To address the insufficient number of volunteer IBP legal aid lawyers nationwide who are tasked to render free legal aid services to the poor and the underprivileged, the Supreme Court should consider bringing back the rule on CLAS. This is akin to the Doctors to the Barrios program of DOH.
Such was call made by the League of Provinces of the Philippines during its 7th General Assembly when its approved a resolution requesting Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo to bring back the CLAS Rule. LPP National President and Marinduque Governor Presbytero J. Velasco, Jr. explained that the CLAS Rule aims to “require new lawyers to provide free legal assistance of at least 120 hours to poorer sectors and give meaning to the constitutional mandate to guarantee access to legal assistance to individuals and groups with limited means.” With the CLAS, the flagship IBP project will be assured of additional IBP volunteer lawyers yearly with the new bar passers. CLAS will augment the overburdened the public attorneys.
The Supreme Court has earlier suspended the implementation of the CLAS Rule because of the seeming conflict with the Revised Law Student Practice Rule or Rule 138-A of the Rules of Court.
Gov. Velasco, who is also a retired Supreme Court associate justice himself, said there is no inconsistency between the two rules as in terms of implementation and monitoring, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines will on top of the CLAS Rule, while the Revised Law Student Practice The rule is the look out of the concerned law schools under their respective Clinical Legal Education Programs (CLEPs).
Among the advantages of resuming the CLAS Rule is ensuring that there will be adequate legal aid lawyers who will handle pro bono cases for the indigent persons who will otherwise become victims of injustice. This will also serve to unclog the court docks and facilitate the speedy adjudication of pending cases in courts.