76. SO WHAT?


Photo Courtesy of: Inquirer.net

I can’t stand the criticism of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile against Senator Miriam Defensor – Santiago.  JPE did not address the gist of the accusations against him rather he lashed out on a personal level which is irrelevant on the issue of the Pork Barrel Fund Scam.  What stuns me more is the fact that a Senator in this country can stoop to a very low level of scrutiny which sets a very bad example especially to the youth of today.

76 bar exam grade. So what? Is a person’s competence limited to a figure? I beg to defer.


In different societies, particularly in the legal profession, grades are one of the bases to assess whether or not a person is competent. However, it is not an absolute proof to measure a person’s capabilities. To begin with, there are a lot people who did not have an impressive Transcript of Records yet became luminaries in their respective careers like Steve Jobs and JK Rowling to name a few.

Lawyers like the late Senator Claro M. Recto, US President John F. Kennedy and Secretary Hilary failed in their first attempt to have the much coveted title of being a “lawyer”. On the other hand, there are law honor graduates and bar topnotchers who did not even left a mark in the societies that they lived in. My point is simple, good grades are not an assurance for a person to succeed in the field that he chose to pursue. Excellence, in its sincerest sense, is more than having a good grade. Greatness should not be confined to strict and absurd standards.


Over the years, expert and/or competent Senators are very much endangered. Senator Santiago is one of those reasons why we can still put faith in our legislature. Nowadays, the persons that create laws and allocate our budget only come either from Political Clans or Show biz but that’s a different story. So regardless if Miriam had a grade of 76 in the bar examinations, she has proven her expertise over the relevant fields of study in her function as a senator.

True enough that Senator Miriam Santiago “almost flunked” the bar examinations when she took it but is she definitely one of the best senators this country ever had. Yes, Santiago may have flaws but is there a perfect person or Senator for that matter? I mean, c’mon, we even have legislators who can’t even pronounce “pizza pie” properly. So why bother? In terms of contributions, there is no doubt that our taxes are worth it when it comes to Senator Santiago.


A Senator who maligns his/her colleague’s credential sets a very bad precedent to future leaders. It is acceptable to get frustrated or to give criticisms against one another; however, personal attacks which are irrelevant to the Senate’s discussions should be set aside otherwise it will only promote hostility.

Our Senators should realize that whether they like it or not they form part of the people that the youth can look up to. Whatever they do, will create impact not just today but also in the future. So if a budding leader can see hostility among elder individuals, what do we expect in the future?

It is worrisome to realize that more than eighty years of existence, decades of public service and impressive academic credentials does not make a man as respectable as he should be.  After all, what do you expect from a person who corroborated with one of the most heinous dictators of all time?

To the youth of today and tomorrow’s leaders, let us learn from our leaders wisely. Since there was once a man who boasted his honorable records yet left a dubious mark in his existence as a leader. I’d rather go for a person who “almost flunked the bar” with concrete actions than a man who passed the bar with flying colors who can’t even dispel allegations without tarnishing other people.

The choice is yours.


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