Senate bill expands survivorship benefits for kin of prosecutors who die in service

Angelica Y. Yang - Philstar.com
Senate bill expands survivorship benefits for kin of prosecutors who die in service
This photo taken July 10, 2020 shows employees of the Manila prosecution holding banners to call for justice for the killing of Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Jovencio Senados.
JUCRA pool photo

MANILA, Philippines — A bill has been filed at the Senate seeking to expand survivorship benefits to legitimate spouses and dependent children of prosecutors who died in service. 

This comes around a month after Assistant City Prosecutor Edilberto Mendoza was shot dead in front of his home in Trece Martires City, Cavite, while he was exercising. He is the 66th lawyer killed under the Duterte administration.

Under Senate Bill No. 2487, if a National Prosecution Service (NPS) member dies while in service, their heirs will receive five years' worth of gratuity based on the prosecutor's highest monthly salary and highest monthly aggregate of allowances, regardless of the official's age or length of service. 

If the deceased prosecutor had served in government for at least 15 years, the heirs will receive a lump sum of 10 years worth of gratuity. 

Meanwhile, if the prosecutors had served at least five years but less than ten, their families will be entitled to a decade's worth of gratuity as well. 

"This is to ensure that the families of our prosecutors will be taken care of when unfortunate incidents befall them," Senator Richard Gordon said in the bill's explanatory note. 

If passed into law, the measure will amend Republic Act No. 11643, which states that spouses and heirs of deceased retired members of the NPS and members in the process of retiring at the time of death, are entitled to receive all the prosecutor's retirement benefits.

Funds for the initial implementation of the proposed measure will come from the current budget for the retirement of NPS members. 

Data collected by Gordon's office shows that a total of 115 lawyers, judges and prosecutors were slain since 1972, the year when martial law was declared. 

Of the 66 killed since the start of President Rodrigo Duterte's term, a little over one-fifth or 14 of the victims were prosecutors. 

"Every attack on the lawyers in the performance of their duties is an attack on the rule of law and our justice system. Our prosecutors and judges should not be intimidated," said Gordon, who himself is a lawyer.

Gordon chairs the Senate Justice and Human Rights committee, among others. 

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