Law grad from University of San Carlos Cebu tops 2016 bar exam

A law graduate from the University of San Carlos in Cebu topped the 2016 Bar exams while a janitor at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) also passed the Bar.

These two are part of the 3,747 who passed out of the 6,344 examinees who took the 2016 Bar examinations, or 59.06 percent of the total examinees.

Karen Mae L. Calam, a graduate of the University of San Carlos in Cebu City, hails from Kalilangan of Bukidnon province, has an over-all rating of 89.05 percent.

”I am still shocked and very thankful. I didn’t expect na top 1 although I prayed for it. It’s like a dream,” Calam said.

Currently working at accounting firm SGV & Co, Calam said, ”I don’t have any plans yet. I’m considering going to private practice.”

She said she was on her way to the Bureau of Internal Revenue when one of her officemates informed her of the results of the Bar.

“I didn’t believe at first that I topped the Bar but when my officemates called me to inform, I told myself, this is true,” Calam said in a TV news interview.

She added that she wants to visit various churches especially the Basilica of Sto Nino in Cebu being one of her patrons to thank the Lord for topping the Bar exams.

Calam said she is the first in her family to become a lawyer.

When asked what her secrets for topping the Bar, Calam said unlike her classmates who lost sleep studying and reviewing for the exams, she made sure to get enough sleep, especially in the run up to the exams last November.

”I study to six hours a day. You also need rest for your brain to function,” she noted.

Asked for a comment on the absence of Metro Manila-based law schools in top 10, Calam said it was unexpected but that whatever the results, she has confidence that the Bar exams committee were fair in conducting its job.

She said it would be a double celebration for her and her family as she is also set to wed her fiancée in August this year.

Meanwhile, Ramil Comendador, a janitor at Comelec, is one of the successful examinees at the 2016 Bar exam. Ramil Comendador, 35 years old, who comes from Catanduanes, studied at the Universidad de Manila, while his family lives in Bicol.

Commendador said he used his salary as janitor to pay for his tuition fee for his law school and also with the help of his wife who is an Engineer by profession.

He also expressed gratitude to his former boss Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento and thank the Lord for the guidance.

”First time (ko po nag-take ng Bar exam)o, kaya napakaswerte ko po at hindi ko nga po alam kung paano papasalamatan ang Panginoon talaga at ‘yung mga taong nagbigay ng lakas (ng loob) sa akin. Siguro alam naman ng lahat na nagpakahirap talaga ako na pumasa ng Bar exams. Kaya talagang maraming salamat dun sa mga taong tumulong sa akin. Unang una na po kay Commisioner Sarmiento po… napakabait nyo pong tao,” he stressed.

The Top 10 passers according to the list released by the Supreme Court:

1. Karen Mae L. Calam, University of San Carlos, Cebu City (89.05%)
2. Alanna Gayle Ashley B. Khio, Silliman University, Dumaguete (88.95%)
3. Fiona Cristy D. Lao, University of San Carlos, Cebu City and
Athalia B. Liong, Andres Bonifacio College, Dipolog City (88.8%)
4. Allana Mae A. Babayen-on, University of San Agustin, Iloilo City (88.75%)
5. Justin Ryan D. Morilla, Ateneo de Davao University, Davao City (88.4%)
6. Mark Dave M. Camarao, Northwestern University, Laoag City (88.1%)
7. Anne Margaret E. Momongan, University of San Carlos, Cebu City (87.8%)
8. Jefferson L. Gomez, University of San Carlos, Cebu City (87.7%)
9. Nia Rachelle M. Gonzales, University of Batangas, Batangas City and
Marie Chielo H. Ybio, Silliman University, Dumaguete City (87.5%)
10. Andre Stephen D. Liu, Silliman University, Dumaguete City (87.45%)

Meanwhile, Comelec chair Andres “Andy” Bautista congratulated Commendador through his Twitter account as he share a photo to welcome him as a potential executive officer for the agency.

Commendador is still working in Comelec but as a legal researcher.

Meanwhile, no examinees from Metro Manila-based law schools landed in the top 10 of the 2016 Bar examinations, according to results released by Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Atty. Christina Layusa, the Bar Confidant, pointed out that “it is the first time that not a single Metro Manila-based schools placed in the top 10.”

She said that University of San Carlos had four graduates in the top 10, while Silliman University had three graduates in the top 10.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Presbitero J. Velasco Jr. said the oath-taking of the successful Bar passers will be held on May 22, 2017 at 3 p.m., Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena. Registration will start at 11 a.m.

“The oath taking ceremonies will take place on May 22, Monday, at the Mall of Asia Arena, because of the large number of successful candidates. Since it is a big venue, we are allowing (each) successful candidate to bring or invite at least two or three persons for this momentous event,” he noted. (Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan with Julianne Nicolle Moral)

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