A group of retired Court of Appeals justices on Monday petitioned the Supreme Court to order Budget Secretary Florencio Abad to immediately release the gratuity pay and unpaid allowances of retired justices.
Saying they had suffered “undue injury and damages” because of Abad’s acts, members of the Association of Retired Court of Appeals Justices Inc. also asked the high tribunal to hold the budget secretary liable for violating the antigraft law.
Represented by its president, retired Associate Justice Teodoro Regino, the group accused Abad of arbitrarily holding the release of the special allowances for the judiciary (SAJ) since January despite the tribunal’s order issued on May 4, 2010.
The high court at the time directed the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to provide Special Allotment Release Order and Notice of Cash Allocation for SAJ, from where the retirement gratuities and terminal leave benefits of former justices and judges were to come.
“(Abad), who is primarily charged by law and the Constitution … to automatically and regularly release the necessary funding for (SAJ), continues willfully to refuse… to fund and release the SAJ for retired justices,” the group said in its petition.
“By reason of (Abad’s) refusal or neglect, without just cause, to perform his official duty as budget secretary, especially during these hard times, (we) suffered undue injury and damages, including moral, nominal, temperate exemplary or corrective, to be assessed by this honorable court,” it added.
The retired justices also assailed Abad for “giving unwarranted benefit … through manifest partiality … by providing and releasing the claims on the SAJ of the younger… retired justices.”
The judiciary and Malacañang are in locked horns over the government’s plan to transfer some P2 billion of its P15.7-billion budget for 2012 to a special employment fund for unfilled government posts.