Cong Duterte wants fair treatment for judicial officials


At a glance

    Here's how Pulong has spent his 19th Congress so farDavao City 1st district Rep. Paolo Duterte (Facebook)





    Davao City 1st district Rep. Paolo Duterte is pushing for the passage of a measure that ensures the uniform grant of retirement benefits to officials in the judiciary.  

    This, as Duterte noted that judiciary officials conferred with the same judicial rank as those of justices and judges have been unfairly treated when it comes to the grant of survivorship pensions and other benefits due them because of the absence of a law that expressly provides them these privileges.  

    “Fairness and the equal application of the law are among the tenets that the judiciary is mandated to uphold and protect. Ironically, through no fault of their own, these tenets are not followed by the judiciary when it comes to providing retirement benefits to certain officials simply because of the lack of a law that standardizes the grant of such benefits,” Duterte said in a statement Tuesday, Aug. 22. 

    The House of Representatives had approved on third and final reading last Aug. 3 the measure that would provide the uniform application of the retirement and other benefits to judges, justices, and judiciary officials.  

    The Mindanaoan was among the principal authors of this consolidated measure, House Bill (HB) No.8392. 

    The Senate’s counterpart measure remains pending at the committee level.  

    Duterte cited as an example court administrators who are given the same judicial rank, salary and privileges as those of a justice of the court. While they get to enjoy the salary and privileges that come with the rank while employed, these will cease once they retire because the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) has excluded them from availing of retirement benefits, he said. 

    “Thus, judicial officials with the judicial rank, salary and privileges as those of justices and judges are left with no retirement benefits despite their long years of dedicated service,” the former deputy speaker noted. 

    Duterte said the Supreme Court (SC) had sought to correct this inequity by issuing resolutions that would grant judiciary officials given the rank  of judge or justice, with the same retirement benefits as those of judges or justices.  

    These include the court administrator, deputy court administrator,  clerk of court, and other officials.  

    However, the high court’s directives went unimplemented because the GSIS, and later, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), took out these benefits, citing the limits provided under Republic Act (RA) No.910 and the law that amended it--RA No.9946, which provided for such benefits for members of the judiciary.  

    “The enactment of a new law through the passage of the reconciled version of House Bill 8392 and the Senate's counterpart measure is the solution to this gross violation of the equal protection clause enshrined in our Constitution,” Duterte reckoned. 

    The amends Section 1 of RA 910, which is the original law governing the grant of retirement benefits to members of the judiciary.   

    The amended section grants the same retirement benefits and other privileges stated under RA No.910  to judiciary officials “conferred with the same rank as a justice or a judge". 

    “All pension benefits of retired members of the judiciary and judiciary officials with judicial rank, salary and privileges shall be automatically increased whenever there is an increase in the salary and allowances of the same position from which they retired,” the bill stated.