DOJ, thru PAO, provides legal assistance to PNP, AFP members

Published July 27, 2021, 12:57 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Public Attorney’s Office

Free legal assistance is already being provided to policemen and other uniformed personnel who face charges in connection with the performance of their duties, Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said on Tuesday, July 27.

“The DOJ has a standing directive to the PAO (Public Attorney’s Office which is an attached agency of the DOJ) to extend legal assistance to police officers up to the level of SPO4 and other uniformed personnel who get sued in the course of performing their official duties,” Guevarra said.

But, he said, “the provision of free legal assistance is subject to the PAO’s evaluation of the case, including a determination of conflict of interest, as when the adverse party has also sought legal assistance from the PAO.”

Guevarra’s statement on legal service to members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was issued in reaction to President Duterte’s call, during last Monday’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), for Congress to pass a law to help them in cases arising from the performance of their official duties.

He said that in case the PAO would reject its assistance due to conflict of interest, “I think the PNP and the AFP have special funds to enable them to meet cases arising from the performance of their official duties.”

“Maybe an increased budgetary allocation for this purpose will be enough, assuming existing funds are insufficient,” he said.