DECISION - gsis.gov.ph Panunumpa ng Katungkulan (Oath of Office) of petitioner dated 21 November 2002

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Text of DECISION - gsis.gov.ph Panunumpa ng Katungkulan (Oath of Office) of petitioner dated 21 November...

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    Republic of the Philippines GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM

    Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City

    BOARD OF TRUSTEES

    IN THE MATTER OF:

    PETITION FOR COMPUTATION AND PAYMENT OF WITHHELD LIFE INSURANCE BENEFITS AND LUMP SUM RETIREMENT BENEFITS

    JUDGE CHITO S. MEREGILLANO, Petitioner.

    GSIS Case No. 0414-05

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    DECISION

    This case involves a request by the petitioner for the change of

    the date of his retirement under R.A. No . 8291 from 25 November

    2002 to 01 February 2003. Petitioner likewise prays that he be

    reimbursed the amount of P28,499.27 , which was d educted from the

    proceeds of his life insurance policy as payment for arrearages in

    premium contributions and policy loan.

    ANTECEDENT FACTS

    Petitioner Chilo S. Meregillano was appointed as Municipal Trial

    Court Judge of Narra Palawan in janu ary 1983. /\s such, he was

    ex tended by the GSIS a compulsory life insurance coverage under

    Policy No . 0000 t 193411.

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    In january 1987, petitioner was appointed 2"d Assistant

    Provincial Prosecutor of the Province of Palawan.

    On 21 November 2002, petitioner took his Oath of Office ' as

    Presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 51 for Palawan and

    Puerto Princesa City. On 25 November 2002, petitioner assumed said

    office.

    On 25 March 2005, petitioner applied for retirement under R.A.

    No. 8291.

    On 30 May 2005, petitioner sent a letter2 to the GSIS requesting

    the modification of the date of his separation from the Provincial

    Prosecutors Office of Palawan to 01 February 2003 instead of 25

    November 2002 which was the date of his assumption as Regional

    Trial Court judge for Palawan and Puerto Princessa City. The purpose

    of the petitioner's request is for him to be credited twenty (20) years

    of government service3 •

    On 08 April 2005, petitioner received the proceeds of his life

    insurance policy in the amount of One Hundred Seventy Five Thousand

    Six Hundred Seventy-Seven Pesos and 73/100 (Php 1 7 5,6 77 .73) under

    Check No. 52644 dated 08 April 2005'.

    The amount represented the net proceeds of his life insurance

    after deducting the arrears in his premium contributions (P15,086.90)

    1 Annex "6" of the 17 September 2007 GSIS Position Paper. Annex "D" of the Petition.

    J Paragraph 5, ibid Annex "9" of the 17 September 2007 GSIS Position Paper.

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  • and policy loan (P13,412.37) from the gross amount of P204,177.00 as

    evidenced by the Life Insurance Claim Voucher. 5

    On 30 May 2005, the GSIS Manila District Office sent a letter

    dated 15 June 2005 6 to petitioner denying his request to change his

    date of separation from the Palawan Provincial Prosecutors Office

    because when he assumed the position of RTC judge on 25 November

    2002, he ceased to be covered by R.A. No. 8291.

    Not content with the decision of the Manila District Office,

    petitioner filed the present petition.

    Petitioner argues that his retirement under R.A. No. 8291 should

    be dated 18 January 2003 because it was only then that he completed

    the orientation seminar and immersion program for newly appointed

    judges. He likewise argues that the choice on the matter of

    application of his government service remains with him, thus, in order

    to complete twenty (20) years of government service, he demands that

    the date of retirement be made effective only on 01 february 2003.

    Petitioner also claims that the deduction of P28,499.27,

    representing arrears in premium contributions and policy loan from

    his life insurance policy was erroneous 7 as he already fully paid the

    premium contributions and he never secured any policy loan.

    Petitioner posits that any policy loan secured in his name was not his

    and that his signature appearing in the loan application was a forgery.

    ' Annex ··T of the 17 September 2007 GSIS Position Paper. 6 Anne:-. ··3·· ibid.

    Paragraph 7 of Petition

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  • Furthermore, petitioner reasons that it is a matter of public

    policy that the retiree be afforded the highest available benefits due

    him because retirement is a reward to the retiree for his good and

    exemplary conduct in government service and not a penalty8 .

    In support of his claim, the petitioner attached to the petition

    the following documents:

    Annex "A"

    Annex "B"

    Annex "C"

    Annex "0"

    Annex"£"

    Service Record;

    Service Record;

    Application for Retirement Benefits;

    30 May 2005 letter of petitioner to Mrs. josefina M. Gudani, Division Chief of Claims and Retirement Division of the GSIS;

    Life Insurance Claim Voucher dated April 8 2005.

    According to his application for retirement, the petitioner

    himself unequivocally indicated that the effectivity of his retirement

    was 25 November 2002. Likewise, the petitioner did not present any

    evidence to support his demand for the GSIS to effect a change in his

    date of retirement from 25 November 2002 to 01 February 2003 .'>

    As for the demand for reimbursement of the amount deducted

    from his life insurance benefits, it was argued that the act of

    deducting the total amount of P28,499.27 was lawful and valid. It was

    likewise reasoned that the allegations of the petitioner that he never

    8 Parag raph 9 of Petition 9 I 51 paragraph, page 7 the 17 Septe mber 2007 GSIS Pos ition Paper.

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  • incurred any arrears in premium payments and never secured any

    policy loan were self-serving and unsupported by any evidence

    because the GLO established its position that petitioner had incurred

    arrears in his premium contributions and policy loan.

    The GLO further argues that the records show that petitioner

    was granted a policy loan in the amount of P4,940.18 on 18 March

    1988. PNB Check No. 638919 was issued for said loan, which check

    was received by the petitioner as shown by his s ignature in the

    reverse of the check. '0 Since petitioner failed to make payments on

    the loan, it incurred interests and penalties, prompting the GSIS to

    deduct the amount of Pl3,412.37 from his life insurance benefits . If,

    as he claims, his signature was a mere forgery, he has to present

    evidence of such claim. This, he failed to do.

    The GLO filed its Position Paper dated 17 September 2007, and

    in support thereof, attached the following documents :

    Annex "1"

    Annex "2"

    Annex "3"

    Annex "4"

    Annex "5 "

    Annex "6"

    10 Annex 9 of GSIS Position Paper.

    GSIS Union Bank Check No. 0000052644 in the amount of P 175 ,677.73

    Life Insurance Claim Voucher

    15 June 2005 letter of Joscfina M. Gudani, Division Chief-Claims of the GSIS

    Service Record of Chito S. Meregillano

    Certification that petitioner assumed as Presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court Branch 51, Palawan and Puerto Princesa

    Panunumpa ng Katungkulan (Oath of Office) of petitioner dated 21 November 2002

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  • Annex "7"

    Annex "8"

    Annex "9"

    Annex "10"

    Appointment letter of the petitiOner from Malacaiiang Palace dated 18 November 2002

    30 March 2005 Indorsement to the GSIS from the Department of Justice of petitioner's retirement effective 25 November 2002

    GSIS Philippine National Bank Check No. ]B 638919, dated 18 March 1988 in the amount of P4,940.18, representing petitioner's policy loan

    GSIS Board Resolution No. 64 dated 11 April 2007

    Petitioner did not file his Position Paper and was considered to

    have waived the filing of the same.

    After a careful consideration of the arguments raised by the

    parties, we find against the petitioner.

    When the petitioner took his oath of office on 21 November

    2002 as Presiding Judge of Palawan and Puerto Princesa Regional Trial

    Court, Branch 51, as shown in his Panunumpa ng Kalungkulan (Oath

    of Office) he was no longer covered by R.A. No. 8291, otherwise

    known as the GSIS J\ct of 1997. Instead, petitioner became

    automatically covered by Republic J\ct No. 910, as amended.

    Section 3 of R.A. No. 8291 categorically excludes members of

    the judiciary from the compulsory coverage of the System. Thus:

    SEC. 3. Compulsory Membership. - Membership in the GSIS shall be compulsory for all employees receiving compensation who have not reached the compulsory retirement age, irrespective of emp loyment status, except members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, subject

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    to the condition that they must settle first their financial obligation with the GSIS, and contractuals who have no employer and employee relationship with the agencies they serve.

    Except for the members of the judiciary and constitutional commissions who shall have life insurance only,