Short and sweet but even sweeter for the Supreme Court (SC)’s rank and file employees.
Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro yesterday graced her last flag ceremony as top magistrate, her last official function with the big SC family, which she left happy with programs despite her short tenure.
De Castro officially retires this week as she celebrates her 70th birthday with the top officials and employees of the SC. She served the shortest stint as Chief Justice, spending only 44 days as Chief Magistrate.
She was also officially the country’s very first woman Chief Justice after the removal through a quo warranto of Ma. Lourdes Sereno.
Given a red-carpet farewell by judiciary staff at the SC building in Padre Faura with balloons and marching band, De Castro expressed her appreciation by enumerating programs that alleviated the economic conditions of the SC workers.
During her short stint at the SC, De Castro said she immediately ordered promotions, salary increase and bonuses for SC employees.
First level court employees had their salaries upgraded in recognition of their heavy responsibilities in courts.
Also receiving salary increases are 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, lower court judges were elevated to salary grade 28 through a resolution issued by the High Court last 11 September.
Their salaries were increased from P102,000 to P114,000 to about P127,000 effective 1 July.
Funding for the corresponding salary adjustments will be drawn from the available savings of the lower courts pending issuance of the Notice of Organization, Staffing and Compensation Action (NOSCA) and release of the corresponding funds by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
It was Court Administrator Midas Marquez who batted to increase the salary of judges even ahead of the issuance of the NOSCA and of funds by the DBM.
The CJ also disclosed the granting of overtime pay to stenographers along with other court employees helping in the continuous trial of cases.