The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) does not only render court representation to indigent persons but also provides non-judicial services such as legal counseling, preparation of affidavits, notices, and other documents as well as notarization. PAO’s indigency test provides as follows:
Indigency Test. – Taking into consideration recent surveys on the amount needed by an average Filipino family to (a) buy its “food consumption basket” and (b) pay for its household and personal expenses, the following applicant shall be considered as an indigent person:
- If residing in Metro Manila, whose net income does not exceed PhP 14,000.00 a month;
- If residing in other cities, whose net income does not exceed PhP 13,000.00 a month;
- If residing in other places, whose net income does not exceed PhP 12,000.00 a month.
The term “net income” as herein employed shall be understood to refer to the income of the litigant less statutory deductions. Statutory deductions shall refer to withholding taxes, GSIS, SSS, Pag-Ibig, Health Insurance and Philhealth premiums as well as mandatory deductions.
Ownership of land shall not per se constitute a ground for disqualification of an applicant for free legal assistance in view of the ruling in Juan Enaje vs. Victorio Ramos, et al (G.R. No. L-22109, January 30, 1970) that the determinative factor for indigency is the income of the litigant and not his ownership of real property.
However, requests by indigent persons for the preparation of deeds of sale over real properties and other highly commercial documents are entertained. Clients who are disqualified from PAO’s services are referred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for appropriate legal services.
SCHEDULE OF AVAILABILITY OF SERVICE
Monday to Friday, 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. without NOON BREAK
WHO MAY AVAIL OF THE SERVICE
Not subject to Indigency Test (Indigent clients may not be required to submit proofs of indigency) but care should be taken that affluent persons do not avail of PAO services.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS
Any Valid Identification Card
Estimated 30 minutes
1. Registration with the public assistance desk.
Upon entrance at the public attorney's office, the public assistance desk officer will require the walk-in applicant to register at the Visitor’s Logbook and provide him or her with an Interview Sheet and a Survey Form. The desk officer shall then queue the walk-in applicant.
2. Filling up of personal details in Interview Sheet and referral to a Public Attorney or staff
The walk-in applicant shall fill up the Interview Sheet and wait at the designated area until called and referred to a Public attorney or a staff for the preparation of affidavit of other document. The Administering Public Attorney (or staff) shall determine whether the walk-in applicant qualifies for documentation services, assess the document, and/or prepare one. The walk-in applicant must be prepared to present proof of identity as well as documents to support the statements or declarations in the affidavits or instruments.
3. Take an oath before the Administering Public Attorney.
The Administering Public Attorney shall administer the oath in accordance with R.A. No. 9406 or the PAO Law.
Source: PAO website