Bill granting free legal help to uniformed personnel OK’d on 2nd reading

Published December 7, 2022, 8:48 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

The House of Representatives has passed on second reading a measure granting free legal assistance to uniformed personnel of the government facing charges arising from an incident related to the performance of official duty.

The House plenary (PPAB)

Through a simple voice vote (ayes vs. nayes), House Bill (HB) No.6509 or the proposed “Free Legal Assistance For Military And Uniformed Personnel Act” was granted penultimate approval by solons during plenary session Wednesday, Dec. 7.

The measure, which is one of the 30 bills in the Common Legislative Agenda (CLA) of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC), hurdled the committee level last Nov. 16.

The measure covers uniformed personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and Philippine National Police (PNP).

Tingog Party-list Rep. Jude Acidre–in his sponsorship speech for the measure during committee deliberations–said uniformed personnel of the government “put their lives on the line on a daily basis so that people may enjoy the peace and order envisioned under the law”.

“However, in the course of the performance of their duties a number of these personnels are at times accused of harassment, human rights violation, and other charges,” Acidre said.

Thus, the need to provide free legal assistance to the uniformed personnel arising from an incident related to the performance of official duty.

House Speaker Martin Romualdez and his wife, Tingog Party-list Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez are also authors of the measure.