Ex-IBP president on ‘Bikoy’: legal aid not a matter of charity
MANILA, Philippines —A former national president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) defended the organization and its National Center for Legal Aid (NCLA) for studying the request for legal assistance of Peter Joemel Advincula, who claims to be “Bikoy,” of the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos.
Quoting Article 1 Section of the 1 of the IBP Guidelines on Legal Aid, Jose Aguila Grapilon, former IBP national president and current dean of the Philippine Law School said “legal aid is not a matter of charity. It is a means for the correction of social imbalances that may and often do lead to injustice, for which reason it is a public responsibility of the Bar.”
“In this light, the doors and offices of the iBP are open to anyone who feel aggrieved by some violation of the law and who seek redress in any proper forum–be it the courts, our various quasi-judicial agencies or even in the halls of Congress,” Grapilon added.
He pointed out that every request for legal assistance is subjected to evaluation like what happened to Advincula’s request.
Advincula, on Monday went to the IBP and requested legal assistance with the filing of cases against personalities allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade. The IBP, through its NCLA, however, after evaluation, decided to deny his request.
Still, the IBP has been at the receiving end of criticism for allowing Advincula to use its office as venue in issuing his statement to the public.
Grapilon said on its face, “the issue facing Mr. Advincula is one concerning his freedom of speech and of expression.”
“While the IBP through NCLA cannot represent him, his concerns are ones that cannot be belittled–especially in these dark times for our country and constitutional rights,” Grapilon said.
Grapilon also urged lawyers nationwide to make a firm stand in favor of justice, human rights and rule of law in line with the Code of Professional Responsibility.
“I urge my brethren in the legal profession to bear witness to these trying times and if they can, serve the causes that need their expertise and fighting spirit,” he added. /muf
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