PUBLIC ATTORNEY’S OFFICE: Legal Assistance Provider for the PNP members
“So on we go, his welfare is my concern. No burden is he to bear, we’ll get there. For I know he would not encumber me, He ain’t heavy – he’s my brother.”
– Bobby Scott & Bob Russel
These lines taken from a popular ballad written in the 1960s reflect the thrust of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) to support the PNP by providing legal assistance to policemen.
As the PNP continues to promote legal assistance for PNP personnel, the Legal Service (LS) is strengthening its linkage with the PAO, which has vowed to provide legal aid to police officers. Under Section 2 of Republic Act 9406, the PAO is an independent and autonomous office attached to the Department of Justice for purposes of policy and program coordination. Under Section 56 of Republic Act 8551, DOJ is one of the agencies tasked to provide legal assistance to the PNP.
LS Director, POLICE Chief Superintendent HEROLD G UBALDE, was instrumental in prodding the Honorable AGNES VST DEVANADERA, then Secretary of Justice, to fully support the PNP Legal Assistance Program. The Secretary announced her directive for the PAO to provide substantial legal service to policemen during the 2009 LS anniversary celebration which she graced as the Guest of Honor and Speaker.
Thus, in PAO Memorandum Circular No. 3, dated January 27, 2010, Chief Public Attorney PERSIDA V. RUEDA-ACOSTA spelled out the policies to be observed by public attorneys in providing legal assistance to police officers with the rank of PO1 to SPO4. The Circular applies in all cases where said police non-commissioned officers (PNCOs) are sued in connection with the performance of their respective police duties and official functions. The usual indigency test being applied by PAO in determining the eligibility of litigants to free legal assistance no longer applies to PNCOs. However, in cases where they are sued not in connection with their performance of police duties and official functions, the indigency test shall apply. A litigant shall be considered an indigent person if his monthly net income does not exceed P14,000.00 in Metro Manila; P 13,000.00 in other cities; and P 12, 000.00 in other parts of the country.
“The PNP very much welcomes the support of the PAO. We also thank the Department of Justice. The Legal Service is very grateful that both agencies care about the plight of our police officers. The memo circular will surely boost the morale of our policemen in the field and push them to continue with their law enforcement functions with less fear of service-related cases and harassment suits.”, remarked Chief Superintendent Ubalde.
Published herein is the full text of PAO Memorandum Circular No. 3 series of 2010 :
MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. 03
Series of 2010
STANDARD OFFICE PROCEDURE IN EXTENDING
LEGAL ASSISTANCE TO POLICE OFFICERS PURSUANT TO
DOJ DEPARTMENT CIRCULAR NO. 78 DATED OCTOBER 26, 2009
Section 1. Purpose- This Circular is issued for the purpose of setting forth and defining the policies, rules and procedures to be observed by Public Attorneys in providing legal assistance to police officers.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Section 1. Terms Used – As used in this Circular, the following terms are defined as follows:
a. “Police Officer” – shall refer to a member of the Philippine National Police with the rank of Police Officer 1 (PO1) to Senior Police Officer 4 (SPO4).
b. “Sued in the performance of their police duties” – shall refer to police officers subject of a complaint or under disciplinary action relating to or in connection with the discharge of their official functions.
Section 1. Coverage –
a) This Memorandum Circular shall apply to members of the Philippine National Police holding the ranks of Police Officer 1 (PO1) to Senior Police Officer 4 (SPO4) in all cases where these officials are sued in connection with the performance of their respective police duties and official functions. For this purpose, the provisions of Memorandum Circular No. 18, Series of 2002 on Indigency test, shall not apply.
b) However, in cases where the above-mentioned officials are sued not in connection with their performance of police duties and official functions, the provisions of Section 3 Article II, Memorandum Circular No. 18 Series of 2002 as amended shall apply.
Section 1. Legal Assistance Includes – The legal assistance that the Public Attorneys shall
extend includes, but is not limited to the following:
a. Legal advice and documentation;
b. Preparation of written explanation or any responsive pleading;
c. Legal representation in judicial, quasi-judicial and other administrative bodies.
PROCEDURE IN EXTENDING LEGAL ASSISTANCE
Section 1. Duties of a Public Attorney - When a police officer seeks legal assistance, the Public Attorney shall:
a. Determine whether the officer is sued in connection with the performance of his official duties.
a.1 If in the affirmative, the Public Attorney shall determine which district office shall provide legal assistance taking into consideration the following:
a.1.a. If the case is filed within the territorial jurisdiction of the said district, the Public Attorney shall handle the case.
a.1.b. If otherwise, the same shall be referred to the district office having territorial jurisdiction over the same;
a.2. If in the negative, paragraph b of Section 1 Article 3 hereof shall apply.
b. Require the police officer to submit the following:
b.1. Proof of his rank;
b.2. Copy of the Complaint, Information, or Charge Sheet and such other documents in connection therewith; and
b.3. Evidence in support of his defense.
Section 1. Prohibition - The Public Attorneys are prohibited from assisting the following:
a. Those already represented by counsel de parte; and
b. Those where the provision of legal assistance gives rise to conflict of interest;
Section. 1. Effectivity – This Memorandum Circular shall take effect immediately.
January 27, 2010.
(Sgd.) PERSIDA V. RUEDA-ACOSTA
Chief Public Attorney
The national and regional offices of PAO are easily accessible to the police. “Ang amin pong tanggapan ay palaging bukas upang makatulong sa ating kapulisan na nangangailangan ng mabilis at epektibong serbisyong ligal lalo na tungkol sa mga kasong kanilang hinaharap dahilan sa pagpapatupad ng kanilang mga tungkulin.”, assured Chief Public Attorney RUEDA-ACOSTA.
List of PAO Offices:
PAO – CENTRAL OFFICE
East Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City
Tel Nos : 929-9437; 926-3075;
Fax Nos.: 927-6810; 926-2878
PAO – REGION VII
The CJ Fernan Memorial Hall of Justice
Capitol Compound, Cebu City
Telefax.: (032) 253-5859
Tel. Nos.: (032) 412-8717; 412-8718
PAO – NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION
East Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City
Tel. No.: 924-1397
PAO – REGION VIII
Bulwagan ng Katarungan
Magsaysay Blvd., Tacloban City
Telefax: (053) 325-5381
PAO – CORDILLERA ADMIN REGION
Justice Hall, Baguio City 2600
Telefax; (074) 442-5832
PAO – ARMM
2ND Flr. Konika Bldg corner
4T & MSU Campus, Marawi City
Telefax: (063) 876-0037
PAO –REGION – I
San Fernando City, La Union 2500
Tel. No.: (072) 888-2578
PAO – ZAMBOANGA PENINSULA REGION
Helly Sabal Building, Urro Street, Pagadian City
Telefax: (062) 215-3851
PAO – REGION- II
Hall of Justice, CARIG, Tuguegarao City
Telefax.: (078) 844-7904
PAO – REGIONAL OFFICE X
Hall of Justice
Hayes Street, Cagayan de Oro City
Telefax: (088) 857-4809
PAO - REGION III
City of San Fernando, Pampanga
Telefax : (045) 961-2658
Tel No.: (045) 963-5610
PAO –DAVAO REGION
Hall of Justice, Ecoland. Davao City
Tel. No.: (082) 297-8902
PAO – CALABARZON REGION
Pasig City Hall Compound
Tel. No. / Telefax : 642-09-85
PAO – SOCCSKSARGEN REGION
2nd Floor Medalla Bldg., Brgy. Zone IV,
No. 66 M.H. Del Pilar Street, Koronadal City
Telefax: (083) 520-0015
PAO – REGION V
Peñaranda Park, Old Albay District, Legaspi City
Tel. No.: (052) 481-2711
PAO – CARAGA REGION
2nd Flr. CTP Building Km. 4 National Highway,
Libertad, Butuan Ctiy
Telefax: (085) 342-1428; (085) 815-2406
PAO – REGION VI
Hall of Justice, Bonifacio Drive, Iloilo City
Tel. No.: (033) 336-8836;
Last Updated (Tuesday, 28 June 2011 01:03)