Picop Resources, Inc. vs. Social Security Commission, G.R. No. 206936. August 3, 2016


Respondent Mateo A. Belizar (Belizar) filed SSC Case No. 11-15788-04 before the Social Security Commission (SSC), his co-respondent in the Petition, to establish his actual period of employment with herein petitioner PICOP Resources, Inc. and compel the latter to remit unpaid Social Security System (SSS) premium contributions, in order that he may collect his SSS retirement benefits.

The SSS intervened in the case, and, after proceedings in due course were taken, the SSC issued its Resolution that respondent was continuously employed as a preventive maintenance mechanic by respondent Bislig Bay Lumber Co., Inc./PICOP from 1966 to 1978. After finding that he was a regular employee the SSC held that PICOP RESOURCES, INC. is liable to pay the SSS the unremitted SS contributions corresponding to the petitioner’s employment.

Related: SSS Condonation Program 2019 Per SSS Circular 2019-004 and R.A. 11199

Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration, which the SSC denied. Petitioner filed a petition for review with the CA arguing that the latter committed grave abuse of discretion in declaring that Belizar was employed by it until 1978, and in giving more weight to Belizar’s testimonial evidence instead of its documentary evidence.

Meanwhile, it appears that on April 26, 2010, petitioner remitted to the SSS Davao City Branch Office the amount of P1,373.10, or the total adjudged unremitted/delinquent SSS contributions corresponding to Belizar’s employment from November 1966 to December 1978. This was supposedly done in availment of Republic Act No. 9903 (RA 9903), or the Social Security Condonation Law of 2009.

CA Ruling:

The CA issued the assailed Decision dismissing the petition holding that Belizar was continuously employed as a preventive maintenance mechanic by Bislig Bay Lumber Co., Inc./PICOP from 1966 to 1978. It was duly supported by substantial evidence as found in the records of the case. It was anchored not only on the credible testimonies of respondent Mateo’s witnesses but also on the material admissions of the petitioner on record.

Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration, arguing among others that all its adjudged liabilities were condoned when it availed of the provisions of RA 9903 on April 26, 2010 by paying the total adjudged unremitted/delinquent SSS contributions corresponding to Belizar’s employment from November 1966 to December 1978. However, in an April 24, 2013 Resolution, the CA remained unconvinced.   Hence, the present Petition.


Whether the availment by petitioner of the provisions of R.A. No. 9903 had the legal effect of condoning the penalties, interests and damages imposed by the February 4, 2009 decision of the Social Security Commission

SC Ruling:

In order to avail of the benefits under the said law, the employer must pay “all contributions due and payable” to the SSS, and not merely a portion thereof. In petitioner’s case, it paid only the delinquent contributions corresponding to Belizar’s account.

Had the PRI applied for condonation of penalties under R.A. No.9903 involving only one employee, Mateo Belizar, the same would be denied considering that the availment of the condonation of penalty program under R.A. 9903 should be for all employees of the delinquent employer.

Read other Digested Cases of Critical Decisions of the Supreme Court on Labor Cases (Years 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018)

SSS Circular No. 2010-004, Series of 2010, which provides for the implementing rules and regulations of RA 9903, states that “[a]ny employer who is delinquent or has not remitted all contributions due and payable to the SSS may avail of” the condonation program under the law. In order to be covered by the program, the employer must a) “[r]emit within the period of the Program the full amount of the delinquent contributions through any SSS Branch with tellering facility or authorized collection agents of the SSS e.g. banks, payment centers,” or b) “[s]ubmit a proposal x x x within the period of the Program to pay the delinquent contributions in installment to the SSS Branch having jurisdiction over its place of business or household address.”

The clear implication of the SSS Certification is that petitioner did not settle its delinquencies in full. Well into the present proceedings, petitioner has failed to disprove such fact.

For this reason, it cannot avail of the benefits under RA 9903. “Laws granting condonation constitute an act of benevolence on the government’s part, similar to tax amnesty laws; their terms are strictly construed against the applicants, ”

If petitioner desires to be covered under RA 9903, it must show that it is qualified to avail of its provisions. This it failed to do, and for this reason, it may not escape payment of its adjudged liabilities under the SSC’s February 4, 2009 Resolution.

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