‘There are offers from law firms in Manila, but I haven’t considered them yet. I really love Dipolog (City), life here is simple, no traffic problems,’ Liong says
BAR PASSER. Athalia Briones-Liong meets Sancho S. Amatong, president of Andres Bonifacio College in Dipolog City. Photo by Gualberto Laput
ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE, Philippines – Athalia Briones-Liong, third placer in the Bar exams, wants to practice law in her home town, no matter if she gets "chickens, eggs, goats, camote, saging (banana) for legal fees."
"There are offers from law firms in Manila, but I haven’t considered them yet. I really love Dipolog (City), life here is simple, no traffic problems," Liong told Rappler. (READ: List of passers: 2016 Bar exams)
She added her late father, who became a lawyer after leaving the priesthood, was also paid with chickens, banana or other produce for legal fees and sometimes "pro bono publico," but he went on helping those who have less in life because he loved them.
"I look up to (my father), it’s really my dream to be like him," Liong said.
Liong and Alanna Gayle Ashley Khio, Bar second placer, are from Dipolog. Khio took her law from Silliman University in Dumaguete City while Leong took up law from Andres Bonifacio College (ABC) in Dipolog. (READ: Highest in decades: Over 59% pass 2016 bar examinations)
A mother of three, Liong resigned as branch manager of a bank in 2014 to focus on law school.
"It was difficult, being a mother and at the same time having studies, there were times when I had to skip classes to attend to my family’s needs, I just focused on the bar subjects," she added.
Her dean noticed it, but she was able to get the 3rd place in her school’s "mock bar," and just studied hard during her review.
"There was a time when I was 7 months pregnant with my youngest daughter, and had premature contractions, I had to ask my dean to let me take the examination at the first floor because I could not take the stairs," Leong recalled.
She did not expect to get the third place, adding, "my only prayer was to be able to pass the bar."
After arriving from Hongkong on May 4, Liong made a call to the owners of ABC – Sancho Amatong, the president, and Ernesto Amatong, chair of the Board of Trustees.
ABC’s law school started in 1949, and so far has already produced 241 lawyers.
The college started as a small institute in 1940 with 7 students and 5 faculty members. – Rappler.com