The blind Martsu Ressan Ladia, who passed the recent Bar exam, is surrounded by relatives in this Eid'l Fit'r holiday photo. ( / John Unson)

Citations up for blind examinee who passed Bar exam

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines (December 14, 2023) — The Sangguniang Panglunsod of General Santos City and a physician-ophthalmologist in the Bangsamoro parliament will separately send their written greetings to a 28-year visually-impaired Muslim who passed the recent Bar examination.

The new lawyer Martsu Ressan Ladia, who hails from Alabel town in Sarangani province in Region 12, is among the 43 graduates of the law school in the Mindanao State University-General Santos City Campus who passed the Philippine Bar exam last September.
Vice Mayor Rosalita Nuñez, presiding chairperson of the General Santos City Council, said on Thursday that she has proposed a resolution by the city law-making body congratulating Ladia for his extraordinary feat.

Ladia has had retinopathy since childhood, a serious condition caused by abnormal growth of blood vessels in the retina, causing blindness.

“He is so amazing. He is a fascinating example, a good epitome of human capability to overcome challenges brought about by physical disability, particularly a very serious visual problem,” the Indian-trained eye specialist Kadil M. Sinolinding Jr, who is a member of the 80-seat Bangsamoro parliament, said on Thursday.

Known in the Bangsamoro region by his moniker “doctor in the parliament” for his continuing region-wide outreach activities for eye patients, Sinolinding, also a Muslim, said he is so touched with Ladia’s having passed the Bar exam despite his condition.

Ladia, who is from a marginalized family, told reporters he is grateful to the Supreme Court for allowing him to use a computer reading application, the NonVisual Desktop Access, or NVDA, that enabled him to read and answer in an audio format the questions in the Bar exams.

“I am also thankful to the Sagittarius Mines Incorporated in South Cotabato for sponsoring my law review studies through its corporate social responsibility program. I could not have gone through that preparatory review activity if not for the help of this mining firm because of lack of financial capability on the part of my family," Ladia told reporters.

Sinolinding said he has directed his subordinates in his office in the Bangsamoro parliament to draft a congratulatory message for Ladia, saying that becoming a lawyer was a struggle that can be mentioned in books.