Reduction in Senate electoral tribunal’s funding sought
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - August 8, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Senate was urged yesterday to reduce the 2015 funding for its electoral tribunal since it doesn’t have a single case to resolve.

Veteran election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said it is unfair for taxpayers to be paying for the P100,000 monthly allowance of the three Supreme Court justices and six senators sitting in the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) if they have no job to do.

He said there is no single case pending against any incumbent senator.

He said he could not understand why President Aquino, in his proposed P2.606-trillion 2015 national budget, even increased funding for the SET from P87 million this year to P120 million, or by P33 million.

He added that the Senate should reduce funding for its electoral tribunal as it did last year.

Macalintal recalled that in 2013, when the Senate was considering the 2014 budget, he questioned before the Senate committee on finance the P127-million budget for the SET.

As a result, he said the Senate cut the funding to P87 million.

He said the SET funding should be limited to maintaining its secretariat.

Macalintal also questioned why justices of the Supreme Court are receiving an additional P100,000 each a month as members of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), which is the high court itself.

Like the SET, he said the PET has no case to resolve because there was no protest against the election of President Aquino in May 2010.

Besides, he said the Supreme Court should not have constituted itself as the PET “because there is no law creating the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.”

He added that resolving a protest against a presidential or vice presidential winner is the job of the SC proper.

He pointed out that by receiving salaries and allowances as SC justices and additional allowances as PET members, the magistrates are in effect getting double compensation in violation of the Constitution.

According to the Commission on Audit (COA) report on salaries and allowances paid to bureaucrats, members of the high court earned from P3.5 million to P5.7 million in 2013.

The bulk of their compensation was in the form of allowances. Their annual basic pay amounted to P1.1 million.

Aside from allowances from the SC proper and PET, six justices sitting in the SET and House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) were paid additional allowances ranging from P1.1 million to P1.6 million.

Senior Justice Antonio Carpio chairs the SET, while Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. heads the HRET.

Responding to questions, Macalintal said SC justices may not be liable for impeachment.

He said there may be “no impeachable offense, as it (receiving double pay) will not be treated as culpable violation of the Constitution.”

“They will just say they received it in good faith.” he said.

Macalintal had questioned before the SC its creation of the PET, but the high court dismissed his petition.

“Surprisingly, the decision did not touch on the double compensation issue,” he said.

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL JUSTICE PRESBITERO VELASCO JR. MACALINTAL MILLION PRESIDENT AQUINO PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL ROMULO MACALINTAL SENATE ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL SENIOR JUSTICE ANTONIO CARPIO SUPREME COURT
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with