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University of Eastern Philippines

College of Law

Practicum at the
National Prosecution
Service Office
Submitted by:
Espera, Ma. Lourdes
Camarillo, Saul
Capati, Jade
Miranda, Carissa Lyka
Surio, Stephanie
Caparal-Ty, Rhea

Submitted to:
Judge Allan Sixto Estudillo
Professor

Practicum at the National Prosecution Service Office


(Catarman, Northern Samar)
I- Introduction
The criminal justice system, essentially,
is the system or process in the community
by which crimes are investigated, and the
persons suspected thereof are taken into
custody, prosecuted in court and punished,
if found guilty, provisions being made for
their correction and rehabilitation.
Republic Act No. 9406, the Act reorganizing the Public
Attorneys Office, was enacted on July 24, 2006. The organizational
structure of the Department of Justice now includes the Public
Attorneys Office (PAO) as one of its attached agencies. Once named
as Citizens Legal Assistance Office (CLAO), the PAO shall in
extending free legal assistance to indigent persons in criminal, civil,
labor, administrative and other quasi-judicial cases.
Section 3 of R.A. No. 9406 inserted in Chapter 5, Title III, Book
IV of the Executive Order 292, otherwise known as the
Administrative Code of 1987, a new Section 14-A, to read as follows:
SEC.14-A. Powers and Functions The PAO shall independently
discharge its mandate to render, free of charge, legal representation,
assistance and counseling to indigent persons in criminal, civil, labor,
administrative and other quasi-judicial cases. In exigency of the
service, the PAO may be called upon by proper government

authorities to render such service to other persons, subject to existing


laws, rules and regulations.

II- Public Attorneys Office Citizens Charter


a. MISSION
To provide free legal representation, assistance and
counseling to indigent persons in criminal, civil, labor and
administrative cases thereby giving realization to constitutional
mandate that free access to the courts and quasi-judicial bodies and
adequate legal assistance shall not be denied to any person by reason
of poverty (Sec. 11, Art. 3, 1987 Philippine Constitution)
b. VISSION
The PAO envisions a God-centered, service oriented and
dynamic institution that would be the center of excellence as the
principal law of the office of the government in extending free legal
assistance to indigents led by highly competent, world class
development oriented and nationalistic leaders.

c. OBJECTIVES
In support of its Mission and Vision. The PAO adheres to
the following objectives and thrust:
To provide the indigent clients with free legal services;
To fulfill the constitutional guarantee of free access to
courts, due process and equal protection of the law and
the rights of person under investigation for an allege
commission of an offense.

III- Frontline Services


A. REGULAR AND QUASI-JUDICIAL

1. Preparation of affidavits/representation of indigent


accused during preliminary investigation and trial
2. Representation of indigent complainant/petitioner in
ordinary civil actions, special proceedings and special
civil actions
3. Representation of indigent defendants/respondents in
ordinary civil actions, special proceedings and special
civil actions
4. Representation of an indigent-employee-complainant in
labor cases
5. Representation of an indigent persons on administrative
and other quasi-judicial cases
B. NON-JUDICIAL SERVICES
1. Preparation of affidavits, administration of oath and
documentation
2. Legal counseling
3. Mediation/conciliation services
C. LEGAL OUTREACH SERVICES
1. Assistance to persons undergoing police interrogation or
persons under detention and inquest proceedings
2. Jail visitations
3. Barangay outreach programs
D. SCHEDULE OF AVAILABILITY OF SERVICES
1. Regular Services
Monday to Friday - 8:00AM-5:00PM without noon
break
2. Emergency Services (inquest activities)
On call anytime of the day.
3. Legal Advice (phone inquiry)
On call anytime of the day.

IV- Mandate

The PAO shall be an indigent and autonomous office, but


attached to the Department of Justice in accordance with Section
38(3), Chapter 7 of Book IV of this Administrative Code of 1987 for
purposes of policy and program coordination.
The PAO shall be the principal law office of the Government in
extending free legal assistance to indigent person in criminal, civil,
labor, administrative and other quasi-judicial cases.
V- Our Practicum Experience
Last Tuesday (January 10, 2017), our group headed to the
Department of Justice Building in Catarman, Northern Samar at nine
in the morning, to have ourselves immersed, albeit shortly, in one of
the busiest offices office of our judicial networks, the Public Attorneys
Office (PAO). We embraced this assignment brimming with
enthusiasm. This is our first stint of taste of what its like in the field.
We went there with knowledge about the mandate of this office.
Certainly not clueless. In preparation for this, we have ourselves
equipped with basic preparation of different legal forms, bringing in
handy the Legal Forms by Agpalo and the Rules of Court Codal. We all
have personal distaste of being embarrassed being graduating
students of the College of Law. In short, we set ourselves ready for
this practicum.
When we arrived at PAO, we were received by Mr. Rei Rebadula,
an Administration Aide of the office, and we were immediately
oriented with the mandate of the PAO, the PAO Citizens Charter with
side instructions with PAO lawyers, personnel and staff.
Atty. Charlie Quinones, the District Public Attorney (who also
heads the office) was out for an appointment. The PAO-Catarman, we
were told, has jurisdiction over Rosario (of First District) to San
Roque (Second District). We were surprised that an agency with bulky
mandate merely occupies a limited space, this in light of the fact that
they cater many clients everyday, running the whole gamut of legal
concerns from criminal to civil to administrative cases, and even labor
cases. That day outside the office, many people lined up, presumably
to avail the legal services of PAO.

The PAO lawyers are couched in cubicles with barely enough


space, where they receive indigent clients. After orientation, we
decided to stay outside to minimize the congestion, and just be called
out in case they need us to do any tasks. Later on, Atty. Quinones
came and we talked with him regarding our presence. He is a nice
guy, very accommodating. He further told us that, cases are chosen
based on merits of the case. Such approach, we understand it is
necessary in order to prioritize cases that truly deserve attention.
Accordingly, handling of cases is ascertained based on the socalled indigency-test or merit-test, that is to say, not all cases are
taken to save time, only those that passed these two test are
processed.
In case of processing, after clients present their cases it is
mandatory that clients be subjected to counseling. This avenue, in
most cases, proved fruitful. In many cases, clients need to be
explained of how their cases would go, their chances to win their case
as well as legal consequences. On the part of the court, this is helpful
to reduce court dockets. Thus prudence is exercised by PAO lawyers
in order to ascertain that efforts devoted to each case will not be in
futile.
During our practicum, our group were divided into three pairs,
and each was assigned a task. The first pair (Capati and Surio) was
tasked to investigate an inmate at the Catarman Police District Jail,
for an allege commission of rape. Guided by the complainant-affidavit
of the private complainant, the interview went just fine. A counteraffidavit (in Filipino) was made subject to approval of Atty. Giselle Jill
Tobes.
Another pair (Caparal-TY and Miranda), was tasked by Atty.
Arlene Lucero to make a judicial affidavit (in Filipino) pertaining to a
case for annulment of a deed of donation with a prayer for
reconveyance of the disputed property.
And the last pair (Espera and Camarillo), was tasked by Atty.
Quinones made a complaint-affidavit, claiming for legal support as
provisional remedy premised on VAWC.

To sum it all, our practicum experience at PAO was helpful and


instructive of the future careers we want to take.
The case sprouted sometime in August 2016. the Accused did
then and there, willfully, feloniously, and maliciously posted on social
media to quote "IG ULI AN GUIN BILIN SAIM, AYAW SI PAG
ANGKON SA DI MAN IMU! HAHAHA! PAG TRABAHO KAM LUGOD
SIN UNGOD UNGOD BASI YAON KAM IPAKARAWAT! HAHAHA! " She
further confirmed that she was referring her post to the Complainant
which brought numerous comments from the social media community
and further brought dishonor and humiliation to her entire family.

As there was failure by the defendant to file her counter-affidavit, the


resolution was grounded on the complaint, supporting affidavits, and
exhibits of the complainant.
Based on the aforementioned documents, it was found out that a
probable cause existed to warrant a charge for online libel.