Thursday, July 12, 2012

SSS v Davac G.R. No. L-21642 July 30, 1966

J. Barrera

The late Petronilo Davac, a former employee of Lianga Bay, became a member of the SSS. He designated Candelaria Davac as his beneficiary and indicated his relationship to her as that of "wife". He died then each of the respondents (Candelaria Davac and Lourdes Tuplano) filed their claims for death benefit with the SSS. The deceased contracted two marriages, the first, with claimant Lourdes Tuplano and the second with Candelaria Davac. The processing was withheld. The SSS filed this petition praying that the two parties be required to litigate their claims.
The SSS issued the resolution naming Davac as the valid beneficiary. Not satisfied with the resolution, Lourdes Tuplano brought the appeal.

Issue: Whether or not the Social Security Commission acted correctly in declaring respondent Candelaria Davac as the person entitled to receive the death benefits in question.

Held: Yes. SSS resolution affirmed.

Section 13, Republic Act No. 1161, provides:
1. SEC. 13. Upon the covered employee's death or total and permanent disability under such conditions as the Commission may define, …his beneficiaries, shall be entitled to the following benefit…
The beneficiary "as recorded" by the employee's employer is the one entitled to the death benefits.
The appellant contends that the designation made in the person of the second and bigamous wife is null and void, because (1) it contravenes the provisions of the Civil Code, and (2) it deprives the lawful wife of her share in the conjugal property as well as of her own and her child's legitime in the inheritance.
As to the first point, appellant argues that a beneficiary under the Social Security System partakes of the nature of a beneficiary in life insurance policy and, therefore, the same qualifications and disqualifications should be applied. Article 739 and 2012 of the civil code prohibits persons whoi cannot receive donations from being beneficiaries of a policy.
The provisions mentioned in Article 739 are not applicable to Candelaria Davac because she was not guilty of concubinage, there being no proof that she had knowledge of the previous marriage of her husband Petronilo.
Regarding the second point raised by appellant, the benefits accruing from membership in the Social Security System do not form part of the properties of the conjugal partnership of the covered member. They are disbursed from a public special fund created by Congress in pursuance to the declared policy of the Republic "to develop, establish gradually and perfect a social security system which ... shall provide protection against the hazards of disability, sickness, old age and death."
The sources of this special fund are from salary contributions.
Under other provisions, if there is a named beneficiary and the designation is not invalid, it is not the heirs of the employee who are entitled to receive the benefits (unless they are the designated beneficiaries themselves). It is only when there is no designated beneficiaries or when the designation is void, that the laws of succession are applicable. The Social Security Act is not a law of succession.

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