Free legal services for people with mental health issues


Dear PAO,

My cousin has been through a lot of stress and anxiety over the past two years. He was able to manage his mental health issues by periodically seeing his doctor. A few months ago, he had a problem with one of his neighbors. His anxiety is at an all-time high again and his doctor has advised him to file a case if it will help him get through this particular mental battle. He wanted to press charges, but fears no one will represent him due to his mental health condition. Is it possible for him to benefit from the services of your firm?


Dear Jonie,

Everyone has the right to be represented by a lawyer of their choice in order to protect their interests and rights. This is true even for those with mental health issues. In fact, protection of this right has been guaranteed by Republic Act 11036, otherwise known as the Mental Health Act. Article 5 of it emphasizes that if a person with mental health problems cannot afford the services of a lawyer, he/she can use the services of our office (public prosecutor’s office or PAO) or a legal aid institution of the user or service representative. choice:

“Section 5. Rights of Service Users. – Service users shall enjoy, on an equal and non-discriminatory basis, all rights guaranteed by the Constitution as well as those recognized by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and all other relevant international and regional human rights conventions and declarations, including the right to:



“(q) Legal services, through a competent lawyer chosen by the user of the service. If the user of the service cannot afford the services of a lawyer, the public prosecutor or a legal aid institution chosen by the user of the service or his representative assists the user of the service; xxx”

As a corollary, it will be preferable for your cousin to go to the PAO district office closest to his place of residence so that one of our lawyers can assess his legal concern(s) as well as the remedies available to him. him, if necessary. any. Our District Offices are generally located at or near the Town Hall, City Hall, Provincial Hall or Hall of Justice of each respective municipality, city or province. During his visit, it will be best for him to bring all the relevant documents relating to his legal concerns as well as his proof of indigence, which can be one of the following: (a) payslip, income statement (RTI) or other proof of income; (b) certificate of indigence issued by the Barangay where he resides; or (c) a certificate of indigence issued by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Municipal Bureau of Social Welfare and Development or the Municipal Bureau of Social Welfare and Development which has jurisdiction over his place of residence.

We hope we were able to answer your questions. This advice is based solely on the facts you have related and our assessment of them. Our opinion may change when other facts are changed or elaborated.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily chronicle of the public ministry. Questions for Chef Acosta can be sent to [email protected]


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