(Photo courtesy of PNA)

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law creating 100 positions of Regional Trial Judges-at-Large and 50 Municipal Trial Judges-at-Large.

Duterte signed the “Judges-at-Large Act of 2019” Republic Act No. 11459 on Aug. 30 but a copy was made public on Wednesday.

The R.A. 11459 amends “The Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980”.

Under the law, the 100 Regional Trial Judges-at-Large and the 50 Municipal Trial Judges-at-Large will have no permanent salas and may be assigned by the Supreme Court (SC) as acting or assisting judges to any Regional Trial Court in the Philippines as public interest may require.

Regional Trial and Municipal Trial Judges-at-Large are entitled to salaries, privileges, allowances, emoluments, benefits, rank and title of a Regional Trial Judge and Municipal Trial Judge, respectively.

It also states that the Supreme Court will determine the length of such temporary assignment.

After the period of the temporary assignment, the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) will recommend to the presidential appointees to Judges-at-Large positions.

The JBC will also recommend to the President the permanent sala to which the Judge-at-Large will be appointed.

Qualifications of Judges-of-Large include being a natural-born Filipino citizen; at least 35 years of age; and for at least 10 years has been engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines or has held a public office in the Philippines requiring admission to the practice of law as an indispensable requisite.”

Aside from their salaries, justices and judges will receive a monthly longevity pay equivalent to 5 percent of the monthly basic pay for five years of continuous, efficient, and meritorious service rendered to the Judiciary.

The amount necessary of the implementation of the law will be charged against the available appropriations of the Judiciary under the current General Appropriations Act. After, the amount necessary for its continuous implementation will be included in the annual GAA.

The Supreme Court, in consultation with the Budget Secretary, will promulgate the necessary rules and regulations (IRR) on the implementation of the law. (PNA)