In My Eyes
By Edward B. Antonio
This July 2017, a news segment was shown in television where the widow of a deceased public school teacher was shown, visibly irate.
It’s because he recently received a letter from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) charging his deceased wife the amount of P4144.85 which she incurred way back in May 1993.
Part of the letter addressed to the deceased wife read: “Our records show that you have separated from the government service. If you have not yet filed a claim for your retirement/separation benefits with the GSIS, we advise you to do so, at your convenience. However, we would like to inform you that there is a prescription period of four (4) years within which to file for separation benefits. After the lapse of said period and you are not reinstated in the government service, you shall no longer be eligible to claim for cash payment for the services rendered.”
And immediately below this statement is the table that shows the details of her loan.
More stern words followed: “We shall expect your favorable action on the matter within 30 days from receipt of this notice after which we shall be constrained to refer your case to our Legal Services Group for appropriate action.”
Well, I don’t know how the dead will rise from the grave to address the letter, fellas.
You see, this female public school teacher died of cancer 11 years ago, in July 2006. His surviving husband had already claimed his survivorship benefits and all other benefits 11 years ago. That’s why he was so irate to receive the GSIS letter addressed to his deceased wife as he thought it was disrespect to her dead wife.
“Remembering her always brings a lump in my throat and this irresponsible letter has aggravated this feeling,” he said, showing me her wife’s death certificate who, indeed, died in 2006!
I personally know this guy, fellas.
He is a buddy in the media.
He is a retired government employee himself and just recently, he started receiving his monthly pension.
I also remember my mother (she died in 2014) who received a GSIS letter shortly before she retired in the early 90s telling her she had incurred a loan with the GSIS when in fact she did not.
When she showed me the letter, I photocopied it immediately and wrote a letter to her District Supervisor asking for assistance and in the latter part of my letter, I even hinted that there might be a syndicate running around in the district taking advantage of the records of innocent teachers, loaning their policies.
I heard this supervisor was so alarmed that he moved to assist my mother (there were other teachers, too, then, with the same case) and not long after, my mother’s problem was solved.
I could not thank well enough this supervisor because not long after, he died in a car accident when, after coming off from a drinking spree somewhere in the north, his wayward driving led him and his group down to a bridge in Pug-os, Sinait, Ilocos Sur.
Another case was that of a high school teacher in San Juan town (Ilocos Sur) who became so problematic when she discovered that “she loaned” P50,000 from the GSIS when in fact she did not?
“Why should I loan? I don’t need the money. My children are well off employed and the rest are in Italy?” she said.
She ignored the GSIS notices and, after some time, she received another GSIS notice informing her that her loan had ballooned because of the accumulated interest!
So, what did she do?
She went to the GSIS and explained the matter.
All’s well that ended well. She retired from the service without the P50,000 loan. She is now with her kids in Italy.
Now, back to my good friend whose wife is being charged by the GSIS of a loan she incurred in 1993.
His questions are the following:
Why only now that the GSIS reminds of her wife’s outstanding loan? Why did the GSIS fail to notify her from 1993 to 2005 when she was still alive and active in the service?
When the GSIS releases full benefits, it usually deducts outstanding balances (principal and interests). Why did it fail to do so? Was there a lapse in the GSIS updating system? What happened to its modernization program to make it more efficient and a more competent GOCC to better serve its clients who are the main sources of the GSIS people’s sky-high salaries and bonuses?
“Before the GSIS issued the letter to my wife, did it not study her background if she were still alive or dead? How can the GSIS force the dead to pay her loans?” he said angrily.
There had been many issues with the GSIS in the past, fellas, and we appreciate its efforts to correct and atone for whatever remiss it has done in the past. In fact, we appreciate much its efforts to bring the GSIS closer to its members by scheduling days to serve the people by municipalities.
I don’t know how it will answer the case I just presented.
To the GSIS, how can you charge the dead?