Raffy Tulfo commits bigger budget, more lawyers for PAO
MANILA, Philippines —Senator Raffy Tulfo vowed on Thursday to increase the budget of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) and its pool of lawyers.
Tulfo gave the assurance to PAO chief Persida Acosta who visited his Senate office on Wednesday.
“Gagawin natin ang ating makakaya para madagdagan ang budget ng PAO. Kahit ano man ang matutulong ng tanggapan ko, gagawin natin,” he said in a statement.
(We will do everything we can to increase the budget of PAO. Whatever my office can do to help, we will do it.)
Tulfo lamented that PAO lawyers are “overwhelmed” and are just using the agency to gain experience.
“Napapansin ko ngayon sa PAO ay walang tumatagal. Kukuha lang ng experience, tapos lumilipat na. Kasi overwhelmed sa trabaho. Dapat for every court, mayroong enough PAO,” he pointed out.
(What I notice in PAO is that no one stays. They just get experience, then move to another firm because they are overwhelmed with work. Every court, there should be enough PAO.)
Acosta shared the same view with Tulfo, saying: “Overworked sila. After five years, nagfi-fiscal na sila or nagja-judge. Lumilipat kasi napapagod.”
(They are overworked. After five years, they become fiscals or judges. They leave because they are tired.)
Tulfo hopes that despite the shortage of PAO lawyers, indigents who seek legal assistance will still be served.
“Although alam kong kulang, pero as much as possible, sana ay mayroong enough assistance ang indigent parties pagdating sa inquest level. Kasi kung minsan yung fiscal, nagde-decide din basta-basta na kulang sa ebidensya,” he said.
(Although I know that the number of lawyers is short, as much as possible, I hope there is enough assistance for indigent parties when it comes to inquest level. Because sometimes the fiscal decides with lacking evidence.)
To date, there are 2,400 lawyers under PAO who provide free legal services to the poor.
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