3 government branches urged to discuss judiciary budget-A A +A
Friday, September 7, 2012
MANILA -- With a new Chief Justice in place, a senator said it is timely for Malacañang and Congress to sit down with the Supreme Court to map out a direction for judicial reforms, which involves higher budgetary support.
The call to convene the Judicial Executive Legislative Advisory Consultative Council was addressed by Senator Francis Pangilinan to the heads of three branches of government: President Benigno Aquino III, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.
Pangilinan said that the country cannot expect a first-world justice system with a judiciary that is given a third-world budgetary allocation.
"It will not do us any good if the judiciary continues to fall behind as the other branches of government are moving steadily forward," he said.
In a text message, acting SC spokesperson Gleoresty Guerra refused to comment on Pangilinan's proposal, saying she was "on leave."
"I also don't want to preempt the Chief Justice (on her thoughts about this)," she said.
Among the problems plaguing the judiciary are clogged dockets, lack of facilities like trial courts and vacancies in judge positions.
On Wednesday, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad went to the Supreme Court to discuss the judiciary's budget with the justices.
He declined to elaborate on what transpired in the meeting but Malacañang said calls for higher allocation won't be that easy.
"That will be again subject to considerations. We will not necessary give in just because the Chief Justice is friendly or an appointee of the President," presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said on Thursday.
The judiciary is asking for P17.77-billion budget in 2013, which is 13.08 percent higher than P15.71 billion this year. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)