Sen. Marcos to PAO lawyers: Defend the ‘little guys’
Bersyon sa Filipino.
Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. has urged members of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) to continue championing the rights and welfare of the “little guys.”
Marcos was referring to the farmers, workers, informal settlers, and other exploited sectors who could not afford the services of private lawyers due to financial problems and rely only on the free services of PAO lawyers for their legal battles.
“These ‘little guys,’— the lowly farmers, the underpaid and oppressed laborers, the homeless and informal settler families threatened by eviction— are all your clientele,” he told attendees of the PAO-National Capital Region Convention led by PAO chief Atty. Persida Rueda-Acosta held at the Bayview Hotel, Tuesday night.
Marcos said PAO lawyers should fight oppressive landowners who illegally grab farmlots from small farmers as well as free laborers from the exploitation of greedy capitalists.
He noted that throughout the country, underpayment of wages and other monetary benefits under the law is prevalent as well as non-payment of the workers’ SSS (Social Security System), PhilHealth and Pag-IBIG.
Workers under greedy employers are being subjected to the oppressive employment scheme like the “5-5-5” popularly known as “endo” or end of contract after five months of work.
He said poor people and informal settler families, on the other hand, get evicted from their homes through violence and intimidation despite the state’s duty to provide affordable and decent housing and resettlement to all underprivileged and homeless Filipinos.
“Protect them from the scourge of unbridled capitalism and urbanization, and uphold their rights under the Constitution and our laws. Kayo po ang pag-asa nila. Ini-aasa po nila ang kanilang buong buhay at kinabukasan sa inyo, mga magigiting na Pampublikong Tagapagtanggol, tulad ng mga akusado na mga walang pambayad ng sariling abogado na siya ring umaasa sa inyo,” Marcos said.
Marcos said there is a need for forensic training to be given to PAO lawyers as he noted that the FBI itself admitted to a gross forensic failure and 90 percent of the evidence “contained erroneous statements” and these faulty evidence had been the basis of criminal convictions, some of which even involved the death penalty.
“It is because of these reported occurrences of flawed utilization and unreliable results of forensic evidence in a highly developed country like the US that, all the more, we have to guard against the possibility of injustice in our own imperfect legal system through the indiscriminate introduction of these kinds of evidence in our courts,” Marcos said.