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Gov’t releases P238M for state prosecutors’ allowances Special

By Antonio Figueroa     Dec 18, 2009 in Politics
MANILA – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has released P238 million (US$50) from the 2009 General Appropriations Act for the payment of the allowances of state prosecutors in all levels.
The fund, intended to perk up the working conditions of active members of the national prosecution service, was part of the budget allocation of the Department of Justice for the current year which the Department of Budget and Management released recently.
House Speaker Prospero C. Nograles, in an interview, disclosed he personally received the “wonderful news” from acting Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera, who also is the government’s concurrent solicitor-general.
“The release of the lump sum allowances,” he said, is a gesture of support that “should inspire our fiscals to work with unqualified dedication in the national prosecution service... and will go a long way in boosting the morale of government prosecutors.”
Himself a topnotch lawyer, Nograles has always strongly advocated for the improvement of the salaries and allowances of individuals directly involved in the administration of the country’s justice system.
The Speaker’s disclosure on the release of stipends, coincidentally, was made on the day the justice department was conducting a preliminary investigation into the celebrated Maguindanao massacre which claimed 57 lives, 31 of whom were journalists.
Nograles admitted he personally made the initiative to have the funding released, and was thankful the budget department made the releases in time for Christmas, a time for gift-giving and family reunions and the country’s most festive season.
“I hope that our fiscals and state prosecutors,” he added, “would also express their appreciation and thanks to the President for the assistance.”
The announcement, besides, came out five weeks after the House of Representatives said House Bill 6820, a proposed law granting additional retirement, survivorship and other benefits to members of the judiciary, would soon be ratified.
The bill, co-authored by Nograles and is a consolidation of nine original and separate bills, was already transmitted to the Committee on Rules for plenary ratification. If enacted, it will amend Republic Act No. 902, a law that does not cover first and second level courts.
Under the judges’ bill, three vital facets are highlighted. Primarily, all first and second level courts will receive benefits consistent with the remunerations extended to the justices of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, and other similar courts of justice.
Second, the perennial problem on vacancy of positions and the high turnover of judges in trial courts, mainly traced to unattractive compensation packages, can now be attended to.
And, third, the bill hopes to lure bright lawyers to join and serve in the judiciary, an objective that, if achieved, would help declog courts of thousands of unresolved cases.
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