By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Christopher “Bong” Go lauded President Rodrigo Duterte for signing into law Republic Act No. 11643, which grants survivorship benefits to the surviving legitimate spouse and dependent children of deceased retired members of the National Prosecution Service.
“President Rodrigo Duterte and I have been steadfast in our commitment to fight corruption and criminality in our country. Prosecutors play a crucial role in this fight; without them, justice cannot be achieved and the rule of law cannot be upheld,” Go remarked in his co-sponsorship speech, noting that President Duterte was once a prosecutor himself.
“It is high time that we acknowledge their invaluable contributions to public service by granting our retired prosecutors survivorship benefits,” he stressed.
The measure is the consolidated version of House Bill No. 9087 and Senate Bill No. 2373, which Senator Go co-authored and co-sponsored.
The law grants survivorship benefits to the surviving legitimate spouse and dependent children in case of the death of a retired member of the NPS or a member of the same who is eligible to retire optionally at the time of death. The beneficiaries shall be entitled to receive all the retirement benefits that the deceased member was receiving or is entitled to receive.
The measure defines “dependent” as 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 health concern. For the surviving spouse, the retirement benefits will be given until he or she remarries.
Meanwhile, members of the NPS who died one year prior to the law’s effectiveness are likewise covered by the measure.
As one of the authors of the measure, Go underscored the need to provide survivorship benefits to retired prosecutors, like what their counterparts in the Office of the Ombudsman are already enjoying, given the similar nature of their work.
The measure was principally authored by Senator Juan Edgardo Angara. Other senators who co-authored the measure are Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Senators Sherwin Gatchalian, Emmanuel Pacquiao, Joel Villanueva, Nancy Binay, Richard Gordon and Panfilo Lacson. Senator Gordon principally sponsored the measure as Chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
In his co-sponsorship speech, Go also expressed his optimism that these benefits would significantly help the kin of deceased prosecutors sustain their needs even after the latter’s passing.
The senator acknowledged the perils prosecutors are exposed to and stressed that the grant serves as a small gesture of appreciation for their dedication to serving the country.
“I laud the enactment of this measure which honors the bravery of our prosecutors who confront real threats and risks to their lives and the lives of their families while dutifully carrying out their duties as officers of the courts,” Go said. (ai/mtvn)