Press Release
September 21, 2006


In a bid to make sure they do their jobs more effectively, Sen. Panfilo Lacson batted Thursday for additional allowances for government lawyers tasked to defend poor litigants.

Lacson reiterated his call for additional allowances following a Senate hearing involving the reorganization and strengthening of the Public Attorneys Office (PAO), which is under the Department of Justice (DOJ).

For the past several years, the PAO has suffered from lack of personnel and lack of financial and logistical support to handle the mounting criminal cases involving poor litigants, he said.

He said such lack of support has rendered the PAO unable to properly handle the cases referred to it. In turn, this has led to delays in court proceedings and clogging of court dockets.

The proposal received support from Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, chairman of the Senates committee on civil service and government reorganization, during Thursdays hearing, and will be made part of the amendments to the bill Lacson filed in 2004.

In 2004, Lacson filed Senate Bill 840 to reorganize and strengthen the PAO, whose problems ultimately led to the overall slow delivery of justice.

Senate Bill 840 aims to reorganize the PAO by creating the positions of Overall Deputy Chief Public Attorney and provide for a Deputy Chief Public Attorney each for Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

It also gives LGUs authority to extend financial and other support through honoraria, free office space, equipment, furniture, supplies and manpower.

Each Chief Public Attorney will have the same qualification for appointment, rank, prerogatives and privilege as presiding justices of the Court of Appeals.

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