QUEZON CITY — The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) on Thursday vowed to adhere with the ruling of the Supreme Court (SC) pertaining to the Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability (CPRA).

PAO Chief Atty. Persida V. Rueda-Acosta made the commitment such that the SC has already published in its official website on Wednesday which states “SC Denies PAO Request to Delete Section 22, Canon II of the CPRA.

“We hereby give the discretion and disposition as a lawyer to the individual resident public attorneys assigned in specific courts to comply with the sale rule in relation to Sections 13 and 18, Canon III thereof,” Acosta said.

Acosta advised the PAO resident public attorneys to reconcile it with the provisions of Article 209 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) to avoid criminal responsibility and imprisonment, considering that said penal provision requires the consent also of the first client.

Among others, Article 209 of the RPC provides that “the penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period, or fine ranging from P40,000 to P200,000, or both, shall be imposed upon any attorney-at-law or any person duly authorized to represent and/or assist a party to a case, who, by any malicious breach of professional duty or of inexcusable negligence or ignorance, shall prejudice his client, or reveal any of the secrets of the latter learned by him in his professional capacity.”

Section 13 provides that “A lawyer shall not present conflicting interests except by written informed consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the fact.xxx”

The PAO chief also advised PAO resident public attorneys to adopt precautionary measures in handling conflict-of-interest cases to protect their life and limb as well as to avoid criminal and administrative liability.

Likewise, Acosta noted that all regional public attorneys, administrative officer V/designee of each region, service officers-in-charge, directors II and district public attorneys/district officers-in-charge shall be responsible for the proper dissemination of said issuance in their respective jurisdictions.

“Failure on the part of the aforesaid officials to properly disseminate the same shall subject them to appropriate administrative sanctions,” Acosta stressed – Perfecto T. Raymundo, Jr.