405 Phil. 152

EN BANC

[ A.M. No. 10019-Ret, February 22, 2001 ]

RE: APPLICATION FOR SURVIVOR'S BENEFITS OF MS. MAYLENNE G. MANLAVI, DAUGHTER OF THE LATE ERNESTO R. MANLAVI.

R E S O L U T I O N

KAPUNAN, J.:

This case involves an application for Survivor's Benefits filed by Ms. Maylenne G. Manlavi, daughter of the late Ernesto R. Manlavi, a former Clerk of Court II from the Municipal Circuit Trial Court at El Nido, Palawan. He had been in the government service for a total of 17 years, 10 months, and 13 days, when he died on June 23, 1999. These claims are based on R.A. 8291, Sections 20 and 21(a), of which provide:
Sec. 20--Survivorship Benefits. - When a member or pensioner dies, the beneficiaries shall be entitled to survivorship benefits provided in Sections 21 and 22 hereunder subject to the conditions therein provided for. The survivorship pension shall consist of:

(1)the basic survivorship pension which is fifty percent (50%) of the basic monthly pension; and


(2)the dependent children's pension not exceeding fifty percent (50%) of the basic monthly pension.

Sec. 21. Death of a Member.-- (a) Upon death of a member, the primary beneficiaries shall be entitled to:

(1)survivorship pension: Provided that the deceased:

(i)was in service at the time of his death; or


(ii)
if separated from the service, has at least three (3) years of service at the time of his death and has paid thirty-six (36) monthly contributions within the five-year period immediately preceding his death; or has paid a total of at least one hundred eighty (180) monthly contributions prior to his death.
(2)
the survivorship pension plus a cash payment equivalent to one hundred percent (100%) of his average monthly compensation for every year of service; Provided, that the deceased was in the service at the time of his death with at least three (3) years of service.[1]
At the time of his death, Ernesto R. Manlavi had one legitimate daughter, Ms. Maylenne G. Manlavi, who was born on October 30, 1977 and six (6) illegitimate children he had begotten with his common-law wife, Ms. Maribelle Endocado, namely, Maybelle Manlavi, born April 16, 1985; Ernest Glenn Manlavi, born August 1, 1986; Mark Andrew Endocado, born August 27, 1989; John Edward Endocado, born April 28, 1992; James Robert Endocado, born May 25, 1996; Ernesto Endocado II, born August 2, 1999. He and Maribelle Endocado had been living together since 1984, four years after his legal wife, Ms. Marilou G. Manlavi, left him and their only daughter to cohabit with a married man.[2] From that time on, Marilou G. Manlavi's whereabouts had been unknown to her family. Maylenne's Application for Survivor's Benefits was supported by an affidavit executed by a certain Manny Mananquil, the next door neighbor of the Manlavis since the 1980s, who stated that he had personal knowledge that Ms. Marilou G. Manlavi was in hiding and was implicated in the murder of one Delfin Lim, an old but rich businessman and her live-in partner,[3] who was murdered inside his own home in Pasig City. The other principal suspect in the same case is her alleged new lover, one Rogelio "Jing" de Guia, a businessman who is engaged in a fishing venture in Northern Palawan. Since the murder and up to the present, Marilou G. Manlavi and Rogelio "Jing" de Guia became fugitives from justice, their whereabouts unknown.[4]

In the meantime, however, the union of Ernesto Manlavi and Maribelle Endocado was not merely tolerated but accepted, not only by his daughter but also by the community which elected Ernesto Manlavi as President of the Civic and Social Organization. Maribelle treated Maylenne as her own child, and in her affidavit, Maylenne describes the union of her father and his common-law wife as "happy, albeit illicit."[5]

Maylenne's application for Survivor's Benefits was in behalf of herself and her six (6) half brothers and sisters.

This Court in a Resolution dated November 16, 1999 approved the application as recommended by the Court Administrator. The Resolution states:
x x x. The Court Resolved to APPROVE the application for survivor's benefits under Secs. 20 and 21(a), R.A. 8291, of Ms. Maylenne G. Manlavi, legitimate daughter of the late Ernesto R. Manlavi, former Clerk of Court II, Municipal Circuit Trial Court, El Nido, Palawan, effective upon the latter's death on 23 June 1999, without prejudice to the share of the four (4) illegitimate children of the deceased. Payment of the benefits shall be subject further to the submission of a Declaration of Absence of Ms. Marilou Gonzales-Manlavi (wife of the deceased) and to the availability of funds and the usual clearance requirements.

The pertinent portions of Section 21(b) of R.A. 8291 states:

SEC. 21. Death of a Member.-

The survivorship pension shall be paid as follows:

x x x

(2) when only dependent children are the survivors, they shall be entitled to the basic survivorship pension for as long as they are qualified, plus the dependent children's pension equivalent to ten percent (10%) of the basic monthly pension for every dependent child not exceeding five (5) counted from the youngest and without substitution;

(3) when the survivors are the dependent spouse and the dependent children, the dependent spouse shall receive the basic survivorship pension for life until he/she remarries, and the dependent children shall receive the dependent children's pension mentioned in the immediate preceding paragraph (2) hereof.[6]
On January 12, 2000 however, the legitimate wife Marilou G. Manlavi suddenly reappeared and filed her own application for Survivor's Benefits dated January 3, 2000, by reason of the death of said Ernesto Manlavi. Maylenne bitterly opposed her mother's application. In her Affidavit dated February 10, 2000, Maylenne G. Manlavi states, to wit:

A F F I D A V I T
I, MAYLENNE G. MANLAVI, of legal age, Filipino, single and a resident of El Nido, Palawan, under oath, do hereby depose and say:

That I am the only legitimate child of ERNESTO R. MANLAVI who died on June 23, 1999, at El Nido, Palawan, and MARILOU GONZALES MANLAVI, my mother, who had left the conjugal home in 1982 to carry on her illicit relationship with a married man;

That since then, it was my father, the late Ernesto R. Manlavi, who lovingly and patiently played a dual role of father and mother to me until he met MARIBELLE ENDOCADO in 1984 who agreed to live with my father without the benefit of marriage and to play the role of mother to me;

That the illicit union of Ernesto R. Manlavi and Maribelle Endocado was not merely tolerated, but indeed accepted, by the sympathetic inhabitants of El Nido, Palawan, who, well aware of the infedility (sic) of my mother and the sacrifices of my father, have elected the latter President of Civic and Social Organizations in the Community;

That on the other hand, Marilou Gonzales Manlavi has many times around changed her living partners after she had shamelessly abandoned my father and me; that she and her paramour, a certain "JING de GUIA" whose whereabouts are unknown, are WANTED by the Police Authorities for the alleged killing of her previous paramour, one Hadji Delfin Lim;

That meanwhile, the happy, albeit illicit union of the late Ernesto R. Manlavi and Maribelle Endocado whom I lovingly called "Auntie" has given them - please take note - SIX (6) children, namely:

1) MAYBELLE MANLAVI - born April 16, 1985; 2) ERNEST GLENN MANLAVI - born August 01, 1986; 3) MARK ANDREQ (sic) ENDOCADO - born August 27, 1989; 4) JOHN EDWARD ENDOCADO - born April 28, 1992; 5) JAMES ROBERT ENDOCADO - born May 25, 1995; and 6) ERNESTO ENDOCADO II - born August 02, 1999;

That I am executing this Affidavit in lieu of a Declaration of Absence of Marilou Gonzales Manlavi, the same being no longer possible considering that the said Marilou Gonzales Manlavi has suddenly, but certainly surreptitiously, showed up at the Supreme Court, notwithstanding her being in the List of WANTED persons.

El Nido, Palawan

February 10, 2000.

(SGD.) MAYLENNE G. MANLAVI
Affiant[7]
Acting on Marilou's application and Maylenne's opposition thereto, the Court Administrator submitted his recommendation which is quoted in part:
A careful study of the Affidavit dated February 10, 2000 submitted by Maylenne G. Manlavi shows the bitterness she harbored against her mother, who was not even present during the wake of his father and surreptitiously showed up just for the sole purpose of filing a claim for Survivor's Benefits of the deceased, to the extent of deliberately omitting her mother as one of the heirs of her father, in her application for Survivor's Benefits which was approved by the Court in its resolution dated November 16, 1999. For the sins and omissions of Marilou G. Manlavi, it is submitted that her shares in the Survivor's Benefits and payment of money value of Terminal Leave accruing Ernesto Manlavi be forfeited in favor of all the other legal heirs of the deceased.

For equitable and humanitarian considerations, it is respectfully recommended for the consideration of the Honorable Court to:

a)
EXPUNGE from the Resolution of the Court En Banc dated November 16, 1999, the proviso "subject to the submission of Declaration of Absence of Marilou Manlavi;


b)
FORFEIT the shares of Marilou Manlavi in the Survivor's Benefits and payment of the money value of the Terminal Leave accruing the deceased; and


c)
DIRECT the Financial Management Office, OCA, to release the Survivor's Benefits and money value of the Terminal Leave pay due and accruing the late ERNESTO R. MANLAVI in favor of his legitimate daughter MAYLENNE G. MANLAVI and the FOUR (4) illegitimate children under Sections 20 and 21 (a) of RA 8291 subject to the availability of funds and the usual clearance requirements.[8]
We find merit in the recommendation of the Court Administrator.

In order to be entitled to the Survivorship Benefits under R.A. 8291, the beneficiary must be dependent upon the GSIS member or pensioner for support. Thus, Section 21(b) explicitly mentions "dependent spouse" and "dependent children" as those who shall receive survivorship pension.

The same statute enumerates who are the dependents:
Sec. 2. Definition of terms. -- Unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms shall mean:

xxx

(f) Dependents--Dependents shall be the following: (a) the legitimate spouse dependent for support upon the member or pensioner;[9] (b) the legitimate, legitimated, legally adopted child, including the illegitimate child, who is unmarried, not gainfully employed, not over the age of majority, or is over the age of majority but incapacitated and incapable of self-support due to a mental or physical defect acquired prior to the age of majority; and (c) the parents dependent upon the member for support.[10]
"Dependent" means "one who derives his or her main support from another. Meaning, relying on, or subject to, someone else for support; not able to exist or sustain oneself, or to perform anything without the will, power, or aid of someone else."[11]

While Marilou G. Manlavi's marriage to the late Ernesto R. Manlavi had never been dissolved prior to his death, she abandoned the family for more than seventeen (17) years until he died and lived with other men. It is obvious that she was not dependent on her legal husband for any support, financial or otherwise, during that entire period. In fact her whereabouts were unknown to her family. She never attempted to communicate with them, even to check up on the well-being of her only daughter. Such being the case, Marilou G. Manlavi is not a dependent within the contemplation of R.A. 8291 as to be entitled to Survivorship Benefits. Her application for Survivor's Benefits is, therefore, DENIED.

Consequently, the Court hereby REAFFIRMS the approval of Maylenne G. Manlavi's application for Survivorship Benefits as embodied in our November 16, 1999 Resolution, subject to the modification recommended by the Court Administrator, which is hereby approved, to wit:
a)
EXPUNGE from the Resolution of the Court En Banc dated November 16, 1999, the proviso "subject to the submission of Declaration of Absence of Marilou Manlavi;


b)
FORFEIT the shares of Marilou Manlavi in the Survivor's Benefits and payment of the money value of the Terminal Leave accruing the deceased; and


c)

DIRECT the Financial Management Office, OCA, to release the Survivor's Benefits and money value of the Terminal Leave pay due and accruing the late ERNESTO R. MANLAVI in favor of his legitimate daughter MAYLENNE G. MANLAVI and the FOUR (4) illegitimate children under Sections 20 and 21 (a) of RA 8291 subject to the availability of funds and the usual clearance requirements.[12]

SO ORDERED.

Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Pardo, Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes, Ynares-Santiago, De Leon, Jr., and Gutierrez, JJ., concur.



[1] An Act amending Presidential Decree No. 1146, as amended, expanding and increasing the coverage and benefits of the Government Service Insurance System, instituting reforms therein and for other purposes.

[2] Affidavit of Maylenne G. Manlavi, dated February 10, 2000.

[3] Affidavit executed by Manny Mananquil, dated August 18, 1999.

[4] "NBI agents nab four suspected hired killers," Philippine Daily Inquirer, Friday, August 6, 1993.

[5] Affidavit of Maylenne G. Manlavi, dated February 10, 2000.

[6] An Act amending Presidential decree No. 1146, as amended, expanding and increasing the coverage and benefits of the Government Service Insurance System, instituting reforms therein and for other purposes.

[7] Affidavit of Maylenne G. Manlavi, dated February 10, 2000.

[8] Memorandum of the Court Administrator dated October 31, 2000, signed by Deputy Court Administrator Bernardo T. Ponferrada.

[9] Italics ours.

[10] An Act Amending Presidential Decree No. 1146, as amended, expanding and increasing the coverage and benefits of the Government Service Insurance System, instituting reforms therein and for other purposes.

[11] BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY, Sixth Edition, p. 437.

[12] Memorandum of the Court Administrator dated October 31, 2000, signed by Deputy Court Administrator Bernardo T. Ponferrada.



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