• Palace: Retaliation not in administration’s vocabulary

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    MALACAñANG on Thursday distanced itself from the issue of the Supreme Court’s (SC) Judicial Development Fund (JDF), which some allies of President Benigno Aquino 3rd in Congress want abolished.

    In a news briefing, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the High Court must answer all allegations being hurled against it, including the questionable use of its own “savings.”

    “Maybe we should just look into the [allegations]and if there’s anything that should be clarified, those concerned [justices]must do so. It’s all part of the job,” the official said.

    Coloma stressed that it is not in the President’s vocabulary to be “vindictive” and the issues faced by the SC are not part of any effort by Malacanang to “get even” after the tribunal declared the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional.

    “The executive has no participation whatsoever in this issue. We must understand that all expenditures must be within the national budget and the power of the purse under our tripartite system of government belongs to the legislature. That’s why all those pertaining to the creation and implementation of public funds are within their [congressmen]powers,” the Palace official explained.

    Earlier, members of the House of Representatives said the judiciary’s own “pork barrel” should also be abolished in light of the junking of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the DAP.

    Invoking the power of the purse vested in them by the Constitution, the lawmakers backed a bid to abolish the P1.7 billion annual JDF and take control of the fund from the judiciary.

    Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao of Isabela, Rep. Elpidio Barzaga of Cavite and Rep. Silvestre Bello of 1-BAP party-list, all lawyers, came a day after Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. of Iloilo and Rep. Rodolfo Farinas of Ilocos Norte filed their respective bills in the House of Representatives seeking to repeal the JDF law.

    The lawmakers argued that in accordance with the SC’s declaration of the DAP and PDAF discretionary funds as illegal, the JDF should also be outlawed because it is discretionary.

    “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, the House Deputy Speaker from the Nationalist People’s Coalition, told reporters.

    But Coloma denied insinuations that the move to abolish the JDF and question the SC officials’ use of their past savings were part of an effort to get back at the judiciary.

    “There is no agenda or intention to get back or retaliate. It is not in the administration’s vocabulary,” the Palace official pointed out.

    Protest
    Employees of the Supreme Court are set to hold a protest rally to condemn what they said were attacks against the Constitution.

    Supreme Court Employees Association (SCEA) President Jojo Guerrero said the rally is their answer to calls that the JDF be abolished. He said court employees will wear red and black shirts to express their anger at the alleged harassment by the Aquino administration.

    But Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th an ally of the President, said the proposal may be worth looking at even if it turns out that those behind it just want to get back at the SC because of its decision against the DAP.

    The JDF was created through Presidential Decree 1949. The fund comes from docket and other legal fees paid by party litigants and is supposed to be used to finance the cost of living allowance of court employees (80 percent) and purchase of office equipment and other facilities (20 percent).

    On Tuesday, or a day after Aquino defended the DAP, the Commission on Audit released a report pertaining to allegedly dubious use of the judiciary’s savings.

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    2 Comments

    1. Coloma lied to his teeth. Trillanes say it’s not vendetta but JDF should be investigated. How could the people vote for this senator? Word twisting animals all Yellow Liberal are. Trillanes should be in prison for the coup detat he lead years back! He’s not even a gentleman!

    2. SALVACION CAHAYAG on

      This mentally sick president does really get it. He says one thing and does another.
      In his speech the other day he openly attacked and declared against the Supreme Court. As the final arbiter of legal issues, the Supreme Court decided that DAP
      is unconstitutional. But this president does not respect the decision. As example
      to the people of this country, he should be the very first to respect and obey
      the decisions of the courts, as in this case the Supreme Court. What good would
      be the laws if the president himself has no respect to it? If indeed retaliation is not
      in his vocabulary, why then that is even calling for his supporters to wear yellow
      ribbon. Why then that his attacked dogs in the house like tupak and compan is
      threatening to abolish the JDF? It is of common knowledge that his mother Corazon
      Aquino was a deeply religious person with almost all the time had a rosary in her
      hands, was she not able to teach this mentally sick son the elements of good
      manners and right conduct? Is this the kind of character that he learned and got
      from his parent. Vindictiveness?