The new lawyer who topped the 2019 Bar exams, Mae Diane Azores of the University of Santo Tomas-Legazpi, attributed her success to hard work and prayers.
Azores, who is also a Certified Public Accountant and works as a state auditor, got a score of 91.049% at the Bar exams, according to the Supreme Court Public Information Office.
To prepare for the tough exams, she recounted that she studied for 10 to 12 hours, disconnected from social media and also praying the rosary.
“No dream is ever big, especially po sa provincial schools. We can always dream bigger. Kung iisipin talaga natin, kung kaya talaga, kaya talaga siya. Tiwala lang sa Diyos. Dasal lang talaga,” Azores said in an interview with ABS-CBN.
In another interview with DZMM, Azores shared that acing the Bar exams became her “good news” amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and the recent passing of her grandmother last March.
“Before siya pumanaw sabi niya sa’kin, inaantay ko na lang sana yung results mo bago ako umalis. I believe she’s watching from heaven, cheering for me,” Azores said.
For Azores, the challenge for her and her fellow new lawyers now is not to be overwhelmed with power and title that comes with the profession.
“Nakikita naman po natin sa news and kabi-kabilang violation of human rights, even in broad daylight po nakikita natin. Ang feeling ko and pinaka challenge po talaga ngayon is not to be overwhelmed with the power, title, but instead, just think that this is a profession, this is a vocation,” she told News5 in an interview.
“Kailangan talagang I-serve ang people. ‘Yun talaga ang daapt unang unahin. Kailangan isipin ng mga bagong abogado ngayon na ang pagiging abogado is a responsibility,” she added.
Another successful Bar taker who placed fourth in the exams, Dawna Fya Bandiola of the San Beda College-Alabang, also shared that this was her second time after failing in 2018.
“Hindi naman pala lahat talaga ibibigay sa ‘yo kung kailan mo gusto. Mayroong times na kailangan maka-experience ka ng rejection para mas mabigyan mo ng importansya iyong mga bagay na hindi mo binibigyan ng pansin,” Bandiola said in an interview with ABS-CBN.
New lawyers amid the current justice system and the pandemic
Due to the ban on onsite activities under the enhanced community quarantine rules, the SC just released the names of Bar passers online through its official website.
The photos and names of the top ten passers were also shared on SCPIO’s social accounts.
— Supreme Court Public Information Office (PIO) (@SCPh_PIO) April 29, 2020
Almost half of the topnotchers are CPA lawyers.
The SCPIO also announced that the passing rate in the 2019 bar exams is higher at 27.36% compared to the previous year’s 22.07%.
Several notable figures in the legal community later congratulated the Bar passers on social media.
Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno wished them good luck in facing the current legal landscape in the country.
Diokno hoped that the new lawyers will ensure that they would “defend the oppressed and see to it that no one is above the law.”
“To build a better house of justice for our people, we need lawyers who will exert every effort to level the playing field, defend the oppressed, and see to it that no one is above the law. I hope you become those lawyers. Congratulations to my new kompanyeros and kompanyeras!” he said.
Finding justice in the legal landscape that you will be stepping into won’t be easy. In many ways, our justice system is…
Sen. Risa Hontiveros, also a human rights activist, acknowledged that majority of the topnotchers are women as she congratulated everyone who passed.
“Good luck on your journeys, mga attorney! Congratulations also to the topnotchers! (At ang galing talaga ng mga Pinay.) #Girlpower,” Hontiveros said.
Congratulations to our bar passers! This a great achievement & also a responsibility to serve justice w/ integrity & honesty. Good luck on your journeys, mga attorney! #BarResults2019
Congratulations also to the topnotchers! (At ang galing talaga ng mga Pinay.) #GirlPower 😊💪🏼💜
— risa hontiveros (@risahontiveros) April 29, 2020
Associate Justice Marvic Leonen also tweeted that their goal in their profession is social justice.
“Be humble. Resist greed. Learn to sacrifice. Every privilege comes with responsibility. Address inequality. Strive for social justice. Serve the people,” Leonen said.
For those who will become lawyers, remember that the profession is not all that you are. Be humble. Resist greed. Learn to sacrifice. Every privilege comes with responsibility. Address inequality. Strive for social justice. Serve the people.#BarResults2019
— Help others. Humanity will endure. (@marvicleonen) April 28, 2020
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, who used to teach at UP law, reminded Bar passers to keep the profession “noble” and uphold the law.
“As our successful examinees enter the legal profession, please keep in mind that they studied law because of their ideal that the legal profession is a ‘noble profession’,” he said.
Roque is hopeful that some of them would consider a career in public service.
“This would be a great opportunity to give back to the community for earning the privilege to practice law in the country,” he said.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, meanwhile, wished them well as they enter the field during the duration of strict quarantine measures and the battle against a deadly virus.
“The country is in quarantine, our courts of justice have temporarily ceased operations, and the conduct and practice of law will surely change once we settle into an anticipated ‘new reality,’” Nograles said on Twitter.
“It is your duty and obligation to find your place and define your own respective roles in this new legal and professional environment,” he added.
To my new Compañeros and Compañeras, my most heartfelt congratulations on your hurdling the bar examinations. 1/6
— Karlo Nograles (@karlo_nograles) April 29, 2020