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AdZU Ignatian lawyers, Humanitarians, champion inmates’ rights

Working towards jail decongestion in the City, the Ateneo College of Law (COL), through the Ateneo Center for Legal Services (ACLS) and in partnership with the Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation Inc (HLAF), held a 2-part paralegal training and consultation for Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDL), last January 23-24.

The consultation provided a sound training for AdZU’s soon-to-be Ignatian lawyers in honing actual and practical legal skills at the same time responding to the call of service to underserved sectors of society.

Some 80 PDLs participated in the training where introductory law topics were discussed, including rights of the accused, values formation, and public speaking. Select COL 2nd year students also offered legal consultation for analyses and status updates of the PDLs’ cases.

The training and consultation as per a standing Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between ACLS and HLAF, aims to empower the PDLs to serve as paralegals and aid in the decongestion of jail cells. It also provides the venue for the law students to experience a facet of legal practice, including client interview, pleading-making, and case follow-up. Scholarship grants are also given to select COL students under the program.

HLAF is a “non-government and non-profit organization focused on the protection of rights of persons deprived of liberty especially those who are most vulnerable such as children, the elderly, the women, the sick and the differently-abled.”

Prior to the training, the AdZU COL students, ACLS and HLAF representatives met with key city officials like the RTC Executive Judge, Jail Wardens, Prosecutors’ Office, Public Attorney’s Office, Clerk Court of the Zamboanga Hall of Justice and Vice Mayor Agan to advance the plans for the city’s jail decongestion through HLAF’sTask Force Katarungan and Kalayaan.

Photos from HLAF