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PIA Press Release

PGMA meets, congratulates Bar topnotcher in Baguio

BAGUIO CITY (8 April) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took time out Saturday to meet the top notcher of the 2006 Bar Examinations, congratulating and wishing him luck while giving him a gift daintily wrapped in white paper.

"Somebody from the Cordilleras has topped the bar for the second time from the same school and really represents the future of our country, the future of your region…" the President enthused during the courtesy call of the University of the Cordilleras (UC) delegation which included Noel Neil Malimban, the 2006 bar top notcher.

To the top officers of the UC which produced a second bar top notcher in eight years, President Arroyo said: "I wish you more and more success."

The President then recalled that her father, the late President Diosdado Macapagal, was the first bar top notcher of the University of Sto. Tomas, so she understands how jubilant the UC is with its second feat.

"I remember when my father topped the bar, he shifted from a faculty to a professional life and I hope you will be as successful or even more successful."

Asked what her gift for Noel contained, she said: "It is just something to start his life with."

The President met the UC delegation at the main hall of the Mansion in this summer capital, staying on for close to an hour as she chatted with the officials of the new university that was formerly called the Baguio Colleges Foundation (BCF).

Asked if there’s any government job awaiting the soft-spoken Malimban, the President replied, "Usually, they (bar top notchers) are pirated by the private sector right away… I don’t want to deprive him also of the wonderful opportunities the private sector could offer him… But anytime that he wants to joint the government, he is very welcome to join the government."

A Louisian from elementary to college, having studied at the Saint Louis University (SLU), Malimban took up Law at the UC where he intends to teach Law "if time permits."

In an earlier press conference at the offices of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) just before the group crossed over to the Presidential Mansion, Malimban said, "I plan to experience (working in ) a law firm in Manila preferably…"

Malimban reportedly got a grade of "94 or 96" in Taxation. His taxation professor, Atty. Virginia Lim, a PhD holder in Educational Management, is a taxation expert who has authored six books on taxation.

Malimban, who scored 87.6 in the bar --a mere 0.02 point above that of the second placer -- said he believes he also did well in Remedial Law even as he still has to find out his official scores in the different subject areas. He took his Remedial Law under the UC’s College of Law Dean Atty. Reynaldo Aggranzamendez, UC’s concurrent acting president.

Aggranzamendez told the media that Malimban was a "very studious" student who "set his own goal." He also shared the UC’s formula for producing bar top notchers: No student is accepted if he has failed any Law subject from any other law school.

Asked what questions were asked in the 2006 bar exams, Malimban said there were "a lot of weird questions," including a question asking who the president is of the International Court of Justice…"

Malimban’s advice to future bar exam takers? "They should understand what they read. They should not only read in volume, but read in essence."

UC Board Chairman Jesus Salvosa said the university’s feat is "so sensational," considering that top private law schools charge tuition fees of up to P50,000 per semester, while the UC’s semestral fee totals only about P13,000.

The beaming President was dressed in comfortable white slacks and blouse and a blue chaleco. For his part, Malimban wore an off-white barong accented with his graduation attire – a V-shaped "sablay" of ethnic Cordillera fabric – which he later topped with a commonly sold Ifugao headdress. This, even as his "papa" Vicente is a Caviteno, while his mother Lourdes is an Ilocana from Balaoan, La Union. (PIA) [top]

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