By Benjamin Pulta
MANILA: The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) said Thursday it has rendered thousands of legal services during the ongoing enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak.
In a summary report submitted to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, Chief Public Attorney Persida V. Rueda-Acosta said from March 16 to April 23, PAO rendered legal assistance to 9,214 persons who were subjected to inquest proceedings and moved for the release of 1,359 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) under Supreme Court (SC) circulars to decongest jails during the Covid-19 crisis.
Acosta said among the persons who availed of the PAO’s services were three patients who were detained at hospitals after they were unable to pay for their hospital bills.
The three were discharged by the concerned hospitals after PAO helped them.
She said the office also rendered “non-judicial services, including legal advice through various communication channels, administration of oaths, and legal opinions for publication during the expanded ECQ, which totaled to 30,583.”
The PAO’s special and appealed cases service and regional special and appealed cases units also prepared a total of 111 pleadings for filing upon lifting of the ECQ in compliance with SC regulations for proceedings during the quarantine period.
The ECQ remains in effect over Metro Manila; Central Luzon (except Aurora); Calabarzon; Benguet; Pangasinan; Iloilo province; Cebu province; Bacolod City; and Davao City.