2017 Bar topnotcher: ‘Avoiding jobs abroad brought me to law school’

MANILA The attempt to avoid the temptation of hunting for jobs abroad prompted 30-year-old John Mark Simondo to pursue a law degree, only to find out later that this decision would change his life forever.

My parents were pressuring me to go abroad. I felt that the Philippines is where I should be. I needed a job that would justify my stay here, Solano, an alumnus of the University of St. La Salle Bacolod who topped the 2017 Bar examinations, said in a television interview on Thursday.

I looked at medicine, accountancy and law. I ruled out medicine because I know I wouldn't be good in the hospital, and (I looked at) accountancy and law, eventually, I decided to take up law, he added.

Though he was a consistent honor student from elementary to college, Simondo said he still did not expect to top the Bar exams since he said law school is different.

Simondo also vowed to be a responsible lawyer who will uphold justice and the rule of law.

"Yesterday (Wednesday), I made a promise to God that if I will pass my exam, I will do my utmost to promote justice in this country. At the end of the day, we are still a nation of law and not a nation of men. The rule of law should prevail. I will see to it that I will do my part in upholding the rule of law," he noted.

Simondo, however, declined to comment on the issue involving Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, who is facing possible impeachment trial before the Senate and a quo warranto petition aimed at removing her from her post.

Asked on his plans after taking his oath as lawyer, Simondo said he would have wanted to pursue corporate law practice. But since such field is limited in his hometown, he said he is considering joining the government.

This is the second year that a graduate of a provincial law school topped the annual exam for aspiring lawyers.

Karen Mae Calam, an alumna of the University of San Carlos in Cebu, topped the 2016 Bar examinations with a score of 89.05 percent.

Mixed emotions, reactions

Meanwhile, former Badoc, Ilocos Norte Mayor Thomas Torralba, the father of Klinton M. Torralba, who placed ninth in the 2017 bar examinations, said they are grateful for the result for they have seen the determination of their son to pursue this career.

Torralba said his son is in Baguio and he is at the SC together with his wife to check the Bar exam results.

He said they were proud to have Klinton as their first lawyer in the family.

Meanwhile, Marhen Jason Simbre from San Beda College Alabang also passed the exam after taking it for the third time.

Simbre is currently working at a law firm in Makati. After passing, he will consider to apply as a government prosecutor or at the Public Attorney's Office. But for now, he will finish first his contract in the law firm.

On the other hand, Merry Jeoya Tacazon Asayo of San Beda University - Manila received her most memorable birthday gift this year as she turns 30 years old this day.

Her mother, Mrs. Ester Tacazon Asayo received a call that her daughter passed the Bar examination so she rushed to the Supreme Court just to take a picture of the result. Her daughter didn't know that she's there to see the results.

"I went to Our Lady of Lourdes in Paris, France. I made all the ballpens there in front of Our Lady of Lourdes for her to use during her examination" she said.

She thanked all the religious groups who prayed for them, especially for her daughter.

"As of now, we have no plans yet. We have not seen each other that's why from here I'm going to their house now together with my husband who is in Crame," Azayo noted.

Anne Lorraine Diokno, one of the passers, gained attention for being so emotional as she saw her name on the list of passers.

"It's not more of an expectation, it's more about truly believing, claiming it and I cannot expect my name on that list without any prayers." the 27-year-old alumna of San Beda University - Manila said.

As of now, I still don't know what to choose between work with the private (entities) or with the government, she said adding that the important thing now for her is to celebrate this good news with her family.

Another new lawyer, Rafael Dela Cruz III, of Cagayan State University, 30, said he will give back and help his province.

It's still early to say, I'm still nostalgic, but as of now I will just wait. I prefer working within the government, in PAO to be exact because they need more lawyers there. I swore to myself that once I became a lawyer, I will pay them back, Dela Cruz, who hails from Tuguegarao City, told PNA. (With reports from Red Andador and Kate Azotea-OJT/PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency