Philippine Bar Examination


Philippine Bar Examination

The Philippine Bar Examination is the professional licensure examination for lawyers in the Philippines.

It is the only professional licensure exam in the country that is not supervised by the Professional Regulation Commission. The exam is exclusively administered by the Supreme Court of the Philippines through the Supreme Court Bar Examination Committee.

Brief History

The first bar exam was held in 1901, with 13 examinees, while the 2008 bar examination is the 107th (given per Article 8, Section 5, 1987 Constitution). The 2001 bar exam had the highest number of passers -- 1,266 out of 3,849 examinees, or 32.89%, while 2006 had the highest examinees -.6,187. However, the Supreme Court of the Philippines' Office of the Bar Confidant announced that (a new and official record of) 6,533 law graduates will take the 2008 Bar examinations. [ [http://www.gmanews.tv/story/118432/Record-6533-to-take-2008-Bar-Exams---SC gmanews.tv, Record 6,533 to take 2008 Bar Exams - SC] ]

The most notable was the 1999 bar examinations which recorded the lowest passing rate of 16.59% or with a total number of 660 successful examinees. Also, the 2003 bar exam was marred by controversy when the Court ordered a retake of the Mercantile law due to questionnaire leakage. [ [http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20080329-127168/First-bar-exam-in-RP-held-in-1901-with-13-test-takers Inquirer.net, First bar exam in RP held in 1901, with 13 test takers] ] In 2005, the High Tribunal implemented the "five-strike" rule, which disqualifies five-time flunkers from taking future bar exams. [ [http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20080329-127183/1289-pass-bar-exams Inquirer.net, 1,289 pass bar exams] ]

Admission requirements

A bar candidate must meet the following academic qualifications:
*Holder of a professional degree in law from a recognized law school in the Philippines [Section 5, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court.]
*Holder of a bachelor's degree with academic credits in certain required subjects from a recognized college or university in the Philippines or abroad. [Section 6, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court.]

He or she should also meet certain non-academic requisites: [Section 2, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court.]
*A Filipino citizen.
*At least twenty-one (21) years of age.
*A resident of the Philippines.
*Satisfactory evidence of good moral character (usually a certificate from the dean of law school or an immediate superior at work).
*No charges involving moral turpitude have been filed against the candidate or are pending in any court in the Philippines.

Committee of Bar Examiners

The Supreme Court appoints memberships in the Committee of Bar Examiners, the official task force for formulating bar exam questions, instituting policy directives, executing procedures, grading bar examination papers, and releasing the results of the annual bar examination. [Section 12, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court.]

The committee is chaired by an incumbent Justice of the Supreme Court, who is designated by the Supreme Court to serve for a term of one year. The members of the committee includes eight (8) members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, who also hold office for a term of one year. [Section 12, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court.] While the Justice who shall act as Chairman is immediately known, committee members must exert every effort to conceal their identities until the oath-taking of the successful bar examinees, approximately six months after the bar exam. [Section 12, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court.]

Bar review programs

Candidates who meet all the admission requirements usually enroll in special review classes after graduating from law school. These programs are held from April to September in law schools, colleges, universities, and review centers.

Program schedule, content, and delivery differs from one review program to another. Lecturers in these programs are called "bar reviewers". They are usually full-time professors and part-time professorial lecturers in law schools and universities. Most review programs invite incumbent and retired justices and high ranking public officials both as a marketing tool and as a program innovation. [Rufus Rodriguez. "Slaying the Bar Exams Dragon". Rex Bookstore, 2002.]

Venue and itinerary

The examinations are held during the four Sundays of September of every year in the campus of De La Salle University-Manila in Taft Avenue, Manila.

Examinations for the eight bar subjects follow a fixed schedule: [Section 11, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court.]

*"First Sunday":
**Political and International Law (morning session)
**Labor and Social Legislation (afternoon session)
*"Second Sunday":
**Civil Law (morning session)
**Taxation (afternoon session)
*"Third Sunday":
**Mercantile Law (morning session)
**Criminal Law (afternoon session)
*"Fourth Sunday":
**Remedial Law (morning session)
**Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises (afternoon session)

Coverage

The examination covers the following topics, popularly known as the bar subjects: [Rufus B. Rodriguez. "Slaying the Bar Exams Dragon". Rex Bookstore, 2002.]

*Political and Public International Law
**Constitutional Law
**Political Law
**Administrative Law (only the basic doctrines, excluding implementing rules and regulations of government agencies)
**Law on Public Officers
**Public Corporations
**Suffrage
**Public International Law

*Labor and Social Legislation
**Labor Law (Labor Code of the Philippines, excluding the implementing rules and regulations)
**Social Legislation
***Social Security Law
***Revised Government Service Insurance Act of 1977 (including Employees Compensation Act of 1977)
***Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law

*Civil Law
**Civil Code of the Philippines (excluding the Code of Muslim Personal Laws, Water Code, Rental Law, Law on Sale of Subdivision of Lots and Condominiums)
**Family Code of the Philippines (including the Child and Youth Welfare Code)
**Property Registration Decree (excluding the Public Land Law)
**Conflict of Laws (Private International Law)

*Taxation
**General principles of Taxation
**Republic Act No. 1125, creating the Court of Tax Appeals
**National Internal Revenue Code (including the Expanded Value Added Tax or EVAT)
**Tariff and Customs Code (excluding Arrastre and Classification of Commodities)

*Mercantile Law
**Negotiable Instruments Law and Other Allied Laws
***Negotiable Instruments Law (with the Uniform Currency Act)
***Merchants and Commercial Transactions (including Articles 1 to 63 of the Code of Commerce, Retail Trade Law, Bulk Sales Law)
***Letters of Credit under the Code of Commerce
**Insurance Code
**Transportation Laws
***Common Carriers (Articles 1732 to 1766 of the New Civil Code)
***Commercial Contracts for Transportation Over Land (Articles 349 to 379 of the Code of Commerce)
***Maritime Commerce
***Public Service Act
**Corporation Law
***Corporation Code
***Securities Act
***Banking Laws
****Laws on Secrecy of Bank Deposits
****Deposit Insurance Corporation
****Trust Receipts Law (excluding the General Banking Act)
***Other Special Laws
****Chattel Mortgage Law
****Warehouse Receipts Law
****Laws on Intellectual Creations
*****Copyright Law
*****Patent Law
*****Trademark Law
****Insolvency Law
****Truth in Lending Act

*Criminal Law
**Revised Penal Code (Books I & II excluding penalties for specific felonies)
**Indeterminate Sentence Law
**Probation Law
**Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act
**Anti-Fencing Law
**Bouncing Checks Law
**Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972
**Heinous Crimes Law (excluding penalties)

*Remedial Law
**Revised Rules of Court
**1991 Revised Rule on Summary Procedure
**Local Government Code on Conciliation Procedures (Chapter VII)
**Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 (excluding purely administrative provisions, Military Justice Law, Judiciary Act of 1948, and the Law Reorganizing the Court of Agrarian Relations)

*Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises
**Legal Ethics
**Judicial Ethics
**Code of Professional Responsibility
**Grievance Procedures (Rules 139-B, Revised Rules of Court)
**Forms

Grading system

The eight bar subjects are separately graded. Each subject contributes to the general average in the following proportion: [Section 14, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court.]

*Civil Law - 15%
*Labor and Social Legislation - 10%
*Mercantile Law - 15%
*Criminal Law - 10%
*Political and International Law - 15%
*Taxation - 10%
*Remedial Law - 20%
*Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises - 5%

The passing average fixed by law is 75%, with no grade falling below 50% in any bar subject. [Section 14, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court.]

Passing average vs. Passing rate

The passing average is the minimum grade in the exam required to be admitted to the practice of law. The passing rate is the proportion of total number of bar passers in relation to the total number of bar examinees. It is usually computed on two levels--the national level (national bar passing rate), and the law school level (law school passing rate).

In the past, passing averages were considerably lower to admit more new lawyers (i.e. 69% in 1947, 69.45% in 1946, 70% in 1948). Since 1982, the passing average has been fixed at 75%. This has led to a dramatic decrease in the national passing rate of bar examinees, from an all-time high of 75.17% in 1954 to an all-time low of 16.59% in 1999 (all-time low should have been the single digit 5% national passing rate for the 2007 bar examination if the Supreme Court did not lower the passing average to 70% and lowered the disqualification rate in 3 subjects). In recent years, the annual national bar passing rate ranges from 20% to 30%. [Bar Passing Percentage from 1946-2003. "The Practice: Business & Leisure Magazine for Lawyers". August-September 2004 Issue.]

Law school passing rates

Law schools with the highest bar passing rates, on average, include:

*Ateneo de Manila Law School - 89.19%
*San Beda College of Law - 85.27%
*University of the Philippines College of Law - 85.19%
*University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law - 56.70%
*Far Eastern University Institute of Law - 26.25%

Schools with 30 or less examinees:
*Ateneo de Davao College of Law - 65.57%
*University of San Carlos - 54.45%
*Arellano University - 46.18%
*Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, College of Law - 41.26%
*Xavier University - 37.45%
*Lyceum of the Philippines University - 32.40%
*St. Louis University - 31.38%cite web
url = http://services.inquirer.net/print/print.php?article_id=63096
title = With Due Respect : Is the bar exam still necessary?
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] [Statistical Data of Philippine Bar Examinations, Office of the Bar Confidant, Supreme Court of the Philippines.] [Bar Passing Percentage from 1946-2003. "The Practice: Business & Leisure Magazine for Lawyers". August-September 2004 Issue.]

Role of the Supreme Court, Criticisms

In 2007, only 5% (of the 5,626 who took the 2007 tests, or less than 300) got the passing grade of 75%. Thus, the Supreme Court adjusted the standard to 70% and the disqualification rate in 3 subjects (civil, labor and criminal law) from 50 to 45%. Accordingly, 1,289 or 22.91%, “passed.” This passing grade reduction is highly unusual, since it last happened in the 1981 exam when the passing grade was lowered to 72.5%.Prior to 1982, the passing mark jumped unpredictably from year to year: 69.45 percent in 1946; 69 in 1947; 70 in 1948, 1963, 1972 and 1974; 71 in 1961; 71.5 in 1953, 1964 and 1965; 72 in 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960 and 1967; 72.5 in 1954, 1962 and 1981; 73 in 1950, 1956, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1975, 1978 and 1980; 73.5 in 1955 and 1979; 74 in 1949, 1951, 1952, 1966, 1971, 1973 and 1977; and 74.5 in 1976.In 1954, the Court lowered the passing grade to 72.5%, even if the passing percentage was already at its highest at 75.17%.In 1999, moves to lower the passing grade to 74% failed, after Justice Fidel Purisima, bar committee chairman failed to disclose that his nephew took the examination. He was censured and his honoraria was reduced to half. [ [http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/columns/view/20080413-130019/How-Arroyo-can-help-produce-better-lawyers Inquirer.net, With Due Respect, How Arroyo can help produce better lawyers] ]

Bar topnotchers

Bar topnotchers are bar examinees who garnered the highest bar exam grades in a particular year. Every year, the Supreme Court releases the bar top ten list. The list contains the names of bar examinees who obtained the ten highest grades. It is possible for more than ten examinees to place in the top ten because numerical ties in the computation of grades usually occur. [List of Bar Topnotchers from 1913 to 2006, Office of the Bar Confidant, Supreme Court of the Philippines.]

Schools which have produced bar topnotchers (1st placers) include: [List of Bar Topnotchers from 1913 to 2006, Office of the Bar Confidant, Supreme Court of the Philippines.]

*University of the Philippines College of Law - forty-nine (49) bar topnotchers
*Ateneo de Manila Law School - nineteen (19) bar topnotchers
*San Beda College of Law - six (6) bar topnotchers
*Philippine Law School - six (6) bar topnotchers
*University of Manila College of Law - four (4) bar topnotchers
*Far Eastern University Institute of Law - three (3) bar topnotchers
*University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law - three (3) bar topnotchers
*University of the Cordilleras (formerly Baguio Colleges Foundation) College of Law - two (2) bar topnotchers
*Manila Law College Foundation (formerly Escuela de Derecho de Manila) - one (1) bar topnotcher
*Manuel L. Quezon University College of Law - one (1) bar topnotcher
*Divine Word College - one (1) bar topnotcher
*University of the East College of Law - one (1) bar topnotcher

Two bar examinees topped the bar exams without graduating from any Philippine law school: [List of Bar Topnotchers from 1913 to 2006, Office of the Bar Confidant, Supreme Court of the Philippines.]

*Jose Diokno - former Senator of the Philippines; 1st placer, 1945 bar exams (Mr. Diokno, who tied for Number One with Mr. Jovito Salonga in the 1945 Bar Exams, would have graduated from the Philippine Law School had not World War II supervened. Mr. Diokno's success in the bar exams is further underscored by the fact that he was also under-age) [Manila Times, 12 April 2008]
*Carolina C. Griño-Aquino - former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court; 1st placer, 1950 bar exams (Ms. Aquino, wife of Mr. Ramon Aquino, 6th placer in 1939 Bar Exams, is officially a graduate of the UP College of Law although she took her first two years of law school at the Colegio de San Agustin) [Manila Times, 12 April 2008]

In the past, non-law school graduates were allowed to take the bar. However, the Revised Rules of Court and Supreme Court Circulars only allow Philippine law graduates to take the bar, necessarily excluding non-law graduates and foreign law graduates from taking part in the exercise. [Section 5, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court.]

While not a guarantee for topping the bar, academic excellence in law school is a good indicator of an examinee's fortune in the bar exams. Ateneo Law School's only summa cum laude graduate, Claudio Teehankee, placed number one in the 1940 Bar Exams. [List of Bar Topnotchers from 1913 to 2006, Office of the Bar Confidant, Supreme Court of the Philippines.] It is worth noting that Teehankee's son, Manuel, followed in his footsteps by graduating at the top of his Ateneo Law School class (albeit, not as summa cum laude) and placing first in the 1983 bar exams. Claudio's nephew, Enrique (from the UP College of Law), also placed number one in the 1976 bar exams. Claudio eventually became Supreme Court Chief Justice, Manuel was formerly Department of Justice Undersecretary and currently Philippine Special Envoy for International Trade as well Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland while Enrique is a successful private practitioner.

This father-son-nephew feat has yet to (and, perhaps, may never) be equalled in the annals of Philippine Bar. For siblings, the closest is when Manuel B. Zamora Jr. placed third in the 1961 Bar Exams and younger brother Ronaldo placed first in the 1969 Bar Exams.

The UP College of Law (which has yet to produce a summa cum laude graduate) had three of its thirteen magna cum laude graduates (the College of Law first conferred the honor to Enrique Ma. Fernando in 1938 [Justices of the Supreme Court of the Philippines Vol. III, p. 27] and, to date, last conferred the same honor to Dionne Marie Sanchez in 2007) place number one in their respective bar exams: Deogracias Eufemio in 1962, Roberto San Jose in 1966 and Ronaldo Zamora in 1969. [List of Bar Topnotchers from 1913 to 2006, Office of the Bar Confidant, Supreme Court of the Philippines.] Eufemio and San Jose established their respective successful private law practices while Zamora became Executive Secretary to then President Joseph Estrada and is currently the Minority Leader in the House of Representatives.

Highest and lowest topnotcher grades

Among all bar topnotchers, the highest general average is 96.7%, attained by Florenz D. Regalado (future Supreme Court Associate Justice) of the San Beda College of Law in 1954, but it was former senator Tecla San Andres-Ziga who became the first woman to top the bar, scoring 89.4 percent in 1930. In 1913, pre-war record was made by Manuel Roxas with 92%, but in 1914, Manuel Goyena beat the record at 93%. Senator San Andres-Ziga (1963-1969) record was broken in 1937 by Cecilia Munoz-Palma with 92.6%. In 1936, Diosdado Macapagal, the 9th president, topped the bar exams with a mark of 89.85%. In 1939, Ferdinand Marcos got the highest score of 92.35 %. In 1944, Jovito Salonga and Jose W. Diokno tied the highest score of 95.3%. [ [http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20080329-127171/Regalados-967-remains-unsurpassed-in-RP-bar-exams-history Inquirer.net, Regalado’s 96.7% remains unsurpassed in RP bar exams history] ] The only other instance of a tie at first place of the bar exams was when Edwin Enrile (salutatorian of his Ateneo Law School class) and Florin Hilbay (an honor student of the UP College of Law) both garnered the same score in 1999. [List of Bar Topnotchers from 1913 to 2006, Office of the Bar Confidant, Supreme Court of the Philippines.] Enrile is now Deputy Executive Secretary to President Gloria Arroyo and a Professorial Lecturer at the Ateneo Law School while Hilbay is a Professor of Law at the UP College of Law. [Manila Times, 12 April 2008]

The lowest is obtained by Ateneo Law School's Mercedita L. Ona, 83.55%, 2008, which erased the prior record of 84.10%, obtained by Adolfo Brillantes of Escuela de Derecho de Manila (now Manila Law College Foundation) in 1920. [List of Bar Topnotchers from 1913 to 2006, Office of the Bar Confidant, Supreme Court of the Philippines.] [ [http://www.gmanews.tv/story/86841/Women-outshine-men-in-RP-bar-exams GMA NEWS.TV, Women outshine men in RP bar exams] ]

Highest scores in specific bar subjects

While no bar examinee has ever reached a 100% general average, several bar examinees have garnered perfect and near-perfect grades in specific bar subjects.

In 1949, Anacleto C. Mañgaser of the Philippine Law School earned 100% in Mercantile Law, and placed 1st in the bar exams of that year. His average of 95.85% broke all prior records before it was bested by Florenz Regalado in 1954. [List of Bar Topnotchers from 1913 to 2006, Office of the Bar Confidant, Supreme Court of the Philippines.]

In 1953, Juan Ponce Enrile (future Senator) of the University of the Philippines College of Law earned 100% in Taxation Law and placed 11th in the bar exams of that year. [List of Bar Topnotchers from 1913 to 2006, Office of the Bar Confidant, Supreme Court of the Philippines.]

In 1955, Raul Gonzales (future Secretary of Justice) of the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law earned 99% in Remedial Law and 95% in International Law. However, he did not place in the top ten. [List of Bar Topnotchers from 1913 to 2006, Office of the Bar Confidant, Supreme Court of the Philippines.]

In 1997, Maria Celia H. Fernandez of the University of the Philippines College of Law earned 100% in Legal Ethics and emerged as the year's bar topnotcher. [List of Bar Topnotchers from 1913 to 2006, Office of the Bar Confidant, Supreme Court of the Philippines.]

In 2001, Rodolfo Ma. A. Ponferrada, that year's valedictorian of the University of the Philippines College of Law obtained perfect scores of 100% in Remedial Law, the highest weighted of the bar subjects, as well as Criminal Law. The difference (3.75%) between his final bar examination score (93.80%) and that of the second-placer, Jesus Paolo U. Protacio (90.05%), that year's valedictorian of the Ateneo de Manila Law School, is the highest of all time. That year's valedictorian of the San Beda College of Law, Adonis V. Gabriel, placed 8th (88.25%). [List of Bar Topnotchers from 1913 to 2006, Office of the Bar Confidant, Supreme Court of the Philippines.] [Business Mirror, 1 April 2008] This 3.75% difference eclipsed the previous highest difference of 2.10% registered in 1966 when Roberto V. San Jose (valedictorian of the UP College of Law) garnered a grade of 90.6% versus the 88.5% of the tied second placers, Ruben F. Balane (salutatorian of the UP College of Law) and Pablo S. Trillana III (valedictorian of the San Beda College of Law).

In 2005, Gladys V. Gervacio of the University of Perpetual Help-Rizal earned 100% in two bar subjects--Legal Ethics and Labor Law. She placed 6th in the bar exams of that year. [List of Bar Topnotchers from 1913 to 2006, Office of the Bar Confidant, Supreme Court of the Philippines.]

Increasing difficulty

The difficulty of the recent bar examinations, compared to exams of the past, can be attributed to the following factors: [Bar Passing Percentage from 1946-2003. "The Practice: Business & Leisure Magazine for Lawyers". August-September 2004 Issue.]

*The growing volume of Philippine case and statutory laws is unprecedented. Laws, jurisprudence, and legal doctrines of the past constitute only a small fraction of contemporary Philippine legal materials, which are increasing on a daily basis. [Rufus B. Rodriguez. "Legal Research". Rex Bookstore, 2002.]

*The 75% passing average with no grade lower than 50% in any subject is already fixed by law. Actual candidates who scored 74.99% in the general average were not admitted to the practice of law, unless they retake the bar exams. [Bar Passing Percentage from 1946-2003. "The Practice: Business & Leisure Magazine for Lawyers". August-September 2004 Issue.]

*The Three-Failure Rule is now in place. Candidates who have failed the bar exams for three times are not permitted to take another bar exam until they re-enroll and pass regular fourth-year review classes and attend a pre-bar review course in an approved law school. [Section 6, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court.]

*The Five-Strike Rule is implemented since 2005. The rule limits to five the number of times a candidate may take the Bar exams. The rule disqualifies a candidate after failing in three examinations. However, he is permitted to take fourth and fifth examinations if he successfully completes a one year refresher course for each examination. [Supreme Court resolution in Bar Matter No. 1161. 2005.]

*The four-year bachelor's degree is required before admission to law school. Hence, every bar examinee has to hold at least two degrees--one in law and one in another field. In the past, law schools readily admit high school graduates and two-year Associate in Arts degree holders. [Section 6, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court.]

After the end of the Second World War, the passing rate in the succeeding years was remarkably high, ranging from 56 to 72% percent. However, after Associate Justice J.B.L. Reyes, a noted scholar, was appointed Chairman of the 1955 Bar Examinations, the passing rate for that year dropped dramatically to 26.8%, with a mortality rate of 73.2%. That ratio has been invariably maintained in the 50+ years since. [JBL: Selected Speeches and Essays in Honor of Justice Jose B.L. Reyes, p. 57-58]

Waiting period

The largely essay-type exams are manually checked by members of the Committee of Bar Examiners. Candidates have to wait from the last Sunday of the bar exams in September up to the date of the release of results, which traditionally happens before or during the Holy Week (the last week of March or the first week of April) of the following year.

During this period, candidates (who already hold law and bachelor's degrees) may opt to work in law firms and courts as legal researchers, teach in liberal arts and business colleges, function in companies and organizations using their pre-law degrees (i.e. Communication Arts, Accounting, Economics, Journalism, etc.), help run the family business, or take a long vacation. [Ricardo B. Teruel. "Practical Lawyering in the Philippines". Revised Edition. Central Professional Books, 1999.]

Admission of Successful Bar Examinees

The Office of the Bar Confidant of the Philippine Supreme Court releases the Official List of Successful Bar Examinees, usually during the last week of March or the first week of April of every year. Candidates whose names appear in the list are required to take and subscribe before the Supreme Court the corresponding Oath of Office. [Section 17, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court.]

Candidates shall take an Oath of Office and sign their names in the "Roll of Attorneys of the Supreme Court". [Section 19, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court.] The oath-taking is usually held in May at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) with a formal program where all Justices of the Supreme Court, sitting "en banc", formally approve the applications of the successful bar candidates. The eight bar examiners are officially introduced to the public. A message to the newly inducted lawyers is delivered by one of the justices. Candidates who made the "bar top ten" list are also introduced and honored. The deans of all Philippine law schools are requested to attend the ceremony and grace the front seats of the plenary hall. [Rufus B. Rodriguez. "Slaying the Bar Exams Dragon". Rex Bookstore, 2002.]

Controversies

In the 1930s, a distant relative of Imelda Romualdez Marcos who was a Justice in the High Court resigned after a controversy involving the bar examinations. Justice Ramon Fernandez was forced to protect his name and honor when he resigned because of a bar examination scandal. [http://www.malaya.com.ph/apr23/busi7.htm] On November 23, 1979, the High Court, per Justice Pacifico de Castro ordered new examinations in labor and social legislation and taxation. On May 7, 1982, 12 of the Supreme Court's 14 justices resigned amid expose "that the court fixed the bar-examination score of a member's son so that he would pass." Justice Vicente Ericta was accused to have personally approached the bar chairman to inquire whether his (Ericta's) son passed the bar. Ferdinand Marcos accepted the resignations and appointed the new Justices. Chief Justice Enrique Fernando wept at a news conference as he accepted responsibility for rechecking and changing the exam score of Gustavo Ericta, son of Justice Vicente Ericta. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9901E1DF1438F934A35756C0A964948260 query.nytimes.com, AROUND THE WORLD; 12 Philippine Justices Resign in Scandal] ] Associate Justice Fidel Purisima, chairman of the bar committee, did not disclose that he had a nephew who was taking the bar examination in that year. He was merely censured and his honoraria as bar examiner were forfeited.On September 24, 2003, the Supreme Court, per a bleary-eyed Associate Justice Jose Vitug, annulled the tests results on mercantile law after "confirmation of what could be the most widespread case of cheating in the 104-year-old bar exams". [ [http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/net/2003/09/24/bar.leakage.extends.exams.by.one.sunday.html sun star, Bar leakage extends exams by one Sunday] ] Since the 1982 "Ericta Scandal", it was only in 2008 that the Court relaxed the fixed rules on passing grades amid the inhibitions of 5 Justices whose relatives took the exams.

Bar Top Ten List

The Office of the Bar Confidant releases an official Bar Top Ten list together with the list of names of all successful bar examinees. The "Bar Top Ten" contains the names of the candidates who garnered the ten highest general averages in the bar exam for that year. The highest ranking candidate in the list is known as the bar topnotcher. The list has always been the subject of much media attention and public speculation. ["Results of the Philippine Bar Exams." "TV Patrol World", ABS-CBN, March 2006.]

Making a place in the list is widely regarded as an important life achievement, an attractive professional qualification, and a necessary improvement in a lawyer's professional and social status. ["Results of the Philippine Bar Exams." "TV Patrol World", ABS-CBN, March 2006.]

Famous bar top ten placers

Prominent lawyers who made the "bar top ten" include: [Roll of Attorneys of the Supreme Court, June 2007.] [Faculty and alumni list, Ateneo School of Law, June 2007.] [Faculty and alumni list, FEU Institute of Law, June 2007.] [Faculty and alumni list, Lyceum of the Philippines College of Law, June 2007.] [Faculty and alumni list, MLQU College of Law, June 2007.] [Faculty and alumni list, San Beda College of Law, June 2007.] [Faculty and alumni list, San Sebastian College-Recoletos College of Law, June 2007.] [Faculty and alumni list, UE College of Law, June 2007.] [Faculty and alumni list, UP College of Law, June 2007.] [Faculty and alumni list, UST Faculty of Civil Law, June 2007.]

Presidents and Vice Presidents

*Manuel Roxas - former Philippine President; 1st placer, 1913 Bar Exams
*Diosdado Macapagal - former Philippine President; 1st placer, 1936 Bar Exams
*Ferdinand Marcos - former Philippine President; 1st placer, 1939 Bar Exams
*Jose P. Laurel - former Philippine President; 2nd placer, 1915 Bar Exams
*Sergio Osmeña - former Philippine President; 2nd placer, 1903 Bar Exams
*Manuel L. Quezon - former Philippine President; 4th placer, 1903 Bar Exams
*Carlos P. Garcia - former Philippine President; 7th placer, 1923 Bar Exams
*Emmanuel Pelaez - former Philippine Vice President; 1st placer, 1938 Bar Exams
*Arturo Tolentino - former Philippine Vice President; 2nd placer, 1934 Bar Exams

upreme Court and Court of Appeals Justices

*Roberto Concepcion - former Philippine Chief Justice; 1st placer, 1924 Bar Exams
*Claudio Teehankee - former Philippine Chief Justice; 1st placer, 1940 Bar Exams
*Pedro Yap - former Philippine Chief Justice; 1st placer, 1946 Bar Exams
*Ricardo Paras - former Philippine Chief Justice; 2nd placer, 1913 Bar Exams
*Andres Narvasa - former Philippine Chief Justice; 2nd placer, 1951 Bar Exams
*Jose Yulo - former Philippine Chief Justice; 3rd placer, 1913 Bar Exams
*Artemio Panganiban - former Philippine Chief Justice; 6th placer, 1960 Bar Exams
*Ramon Aquino - former Philippine Chief Justice; 9th placer, 1939 Bar Exams
*Jose P. Laurel - former Philippine Supreme Court Justice; 2nd placer, 1915 Bar Exams
*J.B.L. Reyes - former Philippine Supreme Court Justice; 6th placer, 1922 Bar Exams
*Cecilia Muñoz Palma - former Philippine Supreme Court Justice; 1st placer, 1937 Bar Exams
*Ambrosio Padilla - former Philippine Supreme Court Justice; 3rd placer, 1934 Bar Exams
*Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera - former Philippine Supreme Court Justice; 1st placer, 1947 Bar Exams
*Irene Cortes - former Philippine Supreme Court Justice; 9th placer, 1948 Bar Exams
*Carolina A. Griño-Aquino - former Philippine Supreme Court Justice; 1st placer, 1950 Bar Exams
*Isagani A. Cruz - former Philippine Supreme Court Justice; 8th placer, 1951 Bar Exams
*Florentino Feliciano - former Philippine Supreme Court Justice; 6th placer, 1952 Bar Exams
*Florenz D. Regalado - former Philippine Supreme Court Justice; 1st placer, 1954 Bar Exams
*Adolfo Azcuna - Philippine Supreme Court Justice; 4th placer, 1962 Bar Exams
*Antonio Eduardo Nachura - Philippine Supreme Court Justice; 7th placer, 1967 Bar Exams
*Presbitero Velasco, Jr. - Philippine Supreme Court Justice; 6th placer, 1971 Bar Exams
*Antonio Carpio - Philippine Supreme Court Justice; 6th placer, 1975 Bar Exams
*Arturo D. Brion - Philippine Supreme Court Justice; former Philippine Court of Appeals Justice; 1st placer, 1974 Bar Exams
*Bienvenido V. Reyes - former Philippine Court of Appeals Presiding Justice; 5th placer, 1954 Bar Exams
*Salome A. Montoya - former Philippine Court of Appeals Presiding Justice; 6th placer, 1954 Bar Exams
*Alicia V. Sempio-Dy - former Philippine Court of Appeals Justice; 5th placer, 1950 Bar Exams
*Oscar M. Herrera - former Philippine Court of Appeals Justice; 8th placer, 1953 Bar Exams
*Demetrio Demetria - former Philippine Court of Appeals Justice; 2nd placer, 1964 Bar Exams
*Mario Guariña III - former Philippine Court of Appeals Justice; 2nd placer, 1967 Bar Exams
*Lucas Bersamin - Philippine Court of Appeals Justice; 9th placer, 1973 Bar Exams
*Celia Librea-Leagogo - Philippine Court of Appeals Justice; 5th placer, 1981 Bar Exams

enators and Representatives

*Manuel Roxas - former Philippine Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives; 1st placer, 1913 Bar Exams
*Manuel L. Quezon - former Philippine Senate President; 4th placer, 1903 Bar Exams
*Arturo Tolentino - former Philippine Senate President; 2nd placer, 1934 Bar Exams
*Ferdinand Marcos - former Philippine Senate President; 1st placer, 1939 Bar Exams
*Jovito Salonga - former Philippine Senate President; 1st placer, 1944 Bar Exams
*Neptali Gonzales - former Philippine Senate President; 9th placer, 1949 Bar Exams
*Ernesto M. Maceda - former Philippine Senate President; 10th placer, 1956 Bar Exams
*Franklin Drilon - former Philippine Senate President; 3rd placer, 1969 Bar Exams
*Lorenzo Sumulong - former Philippine Senator; 1st placer, 1929 Bar Exams
*Jose Diokno - former Philippine Senator; 1st placer, 1944 Bar Exams
*Renato V. Saguisag (Rene Saguisag) - former Philippine Senator; 6th placer, 1963 Bar Exams
*Sergio Osmeña - former Speaker of the House of Representatives; 2nd placer, 1903 Bar Exams
*Jose Yulo - former Speaker of the House of Representatives; 3rd placer, 1913 Bar Exams
*Aguedo F. Agbayani - former Pangasinan Representative; 5th placer, 1947 Bar Exams
*Antonio Eduardo Nachura - former Samar Representative; 7th placer, 1967 Bar Exams
*Ronaldo B. Zamora - San Juan Representative; 1st placer, 1969 Bar Exams
*Prospero Nograles - Speaker of the House of Representatives; 2nd placer, 1971 Bar Exams
*Arturo D. Brion - Assemblyman, Philippine National Assembly; 1st placer, 1974 Bar Exams
*Gilberto Eduardo Gerardo C. Teodoro, Jr. - former Tarlac Representative; 1st placer, 1989 Bar Exams

Appointees and career service officials

*Roberto Concepcion - Member, 1986 Constitutional Commission; 1st placer, 1924 Bar Exams
*Lorenzo Sumulong - Member, 1986 Constitutional Commission; 1st placer, 1929 Bar Exams
*Arturo Tolentino - Member, Philippine Civil Code Commission; former Minister of Foreign Affairs; 2nd placer, 1934 Bar Exams
*Ambrosio Padilla - Member, 1986 Constitutional Commission; 3rd placer, 1934 Bar Exams
*Diosdado Macapagal - President, Philippine Constitutional Convention of 1971; 1st placer, 1936 Bar Exams
*Cecilia Muñoz-Palma - President, Philippine Constitutional Commission of 1986; Chairperson, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office; 1st placer, 1937 Bar Exams
*Jovito Salonga - former Chairman, Presidential Commission on Good Government; 1st placer, 1944 Bar Exams
*Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera - Chancellor, Philippine Judicial Academy; Chairperson, Legal Publications Committee, Supreme Court Centenary Celebrations; 1st placer, 1947 Bar Exams
*Alicia V. Sempio-Dy - Member, Philippine Civil Code Revision Committee; former Commissioner, National Commission on Women; 5th placer, 1950 Bar Exams
*Andres Narvasa - Chairman, Preparatory Commission for Constitutional Reform; 2nd placer, 1951 Bar Exams
*Gabriel Singson - former Governor of the Central Bank of the Philippines; 2nd placer, 1952 Bar Exams
*Florentino Feliciano - Chairman, Feliciano Commission investigating the Oakwood Mutiny; 6th placer, 1952 Bar Exams
*Florenz D. Regalado - Member, 1986 Constitutional Commission; 1st placer, 1954 Bar Exams
*Jose Nolledo - Delegate, 1971 Constitutional Convention & Member, 1986 Constitutional Commission; 3rd placer, 1958 Bar Exams
*Haydee Yorac - former Chairperson, Presidential Commission on Good Government; former Commissioner, Commission on Elections; 8th placer, 1962 Bar Exams
*Adolfo Azcuna - Member, 1986 Constitutional Commission; 4th placer, 1962 Bar Exams
*Joaquin G. Bernas - Member, 1986 Constitutional Commission; Member, Feliciano Commission investigating the Oakwood mutiny; 9th placer, 1962 Bar Exam
*Pablo S. Trillana III - former Chairman and Executive Director, National Historical Institute; 2nd placer, 1966 Bar Exam
*Anacleto C. Mañgaser (var. Mangaser) - former Chairman, Reparations Commission; 1st placer, 1949 Bar Exams
*Sergio A. Apostol - Chief Presidential Legal Counsel; 7th placer, 1958 Bar Exams
*Ismael G. Khan Jr. - former Spokesperson, Philippine Supreme Court; 6th placer, 1959 Bar Exams
*Antonio Eduardo Nachura - former Solicitor General; 7th placer, 1967 Bar Exams
*Fulgencio S. Factoran, Jr. - former Executive Secretary; 9th placer, 1967 Bar Exams
*Jose Mario Buñag - former Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner; 2nd placer, 1968 Bar Exams
*Ronaldo B. Zamora - former Executive Secretary; 1st placer, 1969 Bar Exams
*Franklin Drilon - former Secretary of Labor and Employment; 3rd placer, 1969 Bar Exams
*Jess Dureza - Mindanao Super Region In-charge; 10th placer, 1973 Bar Exams
*Arturo D. Brion - Secretary of Labor and Employment; 1st placer, 1974 Bar Exams
*Antonio Carpio - former Chief Presidential Legal Counsel; 6th placer, 1975 Bar Exams
*Avelino Cruz, Jr. - former Secretary of National Defense; 7th placer, 1977 Bar Exams
*Simeon Marcelo - former Philippine Ombudsman; 5th placer, 1979 Bar Exams
*Manuel Antonio J. Teehankee - former Undersecretary of Justice; Ambassador to the World Trade Organization; 1st placer, 1983 Bar Exams
*Antonio M. Bernardo - former Bureau of Customs Commissioner; 2nd placer, 1988 Bar Exams
*Gilberto Eduardo Gerardo C. Teodoro, Jr. - Secretary of National Defense; 1st placer, 1989 Bar Exams
*Persida V. Rueda-Acosta - Chief Public Attorney of the Philippines; 5th placer, 1989 Bar Exams
*Ruben Carranza, Jr. - Commissioner, Presidential Commission on Good Government; 8th placer, 1990 Bar Exams
*Maria Celia H. Fernandez - former Chief, Presidential Management Staff; 1st placer, 1997 Bar Exams
*Janet T. Abuel - Regional Director, Department of Budget and Management; 1st placer, 1998 Bar Exams
*Edwin R. Enrile - former Assistant Executive Secretary, Office of the President; Deputy Executive Secretary, Office of the President; 1st placer, 1999 Bar Exams
*Rodolfo Ma. A. Ponferrada - former Assistant Chief of Staff, Office of the Vice President; Director, Social Housing Finance Corporation; 1st placer, 2001 Bar Exams

Local officials

*Pablo P. Garcia - former Governor of Cebu; 3rd placer, 1951 Bar Exams
*Aguedo F. Agbayani - former Governor of Pangasinan; 5th placer, 1947 Bar Exams
*Isidoro E. Real, Jr. - former Governor / Congressman of Zamboanga del Sur; 7th placer, 1961 Bar Exams
*Roldan Dalman - former Governor of Zamboanga del Norte;former Presidential Assistant for Regional Concerns,Western Mindanao 6th placer, 1975 Bar Exams

Academe

*Joaquin G. Bernas - former President, Ateneo de Manila University; Dean Emeritus, Ateneo Law School; 9th placer, 1962 Bar Exam
*Virgilio B. Jara - Dean, San Beda College of Law ;; 5th placer, 1962 Bar Exams
*Jovito Salonga - former Dean, Far Eastern University Institute of Law; 1st placer, 1944 Bar Exams
*Neptali Gonzales - former Dean, Far Eastern University Institute of Law; 9th placer, 1949 Bar Exams
*Andres Narvasa - former Dean, University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law; 2nd placer, 1951 Bar Exams
*Norberto S. Gonzales - Dean, Manuel L. Quezon University School of Law; 5th placer, 1958 Bar Exams
*Custodio O. Parlade - President Emeritus, Philippine Dispute Resolution Centre; Lecturer and Bar Reviewer; 4th placer, 1959 Bar Exams
*Agustin O. Benitez - former Dean, University of the East College of Law; 1st placer, 1959 bar Exams
*Virgilio B. Jara - Dean, San Beda College of Law 5th placer, 1962 Bar Exams
*Cesar L. Villanueva - Dean, Ateneo Law School; 2nd placer, 1981 Bar Exams
*Jose Jesus G. Laurel - former Dean, Lyceum of the Philippines College of Law; 6th placer, 1981 Bar Exams
*Roy Joseph M. Rafols - former Dean, Palawan State University College of Law; 2nd placer, 1984 Bar Exams
*Pacifico N. Castro - Law Professor and Bar Reviewer; 8th placer, 1954 Bar Exams
*Manuel T. Muro - Law Professor and Bar Reviewer, former Trial Court Judge; 6th placer, 1955 Bar Exams
*Roberto San Jose - Law Professor and Bar Reviewer; 1st placer, 1966 Bar Exams
*Ruben F. Balane - Law Professor and Bar Reviewer; 2nd placer, 1966 Bar Exams
*Hildegardo F. Iñigo - former Dean, Ateneo de Davao University College of Law and Bar Reviewer, 8th placer, 1966 Bar Exams
*Jacinto D. Jimenez (Jack Jimenez) - Law Professor and Bar Reviewer; 3rd placer, 1968 Bar Exams
*Arturo de Castro - Law Professor and Bar Reviewer; 3rd placer, 1970 Bar Exams
*Rene Gorospe - Law Professor and Bar Reviewer; 2nd placer, 1979 Bar Exams
*Manuel J. Laserna, Jr. - Law Professor and Bar Reviewer (Far Eastern University, Manila, 1985-2006); 3rd placer, 1984 Bar Exams (90.95%); trial lawyer; Bar leader; founder of the Las Pinas City Bar Association (2001); and managing partner of the Laserna Cueva-Mercader & Associates Law Offices (LCM Law, Las Pinas City).
*Abelardo T. Domondon - Law Professor and Bar Reviewer; 4th placer, 1985 Bar Exams, graduate of Adamson University College of Law
*Roberto A. Gana - Law Professor and Bar Reviewer; 5th placer, 1986 Bar Exams
*Jose Maria G. Hofileña - Law Professor and Bar Reviewer; 10th placer, 1987 Bar Exams
*Michael G. Aguinaldo - Law Professor; 7th placer, 1992 Bar Exams
*Anna Leah Fidelis T. Castañeda - Law Professor; 1st placer, 1993 Bar Exams
*Maria Socorro Z. Manguiat - Law Professor; 10th placer, 1993 Bar Exams
*Maria Paz Romana S. Angeles - Law Professor; 10 placer, 1994 Bar Exams
*Carla E. Santamaria-Seña - Law Professor; 5th placer, 1995 Bar Exams
*Shennan A. Sy - Law Professor; 6th placer, 1995 Bar Exams
*Arnold De Vera - Law Professor; 8th placer, 1987 Bar Exams
*Florin T. Hilbay - Law Professor; 1st placer, 1999 Bar Exams
*Rodolfo Ma. A. Ponferrada - Professor of Law (UP and Ateneo); 1st placer, 2001 Bar Exams
*Solomon F. Lumba - Professor of Law (UP); 4th placer, 2001 Bar Exams
*Adonis V. Gabriel - Professor of Law (SBC); 8th placer, 2001 Bar Exams
*Samson S. Alcantara - Practicing Lawyer; Professor and Bar Reviewer (MLQU); Author-Philippine Labor and Social Legislation; 3rd placer, Bar Exams
*Connie Chu - Professor(Ateneo), 2nd Place, 2002 Bar Exams
*Ma. Ngina Chan-Gonzaga - Professor(Ateneo), 4th Place, 2002 Bar Exams
*Michelle Juan - Professor(Ateneo, FEU-DLSU, PLM), 4th Place, 2002 Bar Exams
*Pedro Jose F. Bernardo - Professor (Ateneo, FEU-DLSU, PLP), 8th Place, 2005 Bar Exams

Private sector

*Manuel Montecillo - Name Partner, Siguion Reyna Montecillo & Ongsiako (oldest law firm); 1st placer, 1948 Bar Exams
* [http://www.accralaw.com Manuel S. Abello] - Founding Partner, Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz (ACCRALAW) ; 1st placer, 1958 Bar Exams
*Nelly Favis-Villafuerte - Editor, Manila Bulletin; 7th placer, 1959 Bar Exams
*Avelino V. Cruz - Founding Partner, ACCRALAW; youngest to top the bar, 1st placer, 1962 Bar Exams
*Mercedita V. Santiago-Nolledo - Corporate Secretary, Ayala Corporation; 2nd placer, 1965 Bar Exams
*Rodolfo D. Robles - General practitioner; 1st placer, 1967 Bar Exams
*Januario B. Soller Jr. - Co-founder, Soller Chain of Pawnshops; 1st placer, 1972 Bar Exams
*Jesus M. Manalastas - Name Partner, PECABAR Law Firm; 2nd placer, 1972 Bar Exams
*Victor P. Lazatin - Senior Partner, ACCRALAW; 3rd placer, 1972 Bar Exams
*Barbara Anne Migallos - Name Partner, Roco Buñag Kapunan Migallos Law Firm; Co-founder, Migallos & Luna Law Office; 3rd placer, 1979 Bar Exams
*Mario Luz Bautista - Co-founder, Poblador Bautista Reyes Law Firm; 6th placer, 1979 Bar Exams
*Arthur Lim - former National President, Integrated Bar of the Philippines; 3rd placer, 1981 Bar Exams
*Ray C. Espinosa - Partner, SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan; Executive Director, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company; President and CEO, ePLDT; Vice Chairman, Philweb Corporation; 1st placer, 1982 Bar Exams
*Agerico T. Paras - Founding Partner and Managing Partner, Paras and Manlapaz Lawyers; 6th placer, 1983 Bar Exams
*Menardo L. Guevarra - Co-founder, Serapio Guevarra Medialdea Law Firm; 2nd placer, 1985 Bar Exams
*Marlon Manuel - Director, SALIGAN (non-profit legal assistance group); 5th placer, 1994 Bar Exams
*Patricia-ann T. Prodigalidad - Partner, ACCRALAW; 1st placer, 1996 Bar Exams
*Maria Celia H. Fernandez - In-house counsel, Yuchengco group of companies; 1st placer, 1997 Bar Exams
*Jose Raulito E. Paras - Partner, Andres Marcelo Padernal Guerrero & Paras; 5th placer, 1997 Bar Exams
*Eliseo M. Zuñiga Jr. - Associate, Quisumbing Torres Law Firm; 1st placer, 2000 Bar Exams
*Rodolfo Ma. A. Ponferrada - Associate, SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan; 1st placer, 2001 Bar Exams
*Ma. Theresa U. Ballelos - Associate, Quisumbing Torres Law Firm; 6th placer, 2001 Bar Exams
*Arlene Maneja - Associate, Siguion Reyna Montecillo & Ongsiako; 1st placer, 2002 Bar Exams
*Aeneas Eli S. Diaz - Associate, Villaraza & Angangco (the firm servicing President Arroyo's family); 1st placer, 2003 Bar Exams
*January A. Sanchez - Consultant, Asian Development Bank; 1st placer, 2004 Bar Exams
*Joan A. De Venecia - Associate, SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan; 1st placer, 2005 Bar Exams
*Noel Neil Q. Malimban - Business Law Lecturer and Reviewer, University of the Cordilleras; 1st placer, 2006 Bar Exams

1st place in the Philippine Bar Examinations

External links

* [http://www.supremecourt.gov.ph Supreme Court of the Philippines]
* [http://www.ibp.org.ph Integrated Bar of the Philippines]
* [http://www.ibpnegor.com Integrated Bar of the Philippines - Negros Oriental Chapter]
* [http://www.gmanews.tv/examresult GMA NEWS.TV, COMPLETE LIST OF BAR PASSERS, 1,289 Pass 2007 Bar Exams of 5,626 from 109 law schools]
* [http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/storypage.aspx?StoryId=113445 Abs-Cbn Interactive, 2007 BAR EXAMINATIONS LIST OF SUCCESSFUL EXAMINEES]
* [http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/columns/view/20080419-131471/How-to-pass-nay-top-the-bar-exams Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban, With Due Respect,How to pass, nay, top the bar exams]
* [http://www.supremecourt.gov.ph/bar/bar%20topnotchers/index.php List of Philippine Bar Topnotchers, 1913-2007]

ee also

*Legal education in the Philippines
*Integrated Bar of the Philippines
*Supreme Court of the Philippines

References

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