Of Sol. Gen. Calida’s and Sen. De Lima’s grades

Solicitor-General Jose Calida took the 1973 bar examinations and garnered 83.25% average; he reportedly got 100% in Criminal Law. [1]

Sen. Leila Delima took the 1985 bar examinations and garnered 86.26% average[2]; we have no information as to her grade in Criminal Law, but since Sol. Gen. Calida got a 100%, the best that could happen to Sen. Delima would be to also get a 100% in criminal law.

So really, this is an empty boast; this is like me telling a room of non-drinkers that I would stop drinking if any of them could beat my time in emptying x bottles of Red Horse.

Second, the 100% Sol. Gen. Calida got in criminal law, with all due respect to him, cannot at all be something one should boast about: this means that for the rest of the other subjects (90% of the entire grade), he got only 73.25%, or below the passing mark of 75.00%. Necessarily, he FAILED some of his subjects. This is all the more glaring when you consider that in reference 1 below, it is stated that he got 90% in both taxation and civil law, which is a total of 25% of the entire grade.

The distribution of the weighted average grade of the bar exams in 1973, if I’m not mistaken, is the same as that of today:

15% civil + 10% labor + 15% mercantile + 10% crim + 15% political + 10% tax + 20% remedial + 5% ethics = grade

So, in Sol. Gen. Calida’s case:

15% of 90 [civil] + 10% labor + 15% mercantile + 10% of 100 [crim] + 15% poli + 10% of 90 [tax] + 20% remedial + 5% ethics = 83.25

That is,

10% labor + 15% mercantile + 15% poli + 20% remedial + 5% ethics = 50.75

What does this mean? Outside of criminal law, civil law, and taxation, Sol. Gen. Calida only received 50.75%, barely 0.76% higher than the strike off of 50% then in effect (you are disqualified from passing the bar if you have a grade less than 50% in any subject, no matter how high your scores are in other subjects, reportedly already removed since the 2014 or 2013 bar).

Of course, grades in the bar are not everything. My highest, believe it or not, was in taxation, at 86%, which was enough to pull up my 63% in civil law, what I thought was my forte. But right now most of my cases are criminal in nature, and only once did I assist a client for a tax-related legal concern.

[1] Note: This reference gives Calida’s bar year as 1983, but that is wrong: he took the 1973 bar, as evidenced by his roll number 24852 and date of membership with the bar as June 18, 1974; see


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