SC permits heir to settle housing loan of deceased Air Force pilot

Ian Laqui - Philstar.com
SC permits heir to settle housing loan of deceased Air Force pilot
This file photo shows the Supreme Court of the Philippines in Manila.
Philstar.com / EC Toledo

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC) has determined that the heir of a Philippine Air Force (PAF) combat pilot, who died in the line of duty, can settle the deceased soldier’s unpaid socialized housing loan to prevent foreclosure.

In an 18-page decision dated April 3, 2024, the SC granted the petition for review of certiorari of Felimon Torres, brother and sole heir of military pilot Dominador Torres Jr.

In 1979, Dominador obtained a low-cost housing unit in Soldiers' Hills Village, Muntinlupa City, through a conditional sale agreement and a housing loan from the state-run Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

However, he died a year later after a helicopter crash in his mission in Mindanao.

It is said that Dominador is not married and has passed away without a will. His parents also died in 1986 and 1987 leaving his brother, Felimon, the sole heir.

Having been uninformed of Dominador’s passing, the GSIS sent a notice of foreclosure and cancellation to his address for failure to pay the amortizations.

Felimon assailed the GSIS notice, asserting that the property should be transferred to his name under the GSIS’s Sales Redemption Insurance (SRI) policy, which ensures the full payment of the loan balance if the borrower dies during the loan term.

However, Felimon also indicated his readiness to pay the outstanding balance if the GSIS decides that the loan is not covered by the SRI.

Felimon’s plea has been denied by the GSIS due to lack of merit. The state-run insurance agency then demanded him and the occupants of Dominador’s property to vacate it. 

He also sought reconsideration from the GSIS board but was also denied. 

This prompted Felimon to appeal the said decision to the Court of Appeals. However, the appellate court affirmed the GSIS’s board decision.

Felimon then raised his petition before the SC, asking the high court to review the rulings of the lower court.

In ruling in favor of Felimon, the high court said that the housing loan was not covered by the SRI as the insurance premium had not been paid.  He can also avail of loan restructuring under GSIS Resolution No. 48, according to the SC.

“The assurance of dignity of a shelter to come home to is earned, even deserved, by those who all too often have to leave their lives behind and march towards the threat of their early graves at a moment’s notice,” the decision read.

The ruling was penned by Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa.

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