MANILA - He apparently learned from one of the country's best legal minds.
Ramil Comendador, the determined utility worker who just passed the 2016 Bar exams, credits much of his achievement to one man he considers his mentor and inspiration: former Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Commissioner Rene Sarmiento.
And Sarmiento, one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution, could not be prouder of his once apprentice at the COMELEC, urging him to pass on the kindness and hone others like him.
In a Facebook post Thursday, Sarmiento shared how Comendador reached out to thank him hours after the results of the Bar exams were announced at the Supreme Court.
"A grateful heart! Atty. Ramil Comendador texted me last night, thanking me in combined Bicol dialect and Tagalog. He was asking me how he could thank me," said Sarmiento, now a member of the government peace panel negotiating with the National Democratic Front.
Both Sarmiento and Comendador hail from Catanduanes.
"I replied that to thank me is for him to thank God and produce other Ramils in the future. Pass on the kindness. Pass on hope to others. We are blessed, we should be a blessing to others!," said Sarmiento, who was COMELEC commissioner from 2006 to 2013.
Reached by ABS-CBN News, Sarmiento recalled how Comendador, who took up law at the Universidad de Manila, showed untiring diligence to complete his studies even as he worked at the COMELEC full time.
"I attribute his success to four things. He was a diligent student. He was prayerful. He was fired with the desire to help his poor family in Catanduanes," Sarmiento said.
"He was inquisitive, asking me terms he does not understand. Hindi siya nahihiya. Also asking my legal staff. My office gave him all the encouragement and moral support so he could finish his studies," he added.
Now, 35-year-old Comendador, currently an election assistant at COMELEC, is eligible for a position commensurate to his law degree.
"I told him once that once he becomes a lawyer, he could be an Election Officer, a member of the Law Department or a Director. Now, possibilities are wide open for this humble man," Sarmiento said.
At least one is definite, if you ask COMELEC Chair Andres Bautista.
"He already has a job with COMELEC as election assistant. But as a lawyer, he should now become an election officer," Bautista told ABS-CBN News.
"He will need to apply, but I think it will be a mere formality," added Bautista.