Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Access to justice in the Rural Philippines

Attorney Angelito Orozco is chief legal counsel of the local government of Olongapo City in Central Luzon, Philippines, and describes that office’s work for poor clients there as follows:

It is an integral part of my job to provide mediation/arbitration, albeit in an informal way, especially to poor clients who cannot afford costly and lengthy formal litigation. Their cases would range from simple collection of small money claims, grievances against neighbors or employees of the city government, family matters, and the like. We also dispense legal advice on matters involving eviction/ejectment, petty crimes, annulment of marriage, adoption of minors, and the like.

Further, we coordinate with the Bureau of Jail Management and the regular courts for visits to detention prisoners to ensure that their basic constitutional rights and right to Speedy Trial Act are being observed; otherwise, such can be a ground for the dismissal of their cases. Lastly, we also provide legal representation to indigent clients but on a limited number and basis at this point, owing to financial and time constraints.

Posted by
Robin Westbrook
IBA Pro bono and Access to Justice Committee

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