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Free legal aid for cops, soldiers sought

Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - October 26, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Camarines Sur Rep. Felix William Fuentebella yesterday sought free legal assistance for policemen and soldiers facing charges related to the performance of their duties.

“Like other members of society, police and military personnel should not be denied access to legal assistance,” he said.

Fuentebella said many soldiers and police officers could not afford to hire lawyers to defend themselves from criminal or administrative charges brought against them in the course of doing their job.

In most cases, these public servants end up suffering penalties that they don’t deserve, he said.

Fuentebella filed Bill 6026, which is titled “An Act providing free legal assistance to any officer or enlisted personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (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.”

The bill mandates the secretary of justice, AFP chief of staff, chairperson of the National Police Commission (Napolcom), and PNP chief to designate any lawyer in their respective agencies to provide free legal assistance to any member of the military or the police facing charges.

It authorizes the agency head to use office funds in connection with such provision of free legal help.

The Department of Justice, in coordination with the AFP, Napolcom and the PNP, would issue the necessary implementing rules and regulations.

Another lawmaker, Scott Davies Lanete of Masbate, filed a bill that seeks to provide mandatory full medical assistance to soldiers and policemen wounded while in the performance of their duty.

“While our soldiers and policemen fight so the rest of us can be free and sovereign, they risk their lives without any complaint and hesitation,” he said.

With the risk inherent in such missions, the concerned PNP and AFP troops only receive measly salaries, allowances and benefits in exchange for the dangers they face in fulfilling their duties, he said.

Under the Lanete bill, a mandatory full medical combat pay would be granted to uniformed men while on duty.

The full medical combat pay would cover all expenses necessary and related to the immediate care and recovery of the wounded uniformed men.

 

ACIRC AN ACT ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES CAMARINES SUR REP DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FELIX WILLIAM FUENTEBELLA FUENTEBELLA NAPOLCOM NATIONAL POLICE COMMISSION PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE SCOTT DAVIES LANETE OF MASBATE
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