Statement of CHR Commissioner Monina Arevalo Zenarosa commending the Senate’s “Abogado Para sa Bayan” Bill

Statement of CHR Commissioner Monina Arevalo Zenarosa commending the Senate’s “Abogado Para sa Bayan” Bill

Commissioner Monina Arevalo Zenarosa of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and a retired Justice, commends the Senate’s initiative to propose the “Abogado Para sa Bayan” Bill which seeks to provide scholarships for deserving students who want to pursue legal education.

“We hope that through this measure, students will continue to be inspired in pursuing legal studies and be a beacon of justice driven by a desire to serve the nation, particularly the vulnerable and marginalized communities,” Commissioner Zenarosa said.

“After all, justice and equal representation in the face of the law are fundamental human rights that should be enjoyed by all Filipinos, regardless of social status or financial capacity,” she added.

Senate President Francis “Chiz” Escudero sponsored Senate Bill (SB) No. 2596, also known as the “Act Establishing a Legal Scholarship and Return Service Program for Deserving Students”. According to the proposed legislation, legal education scholars will receive free tuition and other school fees, as well as allowances for books and supplies and bar review and licensure fees within the prescribed time frame. Furthermore, the scholars will be required to complete two years of return service in government agencies.

Article 13 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights states that higher education shall be made equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education.

With the country’s increasing need for legal services, it is critical that the State recognise the need to alleviate the burden for students who want to enter the legal profession without worrying about the financial burden that comes with it.

In line with this, we take note of our legislators’ efforts, particularly Senator Escudero, to push a measure that seeks to support students who want to continue their legal studies and serve the country afterward.

The Commission believes that investing in capable and deserving students who want to serve the country through the legal profession must be acknowledged as a vital step toward a more just and equitable society. ###