Farmer’s son from PUP places 9th in 2019 Bar exam
MANILA, Philippines — When he was younger, Jun Dexter Rojas often found himself close to stopping his schooling due to constant financial constraints in his family.
He recalled how his father, a farmer; and his mother, then a public school teacher, had to settle with the little money they had to afford a decent life for their seven children.
Fortunately, Rojas went on studying diligently despite this hurdle. Several years after, his hard work paid off. He made history for PUP as the first to be included in the Bar examination top 10 by finishing at 9th place, and he will soon have that highly desired “Atty.” prefix in his name.
He shared how this news felt surreal when he first heard he was among the Bar topnotchers, scoring a grade of 87.5765 percent.
“I couldn’t believe it at first. I thought it was fake news and that it was done in bad taste… I thought it was still too early to know the results because it was not even lunchtime,” Rojas, now 36, said in an interview with INQUIRER.net.
“But after it was posted on Twitter with a semblance of legitimacy, I thought it could be really true. I just shouted in joy with my wife beside me. We were crying tears of joy,” he also said.
Being a lawyer was not always Rojas’ dream, who laughingly recounted that he wanted “to be an engineer and make bridges” when he was younger.
But he changed his mind and decided to take up Political Science for his undergraduate degree at the University of the Philippines – Manila with the intention of becoming a lawyer.
He narrated how his road to stepping into college became rough, especially with the financial status of his household.
“There was never enough money for all of us. I remember to have often been threatened to stop schooling due to financial difficulties. Gladly, my parents taught me that education is my only tool to be able to choose the life that I want to have for myself and my family. And study hard I did!” he said.
Even after he finished studying at UP in 2004, it took Rojas another 11 years, due to money problems, to enter the Polytechnic University of the Philippines – College of Law in 2015.
And while he was eager to enter law school, Rojas, the second eldest in the family, still chose to support the studies of his siblings when he landed a job.
“I knew my parents wanted to support me but they just couldn’t. I still have 5 siblings after me. I can’t imagine how heartbreaking it was for them then. But 11 years after, when I started law school, they would still send me money to help in my school expenses,” he said.
All his sacrifices did not go to waste as he was still able to secure his dream and finish law at PUP in May 2019 as a batch salutatorian.
Looking back at his experiences in law school, Rojas shared how he instilled discipline in himself as he was striving to get closer to his goal, especially as a working student and a father to his six-year-old son.
“To be a lawyer, you have to have discipline, you have to really to work hard by studying really really hard. There can be no substitute because what you put in your head during law school is what you will pull out during the bar exams,” said Rojas.
He also shared some principles he has been upholding about the legal profession which he would now soon be able to practice.
“As a lawyer, just as in life, you always have two options, either use your God-given skills in good or use them in doing bad things. Lawyers must always remember their lawyer’s oath because it says everything on what lawyering should be, which is to pursue justice whenever injustice shows itself,” he said.
Rojas also dedicated his sweet victory to his wife and son, his family, and to the PUP College of Law and its dean and professors who saw his way through to the legal profession.
“They would always convince me that I have the potential to top the bar exams. They planted the seeds of success early on,” he shared.
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