PNoy witnessed DBM, Judges sign MOA on salaries

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An April 6, 2011 press release by the Department of Budget and Management
Secretary Abad: In the spirit of equity, Aquino government bent over backwards
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday witnessed the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between four associations of judges and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to address the discrepancies in the salaries of members of the Judiciary.
Budget and Management Florencio B. Abad said that as party to the MOA, the national government, through the DBM will, in effect, provide an estimated P107.997 million to augment the gap in the pay of judges versus salary levels under the Salary Standardization Law III (SSL3).
“We are not legally obliged to do this. However, we have seen how the salaries of our justices and judges have not caught up with salary increases under the SSL3. In the spirit of equity, the Aquino government has agreed to provide funding to close the gap in the salaries of judges,” he said.
“However, the solution to the basic demand of the justices and judges for a full enjoyment of the increase under the SSL3 on top of the 100% increase in their SAJ is not in the MOA. It is Congress that can amend the law (Republic Act No. 9227) which has prevented justices and judges from receiving the full amount of their special allowances for the judiciary (SAJ) and salary increases under SSL3,” he said.
Republic Act No. 9227, which was passed in 2003, grants justices, judges and other judiciary positions with a SAJ that is equivalent to 100 percent of their basic monthly salary rate. SAJ, which is funded from legal fees and other collections, is treated by the law as an advance implementation of future salary increases that may come.
Under the MOA, the judges will continue to receive their SAJ, which will continue to be separate and distinct from the basic salary under SSL3. Meanwhile, the judge will seek the Supreme Court’s agreement to restore the amount corresponding to 20% of the basic salary that was deducted from SAJ and treated as part of the basic salary when a 10% salary hike was implemented in 2007 and 2008 will be restored to SAJ.
Meanwhile, as party to the MOA, DBM shall provide the basic pay received by judges, as well as, the difference between the judges salary rate (basic + SAJ) and what is prescribed under the SSL3.
Abad notes that the P107.997 million that DBM is effectively providing under this MOA is on top of the P165 million that it has been providing the Judiciary annually since 2007 to augment the deficiency in the collection of legal fees which is being used for the payment of SAJ.
The four judges association that signed the MOA include the Philippine Judges Association, Philippine Trial Judges League, Inc., Metropolitan and City Judges Association of the Philippines and Retired Judges Association.