Office of the Solicitor General of the Philippines

The Office of the Solicitor General of the Philippines (Filipino: Tanggapan ng Taga-usig Panlahat), formerly known as the Bureau of Justice, is an independent and autonomous office attached to the Department of Justice.[2][3]

Office of the Solicitor General
Tanggapan ng Taga-usig Panlahat
Office of the Solicitor General of the Philippines (OSG).svg
Department overview
FormedJune 6, 1901
HeadquartersOSG Building, 134 Amorsolo St., Legaspi Village, Makati City, Metro Manila
MottoIntegrity in Advocacy. Social Justice through Advocacy.
Annual budget₱1.06 billion (2020)[1]
Department executive

The Office of the Solicitor General is the "law firm" of the Republic of the Philippines. The Solicitor General is the principal law officer and legal defender of the Republic of the Philippines. He shall have the authority and responsibility for the exercise of the Office's mandate and for the discharge of its duties and functions, and shall have supervision and control over the Office and its constituent units.[4] He also determines the legal position that the government will take in the courts and argues in virtually every case in which the government is a party. It is tasked to represent the people of the Philippines, the Philippine government, its agencies, instrumentalities, officials, and agents in any litigation, proceeding, or investigation before the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals.[5] When authorized by the President, he shall also represent government owned or controlled corporations.


Attorney GeneralEdit

Act No. 136 dated June 11, 1901, which became effective on June 6, 1901, created the position now occupied by the Solicitor General. Under Section 40 of this Act, the Attorney General, as head of the Bureau of Justice, was vested with the powers and functions of today's Solicitor General. At the time, the Solicitor General was second only to the Attorney General in the office the former would eventually head. Appropriately, Section 41 of the Act required an "officer learned in the law" to assist the Attorney General. This law specifically provided that "it should be the special duty of the Solicitor General to conduct and argue suits and appeals in the Supreme Court, in which the Philippine Government is interested."

Meanwhile, a few months after the Bureau of Justice was created, Act No. 222 was passed, establishing the Department of Finance and Justice. The Bureau of Justice was placed under the supervision of a new department. Act No. 2666 would later divide the department into a Department of Justice and a Department of Finance. Under this law, the Attorney General and Solicitor General continued to represent the Government in the Supreme Court and lower courts.

Secretary of JusticeEdit

Act No. 4007 which was enacted in 1932 abolished the position of Attorney General. His functions were taken over by the Secretary of Justice. The Act also named the Solicitor General as the head of the Bureau of Justice. The Assistant Solicitor General, a position created by Act No. 683 of 1903, became second in command of the Bureau.

As a result of the rapidly burgeoning number of cases involving the Government, the Solicitor General after independence was constrained to concentrate on advocacy and court appearances. The functions which the Bureau of Justice used to have were gradually transferred to newly created offices and divisions of the Department of Justice.

Solicitor GeneralEdit

Executive Order No. 94 of 1947 renamed the Bureau of Justice as the Office of the Solicitor General. Subsequently, the legislature passed R. A. No. 335 in 1948 to confirm this change and to provide for a First Assistant Solicitor General who would be the second highest official in the Office.

A succession of laws relieved the Office of the Solicitor General of some of its burdens. Section 1660 of the old Administrative Code previously provided that the head of the Bureau of Justice "shall have general supervision and control over provincial and city fiscals (now prosecutors) and attorneys and over other prosecuting officer throughout the Philippines." The Office of Special Prosecutors, which the Solicitor General formerly headed, was later converted into a Division of Special Attorneys by R.A. No. 311 of 1948. The Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, which was headed by the Solicitor General under Executive Order No. 392 of 1950, became a separate office in the Department of Justice by virtue of R.A. No. 2327.

From a motley staff of one Solicitor General, an Assistant Solicitor General and a handful of assistant attorneys in the 1900s, the Office of the Solicitor General has grown throughout the years. In accordance with E.O No. 292, the Administrative Code of 1987, the Solicitor General was assisted by fifteen Assistant Solicitors General and more than a hundred Solicitors and Associate Solicitors, who are divided into fifteen divisions. In 2006, with the passing of Republic Act 9417 or the OSG Law, the Office has expanded to thirty (30) legal divisions with a corresponding increase in the general and administrative support personnel and provision for ample office space. Each lawyer at the OSG handles an average of 800 cases at any given time. Aside from the paper chase involved in appealed cases and original petitions before the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, a Solicitor General or Associate Solicitor has to match wits with the best lawyers of the country in countless trials."[6]

Powers and functionsEdit

The Office of the Solicitor General has the following specific powers and functions:

  1. Represent the Government in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals in all criminal proceedings; represent the Government and its officers in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, and all other courts or tribunals in all civil actions and special proceedings in which the Government or any officer thereof in his official capacity is a party.
  2. Investigate, initiate court action, or in any manner proceed against any person, corporation or firm for the enforcement of any contract, bond, guarantee, mortgage, pledge or other collateral executed in favor of the Government. Where proceedings are to be conducted outside of the Philippines the Solicitor General may employ counsel to assist in the discharge of the aforementioned responsibilities.
  3. Appear in any court in any action involving the validity of any treaty, law, executive order or proclamation, rule or regulation when in his judgment his intervention is necessary or when requested by the Court.
  4. Appear in all proceedings involving the acquisition or loss of Philippine citizenship.
  5. Represent the Government in all land registration and related proceedings. Institute actions for the reversion to the Government of lands of the public domain and improvements thereon as well as lands held in violation of the Constitution.
  6. Prepare, upon request of the President or other proper officer of the National Government, rules and guidelines for government entities governing the preparation of contracts, making of investments, undertaking of transactions, and drafting of forms or other writings needed for official use, with the end in view of facilitating their enforcement and insuring that they are entered into or prepared conformably with law and for the best interests of the public.
  7. Deputize, whenever in the opinion of the Solicitor General the public interest requires, any provincial or city fiscal to assist him in the performance of any function or discharge of any duty incumbent upon him, within the jurisdiction of the aforesaid provincial or city fiscal. When so deputized, the fiscal shall be under the control and supervision of the Solicitor General with regard to the conduct of the proceedings assigned to the fiscal, and he may be required to render reports or furnish information regarding the assignment.
  8. Deputize legal officers of government departments, bureaus, agencies and offices to assist the Solicitor General and appear or represent the Government in cases involving their respective offices, brought before the courts, and exercise supervision and control over such legal officers with respect to such cases.
  9. Call on any department, bureau, office, agency or instrumentality of the Government for such service, assistance and cooperation as may be necessary in fulfilling its functions and responsibilities and for this purpose enlist the services of any government official or employee in the pursuit of his tasks. Departments, bureaus, agencies, offices, instrumentalities and corporations to whom the Office of the Solicitor General renders legal services are authorized to disburse funds from their sundry operating and other funds for the latter Office. For this purpose, the Solicitor General and his staff are specifically authorized to receive allowances as may be provided by the Government offices, instrumentalities and corporations concerned, in addition to their regular compensation.
  10. Represent, upon the instructions of the President, the Republic of the Philippines in international litigations, negotiations or conferences where the legal position of the Republic must be defended or presented.
  11. Act and represent the Republic and/or the people before any court, tribunal, body or commission in any matter, action or proceeding which, in his opinion, affects the welfare of the people as the ends of justice may require; and
  12. Perform such other functions as may be provided by law.[7]

Organizational structureEdit

Under Republic Act No. 9417, there shall be at least thirty (30) legal divisions in the Office of the Solicitor General. Each division, permanently headed by an Assistant Solicitor General, shall consist of ten (10) lawyers and such other personnel as may be necessary for the office to effectively carry out its functions. Lawyers in the OSG hold the following ranks: Senior State Solicitor, State Solicitor II, State Solicitor I, Associate Solicitor III, Associate Solicitor II, and Associate Solicitor I.[8][9] The law likewise dictates that the Solicitor General shall have a cabinet rank and the same qualifications for appointment, rank, prerogatives, salaries, allowances, benefits and privileges as the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals; an Assistant Solicitor General, those of an Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals.

The qualifications for appointment, rank, prerogatives, salaries, and privileges of Solicitors shall be the same as judges, specified as follows:

  • Senior State Solicitor – Regional Trial Court Judge
  • State Solicitor II – Metropolitan Trial Court Judge
  • State Solicitor I – Municipal Trial Court in Cities Judge

List of Attorneys-GeneralEdit

Name Position Term of Office
Lebbeus R. Wilfley Attorney General June 15, 1901-July 16, 1906
Gregorio S. Araneta Attorney General July 17, 1906-July 1, 1908
Ignacio B. Villamor Attorney General July 1, 1908-June 30, 1914
Ramon Avanceña Attorney General July 1, 1914-March 1, 1917
Quintin B. Paredes Attorney General July 1, 1918-June 30, 1920
Felecisimo R. Feria Attorney General September 29, 1920-December 31, 1920
Pedro T. Tuazon Attorney General January 1, 1921-June 30, 1921
Antonio O. Villareal Attorney General July 1, 1921-November 12, 1925
Alex A. Reyes Attorney General November 12, 1925-June 30, 1927
Delfin J. Jaranilla Attorney General July 1, 1927-June 30, 1932

List of Solicitors GeneralEdit

Name Position Term of Office
Gregorio S. Araneta Solicitor General June 15, 1901-July 16, 1906
Ignacio B. Villamor Solicitor General July 17, 1906-July 1, 1908
George R. Harvey Solicitor General July 1, 1908-June 30, 1914
Rafael Corpus Solicitor General July 1, 1914-December 31, 1916
Quintin B. Paredes Solicitor General March 1, 1917-June 30, 1918
César Fernando C. Bengzon Solicitor General July 1, 1932-June 30, 1934
Serafin P. Hilado Solicitor General July 1, 1934-June 30, 1936
Pedro T. Tuazon Solicitor General July 1, 1936-August 17, 1938
Roman Ozaeta Solicitor General August 17, 1938-June 30, 1940
Sixto dela Costa Solicitor General July 1, 1941-June 30, 1945
Lorenzo M. Tañada Solicitor General July 1, 1945-December 30, 1947
Manuel Lim Solicitor General December 30, 1947-June 30, 1948
Felix Angelo Bautista Solicitor General July 1, 1948-October 20, 1950
Pompeyo Diaz Solicitor General October 20, 1950-November 10, 1952
Juan R. Liwag Solicitor General November 10, 1952-February 9, 1954
Querube C. Makalintal Solicitor General February 9, 1954-August 31, 1954
Ambrosio B. Padilla Solicitor General September 1, 1954-December 30, 1957
Guillermo E. Torres Acting Solicitor General December 30, 1957-June 30, 1958
Edilberto Barot Solicitor General July 1, 1958-June 30, 1961
Arturo A. Alafriz Solicitor General July 1, 1961-January 24, 1966
Antonio P. Barredo Solicitor General January 24, 1966-June 30, 1968
Felix V. Makasiar Solicitor General July 1, 1968-February 8, 1970
Felix Q. Antonio Solicitor General February 9, 1970 -June 30, 1972
Estelito P. Mendoza Solicitor General July 1, 1972-February 25, 1986
Sedfrey A. Ordoñez Solicitor General February 25, 1986-March 4, 1987
Frank C. Chavez Solicitor General March 5, 1987-February 25, 1992
Ramon S. Desuasido Solicitor General February 6, 1992-July 5, 1992
Eduardo G. Montenegro Acting Solicitor General July 6, 1992-August 10, 1992
Raul I. Goco Solicitor General August 11, 1992-September 22, 1996
Silvestre H. Bello III Solicitor General September 23, 1996-February 3, 1998
Romeo C. de la Cruz Acting Solicitor General February 4, 1998-June 8, 1998
Silvestre H. Bello III Solicitor General June 9, 1998-June 30, 1998
Ricardo P. Galvez Solicitor General July 1, 1998-February 15, 2001
Simeon V. Marcelo Solicitor General February 16, 2001-October 16, 2002
Carlos N. Ortega Acting Solicitor General May 13, 2002-June 7, 2002; October 21, 2002-November 10, 2002
Alfredo L. Benipayo Solicitor General October 17, 2002-March 31, 2006
Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura Solicitor General April 3, 2006-February 11, 2007
Agnes VST Devanadera Solicitor General March 2, 2007-January 15, 2010
Alberto C. Agra Acting Solicitor General January 16, 2010-June 30, 2010
Jose Anselmo I. Cadiz Solicitor General July 29, 2010-February 3, 2012
Francis H. Jardeleza Solicitor General February 6, 2012-August 19, 2014
Florin T. Hilbay Acting Solicitor General August 20, 2014-June 18, 2015
Solicitor General June 19, 2015-June 30, 2016
Jose Calida Solicitor General June 30, 2016-present


  1. ^ Aika Rey (8 January 2020). "Where will the money go?". Rappler. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ "Welcome to the Department of Justice - Republic of the Philippines | Tel: (+632) 523 8481, (+632) 523 6826". Archived from the original on 2012-03-10. Retrieved 2012-05-04.
  4. ^ Section 34, Book IV, Title III, Chapter 12, of the 1987 Administrative Code
  5. ^ "Office of the Solicitor General".
  6. ^ "Office of the Solicitor General".
  7. ^ "Office Mandates and Functions". Office of the Solicitor General Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  8. ^ Section 2 of Republic Act No. 9417
  9. ^ [2][dead link]

External linksEdit