SSS cannot, in the guise of rule-making, legislate or amend laws

A cursory examination of the preambular clauses and provisions of Res. 56 provides a number of clear indications that its financial assistance plan constitutes a supplemental retirement/pension benefits plan. In particular, the fifth preambular clause which provides that it is the policy of the Social Security Commission to promote and to protect the interest of all SSS employees, with a view to providing for their well-being during both their working and retirement years, and the wording of the resolution itself which states Resolved, further, that SSS employees who availed themselves of the said life annuity (under RA 660), in appreciation and recognition of their long and faithful service, be granted financial assistance x x x can only be interpreted to mean that the benefit being granted is none other than a kind of amelioration to enable the retiring employee to enjoy (or survive) his retirement years and a reward for his loyalty and service. Moreover, it is plain to see that the grant of said financial assistance is inextricably linked with and inseparable from the application for and approval of retirement benefits under RA 660, i.e., that availment of said financial assistance under Res. 56 may not be done independently of but only in conjunction with the availment of retirement benefits under RA 660, and that the former is in augmentation or supplementation of the latter benefits. Although such financial assistance package may have been instituted for noble, altruistic purposes as well as from self-interest and a desire to cut costs on the part of the SSS, nevertheless, it is beyond any dispute that such package effectively constitutes a supplementary retirement plan. The fact that it was designed to equalize the benefits receivable from RA 1616 with those payable under RA 660 and make the latter program more attractive, merely confirms the foregoing finding. We are not unmindful of the laudable purposes for promulgating Res. 56, and the positive results it must have had, not only in reducing costs and expenses on the part of the SSS in connection with the pay-out of retirement benefits and gratuities, but also in improving the quality of life for scores of retirees. But it is simply beyond dispute that the SSS had no authority to maintain and implement such retirement plan, particularly in the face of the statutory prohibition. The SSS cannot, in the guise of rule-making, legislate or amend laws or worse, render them nugatory. SSS Resolution No. 56 is hereby declared ILLEGAL, VOID AND OF NO EFFECT. [G.R. No. 116422. November 4, 1996]