Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro waves to Supreme Court employees and associate justices yesterday.
Edd Gumban
Teresita de Castro retiring after less than 2 months as chief justice
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - October 9, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro will retire from the judiciary tomorrow after serving in the top judicial post for less than two months.

After her retirement ceremony last Friday, De Castro bid farewell to personnel of the Supreme Court (SC).

“I tried my best so that my presence will be most felt not only by the employees of the court but also by our judges and justices nationwide,” she told fellow justices and SC employees in her speech.

Although she was Chief Justice for 44 days only, De Castro will enjoy a monthly pension 50 percent higher than what she would have received if she had retired as associate justice.

Her retirement benefits would be computed on the basis of her salary as chief justice.

Last year, De Castro ranked 23rd among the highest paid officials of the government, according to a report of the Commission on Audit.

She received a total of P6.8 million, P1.9 million of which was her basic salary.

The amount included P744,000 in honoraria as member of the SC and the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, P2.2 million in allowances, P1.3 million in incentives and P628,000 in discretionary fund.

The chief justice’s salary ranges from P233,857 to P264,721 a month depending on the length of his or her service.

De Castro most likely got the highest rate. She served the high court for 10 years and eight months.

SC justices are among the highest paid officials in the 1.5-million-member bureaucracy.

The chief justice belongs to Salary Grade 32, along with the Vice President, Senate president and Speaker of the House.

During the ceremony, De Castro – the 24th chief justice of the country - received a citation for her 45 years of service in government.

Court personnel greeted her with the happy birthday song ahead of her 70th birthday tomorrow.

32 judicial reform programs

De Castro was able to implement 32 judicial reform programs and projects.

Under her watch, the SC increased the monthly salary of first-level court judges all over the country.

She ordered the implementation of the SC’s administrative order that increased the salary grade of judges in municipal trial courts, municipal circuit trial courts, municipal trial courts in cities and Shari’a circuit courts.

From salary grade 26 and 27, judges in the lower courts will now be salary grade 28 through a resolution issued by the high court on Sept. 11.

De Castro convened the Justice Sector Coordinating Council, which had not met for three years, and approved the launch of the second Justice Zone in Cebu City as well as the creation of technical working groups on planning, budgeting, data reconciliation and evidence management system.

She led the SC in approving the new rule for direct payment of legal fees through over-the-counter in Land Bank of the Philippines branches and increased the fees for mediators and stenographers.

The high court, under her leadership, approved the construction of halls of justice in Tanay, Rizal and Cagayan de Oro City.

For judicial personnel, the Chief Justice pushed for additional cost of living allowance for justices, judges, officials and employees for the month of August chargeable to the 80 percent judiciary development fund as well as additional grant of rice subsidy allowance for the first and second quarters of this year.

De Castro filled key vacancies in the SC – a deputy court administrator and two clerks of court – that were long vacant during the tenure of ousted chief justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno.

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