The government has appropriated a legal defense fund (LDF) of P200 million for government personnel who will be sued in the performance of their duties.
The amount is similar to the budget appropriated for the program last year.
The LDF is intended to promote the welfare and extend assistance to government personnel who, in the performance of their official functions, may face administrative, civil, or criminal charges in courts. It will be used for the posting of bail bonds and expenses incurred in the defense of their cases.
Government employees find themselves facing administrative charges for grave misconduct and neglect of duty, among others, for which they will be preventively suspended and eventually be dismissed from service only to find in the end that the case is frivolous and baseless. Pursuant to law, the Department of Budget issued National Budget Circular (NBC) No. 566 dated December 15, 2016 (Guidelines in the Utilization of the Legal Defense Fund for FY 2016 and Succeeding Years), which prescribes the guidelines in the use of the LDF, including the establishment of the appropriate organizational and procedural set-up for its release and utilization
Under the rules, a claimant must be an incumbent, separated, or retired government employee with plantilla position. The authorized legal expenses that may be charged against the LDF include those incurred during the year and are limited to the amounts provided in NBC No. 566. The legal fees covered include transportation and photocopying expenses and acceptance, appearance, and other fees charged by the claimant’s lawyer.
The LDF may also be used for the legal assistance of Bids and Awards Committee members and their support staff.