Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima mourns the passing of Chief State Counsel Ricardo V. Paras III whom she considers as “the epitome of a career government official.”
De Lima, who once served as justice secretary under the Aquino administration, said Paras may not be a household name but he has shaped the lives of millions of Filipinos as the Republic’s Chief State Counsel for so many years.
“CSC Paras is the epitome of a career government official, one who has devoted decades of his life to the public service that he has become practically synonymous to the office he leads and represents, i.e., the Legal Staff of the Office of the Secretary of Justice,” she said in a Dispatch from Crame No. 227.
Paras has passed away last Jan. 21.
De Lima shared she met Paras when she assumed office as justice secretary in July 2010, and has worked closely with him for more than five years.
In her latest Dispatch, De Lima proudly shared how Paras left his mark in Philippine governance and, consequently, on the lives of Filipino people.
“Public officials, national and local, write to the Secretary of Justice, seeking legal opinion on a variety of matters – how to interpret a particular provision of law, whether or not a particular act is constitutional, which office has the authority to do what, etc,” she said.
“All of these are studied first by the Legal Staff, led by the Chief State Counsel. The Legal Staff also assists in the negotiation of treaties and international agreements, gives its position on the legality and, to a certain extent, wisdom of proposed legislative measures and executive action,” she added.
De Lima said the late chief state counsel has also touched the lives of non-Filipinos for his work as head of the DOJ’s Refugees and Stateless Persons Protection Unit.
“Part of his duties was to review immigration decisions that are reviewable by the Office of the Secretary of Justice,” she shared.
The Senator from Bicol thanked Paras for his sacrifices that helped shape Philippine government and inspired Filipinos here and abroad, saying, “his was a level of willingness to make personal sacrifices that we could use more of in the bureaucracy.
“To a public servant like CSC Paras, and given the responsibilities he has had to shoulder throughout the years, it was most certainly hard to draw the line between office and non-office hours. I am sure that he had his own dreams, and I am certain he wanted to spend more time with his loved ones – but I can vouch that he tried his best to be available whenever he was needed,” she said.
By way of thanks, De Lima further asked her fellow lawyers, public servants, legislators and the rest of the nation to help her pay respects to Paras by saying a silent prayer for the peaceful repose of his soul, and for comfort for the family he has left behind.
Paras was also widely credited for his handling of the important cases, among them include the return of the USD81 million stolen from the Bangladesh central bank, and the alleged anomalous multimillion-peso deal between the Bureau of Corrections and Tagum Agricultural Development Corp. owned by Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio Floirendo.