MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – As the government's chief counsel, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) has figured in many high-profile cases.
Recently, the OSG is moving to overturn the conviction of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles for the serious illegal detention of her cousin, Benhur Luy. (FACT CHECK: Where should the Solicitor General stand in Napoles' case?)
What exactly is the role of the OSG?
The OSG is an independent and autonomous body attached to the Department of Justice. It is headed by the Solicitor General.
Similar to how a lawyer represents a person in court and gives advice on legal matters, the Office of the Solicitor General represents "the People of the Philippines, the Philippine Government, its Agencies and Instrumentalities, Officials and Agents" before SC and the Court of Appeals, according to its website.
The OSG currently holds office in Legaspi Village, Makati City.
The mandate of the Office of the Solicitor General can be found in Book 4, Title III, Chapter 12 of the 1987 Administrative Code. In summary, it has the following official powers and functions:
The position was created in 1901 to assist the Attorney General, who headed the Bureau of Justice. Lebbeus Wilfey served as the country’s first Solicitor General.
The Attorney General position was abolished in 1932 and its functions were assigned to the Secretary of Justice. The Solicitor General subsequently became head of the Bureau of Justice.
After some of its functions were transferred to the Department of Justice, the Bureau became the Office of the Solicitor General in 1947.