9 with island roots hurdle bar exam

So far, nine law graduates with Catandunganon blood are known to have passed the tough bar examinations conducted by the Supreme Court in November last year.

The newly-minted attorneys are Cara Marie T. Encabo, Philip Frantz T. Guerrero, Alan Emmanuel R. Latorre, Catherine B. Panti, Ma. Cecille M. Pelagio, Chilzia T. Rojas, Michevelli B. Samonte, Ulpiano Z. Sarmiento, and Krishna Thea A. Torrente.

They are among the 2,103 new lawyers out of 7,685 examinees who are in the list announced by the High Court last April 29, 2020, with an overall passing rate of 27.36%.

Now based in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig City, Atty. Cara Marie Encabo is the daughter of Dr. Carina Tatad Teves-Encabo, granddaughter of former Baras Mayor Temie Teves and cousin of Mayor Jose Paolo Teves III, and Engr. Joselito Ramir R. Encabo.

A product of the Miriam College during grade school and high school, she took up law at the Ateneo de Manila University Law School after finishing her Bachelor of Science in Management of Financial Institutions at De La Salle University.

Atty. Philip Frantz Guerrero, also of Baras, is the son of retired Virac municipal treasurer Felipe Cervantes Guerrero and retired teacher Lilia Triumfante Guerrero. A graduate of Baras Central Elementary School (2006) and Baras Rural Development High School (2010), he graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, cum laude, from Bicol University in 2014 and then studied at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Legazpi College of Law until 2018. His proud siblings are Lilibeth Guerrero Thomas, Philip Fritz Triumfante Guerrero, and Lilife Guerrero Valen.

San Beda University College of Law alumnus Atty. Alan Emmanuel R. Latorre, 35, takes up the profession of his father 16 years after leaving the portals of then Catanduanes State Colleges with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Biology as a cum laude graduate.

A registered nurse who passed the board exam in 2008 after graduating from Our Lady of Fatima University, he is the son of the late Atty. Emmanuel S. Latorre and retired public school teacher Zenaida R. Latorre of San Roque, Virac. He works as a senior associate at SGV/Ernst & Young in Makati City.

Although she was born in Tabaco City, Atty. Catherine B. Panti is the 29-year old daughter of Danny Bautista Panti of San Juan, Virac, and the former Glenda Basco Bragais, who is the Secretary to the City Council of Tabaco.

A former basketball player known to Viracnons, her father once worked at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan for some time before moving to Tabaco with his wife, a daughter of Tony Bragais, a Tabaco City businessman who frequented Virac in the ’70s.

Catherine graduated from her midwifery course at Bicol University in 2008 and passed the board exam that same year before taking up nursing and also hurdling the test in 2010.

She also took up her Diplomate degree of International Health at the University of the Philippines (UP) Open University at Los Baños from 2015-2017 while studying for her Juris Doctor at UST Legazpi, then known as Aquinas University of Legazpi until 2020.

She worked as a Project Associate at Zuellig Family Foundation, a non-government organization in Parañaque City, and is now connected with DepEd Tabaco City Division as Project Development Officer.

“We have resided here since birth but my brother and I have so many childhood memories in Catanduanes as we often go there during summer and other special occasions,” Catherine told the Tribune.

A product of the Juan M. Alberto Memorial Elementary School (JMAMES) and the former Catanduanes State Colleges Laboratory High School, Atty. Maria Cecilia M. Pelagio counts her parents as the source of inspiration, retired Overseas Filipino Worker Renato and Susan Pelagio, and her brothers Samuel, Russel, Renato Jr., Angel, and Angelo.

The Cavinitan, Virac resident studied accountancy at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) and then pursued her dream of becoming a lawyer at Arellano University School of Law (AUSL). She is currently working as State Auditor at the Commission on Audit (COA).

The 27-year old Atty. Chilzia Rojas is the daughter of Lt. Col. Francisco R. Rojas (Ret) and the former Regina Tipay of  Bato town.

An alumnus of Bato Central Elementary School and Bato Rural Development High School, she completed her tertiary education at the University of the East where she graduated with her AB English degree before taking up law at the same school.

The youngest of Catanduanes’ new lawyers, Atty. Michevelli Samonte, just 24, is the daughter of Prosecutor Francisco Aquino Samonte, Jr. and Rhoda Borre-Samonte of Rizal, San Andres.

After graduating as valedictorian of her class at San Andres Central Elementary School in 2007 and at San Andres Vocational School in 2011, she went to the University of the Philippines in Manila where she obtained her degree in BA Organizational Communication in 2015. She is also a 2019 product of San Beda University-Manila.

As for Atty. Ulpiano Z. Sarmiento, one need not wonder why he is called “Storm” by close friends and classmates. He is the son of former A-TEACHER party-list Rep. Atty. Ulpiano “Ulan” P. Sarmiento III, the current Dean of the School of Law of San Beda College, and Medicard accounts officer Dinna Z. Sarmiento.

After graduating from Ateneo de Manila University in 2014 with his AB Social Science diploma, he enrolled at San Beda University College of Law where he finished the course in 2018.

Storm is a second cousin of fellow bar passer Atty Emmanuel Latorre, whose late father Manoling was the first cousin of Ulan as the elder Latorre’s mother, Elena Sarmiento, was the sister of Judge Ulpiano Sarmiento.

Baras town’s third new lawyer is Atty. Krishna Thea A. Torrente, 28, the eldest daughter of Ildefonso Clerigo Torrente and Miriam Aquino Torrente, who are both UP alumni. She is a granddaughter of the late Jesus Vergara Torrente, the former mayor of Baras who recently passed away at the age of 98.

Her father Ildefonso is a successful entrepreneur and the owner of Voyage Watersports while his wife is the director of Village School of Parkwoods (VSOP), a family-owned school.

Krishna Thea took up BA Public Administration at the University of the Philippines Diliman and completed her Law Degree at New Era University. She is now working as a Court Decongestion Officer at the Regional Trial Court in Quezon City.

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