House to press SC on ‘misuse’ of JDF
MANILA, Philippines–If Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno does not want to go to the House of Representatives, the chamber will confront her and other magistrates of the Supreme Court with their alleged indiscretions on their own turf.
Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, vice chair of the House committee on justice, wants to personally hand over a letter to Sereno and the rest of the magistrates that would detail their misuse of the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF) and other transgressions, such as the creation of another fund-raising office without congressional approval.
“I’m still finishing it (letter) as I saw some other matters that I’ll add. I hope to deliver it (Monday) or Wednesday at the latest,” said Fariñas in a text message.
Instead of filing a certiorari with prohibition against the court itself which would be costly and time-consuming, Fariñas said it was better to file an administrative letter telling the justices to act on the issues because his constituents were demanding their impeachment.
Fariñas said the main issue against the Supreme Court was its misuse of the JDF. “The law said the fund [was meant] to provide for the allowances of employees and [for the] purchase [of] supplies and equipment. But the Supreme Court spent the funds on other things, such as a P30-million high-yielding deposit in Land Bank,” he said.
The congressman pointed out that the mandatory 20-percent allocation for equipment in the JDF had ballooned to P1.8 billion as of June.
He reckoned that the high court was the most powerful among the three branches of government because it was the only one that can overrule the Commission on Audit on disallowed expenses.
Fariñas said he thought of suing the magistrates outright for abusing the JDF but he dropped the idea because it would mean filing the case in the Supreme Court itself.
“But I would not allow it to reach that point. I have a letter to the CJ and the other justices seeking their attention on their various transgressions against the Constitution…. I believe that they committed a clear violation of the Constitution and a breach of the doctrine they laid down on DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program) and PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund),” he said.
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