MANILA --The Supreme Court (SC) has put off its deliberation on the petition filed by House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. to compel the release of the fourth tranche of pay hike for state workers pending the approval of the 2019 national budget.
In an advisory late Tuesday, the tribunal said it has reset the deliberation on the matter on January 22.
In his 28-page petition, Andaya, who led the scrutiny of the Palace's budget proposal, urged the SC to hand down a mandamus writ directing the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to release the scheduled salary increase for government workers amounting to at least PHP42.7 billion.
Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno said he welcomes the filing of the suit by Andaya, pointing out that the implementation of the re-enacted budget, which affected the release of additional pay for state workers, among others, would not have happened had lawmakers done their jobs.
Many of these problems could have been avoided had Congress just approved the General Appropriations Act, he said.
Diokno said he had expected Congress to approve the proposed PHP3.757-trillion 2019 national budget by February and once approved DBM will then release the differential on workers' pay.
Andaya argued there is no basis for the DBM to withhold the release of funds since there are available alternative sources for the pay hike despite the delay in the passage of the 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA) or the reenactment of the 2018 budget.
The petitioners noted that the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund, with a total amount of PHP99.44 billion, may be used to cover the salary adjustment.
Diokno previously deferred the release the funds for the fourth tranche of salary increase as provided under Executive order No. 201 (Modifying the Salary Schedule for Civilian Government Personnel and Authorizing the Grant of Additional Benefits for Both Civilian and Military Uniformed Personnel) starting January 2019. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency