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Troops to train as paralegals vs human rights abuse raps

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 14:16:00 03/31/2008

MANILA, Philippines — The military will train soldiers on desk duty as paralegals to help fellow troopers facing charges of human rights abuse and other cases, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said Monday.

The training will start in April and the defense establishment aims to train at least one soldier per battalion, Teodoro told reporters.

“To assist the soldiers, to provide them with advice, to answer basic petitions, which they may need, or which may be filed against them,” Teodoro said, when asked how the paralegals would assist the troops.

Asked if the training was part of the military’s efforts to improve its human rights record, Teodoro replied: “Everything.”

Teodoro conceded it is “difficult” to draft lawyers to the military service.

“In the implementation phase, we can use senior non-commissioned officers, those [who] do clerical and office work, [for the paralegal training],” he said.

Having soldiers as paralegals would also cut the military’s legal costs, he said.

View article as posted on INQUIRER.net

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Written by joelguinto

MonUTC2008-03-31T06:49:29+00:00UTC03bUTCMon, 31 Mar 2008 06:49:29 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am03

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