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LABOR LAW DIGESTS 2012-2017

RECRUITMENT AND RECRUITMENT PLACEMENT AND PLACEMENT

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY HONORABLE LOURDES M. TRASMONTE IN HER CAPACITY AS UNDERSECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT, AND HONORABLE JENNIFER JARDIN-MANALILI, IN HER CAPACITY AS THEN PHILIPPINE OVERSEAS EMPLOYMENT ADMINISTRATOR v. HUMANLINK MANPOWER CONSULTANTS, INC. (FORMERLY MHY NEW RECRUITMENT INTERNATIONAL, INC.) G.R. No. 205188, April 22, 2015, VILLARAMA, JR., J.

Aware that overseas workers are vulnerable to exploitation, the State sought to protect the interests
Aware that overseas workers are vulnerable to exploitation, the State sought to
protect the interests and well-being of these workers with creation of specialized bodies
such as the POEA under the direct supervision of the DOLE Secretary.
Facts:
Renelson Carlos applied at Worldview Internation Services Corporation as a heavy
equipment driver with a salary of U$700 in Doha, Qatar. His recruiting agency
Humanlink Manpower Consultants, Inc. made him sign an employment contract stating
that he was going to work as a duct man instead of the position he applied for but he was
told that this is only for purposes of entering the country. Humanlink promised that he
would work as a heavy equipment driver as applied for. However, upon his arrival in
Doha, he worked as a duct installer with a salary of U$400. Carlos filed a complaint with
the Philippine Overseas Labor Office but the complaint was not acted upon. This
prompted him to speak with the Qatar Labor Office where he discussed his grievance.
Consequently, Carlos was informed that his visa was cancelled and that he was being
repatriated at his own expense.
POEA Adjudication Office found Carlos’ assertions credible. POEA cancelled
Humanlink’s license and automatically disqualified it from participating in any overseas
employment program.
Issue:

Whether the POEA can automatically disqualify officers and directors from participating in the government's overseas employment program upon the cancellation of a license

Ruling:

LABOR LAW DIGESTS 2012-2017

Yes. One of the roles of the POEA is the regulation and adjudication of private sector participation in the recruitment and placement of overseas workers. Article 25 of the Labor Code, as amended, reads that pursuant to national development objectives and in order to harness and maximize the use of private sector resources and initiative in the development and implementation of a comprehensive employment program, the private employment sector shall participate in the recruitment and placement of workers, locally and overseas, under such guidelines, rules and regulations as may be issued by the Secretary of Labor.

This is echoed in Article 35 of the Labor Code, as amended, and Section 23(b.l),
This is echoed in Article 35 of the Labor Code, as amended, and Section 23(b.l),
R.A. No. 8042 as amended by R.A. No. 9422, where the legislature empowered the DOLE
and POEA to regulate private sector participation in the recruitment and overseas
placement of workers, to wit: The Secretary of Labor shall have the power to suspend or
cancel any license or authority to recruit employees for overseas employment for
violation of rules and regulations issued by the Secretary of Labor, the Overseas
Employment Development Board, and the National Seamen Board, or for violation of the
provisions of this and other applicable laws, General Orders and Letters of Instruction.
(Emphasis supplied)
Section 23 (b.1) states that the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration
shall regulate private sector participation in the recruitment and overseas placement of
workers by setting up a licensing and registration system.
Sections 1 and 2, Rule I, Part II of the POEA Rules and Regulations provide the
qualifications and disqualifications for private sector participation in the overseas
employment program. Section 1 of this rule provides that for persons to participate in
recruitment and placement of land-based overseas Filipino workers, they must not
possess any of the disqualifications as provided in Section
2. xxx
Section 2. Disqualification. The following are not qualified to engage in the
business of recruitment and placement of Filipino workers overseas.
d. Persons, partnerships or corporations which have derogatory records, such
as but not limited to the following:

xxx Those agencies whose licenses have been previously revoked or cancelled by the Administration for violation of RA 8042, PD 442 as amended and their implementing rules and regulations as well as these rules and regulations.

LABOR LAW DIGESTS 2012-2017

f. Persons or partners, officers and Directors of corporations whose licenses

have been previously cancelled or revoked for violation of recruitment laws. (Emphases

supplied)

Thus, upon the cancellation of a license, persons, officers and directors of the concerned corporations
Thus, upon the cancellation of a license, persons, officers and directors of the
concerned corporations are automatically prohibited from engaging in recruiting and
placement of land-based overseas Filipino workers. The grant of a license is a privilege
and not a right thus making it a proper subject of its regulatory powers.
MA. CONSOLACION M. NAHAS, doing business under the name and style
PERSONNEL EMPLOYMENT AND TECHNICAL RECRUITMENT AGENCY vs.
JUANITA L. OLARTE
G.R. No. 169247, June 2, 2014, J. Del Castillo
Under Section 64 of the Omnibus Rules and Regulations Implementing the Migrant
Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of1995 (RA 8024), the liability of the
principal/employer and the recruitment placement agency on any and all claims under this
Rule shall be joint and solidary. If the recruitment/placement agency is a juridical being,
the corporate officers and directors and partners as the case may be, shall themselves be
jointly and solidarily liable with the corporation or partnership for the aforesaid claims and
damages. Hence, Petra Agency/Royal Dream International Services/Consolacion "Marla"
Nahas were held jointly and severally ordered to pay complainant Olarte her unpaid
salaries.
Facts:
Olarte was deployed as a domestic helper to Hail, Saudi Arabia for a contract term
of two years. Per her employment contract, she was to serve her employer, (Fahad) for a
basic monthly salary of US$200.00. Fajad’s information sheet, on the other hand, provides
that there are two adults and three children living in his household and that no disabled
or sick person is to be put under Olarte’s care.

Upon arriving in Fahad’s home, Olarte was surprised that there were four children with one suffering from serious disability. This notwithstanding, Olarte served Fahad’s family diligently. However, she was not paid her salaries. It was only in December 1999 that she was given US$200.00 which was the only pay she received for the whole duration that she worked for Fahad.

LABOR LAW DIGESTS 2012-2017

In the succeeding months, Olarte started feeling intense pain in her legs. Since she was not given immediate medical attention, her condition became critical such that in February 2000 she had to be operated on due to water retention in her leg bones. She was later diagnosed to be suffering from ostro-arthritis. Because of her condition, Olarte requested Fahad to just allow her go home to the Philippines. But her pleas fell on deaf ears. At that point, Fahad was already frequently maltreating her since she could no longer accomplish all the household chores due to her illness.

Olarte finally saw an opportunity to escape from the abusive hands of her employer when
Olarte finally saw an opportunity to escape from the abusive hands of her
employer when she was allowed to go to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on June 16, 2000 and there
sought refuge at the Philippine Embassy. Notwithstanding her worsening condition, she
could not be repatriated immediately because her passport was being withheld by Fahad
and had to stay for a while in the office of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration
(OWWA). When at last she was able to return to the Philippines on August 21, 2000,
Olarte had to be brought home from the airport by an emergency ambulance.
Several months later, Olarte filed a Complaint for illegal dismissal, damages,
attorney’s fees and refund of placement fees against her foreign employer Fahad and
Nahas/PETRA/Royal Dream.
Issue:
Whether or not Royal Dream is solely responsible for Olarte’s deployment and
thus should be the one to answer for her claims
Ruling:
No. Nahas’ solidary liability with Royal Dream is in accordance with Section 64 of
the Omnibus Rules and Regulations Implementing the Migrant Workers and Overseas
Filipinos Act of1995 (RA 8024).
Section 64 of the Omnibus Rules and Regulations Implementing the Migrant
Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of1995 (RA 8024), provides:

‘Section 64. Solidary Liability – The liability of the principal/employer and the recruitment placement agency on any and all claims under this Rule shall be joint and solidary. If the recruitment/placement agency is a juridical being, the corporate officers and directors and partners as the case may be, shall themselves be jointly and solidarily liable with the corporation or partnership for the aforesaid claims and damages.

LABOR LAW DIGESTS 2012-2017

The Labor Arbiter, the NLRC, and the CA are one in their factual conclusion that Nahas, acting for and in behalf of PETRA and Royal Dream, interviewed Olarte, caused her to sign an employment contract, and facilitated and made possible her deployment abroad. The Court is, therefore, not duty-bound to inquire into the accuracy of this factual finding, particularly in this case where there is no showing that it was arbitrary and bereft of any rational basis.

Nahas’ inconsistent positions militate against her case; her claim of lack of service of summons
Nahas’ inconsistent positions militate against her case; her claim of lack of service
of summons upon Royal Dream is likewise untenable.
The Court notes that in her quest to evade liability, Nahas introduced several
conflicting assertions. Before the Labor Arbiter, she admitted that Olarte indeed applied
with PETRA and was interviewed by her but later withdrew the application. While Nahas
intended to support this position with a document showing that Olarte requested for the
withdrawal of her application, the same was, however, never submitted. What was
instead unwittingly attached to her Position Paper was Olarte’s accomplished bio-data
bearing the letterhead of Royal Dream.
More significantly, Hilario Consolacion "Marla" Nahas never denied Olarte’s claim
that it was Nahas who interviewed her. It is basic that mere allegation is neither
equivalent to proof nor evidence.

Furthermore, Anent the assertion that Royal Dream was not served with summons, it must be stressed that Olarte had categorically declared at the outset that it was in the office of PETRA/Royal Dream at Room 401, Gochangco Building, T.M. Kalaw, Ermita, Manila where she applied for work as domestic helper, was interviewed, and made to sign an employment contract. This was effectively corroborated by Nahas herself when she admitted before the Labor Arbiter that Olarte was a walk-in applicant in the said office. When finally deployed, the local agency appearing in Olarte’s papers was Royal Dream. Hence, when Olarte was repatriated and later filed a Complaint, she lodged it against Nahas and PETRA/Royal Dream and summons was served upon them at Room 401, Gochangco Building, T.M., Kalaw, Ermita, Manila. Besides, to concede to this claim of Nahas would in effect allow her, PETRA and Royal Dream to hide behind the cloak of corporate fiction in order to evade the rightful claims of Olarte. It bears emphasizing that "the statutorily granted privilege of a corporate veil may be used only for legitimate purposes." "The corporate vehicle cannot be used as a shield to protect fraud or justify wrong," which clearly in this case is what Nahas, PETRA and Royal Dream are attempting to achieve but which the Court cannot allow.

LABOR LAW DIGESTS 2012-2017

ABOSTA SHIP MANAGEMENT and/or ARTEMIO CORBILLA vs. WILHILM M. HILARIO G.R. No. 195792, November 24, 2014, C.J. Sereno

The contract was already perfected on the date of its execution, which occurred when Abosta and Hilario agreed on the object and the cause, as well as on the rest of the terms and conditions therein. Naturally, contemporaneous with the perfection of the employment contract was the birth of certain rights and obligations, a breach of which may give rise to a cause of action against the erring party. Also, the POEA Standard Contract must be recognized and respected. Thus, neither the manning agent nor the employer can simply prevent a seafarer from being deployed without a valid reason.

Facts: On 24 October 2002, an employment contract was executed by Abosta Ship Management, on
Facts:
On 24 October 2002, an employment contract was executed by Abosta Ship
Management, on behalf of its foreign principal Panstar Shipping Co., Ltd., and Wilhilm
Hilario. In this contract, the latter was hired as a bosun (boatswain) of the foreign vessel
Grand Mark for a period of nine months, with a monthly salary of USD566. The contract
was duly approved by the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) on 25
October 2002.
Hilario was informed that the latter’s deployment had been postponed due to
shifting demands of the foreign principal. It appears, though, that the foreign principal
decided to promote an able seaman on board the vessel instead of hiring Hilario. Abosta
thus requested Hilario to wait for another two to three months for a vacancy to occur.
Hilario filed a Complaint with the POEA against Abosta Ship Managment for
violation of Section 2(r), Rule I, Part VI of the 2002 POEA Rules by failing to deploy
Hilario within the prescribed period without any valid reason. Hilario likewise filed a
Complaint with the Labor Arbiter. Abosta alleged that the Labor Arbiter has no
jurisdiction over the matter. However, the Labor Arbiter denied the motion. On appeal
with the NLRC, the NLRC revised and set aside the ruling of the Labor Arbiter. The NLRC
held that considering no employer-employee relationship existed between the parties,
the POEA had jurisdiction over the case.

Hilario appealed with the Court of Appeals, the CA granted Hilario’s petition and ordered that the case be reinstated. Upon reinstatement, the Labor Arbiter found that the contract executed between the parties and the non-fulfillment thereof entitled Hilario to his salary for the whole duration of the contract. On appeal with the NLRC, the NLRC dismissed the Complaint, but ordered Abosta "to comply with our directive to deploy Hilario as soon as possible or face the inevitable consequences.”

LABOR LAW DIGESTS 2012-2017

Hilario then appealed the adverse ruling of the NLRC to the CA. The CA granted his petition and stated that since Hilario had already been hired for the same position, then there was no longer any vacant position to which to promote the able seaman. Hence, this petition.

Issue: Whether or not such breach in the employment contract (promotion of a seaman as
Issue:
Whether or not such breach in the employment contract (promotion of a seaman
as a bosun) would entitle Hilario to the payment of actual damages for the failure of
Abosta to comply with the latter’s obligations in accordance with the employment
contract
Ruling:
Yes, Hilario is entitled to damages.
The foreign principal of Abosta had already chosen Hilario from among the other
candidates as BSN (bosun or boatswain). Pursuant to this communication, Abosta
entered into an employment contract and hired Hilario on 24 October 2002. Subsequent
communications, though, show that the foreign principal approved a different candidate
for the position of BSN. Thus, Abosta did not deploy Hilario.
There was an apparent violation of the contract at the time that the foreign
principal decided to promote another person. The vacancy for the position of boatswain
ceased to exist upon the execution of the contract between Abosta and Hilario on 24
October 2002, a contract subsequently approved by the POEA on 25 October 2002.
Clearly, there was no vacancy when the foreign principal changed its mind, since the
position of boatswain had already been filled up by Hilario.

The contract was already perfected on the date of its execution, which occurred when Abosta and Hilario agreed on the object and the cause, as well as on the rest of the terms and conditions therein. Naturally, contemporaneous with the perfection of the employment contract was the birth of certain rights and obligations, a breach of which may give rise to a cause of action against the erring party. Also, the POEA Standard Contract must be recognized and respected. Thus, neither the manning agent nor the employer can simply prevent a seafarer from being deployed without a valid reason.

Under the principle of equity and substantial justice, change of mind was not a valid reason for the non-deployment of Hilario. He lost the opportunity to apply for other positions in other agencies when he signed the contract of employment with Abosta.

LABOR LAW DIGESTS 2012-2017

Simply put, that contract was binding on the parties and may not later be disowned simply because of a change of mind of either one of them.

Considering that it was Abosta who entered into the contract of employment with Hilario for and on behalf of the foreign principal, it has the primary obligation to ensure the implementation of that contract. Indeed, this Court has consistently held that private employment agencies are held jointly and severally liable with the foreign-based employer for any violation of the recruitment agreement or contract of employment. This joint and solidary liability imposed by law on recruitment agencies and foreign employers is meant to assure the aggrieved worker of immediate and sufficient payment of what is due him.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. MARIA JENNY REA Y GUEVARRA AND ESTRELLITA TENDENILLA G.R. No.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. MARIA JENNY REA Y GUEVARRA AND
ESTRELLITA TENDENILLA
G.R. No. 197049. June 10, 2013
Illegal recruitment is committed by persons who, without authority from the
government, give the impression that they have the power to send workers abroad for
employment purposes. To prove illegal recruitment, it must be shown that appellant gave
complainants the distinct impression that he had the power or ability to send complainants
abroad for work such that the latter were convinced to part with their money in order to be
employed.
Facts:
Appellants and Ginette Azul were charged with illegal recruitment before RTC.
Private complainants alleged that they met Tendenilla through Azul. Tendenilla
personally, or through Azul, assured them that she has the power and capacity to deploy
workers to London. Private complainants paid Tendenilla, directly or through Azul,
placement fees in the amounts ranging from P100,000.00 to P200,000.00 each. They were
sent first to Thailand while waiting for the processing of their working visas to London.
They travelled to Penang, Malaysia to obtain a non-immigrant Thailand visa to validate
their stay in Thailand. Thereafter, they were arrested and deported back to the
Philippines by the Thailand immigration office.

The RTC rendered judgment convicting appellants of the crime of illegal recruitment in large scale. The trial court found that all elements of illegal recruitment in large scale were established through the testimonies of the private complainants and that appellants conspired to commit the crime. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision. Hence, this petition.

LABOR LAW DIGESTS 2012-2017

Issue:

Whether or not appellants are liable for the crime of illegal recruitment in large

scale

Ruling: The crime of illegal recruitment in large scale is committed upon concurrence of these
Ruling:
The crime of illegal recruitment in large scale is committed upon concurrence of
these (3) elements, namely: (1) the offenders undertake any activity within the meaning
of recruitment and placement defined in Article 13(b) or any prohibited practices
enumerated in Article 34 of the Labor Code; (2) the offenders have no valid license or
authority required by law to enable them to lawfully engage in the recruitment and
placement of workers; and (3) the offenders commit the acts against three or more
persons, individually or as a group.
Recruitment and placement is defined in Article 13(b) of the Labor Code as “any
act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring, or procuring
worker; and includes referrals, contract services, promising or advertising for
employment, locally or abroad, whether for profit or not.”
Simply put, illegal recruitment is committed by persons who, without authority
from the government, give the impression that they have the power to send workers
abroad for employment purposes.
That Tendenilla made misrepresentations concerning her purported power to
recruit for overseas employment; and personally, or through Azul but on her behalf,
collected placement fees from private complainants were clearly established from the
testimonies of private complainants.
To prove illegal recruitment, it must be shown that appellant gave complainants
the distinct impression that he had the power or ability to send complainants abroad for
work such that the latter were convinced to part with their money in order to be
employed.

The first element of large scale illegal recruitment was proven by the testimonies of the private complainants which the trial court found to be credible and convincing. We find that they were given in a clear, positive and straightforward manner. Between the positive and categorical testimonies of private complainants and the unsubstantiated denials of appellants, we give more weight to the former.

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The certification issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration that Tendenilla is not licensed to recruit workers for overseas employment constitutes the second element of the crime of illegal recruitment.

The third element is likewise satisfied when at least six (6) individuals filed the case, claimed and in fact, were found to have been defrauded by appellants.

We reiterate the findings of the Court of Appeals, to wit: In the case at
We reiterate the findings of the Court of Appeals, to wit:
In the case at bar, it cannot be doubted that both accused-appellants
indispensably cooperated and coordinated in illegally recruiting the private
complainants. From the evidence, it can be seen that the success of the scheme depended
on accused-appellants’ joint efforts. Estrellita Tendenilla directly dealt with the private
complainants, promising them employment, demanding money from them, conducting
dubious trainings, and sending them to Thailand. Maria Jenny Rea, on the other hand,
covered the next phase of the process that is, travelling with the private complainants to
Thailand, bringing them to the border of Thailand and Malaysia, securing their
fraudulent non-immigrant visas, and accompanying them back to the Philippines.
Based on the foregoing, appellants were correctly found guilty of large scale illegal
recruitment tantamount to economic sabotage.
ASIAN INTERNATIONAL MANPOWER SERVICES, INC., vs.
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT.
G.R. No. 210308, April 6, 2016
FACTS
On November 8, 2006, the Anti-Illegal Recruitment Branch of the POEA, pursuant to
Surveillance Order No. 033, Series of 2006, conducted a surveillance of Asian
International Manpower Services, Inc. (AIMS) with office address at 1653 Taft Avenue
comer Pedro Gil Street, Malate, Manila to determine whether it was operating as a
recruitment agency despite the cancellation of its license on August 28, 2006. The
operatives reported that their surveillance did not reveal the information needed, so
another surveillance was recommended.

On February 20, 2007, another surveillance was conducted on the premises of AIMS' office pursuant to Surveillance Order No. 011. This time the POEA operatives observed that there were people standing outside its main entrance, and there were announcements of job vacancies posted on the main glass door of the office. Posing as

LABOR LAW DIGESTS 2012-2017

applicants, the POEA operatives, Atty. Romelson E. Abbang and Edilberto V. Alogoc, inquired as to the requirements for the position of executive staff: and a lady clerk of AIMS handed them a flyer. Through the flyer, they learned that AIMS was hiring hotel workers for deployment to Macau and grape pickers for California. They also saw applicants inside the office waiting to be attended to. The POEA operatives later confirmed through the POEA Verification System that AIMS had regained its license and good standing on December 6, 2006, but that it had no existing approved job orders yet at that time.

On March 26, 2007, the POEA issued a Show Cause Order directing AIMS and its
On March 26, 2007, the POEA issued a Show Cause Order directing AIMS and its
covering surety, Country Bankers Insurance Corporation, to submit their answer or
explanation to the Surveillance Report dated November 8, 2006 of the POEA operatives.
However, no copy of the Surveillance Report dated February 21, 2007 was attached.
In compliance thereto, Danilo P. Pelagio, AIMS President, wrote to the POEA on April 3,
2007 maintaining that AIMS was not liable for any recruitment misrepresentation.
Invoking the Surveillance Report dated November 8, 2006, he cited the POEA operatives'
own admission that when they first came posing as applicants, the AIMS staff advised
them that it had no job vacancies for waiters and that its license had been cancelled. He
also called POEA's attention to the notice issued to AIMS, which was received on
November 27, 2006, that the cancellation of its license had been set aside on December
6, 2006; and that the POEA Adjudication Office even circulated an advise to all its
operating units of the restoration of AIMS' license.
During the hearing on May 9, 2007, AIMS representative, Rommel Lugatiman
(Lugatiman), appeared, and averring that it had already filed its answer, he then moved
for the resolution of the complaint.
In the Order dated June 30, 2008, then POEA Administrator Rosalinda Baldoz ruled that
on the basis of the Surveillance Report dated February 21, 2007 of the POEA operatives,
AIMS was liable for misrepresentation under Section 2(e), Rule I, Part VI of the 2002
POEA Rules, since the POEA records showed that AIMS had no job orders to hire hotel
workers for Macau, nor grape pickers for California, as its flyer allegedly advertised.

AIMS filed a motion for reconsideration before the DOLE. It alleged that its right to due process was violated because the POEA did not furnish it with a copy of the Surveillance Report dated February 21, 2007, which was the basis of the POEA Administrator's factual findings.

ISSUE

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Whether AIMS’s right to due process was violated.

RULING

In concluding that, through Lugatiman, AIMS was "obviously informed of the charges" during the preliminary hearing, the CA overlooked the crucial fact that, as the POEA itself admitted, it did not furnish AIMS with a copy of its Surveillance Report dated February 21, 2007, which contains the factual allegations of misrepresentation supposedly committed by AIMS. It is incomprehensible why the POEA would neglect to furnish AIMS with a copy of the said report, since other than the fact that AIMS was represented at the hearing on May 9, 2007, there is no showing that Lugatiman was apprised of the contents thereof. In fact, as AIMS now claims, the alleged recruitment flyer distributed to its applicants was not even presented.

Since AIMS was provided with only the Surveillance Report dated November 8, 2006, it could
Since AIMS was provided with only the Surveillance Report dated November 8, 2006, it
could only have been expected to respond to the charge contained in the Show Cause
Order. Thus, in its answer, it needed only to point to the POEA operatives' own
admission in their Surveillance Report dated November 8, 2006 that when they came
posing as job applicants, the staff of AIMS advised them that it had no job vacancies for
waiters and that its license had been cancelled. As POEA now also admits, AIMS's license
to recruit was restored on December 6, 2006.
The CA faulted AIMS for failing to avail itself of the opportunity to rebut the allegations
of the POEA operatives in the two Surveillance Reports, as well as "to clarify the issues
or the charges," during the May 9, 2007 preliminary hearing. Considering that AIMS was
not furnished with the Surveillance Report dated February 21, 2007, it cannot be expected
to second-guess what charges and issues it needed to clarify or rebut in order to clear
itself. Needless to say, its right to due process consisting of being informed of the charges
against it has been grossly violated.

Moreover, AIMS also points out that the flyer advertising the jobs in Macau and California was never presented or made part of the record, and neither was the AIMS lady clerk who allegedly distributed the same even identified, as AIMS demanded. Besides, granting that AIMS did advertise with flyers for hotel workers or grape pickers, for which it allegedly had no existing approved job orders, it is provided in Sections I and 2 of Rule VII (Advertisement for Overseas Jobs), Part II of the 2002 POEA Rules28 that the said activity is permitted for manpower pooling purposes, without need of prior approval from the POEA, upon the following conditions: (1) it is done by a licensed agency; (2) the advertisement indicates in bold letters that it is for manpower pooling only; (3) no fees are collected from the applicants; and ( 4) the name, address and POEA license number of the agency, name and worksite of the prospective

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registered/accredited principal and the skill categories and qualification standards are indicated.

It is true that in administrative proceedings, as in the case below, only substantial evidence is needed, or such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind may accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Unfortunately, there is no evidence against AIMS to speak of, much less substantial evidence. Clearly, AIMS 's right to be informed of the charges against it, and its right to be held liable only upon substantial evidence, have both been gravely violated.

LABOR STANDARDS EDILBERTO P. ETOM, JR. v. AROMA LODGING HOUSE THROUGH EDUARDO G. LEM, PROPRIETOR
LABOR STANDARDS
EDILBERTO P. ETOM, JR. v. AROMA LODGING HOUSE THROUGH EDUARDO G.
LEM, PROPRIETOR AND GENERAL MANAGER
G.R. No. 192955, November 09, 2015, DEL CASTILLO, J.
Once the employee has asserted with particularity that his employer failed to pay his
benefits, the burden is on the employer to prove payment, rather than on the employee to
establish non-payment.
Facts:
Etom filed a complaint against Aroma Lodging House for illegal dismissal and money
claims. When the case reached the CA, it explained that for having executed an earlier
notarized affidavit stating that he received wages above the required minimum salary,
Etom could not subsequently claim that he was underpaid by respondent. Etom argued
that he was pressured to sign the affidavit which was executed during the pendency of a
criminal case against him. He likewise averred that he is illiterate and does not
understand the implication of said affidavit.
Issue:
Whether the affidavit executed by an employee sufficiently proves payment by employer
by an employee sufficiently proves payment by employer Ruling: No. While a notarized document is presumed

Ruling:

No. While a notarized document is presumed to be regular such presumption is not absolute and may be overcome by clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. The

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fact that a document is notarized is not a guarantee of the validity of its contents. Etom is an unlettered employee who may not have understood the full import of his statements in the affidavit. Also, respondent did not present substantial evidence that it paid Etom’s benefits. Respondent's mere reliance on the foregoing affidavit is misplaced because the requirement of established jurisprudence is for the employer to prove payment, and not merely deny the employee's accusation of non-payment on the basis of the latter's own declaration.

MONCHITO R. AMPELOQUIO vs. JAKA DISTRIBUTION, INC G.R. No. 196936, July 2, 2014, J. Jose
MONCHITO R. AMPELOQUIO vs. JAKA DISTRIBUTION, INC
G.R. No. 196936, July 2, 2014, J. Jose Portugal Perez
Seniority rights refer to the creditable years of service in the employment record of
the illegally dismissed employee as if he or she never ceased working for the employer. In
other words, the employee’s years of service is deemed continuous and never interrupted.
Such is likewise the rationale for reinstatement’s twin relief of full backwages.
The phrase without loss of seniority rights applies with practical and real effect to
Ampeloquio upon his retirement because he will reach earlier than other regular employees
of JAKA the required number of years of service to qualify for retirement.
Reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and benefits does not necessarily
mean equal or more rights than those employees hired by JAKA prior or subsequent to his
reinstatement. The rule on how much pay a reinstated employee shall receive is governed
by paragraph 3 of Article 223 of the Labor Code. To repeat, Ampeloquio is not entitled to all
benefits or privileges received by other employees subsequently hired by JAKA just by the
fact of his seniority in the service with JAKA.
Facts:
Respondents RMI Marketing Corp., (now known as JAKA DISTRIBUTION, INC.)
and Teodoro Barzabal, are ordered to reinstate, petitioner, Monchito Ampeloquio in his
former position as merchandiser without loss of seniority rights and other benefits and
to pay him backwages and attorney’s fees.

Ampeloquio resumed work as merchandiser at JAKA and reported at JAKA’s outlets within Metro Manila, Shopwise Makati and Alabang. He received a daily wage of P252.00, without meal and transportation allowance.

Later, Ampeloquio was transferred outside of Metro Manila, to Lucena City and subsequently to San Pablo City. At that time, he was receiving the same daily wage

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of P252.00, without meal and transportation allowance. Ampeloquio was given a monthly cost of living allowance (COLA) of P720.00.

In a Letter addressed to JAKA’s general manager, Ampeloquio requested for salary adjustment and benefits retroactive to the date of his reinstatement and payment of salary differential. In another Letter, Ampeloquio wrote JAKA reiterating his request for salary adjustment and payment of benefits retroactive to his reinstatement, and an increase from his previous request of salary differential.

Because of the discrepancy in wages, Ampeloquio filed anew before the NLRC, a complaint for
Because of the discrepancy in wages, Ampeloquio filed anew before the NLRC, a
complaint for underpayment of wages, COLA, non-payment of meal and transportation
allowances which was granted by Labor Arbiter. NLRC modified the amounts ordered by
the Labor Arbiter to be paid by JAKA to Ampeloquio. CA dismissed Ampeloquio’s
petition for certiorari finding no grave abuse of discretion in the NLRC’s ruling and
finding that, in fact, it is supported by substantial evidence.
Issue:
Whether or not Ampeloquio is entitled to all benefits or privileges received by
other employees subsequently hired by JAKA just by the fact of his seniority in the service
with JAKA.
Ruling:
No, Ampeloquio is not entitled to all benefits or privileges received by other
employees subsequently hired by JAKA just by the fact of his seniority in the service with
JAKA.
Seniority rights refer to the creditable years of service in the employment record
of the illegally dismissed employee as if he or she never ceased working for the employer.
In other words, the employee’s years of service is deemed continuous and never
interrupted. Such is likewise the rationale for reinstatement’s twin relief of full
backwages.

Ampeloquio is correct in asserting that he is a senior employee compared to the other merchandisers whom he himself designates as casual or contractual merchandisers. He is likewise senior to other regular employees subsequently hired by JAKA, specifically two regular messenger employees which Ampeloquio claims receive wages higher than what he is receiving from JAKA.

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However, the case of Ampeloquio is outside the ordinary. His reinstatement was ordered when merchandisers like him were no longer employed by JAKA. He is not entitled to the same terms and conditions of employment as that which was offered to the other regular employees (not merchandisers) subsequently hired by JAKA. JAKA’s decision to grant or withhold certain benefits to other employees is part of its management prerogative as a function of an employer’s constitutionally protected right to reasonable return on investments.

The phrase without loss of seniority rights applies with practical and real effect to Ampeloquio
The phrase without loss of seniority rights applies with practical and real effect to
Ampeloquio upon his retirement because he will reach earlier than other regular
employees of JAKA the required number of years of service to qualify for retirement.
In all, the labor tribunals were right in using as guidepost the existing statutory
minimum wages and COLA during the three (3) year prescriptive period within which
Ampeloquio can make his money claims.
The Court is not unaware that reinstatement is the rule and such covers
reinstatement to the same or substantially equivalent position without loss of seniority
rights and privileges.
In this case, JAKA did not claim exceptions to the rule of reinstatement, i.e.,(1) strained
relations, or (2) abolition of the position; JAKA immediately complied with the Labor
Arbiter’s order of reinstatement even if such position no longer exists and has been
abolished with the contracting of this job function.
The option of reinstatement to a substantially equivalent position does not apply
herein as reinstatement to a substantially equivalent position entails the same or similar
job functions and not just same wages or salary. As applied to this case, Ampeloquio
cannot be reinstated to a messengerial position although such is a regular employment
enjoying the same employment benefits and privileges. His employment cannot likewise
be converted into a contractual employment as such is actually a downgrade from his
regular employment enjoying security of tenure with JAKA.

As the sole regular merchandiser of JAKA, Ampeloquio’s reinstatement entitles him, at the minimum, to the standard minimum wage at the time of his employment and to the wages he would have received from JAKA had he not been illegally dismissed, as if there was no cessation of employment. Ampeloquio is likewise entitled to any increase which JAKA may have given across the board to all its regular employees. To repeat, Ampeloquio is not entitled to all benefits or privileges received by other employees subsequently hired by JAKA just by the fact of his seniority in the service with JAKA.

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Without loss of seniority rights and benefits, does not necessarily mean equal or more rights than those employees hired by JAKA prior or subsequent to his reinstatement. The rule on how much pay a reinstated employee shall receive is governed by paragraph 3 of Article 223 of the Labor Code.

OUR HAUS REALTY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION vs. ALEXANDER PARIAN, JAY C. ERINCO, ALEXANDER CANLAS, BERNARD TENEDERO
OUR HAUS REALTY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION vs. ALEXANDER PARIAN,
JAY C. ERINCO, ALEXANDER CANLAS, BERNARD TENEDERO AND JERRY
SABULAO
G.R. No. 204651, August 6, 2014, J. Brion
The employer’s’ argument is a vain attempt to circumvent the minimum wage law
by trying to create a distinction where none exists. There is no substantial distinction
between deducting and charging a facility’s value from the employee’s wage. Hence, the
legal requirements for creditability apply to both. These requirements are (a) proof must
be shown that such facilities are customarily furnished by the trade; (b) the provision of
deductible facilities must be voluntarily accepted in writing by the employee; and (c) the
facilities must be charged at fair and reasonable value.
Facts:
Alexander Parian, Jay Erinco, Alexander Canlas, Jerry Sabulao and Bernardo
Tenedero (respondents) were all laborers working for Our Haus Realty Development
Corporation (Our Haus), a company engaged in the construction business.
Sometime in May 2010, Our Haus experienced financial distress. To alleviate its
condition, Our Haus suspended some of its construction projects and asked the affected
workers, including the respondents, to take vacation leaves.
Eventually, the respondents were asked to report back to work but instead of doing
so, they filed with the LA a complaint for underpayment of their daily wages. They
claimed that except for respondent Bernardo N. Tenedero, their wages were below the
minimum rates prescribed in the following wage orders from 2007 to 2010.

Our Haus primarily argued that there is a distinction between deduction and charging. A written authorization is only necessary if the facility’s value will be deducted and will not be needed if it will merely be charged or included in the computation of wages. Our Haus claimed that it did not actually deduct the values of the meals and housing benefits. It only considered these in computing the total amount of wages paid to the respondents for purposes of compliance with the minimum wage law. Hence, the written authorization requirement should not apply.

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On the other hand, the respondents argued that the value of their meals should not be considered in determining their wages’ total amount since the requirements set under Section 4 of DOLE Memorandum Circular No. 2 were not complied with. The respondents pointed out that Our Haus never presented any proof that they agreed in writing to the inclusion of their meals’ value in their wages. Also, Our Haus failed to prove that the value of the facilities it furnished was fair and reasonable.

Issue: Whether there is a substantial distinction between deducting and charging a facility’s value from
Issue:
Whether there is a substantial distinction between deducting and charging a facility’s
value from the employee’s wage
Ruling:
No, the legal requirements for creditability apply to both.
Our Haus’ argument is a vain attempt to circumvent the minimum wage law by
trying to create a distinction where none exists. In reality, deduction and charging
both operate to lessen the actual take-home pay of an employee.
In both, the employee receives a lessened amount because supposedly, the facility’s
value, which is part of his wage, had already been paid to him in kind. As there is no
substantial distinction between the two, the requirements set by law must apply to both.
As the CA correctly ruled, these requirements, as summarized in Mabeza, are the
following:
1.Proof must be shown that such facilities are customarily furnished by the trade;
2.The provision of deductible facilities must be voluntarily accepted in writing by the
employee; and
3.The facilities must be charged at fair and reasonable value
A. The facility must be customarily furnished by the trade
In a string of cases, we have concluded that one of the badges to show that a facility
is customarily furnished by the trade is the existence of a company policy or guideline
showing that provisions for a facility were designated as part of the employees’
salaries.

We agree with the NLRC’s finding that the sinumpaang salaysay statements submitted by Our Haus are self-serving. For one, Our Haus only produced the documents when the NLRC had already earlier determined that Our Haus failed to prove that it was traditionally giving the respondents their board and lodging. This document did not state whether these benefits had been consistently enjoyed by the rest of Our Haus’ employees.

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Moreover, the records reveal that the board and lodging were given on a per project basis. Our Haus did not show if these benefits were also provided in its other construction projects, thus negating its claimed customary nature.

B. The provision of deductible facilities must be voluntarily accepted in writing by

the employee.

In Mayon Hotel, we reiterated that a facility may only be deducted from the wage
In Mayon Hotel, we reiterated that a facility may only be deducted from the wage if
the employer was authorized in writing by the concerned employee. As it diminishes
the take-home pay of an employee, the deduction must be with his express consent.
Again, in the motion for reconsideration with the NLRC, Our Haus belatedly
submitted five kasunduans, supposedly executed by the respondents, containing their
conformity to the inclusion of the values of the meals and housing to their total wages.
Oddly, Our Haus only offered these documents when the NLRC had already ruled that
respondents did not accomplish any written authorization, to allow deduction from their
wages. These five kasunduans were also undated, making us wonder if they had really
been executed when respondents fi`rst assumed their jobs.
C. The facility must be charged at fair and reasonable value.
Our Haus admitted that it deducted the amount of P290.00 per week from each of
the respondents for their meals. But it now submits that it did not actually withhold the
entire amount as it did not figure in the computation the money it expended for the
salary of the cook, the water, and the LPG used for cooking, which amounts to P249.40
per week per person. From these, it appears that the total meal expense per week for each
person is P529.40, making Our Haus’ P290.00 deduction within the 70% ceiling
prescribed by the rules.
In the present case, Our Haus never explained how it came up with the values it
assigned for the benefits it provided; it merely listed its supposed expenses without any
supporting document. Since Our Haus is using these additional expenses (cook’s salary,
water and LPG) to support its claim that it did not withhold the full amount of the meals’
value, Our Haus is burdened to present evidence to corroborate its claim. The records
however, are bereft of any evidence to support Our Haus’ meal expense computation.
Even the value it assigned for the respondents’ living accommodations was not supported
by any documentary evidence. Without any corroborative evidence, it cannot be said that
Our Haus complied with this third requisite.

EMER MILAN, RANDY MASANGKAY, WILFREDO JAVIER, RONALDO DAVID, BONIFACIO MATUNDAN, NORA MENDOZA, ET AL. vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, SOLID MILLS, INC., AND/OR PHILIP ANG

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G.R. No. 202961, February 04, 2015, J. Leonen

An employer is allowed to withhold terminal pay and benefits pending the employee’s return of its properties.The return of the property owned by their employer Solid Mills became an obligation or liability on the part of the employees when the employer- employee relationship ceased. Thus, respondent Solid Mills has the right to withhold petitioners’ wages and benefits because of this existing debt or liability.

Facts: As Solid Mills’ employees, petitioners Milan, et al. and their families were allowed to
Facts:
As Solid Mills’ employees, petitioners Milan, et al. and their families were allowed
to occupy SMI Village, a property owned by respondent Solid Mills. According to Solid
Mills, this was “out of liberality and for the convenience of its employees
and on the
condition that the employees
fit.”
would vacate the premises anytime the Company deems
Subsequently, petitioners were informed that Solid Mills would cease its
operations due to serious business losses. NAFLU (petitioner’s labor union) recognized
Solid Mills’ closure due to serious business losses in the memorandum of agreement. The
memorandum of agreement provided for Solid Mills’ grant of separation pay less
accountabilities, accrued sick leave benefits, vacation leave benefits, and 13th month pay
to the employees. Later on, Solid Mills, through Alfredo Jingco, sent to petitioners
individual notices to vacate SMI Village. As a consequence, petitioners were no longer
allowed to report for work. They were required to sign a memorandum of agreement with
release and quitclaim before their vacation and sick leave benefits, 13th month pay, and
separation pay would be released. Employees who signed the memorandum of
agreement were considered to have agreed to vacate SMI Village, and to the demolition
of the constructed houses inside as condition for the release of their termination benefits
and separation pay. Petitioners refused to sign the documents and demanded to be paid
their benefits and separation pay.

Hence, petitioners filed complaints before the Labor Arbiter for alleged non- payment of separation pay, accrued sick and vacation leaves, and 13th month pay. They argued that their accrued benefits and separation pay should not be withheld because their payment is based on company policy and practice. Moreover, the 13th month pay is based on law, specifically, Presidential Decree No. 851. Their possession of Solid Mills property is not an accountability that is subject to clearance procedures. They had already turned over to Solid Mills their uniforms and equipment when Solid Mills ceased operations.

Issue:

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Whether or not Solid Mills is allowed to withhold terminal pay and benefits pending the petitioners’ return of its properties.

Ruling:

Yes. Requiring clearance before the release of last payments to the employee is a standard
Yes.
Requiring clearance before the release of last payments to the employee is a
standard procedure among employers, whether public or private. Clearance procedures
are instituted to ensure that the properties, real or personal, belonging to the employer
but are in the possession of the separated employee, are returned to the employer before
the
employee’s
departure.
The Civil Code also provides that the employer is authorized to withhold wages
for debts due:Article 1706. Withholding of the wages, except for a debt due, shall not be
made by the employer.
“Debt” in this case refers to any obligation due from the employee to the
employer. It includes any accountability that the employee may have to the
employer. There is no reason to limit its scope to uniforms and equipment, as petitioners
would argue.
More importantly, respondent Solid Mills and NAFLU, the union representing
petitioners, agreed that the release of petitioners’ benefits shall be “less accountabilities.”
“Accountability,” in its ordinary sense, means obligation or debt. The ordinary
meaning of the term “accountability” does not limit the definition of accountability to
those incurred in the worksite. As long as the debt or obligation was incurred by virtue
of the employer-employee relationship, generally, it shall be included in the employee’s
accountabilities that are subject to clearance procedures.

It may be true that not all employees enjoyed the privilege of staying in respondent Solid Mills’ property. However, this alone does not imply that this privilege when enjoyed was not a result of the employer-employee relationship. Those who did avail of the privilege were employees of respondent Solid Mills. Petitioners’ possession should, therefore, be included in the term “accountability.” The return of the property owned by their employer Solid Mills became an obligation or liability on the part of the employees when the employer-employee relationship ceased. Thus, respondent Solid Mills has the right to withhold petitioners’ wages and benefits because of this existing debt or liability.

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PMI-FACULTY AND EMPLOYEES UNION v. PMI COLLEGES BOHOL G.R. No. 211526, June 29, 2016

FACTS Respondent PMI Colleges Bohol (respondent) is an educational institution that offers maritime and customs
FACTS
Respondent PMI Colleges Bohol (respondent) is an educational institution that offers
maritime and customs administration courses to the public. Petitioner PMI-Faculty and
Employees Union (Union) is the collective bargaining representative of the respondent's
rank-and-file faculty members and administrative staff.
On October 2, 2009, the Union filed a notice of strike with the National Conciliation and
Mediation Board (NCMB) in Cebu City, against the respondent, on grounds of gross
violation of Sections 3 and 3(a) of their collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The Union
threatened to go on strike on the first working day of the year 2010 following the failure
of the conciliation and mediation proceedings to settle the dispute. In an order dated
December 29, 2009, Secretary Marianito D. Roque of the Department of Labor and
Employment (DOLE) certified the dispute to the National Labor Relations Commission
(NLRC) for compulsory arbitration.
On July 19, 2010, the Union filed a second notice of strike allegedly over the same CBA
violation. On July 28, 2010, the respondent filed a Motion to Strike Out Notice of Strike
and to Refer the Dispute to Voluntary Arbitration, claiming that the Union failed to
exhaust administrative remedies before resorting to a 2nd notice of strike. On August 5,
2010, the respondent filed a Motion for Joinder of Issues under the 2nd notice of strike
with those of the 1st notice.
On August 2, 2010, the Union submitted its strike vote. It alleged that while waiting for
the expiration of the 15-day cooling-off period and/or the completion of the 7-day strike
vote period, its members religiously reported for duty. On August 9, 2010, the last day of
the cooling-off and strike vote periods, the Union officers and members reported for
work (except for Union President Alberto Porlacin who was attending to his sick wife at
the time), but they were allegedly not allowed entry to the school premises. This incident,
according to the Union, was confirmed under oath by its officers/members.

In protest of what it considered a lock-out by the respondent, the Union staged a strike on the same day. The respondent reacted with a Petition to Declare the Strike Illegal, also filed on the same day. DOLE Secretary Rosalinda D. Baidoz assumed jurisdiction over

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the dispute through an order dated August 10, 2010. She directed the strikers to return rework, and the school to resume operations.

ISSUE

Whether or not the NLRC correctly found illegal the strike declared by the Union on
Whether or not the NLRC correctly found illegal the strike declared by the Union on
August 9, 2010.
RULING
The declaration of the strike a day before the completion of the cooling-off and strike
vote periods was but a reaction to the respondent's locking out the officers and members
of the Union. The Union does not deny that it staged the strike on August 9, 2010, or on
the 21st day after the filing of the strike notice on July 19, 2010, and the submission of the
strike vote on August 2, 2010, a day earlier than the 22 days required by law (15 days strike
notice, plus 7 days strike vote period). It, however, maintained that it was left with no
choice but to go on strike a day earlier because the respondent had barred its officers and
members from entering the school premises.
The NLRC had been too quick in rejecting the sworn statements of the Union officers
and members that they had been locked out by the respondent when they reported for
duty in the morning of August 9, 2010, branding their affidavits as self-serving, without
providing any basis for such a conclusion other than who submitted the statements in
evidence, which it implied to be the Union.
On the contrary, we find the statements credible, particularly those of Engr. Teodomila
Mascardo, Engr. Conchita Bagaslao, Ms. Mary Jean Enriquez, and Mr. Cirilo Fallar that
they had classes at 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. on Monday, August 9, 2010, and that, in
compliance with their teaching load, they had to be in the school premises at 7:00 a.m.
but were surprised when they were not allowed to enter on that day by the guards on
duty. They protested, they added, and insisted on entering the school premises, but they
were pushed out of the school grounds by the guards who said that they were just
following orders from the PMI management.

Under the circumstances, we find no reason for Mascardo, Bagaslao, Enriquez, and Fallar to make self-serving and therefore false statements on their failure to hold their classes in the morning of August 9, 2010 because they were refused entry by the security guards. While they are Union members, they are first and foremost teachers who were reporting for duty on that day. The same thing can be said of the Union officers who were also

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refused entry by the guards. We likewise find no reason for the officers to throw away all their preparations for a lawful strike on the very last day, had they not been pushed to act by the respondent's closing of the gates on August 9, 2010.

It was thus grave abuse of discretion for the NLRC to completely ignore the affidavits of

the officers and members of the Union directly saying that they were refused entry into
the officers and members of the Union directly saying that they were refused entry into
the school premises on August 9, 2010, especially when LA Montenegro intimated that
the respondent could have presented the testimonies of the guards on duty at the time
to belie .the statements of the Union officers and members.
In sharp contrast, the NLRC readily admitted the video footage of the strike area on
August 9, 2010, which the respondent offered in evidence only on appeal or more than a
year (15 months) after it was supposed to have been taken. The much belated submission
of the video footage puts in question, as the Union argued in its certiorari petition, the
authenticity and. therefore, the credibility of the footage. Why was the footage not
presented to the labor arbiter, considering that the respondent reserved the right to
adduce additional evidence, documentary and testimonial, in the resolution of the case?
Why did it take more than a year to present it when the footage was taken on the first
day of the strike?
The respondent's explanation for the 15-month delay in the presentation of the compact
disc contents to prove that the school did not lock out the Union members and officers
deserves scant consideration. We are not convinced that the respondent spent more than
a year to secure the affidavits of the personnel of Ramasola Superstudio, based in
Tagbilaran City, that purportedly took the footage. As the Union pointed out,-a member
of the school's management, lawyer Evaneliza Cloma-Lucero, who resides in Tagbilaran
City could have been asked to depose the studio's personnel. Neither are we persuaded
by the excuse that the respondent's counsel is residing in Pasig City. Again, as observed
by the Union, air travel can bring the lawyer to Tagbilaran City in just a little over an
hour to take the deposition.
The inordinate delay in the submission of the compact disc cannot but generate negative
speculations on why it took so long for the respondent to introduce it in evidence. We
thus find the Union's apprehension about the authenticity and credibility of the compact
disc not surprising; 15 months are too long a period to wait for the submission of a piece
of evidence which existed on the first day of the strike way back on August 9, 2010.

Like its immediate rejection of the affidavits of the Union members and officers for being "self-serving," without giving any credible basis for its sweeping declaration, we find the NLRC to have overstepped the bounds of its discretionary authority in "swallowing hook, line, and sinker," as the Union put it, the compact disc submitted by the school, as it is

LABOR LAW DIGESTS 2012-2017

obvious that it was suffering from a serious doubt in credibility because of its much belated submission. The doubt should have been resolved in favor of the Union.

At this point, it is well to stress that under Article 4 of the Labor Code, "all doubts in the implementation and interpretation of the provisions of this Code, including its implementing rules and regulations, shall be resolved in favor of labor." In Peñaflor v. Outdoor Clothing Manufacturing Corporation, the Court reiterated that the principle laid down in the law has been extended by jurisprudence to cover doubts in the evidence presented by the employer and the employee. As discussed earlier, the Union has raised serious doubt on the evidence relied on by the NLRC. Consistent with Article 4 of the Labor Code, we resolve the doubt in the Union's favor.

In sum, we find merit in the petition. The CA reversibly erred when (1) it
In sum, we find merit in the petition. The CA reversibly erred when (1) it decided the
present labor dispute and dismissed the Union's certiorari petition purely on technical
grounds, and (2) in blindly ignoring the blatant grave abuse of discretion on the part of
the NLRC that completely disregarded the affidavits of the officers and members of the
Union and readily admitted the respondent's belatedly submitted video footage.
WAGES
MONCHITO R. AMPELOQUIO vs. JAKA DISTRIBUTION, INC
G.R. No. 196936, July 2, 2014, J. Jose Portugal Perez
Seniority rights refer to the creditable years of service in the employment record of
the illegally dismissed employee as if he or she never ceased working for the employer. In
other words, the employee’s years of service is deemed continuous and never interrupted.
Such is likewise the rationale for reinstatement’s twin relief of full backwages
The phrase without loss of seniority rights applies with practical and real effect to
Ampeloquio upon his retirement because he will reach earlier than other regular employees
of JAKA the required number of years of service to qualify for retirement.

Reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and benefits does not necessarily mean equal or more rights than those employees hired by JAKA prior or subsequent to his reinstatement. The rule on how much pay a reinstated employee shall receive is governed by paragraph 3 of Article 223 of the Labor Code. To repeat, Ampeloquio is not entitled to all benefits or privileges received by other employees subsequently hired by JAKA just by the fact of his seniority in the service with JAKA.

Facts:

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Respondents RMI Marketing Corp., (now known as JAKA DISTRIBUTION, INC.) and Teodoro Barzabal, are ordered to reinstate, petitioner, Monchito Ampeloquio in his former position as merchandiser without loss of seniority rights and other benefits and to pay him backwages and attorney’s fees.

Ampeloquio resumed work as merchandiser at JAKA and reported at JAKA’s outlets within Metro Manila,
Ampeloquio resumed work as merchandiser at JAKA and reported at JAKA’s
outlets within Metro Manila, Shopwise Makati and Alabang. He received a daily wage
of P252.00, without meal and transportation allowance.
Later, Ampeloquio was transferred outside of Metro Manila, to Lucena City and
subsequently to San Pablo City. At that time, he was receiving the same daily wage
of P252.00, without meal and transportation allowance. Ampeloquio was given a monthly
cost of living allowance (COLA) of P720.00.
In a Letter addressed to JAKA’s general manager, Ampeloquio requested for salary
adjustment and benefits retroactive to the date of his reinstatement and payment of
salary differential. In another Letter, Ampeloquio wrote JAKA reiterating his request for
salary adjustment and payment of benefits retroactive to his reinstatement, and an
increase from his previous request of salary differential.
Because of the discrepancy in wages, Ampeloquio filed anew before the NLRC, a
complaint for underpayment of wages, COLA, non-payment of meal and transportation
allowances which was granted by Labor Arbiter. NLRC modified the amounts ordered by
the Labor Arbiter to be paid by JAKA to Ampeloquio. CA dismissed Ampeloquio’s
petition for certiorari finding no grave abuse of discretion in the NLRC’s ruling and
finding that, in fact, it is supported by substantial evidence.
Issue:
Whether or not Ampeloquio is entitled to all benefits or privileges received by
other employees subsequently hired by JAKA just by the fact of his seniority in the service
with JAKA.
Ruling:

No, Ampeloquio is not entitled to all benefits or privileges received by other employees subsequently hired by JAKA just by the fact of his seniority in the service with JAKA.

LABOR LAW DIGESTS 2012-2017

Seniority rights refer to the creditable years of service in the employment record of the illegally dismissed employee as if he or she never ceased working for the employer. In other words, the employee’s years of service is deemed continuous and never interrupted. Such is likewise the rationale for reinstatement’s twin relief of full backwages.

Ampeloquio is correct in asserting that he is a senior employee compared to the other
Ampeloquio is correct in asserting that he is a senior employee compared to the
other merchandisers whom he himself designates as casual or contractual
merchandisers. He is likewise senior to other regular employees subsequently hired by
JAKA, specifically two regular messenger employees which Ampeloquio claims receive
wages higher than what he is receiving from JAKA.
However, the case of Ampeloquio is outside the ordinary. His reinstatement was
ordered when merchandisers like him were no longer employed by JAKA. He is not
entitled to the same terms and conditions of employment as that which was offered to
the other regular employees (not merchandisers) subsequently hired by JAKA. JAKA’s
decision to grant or withhold certain benefits to other employees is part of its
management prerogative as a function of an employer’s constitutionally protected right
to reasonable return on investments.
The phrase without loss of seniority rights applies with practical and real effect to
Ampeloquio upon his retirement because he will reach earlier than other regular
employees of JAKA the required number of years of service to qualify for retirement.
In all, the labor tribunals were right in using as guidepost the existing statutory
minimum wages and COLA during the three (3) year prescriptive period within which
Ampeloquio can make his money claims.
The Court is not unaware that reinstatement is the rule and such covers
reinstatement to the same or substantially equivalent position without loss of seniority
rights and privileges.
In this case, JAKA did not claim exceptions to the rule of reinstatement, i.e.,(1) strained
relations, or (2) abolition of the position; JAKA immediately complied with the Labor
Arbiter’s order of reinstatement even if such position no longer exists and has been
abolished with the contracting of this job function.

The option of reinstatement to a substantially equivalent position does not apply herein as reinstatement to a substantially equivalent position entails the same or similar job functions and not just same wages or salary. As applied to this case, Ampeloquio cannot be reinstated to a messengerial position although such is a regular employment enjoying the same employment benefits and privileges. His employment cannot likewise

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be converted into a contractual employment as such is actually a downgrade from his regular employment enjoying security of tenure with JAKA.

As the sole regular merchandiser of JAKA, Ampeloquio’s reinstatement entitles him, at the minimum, to the standard minimum wage at the time of his employment and to the wages he would have received from JAKA had he not been illegally dismissed, as if there was no cessation of employment. Ampeloquio is likewise entitled to any increase which JAKA may have given across the board to all its regular employees. To repeat, Ampeloquio is not entitled to all benefits or privileges received by other employees subsequently hired by JAKA just by the fact of his seniority in the service with JAKA.

Without loss of seniority rights and benefits, does not necessarily mean equal or more rights
Without loss of seniority rights and benefits, does not necessarily mean equal or
more rights than those employees hired by JAKA prior or subsequent to his
reinstatement. The rule on how much pay a reinstated employee shall receive is
governed by paragraph 3 of Article 223 of the Labor Code.
OUR HAUS REALTY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION vs. ALEXANDER PARIAN,
JAY C. ERINCO, ALEXANDER CANLAS, BERNARD TENEDERO AND JERRY
SABULAO
G.R. No. 204651, August 6, 2014, J. Brion
The employer’s’ argument is a vain attempt to circumvent the minimum wage law
by trying to create a distinction where none exists. There is no substantial distinction
between deducting and charging a facility’s value from the employee’s wage. Hence, the
legal requirements for creditability apply to both. These requirements are (a) proof must
be shown that such facilities are customarily furnished by the trade; (b) the provision of
deductible facilities must be voluntarily accepted in writing by the employee; and (c) the
facilities must be charged at fair and reasonable value.
Facts:
Alexander Parian, Jay Erinco, Alexander Canlas, Jerry Sabulao and Bernardo
Tenedero (respondents) were all laborers working for Our Haus Realty Development
Corporation (Our Haus), a company engaged in the construction business.

Sometime in May 2010, Our Haus experienced financial distress. To alleviate its condition, Our Haus suspended some of its construction projects and asked the affected workers, including the respondents, to take vacation leaves.

Eventually, the respondents were asked to report back to work but instead of doing so, they filed with the LA a complaint for underpayment of their daily wages. They

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claimed that except for respondent Bernardo N. Tenedero, their wages were below the minimum rates prescribed in the following wage orders from 2007 to 2010.

Our Haus primarily argued that there is a distinction between deduction and charging. A written authorization is only necessary if the facility’s value will be deducted and will not be needed if it will merely be charged or included in the computation of wages. Our Haus claimed that it did not actually deduct the values of the meals and housing benefits. It only considered these in computing the total amount of wages paid to the respondents for purposes of compliance with the minimum wage law. Hence, the written authorization requirement should not apply.

On the other hand, the respondents argued that the value of their meals should not
On the other hand, the respondents argued that the value of their meals should not
be considered in determining their wages’ total amount since the requirements set under
Section 4 of DOLE Memorandum Circular No. 2 were not complied with. The
respondents pointed out that Our Haus never presented any proof that they agreed in
writing to the inclusion of their meals’ value in their wages. Also, Our Haus failed to
prove that the value of the facilities it furnished was fair and reasonable.
Issue:
Whether there is a substantial distinction between deducting and charging a facility’s
value from the employee’s wage
Ruling:
No, the legal requirements for creditability apply to both.
Our Haus’ argument is a vain attempt to circumvent the minimum wage law by
trying to create a distinction where none exists. In reality, deduction and charging
both operate to lessen the actual take-home pay of an employee.
In both, the employee receives a lessened amount because supposedly, the facility’s
value, which is part of his wage, had already been paid to him in kind. As there is no
substantial distinction between the two, the requirements set by law must apply to both.
As the CA correctly ruled, these requirements, as summarized in Mabeza, are the
following:

4.Proof must be shown that such facilities are customarily furnished by the trade; 5.The provision of deductible facilities must be voluntarily accepted in writing by the employee; and 6.The facilities must be charged at fair and reasonable value

A. The facility must be customarily furnished by the trade

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In a string of cases, we have concluded that one of the badges to show that a facility is customarily furnished by the trade is the existence of a company policy or guideline showing that provisions for a facility were designated as part of the employees’ salaries.

We agree with the NLRC’s finding that the sinumpaang salaysay statements submitted by Our Haus are self-serving. For one, Our Haus only produced the documents when the NLRC had already earlier determined that Our Haus failed to prove that it was traditionally giving the respondents their board and lodging. This document did not state whether these benefits had been consistently enjoyed by the rest of Our Haus’ employees. Moreover, the records reveal that the board and lodging were given on a per project basis. Our Haus did not show if these benefits were also provided in its other construction projects, thus negating its claimed customary nature.

B. The provision of deductible facilities must be voluntarily accepted in writing by the employee.
B. The provision of deductible facilities must be voluntarily accepted in writing by
the employee.
In Mayon Hotel, we reiterated that a facility may only be deducted from the wage if
the employer was authorized in writing by the concerned employee. As it diminishes
the take-home pay of an employee, the deduction must be with his express consent.
Again, in the motion for reconsideration with the NLRC, Our Haus belatedly
submitted five kasunduans, supposedly executed by the respondents, containing their
conformity to the inclusion of the values of the meals and housing to their total wages.
Oddly, Our Haus only offered these documents when the NLRC had already ruled that
respondents did not accomplish any written authorization, to allow deduction from their
wages. These five kasunduans were also undated, making us wonder if they had really
been executed when respondents fi`rst assumed their jobs.
C. The facility must be charged at fair and reasonable value.
Our Haus admitted that it deducted the amount of P290.00 per week from each of
the respondents for their meals. But it now submits that it did not actually withhold the
entire amount as it did not figure in the computation the money it expended for the
salary of the cook, the water, and the LPG used for cooking, which amounts to P249.40
per week per person. From these, it appears that the total meal expense per week for each
person is P529.40, making Our Haus’ P290.00 deduction within the 70% ceiling
prescribed by the rules.

In the present case, Our Haus never explained how it came up with the values it assigned for the benefits it provided; it merely listed its supposed expenses without any supporting document. Since Our Haus is using these additional expenses (cook’s salary, water and LPG) to support its claim that it did not withhold the full amount of the meals’

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value, Our Haus is burdened to present evidence to corroborate its claim. The records however, are bereft of any evidence to support Our Haus’ meal expense computation. Even the value it assigned for the respondents’ living accommodations was not supported by any documentary evidence. Without any corroborative evidence, it cannot be said that Our Haus complied with this third requisite.

EMER MILAN, RANDY MASANGKAY, WILFREDO JAVIER, RONALDO DAVID, BONIFACIO MATUNDAN, NORA MENDOZA, ET AL. vs.
EMER MILAN, RANDY MASANGKAY, WILFREDO JAVIER, RONALDO DAVID,
BONIFACIO MATUNDAN, NORA MENDOZA, ET AL. vs. NATIONAL LABOR
RELATIONS COMMISSION, SOLID MILLS, INC., AND/OR PHILIP ANG
G.R. No. 202961, February 04, 2015, J. Leonen
An employer is allowed to withhold terminal pay and benefits pending the
employee’s return of its properties.The return of the property owned by their employer Solid
Mills became an obligation or liability on the part of the employees when the employer-
employee relationship ceased. Thus, respondent Solid Mills has the right to withhold
petitioners’ wages and benefits because of this existing debt or liability.
Facts:
As Solid Mills’ employees, petitioners Milan, et al. and their families were allowed
to occupy SMI Village, a property owned by respondent Solid Mills. According to Solid
Mills, this was “out of liberality and for the convenience of its employees
and on the
condition that the employees
fit.”
would vacate the premises anytime the Company deems

Subsequently, petitioners were informed that Solid Mills would cease its operations due to serious business losses. NAFLU (petitioner’s labor union) recognized Solid Mills’ closure due to serious business losses in the memorandum of agreement. The memorandum of agreement provided for Solid Mills’ grant of separation pay less accountabilities, accrued sick leave benefits, vacation leave benefits, and 13th month pay to the employees. Later on, Solid Mills, through Alfredo Jingco, sent to petitioners individual notices to vacate SMI Village. As a consequence, petitioners were no longer allowed to report for work. They were required to sign a memorandum of agreement with release and quitclaim before their vacation and sick leave benefits, 13th month pay, and separation pay would be released. Employees who signed the memorandum of agreement were considered to have agreed to vacate SMI Village, and to the demolition of the constructed houses inside as condition for the release of their termination benefits and separation pay. Petitioners refused to sign the documents and demanded to be paid their benefits and separation pay.

Hence, petitioners filed complaints before the Labor Arbiter for alleged non- payment of separation pay, accrued sick and vacation leaves, and 13th month pay. They

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argued that their accrued benefits and separation pay should not be withheld because their payment is based on company policy and practice. Moreover, the 13th month pay is based on law, specifically, Presidential Decree No. 851. Their possession of Solid Mills property is not an accountability that is subject to clearance procedures. They had already turned over to Solid Mills their uniforms and equipment when Solid Mills ceased operations.

Issue: Whether or not Solid Mills is allowed to withhold terminal pay and benefits pending
Issue:
Whether or not Solid Mills is allowed to withhold terminal pay and benefits
pending the petitioners’ return of its properties.
Ruling:
Yes.
Requiring clearance before the release of last payments to the employee is a
standard procedure among employers, whether public or private. Clearance procedures
are instituted to ensure that the properties, real or personal, belonging to the employer
but are in the possession of the separated employee, are returned to the employer before
the
employee’s
departure.
The Civil Code also provides that the employer is authorized to withhold wages
for debts due:Article 1706. Withholding of the wages, except for a debt due, shall not be
made by the employer.
“Debt” in this case refers to any obligation due from the employee to the
employer. It includes any accountability that the employee may have to the
employer. There is no reason to limit its scope to uniforms and equipment, as petitioners
would argue.
More importantly, respondent Solid Mills and NAFLU, the union representing
petitioners, agreed that the release of petitioners’ benefits shall be “less accountabilities.”

“Accountability,” in its ordinary sense, means obligation or debt. The ordinary meaning of the term “accountability” does not limit the definition of accountability to those incurred in the worksite. As long as the debt or obligation was incurred by virtue of the employer-employee relationship, generally, it shall be included in the employee’s accountabilities that are subject to clearance procedures.

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It may be true that not all employees enjoyed the privilege of staying in respondent Solid Mills’ property. However, this alone does not imply that this privilege when enjoyed was not a result of the employer-employee relationship. Those who did avail of the privilege were employees of respondent Solid Mills. Petitioners’ possession should, therefore, be included in the term “accountability.” The return of the property owned by their employer Solid Mills became an obligation or liability on the part of the employees when the employer-employee relationship ceased. Thus, respondent Solid Mills has the right to withhold petitioners’ wages and benefits because of this existing debt or liability.

BENEFITS Genaro G. Calimlim vs. Wallem Maritime Services, Inc., et al. G.R. No. 220629 November
BENEFITS
Genaro G. Calimlim vs. Wallem Maritime Services, Inc., et al.
G.R. No. 220629
November 23, 2016
Facts:
Respondent Wallem Maritime Services, Inc., for and in behalf of its foreign principal,
Wallem GMBH & Co. KG, represented by its President, Mr. Reginaldo Oben
(respondents), hired petitioner Genaro G. Calimlim (Calimlim) to work as Bosun on board
the vessel, Johannes Wulff. Prior to deployment, Calimlim underwent the required Pre-
employment Medical Examination (PEME) on June 18, 2010 and was declared fit for sea
duty.
On December 25, 2010, while doing his duties on board, Calimlim felt a severe pain in his
stomach causing him to feel weak and go to the comfort room. While emptying his
bowels, he noticed that there was fresh blood in his stool. As his stomach pain and
bleeding persisted, he reported his condition to the Ship Captain who advised him to
seek medical attention upon reaching the nearest port.

When the vessel reached the port of Xingang, China, Calimlim was brought to the Xingang Hospital where he underwent several laboratory tests. The tests revealed that he was suffering from Hemorrhage of the Upper Digestive Tract and Hypertension. The doctor recommended that he should not be given any duty on board due to his sensitive health condition and should be confined in a hospital. After seven days or on January 17, 2011, when the vessel reached the port of Indonesia, he was medically repatriated.

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Upon arrival in Manila, Calimlim immediately reported to respondents. He was referred

to

the Manila Doctor's Hospital (MDH) for examination and treatment. He was confined

at

MDH for four (4) days and was treated as an out-patient after his discharge.

Issue: Whether or not Calimlim is entitled to permanent disability compensation and benefits on account
Issue:
Whether or not Calimlim is entitled to permanent disability compensation and benefits
on account of his medical condition.
Ruling:
No.
In this case, after receiving treatment in Xingang, China, at respondents' expense,
Calimlim underwent blood transfusion and radioscopy. The said treatment proved
effective as there was no recurrence of the dark-colored stools and his abdominal pain
had already subsided as of his February 16, 2011 consultation with the company-
designated physician. Such positive results led to a declaration that he was fit to work
and even to travel on February 17, 2011. As correctly opined by the CA, such declaration
by the company-designated physician alone sufficed to rule that he was not entitled to
any disability benefits.
A seafarer's inability to resume his work after the lapse of more than 120 days from the
time he suffered an injury and/or illness is not a magic wand that automatically warrants
the grant of total and permanent disability benefits in his favor. It cannot be used as a
cure-all formula for all maritime compensation cases. Its application must depend on the
circumstances of the case, including compliance with the parties' contractual duties and
obligations as laid down in the POEA-SEC and/or their CBA.
In the recent case of Magsaysay, Maritime Corporation v. Simbajon, the Court mentioned

that an amendment to Section 20-A(6) of the POEA SEC, contained in POEA Memorandum Circular No. 10, series of 2010, now "finally clarifies" that "[f]or work- related illnesses acquired by seafarers from the time the 2010 amendment. to the POEA- SEC took effect, the declaration of disability should no longer be based on the number of days the seafarer was treated or paid his sickness allowance, but rather on the disability grading he received, whether from the company-designated physician or from the third independent physician, if the medical findings of the physician chosen by the seafarer conflicts with that of the company-designated doctor."

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At any rate, there was no referral to a third doctor. The rule is that when a seafarer sustains a work-related illness or injury while on board the vessel, his fitness for work shall be determined by the company-designated physician. The physician has 120 days, or 240 days, if validly extended, to make the assessment. If the physician appointed by the seafarer disagrees with the assessment of the company-designated physician, the opinion of a third doctor may be agreed jointly between the employer and the seafarer, whose decision shall be final and binding on them. This procedure must be strictly followed, otherwise, if not availed of or followed strictly by the seafarer, the assessment of the company-designated physician stands.

Here, upon his repatriation back to the Philippines, Calimlim was referred to the company-designated physician
Here, upon his repatriation back to the Philippines, Calimlim was referred to the
company-designated physician on January 19, 2011. After receiving treatment, he was
declared fit to work and to travel on February 17, 2011. Acting within his rights, he
disagreed with the findings of the company-designated physician and sought the opinion
of Dr. Jacinto who arrived at a contrary assessment.
The Court notes, however, that Calimlim sought consultation of Dr. Jacinto only on July
9, 2012, more than sixteen (16) months after he was declared fit to work and interestingly
four (4) days after he had filed the complaint on July 5, 2012. Thus, as aptly ruled by the
NLRC, at the time he filed his complaint, he had no cause of action for a disability claim
as he did not have any sufficient basis to support the same. The Court also agrees with
the CA that seeking a second opinion was a mere afterthought on his part in order to
receive a higher compensation.
Maureen P. Perez vs. Comparts Industries, Inc.
G.R. No. 197557
October 05, 2016
Facts:
[Perez] started her employment with [CII] on 16 July 1988 and became a regular employee
thereof on 01 September 1988. After years of working and after several promotions, she
was eventually appointed as Marketing Manager. She held this position from 1998 up to
10 January 2009, the date when she resigned from her work.

[CII] has a retirement program for its managerial employees or officers covered by "Comparts Industries, Inc. Employees Retirement Plan" (Retirement Plan) which took effect on 01 June 1999 and was amended on 25 January 2001. Included therein are provisions relating to optional or early retirement and optional retirement benefits.

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Prior to her resignation, [Perez] manifested to [CII] sometime in November 2007 her intention to avail of the optional retirement program since she was already qualified to retire under it. Her application was denied. In January 2008, while vacationing in the United States of America (USA), she again filed an application for optional retirement to take advantage of a job offered to her in the said country. Still, her application was denied. [CII] justified its denial of [Perez's] application saying that, under the Retirement Plan, it has the option to grant or deny her application for optional retirement and considering that it is experiencing financial crisis, it has no choice but to disallow her intention.

In April 2008, [Perez] asked for reconsideration of the denial of her application for optional
In April 2008, [Perez] asked for reconsideration of the denial of her application for
optional retirement. She also requested to be included in the retrenchment that [CII] was
planning to implement. Again, her application was declined and she was not one of those
employees who were retrenched. In December 2008, [Perez] needed to go to the USA to
attend to her mother who suffered a mild stroke. Thus, she applied for optional
retirement again to be effective on 10 January 2009. She also claimed the benefits
concomitant to it as provided by the Retirement Plan.
In response, [Perez] was informed by [CII] that it could only give her Php100,000.00 as
gratuity for her twenty years of service as this was the only amount it could afford. [Perez]
refused
the
offer.
On 08 January 2001, [Perez] received a letter from [CII] which contained the, acceptance
of her resignation effective 10 January 2009. The letter likewise contained [CIFs] denial
of [Perez's] claim for optional retirement benefits or separation pay for the following
reasons: 1) [CII] has no policy or rules on optional retirement benefits; 2) [CII] has been
so affected by the global crisis and has been suffering financial losses; 3) there is no
provision in the Labor Code which grants separation pay to voluntarily resigning
employees; and 4) [Perez] cannot invoke the provisions of the Collective Bargaining
Agreement (CBA) on optional retirement benefits because the CBA is for rank-and-file
employees.

[Perez] e-mailed [CII] on 09 January 2009 to counter the latter's reasons and she cited therein rulings of the Supreme Court which supposedly supported her claim for optional retirement benefits or separation pay. [CII] was not persuaded. She, again e-mailed [CII] to reconsider its stand and she cited names of former employees of [CII] who were

LABOR LAW DIGESTS 2012-2017

allowed to optionally retire and who were given separation pays even if they were managerial employees. Still, [CII] was not convinced.

Issue:

Whether or not Perez is entitled to optional retirement benefits.

Ruling: No. As a managerial employee, Perez is covered by the Retirement Plan for CII
Ruling:
No.
As a managerial employee, Perez is covered by the Retirement Plan for CII Officers which
took effect in 1999 and was amended in 2001. We find incorrect the reliance of Perez on
her self-serving reading of our ruling in the two (2) Eastern Shipping cases.
In Eastern Shipping v. Antonio, 16 we specifically distinguished provisions on optional
retirement at the election of the employee upon reaching the minimum age of sixty (60)
years from the exercise of the option to retire exclusively lodged with the employer when
the employee has rendered the required minimum number of years of service coupled
with manifestation of intent to retire, thus:
Respondent is not entitled to optional retirement benefits. Under the Labor Code, it is
provided that:
ART. 287. Retirement. - Any employee may be retired upon reaching the retirement age
established in the collective bargaining agreement or other applicable employment
contract.
In case of retirement, the employee shall be entitled to receive such retirement benefits
as he may have earned under existing laws and any collective bargaining agreement and
other agreements: Provided, however, That an employee's retirement benefits under any
collective bargaining and other agreements shall not be less than those provided herein.

In the absence of a retirement plan or agreement providing for retirement benefits of employees in the establishment, an employee upon reaching the age of sixty (60) years or more, but not beyond sixty-five (65) years which is hereby declared the compulsory retirement age, who has served at least five (5) years in the said establishment, may retire and shall be entitled to retirement pay equivalent to at least one-half (1/2) month salary for every year of service, a fraction of at least six (6) months being considered as one

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whole

}

ear.

Clearly, the age of retirement is primarily determined by the existing agreement or employment contract. In the absence of such agreement, the retirement age shall be fixed by law. Under the aforecited law, the mandated compulsory retirement age is set at 65 years, while the minimum age for optional retirement is set at 60 years.

Contrary to the stance of Perez, she has not acquired a vested right to optional
Contrary to the stance of Perez, she has not acquired a vested right to optional retirement
benefits by the mere fact of her rendering at least fifteen (15) years of credited service.
Further, while Section 2 on Optional/Early Retirement of CII's Retirement Plan did not
use the specific language of the Retirement Plan in the Eastern Shipping cases,
i.e. exclusive prerogative and sole option of the employer, the provision in the herein
subject Retirement Plan still contained a condition for the allowance and grant of
optional retirement benefits—consent of the Company. Perez cannot disregard the
stipulated condition.
Philippine Transmarine Carriers, Inc. (PTCI), Stealth Maritime Corporation
(SMC) and Carlos Salinas vs. Casiano F. Saladas, Jr.
G.R. No. 208089, September 28, 2016
Facts:
Pursuant to a nine-month POEA standard employment contract dated July 9, 2008, the
petitioners hired Casiano F. Saladas, Jr. (Saladas) as Chief Cook on board M/V Gas
Defiance. He joined the vessel crew on July 29, 2008, after having been declared fit to
work with restriction by the PTC Health Metrics, Inc.
Sometime in March 2009, while doing his chores, Saladas allegedly lost his balance and
fell when the vessel changed speed. His chest hit a trash can, but he ignored the pain.
Another on-board incident occurred when Saladas slipped from a ladder with his hip
hitting the deck. After two (2) days, he felt numbness and weakness in his right leg,
thighs, chest, and neck areas. He claimed that he requested from the Captain a medical
checkup.

The petitioners claim that, while on board the vessel, Saladas did not experience any illness or injury which hampered his functions as Chief Cook. He also did not report any unusual incident concerning his health which could have indicated any illness or injury.

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On April 6, 2009, Saladas disembarked at Brisbane, Australia because his contract had already ended. While he was in Brisbane, Australia, Saladas underwent a medical check- up with Dr. David Bartholomeusz (Dr. Bartholomeusz). The foreign doctor diagnosed that Saladas' pain from the accident has been symptomatic for two (2) weeks; found that his blood pressure was high but became normal after two (2) hours; made him go through an electrocardiogram test (ECG); and prescribed him maintenance drugs.

Saladas alleged that he asked Dr. Bartholomeusz for a copy of his findings, with assessment
Saladas alleged that he asked Dr. Bartholomeusz for a copy of his findings, with
assessment and diagnosis. Dr. Bartholomeusz, in turn, advised him that the results would
be given through SMC's agent. However, Saladas never received his medical results
before
he
left
for
the
Philippines.
When Saladas arrived in the Philippines, he immediately reported to PTCI and informed
them of the accidents he suffered on board the vessel. Despite repeated requests for
compensation, PTCI denied these because there was no endorsement from SMC
regarding
this
matter.
On November 12, 2009, Saladas consulted Dr. Efren Vicaldo (Dr. Vicaldo), an internist-
cardiologist at the Philippine Heart Center, who diagnosed him with diabetes mellitus,
essential hypertension, rib fracture with impediment Grade VII (41.80%). Dr. Vicaldo,
nonetheless, declared him unfit to resume work as a seaman in any capacity.
On October 16, 2009, Saladas filed a complaint for disability benefits, illness allowance,
reimbursement of medical expenses, and damages against the petitioners.
Issue:
Whether or not Saladas is entitled to permanent/total disability benefits.
Ruling:
No.

First, the CA erroneously relied on the 120-day period because Saladas failed to prove that his medical condition is work-related. The continuing reliance on the number of days that a seafarer is unable to work has attracted much doubt as regards it fairness and relevance. We have reminded that this period cannot be used as a panacea for all maritime compensation cases as labor tribunals should always take into account the contractual duties between the parties.

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The frequent reliance on the 120-day period diverts the attention of labor tribunals from other equally important doctrines in granting a disability claim. Such diversion creates the risk of giving due course to otherwise premature claims; or worse, it may lead to an award of benefits to claims that are entirely without merit based on the degree of proof required.

In this respect, one important doctrine that should be considered in this case is the
In this respect, one important doctrine that should be considered in this case is the
element of work relatedness between an illness or disability and the seafarer's duties —
a relation that is explicitly required under the POEA-SEC. The focus on the length of time
during which the seafarer is unable to work may diminish the importance of establishing
this connection. In effect, it undermines an essential principle in labor cases, which is
the need to prove allegations and claims with substantial evidence.
We must always remember that whether a seaman is entitled to disability benefits or not
is a matter governed not only by medical findings, but by law and by contract. Deemed
incorporated in every Filipino seafarer's contract of employment is a set of standard
provisions established and implemented by the POEA, which contain the minimum
requirements prescribed by the government for the employment of Filipino seafarers.
Under these standards, we held that two (2) elements must concur for an injury or illness
to be compensable: (a) the condition must be work-related, and (b) it must have existed
during the term of the seafarer's employment contract.
In this case, Saladas failed to submit proof that his illness was work-related. In other
words, the evidence on record misses essential facts on how he contracted or developed
his illness, and how and why his working conditions aggravated this illness. In the
absence of substantial evidence, we cannot just presume that Saladas' job caused his
injury or aggravated any preexisting condition he might have had.
As for his heart condition, Saladas did not present evidence that the condition worsened
during his employment.

While the POEA-SEC considers a heart disease as occupational, Saladas failed to satisfy by substantial evidence the condition laid down in the contract that if the heart disease was known to have been present during employment, there must be proof that an acute exacerbation was clearly precipitated by the unusual strain brought about by the nature of his work.

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Second, the CA failed to consider the fact that Saladas was NOT repatriated for medical reasons. His nine-month contract with the petitioners started on July 9, 2008, which would have ended sometime in April 2009. True enough, and as admitted by Saladas, he disembarked the vessel because his employment had already ceased. In other words, it is logical to conclude that Saladas was repatriated to the Philippines due to the completion of his employment contract and not on account of his alleged accident and heart condition.

Third, the CA, as well as the labor tribunals, prematurely considered the medical assessment of
Third, the CA, as well as the labor tribunals, prematurely considered the medical
assessment of Saladas' own doctors without taking into account that Saladas did not
undergo the mandatory post-medical examination. A seafarer must submit himself
within three (3) days after repatriation due to disability for the post-employment
examination and treatment by the company-designated physician. Failure to report
within such time will result in the forfeiture of benefits.
Leonis Navigation Co., Inc. and World Marine Panama S.A. vs. Eduardo C.
Obrero and Mercedita P. Obrero
G.R. No. 192754. September 07, 2016
Facts:
Petitioner Leonis Navigation Company, Inc. (LNCI), for and on behalf of its foreign
principal co-petitioner World Marine Panama S.A. (World Marine), hired Obrero as a
messman onboard M/V Brilliant Arc on October 3, 2003. The governing contract between
the parties was the 2000 Philippine Overseas Employment Agency-Standard
Employment Contract (POEA-SEC). This was the fourth time that LNCI, for and on
behalf of World Marine, hired Obrero since 2000.
Obrero was deployed onboard M/V Brilliant Arc on February 20, 2004. Sometime in
October 2004, Obrero's crewmates observed him acting strangely. The Master Report
noted that Obrero's normal manner changed and that he was unable to sleep well. It
added that Obrero could no longer perform his daily tasks and showed signs "of
abnormality towards his daily gestures especially to the crew and other things."

Upon the vessel's arrival at Tubarao, Brazil, Obrero was seen by Dr. Jose Carlos Soares Da Silva (Dr. Da Silva) and was confined in a psychiatric clinic for a month in Victoria, Brazil. He was later diagnosed with "bipolar disturbance (acute phase)" and given appropriate medications. Dr. Da Silva recommended Obrero's repatriation upon his discharge.

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Dr. Nicomedes Cruz (Dr. Cruz), the company-designated physician, examined Obrero shortly after he arrived in the Philippines. Dr. Cruz initially diagnosed him with major depression and referred him to a psychiatrist. Obrero was confined at the Manila Doctors Hospital and his diagnosis was updated to "schizophreniform disorder."

On December 14, 2004, Dr. Cruz issued a certification upon the request of LNCI's counsel
On December 14, 2004, Dr. Cruz issued a certification upon the request of LNCI's counsel
stating that "[s]chizophreniform disorder appears to be related to abnormalities in the
structure and chemistry of the brain, and appears to have strong genetic links" and
"[c]ategorically speaking schizophreniform disorder is not work-related." Thus, LNCI
refused to pay Obrero's total disability benefits.
Obrero filed a complaint with the NLRC claiming that he is entitled to total disability
benefits because he has previously been declared fit to work by LNCI, following a rigid
pre-employment medical examination (PEME), and, therefore, his worsening mental
state was work-related. LNCI denied this, maintaining that his illness is not work-related
as declared by Dr. Cruz.
In the meantime, Obrero also sought the opinion of a psychiatrist, Dr. Pacita Ramos-
Salceda. The latter diagnosed Obrero as suffering from "[p]sychotic [d]isorder, [n]ot
otherwise specified." In her psychiatric evaluation, Dr. Salceda noted that although
Obrero was initially able to cope with the rigors and stress of his occupation, his coping
abilities were eventually taxed "as he was continuously exposed to the adverse situation
of repeatedly being at sea for prolonged periods of time." Additionally, he was not able
to handle the stress of being demoted from seaman to messman as a result of the
discovery of his color blindness.
Issue:
Whether or not Obrero's illness was work-related.
Ruling:
Yes.

For disability to be compensable under Section 20(B)(4) of the POEA-SEC, two elements must concur: (1) the injury or illness must be work-related; and (2) the work-related injury or illness must have existed during the term of the seafarer's employment contract. There is no question that the second element is present, since Obrero's psychological disorder manifested itself while onboard M/V Brilliant Arc. The sole question is whether his illness is work-related.

The POEA-SEC defines a work-related injury as "injury(ies) resulting in disability or death arising out of and in the course of employment," and a work-related illness as "any

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sickness resulting to disability or death as a result of an occupational disease listed under Section 32-A of this Contract with the conditions set therein satisfied." For illnesses not mentioned under Section 32, the POEA-SEC creates a disputable presumption in favor of the seafarer that these illnesses are work-related. Notwithstanding the presumption, we have held that on due process grounds, the claimant-seafarer must still prove by substantial evidence that his work conditions caused or at least increased the risk of contracting the disease. This is because awards of compensation cannot rest entirely on bare assertions and presumptions. In order to establish compensability of a non- occupational disease, reasonable proof of work-connection is sufficientdirect causal relation is not required. Thus, probability, not the ultimate degree of certainty, is the test of proof in compensation proceedings.

Here, we agree with the CA and NLRC that Obrero has successfully proved that his
Here, we agree with the CA and NLRC that Obrero has successfully proved that his illness
was work-related. Taken together, Dr. Salceda's diagnosis and Obrero's previous
unremarkable stints as a seaman reasonably support the conclusion that his work
environment increased his risk of developing or triggering schizophrenia. As detailed in
Dr. Salceda's diagnosis, Obrero's demotion to messman—which is inherently work-
related and was conveniently ignored by LNCI in its pleadings—appears to be the event
that precipitated his mental disorder. Prior to this, he was able to accomplish his tasks
without any issue as an ordinary seaman (OS) from January 20, 2000 to February 3, 2001,
and as an able seaman (AB) from August 12, 2001 to June 27, 2002 and May 14, 2003 to
June 11, 2003. It was only after he was deployed as messman onboard M/V Brilliant Arc
that he began experiencing sleep interruptions and started having persecutory delusions,
ultimately leading to the erratic behavior detailed in the Master Report. Applying the
standard of substantial evidence, i.e., that amount of relevant evidence which a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion, we find Dr. Salceda's
explanation—that Obrero's prolonged stint at sea eventually taxed his coping abilities
which rendered him incapable of handling the stress of being demoted—to be reasonable
and highly probable.
Eduardo C. Silagan vs. Southfield Agencies, Inc., et al
G.R. No. 202808
August 24, 2016
Facts:

On 16 October 2003, petitioner was hired by Hyundai Merchant Maritime Co., Ltd. thru its manning agent, Southfield Agencies, Inc. as Third Mate on board ocean-going vessel, M/V "Eternal Clipper". His employment was to run for a period of ten (10) months and he was to receive, inter alia, a basic monthly salary of US$679.00 with an overtime pay of US$461.00, as evidenced by his Contract of Employment. Under this contract, petitioner

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is covered by the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the Federation of Korean Seafarer's Union/Associated Marine Officers' and Seamen's Union of the

Philippines

and

herein

respondents.

Prior to the execution of the contract, petitioner underwent a thorough Pre-Employment Medical Examination (PEME) and after compliance therewith, he was certified as "fit to work" by the company designated physician. On 28 October 2003, petitioner joined the ship M/V "Eternal Clipper" and commenced his work on board the sea going vessel. While the ship was en route to Japan from Mexico on 4 January 2004, petitioner's right hand was slammed by a wooden door while he was performing his duties. As a result thereof, petitioner suffered a wrist injury causing him extreme physical pain on the right hand area of his body. The incident was immediately reported to petitioner's superior who gave him medication and advised him to perform light duties while his condition was being treated.

Upon arrival of the vessel in Pyeongtaek, Korea on 29 January 2004, petitioner was brought
Upon arrival of the vessel in Pyeongtaek, Korea on 29 January 2004, petitioner was
brought to the hospital upon complaints of persistent pain where he was diagnosed with
"fracture, closed, distal third radius and comminuted, with ulna head dislocation." To
alleviate the pain, an oral medication was prescribed for petitioner and he was advised
to undergo surgery. Due to the progression of his condition's symptoms, petitioner was
repatriated back to the Philippines on 2 February 2004.
Upon arrival in Manila, petitioner was immediately seen by Dr. Natalio G. Alegre, II (Dr.
Alegre), the company designated physician, who initially assessed petitioner's physical
condition. Dr. Alegre came out with the diagnosis that petitioner suffered "fracture,
closed, distal third, radius comminuted, with ulna head dislocation." A surgery to correct
his condition was recommended.
On 13 February 2004, petitioner underwent "Open Reduction, Plating with Bone Grafting
(Synthetic Bone Graft-Osteopore, Right) and Application of External Fixator Right" at St.
Lukes Medical Center with Dr. Antonio Tanchuling, Jr. (Dr. Tanchuling) as his surgeon.
The surgery proved to be successful and he was discharged from confinement on 18

February 2004. On 1 April 2004, petitioner underwent another surgery for the removal of the external fixator and was discharged the following day. After the second surgery, petitioner underwent physical therapy to facilitate for the complete rehabilitation of his

injured

hand.

On 1 June 2004, petitioner was declared "fit to resume former work" by Dr. Alegre.

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For failure of the company designated physician to assess his disability grading, petitioner sought an independent orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Marciano F. Almeda, Jr. (Dr. Almeda), to evaluate the condition of his injury. In a Medical Report dated 3 August 2004, Dr. Almeda found that petitioner was "partially and permanently disabled with Grade II (14.93%) impediment."

Issue: Whether or not petitioner is entitled to the disability benefits. Ruling: No. Entitlement of
Issue:
Whether or not petitioner is entitled to the disability benefits.
Ruling:
No.
Entitlement of seamen on overseas work to disability benefits is a matter governed, not
only by medical findings, but by law and by contract. The material statutory provisions
are Articles 191 to 193 under Chapter VI (Disability Benefits) of the Labor Code, in relation
with Rule X of the Rules and Regulations Implementing Book IV of the Labor Code. By
contract, the POEA-SEC, as provided under Department Order No. 4, Series of 2000 of
the Department of Labor and Employment, and the parties' CBA bind the seaman and
his employer to each other.
For disability to be compensable under Section 20 (B) of the 2000 POEA-SEC, two
elements must concur: (1) the injury or illness must be work-related; and (2) the work-
related injury or illness must have existed during the term of the seafarer's employment
contract. In other words, to be entitled to compensation and benefits under this
provision, it is not sufficient to establish that the seafarer's illness or injury has rendered
him permanently or partially disabled; it must also be shown that there is a causal
connection between the seafarer's illness or injury and the work for which he had been
contracted.
The 2000 POEA-SEC defines "work-related injury" as "injury(ies) resulting in disability
or death arising out of and in the course of employment" and "work-related illness" as
"any sickness resulting to disability or death as a result of an occupational disease listed
under Section 3 2-A of this contract with the conditions set therein satisfied."

The ultimate question that needs to be addressed in the case at bar is whether or not the petitioner is entitled to disability benefits under the circumstances.

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First, Dr. Almeda's assessment was merely based on the physical examination he conducted on the petitioner and on the medical records brought by the latter on the occasion of his consultation. No diagnostic tests or any medical procedure was conducted by Dr. Almeda to support his disability grade finding. As aptly observed by the appellate court, Dr. Almeda examined the petitioner only once and could not possibly form a reliable opinion of petitioner's fitness to work based on a single consultation. In contrast, Dr. Alegre was able to closely monitor the condition of petitioner's injury from the day after he was repatriated on 2 February 2004 up to the time that he underwent surgery and rehabilitation and until his disability rating was issued on 4 June 2004. On the basis of the recession of symptoms, the progress of which the company designated physician has observed for four months, he has a reasonable basis to arrive at the conclusion that the petitioner is already fit to render work of similar nature as he was previously engaged.

Second, petitioner failed to comply with the procedure laid down under Section 20 (B) (3)
Second, petitioner failed to comply with the procedure laid down under Section 20 (B)
(3) of the 2000 POEA-SEC with regard to the joint appointment by the parties of a third
doctor whose decision shall be final and binding on them in case the seafarer's personal
doctor disagrees with the company-designated physician's fit-to-work assessment. This
referral to a third doctor has been held by this Court to be a mandatory procedure as a
consequence of the provision that it is the company-designated doctor whose assessment
should prevail. In other words, the company can insist on its disability rating even against
the contrary opinion by another doctor, unless the seafarer expresses his disagreement
by asking for a referral to a third doctor who shall make his or her determination and
whose decision is final and binding on the parties.
In fine, given that petitioner's permanent disability was not established through
substantial evidence for the reasons above-stated, the Court of Appeals did not err in
reversing the NLRC ruling for having been rendered with grave abuse of discretion.
Verily, while the Court adheres to the principle of liberality in favor of the seafarer in
construing the POEA-SEC, when the evidence presented negates compensability, the
claim for disability benefits must necessarily fail, as in this case.
Jakerson G. Gargallo vs. DOHLE Seafront Crewing, Inc., et al.
G.R. No. 215551
August 17, 2016

Facts:

On July 20, 2012, petitioner filed a complaint for permanent total disability benefits against respondents before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). The

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complaint stemmed from his claim that: (a) he accidentally fell on deck while lifting heavy loads of lube oil drum, with his left arm hitting the floor first, bearing his full body weight; (b) he has remained permanently unfit for further sea service despite major surgery and further treatment by the company-designated physicians; and (c) his permanent total unfitness to work was duly certified by his chosen physician whose certification must prevail over the palpably self-serving and biased assessment of the company-designated physicians.

For their part, respondents countered that the fit-to-work findings of the company- designated physicians must
For their part, respondents countered that the fit-to-work findings of the company-
designated physicians must prevail over that of petitioner's independent doctor,
considering that: (a) they were the ones who continuously treated and monitored
petitioner's medical condition; and (b) petitioner failed to comply with the conflict-
resolution procedure under the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration-
Standard Employment Contract (POEA-SEC). Respondents further averred that the filing
of the disability claim was premature since petitioner was still undergoing medical
treatment within the allowable 240-day period at the time the complaint was filed.
The CA disagreed with the conclusions of the LA and the NLRC, and dismissed
petitioner's complaint. It ruled that the claim was premature because at the time the
complaint was filed: (a) petitioner was still under medical treatment by the company-
designated physicians; (b) no medical assessment has yet been issued by the company-
designated physicians as to his fitness or disability since the allowable 240-day treatment
period during which he is considered under temporary total disability has not yet lapsed;
and (c) petitioner has not yet consulted his own doctor, hence, had no sufficient basis to
prove his incapacity. The CA likewise gave more credence to the fit to work assessment
of the company-designated physician who treated and closely monitored petitioner's
condition, over the contrary declaration of petitioner's doctor who attended to him only
once, two (2) months after the filing of the complaint.
Issue:
Whether or not petitioner is entitled to permanent total disability benefits.
Ruling:
No.

It is undisputed that petitioner was repatriated on March 11, 2012 and immediately subjected to medical treatment. Despite the lapse of the initial 120-day period on July 9, 2012, such treatment continued due to persistent pain complained of by petitioner, which

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was observed until his 180 th day of treatment on September 7, 2012. In this relation, the CA correctly ruled that the tiling of the complaint for permanent total disability benefits on July 20, 2012 was premature, and should have been dismissed for lack of cause of action.

Moreover, petitioner failed to comply with the prescribed procedure under the afore- quoted Section 20
Moreover, petitioner failed to comply with the prescribed procedure under the afore-
quoted Section 20 (A) (3) of the 2010 POEA-SEC on the joint appointment by the parties
of a third doctor, in case the seafarer's personal doctor disagrees with the company-
designated physician's fit-to-work assessment.
In the recent case of Veritas Maritime Corporation v. Gepanaga, Jr. [(see G.R. No. 206285,
February 4, 2015, 750 SCRA 104, 117-118)], involving an almost identical provision of the
CBA, the Court reiterated the well-settled rule that the seafarer's non-compliance with
the mandated conflict-resolution procedure under the POEA-SEC and the CBA militates
against his claims, and results in the affirmance of the fit-to-work certification of the
company-designated physician.
Nonetheless, the Court concurs with petitioner's asseveration that it was erroneous to
absolve Padiz from joint and several liability with Dchle Seafront and Dohle Manning for
the payment of the income benefit arising from his temporary total disability, in view of
Section 10 of Republic Act No. (RA) 8042, otherwise known as the "Migrant Workers and
Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995," as amended by RA 10022 27 (RA 8042, as amended).
Section 10 of RA 8042, as amended, expressly provides for joint and solidary liability of
corporate directors and officers with the recruitment/placement agency for all money
claims or damages that may be awarded to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
C.F. Sharp Crew Management, Inc., et al. vs. William C. Alivio
G.R. No. 213279
July 11, 2016
Facts:

On August 18, 2010, the respondent William Alivio filed a complaint for disability benefits, reimbursement of medical expenses, damages, and attorney's fees, against the petitioners C.F. Sharp Crew Management, Inc. (agency), its Sr. Crew Manager William Malaluan and its principal Blue Ocean Ship Management, Ltd. The petitioners re-hired Alivio as bosun for nine months starting January 7, 2009 for the vessel Phyllis N. He had

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been under successive contracts with Blue Ocean since November 1991, starting as General Purpose (GP) I, then Able Seaman (AB), until he was made bosun in 1999.

Alivio alleged that prior to boarding Blue Ocean’s vessels (including the Phyllis N), in the course of his employment with the petitioners, he passed all his pre-employment medical examinations (PEMEs), although sometime in October 2006, he was diagnosed to have high blood pressure. He claimed he was prescribed medications for it. He further claimed that he had been continuously hired as bosun because of his fitness to work.

Alivio signed off from the Phyllis N on October 3, 2009 for “finished contract,” but
Alivio signed off from the Phyllis N on October 3, 2009 for “finished contract,” but before
he disembarked, he allegedly experienced undue fatigue and weakness, with nape pains.
On October 5, 2009, he consulted a Dr. Raymund Jay Sugay who diagnosed him with
hypertension. Dr. Sugay advised him to “rest at home for one or two days to prevent
further morbidity.”
On January 8, 2010, the agency asked Alivio to undergo a PEME, prior to a possible re-
deployment. The PEME revealed that he was suffering from cardiomegaly or enlarged
heart and his electrocardiography (ECG) showed that he had left ventricular hypertrophy
with strain. He was diagnosed with hypertensive cardiovascular disease and was declared
“unfit for sea duty.” The petitioners did not engage Alivio due to his delicate health
condition. He also consulted with occupational health specialist Dr. Li-Ann Orencia who
certified that his illness is work-related, permanent in nature, and compensable. He then
demanded permanent total disability compensation from the petitioners, but they
refused, leaving him no option but to file his present complaint.
The petitioners denied liability, contending that Alivio is not entitled to his claim because
(1) his disability resulted from an illness which is not work-related and therefore not
compensable under the Philippine Overseas Employment Standard Contract (POEA-
SEC), as he acquired the illness after the expiration of his contract with them; (2) his
failure to submit himself to a post-employment medical examination by the company
doctor disqualified him from claiming disability benefits; and (3) he is not entitled to
damages and attorney’s fees since their denial of his claim was in good faith.
Issue:

Whether or not Alivio’s claimed cardio-vascular disease was work-related and therefore compensable.

Ruling:

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No.

First. Alivio was repatriated for “finished contract,” not for medical reasons. He chose to complete his employment contract with the petitioners instead of being medically repatriated, even as he claimed he experienced fatigue, weakness and nape pains shortly before his disembarkation on October 3, 2009. Yet, he did not report his “discomforts,” as the CA put it, to the ship authorities for onboard examination and treatment, if necessary, or to the agency for post-employment medical examination, as required by the POEA-SEC. Alivio’s omission to report his health problem at the time could only mean that it was not serious or grave enough to require medical attention. In Villanueva, Sr. v. Baliwag Navigacion, Inc., the Court noted with approval the CA conclusion that the fact that the seafarer was repatriated for finished contract and not for medical reasons weakened, if not belied, his claim of illness on board the vessel.

Second. Alivio’s claimed cardio-vascular disease was not work-related and therefore not compensable. Although
Second. Alivio’s claimed cardio-vascular disease was not work-related and therefore not
compensable. Although considered as an occupational disease, his heart ailment did not
satisfy the conditions under the POEA-SEC to be considered occupational, as quoted
above. These conditions provide for two possibilities (1) the heart disease is present
during employment and there is proof that an acute exacerbation was precipitated by the
unusual strain of the seafarer’s work and was followed within 24 hours by the clinical
signs of a cardiac arrest or, (2) the seafarer, who is asymptomatic before being subjected
to the strain of work, shows signs and symptoms of cardiac injury during the performance
of his work, and such symptoms persist. Nowhere in the case record does it appear that
any of the above conditions were present during the whole term of Alivio’s previous
engagements up to the last employment with the petitioners. The evidence showed that
his cardiomegaly was discovered three months after he finished his last contract with
Phyllis N.

In the same Villanueva, Sr. case, the Court said: “We find no reversible error in the CA ruling affirming the denial of Villanueva’s claim for disability benefits. We find it undisputed that he was repatriated for finished contract, not for medical reasons. More importantly, while the 2000 POEA-Standard Employment Contract (Section 32-A [11]) considers a heart disease as occupational, Villanueva failed to satisfy by substantial evidence the condition laid down in the Contract if the heart disease was known to have been present during employment, there must be proof that an acute exacerbation was clearly precipitated by the unusual strain brought by the nature of his work.”

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The circumstances leading to Alivio’s disembarkation and shortly thereafter, lend credence to the petitioners’ submission that his medical condition was pre-existing and could not have developed during his employment with them. This is supported by his own admission that even after being diagnosed with hypertension in October 2009, he had been continuously engaged as bosun because of his continuing fitness to work.

In this light, especially the failure to satisfy the conditions laid down under the POEA-
In this light, especially the failure to satisfy the conditions laid down under the POEA-
SEC, we find that Alivio’s cardiomegaly, discovered three months after his repatriation
for “finished contract,” is not work-related and is therefore not compensable. Alivio’s
argument that the work-connection of his heart ailment is a non-issue because it was not
raised before the labor tribunals is of no moment as the POEA-SEC which governs his
employment expressly provides that the employer is liable only for a work-related injury
or illness suffered by the seafarer.
Third. Even if we were to consider that Alivio was repatriated for health reasons, his
failure to submit himself to a post-employment medical examination by a company-
designated physician within three working days upon his return militates against his
claim for disability benefits. It results in the forfeiture of his right to the benefits.
ONE SHIPPING CORP., AND/OR ONE SHIPPING KABUSHIKI KAISHA/JAPAN v.
IMELDA C. PEÑAFIEL
G.R. No. 192406, January 21, 2015, PERALTA, J.
For death benefits to be awarded, the employee’s death should occur during
the effectivity of the employment contract.
Facts:

One Shipping Corp. hired the late Ildefonso S. Peñafiel as Second Engineer on board the vessel MV/ACX Magnolia. Peñafiel boarded the vessel on August 29, 2004 and died on July 2, 2005. His wife then filed for monetary claims arising from his death. Petitioners admitted that they contracted the services of the late Ildefonso to work on board MV/ACX Magnolia for a period of 12 months. However, they denied any liability for the claims of the respondent and maintained that at the time Ildefonso died, the latter was no longer an employee of the petitioners as he voluntarily terminated his

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employment contract with the petitioners when Ildefonso requested for a leave and pre-terminated his contract.

Issue:

Whether petitioners are liable for the death benefits Ruling: No. At the time of Ildefonso's
Whether petitioners are liable for the death benefits
Ruling:
No. At the time of Ildefonso's repatriation, the employer-employee
relationship had already been terminated. Thus, the LA was correct in concluding
that the terms and conditions contained in the contract of employment ceased
to have force and effect, including the payment of death compensation benefits
to the heirs of a seafarer who dies during the term of his contract.
The death of a seaman during the term of employment makes the employer
liable to his heirs for death compensation benefits. Once it is established that the
seaman died during the effectivity of his employment contract, the employer is
liable. Ildefonso died after he pre-terminated the contract of employment. That
alone would have sufficed for his heirs not to be entitled for death compensation
benefits. Furthermore, there is no evidence to show that Ildefonso's illness was
acquired during the term of his employment with petitioners. The Court cannot
allow claims for compensation based on surmises, or when the evidence negates
compensability.
UNI COL MANAGEMENT SERVICES, INC., LINK MARINE PTE. LTD. and/or VICTORIANO
B. TIROL, III, v. DELIA MALIPOT, in behalf of GLICERIO MALIPOT
G.R. No. 206562, January 21, 2015, PERALTA, J.
The employer may be exempt from liability if it can prove that the seaman’s
death was caused by an injury directly attributable to his deliberate or willful act.

Facts:

Delia Malipot is the surviving spouse of the deceased seaman Glicerio. She

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filed a Complaint before the LA claiming death compensation under seaman Glicerios POEA contract. Petitioners, however, insisted that seaman Glicerio committed suicide and therefore they are exempted from paying the death compensation benefits.

Issue: Whether petitioners are exempted from paying the death compensation benefits Ruling: Yes. The employer
Issue:
Whether petitioners are exempted from paying the death compensation benefits
Ruling:
Yes. The employer is liable to pay the heirs of the deceased seafarer for
death benefits once it is established that he died during the effectivity of his
employment contract. However, petitioners were able to substantially prove
that seaman Glicerio’s death is directly attributable to his deliberate act of
hanging himself. His death, therefore, is not compensable and his heirs not
entitled to any compensation or benefits. Finally, absent substantial evidence
from which reasonable basis for the grant of benefits prayed for can be drawn,
the Court must deny her petition. While labor contracts are impressed with
public interest and the provisions of the POEA Employment Contract must be
construed liberally in favor of Filipino seamen, justice is in every case for the
deserving, to be dispensed with in the light of established facts, the applicable
law, and existing jurisprudence.
FLOR G. DAYO v. STATUS MARITIME CORPORATION and/or NAFTO TRADE
SHIPPING COMMERCIAL S.A.
G.R. No. 210660, January 21, 2015, LEONEN, J.
For illness to be compensable, it is not necessary that the nature of the
employment be the sole reason for the illness suffered by the seafarer.

Facts:

Eduardo P. Dayo was hired by Status Maritime Corporation for Nafto Trade Shipping Commercial S.A. as a bosun. Prior to embarkation, he was declared fit

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to work but while at work he experienced severe pain and was later diagnosed with hypertension which became the reason for his repatriation. Eduardos private physician found the results of his 2D echocardiogram as normal. Later, he was granted medical assistance and was referred to a company-designated physician who diagnosed him with diabetes mellitus.

Later, Eduardo died due to cardiopulmonary arrest. Flor G. Dayo, Eduardo’s wife, requested for death
Later, Eduardo died due to cardiopulmonary arrest. Flor G. Dayo,
Eduardo’s wife, requested for death benefits but to no avail. Thus, she filed a
complaint. Status Maritime Corporation contends that the illness suffered by
Eduardo was pre-existing and was not work-related.
Issue:
Whether Dayo can claim the death benefits
Ruling:
No. It is sufficient that there is a reasonable linkage between the disease
suffered by the employee and his work to lead a rational mind to conclude that
his work may have contributed to the establishment or, at the very least,
aggravation of any pre-existing condition he might have had. However,
petitioner did not allege how the nature of Eduardo’s work as a bosun
contributed to the development or the aggravation of his illness. Further, he
himself admitted that he had diabetes and hypertension prior to his
embarkation. Considering that diabetes mellitus is not listed as an
occupational disease under the 2000 POEA-SEC and considering that
petitioner did not prove how Eduardo’s occupation contributed to the
development of his illness, no error can be attributed to the CA when it affirmed
the NLRC’s Decision and Resolution.

C.F. SHARP CREW MANAGEMENT, INC. AND REEDEREI CLAUS PETER OFFEN v. CLEMENTE M. PEREZ G.R. No. 194885, January 26, 2015, VILLARAMA, JR., J.

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Under the 1996 POEA-SEC, it is enough that the seafarer proves that his or her injury or illness was acquired during the term of employment to support a claim for disability benefits.

Facts: C.F. Sharp Crew Management and Peter Offen hired Perez as oiler on board a
Facts:
C.F. Sharp Crew Management and Peter Offen hired Perez as oiler on board
a vessel. They signed an employment contract, which was covered by a CBA and
agreed to comply with the 1996 POEA Standard Employment Contract. While on
board the vessel, Perez failed to report for duty, and later on showed up at the
crew mess confused. The master of the vessel then decided that Perez will be a
high risk for the safety of the ship and its crew and must be repatriated. Perez
was diagnosed with acute psychosis and was declared unfit for sea duty. When he
arrived in Manila, he was referred for another psychiatric evaluation which
stated that Perez had only recurrent acute psychotic disorder for it does not
show all the time. He was referred to another clinic and was likewise diagnosed
with the same disorder, that there is no significant manifestation of personality
and mental disturbances, and that he is still fit to work abroad. Perez then sued
petitioners for disability benefits claiming that while he was told that he is already
fit to work as seaman, the doctor refused to issue a medical certificate on the
ground that he has yet to fully recover from his illness; and when sought for re-
employment, petitioners rejected him. His claim for disability benefits under the
CBA was also denied. Petitioners argued that Perez is not entitled to disability
benefits because he is already fit to work, citing the result of his psychological
examination after his repatriation.
Issue:
Whether Perez is entitled to permanent and total disability benefits
Ruling:

Yes. Perez is entitled to the benefits in accordance with the 1996 POEA- SEC, and not under the CBA, since the parties agreed that they will comply with the former. Perez became ill during the term of his employment contract. The initial diagnosis that he has acute psychosis confirmed the observation of the master of the vessel. Perez’s claim for disability benefits finds support from

Page 105 of 1699

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established facts. Petitioners cannot claim that their designated doctors declared Perez as fit to work after his repatriation and treatment. Without a declaration that Perez is already fit to work or an assessment of the degree of his disability by petitioners’ own doctors, respondents disability is therefore permanent and total. This is equivalent to a Grade 1 impediment/disability entitling Perez to permanent and total disability benefits under the 1996 POEA- SEC.

DOHLE-PHILMAN MANNING AGENCY, INC., DOHLE (IOM) LIMITED AND/OR CAPT. MANOLO T. GACUTAN v. HEIRS OF
DOHLE-PHILMAN MANNING AGENCY, INC., DOHLE (IOM) LIMITED AND/OR CAPT.
MANOLO T. GACUTAN v. HEIRS OF ANDRES G. GAZZINGAN, REPRESENTED BY LENIE
L. GAZZINGAN
G.R. No. 199568, June 17, 2015, DEL CASTILLO, J.
Under the POEA-SEC, an illness suffered by a seafarer during the term of his
contract is presumed compensable.
Facts:
Dohle-Philman Manning Agency Inc (DOHLE), employed Andres
Gazzingan as messman on board the vessel M/V Gloria. Prior to his employment,
Gazzingan underwent pre-employment medical examination which yielded
normal results except for a finding of left ventricular hypertrophy in his
electrocardiogram test. Gazzingan was pronounced fit for sea duty. During his
employment, Gazzingan experienced severe chest pain which required him to
be medically repatriated back to the Philippines. A company-designated
physician declared that Gazzingan is suffering from a non-work-related illness.
Gazzingan was allegedly suffering from Dissecting Aneurysm. This prompted
DOHLE to cease from shouldering Gazzingan’s medical bills, causing his
discharge from the hospital. Gazzingan filed a complaint with the LA for non-
payment or under payment of wages, sickness allowance, disability benefits and
reimbursement of medical expenses and attorney’s fees.

Issue:

Whether Gazzingans disease is compensable under the law

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Ruling:

Yes. Gazzingans work as a messman is not confined mainly to serving food and beverages to all officers and crew; he was likewise tasked to assist the chief cook/chef steward, and performed most duties in the ships steward department. He is bound to suffer chest and back pains, which could have caused or aggravated his illness. Gazzingans strenuous duties caused him to suffer physical stress which exposed him to injuries. His employment has contributed to some degree to the development of his disease.

Gazzingan was fit to work when he was engaged to work on board the vessel
Gazzingan was fit to work when he was engaged to work on board the
vessel M/V Gloria. His PEME showed normal findings with no hypertension
and without any heart problems. It was only while rendering duty that he
experienced symptoms. This is supported by a medical report issued by
Cartagena de Indias Hospital in Colombia. Even assuming that Gazzingan
had a pre-existing condition, this does not negate the probability that his aortic
dissection was aggravated by his work conditions. The stress caused by his job
actively contributed to the aggravation of his illness. It is sufficient that there
is a reasonable linkage between the disease suffered by the employee and his
work to lead a rational mind to conclude that his work may have contributed to
the establishment or, at the very least, aggravation of any pre-existing condition
he might have had.

The 2000 POEA-SEC has created a presumption of compensability for those illnesses which are not listed as an occupational disease. Section 20 (B), paragraph (4) states that “those illnesses not listed in Section 32 of this Contract are disputably presumed as work-related.” Concomitant with this presumption is the burden placed upon the claimant to present substantial evidence that his work conditions caused or at least increased the risk of contracting the disease and only a reasonable proof of work-connection, not direct causal relation is required to establish compensability of illnesses not included in the list of occupational diseases. A causal link was established between Gazzingans employment and his ailment. The presumption now operates in favor of respondents and the burden is on the petitioners to overcome the presumption. Petitioners failed to discharge such burden.

MA. SUSANA A. AWATIN, and on behalf of the heirs/beneficiaries of

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deceased ALBERTO AWATIN v. AVANTGARDE SHIPPING CORPORATION and MRS. DORA G. PASCUAL, OFFSHORE MARITIME MANAGEMENT INT'L., INC. (SWITZERLAND), SEABULK TREASURE ISLAND G.R. No. 179226, June 29, 2015, PERALTA, J.

The mere death of a seaman during the term of his employment is not sufficient
The mere death of a seaman during the term of his employment is not
sufficient to give rise to compensation.
Facts:
Alberto B. Awatin was recruited and hired as Master for the vessel M/V
Seabulk Treasure Island by Avantgarde Shipping Corporation, for its principal,
Offshore Marine Management International, Inc. (Switzerland). Awatin joined
the vessel M/V Seabulk Treasure Island after being found to be "fit to work" by
the company-designated physician. Awatin was repatriated back to the
Philippines after completing his employment contract. Thereafter, he was
diagnosed to have "Massive Ascitis, Secondary to Adenocarcinoma, Moderate
Pleural Effusion, Right Lung" and "repeated abdominal paracentesis due to
recurrent ascitis." Eventually, Awatin died of "multi-organ failure and
adenocarcinoma." Susana Awatin, wife of Alberto, for herself and on behalf of
her two minor children, filed a complaint for recovery of death benefits, burial
allowance, sickness allowance, additional benefits for her two minor children,
reimbursement of medical and hospitalization expenses, moral and exemplary
damages and attorney's fees against Avantgarde, its officer, Ms. Dora Pascual,
Switzerland and Seabulk before the NLRC.

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Issue:

Whether Awatin is entitled to death benefits

Ruling:

No. The records do not show that Awatin's illness, adenocarcinoma, was contracted during the term
No. The records do not show that Awatin's illness, adenocarcinoma, was
contracted during the term of his last employment contract. Awatin was
declared fit to work in the mandatory pre- employment medical examination
prior to his deployment. There was no showing that he complained of any
illness while on board the vessel nor was it established that Awatin was
repatriated due to an illness. For a seafarer's death to be compensable, it must
have occurred during the term of the employment contract. The determination
of whether the death was the result of a work-related illness becomes necessary
only when the above condition has been satisfied
NEW FILIPINO MARITIME AGENCIES, INC. TAIYO NIPPON KISEN CO., LTD. AND
ANGELITA T. RIVERA v. VINCENT DATAYAN
G.R. NO. 202859, November 11, 2015, DEL CASTILLO, J.
The death of a seafarer during the term of his employment makes his employer
liable for death benefits. However, no compensation or benefits shall arise in case of
death of a seafarer resulting from his willful act, provided that the employer could
prove that such death is attributable to the seafarer.
Facts:

Simon Vincent Datayan II was hired as deck cadet on board Corona Infinity by New Filipino Maritime Agencies, Inc. (NFMA) on behalf of St. Paul Maritime Corp. (SPMC). Sometime thereafter, his master conducted an emergency fire drill in which the crew participated. After that, a crew meeting was held in which he was reprimanded for his poor performance. Just before the meeting was concluded, Simon left. Subsequently, one of the crew members named allegedly saw Simon jumped overboard. The vessel retraced its course to where he fell. The Master also informed the Japan Coast Guard about the incident. The Yokohama Coastguard Patrol conducted a search-and-rescue

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operation to no avail. Consequently, the crew found Simons suicide note.

Simon was declared missing and was presumed dead. His father, Vincent H. Datayan, went to NFMA to claim death benefits but his claim went unheeded. He filed a complaint for death benefits and attorney’s fees against NFMA, Taiyo Nippon Kisen Co., Ltd., and Angelina T. Rivera contending that Simons death was due to the masters negligence and instruction in conducting the emergency fire drill at the time when the water temperature was expected to cause hypothermia.

Issue: Whether Datayan is entitled to death benefits Ruling: No. As claimant for death benefits,
Issue:
Whether Datayan is entitled to death benefits
Ruling:
No. As claimant for death benefits, respondent has the burden to
prove by substantial evidence that his son’s death is work-related and that it
transpired during the term of his employment contract. Respondent has
discharged his burden. It is beyond question that Simon died during the term
of his contract. The next question is whether Simon’s death was due to his
deliberate act. If such is the case, then respondent is not entitled to death
benefits. That Simon’s death was a result of his willful act is a matter of defense.
Petitioners have the burden to prove this circumstance by substantial evidence.
They discharged their burden by proving that Simon committed suicide.
The fact that Simon committed suicide is bolstered by the suicide note
that he executed. The suicide note is informative as to why Simon committed
suicide. He declined to join the party held prior to the drill and was
reprimanded for his poor performance in said drill. It can, thus, be inferred from
the note that he blamed himself for the difficulties he assumed to have caused his
colleagues. As such, to refute petitioners’ position that Simon committed
suicide, the burden of evidence shifts to respondent.

Respondent failed to discharge his burden. Respondent relies on the alleged negligence of the Master in ordering the conduct of the drill and argues that Simon could not have written a suicide note because of the proximity of the time when the drill was conducted and the time when Simon jumped

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overboard. Respondent presented no proof that said suicide note was fabricated, as no specimen of Simons handwriting was submitted to prove that it was not written by him. On the contrary, the signature in the suicide note and the signature of Simon in his employment contract appear to be the same.

Although Simon died during the term of his contract with petitioners, still, respondent is not
Although Simon died during the term of his contract with petitioners, still,
respondent is not entitled to receive benefits arising from his death. As clearly
established, Simon died by his willful act of committing suicide and death under
that circumstance is not compensable under the POEA-SEC.
JAY H. LICAYAN v. SEACREST MARITIME MANAGEMENT, INC., CLIPPER FLEET
MANAGEMENT, A/S AND/OR REDENTOR ANAYA
G.R. No. 213679, November 25, 2015, MENDOZA, J.
The POEA-SEC cannot be presumed to contain all the possible injuries that
render a seafarer unfit for further sea duties. Section 20 (B) (4) of the same provides
that "[t]he liabilities of the employer when the seafarer suffers work-related injury or
illness during the term of his contract are as follows: (t)hose illnesses not listed in
Section 32 of this Contract are disputably presumed as work related." A disputable
presumption is created in favor of compensability. Illnesses not listed in Section 32 are
disputably presumed as work-related. Even if the illness is not listed as an
occupational disease or illness, it will be presumed as work-related, and it becomes
incumbent on the employer to overcome the presumption.
Facts:

Licayan was hired as Fitter for the vessel, MT Clipper Ann, by Seacrest Maritime Management, Inc. Licayan underwent a pre-employment medical examination (PEME) and was declared fit for sea service. Months after Licayan boarded the vessel, he experienced severe headache. Licayan was diagnosed with Panic Disorder and was repatriated back to Manila. Upon his arrival, Licayan was advised by Seacrest to report to the company-designated doctor, Dr. Alegre, who issued a certification finding Licayan to be suffering from Panic Disorder and that he was unfit to work. In the hope of recovering from his mental illness,

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Licayan sought the opinion of Dr. Adamos, a clinical psychologist, who certified that he was incapacitated to work permanently as a seafarer. On account of the findings of the company-designated physician together with the above- mentioned findings of Dr. Adamos, Licayan filed a case for payment of total and permanent disability benefits.

Issue: Whether Licayan's illness is compensable Ruling: Yes. Licayan was able to prove by substantial
Issue:
Whether Licayan's illness is compensable
Ruling:
Yes. Licayan was able to prove by substantial evidence that his work
conditions caused his panic disorder. He stated in his position paper that: “(7)
Complainant was always exposed to the harsh conditions of the elements, the
perils at sea, severe stress while being away from his family and fatigue while doing
his duties and responsibilities on board the vessel. (8) This demanding nature of
his job was his routine since he boarded the vessel. For this reason, he was not
able to have proper rest. He has also an irregular sleep pattern since he is on call
by his supervisor 24 hours a day. (9) Notwithstanding the extraordinary work
load, Mr. Licayan was given an overall assessment of a conscientious worker
with good engineering knowledge and experience on sea trade. (10) In addition
to the principal functions and duties as Fitter, Mr. Licayan [would] perform and
install the water and oil separation fixtures. This job can only be done normally
when the vessel is on dry dock so that the equipment are properly installed and
fixed. However, due to excellence skill and dexterity of Mr. Licayan, he is asked
by his superiors to do the same while the vessel was on voyage. (11) He also would
install the safe equipment of the engine. He would also install the steel platforms
which serve as the path walk of the crew when the vessel is loaded with chemicals.
(12) This extraordinary difficult job [of] Mr. Licayan unduly put him into pressure
resulting to loss of sleep, loss of appetite and emotional disorder.”

Licayan also presented Dr. Adamos' diagnosis to prove that his illness was work-related and, therefore, compensable. The reasonable connection between the nature of his work and the medical condition he acquired during his stint as Fitter in the vessel was substantially proven. As such, pursuant to Section 20 (B) (4) of the POEA-SEC, the disputable presumption that the panic disorder he contracted was work-related arose. This condition, although not listed under

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LABOR LAW DIGESTS 2012-2017 Section 32-A of the POEA-SEC as an occupational disease or illness, is

Section 32-A of the POEA-SEC as an occupational disease or illness, is presumed to be work-related. It is now incumbent upon the employer to overcome this presumption. A reexamination of the evidence presented by Seacrest, however, fails to overcome the presumption.

PHILIPPINE TRANSMARINE CARRIERS, INC. AND NORTHERN MARINE MANAGEMENT v. JOSELITO A. CRISTINO, DECEASED AND REPRESENTED
PHILIPPINE TRANSMARINE CARRIERS, INC. AND NORTHERN MARINE
MANAGEMENT v. JOSELITO A. CRISTINO, DECEASED AND REPRESENTED BY HIS
WIFE SUSAN B. BERDOS
G.R. No. 188638, December 09, 2015, PEREZ, J.
For a disease to be compensable, it is enough that the employment had
contributed, even in a small degree, to its development.
Facts:
Joselito Cristino was a seaman and employed as a Fitter by Philippine
Transmarine Carriers, Inc. (PTCI), a manning agency. While on board a vessel,
Cristino spotted a palpable mass growing in his leg. He was hospitalized in
Denmark and was repatriated to the Philippines. PTCI’s affiliated physician,
Dr. Pedro S. De Guzman, reported that Cristino had Carcinoma (probably
metastasis) which was not considered work-related. Cristino was informed by
PTCI that additional treatment would be at his own expense and so he
continued his medical treatment with Dr. Jorge G. Ignacio, a medical
oncologist. He concluded that Cristino's illness was malignant melanoma (a
type of skin cancer), of which sun exposure is a recognized risk factor, and
that the nature of Cristino's work possibly increased the development of his
illness. Cristino filed a complaint for disability benefits, illness allowance,
damages, and attorney's fees.
Issue:

Whether Cristino's illness is compensable

Ruling:

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Yes. Sun exposure as an occupational necessity particularly holds true in this case. Among Cristino's daily tasks as a fitter is to clean and repair pipes, ladders, antenna, hose and to paint the deck, for which exposure to sunlight could not be avoided. Hence, the nature of his work may have caused or at least contributed to his illness. For illness to be compensable, the nature of employment need not be the lone reason for the illness suffered by the seafarer. Just a reasonable connection, and not absolute certainty, between the danger of

contracting the illness and its aggravation resulting from the working conditions is enough to sustain
contracting the illness and its aggravation resulting from the working conditions
is enough to sustain its compensability. It is not required that the employment
be the sole factor in the growth, development or acceleration of the illness to
entitle the claimant to the benefits provided therefor.
NORIEL R. MONTIERRO v. RICKMERS MARINE AGENCYPHILS., INC.
G. R. No. 210634, January 14, 2015, SERENO, C.J.
In case of conflict between the disability assessment of the company-designated
physician and that of the seafarer’s chosen physician, the procedure in the 2000 POEA-
SEC must be strictly followed. Otherwise, if not availed of or followed strictly by the
seafarer, the assessment of the company- designated physician stands.
Facts:

Rickmers Marine Agency Phils., Inc., on behalf of its foreign principal, Global Management Limited, hired Noriel Montierro as Ordinary Seaman. While on board the vessel and going down from a crane ladder, Montierro lost his balance and twisted his legs, injuring his right knee. On 4 June 2010, two days after his repatriation, Montierro reported to Dr. Natalio G. Alegre II, the company- designated physician, upon whose recommendation Montierro underwent arthroscopic partial medical meniscectomy of his right knee. On the 91st day of Montierro’s treatment, Dr. Alegre issued an interim Disability Grade of 10 for “stretching leg of ligaments of a knee resulting in instability of the joint.” On 3 January 2011, the 213th day of Montierro’s treatment, Dr. Alegre issued a final assessment of Disability Grade of 10 based on Section 32 of the POEA contract. Meanwhile, one month before Dr. Alegre’s issuance of the final disability grading, Montierro filed with the LA a complaint for recovery of permanent disability compensation.

The LA held that Montierro was entitled to permanent total disability benefits under the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency Standard Employment Contract (POEA-SEC). The LA relied on the 120-day rule introduced by Crystal Shipping, Inc. v. Natividad (510

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Phil. 332 (2005)). The NLRC affirmed the Decision of the LA. The CA however, downgraded the claim of Montierro to “Grade 10” permanent partial disability benefits only, the CA ruled that his disability could not be deemed total and permanent under

the 240-day rule established by Vergara v. Hammonia Maritime Services, Inc. (588 Phil.

895 (2008)). Vergara extends the period to 240 days when, within the first 120-day period

(reckoned from the first day of treatment), a final assessment cannot be made because the
(reckoned from the first day of treatment), a final assessment cannot be made because
the seafarer requires further medical attention, provided a declaration has been made to
this effect.
Issues:
1.
Whether the 240-day rule applies
2.
Whether the company doctor’s opinion should prevail
Ruling:
1. Yes. The Court has already delineated the effectivity of the Crystal Shipping and
Vergara rulings in Kestrel Shipping Co. Inc. v. Munar (G.R. No. 198501, 30 January 2013;
689 SCRA 795) which held that if the maritime compensation complaint was filed prior
to 6 October 2008, the 120-day rule applies; if, on the other hand, the complaint was filed
from 6 October 2008 onwards, the 240-day rule applies. Montierro filed his Complaint
on 3 December 2010, which was after the promulgation of Vergara on 6 October 2008.
Hence, the 240-day rule applies.
2. Yes. When a seafarer sustains a work-related illness or injury while on board the
vessel, his fitness for work shall be determined by the company-designated physician.
The physician has 120 days, or 240 days, if validly extended, to make the assessment. If
the physician appointed by the seafarer disagrees with the assessment of the company-
designated physician, the opinion of a third doctor may be agreed jointly between the
employer and the seafarer, whose decision shall be final and binding on them. Montierro,
however, preempted the procedure when he filed on 3 December 2010 a Complaint for
permanent disability benefits based on his chosen physician’s assessment, which was
made one month before the company-designated doctor issued the final disability
grading on 3 January 2011, the 213th day of Montierro’s treatment. For Montierro’s failure
to observe the procedure provided by the POEA-SEC, the company doctor’s assessment
should prevail.

ROMMEL B. DARAUG v. KGJS FLEET MANAGEMENT MANILA, INC., KRISTIAN GERHARD JEBSEN SKIPSREDER, MR. GUY DOMINO A. MACAPAYAG G.R. No. 211211, January 14, 2015, MENDOZA, J.

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A seafarer’s non-compliance with the mandated procedure under the POEA-SEC and the CBA militates against his claims.

Facts:

Rommel Daraug was employed by KGJS Fleet Management Manila, Inc. (KGJS) to serve as motorman
Rommel Daraug was employed by KGJS Fleet Management Manila, Inc. (KGJS) to serve
as motorman on board the vessel M/V Fayal Cement. While Daraug was working in the
storage room, several steel plates fell and hit his leg. After his treatment, Dr. Lim and Dr.
Chua concluded that petitioner’s right leg was fully healed and that he was fit to work.
In 2009, Daraug was hired again by KGJS for and in behalf of its foreign principal, Kristian
Gerhard Jebsen Skipsreder AS (KGJS AS), as a motorman on board M/V Ibis Arrow. On
October 31, 2009, while Daraug was working in the engine room, he accidentally slipped
and fell, injuring his right leg again. After re-evaluating him on December 4, 2009, and
again on December 21, 2009, Dr. Lim found that Daraug had recovered from his injuries
and declared him fit to work. From the time Daraug was repatriated until he was declared
fit to work, he was paid his sick wages.
About two and a half months later, on March 5, 2010, Daraug filed a complaint against
KGJS and KGJS AS, seeking permanent disability benefits under the CBA, sick wages,
damages, and attorney’s fees. In his Affidavit-Complaint, he claimed that his latest injury
which occurred on board the M/V Ibis Arrow, together with his previous accident on
board the M/V Fayal Cement, rendered
him permanently disabled. It appears that on April 13, 2009, after the filing of his
complaint, Daraug sought the services of Dr. Manuel C. Jacinto, Jr. who issued a medical
Certificate attesting that Daraug had an open fracture on his right fibula and that he was
no longer fit to work.
Issue:
Whether the seafarer’s chosen physician should be given credence
Ruling:

No. The company physician’s finding should be upheld due to the non-compliance with CBA and POEA-SEC 2000. The CBA states that the degree of disability which the employer, subject to this Agreement, is liable to pay shall be determined by a doctor appointed by the Employer. If a doctor appointed by the seafarer and his Union disagrees with the assessment, a third doctor may be agreed jointly between the Employer and the

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Seafarer and his Union, and the third doctor’s decision shall be final and binding on both parties. The copies of the medical certificate and other relevant medical reports shall be made available by the Company to the seafarer.

Daraug failed to observe the prescribed procedure of having the conflicting assessments on his disability referred to a third doctor for a binding opinion as laid down in the POEA- SEC and CBA. The Court upholds the certification issued by the respondents’ physicians with respect to his fitness or disability.

AL O. EYANA v. PHILIPPINE TRANSMARINE CARRIERS, INC., ALAIN A. GARILLOS, CELEBRITY CRUISES, INC. (U.S.A.)
AL O. EYANA v. PHILIPPINE TRANSMARINE CARRIERS, INC., ALAIN A.
GARILLOS, CELEBRITY CRUISES, INC. (U.S.A.)
G.R. No. 193468, January 28, 2015, REYES, J.
In disability compensation, it is not the injury per se which is compensated but the
incapacity to work.
Facts:
Philippine Transmarine Carriers, Inc. (PTCI) hired Eyana as a utility cleaner on board
one of its ships. His tasks were manual in nature, involving lifting, carrying, loading, and
the like. Eyana felt a sudden pain in his back after lifting a 30-kilo block of cheese. He
was confined in a hospital and was medically repatriated to the Philippines. PTCI referred
Eyana to Dr. Alegre for treatment. He was then advised to undergo physical therapy.
When he was advised later on to undergo surgery, Eyana refused. Thus, Dr. Alegre
recommended steroid injection and continuation of physical therapy. Dr. Alegre then
informed PTCI that Eyana still suffered from persistent back pains and restricted truncal
mobility, and was given Disability Grade of 8. Eyana sought the opinion of Dr. Garduce,
who concluded that he had a Disability Grade of 1 and was unfit for sea duty. Eyana then
filed a complaint for disability benefits.
Issue:
Whether Eyana is entitled to total and permanent disability benefits
Ruling:

Yes. Permanent total disability means disablement of an employee to earn wages in the same kind of work or work of a similar nature that he was trained for or accustomed to perform, or any kind of work which a person of his mentality and attainment can do. It does not mean state of absolute helplessness but inability to do substantially all material

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acts necessary to the prosecution of a gainful occupation without serious discomfort or pain and without material injury or danger to life. What clearly determines the seafarer’s entitlement to permanent disability benefits is his inability to work for more than 120 days. Although the company-designated physician already declared the seafarer fit to work, the seafarer’s disability is still considered permanent and total if such declaration is made belatedly, that is, more than 120 days after repatriation.

Dr. Alegre’s report to PTCI clearly indicated that the Eyana’s back pains remained. Hence, the
Dr. Alegre’s report to PTCI clearly indicated that the Eyana’s back pains remained.
Hence, the continuation of physical therapy was recommended. The Court did not
disregard the fact that the Eyana was a utility cleaner before he was injured. His tasks in
the ship were predominantly manual in nature involving a lot of moving, lifting and
bending. At the time Dr. Alegre belatedly issued the disability assessment, Eyana could
not revert back to his customary gainful occupation without subjecting himself to
serious discomfort and pain.
VERITAS MARITIME CORPORATION AND/OR ERICKSON MARQUEZ v. RAMON A.
GEPANAGA, JR.
G.R. No. 206285, February 04, 2015, MENDOZA, J.
For failure to observe the prescribed procedure of having the conflicting assessments on the
disability referred to a third doctor for a binding opinion, the certification issued by the
company- designated physician that the respondent was “fit to go back to work” must be
upheld.
Facts:
Gepanaga was employed as Wiper Maintenance for 6 months on board the vessel M.V.
Melbourne Highway. The parties entered into a contract of employment in accordance
with the POEA-SEC and CBA. While doing maintenance work, his middle finger got
caught between the cast metal piston liners of the diesel generator. Company physician
Dr. Cruz declared Gepanaga was “cleared fit to go back to work.” Unconvinced that he
had fully recovered from his injury, Gepanaga filed a complaint against Veritas, Marquez
and “K” Line Ship Management, Inc. Afterwards, Gepanaga sought the opinion of Dr.
Villa of the Sogod District Hospital in Leyte. That same day, Dr. Villa gave his medical
report finding that Gepanaga suffered from “permanent disability due to old compound
fracture of the 3rd left phalanx/middle finger-left.

Issue:

Whether the personal physician’s determination should be upheld

LABOR LAW DIGESTS 2012-2017

Ruling:

No. Gepanaga failed to observe the prescribed procedure. The POEA Standard Employment Contract and the CBA clearly provide that when a seafarer sustains a work- related illness or injury while on board the vessel, his fitness or unfitness for work shall be determined by the company- designated physician. If the physician appointed by the seafarer disagrees with the company- designated physician’s assessment, the opinion of a third doctor may be agreed jointly between the employer and the seafarer to be the decision final and binding on them. While Gepanaga had the right to seek a second and even a third opinion, the final determination of whose decision must prevail must be done in accordance with an agreed procedure.

SEALANES MARINE SERVICES, INC./ARKLOW SHIPPING NETHERLAND and/or CHRISTOPHER DUMATOL v. ARNEL G. DELA TORRE G.R.
SEALANES MARINE SERVICES, INC./ARKLOW SHIPPING NETHERLAND and/or
CHRISTOPHER DUMATOL v. ARNEL G. DELA TORRE
G.R. No. 214132, February 18, 2015, REYES, J.
The law does not require that the illness should be incurable. What is important is that
the employee was unable to perform his customary work for more than 120 days which
constitutes permanent total disability. An award of a total and permanent disability
benefit would be germane to the purpose of the benefit, which is to help the employee
in making ends meet at the time when he is unable to work.
Facts:
Arnel G. Dela Torre was hired by Sealanes Marine Services, Inc., a local manning agency,
in behalf of its foreign principal, Arklow Shipping Netherland, as an able seaman on
board M/V Arklow Venture for a period of nine months.

During the crew’s rescue boat drill at the port of Leith, Scotland, he figured in an accident and injured his lower back. An X-ray of his lumbosacral spine was taken at a hospital at the port. According to his attending physician he sustained no major injury but the pain in his back persisted and he was repatriated. The respondent underwent several physical therapy sessions, and the company-designated physician assessed him with a Grade 11 disability for slight rigidity or one-third loss of motion or lifting power of trunk. The respondent filed a complaint for disability benefits, medical reimbursement, underpaid sick leave, damages and attorney’s fees.

Issue:

Whether the respondent is entitled to disability benefits

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Ruling:

Yes. Article 192(c) (1) of the Labor Code provides that a "temporary total disability lasting continuously for more than [120] days, except as otherwise provided in the Rules," shall be deemed total and permanent. Section 2(b), Rule VII of the AREC, likewise provides that "a disability is total and permanent if as a result of the injury or sickness the employee is unable to perform any gainful occupation for a continuous period exceeding 120 days, except as otherwise provided under Rule X of these Rules."

Under Section 20(B) (3) of the POEA SEC, it is the company-designated physician who should
Under Section 20(B) (3) of the POEA SEC, it is the company-designated physician who
should determine the disability grading or fitness to work of the seafarer. Also, under
Article 21.4.1 of the Dutch CBA governing the parties, it is the doctor appointed by the
company’s medical advisor who shall determine the degree of disability suffered by a
seafarer.
In Kestrel Shipping Co., Inc. v. Munar (G.R. No. 198501, 30 January 2013; 689 SCRA 795),
the Court read the POEA SEC in harmony with the Labor Code and the AREC, and
explained that: (a) the 120 days provided under Section 20(B)(3) of the POEA SEC is the
period given to the employer to determine fitness to work and when the seafarer is
deemed to be in a state of total and temporary disability; (b) the 120 days of total and
temporary disability may be extended up to a maximum of 240 days should the seafarer
require further medical treatment; and (c) a total and temporary disability becomes
permanent when so declared by the company-designated physician within 120 or 240
days, as the case may be, or upon the expiration of the said periods without a declaration
of either fitness to work or permanent disability and the seafarer is still unable to resume
his regular seafaring duties.

Respondent was repatriated on August 4, 2010 and underwent treatment and rehabilitation which lasted until July 20, 2011, exceeding the 240 days allowed to declare him either fit to work or permanently disabled. Although he was given a Grade 11 disability rating on March 10, 2011, the assessment may be deemed tentative because he continued his physical therapy sessions beyond 240 days. Despite his long treatment and rehabilitation, he was eventually unable to go back to work as a seafarer, which entitled him under the Dutch CBA to maximum disability benefits.

According to Kestrel, while the seafarer is partially injured or disabled, he must not be precluded from earning doing the same work he had before his injury or disability or that he is accustomed or trained to do. Otherwise, if his illness or injury prevents him from

LABOR LAW DIGESTS 2012-2017

engaging in gainful employment for more than 120 or 240 days, as may be the case, then he shall be deemed totally and permanently disabled.

BAHIA SHIPPING SERVICES, INC. AND/OR V-SHIP NORWAY AND/OR CYNTHIA C. MENDOZA v. CARLOS L. FLORES, JR. G.R. No. 207639, July 01, 2015, PERLAS-BERNABE, J.

If after the lapse of the 240-day period, the seafarer is still incapacitated to perform
If after the lapse of the 240-day period, the seafarer is still incapacitated to perform his
usual sea duties and the company-designated physician had not yet declared him fit to work
or permanently disabled, whether total or permanent, the conclusive presumption that the
seafarer is totally and permanently disabled arises.
Facts:
Flores was hired by Bahia Shipping as a “fitter.” While on board overhauling the relief
valve of the vessel, a spring valve flew and hit the left side of respondent's face, causing
severe injuries to his teeth as well as multiple abrasions to his cheek, lips, and nose. He
filed a complaint before the NLRC for disability benefits. The LA found Flores to be
suffering from a permanent total disability, given that from the time of his repatriation
until the case was decided, there was no declaration from either the company-designated
or the independent physicians that respondent was fit to work.
Issue:
Whether Flores is entitled to disability benefits
Ruling:

Yes. Flores is deemed to be suffering from a permanent total disability. After he was repatriated on April 18, 2009, he underwent continuous medical care from the company- designated physician. He was even given an interim disability rating of Grade 7 (moderate residual or disorder) on July 17, 2009, and thereafter, went through further tests and procedures. However, after October 12, 2009, his treatment stopped without him recovering from his ailment. Notably, the company- designated physician neither issued to Flores a fit-to-work certification nor a final disability rating on or before December 14, 2009, the 240th day since his repatriation. Flores is entitled to the corresponding benefits under the CBA.

LABOR LAW DIGESTS 2012-2017

JAKERSON G. GARGALLO v. DOHLE SEAFRONT CREWING (MANILA), INC., DOHLE MANNING AGENCIES, INC., AND MR. MAYRONILO B. PADIZ G.R. No. 215551, September 16, 2015, PERLAS-BERNABE, J.

It is only upon the lapse of 240 days, or when so declared by the company-designated physician, that a seafarer may be deemed totally and permanently disabled.

Facts: Jakerson, an employee of Dohle Seafront Crewing (Manila), Inc., was injured while in the
Facts:
Jakerson, an employee of Dohle Seafront Crewing (Manila), Inc., was injured while in the
line of duty. Jakerson underwent medical procedures and was repatriated on March 11,
2012. Thereafter, Jakerson was closely looked after by the company physician.
On July 20, 2012, Jakerson filed a complaint against Dohle Seafront, et al. to recover
permanent total disability benefits. After 180 days from initial repatriation, he was
declared as “fit to work” by the same company physician. Jakerson sought a second
opinion from an independent physician, which declared that he was not fit to work as of
October 2, 2012. Jakerson, however, was unable to make a joint appointment of a third
doctor, contrary to the conflict-resolution procedures of the CBA and the POEA-SEC.
Issue:
Whether Jakerson is entitled to permanent total disability benefits
Ruling:
No. A disability shall be deemed as permanent and total if the “temporary total disability
last[ed] continuously for more than one hundred twenty days, except as otherwise
provided for in the Rules (Art. 192, Labor Code).” On the other hand, according to the
Implementing Rules, temporary total disability benefits “shall not be paid longer than
120 consecutive days except where such injury or sickness still requires medical
attendance beyond 120 days but not to exceed 240 days from onset of disability in which
case benefit for temporary total disability shall be paid.”

The company-designated physician is given an additional 120 days, or a total of 240 days from repatriation, to provide the seafarer further treatment and thereafter make a declaration as to the nature of the latter's disability. Since Jakerson filed his complaint within the 240-day period, his complaint for permanent total disability benefits is premature. Likewise, the seafarer's non- compliance with the mandated conflict- resolution procedure under the POEA-SEC and the CBA militates against his claims, and

LABOR LAW DIGESTS 2012-2017

results in the affirmance of the fit to work certification of the company-designated physician.

MAERSK-FILIPINAS CREWING, INC./A.P. MOLLER A/C v. ROMMEL RENE O. JALECO G.R. No. 182151, September 21, 2015, SERENO, C.J.

An employee's disability becomes permanent and total only (1) when so declared by the company-designated
An employee's disability becomes permanent and total only (1) when so declared by the
company-designated physician, or, (2) in case of absence of such a declaration of fitness
or permanent total disability, upon the lapse of the 120-day or the 240-day treatment
period. If the 120 days initial period is exceeded and no such declaration is made because
the seafarer requires further medical attention, then the temporary total disability period
may be extended up to a maximum of 240 days, subject to the right of the employer to
declare within this period that the seaman is fit to work or that the permanent partial or
total disability already exists.
Facts:
Rommel Rene O. Jaleco suffered from a slipped disc while working for A.P. Moller A/S
(Moller), on board the vessel "M/T Else Maersk." Rommel underwent medical
examination and was declared not fit for duty. He was repatriated and was medically
treated by respondents' company- designated physician.
After 127 days from date of repatriation, the company physician declared Rommel fit for
duty. Dissatisfied, Rommel sought independent opinions from other physicians.
Thereafter, without the parties securing the opinion of a third physician jointly appointed
by the parties, Rommel filed a complaint for illegal dismissal and recovery of permanent
total disability benefits.
Issue:
Whether Rommel may recover payment of permanent total disability benefits
Ruling:

No. Since the company physician already declared the employee fit for work within 127 days from date of repatriation, there is no permanent total disability to speak of. While there is nothing wrong with Rommel’s act of seeking a second opinion, Rommel should have secured together with the employer the opinion of a third physician pursuant to

LABOR LAW DIGESTS 2012-2017

Sec. 20(B)(3) of the POEA Standard Employment Contract, prior to the filing of the complaint against the employer. Otherwise, the company physician’s opinion stands.

It was Rommel’s duty, as the employee pursuing a claim, to initiate the procedure for the appointment of the third physician. By disregarding the joint appointment of a third physician, which is the conflict-resolution procedure under the parties' POEA-SEC, Rommel’s claims against Maersk et al. should have been denied.

OLIMPIO O. OLIDANA v. JEBSENS MARITIME, INC. G.R. No. 215313, October 21, 2015, MENDOZA, J.
OLIMPIO O. OLIDANA v. JEBSENS MARITIME, INC.
G.R. No. 215313, October 21, 2015, MENDOZA, J.
A seafarer may pursue an action for total and permanent disability benefits if the
company- designated physician declared him partially and permanently disabled within
the 120-day or 240-day period but he remains incapacitated to perform his usual sea
duties after the lapse of the said periods.
Facts:
Olidana was employed by Jebsens Maritime as chief cook since 2007 under different
employment contracts. While cooking in the ship’s kitchen he accidentally bumped a
kettle full of hot water injuring his left hand. The vessel’s master simply advised him to
buy ointment. When the vessel docked, he was brought to the clinic for a check-up and
was diagnosed to be suffering from Tendinitis, but he was allowed to go back to work.
His condition worsened when his hand became swollen with numbness of the fingers.
He was treated again in Japan where abscess of the left palm with infection of the whole
hand was noted. He was admitted to the hospital, discharged after a week and then
repatriated to the Philippines on November 18, 2011.
Olidana reported to Jebsens and was immediately referred for medical treatment. The
company-designated physician classified his disability as a Grade 10 disability but
recommended that he was not fit for duty. Olidana, through a second opinion,
discovered that he had permanent disability affecting his left hand.

The parties agreed to submit the case to a voluntary arbitration. The VA ruled that the disability is a total and permanent one. On review, the CA reduced the award noting that Olidana only suffered a partial disability.

Issue:

Whether Olidana is entitled to permanent disability benefits

LABOR LAW DIGESTS 2012-2017

Ruling:

Yes. Under Section 32 of the POEA-SEC, only those injuries or disabilities that are classified as Grade 1 may be considered as total and permanent. If those injuries or disabilities with a disability grading from 2 to 14 would incapacitate a seafarer from performing his usual sea duties for a period for more than 120 or 240 days, depending on the need for further treatment, then he is, under legal contemplation, totally and permanently disabled.

Despite the lapse of the extended 240-day period, Olidana was still incapacitated to perform his
Despite the lapse of the extended 240-day period, Olidana was still incapacitated to
perform his sea duties. Due to the injury he sustained, he could no longer perform his
usual tasks as chief cook in any vessel. This clearly indicates Olidana’s permanent
disability.
MARLOW NAVIGATION PHILIPPINES INC., MARLOW NAVIGATION CO. LTD./
CYPRUS, LIGAYA C. DELA CRUZ AND ANTONIO GALVEZ, JR., v. BRAULIO A. OSIAS
G.R. No. 215471, November 23, 2015, MENDOZA, J.
The current rule provides: (1) that mere inability to work for a period of 120 days does not
entitle a seafarer to permanent and total disability benefits; (2) that the determination of
the fitness of a seafarer for sea duty is within the province of the company-designated
physician, subject to the periods prescribed by law; (3) that the company-designated
physician has an initial 120 days to determine the fitness or disability of the seafarer; and
(4) that the period of treatment may only be extended to 240 days if a sufficient
justification exists such as when further medical treatment is required or when the
seafarer is uncooperative. Also, absent proper compliance, the final medical report and
the certification of the company-designated physician declaring him fit to return to work
must be upheld.
Facts:

Osias entered into an employment contract with Marlow Navigation. He was to work as a chief cook on board M/V OOCL MUMBAI for a period of nine months for a monthly salary of US$698.00. While working in the gallery, Osias fainted and hit his head and shoulder on the garbage bin. There were no injuries found on him, but he experienced shivers. When the ship arrived in Virginia, U.S.A., he was treated by Dr. Kevin P. Murray and was advised to return home. Osias was medically repatriated. He arrived in the Philippines on February 15, 2010 and immediately reported to Marlow Navigation. He was referred to the company-designated physician, Dr. Michael Tom J. Arago of the Manila

LABOR LAW DIGESTS 2012-2017

Doctor's Hospital. Dr. Arago issued a medical report stating that Osias was diagnosed with "left shoulder contusion, lumbar strain and osteoarthritis, right and left knees." Dr. Arago issued a final medical report stating that Osias underwent physical capacity evaluation and that he was already "fit to return to work effective 13 July 2010." A certification of fitness to work was issued to Osias. Unconvinced, Osias sought the medical opinion of Dr. Orencia. In her medical certificate, dated September 14, 2010, Dr. Orencia opined that the osteoarthritis of Osias would prevent him from returning to his former work as chief cook. Consequently, Osias filed a complaint

for permanent and total disability benefits. He asserted that his incapacity to work for more
for permanent and total disability benefits. He asserted that his incapacity to work for
more than 120 days entitled him to permanent and total disability benefits. Petitioners
countered that Osias was not entitled to the said benefits because the company-
designated physician certified that he was fit to return to work and he himself caused the
delay in his treatment.
Issue:
Whether Osias is entitled to permanent and total disability benefits
Ruling:
No. Permanent total disability is disablement of an employee to earn wages in the same
kind of work, or work of similar nature that he was trained for, or accustomed to perform,
or any other kind of work which a person of his mentality and attainments could do. The
present controversy involves the permanent and total disability claim of a specific type
of laborer—a seafarer. The substantial rise in the demand for seafarers in the
international labor market led to an increase of labor standards and relations issues,
including claims for permanent and total disability benefits.

Osias' doctor of choice, Dr. Orencia, issued a medical certificate which conflicted with the assessment of the company-designated physician. Dr. Orencia opined that the osteoarthritis of Osias prevented him from returning to his work. Osias, however, never signified his intention to resolve the disagreement with petitioners by referring the matter to a third doctor. It is only through the procedure provided by the POEA-SEC, in which he was a party, can he question the timely medical assessment of the company- designated physician and compel petitioners to jointly seek an appropriate third doctor. Absent proper compliance, the final medical report and the certification of the company- designated physician declaring him fit to return to work must be upheld. Ergo, he is not entitled to permanent and total disability benefits.

LABOR LAW DIGESTS 2012-2017

FIL-PRIDE SHIPPING COMPANY, INC., CAPTAIN NICOLAS T. DOLLOLASA and OCEAN EAGLE SIDPMANAGEMENT COMPANY, PTE.LTD. vs. EDGAR A. BALASTA G.R. No. 193047, March 3, 2014 J. DEL CASTILLO

The company-designated physician must arrive at a definite assessment of the seafarer's fitness to work
The company-designated physician must arrive at a definite assessment of the
seafarer's fitness to work or permanent disability within the period of 120 or 240 days,
pursuant to Article 192 (c)(l) of the Labor Code and Rule X, Section 2 of the Amended Rules
on Employees Compensation (AREC). If he fails to do so and the seafarer's medical
condition remains unresolved, the latter shall be deemed totally and permanently disabled.
On the other hand, an employee's disability becomes permanent and total even before the
lapse of the statutory 240-day treatment period, when it becomes evident that the
employee's disability continues and he is unable to engage in gainful employment during
such period because, for instance, he underwent surgery and it evidently appears that he
could not recover therefrom within the statutory period.
Facts:
Edgar A. Balasta (Balasta) was hired by Fil-Pride Shipping Company, Inc. (Fil-Pride) for
its foreign principal, Ocean Eagle Ship Management Company, PTE. Ltd. (Ocean Eagle).
Balasta was assigned as Able Seaman onboard M/V Eagle Pioneer. He was declared fit to
work after undergoing the mandatory Pre-Employment Medical Examination (PEME).
He commenced his duties as Able Seaman aboard M/V Eagle Pioneer on February 23,
2005.

Sometime in August and September 2005, while aboard M/V Eagle Pioneer, Balasta experienced chest pains, fatigue, and shortness of breath. He was examined by a physician in Gangyou Hospital in Tianjin, China, and was diagnosed as having myocardial ischemia and coronary heart disease. He was declared unfit for duty and was recommended for repatriation. Upon arrival, he was immediately referred to the company-designated physician, Dr. Nicomedes G. Cruz (Dr. Cruz). He was subjected to different medidal and laboratory tests. In Dr. Cruz’s September 18, 2005 medical report, respondent was diagnosed with hypertension and myocardial ischemia. On his own initiative, respondent underwent coronary angiogram at the St. Luke’s Medical Center (St. Luke’s) on October 14, 2005. In a medical report of even date signed by St. Luke’s Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory Interventional Cardiologist Paterno F. Dizon, Jr., respondent was diagnosed with coronary artery atherosclerosis and severe three-vessel coronary artery disease.

Respondent filed a claim for permanent disability benefits with petitioners, but the latter denied the same. Hence, Balasta filed a claim.

LABOR LAW DIGESTS 2012-2017

Labor Arbiter (LA) ruled in favor of Balasta ordering Fil-Pride and Ocean Eagle to pay, jointly and severally the former. NLRC reversed LA’s ruling, declaring that Balasta’s illness was not work-related. CA reversed the decision of the NLRC reinstating the ruling of the LA.

Issue: Whether Balasta’s illness is compensable. Ruling: The Court denies the Petition. Regarding the issue
Issue:
Whether Balasta’s illness is compensable.
Ruling:
The Court denies the Petition.
Regarding the issue of compensability, it has been the Court’s consistent ruling that in
disability compensation, "it is not the injury which is compensated, but rather it is the
incapacity to work resulting in the impairment of one’s earning capacity." Moreover, "the
list of illnesses/diseases in Section 32-A does not preclude other illnesses/diseases not so
listed from being compensable. The POEA-SEC cannot be presumed to contain all the
possible injuries that render a seafarer unfit for further sea duties."
Just the same, in several cases, cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease, as well as
other heart ailments were held to be compensable. Likewise, petitioners failed to refute
respondent’s allegations in his Position Paper that in the performance of his duties as
Able Seaman, he inhaled, was exposed to, and came into direct contact with various
injurious and harmful chemicals, dust, fumes/emissions, and other irritant agents; that
he performed strenuous tasks such as lifting, pulling, pushing and/or moving equipment
and materials on board the ship; that he was constantly exposed to varying temperatures
of extreme hot and cold as the ship crossed ocean boundaries; that he was exposed as
well to harsh weather conditions; that in most instances, he was required to perform
overtime work; and that the work of an Able Seaman is both physically and mentally
stressful. It does not require much imagination to realize or conclude that these tasks
could very well cause the illness that respondent, then already 47 years old, suffered from
six months into his employment contract with petitioners. The following
pronouncement in a recent case very well applies to respondent:

x x x His constant exposure to hazards such as chemicals and the varying temperature, like the heat in the kitchen of the vessel and the coldness outside, coupled by stressful tasks in his employment caused, or at least aggravated, his illness. It is already recognized that any kind of work or labor produces stress and strain normally resulting in wear and tear of the human body.

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Notably, it is "a matter of judicial notice that an overseas worker, having to ward off homesickness by reason of being physically separated from his family for the entire duration of his contract, bears a great degree of emotional strain while making an effort to perform his work well. The strain is even greater in the case of a seaman who is constantly subjected to the perils of the sea while at work abroad and away from his family."

Assessment by company-designated physician The company-designated physician must arrive at a definite assessment of the
Assessment by company-designated physician
The company-designated physician must arrive at a definite assessment of the seafarer’s
fitness to work or permanent disability within the period of 120 or 240 days, pursuant to
Article 192 (c)(1) of the Labor Code and Rule X, Section 2 of the AREC. If he fails to do so
and the seafarer’s medical condition remains unresolved, the latter shall be deemed
totally and permanently disabled.
Respondent was repatriated on September 18, 2005. He was further examined by the
company-designated physician Dr. Cruz on September 21, 23 and 30, 2005; October 6,
2005; February 2, 13 and 17, 2006; March 6 and 20, 2006; and on April 19, 2006. And
beginning from the February 2, 2006 medical report, respondent was diagnosed by Dr.
Cruz with severe 3-vessel coronary artery disease, and was scheduled for coronary artery
bypass surgery on February 24, 2006. After surgery, respondent continued his treatment
with Dr. Cruz, who on the other hand continued to diagnose respondent with severe
coronary artery disease even on respondent’s last consultation on April 19, 2006.

Concededly, the period September 18, 2005 to April 19, 2006 is less than the statutory 240-day or 8-month period. Nonetheless, it is impossible to expect that by May 19, 2006, or on the last day of the statutory 240-day period, respondent would be declared fit to work when just recently or on February 24, 2006 he underwent coronary artery bypass graft surgery; by then, respondent would not have sufficiently recovered. In other words, it became evident as early as April 19, 2006 that respondent was permanently and totally disabled, unfit to return to work as seafarer and earn therefrom, given his delicate post-operative condition; a definitive assessment by Dr. Cruz before May 19, 2006 was unnecessary. Respondent would to all intents and purposes still be unfit for sea-duty. Even then, with Dr. Cruz’s failure to issue a definite assessment of respondent’s condition on May 19, 2006, or the last day of the statutory 240-day period, respondent was thus deemed totally and permanently disabled pursuant to Article 192 (c)(1) of the Labor Code and Rule X, Section 2 of the AREC.

LABOR LAW DIGESTS 2012-2017

MARTIN K. AYUNGO vs. BEAMKO SHIPMANAGEMENT CORPORATION, EAGLE MARITIME RAK FZE, AND JUANITO G. SALVATIERRA, JR., G.R. No. 203161, February 26, 2014 J. Perlas-Bernabe

For a disability to be compensable, the seafarer must establish that there exists a reasonable
For a disability to be compensable, the seafarer must establish that there exists a
reasonable linkage between the disease suffered by the employee and his work to lead a
rational mind to conclude that his work may have contributed to the establishment or, at
the very least, aggravation of any pre-existing condition he might have had.
Facts:

On October 11, 2007, Ayungo entered into a twelve (12) month Contract of Employment with respondent Beamko Ship Management Corporation (Beamko) on behalf of its foreign principal, respondent Eagle Maritime RAK FZE (Eagle Maritime), whereby he was engaged as Chief Engineer for the vessel M/V World Star (vessel). Prior to his embarkation, or on October 10, 2007, he underwent a pre-employment medical examination (PEME) at the Sagrada Corazon Medical and Allied Services Center, Inc. (SCMASCI) in Ermita, Manila. During his PEME, he disclosed that he had Diabetes Mellitus. However, when asked if he suffered from High Blood Pressure (Hypertension), he answered in the negative. With these representations, Dr. Janilyn M. Ong and Dr. Catalina P. Ricohermoso of SCMASCI declared Ayungo "FIT FOR SEA DUTY." Thereafter, he left Manila and boarded the vessel on October 14, 2007. In the morning of March 15, 2008, he suddenly lost his sense of hearing while on duty in the engine room, and only heard a continuous ringing noise. But since the vessel was about to reach the port of Yokohama, Japan, he continued to work until 8:00 in the evening of that day. After three (3) hours, he woke up and felt like his surroundings were spinning. Then, he vomited, lost consciousness, and was later found by Oiler Desiderio Sumalinog lying on the floor. Upon reaching the port of Yokohama, Japan on March 16, 2008, he was confined at the Yokohama Red Cross Hospital and was initially diagnosed with "sudden dysacousis" a condition in which certain sounds produce discomfort (auditory dysesthesia). On March 25, 2008, he was repatriated to the Philippines for further medical treatment and examination. Following his repatriation, he was attended to by Dr. Robert Lim (Dr. Lim) of the Metropolitan Medical Center (MMC), the designated physician of Beamko. In a Medical Certificate12 dated March 26, 2008, his tests reflected the following impressions:

(a) to consider Meniere’s Syndrome (Endolymphatics Hydrops); (b) Hypertension; and

LABOR LAW DIGESTS 2012-2017

(c) Diabetes Mellitus. It was also revealed that he was previously diagnosed with Hypertension which he maintained by taking the prescriptive drug Lifezar. On July 9, 2008, Dr. Mylene Cruz-Balbon (Dr. Cruz-Balbon) and Dr. Lim of the MMC issued another report, finding that Ayungo’s Hypertension and Diabetes Mellitus were both pre-existing and not work-related.

Unconvinced, Ayungo consulted another physician, Dr. May S. Donato-Tan (Dr. Donato- Tan) of the Philippine
Unconvinced, Ayungo consulted another physician, Dr. May S. Donato-Tan (Dr. Donato-
Tan) of the Philippine Heart Center. In an undated medical certificate, the latter declared
him to be suffering from CAD, Hypertension and Diabetes Mellitus that rendered him
unfit for sea duty in any capacity, the status thereof being that of a permanent total
disability. Thus, On September 2, 2008, he filed a complaint before the NLRC for the
payment of permanent total disability benefits, sickness allowance, reimbursement of
medical expenses, damages and attorney’s fees against respondents. In his Position
Paper, he claimed that he is entitled to permanent total disability benefits considering
that: (a) his medical records disclose that his Hypertension caused the impairment of his
heart and kidney organs; (b) his Hypertension and CAD developed and/or became
aggravated as a result of the conditions of his employment; and (c) by employing him
despite the disclosure in his PEME that he had Diabetes Mellitus, Beamko and Eagle
Maritime assumed the risk of liability arising from his weakened medical condition. In
opposition, respondents contended that: (a) he was already suffering from his illnesses
when he entered into the contract of employment with Beamko and Eagle Maritime; and
(b) his illnesses were not work-related under the 2000 Philippine Overseas Employment
Agency Standard Employment Contract.
Contrary to the ruling of the LA and the NLRC, the CA found that while Ayungo indeed
disclosed that he had Diabetes Mellitus, this fact alone does not entitle him to disability
benefits as he failed to show the causal connection between his illness and the work for
which he was contracted.
Issue:
Whether or not Ayungo was entitled to disability benefits

Ruling:

The instant petition is not meritorious.

LABOR LAW DIGESTS 2012-2017

Ayungo was not able to demonstrate, through substantial evidence, that his Diabetes Mellitus was related to his work as Chief Engineer during the course of his employment. It is well-settled that for a disability to be compensable, the seafarer must establish that there exists "a reasonable linkage between the disease suffered by the employee and his work to lead a rational mind to conclude that his work may have contributed to the establishment or, at the very least, aggravation of any pre-existing condition he might have had." In other words, not only must the seafarer establish that his injury or illness rendered him permanently or partially disabled, it is equally pertinent that he shows a causal connection between such injury or illness and the work for which he had been contracted. Thus, despite the pre-existing nature of his Diabetes Mellitus and the concomitant disputable presumption that it is work-related, he still had the burden to prove the causal link between his Diabetes Mellitus and his duties as Chief Engineer.

As for his Hypertension, suffice it to state that he did not disclose that he
As for his Hypertension, suffice it to state that he did not disclose that he had been
suffering from the same and/or had been actually taking medications therefor (i.e.,
Lifezar) during his PEME. It was only revealed after his repatriation. To the Court’s mind,
Ayungo’s non-disclosure constitutes fraudulent misrepresentation which, pursuant to
Section 20(E) of the 2000 POEA-SEC,49 disqualifies him from claiming any disability
benefits from his employer. In fact, even if the Court were to discount Ayungo’s
misrepresentation on the premise that his Hypertension was not pre-existing, his claim
for disability benefits therefor should remain dismissible given that he had still failed to
satisfy the requirements stated in Section 32-A(20) of the 2000 POEA-SEC, viz.:
20. Essential Hypertension.
Hypertension classified as primary or essential is considered compensable if it
causes impairment of function of body organs like kidneys, heart, eyes and brain,
resulting in permanent disability; Provided, that the following documents
substantiate it: (a) chest x-ray report, (b) ECG report (c) blood chemistry report,
(d) funduscopy report, and (e) C-T scan. (Emphasis supplied)

Finally, the Court deems it worthy to note that Ayungo failed to comply with the procedure laid down under Section 20(B)(3) of the 2000 POEA-SEC which provides that "[i]f a doctor appointed by the seafarer disagrees with the assessment [of the company doctor], a third doctor may be agreed jointly between the Employer and the seafarer," and that "[t]he third doctor’s decision shall be final and binding on both parties." In

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Philippine Hammonia Ship Agency, Inc. v. Dumadag, the Court held that the seafarer’s non-compliance with the said conflict-resolution procedure results in the affirmance of the fit-to-work certification of the company-designated physician. The findings of Beamko and Eagle Maritime' s physicians that Ayungo's illnesses were not work-related were, in turn, controverted by Ayungo's personal doctor stating otherwise. In light of these contrasting diagnoses, Ayungo prematurely filed his complaint before the NLRC without any regard to the conflict-resolution procedure under Section 20(B)(3) of the 2000 POEA-SEC. Thus, consistent with Philippine Hammonia, the Court is inclined to uphold the opinion of Beamko and Eagle Maritime's physicians that Ayungo's illnesses were pre-existing and not work-related, hence, non-compensable.

INTEL TECHNOLOGY PHILIPPINES, INC. vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION AND JEREMIAS CABILES, G.R. No. 200575,
INTEL TECHNOLOGY PHILIPPINES, INC. vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS
COMMISSION AND JEREMIAS CABILES,
G.R. No. 200575, February 5, 2014
J. Mendoza
Resignation is the formal relinquishment of an office, the overt act of which is
coupled with an intent to renounce. This intent could be inferred from the acts of the
employee before and after the alleged resignation.
Facts:

Jeremias Cabiles was initially hired by Intel Phil. on April 6, 1997 as an Inventory Analyst. He was subsequently promoted several times over the years and was also assigned at Intel Arizona and Intel Chengdu. He later applied and was offered the position of Finance Manager at Intel Semiconductor Limited Hong Kong (Intel HK). Before accepting the offer, he inquired from Intel Phil., through an email, the consequences of accepting the same. Said communication was centered on his query regarding his entitlement to retirement benefits which has been given to employees who has completed ten years of service with Intel Phil. He has only rendered 9.5 years of service and as he will be moving to Intel HK, he also inquired if the number of years of service will be rounded up as it has been close enough to the required ten years. On January 23, 2007, Intel Phil replied in the negative stating that they do not round up the number of years of service and that he

LABOR LAW DIGESTS 2012-2017

was not eligible to receive his retirement benefit. On January 31, 2007, he signed the job offer. On March 8, 2007, Intel Phil issued Cabiles his “Intel Final Pay Separation Voucher” and consequently, he executed a Release, Waiver and Quitclaim in favor of the former acknowledging receipt of P165, 857.62 as full and complete settlement of all benefits due him by reason of his separation from the said company. After seven months of employment in Intel HK, he resigned. After two years, he filed a complaint for non- payment of retirement benefits and for moral and exemplary damages. He insisted that he was employed by Intel for 10 years and 5 months a period which included his seven month stint with Intel HK. Thus, he believed he was qualified to avail of the benefits under the company’s retirement policy.

Issue: Whether or not Cabiles resigned from Intel Phil. when he moved to Intel HK
Issue:
Whether or not Cabiles resigned from Intel Phil. when he moved to Intel HK causing
discontinuance in his years of service with the former and thus affecting his entitlement
to its retirement benefits
Ruling:
Cabiles was not eligible to receive his retirement benefits as he failed to meet the required
ten years length of service when he resigned from Intel Phil. when he moved to Intel HK.
Resignation is the formal relinquishment of an office, the overt act of which is coupled
with an intent to renounce. This intent could be inferred from the acts of the employee
before and after the alleged resignation.
The Court is not convinced with Cabiles’ contention that his employment with Intel HK
is a continuation of his service with Intel Phil alleging that it was but an assignment by
his principal employer, similar to his assignments to Intel Arizona and Intel Chengdu.

First, he still accepted the offer of Intel HK despite a non-favorable reply to his retirement concerns. Thus, such acceptance meant letting go of the retirement benefits he now claims. Clearly, it was his choice to forego his tenure with Intel Phil., with all its associated benefits, in favor of a more lucrative job for him and his family with Intel HK.

Second, the court do not agree with his argument that his employment in Hong Kong is an assignment or extension of his employment with Intel Phil. The continuity, existence or termination of an employer-employee relationship in a typical secondment contract

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or any employment contract for that matter is measured by the following yardsticks: first, the selection and engagement of the employee; second, the payment of wages; third, the power of dismissal; and fourth, the employer’s power to control the employee’s conduct. When he assumed duties with Intel HK, the latter became the new employer. It provided his compensation. He then became subject to Hong Kong labor laws, and necessarily, the rights appurtenant thereto, including the right of Intel HK to fire him on available grounds. Lastly, it had control and supervision over him as its new Finance Manager. Evidently, Intel Phil. no longer had any control over him.

Third, although in various instances, his move to Hong Kong was referred to as an
Third, although in various instances, his move to Hong Kong was referred to as an
“assignment,” it bears stressing that it was categorized as a “permanent transfer.” It is
clear that his decision to move to Hong Kong required the abandonment of his
permanent position with Intel Phil. in order for him to assume a position in an entirely
different company, with a different employer, rank, compensation and benefits.
INC SHIPMANAGEMENT, INC. CAPTAIN SIGFREDO E. MONTERROYO
AND/OR INTERORIENT NAVIGATION LIMITED
vs. ALEXANDER L. MORADAS
G.R. NO. 178564, JANUARY 15, 2014
J. PERLAS-BERNABE
The prevailing rule under Section 20 (B) of the 1996 POEA-SEC on compensation
and benefits for injury or illness was that an employer shall be liable for the injury or illness
suffered by a seafarer during the term of his contract
Facts:

On July 17, 2000, respondent was employed as wiper for the vessel MV Commander (vessel) by petitioner INC Shipmanagement, Inc. for its principal, petitioner Interorient Navigation, Ltd. (petitioners). On October 13, 2000, respondent claimed that while he was disposing of the garbage in the incinerator room of the vessel, certain chemicals splashed all over his body because of an explosion. He was sent to the Burns Unit of the

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Prince of Wales Hospital on the same day wherein he was found to have suffered deep burns. Eventually, upon his own request, respondent was sent home.

On October 21, 2000, he was admitted to the St. Luke’s Medical Center. Subsequently, he was diagnosed to have sustained "thermal burns, upper and lower extremities and abdomen, 2º-3º, 11% for which he underwent debridement. He was referred to a physical therapist for his subsequent debridement through hydrotherapy. On November 10, 2000, the attending physician, Dr. Natalio G. Alegre II, reported that the respondent’s thermal burns were healing well and that they were estimated to fully heal within a period of 3 to 4 months.

Claiming that the burns rendered him permanently incapable of working again as a seaman, respondent
Claiming that the burns rendered him permanently incapable of working again as a
seaman, respondent demanded for the payment of his full disability benefits under
Section 20 (B) in relation to Sections 30 and 30-A of the Philippine Overseas Employment
Agency (POEA) Standard Employment Contract (POEA-SEC), in the amount of
US$60,000.00, which petitioners refused to heed. Thus, respondent filed a complaint
against petitioners for the same, seeking as well moral and exemplary damages, including
attorney’s fees.
In their position paper, petitioners denied respondent’s claims, contending that his injury
was self-inflicted and, hence, not compensable under Section 20 (D) of the POEA-SEC.
They denied that the vessel’s incinerator exploded and claimed that respondent burned
himself by pouring paint thinner on his overalls and thereafter set himself on fire. They
averred that he was led to commit such act after he was caught last October 10, 2000
stealing the vessel’s supplies during a routine security inspection conducted by Captain
Bodo Wirth (Captain Wirth) where respondent was informed that he was to be
dismissed.
Issue:
Whether respondent is entitled to compensation and benefits for injury or illness he
suffered
Ruling:

The prevailing rule under Section 20 (B) of the 1996 POEA-SEC on compensation and benefits for injury or illness was that an employer shall be liable for the injury or illness

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suffered by a seafarer during the term of his contract. There was no need to show that such injury was work-related except that it must be proven to have been contracted during the term of the contract. The rule, however, is not absolute and the employer may be exempt from liability if he can successfully prove that the cause of the seaman’s injury was directly attributable to his deliberate or willful act as provided under Section 20 (D) thereof, to wit:

D. No compensation shall be payable in respect of any injury, incapacity, disability or death
D. No compensation shall be payable in respect of any injury, incapacity, disability or
death of the seafarer resulting from his willful or criminal act, provided however, that the
employer can prove that such injury, incapacity, disability or death is directly attributable
to seafarer.
Hence, the onus probandi falls on the petitioners herein to establish or substantiate their
claim that the respondent’s injury was caused by his willful act with the requisite
quantum of evidence. In labor cases, as in other administrative proceedings, only
substantial evidence or such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
sufficient to support a conclusion is required.
Records bear out circumstances which all lead to the reasonable conclusion that
respondent was responsible for the flooding and burning incidents.
Respondent’s version that the burning was caused by an accident is hardly supported by
the evidence on record.
ALPHA SHIP MANAGEMENT CORPORATION et al.
vs. ELEOSIS CALO
G.R. No. 192034, 13 January 2014
J. Del Castillo

An employee’s disability becomes permanent and total when so declared by the company-designated physician, or, in case of absence of such a declaration either of fitness or permanent total disability, upon the lapse of the 120 or 240-day treatment period. Calo was repatriated on October 12, 2004 and underwent treatment until October 14, 2005. The period was over 1 year which is more than the statutory 120 or 240-day period. During the 1 year period, Dr. Cruz did not make any conclusive findings that Calo was fit for work.

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Facts:

Beosis Calo is an employee of Alpha Ship Management Corp, (Alpha), Junel Chan and their foreign principal, Chuo-kaiun company limited (CKCL). Calo was later on transferred to CKCL’s vessel as Chief Cook on board. When the ship was in Shanghai, China, Calo was diagnosed with urinary tract infection and renal colic. Later on when they were in Chile, Calo was found to have kidney problems and urinary tract infection. Due to these circumstances, he was declared fit for work on light duty basis.

When the ship reached to Japan, Calo was diagnosed with suspected renal and/or ureter calculus.
When the ship reached to Japan, Calo was diagnosed with suspected renal and/or ureter
calculus. Due to its severity, he was declared unfit for work. Accordingly, Calo was
repatriated and was refereed to Dr. Cruz, the company-designated physician, for medical
examination. Accordingly, Calo was diagnosed with a stone in his left kidney. Dr. Cruz
claims that Calo’s health was improving with the given medication. However, feeling
otherwise, Calo consulted Dr. Vicaldo who claims that Calo was unfit fot work and that
the illness was caused by Calo’s work as seaman.
The Labor Arbiter ruled that Calo suffered permanent disability entitling him for
disability benefits. NLRC reversed the decision arguing that it permanent disability
should be determined by Dr. Cruz who was the company-designated physician and not
Dr. Vicaldo. CA sought the reversal of the Cecision of the NLRC, arguing that Dr. Cruz’s
findings are not conclusive.
Issue:
Whether or not Calo is entitled to disability benefits.
Ruling:

Calo is entitled to disability benefits. The treatment to Calo’s illness lasted for more than a year, or the statutory period of 120 or 240-day period provided for by the Labor Code. A day later than the statutory period raises the presumption that the employee is permanently disabled.

Permanent total disability, provided for by the Labor Code, is the temporary total disability for more than 120 days except as provided for in the Rules. However, this is not

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the sole basis for determining employees’ rights as regards work-related injury, illness or death.

An employee’s disability becomes permanent and total when so declared by the company-designated physician, or,
An employee’s disability becomes permanent and total when so declared by the
company-designated physician, or, in case of absence of such a declaration either of
fitness or permanent total disability, upon the lapse of the 120 or 240-day treatment
period. Calo was repatriated on October 12, 2004 and underwent treatment until October
14, 2005. The period was over 1 year which is more than the statutory 120 or 240-day
period. During the 1 year period, Dr. Cruz did not make any conclusive findings that Calo
was fit for work.
JEBSENS MARITIME, INC., ESTANISLAO SANTIAGO, and/or HAPAG-LLOYD
AKTIENGESELL SCHAFT vs. ELENO A. BABOL
G.R. No. 204076, December 4, 2013
J. MENDOZA
In case of disability of seafarers, where the company contends the entitlement of
disability benefits, in the absence of any certification, the law presumes that the employee
remains in a state of temporary disability. Should no certification be issued within the 240
day maximum period, as in this case, the pertinent disability becomes permanent in nature.
Considering that respondent has suffered for more than the maximum period of 240 days
in light of the uncompleted process of evaluation, and the fact that he has been certified to
work again or otherwise, the Court affirms his entitlement to the permanent total disability
benefits awarded him by the CA, the NLRC and the LA.
Facts:
Heed Eleno Babol (Babol), after being diagnosed of Nasopharyngeal Cancer (NPC)
received an expensive company-sponsored treatment, demanded the payment of
disability benefits from the petitioners. His demand being unheeded, respondent filed a
claim before the Labor Arbiter (LA) for the payment disability benefits, sickness
allowance and medical reimbursement.

The petitioners opposed the work-relation argument of respondent in light of a contrary finding made by the company-designated oncologist thatNPC was caused by genetic factors; and that full and expensive medical assistance had been generously extended, on top of the medical attention provided to respondent.

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LA rendered a decision awarding respondent total disability benefits plus 10% thereof as attorney’s fees. It ruled that there existed a causal relationship between respondent’s cancer and his diet on board the vessel; and that the petitioners failed to overcome the presumption of the work-relatedness of respondent’s disease. NLRC affirmed the LA’s ruling but deleted the awards for attorney;s fees. CA affirmed the decision of NLRC and LA, thus, the instant petition.

Issues: Whether the respondent is entitled to disability benefits. Ruling: The petition is denied. In
Issues:
Whether the respondent is entitled to disability benefits.
Ruling:
The petition is denied.
In ECC v. Sanico, GSIS v. CA and Bejerano v. ECC, the Court held that disability should be
understood not more on its medical significance, but on the loss of earning capacity.
Permanent total disability means disablement of an employee to earn wages in the same
kind of work or work of similar nature that he was trained for or accustomed to perform,
or any kind of work which a person of his mentality and attainment could do. It does not
mean absolute helplessness. Evidence of this condition can be found in a certification of
fitness/unfitness to work issued by the company-designated physician.
In this case, records reveal that the medical report issued by the company-designated
oncologist was bereft of any certification that respondent remained fit to work as a
seafarer despite his cancer. This is important since the certification is the document that
contains the assessment of his disability which can be questioned in case of disagreement
as provided for under Section 20(B)(3). Of the POEA-SEC.

In the absence of any certification, the law presumes that the employee remains in a state of temporary disability. Should no certification be issued within the 240 day maximum period, as in this case, the pertinent disability becomes permanent in nature. Considering that respondent has suffered for more than the maximum period of 240 days in light of the uncompleted process of evaluation, and the fact that he has been certified to work again or otherwise, the Court affirms his entitlement to the permanent total disability benefits awarded him by the CA, the NLRC and the LA.

In the same way that the seafarer has duty to faithfully comply with and observer the terms and conditions of the POEA-SEC, including the provisions governing the procedure for claiming disability benefit, the employer also has the duty to provide proof

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that the procedures were also complied with, including the issuance of the fit/unfit to work certification. Failure to do so has the duty to provide proof that the procedures were also complied with, including the issuance of the fit/unfit to work certification. Failure to do so will necessarily cast doubt on the true nature of the seafarer’s condition. When such doubts exist, the scales of justice must tilt in his favor.

RE: APPLICATION FOR SURVIVORSHIP PENSION BENEFITS UNDER REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9946 OF MRS. PACITA A.
RE: APPLICATION FOR SURVIVORSHIP PENSION BENEFITS UNDER REPUBLIC
ACT NO. 9946 OF MRS. PACITA A. GRUBA, SURVIVING SPOUSE OF THE LATE
MANUEL K. GRUBA, FORMER CTA ASSOCIATE JUDGE.
A.M. No. 14155-Ret., November 19, 2013
J. LEONEN
Where a judge of the Court of Tax Appeals who died while in service and prior to the
enactment of Republic Act No. 9946, which substantially amended the benefits provided in
Republic Act No. 910, the SC grants the applicability of RA 9946 to Judge Gruba. Providing
retroactivity to judges and justices who died while in service conforms with the doctrine
that retirement laws should be liberally construed and administered in favor of persons
intended to be benefited. “[T]he liberal approach aims to achieve the humanitarian
purposes of the law in order that the efficiency, security, and well-being of government
employees may be enhanced.”
Facts:
Manuel K. Gruba (Judge Gruba) was born on April 19, 1941. He began his government
service on December 3, 1979 at the Bureau of Internal Revenue. He rose from the ranks
at the Bureau of Internal Revenue until he was appointed as an Associate Judge of the
Court of Tax Appeals on September 17, 1992. On June 25, 1996, Judge Gruba passed away.
The cause of his death was natural. He was 55 years old when he died. He was in
government service for a total of 16 years, six (6) months, and 21 days. In those years, he
rendered service for three (3) years, nine (9) months, and eight (8) days in the Judiciary.

The surviving spouse of Judge Gruba, Mrs. Pacita A. Gruba (Mrs. Gruba), applied for retirement/gratuity benefits under Republic Act No. 910. Upon the grant of the Court of retirement benefits under RA 910, Congress amended Republic Act No. 910 and passed Republic Act No. 9946 which provides for more benefits, including survivorship pension benefits, among others. The law also provides a retroactivity provision. Mrs. Gruba now applies for survivorship pension benefits under Republic Act No. 9946.

Issue:

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Whether Republic Act No. 9946 applies to Judge Gruba

Ruling:

Republic Act No. 9946 provides for a retroactivity clause in Section 4, adding Section 3- B to Republic Act No. 910:

SEC. 3-B. The benefits under this Act shall be granted to all those who have
SEC. 3-B. The benefits under this Act shall be granted to all those who have retired prior
to the effectivity of this Act: Provided, That the benefits shall be applicable only to the
members of the Judiciary: Provided, further, That the benefits to be granted shall be
prospective.
An initial look at the law might suggest that the retroactivity of Republic Act No. 9946 is
limited to those who retired prior to the effectivity of the law. However, a holistic
treatment of the law will show that the set of amendments provided by Republic Act No.
9946 is not limited to justices or judges who retired after reaching a certain age and a
certain number of years in service. The changes in the law also refer to justices or judges
who "retired" due to permanent disability or partial permanent disability as well as
justices or judges who died while in active service. In light of these innovations provided
in the law, the word "retired" in Section 3-B should be construed to include not only those
who already retired under Republic Act No. 910 but also those who retired due to
permanent disability. It also includes judges and justices who died or were killed while
in service.
Providing retroactivity to judges and justices who died while in service conforms with
the doctrine that retirement laws should be liberally construed and administered in favor
of persons intended to be benefited."[T]he liberal approach aims to achieve the
humanitarian purposes of the law in order that the efficiency, security, and well-being of
government employees may be enhanced." Ensuring the welfare of families dependent
on government employees is achieved in the changes made in Republic Act No. 9946. It
will be consistent with the humanitarian purposes of the law if the law is made retroactive
to benefit the heirs of judges and justices who passed away prior to the effectivity of
Republic Act No. 9946.

Judge Gruba who passed away prior to the effectivity of Republic Act No. 9946 is still covered by the law by virtue of Section 3-B. "Retired" here is not construed in the strict dictionary definition but in its more rational sense of discontinuance of service due to causes beyond one’s control. It should include the cessation of work due to natural causes such as death. Therefore, the death of Judge Gruba produces effects under Republic Act No. 9946 for his family.

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In the past, this Court has liberally granted benefits to surviving heirs of deceased members of the Judiciary despite incomplete compliance with the requisites of Republic Act No. 910. Since there was a gap in the law, this Court’s Resolution dated September 30, 2003 in Re: Resolution Granting Permanent Total Disability Benefits to Heirs of Justices and Judges Who Die In Actual Service provided for benefits of judges and justices who died in actual service but were not able to comply with the age and service requirements stated in Republic Act No. 910. 30 This Resolution was incorporated in Republic Act No. 9946.

This Court also applied the survivorship pension benefits to surviving spouses of justices and judges
This Court also applied the survivorship pension benefits to surviving spouses of justices
and judges who died prior to the enactment of Republic Act No. 9946 in 2010. For
example, Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando passed away in 2004, but his widow, Mrs.
Emma Q. Fernando, was given survivorship pension benefits despite the fact that Chief
Justice Fernando’s death occurred prior to the enactment of Republic Act No. 9946.
Congress has been liberal in according retirement and death benefits to justices and
judges. These benefits are incentives for talented individuals to join the Judiciary. For
current members, these benefits assure them that the government will continue to
ensure their welfare even in their twilight years. These benefits allow the best and the
brightest lawyers to remain in the Judiciary despite its risks because they know that their
family’s welfare will be addressed even in their passing.
GERSIP ASSOCIATION, INC., LETICIA ALMAZAN, ANGELA NARVAEZ, MARIA B.
PINEDA, LETICIA DE MESA AND ALFREDO D. PINEDA
vs. GOVERNMENT INSURANCE SERVICE SYSTEM
G.R. No. 189827, October 16, 2013
J. VILLARAMA

The established GSIS Provident Fund Plan got the benefit of GSIS employees, there is no doubt that respondent intended to establish a trust fund from the employees’ contributions (5% of monthly salary) and its own contributions (45% of each member’s monthly salary and all unremitted Employees Welfare contributions).SC cannot accept petitioners’ submission that respondent could not impose terms and conditions on the availment of benefits from the Fund on the ground that members already own respondent’s contributions from the moment such was remitted to their account. Petitioners’ assertion that the Plan was a purely contractual obligation on the part of respondent is likewise mistaken.

Facts:

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On March 19, 1981, the GSIS Board of Trustees (GSIS Board) approved the proposed GSIS Provident Fund Plan (Plan) to provide supplementary benefits to GSIS employees upon their retirement, disability or separation from the service, and payment of definite amounts to their beneficiaries in the event of death. Under the Plan, employees who are members of the Provident Fund (Fund) contribute through salary deduction a sum equivalent to five percent (5%) of their monthly salary while respondent’s monthly contribution is fixed at 45% of each member’s monthly salary. A Committee of Trustees (Committee) appointed by respondent administers the Fund by investing it "in a prudent manner to ensure the preservation of the Fund capital and the adequacy of its earnings."

Petitioners filed a Petition with the GSIS Board alleging that they have not been paid
Petitioners filed a Petition with the GSIS Board alleging that they have not been paid
their portion of the GRF upon their retirement, to which they are entitled as "co-owners"
of the Fund. In its Answer, respondent asserted that petitioners as retiring members of
the Fund were entitled only to the benefits provided in Section 1(b), Article V of the PFRR
and that their claim is not covered by Section 8(a) to (d), Article IV which enumerates
the purposes for which the GRF is allocated. Respondent further contended that there is
no legal basis for petitioners’ theory that they are co-owners and not just beneficiaries of
the Fund.
On October 27, 2004, the GSIS Board denied the petition for lack of merit. It held that
the execution of the Trust Agreement between respondent and the Committee is a clear
indication that the parties intended to establish an express trust, not a co-ownership,
with respondent as Trustor, the Committee as Trustee of the Fund and the members as
Beneficiaries. As to the GRF, the Board said that it answers only for the contingent claims
mentioned in Section 8, Article IV and there is no requirement in the PFRR for the
accounting and partition of GRF. The CA affirmed the ruling of the GSIS Board.
Petitioners’ motion for reconsideration was likewise denied.
Issue:
Whether the GSIS Provident fund is not a "trust" but a co-ownership.
Ruling:
We sustain the rulings of the GSIS Board and CA.

Trust is the legal relationship between one person having an equitable ownership in property and another person owning the legal title to such property, the equitable ownership of the former entitling him to the performance of certain duties and the exercise of certain powers by the latter. A trust fund refers to money or property set aside as a trust for the benefit of another and held by a trustee. Under the Civil Code, trusts

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are classified as either express or implied. An express trust is created by the intention of the trustor or of the parties, while an implied trust comes into being by operation of law.

There is no doubt that respondent intended to establish a trust fund from the employees’ contributions (5% of monthly salary) and its own contributions (45% of each member’s monthly salary and all unremitted Employees Welfare contributions). We cannot accept petitioners’ submission that respondent could not impose terms and conditions on the availment of benefits from the Fund on the ground that members already own respondent’s contributions from the moment such was remitted to their account. Petitioners’ assertion that the Plan was a purely contractual obligation on the part of respondent is likewise mistaken.

In Development Bank of the Philippines v. Commission on Audit, this Court recognized DBP’s establishment
In Development Bank of the Philippines v. Commission on Audit, this Court recognized
DBP’s establishment of a trust fund to cover the retirement benefits of certain employees.
We noted that as the trustor, DBP vested in the trustees legal title over the Fund as well
as control over the investment of the money and assets of the Fund. The Trust Agreement
therein also stated that the principal and income must be used to satisfy all of the
liabilities to the beneficiary officials and employees under the Gratuity Plan.
BENITO E. LORENZO vs. GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM
(GSIS) and DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION (DepEd)
G.R. No. 188385, October 2, 2013
J. PEREZ
Where the accused was diagnosed of leukemia and died because of the said illness,
the surviving spouse cannot claim death benefits as a member of the Government Service
Insurance System under Employees’ Compensation death benefits. Though the said illness
is occupational, it, however, does not thereby result in compensability in view of the fact
that petitioner’s wife was not an operating room personnel, as provided under the
Implementing Rules of P.D. No. 626.
Facts:

Rosario D. Lorenzo, during her lifetime, served as Elementary Teacher I of the Department of Education (DepEd) from October 1984-December 2001. On October 2001, she was admitted at the Medical City Hospital due to Hematoma on the Tongue, Left Inner Lip and Right Cheek with Associated Gingival Bleeding. Prior to her hospitalization, she was diagnosed by the same hospital with leukimia and was confined therein because of pneumonia. On December 2001, Rosario died of Cardio-Respiratory Arrest due to Terminal Leukemia. Her surviving spouse now claims for Employees’ Compensation death benefits as a Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) member.

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It was denied on the ground that the GSIS Medical Evaluation and Underwriting Department (MEUD) found Rosario’s ailments and cause of death, Cardio-respiratory Arrest Secondary to Terminal Leukemia, a non-occupational diseases contemplated under P.D. No. 626, as amended.

Unconvinced, petitioner elevated his Employee’s Compensation claim to the Employees Compensation Commission (ECC) for
Unconvinced, petitioner elevated his Employee’s Compensation claim to the Employees
Compensation Commission (ECC) for review and reconsideration under the Amended
Rules on Employees’ Compensation provided in P.D. No. 626. Upon review, the ECC
found the denial of petitioner’s claim to be in order. Aggrieved, petitioner filed a petition
for review of the decision of the ECC with the CA. The CA affirmed the decision of ECC.
Issue:
Whether the ailment of the late Rosario Lorenzo is compensable under the present law
on employees’ compensation.
Ruling:
SC finds the Petition unmeritorious.
Sickness, as defined under Article 167 (1) Chapter I, Title II, Book IV of the Labor Code of
the Philippines refers to "any illness definitely accepted as an occupational disease listed
by the Employees’ Compensation Commission, or any illness caused by employment,
subject to proof that the risk of contracting the same is increased by working conditions.
In cases of death, such as in this case, Section 1(b), Rule III of the Rules Implementing
P.D. No. 626, as amended, requires that for the sickness and the resulting disability or
death to be compensable, the claimant must show: (1) that it is the result of an
occupational disease listed under Annex "A" of the Amended Rules on Employees’
Compensation with the conditions set therein satisfied; or (2) that the risk of contracting
the disease is increased by the working conditions.
Section 2(a), Rule III of the said Implementing Rules, on the other hand, defines
occupational diseases as those listed in Annex "A" when the nature of employment is as
described therein. The listed diseases are therefore qualified by the conditions as set forth
in the said Annex "A," hereto quoted:

OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES

For an occupational disease and the resulting disability or death to be compensable, all of the following conditions must be satisfied:

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(1) The employee’s work must involve the risks described herein; (2) The disease was contracted as a result of the employee’s exposure to the described

risks;

(3) The disease was contracted within a period of exposure and under such other factors necessary to contract it; (4) There was no notorious negligence on the part of the employee.

x x x x Occupational Disease Nature of Employment x x x 15. Leukemia and
x x x x
Occupational Disease Nature of Employment
x x x
15. Leukemia and Lymphoma Among operating room personnel due to anesthetics
Gauging from the above, the ECC was correct in stating that, contrary to the earlier
finding of the MEUD of the GSIS, Rosario’s disease is occupational, which fact, however,
does not thereby result in compensability in view of the fact that petitioner’s wife was
not an operating room personnel.
As correctly pointed out by the ECC, the coverage of leukemia as an occupational disease
relates to one’s employment as an operating room personnel ordinarily exposed to
anesthetics. In the case of petitioner’s wife, the nature of her occupation does not indicate
exposure to anesthetics nor does it increase the risk of developing Chronic Myelogenous
Leukemia. There was no showing that her work involved frequent and sufficient exposure
to substances established as occupational risk factors of the disease. Thus, the need for
the petitioner to sufficiently establish that his wife’s job as a teacher exposed her to
substances similar to anesthetics in an environment similar to an "operating room." This
leans on the precept that the awards for compensation cannot rest on speculations and
presumptions.
Indeed, following the specific mandate of P.D. No. 626, as amended, and its
Implementing Rules, the petitioner must have at least provided sufficient basis, if not
medical information which could help determine the causal connection between
Rosario’s ailment and her exposure to muriatic acid, floor wax and paint as well as the
rigors of her work. Instead, petitioner merely insists on the supposition that the disease
might have been brought about by the harmful chemicals of floor wax and paint
aggravated by the fact that the Manggahan Elementary School is just along the highway
which exposed Rosario to smoke belched by vehicles, all contributing to her acquisition
of the disease.

We find such factors insufficient to demonstrate the probability that the risk of contracting the disease is increased by the working conditions of Rosario as a public school teacher; enough to support the claim of petitioner that his wife is entitled to employees compensation. Petitioner failed to show that the progression of the disease

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was brought about largely by the conditions in Rosario’s work. Not even a medical history or records was presented to support petitioner’s claim.

SEA POWER SHIPPING ENTERPRISES, INC., ET AL. vs. NENITA P. SALAZAR, IN BEHALF OF DECEASED ARMANDO L. SALAZAR G.R. No. 188595. August 28, 2013 CJ. Sereno

Claimants in compensation proceedings must show credible information that there is probably a relation between
Claimants in compensation proceedings must show credible information that there
is probably a relation between the illness and the work. Probability, and not mere
possibility, is required; otherwise, the resulting conclusion would proceed from deficient
proofs.
Section 20(A) of the POEA Contract require in granting death benefits, seafarer
must have suffered a work-related death during the term of his contract. Here, the seafarer
died six months after his repatriation. Thus, on the basis of Section 20(A), his beneficiaries
are precluded from receiving death benefits.
Facts:
Armando was employed' as an Able Seaman by petitioner Sea Power Shipping
Enterprises, Inc. (agency) on behalf of its principal, Atlantic Bulk Carriers Limited,
for a term of nine months plus a three month-consented extension. At the time of his
employment, he had already passed his pre-employment medical examination and had
been declared “fit to work.”
On 20 April 2003, Armando boarded the M/V Magellan. After 17 months, his contract
ended, and on 8 September 2004, he returned to our shores. Two days after, he was taken
to the Tanza Family General Hospital, where he was confined in the Intensive Care Unit
(ICU) for three days. According to medical reports, he suffered from pneumonia.

Because of his confinement, Armando was unable to see the agency’s physician for a post- employment medical examination (PEME) that was supposed to be conducted within 72 hours from his repatriation. Nevertheless, on the 7th or 8thday of Armando’s confinement, Salazar informed petitioners of her husband’s condition and even asked

LABOR LAW DIGESTS 2