• Speaker won’t clear JDF probe yet


    Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. is yet to clear the Congressional probe on the Judiciary Development Fund, a House leader said Wednesday.

    Rep. Niel Tupas, Jr. of Iloilo, Chairman of House Committee on Justice, made the announcement at the sidelines of the House Justice panel hearings on bills on Whistleblowers, clipping Ombudsman’s powers and granting benefits to Metropolitan Trial Court judges.

    “I have talked with the Speaker and he was telling me to continue preparing [for the JDF hearing]. We still need to get his clearance. It is also about the timing of the investigation,” Tupas told reporters.

    The JDF was created thru Presidential Decree 1949 which provides that the JDF, sourced from the docket and other legal fees paid by party litigants, should finance the cost of living allowance (COLA) of court employees (80 percent) and used for the purchase office equipment and other facilities (20 percent).

    Tupas earlier said that the Congressional inquiry on the JDF could get going in February.

    Now, Tupas isn’t certain of the timeframe.

    “It could be March but we are not sure because I need to get clearance from the House leadership, specifically the Speaker,” Tupas added.

    The House Justice panel chair, however, underscored that the delay doesn’t mean that the JDF probe won’t push through.

    “We are not losing steam. We are gathering documents and I am also talking to the people from the Judiciary and some from the Commission on Audit,” Tupas said in closing. LLANESCA T. PANTI


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