2019 Bar exam results out

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 29) — The Supreme Court released on Wednesday the much-awaited results of the 2019 Bar Examination, with a University of Santo Tomas-Legazpi graduate as the topnotcher.

Mae Diane Azores, a certified public accountant, got the highest overall rating of 91.049 percent. The top five passers were all women, according to a list released by the top court around noon.

READ: 2019 Bar topnotcher vows to help the 'vulnerable' as a new lawyer

Here is the full list of passers: 

Senior Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe, the exams chairperson, said that 2,103 out of 7,685 examinees who took the 2019 Bar exams passed.

This translates to a passing rate of 27.36 percent, higher than last year’s 22.07 percent.

Perlas-Bernabe said in her message that the Supreme Court en banc lowered the passing mark from 75 percent to 74 percent.

In 2018 Bar exams, the passing rate was just 22.07 percent.

Meanwhile, Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta told the Bar passers have “earned the triumph of this moment” of knowing that they can join the roll of attorneys despite “unfamiliar and trying times,” alluding to the six-week quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The release of the Bar results has become a major event for aspiring lawyers and their families and friends, as they gather outside the Supreme Court’s headquarters in Manila to see their names printed on the published list of passers — or recently, flashed on LED screens set up on a makeshift stage for the day of reckoning. This year, results were released on the court’s website because of the ban on mass gathering.

“Hurdling the Bar has set the stage for all of you to accomplish exceptional things; it is my hope that years from now, after you have made your mark as lawyers, you will look back on this day not only with gratitude, but also with a renewed sense of commitment towards upholding truth, fairness, and justice within the legal profession,” Peralta said in a statement. “May you all always give your best to your country, to your fellow Filipinos, and to God.”

For his part, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Jr., also a lawyer, encouraged the Bar passers to consider joining government. “This would be a great opportunity to give back to the community for earning the privilege to practice law in the country,” he said.

There will be no Bar examinations for 2020, with the SC deciding to postpone the four-week exams usually held in November at the University of Santo Tomas campus in Manila due to the coronavirus crisis. The tests will push through “sometime in 2021,” with another testing center to be set up in Cebu City.