BAR TOPNOTCHER. Atty. Justin Ryan Morilla, who placed 5th on the 2016 Bar Exam, says he’s long term plan as a lawyer will be to serve in the government, especially in the Ombudsman. Behind him is ADDU College of Law Dean Atty. Manuel Quibod, during a press conference at the ADDU Pakighinabi Hall, Davao City. (Paulo C. Rizal/

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Justin Ryan Morilla, a graduate of the Ateneo de Davao University College of Law, garnered the score of 88.40 percent, earning him the fifth spot in the 2016 Bar examinations.

Morilla, 25, now a lawyer, said he had no special rituals while reviewing for the bar in Manila. He only developed a consistent routine of studying, and every Sunday, attending a mass at the nearby St. Jude Parish.

“I didn’t have rituals like going to Banawa or Simala in Cebu. I just go to the same church in St. Jude because it’s the nearest church to where I live. I think regardless of which parish or church you go to, I think it’s more of the personal connection that you have with whoever you believe in,” he said.

The young lawyer, who hails from Tacurong, Sultan Kudarat, said his long-term plan is to work in the government. He is currently working in a legal firm in Davao City.

“Maybe in the Ombudsman. But I can’t tell you when,” Morilla said.

As a word of advice, Morilla said it would be best for future bar takers to establish a routine, instead of cramming. Morilla also advised bar takers to focus, and “leave all emotional baggages behind.”

“Place your mind and focus on your calling and that is to become a lawyer. This is not the time for you to burden yourself in unnecessary issues and stress from other people and other things,” Morilla said.

Morilla graduated political science at the University of the Philippines Visayas in 2012 before proceeding to study law at the ADDU immediately.

The AdDU maintained its status as one of the top law schools in the country. According to the university website, all 24 first time bar takers passed, while only three out of eight re-takers will have to try their luck next year.

Overall AdDU’s 2016 bar performance stands at 90.63 percent passing rate.

For the 2016 Bar exams, over half of 6,344 graduates who took the Bars passed, according to Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco, Jr. as quoted saying in a news report.

Meanwhile, universities from Metro Manila were not able to grab a spot in Top 10 in Bar Exams which is a first in decades. (

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