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REPUBLIC ACT NO.

9999 For purpose of determining the number of hours actually provided by the
lawyer and/or professional firm in the provision of legal services, the
AN ACT PROVIDING A MECHANISM FOR FREE LEGAL association and/or organization duly accredited by the Supreme Court shall
ASSISTANCE AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES issue the necessary certification that said legal services were actually undertaken.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress The certification issued by, among others, the PAO, the DOJ and other
assembled: accredited association by the Supreme Court shall be submitted to the Bureau
of Internal Revenue (BIR) for purposes of availing the tax deductions as
Section 1. Short Title. - This Act shall be known as the "Free Legal Assistance provided for in this Act and to the DOJ for purposes of monitoring.
Act of 2010".
Section 5. Incentives to Lawyers. - For purposes of this Act, a lawyer or
Section 2. Declaration of Policy. - It is the declared policy of the State to value the professional partnerships rendering actual free legal services, as defined by the
dignity of every human person and guarantee the rights of every individual, Supreme Court, shall be entitled to an allowable deduction from the gross
particularly those who cannot afford the services of legal counsel. income, the amount that could have been collected for the actual free legal
services rendered or up to ten percent (10%) of the gross income derived from
Furthermore, it is the policy of the State to promote a just and dynamic social the actual performance of the legal profession, whichever is lower: Provided,
order that will ensure the prosperity and independence of the nation and free That the actual free legal services herein contemplated shall be exclusive of the
the people from poverty through policies and programs that provide adequate minimum sixty (60)-hour mandatory legal aid services rendered to indigent
social services and improve the quality of life for all. litigants as required under the Rule on Mandatory Legal Aid Services for
Practicing Lawyers, under BAR Matter No. 2012, issued by the Supreme Court.
In addition, the State shall guarantee free legal assistance to the poor and ensure
that every person who cannot afford the services of a counsel is provided with a Section 6. Information, Education and Communication (IEC) Campaign. - The DOJ,
competent and independent counsel preferably of his/her own choice, if upon in cooperation with the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), is hereby
determination it appears that the party cannot afford the services of a counsel, mandated to conduct an annual IEC campaign in order to inform the lawyers of
and that services of a counsel are necessary to secure the ends of justice and the procedures and guidelines in availing tax deductions and inform the general
protect of the party. public that a free legal assistance to those who cannot afford counsel is being
provided by the State.1avvph!1
Section 3. Definition of Terms. - As provided for in this Act, the term legal
services to be performed by a lawyer refers to any activity which requires the Section 7. Reportorial Requirement. - For purposes of determining the
application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and experiences which effectiveness and social impact of the provisions of this Act, the DOJ shall
shall include, among others, legal advice and counsel, and the preparation of submit an annual report to both Houses of Congress indicating therewith the
instruments and contracts, including appearance before the administrative and number of parties who benefited from this Act.
quasi-judicial offices, bodies and tribunals handling cases in court, and other
similar services as may be defined by the Supreme Court. The report shall state in detail, among others, the geographic location,
demographic characteristics and socioeconomic profile of the beneficiaries of
Section 4. Requirements for Availment. - For purposes of availing of the benefits this Act.
and services as envisioned in this Act, a lawyer or professional partnership shall
secure a certification from the Public Attorney's Office (PAO), the Department Section 8. Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR). - Within ninety (90) days from
of Justice (DOJ) or accredited association of the Supreme Court indicating that the date effectivity of this Act, the BIR shall formulate the necessary revenue
the said legal services to be provided are within the services defined by the regulations for the proper implementation of the tax component as envisioned
Supreme Court, and that the agencies cannot provide the legal services to be in this Act.
provided by the private counsel.
The Supreme Court shall formulate the necessary implementing rules and (a) "Covered lawyers" shall refer to those who have successfully passed
regulations with respect to the legal services covered under this Act and the the Annual Bar Examinations and have signed the Roll of Attorneys for that
process of accreditation of organizations and/or associations which will provide particular year; for purposes of this Rule, it shall include those who will pass the
free legal assistance. 2017 Bar Examination and are admitted to the Bar in 2018.
(b) "Pro Bono Legal Aid Service" shall refer to supervised post
Section 9. Separability Clause. - If any provision of this Act is declared
admission legal services in civil, criminal and administrative cases consisting of:
unconstitutional or invalid, the other provisions not affected by such declaration
shall remain in full force and effect. 1. Legal services provided without charge for the following qualified parties or
litigants:
Section 10. Repealing Clause. - Any law, decree, ordinance or administrative
circular not consistent with any provision of this Act is hereby amended, i. Indigent Party or Pauper Litigants, as defined;
repealed or modified accordingly. ii. Other persons of limited means, as defined;

Section 11. Effectivity Clause. - This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its iii. Individuals, groups, or organizations rendered unable to secure free
complete publication in the Official Gazette or in two (2) newspapers of general legal assistance by reason of conflict of interest on the part of government-
circulation. provided legal assistance through the Public Attorney's Office; and
iv. Public interest cases that have societal impact and involves a group or
Approved, sector of society that otherwise would not be capable of securing legal assistance
by reason of inability of other lawyers, law firms, or government offices, including
the Public Attorney's Office.
A.M. No. 17-03-09-SC
RULE ON 2. The following shall be considered legal services for purposes of this Rule:
COMMUNITY LEGAL AID SERVICE
i. Representation of qualified litigants, as defined, in the trial courts in
civil and criminal cases and quasi-judicial bodies in administrative cases, including
SECTION 1. Title. - This Rule shall be known as the "Community Legal Aid proceedings for mediation, voluntary or compulsory arbitration, and alternative
Service Rule." dispute resolution;
SECTION 2. Rationale. - The legal profession is imbued with public interest. ii. Legal counseling, rendering assistance m contract negotiations and
As such, lawyers are charged with the duty to give meaning to the guarantee of drafting of related legal documents, including memoranda of law and other similar
access to adequate legal assistance under Article III, Section 11 of the 1987 documents that are provided to the client. Drafting may include policy work
Constitution by making their legal services available to the public in an efficient involving legal research and advocacy;
and convenient manner compatible with the independence, integrity and
iii. Developmental Legal Assistance, consisting of rights awareness,
effectiveness of the profession. As a way to discharge this constitutional duty,
capacity-building, and training in basic human rights, documentation,
lawyers are obliged to render pro bono services to those who otherwise would be
and affidavit-making, rendered in public interest cases, including legal
denied access to adequate legal services.
assistance rendered by identified Public Interest Law Groups;
SECTION 3. Scope. - This Rule shall govern the mandatory requirement for
Iv. Legal services provided as part of employment in the judiciary,
covered lawyers to render pro bono legal aid services to qualified litigants, as
executive, or legislative branches of government shall be considered sufficient
defined herein.
compliance with this Rule, provided that the covered lawyer must already be in
SECTION 4. Definition of Terms. - For purposes of this Rule, the following government service at least six months before admission into the Bar; provided
terms shall be understood to be how they are defined under this Section: further, that the legal services provided are substantive, as certified by the Heads
of Office; and
v. Legal services provided to marginalized sectors and identities, such as v.Law firms which handle cases for persons of limited means, as
but not limited to: (a) urban poor; (b) workers/laborers; ( c) overseas foreign defined herein, or marginalized groups and entities. This shall include
workers; ( d) children in conflict with the law; and ( e) persons involved in gender law firms with established legal aid departments or which regularly
issues. render pro bona legal aid service or act as counsel de oficio.
(C) "Indigent Party" shall refer to a party in a case covered by Rule 3, (i) "Integrated Bar of the Philippines" (IBP) is the official national
Section 21 of the Rules of Court. The test for indigency shall not be based on a organization of lawyers in the country.
set financial amount but rather on the capacity to afford the services of counsel
after considering his or her basic necessities for (j) "National Committee on Legal Aid" (NCLA) is the national
committee of the IBP which is specifically tasked with handling legal aid cases.
himself or herself and his or her family.
(k) "IBP Chapters" are those located in the different geographical areas
d) "Indigent Litigants" shall refer to a party in a case covered under of the country as defined in Rule 139-A of the Rules of Court.
Rule 141, Section 19 of the Rules of Court.
(1) "IBP Chapter Legal Aid Committee" is the committee of the IBP
(e) "Other Persons of Limited Means" shall refer to those who may Chapter which will supervise the covered lawyers in the rendition of free legal
not be covered by Sections ( c) and ( d) but would, under the circumstances, not services.
be financially able to afford the services of counsel. This includes marginalized
groups and entities such as farmers, indigenous peoples, children in conflict with (m) "Law Firm" refers to a private law firm or office with a pro bona
the law, victims of gender violence, and other similar causes. program intended to provide free legal aid services and assistance to indigent and
pauper clients.
(f) "Law School Legal Aid Office" is an office or center under a law
school's clinical legal education program duly organized and accredited under (n) "Office of the Bar Confidant" (OBC) is the office of the Supreme
Rule 138-A (The Law Student Practice Rule) to render legal assistance and Court that has custody of the Bar records and personal records of lawyers. It
services to indigent and pauper clients. assists the Supreme Court in disciplining the Bar by investigating complaints
against lawyers and Bar candidates. For purposes of this Rule, it shall be the
(g) "Public Interest Law Group" is any group, association, institution, Office that accredits legal aid providers, as defined herein, and certifies
office, or center duly organized and with a specific and clear mandate to assist compliance or noncompliance by covered lawyers.
specific marginalized sectors of society in their legal needs. For purposes of this
Rule, such a group must have been organized and SECTION 5. Requirements. -

in active service of its mandate for at least five ( 5) years prior to the effectivity of (a) Number of Hours - Covered lawyers, as defined under Section 4(a), are
this Rule. required to render one hundred twenty (120) hours of pro bona legal aid services
to qualified parties enumerated in Section 4(b ), within the first year of the covered
(h) "Accredited Legal Aid Service Providers" are legal aid offices duly lawyers' admission to the Bar, counted from the time they signed the Roll of
accredited with the Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) where covered lawyers Attorneys. For this purpose, covered lawyers shall report to the chairperson of
may render pro bona legal aid service. These offices shall include: the IBP Chapter Legal Aid Committee of their choice or the chairperson, director,
or supervising partner or lawyer from the Accredited Legal Aid Service Provider
i.Law organizations regularly rendering legal aid services, such as the
of their choice for their compliance with this Rule.
Philippine Bar Association, and other similar organizations;
ii.Developmental Legal Assistance Groups and Alternative Law (b) Free Legal Aid Services on Weekends - Upon written request duly
Groups rendering developmental legal assistance as defined herein approved by the chairperson of the IBP Chapter Legal Aid Committee or the
and alternative law groups; chairperson, director, or supervising partner or lawyer from the Accredited Legal
iii.Public Interest Law Groups, as defined herein; Aid Service Provider, covered lawyers may comply with the requirements of this
iv.Law School Legal Aid Offices, as defined herein; and Rule on weekends. Said lawyers are entitled to an extension of the compliance
period, upon submission of the weekend schedules by the IBP committee
chairperson or the appropriate officer of the Accredited Legal Aid Service Aid Committee, or the chairperson, director, or supervising partner or lawyer
Provider. from the Accredited Legal Aid Service Provider.
(c) Exemptions - The following shall be exempted from the requirements of The pleadings may be signed solely by the covered lawyers only in the
this Rule upon sufficient proof of their respective circumstances submitted with event the chairperson of the IBP Chapter Legal Aid Committee or the
the OBC: chairperson, director, or supervising partner or lawyer from the Accredited Legal
Aid Service Provider is unavailable but such signature page shall indicate who the
i. Covered lawyers in the executive and legislative branches of supervising lawyers are.
government, provided that the covered lawyer must already be in
government service at least six ( 6) months before admission into the (f) Time Log and Timesheets - The IBP Chapter Legal Aid Committee or the
Bar; however, those employed upon admission into the Bar with the Accredited Legal Aid Service Provider shall keep a record of the time/hours spent
judiciary, the Public Attorney's Office, the National Prosecution by new lawyers in rendering free legal aid services to qualified parties or litigants.
Service, the Office of the Solicitor General, the Office of the For this purpose, the said committee or legal aid service provider shall designate
Government Corporate Counsel, and the Office of the Ombudsman a person responsible to keep timesheets containing the number of hour(s) spent
shall be automatically exempt from compliance with this Rule; every week by each new lawyer in rendering free legal aid services for each
ii. Those who have already undergone and completed the clinical assigned case and/or client. Time spent in the office or at the place designated by
legal education program duly organized and accredited under Rule the IBP Chapter Legal Aid Committee or Accredited Legal Aid Service Provider,
138-A (The Law Student Practice Rule); regardless of whether there are clients attended to or not, shall also be recorded
iii. Covered lawyers who have worked for at least one (1) year in and included in the computation of the hours required by this Rule. The actual
law firms offering pro bona legal services or regularly accepting hours spent by the new lawyers in court or before any quasi-judicial agency with
counsel de oficio appointments; the client shall likewise be recorded and counted.
iv. Covered lawyers who have previously worked for more than one
(1) year as staff of a Law School Legal Aid Office, as defined, a Public The timesheets shall be authenticated by the chairperson of the IBP
Interest Law Group, or an alternative or developmental law group; Chapter Legal Aid Committee or the chairperson, director, or supervising partner
and or lawyer in charge of the Accredited Legal Aid Service Provider.
v. Covered lawyers who have worked with lawyers for Public (g) Certificate of Compliance - Covered lawyers shall, upon completion of the
Interest Law Groups or alternative or developmental law groups for required one hundred twenty (120) hours of free legal aid services, submit a
more than one (1) year and have filed public interest cases. notarized Certificate of Compliance to the OBC issued and signed by the
chairperson of the IBP Chapter Legal Aid Committee or the chairperson,
Within thirty (30) days from the date of signing the Roll of Attorneys,
director, or supervising partner or lawyer from the Accredited Legal Aid Service
any aforelisted lawyer shall submit his/her sworn statement and that of the
Provider where they are registered.
chairperson, director or supervising partner or lawyer of the Accredited Legal Aid
Service Provider showing his/her entitlement to the exemption from the rule. SECTION 6. Period for Compliance. - Covered lawyers shall
Otherwise, the new lawyer shall not be considered exempt from the Rule. complete the community legal aid service within twelve (12) months from the
date they sign the Roll of Attorneys. Within one (1) month after the lapse of the
(d) Supervision of Covered Lawyers - Representation in civil and criminal cases
said period, covered lawyers shall submit the Certificate of Compliance issued by
before courts and in administrative cases before quasi-judicial agencies and the
the Accredited Legal Aid Service Provider to the OBC.
rendition of other pro bona legal aid services shall be under the direct supervision
and control of the chairperson of the IBP Chapter Legal Aid Committee, or the The twelve (12) month period may be extended upon a petition duly
chairperson, director, or supervising partner or lawyer from the Accredited Legal submitted and granted by the Bar Confidant, who will furnish the Office of the
Aid Service Provider where the covered lawyers are registered or affiliated. Chief Justice with a copy of the order resolving the petition. The petition for
extension must be filed before the lapse of the period for compliance. In the event
(e) Signing of Pleadings - Any and all pleadings, motions, briefs, memoranda,
a new lawyer has completed the required number of hours before the end of the
or other papers to be filed in court or any quasi-judicial agency must be signed by
the covered lawyers and co-signed by the chairperson of the IBP Chapter Legal
one (1) year period, he/she can already submit the Certificate of Compliance to SECTION 11. Duties of the OBC. - The OBC shall perform the
the OBC. following duties and responsibilities:
In order to address possible economic hardships that may be caused by (a) Verify the contents of the notarized Certificate of Compliance
strict compliance with this Rule, or for any justifiable reason, qualified lawyers submitted by new lawyers with the issuing IBP Chapter Legal Aid Committee or
may request compliance with this Rule for two (2) years. Covered lawyers who the Accredited Legal Aid Service Provider;
wish to avail of this privilege must file an application with the OBC, which shall
determine the validity of the deferment on a case-to-case basis. (b) Keep a record of all the Certificates of Compliance and submit it to
the Court en bane at the end of each quarter;
SECTION 7. Continuous Handling or Turnover of Cases. -
Representation, once entered, by covered lawyers in cases before the courts or (c) Accredit Clinical Legal Aid Offices of Law Schools, Public Interest
quasi-judicial agencies, shall continue until terminated~ provided, that after the Groups, Developmental Legal Aid Groups, Alternative Legal Aid Groups, or
twelve-month period, the requirement of supervision shall no longer be Law Firms which intend to participate in this legal aid program. The IBP Chapter
mandatory. Legal Aid Committees, the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), and previously
accredited Clinical Legal Aid Offices shall be automatically accredited by the
Should the covered lawyer, upon compliance with the Rule and lapse of OBC;
the twelve-month period, be unable to continue representation of the party by
reason of professional conflict of interest arising from his or her employment, (d)Monitor the compliance of covered lawyers and the Accredited Legal
he/she may tum over the handling of the cases to the IBP Chapter Legal Aid Aid Service Providers with the requirements of this Rule;
Committee or the Accredited Legal Aid Service Provider indicating clearly the (e) File administrative charges against non-compliant covered lawyers
reason for the turnover. The turned-over cases may then be re-assigned to and any group/person who may be involved in any violation of this Rule; and
another covered lawyer.
(f)Provide the standard forms for the timelog, timesheets, and notarized
SECTION 8. Prohibition against Solicitation or Acceptance of Certificate of Compliance.
Gifts.- Covered lawyers shall not solicit, request, or accept, directly or indirectly,
any fee, gift, token of gratitude, or anything of monetary value in the course of SECTION 12. Duties of IBP Chapter Legal Aid Committee or the
rendering the legal aid services under this Rule. Any and all legal services provided Accredited Legal Aid Service Provider. - The IBP Chapter Legal Aid
under this Rule shall be on a pro bona basis. Committee or the Accredited Legal Aid Service Provider shall submit to the OBC
an Annual Report containing a summary of the certificates issued to covered
SECTION 9. Protection of private practice or employment. - This lawyers, on or before June 30 of every year. The Report shall contain a list of the
rule is not intended to impair the private practice or employment of covered covered lawyers, the number of hours spent rendering free legal aid services, the
lawyers. Barring any conflict of interest or any other violation of the Code of legal aid cases involved, and the qualified parties or litigants for whom the services
Professional Responsibility, covered lawyers can engage in private practice and were rendered.
accept paid clients or be employed in the government or in the private sector
within the twelve-month period for compliance. SECTION 13. Expenses. - Expenses incurred by the IBP Chapter in
connection with the services rendered by the new lawyers may be sourced from
SECTION 10. Full Credit/or Mandatory Continuing Legal the IBP subsidy provided by the Court. Expenses by the Accredited Legal Aid
Education(MCLE). -A covered lawyer who successfully complies with the Service Provider shall be shouldered by the respective law organization, public
requirements of this Rule shall be given a full credit of thirty-six (36) MCLE units interest group, developmental law group, alternative law group, law school, or law
for the three year-period covered by a compliance period under the Rules on firm. The Accredited Legal Aid Service Provider may, however, request the court
MCLE. for financial assistance.
The grant of full credit shall be without prejudice to any other legislated SECTION 14. Penalties. –
benefits that the covered lawyer may be entitled to, such as tax exemptions and
other similar benefits. (a) A covered lawyer who fails to comply with the requirements of this
Rule shall be required to show cause in writing within ten (10) days from receipt
of notice why no disciplinary action should be taken against him/her. Should the
OBC find the new lawyer's explanation insufficient to justify the non-compliance,
it shall recommend to the Supreme Court that the lawyer be delisted as a "member
in good standing" of the Bar. It may also recommend any appropriate disciplinary
measures depending on the reasons for and the gravity of the non-compliance.
(b) Without prejudice to criminal liability, a covered lawyer who falsifies
the Certificate of Compliance required to be submitted under this Rule shall be
administratively charged by the OBC with disciplinary action up to and including
disbarment before the Supreme Court.
SECTION 15. Effectivity. - This Rule shall take effect after publication
in two (2) newspapers of general circulation. It shall also be uploaded to the
Supreme Court website through its Public Information Office.