A group of retirees of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) has called for the release of their retirement benefits, particularly those provided under Republic Act (RA) 9406, a law that strengthens PAO.
In a manifesto, the PAO retirees said they are relying on their retirement pay since they no longer have any income to support their needs.
The group said the Budget department should follow the provisions of RA 9406 that
grants PAO lawyers the same benefits as prosecutors.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in January issued a legal opinion that only the prosecutors are entitled to the retirement benefits.
PAO chief Persida Rueda Acosta said the law cannot be overturned by the DBM.
The group of retirees decried the injustice that befell them, saying they served as public defenders for many years.
The manifesto noted that RA 10071, An Act Strengthening and Rationalizing the National Prosecution Service, could not have repealed RA 9406, since the latter bears a special mandatory provision specifically addressing the qualifications for appointment, rank, salaries, allowances and retirement privileges of public attorneys as similar to those of public prosecutors.
It noted that the DBM should not ignore the plight of dozens of retired public attorneys who devoted long years to public service.