Senator Sonny Angara (File photo)
MANILA – In recognition of the indispensable role of prosecutors in the country’s criminal justice system, Senator Sonny Angara is pushing for the grant of survivorship benefits to the members of the National Prosecution Service (NPS).
A lawyer himself, Angara took note of how retired prosecutors have no survivorship benefits unlike their counterparts in the Office of the Ombudsman or the judiciary even though the nature of their work is the same.
“Prosecutors are saddled with heavy caseloads and on top of this they face constant risks to life because of the nature of their work. The grant of survivorship benefits to the members of the NPS is but a small gesture of our appreciation of the work that they are doing in the service of the country,” Angara said in a press release issued on Sunday.
One of the most recent attacks against prosecutors was in July this year when Jovencio Senados, the inquest division chief of the Manila City Prosecutor’s Office, was killed on his way to work.
In filing Senate Bill 1865, Angara said it is about time the state recognizes the sacrifice NPS prosecutors have made and continue to make, risking personal safety as “instruments in the dispensation of justice.”
The bill provides that in case of death of a retired member of the NPS the surviving legitimate spouse and dependent children of the deceased prosecutor will be entitled to receive all the retirement benefits that he or she was already receiving.
In case of death of a NPS member who is already eligible to retire, the same survivorship benefits would also be provided to the surviving legitimate spouse and dependent children.
As defined in the bill, dependent refers to both legitimate and illegitimate children or adopted children who are chiefly dependent on the deceased member of the NPS, are not over 21 years of age, unmarried and not gainfully employed or if they are incapable of self-support because of mental or physical defect.
For the surviving spouse, the retirement benefits will be provided until he or she remarries.
In case the deceased has no surviving spouse or dependent children, the entitlement of retirement benefits would go to the parents.
The bill also provides for a retroactive application to include members of the NPS who died one year prior to its effectivity the law.
“With this bill we want to send a clear message that the State takes care of its own especially those who have sacrificed so much to serve its people,” Angara said. (PR)