Niece fakes aunt’s death to get SSS benefit, faces 8 to 10 years in jail

MANILA — A woman meted an eight- to ten-year jail term for faking the death of an aunt so she could claim funeral benefits from the Social Security System (SSS).

Marilou V. Calado was found guilty of estafa by the Dagupan City Regional Trial Court for presenting the SSS a fake death certificate, barangay certification, and funeral parlor receipt, SSS Assistant Vice-President for Operations (Legal Department) Renato Jacinto S. Cuisia said.

“For violating Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code, Ms. Calado was ordered to serve an imprisonment of eight years and one day up to ten years, eight months and one day. She must also pay back the Php 20,000 funeral grant from SSS, with a legal interest of six percent per annum,” said Cuisia.

Calado however has jumped bail. The court has already issued an alias warrant for her immediate arrest.

Investigations showed that Calado obtained a death certificate bearing her aunt, Pilar M. Valdez’s name from the Local Civil Registrar in Calasiao, Pangasinan after narrating a fabricated story of how Valdez had died.

Using the death certificate, Calado then secured from the office of the barangay captain a certification that a wake was held in the area. She also managed to obtain a receipt from a local funeral parlor showing that she shouldered her aunt’s burial expenses.

During the trial, it was established that Calado went to SSS-Dagupan in June 2004 to file the false documents to claim funeral benefits. She said her aunt had died of pulmonary tuberculosis.

“The Php 20,000 benefit for burial expenses was paid only after the SSS confirmed with the respective Local Civil Registrar of Calasiao, the barangay office, and the funeral parlor that the documents submitted by Calado were indeed issued by their offices,” said Cuisia.

The falsification was discovered after Valdez went to SSS-Dagupan in June 2005 to apply for a biometric SSS identification card. In her complaint-affidavit submitted to SSS, a surprised Valdez certified that she was still alive and stated that Calado was a niece who was then living with her.

Upon discovery of the fraud, SSS immediately filed a criminal complaint against Calado. Valdez however died of bronchial asthma in 2009 while the trial was ongoing.

According to the court decision, aside from submitting fake documents, Calado also made fraudulent representation when she personally filled out the SSS application form for funeral benefits and executed the affidavit or “Sinumpaang Salaysay” on Valdez’s death.

“While we recognize that Calado was in dire need of money, this in no way justifies her act of breaking the law and defrauding the system of undeserved SSS benefits. There was clear and malicious intent on her part to obtain the funeral benefit even if she was not qualified,” said Cuisia. PNA/