Skip to Highlights
Highlights

THE CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BECAUSE THE PROCEEDS OF THE CHECK WERE HELD TO BE NO PART OF THE ESTATE OF THE PAYEE. THE RECORD DISCLOSES THAT THE PAYEE OF THE CHECK WAS AWARDED GRATUITOUS LIFE INSURANCE BENEFITS ON JUNE 21. UPON THE PREMISE THAT THE DECEDENT WAS A MEMBER OF THE PHILIPPINE COMMONWEALTH ARMY AND IN THE SERVICE OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES. WAS MAILED TO THE PAYEE ON SEPTEMBER 12. DURING HER LIFETIME THE PAYEE DENIED RECEIVING THE CHECK AND RECLAMATION PROCEEDINGS WERE INSTITUTED FOR RECOVERY OF THE PROCEEDS THEREOF. THAT IS WHETHER THE DEATH OF THE PAYEE OPERATED TO EXTINGUISH THE RIGHT OF HER ESTATE TO THE ACCUMULATED AND ACCRUED INSURANCE INSTALLMENTS. BRUCAL WAS NOT A MEMBER OF THE PHILIPPINE COMMONWEALTH ARMY IN THE SERVICE OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES DURING THE INVOLVED PERIOD.

View Decision

B-102474, JUN. 8, 1956

HONORABLE CARLOS P. ROMULO, AMBASSADOR OF THE PHILIPPINES:

YOUR RECENT NOTE TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE REQUESTS REVIEW OF OUR SETTLEMENT DATED SEPTEMBER 25, 1950, WHICH DISALLOWED THE CLAIM OF MR. MATEO BRUCAL FOR THE PROCEEDS OF CHECK NO. 80,289,485, FOR $2,823.15, DRAWN TO THE ORDER OF PAULA BACAY VDA DE BRUCAL ON JUNE 27, 1949, BY PAUL D. BANNING, SYMBOL 300. THE CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BECAUSE THE PROCEEDS OF THE CHECK WERE HELD TO BE NO PART OF THE ESTATE OF THE PAYEE.

THE RECORD DISCLOSES THAT THE PAYEE OF THE CHECK WAS AWARDED GRATUITOUS LIFE INSURANCE BENEFITS ON JUNE 21, 1949, AS MOTHER AND BENEFICIARY OF LEON B. BRUCAL, DECEASED, UPON THE PREMISE THAT THE DECEDENT WAS A MEMBER OF THE PHILIPPINE COMMONWEALTH ARMY AND IN THE SERVICE OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES, FROM DECEMBER 8, 1941, TO DATE OF DEATH, APRIL 10, 1942. THE CHECK, COVERING THOSE INSTALLMENTS OF INSURANCE ACCRUING FROM APRIL 10, 1942, THROUGH JULY 9, 1949, WAS MAILED TO THE PAYEE ON SEPTEMBER 12, 1949. DURING HER LIFETIME THE PAYEE DENIED RECEIVING THE CHECK AND RECLAMATION PROCEEDINGS WERE INSTITUTED FOR RECOVERY OF THE PROCEEDS THEREOF. THE PAYEE DIED ON MARCH 17, 1950. HOWEVER, THE QUESTION PREVIOUSLY CONSIDERED BY OUR OFFICE AND REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER, THAT IS WHETHER THE DEATH OF THE PAYEE OPERATED TO EXTINGUISH THE RIGHT OF HER ESTATE TO THE ACCUMULATED AND ACCRUED INSURANCE INSTALLMENTS, WOULD NOW APPEAR TO BE MOOT FOR THE REASON THAT ON JUNE 28, 1951, THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION RECEIVED A REDETERMINATION OF SERVICE FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY TO THE EFFECT THAT LEON B. BRUCAL WAS NOT A MEMBER OF THE PHILIPPINE COMMONWEALTH ARMY IN THE SERVICE OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES DURING THE INVOLVED PERIOD.

AS POINTED OUT IN OUR DECISIONS TO THE CLAIMANT, WHATEVER AUTHORITY THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HAD TO PROVIDE THE GRATUITOUS INSURANCE STEMS FROM SECTION 602 (D) (2) OF THE NATIONAL SERVICE LIFE INSURANCE ACT OF 1940, AS AMENDED, 38 U.S.C. 802 (D) (2), PROVIDING IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"/2) ANY PERSON IN THE ACTIVE SERVICE ON OR AFTER OCTOBER 8, 1940, WHO, WHILE IN SUCH SERVICE AND BEFORE THE EXPIRATION OF ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY DAYS AFTER DECEMBER 20, 1941, DIES OR HAS DIED IN LINE OF DUTY (INCLUDING DEATH RESULTING FROM DISEASE OR INJURY INCURRED IN LINE OF DUTY), WITHOUT HAVING IN FORCE AT THE TIME OF SUCH DEATH INSURANCE UNDER THE WAR RISK INSURANCE ACT, AS AMENDED, THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, 1924, AS AMENDED, OR THIS SUBCHAPTER, IN THE AGGREGATE AMOUNT OF AT LEAST $5,000 SHALL BE DEEMED TO HAVE APPLIED FOR AND TO HAVE BEEN GRANTED INSURANCE AS OF THE DATE OF ENTRY INTO ACTIVE SERVICE OR OCTOBER 8, 1940, WHICHEVER IS LATER, IN THE SUM OF $5,000 PAYABLE AS PROVIDED IN SUBSECTION (H) OF THIS SECTION, EXCEPT THAT PAYMENTS HEREUNDER SHALL BE MADE ONLY TO THE FOLLOWING BENEFICIARIES * * *.'

THUS THE FREE INSURANCE BENEFITS INVOLVED ARE PROPERLY FOR PAYMENT UNDER THE APPLICABLE LAW, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT, ONLY IN THE EVENT THE DECEDENT, LEON B. BRUCAL, WAS "IN THE ACTIVE SERVICE ON OR AFTER OCTOBER 8, 1940.'

SECTION 801/C) OF TITLE 38 OF THE U.S.C. DEFINES THE TERM "ACTIVE SERVICE" AS MEANING "ACTIVE SERVICE IN THE LAND OR NAVAL FORCES (INCLUDING THE COAST GUARD) OF THE UNITED STATES.' SECTION 802/W) PROVIDES THAT, SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 812 OF THAT TITLE, ALL CONTRACTS OR POLICIES OF INSURANCE BEFORE OR AFTER AUGUST 1, 1946, ISSUED, REINSTATED, OR CONVERTED, SHALL BE INCONTESTABLE FROM THE DATE OF ISSUE, REINSTATEMENT, OR CONVERSION,"EXCEPT FOR FRAUD, NONPAYMENT OF PREMIUM, OR ON THE GROUND THAT THE APPLICANT WAS NOT A MEMBER OF THE MILITARY OR NAVAL FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES.'

FROM THE ARMY REPORT IT SEEMS APPARENT THAT THE DECEDENT, LEON B. BRUCAL, WAS NOT "IN THE ACTIVE SERVICE" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE APPLICABLE LAW, SO AS TO MAKE HIM ELIGIBLE FOR COVERAGE AND ENTITLE HIS MOTHER TO THE FREE INSURANCE BENEFITS PROVIDED THEREBY. IN THAT REGARD, IN CASES WHERE, AS HERE, THE FACTS RELATING TO A CLAIM AS REPORTED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY CONCERNED DIFFER FROM THOSE REPORTED BY THE CLAIMANT, THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION MUST NECESSARILY ACCEPT THOSE FACTS BASED ON OFFICIAL RECORDS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY IN THE ABSENCE OF CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY AND A CLEAR SHOWING OF ERROR ON THE PART OF THE GOVERNMENT. ALSO, IT MAY BE SAID THAT SINCE MR. MATEO BRUCAL WAS NOT A HOLDER IN DUE COURSE OF THE CHECK THE GOVERNMENT MAY ASSERT AGAINST HIM ANY DEFENSES IT MIGHT HAVE HAD AGAINST THE PAYEE.

ACCORDINGLY, THE CONCLUSION REACHED IN OUR SETTLEMENT OF SEPTEMBER 25, 1950, MUST BE AND IS SUSTAINED UPON THE BASIS OF THE PRESENT RECORD.

WE HOPE THAT THE FOREGOING WILL CLARIFY THE MATTERS WHICH WERE NOT COVERED BY OUR SETTLEMENT AND EARLIER DECISIONS TO THE CLAIMANT.

GAO Contacts