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Sunod sa pangulo! Supreme Court judges slash own salaries

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By Agence France-Presse

Mexico’s Supreme Court said Tuesday its judges were cutting their own salaries by 25 percent, after austerity-crusading President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador criticized their pay as overly lavish.

“As a means of ensuring the rational spending of public resources, the Supreme Court of Justice has agreed in a plenary session to reduce the remuneration of the 11 justices by 25 percent,” the court said in a statement.

The judges’ salaries had come in for scrutiny after Lopez Obrador publicly attacked them as excessive.

The anti-establishment leftist, who took office last month after a landslide election win, has cut his own salary by 60 percent, to about $5,500 a month.

He also pushed a law through Congress to set that as the maximum for all state employees. But the Supreme Court blocked the law from being implemented, ruling it violated employees’ rights.

Amid that battle between the executive and legislative branches, Lopez Obrador lashed out at the judges’ own salaries, which would also have been affected by the law.

The chief justice of the court last year earned a gross monthly salary of around 578,000 pesos ($29,900) per month.

“I think it’s dishonest for a public official to accept a salary of 600,000 pesos a month. That’s corruption, in a country with so much poverty,” Lopez Obrador said last month.

The court said the judicial branch had the sole authority to set its employees’ salaries.

The court made the decision in the name of “efficiency, savings, transparency and honoring the constitution,” the statement said.

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