The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) is hoping to transfer to a building of its own at a 5,175-square-meter property at the National Government Center along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City.
“I am humbled and honored to share this stage with Undersecretary Maria Catalina Cabral and National Capital Region Loreta Malaluan,” PAO chief Persida Acosta told the Gender and Development Forum of the Department of Public Works and Highways held at the Philippine International Convention Center.
“It’s been five years already, and yet the construction of our (new) building on Commonwealth Avenue is not yet completed. Now, I see hope that something good is going to happen,” she said.
Acosta and Cabral were two of the top five recipients of The Outstanding Filipino Award in December 2022.
In May 2017, PAO entered into a memorandum of agreement with DPWH and the National Housing Authority for the preparation of the required architectural designs and building engineering plans of its new building with a P900-million budget allocation under the 2018 DPWH budget.
On April 26, 2019, DPWH formally commenced the construction of the new PAO central office building.
The Department of Justice said PAO deserved a building of its own to be a place of productivity to provide free legal assistance to the ever increasing influx of its indigent clients.
“I have been a PAO lawyer for 22 years, and within those 22 years, PAO is just squatting at the Land Registration Authority area. We have 350 lawyers there. My office is just like a room for an ordinary employee,” Acosta lamented.
“But that is just fine. We should keep our feet on the ground,” she said.
The PAO central office is presently housed at the fourth and fifth floors of DOJ Agencies Building on the corner of NIA Road and East Avenue, Quezon City.
According to Acosta, the Marcos Jr. administration has added close to P600 million in extra budget on top of the P900-million construction budget under the Duterte administration.