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Gatchalian offers free legal services to Valenzuela City residents,

Are you involved in a legal trouble but can’t afford to hire a lawyer?


Don’t worry. With Valenzuela City Congressman Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian’s “Legal Aid Bonanza”, you no longer need to spend much just to get sound legal advice.


In four consecutive events last July 18, Gatchalian formally launched the program that aims to provide free legal services to residents, inmates, and even local officials in Valenzuela City.


Valenzuelanos may get free advice from paralegal volunteers from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines or IBP – Bulacan Chapter by signing up for quarterly legal consultation events. The first of which was already held last Friday, July 18.


The “Legal Aid Bonanza” also aims to provide free legal assistance to inmates detained at the Valenzuela City Jail to ensure that they don’t stay beyond their given prison time.


Ma. Nena Santos, executive judge of the Regional Trial Court in Valenzuela City, welcomed the program as she noted the role of the launch in further lessening the number of inmates detained at the Valenzuela City Jail.


“In time, this (jail) facility will fall if we will not intervene (through such projects),” Santos said in a speech


Aside from free legal consultation to Valenzuela residents and inmates, “Legal Aid Bonanza” will also be conducting jail visits that would allow IBP lawyers to know more about the inmate’s condition.


In the first jail visit also conducted last week, IBP lawyers reviewed the cases of about 50 inmates at the Valenzuela City Jail, which has been housing 641 prisoners.


They also found that 2 out of the 11 detainees who are set to be released have actually served a jail time longer than their sentence.


“Pag lampas-lampas na ‘yung sentensiya (ng inmate), magfa-file ang IBP ng motion na (magsasabi na) naka-serve na siya ng kanyang sentence. Dahil kung iintayin niya yung PAO (Public Attorney’s Office), matatagalan pa,” Gatchalian said.


“Kawawa naman sila. Imbis na narereporma yung tao, lalo pang nagiging hardcore na kriminal,” he added.


The legal aid program will also be holding legal fora quarterly, which will guide members of Lupon ng Tagapamayapa to properly intervene on cases brought to the barangays.


These services became possible after Gatchalian signed a Memorandum of Understanding or MoU with IBP – Bulacan Chapter, the office of the Executive Judge of Valenzuela City Regional Trial Court and the Valenzuela City Jail.


The activity was attended by IBP Bulacan Chapter President Atty. Purification Bartolome Bernabe, Valenzuela City Jail Superintendent Amado Concepcion, Jr. paralegal volunteers from the Bulacan State University and Valenzuela City’s Lupon ng Tagapamayapa. (Camille Nepomuceno)