THE University of San Carlos (USC) College of Law in Cebu City produced two more topnotchers in the 2015 Bar exams.
Athena Plaza placed second with 87.25 percent, while Jecca Jacildo placed eighth, with 85.85 percent.
“Believe in yourself and always have faith in God,” Plaza told reporters in an interview in the office of USC College of Law Dean Joan Largo yesterday.
Rachel Angeli Miranda (87.40) of the University of the Philippines scored the highest among 1,731 who passed the exams given last November 2015. A total 26.21 percent of the 6,605 examinees made it.
Plaza is the highest-ranking topnotcher that USC’s College of Law has ever produced. In the 1951 Bar exams, former Cebu governor and House deputy speaker Pablo Garcia placed third, with 91.5 percent.
In an interview, Plaza, 25, said she was eating lunch at home when Dean Largo called her up and told her she had placed second in the Bar.
“I always prayed that God would grant my prayers so that my parents, school and dean would be proud of me,” said Plaza.
Her advice: first, have faith in God. Second, believe in yourself and the people who love and support you.
“I am so thankful to the Lord that He granted my prayers. I hope this would inspire more students, especially in what some have called ‘provincial schools’, to aim for the highest position. I hope that in the near future, a Carolinian would top the Bar,” said Plaza.
Before taking up law, Plaza, of Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City, graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree, also from USC.
She said that her father, a retired policeman, prodded her to become a lawyer. Her mother is a public school teacher.
“When I was young, my father told me I should become a lawyer to protect my family. That inspired me to work hard and fortunately, I got a scholarship and I was able to finish here at USC,” said Plaza.
How did she prepare for the Bar exam? “I planned way ahead. I reviewed every day without break because I believed any break would disrupt my momentum. That worked for me. It’s really up to your study habit and style,” said Plaza.
She deactivated her Facebook account during the five months of waiting for the Bar exam results.
Dean Largo said that Plaza is an exceptionally brilliant and humble student. She added that the 2015 Bar affirmed the quality of education being offered at USC.
“You don’t have to venture far. Excellence is just here,” said Largo.
Of the 64 examinees from USC, 52 takers passed, or a passing rate 81.25 percent.
The other new lawyers who made it to the top 10 are Jayson Aguilar (third) from UP with 86.75 percent; Reginald Arceo (fourth), from Ateneo de Manila University, 86.70; Mandy Therese Anderson (fifth), Ateneo de Manila University, 86.15; Giselle Hernandez (sixth), UP, 86.1; Darniel Bustamante (seventh), San Beda College-Manila, 85.9; Soraya Laut, (eighth) from Xavier University and Jericho Tiu, from Ateneo de Manila University, who both got 85.85; Jedd Brian Hernandez (ninth), UP, 85.80; and Ronel Buenaventura (10th), from Bulacan State University, and Lara Carmela Fernando, from San Beda College-Manila, with 85.75.
The 2015 Bar exams were held on four Sundays in November last year in the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. It was the 114th Bar exams in the country.
Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, who chaired the Supreme Court’s 2015 Bar committee, announced the oath taking of passers will be on June 16.
The Bar exams covered Political Law, Labor Law, Civil Law, Taxation, Mercantile Law, Criminal Law, Remedial Law and Legal and Judicial Ethics.