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Senator Leila de Lima on Friday criticized Public Attorney's Office chief Persida Acosta for assisting witnesses to the house probe on the proliferation of drugs in the New Bilibid Prison.

She said it was anomalous for PAO to help government witnesses. PAO is to defend accused people who cannot afford lawyers.

She said these witnesses might become prosecution witnesses that are supposed to be represented by the National Prosecution Service.

“I’m wondering how is the mandate of your office being fulfilled by your appearance in the ongoing House hearings?” De Lima told Acosta at the Senate briefing on the proposed budget of the Department of Justice.

The senator claimed PAO should know their priorities.

"Hindi ba kayo doon sa pinakatunay na mandato ng PAO na ang dami diyan ng mga indigent na mga akusado na napapabayaan? You’re spreading your resources and abilities too thin,” she said.

She said she had a tip that the PAO was rehearsing witnesses.

Acosta responded by saying that she was invited by the committee secretariat.

She said two lawyers were assisting inmates who were indigent.

“Preso ‘yung dalawa na yun kaya walang trabaho yun. Kapag nakakulong ang isang tao, wala kang income, our indigency test is based on income,” she said.


De Lima vs Acosta on PAO assistance to house probe witnesses De Lima vs Acosta on PAO assistance to house probe witnesses Reviewed by FNPH Correspondent on Saturday, October 08, 2016 Rating: 5

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