The passing rate in the Bar Examinations dipped below 20 percent for the first time in a decade, showing a double-digit drop from the previous year.
Only 946 aspiring lawyers out of the total 5,343 who took the four-Sunday exam last October hurdled the test, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said.
The 2012 passing rate of 17.76 percent is significantly lower than the 31.95 percent recorded a year ago.
It is also the first time that the passing rate hit lower than 20 percent since 2002, when 19.68 percent of examinees passed.
Ignatius Michael Ingles, a graduate of Ateneo de Manila University's Law School, topped the 2012 Bar exams with a score of 85.64 percent. He was followed by fellow Ateneo Law graduate Catherine Beatrice King Kay (84.72 percent) and University of the Philippines College of Law graduate April Carmela Lacson (84.48 percent).
The list of Bar exam topnotchers was dominated by Ateneo, which had six in the top 10, and UP, which had four.
A graduate from Legazpi City's Aquinas University, however, was also among the best performers in what is widely considered the country's most difficult licensure examinations.
Rounding out the top 10 were:
Xavier Jesus Romualdo, Ateneo (84.10 percent)
Maria Graciela Base, UP (83.99 percent)
Jose Maria Angel Machuca, Ateneo (83.99 percent)
Patrick Henry Salazar, UP (83.71 percent)
Ralph Karlo Barcelona, Aquinas (83.43 percent)
Marvyn Llamas, Ateneo (83.29 percent)
Carlo Martin Li, Ateneo (83.27 percent)
Francis Paolo Tiopianco, UP (83.25 percent)
The full list of successful examinees may be viewed here: List of passers
The Supreme Court administers the Bar exams once a year as part of its constitutional mandate to promulgate rules governing the admission to the practice of law.
Successful Bar candidates are scheduled to take oath on April 24, 2013, at 2 p.m.