B-166936, JUL. 8, 1969

B-166936: Jul 8, 1969

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BRIONES: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED APRIL 15. YOU STATED THAT YOU WERE INDUCTED INTO THE UNITED STATES ARMY FORCES FAR EAST ON SEPTEMBER 1. THAT IN VIEW OF YOUR MILITARY SERVICE YOU INDICATED THAT YOU WERE ENTITLED TO A MUSTERING-OUT PAYMENT OF $300 PURSUANT TO CITED PROVISIONS OF LAW. THE FINANCE CENTER FORWARDED THAT CLAIM TO OUR CLAIMS DIVISION FOR APPROPRIATE ACTION AND IT WAS RECEIVED ON SEPTEMBER 5. ADVISED YOU THAT UNDER THAT ACT YOUR CLAIM WAS BARRED FROM CONSIDERATION. IT WAS YOUR CONTENTION THAT THE LAW DID NOT APPLY TO MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY FORCES FAR EAST SINCE IT WAS NOT BROUGHT TO THEIR ATTENTION IN 1941 OR AFTER THE LIBERATION PERIOD IN 1945. THE LIMITATION PERIOD AS PRESCRIBED THEREIN SHOULD NOT COMMENCE UNTIL AFTER SUCH MEMBERS HAVE BECOME AWARE OF ITS PROVISIONS.

B-166936, JUL. 8, 1969

TO MR. MANILIO D. BRIONES:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED APRIL 15, 1969, IN EFFECT REQUESTING FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF YOUR CLAIM FOR MUSTERING-OUT PAY BELIEVED TO BE DUE INCIDENT TO YOUR MILITARY SERVICE WITH THE UNITED STATES ARMY FORCES FAR EAST DURING WORLD WAR II.

OUR FILE SHOWS THAT IN A LETTER DATED JUNE 2, 1968, ADDRESSED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, FINANCE CENTER, U.S. ARMY, INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, YOU STATED THAT YOU WERE INDUCTED INTO THE UNITED STATES ARMY FORCES FAR EAST ON SEPTEMBER 1, 1941, AND THAT IN VIEW OF YOUR MILITARY SERVICE YOU INDICATED THAT YOU WERE ENTITLED TO A MUSTERING-OUT PAYMENT OF $300 PURSUANT TO CITED PROVISIONS OF LAW. THE FINANCE CENTER FORWARDED THAT CLAIM TO OUR CLAIMS DIVISION FOR APPROPRIATE ACTION AND IT WAS RECEIVED ON SEPTEMBER 5, 1968.

SINCE ON SEPTEMBER 5, 1968, A PERIOD OF MORE THAN 10 YEARS HAD ELAPSED FROM THE DATE OF YOUR DISCHARGE, APPARENTLY IN THE YEAR 1945 (THE DATE YOUR CLAIM ACCRUED), OUR CLAIMS DIVISION RETURNED THE CLAIM TO YOU ON OCTOBER 10, 1968, WITH A COPY OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, 54 STAT. 1061, AND ADVISED YOU THAT UNDER THAT ACT YOUR CLAIM WAS BARRED FROM CONSIDERATION.

THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, AS CODIFIED IN 31 U.S.C. 71A, READS IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"/1) EVERY CLAIM OR DEMAND * * * AGAINST THE UNITED STATES COGNIZABLE BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE UNDER SECTIONS 71 AND 236 OF THIS TITLE SHALL BE FOREVER BARRED UNLESS SUCH CLAIM * * * SHALL BE RECEIVED IN SAID OFFICE WITHIN TEN FULL YEARS AFTER THE DATE SUCH CLAIM FIRST ACCRUED: * *

"/2) WHENEVER ANY CLAIM BARRED BY SUBSECTION (1) OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE RECEIVED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, IT SHALL BE RETURNED TO THE CLAIMANT, WITH A COPY OF THIS SECTION, AND SUCH ACTION SHALL BE A COMPLETE RESPONSE WITHOUT FURTHER COMMUNICATION.'

IN A LETTER DATED DECEMBER 24, 1968, TO THE CLAIMS DIVISION, YOU STATED THAT THE ABOVE LAW SHOULD BE APPLIED ONLY TO THOSE RESIDING WITHIN THE UNITED STATES. IN THIS CONNECTION, IT WAS YOUR CONTENTION THAT THE LAW DID NOT APPLY TO MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY FORCES FAR EAST SINCE IT WAS NOT BROUGHT TO THEIR ATTENTION IN 1941 OR AFTER THE LIBERATION PERIOD IN 1945, AND, THEREFORE, THE LIMITATION PERIOD AS PRESCRIBED THEREIN SHOULD NOT COMMENCE UNTIL AFTER SUCH MEMBERS HAVE BECOME AWARE OF ITS PROVISIONS.

ON FEBRUARY 24, 1969, OUR CLAIMS DIVISION EXPLAINED TO YOU THE EFFECT OF THE SUBJECT LAW AND AGAIN ADVISED YOU THAT CONSIDERATION OF YOUR CLAIM WAS BARRED BY THAT LAW BECAUSE IT WAS UNTIMELY FILED. THAT DIVISION FURTHER ADVISED YOU THAT THE FACT THAT YOU WERE NOT ACQUAINTED WITH THE LAW CONSTITUTES NO LEGAL BASIS UPON WHICH THIS OFFICE MAY GIVE CONSIDERATION TO YOUR CLAIM SINCE IT MAKES NO EXCEPTIONS WHICH WOULD PERMIT FAVORABLE ACTION ON CLAIMS OF INDIVIDUALS WHO BELATEDLY LEARN OF THEIR RIGHTS.

IN YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 15, 1969, YOU AGAIN URGE THAT THE LAW IS INAPPLICABLE IN YOUR CASE SINCE ITS PROVISIONS WERE NOT PUBLICIZED TO FILIPINO MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY FORCES FAR EAST. YOU MAINTAIN THAT INASMUCH AS YOU WERE UNAWARE OF THOSE PROVISIONS, YOU SHOULD NOT BE DEPRIVED OF THE MUSTERING-OUT PAY BELIEVED TO BE DUE YOU INCIDENT TO YOUR MILITARY SERVICE.

ALL PERSONS ARE CHARGED WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THIS LAW AND OTHER PUBLIC LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES REGARDLESS OF THEIR RESIDENCE OR CITIZENSHIP. WHILE THE MILITARY DEPARTMENTS MAY ADVISE MEMBERS OF THEIR RIGHTS, ENTITLEMENTS AND BENEFITS UNDER THE LAWS IN EFFECT AT THE TIME OF THEIR SEPARATION FROM THE SERVICES, THERE IS NO OBLIGATION TO FURNISH SUCH MEMBERS COPIES OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, OR OTHER LAWS. THE FACT THAT YOU WERE UNAWARE OF THAT LAW PROVIDES NO BASIS FOR CONSIDERING YOUR CLAIM UPON ITS MERITS.

IN VIEW OF THE CLEAR AND UNAMBIGUOUS PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, AND INASMUCH AS YOUR CLAIM WAS NOT RECEIVED IN THIS OFFICE WITHIN 10 YEARS AFTER THE DATE OF ITS ACCRUAL, WE MUST ADVISE YOU THAT WE ARE PRECLUDED FROM CONSIDERING THAT CLAIM AND, ACCORDINGLY, NO FURTHER ACTION WILL BE TAKEN THEREON.