House OKs free legal assistance for military, uniformed personnel

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 07 2022 05:35 PM

The House of Representatives has approved on second reading the proposed Free Legal Assistance for Military and Uniformed Personnel Act.

House Bill 6509 seeks to provide free legal assistance to officers and uniformed personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in all stages of criminal, civil, or administrative proceedings arising from service-related incidents.

The bill also seeks to mandate the strengthening of the legal offices of the AFP, PNP, BJMP, BFP and PCG to render adequate and effective free legal assistance to qualified personnel.

It will likewise entitle government lawyers representing qualified personnel to payment for actual expenses and honoraria per appearance, as may be authorized.

The bill will also allows officers or uniformed personnel of the AFP, PNP, BJMP, BFP or PCG to be provided with private counsel, when necessary, at the expense of the government.

HB 6509 will cover officers of the said agencies who have pending cases, as well as retired officers for cases or charges involving service-related incidents committed while still in active duty.

The House will vote on the bill on its third reading in 3 days.