Judiciary employees unhappy about budget cuts
MANILA, Philippines—It will be a black Monday for court employees who are protesting the administration’s plan to reduce the 2012 budget of the judiciary.
The Judiciary Employees Association of the Philippines (Judea) plan to show their objection to the budget cut by wearing black shirts or armbands on Monday and succeeding Mondays, according to Judea overall interim president Mar Aguilar, who is from the Sandiganbayan.
Malacañang, in its budget proposal, reduced the judiciary’s 2012 budget to P13.396 billion and transferred the allocation for unfilled positions to the miscellaneous personnel benefit fund (MPBF), which would be under the control of the Office of the President. All of the unspent appropriations for unfilled positions in the government would go to this fund.
A Supreme Court official had branded the move a violation of the separation of powers, the court’s fiscal autonomy and the policy of non-reduction of the judiciary’s budget from previous years.
According to the Judea, this proposal may be intended to put the judiciary under Malacañang’s thumb. In a statement, the group said this could also be considered interference, and part of the move to control the courts especially after the recent defeat of Malacañang orders in the Supreme Court.
The tribunal had ruled against Malacañang’s creation of the Truth Commission, and recently stopped its plan to appoint officials to run the affairs of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Judea said there should be absolute judicial independence, and the courts should be allowed to conduct their own affairs.
The budget allocation of the judiciary should be automatically released, it said. The judiciary’s budget should also be at least one percent of the total national budget, the group added.
Senator Joker Arroyo earlier also questioned Malacañang’s move to control part of the judiciary’s funds. Arroyo said that this would give rise to a situation where the Supreme Court would have to beg Malacañang to release its funds when it appoints a new judge.
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