UP president reacts to absence of topnotcher in 2016 Bar exams


Posted at May 05 2017 09:16 PM

University of the Philippines. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

 'Law school aims to make great lawyers, not make Bar topnotchers'

MANILA - University of the Philippines (UP) President Danilo Concepcion has downplayed the absence of a UP College of Law topnotcher in the 2016 Bar examinations. 

Concepcion, a Bar topnotcher in 1983, who is also UP College of Law dean, explained that law schools were not established to produce Bar topnotchers. 

“The business of a law school is to teach law in the grand manner and to make great lawyers; it doesn’t say to make Bar topnotchers,” Concepcion was quoted by the Philippine Law Register as saying last Wednesday before successful UP Bar examinees.

The Philippine Law Register is the official student publication of the UP College of Law.

Universities from Metro Manila which used to dominate the Top 10 in the Bar Exams were edged out by schools from different regions, a first in decades. 

"It is the first time that not a single Metro Manila-based school placed in the top 10," said Bar Confidant, Atty. Christina Layusa.

Karen Mae Calam, a graduate from the University of San Carlos in Cebu, topped the 2016 Bar examinations.

Despite the absence of a topnotcher , former UP Law Student Government President Lance Ortiz said their batch is still worth looking up to due to the hurdles they faced.

“Our batch may not have a topnotcher but if people knew everything we had gone through, they would look up to our batch,” he said in the Philippine Law Register. 

UP achieved a 97.89 percent overall passing rate in the 2016 Bar examinations, its highest since the 1970s, wrote the Philippine Law Register. 

Paolo Tamase, valedictorian of UP College of Law Class 2016, said UP's higher's passing rate was more important than placing in the top ten. 

"We would rather have a batch with a passing rate of 100 percent than a batch with just 10 topnotchers...Passing the bar is only the minimum requirement of law practice. This is only the beginning," Tamase said during the testimonial dinner last Wednesday, as reported by the Philippine Law Register. 

Results of the 2016 Bar released by the Supreme Court last Wednesday showed that over half of 6,344 graduates passed.

The 59.06 percent passing rate was the "highest passing percentage in the history of bar exams" since 1946, said Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco, Jr.