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AFP retirees ask for ‘return’ of old age pension

AROUND 19,000 former members of the Armed Forces including the  defunct Philippine Constabulary who joined the Philippine National Police in 1991 have called on President Rodrigo Duterte to order the Department of Budget to return their P5,000 monthly old age pension, saying it was “unjustly removed” from them  by the Department of Budget and Management.

In a letter to President Duterte, retired Major General Van D. Luspo, the president of the Philippine National Police Retirees Association, Inc. (PRAI) said  the DBM withheld the old age pension that former PC soldiers who joined the PNP were receiving from the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office upon reaching the age of 65.

“DBM, accordingly, interprets the term ‘veteran’ in the PVAO law and its concomitant term ‘honorably separated’ as not including those who joined the PNP through the absorption process. I am appealing to you, Your Excellency Sir, to reconsider this interpretation of the DBM,” said Luspo, a member of Philippine Military Academy Class 1975 who transferred from the PC to the PNP and retired as a police general.

Luspo added  that they have requested the AFP, through  Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana, to issue a retroactive order declaring every former PC/AFP soldier who joined the PNP “honorably separated.”

Lorenzana, in turn, requested the DBM to immediately release the withheld P245,444,400 — equivalent to  three months requirements for the Old Age Pension of 18,651 pensioners categorized as PC/INP retirees last December.

Luspo said the DBM has consistently  violated their rights and “ignored the existence of laws that created the vested rights” of old soldiers who gave the best years of their lives for the country and people.

He said the release of the Old Age Pension required by law to be given to former PC and other AFP personnel who joined the PNP was suddenly stopped by the DBM since October 2019.

Luspo noted that the  pension being received by physically handicapped retirees from the National Police Commission is also  being subjected to a study by the DBM.

He added that there has also been a delay in the release of DBM funds for their regular pension which is normally being received by each pensioner every 15th of the month.

“As of this writing we have not yet received our pension for January 2020,” Luspo said.

The retired police general claimed that the DBM action were done after its staff interpreted the law without even consulting the courts.

“We are contemplating to file charges against  Budget Secretary Wendel E. Avisado and his concerned staff whom we have already identified as a result of our sad plight,” Luspo said.

Publication Source :    People's Journal
Alfred P. Dalizon
Author of the ‘Mamang Pulis’ series and Crame Files | A Journal Group reporter since 1988 and recipient of dozens of national awards from the PNP/DILG/PDEA/DDB/NAPOLCOM and the private sector | Winner of two (2) prestigious Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA) for Best Investigative Report | A Finalist for another CMMA Best Investigative Report | A 3-time Journal Group Employee and Top Reporter of the Year