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Tantuico, Jr. vs Hon. Eufemio Domingo (G.R. No. 96422. February 28, 1994)

28 May

FRANCISCO S. TANTUICO, JR., petitioner,
vs.
HON. EUFEMIO DOMINGO, in his capacity as Chairman of the Commission on Audit, ESTELITO SALVADOR, MARGARITO SILOT, VALENTINA EUSTAQUIO, ANICIA CHICO and GERMINIA PASCO,respondents.

Kenny H. Tantuico for petitioner.

The Solicitor General for respondents.

Ponente: QUIASON

FACTS:

Petitioner applied for clearance from all money, property and other accountabilities in preparation for his retirement. He obtained the clearance applied for. The clearance had all the required signatures and bore a certification that petitioner was “cleared from money, property and/or other accountabilities by this Commission”. Petitioner argues that notwithstanding the clearances previously issued (by COA), and respondent Chairman’s certification that petitioner had been cleared of money and property accountability, respondent Chairman still refuses to release the remaining half of his retirement benefits — a purely ministerial act.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the withholding of one-half of petitioner’s retirement benefits is valid.

HELD:

NO. Petition was granted insofar as it seeks to compel respondent Chairman of the COA to pay petitioner’s retirement benefits in full and his monthly pensions.

RATIO:

Under Section 4 of R.A. No. 1568 (An Act to Provide Life Pension to the Auditor General and the Chairman or Any Member of the Commission of Elections), the benefits granted by said law to the Auditor General and the Chairman and Members of the Commission on Elections shall not be subject to garnishment, levy or execution. Likewise, under Section 33 of P.D. No. 1146, as amended, the benefits granted thereunder “shall not be subject, among others, to attachment, garnishment, levy or other processes.”

Well settled is the rule that retirement laws are liberally interpreted in favor of the retiree because the intention is to provide for the retiree’s sustenance and comfort, when he is no longer capable of earning his livelihood.

 
 

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