Public school teachers elevated to the Supreme Court on Monday the
nullification case filed by Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC), Manila
Public School Teachers Association (MPSTA), and four individual
petitioners against GSIS policies initiated by its President and General
Manager Winston Garcia.
TDC, a 30,000-strong group, said it was appealing the decision of the
Court of Appeals last month which upheld the constitutionality of the
Premium-Based Policy (PBP), Automatic Premium Loan Policy (APL), and
Claims and Loans Interdependency Policy (CLIP) which, according to the
GSIS members, are unconstitutional and illegal.
TDC national chairperson Benjo Basas said the unjust rules employed
by Garcia continue to make the GSIS members suffer, and defeat the very
purpose of GSIS.
“The Supreme Court is our last hope in this legal battle,” added
Basas who is also a Caloocan City teacher.
Basas explained said under the PBP, teachers’ benefits are computed
by the GSIS, not on the basis of actual length of service in government
or actual premium payments deducted from members, but on the basis of
premium payments actually remitted to and posted by the GSIS in its
The APL allows the GSIS to automatically convert as personal loan of
the employees the amount of mandated shares which the
government-employer fails to pay, with interest of six percent annum
compounded monthly. And the CLIP subjects a defaulting member’s claims
and benefits to compensation against such member’s loan payables to the
“This, even if the records of the GSIS continue to be in shambles,”
However, the appellate court granted the writ of prohibition to stop
GSIS from applying the policies to the petitioners, until there is
complete reconciliation of the records of the GSIS and the Department of
“We are now going to the Honorable Supreme Court to ask it to annul
the policies altogether, and to apply the writ of prohibition not only
to the Petitioners, but to all government employees and retirees who are
all suffering from the policies,” said lawyer Racquel Ruiz-Dimalanta of
Libertas, the counsel for the teachers.
The teachers question the CA ruling because the prohibition does not
apply to all similarly situated government employees even if the case is
a class suit.
Basas said that it is unjust, illegal and illogical that teachers
bear the burden of the failure of the DepEd to remit and the GSIS to
post the premium payments and loan repayments automatically deducted
from their monthly salary.
“The employees have no hand in the remitting and posting process and
faithfully comply with their payment obligations since their premium
payments and loan repayments are automatically deducted from their
salaries, yet are made to pay for the inefficiencies of the DepEd and
the GSIS,” he said.
The TDC also challenged Malacañang to act for the immediate
resolution of GSIS problems of public school teachers and also
investigate the irregularities in the pension fund in the same passion
as it criticizes other agencies especially GOCCs.
“During the campaign period, this was the top demand of public school
teachers to all the candidates. There was even an instance that then
Senator Aquino made a promise to some of our leaders in Navotas that he
will definitely sack Winston Garcia if he wins. Now, almost two months
after he took the office, we still wait for a statement from him
denouncing the lavish lives of GSIS executives as he does in MWSS and
other agencies,” Basas said.
Teachers however said that they still trust the sincerity of the
president on his “Walang Corrupt” and “Matuwid na Landas” principles but
reminded him to further prove this in the case of GSIS.
Some 300 public school teachers under the banner of the Teachers’
Dignity Coalition (TDC) and Manila Public School Teachers Association
(MPSTA) assisted Ruiz-Dimalanta in filing the case.
Meanwhile, teachers who will be holding classes in the afternoon will
show their solidarity through wearing of black arm band. Jason Rivera,
president of Bagong Barangay Elementary School will lead his 64
colleagues in wearing the armband to symbolize their mourning over the
death of their benefits under the GSIS.
Source: Manila Bulletin, Ina Hernando-Malipot, 8-16-2010