MANILA - A 26-year-old daughter of a Viganon scored a sensational second-place finish in the latest bar examination, whose low passing rate of 17.7 percent has deemed it the most difficult in the past 13 years.
Catherine Beatrice O. King Kay, who belongs to the Olanka family in Viga town, notched 84.72 percent in the 2012 lawyers’ licensure exam less than a point behind first placer and college mate Ignacio Michael Ingles. Results of the bar exam were published last week by the Supreme Court.
Five years ago, Catherine also landed in 11th place in the accountancy board exam, missing by a hairline the top 10 bracket.
Catherine is daughter to couple Bella Olanka and Carlito King Kay, both retired professionals who used to run a construction firm with contracts with the giant mall chain Shoemart. Mother Bella is Viga-born and daughter of the late Viga DepEd supervisor Salvador Olanka Sr. and wife Concordia (also deceased), a former public school teacher. The couple was known in Viga for having produced many valedictorians and honor students.
A graduate of the Ateneo de Manila Law School, Catherine is a certified public accountant working at the Romulo, Mabanta, de los Angeles and Sayoc law office when she took the 2012 bar exam. Among top law firms in the country, the firm was in the limelight last year as two of its lawyers - Dindo de los Angeles and Tranquil Salvador -- stood as defense counsels for impeached Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona.
“I am a proud Viganon,” said mother Bella in a phone interview with the Tribune. She said Catherine’s good showing in the bar exam more than compensated Catherine’s patience and her missing the CPA exam’s top 10 slots.
Bella thanked town mates and relatives who wished and prayed for Catherine’s success in the bar exam. She said an aunt of Catherine had been shuttling to the Virac Cathedral and the Viga Church to pray while the four-Sunday bar exam was taking place.
Interviewed on TV, Catherine, the third of the five King Kay siblings, said she plans to pursue post graduate studies in law possibly in the US after she winds up with her present engagement with the Mabanta law office.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted her as saying she was “supper-happy” with the results. “The questions in the exams were ‘quite unexpected’ and that the essay was long and comprehensive. It’s destiny,” she told the Inquirer when asked about Ingles’ landing the top spot in the bar exams. Catherine was the school valedictorian of their Ateneo class while Ingles was the salutatorian.
The young Olanka is one of the four Catandunganons known to have topped the lawyers’ exam. The first is said to be the late Senator Jose O. Vera of Pandan while the two others were Romulo Atencia of Bagamanoc, who placed fourth and Romeo Johann Fernandez also of Pandan, who landed sixth in the 1990 bar exam topped by now Senator Koko Pimentel.