MANILA - Why focus on the Supreme Court's Judiciary Development Fund?
Former National Treasurer Leonor Briones raised this question Thursday, saying that lawmakers should scrutinize the management of the revenues of all agencies with fiscal autonomy.
The JDF is sourced from court revenues. Other agencies that have fiscal autonomy and produce their own revenues include the Commission on Elections, Commission on Audit and the Civil Service Commission.
Briones maintained Congress is within its power to scrutinize the JDF.
"Pwede nila pakialaman pero di nila ma-reduce JDF kasi income yan ng Supreme Court. They will have to do it for everybody with fiscal autonomy," she said.
She said the CSC generates revenue from those taking civil service exams while COA generates revenue from auditing corporations.
The Comelec makes money from filing fees.
"Kung i-focus mo lang sa JDF, it will fuel speculations already circulating," Briones said.
The House justice committee has asked the SC to provide documents on the JDF as it deliberates two bills seeking to restructure the JDF and put it under congressional control.
The bills were filed after the Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) of lawmakers and the executive's disbursement acceleration program (DAP).
Meantime, Briones urged new Supreme Court Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza to inhibit from the deliberations on the motion for reconsideration on the disbursement acceleration program.
Briones reminded Jardeleza that as justice of the court, he is no longer defender of the government but defender of the Constitution.