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MANILA, Philippines – Around 600 court vacancies listed in the Judiciary’s 2013 budget will definitely be filled, Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno has assured the Senate.
Senate Finance Committee Franklin Drilon said on Sunday that Sereno assured him, in a letter, that under her leadership, the 600 slots will be filled up within a reasonable time frame.
“I have been meeting with the members and staff of the Judicial Bar Council, as well as of the Office of the Court Administrator, to address, with all due attention, this matter of common concern,” Sereno’s letter said.
“This filling-up of vacant positions will go hand-in-hand with the judicial reform initiatives that are being undertaken,” added Sereno.
Drilon welcomed the development and lauded the resolve shown by the newly-installed Chief Justice to firmly address the problems in the judicial system.
“The very slow pace of dispensing justice in our country continues to be a challenge to the Judiciary, and the very slow delivery of justice is attributed to the vast number of vacancies that are now in the judicial system notwithstanding adequate funds that have been provided to them,” said Drilon.
He noted that as of January 2012, there are almost 600 vacant positions in court, and said: “I challenge the Supreme Court to be more innovative and attentive to the filling up of vacancies because this affects the backlog of cases in the court.”
In 2013, the Judiciary will get P17.77 billion, including automatic appropriations, up from P15.71 billion, or an increase of 13.08 percent, noted Drilon.
“The proposed 2013 budget will support the resolution of about 324,434 cases pending in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and Court of Tax Appeals, as well as address the needed developments in the Judiciary,” said Drilon.
Of the proposed budget, Drilon said P15.72 billion will go to the Supreme Court and lower courts, an increase of 12.86 percent from P13.93 billion; while P1.32 billion will go to the Court of Appeals, P181.22 million higher than its present budget of P1.144 billion.
Also, P392.44 million will go to the anti-graft court, the Sandiganbayan, a sum that is P35.18 million higher than its 2012 budget of P357.26 million; P244.33 million to the Court of Tax Appeals, P31.41 million higher than its present budget of P212.92 million; and lastly, P90.94 million to the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, P16.42 million higher than its 2012 budget of P74.52 million.