CBCP backs High Court on judiciary fund use

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STRESSING that an independent judiciary is the key that safeguards the people’s rights against the heavy hand of the State, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Sunday defended the Supreme Court’s stand to independently disburse and manage the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF).

The CBCP issued the official statement amid widening calls by Congress, particularly the House of Representatives, to probe the alleged misuse of the JDF by the high court.

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop and CBCP President Socrates Villegas said the government should respect the judiciary, since it does not have the means to defend itself.

He noted that the courtesies due to all heads of different branches of the Philippine government should be maintained at all times, and that the independence of the judiciary should also be preserved.


“We stand with the judiciary in its struggle to maintain its independence,” he said.
The prelate noted that observing independence in all branches of the government “is not only the letter of the Constitution,” but “it is the spirit as well.”

“The judiciary is a protective institution that is assailed when justices and judges are needlessly threatened with removal from office, when politicians are displeased by their decisions or did not consider the positions they take” Villegas pointed out.

On Tuesday, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and representatives of the SC opted not to attend a hearing of the House of Representatives over the alleged misuse of the JDF.

In a three-page letter sent to House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Sereno said that apart from the House inquiry being premature and inappropriate, she also wanted to consult first the SC en banc about the matter.

Villegas, on the other hand defended the magistrates, saying that “the JDF, which was generated from docket fees and other sources, has, by law, been placed within the administrative control of the Chief Justice.”

“Let it be so. This is not to say that the fund can be used in whatever manner the Chief Justice or the Supreme Court may be pleased to use it.  The Constitution has so wisely provided for a system by which all government offices, the judiciary included, are subject to audit,” he noted.

“But we consider it repugnant to the very idea of the autonomy that the judiciary should enjoy, for the Chief Justice to be asked to account to a congressional committee for the use of the funds,” the prelate stressed.

“Yes, the chief justice owes it to the people to give an accounting of the use of the funds, but through the office tasked by the Constitution to conduct such an audit,” he added.

He pointed out that the CBCP is standing with the high court in its battle in maintaining their independence.

“We stand with our legislators in so far as they endeavor to revisit the expenditure of public funds and as they take the moral high-ground of setting aside self-interest, by rejecting any scheme or device by which they gain access once more to funds, in ways already held in contravention of the fundamental law of the land,” he clarified.

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8 Comments

  1. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. Nobody is above the law even the SC justices. It is the people who demands transparency, specially that the PDAF and DAP were declared unconstitutional, so therefore, it s also possible that the JDF is also unconstitutional. CBCP, I wish that you just attend to your important business, the Supreme Court Justices do not need your support. The people in the Barrios, in the farms all over the country, needs to hear the good news, this is your priority, not politics.

  2. Well i believe no one of the 3 branches is perfected in terms of handling their respective appropriated funds, but i support the CBCP stand for the judiciary independence.

  3. Why does the supreme court need to dispurse funds to keep it running. There should be pay scales for everyone who works in the court, & that will be paid for out of the governments revenues. Its how its done in other countries. It seems you want the supreme court justices to have control of the purse, so does that mean they can blackmail people into voting their way. They should all be salaried positions & its that simple surely. Why is it that everything that should be simple shoud be so difficult in the philippines.

    • Horacio B. Freires on

      At this point in time Bro. . kung pwede lang. . siguro after na ng time ni Pnoy. . wag muna nating palakihin ang mga mumunting tinga of the humanness of the Supreme Court?. . Do service to the Filipino people in general. .

      I agree completely w/ the wisdom of the CBCP. . .

      The Supreme Court today is viewed as the new hero of the democratic tradition and Laws of the Republic of the Philippines. . .Against the abuses of the executive branch. .

    • there is a reason the supreme court is defending itself. This is not the right way to audit its funds. This audit thing was started by tupas of all people because he was the same person who was barking at corona while pinoy was holding his leash. This is to avenge the decision of the court that the DAP was unconstitutional. Had the court not ruled to that effect, do you think tupas wouild initiate an audit? Not in his lifetime!

  4. if it’s taxation,there’s always separation of church and state. why’s the church keeps meddling on political issues of the 3 branches of the govt.? pls give to caesar what is caesar’s and to God what’s God’s!

  5. I support the stand of CBCP. The positions of the SC JUSTICES should not be always subjected to the whims of the Executives and Congress when they disagree with the SC DECISIONS!