Here’s why 2017 Bar topnotcher Mark John Simondo studied law

Darryl Esguerra
PUBLISHED April 27, 2018 10:09 am | UPDATED April 27, 2018 10:19 am
Mark John Simondo, 2017 Bar Examinations topnotcher, was not even supposed to be in the country at all to take the exams. Photo: Supreme Court PIO/Twitter

(Inside Manila) Bar Examinations topnotcher Mark John Simondo of the University of St. La Salle in Bacolod revealed he was not even supposed to be here in the Philippines at all to take the grueling November 2017 exams.


In a telephone interview over ANC, the Nursing graduate Simondo admitted that he took up law because he does not want to work abroad, a request his parents are yearning for.


“My parents were pressuring me to go abroad and be a nurse in New Zealand or Australia, but I felt that the Philippines is where I should be. So I needed to find a course that will justify my stay here,” he said.


He decided to take up law and it bore a big surprise on Thursday, April 26 when the Supreme Court announced he just didn’t conquered the exams but he even topped the 25.5% passers.



Simondo scored 91.05%, a feat that had not been done in 15 years. The last time a topnotcher reached the 90% mark was in 2002, when Arlene Maneja of University of Sto. Tomas finished with a score of 92.9%. Simondo bested the 1,724 passers of the total 6,750 law graduates who took the bar.


“I tried calculating my score. At most, I figured that I might get 83 or 84. Perhaps, I could go as low as 73 or 74. Getting a 91 is really something that I did not expect,” he said.


Simondo vowed to use his newly acquired license for the good of the country.


“We are still a nation of law, not of men. The rule of law should prevail. I will see to it that I will do my part in upholding the rule of law,” he said.

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