Public attorney dismissed from service for demanding payment from indigent clients

A public attorney from Occidental Mindoro has been dismissed from service for grave misconduct while performing legal duties. The Ombudsman ordered the dismissal of District Public Attorney Jennifer Garcia-Laudencia of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro after she was found to have demanded payment from her clients.

As mentioned in a GMA News article dated February 2, 2017, Rodolfo Abrea and his wife Maira, said Atty. Laudencia demanded from them P6,000 and P3,000 for their counter-affidavit and rejoinder when her legal services should be free of charge, as stated by law. According to its official website, “The PAO shall independently discharge its mandate to render, free of charge, legal representation, assistance, and counseling to indigent persons in criminal, civil, labor, administrative and other quasi-judicial cases.” Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said in her decision that the statements of the Abrea couple clearly “constitute substantial evidence of the demand by, and payment to, respondent of the sums of P6,000 and P3,000 for the preparation of the spouses’ counter-affidavit and rejoinder.”
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