B-172133, APR 9, 1971

B-172133: Apr 9, 1971

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THE FORMER MARRIAGE WAS NOT DISSOLVED. THE CLAIM MUST BE CONSIDERED ONLY ON THE BASIS THAT CLAIMANT IS THE DESIGNATED BENEFICIARY. CLAIMANT WAS CONVICTED OF FELONIOUSLY KILLING DECEDENT AND IT IS WELL SETTLED THAT NO ONE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO BENEFIT FROM HIS OWN WRONG. THUS ALL RIGHTS AS DESIGNATED BENEFICIARY TO ANY UNPAID COMPENSATION DUE FROM THE UNITED STATES WERE FORFEITED. LEONORA DE GUZMAN MATIAS: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTERS OF JUNE 10. HAVE ALSO RECEIVED MR. MARRIED ESTERIA MIRADOR WHICH MARRIAGE WAS NOT DISSOLVED. ELADIO MATIAS WAS KILLED AS A RESULT OF A GUN SHOT WOUND INFLICTED BY YOU AND ON JULY 20. YOU WERE FOUND GUILTY OF THE CRIME OF PARRICIDE. WAS FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE FOR SETTLEMENT.

B-172133, APR 9, 1971

UNPAID COMPENSATION - FELONIOUS KILLING CONCERNING CLAIM BY DESIGNATED BENEFICIARY FOR ONE-HALF SHARE OF THE BALANCE OF UNPAID COMPENSATION DUE THE LATE ELADIO A. MATIAS. BECAUSE DECEASED HAD ENTERED INTO A MARRIAGE PREVIOUS TO ONE WITH CLAIMANT, AND THE FORMER MARRIAGE WAS NOT DISSOLVED, THE CLAIM MUST BE CONSIDERED ONLY ON THE BASIS THAT CLAIMANT IS THE DESIGNATED BENEFICIARY. HOWEVER, CLAIMANT WAS CONVICTED OF FELONIOUSLY KILLING DECEDENT AND IT IS WELL SETTLED THAT NO ONE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO BENEFIT FROM HIS OWN WRONG, AND THUS ALL RIGHTS AS DESIGNATED BENEFICIARY TO ANY UNPAID COMPENSATION DUE FROM THE UNITED STATES WERE FORFEITED.

TO MRS. LEONORA DE GUZMAN MATIAS:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTERS OF JUNE 10, AND NOVEMBER 20, 1970, WITH ENCLOSURES, WRITTEN IN YOUR BEHALF BY MR. NICOLAS B. ESTACIO, COMMANDER, MCKINLEY CHAPTER NO. 2, DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS, MAKATI, RIZAL, REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, CONCERNING YOUR CLAIM FOR THE BALANCE OF UNPAID COMPENSATION DUE THE LATE ELADIO A. MATIAS AT DATE OF DEATH. HAVE ALSO RECEIVED MR. ESTACIO'S LETTER OF MARCH 3, 1971, WITH ENCLOSURES, CONCERNING THE MATTER.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT ON SEPTEMBER 20, 1941, ELADIO A. MATIAS, MARRIED ESTERIA MIRADOR WHICH MARRIAGE WAS NOT DISSOLVED. ON JULY 15, 1948, ELADIO A. MATIAS ENTERED INTO A MARRIAGE WITH YOU AND THEREAFTER DESIGNATED YOU AS WIFE AND MRS. DOROTEA A. MATIAS, MOTHER, TO RECEIVE ALL UNPAID COMPENSATION DUE UPON HIS DEATH.

ON MAY 10, 1966, ELADIO MATIAS WAS KILLED AS A RESULT OF A GUN SHOT WOUND INFLICTED BY YOU AND ON JULY 20, 1966, IN THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE ZAMBALES, THIRD JUDICIAL DISTRICT BRANCH I, OLANGAPO CITY, REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, YOU WERE FOUND GUILTY OF THE CRIME OF PARRICIDE.

IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE DESIGNATION OF BENEFICIARY MADE BY THE DECEDENT, THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY PAID ONE-HALF OF THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF ALL UNPAID COMPENSATION TO HIS MOTHER, MRS. DOROTEA A. MATIAS. YOUR CLAIM AS DESIGNATED BENEFICIARY AND THE CLAIM OF ESTERIA MIRADOR AND MICHAEL MATIAS, AS SURVIVING SPOUSE AND LEGITIMATE SON, RESPECTIVELY, WAS FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE FOR SETTLEMENT.

BY SETTLEMENT DATED NOVEMBER 2, 1967, YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED FOR THE REASON THAT YOU WERE FOUND GUILTY OF THE CRIME OF PARRICIDE FOR THE DEATH OF THE DECEDENT AND IT IS AGAINST PUBLIC POLICY FOR A PERSON TO BENEFIT FROM HIS WRONGFUL ACT. ALSO, BY OFFICE LETTER DATED APRIL 30, 1970, COPY HEREWITH, WE SET FORTH THE FACTS AND THE LAW APPLICABLE TO THE CLAIM AND EXPLAINED THE REASONS WHY WE ARE WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO ALLOW YOUR CLAIM.

IN THE LETTER OF JUNE 10, 1970, THE VIEW IS EXPRESSED THAT YOU SHOULD BE CONSIDERED THE LEGAL WIDOW OF THE DECEDENT SINCE YOU ENTERED INTO THE MARRIAGE IN GOOD FAITH. ALSO, IT IS STATED THAT WHILE YOU WERE FOUND GUILTY OF PARRICIDE YOUR RIGHT AS WIDOW OVER THE ESTATE AND PROPERTY OF THE DECEDENT HAD NOT BEEN FORFEITED BY THE COURT.

SINCE THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE DECEDENT WAS MARRIED TO ESTERIA MIRADOR BEFORE HE WAS MARRIED TO YOU AND SINCE THERE WAS NO DIVORCE, ESTERIA MIRADOR MUST BE CONSIDERED THE LEGAL WIDOW. YOUR CLAIM CAN BE CONSIDERED ONLY ON THE BASIS THAT YOU ARE THE DESIGNATED BENEFICIARY.

AS WE POINTED OUT IN OUR SETTLEMENT OF NOVEMBER 2, 1967, AND OFFICE LETTER OF APRIL 30, 1970, THE PROVISIONS OF 5 U.S.C. 5582 GOVERN THE DISPOSITION OF UNPAID COMPENSATION DUE AN EMPLOYEE AT THE TIME OF DEATH. WE SHALL NOT REPEAT THOSE PROVISIONS SINCE THEY WERE GIVEN IN DETAIL IN THE FOREGOING SETTLEMENT AND LETTER. WE DO REITERATE THAT THE ORDER OF PRECEDENCE ESTABLISHED FOR THE PAYMENT OF SUCH COMPENSATION IS FIRST TO THE BENEFICIARY OR BENEFICIARIES SPECIALLY DESIGNATED (FOR FILING WITH HIS EMPLOYING AGENCY) AND IN THE ABSENCE THEREOF, SECONDLY TO THE WIDOW.

THE RULE IS WELL SETTLED WHETHER IT BE CONSTRUED AS ONE OF PUBLIC POLICY OR ONE OF COMMON LAW THAT NO ONE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO BENEFIT FROM HIS OWN (1886) AND 44 AM. JUR. 2D, INSURANCE, 1741. SINCE YOU WERE FOUND GUILTY OF WRONG. NEW YORK MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY V ARMSTRONG 117 U.S. 591 FELONIOUSLY TAKING THE LIFE OF ELADIO A. MATIAS, YOU FORFEITED ALL RIGHTS AS HIS DESIGNATED BENEFICIARY TO ANY UNPAID COMPENSATION DUE FROM THE UNITED STATES.

IN THIS CONNECTION THERE IS NOTHING IN THE COURT DECISION OF JULY 20, 1966, CONCERNING FORFEITURE. HOWEVER EVEN IF THE COURT DID CONTEMPLATE THAT THERE SHOULD BE NO FORFEITURE OF YOUR RIGHTS EITHER AS WIDOW OR AS DESIGNATED BENEFICIARY AND IN AN ORDER DIRECTED THE PAYMENT OF THE BALANCE OF UNPAID COMPENSATION TO YOU, SUCH AN ORDER WOULD NOT AFFORD A BASIS FOR THE PAYMENT OF YOUR CLAIM. A COURT ORDER DIRECTING THE DISBURSEMENT OF GOVERNMENT FUNDS IN AN ACTION IN WHICH THE UNITED STATES IS NOT A PARTY WOULD NOT BE BINDING ON THIS OFFICE. IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, WE ARE WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO ALLOW YOUR CLAIM AND THE SETTLEMENT OF NOVEMBER 2, 1967, IS SUSTAINED.