The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) on Monday filed charges against Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad for blocking the retirement benefits of retired government lawyers.
In their Extremely Urgent Petition filed at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, the PAO retirees sought the full implementation of Republic Act 9406 that created PAO.
Led by PAO Chief Persida Rueda-Acosta, the retirees questioned the legal opinion of the Department of Budget that contradicted the PAO law.
The petitioners included Amelia Garchitorena, Bonifacio Guyot , Cynthia Vargas, Gaudencia Fineza Jr. Romeo Sunga, Teresita De Guzman, Jesus Garrucha Jr., Marcelo Cabana, Reynaldo Casas, Carmelito Sumile, Renato Cabrido, Florencio Diloy, Macapangcat Mama, Elidio Bacuyag, Oscar Melad and Arnulfo Singson.
Named respondents were Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad and DBM legal chief Rowena Candice Ruiz.
The PAO retirees denounced Abad’s attempt to block the payment of their benefits. PAO insisted that under the new law, they shall receive the benefits which public prosecutors are receiving under the National Prosecution Service.
The petitioners asked the High Court to issue a Writ of Certiorari voiding the DBM opinion that will pave the way for the immediate release of their retirement benefits.
The petitioners also pleaded for the immediate issuance of a temporary restraining order of preliminary injunction against DBM in order to maintain status quo to the said case.
“Upon the filing of this petition, a Temporary Restraining Order and Writ of Preliminary Injunction be issued to enjoin the Department of Budget and Management and Secretary Florencio B. Abad to maintain the status quo, so that, the GSIS Retirement and Life Insurance Premium government share for the qualified public attorneys (Public Attorney II and higher) will remain at three percent,” they added.
The petitioners asked that Abad and Ruiz be ordered to pay actual and compensatory damages to them. They said the two officials should pay P400,000 in exemplary damages and P400,000 in moral damage.