Senators back increase in judiciary’s proposed P43.54-B budget for 2021
MANILA, Philippines — Senators expressed support for an increase in the judiciary’s proposed P43.54-billion budget for 2021.
During the Senate hearing on Thursday, Supreme Court Administrator Midas Marquez said the judiciary is seeking an additional P6.58 billion in its proposed budget.
“I think many senators will support it,” Senator Sonny Angara, who led the hearing as chair of the Senate finance committee, told INQUIRER.net in a message.
“For 2020, Congress increased their budget so I would expect some sort of increase,” he added.
According to Marquez, the judiciary initially proposed to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) a budget of P55.88 billion for next year.
However, the DBM only approved P43.54 billion in the National Expenditure Program (NEP), which is a variance of P12.34 billion.
“Out of the P12.34 billion variance, the judiciary is seeking reconsideration of P6.58 billion. ‘Di na po natin hihingin ‘yung buong P12.34 billion,” Marquez said.
The judiciary made a similar request at the House of Representatives last September 10.
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said he is in “full support” of the judiciary’s budget, noting that the justice system plays a crucial role in the economic development and survival of a country.
“We will always be supportive of the budget of the judiciary. Full support means even adding if necessary,” he said.
“We know the critical nature of the justice system not only for the economic development of a country but maybe even for the survival of the state,” Pimentel added.
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go also manifested his support for the proposed funding for the judiciary.
“As our society cannot flourish without functioning courts, it is very important that the Judiciary is sufficiently funded so as to enable it to render its crucial mandate,” Go said.
He then called on the judiciary to continue implementing measures and programs that would “not only improve the performance of the courts, but also and equally importantly rid itself of the bad eggs which tarnish its reputation.”
“After all, a healthy, independent, impartial, and corruption-free Judiciary is essential to a country which follows the rule of law, such as ours,” the neophyte senator added.
Angara, in his message to INQUIRER.net, said the amount to be added to the proposed budget of the judiciary will still have to be discussed since the Senate is still deliberating the budgets of other government agencies.
“It’s a bit early to know what the amount will be given [because] there are several other departments to be heard,” the senator said.
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