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Martires urges cases against court officials who delayed benefits

MANILA, Philippines – Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Samuel Martires on Monday, January 15, urged the families of deceased judges and justices to pursue administrative charges against personnel who caused the delay in the issuances of their survivorship benefits.

“Why don’t you just file administrative cases against any personnel of the Supreme Court, who slept on his job, who was negligent?” Martires said on Monday when he testified in the House justice committee’s continuation of the impeachment hearing against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

The delays in the survivorship benefits is one of the grounds cited by lawyer Larry Gadon in his impeachment complaint. Previously, Court Administrator Midas Marquez said that since a committee and technical working groups (TWGs) were created, the resolution of benefits application got stuck in a bottleneck.

Marquez, who previously solely handled the applications before transmitting them to the en banc, said what usually took 2-3 weeks, now took two years and more.

Martires wrote a resolution in September 2017 granting that the legitimate surviving spouse of a Justice or Judge who (1) has retired or was eligible to retire optionally at the time of death, and (2) was receiving or would have been entitled to receive a monthly pension, shall be entitled to receive the said benefits that the deceased Justice or Judge would have received had the Justice or Judge not died.”

Before the creation of the committee and the TWGs, Marquez directly processed the applications for the en banc’s approval. The en banc, however, came up with different rulings everytime.

The committee was created by Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr.

Marquez said documents would indicate it was Sereno who created the TWGs, which became added layers.

Martires said it resulted to 29 applications that were stuck in the layers. Martires said it’s due time that this was investigated, and those responsible be held accountable.

Kasi panahon na siguro para tayo’y linisin natin, hindi lamang ang ehekutibo o legislative department, but including the judiciary (It's time that we clean up not only the executive or the legislative departments, but also the judiciary),” Martires said.

The Sereno camp said that while the discussion is interesting, it is irrelevant to the accusation against Sereno.

"Throughout the discussion, there was no evidence or indication that the Chief Justice tried to control or influence the TWG work in any way. The fact is she did not need to interfere because all of the TWG’s recommendations would have to be taken up by the Supreme Court en banc," her spokespersons said in a statement. Rappler.com 

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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