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PUBLIC ATTORNEY’S OFFICE

CITIZEN’S CHARTER

MISSION

To provide free legal representation, assistance and counseling to indigent


persons in criminal, civil, labor, and administrative cases thereby giving
realization to the constitutional mandate that “free access to the courts and
quasi-judicial bodies and adequate legal assistance shall not be denied to any
person by reason of poverty (Sec. 11, Article 3 of the 1987 Philippine
Constitution)”.

VISION

The PAO envisions a God-centered, service-oriented and dynamic institution


that would be the center of excellence as the principal law office of the
government in extending free legal assistance to indigents led by highly
competent, world-class, development oriented and nationalistic leaders.
In support of its Mission and Vision, the PAO adheres to the following
objectives and thrust:

< To provide the indigent clients with free legal services;


< To fulfil the constitutional guarantee of free access to courts, due
process and equal protection of the law and rights of a person under
investigation for an alleged commission of an offense.
Performance Pledge
We, the officials and employees of the Public Attorney’s Office, commit
to:

Serve you promptly, efficiently, and with utmost courtesy


by authorized personnel with proper identification
from Mondays to Fridays, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.,
without noon break;

Ensure strict compliance with service standards, with


written explanation for any delays in frontline
services;

Respond to your complaint about our services the


soonest or within the day through our complaint
and assistance desk and take corrective
measures;

Value every citizen’s comments, suggestions, and needs,


including those with special needs such as the
differently-abled, pregnant women, and senior
citizens; and

Empower the public through access to information


on our policies, programs, activities and services
through tri-media.

All these we pledge,


because YOU deserve no less.

Feedback and Redress Mechanisms

Please let us know how we have served you by doing any of the following:

Accomplish our Feedback Form available in our offices and put it in the designated drop
box

Send your feedback through e-mail at pao_executive@yahoo.com or call us at our


hotline (02)9299436.
Talk to our OFFICER OF THE DAY.
In case of a valid grievance, you may also send a letter complaint against a public
attorney or PAO employee to:
The Office of the Chief Public Attorney
5TH
Flr., DOJ Agencies Bldg., NIA Rd. cor. East Ave., Diliman, Quezon City

If you are not satisfied with our service, your written/verbal complaints shall immediately
be attended to by the Officer of the Day at the Public Assistance and Complaints Desk.

THANK YOU for helping us to continuously improve our services.

I. FRONTLINE SERVICES:

A. REGULAR JUDICIAL AND QUASI-JUDICIAL SERVICES

1. Representation of Indigent Accused in Court (Criminal Cases)


2. Preparation of responsive pleadings and Representation of Indigent defendant in
Ordinary Civil Actions
3. Preparation of responsive pleadings and Representation of Indigent
defendant/respondent in Special Proceedings
4. Preparation of responsive pleadings and Representation of Indigent
defendant/respondent in Special Civil Actions
5. Preparation and filing of Complaint in Ordinary Civil Action
6. Preparation and filing of Complaint/petition in Special Civil Actions
7. Preparation and filing of petition in Special Proceedings
8. Representation of employee-complainant in Labor Cases
9. Representation of indigent in Administrative Cases
10. Preparation of Affidavits / Representation of Indigents in preliminary investigation

B. NON-JUDICIAL SERVICES

1. Preparation of affidavits, administration of oaths and documentation


2. Legal Counselling
3. Mediation/conciliation services

C. LEGAL OUTREACH ACTIVITIES

1. Assistance of indigent suspect/respondent under custodial interrogation and inquest


investigations
2. Jail visitation
3. Barangay Outreach
II. CLIENTELE

A. PERSONS QUALIFIED FOR LEGAL ASSISTANCE


(PAO Memorandum Circular No. 18, Series of 2002, Sections 1-5)

The Public Attorney’s Office is mandated to represent, free of charge, indigent


persons or the immediate members of their family, in all civil, labor, and administrative
and criminal cases where, after due investigation, it is determined that the interest of
justice will be served thereby. Thus, Public Attorneys should extend legal assistance to
an applicant who is indigent and whose case is meritorious.

The Merit Test

A case shall be considered meritorious if an assessment of the law and evidence on


hand discloses that the legal services of the office will assist or be in aid of or in the
furtherance of justice, taking into consideration the interests of the party and those of
the society. In such cases, the Public Attorney should agree to represent the party
concerned. On the other hand, a case is deemed unmeritorious if it appears that it has
no chance of success, or is intended merely to harass or injure the opposite party or to
work oppression or wrong. In such situation, the
Public Attorney must decline the handling of the case.
A Public Attorney may represent an indigent client even if his cause of action is
adverse to a public officer, government office, agency or instrumentality provided the
case is meritorious. Caution should however be exercised that the office be not exposed
to charges of harassment, unfairness or undue haste in the filing of suits.
In criminal cases, the accused enjoys the constitutional presumption of innocence
until the contrary is proven. Hence, cases of defendants in criminal actions are
considered meritorious.

The Indigency Test

The following shall be considered indigent persons:


1. Those residing in Metro Manila whose family income does not exceed P14,000.00 a
month;
2. Those residing in other cities whose family income does not exceed P13,000.00 a
month; and
3. Those residing in all other places whose family income does not exceed P12,000.00 a
month.

The term “family income” shall be understood to refer to the gross income of the
litigant and that of his or her spouse, but shall not include the income of the other
members of the family.

For purposes of determining the indigency of an applicant, ownership of land shall


not per se constitute a ground for disqualification for free legal assistance.
Cases Which May be Provisionally Accepted

Under the following instances, Public Attorneys may provisionally accept or handle
cases pending verification of the applicant’s indigency and evaluation of the merit of
his/her case:

1. Where a warrant for the arrest of the applicant has been issued;

2. Where a pleading has to be filed immediately to avoid adverse effects to the client;

3. Where an appeal or petition for certiorari or prohibition has to be perfected or filed


immediately;

4. Where the Public Attorney is appointed by the court as counsel de oficio to represent
the defendant during the trial of the case, provided, however, that if a subsequent
investigation discloses that the client is not indigent, the lawyer should respectfully
request the court to relieve him;

5. Where the Public Attorney is designated on the spot as counsel de oficio for the
purpose only of arraignment, pre-trial or the promulgation of the decision;
6. Where a Public Attorney is called upon by proper government authorities to render
assistance to other persons who are in need of legal services subject to existing laws,
rules and regulations; and

7. Other similar urgent cases.

Persons Qualified for Assistance Pursuant to MOAs and DOJ Directives

The following are qualified for legal assistance by virtue of agreements entered into with
other government offices, directives from the Department of Justice, and special laws:

1. Department of Agrarian Reform lawyers against whom criminal and administrative


complaints have been filed for acts committed in connection with the performance of
their official duties (Directive of the Minister of Justice);

2. Farmer-beneficiaries of the Agrarian Reform Law, (a) in agrarian-related civil or


criminal cases pending before the courts, and (b) in cases against fellow beneficiaries
pending before the courts or the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board
(DARAB) where one of the parties is already represented by a lawyer from the
Department of Agrarian Reform (Memorandum of Agreement, dated May 8, 1991,
between DAR and DOJ);

3. Indigent laborers in meritorious labor cases (Memorandum Order, dated May 19,
1988, of the Secretary of Justice);

4. Indigent aliens (2nd Indorsement, dated March 25, 1974, of the Undersecretary of
Justice) however, in view of the limited facilities and personnel of the PAO, preference
should be given to deserving Filipino citizens in extending legal services; as
supplemented by Memorandum of Agreement with the Bureau of Immigration (BI) dated
February 4, 2009;

5. Qualified overseas contract workers in all cases within the original and exclusive
jurisdiction of the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration (Memorandum of
Agreement between PAO, DOLE, POEA, OWWA and some NGOs, dated April 2, 1993);

6. Barangay Health Workers; and

7. The Department of Social Welfare and Development in filing of petitions for the
involuntary commitment of minors as well as in the filing of petitions for the declaration
that a child is abandoned or neglected (Directive of Minister of Justice Neptali Gonzales,
dated February 10, 1987).

8. Members of the National Press Club (per Memorandum of Agreement between PAO
and NPC dated May 29, 2009)

10. Members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) from the rank of PO1 up to PO3 in
connection with the performance of their duties (per Memorandum dated March 19,
2009, referring to DOJ Department Order No. 106 issued by the then Secretary Raul. M.
Gonzalez).

11. Members of the Press Photographers of the Philippines who are under custodial
investigation and/or inquest or preliminary investigation (per Memorandum of Agreement
between PAO and PPP, dated May 25, 2009).

12. Print and Broadcast Media Practitioners who are under custodial investigation and/or
inquest or preliminary investigation (per Memorandum Circular No. 001, Series of 2009,
dated January 5, 2009)

13. Qualified Filipino complainants who are without counsel or cannot afford such counsel
against foreigners for violations of immigration, alien registration, and other local laws;
detained foreigners who are respondents in deportation cases who are likewise without
counsel or cannot afford one; and Bureau of Immigration clients whose transactions
require notarization of applications, documents and other papers (per Memorandum of
Agreement between PAO and BI, dated February 4, 2009).

Other Persons Qualified for Assistance

Immediate members of the family and relatives within the 4th civil degree of
consanguinity or affinity of Public Attorneys may avail of the latter’s services regardless
of qualification under the indigency test, with the approval of the Regional Public
Attorney, if the case is within his region or the Chief Public Attorney, if the case is outside
of his region and provided further that the said lawyer files a leave of absence on the day
of the hearing.

PAO personnel may also avail of the legal services of PAO lawyers in criminal
cases: Provided, that the PAO is not the adverse party.
B. PERSONS NOT QUALIFIED FOR LEGAL ASSISTANCE
(PAO Memorandum Circular No. 18, Series of 2002, Article II, Section 6)
Public Attorneys are prohibited from assisting the following parties:

1. Juridical persons; except those juridical entities which are non-stock, non-profit
organization whose individual members will pass the indigency test of the office, provided
their cases involve land disputes and that they are not the lessor thereof;
2. Parties who do not pass the Merit and Indigency Tests, unless appointed as counsel
de oficio in criminal cases only under existing laws, rules and regulations;

3. Parties represented by de parte counsel; and

4. Landlords of residential lands and building with respect to the filing of collection or
unlawful detainer suits against their tenants.

C. CASES NOT TO BE HANDLED (PAO Memorandum Circular No. 18, Series of 2002,
Article II, section 7)

1. PAO lawyers shall not handle cases where they would be representing conflicting
interests. Neither shall they handle the prosecution of criminal cases in court.

2. As a matter of office policy, PAO lawyers should, likewise, refrain from undertaking
the defense of persons accused of violating BP 22, unless they are appointed by the
court as counsel de oficio under existing laws, rules and regulations.

3. PAO lawyers shall, likewise, not handle Adoption cases, except when either parent of
the person to be adopted is the petitioner-adopter and provided that he/she passes the
indigency test.

D. COMMON REQUIREMENTS TO QUALIFY AS INDIGENT CLIENTS

1. Any of the following proofs of indigency:


a. Latest Income Tax Return;
b. Certificate of Indigency from the DSWD Office where the applicant
resides; or
c. Certificate of Indigency from the Barangay Chairman of the place
where the applicant resides.

D. SCHEDULE OF AVAILABILITY OF SERVICE


1. Regular Services
Monday to Friday
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. without noon break
2. Emergency services (inquest activities)

On call anytime of the day


III. STEP-BY-STEP PROCEDURE IN OBTAINING PARTICULAR SERVICE

A. REGULAR JUDICIAL AND QUASI-JUDICIAL SERVICES


1. REPRESENTATION OF INDIGENT ACCUSED IN COURT
SCHEDULE OF AVAILABILITY OF THE SERVICE:

MONDAY TO FRIDAY
8:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M. without NOON BREAK

WHO MAY AVAIL OF THE SERVICE:

1. Only indigent person charged with a crime in court

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS:

1. Copy of the information/complaint


2. Police Investigation Report
3. Sworn Statement/affidavits of prosecution witnesses
4. Other documentary evidence for the prosecution
5. Such other documents as maybe required by the handling Public Attorney

DURATION:

56 MINUTES*

*Approximate
NOTES: 1. Services are FREE OF CHARGE under R.A. 9406.
2. No forms are required except for the Affidavit of Indigency at Step 4.

STEP APPLICANT/CLIENT SERVICE PROVIDER TIME PERS


FRAME* IN CHA
Register with the Public Public assistance Desk in charge will conduct an initial interview 5 minutes Public Assis
Assistance Desk in charge and to determine the qualification of the client and determine what Desk in Cha
1 inform the Desk officer about the court the case is filed and thereafter refer the client to the
nature of the assistance he/she resident Public Attorney of the court where the case is filed.
needs.
Approach the Table of the The Public Attorney concerned will interview the client and 3 minutes Resident Pu
2 Resident Public Attorney of the advice the client of the legal action needed and require the client Attorney o
Court where the case is filed. to submit proof of Indigency. court wher
case is filed
Submit the records of the case The resident Public Attorney will interview the client and evaluate 10 minutes Resident Pu
and proof of Indigency and the case for appropriate action. If the client is disqualified , the Attorney o
3 approach the Resident Public resident public attorney shall prepare the denial/disqualification court wher
Attorney for interview. form case is filed
- if the client is qualified the resident Public Attorney will cause
the recording of the case and assignment of control number.
Approach the clerk for the The clerk in charge will assign a control number of the case and 3 minutes Clerk in cha
4 recording of the case and execute require the client to sign the affidavit of indigency.
the affidavit of indigency.
Return to the resident Public the resident Public Attorney will interview the client, prepare the 30 minutes Resident
attorney for further interview, necessary prepare the necessary pleadings and advise the client Attorney
5 evaluation of the case and of the nature of the case and subsequent proceedings in court. court whe
submission of additional case is filed
documents, if necessary.
Public Attorney will verify and inform the client of the scheduled Resident
hearing of the case Attorney
6 court whe
case is filed
Appear in court in all the Public Attorney will represent and assist the client in all the Depending on Resident
7 scheduled hearings proceedings in court the schedule Attorney
hearings set by court wher
the court filed
END OF TRANSACTION
]

2. PREPARATION OF RESPONSIVE PLADINGS AND REPRESENTATION OF


INDIGENT DEFENDANT IN ORDIANARY CIVIL ACTION

SCHEDULE OF AVAILABILITY OF SERVICE:


Monday to Friday
8:00 A.M. to 5:00P.M. without NOON BREAK

WHO MAY AVAIL OF THE SERVICE:


1. Only Indigent defendant with pending civil case in court

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS:


1. Copy of the summons, complaints and all the attachments in the
summons and other necessary documents