MANILA, Philippines?After more that four decades, San Beda College again has a bar topnotcher.
Not one but two.
Reinier Paul R. Yebra of San Beda College (SBC) topped the 2009 bar examinations with an average score of 84.80 percent.
Fellow SBC law graduate Charlene Mae C. Tapic placed second with an average score of 84.60 percent.
Although SBC has consistently been in the top 10 of bar passers, Yebra was the school's first law graduate to top the bar exam since 1967, when San Beda law alumnus and a former candidate for the Supreme Court, Rodolfo D. Robles, was the topnotcher.
That same year, Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Nachura, also from SBC, placed seventh in the bar exams.
A total of 1,451, or 24.58 percent of the 5,903 examinees from 108 law schools nationwide, passed the 2009 examinations.
?I think finally the law of averages caught up with San Beda College. It has been a long, long while since it has had a topnotcher,? Nachura said in an interview after breaking the news at 9:41 p.m. Friday to a crowd that had waited for hours outside the Supreme Court building on Padre Faura Street in Manila.
Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU), however, had the most students among the top 10 with seven graduates, while the University of the Philippines (UP) completed the list with two of its graduates.
The rest of the top 10 bar passers were: third place John Paul T. Lim of AdMU with score of 84.50 percent; fourth place Caroline P. Lagos of UP with 84.40 percent; fifth place Eric David C. Tan of AdMU with 84.05 percent; sixth place Yves-Randolph P. Gonzalez of AdMU with 83.90 percent; seventh place Joan Mae S. To of AdMU with 83.65 percent; eighth place Herminio C. Bagro III of UP with 83.40 percent; ninth place Timothy Joseph N. Lumauig of AdMU with 83.20 percent; and tied for tenth place are Naealla Rose M. Bainto and Sheila Abigail O. Go both of AdMU with a score of 83.10 percent.
The oath-taking of the new lawyers will be held on April 28 at 2 p.m. at the Philippine International Convention Center.
Nachura, chair of the 2009 committee on bar exams, said that to increase the number of bar passers, the passing rate was lowered to 71 percent from the usual 75 percent, while the disqualification grade in the taxation subject was lowered to 45 percent from 49 percent.
In the last decade, the highest percentage of successful examinees was 32.89 percent of the total number of examinees, posted in 2001, while the lowest was 19.68 percent posted in 2002.
The highest percentage of passers was 75.17 percent in 1954 while the lowest was 16.59 percent in 1999.
For the first time, the Supreme Court designated not one but two examiners for each of the eight subjects in the exams. Every subject was divided into two parts with a designated examiner for each part.
A court spokesperson said the idea was to make checking faster so the results could be released earlier.
But since the results were not released earlier, the Supreme Court may discuss and decide whether to continue having two examiners per subject in this year's bar exams.
The bar exams are traditionally held during the four consecutive Sundays of September, but the Supreme Court had to reset the last exam date to Oct. 4, 2009, due to the widespread flooding brought about by Tropical Storm ?Ondoy.?
The list of successful bar examinees could be viewed at sc.judiciary.gov.ph.
Last night the list was simultaneously shown on three LCD monitors strategically set up at the Supreme Court front yard.
The Philippine bar exam, which serves as the licensure exam for lawyers, is exclusively administered by the Supreme Court. It is the only professional licensure exam in the country that is not supervised by the Philippine Regulatory Commission.