• Police contest garnishment of August expenses

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    THE Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday questioned a ruling of a Manila court ordering garnishment of its funds for operational expenses for the month of August.

    PNP officials have argued that the funds that were ordered by the court to be garnished were appropriated under the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2014 and as such are exempted from garnishment under the law.

    The PNP’s public information officer, Chief Supt. Rueben Theodore Sindac, told reporters in a news briefing that Section 93 of Republic Act 10633 provides that “all amounts appropriated and released under this Act shall be exempt from garnishment.”

    The PNP made the statement after the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 32 issued a Notice of Garnishment on July 9, 2014 thru Court Sheriff Manuel Veronico Escuadra Jr. against the account of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the PNP with the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP).

    The garnishment order directs that “withdrawal, release or transfer shall not be made on any deposit accounts, properties or assets belonging to the aforementioned parties under the bank’s control or possession if the resulting balance will go below or equivalent to P3,915,140,499.16.”

    The amount subject to the garnishment order is supposedly for the payment of pension differentials of 3,344 Integrated National Police (INP) pensioners for 1991 to 2006, as well as PNP and INP pension differential based on the first tranche pay rate of active police personnel.

    “However, funds for these particular pension obligations are sourced from the Pension and Gratuity Fund of the GAA under RA 10633, not from annual appropriations for the PNP,” Sindac said.

    The PNP Legal Service has informed the Manila RTC Branch 32, through a manifestation, regarding the status of PNP and DBM actions on the court issuances and that the funds for the pension accounts were duly appropriated pursuant to RA 10633.

    PNP officials are apprehensive that police operations will be unduly hampered and that some 66,000 PNP and INP pensioners will not receive their pension for August 2014 as a result of the garnishment order.

    “The PNP is reaching out to the retired sector [of the police organization]to explain the consequences of the court action resulting from a civil case filed by the Manila’s Finest Brotherhood Association,” Sindac said.

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