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GSIS VS.

MONTESCLAROS (2004) Facts: Nicolas filed and was approved an application for retirement benefits under PD No. 1146 or the Revised Government Service Insurance Act of 1977. Milagros, as wife and designated beneficiary, filed with GSIS a claim for survivorship pension. GSIS denied the claim because under Section 18 of PD 1146, the surviving spouse has no right to survivorship pension if the surviving spouse contracted the marriage with the pensioner within three years before the pensioner qualified for the pension. According to GSIS, Nicolas wed Milagros on 10 July 1983, less than one year from his date of retirement on 17 February 1984. Issue: WON the proviso in Section 18 of PD 1146 is valid and constitutional. Held: It is void for being violative of the constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection of the law. The GSIS cannot deny the claim of Milagros for survivorship benefits based on this invalid proviso. Denial of Due Process. The proviso is contrary to Section 1, Article III of the Constitution, which provides that [n]o person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws. The proviso (Sec. 18, PD 1146) is unduly oppressive in outrightly denying a dependent spouses claim for survivorship pension if the dependent spouse contracted marriage to the pensioner within the three-year prohibited period. There is outright confiscation of benefits due the surviving spouse without giving the surviving spouse an opportunity to be heard. The proviso undermines the purpose of PD 1146, which is to assure comprehensive and integrated social security and insurance benefits to government employees and their dependents in the event of sickness, disability, death, and retirement of the government employees. (Karla Deles)