PAO chief says sorry over social media statements vs 'Conflict of Interest' provision | Inquirer News

PAO chief says sorry over social media statements vs ‘Conflict of Interest’ provision

/ 07:17 PM July 14, 2023

PAO chief says sorry over social media statements vs 'Conflict of Interest' provision

FILE PHOTO: PAO chief Dr. Persida Rueda Acosta. CATHY MIRANDA /

MANILA, Philippines — Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) Chief Persida Rueda-Acosta publicly apologized to the Supreme Court for her social media statements against the “Conflict of Interest” provision of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability (CPRA).

The CPRA, which was launched last April, replaced the 34-year-old Code of Professional Responsibility that governs lawyers.


PAO has asked the Supreme Court to delete the “Conflict of Interest” provision as it expressed concern over the safety of its lawyers representing opposing parties.


But the SC denied PAO’s request and ordered a show cause order on Acosta on why she should not be held liable as an officer of the court for her “unabated public tirades” through social and mainstream media against Canon III, Section 22 of the CPRA or the Conflict of Interest Provision.

“Mga minamahal namin Mahistrado, Justices of the Supreme Court sa ngalan po ng aming mga abogado sa Public Attorney’s Office at ang inyong hamak na lingkod, ako po ay buong pagpapakumbaba at marespetong humihingi sa inyo ng taos sa pusong paumanhin kung kayo man po ay nasaktan sa mga pangyayari,” Acosta said in a video posted on her Facebook page.

(To our beloved justices of the Supreme Court, on behalf of the Public Attorney’s Office and all public attorneys nationwide, I humbly and most respectfully apologize if you may have been hurt by the circumstances.)

“Humingingi po kami ng inyong lubos na pang-unawa ang amin pong mga sinabing mga argumento ay dala lamang po ng aming lubos na pagnanasa na pagsilbihan ng lubusan ang aming mga kliyente at mga mahihirap na nangangailangan na sya naming tinuturo sa aming mga kasamang mga abogado kaya kami po ay nangamba sa maaaring idulot nito sa aming mga kliyente at abogado,” she said.

(We beg for your understanding and indulgence. The arguments that we have stated were brought about by our passion to efficiently serve our clients and the poor and needy, which we have been inculcating in our lawyers’ practice. That is why we feared of what may happen to our clients and lawyers.)

She said she has nothing but “utmost respect and love for the Supreme Court,” which  served as her first refuge and home in public service since 1988 or about 35 years ago.”


“Our deepest apologies…rest assured that our Public Attorneys will abide by Section 22 in relation to Sections 13 and 18, Cannot III of the CPRA,” she added.

Section 22 provides that conflict of interest is only limited to any of the PAO lawyers and the lawyer’s direct supervisor, making it possible that PAO lawyers will represent opposing parties.

PAO is against the said provision and pushed for its removal from the new lawyers’ code. But the SC denied the request and reminded PAO of its mandate to provide free legal services to marginalized parties.


SC denies PAO’s bid to remove ‘conflict of interest’ clause in lawyers’ new code

PAO seeks indefinite suspension of ‘conflict of interest’ provision in new lawyer’s code

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PAO wants part in lawyers’ code changed to avoid conflict of interest

TAGS: apology, Conflict, PAO, Persida Acosta, Supreme Court

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