Palace, CA justices settle case over withheld pay | Inquirer News
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Palace, CA justices settle case over withheld pay

By: - Reporter / @JeromeAningINQ
/ 06:02 AM March 31, 2012

Malacañang has apparently opted to settle out-of-court a tiff with retired justices of the Court of Appeals over the nonpayment of their special allowances and retirement benefits.

The Supreme Court granted a motion filed by the retired justices to withdraw graft charges against Malacañang after the budget department began releasing their past due allowances and retirement benefits.

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The Association of Retired Court of Appeals Justices Inc., led by Teodoro Regino, had earlier charged that Malacañang’s withholding of Special Allowances for the Judiciary (SAJ) was a violation of the Constitution.

Motion to dismiss

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In its two-page resolution, the high court en banc said it was granting the petitioners’ motion to dismiss the case “without pronouncements as to the costs, and without prejudice to instituting another petition for the release and funding for future claims.”

The motion to withdraw was filed last February 22 reportedly after the retired justices received part of the benefits they were demanding from Malacañang.

The case was the offshoot of the squabble between the executive and legislative branches last year over budget secretary Florencio Abad’s alleged withholding of the budget for the judiciary.

Chief Justice Renato Corona, who is now facing impeachment by allies of Malacañang, had publicly denounced what he said were attempts by the Palace to control the judiciary through budgetary maneuvers.

Retirees’ recourse

The older retirees wanted to get their allowances due them from January to October last year while the newly retired justices joined the suit to recover the salary increases which they should have gotten before their retirement.

The retirees said they had no recourse but to file the case at the Supreme Court since most of them are in their 80s and suffering from sickness and failing health after their long service in the judiciary.

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The retired justices had accused the Executive Department, particularly the budget secretary, of violating Section 3 Article VIII of the Constitution by refusing to automatically and regularly release the special allowance of the judiciary as part of their retirement gratuity.

They said Abad’s “neglect without just cause,” in performing his job as budget chief, was also ground enough to charge him with violation of Republic Act No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

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TAGS: court, Court of Appeals, Government, Malacañang, out-of-court settlement, retired justices
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