Employer wants $20K of dead worker

An employer, who was appointed as an administrator of the estate of a Filipino worker on Saipan who has already died, wants to inherit the worker’s $20,794 in a bank account.

The deceased, Eduardo Ocampo David, reportedly has no family and died last year without a will.

In an order on Tuesday, however, Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho expressed concern since an employer is not an heir of the decedent when there is no will that expressly states that such employer will get an inheritance upon a person’s death.

Camacho ordered the employer/administrator, Juan A. Gacayan, to appear in court at a status conference on June 20 at 9am and explain how a non-family individual can inherit money from a decedent without a will.

David, 60, who hails from Pampanga, the Philippines, died on Oct. 15, 2018, at the Commonwealth Health Center. His cause of death was not indicated in court documents. The length of his stay on the islands was also not specified.

Three days after David died, Gacayan, through counsel Rosemond B. Santos, asked the court to appoint him as the administrator of David’s estate.

Santos said that David, who has never been married and has no children, died without leaving any will.

Santos said Gacayan is the employer and family friend of David.

Santos said David has money in his savings account at the Bank of Guam, but at the time Gacayan was unaware of the savings account.

Gacayan is also unaware of any debts left unpaid by David. The job title of David was not specified in court papers.

Last Dec. 20, Camacho heard Gacayan’s petition for his appointment as administrator of David’s estate. The judge granted the petition.

Last Jan. 16, Gacayan, through Santos, filed in court an inventory of the estate, indicating that David’s Bank of Guam ledger has a savings account in the amount of $20,794.

Santos said David died without any debts.

Last March 19, Santos filed a motion to withdraw as counsel for Gacayan; she did not state the reason for her withdrawal. Camacho granted the withdrawal last March 22.

Last April 16, Gacayan filed a petition for decree of final distribution; he did so without a lawyer.

Gacayan told the court that, consistent with David’s prior instructions, he should get David’s $20,794.

At the May 16 hearing on the petition for decree of final distribution, Gacayan appeared without counsel and was accompanied by Juan Cabrera, also known as Bobo, who claimed to be a consultant.

Camacho told Gacayan to follow up with the bank and the matter was taken off-calendar.

Last May 21, Gacayan submitted to the court a document asking the court to sign and certify it, in effect granting him access to David’s bank account.

The judge, however, did not sign it as he has concerns, noting that, by Gacayan’s own admission, David does not have any spouse or children.

Camacho said there is no will, or other documentation that David wanted his property or bank savings to go to Gacayan.

Camacho said that, based on Gacayan’s own representation in court, he was the employer for David.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com
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