Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-11001           November 23, 1960

FORTUNATO V. BORROMEO, petitioner-appellant,
vs.
GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM, respondent-appellee.

Jesus N. Borromeo for appellant.
Leovigildo Monasterial and L.A. Diokno, Jr. for appellee.

DIZON, J.:

On December 15, 1949, petitioner, then an associate justice of the Court of Appeals, retired under the provisions of Act No. 2589 and received a gratuity in the total amount of P24,000.00. On August 6, 1954, after the enactment of Republic Act 1057, amending Act 910, petitioner applied for retirement under their provisions and respondent found him entitled thereto Pursuant to Section 3 Republic Act 910, as amended, petition was entitled to a lump sum payment equivalent to his salary for five years, or the total amount of P60,000.00, from which, however, respondent deducted the P24,000.00 gratuity which the former had already received. Petitioner brought this action for mandamus in the Court of First Instance of Cebu to compel respondent to pay the aforementioned amount. Said court sustained the legality of the deduction; hence this appeal by petitioner.

The only issue here is whether the gratuity received by petitioner under the provisions of Act 2589 is deductible from the retirement benefits to which he was subsequently found to be entitled under the provisions of Republic Acts 910 and 1057.

The answer must be in the affirmative.

Section 1 of Act 2589 itself provides that any officer or employee entitled to its benefits, and "who is entitled to any benefits from any pension fund created by authority of the Philippine Legislature" without specifying whether the pension fund created before or after its enactment shall be required to designate which of such benefits he desires to take advantage of, and in such case he shall be entitled only to the benefits so chosen. It is beyond question that Republic Act 910, as amended constituted or created a pension fund or plan. Therefore, when petitioner applied for the benefits provided for in said act, as amended, he must be deemed to have made his choice. Consequently, he is entitled only to the benefits so chosen this carrying the natural and necessary implication that the gratuity already received by him under Act 2589 must be deducted from the more extensive benefits petitioner was entitled to receive under the provision of Act 910, as amended.

The gratuity receive by petitioner under Act 2589 was obviously in consideration of his services to the government of his retirement on Dec. 15,1949. It is similarly obvious that the retirement benefits he was found to be entitled to receive under the provision of Act 910, as amended, wherein consideration of the same services to the government. Therefore, for petitioner to receive full benefits under the later laws, in addition to the gratuity he had already received under Act 2589, would amount to allowing him to receive double pension for exactly the same services as consideration. The rule in construing or applying pension and gratuity laws is that, in the absence of express provision to the contrary, they will be so interpreted as to prevent any person from receiving a double compensation. (70 C.J.S., sec. 5, p. 429).

Although the facts involved in the present case are not exactly the same as those in Espejo vs. The Auditor General, etc. (97 Phil., 216; 51 0ff. Gaz. No. 6, pp. 2863-2864), we believe that the reason for the decision in the latter is applicable to the one before us. The deduction of the gratuity already received by the petitioner under Act 2589 from what he was to receive under the provisions of Act 910, as amended, is, as stated in the Espejo case, "justified by the common sense consideration that if the petitioner is being credited with his services prior to 1945 in computing his retirement annuity, it is but just that all retirement benefits receive by him prior to that date should also be charged to his account. Otherwise, the petitioner would benefit both of under Act 4051 and Republic Act 660, which is contrary to the plain intent of the law."

The Acts 910 and 1057 were enacted after petitioner's retirement is not a circumstance of sufficient weight to justify our ignoring the general policy of the State expressed both in Act 2589 as well as in Act 910 against double pensions for the same services. To the contrary, the fact that even after petitioner's retirement under Act 2589 another pension law was enacted under which he could claim greater benefits affords a greater reason for the application of the general policy against double pensions, unless the contrary was expressly and clearly provided in the later enactment. Acts 910 and 1057 do not contain such provision.

Wherefore, finding that appealed judgment to be in accordance with law and the facts of the case, the same is hereby affirmed with cost.

Paras, C.J., Bengzon, Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Gutierrez David, and Paredes, JJ., concur.


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