Court workers stage protest to keep JDF

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Court employees in Metro Manila and in the provinces wore black and red shirts on Monday to protest against the “attacks” by President Benigno Aquino 3rd on the Supreme Court after it struck down the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) for being unconstitutional.

The Judiciary Employees Association (Judea) also denounced moves to abolish the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF), which some lawmakers called was the judiciary’s “pork barrel.”

The court employees said such moves can be considered as attack on judicial independence and the Constitution.

Employees of the Supreme Court (SC) joined the “Black Monday” protest.


“To take away the JDF is to take away the legitimate benefits from the more than 30,000 employees of the SC, Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan, Court of Tax Appeals and the trial courts. We beg to disagree with President Aquino, JDF is not the same as the President’s Disbursement Acceleration Program. Eighty percent of the JDF are allotted for the employees’ benefits. Just like the rest of the government employees, court employees augment their meager pay with these benefits,” a statement issued by Judea said.

The Judiciary Employees Association of the Philippines (JEAP) said instead of bullying the judiciary, the President should disclose to the public how P100 billion in DAP funds was spent.

“The President and his henchmen responsible for the DAP should instead account for DAP [funds]. The people, including the government employees, deserve to know how [the funds were]spent, what projects [were funded]and who benefited from the projects, lay down the supporting documents and present the actual result of expenditures,” JEAP vice president Maurino Aguilar said.

“JDF is not pork barrel. There is monthly accounting on where the fund goes. We are a government of laws, not of men,” Amiel de Vera, president of the Court of Appeals Employees Association, said.

Several lawmakers last week said since the High Court has ruled that the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the DAP are unconstitutional, the JDF should also be abolished because it is “discretionary.”

Representatives Niel Tupas Jr. of Iloilo and Rodolfo Farinas of Ilocos Norte filed their respective bills in the House of Representatives seeking to repeal the JDF Law.

The measures were supported by Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao of Isabela, Rep. Elpidio Barzaga of Cavite and Rep. Silvestre Bello of 1-BAP party-list.

The lawmakers said the Chief Justice has the exclusive power and duty to approve and authorize JDF disbursements and expenditures.

“It is about time that we repeal the JDF Law. It is only the Supreme Court, among all other departments, that enjoys the benefit of a special purpose fund. The legislature, which is the constitutional holder of the purse string, cannot even look into it with the Supreme Court invoking fiscal autonomy,” Aggabao said.

But Malacanang distanced itself from proposals to abolish the JDF, saying it had nothing to do with such moves.

Its allies in Congress, however, have actively pushed for the repeal of Presidential Decree (PD) 1949 or the law creating the JDF. They also called on the Commission on Audit to conduct a special audit of the JDF.

Under PD 1949, the exclusive power and duty to approve and authorize disbursements and expenditures of the JDF is vested in the Chief Justice. In that sense alone, the JDF is considered discretionary funds in nature, since it is administered by a particular public official and disbursed for public purposes.

The court employees said they will continue with their silent protest on July 28, when Aquino will deliver his fifth State of the Nation Address (Sona).

The JDF Law mandates, “The fund shall be used to augment the allowances of the members and personnel of the judiciary and to finance acquisition, maintenance and repair of office equipment and facilities, provided that at least 80 percent of the fund shall be used for cost of living allowances, and not more than 20 percent of the said fund shall be used for office equipment and facilities of the courts located wherever the legal fees are collected.”

The fund comes from docket and other legal fees paid by party litigants.

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17 Comments

  1. eltee mulawin on

    >>> it is very simple topic. The DAP Funds are illegal and unconstitutional. Meaning not in the Law and in General Appropriation ACT (GAA) which is to be pursed by Congress. The Judiciary Development Fund (JDF) was created, passed, acted and approved by the Congress and President as the Law for Judiciary branch of government. So therefore that is authorized according to the law.

    So tama lang ang nais ni Mr. Tupaz, dahil ang DAP Funds at PDAF Funds ay illegal and unconstitutional as declared by Supreme Court, DAPAT ALISIN NA RIN ANG JDF LAW. Tulas sa kasabihan ng mga bata sa kalsad….. ANO KA SINUSWERTE ?? ANO KA BALIW ?. IKAW LANG MAYROON KAMI WALA NA !!!

  2. Rocky Coronel on

    What is this issue about JDF? a Pork or not. Anything not in the budget for the year, funds allocated for the discretion of any authority whether PDAF, DAF or JDF must now fall into same category. Those who are defending JDF funds as well accounted and judiciously spend better know what they are saying. Why not ask the SC for the legality of JDF. Let’s just see how fair these honorable crooks in robes are.

  3. Nobody is above the law,only the SC Justices and Judea Leaders where the JDF money goes to.It will be to the benefit of the lower rank Judiciary employees to know how the money was spent,that is why it need to be audited,Judea doesnt want JDF audited,dahil lalabas na yong baho(corruption mga kabayan).They are using you specially you at the lower rank.Gising,ginigisa kayo sa sarili nyong mantika.

  4. Its hard to find what exactly people here get paid. As well as their salaries they get other benefits like bonus’s. What other incomes do the get on top of salaries & bonus’s. Like the cj he used to get about 5 xmas bonus’s, a hardship allowance, a P20,000 rice allowance plus many other allowances. Whio gives these people such huge amounts of money, its obscene. Look at when corona was impeached & forced to reveal what he had in his dollar account that was protected from scrutiny by the bank secrecy law, even though the law says he must say how much he has in that account. Why does no one complain how much these people are getting paid. Even your senators with the sitting on committees get more than 1 million pesos per month. Its more than any british politician can make from his political post, why, your average workers salary here is so much lower than a british workers salary yet your politicians see to it they make more than a british politician. Thats why people here go into politics its to get rich not to serve us the people.

  5. Why isnt there a registered pay structure for all concerned with the courts. I have noticed just how many people there seem to be in any court at any given time & it looks like a lot of people. Remember cj corona when he was wheel chaired out of court, all those men in white surrounding him, why ere there so many of them. What are their duties. But i dont think its right that the judges themselves should manage the courts finances, their time should be spent judging in cases. Thats what they get paid for. Please tell me if i am wrong in this.

  6. Rosauro Feliciano on

    Tell the people that the Judicial Branch of the government does not have its own Pork Barrel; however, if indeed it has, where does the fund of it go? Is it indirectly going to those people who are dwelling on street corners living like animals or into the bank accounts of those who manage such pork? The justices of the SC enjoy privileges but they don’t recognize that they have the obligations to look after those marginalized people who are victims of corruptions. The DAP is completely not comparable to the pork barrels of the Representatives of the people because the money spent from the DAP does not end up in the pockets of those who manage the DAP. Such money is spent directly and indirectly to uplift the miserable condition of our people and hence in the best interest of the nation. Many of our people are supposedly intelligent but are being mislead by people who are blinded by their ambitions; their followers are blinded and lead by blind masters going nowhere.

  7. The SC should have penalized all those Congressmen and Senators who have used their PDAF for personal interest. SC must ask them to return the PDAF to the national treasury and every constituents from every provinces who did not see any improvement or projects they said they supposedly have created.. No one is above the law. Law must be enforced.

  8. Mga kababayan 2 taon na lng elike yon na at husgahan natin ang mga corrupt na tong grease men, tandaan ang kanilang mga pangalan, tupas, farinas, bello, agabbao at iba pa..ka panay natin na hwag na silang paupuin sa congress.

  9. It would not be for the interest and welfare for all Filipinos to have a Supreme Court that could be influenced by anybody in order.to preserve its independence in promoting and providing. equality and fair justice for all Filipinos, Their JDF must be maintained and preserved, provided its not coming from anybody or any special (interest) funds most importantly from elected politicians or any influential businessmen or corporation etc.

  10. We are getting out of target in solving our country’s main concerns. I was informed by a retired judge, he was so happy to be informed of a 75,000 bonus forthcoming. The move to abolish the JDB is president’s another master stroke to weed our country of abuse. All are hitting the president without considering his thrust against graft and corruption. The big fishies are being put in the net, so with the big criminals. Our country having suffered long needs a leader of consequence like Noy-Noy. Just look into the news and papers and pay more attention to how unbelievable are happening.Wake-up to the real accomplishments. Who could believe Gigi would be in her situation now?

    • Hahaha! This guy is equating JDF like PDAF & DAP! JDF came from payment of fees while the other two came from juggling funds.

  11. Dominador D. Canastra on

    Talagang Mr. Aquino wishes to have his way maski masagasaan ang Constitution, Supreme Court Justices at mga allies niya na congressmen at senators,

  12. what a bunch of hypocrites – the supreme court that pork barrel funds for the legislative and executive branches of government are illegal but they want to keep their own pork barrel in the judiciary branch which they explicitly declare as legal !!!

    • Tony, it is only right to keep their JDF and to used it as their living allowances of the court employees and repair of office equipments and facilities. It’s not like the pork barrel or PDAF of the executives and legislators. PDAF comes from the taxes of the filipino people not like the JDF fund that comes from the docket fee’s or filing fee’s in court paid but litigants. Taxes are hard earned monies that comes from the people only to be stoled by the people in the government especially by the THIEF(BSA) executive and lawmakers.

  13. I believe ex Pres. Marcos was correct in having the JDF independently funded. Apparently he was aware that there are dirty legislators and politicians who abuse their power of the purse to practice the usual “horse-trading” operations very popular in the legislative branch. Example, Neil Tupas and his father have a pending court cases which until now is in limbo, not being acted upon by the courts apparently because of the behest of PNoy. Tupas can always use his very close relationship with other legislators to trade the cases against his father and himself with favorable decisions in exchange with approval of the budget for the SC. Other scenarios can always happen to question the independence of the Supreme Court if the JDF be abolished. The Court will be under the mercy of the Legislative and Executive branches.

  14. Alejo Rosete on

    This proposed law to abolish the JDF will not hold water – There are members of Congress who has the conscience to side with what is right and just. This country is not a country of bullying. This country is not a country of “Vindictiveness”.

    Stop the Bullying – President BS Aquino. Your Mom is a “President of Prayers” and she survived her presidency up to the end of her term despite of the troubles she faces from those who wanted to depose her. Follow the example of your mom, Mr. President.

    I am sure this will backfire.

  15. I agree with the court staff. If those Congressmen wishes to abolish the JDF, then why not work for a “RECALL ELECTION” without waiting for 2016. If the move pushes through, then the people could think and select their better choice without so much rancor and rhetoric.