Ten UA&P alumni passed the Philippine Bar Exam held in November 2011 at the University of Santo Tomas. One thousand nine-hundred thirteen out of 5,990 examinees (31.94% passing rate) made it to the list of bar passers. Get to know more about our alumni lawyers – Aida Villanueva, Christina Javier, Roberto Rodrigo, Jamie Antolin, Jamie Arlos, Bernadette Bathan, MJ Bayang, Maida Catubay, Bambi Collantes, and Joanna Arellano.
AIDA ROSE ESPINOSA VILLANUEVA
Passing the bar exam was probably something Aida didn’t think about while she was an Information Technology (IT) student at UA&P some years ago. Little did she know that attending one school requirement would lead her to become a lawyer. “To be honest, it was only when I took up an elective called Information Technology Law under Atty. Tantuico that I started to seriously consider going into law school,” recalls Aida.
Armed with relevant skills, this 2005 IT graduate went to the University of the Philippines College of Law. “As an IT graduate, I had my fair share of programming, database management and systems analysis. I did not particularly excel in writing hard code but the exposure allowed me to hone my skills in logic which, in turn, is crucial in understanding the reason behind the law and in crafting persuasive arguments,” says Aida. “The liberal arts background of the University (UA&P) also exposed me to different areas of study such as literature, philosophy, social sciences, which helps one evaluate theories and policies from different standpoints,” she adds.
Having passed the bar exam, Aida believes that her mission as a new lawyer is to start working with what she has right now. “The Civil Code of the Philippines puts my personal mission succinctly in Article 19 – that every person must, in exercising his rights and performing his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due and observe honesty and good faith,” quotes the young lawyer. “It is a huge challenge posed to me, personally, but I believe that great reform does not always arise from grand roots,” she shares.
MA. FELIZA AMPARO CHRISTINA SALES JAVIER
As a Management graduate, Christina Javier was somehow familiar with some of the subjects she had to take at the De La Salle College of Law. Her training as a Management student of UA&P prepared her for the next big steps she wanted to take. “Applying management knowledge in understanding the law makes it easier to comprehend the concepts and principles behind such laws,” she says.
Despite having a Management background, Christina still had to carry every law student’s cross: to read voluminous cases in such a short period. Recalling her law school days, Christina relates, “How are you going to read 16 books with 300 to 1,500 pages plus loads of cases for 8 subjects for a period of 6 months?” To retain everything she learned from these books and cases and from her professors was definitely a tough challenge for Christina, yet she knew quite well how to survive as a law student. ” Time management is the key, and a barrister should also be emotionally, physically and spiritually strong to survive the Bar Exam,” she claims.
Atty. Javier now works as Senior Associate for the Tax Advisory and Advocacy of SGV & Co. She “aspires to be of service to others thru excellence and professionalism and to be a catalyst of change in improving the lives of Filipinos”.
ROBERTO REY RODRIGO
Communication graduate Rob Rodrigo was trained in college to be confident in delivering his ideas to an audience and to always “create a maximum impact”. He made use of this training while studying Law at San Beda College. “The professors in law school tend to focus on questionable issues and test a student’s understanding of the law,” shares Rob. The proud alumnus is quick to add, “With the training UA&P provided me, I was able to convince my professors that my opinions were correct. Each time I was confronted with an issue that puzzled me, I reverted to logic to arrive at an answer.”
Rob knows his training doesn’t stop despite having passed the bar exam. This new lawyer is driven to apply in practice the fundamentals he learned in law school. “As of the moment, I am just trying to learn the ropes. I was lucky enough to be hired by a prestigious law firm where I can get my training, “says Rob.
JEANNE MARISSE THEODORA CABATU ANTOLIN
“The most challenging aspect of preparing for the bar exam was the amount of endurance that was required to be able to follow the review schedule I have fixed for myself to prepare for the Bar,” recalls Information Technology alumna Jamie Antolin.
Jamie, who studied at the Ateneo Law School after college, struggled to remain focused on her goal to become a lawyer by sticking to her study habits and keeping herself away from all sorts of distraction. “My UA&P education inculcated the study habits I needed to finish law school and to pass the Bar,” shares this new lawyer.
Her determination and discipline did not fail her. Jamie is now a lawyer with an honorable cause. “My personal mission as new lawyer is to be a Catholic lawyer – one who is morally upright, competent, dynamic and dedicated to defend the laws of God and our country,” says Atty. Antolin.
JAMIE ANDREA MAE YEE ARLOS
School of Communication alumna Jamie Arlos will always remember her first day at the Faculty of Civil Law of the University of Sto. Tomas, the first case she studied and the first terrifying recitation she survived. The many firsts in her law school life surely gave her the jitters, but they are all worth remembering because these things marked the start of the pursuit of her dream.
Pursuing a dream, of course, means striving to achieve despite difficulties. To pursue her dream of becoming a lawyer, Jamie had to go through a lot of serious studying prior the bar exam. “Imagine you have to sum up all those things you’ve learned from your four years in law school, but the most challenging part of this preparation is the sudden change of the form of the examination from the conventional essay type of exam to Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ),” shares Jamie. Trained to defend her answers through essay, Jamie found the type of exam even more challenging.
The MCQ type of exam which she wasn’t so comfortable with did not stop Jamie from passing the November 2011 bar exam. This UA&P alumna, however, doesn’t take all the credit for her achievement. With a thankful heart, she ascribes to God all the success. “This value of the spiritual life helped me the most because I know it is only Him who can grant my goal and it is only Him who can give us whatever we want in our life,” she humbly admits. Giving importance to one’s spirituality is one of the things Jamie learned from UA&P. “It is in UA&P that I had the privilege of going to mass everyday, seeking spiritual guidance and help– which I brought to my law school life,” she says.
Atty. Arlos is currently working at Benjamin C. Santos & Ray Montri C. Santos Law Offices.
BERNADETTE DE CASTRO BATHAN
Life as a law student is, as everybody knows, not easy, and UA&P Master of Science in Industrial Economics graduate Bernadette Bathan can testify to that. While she was taking up Law at San Beda College, Bernadette spent most of her precious time in the library, reading and studying and reading some more. Hence, there was one thing she was so thankful for. “All the long readings in UA&P made my life a lot easier in law school because I was able to read the cases and books faster,” says Bernadette.
Aside from numerous long readings, law school had professors who will “grill you to death during recitation and exams”. Bernadette knew she had to go through it all, but she also knew that the challenge of studying law goes beyond meeting the taxing requirements. “It demands humility and character. The biggest challenge is to keep a cheerful attitude each day despite all the pressure and humiliations,” she says.
Atty. Bathan now works at Caguioa & Gatmaytan Attorneys-at-Law.
In 2005, Atty. MJ BAYANG obtained his Master of Science in Industrial Economics while Atty. BAMBI COLLANTES received her Bachelor of Science in Information Technology. Both of them took up Law at the Ateneo Law School. In the same year, Atty. MAIDA CATUBAY earned a Bachelor of Arts degree Major in Humanities with Professional Certificate in Political Economy and studied Law at San Sebastian College. Lastly, Atty. JOANNA ARELLANO graduated with a Master of Science degree in Industrial Economics in 2006.