Monday, May 28, 2012

FEE… HIGH… NOW… NONE: No more filing fees at the DOJ

By Obiter07

Some good news.  There is no longer any fee to be paid for filing cases before the Department of Justice (“DOJ”).   Under Department Circular No.  25 which was issued this year, the DOJ ordered “[a]ll assessment clerks and collection officers under the National Prosecution Service [to] forthwth CEASE AND DESIST from assessing and collecting legal fees” from individuals filing criminal complaints.”[1]

Apparently, there were four (4) previous DOJ orders which set and increased the amount of docket fees for criminal cases. This was used to fund the special allowances of prosecutors under Republic Act No. 9279.  “[I]ndividuals filing cases in the DOJ had to pay as much as P5,000 in legal fees xxx.” [2]  As cited in the first Whereas clause of D.C. No. 25, “Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9279 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) allowed members of the National Prosecution Service in the Department of Justice to receive additional compensation in the form of special allowances sourced from any increase in fees and new fees actually collected bv the National Prosecution Service after May 16, 2004, the effectivity of R.A. No. 9279.” 

It seems strange to be a victim two times over, first of a crime and then having to pay more for the prosecutors duty bound to prosecute such criminal cases.

In 2010, of R.A. No. 10071 (Strengthening and Rationalizing the National Prosecution Service) provided that:

 "the special allowances granted to the members of the National Prosecution Service under Republic Act No. 9279 shall continue to be given to them subject to the provisions hereof: Provided, however, that the amount not supported by the funding source specified in Section 3 thereof to complete the equivalent of hundred percent (100%) of the basic salary shall be paid through appropriations included in the budget of the DOJ: Provided, further, That when the amount being supported by the said funding source shall have been also included in the General Appropriations, the fees authorized under said Section 3 shall no longer be collected."   (Section 20)

Section 3 of R.A. 9279 provides:

The amount necessary to implement the additional compensation in the form of special allowances … shall be sourced from the collections of the National Prosecution Service and the Office of the Chief State Counsel of the Office of the Secretary of Justice from any increase in fees or new fees that they are hereby authorized to assess for various services rendered ... These collections shall be deposited as a Special Trust Fund which shall be administered by the Secretary of Justice for the benefit of the members of the National Prosecution Service, the Office of the Chief State Counsel and the undersecretaries concerned, and shall be made available for payment of benefits herein provided.

The DOJ found that “100% of the basic salary of prosecutors under R.A. No. 6758 otherwise known as the Salary Standardization Law, as amended, has already been reached xxx.”  Hence, “Section 20 of R.A. No. 10071 mandates that the fees authorized to be collected under R.A. No. 9279 shall no longer be collected.”

If crime does not pay, neither should the victim, at least as far as filing fees before the DOJ. For now.

[1] Department of Justice, (2012). Issuances (Department Circular No. 025). Retrieved from website:


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