IBP-Ilocos Norte slams Raffy Tulfo for ‘undermining integrity’ of public lawyers

IBP-Ilocos Norte slams Raffy Tulfo for ‘undermining integrity’ of public lawyers
The lawyers’ group calls Tulfo’s statement divisive, polarizing, and anti-government, as it conditions people’s minds to lose faith in public officers

LAOAG CITY, Philippines – The Ilocos Norte chapter of Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP-IN) joined other chapters in the country on April 6 in condemning a senatorial candidate’s “unwarranted and unfair portrayal” of lawyers working in the Public Attorneys’ Office (PAO).
In an interview on CNN Philippines last week, broadcaster and senatorial candidate Raffy Tulfo characterized PAO lawyers as sometimes “absent,” adding that they “can’t really perform their jobs.”
Tulso’s criticism was the backdrop of his plans to put up a “free legal assistance clinic”.
In Tulfo’s vision, lawyers will “report directly to my office in the Senate and they will be directly working hand in hand with the PAO lawyers”.
They (PAO lawyers) can’t really perform so that’s when I would come in,” he said, adding that his volunteer lawyers would make sure that suspects will have legal representation during inquest.
His remarks drew the ire of IBP chapters in the country. The IBP-Ilocos Norte in a statement expressed their “full support for all lawyers of PAO,” recognizing “their hard work, sacrifice, and adherence to the highest standards of integrity and fairness in the fulfillment of their mandate to provide legal assistance to our underprivileged countrymen.”
‘Conditioning the mind of the poor’
IBP-Ilocos Norte, which is headed by lawyer John John P. Felipe, noted that what our country needs at this point are positive messages that seek to encourage our people.
“Instead, Mr. Tulfo’s statement is not only divisive and polarizing, it is also anti-government as it serves to condition the minds of our people, especially the poor, that they cannot seek help from our public officers.”
PAO is an office that is attached to the justice department and is tasked to provide legal assistance to the poor.
The candidate’s YouTube show, “Raffy Tulfo in Action” mediates complaints from the public. The Youtube page has at least 22.9 million subscribers.
The show has been called out for taking short cuts and encouraging breaks in due process by promoting “instant justice.”

The IBP-Ilocos Norte slammed Tulfo, saying that “genuine public service cannot come from only one person.”
“It is the result of the strong partnerships and linkages forged by like-minded individuals who know the value of service beyond self and dedicate their time and effort for the betterment of the lives of our people through the promotion of justice, peace, and equality.”
Even if he wins a seat in the Senate, Tulfo said during the television interview that he will continue his Youtube program, vowing to break the existing system where the rich only become richer, and the poor continue to suffer from abuses and injustices.
IBP-Ilocos Norte demanded a public apology from Tulfo over his statements as these “sweepingly undermined the integrity of PAO.” – Rappler.com
John Michael Mugas is a Luzon-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Fellowship.

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