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Premium member Presentation Transcript The PAO and the CJS : The PAO and the CJS Thrusts and Challenges Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) : Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) MISSION To provide free legal representation, assistance and counselling to indigent persons in criminal, civil, labor, and administrative cases thereby giving realization to the constitutional mandate that “free access to the courts and quasi-judicial bodies and adequate legal assistance shall not be denied to any person by reason of poverty (Sec. 11, Article 3 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution)”. Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) : Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) VISION The PAO envisions a God-centered, service-oriented and dynamic institution that would be the center of excellence as the principal law office of the government in extending free legal assistance to indigents led by highly competent, world-class, development oriented and nationalistic leaders. Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) : Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) MANDATE The mandate of the Public Attorney’s Office has been specified and strengthened in the provisions of R.A. 9406 or the so called – “PAO Law” which amended the administrative code of 1987, for the purpose. Pertinent provision of the amended provisions now reads; SEC. 14. Public Attorney’s office (PAO). – The Citizen’s Legal Assistance Office (CLAO) is renamed Public Attorney’s office (PAO). It shall exercise the powers and functions as are now provided by law for the Citizen’s Legal Assistance Office or may hereafter be provided by law. The PAO shall be an independent and autonomous office, but attached to the Department of justice in accordance with Section 38(3), Chapter 7 of Book IV of this Code for purposes of policy and program coordination. The PAO shall be the principal law office of the Government in extending free legal assistance to indigent persons in criminal, civil, labor, administrative and other quasi-judicial cases. SEC. 14-A. powers and Functions. – The PAO shall independently discharge its mandate to render, free of charge legal representation, assistance, and counselling to indigent persons in criminal, civil, labor, administrative and other quasi-judicial cases. In the exigency of the service, the PAO may be called upon by proper government authorities to render such service to other persons, subject to existing laws, rules and regulations. Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) : Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) The broad mandate of the PAO as the principal law office of the government in extending free legal assistance to indigent persons in criminal, civil, labor, administrative and other quasi-judicial cases and legal assistance to such other persons as may be called upon by proper government authorities, has been fleshed out in the following services rendered: Regular Services Judicial Services Criminal Civil Special Proceedings Provisional Remedies Appealed Cases Quasi-judicial Services / Administrative Bodies Labor Cases Administrative Cases Prosecutor’s Office Mediation, Conciliation and Arbitration (ADR) Cases before Other Administrative Bodies like PLEB, POEA, PRC, SSS, SEC, DARAB, etc. Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) : Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) Non-judicial Cases / Services Legal Counselling Legal Research and Opinion Notarial Work / Administration Oaths Inquest Services/ Jail Visitation and Other Outreach Activities and Services Custodial / Inquest Investigation Jail Visitation (Prisoners interviewed and provided with medical, dental and legal assistance) Limited Services Appointed as Counsel de Officio During: Arraignment only Pre-trial only Promulgation of Judgment only Other Limited Service Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) : Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) Other Legal Services Pursuant to MOAs and when called upon by proper Government Authorities MOAs Specific Provisions of Law Court orders Slide 9: For the last six years from 2005-2010, the Public Attorney’s Office was able to serve and render a total of 27,388,262 legal services to its mandated clients, or an average of 4,564,710 legal services to its clients per year. The graph shows the coverage of the services rendered to PAO clients such as Regular Services consisting of handling Judicial and Quasi-judicial Services, criminal, civil, administrative, cases pending before the courts, administrative bodies, Prosecutor’s Office and labor cases; Appealed Cases, Women Clients, CICLs; Mediation and Conciliation; Limited Services, Non-judicial Services; Outreach Activities; and Barangay Outreach, Jail Decongestion Program, Services under the Office of the Chief Public Attorney, Global Pinoy Center and other legal services. FAVORABLE TO CLIENTS(Criminal Cases) : FAVORABLE TO CLIENTS(Criminal Cases) FAVORABLE TO CLIENTS(Criminal Cases) : FAVORABLE TO CLIENTS(Criminal Cases) PAO Offices : PAO Offices ADDITIONAL DISTRICT OFFICES : ADDITIONAL DISTRICT OFFICES For the first semester of year 2011, the office created two (2) District Offices, the Plaridel, Bulacan District Office located in Region III and the Banaybanay, Davao Oriental District office in Region XI. And for the second semester of 2011, the office created (3) District Offices such as: Kawit, Cavite District Office and City of Dasmariñas, Cavite District Office (CALABARZON Region); Itogon, Benguet District Office (CAR Region); and Pateros District Office (NCR). Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) Entered into by PAO : Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) Entered into by PAO Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) Entered into by PAO : Persons qualified for PAO legal assistance pursuant to existing Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) and Department of Justice (DOJ Directives), as follows: Department of Agrarian Reform lawyers against whom criminal and administrative complaints have been filed for acts in connection with the performance of their official duties (Directive of the Minister of Justice); Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) Entered into by PAO Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) Entered into by PAO : Farmer-beneficiaries of the Agrarian Reform Law, in agrarian-related civil or criminal cases pending before the courts and in cases against fellow beneficiaries pending before the courts or the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) where one of the parties is already represented by a lawyer from the Department of Agrarian Reform (Memorandum of Agreement, dated May 8, 1991, between DAR and DOJ); Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) Entered into by PAO Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) Entered into by PAO : Indigent laborers in meritorious labor cases (Memorandum Order of the Secretary of Justice, dated May 19, 1988); Indigent aliens (2nd Indorsement of the Undersecretary of Justice, dated March 25, 1974); Qualified overseas contract workers in all cases within the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration (Memorandum of Agreement between PAO, DOLE, POEA, OWWA and some NGOs, dated April 2, 1993); Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) Entered into by PAO Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) Entered into by PAO : Barangay Health Workers (Sec. 16, Rule II, and Part 5, Rule VII of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 7883); Department of Social Welfare and Development in the filing of petitions for the involuntary commitment of minors, as well as the filing of petitions for the declaration that a child is abandoned or neglected (Directive of Minister of Justice Neptali Gonzales, dated February 10, 1987); Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) Entered into by PAO Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) Entered into by PAO : Members of the Association of Local Social Welfare and Development Officers of the Philippines, Incorporated (ALSWDOPI) in criminal and administrative complaints/cases related to or in connection with the exercise of their profession or performance of duties, unless there is a conflict of interest or when a member does not qualify under the PAO’s Indigency Test, in which case, a provisional assistance shall be afforded to him/her (Memorandum of Agreement between the ALSWDOPI and the Public Attorney’s Office, dated August 27, 2009); Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) Entered into by PAO Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) Entered into by PAO : Qualified Print and Broadcast Media Practitioners, as well as their staff and crew, who are harassed into incarceration (Memorandum Circular No. 01, S. 2009, dated January 5, 2009 in relation to Memorandum of Agreement between the National Press Club (NPC) and PAO dated May 29, 2009); Dangerous Drugs Board, its authorized representatives and drug offenders, in the filing of petitions for voluntary confinement, except when there is conflict of interest (Memorandum of Agreement between the Dangerous Drugs Board and the Public Attorney’s Office, dated July 15, 2008); Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) Entered into by PAO Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) Entered into by PAO : Filipino complainants against foreigners for violations of immigration, alien registration and other local laws; respondent foreigners in deportation cases; Bureau of Immigration clients in the notarization of applications; and such other legal services assigned by the Commissioner (Memorandum of Agreement between the Bureau of Immigration and the Public Attorney’s Office, dated February 4, 2009); Members of the Press Photographers of the Philippines (PPP) under investigation for a complaint or on trial for a case, including cases under inquest proceedings, related to or in connection with the exercise of profession or performance of duties, and to the families of PPP members who are victims of media killings (Memorandum of Agreement between the Press Photographers of the Philippines and the Public Attorney’s Office, dated May 25, 2009); Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) Entered into by PAO Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) Entered into by PAO : Officials of the Philippine National Police holding the ranks of Police Officer I (POI) to Senior Police Officer 4 (SPO4) when sued in the performance of their police duties (DOJ Department Circular No. 78, dated October 26, 2009 and Memorandum, dated November 9, 2009) League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP), PAO to provide and extend free legal assistance and court representation subject to Republic Act (R.A.) 9406 (PAO Law), rules and regulations, to qualified constituents of any member of municipalities of the League. National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), PAO to provide materials and resource persons for the Rights of the Accused topic and to facilitate the internship of trainees with the PAO for one month. Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) Entered into by PAO OTHER SERVICES RENDERED BY PAO : OTHER SERVICES RENDERED BY PAO OTHER SERVICES RENDERED BY PAO : JAIL VISITATION AND DECONGESTION PROGRAM This outreach program for inmates has been strengthened by the PAO-Central Office Legal, Medical, Dental and Optical Jail Visitation Program. With prior approval of the then Hon. Justice Secretary Raul M. Gonzales, this program was started in 2007 and has been continuously conducted in various jails in the Philippines. OTHER SERVICES RENDERED BY PAO OTHER SERVICES RENDERED BY PAO : LEGAL/INQUEST PROCEEDINGS ASSISTANCE On their scheduled duties, the public attorneys and staff of the PAO-Central Office have alternately been providing legal and inquest proceedings assistance even during night time, weekends and holidays since October 2009. For this purpose, the PAO hotline, 929-9436, is open to the public 24/7. In September 2010, the coverage of this program was widened for the benefit of the people that are being served by the regional and district offices of the PAO nationwide. Since then, the said offices have been rendering legal assistance (e.g. legal advice, attending to the legal needs of suspects in the police stations within the territorial jurisdiction of the concerned PAO regional/district offices) up to 10:00 p.m. everyday (including weekends and holidays) but the assigned PAO inquest public attorneys and staff therein remain on call during their respective scheduled duties whenever there is an inquest in the said police stations. A total of 13,462 clients benefited from the services provided by the PAO consisting of inquest assistance, legal advice/counseling and documentation at the above duty stations covering the period September 2010 to June 2011. OTHER SERVICES RENDERED BY PAO OTHER SERVICES RENDERED BY PAO : MEDIATION AND CONCILIATION AS PART OF THE QUASI-JUDICIAL SERVICE As of September, 2011, the office handled a total of 311,023 cases for mediation and conciliation. OTHER SERVICES RENDERED BY PAO CHALLENGES : CHALLENGES CHALLENGES : FAST TURNOVER OF PAO LAWYERS The high turnover rate of PAO lawyers is primarily due to the following reasons: Resignation to engage in private law practice; Transfer to the National Prosecution Service (NAPROSS); Transfer to the judiciary; Transfer to other government owned and controlled corporations; and Heavy workload; No attractive retirement benefits. Due to uncompetitive compensation package and allowance given to its personnel, the PAO has difficulty in maintaining public attorneys in its fold. However, with the recent upgrading of salary grades for lawyers in the agency pursuant to R.A. 9406, the PAO is hopeful to retain most of its lawyers in the service until retirement age, more or less. CHALLENGES CHALLENGES : HEAVY WORKLOAD On the average, a public attorney is assigned to at least two (2) courts. The total number of plantilla positions for lawyers are not enough to cover every court in the Philippines. CHALLENGES CHALLENGES : CHALLENGES The table below shows the number of authorized, filled, and unfilled positions for lawyers from January to June 2011, to wit: It is also worthy to mention that aside from handling criminal and civil cases, public attorneys are likewise mandated to handle: (1) preliminary investigation of cases before the Office of the Public Prosecutor; (2) labor cases before the National Labor Relations Commission; (3) administrative cases before administrative bodies like DARAB, PRC, COMELEC, Bureau of Customs, DECS, PLEB, Insurance Commission, POEA, SSS, etc. CHALLENGES : Establishment of the Witness Protection Program for PAO Separate from DOJ (Congress needs to amend the law). Lack of funds for the continuous capacity building / enhancement of the skills and competence of PAO lawyers through the holding of workshops and seminars. Organization, establishment and maintenance of database, case management, and monitoring system for all cases handled by PAO nationwide. CHALLENGES CHALLENGES : Increase the number of lawyers assigned in each of the Regional and District Offices for a more effective and efficient delivery of services pursuant to Republic Act 9406 (PAO Law). Endeavor to meet the ideal situation of one PAO lawyer being assigned to one court for a more effective and efficient representation of clients. CHALLENGES Slide 33: The public Attorney’s Office is deeply committed to the effective and efficient fulfilment of its mandate. Despite the odds and adversities, its record of notable accomplishment in the delivery of its mandated services has always been fulfilling for the office. Thus giving pride and honor to the public attorneys and staff. The PAO is ever mindful of its part in the Criminal justice System in the Philippines. It is an institution that partners with, works hand in hand, supports or assist, collaborates with and justifies and defends the noble endeavor of the pillars of the Criminal Justice System and the Criminal justice System itself. After all, justice is not only our common concern but also primordial one. Thank You! : Thank You! You do not have the permission to view this presentation. In order to view it, please contact the author of the presentation.