Topnotcher: I just wanted to be called attorney
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - March 27, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Bar topnotcher said it was a miracle.

Irene Mae Alcobilla, of San Beda College-Manila law school, topped last year’s Bar exams with 85.5 percent even though she was not in the honor roll of her batch.

In an interview, Alcobilla confessed the results did not just come as a surprise but she considered it a “miracle.”

“I just wanted to be a Bedan lawyer, to pass the Bar and be called an attorney,” she said.

Before taking the Bar, Alcobilla had her training at the Office of the Solicitor General.

Alcobilla said the four-Sunday exams they took in October last year were “so difficult, especially since I was not able to sleep on the nights before (the exams).”

Alcobilla reviewed for the Bar right after graduation. “I just reviewed the books I used from first to fourth year. Everyday I allotted time to study and absorbed the topics I thought I couldn’t previously absorb during class,” Alcobilla said.

“When I was reviewing, I realized that I had to set standards for myself. I asked the Lord to bless me and I’ll just do my best,” added Alcobilla, who lost her mother and brother during a storm in 2008.

She said she plans to continue working in a law firm for the meantime.

Apart from Alcobilla, two other San Beda graduates made it to the top 10: Jose Angelo David in sixth place with 84.45 percent and Adrian Aumentado in seventh with 84.35 percent.

Unlike Alcobilla, Christian Drilon of Ateneo de Manila expected to be in the Top 10.

Drilon, nephew of Senate President Franklin Drilon who graduated top of his class, placed second with an overall average of 85.45 percent.

Drilon said he was challenged by his uncle to outdo his feat of placing third in the Bar. “He said I would not be able to surpass him,” he said.

Sen. Drilon ranked third in the 1969 Bar exams with a score of 86.85 percent.

The younger Drilon admitted there was pressure for him to do well in the Bar following his valedictorian finish in their batch.

But he confessed that he struggled, especially in the Criminal Law and Political Law subjects.

“I was really scared if my answers were enough and I was thinking of my handwriting. I was not really confident that I could top so I just prayed a lot,” he recalled.

Drilon further said that in preparation for the exam, he started eating healthy and exercising. He admitted he slept more often than studied.

His cousin Patrick, son of the senator, passed last year’s Bar.

Another Ateneo law school graduate, Tristan Matthew Delgado, placed 10th with 83.95 percent.

In the Top 10, four are from UP: Sandra Mae Magalang in third place with 84.60 percent, Mark Leo Bejemino in fourth with 84.55 percent, Rhey David Daway in eighth with 84.20 percent and Jamie Liz Yu with 84 percent.

Reginald Lago of the pioneer batch of De La Salle Lipa law school also placed fourth, tied with Bejemino and Ateneo de Davao’s Gil Li Garcia.

Others in the top 10 are: Michelle Liao of University of Cebu at 84.50 percent and Fideliz Cardelie Diaz of the DLSU-FEU Jurid Doctor-MBA program in eighth place, tied with Daway.

Among the passers is Christian Lawyer, who will be called attorney Lawyer after taking his oath on April 24.

A total of 1,126 law graduates passed last year’s Bar exams.

The successful examinees represent 18.82 percent of the total of 5,984 graduates who completed the four-Sunday exams last October, according to SC 2014 Bar committee chair Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta.

Just like in the previous year, the SC again lowered the passing grade from 75 percent to 73 percent in special session upon recommendation of the Bar chair.

Peralta said the passers would formally take their oath as new lawyers on April 24 at 3 p.m. at the Philippine International Convention Center.

Complete list of Bar passers at www.philstar.com.

ADRIAN AUMENTADO ALCOBILLA ANOTHER ATENEO ASSOCIATE JUSTICE DIOSDADO PERALTA BAR BEJEMINO AND ATENEO CHRISTIAN LAWYER CRIMINAL LAW AND POLITICAL LAW DRILON
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