By J. Wenceslao I. Agnir, Jr. (Ret.)
R.A. 910, the retirement law for justices, a retiree is entitled to a
monthly pension for life only if he completes twenty (20) years of
government service, at least five (5) of which were spent in the
judiciary. In other words, a retiree who does not have a total
of twenty (20) years of government service is not entitled to a
monthly pension even if he has served the judiciary for, say,
eighteen (18) years.
under R.A. 910, when a pensioner dies, there’s no provision for
survivorship benefits for the surviving spouse.
last year, the officers of the Association of Retired Court of
Appeals Justices, Inc. (ARCAJI) brought these concerns to the
attention of Congressman Simeon Datumanong, then Chairman of the
Committee on Justice in the House of Representatives. ARCAJI
proposed a proportionate pension for a retiree who has served the
judiciary for at least ten (10) years, even if he did not complete
twenty (20) years of government service. ARCAJI also proposed a
provision for survivorship benefits in R.A. 910, similar to the
survivorship provision under the GSIS retirement law.
Congressman Datumanong assured ARCAJI that he would seriously
consider the proposals.
last Congress adjourned before Congressman Datumanong could file the
appropriate amendatory bill. However, in the present Congress,
even as Congressman Datumanong is no longer the Chairman of the
Justice Committee, he filed House Bill No. 1865 which, to ARCAJI’s
pleasant surprise, even improved ARCAJI’s proposals.
H.B. 1865, the required number of years of government service was
reduced from twenty (20) to fifteen (15). Furthermore, a
retiree who did not complete fifteen (15) years of service is
entitled to a proportionate monthly pension provided he served in the
judiciary for at least five (5) years. Thus:
| Years of Service
|| Salary & Allowance
of incumbent justice
|| Monthly Pension |
1865 also incorporates into R.A. 910 the survivorship benefits
provision of the GSIS retirement law.
ARCAJI’s Christmas party last December 12, 2007, they invited
as special guests Senator Francis Pangilinan, Chairman of the Senate
Justice Committee, and Congressman Ferj Biron, member of the
Justice Committee of the House of Representatives. Both these
outstanding legislators pledged their unqualified support to H.B.
1865. Sen. Pangilinan may even decide to file the Senate
version of the bill.
are many ARCAJI retirees who are not enjoying a monthly pension for
lack of twenty years of government service even if they have served a
substantial number of years in the judiciary. The proposed
amendments, if approved, will encourage outstanding law practitioners
in their 50’s to join the judiciary. ARCAJI members who
have access to influential members of Congress are requested to
help push the bill’s approval.