COTABATO CITY, Philippines (PNA) – Tears of joy and jubilation and calls for blow-out greeted 42-year-old Rosemil Robles-Bañaga after learning she made it to the Top 4 in last year’s Bar Examination.

Bañaga, already a Certified Public Accountant and holder of Master’s degree in Business Administration before taking up law, shed tears when Catholic-run Notre Dame University-College of Law Dean Hamlet Pahm phoned her about the results.

“Congratulations,” she quoted Pahm as telling her hours after the Supreme Court (SC) announced the results of last year’s Bar exam.



“I was so happy for passing the exam,” she said. “I was even happier when I was told that I was among the Top 4 of the passers,” she added.

She recalled that prayer and focus on her studies made her pass the bar and lifted her to the top 4 spot.

Bañaga said that from day one of her law school, she concentrated on reading law books. “I stayed focused ever since.”

She now works as auditor of the Alandia Lending Corporation here after she left the position of finance manager of the Maguindanao Electric Cooperative in 2006.

She said that while working at the lending firm, she did not take “breaks” but instead read law books.

Graduated with flying colors in March, 2011, she took the bar exam in the same year, hoping to just pass the test.

“God is great, I only asked that I can make it but He gave me the No. 4 spot,” she said, sobbing but smiling.

As this developed, it was learned that the Notre Dame University is preparing a huge cash incentive to Bañaga.

“I still do not know how much our school would give to Bañaga, but as far as I am concerned, it has been agreed early on that once a law graduate tops the Bar exams we would give him or her R100,000,” a visibly proud Fr. Ed Tanodtanod, NDU president, told local radio station dxMY here during an interview.

Tanodtanod said that aside from Bañaga, six other NDU law graduates hurdled the 2011 Bar examinations.

“Over 50 law graduates from the university took the same examination,” he added.

The cleric noted that they plan to honor Bañaga and her co-passers during the NDU graduation rites set next month.

“Bañaga is an inspiration to other students from Central Mindanao with her place at the top ten of Bar exams. It is very encouraging that in this place like Cotabato perceived as marred with violence, an opportunity to have good education through NDU still exists,” Tanodtanod said.

Her phone did not stop from ringing and receiving messages for more than an hour after the results were made public.

Bañaga recalled that prayers also helped her made it. She said during the three-day examinations, her husband, Engineer Macario Bañaga, would recite the Divine Mercy novena at a nearby Church in Manila.

Right after the Bar exams, Bañaga and her husband, both devout Catholics, proceeded to the Church for the early evening mass.

“I asked God to please help me pass the Bar,” she recalled, thanking God, as she pointed her fingers up.

Born in Libungan, North Cotabato, Bañaga, then Ms. Robles, studied elementary and high school in her hometown.

She moved to Notre Dame of Midsayap College, also a Church-run educational institution, and finished accountancy.

She passed the CPA licensure exam the same year.

She advised law students to stay focused and develop the habit of reading law books more often that normal student does.