Press Release
October 12, 2010


On Judiciary's budget

DRILON: The total budget of the Supreme Court and the Judiciary for 2011 is proposed at P14.3 billion. The court, through its spokesman Court Administrator Marquez, informed the committee of what they believed are improper deductions done by DBM on the budget as proposed by the SC to the DBM. The SC has proposed a P27.1 billion budget; the DBM approved P14.3 billion. So the representative of SC naturally informed this committee of the need to augment the budget of the judiciary. But we have discovered, for example, the court was saying that the increase in salaries under EO 611, EO 712 and EO 811 are not provided for. We have, however, noted a CoA report, which indicates that as of December 31, 2008, a total of P236,691,000 in JDF and SAJ (Special Allowance for Judges) is available for distribution. I have asked the court to give us a computation as to how much would each one had been entitled to if this was distributed last year.

Likewise, the court administrator said that they were not given increases in their supplies and capital outlay. The audited balance sheet of the SC, however, as of December 31, 2008 indicates that P815,210,708 was available in cash for purposes for maintenance and operating expense and capital outlay from the JDF. I repeat, P815.2 million was not utilized and was available in capital outlay and MOOE as of December 31, 2008.

Finally, it would appear that all the courts have been funded in the 2011 budget to the total amount of P14.3 billion. It would appear, however, that on the basis of the report of the SC to the DBM, as of December 31, 2009, there is a total of only 1,434 positions filled out of 2,307. In other words, there are 873 vacancies as of the beginning of the year. And these vacancies will be funded and more or less, out of the budget of P14.3 billion, it is estimated that on the basis of these unfilled positions, there will be a savings of about P5 billion. So I think it is only right that the DBM has asked the SC to give the DBM what is called accountability reports--how these funds were disbursed--before additional funds were granted.

Let me emphasize that the budget of the SC for 2011 is higher than the current budget. In 2010, the total budget is P13,337,570,000, or an increase of about P970 million. All the agencies that submitted their budgets to the DBM did not get the desired levels that they wanted. The DBM reduced almost across the board the agency requests.

There was also an issue raised by CoA on trust funds or trust receipts in the total amount of P4.8 billion, which CoA wants to be transferred to the National Treasury. Let me repeat that this money is not lost; the money is in the hands of the SC. But the position taken by CoA is that in accordance with the provision of the law, particularly EO 338 and the GAA of 2008, this P4.8 billion in trust funds should be deposited with the National Treasury. Especially the interest can be forfeited bonds. These are no longer funds available to the SC and therefore it should be remitted. The court administrator acknowledged this issue and in fact they had remitted in installments. The position of CoA is that the entire amount should be remitted.

On this basis, we have asked the court administrator to submit to us this data on how they intend to use this P236 million in cash available for distribution to all the justices and judges, because in 2009, there was again a collection of JDF and special allowances for judges.

It's better that we analyze their budget carefully so that there is less emotion in asking for funds, with threats of judicial revolt. It is better that we are rationale about this and see really what the situation is.

Q: On amnesty... would it mean that they could be return to active service?

DRILON: It depends on the terms of the amnesty. I have not seen the amnesty yet. I'm sure we will get a copy because we have to concur with the amnesty under the Constitution.

Q: Mahahabol pa ba yon?

DRILON: I don't think so.

Q: What's the earliest sir?

DRILON: I don't really know. When we come back, we will give it priority.

Q: Ano ang boto non? Two-thirds?

DRILON: I don't want to speculate. Nasa Constitution.

Q: Ano ang sequence? House muna o pwede sabay?

DRILON: Pwede sabay.

Q: But there is no automatic reintegration?

DRILON: Depends on the terms of the amnesty?

Q: Will it change the complexion of the Senate pag andito sya (Trillanes)?

DRILON: I don't think so.

Q: (On budget) Ilang department pa?

DRILON: Konti na lang.

Q: Anong ibig sabihin ng deemed submitted?

DRILON: Ibig sabihin we will not call them back. Once the GAB comes to us, we will say that all the hearings that we conducted before receipt of the GAB are considered hearings of the budgets of different agencies.

Q: Pagpasok ng GAB na yon, floor na?

DRILON: Hindi na kami maghi-hearing. Hihimayin lang namin kung ano yung ginawa nila.

Q: But the department will not be called again?

DRILON: The departments will no longer be called although that is not discounted if in fact there are certain issues that we wish to clarify. But usually it doesn't happen.

Q: Timetable?

DRILON: We expect the GAB to be in the Senate the week of November 8-12, I don't know when. But when we come back, I think we come back on November 8, so that week of November 8-12... if we receive the GAB at that time then we will have a week from the 15th to the 22nd to review it. I would target that we would be sponsoring the budget about the last week of November or the first week of December.

Q: Sir klaro nay un ha, hindi i-increase ang budget ng judiciary?

DRILON: There is no need. In fact what we read in the papers, it prompted me to really look closely at their budget.

Q: On this note, tama si Abad?

DRILON: Ah yes.

News Latest News Feed