PAO expands free legal service to cover more Filipinos in lower income bracket

Published January 6, 2022, 11:33 AM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Public Attorney’s Office

The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) has expanded the coverage of its free legal assistance to individuals in their civil, criminal, labor and administrative cases, and those filed before quasi-judicial agencies.

PAO Chief Persida V. Rueda Acosta said the expansion of the free legal service was achieved with the increase in the “indigency test” in its 2021 Revised PAO Operations Manual.

Under the revised “indigency test,” individuals in the National Capital Region (NCR) can now avail themselves of PAO’s free legal service if their individual net income does not exceed P24,000 a month. The previous “indigency test” in NCR was only P14,000 net income a month.

The “indigency test” in cities outside NCR is now P22,000 net monthly income, and in municipalities outside of NCR, covered are persons with net monthly income of not more than P20,000. The “indigency test” in these areas used to be P12,000 net monthly income.

Acosta said that with the revised “indigency test,” PAO can now serve more people.

“Kaya po maraming Pilipinong maralita ang aming masisilbihan (This means we can serve more poor Filipinos),” she said.

“Pati ang mga kasama po namin sa gobyerno na mga teachers, mga pulis (This also covers our fellow government workers including teachers and policemen),” she noted.