“Before I die”: 87-year-old man chases dream to be a lawyer

MANILA, Philippines – Retired Police Colonel Ibarra Mariano should have been enjoying a simple, retired life but he still continues to tick off his checklist in life. Among his dreams, Mariano hopes to become a lawyer.
2018 bar exam taker Colonel Ibarra Mariano

At 87-years old, Mariano have achieved a lot in life. He dedicated decades of his life serving the government as an officer of the Philippine Constabulary, now known as the Philippine National Police. Now retired, he still conducts lectures to police at schools on “how to die or not to die in combat.”

2018 bar exam taker Colonel Ibarra Mariano
Ret. Col Ibarra Mariano is one of the oldest Bar Exam takers this year | Photo Courtesy: ABS-CBN News

Mariano was one of the earliest hopefuls who went to the University of Sto. Tomas on November 4 for the first day of the Bar examinations. This will be his second attempt at his dream of passing the Bar. He finished law school back in 1967 in Philippine Law School. Since them, he had only tried taking the Bar exams once back in 1995. Unfortunately, Mariano got a failing grade of 70-percent, just slightly short of the passing grade of 75.

A native of Tacloban, Mariano is determined to pass this year’s Bar. He is confident but admits that the exam can sometimes be confusing. He said, “It is not really that hard but it is confusing and time consuming. All the important provisions of law are not even asked in the Bar.”

While he doesn’t mind reading countless books, Mariano’s main concern is that examiners might have a problem with his handwriting. Probably due to age, he admits he has troubles writing legibly due to pain. He shared, “I have a problem with my right hand. Sometimes it’s aching. Even orthopedic doctor wanted to operate me but I said no, I may not be able to write during the exam so the operation will be done after the examination.”

Mariano is praying that by next year, he gets to add “lawyer” to his list of achievements. He said, “I am praying to God that I’ll be given good health to finish the bar examination so that, I hope, I become a lawyer by next year.”

The aspiring lawyer isn’t looking back in trying to pursue his dreams. While old age may seem like a hindrance, Mariano is taking it as a motivation to achieve more in his life. He said, “Hindi na tayo bumabata. I wanted to become a lawyer before I die. That’s why I took the interest to take it now [while] I can still write, I can still walk around alone.”

— Sally, The Summit Express

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