MANILA – Among the 3,747 examinees who passed the 2016 Philippine Bar exams is a former janitor turned election assistant of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and his story is nothing short of inspiring and how his efforts to become a lawyer paid off.
Ramil Comendador, 35, and a father of two, is from the island province of Catanduanes. His wife, Christy, is an engineer.
After graduating from high school, he started working in a private company and got married. He and Christy have two children.
Ramil worked as a janitor at the Comelec from 2007 to 2010. He was promoted to clerk then as legal researcher after passing the civil service eligibility exams.
In 2011, he took up law at the Unibersidad de Manila (University of Manila), using his salary from the Comelec to pay as tuition. In the meantime, Christy took care of household expenses.
Ramil said he decided to go to college because he wanted to be in the same educational level as Christy.
He rented a small room in an apartment near his house three months before the Bar exams so he could focus on his review. He’d study from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. then go home to cook dinner for his family.
While reviewing for the Bar exams, Ramil fell ill and was hospitalized but he continued studying even during confinement, going over the reviewers he brought along.
On the first day of the Bar exams, Ramil recalled being terrified, so much so that his hand shook and he couldn’t write down his answers for about half an hour. “I prayed that the Lord would help me to be able to write down my answers because I really want to hurdle the exams,” he told CNN Philippines.
When the Bar exam results came out, last Wednesday he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a separate interview that he looked for his name in the list posted outside the Supreme Court (SC) in downtown Manila. He was number 914 in the list.
“I’m so lucky. I don’t know how to thank the Lord and all those people who gave me strength,” Ramil said in Filipino.
The top 10 passers all came from provincial law schools and for the first time in the Bar exams’ history, not a single Manila-based law school examinee made it to the top 10.
Now that he is a lawyer, Ramil hopes to meet his father, who left his mother while she was pregnant with him.
As for his job at the Comelec, Ramil said he will stay on with the commission.
Comelec Chief Andres Bautista commended Ramil for passing the Bar. Bautista said Ramil can become an election officer now that he is a lawyer – a requirement for the position.
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada gave Comendador a cash reward of 100,000 pesos and a plaque of recognition for his achievement. “Success is no accident… Mr. Comendador truly proved that hard work, perseverance, and sacrifice are all you need to achieve your dream,” Estrada said in a statement.
Things sure are looking up for the former janitor turned lawyer.
Meanwhile, Ramil advised aspiring lawyers “to never give up on their dreams, no matter who and what they are.” GAC/Expat Media
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