Free legal assistance for state auditors pushed | Inquirer News

Free legal assistance for state auditors pushed

/ 04:45 AM August 26, 2023

Stressing the role of state auditors as the first line of defense against corruption, a lawmaker wants to provide them with free legal assistance if they face complaints related to the performance of their duties. Rep. Eduardo Villanueva has filed House Bill No. 8952, or the Auditors Free Legal Assistance Act, to “inspire and embolden them to fight corruption head-on.” Villanueva cited the criminal complaints lodged against 12 auditors of the Commission on Audit who flagged the misuse of the priority development assistance funds or pork barrel from 2007 to 2009. The cases were eventually dropped by the Office of the Ombudsman in June 2015. He noted that harassment, threats or legal challenges from politicians and government officials are among the risks that state auditors face in the performance of their duties as auditors of public funds. “Given the cost of legal actions, our auditors will be placed at a disadvantaged position when they incur out of pocket expenses in facing legal actions,” the bill’s explanatory note stated. State auditors facing cases in court may avail of free legal assistance even if they have already retired from government service.

—Julie M. Aurelio


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TAGS: assistance, House of Representatives, Legal

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