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2017 bar topnotcher’s mission: Promote justice, uphold rule of law

/ 03:27 PM April 26, 2018

Pressured to find a lucrative career path abroad, newly-minted lawyer and 2017 bar topnotcher Mark John Simondo said he decided to take up law so he could stay in the country.

“I took up law because I did not want to go abroad. 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,” Simondo said in an interview on ANC.

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Simondo said he was looking at medicine, accountancy and law as his initial choices for his field of study. “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 said.

Years after deciding to take up law at the University of St. La Salle, Simondo was hailed as the topnotcher in the 2017 Bar Examinations with a grade of 91.05%.

Upon seeing his name from the list of bar passers, the new lawyer from Bacolod City said he and his family were “jumping up and down” in joy.

In addition to clinching the top spot, Simondo was also the first topnotcher to breach the 90-percent passing mark since 2002, when Arlene Maneja of University of Santo Tomas (UST) registered a 92.9% score.

“I figured I would get a grade of 83, 84, probably I would have (gotten) 73 or 74, so getting a 91 was really something I did not expect,” Simondo said.

While he had maintained his academic standing during his high school and college days, Simondo said that law school was a different.

“I did graduate with honors during my high school years and graduated magna cum laude during my college years, but law school is different eh. Just getting a passing grade (was already okay),” he said.

Now that he is set to take his lawyer’s oath at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in June, Simondo said he is looking at a career in corporate law.

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“I am open to a position in public service, but I really like corporate law,” he said.

As a newly-minted lawyer, Simondo said that he will see to it that he will fulfill his part in upholding the rule of law in the country.

“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 said. /je

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TAGS: 2017 bar exam, Justice, law, Lawyer, Mark John Simondo, passer, Topnotcher
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