Interference by the legislative or the executive on

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interference by the Legislative or the Executive on the Judiciary’s fiscal autonomy amounts to an improper check on a co-equal branch of government. If the judicial branch is to perform its primary function of adjudication, it must be able to command adequate resources for that purpose. This authority to exercise (or to compel exercise of) legislative power over the national purse (which at first blush appears to be a violation of concepts of separates and an invasion of legislative autonomy) is necessary to maintain judicial independence and is expressly provided for the Constitution through the grant of fiscal autonomy under Section 3, Article VIII. This provision states: Section 3. The Judiciary shall enjoy fiscal autonomy. Appropriations for the Judiciary may not be reduced by the legislature below the amount appropriated foe the previous year and after approval shall be automatically and regularly released. In Bengzan v. Drilon (G.R. No. 103524, April 15, 1992, 208 SCRA 133), we had the opportunity to define the scope and extent of fiscal autonomy. In this cited case, the Court set aside President Corazon Aquino’s veto of particular
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POLITICAL LAW CASE DIGESTS 27 provisions of the General Appropriations Act for the Fiscal Year 1992 relating to the payment of the adjusted pensions of retired justices of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, on the basis of the Judiciary’s constitutionally guaranteed independence and fiscal autonomy. The Court’s declaration in Bengzon make it clear that the grant of fiscal autonomy to the Judiciary is more extensive than the mere automatic and regular release of its approved annual appropriations; real fiscal autonomy covers the grant to the Judiciary of the authority to use and dispose of its funds and properties at will, free from any outside control or interference. The Judici ary’s fiscal autonomy is realized through the action of the Chief Justice, as its head and of the Supreme Court En Banc, in the exercise of administrative control and supervisions of the courts and its personnel. As the Court En Banc’s Resolution (dated March 23, 2004) in A.M. No. 03-12-01 reflects, the fiscal autonomy of the Judiciary serves as the basis in allowing the sale of the Judiciary’s properties to retiring Justices of the Supreme Court and the appellate courts. By way of long standing tradition partly based on the intention to reward long and faithful service, the sale to the retired Justices of specifically designated properties that they used during their incumbency has been recognized both as a privilege and a benefit. This has become an established practice within the Judiciary that even the COA has previously recognized. The En Banc Resolution also deems the grant of the privilege as a form of additional retirement benefit that the Court can grant its officials and employees in the exercise of its power of administrative supervision. Under this administrative authority, the court has the power to administer the Judiciary’s internal affairs and
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