MANILA, Philippines - Another first in the history of the Supreme Court: the head of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) will visit the high court in Padre Faura to discuss the budget of the Judiciary.
“Secretary Florencio 'Butch' Abad of the DBM is expected to come to the Supreme Court for the first time to meet Chief Justice [Maria Lourdes] Sereno and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court to take up the budgetary requirements for the judicial reform initiatives of Chief Justice Sereno,” Deputy Court Administrator Raul Villanueva told reporters on Tuesday.
Malacañan and the Supreme Court have been bickering about the Judiciary's budget since last year after the Palace imposed upon the high court conditions on its expenditures, specifically, requiring the Supreme Court to use funds for unfilled positions specifically for the purpose. Malacañan also required the high court to do a quarterly reporting of its spending.
The high court, then led by Chief Justice Renato Corona, maintained that this violated the fiscal autonomy of the Judiciary as enshrined in the 1987 Constitution.
The DBM also slashed the judiciary’s special allowance for justices and judges (SAJJ) for this year and wants billions of court fees turned over to the national treasury -- a move still being appealed by the Supreme Court.