Prosecutors’ stipend 4 months late
Lorraine L. Ecarma (The Freeman) - October 23, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Provincial prosecutors have not received their allowances from the Capitol for nearly four months now but Governor Gwendolyn Garcia explained that this is only because she is “carefully studying” the grant.

The delay was revealed by Provincial Prosecutor Ludivico Vistal Cutaran during the Provincial Board session on Monday where he was invited to shed light on his memorandum allowing the police to act as prosecutors in criminal cases under the municipal courts.

Under Memorandum No. 2019-92 that Cutaran issued to all provincial prosecutors on September 23, Cutaran explained that the move aims to address the shortage of prosecutors to handle criminal cases in court, perform inquest duties, and conduct preliminary investigations.

Thus, he is asking the police to help prosecute certain cases.

The PB, which initially declared that Cutaran’s memo contravenes the law, invited the prosecutor to further explain his directive.

During the session on Monday, PB Member Raul Bacaltos inquired if the prosecutors have been receiving their allowances from the provincial government, to which Cutaran replied to the negative.

“Not yet, not yet… [But] most of them are willing to wait,” Cutaran told the board.

He said they have not received the stipend since July, or when Garcia stepped in as governor.

Garcia, in a separate interview, said she hopes that the move by the prosecutor’s office to deputize policemen in prosecuting criminal cases in municipal courts is not prompted by allowance delay.

She explained that she has been “carefully studying” the allowances given by the Capitol to various government officials, including court workers.

The Capitol spends about P100 million annually on such allowances.

“It’s not just the prosecutors, it was so many… Daghan gyud kaayo sa tanan. Ug dako pud kaayo sa ngatanan ang allowances (There are other government workers experiencing the same delay. The allowance is a huge expense, so we have to study it carefully),” she said.

Garcia said she is looking to retain some of the allowances. However, she will be removing “unnecessary” allowances, including travel allowance for certain offices.

She will not also entertain proposals for allowance increases.

“Allowances are not mandatory; they are a privilege extended by the province,” Garcia said.

“We have been very carefully studying this -- what we can afford and also what can give, taking into consideration the assistance and support the particular office extends also to our provincial constituents,” she added.

Garcia said that among the allowances to be retained are those received by the provincial prosecutors. They will receive their allowances by end of this month.

Regarding Cutaran’s memo, Garcia said she has scheduled a meeting with Cutaran, along with PB Member John Ismael Borgonia, to discuss the order further.

Borgonia, the chairman of the Complaints and Investigation Committee, earlier said that Cutaran’s order was unlawful as such provision no longer holds under A.M. No. 02-2-07-SC, which amended Section 5, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court.

Garcia, for her part, said she understands the heavy workload of the provincial prosecutors but she also said that Borgonia’s concern on the competence of the police to prosecute cases is also valid. JMD (FREEMAN)

PROSECUTOR
Philstar
  • Latest
Latest
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