Bar topnotcher is from University of St. La Salle

2017 bar exam topnotcher Mark John Simondo. (Facebook grab from Angeli de Leon)

A GRADUATE of the University of St. La Salle Bacolod topped the 2017 bar examination with a passing percentage of 91.05, based on the list of 20 highest scoring examinees released by the Supreme Court on Thursday.

Mark John Simondo’s grade and two others in the top three of the list marked the first time in 16 years that a bar topnotcher scored beyond the 90 percent passing mark.

Christianne Mae Balili of University of San Carlos scored 90.80 percent and Camille B. Remoroza of Ateneo de Davao University had 90.70 percent to rank second and third topnotchers.

Completing the top five are Ivanne D’laureil Misoler of University of San Carlos and Monica Anne Yap of San Beda College of Manila.

A total 1,724 examinees passed the 2017 bar examination, which drew 6,750 examinees. The exam covered the following subjects: Political Law, Labor Law, Civil Law, Taxation, Mercantile Law, Criminal Law, Remedial Law, and Legal and Judicial Ethics.

All bar passers will take their oath on June 1, 2018 at 2 p.m.

Meanwhile, 1-Ang Edukasyon Party-list Representative and Assistant Majority Leader Salvador B. Belaro Jr., a lawyer himself, congratulated the 2017 bar exam passers and those who did not pass the annual test.

“Perseverance and faithfulness to truth and justice is my message to each one of you. Do not be disheartened by the injustice that continues to happen around us. Persevere,” said Belaro in a statement issued on Thursday.

“Be not blinded by money or fame or social status. Instead, fix your gaze upon Lady Justice. Let us dispel the notion that lawyers are liars. Honesty truly is the best policy. In your zeal, be humble. Wisdom is earned over time,” he said.

“Learn what is good from the elders and the wise. Follow not their bad examples. They are but human, prone to error. You are also human, so learn from your mistakes and do better next time.”

The former Commissioner of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines advised the new lawyers to prepare for ASEAN Integration’s and globalization’s impact on the law profession.

“Study well about international law, foreign trade, and commerce. In any event, the bar exams as gauge for joining the legal profession needs to be re-examined as to its contents which should reflect the required knowledge and skills for relevant lawyering in this century,” Belaro said.

rw/p: wjg