A Glance Once More – 2007 Bar Exams

Like all other bar exams, the 2007 broke many hearts. I share with the sympathy. Triumphantly but with a heavy heart for all the hardships and inexplicable self-surrender. I came, I saw, I conquered. And, like what I always say to my comrades of the 2007 bar – listed or otherwise, “kasama ko kayo sa tagumpay.”

This post is meant to give a conclusion to my posts regarding the “4 Sundays of Apocalypse“:

  1. 1st Sunday of the 2007 Bar
  2. 2nd Sunday of the 2007 Bar
  3. 3rd Sunday of the 2007 Bar
  4. 4th Sunday of the 2007 Bar

Awhile ago I was with my law school best friend (Atty. Cas Fama – co-writer of the Pinoy Law Schooling: An Idiot’s Guide and his better half – Ms. Ninai Catapat) and other UST Civil Law schoolmates/friends – Atty. Rem Manalabe, Atty. Pantas de Leon, Atty. Ana Sanchez and Atty. Margarette Robles (of course I now indiscriminately use the salutation). We went to the Supreme Court to get our clearances and pay for the required fees. I got 2 documents and 3 receipts.

Attorneys Manalabe and Fama

The following were the documents given: (click link to view the actual document image)

  1. Important Reminders RE: Oath Taking
  2. Schedule of the Signing in the Roll of Attorneys

The following were the receipts for what I paid for:

  1. Php1,200 per IBP O.R. No. 750116 – IBP Membership Dues for C/Y 2008 (Php1000) and IBP Building Fund (Php200)
  2. Php1,945 per SC O.R. No. 0558323 A – BAF (Php1900) and Bar Cert. (Php45)
  3. Php405 per SC O.R. No. 05555195 A – BAF (Php350) and Bar Cert. (Php55)

That’s almost the end of my layman days now.

Near the gates of the SC (beside the main entrance where you log your name for security purposes) stood a woman who lends toga to be used for oath-taking purposes. I understand it costs P200 if you wish to rent from them. Immediately after fitting some of her stock togas (without the cap as no cap is required nor allowed), you can already bring it at home so that you can wash the same and prepare it smelling fresh and all for the oath-taking. Again, as I understand, you will have to immediately return the said toga right after the oath-taking. I think she will reappear after the ceremonies to get the toga, else.. your license is at risk? 🙂 Anyway, just return it as agreed alright? Not bad for a toga really. It looks “glamorous” when fitted right and worn properly.

My friend Atty. Cas and I did not bother to rent togas. For no reason at all. But I’ll be back maybe next week to fit one for myself.

Looking back (yes, looking back), I can only but sigh and reflect shivering and all. I absolutely agree with Socrates when he said that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” So, in silence and in solitude I reexamine my life. Late April until early May 2007, my mom was brought to the Cancer Institute of the PGH to have a cobalt session for her breast cancer. In the morning and afternoon, I reviewed while watching for her together with my younger sister Chay. Sometimes I take a walk while reading at P. Faura along the Supreme Court holding a photocopy of Justice Nachura’s Poli Reviewer.

I don’t want my mom to see that I cannot handle the bar exams. I want her to know that I can make it despite all that and these on my mind. Despite that half of my heart and brain longs for her health and pains.

All these times when I see law students, I tell and remind them not to waste their last chance. The last chance is not the bar review proper. It is the 4th year review classes and while they are at it. If you fail there, do not expect the actual bar review classes to resuscitate the helpless situation which only God’s mercy can provide for succor.

Of course, I do not mean to say that those who did not make it in the 2007 bar list do not deserve to be lawyers. Until now, I (with them many puzzled ones) cannot reconcile what went right and what went wrong in the checking process with what ought to and what ought not to be. The 2007 bar is indeed an unusual event in Philippine legal history. And whether a passer or not, one definitely becomes an unwilling part of it. And indeed a journey of many (as coined by Atty. Gladys). Another concrete evidence to support the truism that bar exams should already have some reforms.

On June 6, 2007, I got employed purposely so that I can have something in my pocket while self-reviewing (for the record, however, I asked my mom to pay for my bar exam fees). On the first Sunday of the bar (September 2, 2007), my mom called and wished me all the best and all the best of luck. She was struggling over the phone to utter the words “galingan mo anak.” On the night of the last sunday, I called her up to assure her that I am confident I answered the questions properly and that (prophetic as I am) I will pass the bar.

On November 22, 2007, my mom left this world ever wishing she’d get to know the results of my bar exams. Happiness (for once) is such a lonely word. The world has turned and left me here.

I turned to lomography and photography tripping as a means to divert all about my feelings of guilt, regrets and fear. And from time to time it worked. But the “in-betweens” of these times still highlight my sorry feelings for myself, my family and my mom.

During the bar exams, each time the go signal is given to open the questionnaires, I say a prayer. The prayer goes “I don’t need to pass this bar, just please make my mom well and I’ll be ready to take the next bar.” God did not heed.

My world turned anew when the results of the bar exams was released. Old doors opened and old dreams were revived. This journey to the get into the bar is, more than anyone else next to God, for my mother – Rosita Chua Macaraig. The rose who refused to reveal her thorns so that we may softly embrace the everlasting memory of her sweetest existence. And I love her so. And, of course, for my father whom I owe my idea of resilience, tenacity and strength despite the odds. Likewise, to my ever supportive family and girlfriend. I will no longer name each and every one because, much as I wanted to express this gratitude, I might miss some names.

Indeed, an unexamined life is not worth living. I know there are other lives far more worth examining than mine. For sure there will still be struggles – loads of it – after signing the roll of attorneys. But on this note, this is my side of the story.

Only when you believe will you truly see.

And every time you’d get to ask yourself what is this bloody struggle for? Just take a break and make a glance once more.

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