Press Release
August 24, 2015

Senate oks additional leave privileges for judges

Acknowledging that judges devote more than eight hours a day hearing cases, the Senate today approved on third and final reading a bill granting them additional 30 days judicial leave.

The bill was approved with 14 votes, no negative vote and an abstention from Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile who attended his first plenary session Monday after an absence of more than a year from the Senate.

Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, Chairman of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights, said House Bill No. 4660 sought to grant judges of the First Level Courts such as Metropolitan Trial Courts (MeTCs), Municipal Trial Courts in Cities (MTCC), Municipal Trial Courts (MTC), Municipal Circuit Trial Courts (MCTC) and Shari'a Circuit Courts additional 30 days leave on top of the 15 days' vacation leave and 15 days sick leave privileges allowed by law.

He said the additional 30 days leave privilege would be non-convertible to cash and non-cumulative, meaning the leaves would be forfeited if unused within a year.

Pimentel said the judges deserve the additional privilege since they work more than eight hours a day hearing cases either within or outside the confines of their courtrooms and in their chambers drafting and preparing their decisions.

"Granting this additional benefit will place the First Level Court judges on the same footing as those judges of the Regional Trial Courts and Shari'a District Courts, and thus achieve uniformity among all judges in the judiciary in terms of leave entitlements," Pimentel said.

The proposed law was co-authored by Senator Loren Legarda. (Yvonne Almirañez)

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