DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 26 April) – Bar topnotcher Camille B. Remoroza, of the Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU), fulfilled her father’s own dream of becoming a lawyer, which he failed to achieve because of poverty.
Remoroza, with a grade of 90.7 percent, placed third in the 2017 bar examinations, according to the results released by the Supreme Court Thursday. Another Mindanawon, Rhea Doll B. Gonzalo of Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro City, tied with two others to place 15th with a 87.55-percent grade.
A total of 1,724 passed out of the 6,748 who took last year’s bar exams, or a passing rate of 25.5 percent.
Fr. Agustin Nazareno, the bar review director of ADDU’s College of Law, said that the university’s passing rate for its first-timers for the 2017 bar exams was 94.87 percent compared to the national passing average of 25.5 percent.
During a press conference at the ADDU Thursday afternoon, which was streamed live on Facebook, Rogelio Remoroza revealed that he, too, finished law school. “But I didn’t experience taking the bar exams because of poverty,” he said.
He was already 47 years old when he finished law school, which he took while having a full-time job. But unlike his daughter, he could not have a break to focus preparations for the bar examinations because at that time, his wife Nenita lost her job. “I needed to work hard because I was the only one sustaining the family,” Rogelio said.
“If we talk about levelling, I’m just at this level while she’s now up here,” Rogelio talked about her daughter, microphone on his right hand and gesturing with his left, while Camille, holding back tears, stroked her father’s back.
“My wish for her was just to pass the bar exams,” he said. But her sacrifice in studying hard to learn law, he said, paid off.
Camille studied elementary at the Ateneo Grade School in Davao, then graduated valedictorian at the Assumption College of Davao during high school. She was summa cum laude at the San Pedro College, also in Davao, with a degree in nursing.
Growing up, Remoroza wanted to become a certified public accountant and lawyer at the same time but she was drawn to the sciences upon reaching high school.
Before entering law school in 2012, she also contemplated on proceeding to medicine but a teacher pushed her to proceed to law.
In 2010, she was awarded as one of the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines, receiving the award from former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III in Malacañang.
At the press conference, Camille said she didn’t expect to top the bar exams. “In the history of Ateneo, it’s usually the top students who topped the bar. Me, I took law in four and a half years,” she added, noting that she even failed in one minor subject on her second year.
But because she had more time to prepare for the bar exams as she finished law school in the middle of the school year, “I studied like I haven’t studied before.”
Camille admitted that she dreamed and prayed that she would top the exams, asking God to show her signs as she waited for the results to come out.
“The number three has always been my lucky number since grade school,” she said. When she joined competitions and she got assigned the number three, she would always win.
Recently when Camille was driving, she said the number three always popped up – in plate numbers, in jerseys, in tarpaulin ads.
But she would not discount hard work, saying, “I think I studied too much.”
Camille advised law students who dreamed of topping the bar exams to start their preparations early in law school. “Even the minor subjects like legal writing and legal research, don’t take them for granted because these will help you when you take the bar exams,” she pointed out.
She said that if a student gets tortured during law school, “be thankful, because the discipline inculcated to you by your teachers is helpful [as] the six months of bar review is a lot more hell than law school.”
While studying law, Camille was working part time as an online writer. “I would sleep at 2 o’clock in the morning, wake up at 8, work again until noon, study from 1 to 5, then attend class from 5 to 9,” she said.
But still, her father said she was not putting in as much time as he did when he was studying law, and thus Camille considered him and her mother as her “best critics.”
This “unhealthy world” of law school, Camille admitted, prepared her for the “hell” that was bar exams review.
But unlike her father who could not take time off to review, Camille had the leisure “to leave everything behind” and focus on her review. “I established a routine and had the discipline. I’d wake up same time every day, sit down [to study] same time everyday, and pray,” she recalled.
“Never be complacent in law school, never be complacent in your life and always strive for the best,” she advised fellow law students.
Camille’s boss at the Office of the Ombudsman in Davao, where she started working last February as senior administrative assistant, said he noted her excellent qualities when she was applying for a job.
“More than her outstanding academic credentials, it is her character, with her humility, simplicity and innate goodness that made an impression,” said Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao Rodolfo M. Elman. (Antonio L. Colina and Bobby Timonera / MindaNews)