Free legal assistance to AFP, PNP members pushed
Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - October 25, 2015 - 2:12am

MANILA, Philippines – A lawmaker is seeking to provide free legal assistance to members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) facing legal complaints from incidents related to their performance in their official duties.

Rep. Felix William Fuentebella said he wants to provide free legal assistance to any officer or enlisted personnel of the AFP and PNP since like any other sector of the society, ordinary members of the military and police should not be denied access to legal assistance. He cited that these members cannot afford to engage in expensive legal services limiting them to defend themselves over charges filed related to their duties.

“In our country, most people may construe the law as favoring the rich over the poor,” Fuentebella said.

House Bill (HB) 6026 authored by Fuentebella is entitled “An act providing free legal assistance to any officer or enlisted personnel of the AFP and the PNP on any charge before the prosecutor’s office, court, administrative or any competent body arising from an incident or incidents related to the performance of official duty and appropriating funds therefor.”

If enacted in to law, HB 6026 mandates that the justice secretary, the Chief of Staff of the AFP, the chair of the National Police Commission (Napolcom) or the chief of the PNP shall authorize any lawyer or lawyers of their respective agencies to provide free legal assistance to any officer or enlisted members.

Under the measure, any amount necessary to implement the proposed act shall be charged against the appropriation of the Department of Justice, AFP, Napolcom and PNP of the year following its enactment into law and afterwards.

The provision also stated that the DOJ with the help of AFP, Napolcom,and PNP shall issue necessary rules and regulations to apply the proposed law.

HB 6026 is now pending before the Committee on National Defense for appropriate action.

ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES CHIEF OF STAFF DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FELIX WILLIAM FUENTEBELLA FUENTEBELLA HOUSE BILL LEGAL NAPOLCOM NATIONAL DEFENSE NATIONAL POLICE COMMISSION PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE
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