Press Release
September 14, 2010

ZUBIRI: Let Congress Restore Judiciary Budget
Says the judiciary is choked up to its throat with cases awaiting resolution

Senator Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri today expressed concern over the proposal of the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) to slash the judiciary budget for next year by almost half. It has been reported that the Supreme Court is asking for P27.1billion budget, but Malacanang has cut the proposal to only P14.3 billion.

"Budget cuts on this scale will make it virtually impossible for the co-equal branch of government to adequately deal with their workloads. With the increasing number of cases pending before our courts, our judiciary is choked up to its throat with the number of cases awaiting resolution, " Zubiri warned noting that at present the delivery of public services has already been hampered by the lack of courtrooms, office equipment and manpower.

The Supreme Court (SC) in a statement had earlier warned of a possible "judicial revolt" amid imminent cuts in the proposed budget of the judiciary for next year.

"If the Palace is serious in its campaign to eradicate corruption, then it should restore the judiciary fund as it is one of the frontliners against corruption. Kung hindi, maaring ito pa ang maging balakid sa ninanais nilang daang matuwid. Bakit ang DSWD budget umakyat ng halos 123 percent mula sa dating P15.4 billion to P34.3 billion para pondohan ang pantawid sa gutom project? Paano naman natin maitatawid ang ating mga kababayan na ilang taon o dekada nang naghahanap ng hustisya kung putol ang pondo sa hudikatura? " Zubiri argued.

Zubiri also raised the alarm over the possible effects of the reported disagreement between the Palace and the judiciary over the status of the Judicial Development Fund (JDF) and the Special Allowances for Justices and Justice (SAJJ). SC has said that it has already submitted the details of those funds to the Palace while DBM Sec. Butch Abad told DZMM yesterday that they are "completely blind" about the status of it.

"If this is not ironed out, we should expect delay, and possible denial of justice to those who are waiting in line for several years, as well as increased inefficiency," he added.

The SC said it has a workforce of 2,300 justices and judges, and 25,500 court personnel across the country. It has not even received at least one percent of the national budget. In 2007, the judiciary got only .76 percent of the national budget, in 2008, .88 percent, in 2009, .94 percent, and in 2010, .87 percent.

"Where will the judiciary get its budget to effectively operate the special courts for extra-judicial killings and other high profile cases? We need judicial reforms not revolt," Zubiri said.

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