Ex-Ateneo football team skipper tops Bar

Edu Punay - The Philippine Star

Click here to view the complete list of Bar passers

MANILA, Philippines - Sometimes he felt he’d rather be on a football field than in a law school library.

Ignatius Michael Ingles, however, has found a happy compromise. The former captain of the Ateneo football team is specializing in sports law after topping last year’s Bar exams.

With a rating of 85.64 percent in what was said to be the toughest Bar examination in 13 years, Ingles’ feat gives Ateneo a three-peat of sorts – the third straight year that his university has topped the Bar.

Five others from Ateneo Law School made it to the top 10: Catherine Beatrice King Kay, second place, 84.72 percent; Xavier Jesus Romualdo, fourth, 84.1 percent; Maria Angel Machuca, fifth, 83.99 percent; Marvyn Llamas, eighth, 83.29 percent; and Carlo Martin Li, ninth, 83.27 percent.

Meanwhile, the University of the Philippines College of Law has four graduates among the topnotchers.

April Carmela Lacson placed third with 84.48 percent; Maria Graciela Base, fifth with 83.99 percent; Patrick Henry Salazar, sixth with 83.71 percent; and Francis Paulo Tiopianco, tenth with 83.25 percent.

Aquinas University’s Ralph Karlo Barcelona also made it to the top 10, placing seventh with 83.43 percent.

Only 949 of the 5,343 law graduates who took the exams passed – a passing rate of 17.76 percent.

Among those who passed the Bar is the son of Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, Jose Lorenzo.

The top magistrate inhibited from the special session of the Supreme Court yesterday for the approval of the results.

Associate Justice Martin Villarama Jr., chair of the 2012 Bar committee, announced that the justices decided to lower the passing grade from 75 percent to 70 percent in their special session because the original passing rate was “too high.”

Before the adjustment, only 6.86 percent or 361 passers were listed after checking the results.

“In the spirit of the Lenten season, the court was quite liberal this morning,” the magistrate stressed in a press conference before releasing the official list of passers.

Surprise victory

Ingles admitted he was surprised upon learning he topped the Bar exams, which he described as “really very tough.”

“It was really confusing. For example, in remedial law there were 100 MCQ (multiple-choice questions) questions and then at the end you still have to answer essay-type. So it was really draining because it was all under time pressure,” he recalled.

He also admitted he was pressured even more when his two close friends – Cesareo Antonio Singzon Jr. and Raoul Angelo Atadero – topped the Bar exams in the past two years.

“When Ari (Singzon) topped the Bar in 2010, we pressured Anj (Atadero) when he took the Bar the next year. And when Anj made it, it was my turn to be pressured,” Ingles revealed.

Ingles, whose father is also a lawyer, shared some secrets to his journey to the top: “If you really want to do well in the Bar you have to start from Day 1. It doesn’t start when you graduate from law school. It starts once you enter law school – you start training your brain so that you can do well in the Bar.”

But the former collegiate football varsity player, who was part of the Ateneo champion team in the University Athletics Association of the Philippines in 2006 and 2007, also took some time off from studies to play his favorite sport.

“There were times in law school that I would rather be playing in the football field than study in the library but it worked out well,” he said.

His love for sports also inspired him to pursue a career in sports law.

For the meantime, the 29-year-old Ingles said he plans to continue working for the Salvador and Perez law firm in Makati City.

Ingles and other Bar passers will take their oath on April 24 at 2 p.m. at the Philippine International Convention Center.

They may secure their clearances from the Office of the Bar Confidant during office hours, Monday to Friday, beginning April 1, 2013 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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