP College of Law. Unlike Sen. Miriam D. Santiago, he never made his UP lineage a bragging right. The closest to bragging he made was the frat mild hazing on neophytes. No paddling, no violence.
Well, he never made it to the top 10. Maybe his story might turn out different. His dream was not to be a politician but to be a judge.
Decades later to be someone who is somebody, one has to finish his law studies in any Metro-Manila College of Law.
Then in the 2017 bar exam, graduates of Visayan provincial law schools dominated the list of topnotchers.
Mark John Simondo of University of St. La Salle (USLS) in Bacolod, Negros Occidental topped the bar with a grade of 91.05 percent. I had fun rubbing it in to my lawyer friends in Manila. Nothing like friendly competitions.
The year before, Cebu’s University of San Carlos Karen Mae Calam aced the bar with a rating of 89.05 percent.
Now in the current midterm election, we see lawyer politicians put down rival law schools. Just last month, President Rodrigo Duterte, who finished law at the San Beda University, noted how there had been no topnotchers from the DLSU College of Law because of its founding law dean José Manuel “Chel” Diokno.
“Ito si Chel Diokno... Kaya pala p***** i** hindi nagta-top ‘yang La Salle eh hanggang ngayon. Anong ginawa niya? Wala. Sige lang criticize tapos hindi naman marunong.”
Du30 was of course comparing Dean Diokno to his senatorial bet Freddie Aguilar who insist was a better fit for the Senate.
Diokno corrected the president. He was “overjoyed” as he congratulated the first Bar exam topnotcher from the De La Salle University College of Law in Manila.
“Sobrang saya nung nalaman ko ‘yung resulta ng Bar, at siyempre congratulations sa lahat ng pumasa, lalong-lalo na sa aming mga estudyante sa De La Salle, lalong-lalo na kay Katherine Ting.”
Ms Ting earned the eighth highest rating in the bar exam, with a score of 84.85 percent, and was the lone topnotcher from the DLSU College of Law in Manila, founded in 2010.
Dean Diokno proved Duterte wrong. He knows his law. Diokno earned a degree in Philosophy at University of the Philippines Diliman, and then studied law at Northern Illinois University in the United States, where he graduated Juris Doctor of Laws, magna cum laude, in 1986.
But end of the day, it will be the college of life who can produce the best lawyers. Or any professions for that matter. Congratulations to the bar passers!