Judiciary’s appeal to restore 2021 budget cut gains solons’ support

The Judiciary on Thursday appealed to Congress to restore P6.58-billion budget that was slashed by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in the National Expenditure Program.

During the hearing on the Judiciary’s budget, Supreme Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez said the original budget proposal of the Judiciary for 2021 was P55.88 billion but was slashed to P43.54 billion by the DBM.

“We are only appealing to the House of Representatives to help us restore half of the budget that was cut, or additional P6.58 billion, instead of the P12.34 billion in the NEP,” he said.

According to Marquez, this budget is important to boost the operations of local and special courts.

Of the budget restoration request, P5.07 billion will go to the Supreme Court and lower courts (SCPLC); P15.35 million to the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET); P994.5 million to the Court of Appeals (CA); P406.4 million to Sandiganbayan, and P98.5 million to the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA).

Items for consideration under SCPLC include creation of new positions, reclassification of positions in lower courts, hazardous duty pay of trial judges and pension gratuity fund for optional retirees, training and seminar expenses and communication expenses.

For PET, the items being considered include personnel benefits, office equipment, transportation equipment and furniture and fixtures.

For CA, the budget restorations include traveling and training expenses, supplies and material expenses, utility expenses, communication expenses, extraordinary and miscellaneous expense,
professional services, general services, repairs and maintenance expenses, taxes, insurance premiums and other fees, advertising expenses, printing and publication expenses, transportation and delivery expenses, rent/lease expenses, membership dues and contribution to organization, subscription expenses.

For Sandiganbayan, items for budget reconsideration include creation of new positions, personnel benefits, upgrading and reclassification of positions and increase in other compensation.

For CTA, the item for reconsideration include traveling expenses of CTA justices, officials and employees to attend meetings, conferences and workshops, trainings and seminars local and/or foreign; training expenses to fund the attendance in seminars, training, annual strategic planning, conventions and seminar/workshops of 286 personnel composing of CTA justices, officials and employees, supplies and materials; common supplies and materials and Covid-19 related expenses; repairs and maintenance of building and structures.

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