Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1984 > January 1984 Decisions > G.R. No. L-40608 January 31, 1984 - MARIWASA MANUFACTURING, INC. v. WORKMEN’S COMPENSATION COMMISSION, ET AL.:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. L-40608. January 31, 1984.]

MARIWASA MANUFACTURING, INC., Petitioner, v. WORKMEN’S COMPENSATION COMMISSION and OCTAVIO B. VIDANES, JR., Respondents.


SYLLABUS


1. LABOR AND SOCIAL LEGISLATION; WORKMEN’S COMPENSATION ACT; CRITERIA FOR COMPENSABILITY OF ILLNESS; CASE AT BAR. — The ailment contracted by private respondent was work-connected and work-aggravated, criteria for compensability recognized by the Workmen’s Compensation Act, the statute that governs the present situation. As held in G. B. Francisco, Inc. v. WCC(87 SCRA 22), private respondent’s exposure during the course of his employment to chemicals, dust, heat and other air pollutants, and the lessening of his body resistance due to the stress and strain of work could have caused or aggravated the ailment which had afflicted him.

2. ID.; ID.; PRESUMPTION OF COMPENSABILITY; PREVAILS OVER MERE OPINIONS OF DOCTORS ON THE NON-CAUSAL CONNECTION BETWEEN ILLNESS AND NATURE OF CLAIMANT’S WORK. — The adverse medical findings relied upon by petitioner, to the effect that Hansen’s disease is neither a compensable nor occupational disease, cannot prevail over the legal presumption, which has not been successfully rebutted, that claimant’s disabling illness was contracted by him in the course of his employment or at least aggravated by the nature of such employment.


D E C I S I O N


MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:


The Petition for Review on Certiorari filed herein was treated by this Court as a special civil action. 1

Challenged is the Decision of the Workmen’s Compensation Commission in RPO-WC Case No. C-812, dated April 11, 1975, entitled "Octavio B. Vidanes, Jr., Claimant versus Mariwasa Manufacturing, Inc., Respondent" affirming, with modifications, the Decision of Acting Referee Manuel P. Asuncion of Labor Regional Office No. 4, granting compensation benefits to herein private respondent Octavio B. Vidanes, Jr. The dispositive portion of the questioned Decision reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from should be, as it is hereby, AFFIRMED with modifications as to attorney’s fee awarded and the award of review costs pursuant to law governing them in appealed cases. The respondent is hereby ordered to pay the following liabilities.

1. To the claimant, thru this Commission, the sum of TWO THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED SEVENTY NINE PESOS AND THIRTY EIGHT CENTAVOS (P2,379.38) as his compensation benefit under Section 14 of the Act, as amended;

2. To Attorney Arturo Carbonell, the sum of TWO HUNDRED THIRTY SEVEN PESOS AND NINETY THREE CENTAVOS (P237.93) as attorney’s fee in accordance with Section 31 of the Act, as amended; and

3. To the Workmen’s Compensation Fund, the sum of TWENTY NINE PESOS (P29.00) including review costs in accordance with Section 55 of the Act, as amended." 2

The facts of the case, as found by the Commission and which we find supported by the evidence, follow:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"The claimant entered into employment connection with the respondent on June 12, 1967, working with it up to September 6, 1971, when he was removed from employment because he was suffering from an illness diagnosed as Hansen’s disease. He used to work eight hours daily for a wage of P9.50 a day, for 6 days a week.

During his employment, he worked in several departments of the respondent: from the Glazing Department to the Gloss Department, and from the Gloss Department to the Japanese Press Department.

Prior to his employment, he was physically examined, which was a fact admitted by the Respondent. He became sick while in the employ of the respondent and granted sick leave by it. He under went treatment in the Sumilang Skin Clinic and later in the San Lazaro Hospital. . .

A showing was made by the claimant that he was of sound health when he entered into employment relation with the respondent on June 12, 1967. The respondent admitted that a pre-employment physical examination was conducted upon the claimant." 3

"The medical records of the claimant shows that on July 18, 1970 he made his first consultation with the medical clinic of the respondent with complaint that his thigh was "parang namamanhid" or sort of being numbed. Suspecting that he was suffering from lack of Vitamin B, he was prescribed with Vitamin B complex. The next consultation was on September 23, 1970. There being no sign of relief claimant was given a rather thorough examination by Dr. de Guzman. He was pricked on some parts of the body but could not feel. Sensing that there was something wrong, claimant was told to go to the San Lazaro Hospital for examination but he did not obey. A follow-up advice was made by Dr. de Guzman and herein claimant was given a referral slip to the Philippine General Hospital Dermatology Section for examination of his complaint. This was made on May 13, 1971. The examination conducted at the Philippine General Hospital confirmed that claimant was suffering from Hansen’s disease. . . ." 4

Premised on these antecedent circumstances, on October 19, 1971, Vidanes, Jr. filed with the then Department of Labor, Regional Office No. 4, Mandaluyong, Rizal, a notice and claim for compensation under the Workmen’s Compensation Act claiming that he had contracted Hansen’s disease (leprosy) during his employment, the same having been "caused by the chemical reaction of special kind of soil and dust mixed with chemicals in the manufacture of tiles coupled with the intensive heat of the machineries and equipment where the products are heated and molded." 5 Petitioner-employer opposed the claim.

The affirmative relief granted by the Acting Referee was, as earlier stated, upheld by the Workmen’s Compensation Commission on appeal, with slight modifications. Mariwasa, the defeated party below, filed this Petition seeking reversal.

On the strength of recent jurisprudence, we affirm the reviewed judgment. The ailment contracted by private respondent was work-connected and work-aggravated, criteria for compensability recognized by the Workmen’s Compensation Act, the statute that governs the present situation. As held in G. B. Francisco, Inc. v. Workmen’s Compensation Commission 6 , private respondent’s exposure during the course of his employment to chemicals, dust, heat and other air pollutants, and the lessening of his body resistance due to the stress and strain of work could have caused or aggravated the ailment which had afflicted him.

". . . Turning to the unfortunate situation now before Us, there is no valid reason for discounting leprosy, one of the most dreaded diseases there is, . . . All that We have is the bare assertion in the pleadings of petitioner that leprosy is not compensable. Against that assertion, however, as found by respondent Commission, is the certification of the attending physician appearing in the record that the disease of Urdas was caused in the course of and in pursuance of his employment. This is understandable considering that Urdas did painting jobs for G.B. Francisco, Inc. in the latter’s realty business in the course of which he was exposed to chemicals, dust, heat, and other environmental factors of air pollution and the like, all of which could have caused or aggravated the leprosy which afflicted him."cralaw virtua1aw library

And, as stressed by the Commission insofar as "contact with a leprous person inside petitioner’s premises" is concerned, it stated;

"We even believe more strongly that the claimant had contact with an open case or cases right in the company compound. First, he was with the Glazing Department of the respondent company, and then he was transferred to the Gloss Department, and later to the Japanese Press Department; in contact, therefore, with many workers. Dr. Virginia Guzman showed impliedly how lax was the respondent company in the admission of employees for she observed about 20 persons employed and working in the premises of the respondent having skin diseases. (T.N. p. 265). We took notice of the following records of the examination of Dr. Guzman during one of the proceedings in this case:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"A. We do blood pressure examination, complete physical examination exclusive neurological examination like pinprick testing because that is not part of routine procedure, and chest x-ray.

"Q. You do not do blood testing of applicants?

"A. No blood testing." 7

The adverse medical findings relied upon by petitioner, to the effect that Hansen’s disease is neither a compensable nor occupational disease, cannot prevail over the legal presumption, which has not been successfully rebutted, that claimant’s disabling illness was contracted by him in the course of his employment or at least aggravated by the nature of such employment.chanrobles lawlibrary : rednad

"Hence, we have repeatedly ruled that the mere opinions of doctors on the non-causal connection between illness and/or death and the nature of claimant’s work, presented as evidence by the employer, do not meet the required quantum of evidence as aforestated; and therefore, such opinions cannot prevail over the presumption of compensability established by law (Simon v. Republic, 71 SCRA 646 [1977]; Maria Cristina Fertilizer Corporation v. WCC, 60 SCRA 228 [1974]; Abana v. Quisumbing, 22 SCRA 1282-1283 [1968]; and Magalona v. WCC, 21 SCRA 1203 [1967]).

"Furthermore, We have applied with pedantic rigor the aforesaid legal presumption of compensability even in the absence of a definite finding or knowledge of the precise medical cause of the claimant’s illness as long as the illness and/or death supervened in the course of employment. For precisely, the vital function of legal presumption is to dispense with the need for proof. (Mulingtapang v. Workmen’s Compensation Commission, 80 SCRA 610, 614 & 615 [1977])"

WHEREFORE, the Decision of respondent Workmen’s Compensation Commission is hereby affirmed.

Costs against petitioner.

SO ORDERED.

Teehankee, Plana, Relova and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ., concur.

Endnotes:



1. p. 54, Rollo.

2. pp. 50 & 51, ibid.

3. pp. 1-2, Decision of the Commission, pp. 47 & 48, Rollo.

4. pp. 2-3, Decision of the Workmen’s Compensation Unit, Regional Office No. 4, pp. 30 & 31, Rollo.

5. p. 29, Rollo.

6. 87 SCRA 22 (1978).

7. p. 49, Rollo.




Back to Home | Back to Main


chanrobles.com



ChanRobles Professional Review, Inc.

ChanRobles Professional Review, Inc. : www.chanroblesprofessionalreview.com
ChanRobles On-Line Bar Review

ChanRobles Internet Bar Review : www.chanroblesbar.com
ChanRobles CPA Review Online

ChanRobles CPALE Review Online : www.chanroblescpareviewonline.com
ChanRobles Special Lecture Series

ChanRobles Special Lecture Series - Memory Man : www.chanroblesbar.com/memoryman





January-1984 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. Nos. L-57219-20 January 4, 1984 - RAMON B. RESURRECCION, ET AL. v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-54108 January 17, 1984 - COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE v. COURT OF TAX APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-57804 January 23, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EMILIANO CARUNCHO, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-66088 January 25, 1984 - ALEX G. ALMARIO, ET AL. v. MANUEL ALBA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-27422 January 30, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DAMASO SARABIA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-34127 January 30, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANTONIO MOREDO

  • G.R. No. L-34675 January 30, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO ZAGANAY, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. L-39504-06 January 30, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOHNSON SO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-46293 January 30, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MILAGROS CALMA MABANSAG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-48373 January 30, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDUARDO DE OCAMPO GONZAGA

  • G.R. Nos. L-48876-78 January 30, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO B. VIDAL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-55271 January 30, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DOROTEO PASCUAL, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-59985 January 30, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOSE BENAVIDEZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-60386 January 30, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALFREDO VILLEGAS, JR.

  • G.R. No. L-64750 January 30, 1984 - SELSO M. MANZANARIS v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-66161 January 30, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ELMER P. NILLOS

  • AC-G.R. No. L-25554. November 18, 1983 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ELMER NILLOS y PALSARIO, Accused-Appellant.

  • A.C. No. 559-SBC January 31, 1984 - CARMEN E. BACARRO v. RUBEN M. PINATACAN

  • A.C. No. 1734 January 31, 1984 - JOSEFINA M. SENSENG v. PATRICIO BALAO GA

  • G.R. No. L-28230 January 31, 1984 - NATIONAL WATERWORKS & SEWERAGE AUTHORITY v. MUNICIPALITY OF ALCALA, PANGASINAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-30057 January 31, 1984 - BRUNO O. APARRI v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-31657 January 31, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDGARDO D. VENGCO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-32861 January 31, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FRANCISCO ERARDO

  • G.R. No. L-33907 January 31, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NARCISO R. MARTINEZ

  • G.R. No. L-35120 January 31, 1984 - ADAMSON & ADAMSON, INC. v. COURT OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-35818 January 31, 1984 - JOSE P. FELARCA v. BOOKMAN, INCORPORATED, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-36317-18 January 31, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SATURNINO VILLAREAL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-36750 January 31, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MIGUEL REGATO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-40517 January 31, 1984 - LUZON SURETY COMPANY, INC. v. PASTOR T. QUEBRAR, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-40608 January 31, 1984 - MARIWASA MANUFACTURING, INC. v. WORKMEN’S COMPENSATION COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-48210 January 31, 1984 - CRISANTO SAN MIGUEL, ET AL. v. J.M. ELBINIAS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-50500 January 31, 1984 - MARIANO SONGCO v. PRESIDING JUDGE, COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF RIZAL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-50908 January 31, 1984 - MARY CONCEPCION BAUTISTA, ET AL. v. ALFREDO L. JUINIO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-56113 January 31, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JAIME P. VILLEZA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-56170 January 31, 1984 - HILARIO JARAVATA v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-56339 January 31, 1984 - PHILIPPINES DAILY EXPRESS PUBLISHING CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. BLAS F. OPLE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-57438 January 31, 1984 - FELICIANO FRANCISCO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-57767 January 31, 1984 - ALBERTO S. SUNIO, ET AL. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-58438 January 31, 1984 - EDILBERTO BERNAS, ET AL. v. PELAYO V. NUEVO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-60258 January 31, 1984 - SAMUEL C. OCCEÑA v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS

  • G.R. No. L-61236 January 31, 1984 - NATIONAL FEDERATION OF LABOR, ET AL. v. CARLITO A. EISMA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-61716 January 31, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARCIALITO BARCENILLA

  • G.R. No. L-62287 January 31, 1984 - FELICIDAD F. GONZAGA v. EMPLOYEES’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. L-63550-51 January 31, 1984 - RJL MARTINEZ FISHING CORPORATION, ET AL. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-63701 January 31, 1984 - CORAZON R. PAGDONSALAN v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-65072 January 31, 1984 - APOLINAR R. ROYALES, ET AL. v. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, ET AL.