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G.R. No. L-37867, February 22, 1982

The private respondent in this case, Calixto V. Gasilao, was a war veteran in good standing during
the World War II. Due to his active participation in military service, he was rendered disabled. He
then filed a claim for disability pension before the herein petitioners under Section 9 of Republic
Act (RA) 65. Subsequently, the claim was disapproved by the Philippine Veterans Board because
herein private respondent failed to complete the necessary documents and submit evidence to
establish his service connected illness. Meanwhile, the said act was amended by RA 1362. It now
includes benefits for the pensioner’s unmarried children below 18 years. Furthermore, another
amendment was made, which increased the life pension of the veteran but retaining the same
benefits for his children.

On August 8, 1968, after 12 years following the disapproved claim, private respondent was able
to complete the necessary documents and proof for his illness and the claim was reconsidered and
finally approved. The respondent, thereafter, requested from the petitioners that his claim be made
retroactive from the time his original claim was disapproved. The petitioners did not act on his
request. Private respondent claims that he was deprived of his right to the pension from the time
his claim was disapproved until the time of reconsideration. He filed a petition before the lower
court and was granted.

The petitioners through the Solicitor General challenged the decision of the lower court. Thus,
filing this petition to review on Certiorari.

When should private respondent Gasilao's pension benefits start?

The Supreme Court held that private respondent, Calixto Gasilao’s pension benefit should retroact
to the date of prior disapproval of the claim. As stated by the Supreme Court in this case “the
purpose of the Congress in granting veteran pensions is to compensate, as far as may be, a class of
men who suffered in the service for the hardships they endured and the dangers they encountered,
and more particularly, those who have become incapacitated for work owing to sickness, disease
or injuries sustained while in line of duty”. It would be more in consonance with the spirit and
intention of the law that the benefits therein granted be received and enjoyed at the earliest possible
time by according retroactive effect to the grant of the pension award. If the pension awards are
made effective only upon approval of the corresponding application which would be dependent on
the discretion of the Board of Administrators which as noted above had been abused through
inaction extending to nine years, even to twelve years, the noble and humanitarian purposes for
which the law had enacted could easily be thwarted or defeated. The pension benefits, therefore,
are government expression of gratitude to and recognition of those who rendered service for the
country, especially during times of war or revolution, by extending to them regular monetary aid.