Sie sind auf Seite 1von 11

G.R. No.

160444

August 29, 2012

WALL EM MARITIME SERVICES, INC., Petitioner, vs. ERNESTO C. TANAWAN, Respondent. DECISION BERSAMIN, J.: A seafarer, to be entitled to disability benefits, must prove that the in ury !as suffered durin" the term of the employment, and must submit himself to the #ompany$desi"nated physi#ian for evaluation !ithin three days from his repatriation. The C se %or revie! on certiorari is the de#ision promul"ated on November &', &((&, ) !hereby the Court of Appeals *CA+ annulled the de#ision rendered on ,une )-, &(() by the National .abor Relations Commission *N.RC+ and reinstated the de#ision dated ,anuary &), &((( of the .abor Arbiter. A!te"e#e!ts On /ay )&, )''0, the petitioner, then a#tin" as lo#al a"ent of S#andi# Ship /ana"ement, .td., en"a"ed Ernesto C. 1ana!an as do2er driver assi"ned to the vessel, /34 Eastern %al#on, for a period of )& months. 5nder the employment #ontra#t, 1ana!an !as entitled to a basi# salary of 5S6-77.((3month, overtime pay of 5S6&.)-3hour, and va#ation leave pay of 5S6-7.((3month. & On November &&, )''0, !hile 1ana!an !as assistin" t!o #o$!or8ers in liftin" a steel plate aboard the vessel, a #orner of the steel plate tou#hed the floor of the de#8, #ausin" the slin" to slide and the steel plate to hit his left foot. 9e !as brou"ht to a hospital in /alaysia !here his left foot !as pla#ed in a #ast. 9is :$ray e:amination sho!ed he had suffered multiple left toes fra#ture *i.e., left &nd pro:imal phalan: and -rd to 7th metatarsal+.%ollo!in" 1ana!an;s repatriation on November &<, )''0, his desi"nated physi#ian, Dr. Robert D. .im, #ondu#ted the evaluation and treatment of his foot in ury at /etropolitan 9ospital, the desi"nated hospital. 1ana!an !as initially evaluated on De#ember ), )''0 and !as referred to /etropolitan 9ospital;s orthopedi# sur"eon !ho revie!ed the :$rays and advised 1ana!an to #ontinue !ith his immobili2ation to allo! "ood fra#ture healin".= On De#ember &&, )''0, 1ana!an;s #ast !as removed, and he !as advised to start motion e:er#ises and partial !ei"ht bearin".7 9e under!ent physi#al therapy for t!o months at the St. Camillus 9ospital.> On /ar#h &>, )''<, the orthopedi# sur"eon

su""ested pinnin" and bone "raftin" of the 7th metatarsal bone after noti#in" that there !as no #allous formation there.0 On April 0, )''<, 1ana!an under!ent bone "raftin" and !as dis#har"ed on the ne:t day.< On /ay &), )''<, #onformably !ith the orthopedi# sur"eon;s findin"s, Dr. .im reported that 1ana!an !as already asymptomati# and pronoun#ed him fit to !or8. ' It is noted that from November -(, )''0 until April )''<, 1ana!an !as paid si#8ness allo!an#es e?uivalent to his monthly salary. )( On /ar#h -), )'<<, !hile 1ana!an !as still under treatment by Dr. .im, he also sou"ht the servi#es of Dr. Rimando Sa"uin to assess the e:tent of his disability due to the same in ury. Dr. Sa"uin #ate"ori2ed the foot in ury as @rade )& based on the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration *POEA+ S#hedule of Disability. )) On Au"ust &7, )''<, due to the !orsenin" #ondition of his ri"ht eye, 1ana!an also !ent to the #lini# of Dr. 9ernando D. Aunuan for a disability evaluation, not of his foot in ury but of an eye in ury that he had supposedly sustained !hile on board the vessel. )& 1ana!an;s position paper narrated ho! he had sustained the eye in ury, statin" that on O#tober 7, )''0, the Chief En"ineer dire#ted him to spray$paint the loader of the vesselB that as he !as openin" a #an of thinner, some of the thinner a##identally splashed into his ri"ht eyeB that he !as rushed to the Offi#e of the Chief /ate for emer"en#y treatmentB and that the ship do#tor e:amined him five days later, and told him that there !as nothin" to !orry about and that he #ould #ontinue !or8in". )Dr. Aunuan referred him to Dr. 1im ,imene2, an ophthalmolo"ist, !ho dia"nosed him to be sufferin" from a retinal deta#hment !ith vitreous hemorrha"e on the ri"ht eye for !hi#h sur"i#al repair !as needed. Dr. Aunuan #ate"ori2ed his disability as @rade 0. )= On November &>, )''<, 1ana!an filed in the Arbitration Aran#h of the N.RC a #omplaint for disability benefits for the foot and eye in uries, si#8ness allo!an#e, dama"es and attorney;s fees a"ainst the petitioner and its forei"n prin#ipal. In its ans!er, the petitioner denied 1ana!an;s #laim for disability benefits for his foot in ury, averrin" that he !as already fit to !or8 based on Dr. .im;s #ertifi#ationB )7 that he did not sustain the alle"ed eye in ury !hile on board the vessel be#ause no su#h in ury !as reportedB)> that the #laim for si#8ness allo!an#e !as already paid !hen he under!ent treatment.)0 Ru$%!g o& the L 'o( A('%te( On ,anuary &), &(((, the .abor Arbiter ruled in 1ana!an;s favor, vi2C D9ERE%ORE, premises #onsidered, ud"ment is hereby renderedC

)+ ORDERIN@ respondents to pay the #omplainant, ointly and severally, in Philippine Curren#y, based on the rate of e:#han"e prevailin" at the time of a#tual payment, the follo!in" amounts representin" the #omplainant;s disability benefitsC a+ %oot in ury E 5S67,&&7.(( b+ Eye in ury E 5S6&(,'((.(( &+ AND ORDERIN@, %5R19ER/ORE, respondents to pay the #omplainant attorney;s fees e?uivalent to ten per#ent *)(F+ of the total monetary a!ards "ranted to the aforesaid employee under this De#ision. All other #laims are DIS/ISSED for la#8 of merit. SO ORDERED.)< 1he .abor Arbiter found suffi#ient eviden#e to support 1ana!an;s #laim for disability benefits for the foot and eye in uries, a##ordin" #reden#e to the medi#al #ertifi#ate issued by Dr. Sa"uin #lassifyin" 1ana!an;s foot in ury as @rade )&B 1ana!an;s de#laration G!hi#h !as not #ontradi#ted by the petitionerGthat some paint thinner splashed into his ri"ht eye on O#tober 7, )''0B and the letter of Dr. Aunuan to the effe#t that the disability due to the eye in ury !as #lassified as @rade 0. 1he .abor Arbiter dis#ounted Dr. .im;s #ertifi#ation de#larin" 1ana!an fit to !or8 on the "round that Dr. .im had no personal 8no!led"e of su#h fa#t be#ause it had been the orthopedi# sur"eon !ho had made the findin"B hen#e, the #ertifi#ation !as hearsay eviden#e, not deservin" of any probative !ei"ht. 1he .abor Arbiter denied 1ana!an;s #laim for si#8ness allo!an#e in li"ht of the sho!in" that su#h #laim had already been paid.)' 1he petitioner appealed to the N.RC. In its appeal, the petitioner #ontended that Dr. Sa"uin;s #ertifi#ation !as issued on /ar#h -), )''< !hile 1ana!an !as still under treatment by Dr. .imB&( that the disability "radin" by Dr. Sa"uin had no fa#tual or le"al basis #onsiderin" that 1ana!an !as later de#lared fit to !or8 on /ay &), )''< by the #ompany$desi"nated physi#ian, the only physi#ian authori2ed to determine !hether a seafarer !as fit to !or8 or !as disabledB &) that the medi#al report of the orthopedi# sur"eon !ho a#tually treated 1ana!an reinfor#ed Dr. .im;s fit$to$!or8 #ertifi#ation, be#ause the report stated that 1ana!an !as already asymptomati# and #ould "o ba#8 to !or8 anytimeB&& that 1ana!an failed to dis#har"e his burden of proof to establish that he had sustained the in ury !hile on board the vesselB that 1ana!an did not submit himself to a post$employment medi#al e:amination for the eye in ury and did not mention su#h in ury !hile he under!ent treatment for his foot in ury, an indi#ation that the eye in ury !as only an afterthou"htB&- that there !as also no eviden#e that the alle"ed eye in ury !as dire#tly #aused by the thinner, the #ertifi#ation of Dr. Aunuan not havin" stated its #auseB&= and that a #ertifi#ation from an eye spe#ialist, a #ertain Dr.

Dillie An"bue$1e, sho!ed the #ontrary, be#ause the #ertifi#ation attested that the splashin" of some thinner on the eye !ould not in any !ay lead to vitreous hemorrha"e !ith retinal deta#hment, !hi#h !as usually #aused by trauma, pre$e:istin" latti#e de"eneration, diabeti# retinopathy, hi"h myopia, retinal tear or retinal holes. &7 Ru$%!g o& the NLRC On ,une )-, &((), the N.RC reversed the .abor Arbiter;s de#ision and dismissed 1ana!an;s #omplaint for la#8 of merit. &> After the N.RC denied his motion for re#onsideration, &0 1ana!an #ommen#ed a spe#ial #ivil a#tion for certiorari in the CA. Ru$%!g o& the CA On November &', &((&, the CA rendered its assailed de#ision in favor of 1ana!an,&< !hose dispositive portion reads as follo!sC D9ERE%ORE, havin" found that publi# respondent N.RC #ommitted "rave abuse of dis#retion, the Court hereby ANN5.S the assailed De#ision and Resolution and REINS1A1ES the de#ision of the .abor Arbiter dated ,anuary &), &(((. SO ORDERED. 1he CA dis#oursed that !hat !as bein" #ompensated in disability #ompensation !as not the in ury but the in#apa#ity to !or8B that #onsiderin" that the foot in ury in#apa#itated 1ana!an from further !or8in" as do2er driver for the petitioner;s prin#ipal, he should be "iven disability benefitsB that Dr. .im;s #ertifi#ation had no probative !ei"ht be#ause it !as self$servin" and biased infavor of the petitionerB that 1ana!an;s #laim for the eye in ury !as !arranted be#ause the in ury o##urred durin" the term of the employment #ontra#tB and that an in ury, to be #ompensable, need not be !or8$ #onne#ted.&' On O#tober )0, &((-, the CA denied the petitioner;s motion for re#onsideration for la#8 of merit.-( Issues 9en#e, this appeal, !ith the petitioner tenderin" the follo!in" issuesC ). D9E19ER OR NO1 19E S1ANDARD E/P.OH/EN1 CON1RAC1 O% 19E P9I.IPPINE O4ERSEAS E/P.OH/EN1 AD/INIS1RA1ION *IPOEAI+ IS 19E .AD AE1DEEN 19E SEA/AN AND 19E /ANNIN@ A@EN1. &. D9E19ER OR NO1 A CO/PANH$DESI@NA1ED P9HSICIAN POSSESSES 19E .E@A. A519ORI1H 1O DEC.ARE A SEA/AN %I1 OR DISAA.ED 5NDER 19E .AD.

-. D9E19ER OR NO1 A SEA/AN CAN C.AI/ DISAAI.I1H AENE%I1S A%1ER 9E %AI.ED 1O REPOR1 9IS A..E@ED IN,5RH DI19IN 19E 19REE$DAH RE@.E/EN1ARH PERIOD AS REJ5IRED AND I/POSED AH .AD.-) 1he petitioner insists that under the POEA Standard Employment Contra#t *POEA SEC+, !hi#h "overned the relationship bet!een the seafarer and his mannin" a"ent, it !as the #ompany$desi"nated physi#ian !ho !ould assess and establish the fitness or disability of the repatriated seamanB that 1ana!an;s #laim for any disability benefit had no basis be#ause the #ompany$desi"nated physi#ian already pronoun#ed him fit to !or8B that 1ana!an should have reported the eye in ury to the #ompany$desi"nated physi#ian !ithin three !or8in" days upon his arrival in the #ountry pursuant to Se#. &(*A+*-+ of the POEA SECB that his non$reportin" no! barred 1ana!an from re#overin" disability benefit for the eye in uryB that to i"nore the appli#ation of the -$day re"lementary period !ould lead to the indis#riminate filin" of baseless #laims a"ainst the mannin" a"en#ies and their forei"n prin#ipalsB and that more probative !ei"ht should be a##orded to the #ertifi#ation of Dr. .im about the foot in ury and the opinion of Dr. An"bue$1e on the alle"ed eye in ury. On the other hand, 1ana!an submits that the determination of the fitness or disability of a seafarer !as not the e:#lusive prero"ative of the #ompany$desi"nated physi#ianB and that his failure to under"o a post$employment medi#al e:amination for the eye in ury !ithin three days from his repatriation did not bar his #laim for disability benefits. -& Ru$%!g 1he petition is partly meritorious. 1he employment of seafarers, and its in#idents, in#ludin" #laims for death benefits, are "overned by the #ontra#ts they si"n every time they are hired or rehired. Su#h #ontra#ts have the for#e of la! bet!een the parties as lon" as their stipulations are not #ontrary to la!, morals, publi# order or publi# poli#y. Dhile the seafarers and their employers are "overned by their mutual a"reements, the POEA rules and re"ulations re?uire that the POEA SEC, !hi#h #ontains the standard terms and #onditions of the seafarers; employment in forei"n o#ean$"oin" vessels, be inte"rated in every seafarer;s #ontra#t. -1he pertinent provision of the )''> POEA SEC, !hi#h !as in effe#t at the time of 1ana!an;s employment, !as Se#tion &(*A+, !hi#h readsC SEC1ION &(. CO/PENSA1ION AND AENE%I1S ::: A. CO/PENSA1ION AND AENE%I1S %OR IN,5RH OR I..NESSC 1he liabilities of the employer !hen the seafarer suffers in ury or illness durin" the term of his #ontra#t are as follo!sC

). 1he employer shall #ontinue to pay the seafarer his !a"es durin" the time he is on board the vesselB &. If the in ury or illness re?uires medi#al and3or dental treatment in a forei"n port, the employer shall be liable for the full #ost of su#h medi#al, serious dental, sur"i#al and hospital treatment as !ell as board and lod"in" until the seafarer is de#lared fit to !or8 or to be repatriated. 9o!ever, if after repatriation, the seafarer still re?uires medi#al attention arisin" from said in ury or illness, he shall be so provided at #ost to the employer until su#h time he is de#lared fit or the de"ree of his disability has been established by the #ompany$ desi"nated physi#ian. -. 5pon si"n$off from the vessel for medi#al treatment, the seafarer is entitled to si#8ness allo!an#e e?uivalent to his basi# !a"e until he is de#lared fit to !or8 or the de"ree of permanent disability has been assessed by the #ompany$desi"nated physi#ian, but in no #ase shall this period e:#eed one hundred t!enty *)&(+ days. %or this purpose, the seafarer shall submit himself to a post$employment medi#al e:amination by a #ompany$desi"nated physi#ian !ithin three !or8in" days upon his return e:#ept !hen he is physi#ally in#apa#itated to do so, in !hi#h #ase, a !ritten noti#e to the a"en#y !ithin the same period is deemed as #omplian#e. %ailure of the seafarer to #omply !ith the mandatory reportin" re?uirement shall result in his forfeiture of the ri"ht to #laim the above benefits. It is #lear from the provision that the one tas8ed to determine !hether the seafarer suffers from any disability or is fit to !or8 is the #ompany$desi"nated physi#ian. As su#h, the seafarer must submit himself to the #ompany$desi"nated physi#ian for a post employment medi#al e:amination !ithin three days from his repatriation. Aut the assessment of the #ompany$desi"nated physi#ian is not final, bindin" or #on#lusive on the seafarer, the labor tribunals, or the #ourts. 1he seafarer may re?uest a se#ond opinion and #onsult a physi#ian of his #hoi#e re"ardin" his ailment or in ury, and the medi#al report issued by the physi#ian of his #hoi#e shall also be evaluated on its inherent merit by the labor tribunal and the #ourt. -= 1ana!an submitted himself to Dr. .im, the #ompany$desi"nated physi#ian, for a medi#al e:amination on De#ember ), )''0, !hi#h !as !ithin the -$day re"lementary period from his repatriation. 1he medi#al e:amination #ondu#ted fo#used on 1ana!an;s foot in ury, the #ause of his repatriation. Nothin" !as mentioned of an eye in ury. Dr. .im treated 1ana!an for the foot in ury from De#ember ), )''0 until /ay &), )''<, !hen Dr. .im de#lared him fit to !or8. Dithin that period that lasted )0& days, 1ana!an !as unable to perform his ob, an indi#ation of a permanent disability. 5nder the la!, there is permanent disability if a !or8er is unable to perform his ob for more than )&( days, re"ardless of !hether or not he loses the use of any part of his body. -7

1hat the #ompany$desi"nated physi#ian did not render any findin" of disability is of no #onse?uen#e. Disability should be understood more on the loss of earnin" #apa#ity rather than on the medi#al si"nifi#an#e of the disability. -> Even in the absen#e of an offi#ial findin" by the #ompany$desi"nated physi#ian to the effe#t that the seafarer suffers a disability and is unfit for sea duty, the seafarer may still be de#lared to be sufferin" from a permanent disability if he is unable to !or8 for more than )&( days.-0 Dhat #learly determines the seafarer;s entitlement to permanent disability benefits is his inability to !or8 for more than )&( days. -< Althou"h the #ompany$ desi"nated physi#ian already de#lared the seafarer fit to !or8, the seafarer;s disability is still #onsidered permanent and total if su#h de#laration is made belatedly *that is, more than )&( days after repatriation+.-' After the lapse of the )&($day period from his repatriation, 1ana!an #onsulted Dr. Sa"uin, his o!n private physi#ian, for the purpose of havin" an evaluation of the de"ree of his disability. At that time, he !as due to under"o bone "raftin" and pinnin" of the 7th metatarsal bone, as Dr. .im re#ommended. Dr. Sa"uin;s findin" that 1ana!an had a @rade )& disability !as, therefore, e:pli#able and plausible. On the other hand, 1ana!an;s #laim for disability benefits due to the eye in ury !as already barred by his failure to report the in ury and to have his eye e:amined by a #ompany$desi"nated physi#ian.=( 1he rationale for the rule is that reportin" the illness or in ury !ithin three days from repatriation fairly ma8es it easier for a physi#ian to determine the #ause of the illness or in ury. As#ertainin" the real #ause of the illness or in ury beyond the period may prove diffi#ult.=) 1o i"nore the rule mi"ht set a pre#edent !ith ne"ative reper#ussions, li8e openin" the flood"ates to a limitless number of seafarers #laimin" disability benefits, or #ausin" unfairness to the employer !ho !ould have diffi#ulty determinin" the #ause of a #laimant;s illness be#ause of the passa"e of time. 1he employer !ould then have no prote#tion a"ainst unrelated disability #laims. =& 1ana!an did not report the eye in ury either to the petitioner or to Dr. .im !hile he !as under"oin" treatment for the foot in ury. Curiously, he did not even offer any e:planation as to !hy he had his eye e:amined only on Au"ust &7, )''<, or after almost nine months from his repatriation.
1wphi1

5nder the )''> POEA SEC,=- it !as enou"h to sho! that the in ury or illness !as sustained durin" the term of the #ontra#t. 1he Court has de#lared that the un?ualified phrase Idurin" the termI found in Se#tion &(*A+ thereof #overed all in uries or illnesses o##urrin" durin" the lifetime of the #ontra#t. == It is the oft$repeated rule, ho!ever, that !hoever #laims entitlement to the benefits provided by la! should establish his ri"ht to the benefits by substantial eviden#e. =7 As su#h, 1ana!an must present #on#rete proof sho!in" that he a#?uired or #ontra#ted the in ury or illness that resulted to his disability durin" the term of his employment #ontra#t.=> Proof of this #ir#umstan#e !as parti#ularly #ru#ial in vie! of his non$reportin" of the in ury to the petitioner. Het, he did not present any proof of havin" sustained the eye in ury durin" the term of his #ontra#t. All that he submitted !as his bare alle"ation

that his eye had been splashed !ith some thinner !hile he !as on board the vessel. 9e also did not addu#e any proof demonstratin" that the splashin" of thinner #ould have #aused the retinal deta#hment !ith vitreous hemorrha"e. At the very least, he should have addu#ed proof that !ould tie the a##ident to the eye in ury. De note at this un#ture that even the #ertifi#ation by Dr. Aunuan provided no information on the possible #ause of the eye in ury. Conse?uently, the #laim for disability benefit for the eye in ury is denied in vie! of 1ana!an;s non$reportin" of the in ury to the petitioner and of his failure to prove that the in ury. !as sustained durin" the term of his employment. W)ERE*ORE, the Court +ARTIALL, GRANTS the petition for revie!B and -ELETES the a!ard of 5S6&(,'((.(( as disability benefits for the eye in ury. No pronoun#ement on #osts of suit. SO ORDERED. L.CAS +. BERSAMIN Asso#iate ,usti#e DE CONC5RC MARIA LO.R-ES +. A. SERENO Chief ,usti#e TERESITA /. LEONAR-O0-E CASTRO Asso#iate ,usti#e MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, /R. Asso#iate ,usti#e

BIENVENI-O L. RE,ES Asso#iate ,usti#e CER1I%ICA1ION Pursuant to Se#tion )-, Arti#le 4III of the Constitution, I #ertify that the #on#lusions in the above De#ision had been rea#hed in #onsultation before the #ase !as assi"ned .to the !riter of the opinion of the CourtKs Division. MARIA LO.R-ES +. A. SERENO Chief ,usti#e

*oot!otes

Rollo, pp. -7$=>B penned by Asso#iate ,usti#e Ruben 1. Reyes *later Presidin" ,usti#e and a /ember of the Court, but no! retired+, !ith Asso#iate ,usti#e Remedios Sala2ar$%ernando and Asso#iate ,usti#e Ed"ardo E. Sundiam *de#eased+ #on#urrin".
) &

Re#ords, p. &. Id., at &0. Id., at &'. Id., at -(. Id., at ><$>'. Id., at --. Id., at -=. Id., at =-. Id., at -0$=(. Id., at 0). Id., at 0&. Id., at 77. Id., at 0&. Id., at )'. Id., at 07. Id., at )<. Id., at )(<$)('. Id., at )(<. Id., at &0&. Id., at )&(. Id., at )&<.

>

<

'

)(

)) )&

)-

)=

)7

)>

)0

)<

)'

&(

&)

&&

&-

Id., at )&&$)&-. Id., at &0(. Id., at &07. Id., at &<'. Id., at -)<. Rollo, pp. =7$=>. Id., at =-$=7. Id., at =<. Id., at )). Id., at )-)$)-7.

&=

&7

&>

&0

&<

&'

-(

-)

-&

Coastal Safe!ay /arine Servi#es, In#. v. Del"ado, @.R. No. )><&)(, ,une )0, &((<, 77= SCRA 7'(, 7'>.
--=

Re#ords, p. -(<.

Paliso# v. Eas!ays /arine In#. , @.R. No. )7&&0-, September )), &((0, 7-& SCRA 7<7, 7'>$7'0.
-7

Remi"io v. National .abor Relations Commission, @.R. No. )7'<<0, April )&, &((>, =<0 SCRA )'(, &)-.
->

Paliso# v. Eas!ays /arine In#., supra, note -7B 4alen2ona v. %air Shippin" Corporation, @.R. No. )0><<=, O#tober )', &()).
-0 -<

Paliso# v. Eas!ays /arine In#., supra.

4alen2ona v. %air Shippin" Corporation, supra, note -0B Oriental Shipmana"ement Co., In#. v. Aastol, @.R. No. )<>&<', ,une &', &()(, >&& SCRA -7&, -<-$-<=.
-'

/aunlad 1ransport, In#. v. /ani"o, ,r., @.R. No. )>)=)>, ,une )-, &((<, 77= SCRA ==>, =7'.
=(

,ebsens /aritime, In#. v. 5nda", @.R. No. )')='), De#ember )=, &()), >>& SCRA >0(, ><(.
=)

=&

Id. at ><).

1he POEA SEC !as amended in &((( to in#lude a proviso that the in ury or illness must be I!or8$related.I
===

Remi"io v. National .abor Relations Commission, supra, note ->, p. &(7.

Cootau#o v. //S Phil. /aritime Servi#es, In#., @.R. No. )<=0&&, /ar#h )7, &()(, >)7 SCRA 7&', 7=7.
=7

NHL$%il Ship /ana"ement, In#. v. National .abor Relations Commission, @.R. No. )>))(=, September &0, &((>, 7(- SCRA 7'7, >(>$>(0.
=>

Verwandte Interessen