Judges should get City stipend directly: Tomas-A A +A
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
CEBU City outgoing mayor and congressman-elect Tomas Osmeña agrees with the preference of judges that the City Government directly release to them their additional stipend, instead of coursing this through the Supreme Court (SC).
The City said it received feedback from some judges that the Supreme Court is such a bureaucracy that it’s going to take them a long time for them to get the money.
In March last year, the High Court entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Cebu City that allocated P1 million as “judiciary equalization fund.”
This after Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia withheld the monthly allowance of RTC Judge Bienvenido Saniel of Branch 20.
The Provincial Government gives a P6,000 monthly stipend to each judge in Cebu.
The P1-million equalization fund, however, is not intended for city judges alone but for all judges in the country whose allowances are unreasonably withheld by the local government units within their jurisdiction.
Osmeña said this can be used for judges who suffer undue discrimination from the local government unit (LGU).
He said that unlike Garcia who cut off allowances of judges when a judge did not rule in her favor, the Cebu City Government gives allowances without condition.
Speaking before the 888 News Forum at a hotel, Osmeña said that in Cebu City, so many judges have ruled against the City Government yet they don’t do anything.
Osmeña reportedly increased the allowances of the judges from P25,000 to P45,000.
When asked whether the allowances are a way of applying pressure on the judges, Osmeña replied that Garcia ruined the reputation of the LGUs by abusing the assistance to the judiciary.
“She is the first and only one, ay, no, I think there’s one other also, who cut the allowance of the judges who did not rule in their favor,” Osmeña said.
A Capitol official previously explained the allowance was cut off when the Province filed an administrative case against the judge.
“They (judges) trust the Cebu City Government that we will not abuse it, so they said just give it straight to us,” said Osmeña, although he pointed out that he will no longer be the mayor of the city at the end of the month.
“Si Mike na ang magbuot ana kay wa na ko dinhi (It’s now Rama’s call),” Osmeña said.
Rama said he hasn’t received any communication yet from the city judges regarding their suggestion but will look into it once he does get a letter.
Rama earlier said the additional allowances for judges and justices will continue as long as the city has enough funds for it.
In the MOA with the SC, the City Government has committed to contribute annually to the judiciary equalization fund to replenish the P1 million.
Mayor Osmeña decided to increase the monthly allowances of judges and justices as a way of strengthening the judiciary, aside from helping the “underpaid” court officials.
Before the MOA was signed, the City only alloted P5,000 monthly allowance to each judge.
The additional allowances from the city government apply to all 21 Regional Trial Court judges, seven Municipal Trial Court in Cities judges, and seven justices at the Court of Appeals assigned in the city.