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Judiciary requests for 16-B budget hike

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The judiciary department yesterday appealed for a P16 billion increase on its budget for 2020 to rack up its total budget to P55.66 million for next year.

During the hearing of the House committee on appropriations on the budget for judiciary, Court Administrator Midas Marquez said the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) proposed budget for the judiciary is P38.71 billion, which is only 0.94 percent of the proposed P4.1 trillion national budget.

P46.98 billion of the said amount will go to the Supreme Court and lower courts, P6.23 billion to the Court of Appeals, P1.60 billion to the Sandiganbayan, P690.20 million to the Court of Tax Appeals and P155.49 million to the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.

The request for increase was not granted by the committee as it approved the DBM-proposed budget. Amendments, however, could still be made during the plenary deliberations into the budget.

According to DBM Director Amanella Arevalo, the DBM took out the “congressional initiative” plus the recurring items found in the judiciary’s proposal that is why the budget was lowered.

“Per policy of the DBM, in crafting the proposal we normally take out the congressional initiative plus the recurring items. That is the reason why the level of the judiciary [budget] for 2020 has gone down,” Arevalo said.

She added the proposal of the judiciary is still under evaluation.

Marquez denied that there were recurring budget items in the judiciary’s proposal. “I hope that after evaluation then our request will be reconsider,” he said.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said the House of Representatives will support the call of the judiciary for a budget hike.

The committee approved the P38.71 billion budget in less than P30 minutes.

Rodriguez and Misamis Occidental Rep. Henry Oaminal made the motion for the speedy approval of the proposed budget, citing “tradition” of the House.

“It has been the tradition of the House of Representatives as a matter of courtesy to the judiciary…to have their budget presentation immediately terminated,” Oaminal said.

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