Bar Exam 2017 topnotcher shares he “cried quite hard” after hearing the big news

MANILA, Philippines - A Bacolod law graduate topped the 2017 Bar Examination and admitted he was overwhelmed upon hearing the news.

Mark John Simondo of the University of St. La Salle Bacolod topped the Bar with an average of 91.05 percent as announced by Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin today, April 26.

CONGRATULATIONS! Atty. Mark John H. Simondo tops 2017 bar exam
CONGRATULATIONS! Atty. Mark John H. Simondo tops 2017 bar exam | Photo Courtesy: Facebook/University of St. La Salle

Simondo admitted that getting a 91.05 score was “something I didn't expect.” Along with over bar exam hopefuls, he was also keeping his fingers crossed when the announcement was made. When his Simondo finally heard that he topped the country's most prestigious exam, he couldn't contain his emotions. He said, “I am quite shy to say this, but I cried quite hard. I did not expect it.”

SEE ALSO: TOP 20: Meet the topnotchers of the 2017 Bar Exam

The La Salle alumnus admitted that growing up, he was already an achiever but law school was different. Simondo said, “I did graduate with honors during my high school and college years, but law school is different.”

When asked for his motivation on why he took up law, Simondo had a more personal answer, he wanted to stay in the country.

He said, “I took up law because my parents were pressuring me to go abroad. I felt that the Philippines is where I should be. I needed a job that would justify my stay here.”

“I was looking at medicine, accountancy or law. I ruled out medicine because I know I wouldn't be good in a hospital. In the end I decided I would go for law,” he added.

Simondo's future looks very bright right now as he topped the country's most prestigious exam. When asked for his future plans, the topnotcher is still looking at finding his place in corporate law. He said, “I am open to position in public service but I really like corporate law. But I hear that corporate law practice here in Bacolod is limited.”

Now, that he is a full fledged lawyer, Simondo shared that he is committed in upholding the law. He stated, “I will do my utmost to promote justice in this country. At the end of the day we are still a nation of law and not of men. I will do my part in upholding the rule of law.”

Bar Examination 2017

Out of the 6,750 examinees, only 1,724 examinees successfully (25.55%) passed the 2017 Bar Examination. This year's passing rate is 25.55%.


The 2017 Bar Examination had also its share of controversies. Several examinees noticed that some questions in Legal Ethics were verbatimly copied from previous bar exams.

Associate Justice Marvic Leonen consider the complaint a "serious" accusation but judicial staff head Pia Bersamin brushed off the issue.

— Sally, The Summit Express

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