MANILA Mabuhay) – Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) clients can avail free legal assistance from Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) for a period of one year.
This was disclosed over the weekend by DSWD with its recent partnership with PAO to provide free legal aid to the clients being served by the department.
The agreement was signed between DSWD Secretary Corazon J. Soliman and Chief Public Attorney Persida Acosta at the DSWD Central Office in Quezon City.
Under the agreement, PAO will provide legal assistance to victims of domestic violence, children in conflict with the law (CICL), and local prospective adoptive parents who are biological parents or step-parents of the prospective adoptees in adoption cases.
“A victim of domestic violence may avail of the service of the PAO in filing an application/petition for the protection order and/or civil action for damages,” said Attorney Acosta.
Acosta added that the PAO provides legal assistance to CICL in the following instances: when the CICL is under detention or otherwise deprived of liberty, and is in immediate need of counsel, and when the CICL is under custodial investigation without the assistance of counsel.
However, it was agreed that the PAO shall handle adoption cases only if the prospective adopter is the biological parent or step-parent of the prospective adoptee, and the adopter is indigent.
“This partnership would ensure that the rights of women and children are promoted and upheld, adding that they will get the justice due them at no cost,” said Secretary Soliman.
She added that the DSWD-PAO tie-up project will be in effect for a period of one year starting October 2013. (MNS)