PAO wants part in lawyers’ code changed to avoid conflict of interest
MANILA, Philippines – Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) is seeking either a revision or a deletion of a part in the contents of the new Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability (CPRA) for lawyers.
This is so that PAO can avoid a situation wherein its lawyers will supposedly represent the opposing sides of a case.
PAO Chief Persida Rueda-Acosta is concerned this would result in conflict of interest among public defenders.
For this reason, she is seeking a dialogue with the justices of the Supreme Court.
Acosta wrote a letter to SC Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo for this purpose.
In particular, the issue is stated in Section 22 of the code.
“To appear in a case pending in another jurisdiction would compromise the cases in their assigned courts and other public services demanded by the district office,” Acosta explained.
CPRA replaces the 34-year-old Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR) that governed the conduct of lawyers in the country.
Acosta also cited a logistical problem arising from the provision.
She said PAO will have to assign a separate counsel who will have to come from another district.
She believes this situation will be difficult due to limited plantilla positions in her office.