High Court can’t dodge fund inquiry – Palace

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The Supreme Court cannot forever dodge a congressional inquiry on the use of its Judicial Development Fund (JDF), the Palace warned on Saturday.

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Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte made the statement three days after Supreme Court Deputy Court Administrator Raul Villanueva refused to answer queries on the JDF, citing a letter from Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno that the High Court will stay mum on the issue since Malacañang’s motion for reconsideration on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) is still pending.

The JDF is sourced from the docket and other legal fees paid by party litigants, among other sources. It should finance the cost of living allowance of court employees (80 percent) and purchase of office equipment and other facilities (20 percent). Its disbursement is solely dependent on the Chief Justice.

“The Chief Justice already made her position, and we respect that, but we can’t avoid the questions on the JDF, especially that this is the budget season. When we go to Congress to defend our proposed budget, we don’t only get asked on our budget, but also on issues dealt by the agency, especially if it concerns public funds,” Valte said in an interview on Radyo ng Bayan.

During the hearing on the proposed P20 billion budget for the Judiciary, Villanueva did not disclose anything about the JDF or the Judiciary’s savings even when he was asked by the lawmakers.

Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas of Ilocos Norte, said he was not convinced of the merits of the proposed budget for the Judiciary without details on the JDF, savings and the funding for the Special Allowance for Judges.

“Well, if you include that [JDF], it [Judiciary’s budget] could reach P28 billion already. They should show us how much really is the budget of the Supreme Court,” he said.

“This JDF is not good. The guidelines are vague because it says that not less than 80 percent shall go to allowances and not more than 20 percent shall go to office equipment and supplies. What if the Chief Justice decides to spend 99.99 percent for allowances because the JDF law says it should not be less than 80 percent? Can you do anything about it?” the lawmaker added.

“She is given much leeway. If she is hot-headed for a certain day and she decides she don’t want to spend the JDF, what can you do about it? Is that fiscal autonomy.”

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16 Comments

  1. Rosauro Feliciano on

    The justices are the sons and daughters of gods. They can do anything they want because they are considered as the most intelligent fellows in the country, They are also considered to be the Pharisees and Sanhedrin of the time of Christ Jesus who were experts in interpretation of the laws of Moses. However, NO ORGANIZATION on earth that is managed by mortal beings is excellent. The Judiciary must be audited and there must be a law to do that; for this reason, the Legislative has the responsibility to do that legislation. The Judiciary must not question the authority of the Legislative as it is authorized to do so by our Constitution.

  2. eltee mulawin on

    Farinas said….“This JDF is not good. The guidelines are vague because it says that not less than 80 percent shall go to allowances and not more than 20 percent shall go to office equipment and supplies. What if the Chief Justice decides to spend 99.99 percent for allowances because the JDF law says it should not be less than 80 percent? Can you do anything about it?”

    >>> Maari mangyari ang sinabi ni Farinas kung ang ulo ng SC CJ ay katulad ni BSCojuangco-Aquino3rd at katulad na ri nng ulo ni Farinas (PALUSOT GODFATHER) NA NAGING AMPAW NA PURO ABU AT NAGING GAGO. Malinaw ang batas hanggang 80% lang at hanggang doon lang. At malinaw ang sinabi ng SC kung nais ninyo ng detail mag-internet kayo at mag browse sa kanilang website at naroon ang hinahanap ninyo. Ang sinasabi ni Farinas na “what if 99.99 % or 100%? Then of course obviously that will be basis to file a complaint wit han evidence. But the problem with this legilators like Farinas and Tupas, SC is under investigations for limitation of 80% which was as per the Law. And they’re doing this in pretending for aid of legislation and hearing budget. If really for the proposed budget of Judiciary 2015, WHY ONLY FOR THE JUDICIARY WHICH IS ONLY PART OF TRILLION PESOS THE PALACE WANTED TO HAVE BUDGET FOR 2015 ?

    >>>TALAGANG OBVIOUS NA HALATA NA ITONG SI TSUPAS AT SI FARINAS ( PALUSOT GODFATHER). THEY ALL LOSING SUCKS.

  3. Why is the Palace asking for transparency and accounting of the JDF nowadays? As the Holy Book says, before you look at your brother’s log in his eyes, remove first the log in your own eyes.
    The public has been clamoring for the full accounting and transparency of how the DAP funds of P144 billion was spent. It is not enough that DBM and Abad gave us the list of the projects as per SARO allocation. We would like to know where the Notice of Cash Allocation and CASH was given, how the project was done, how much was spent, the implementing agency, and the status of the project.
    Abad knew how to muddle the accountability issue. By “removing” official allocations in the 2011, 2012 and 2013 GAA, he effectively also removed the accounting and auditing from the Government Accounting Service (GAS) of COA. By issuing SAROs of “savings” to more than 50 government agencies, GAS now has to ask each government accountant if he or she has monitored the spending of the DAP funds. IF Abad and DBM did not notify GAS and COA about the transfers of allocations, GAS will not have the accounting for the DAP funds. Only Abad and DBM know the accounting of the DAP funds. Unless, GAS-COA will do special audits. Even then, if the documents on the DAP usage MIGHT no longer be available to the accountants and auditors of GAS-COA.
    I think this clamor for transparency and accounting of the JDF is a “diversion” of the public’s attention on the full accounting of DAP funds usage.

  4. listen up – check the SALN of each justices (COA are you listening?) (re: CORONA)
    then f they are clean – a way to go. remember how much income vs. personal assets acquired… the people are listening,, hahaha u-lol

  5. AGAIN THESE JUSTICES ARE APPOINTED BY CORRUPT POLITICIANS (ex. corona by GMA) and they are not elected by the people. u considered them the highest court – ya right!!!! u-lol.

  6. if the justices are clean why should there be dogde issues aganst them. How about CORONA? look @ him a corrupt. don’t investigate the justice department while COA says they’re clean. investigate its individual justice member regarding their individual asset vs. income then you can find the difference like CORONA did. hahahah u-lol.
    bank secrecy? ANYWAY DON’T YOU KNOW THAT HTESE JUSTICES ARE APPOINTED NOT ELECTED BY THE PEOPLE. so do you trust them as well. hahah u-lol again

  7. It’s sad that people failed to undestand simple thing…you see for the co-equal branch to understand one another they have to put all their cards on the table subject to scrutiny by co-equal branch and not to function solely on your own as if your government by the people alone…..i believe the executive is the first, second is the legislative and third is the SC…. important branches of the government …having this in mind ..if there are any issues that needs to be clarify on particular branch must be addressed by concerned branch and provide explanation to branch that raise the issue as a matter of respect that is the spirit of healthy democracy..thus avoiding what other said constitutional crisis..what crisis?

  8. They plundered the JDF past and present Justices, thats why they dont want to face the music.Need to reduce their power cannot be trusted for fair justice.

  9. It’s not a case of dodging you know: its just a case of refusing to fall into an ambush set by a vindictive, empty and self righteous executive and a lapdog congress.

    The COA is there already to examine the fiscal transactions of the SC. Don’t Malacanang trust Chairman G. Kahindik-hindik Tan no more?

  10. Ang Palacio ay nanakot lang

    Let the Supreme Court handles their affair in accordance with the law.

    Huwag ninyo silang takutin at sayang lang laway ninyo.

    Ang Supreme Court ay hindi Politician.

  11. I look at the comment by P. akialamiro & i see how easily you are distracted from things. You think you know the reason why pnoy is saying this right now about the supreme court & you may be right, it may be the reason he is doing it but it should still be done as the chief justice shouldnt be in control of the purse strings when it comes to running the courts in this country.
    They should do their job irrespective of this inquiry into the jdf.
    Please do not think i am siding with pnoy as im not, he has a lot to answer for & i hope he is made to answer those questions.

  12. so strange how no one has ever questioned anything about the jdf, why not. Do you think corruption wouldnt spread to them. If so you are a fool. Just look at the last supreme court chief justice, either he is a liar or incompetent as he thought the bank secrecy law over rode his requirement to declare his money in his dollar account in his saln. Now if he was a complete honest man & you were in court for having been found with over P180,000,000 in your bank account that you didnt declare, do you think he would say yes you are right the secrecy law allows you to not declare your money. That is also a good reason for removing this corrupt bank secrecy law. The salaries & allowances of all people paid from the jdf should be on paper & totaly in the open. It seems its quite secret & if it is why. Are they given extra bonus’s as & when the cj sees fit, if so that should be illegal. Its money that should go to the country. The poor people of this country get no special allowances in fact just the other day a child died because the parents couldnt pay the deposit required by the hospital so they wouldnt treat the child. When it comes to money very few fiklipinos can be totally honest & i understand that as its how its always been here. If you want it to continue then dont complain about the pork barrel scam or any other scams.

  13. This is a typical 4th grader trick. You stoled mine, so I will steal yours. I have had enough of this idiotic President.

  14. Presidential decree 1949 JDF was passed to enhance and preserve the independence of the SC from any influence . SC has nothing to explain , they follow the law ,period unlike this administration and cohorts in Congress who refused to follow the law .

  15. Why is the SC sensitive about any inquiry about their JDF. What is special about this account. The public wants to know.

  16. P. Akialamiro on

    How come it’s palace that’s saying that high court cannot dodge fund inquiry. It’s obvious that palace has urged its cohorts in the lameduck congress to do the inquiry.In other words, the president would like to get things his way no matter what. Bad precedent; tactless president!.