A man serving a 26-year jail sentence for the shooting death of his wife and one of their children in 1998 has been receiving a widower's pension since then, a Galician daily reported. This is the second such case to emerge over the past few days.
Nemesio Antonio Pisonero Domínguez, who committed the crime in Laguna de Duero in Valladolid, gets 800 euros a month as a widower, and since last March he has also been getting retirement checks from when he worked as a public high school teacher, as did his wife. In all, Pisonero Domínguez receives around 2,400 euros from the state every month, the newspaper El Faro de Vigo reported.
The Treasury Ministry said it was unaware of the situation and that it intended to revoke his widower's pension immediately after consulting with government attorneys. Although the national Social Security Law establishes that a widower's pension cannot be awarded to someone who has been convicted of murdering the deceased, it is possible that Pisonero, as a public servant, falls under different legislation.
If that were to be the case, said legal sources, authorities would have to fall back on the Gender Violence Law, which in 2007 added a clause specifying that murderers cannot claim such benefits. In addition, a convict database was created to have the justice, equality, labor and treasury departments work together to prevent cases like Pisonero's from being repeated. However, these laws are not retroactive; this teacher killed his wife in 1998.
One of the victim's lawyers, Doris Benegas, called the case "surprising" and requested that the checks be discontinued, according to Efe news agency. The secretary of state for equality, Laura Seara, also asked that Pisonero's pension be revoked and called on the Treasury and Labor Ministries to investigate whether there are any more such cases.
Ángela Cerrillo, president of the women's jurists' association Themis, believes that state attorneys will say that his widower's pension can indeed be canceled. It is another case, however, whether he can be forced to return the money he has already received.
Pisonero Domínguez used to boast about the fact that he was getting a widower's pension, according to sources at Pereiro de Aguiar penitentiary, where he is serving his sentence. He apparently applied for the pension entitlement while he was still on remand.
Since 2009, the former math teacher is on day release, meaning he only has to go to prison to sleep. Additionally, he gets an entire week off once a month. The double murderer leaves the penitentiary at 7am and does not return until 9pm. He drives around on a powerful motorcycle or else in a black Volkswagen Passat Coupé, and is allowed to attend computer classes in the morning and afternoon. These benefits were granted by a judge despite opposition by prison officials. The judge valued the fact that Pisonero Domínguez had paid what he owed in damages to his other son and his mother-in-law.
This case emerged only days after the Labor Ministry revoked the widower's pension of a man who killed his wife in 2005 and had been getting checks for six years. Llorenç Morell, who was sentenced to 18 years in 2007, has so far received 40,000 euros from state coffers. Meanwhile, the family of the deceased has yet to receive the 85,000 euros compensation established by the courts.