Question XV-A, Political Law, 2017 Bar Exam

According to Sec. 3, Art. VIII of the Constitution, the Judiciary shall enjoy fiscal autonomy. What does the term fiscal autonomy signify? Explain your answer. (3%)

Suggested Answer:

Fiscal autonomy contemplates a guarantee of full flexibility to allocate and utilize their resources with the wisdom and dispatch that their needs require. It recognizes the power and authority to levy, assess and collect fees, fix rates of compensation not exceeding the highest rates authorized by law for compensation and pay plans of the government and allocate and disburse such sums as may be provided by law or prescribed by them in the course of the discharge of their functions.

Fiscal autonomy means freedom from outside control. The Judiciary must have the independence and flexibility needed in the discharge of their constitutional duties. The imposition of restrictions and constraints on the manner the independent constitutional offices allocate and utilize the funds appropriated for their operations is anathema to fiscal autonomy and violative not only of the express mandate of the Constitution but especially as regards the Supreme Court, of the independence and separation of powers upon which the entire fabric of our constitutional system is based.
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