THE Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Dagupan City has sentenced a woman to eight to ten years in jail after she was found guilty of defrauding the Social Security System (SSS) using faked public documents as evidence for her aunt’s alleged death, which she used in applying for the SSS funeral benefit.
SSS Assistant Vice-President for Operations Legal Department Renato Jacinto S. Cuisia said the court found Marilou V. Calado guilty of estafa by falsifying documents such as the death certificate of her aunt, barangay certification, and funeral parlor receipt.
“For violating Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code, Ms. Calado was ordered to serve an imprisonment of eight years and one day up to ten years, eight months and one day. She must also pay back the P20,000 funeral grant from SSS, with a legal interest of six percent per annum,” said Cuisia.
Based on the pension fund’s investigation, Calado obtained a death certificate bearing the name of her aunt, Pilar M. Valdez, from the Local Civil Registrar in Calasiao, Pangasinan after she narrated a fabricated story of how Valdez had died.
Using the death certificate, Calado then secured from the office of the barangay captain a certification attesting that a wake was held in the area. She also managed to obtain a receipt from a local funeral parlor showing that she shouldered the burial expenses of her aunt.
During the trial, it was established that Calado went to SSS Dagupan City Branch in June 2004 to file the funeral benefit for Valdez’s supposed death using the falsified documents. Calado said that Valdez was her aunt and claimed that she died due to pulmonary tuberculosis.
“The P20,000 benefit for burial expenses was paid only after the SSS confirmed with the respective Local Civil Registrar of Calasiao, the barangay office, and the funeral parlor that the documents submitted by Calado were indeed issued by their offices,” said Cuisia.
The falsification was discovered after Valdez went to SSS Dagupan City in June 2005 to apply for a biometric SSS identification card. In her complaint-affidavit submitted to SSS, a surprised Valdez certified that she was still alive and stated that Calado was her niece who was then living with her.
Upon discovery of the fraudulent act, SSS immediately filed a criminal complaint against Calado. However, Valdez died due to bronchial asthma in 2009 while the trial was ongoing.
According to the decision, aside from submitting fake documents, Calado also made fraudulent representation when she personally filled out the SSS application form for funeral benefit and executed the affidavit or “Sinumpaang Salaysay” alleging Valdez’s death.
“While we recognize that Calado was in dire need of money, this in no way justifies her act of breaking the law and defrauding the system of undeserved SSS benefits. There was clear and malicious intent on her part to obtain the funeral benefit even if she was not qualified,” said Cuisia.
The court has yet to enforce the jail term because Calado jumped bail, but it has already issued an alias warrant ordering her immediate arrest.