CEBU CITY, Philippines - For Senior Police Officer 1 Julius Ompad, the seventh time is the charm in passing the bar exams.
Ompad, investigator of the Waterfront Police Station, passed the exam on his seventh try.
Ompad, 40, of Barangay (village) Pasil, Cebu City said that he first took the bar in 1995, when his eldest son was still two years old.
Now, his son is already 14 years old.
Despite flunking the bar exams six times, Ompad said he was never discouraged. It, however, made him more determined to take it for the seventh time ? his last chance to become a lawyer.
He succeeded on his latest try.
Ompad said he wrote the Supreme Court in 2005, asking that he be allowed to take another bar examination.
The Supreme Court (SC) granted Ompad's request provided that he take a one-year refresher course and a bar review.
Last year's bar exams could have been the last for Ompad if he failed because Bar Matter 1161 promulgated on June 8, 2004 provides that bar applicants are only allowed to take the bar exams five times.
When the resolution of the reform of bar examinations was implemented in 2004, previous examinees who flunked the bar five times or more were allowed to take one more bar exam provided that they would complete a one-year refresher course.
In 2004, Ompad flunked the bar for the sixth time.
He said he decided to take a last shot at the bar exams even if his wife advised him not to take it anymore.
But his wife's advice only made him more determined to take the exams.
?My wife told me to forget my dream of becoming a lawyer. She told me that the profession of being a lawyer is not for me,? he told Cebu Daily News.
He said he nearly passed the exams in 2002 and 2004.
?This is what pushed me to take the exams last year,? he added.
Ompad said he did not mind flunking the exams several times because the money he spent for the exams came from his own pocket or from his income as a police officer.
He said he supported himself through school because his parents only earned enough for the family.
Ompad's father is a taxi driver, while his mother is a housemaker.
When he settled down in 1992, he was on his third year of law school.
Ompad said that there was a time when his mother advised him to quit being a policeman and look for a better paying job because she noticed that he had so many debts.
?Pero wala lang sila kahibawo nga akong sweldo ako nang gi-prenda kay akong gipalit og libro (But they did not know that my salary was already on loan so that I can buy books),? said Ompad.
He said it was not easy juggling studies, work and family time.
He recalled a time when he woke up at about 2 a.m. and alternated between studying and singing to lull his son to sleep.
Ompad said he would have taken the bar exams in 2006 but due to financial constraint he decided to drop out of the bar review.
In 2007, he took another a six-month leave of absence from work, went through the rigors of another bar review and took last year's Bar exams and passed it.
?Now, I reaped the fruit of my sacrifices. I can say that poverty is not a hindrance to success,? he said.