The Court of Appeals (CA) has turned down a petition filed by a three-time widow who questioned the pension agency Social Security System (SSS) for denying her claim benefits following the death of her third husband.
In a nine-page decision dated July 13, the CA upheld the Social Security Commission’s (SSC) 2019 resolution to reject the claim filed by Juanita Cabacungan.
She was married to Teofilo Cabacungan from Feb. 6, 2003 and until his death in 2016.
She was previously married to Roberto Santiago and Solomon Anudon, who died in 1974 and 1985, respectively.
In denying Juanita’s claim, the SSC noted that the marriage between her and Teofilo was contracted without a marriage license.
The SSC said the union was not covered by the legal exception that a marriage license may be dispensed with by marrying couples living together and exclusively as husband and wife for a continuous and unbroken period for at least five years as long as there had been no legal impediment for a marriage during the five-year period.
It noted that Teofilo married Juanita without a marriage license barely two years after the death of his first wife, Estefania, so the marriage without a license was void under the law.
“Although the SSC is not intrinsically empowered to determine the validity of marriages, it is required to examine available statistical and economic data to ensure that the benefits fall into the rightful beneficiaries,” the CA ruled. (PNA)