The study of law is not something that can afford, financially and mentally. It is a crucial endeavor that everyone who has the guts can only take. So is having the Bar Exam. Not all those who studied the law are eligible to make nor represent cases regarding its implementation. So the Bar Exam was instituted to carefully filter all those aspirants. The Philippines, being a democratic country also has this system of Bar Examinations. Philippines conducted its very first Bar Exam in 1901, with only 13 takers.
Although the number is not high enough, it is quite impressive because 1901 was the period which the country was freshly emancipated from its colonizers. From 1901 until now, there has been a lot of changes and developments, as to how the Bar Exam is carried out in the country. Also, through its hundred years of existence, there has been 5 Universities which are constantly excellent in giving out outstanding results. University of the Philippines College of Law is the best performing school with 46 topnotchers. Ateneo de Manila College of Law comes next with 21 topnotchers; San Beda College of Law ranks third with 7 overall topnotchers; Philippine Law School with 5 topnotchers and last but not the least, Far Eastern University Institute of Law with 4 topnotchers. Now that we have have mentioned which are the top performing schools, let us delve deeper into the specifics and find out who these topnotchers are. Here’s a list of top 10 Bar topnotchers with the highest grades ever recorded in the Philippine history!
Ferdinand Marcos (98.8%)
Ferdinand Marcos, the 6th President of the 3rd Republic of the Philippines was the BAR topnotcher with highest grade ever recorded in the Philippine history! He studied Law at the University of the Philippines College of Law where he obviously excelled as one of the brightest students. He took the Bar Exam in 1939, and yes he bagged home the top spot with the highest grade 98.8%. It was the highest grade ever recorded so the Supreme Justice thought that maybe the late Marcos cheated, so they dropped down his grade to 92.35%. Although that was the case, late Marcos’ original grade will be forever recorded in the BAR history.
2. Florenz Regalado (96.7%)
Next to the late Ferdinand Marcos in this list is Florenz Regalado. He took up law in San Beda College Concepcion where is among the cream of the crops. He took the Bar Exam in 1954, and has gained a grade of 96.7%. His grade was the officially recognized grade since Marcos’ was dropped down. Mr. Regalado passed away last 2015, but he has surely maximized all his time practicing the law.
3. Anacleto Mañgaser (95.85)
Anacleto Mañgaser is the third highest Bar Exam grader. He studied law at the Philippine Law School and took the Bar Exam in 1949. He has gained a score of 95.85% making him one of the highest scorers in Philippine Bar history. He indeed is among the finest lawyers this country ever had.
4. Manuel Montecillo (95.5%)
The fourth highest grader is none other Manuel Montecillo from the Far Eastern University Institute of Law. He took up the exam in 1948 and emerged as the topnotcher with a grade of 95.5%. He surely is the pride of his Alma Mater, because despite the inadequacies in his school’s facilities and teaching materials, he has been part of this list, and FEU couldn’t be anymore prouder.
5. Jose Diokno and Jovito Salonga (95.3%)
The fifth highest graders are Jose Diokno and Jovito Salonga who both took the Bar Exam in 1944 and tied with a grade of 95.3%. It was the first same score ever recorded in Philippines’ Bar history. Jovito Salonga took his degree in University of the Philippines College of Law, while Jose Diokno did not get any formal law education. The latter was only homeschooled and taught by his father Ramon Diokno. During this time, those who do not have a degree in law are allowed to also take the Bar Exam.