By Ben Rosario
The family of a member of the judiciary killed in the performance of duty will receive nearly all the emoluments and benefits of the victim under a bill approved on third and final reading by the House of Representatives.
Also on Wednesday, the Lower House approved on third and final reading House Bill 8101 which provides survivorship benefits to dependent children of a deceased retired member of the judiciary who is a solo parent or the surviving parent. The vote was 170 in favor and 0 against.
HB 8121 which provides support for the surviving spouse and children of slain justices and judges was passed with 170 affirmative votes and nil negative.
Authored by Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu, HB 8121 will amend Republic Act No. 2010 which details the retirement benefits that justices of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals will receive.
Under the bill, the benefits provided will cover cases when a justice or a judge is killed while performing official function , regardless of age at the time of death or number of years spent in serving the judiciary.
HB 8121 mandates that the surviving spouse and children of the slain court officer will be entitled to receive “during the residue of their natural lives” the salary plus the highest monthly aggregate transportation, representation and other allowances such as personal economic relief allowance, equivalent to the amount received by an associate justice of the Supreme Court.
The bill also grants the surviving spouse and children a gratuity equivalent to ten years salary computed base don all the salaries and other benefits of an associate justice of the High Court.
Upon the death of the surviving spouse, the benefits will be transferred to the surviving children of the slain justice or judge.
“We hope to provide all the support the family of slain members of the judiciary deserves,” said Abu.
The House official said the measure is also expected to encourage young, idealistic and brilliant officers of the judiciary to remain faithful in their task of dispensing justice without fear.
HB 8101 filed by Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Farinas proposes to extend retirement benefits to the dependent children of a deceased justice or a judge who is a solo parent or have dependent children under his or her care.
Surviving parents of the deceased officer of the judiciary or any person or persons nominated by the judge or justice who died may also be entitled to the retirement benefits.
Farinas said the measure seeks to address the discrimination of the law against single or unmarried retirees who are qualified to retire but are excluded from extending survivorship benefits and retirement pension to their parents, other kin and children.