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5:33 pm on 19 November 2022, Saturday
By Caryl Gonzales
The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) is on the defensive after netizens react to their signing of the agreement with the Office of the Vice President to provide legal assistance to the indigents— which is the agency’s mandate and functions in the first place.
Following the said partnership, some social media users noted that the ink pact is “unnecessary” and “redundant.”
PAO Chief Persida Acosta, in the Laging Handa briefing, defended the tie-up, saying it is not redundant and they partner with other agencies like the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to serve those who are in need of legal assistance.
“Eh talagang bahagi (ng mandato) pero ang kaalaman ng ating mga kababayan na hindi alam hanggang ngauon, bagamat may social media na, tri-media, merong iba na hindi pa rin alam kung ano yung PAO,” she argued.
[“Well, it's actually part (of the mandate). Although there is social media, tri-media, there are others who still don't know what PAO is,”]
“Pero dahil may 32 milyong Pilipino na bumoto kay VP Inday Sara sa kanya nagpapatulong para marating ang ating mga tanggapan kaya napakaganda niyan,” she added.
[“But because there are 32 million Filipinos who voted for VP Inday Sara, she is the one they approach to reach out to our office, so that partnership is very good,”]
Earlier, Vice President Sara Futerte said the OVP is centered on “peace and entrepreneurship” however, some concerns that were raised in their office are not aligned with the said priorities.
This prompted Duterte to tap the PAO for legal aid and DOLE for job opportunities.
Duterte noted that this is just the beginning of “establishing substantive and meaningful partnerships” with government institutions. She also hoped that such partnerships would expand for the benefit of Filipinos.
Acosta stressed that the agreement of OVP and PAO is “the first time in the Philippines’ history.”
On the other hand, former vice president Leni Robredo was not given a Cabinet post by the previous administration, traditionally done with Philippine vice presidents.