Profile of Chief Public Attorney
Honorable Persida V. Rueda-Acosta, nationwide head of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), is the 4th Placer in the 1989 Bar Examinations. Chief Acosta is a Harvard Kennedy School Senior Executive Fellow (HSEF) and an Asian Public Intellectuals (API) Senior Fellow. She is also a Fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar and the U.S.A. International Visitor (IV) Program. She is a holder of a Certificate in an Executive Education Program on “Public Financial Management in the Changing World,” from the Harvard Kennedy School, Massachusetts, USA, and another Certificate in a Training Seminar Course on International Management and Leadership, from The International Centre for Parliamentary Studies (ICPS),
Her expertise on legal aid has been recognized by the United Nations. In June 2014, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) (together with the Government of South Africa, Legal Aid
Chief Acosta has deep concern on cross-border cooperation, wherein pro bono legal aid is utilized as an instrument for advancing human rights beyond geographical boundaries. This has paved the way for the signing of two (2) Agreements that were proposed to Chief Acosta by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), for the benefit of refugees and stateless persons in the Philippines without counsels, and the Legal Aid Foundation (LAF) of Taiwan, for the benefit of indigent overseas citizens of both the Philippines and Taiwan.
Chief Acosta was appointed on
Chief Acosta is a multi-awarded public servant. Foremost among her awards is the Lingkod Bayan Award, the Highest Presidential Award for Outstanding Public Service, from the Civil Service Commission, that was given to her on
Her remarkable feat as lingkod bayan, has also been acknowledged abroad. She was conferred the 2013 Most Outstanding Filipino Woman in the Field of Legal Jurisprudence for Public Good Award, the 2012 Outstanding in Public Service and Legal Jurisprudence Award, and the 2011 Most Outstanding Public Servant Award by the California, USA-based Gawad Amerika Foundation.
Among her most recent awards are: the Outstanding San Rafaeleño Award conferred by D’San Rafaeleños of San Rafael, Bulacan on December 30, 2014; the Gintong Palad Public Service Award given by the Movie Writers Welfare Foundation and the Rotary Club of Intramuros, Manila, on November 29, 2014 ; the Special Award for an Individual in the Government Service conferred during the 16th Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) Founding Anniversary on August 20, 2014, the FAMAS Excellence Award in Criminal Justice (conferred also to the PAO Jail Visitation Team) from the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS), awarded on July 13, 2014; and the 2014 Gawad Justice Felix Angelo Bautista (for the Prosecution Pillar) conferred by the Philippine College of Criminology Alumni Association, Inc. during the 2nd Gawad Justice Felix Angelo Bautista on May 20, 2014.
Chief Acosta does not rest on her laurels. She continuously places the PAO on the map of international recognition as she personally handles and/or leads cases with national and global significance. Some of these are the current cases that have been entrusted to her and the PAO, to wit: the cases of – Cdt. 1st Class Aldrin Jeff Cudia; Orellano sisters, minors who were allegedly raped by their cousin; the relatives of the victims of the M/V Princess of the Stars (Sulpicio Lines, Inc.) maritime tragedy (for which she and the PAO Forensic Team was conferred the Extraordinary Public Service Award by the FAMAS on April 1, 2013); the cases of two female Jesus is Lord (JIL) preachers, Leonila Cafe and Adelaida Fabricante, who were allegedly raped and murdered by two policemen in Batangas; and Bonita Baran, a kasambahay, who was allegedly maltreated by her former employers until she lost her right eyesight. Her case helped in creating awareness and drawing support to the then Kasambahay bill, which was approved by H. E. President Benigno S. Aquino III on
A United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-funded study notes that the “Chief PAO and her ability to move around in many circles point out to her communicative and diplomatic skills needed by the agency.” Indeed, these skills serve the PAO and its clients in good stead, especially in the information dissemination program of the Office.
Being media savvy makes her more effective in reaching out to the public and in attending to the legal needs of the people which she virtually serves 24/7 through her book entitled, “Legal Eagle’s Counsel: Solutions to Everyday Legal Problems” and four (4) pro bono columns in leading newspapers in the country. These are: Dear PAO (published daily by The Manila Times); Magtanong kay Attorney (published daily by Bulgar);
Moreover, her stint as Host/Mediator of Public Atorni, Associated Broadcasting Corporation’s reality-mediation show which started in 2010 and lasted for more than two (2) years, proved her efficacy in mediating and administering justice to warring parties on air. This was recognized by respected award-giving bodies such as, the
This devoted public servant who hails from Cabcaben, Mariveles,
Being a dedicated mentor of her law students and the approval of the “PAO bill” into Republic Act No. 9406, the law that elevated the PAO to an independent and autonomous office, which Chief Acosta tirelessly worked and lobbied for, shine brightly in her roster of legacies in public service, legal aid and human rights advocacy.
 La Salle Institute of Governance, Supreme Court of the