SC justices’ double standard on additional pays
I AGREE with Carmela Noblejas’ view about the “Supreme Court justices receiving double, triple pay as HRET, SET, PET members” (Opinion, 3/11/16). This was in fact the subject of an article that the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) put out on Dec. 9, 2012. When people say the justices should be impervious to public opinion so that they can do their job with objectivity, it does not mean they should have, as President Aquino would put it, “kapal ng mukha.”
In substance, the PCIJ article revealed that the top six most senior justices (Antonio Carpio, Presbitero Velasco, Teresita Leonardo de Castro, Arturo Brion, Diosdado Peralta and Lucas Bersamin) are by tradition assigned to sit as chairs or members of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) and the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET). The chief justice chairs the PET where the 14 associate justices are members. In the present setup, Carpio chairs the SET and Velasco the HRET. All these extra posts earn the justices extra perks and allowances in the hundreds of thousands of pesos every year!
If additional employees and appropriation for their salaries are required to take care exclusively of PET, SET or HRET business, so be it. But it makes no sense that the justices themselves should also help themselves to more public funds. Greed appears to be the only explanation. Unless they have the power of bilocation or telepathy, they cannot be doing their regular and primary duties as Supreme Court justices while performing time-consuming tasks in those electoral tribunals.
As regular members of the Supreme Court, they are already receiving about P2 million a year in compensation—more than most of the government employees can save in a lifetime! The additional pay they appropriate for themselves is by no means a pittance. Each of them is racking up millions more from those additional positions! No wonder they are all (ill-?) getting between P3 million and P4 million-plus every year! And these are the “gods of Padre Faura” who are lecturing ordinary mortals about what is right or wrong?
—CHIN CHIN KATIGBAK, [email protected]
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