"x x x.
MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court (SC) assured the public yesterday that judiciary funds are fully audited and open to scrutiny.
Spokesman Theodore Te said the SC has been transparent in handling the judiciary fund, comprising only one percent of the national budget in the past years.
“The reports would show how much was collected, how much was disbursed and where the amounts went,” he said. “These documents were uploaded and publicly accessible as of August 2012.”
Reports on the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF) and Special Allowance for Justices and Judges (SAJJ) collections and disbursements have been available in the SC website since Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno took over the judiciary’s top post last year, Te said.
Sereno had said that all funds of the courts – including the JDF and SAJJ – have been accounted for even before Congress moved to scrutinize the judiciary’s budget.
“Every single centavo in the judiciary is fully audited,” she said. “We cannot escape COA (Commission on Audit) accounting.”
In its annual report released last August, the SC detailed how the P15.357-billion budget of the judiciary last year was spent.
It was learned that from August 2012 to July 2013, the total JDF collections from legal fees have reached over P1 billion.
Sereno said some P870 million of the fund was distributed to employees of courts nationwide, while the rest would be used for capital outlay and equipment purchase.
An SC insider told The STAR that moves in the House of Representatives to scrutinize judiciary funds are “obvious retaliatory actions” in connection with the tribunal‘s decision declaring the Priority Development Assistance Fund unconstitutional.
x x x."