Senators back judiciary’s proposed 2023 budget to improve justice system
MANILA, Philippines — Several senators have supported the judiciary’s proposed budget for 2023, citing the upper chamber’s strong track record of supporting the branch’s financial needs.
During the Senate committee hearing on finance on the proposed 2023 budget of the judiciary on Monday, Senator Sonny Angara said allocating a sufficient budget to the judiciary will yield positive results in the country’s justice system.
“The judiciary has always enjoyed the support of the Senate, and we will continue to prioritize the requirements of the judiciary as a co-equal branch of government and in recognition of the critical role performed by the courts in our society,” Angara said.
He added, “It is important that we continuously find ways to improve our justice system, particularly in the resolution of cases.”
Court Administrator Raul Villanueva earlier revealed that the judiciary requested a total of P74.18 billion from the Department of Budget and Management to cover the needs of the Supreme Court, lower courts, the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan, the Court of Tax Appeals, and the Presidential Electoral Tribunal for next year.
But Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva pointed out that from this figure, only P52.72 billion was allocated for the branch under the 2023 National Expenditure Program submitted to Congress — a disparity of P21.46 billion.
A large portion of the DBM’s budget cuts to the projected budget for the judiciary would impact personnel services, salary adjustments for court personnel, and the development of new roles that the various courts require, according to Villanueva.
Angara, meanwhile, said that over the past few years, the Senate has consistently worked to raise funding for the nation’s judiciary.
Aside from that, the senator also presented laws to ensure that rapid justice is served in the country, particularly citing the Republic Act 11459, which mandates the creation of judges-at-large posts for regional and municipal trial courts to decongest its dockets.
Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III also expressed support for the judiciary’s budget, especially if it leads to quicker case resolutions and a better image of the Philippine justice system.
Following this wave of support from the senators, Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Karl Miranda expressed gratitude to the Senate for consistently pushing to meet the court’s budgetary requirements and acknowledging the judiciary’s vital role.
Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, in a separate statement, similarly extended appreciation to the chamber for “consistently granting all our requests for our budget.”
Meanwhile, Presiding Justice Roman del Rosario of the Court of Tax Appeals also thanked the Senate, noting that the judiciary’s requested budget was “cut substantially,” but through the support of the Senate, he said, they obtained the amount they had initially sought for. — Lyka Farillon, Inquirer.net intern
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