THE House leadership was urged to prioritize the immediate passage in the plenary when Congress resumes session on July 23 of a proposed bill seeking to provide financial support for the surviving spouses and children of judges, justices and other judiciary officials who were killed while in service.
The appeal was made by Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu after the House Committee on Appropriations, chaired by Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, approved on May 22 the funding provision of the substitute bill to House Bill (HB) No. 2683 he principally authored.
“With the approval of the funding requirement of my proposal, I hope the House committee on justice will immediately refer this (committee report) to the House committee on rules for its referral and swift passage on third and final reading in the plenary,” said Abu.
In April last year, the House Sub-Committee on Judicial Reforms chaired by Leyte Rep. Vicente “Ching” Veloso, a retired Court of Appeals (CA) justice, under the House Committee on Justice led by Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, approved the bill or the proposed “Support for the Surviving Spouse and Children of Slain Judiciary Officials Act.”
Abu said HB 2683 will embolden judges and justices, especially the young idealistic judges and justices, to dispense justice without fear, knowing that the government has their backing and will support them and their families, as they uphold the rule of law.
“The risk, alongside the job of these judiciary officials, should be counterbalanced by providing them with a grant that will encourage them to fully perform their duties and responsibilities. Hence, this bill seeks to support the judiciary by granting benefits to their surviving heirs in case they are killed while dispensing justice,” said Abu.
During the House Sub-Committee on Judicial Reforms hearing, Supreme Court (SC) Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez endorsed the proposal saying most of the victims were killed due to their decisions involving drug-related offenses.
The substitute bill seeks to amend Section 1 of Republic Act (RA) No. 910, as amended by Republic Act No. 9946, otherwise known as “An Act Granting Additional Retirement Survivorship, And Other Benefits to Members of the Judiciary.”
Abu said the measure will promote judicial reform by supporting all judges and justices decide their cases objectively and fairly despite any risks of injury or death to themselves and their family by guaranteeing support for their spouse and children in the event that they are killed while dispensing Justice.
Under the measure, the surviving spouse and children of a judge or justice killed intentionally while in service, shall be entitled to receive a monthly pension.
The proposal also provides scholarship or free tuition for two children of the slain justices in a state university or college.