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House eyes more retirement benefits for justices, judges

March 1, 2009 10:28am
MANILA, Philippines - The House of Representatives is rushing passage of a bill granting added retirement, survivorship and other benefits to members of the judiciary and judiciary officials.

House Speaker Prospero Nograles Jr. and 16 other House leaders finalize a committee report on a consolidated House bill for the benefits.

"We have to give justice to those who dispense justice. Their economic woes must be addressed the soonest," Nograles said in an article on the House of Representatives website.

The article said the House Committee on Justice under Rep. Matias Defensor is now fine-tuning the consolidated measure and would likely submit its committee report in the next few days to the Committee on Rules under Majority Leader Arthur Defensor for inclusion in the plenary's calendar of business.

The still unnumbered consolidated measure would cover justices and judges and other judiciary officials who have retired even before the enactment of the proposed reform measure.

"We must be fair to those who have given the best part of their lives in public service and have retired in painful silence and uncomplaining," Nograles said.

Other principal co-authors of the bill include Deputy Speaker Simeon Datumanong, Majority Leader Arthur Defensor, Committee on Constitutional Amendments chairman Victor Ortega, Appropriations vice chairman Edcel Lagman, Good Government chairman Pedro Romualdo, Tourism chairman Edgar Chatto, and Bicol Recovery and Economic Development chair Jose Solis.

Other co-authors are Reps. Fredinel Castro, Raul Gonzales Jr., Rufus Rodriguez, Jose Yap, Ronald Singson, Giorgidi Aggabao, George Arnaiz, and Magtanggol Gunigundo.

"The list of authors is expected to expand once the bill is filed and referred to the appropriate committee for public hearings," the House article said.

Under the bill, Justices of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan or the Court of Tax Appeals, or a judge of the Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in cities, Municipal Trial Court, Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Shari'a Circuit Court, or any other court who has rendered at least 15 years service in the Judiciary or in any other branch of the Government, or retirees for having attained the age of 70 years and those who resign by reason of his incapacity to discharge the duties of his office as certified by the Supreme Court, he shall be entitled with the following additional benefits:

* Salary plus the highest monthly aggregate of transportation, representation and other allowances such as personal economic relief allowance (PERA) and additional compensation allowance which he was receiving at the time of his retirement or resignation.

* Non-wage benefits in the form of education scholarship to one legitimate child of all Justices and Judges; free tuition fee in a State University or college, provided that such grant will cover only one bachelor's degree.

Also, justices or judges with less than 15 years service in the government or judiciary who shall retire due to incapacity shall be entitled to a pro-rata monthly pension.

The pension will be computed based on the number of years in the judiciary or government divided by 15, then multiplied by the basic pay plus the highest monthly aggregate of transportation, living and representation allowances.

The bill likewise provides the other conditions and details of the additional benefits for covered retirees in the judiciary including those whose circumstances of death while in the service is outside the natural course of life.

During the year 2008, the proposed Act shall be funded from the savings of the Judiciary and thereafter, the necessary amount needed to implement it shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act. - GMANews.TV
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