Ramil Comendador, a former janitor at the Commission on Elections (Comelec), said he could not believe how lucky he was to pass the 2016 bar examination.
“I don’t know how to thank the Lord and all those people who gave me strength. I am No. 914,” he said, pointing at the list of passers. “I hope I don’t have a namesake.”
Comendador, 35, said he started working for a private employer after he graduated from high school. He got married and has two children, now aged 4 and 8. He said he aspired to continue his studies to at least be on the same level as his wife, an engineer.
Comendador served as a utility worker assigned at the office of former Election Commissioner Rene Sarmiento from 2007 to 2010.
Rachel Fortuno, acting head of the Comelec Press Office, said Sarmiento encouraged Comendador to take up law.
“Commissioner Sarmiento served as his inspiration to pursue law,” Fortuno said, adding that the employee finished his studies while he was at the Comelec.
When Sarmiento retired, Comendador applied to the Comelec’s office in Malabon City as an election assistant, the post he currently holds.
In his social media post, Sarmiento said Comendador applied for work in his office as a utility man/janitor. “I had not met him from Adam but knowing he was from Catanduanes and was very passionate to work with me, I accepted him,” he said.
“He asked me if he could study after office hours and I said ‘yes.’ He finished his pre-law studies, living a spartan way of life. Very simple. After prelaw, he asked me if he could study law. I said, ‘Why not?’”
“He received much encouragement from my legal and nonlegal staff, his cheering squad. After my retirement from the Comelec, he continued his law studies. Today, he is now Atty. Ramil Comendador. Today, I say, ‘I bless the Lord. So great is your faithfulness to Ramil!’” said Sarmiento, who teaches law at San Beda College.
Comendador entered law school in 2011 and was eventually admitted as a legal researcher.
He said he used his salary for his tuition. He said his wife helped with the household expenses.
While reviewing, he said he got sick and was hospitalized. His condition did not deter him from studying. “I took my reviewers with me,” he said.
Three months before the exam, he rented a small room near his house to concentrate on his studies. “I studied from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” he said.
He would later go home to cook dinner for his family.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.