SSS-unqualified employees entitled to either life annuity under RA 660 or RA 660

Nevertheless, insofar as herein petitioners are concerned, this Court cannot just sit back and watch as these two erstwhile government employees, who after spending the best parts of their lives in public service have retired hoping to enjoy their remaining years, face a financially dismal if not distressed future, deprived of what should have been due them by way of additional retirement benefits, on account of a bureaucratic boo-boo improvidently hatched by their higher-ups. It is clear to our mind that petitioners applied for benefits under RA 660 only because of the incentives offered by Res. 56, and that absent such incentives, they would have without fail availed of RA 1616 instead. We likewise have no doubt that petitioners are simply innocent bystanders in this whole bureaucratic rule-making/financial scheme-making drama, and that therefore, to the extent possible, petitioners ought not be penalized or made to suffer as a result of the subsequently determined invalidity of Res. 56, the promulgation and implementation of which they had nothing to do with. And here is where equity may properly be invoked: since SSS employees who are qualified for compulsory retirement at age 65 or for optional retirement at a lower age are entitled to either the life annuity under R.A. 660, as amended, or the gratuity under R.A. 1616, as amended, it appears that petitioners, being qualified to avail of benefits under RA 660, may also readily qualify under RA 1616. It would therefore not be misplaced to enjoin the SSS to render all possible assistance to petitioners for the prompt processing and approval of their applications under RA 1616, and in the meantime, unless barred by existing regulations, to advance to petitioners the difference between the amounts due under RA 1616, and the amounts they already obtained, if any, under RA 660. [G.R. No. 116422. November 4, 1996]