/ 22 February 2023

THE SENATE Committee on Higher, Technical and Vocational Education created a technical working group to conduct further study on the measure that seeks better access to quality legal education.

Senator Raffy Tulfo filed Senate Bill 1610 or the proposed Free Legal Education Act of 2023 that aims to provide free tuition and other school fees in State Universities and Colleges for prospective lawyers, allied professionals and legal scholars.

During the committee hearing on the bill, Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero asked if there is a shortage of lawyers in the country and if it is really necessary to burden taxpayers to subsidize tuition and other school expense of law students.

“Do we need to have more lawyers or is there a bigger need for additional doctors and nurses?” Escudero asked.

With an average of 30,000 law students spread across state-funded and private universities and colleges, Escudero estimates that the government would require P3.6 billion per year to fund the program if the measure is enacted into law.

“Do you really want to spend this much money to make new lawyers?” he added.

Escudero then referred the bill to a Technical Working Group to also find possible funding sources to avoid passing an unfunded law.