Sereno says Gadon’s rap she delayed magistrate’s benefits baseless
The camp of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Tuesday said that the allegations of lawyer Lorenzo “Larry” Gadon that she delayed the release of survivorship benefits of a deceased Court of Appeals justice is “baseless” and “unfounded.”
Sereno’s spokesman, lawyer Jojo Lacanilao, said it was unfair to blame the chief magistrate of delaying the benefits due to the family of the late Associate Justice Jose Colayco.
“The Chief Justice did not delay action on the resolution of survivorship petitions filed by Mrs. Colayco and all other surviving spouses of deceased justices and judges,” Lacanilao said in a statement.
He said that Sereno has “no power to act unilaterally” on the petitions, as well as the applications for retirement benefits of justices and judges.
The spokesperson explained that as part of administrative reforms of the court, applications for retirement benefits are referred to the Special Committee on Retirement and Civil Service Benefits to help ensure judiciary-wide consistency of rules and grants.
“Where necessary, as when applications have issues, further study is undertaken by the Committee or its Technical Working Groups,” Lacanilao said.
“Upon endorsement of the Committee, the applications are submitted to the Supreme Court en banc for approval,” he added.
Gadon, who filed the impeachment complaint against Sereno, alleged that Sereno delayed the release of the survivorship benefits to Dolores Colayco, the widow of the late CA Justice Jose Colayco.
According to SC spokesperson Ted Te, Colayco retired on Dec. 17, 1982 at the compulsory age of 70 and died on May 26, 1992.
At the time of Colayco’s death, Republic Act No. 910 indicated that upon the death of a retired justice, no spouse would not receive any benefits. But this was changed in 2010, when the law was enacted by R.A. 9946.
Te said that Mrs. Colayco’s application for survivorship benefits was received by the SC from the CA in August 2016.
But to clear first the policy on granting applications on survivorship pension benefits, the SC en banc issued a policy decision on Sept. 19, 2017. It ruled to grant the pension benefits to legitimate spouses of justices and judges who retired prior to RA 9946.
Dolores died on October 3, seven days before the SC approved her application.
Te said the benefits that Mrs. Colayco was entitled to receive will accrue to her heirs.
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