'Survivorship benefits' for prosecutors' kin guaranteed in new law

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 13 2022 11:43 AM

MANILA — A law granting benefits to the spouse and dependent children of deceased retired members of the National Prosecution Service (NPS) has been signed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Republic Act 11643 provides that the surviving legitimate spouse and dependent children of a deceased prosecutor will be entitled to receive all the retirement benefits that he or she was already receiving or entitled to receive. 

Under the law, "dependent" refers to a "legitimate, illegitimate, or legally adopted child who is chiefly dependent on the said deceased member of the NPS if such dependent is not more than 21 years of age, unmarried and not gainfully employed." 

A dependent could also be, regardless of age, "incapable of self-support because of mental or physical defect or condition." 
 
The surviving legitimate spouse will continue to receive the said retirement benefits until he or she remarries, provided that the surviving spouse and dependent children shall equally share the retirement benefits, said the law. 

The law will cover the dependents and spouse of NPS members who died a year before the measure's effectivity. 

"This measure recognizes the courage of our prosecutors, who in the faithful performance of their duties as members of the court face serious threats and risks to their lives and that of their families," Sen. Richard Gordon, who pushed for the law, said in September. 

"Araw-araw po, mayroon tayong prosecuting officers na kung minsan, tinatakot, bina-bribe. Dapat ipakita natin na tayo ay nasa likod nila," added Gordon, chairperson of the Senate justice committee. 

(Every day, we have prosecuting officers who are intimidated, bribed. We should show them we are behind them.)
 
At least 110 lawyers, judges, and prosecutors were killed in the Philippines from 1977 to 2021, more than half of whom died under the present administration, according to a Senate press release.

Before the passage of RA 11643, the government provides survivorship benefits to members of the Office of the Ombudsman, members of the Judiciary, and other government officials. The retirement benefits given to prosecutors were similar to those of the judiciary, except for the survivorship benefits.