Judiciary Gets 38% Less in 2015 NEP

The Judiciary’s share in the National Expenditure Program (NEP) fell short by P12.38 billion or 38% less than the proposed. In the budget hearing held at the House of Representatives, Deputy Court Administrator Raul Villanueva proposed P32.66 billion for the entire Judiciary in the 2015 Budget, noting that the NEP only allocated P20.29 billion.

The Judiciary’s share in the National Expenditure Program (NEP) fell short by P12.38 billion or 38% less than the proposed. In the budget hearing held at the House of Representatives, Deputy Court Administrator Raul Villanueva proposed P32.66 billion for the entire Judiciary in the 2015 Budget, noting that the NEP only allocated P20.29 billion.

“While the judiciary has received modest increases in its annual budget…the percent share to the national budget continues to be on the downtrend,” Villanueva said. Since 2012, the Judiciary receives 0.87% of the budget.

The Judiciary budget covers allocations for the operations of the Supreme Court, the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, the Sandiganbayan, the Court of Appeals, the Court of Tax Appeals, and the lower courts.

The proposal includes the creation of additional positions among different courts, including the 172 newly-created child and family courts.

Villanueva revealed plans of the Supreme Court to transfer from Padre Faura to Fort Bonifacio, the pilot testing of automated court hearings which will allow judges to print out orders as soon as they give them out, and the construction of a Data Center to store all court information, in a move to modernize the Judiciary.

Several lawmakers took the opportunity to probe into the use of the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF).

Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas noted that the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) reaffirms congressional power of the purse, saying that no money should be paid out of the Treasury without any appropriation from Congress. Fariñas has previously filed a bill amending the presidential decree creating the JDF.

ABAKADA Rep. Jonathan dela Cruz alleged that the JDF grants “special treatment” for court employees over ordinary civil servants asserting that the Judiciary acts “as if it were above the law.”

Villanueva stressed that the Supreme Court’s adherence to judicial independence and fiscal autonomy. He added that the Code of Conduct for court employees is patterned after the Civil Service Code, with provisions unique to the Court.

He further explained the distribution of bonuses and allowances under JDF, citing that employees with lower salary grades are allocated a bigger share of the Fund.

Some members of the Minority came in defense of the JDF. KABATAAN Rep. Terry Ridon insists that the Fund insulates the Judiciary from the “political intramurals of the political branches of government,” saying the JDF is meager compared to the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or DAP.

 

Lump Sums Handled by Different Branches of Government 2013

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