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Women on top in Law and in the PMA

There is no doubt that the best man for the job may be a woman. There are more and more female heads of states and governments all over the world. The Philippines Bar Examinations in the last twenty years were dominated by women lawyers and the Philippine Military Academy in the past five years has had more and women topping each year's graduation. This is an emerging phenomenon that men cannot just ignore. With a female Chief Justice, a female Ombudsman, with more women in the Senate and in the House of Representatives, the males must beware: we are becoming the endangered species.

The 2015 Bar examination was dominated by Rachel Angeli Miranda from UP topping the exams, with USC's Athena Plaza as second placer. The 2016 Bar results will be out in a few weeks, and our bold prediction is that the females again will most probably dominate this very difficult test. The Bar spans four Sundays of grueling exams consisting of eight hard subjects. The law deans in UV, USP, USC and USJ-R are all learned women of law and the academe. There are more and more women justices, judges, prosecutors and Cabinet members nowadays. The Philippines has had two female presidents already, and two female vice presidents.

Last week, both President Duterte and Vice President Robredo attended the PMA graduation rites. This year, PMA makes history with eight out of the ten topnotchers all women. The valedictorian of the class is Rovi Mairel Martinez, with Eda Glis Marapao, Cathleen Jovie Baybayan, Shiela Joy Jallorina, Sheila Marie de Guzman, Joyzy Funchica, Resie Jezreel Hucalla and Catherine Mae Gonzales. The only male survivors making it to the top ten are Philip Viscaya, second placer, and Carlo Emmanuel Canlas, fifth placer. Another female cadet will receive the Journalism Special Award, Michelle Serdino Calusar. Karen Joy Benitez Gamboa will get the Computer and Information Sciences Award, and Maria Isaia Pearl Paracale the Mathematics Award. They all belong to PMA's Salaknib Class of 2017.

In the Bar examinations, the Cebuana who got one of the highest grades among female Cebuanos was Leonor Dicdican, who got an average of 91.2. She was also a Board topnotcher in the CPA exams. A daughter of former appellate justice Isaias Dicdican from a mountain barangay in Dalaguete, Leonor finished her law studies with high honors in UP Diliman. Leonor now practices law in New York, USA. My former student in UST, Arlene Maneja topped the Bar in 2002 with a rating of 92.2, she is now a top corporate lawyer with Sycip Salazar & Gatmaitan, perhaps the biggest law firm in the country. The Filipina who got the highest score among female lawyers in the country was Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera, from UP who got 93.85 in 1953. Cecilia Munoz-Palma got 92.6 and topped the Bar in 1937. Both became justices of the Supreme Court. The first woman Bar topnothcher was Tecla S. Ziga who got 99 in Remedial Law in 1930. Law and the military, which used to be the dominion of men, are now in the hands of women. Women on top is now the emerging trend. Men must just grin and bear it.

josephusbjimenez@gmail.com.

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