Proceeds from govt property sale to justices to go to JDF

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THE Supreme Court (SC) has allowed its members and those of the Court of Appeals to purchase judiciary or government property before their retirement, with proceeds going to the controversial Judiciary Development Fund (JDF).

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A full court minute resolution, promulgated by Clerk of Court Enriqueta Vidal last July 15 but was released to the media just recently opined that the judiciary has full flexibility to allocate and utilize its resources with the wisdom and dispatch that its needs require, by virtue of the constitutional guarantee of fiscal autonomy.

According to the SC, the long-established tradition and practice of retiring justices of members of the high tribunal and appellate court of purchasing for sentimental reasons government property used during their tenure has been recognized as a privilege enjoyed by such government officials.

It said “the exercise of such privilege needs regulation, in consonance with the judicious utilization and disposition of government resources[.]”

The High Court, however, said the purchases are limited to the some items personally used during the officials’ tenure, such as a desk and a chair set; a computer, its printer and accessories or a typewriter; and a car and utility van assigned to him or her.

“In no case shall a retiring justice be allowed to purchase books in his chambers,” it added.

“All usable but unserviceable [pieces of property]under current accounting, auditing and court rules or those which have outlived their useful economic life, as defined therein, or are no longer needed by the judiciary, such as equipment, appliances and furniture, may likewise be purchased.”

The SC said a justice shall file a formal request for the purchase with the Office of the Chief Justice at least one month before his or her retirement and payment of the purchased property shall be made one month from the date of retirement of the requesting official.

“The proceeds of the sale under these guidelines shall become part of the income of the Judiciary Development Fund,” it added.

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