Public attorney questioned

November 26, 2010
An Open Letter to Atty. Joseph Jev L. Palomar, Public Attorney II,
Public Attorney's Office (PAO), Kidapawan City District Office

Atty. Joseph Jev L. Palomar
Public Attorney II
Public Attorney's Office (PAO)
Hall of Justice, Kidapawan City

Dear Atty. Palomar:

PHILIPPINES: Reservations to a public lawyer's denial on failing to
update his client about his case

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has acknowledged receipt of
the copy of your comment submitted to Ms. Persida Rueda-Acosta, chief
of the Public Attorney's Office (PAO), to our "deep concern" of your
alleged failure to inform a prisoner that you represent in court about
the progress of his case.

In our letter to Ms Acosta

dated 12 October 2010, we mentioned that Iladio Laydan, a prisoner
charged with Rape and Homicide before the Regional Trial Court (RTC),
Branch 23 in Kidapawan City, had approached us during a jail visit. He
claimed to have not been adequately informed and given regular updates
by you on his case.

In your comment

dated 9 November 2010 to Ms. Acosta, you denied Laydan's claim. You
also defended your performance as PAO lawyer providing legal aid
service: "as my practice and commitment to all my clients, I always
make it a point to confer with them almost every hearing".

In dealing with Laydan's case, you have also defended that: "I can
still recall that I had talked to him (Laydan) several times
concerning the progress of his case" and "I even requested him with
the assistance of the jail guards to inform any of his family member/s
to see me in my office so that I can ask about the background of his

We are pleased by the professionalism you have mentioned in your
claims; however, we express strong reservations as to whether they
actually happened in reality. We could not be simply satisfied by your
superficial and shallow explanation to a very serious allegation of
neglect of duty. We would like to be certain, in the interest of this
prisoner's case, that your claim had adequate documents and records to
demonstrate the legal aid service you have rendered in this case.

As you are aware, Article VI of PAO Memorandum Circular No. 18,
series of 2002, requires guidelines in terms of "Recording and
Reporting of cases and services" to cases that PAO lawyers are
handling. For your benefit, we would like to request these documents
below concerning Laydan's case be produced to the prisoner and to us.
This could also prove your compliance with this guideline in your
daily routine work:

1. PAO Form No. 4 (Case History): containing the "recording of every
development of the case such as dates of hearings, the witnesses
presented for direct or cross-examination, and documents marked as

2. PAO Form No. 6: containing the record of your "jail visitation
activities" with Laydan. They should also "contain the following: the
person visited, detainees interviewed and action taken on their
problem, if any;

3. PAO Form No. 7: containing the "documentation (of the) services"
and recording of "the date, the name and address of the client and the
kind of document prepared". Unless you are amongst those who have been
"exempted from the use of this form (Form No. 7)" we could understand
why they could not be made available.

Your response denying any claims about your failure will have no
merit and be meaningless if no documentation, as required by this PAO
Memorandum Circular, can substantially prove them. I am certain that
you will understand that no one can be immediately convinced without
substantial proof being given. Our exercise of reservations and
caution is due to your position as a public officer having greater

Your compliance to our request will benefit Laydan's case. This will
also affirm the credibility of the PAO as a public legal aid
institution, particularly the PAO district office where you are
serving. To protect the interest of accused, particularly the poor who
has no capacity to defend themselves in court, is the heart of the
adequate functioning of a public legal aid service.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. Wong Kai Shing
Executive Director
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)


Ms. Persida V. Rueda-Acosta, chief public attorney, Public Attorney's
Office Central Office, PHILIPPINES
law and justice foundation,law and justice symbol,law justice and morality,law or justice 1988,relationship between law and justice,difference between law and justice,law and justice careers,law and justice essay law and justice foundation,law and justice symbol,law justice and morality,law or justice 1988,relationship between law and justice,difference between law and justice,law and justice careers,law and justice essay