Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1966 > January 1966 Decisions > G.R. No. L-19698 January 31, 1966 CALTEX (PHILIPPINES), INC. v. CONSTANTINO DERPO, ET AL.:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. No. L-19698. January 31, 1966.]

CALTEX (PHILIPPINES), INC., Petitioner, v. CONSTANTINO DERPO and THE WORKMEN’S COMPENSATION COMMISSION, Respondents.

P. Manongdo, for the petitioner.

P. C. Villavieja and Villanueva, for the respondents.


SYLLABUS


1. WORKMEN’S COMPENSATION; ILLNESS DUE TO NATURE AND CONDITION OF EMPLOYMENT, COMPENSABLE. — Pre-employment examination of the claimant showed that he was healthy and fit for work. The fact that he later on contracted tuberculosis, in the absence of other attending circumstances, indicates that the nature and conditions of his employment caused, or at least contributed to, his illness. He is therefore entitled to compensation benefits under Act 3428, as amended.

2. ID.; ID.; ID.; CLAIMANT ENTITLED TO ATTORNEY’S FEES. — A claimant is entitled to attorney’s fees chargeable against his employer in actions for indemnity under the Workmen’s Compensation Act (Article 2208, par. 8, New Civil Code in relation to Article 2253 of the same Code).


D E C I S I O N


DIZON, J.:


Constantino Derpo had been in the employ of Caltex (Philippines) Inc., hereinafter referred to simply as the Company, as a casual laborer since October 1953, with a daily wage of P6.60. His working days were irregular as his services in drum filling, tin filling, soldering one quart tins, painting truck tanks, varnishing, filling oil and filling gas tank on tap were utilized by the Company only when there was need for them at its terminal in Pandacan, Manila.

On February 16, 1959, Derpo was separated from the service because his physical examination on February 5 of the same year showed that he was suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis, minimal right, probably active. Thereafter he had himself treated, and on December 11, 1959, he wrote the Company that he had fully recovered from his ailment and asked for reinstatement. This having been denied, Derpo filed a claim with the regional office of the Department of Labor in Manila (W. C. Case No. 901) against the Company to recover compensation benefits under Act 3428, as amended, on the ground that he had contracted pulmonary tuberculosis on account of the nature of his work with it. The Company filed its answer denying that Derpo’s illness was due to his work or that the same was incurred in the performance thereof.

After due trial, the hearing officer dismissed the claim for lack of merit. On appeal, the Workmen’s Compensation Commission reversed the decision of said officer and rendered judgment in favor of Derpo, as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"1. To pay the claimant thru this Office, Two thousand One Hundred Fifty-six pesos and 88/100 (P2,156,88) as compensation from February 16, 1959 to January 17, 1962 and a weekly compensation of P14.19 from January 18, 1962, until the disability ceases under Section 14 of the Workmen’s Compensation Act, as amended, but in no case shall the total compensation exceed the amount of P4,000.00;

"2. To provide the claimant further medical assistance needed until his illness is pronounced arrested or cured under Section 13 of the Act;

"3. To pay partial attorney’s fees in the amount of P166.76 equivalent to 7.5% of the amount of compensation so far due; and

"4. To pay the Workmen’s Compensation Fund the amount of P22.00 as fee."cralaw virtua1aw library

The Company’s motion for a reconsideration of the above decision was denied by the Workmen’s Compensation Commission in its resolution en banc of March 27, 1962. Hence, this petition for review.

The company’s main contention in this appeal is that the Commission erred in holding that Derpo’s illness was either caused by the nature of his work or was aggravated by it because of the working conditions prevailing in the job site. Upon this point the following observations of the Commission appear to be not only pertinent but decisive of the issue:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"A perusal of the records of this case reveals to us a clear picture of the nature of Derpo’s work as well as the working conditions. In the drum filling section, waste, filth, and oil were scattered all over the place. In the soldering of tins, a hot stove or burner stood between the claimant and another solder and the place was filled with the fumes of burnt acid. Paint and thinner fumes filled the air during the painting jobs. Eight hours a day the claimant breathes in air polluted by the fumes of burnt acid or fumes of paints and thinner.

"Pre-employment examination of the claimant showed that he was healthy and fit for work. The fact that he later on contracted tuberculosis, in the absence of other attending circumstances, indicates that the nature and conditions of his employment contributed to his illness."cralaw virtua1aw library

Having come to the conclusion that, as found by the Commission, Derpo’s illness was caused by the nature of his work and the working conditions prevailing in the job site, or that, at least, it was aggravated by the same conditions, We are constrained to affirm as We do affirm, the decision appealed from on this particular issue.

With respect to the company’s claim that the Commission also erred in awarding attorney’s fees to the claimant, We find that, under Act No. 386 (New Civil Code of the Philippines) which took effect on August 30, 1950, a claimant is entitled to attorney’s fees chargeable. against his employer in actions for indemnity under the Workmen’s Compensation Law (Article 2208 of paragraph [8] New Civil Code in relation to Article 2253 of the same (Code).

Wherefore, the decision appealed from is hereby affirmed.

Bengzon, C.J., Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Regala, Bengzon, J.P. and Zaldivar, JJ., concur.

Makalintal, J., took no part.




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