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PARREO v COA

The AFP uniformed personnel retirees, having re-acquired Philippine


citizenship are entitled to pension and gratuity benefits reckoned from the date
they have taken their oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines. It goes
without saying that these retirees have no right to receive such pension benefits
during the time that they have ceased to be Filipinos.
Doctrine:

FACTS:
Parreo served in the AFP for 32 years. On 5 January 1982, he retired from the Philippine
Constabulary with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. Petitioner availed, and received payment, of a lump
sum pension equivalent to three years pay. In 1985, petitioner started receiving his monthly pension
amounting to P13,680.
Petitioner migrated to Hawaii and became a naturalized American citizen. In 2001, the AFP stopped
petitioners monthly pension in accordance with Section 27 of PD 1638. The section provides that a
retiree who loses his Filipino citizenship shall be removed from the retired list and his retirement
benefits terminated upon loss of Filipino citizenship. Petitioner requested for reconsideration but the
Judge Advocate General of the AFP denied the request. Petitioner filed a claim before the COA for
the continuance of his monthly pension.
The COA denied petitioners claim for lack of jurisdiction arguing that it becomes immediately
noticeable that the resolution of the issue at hand hinges upon the validity of Section 27 of P.D. No.
1638, as amended. Pursuant to the mandate of the Constitution, whenever a dispute involves the
validity of laws, the courts, as guardians of the Constitution, have the inherent authority to determine
whether a statute enacted by the legislature transcends the limit imposed by the fundamental law.
Petitioner filed a MFR alleging that the COA has the power and authority to incidentally rule on the
constitutionality of the said statute. He alleged that a direct recourse to the court would be dismissed
for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Petitioner further alleged that since his monthly
pension involves government funds, the reason for the termination of the pension is subject to COAs
authority and jurisdiction. The COA denied the MFR.
ISSUE: Whether Section 27 of PD 1638, as amended, is constitutional
HELD: Yes. The constitutional right of the state to require all citizens to render personal and military
service necessarily includes not only private citizens but also citizens who have retired from military
service.

A retiree who had lost his Filipino citizenship already renounced his allegiance to the state. Thus, he
may no longer be compelled by the state to render compulsory military service when the need
arises. The state has the right to impose a reasonable condition that is necessary for national
defense. To rule otherwise would be detrimental to the interest of the state. Moreover, Petitioner
alleges that Section 27 deprives him of his property which the Constitution and statutes vest in him.
He alleges that his pension, being a property vested by the Constitution, cannot be removed or
taken from him just because he became a naturalized American citizen.
The allegations have no merit. PD 1638, as amended, does not impair any vested right or interest of
petitioner. Where the employee retires and meets the eligibility requirements, he acquires a vested
right to the benefits that is protected by the due process clause.
At the time of the approval of PD 1638 and at the time of its amendment, petitioner was still in active
service. Hence, petitioners retirement benefits were only future benefits and did not constitute a
vested right. Before a right to retirement benefits or pension vests in an employee, he must have met
the stated conditions of eligibility with respect to the nature of employment, age, and length of
service.
It is only upon retirement that military personnel acquire a vested right to retirement benefits.
Retirees enjoy a protected property interest whenever they acquire a right to immediate payment
under pre-existing law.
Petitioner will be entitled to receive his monthly pension should he reacquire his Filipino citizenship
since he will again be entitled to the benefits and privileges of Filipino citizenship reckoned from the
time of his reacquisition of Filipino citizenship. There is no legal obstacle to the resumption of his
retirement benefits from the time he complies again with the condition of the law, that is, he can
receive his retirement benefits provided he is a Filipino citizen.