House OKs bill standardizing retirement benefits of judiciary officials

Published September 28, 2021, 7:11 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill which seeks to standardize the retirement benefits to be given to judiciary officials.

House deputy speaker and Cagayan de Oro 2nd District Representative Rufus Rodriguez (Rep. Rufus Rodriguez’ Facebook page)

House Bill No. 10272 hurdled the lower chamber on final reading Monday, Sept. 27, with a total of 196 affirmative votes, and no negative votes and abstention.

The bill, a consolidation of several related measures, proposes to further amend the Republic Act No. 910, to include judiciary officials conferred with the same rank as a justices and judges in the grant of retirement benefits.

Covered by the consolidated bill are the court administrator, his deputy, clerks of court, and other officers given the rank of a justice or a judge by the Supreme Court.

House Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez, a principal author of the bill, said the existing law applies only to justices of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan, the Court of Tax Appeals, judges of regional trial courts, metropolitan trial courts, municipal trial courts, municipal circuit trial courts, Shari’a district courts, or any other court created by Congress.

But he noted that the Supreme Court, through resolutions, grants certain judiciary officers judicial rank, salary and privileges and requests the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) to have them covered by RA 910.

He cited that in 1986, then chief justice Ramon Aquino approved the retirement application of court administrator Romeo Mendoza and forwarded it to the GSIS for implementation under RA No. 910.

Former chief justice Andres Narvasa likewise approved the application of clerk of court Daniel Martinez to retire under the same law in 1993, he also recalled.

“However, the GSIS Act of 1997, took judiciary officials with judicial rank, salary and privileges our of its coverage, except life insurance, and refunded their personal contributions to the GSIS fund,” Rodriguez said.

He pointed out that while RA No. 9946, which amended RA No. 910, granted more benefits to members of the judiciary, the coverage was limited to justices and judges.

“The absence of a retirement law that expressly upholds the resolutions of the Supreme Court allowing judiciary officials with judicial rank, salary and privileges to retire under RA 910 has resulted in the fragmented application of the law,” he stressed.

Under House Bill No. 10272, the benefits would be enjoyed even by those who retired prior to the effectivity of the bill, if becomes a law, Rodriguez added.