IBP execs, volunteer lawyers urged to provide free legal assistance this polls

Published May 14, 2019, 3:36 AM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Jeffrey Damicog

Officials of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), as well as volunteer lawyers, have been urged to provide free legal assistance in this year’s midterm polls to ensure “honest, orderly, peaceful elections.”

“We enjoin all the IBP Chapter Presidents, Officers and volunteer lawyers all over the country to render free legal aid to ensure honest, orderly, and peaceful elections,” Cayosa said in a statement yesterday (May 13).

With this, Cayosa also urged the IBP’s members to help stop vote buying pursuant to the cooperative arrangement made between the IBP and the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

“We do this civic duty in a non-partisan manner in keeping with the non-political nature of IBP and to maintain its integrity and independence,” he stated.

“We call upon every Filipino lawyer to do his best to promote and safeguard this election as a crucial aspect of our democracy,” he added

Recently, the IBP head office has turned down the request of Peter Joemel Advincula to be provided legal assistance in filing complaints against family members of President Rodrigo Duterte and senatorial bet Christopher “Bong” Go concerning their alleged involvement in the illegal drugs trade.

“In the pursuit of its mandate to provide access to justice to the poor and the marginalized, the IBP cannot be seen to be siding with or going against any candidate or political party,” Fajardo previously said in a statement.

In spite of this, Cayosa and current IBP president Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo are facing disbarment for having allowed Advincula to hold a press conference at the IBP head office in Pasig City last May 6.

“In sum, in allowing Advincula to use the premises and resources of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines free of charge, respondents appear to have counseled or abetted Advincula in the commission of slander and/or inciting to sedition,” read the disbarment complaint filed by the Kabalikat party-list before the Supreme Court (SC).

During the press conference last May 6, Advincula revealed himself to be Bikoy in the viral videos “Ang Totoong Narcolist” who claims to be a former drug syndicate member and has personal knowledge about the involvement of the Duterte family members and Go in the narcotics trade.

Solicitor General Jose Calida also sought Fajardo’s resignation from the IBP because of the press conference held by Advincula.

“Fajardo has turned the IBP into a highly politicized organization when it should advance the rule of law and stand for truth and justice,” Calida previously said in a statement