Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

More of the Bar Topnotchers!

Mercedita Ona

Mercedita Ona, 27, the topnotcher in the 2007 bar examinations, said she was suffering from a migraine when she took the exams last September.

“It (the exam) was very difficult. I knew it when I left the examination room. That’s why I was nervous and did not go to the Supreme Court and just decided to view the results online,” she said in a phone interview.

“I just wanted to pass and I’m so happy,” said Ona, a graduate of the Ateneo de Manila University Law School.

Ona, who scored 83.55 percent, said the six-month preparation for the exams was also a “very difficult experience.”

Ona is also a certified public accountant working for the SyCip law firm. She obtained her accounting degree at the University of the Philippines.

Now that she is a lawyer, she will probably become an associate at Sycip, she said.

Jennifer Ong

While Ona is the only lawyer in her family, being a bar topnotcher runs in the extended family of second-placer Jennifer Ong.

Though Ong is the first lawyer in her immediate family, her maternal grandaunt, Lily Valencia, was a bar topnotcher and also a second-placer.

Ong was not at the Supreme Court to wait for the results either. But on learning from a friend that she had placed second, she immediately hied off to the Supreme Court’s Padre Faura offices.

Like many takers, she was just hoping to pass and was not expecting to be in the top ten.

Ong said she intends to continue working at the Lim, Ocampo and Leynes law offices in Makati.

“The moment we started working there, they treated us like lawyers already even though we weren’t,” she said in a phone interview.

What about a bonus?

She is not expecting to be promoted because of her impressive finish. “But I hope there is a bonus,” she said with a giggle.

Ong also considers her No. 2 finish and the No. 3 placement of Yvanna Maalat as a victory for Bacolod, as they are both from Negros Occidental.

Ong got her undergraduate degree from the Ateneo de Manila University, and obtained her law degree from the University of the Philippines.

One of the two seventh placers is well on her way to the top.

Sheryl Ann Tizon

Sheryl Ann Tizon works with the Villaraza, Cruz, Marcelo & Angcangco law offices, one of the country’s top law firms, also known as “The Firm” because it was once closely associated with the First Family.

Tizon, who was hired before she even passed the bar for being one of the top graduates of the UP Law School, has been working in the firm’s various divisions before deciding what field to specialize in.

She said her employers did not pressure her to finish at the top, and just wanted her to pass.

Tizon, who took her undergraduate degree in philosophy at UP, said she was initially inspired to study law by “Ally McBeal,” the television series featuring a woman lawyer who works for a firm with unusual clients.

But she soon found that there was more to love about the law and was even more inspired by what she could do as a lawyer.

Though she was pleased over being in the top 10, Tizon said the reality still has to sink in.

She said she found waiting for the results of the bar so stressful that she decided to spend the day at the Greenbelt mall, planning to just go to the Internet for the results.

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