B-168251, NOV. 24, 1969

B-168251: Nov 24, 1969

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CABAL: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 14. WAS FIRST RECEIVED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE ON JUNE 13. YOUR CLAIM WAS RETURNED TO YOU TOGETHER WITH A COPY OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9. WAS REQUIRED BY THE PROVISIONS OF THAT ACT. WITH RESPECT TO YOUR CONTENTION THAT YOU WERE NOT ACQUAINTED WITH THE LAW. YOU WERE FURTHER ADVISED THAT THE 1940 ACT MAKES NO EXCEPTIONS WHICH WOULD PERMIT FAVORABLE ACTION ON CLAIMS OF INDIVIDUALS WHO BELATEDLY LEARN OF THEIR RIGHTS. FORMER MEMBERS OF THE PHILIPPINE SCOUTS IN THE ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE UNITED STATES ARMY FORCES FAR EAST ARE ENTITLED TO MUSTERING-OUT PAY. VETERANS ADMINISTRATION OFFICE IN MANILA IS TO THE EFFECT THAT YOUR REQUEST HAD BEEN DELAYED BUT WAS NOT WITHIN THE PERIOD OF 10 YEARS.

B-168251, NOV. 24, 1969

TO MR. ALBERTO D. CABAL:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 14, 1969, CONCERNING YOUR CLAIM FOR MUSTERING-OUT PAY BELIEVED TO BE DUE YOU INCIDENT TO YOUR DISCHARGE FROM THE MILITARY SERVICE AS A PHILIPPINE SCOUT IN THE USAFFE, ON DECEMBER 21, 1946.

YOUR CLAIM FOR MUSTERING-OUT PAY DATED MAY 21, 1968, WAS FIRST RECEIVED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE ON JUNE 13, 1968, MORE THAN 10 FULL YEARS AFTER DECEMBER 21, 1946, THE DATE OF YOUR DISCHARGE, WHEN THE CLAIM FIRST ACCRUED. BY LETTER DATED JUNE 28, 1968, YOUR CLAIM WAS RETURNED TO YOU TOGETHER WITH A COPY OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, 54 STAT. 1061.

IN REPLY TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 5, 1968, OUR CLAIMS DIVISION ADVISED YOU BY LETTER DATED OCTOBER 4, 1968, THAT THE ACTION OF RETURNING YOUR CLAIM TOGETHER WITH A COPY OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, WAS REQUIRED BY THE PROVISIONS OF THAT ACT. WITH RESPECT TO YOUR CONTENTION THAT YOU WERE NOT ACQUAINTED WITH THE LAW, YOU WERE FURTHER ADVISED THAT THE 1940 ACT MAKES NO EXCEPTIONS WHICH WOULD PERMIT FAVORABLE ACTION ON CLAIMS OF INDIVIDUALS WHO BELATEDLY LEARN OF THEIR RIGHTS.

IN YOUR LETTER OF MAY 14, 1969, YOU CLAIM MUSTERING-OUT PAY IN THE AMOUNT OF $3,600, SAID TO BE AUTHORIZED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF ACT NO. 263, 88TH CONGRESS, DATED JANUARY 9, 1963, AND APPROVED ON SEPTEMBER 30, 1965. YOU STATE THAT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 311-322 OF T.N. 502 (PRESUMABLY TM- 502), FORMER MEMBERS OF THE PHILIPPINE SCOUTS IN THE ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE UNITED STATES ARMY FORCES FAR EAST ARE ENTITLED TO MUSTERING-OUT PAY. ALSO, YOU SAY THAT INFORMATION RECEIVED FROM THE U.S. VETERANS ADMINISTRATION OFFICE IN MANILA IS TO THE EFFECT THAT YOUR REQUEST HAD BEEN DELAYED BUT WAS NOT WITHIN THE PERIOD OF 10 YEARS.

WE ARE NOT AWARE OF ANY STATUTORY PROVISION FOR THE PAYMENT OF $3,600 AS MUSTERING-OUT PAY TO MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES, INCLUDING PHILIPPINE SCOUTS. NEIGHER CAN WE IDENTIFY THE LAW TO WHICH YOU REFER, SINCE NO PUBLIC LAW ENACTED BY THE FIRST SESSION OF THE 88TH CONGRESS WAS APPROVED PRIOR TO MARCH 6, 1963, AND OF THE THREE ACTS APPROVED ON SEPTEMBER 30, 1965, DURING THE FIRST SESSION OF THE 89TH CONGRESS, NONE REFERRED TO MUSTERING-OUT PAY.

ANY MUSTERING-OUT PAYMENT DUE MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES AT THE TIME OF YOUR DISCHARGE WAS AUTHORIZED BY THE MUSTERING-OUT PAYMENT ACT OF 1944, CH. 9, 58 STAT. 8, AS AMENDED, 38 U.S.C. 691 (1946 ED.). THIS ACT PROVIDED FOR A MAXIMUM OF $300 TO PERSONS WHO SERVED 60 DAYS OR MORE OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES OR IN ALASKA. UNDER TITLE II OF THE ACT OF MAY 27, 1946, 60 STAT. 223, THE BENEFITS OF THE 1944 ACT WERE MADE APPLICABLE TO THOSE PERSONS WHO SERVED IN THE PHILIPPINE SCOUTS UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 14 OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 6, 1945, 59 STAT. 543, AND THEY WERE TO BE PAID AT THE RATE OF ONE PHILIPPINE PESO FOR EACH AMERICAN DOLLAR AUTHORIZED BY SUCH LAW, OR A MAXIMUM OF 300 PESOS.

UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 31 U.S.C. 71, THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IS AUTHORIZED TO SETTLE AND ADJUST ALL CALIMS AGAINST THE UNITED STATES. THIS AUTHORITY INCLUDES CLAIMS FOR MUSTERING-OUT PAY BY FORMER MEMBERS WHO WERE DISCHARGED AFTER THE ENACTMENT OF THE 1944 ACT AND SUCH CLAIMS ARE SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, 54 STAT. 1061.

AS YOU HAVE BEEN PREVIOUSLY ADVISED, THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, BARS CLAIMS NOT RECEIVED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WITHIN 10 FULL YEARS AFTER THE DATE THE CLAIM FIRST ACCRUED. WE FIND NO STATUTORY PROVISION WHICH EXTENDS THE PERIOD IN WHICH PHILIPPINE SCOUTS MAY FILE CLAIM FOR MUSTERING-OUT PAY BEYOND THE 10-YEAR PERIOD AFTER DISCHARGE SET BY THAT ACT. THE FACT THAT YOU WERE UNAWARE OF THIS LAW PROVIDES NO BASIS FOR ANY EXCEPTION SINCE ALL PERSONS ARE CHARGED WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THIS LAW AND OTHER PUBLIC LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES REGARDLESS OF THEIR RESIDENCY OR CITIZENSHIP.

SINCE YOUR CLAIM WAS FIRST RECEIVED IN THIS OFFICE ON JUNE 13, 1968, WHICH IS MORE THAN 10 YEARS FROM DECEMBER 21, 1946, THE DATE OF YOUR DISCHARGE FROM THE PHILIPPINE SCOUTS, OUR OFFICE IS PRECLUDED BY THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, FROM TAKING ANY ACTION ON YOUR CLAIM.

ACCORDINGLY, THE ACTION TAKEN BY OUR CLAIMS DIVISION ON YOUR CLAIM IS SUSTAINED.