These Philippines government agencies provides legal advice to Pinoys and in some cases to foreigners:
Public Attorney’s Office
The Public Attorney’s Office provides free legal services and assistance to the poor and underprivileged under the Constitutional mandate that “free access to courts shall not be denied to any person by reason of poverty”.
PAO will only assist applicants whose individual monthly net income does not exceed:
If residing in Metro Manila, whose individual net income does not exceed P14,000.00;
If residing in other cities, whose individual net income does not exceed P13,000.00;
If residing in all other places, whose individual net income does not exceed P12,000.00.
The term income shall not include the pension received by retirees.
PAO district offices are usually located at or near the municipal hall, city hall, provincial hall or hall of justice of each respective municipality, city or province.
Proof of Indigency
It’s recommended that you to bring any of the following proofs of indigency: (a) Latest Income Tax Return or pay slip, or other proofs of net income; or, (b) Certificate of Indigency from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, City Social Welfare and Development Office or Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office having jurisdiction over the residence of the applicant; or, (c) Certificate of Indigency from the Punong Barangay/Barangay Chairman having jurisdiction over the residence of the applicant.
Free legal assistance includes the provision of legal advice, referrals for conciliation, assistance in the preparation of complaints and supporting documents, filing of administrative charges for recruitment violations, institution of criminal actions and assistance during preliminary investigation and trial.
Department of Labor and Employment
The POEA’s AIR-TIP provides free legal assistance to complainants who are victims of illegal recruitment and recruitment violations of licensed and unlicensed recruiters, trafficking-in-person, and violations of POEA Rules and Regulations by foreign employers.
Department of Social Welfare and Development
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) have an agreement that will provide free legal assistance to clients of the DSWD.
Under the agreement, PAO will provide legal assistance to victims of domestic violence, children in conflict with the law (CICL), and local prospective adoptive parents who are biological parents or step-parents of the prospective adoptees in adoption cases.
Victims of domestic violence may avail of the service of the PAO in filing an application/petition for the protection order and /or civil action for damages.
PAO shall provide legal assistance to CICL in the following instances: when the CICL is under detention or otherwise deprived of liberty, and is in immediate need of counsel, and when the CICL is under custodial investigation without the assistance of counsel.
The PAO will only handle adoption cases when the prospective adopter is the biological parent or step-parent of the prospective adoptee, and the adopter is indigent.