SC voids GSIS resolutions
The Supreme Court has invalidated three resolutions issued by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), which stripped retired state workers of their right to enjoy their full retirement benefits.
In a court ruling penned by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, the high court’s First Division also asked the Congress to look for ways to fund the nearly P7 billion in supposed unpaid insurance premiums of state employees to the GSIS from July 1997 to December 2010.
It likewise urged the Office of the Ombudsman to file the necessary charges against government officials liable for the delay in the remittance of GSIS premiums of thousands of state personnel.
“[T]he resolutions effectively diminish, and in some instances, even absolutely deprive retirees of their retirement benefits, albeit ‘momentarily,’ as GSIS claims when these were meant as their reward for giving the best years of their lives in the service of their country,” the tribunal said in its Oct. 2 decision.
The court partially granted the petition for review on certiorari filed by a group of public school teachers who had questioned the legality of the GSIS resolutions, which implemented the premium-based policy, automatic policy loan and policy lapse, and claims and loans interdependency policy.
As pointed out by the petitioners, it said that the GSIS failed to publish the contents of the three resolutions in a newspaper of general circulation before they were implemented.
The petitioners, led by the Manila Public School Teachers Association and the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition, blamed the new regulations imposed by then GSIS president Winston Garcia in 2002 which only burdened them for the failure of the Department of Education to remit their contributions on time.
They stressed that their mandatory GSIS premiums were automatically deducted from their monthly salaries.
The tribunal also agreed with the public school teachers that the GSIS resolutions unlawfully based their retirement pay on the number of creditable years instead of their actual length of service as mandated by the law.
It, however, denied the petitioners’ request for the high court to order the GSIS to refund the deducted claims and benefits of retired employees during the implementation of the illegal GSIS resolutions, saying those matters should be addressed to the executive department.
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