The euphoria of passing the 2018 bar, arguably among the hardest government exams given, cannot be denied, two days after the results were released—putting in the limelight yet again the glory of justice and the majesty of the law.
The passing rate is 22.07 percent, equivalent to 1,800 of the 8,158 examinees who took the bar, the highest number who took the bar in recent years.
In the 2017 bar exams, only 25.55 percent passed, a dramatic plunge from the 59.06 percent passing rate the year before which was attributed by law schools to the “reasonable” bar chairman then, retired Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco.
The highest percentage of exam passers ever recorded was in 1954, with 75.17 percent, with San Beda College of Law’s sole magna cum laude graduate, Florenz Regalado, ranking 1st with a mark of 96.70 percent, the highest average in the Philippine Bar Examinations to date. Regalado later served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
Tears of triumph and torment from those who made it and those who failed glittered under Metro Manila’s 35 °C cloudy sky, as each examinee inched closer to the screen at the Supreme Court whipped by the winds of an upcoming thunderstorm.
But while the exultation by family members, friends, and the schools of the passers continues well beyond today, we call on the new lawyers, who will soon take their oath, led by topnotcher Sean James Borja, to help those who can hardly protect themselves.
It was the American lawyer who served as Attorney General Janet Reno who thought lawyers “who engage in pro bono service to protect those who cannot help themselves are truly the heroes and the heroines of the legal profession.”
As the new lawyers prepare their causes of action and memoranda, it is fitting the times that they remember what another Attorney General of the United States, Robert Kennedy, had said: “The glory of justice and the majesty of law are created not just by the Constitution—nor by the courts—nor by the officers of the law—nor by lawyers—but by the men and women who constitute our society—who are the protectors of the law as they are protected themselves by the law.”
This, we submit.