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1,174 (22.18%) Pass 2013 Bar Examinations; UP Grad is Topnotcher

March 18, 2014

Supreme Court Associate Justice Arturo D. Brion, Chairperson of the 2013 Committee on the Bar Examinations, announced today in a press briefing at the Supreme Court on Padre Faura Street, Manila today that a total of 1,174 out of the 5,292 examinees who took the 2013 Bar Examinations passed.

This figure translates to 22.18 percent of the total examinees who completed the 2013 Bar Examinations.  He also announced that the oathtaking of the successful Bar candidates will be on April 28, 2014 at 2:00 PM at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

The 2013 Bar topnotcher is Mr. Nielson G. Pangan, a graduate of the University of the Philippnines, who obtained the highest over-all rating of 85.80%.  The Bar Committee Chair, Associate Justice Arturo D. Brion, the Court’s 161st Associate Justice who obtained his law degree in 1974 from the Ateneo de Manila as cum laude and Class Valedictorian, was himself the topnotcher in his year. 

This year’s top 10 examinees are: 

1st Place
Pangan, Nielson G
University of the Philippines

2nd Place
Oyales, Mark Xavier D.
University of the Philippines
2nd Place
Wilwayco, Dianna Louise R.
Ateneo de Manila University
Ortea, Rudy V.
3rd Place
University of Batangas
4th Place
Mopia, Eden Catherine B.
University of the Philippines
5th Place
Mercado-Gephart, Tercel Maria G.
University of San Carlos
6th Place
Sarausad, Manuel Elijah J.
University of Cebu
7th Place
Suyat, Katrine Paula V.
San Beda College - Manila
8th Place
Tiu, Jr., Michael T.
University of the Philippines
9th Place
Fulgueras, Marjorie Ivory S.
Ateneo de Manila University
10th Place
Arnesto, Cyril G.
University of the Philippines

The bar examinations are held only once every year at a designated venue under the supervision of the Supreme Court which designates an incumbent Justice to chair a committee consisting of eight (8) examiners, one for each bar subject.  The examinable subjects are: Political Law and Public International Law, Labor and Social Legislation, Civil Law, Taxation, Mercantile Law, Criminal Law, Remedial law and Legal and Judicial Ethics.

This year’s examiners are Atty. Ramon S. Esguerra (Political and International Law), Atty. Soledad F. Nograles (Labor and Social Legislation), Justice Japar D. Dimaampao (Civil Law), Atty. Jose Mario C. Buñag (Taxation), Atty. Ricardo B. Blancaflor (Mercantile Law), Judge Juanita T. Guerrero (Criminal Law), Justice Apolinario D. Bruselas, Jr.  (Remedial Law), and Justice Jose C. Reyes, Jr. (Legal Ethics).

The examinations are given in the course of one month, spread over four (4) Sundays and are the only professional licensure examinations which require the examinees to answer a combination of open-ended and multiple choice questions in long hand.  Due to the scope and difficulty,  the bar examinations are regarded as the most prestigious professional licensure exam in the country.

The 2013 Bar Examinations are the 112th held in the Philippines and were held on October 6, 13, 20 and 27, 2013 at the University of Sto. Tomas in Manila.  The exams were administered by the Office of the Bar Confidant headed by Deputy Clerk of Court and Bar Confidant Atty. Ma. Cristina B. Layusa. 

This year’s percentage of successful examinees is higher than the 17.76% percent who passed the 2012 examinations, representing 949 of a total 5,343. The following are comparative statistics on the Bar examination results since 2000:


Number of Passers Out of the Total Examinees

Passing Percentage


979 out of 4,698



1,266 out of 3,849



917 out of 4,659



1,108 out of 5,349



1,659 out of 5,249



1,526 out of 5,607



1,893 out of 6,187



1,289 out of 5,626



1,310 out of 6,364



1,451 out of 5,903



982 out of 4,847



1,913 out of 5,987



949 out of 5,343


The 2013 Bar Examinations departed from the norm through the following changes:

  1. The consultative approach in dealing with Bar Examiners in the preparation of the Syllabus.
  2. The shortened Syllabus, which can be further reduced particularly in multi-topic subjects like Mercantile Law and Criminal Law.
  3. The injection of questions with ethical components in every Bar subject, separately from Legal Ethics; the topic Legal Forms has been deleted from the 2013 Bar Examinations.
  4. The adoption of a uniform four-hour period for each bar subject.
  5. The use of new communication tools in setting standards and in dealing with law schools, examinees and examiners, in the form of Guidelines to examiners, Guidelines in answering questions, and Guidelines on the Bar in general, mostly uploaded through the SC PIO website.
  6. The recognition of new concerns (such as security threats) and external linkages in the conduct of the Bar examinations; recognition of the use of new technology in the Bar examinations.
  7. The examination of the format of the questions in the coming Bar examinations.
  8. The use of surveys as exit feedback from the affected parties.

While a bar examinee is “deemed to have passed his examinations successfully if he has obtained a general average of 75%”, the Supreme Court en banc has always retained for itself (based on its authority to amend the Rules) the discretion to make adjustments, as it did in the 2012 Bar Examinations when it lowered the passing grade to 70%.  This year, the Court lowered the passing grade to 73% in view of the structure of the results, the difficulty the candidates encountered with the MCQ portion of the exam, and in light of past precedents.

The Bar Committee is very thankful to the Court, particularly the Chief Justice, for the full support extended to the Committee; the University of Sto. Tomas for the providing the venue and for its hospitality to the Bar Team and the examinees; the Philippine Association of Law (PALS) deans and its leadership for providing advice and support to the Bar Chair and the Committee; Mayor Erap Estrada and Vice-Mayor Isko Moreno for the local government support; to the PNP (particularly Police Chief Superintendent Isagani Francisco Genabe Jr. and Major Santiago David Pascual III); the NBI ( Atty. Manguerra and Jason Domingo and their team), and the countless others whose assistance the committee sought in the course of the Bar preparations.

The list of successful Bar examinees will be flashed on a widescreen at the Supreme Court front yard and can simultaneously be viewed at, the official website of the SC.
The Bar passers may secure their clearances from the Office of the Bar Confidant during office hours, 8:00a.m. to 4:30p.m., beginning on March 24,2014 until April 25, 2014.