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PIA Press Release

Aquino to meet with Chief Justice Corona

Manila (15 September) -- President Benigno Aquino III will meet with Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona to iron out the demands of the judges for salary increases, which he said had already been granted the judiciary unlike other departments that "suffered cuts."

In an ambush interview after witnessing the change of command between retired Philippine National Police Chief Gen. Jesus Verzosa and newly-appointed PNP Chief Gen. Raul M. Bacalzo on Tuesday at Camp Crame in Quezon City, the Chief Executive said the judicial budget from 2010 has been increased by about five percent.

"Hindi tama iyong hindi na-increase. There are a lot of other departments who suffered a cut," the President said adding that he would seek a meeting with Corona precisely to discuss the issue.

"It's a question of interpretation of various laws. As you know, there is a style on the salary standardization law III. The concept is equal work for equal pay. They have been getting increases in the allowances even from 2007," the President said.

He noted that there have been extensive discussions on the issue, which Budget and Management Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad can explain in detail.

"The bottom line is I was made to understand they have been getting what is due them under the pertinent laws," the President added.

On the planned mass leave by the judges due to the legislated increase in allowances that were not provided for in the proposed 2011 budget, the President said "they have a very necessary function and I'm sure most, if not all, of them are very upright individuals who would want to do real service to the people."

According to the President, there is just a misunderstanding on the pertinent laws. "This is not an isolated issue. If there is an increase on top of the increases they have already had, that affects also others in a similar situation like the prosecutorial services and the Public Attorneys Office, which will each entail P700 million or P1.4 billion."

Supreme Court Administrator Midas Marquez earlier reported that some judges are planning to go on mass leave due to a legislated increase in their allowances that were not provided for under the 2011 proposed budget. (rdlc/2:00 p.m) [top]

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