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Sereno seeks budget hike to repair decrepit court houses

/ 03:47 PM August 28, 2013

Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno    INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Wednesday appealed to the government for a budget increase in the judiciary to repair “dilapidated court rooms.”

“How can the public believe that the justice will be rendered if our court houses are dilapidated and they see the judges working in such dire condition,” said Sereno, who recently marked her first year as chief justice.

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Sereno, in a press briefing at the De La Salle University in Manila, called for an augmentation in the Supreme Court of the Philippines’s budget considering the “gargantuan budget availability” in the government.

“Could you not increase the budget of one-percent, or even under one-percent, that Congress had been allocating the judiciary historically?” lamented Sereno.

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INQUIRER.net earlier reported that in 2012, the judiciary was only getting about.08-percent of the national budget.

“Court buildings are either given to the Department of Justice (DOJ) who turns over those court houses to us when they are finished or by the Local Government Units (LGUs),” she added. “We only have a few houses or buildings that we can actually call our own.”

The Chief Justice said that the Supreme Court, which is located on Taft Avenue in Manila, does not have a budget capital outlay allocated for the construction of court houses in the judiciary.

To “strengthen the independence of the judiciary,” Sereno sought for the Court to be able to control the physical infrastructures that will house the judges.

“It is our desire to give the public a sense of dignity when they try to seek justice from our courtrooms,” added Sereno saying that the Philippine judiciary is constrained in many ways.

“What we need is for the public to understand what we are for, how important we are to democracy and how we can efficiently deliver the rendition of justice to the public,” she added.

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TAGS: budget, chief justice, courts, Sereno, Supreme Court
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