Escudero to OSG: Expand role beyond tradition as gov’t chief legal defender

Senate President Francis “Chiz” G. Escudero has urged the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to expand its scope and help shape the nation’s future by taking on roles beyond its chief function as the government’s chief legal defender.

Chiz with LAM.jpg
Senate President Francis "Chiz" G. Escudero poses with First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos (middle) and Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra, together with other officials of the OSG. Escudero delivered the keynote address at the 123rd founding anniversary of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) on Friday, June 7, held at the Grand Ballroom of Hotel Sofitel in Pasay City. (Photo courtesy of the Office of Senate President Francis G. Escudero)

Escudero made the call during the 123rd founding anniversary of the OSG held on June 7 at the Grand Ballroom of Hotel Sofitel in Pasay City. The Senate leader highlighted the OSG’s history and important contributions since its inception in 1901.


The OSG, he noted, is one of the oldest and most historically significant government offices in the Philippines. For 123 years, the OSG has been at the forefront of legal battles and has played a critical role in shaping the country’s legal landscape.


However, the Senate chief underscored the need for the OSG, under the current leadership of Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra, to adapt and innovate in response to new challenges.


“It’s not too late for us to think of other ways on how we can shape our history using the current and future powers, responsibilities and obligations of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG),” Escudero remarked in Filipino during his speech.


Since the OSG defends laws when questioned in the Supreme Court, the new Senate chief said it would be beneficial for the OSG to be involved in the law-making process by assisting the Senate and House of Representatives in crafting laws to avoid potential constitutional issues.


“Kayo rin naman ang magtatanggol ng mga batas na ipinapasa namin tuwing ito’y kinukwestyon sa Korte Suprema. Eh kung bakit hindi ninyo kami samahan habang hinuhubog pa lamang namin ang mga batas na ito upang sa gayon maiwasan na ang mga kwestyon na maaaring makaapekto sa constitutionality o unconstitutionality ng mga batas na ipinapasa ng Kongreso (You will also defend the laws we pass whenever they are questioned in the Supreme Court. Why don't you join us while we are still shaping these laws so as to avoid questions that may affect the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of laws passed by Congress),” he said. 


The Senate President, likewise, emphasized the importance of the OSG in foreign policy and international disputes. He suggested that the OSG should file cases to gain recognition of foreign judgments or arbitral rulings in favor of the Philippines. 


Escudero said doing so would guide current and future presidents regarding these rulings and limit the President’s power to alter them as part of foreign policy.


“This will guide the current president, but more importantly future presidents with regard to this arbitral ruling so this arbitral ruling cannot be changed especially if it favors our nation because its part of the ruling decision of the Supreme Court. 


“This will limit the President’s authority on what and what cannot be done,” he explained.


Escudero furthermore proposed an expanded role for the OSG in settling disputes between government agencies before they reach the courts. 


According to him, the OSG’s scope should include dispute settlements involving various agencies, including government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs), to avoid the costly and time-consuming process of litigation.