Press Release
January 26, 2020

Bong Go wants free legal aid to soldiers, cops facing charges for carrying out duties

Military and uniformed personnel facing any charge arising from an incident related to the performance of their work shall be provided with free legal assistance, according to the bill filed by Sen. Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go.

Go said he filed Senate Bill No. 393 because the cost of litigation often proves to be too burdensome for any enlisted personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP).

"With the meager livelihood earned by our soldiers and police officers, the State must do its part to ensure that those tasked with the duty to serve and protect are adequately served and protected," Go said.

"Our peacekeepers, the members of our Armed Forces and PNP, are seen as dispensers of justice who place their lives on the line on a daily basis so that we may enjoy the peace and freedom envisioned under the Constitution," he added.

Like any other sector of the society, Go said, the military and police should not be denied access to legal assistance which they may need as a consequence of the faithful performance of their official duties.

Under the bill, the AFP chief of staff, the chairperson of the National Police Commission (Napolcom) or the PNP chief shall authorize the legal office of their respective agencies, with the assistance of the Public Attorneys Office (PAO), to provide free legal assistance to any officer or enlisted personnel of the AFP and PNP within 24 hours from the official receipt of the information or charge sheet.

Go said the amount needed to effectively carry out the measure shall be sourced from the government's Legal Defense Fund (LDF) through the General Appropriations Act (GAA).

The LDF provides for reimbursement or financial assistance to government officials and employees, including police officers, in relation to the cases filed against them as a result of the performance of duties.

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