Atty. Nilo Divina congratulated the bar topnotchers from the University of Sto. Tomas, marking a pivotal chapter in the institution's history.
In a Facebook post, the dean of UST College of Law shared his excitement upon learning the news that this year's topnotcher is from their college.
"My dearest children- in- LAW and fellow Thomasians," he started. "I was in the middle of a function in Subic when the 2023 bar exam results were announced. With me were three lawyers from our firm who are likewise UST Law Professors. We could not contain our joy and jubilation after hearing the wonderful news," he said, adding that the crowd was at first confused about their reaction, but "eventually understood why."
Divina added that the ceremony he was at was "suspended" temporarily to "announce [their] historic feat."
"I eventually had to step out of the hall because [I] could not hide my tears- tears of joy," Divina continued.
Divina, who is the founding and managing partner of Divina Law, added that this feat ended the institution's 23-year drought in the first place.
"Let us savor this moment because today you made history. While we had our own fair share of bar topnotchers the past decade, this is the first time in 23 years that we placed first," he said, congratulating Ephraim Porciuncula and Pio Vincent Buencamino, who placed 8th.
He also congratulated the 118 other new lawyers from UST, which had a passing rate of 85.6%.
"I share these blessings with all Thomasians, particularly the Father Rector and the entire Dominican community, our faculty, alumni and students. You are very much part of this journey. Without your prayers, support and encouragement, these would not have been possible," he said.
"We thank God for his unending graces. Our efforts indeed paid off and prayers heard. A saint, once, said dream and your dreams will fall short. I have been waiting for 14 years to say this. Kindly indulge me. UST Faculty of Civil Law—number one!!! How sweet it is," Divina ended his statement.
The Supreme Court released on Tuesday the list of Bar examination passers for 2023. A total of 3,812 examinees out of 10,387 takers passed the Bar, with a passing rate of 36.77%.
The SC also recognized the top law schools based on candidates' performance, with Ateneo De Manila University leading with an impressive 94.08% passing rate and more than 100 candidates.
It was followed by San Beda University with a 92.20% rate, the University of San Carlos with 90.91%, the University of the Philippines with 89.45%, and the University of Santo Tomas, with 85.25%.
This year's passers will have their oath-taking and roll-signing ceremonies at the SMX Convention Center Manila in Pasay City on Dec. 22.