Sereno promised to work on better budget for judiciary-A A +A
Monday, September 3, 2012
MANILA -- Facing hundreds of Supreme Court employees on Monday, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said she is currently working on ways on how the judiciary can get enough funds to improve the welfare of its officers and employees.
Sereno, who attended her first flag-raising ceremony as SC chief, said she has communicated with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) about the judiciary's concerns but failed to elaborate.
"Based on my assessment, I think they (DBM) are open to hear us. It seems the talks are going smoothly," she said.
Committee hearings for the P17.77-billion budget for the judiciary in 2013 are still ongoing in Congress with next year's outlay eyed to support the resolution of over 320,000 cases pending in the Supreme Court and the rest of lower courts.
Next year's budget is 13.08 percent higher than P15.71 billion in 2012, records from the Senate committee on finance show.
Of the proposed budget, P15.72 billion will go to the Supreme and lower courts, an increase of 12.86 percent from P13.93 billion, while P1.32 billion will go to the Court of Appeals, P181.22 million higher than its present budget of P1.144 billion.
Also, P392.44 million will be for the country's anti-graft court, the Sandiganbayan, P35.18 million higher than its 2012 budget of P357.26 million; P244.33 million to the Court of Tax Appeals, P31.41 million higher than its present budget of P212.92 million; and lastly, P90.94 million will go to the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, P16.42 million higher than its 2012 budget of P74.52 million.
Sereno, meanwhile, shared that she will continue touring other units in the SC to check on the conditions and hear the concerns of employees. She also asked them to work hard and not pay attention to intrigues especially about the supposed reasons behind her appointment as the 24th Chief Justice.
Farmers working at the Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac earlier feared that Sereno might hamper the distribution of the 4,915-hectare estate owned by President Benigno Aquino III’s relatives in exchange of her appointment.
The SC, under deposed Chief Justice Renato Corona, had said the estate should be given to farmers under the agrarian reform program.
"This is not an act of man. This is not an act of any political bloc. There’s no lobby from business or economic interests. We only have a God who knows what’s best for the nation," Sereno, a devout Christian, said.
Associate Justices Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Bienvenido Reyes, Mariano del Castillo, Jose Perez, Jose Mendoza, and Roberto Abad, a former candidate for top magistrate, also took part in the weekly ceremony. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)