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ONG, MIKHAEL GO

ALANO V. ECC
G.R. No. L-48594
March 16, 1988

Facts

Dedicacion de Vera, a government employee during her lifetime, worked as principal of Salinap
Community School in San Carlos City, Pangasinan. Her tour of duty was from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
On November 29, 1976, at 7:00 A.M., while she was waiting for a ride at Plaza Jaycee in San Carlos
City on her way to the school, she was bumped and run over by a speeding Toyota mini-bus which
resulted in her instantaneous death. She is survived by her four sons and a daughter.

On June 27, 1977, Generoso C. Alano, brother of the deceased, filed the instant claim for
income benefit with the GSIS for and in behalf of the decedent's children. The claim was, however,
denied on the same date on the ground that the "injury upon which compensation is being claimed is
not an employment accident satisfying all the conditions prescribed by law." On July 19, 1977
appellant requested for a reconsideration of the system's decision, but the same was denied and the
records of the case were elevated to this Commission for review.

The respondent Commission affirmed the decision of the Government Service Insurance
System. It stated that Section I (a), Rule III of the Amended Rules on Employees' Compensation
specifically provides that: "For the injury and the resulting disability or death to be compensable, the
injury must be the result of an employment accident satisfying all the following conditions (1) The
employee must have sustained the injury during his working hours; (2) The employee must have been
injured at the place where his work requires him to be; and (3) The employee must have been
performing his official functions." According to the respondent Commission, the deceased's accident
did not meet any of the aforementioned conditions. First, the accident occurred at about 7:00 a.m. or
thirty minutes before the deceased's working hours. Second, it happened not at her workplace but at the
plaza where she usually waits for a ride to her work. Third, she was not then performing her official
functions as school principal nor was she on a special errand for the school.

Issue

Is the injury sustained by the deceased Dedicacion de Vera resulting in her death compensable under
the law as an employment accident?

Law

Sec. 1(a), Rule III of the Amended Rules on Employee's Compensation

Case History

• Petitioner filed his claim for death benefits


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• Claim denied by GSIS


• Petitioner requested for reconsideration
• Petitioner filed appeal to ECC
• ECC affirmed GSIS decision
• Petitioner filed with the Supreme Court

Ruling

In this case, it is not disputed that the deceased died while going to her place of work. She was
at the place where, as the petitioner puts it, her job necessarily required her to be if she was to reach her
place of work on time. There was nothing private or personal about the school principal's being at the
place of the accident. She was there because her employment required her to be there. Government
Service Insurance System is a proper party in employees' compensation cases as the ultimate
implementing agency of the Employees' Compensation Commission.

Petition is granted.

Opinion

The issue on this case transcends the case itself. It actually begs the question “Should we
consider the travell it takes for the employee to go to work part of his/her work hours?” I know it may
sound absurd but European Union courts have decided on the affirmative here. Should the Philippines
consider a step towards this progressive way of thinking?
ONG, MIKHAEL GO

BELARMINO VS. ECC & GSIS


G.R. No. 90204
May 11, 1990

Facts

Before her death on February 19, 1982, petitioner's wife, Oania Belarmino, was a classroom
teacher of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports assigned at the Buracan Elementary School
in Dimasalang, Masbate (p. 13, Rollo). She had been a classroom teacher since October 18, 1971, or
for eleven (11) years. Her husband, the petitioner, is also a public school teacher.

On January 14, 1982, at nine o'clock in the morning, while performing her duties as a classroom
teacher, Mrs. Belarmino who was in her 8th month of pregnancy, accidentally slipped and fell on the
classroom floor. Moments later, she complained of abdominal pain and stomach cramps. For several
days, she continued to suffer from recurrent abdominal pain and a feeling of heaviness in her stomach,
but, heedless of the advice of her female co-teachers to take a leave of absence, she continued to report
to the school because there was much work to do. On January 25, 1982, eleven (11) days after her
accident, she went into labor and prematurely delivered a baby girl at home (cause of death was
septicemia post partum)

On April 21, 1983, a claim for death benefits was filed by her husband. On February 14, 1984, it
was denied by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) which held that 'septicemia post
partum the cause of death, is not an occupational disease, and neither was there any showing that
aforesaid ailment was contracted by reason of her employment. On appeal to the Employees
Compensation Commission, they likewise dismissed the claim of petitioner

Issue

Should petitioner be entitled to compensation?

Law

Rule III, Section 1 of the Amended Rules on Employees' Compensation enumerates the grounds
for compensability of injury resulting in disability or death of an employee, as follows:
Sec. 1. Grounds — (a) For the injury and the resulting disability or death to be
compensable, the injury must be the result of an employment accident satisfying all of
the following conditions:
(1) The employee must have been injured at the place where his work
requires him to be;
(2) The employee must have been performing his official functions; and
(3) If the injury is sustained elsewhere, the employee must have been
executing an order for the employer.
(b) For the sickness and the resulting disability or death to be compensable, the sickness
ONG, MIKHAEL GO

must be the result of an occupational disease listed under Annex "A" of these Rules with
the conditions set therein satisfied; otherwise, proof must be shown that the risk of
contracting the disease is increased by the working conditions.
(c) Only injury or sickness that occurred on or after January 1, 1975 and the resulting
disability or death shall be compensable under these Rules.

Case History

• A claim for death benefits was filed by her husband


• Claim denied by GSIS
• Appeal to ECC
• Denied by ECC
• Appeal to the Supreme COurt

Ruling

After a careful consideration of the petition and the annexes thereof, as well as the comments of
the public respondents, we are persuaded that the public respondents' peremptory denial of the
petitioner's claim constitutes a grave abuse of discretion

The illness, septicemia post partum which resulted in the death of Oania Belarmino, is
admittedly not listed as an occupational disease in her particular line of work as a classroom teacher.
However, as pointed out in the petition, her death from that ailment is compensable because an
employment accident and the conditions of her employment contributed to its development. The
condition of the classroom floor caused Mrs. Belarmino to slip and fall and suffer injury as a result.
The fall precipitated the onset of recurrent abdominal pains which culminated in the premature
termination of her pregnancy with tragic consequences to her. Her fall on the classroom floor brought
about her premature delivery which caused the development of post partum septicemia which resulted
in death. Her fall therefore was the proximate or responsible cause that set in motion an unbroken chain
of events, leading to her demise.

The proximate legal cause is that acting first and producing the injury, either immediately or by
setting other events in motion, all constituting a natural and continuous chain of events, each having a
close causal connection with its immediate predecessor the final event in the chain immediately
effecting the injury as a natural and probable result of the cause which first acted, under such
circumstances that the person responsible for the first event should, as an ordinarily prudent and
intelligent person, have reasonable ground to expect at the moment of his act or default that an injury to
some person might probably result therefrom.

Mrs. Belarmino's fall was the primary injury that arose in the course of her employment as a
classroom teacher, hence, all the medical consequences flowing from it: her recurrent abdominal pains,
the premature delivery of her baby, her septicemia post partum and death, are compensable.

Petition is granted.
ONG, MIKHAEL GO

Opinion

The government really is the biggest hypocrite when it comes to labor. It would impose strict
rules upon the provate employer yet its very employees are treated worse. Some receive their salaries
only on their fourth month, and this is based on personal knowledge. Sometimes, it makes us ask
whether the government is really the “parent” we are all made to accept or simply just a bully trying to
take advantage of its people.
ONG, MIKHAEL GO

GSIS V. ECC & ALEGRE


G.R. No. 128524
APRIL 20, 1999

Facts

The records disclose that private respondent Felonila Alegres deceased husband, SPO2
Florencio A. Alegre, was a police officer assigned to the Philippine National Police station in the town
of Vigan, Ilocos Sur. On that fateful day of December 6, 1994, he was driving his tricycle and ferrying
passengers within the vicinity of Imelda Commercial Complex when SPO4 Alejandro Tenorio, Jr.,
Team/Desk Officer of the Police Assistance Center located at said complex, confronted him regarding
his tour of duty. SPO2 Alegre allegedly snubbed SPO4 Tenorio and even directed curse words upon the
latter. A verbal tussle then ensued between the two which led to the fatal shooting of the deceased
police officer.

On account of her husbands death, private respondent seasonably filed a claim for death
benefits with petitioner Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) pursuant to Presidential Decree
No. 626. In its decision on August 7, 1995, the GSIS, however, denied the claim on the ground that at
the time of SPO2 Alegre's death, he was performing a personal activity which was not work-connected.
Subsequent appeal to the Employees Compensation Commission (ECC) proved futile as said body, in a
decision dated May 9, 1996, merely affirmed the ruling of the GSIS. Private respondent finally
obtained a favorable ruling in the Court of Appeals when on February 28, 1997, the appellate court
reversed the ECCs decision and ruled that SPO2 Alegres death was work-connected and, therefore,
compensable.

Issue

May a moonlighting policemans death be considered compensable?

Law

Presidential Decree No. 626

Case History

• Respondent filed his claim for death benefits


• Claim denied by GSIS
• Respondent filed appeal to ECC
• ECC affirmed GSIS decision
• Respondent filed before CA
• CA reversed the GSIS decision
ONG, MIKHAEL GO

Ruling

Under the pertinent guidelines of the ECC on compensability, it is provided that for the injury
and the resulting disability or death to be compensable, the injury must be the result of an employment
accident satisfying all of the following conditions:

(1) The employee must have been injured at the place where his work requires him to be;

(2) The employee must have been performing his official functions; and

(3) If the injury is sustained elsewhere, the employee must have been executing an order for
the employer.

Actually, jurisprudence is rather scant with respect to the above rules application in the case of
police officers. Nevertheless, owing to the similarity of functions, that is, to keep peace and order, and
the risks assumed, the Court has treated police officers similar to members of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines with regard to the compensability of their deaths. Thus, echoing Hinoguin v. Employees
Compensation Commission, a case involving a soldier who was accidentally fired at by a fellow
soldier, we held in Employees Compensation Commission v. Court of Appeals, that members of the
national police are by the nature of their functions technically on duty 24 hours a day because
policemen are subject to call at any time and may be asked by their superiors or by any distressed
citizen to assist in maintaining the peace and security of the community.

Upon examination of the Court of Appeals reasoning, we believe that the appellate court
committed reversible error in applying the precepts enunciated in the cited cases. While we agree that
policemen, like soldiers, are at the beck and call of public duty as peace officers and technically on
duty round-the-clock, the same does not justify the grant of compensation benefits for the death of
SPO2 Alegre based on the facts disclosed by the records. For clarity, a review of the cases relevant to
the matter at hand is in order.

But for claritys sake and as a guide for future cases, we hereby hold that members of the
national police, like P/Sgt. Alvaran, are by the nature of their functions technically on duty 24 hours a
day. Except when they are on vacation leave, policemen are subject to call at anytime and may be asked
by their superiors or by any distressed citizen to assist in maintaining the peace and security of the
community. We hold that by analogy and for purposes of granting compensation under P. D. No. 626,
as amended, policemen should be treated in the same manner as soldiers.

Taking together jurisprudence and the pertinent guidelines of the ECC with respect to claims for
death benefits, namely: (a) that the employee must be at the place where his work requires him to be;
(b) that the employee must have been performing his official functions; and (c) that if the injury is
sustained elsewhere, the employee must have been executing an order for the employer, it is not
difficult to understand then why SPO2 Alegres widow should be denied the claims otherwise due her.
Obviously, the matter SPO2 Alegre was attending to at the time he met his death, that of ferrying
passengers for a fee, was intrinsically private and unofficial in nature proceeding as it did from no
particular directive or permission of his superior officer. In the absence of such prior authority as in the
cases of Hinoguin and Nitura, or peacekeeping nature of the act attended to by the policeman at the
time he died even without the explicit permission or directive of a superior officer, as in the case of
ONG, MIKHAEL GO

P/Sgt. Alvaran, there is no justification for holding that SPO2 Alegre met the requisites set forth in the
ECC guidelines.

Opinion

This case inversely resembles my opinion on the previous case. In Hinoguin, I exclaimed how,
even though it is still within its mandate, the GSIS seems less than human to “bully” the family of the
fallen soldier. In this case, however, we see how the GSIS rightfully determined the worthiness of the
claimant, proving to us that they are not merely a bunch of money-greedy snobs.
ONG, MIKHAEL GO

HINOGUIN V. ECC
G.R. No. 84307
APRIL 17, 1989

Facts

The deceased, Sgt. Hinoguin started his military service in 1974, when he was called to military
training by the Philippine Army. On 1 August 1985, Sgt. Hinoguin and two (2) members of his
Detachment, Cpl. Rogelio Clavo and Dft. Nicomedes Alibuyog, sought permission from Captain
Frankie Z. Besas, Commanding Officer of "A" Company to go on overnight pass to Aritao, Nueva
Viscaya, "to settle [an] important matter thereat." 1 Captain Besas orally granted them permission to go
to Aritao and to take their issued firearms with them, considering that Aritao was regarded as "a critical
place " 2 that is, it had peace and order problems due to the presence of elements of the New People's
Army ("NPA!') in or in the vicinity of Aritao. They boarded a tricycle, presumably a motor-driven one,
Sgt. Hinoguin and Cpl. Clavo seating themselves in the tricycle cab while Dft. Alibuyog occupied the
seat behind the driver. Upon reaching the poblacion of Aritao, Dft. Alibuyog dismounted, walked
towards and in front of the tricycle cab, holding his M-16 rifle in his right hand, not noticing that the
rifle's safety lever was on semi automatic (and not on "safety"). He accidentally touched the trigger,
firing a single shot in the process and hitting Sgt. Hinoguin, then still sitting in the cab, in the left lower
abdomen. The Death Certificate lists "septic shock" as immediate cause of death, and "generalized
septicemia of peritonitis" as antecedent cause, following his sustaining a gunshot wound.

The Board after a thorough deliberation on presented evidences declares that the Death of Sgt.
Lemick Hinoguin 640407 (Inf.) PA is in Line of Duty. The Board recommend farther that all benefits
due the legal dependents of the late Sgt. Lemick Hinoguin be given. 5 (Emphasis supplied)

Sometime in March 1986, petitioner filed his claim for compensation benefits under P.D. No.
626 (as amended), claiming that the death of his son was work-connected and therefore compensable.
This was denied by the GSIS on the ground that petitioner's son was not at his work place nor
performing his duty as a soldier of the Philippine Army at the time of his death. Petitioner filed a
Motion for Reconsideration which Motion was, however, denied by the GSIS. This denial was
confirmed by the Workmen's Compensation Commission

Issue

Is the death of Sgt. Lemick Hinoguin compensable under the applicable statute and regulations?

Law

Article 167 (k) of the Labor Code as amended defines a compensable "injury" quite simply as
"any harmful change in the human organism from any accident arising out of and in the course of the
employment."
ONG, MIKHAEL GO

The Amended (Implementing) Rules have, however, elaborated considerably on the simple and
succinct statutory provision. Rule III, Section 1 (a) reads:

SECTION 1. Grounds. (a) For the injury and the resulting disability or death to be
compensable, the injury must be the result of an employment accident satisfying all of the
following grounds:

(1) The employee must have been injured at the place work requires him to be;

(2) The employee must have been performing his official functions; and

(3) If the injury is sustained elsewhere, the employee must have been executing an order for the
employer.

Case History

• Petitioner filed his claim for compensation benefits


• Claim denied by GSIS
• Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration
• Denied by the GSIS
• Denial was confirmed by the Workmen's Compensation Commission

Ruling

It will be seen that because the Amended (Implementing) Rules are intended to apply to all
kinds of employment, such rules must be read and applied with reasonable flexibility and
comprehensiveness. Obviously, a soldier must go where his company is stationed. In the instant case,
Aritao, Nueva Viscaya was not, of course, Carranglan, Nueva Ecija. Aritao being approximately 1-1/2
hours away from the latter by public transportation. But Sgt. Hinoguin, Cpl. Clavo and Dft. Alibuyog
had permission from their Commanding Officer to proceed to Aritao, and it appears to us that a place
which soldiers have secured lawful permission to be at cannot be very different, legally speaking, from
a place where they are required to go by their commanding officer. We note that the three (3) soldiers
were on an overnight pass which, notably, they did not utilize in full. They were noton vacation leave.
Moreover, they were required or authorized to carry their firearms with which presumably they were to
defend themselves if NPA elements happened to attack them while en route to and from Aritao or with
which to attack and seek to capture such NPA elements as they might encounter. The Line of Duty
Board of Officers of the 14th Infantry Battalion Headquarters had already determined that the death of
Sgt. Hinoguin had occurred "in line of duty." It may be noted in this connection that a soldier on active
duty status is really on 24 hours a day official duty status and is subject to military discipline and
military law 24 hours a day. He is subject to call and to the orders of his superior officers at all times, 7
days a week, except, of course, when he is on vacation leave status (which Sgt. Hinoguin was not).
'Thus, we think that the work-connected character of Sgt. Hinoguins injury and death was not
effectively precluded by the simple circumstance that he was on an overnight pass to go to the home of
Dft. Alibuyog, a soldier under his own command. Sgt. Hinoguin did not effectively cease performing
"official functions" because he was granted a pass.
ONG, MIKHAEL GO

In other words, a soldier must also assume the risk of being accidentally fired upon by his
fellow soldiers. This is reasonably regarded as a hazard or risk inherent in his employment as a soldier.

Petition is granted.

Opinion

While it is understandable for the GSIS not to easily hand out rewards for insurances left and
right, this case does not, in the slightest help their image to be, at the very least, human. It would seem
that GSIS has spat on the sacrifices that our country's military personnel have done in service for our
motherland. And though I know that GSIS is merely doing its mandate, one cannot help but feel
disgusted.
ONG, MIKHAEL GO

ILOILO DOCK & ENGINEERING V. WCC & PABLO


G.R. No. L-26341
Novermber 27, 1968

Facts

At about 5:02 o'clock in the afternoon of January 29, 1960, Pablo, who was employed as a
mechanic of the IDECO, while walking on his way home, was shot to death in front of, and about 20
meters away from, the main IDECO gate, on a private road commonly called the IDECO road. The
motive for the crime was and still is unknown as Cordero was himself killed before he could be tried
for Pablo's death. According to the IDECO, the Commission erred (1) in holding that Pablo's death
occurred in the course of employment and in presuming that it arose out of the employment; (2) in
applying the "proximity rule;" and (3) in holding that Pablo's death was an accident within the purview
of the Workmen's Compensation Act.
Issue

Does Pablo's death come within the meaning and intendment of that "deceptively simple and
litigiously prolific", phrase The two components of the coverage formula — "arising out of" and "in the
course of employment."

Law

Act. 3428 or the Workmen's Compensation Act, as amended by Republic Act No. 4119.

Case History

• Regional Office VII in Iloilo City ordered IDECO to pay heirs of deceased.
• Workmen's Compensation Commission affirming decision of Regional Office
• Appeal by the Iloilo Dock and Engineering Company to the Supreme COurt

Ruling

The general rule in workmen's compensation law known as the "going & coming rule," simply
stated, is that "in the absence of special circumstances, an employee injured in, going to, or coming
from his place of work is excluded from the benefits of workmen's compensation acts."7 This rule,
however, admits of four well-recognized exceptions, to wit: (1) where the employee is proceeding to or
from his work on the premises of his employer; (2) where the employee is about to enter or about to
leave the premises of his employer by way of the exclusive or customary means of ingress and egress;
(3) where the employee is charged, while on his way to or from his place of employment or at his
home, or during his employment, with some duty or special errand connected with his employment;
and (4) where the employer, as an incident of the employment, provides the means of transportation to
and from the place of employment.

The compensability of an injury suffered by an employee proceeding to or coming from his


ONG, MIKHAEL GO

work depends upon whether or not it is "work-connected." As Chief Justice Kenison of New
Hampshire has put it, "the fact that the employee is travelling to or from work on a public highway
does not necessarily exclude coverage. The law, in effect, insures the employee against losses arising
from the perils of his work. In other words, the Workmen's Compensation Act covers occupational
injuries, which, as such, must have a causative connection with something, not merely in common with
the public, but peculiar to the employment.

Suppose, however, that the injury occurs on the way to work or on the way home from work.
Injuries going to or from work have caused many judicial upheavals. The question here is limited to
whether the injuries are "in the course of" and not "out of" the employment. How the injury occurred is
not in point. Street risks, whether the employee was walking or driving, and all other similar questions
deal with the risk of injury or "out of" the employment. "In the course of" deals mainly with the
element of time and space, or "time, place and circumstances." Some of our states refuse to extend this
definition of "in the course of" to include these injuries. Most of the states will protect the employee
from the moment his foot or person reaches the employer's premises, whether he arrives early or late.
These states find something sacred about the employment premises and define "premises" very broadly,
not only to include premises owned by the employer, but also premises leased, hired, supplied or used
by him, even private alleyways merely used by the employer. Adjacent private premises are protected
by many states, and a few protect the employee even on adjacent public sidewalks and streets. Where a
city or any employer owns or controls an island, all its streets are protected premises. There is no
reason in principle why states should not protect employees for a reasonable period of time prior to or
after working hours and for a reasonable distance before reaching or after leaving the employer's
premises.

The narrow rule that a worker is not in the course of his employment until he crosses the
employment threshold is itself subject to many exceptions. Off-premises injuries to or from work, in
both liberal and narrow states, are compensable (1) if the employee is on the way to or from work in a
vehicle owned or supplied by the employer, whether in a public (e.g., the employer's street car) or
private conveyance; (2) if the employee is subject to call at all hours or at the moment of injury; (3) if
the employee is travelling for the employer, i.e., travelling workers; (4) if the employer pays for the
employee's time from the moment he leaves his home to his return home; (5) if the employee is on his
way to do further work at home, even though on a fixed salary; (6) where the employee is required to
bring his automobile to his place of business for use there. Other exceptions undoubtedly are equally
justified, dependent on their own peculiar circumstances.

The proximity rule exception to the general going and coming rule is that an employee is
generally considered to be in the course of his employment while coming to or going from his work,
when, though off the actual premises of his employer, he is still in close proximity thereto, is
proceeding diligently at an appropriate time, by reasonable means, over the natural, practical,
customary, convenient and recognized way of ingress, or egress either on land under the control of the
employer, or on adjacent property with the express or implied consent of the employer.

The proximity rule exception to the general going and coming rule is that an employee is
generally considered to be in the course of his employment while coming to or going from his work,
when, though off the actual premises of his employer, he is still in close proximity thereto, is
proceeding diligently at an appropriate time, by reasonable means, over the natural, practical,
customary, convenient and recognized way of ingress, or egress either on land under the control of the
ONG, MIKHAEL GO

employer, or on adjacent property with the express or implied consent of the employer.

We have, then a workable explanation of the exception to the premises rule: it is not nearness,
or reasonable distance, or even the identifying or surrounding areas with the premises; it is simply that,
when a court has satisfied itself that there is a distinct "arising out of" or causal connection between the
conditions under which claimant must approach and leave the premises and the occurrence of the
injury, it may hold that the course of employment extends as far as those conditions extend.

Petition is dismissed.

Opinion

Speaking away from the laws and the formalities of the legal world. It's just basic human
decency and so-called delicadeza. A simple reimbursement of the burial expenses would be the least
that one employer could give their employee. The dead is dead. I heard in a movie once, “What makes
us humans different from animals is the way we respect our dead.” The same can never be truer than in
this case.
ONG, MIKHAEL GO

MURILLO V. MENDOZA
G.R. No. 46020
December 8, 1983

Facts

Octavio Madrid, now deceased, and the defendant is the owner and operator of the S. S.
"Marie", the said defendant conducting his business under the name and style of "Manila Steamship
Navigation Company." while the said vessel was plying off the coast of the Province of Isabela, at
Palanan Point, and while Octavio Madrid was performing his duties as first officer, the vessel was
struck by a heavy typhoon, as a result of which it sank with all the officers and members of the crew
perishing in the disaster.
The court rendered judgment on November 16, 1937, ordering the defendant to pay to the
plaintiffs the sum of P3,000 with legal interest thereon from November 23, 1936, and the costs.

Issue

Is Octavio Madrid's death compensable under the law, it appearing that it was caused by the typhoon
which is a force majeure or fortuitous event, being an act of God unforeseen and imputable to nobody?

Law

Sec. 4, Act No. 3428 (An Act Prescribing The Compensation To Be Received By Employees For
Personal Injuries ,Death Or Illness Contracted In The Performance Of Their Duries)

Case History

• Petitioner filed claim for death benefits


• 19 other cases f similar issue have been filed and are pending resolution
• Petitioner filed with the Supreme Court
• En Banc decision

Ruling

The workmen's compensation acts are based on a new theory of compensation distinct from the
theories of damages, payments under the acts being made as compensation, not as indemnity. Under
such Act injuries to workmen and employees are to be considered no longer as results of fault o
negligence, but as the products of the industry in which the employee is concerned. Compensation for
such injuries is, under the theory of such statute, like any other item in the cost of production or
transportation, and ultimately charged to the consumer. The law substitutes for liability for negligence
an entirely new conception; that is, that if the injury arises out of and in the course of the employment,
ONG, MIKHAEL GO

under the doctrine of man's humanity to man, the cost of compensation must be one of the elements to
be liquidated and balanced in the course of consumption. In other words, the theory of the law is that, if
the industry produces an injury, the cost of that injury shall be included in the cost of the product of the
industry. Hence the provision that the injury must arise out of and in the course of the employment.
Under Act No. 3428, as amended by Act No. 3812, accidents are compensated independently of
whether or not the employer has incurred fault or negligence, and the only exceptions thereto are the
accidents arising from the voluntary act of the injured person, those resulting from the drunkenness of
the employee who had the accident, and those caused by the notorious negligence thereof (section 4,
Act No. 3428).

It is said that an accident has arisen in the course of the employment when it has occurred
within the period of the employment, at a place where the employee may reasonably be and while he is
reasonably fulfilling the duties of his employment.

The defendant and the amici curiae admit that the deceased met his death in the course of his
employment and while he was fulfilling his duties as first officer, but they emphatically deny that his
death has arisen out of his employment. We can neither adhere to nor uphold this theory on the ground
that it is contrary to the liberal interpretation of the law and to the spirit underlying the same. In
investigating whether or not the death of said official arose out of his employment, all of the
circumstances present in the case should be taken into consideration in order to be able to determine
whether or not a causal connection exists between his said death and the conditions under which the
necessarily had to fulfill his duties. The deceased was contracted and employed to direct and render
services in the vessel. When he accepted the employment, he knew that he was in duty bound to render
services in good whether as well as when the vessel encountered a storm or typhoon, as it so happened,
and it may be stated that he must have been aware that in case of a typhoon his services had to be
rendered in a higher degree, because in such event it was part of his duties to save the vessel. Taking
into consideration all of these circumstances, it is clear that his death is compensable under the law on
the ground that a causal relation existed between such death and the conditions under which he had to
perform his employment. It is obvious that the typhoon was the immediate cause of sinking of the
vessel and that there existed no causal relation between it and the employment of the deceased. It is
evident, however, that between the conditions and circumstances under which the deceased discharged
his employment and his death, there existed the causal connection which makes the accident
compensable.

The doctrine is generally accepted that the employer is not responsible for accidents arising
from force majeure or an act of good, as it is usually called, when the employee has not been exposed
to a greater danger than usual. However, in the case of the deceased and in that of a sailor, it cannot be
denied that upon contracting their services to navigate in the waters of the archipelago, having to render
extraordinary services in cases of typhoon, they are exposed to greater risk than usual, in comparison
with other employees working on land.

Injuries resulting from exposure to the elements are generally classed as risks to which the
general public is exposed. As shown by the earlier annotations, however, the rule is generally
recognized that if an employee, by reason of his duties, is exposed to a special or peculiar danger from
the elements, — that is, one greater than that to which other persons in the community are exposed, —
and an unexpected injury is sustained by reason of the elements, the injury constitutes an accident
arising out of and in the course of the employment within the meaning of the workmen's compensation
ONG, MIKHAEL GO

acts. And this rule has been recognized and applied in later cases.

The court, in granting the compensation to the plaintiffs, based its opinion mostly on the
doctrine laid down by this court in the case of Enciso vs. Dy-Liacco, supra. The attorney for the
defendant and the amici curiae insist that there is no parity between the facts of the above-cited case
and those of the case under consideration. This court sees no substantial difference between the facts of
one and those of the other case. In the Enciso case the immediate cause of the master's death was the
sinking of the launch, but there is no doubt that said accident was due to the typhoon then raging. In
both cases the mediate cause of death was the typhoon. There is similarity between an accident caused
by lightning and one caused by a typhoon because both are fortuitous events and of the so-called acts of
Gods. By reason of such similarity some cases decided by the courts in connection with accidents
caused by lightning may be cited to better illustrate the doctrine laid down by this court.

This court is of the opinion that the Legislatue, in enacting the Workmen's Compensation Act
and the amendments thereto, intended to create a new source of compensation in favor of workmen and
employees, by granting them the right to the compensation, in the cases provided therein,
independently of the fault or negligence incurred by the employers. The rights and responsibilities
defined in said Act must be governed by its own peculiar provisions in complete disregard of other
similar provisions of the civil as well as the mercantile law. If an accident is compensable under the
Workmen's Compensation Act, it must be compensated even when the workman's right is not
recognized by or is in conflict with other provisions of the Civil Code or of the Code of Commerce.
The reason behind this principle is that the Workmen's Compensation Act was enacted by the
Legislature in abrogation of the other existing laws. Workmen's compensation acts follow the natural
and logical evolution of society and the theory upon which they are based is that each time an
employee is killed or injured, there is an economic loss which must be made up or compensated in
some way.

Opinion

It is quite honorable how the court is “aware of the fact that the practical application of the
doctrine laid down will perhaps occasion great losses to the shipowners doing business in this country,
but humanity and civilization demand protection for the workman in every line of labor, and to fulfill
this social objective and at the same time avoid ruin, employers and shipowners should employ means
to insure the stability of their business.” This clearly shows how the juggling of the employer's and the
employee's rights and can be considered as one tangible manifestation of social justice.
ONG, MIKHAEL GO

RARO VS. ECC & GSIS


G.R. No. L-58445
April 27, 1989

Facts

The petitioner states that she was in perfect health when employed as a clerk by the Bureau of
Mines and Geo-Sciences at its Daet, Camarines Norte regional office on March 17, 1975. About four
years later, she began suffering from severe and recurrent headaches coupled with blurring of vision.
Forced to take sick leaves every now and then, she sought medical treatment in Manila. She was then a
Mining Recorder in the Bureau. The petitioner was diagnosed at the Makati Medical Center to be
suffering from brain tumor. By that time, her memory, sense of time, vision, and reasoning power had
been lost. A claim for disability benefits filed by her husband with the Government Service Insurance
System (GSIS) was denied. A motion for reconsideration was similarly denied. An appeal to the
Employees' Compensation Commission resulted in the Commission's affirming the GSIS decision.

Issue

Is brain tumor which causes are unknown but contracted during employment compensable
under the present compensation laws?

Is the presumption of compensability absolutely inapplicable under the present compensation


laws when a disease is not listed as occupational disease?

Law

Section 1 (b), Rule III of the Amended Rules on Employees Compensation clearly defines who are
entitled. It provides:

SECTION 1.

xxx xxx xxx

(b) For the sickness and the resulting disability or death to be compensable, the sickness must
be the result of an occupational disease under Annex A of these rules with the conditions set
therein satisfied; otherwise, proof must be shown that the risk of contracting the disease is
increase by the working conditions.

Case History

• A claim for disability benefits filed by her husband with the Government Service Insurance
System
• GSIS denied the claim.
• Motion for reconsideration was similarly denied.
ONG, MIKHAEL GO

• An appeal to the Employees' Compensation Commission


• ECC affirmed GSIS decision.

Ruling

It is not correct to say that all cancers are not compensable. The list of occupational diseases
prepared by the Commission includes some cancers as compensable, namely —

Occupational Diseases Nature of Employment

xxx xxx xxx xxx

16. Cancer of stomach and other Woodworkers, wood products lymphatic and blood forming
vessels; industry carpenters, nasal cavity and sinuses and employees in pulp and paper mills and
plywood mills.

17. Cancer of the lungs, liver Vinyl chloride workers, and brain plastic workers.

The petitioner questions the above listing. We see no arbitrariness in the Commission's allowing
vinyl chloride workers or plastic workers to be compensated for brain cancer. There are certain cancers
which are reasonably considered as strongly induced by specific causes. Heavy doses of radiation as in
Chernobyl, USSR, cigarette smoke over a long period for lung cancer, certain chemicals for specific
cancers, and asbestos dust, among others, are generally accepted as increasing the risks of contracting
specific cancers.

The law, as it now stands requires the claimant to prove a positive thing – the illness was caused
by employment and the risk of contracting the disease is increased by the working conditions. To say
that since the proof is not available, therefore, the trust fund has the obligation to pay is contrary to the
legal requirement that proof must be adduced. The existence of otherwise non-existent proof cannot be
presumed.

On January 1, 1975, the Workmen's Compensation Act was replaced by a novel scheme under
the new Labor Code. The new law discarded, among others, the concepts of "presumption of
compensability" and "aggravation" and substituted a system based on social security principles. The
present system is also administered by social insurance agencies — the Government Service Insurance
System and Social Security System — under the Employees' Compensation Commission. The intent
was to restore a sensible equilibrium between the employer's obligation to pay workmen's
compensation and the employee's right to receive reparation for work- connected death or disability.
The social insurance aspect of the present law is the other important feature which distinguishes it from
the old and familiar system. Employees' compensation is based on social security principles. All
covered employers throughout the country are required by law to contribute fixed and regular
premiums or contributions to a trust fund for their employees. Benefits are paid from this trust fund.

We have no actuarial expertise in this Court. If diseases not intended by the law to be
compensated are inadvertently or recklessly included, the integrity of the State Insurance Fund is
endangered. Compassion for the victims of diseases not covered by the law ignores the need to show a
ONG, MIKHAEL GO

greater concern for the trust fund to winch the tens of millions of workers and their families look for
compensation whenever covered accidents, salary and deaths occur. As earlier stated, if increased
contributions or premiums must be paid in order to give benefits to those who are now excluded, it is
Congress which should amend the law after proper actuarial studies. This Court cannot engage in
judicial legislation on such a complex subject with such far reaching implications.

Petition was dismissed.

Opinion

In this case, I would like to mirror the disenting words of Justice Sarmiento. Cancer (brain
tumor), at the time of this case, was yet to be determined to be the effect of whichever cause. Medical
science has yet to reveal the causes of cancer and to have the petitioner find a correlation between her
cancer and her work would be too much when even experts themselves are ignorant as to what brings it
about.
“The question is not a matter of legislation. Compassion is reason enough.” (Sarmiento, J.)
ONG, MIKHAEL GO

VALERIANO V. ECC & GSIS


G.R. No. 136200
JUNE 8, 2000

Facts

Celerino S. Valeriano was employed as a fire truck driver assigned at the San Juan Fire Station.
Sometime on the evening of July 3, 1985, petitioner was standing along Santolan Road, Quezon City,
when he met a friend by the name of Alexander Agawin. They decided to proceed to Bonanza
Restaurant in EDSA, Quezon City, for dinner. On their way home at around 9:30 PM, the owner-type
jeepney they were riding in figured in a head-on collision with another vehicle at the intersection of N.
Domingo and Broadway streets in Quezon City. Due to the strong impact of the collision, petitioner
was thrown out of the vehicle and was severely injured. On September 16, 1985, he filed a claim for
income benefits under PD 626, with the Government Security Insurance Service. His claim for benefits
was opposed on the ground that the injuries he sustained did not directly arise or result from the nature
of his work. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the denial by the System but the same was
turned down on the ground that the condition for compensability had not been satisfied.

The Court of Appeals agreed with the finding of the Employees Compensation Commission that
petitioners injuries and disability were not compensable, emphasizing that they were not work-
connected.

Issue

Are Valeriano's injuries work-connected?


Can firemen, like soldiers, be presumed to be on 24-hour duty?

Law

Presidential Decree No. 626

Case History

• Respondent filed his claim for death benefits


• Claim denied by GSIS
• Respondent filed appeal to ECC
• ECC affirmed GSIS decision
• Respondent filed before CA
• CA reversed the GSIS decision

Ruling

Disability benefits are granted an employee who sustains an injury or contracts a sickness
ONG, MIKHAEL GO

resulting in temporary total, permanent total, or permanent partial, disability. For the injury and the
resulting disability to be compensable, they must have necessarily resulted from an accident arising out
of and in the course of employment.

"The two components of the coverage formula -- "arising out of" and "in the course of
employment" -- are said to be separate tests which must be independently satisfied; however, it should
not be forgotten that the basic concept of compensation coverage is unitary, not dual, and is best
expressed in the word, "work-connection," because an uncompromising insistence on an independent
application of each of the two portions of the test can, in certain cases, exclude clearly work-connected
injuries. The words "arising out of" refer to the origin or cause of the accident, and are descriptive of its
character, while the words "in the course of" refer to the time, place and circumstances under which the
accident takes place. As a matter of general proposition, an injury or accident is said to arise "in the
course of employment" when it takes place within the period of the employment, at a place where the
employee may reasonably x x x be, and while he is fulfilling his duties or is engaged in doing
something incidental thereto

Thus, for injury to be compensable, the standard of "work connection" must be substantially
satisfied. The injury and the resulting disability sustained by reason of employment are compensable
regardless of the place where the injured occurred, if it can be proven that at the time of the injury, the
employee was acting within the purview of his or her employment and performing an act reasonably
necessary or incidental thereto. Petitioner Valeriano was not able to demonstrate solidly how his job as
a firetruck driver was related to the injuries he had suffered. That he sustained the injuries after
pursuing a purely personal and social function -- having dinner with some friends -- is clear from the
records of the case.

Be that as it may, the circumstances in the present case do not call for the application of
Hinoguin and Nitura. Following the rationalization in GSIS, the 24-hour-duty doctrine cannot be
applied to petitioner's case, because he was neither at his assigned work place nor in pursuit of the
orders of his superiors when he met an accident. But the more important justification for the Courts
stance is that he was not doing an act within his duty and authority as a firetruck driver, or any other act
of such nature, at the time he sustained his injuries. We cannot find any reasonable connection between
his injuries and his work as a firetruck driver.

Petition is denied.

Opinion

We must always remember that when we speak of Social Justice, it does not necessarily
equivocate to the loss of rights of the employer. Social Justice is not, in anyway, in conflict with the
principle of equal protection of laws. We, as students of the law, may think that “when in doubt, rule in
favor of labor”, as such a dogma is hammerd into our heads. However, we must not not forget that
social justice also protects the employer, as much as the employee; this case has shown to us that the
our justice system will not blindly cast decisions just for the sake of labor.
ONG, MIKHAEL GO

VICENTE V. ECC
G.R. No. 85024
January 23, 1991

Facts

Domingo Vicente, was formerly employed as a nursing attendant at the Veterans Memorial
Medical Center in Quezon City. On August 5, 1981, at the age of forty-five, and after having rendered
more than twenty-five years of government service, he applied for optional retirement (effective August
16, 1981) under the provisions of Section 12(c) of Republic Act No. 1616, giving as reason therefor his
inability to continue working as a result of his physical disability. The petitioner likewise filed with the
Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) an application for "income benefits claim for payment"
under Presidential Decree (PD) No. 626, as amended. Both applications were accompanied by the
necessary supporting papers, among them being a "Physician's Certification" issued by the petitioner's
attending doctor at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center, Dr. Avelino A. Lopez who had diagnosed
the petitioner as suffering from:

Osteoarthritis,multiple;
Hypertensive Cardiovascular Disease;
Cardiomegaly; and
Left Ventricular Hypertrophy;
and classified him as being under "permanent total disability."

The petitioner's application for income benefits claim payment was granted but only for
permanent partial disability (PPD) compensation or for a period of nineteen months starting from
August 16, 1981 up to March 1983.

On March 14, 1983, the petitioner requested the General Manager of the GSIS to reconsider the
award given him and prayed that the same be extended beyond nineteen months invoking the findings
of his attending physician, as indicated in the latter's Certification. As a consequence of his motion for
reconsideration, and on the basis of the "Summary of Findings and Recommendation.” of the Medical
Services Center of the GSIS, the petitioner was granted the equivalent of an additional four (4) months
benefits. Still unsatisfied, the petitioner again sent a letter to the GSIS Disability Compensation
Department Manager on November 6, 1986, insisting that he (petitioner) should be compensated no
less than for "permanent total disability." On June 30, 1987, the said manager informed the petitioner
that his request had been denied. Undaunted, the petitioner sought reconsideration and as a result of
which, on September 10, 1987, his case was elevated to the respondent Employees Compensation
Commission (ECC). Later, or on October 1, 1987, the petitioner notified the respondent Commission
that he was confined at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center for "CVA probably thrombosis of the
left middle cerebral artery."

Finally, on August 24, 1988, the respondent rendered a decision affirming the ruling of the GSIS
Employees' Disability Compensation and dismissed the petitioner's appeal.
ONG, MIKHAEL GO

Issue

Is the petitioner's disability considered to be “permanent total” or “permanent partial”?

Law

• Employee's disability under the Labor Code is classified into three distinct categories: (a)
temporary total disability; (b) permanent total disability; and (c) permanent partial disability.

• “Section 2, Rule VII of the Amended Rules on Employees Compensation, it is provided that:
Sec. 2. Disability—
(a) A total disability is temporary if as a result of the injury or sickness the employee is unable to
perform any gainful occupation for a continuous period not exceeding 120 days, except as
otherwise provided in Rule X of these Rules.
(b) 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 for in Rule X of these Rules.
(c) A disability is partial permanent if as a result of the injury or sickness the employee suffers a
permanent partial loss of the use of any part of his body.”

Case History

• Petitioner applied for optional retirement under the provisions of Section 12(c) of Republic Act
No. 1616, giving as reason therefor his inability to continue working as a result of his physical
disability
• The petitioner filed with the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) an application for
"income benefits claim for payment."
• The petitioner's application for income benefits claim payment was granted but only for
permanent partial disability (PPD) compensation or for a period of nineteen months.
• Petitioner requested the General Manager of the GSIS to reconsider the award given him and
prayed that the same be extended beyond nineteen months invoking the findings of his
attending physician.
• Petitioner was granted the equivalent of an additional four (4) months benefits.
• Petitioner again sent a letter to the GSIS Disability Compensation Department Manager
insisting that he (petitioner) should be compensated no less than for "permanent total disability.
• Request had been denied.
• Petitioner sought reconsideration and as a result of which his case was elevated to the
respondent Employees Compensation Commission.
• Respondent rendered a decision affirming the ruling of the GSIS Employees' Disability
Compensation and dismissed the petitioner's appeal.
ONG, MIKHAEL GO

Ruling

On the subject of "permanent total disability," the Court has stated, on several occasions, that:
Other authoritative comments on the coverage of the term "permanent total disability" as used in the Workmen's
Compensation Act, are (a) Comments and Annotations on the Workmen's Compensation Act by Severo M. Pucan and
Cornelio R. Besinga, that "total disability does not mean a state of absolute helplessness, but means disablement of the
employee to earn wages in the same kind of work, or a 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;" (b) Philippine Labor and Social
Legislation by Justice Ruperto Martin, that "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 other
kind of work which a person of his mentality and attainment could do . . .;" and (c) Labor Standards and Welfare
Legislation by Perfecto Fernandez and Camilo Quiason that "permanent total disability means an incapacity to perform
gainful work which is expected to be permanent. This status does not require a condition of complete helplessness. Nor
is it affected by the performance of occasional odd jobs" (cited in Marcelino vs. Seven-up Bottling Co. of the Philippines,
47 SCRA 343).

It may therefore be inferred from the Court's pronouncements that while "permanent total
disability" invariably results in an employee's loss of work or inability to perform his usual work,
"permanent partial disability," on the other hand, occurs when an employee loses the use of any
particular anatomical part of his body which disables him to continue with his former work. Stated
otherwise, the test of whether or not an employee suffers from "permanent total disability" is a showing
of the capacity of the employee to continue performing his work notwithstanding the disability he
incurred. Thus, if by reason of the injury or sickness he sustained, the employee is unable to perform
his customary job for more than 120 days and he does not come within the coverage of Rule X of the
Amended Rules on Employees Compensability (which, in a more detailed manner, describes what
constitutes temporary total disability), then the said employee undoubtedly suffers from "permanent
total disability" regardless of whether or not he loses the use of any part of his body.

In the case at bar, the petitioner's permanent total disability is established beyond doubt by
several factors and circumstances. Noteworthy is the fact that from all available indications, it appears
that the petitioner's application for optional retirement on the basis of his ailments had been approved.
The decision of the respondent Commission even admits that the petitioner "retired from government
service at the age of 45." Considering that the petitioner was only 45 years old when he retired and still
entitled, under good behavior, to 20 more years in service, the approval of his optional retirement
application proves that he was no longer fit to continue in his employment. For optional retirement is
allowed only upon proof that the employee-applicant is already physically incapacitated to render
sound and efficient service.

Opinion

The court takes this occasion to stress once more its abiding concern for the welfare of
government workers, especially the humble rank and file, whose patience, industry, and dedication to
duty have often gone unheralded, but who, in spite of very little recognition, plod on dutifully to
perform their appointed tasks. It is for this reason that the sympathy of the law on social security is
toward its beneficiaries, and the law, by its own terms, requires a construction of utmost liberality in
their favor. It is likewise for this reason that the Court disposes of this case and ends a workingman's
struggle for his just dues.
ONG, MIKHAEL GO

YSMAEL MARITIME V. AVELINO


G.R. No. L-43674
June 30, 1987

Facts

Rolando G. Lim, single, a licensed second mate, was on board the vessel M/S Rajah, owned by
petitioner Ysmael Maritime Corporation, when the same ran ground and sank near Sabtan Island,
Batanes. Rolando perished as a result of that incident.

Issue

Is the compensation remedy under the Workmen's Compensation Act [WCA], and now under the Labor
Code, for work-connected death or injuries sustained by an employee exclusive of the other remedies
available under the Civil Code?

Law

Section 5 of the Workmen's Compensation Act, as reiterated in Article 173 of the Labor Code:
Sec. 5 Exclusive right to compensation. — The rights and remedies granted by this Act to an employee by reason of a
personal injury entitling him to compensation shall exclude all other rights and remedies accruing to the employee, his
personal representatives, dependents or nearest of kin against the employer under the Civil Code and other laws,
because of said injury,

Art. 173 Exclusive of liability. — Unless other wise provided, the liability of the State Insurance Fund under this Title shall
be exclusive and in place of all other liabilities of the employer to the employee, his dependents or anyone otherwise
entitled to receive damages on behalf of the employee or his dependents. The payment of compensation under this Title
shall bar the recovery of benefits as provided for in Section 699 of the Revised Administrative Code, Republic Act No.
1161, as amended, Commonwealth Act No. 186, as amended, Republic Act No. 610, as amended, Republic Act No. 4864,
as amended, and other laws whose benefits are administered by the System, during the period of such payment for the
same disability or death, and conversely.

Case History

• Respondents Felix Lim and Consorcia Geveia, sued petitioner in the Court of First Instance on
January 28, 1972 for damages, claiming that Rolando's untimely death at the age of twenty- five
was due to the negligence of petitioner.
• Petitioner-defendant alleged by way of affirmative defenses [1] that the complaint stated no
cause of action; [2] that respondent-plaintiffs had received P4,160 from petitioner and had
signed release papers discharging petitioner from any liability arising from the death of their
son, and [3] that most significantly, the respondents had already been compensated by the
Workmen's Compensation Commission [NCC] for the same incident, for which reason they are
now precluded from seeking other remedies against the same employer under the Civil Code.
• A protracted legal battle over procedural points ensued. Finally, on July 30, 1975, the case was
set for pre-trial. Petitioner sought the dismissal of the complaint on the ground that the trial
court had no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action.
• Respondent Judge Avelino upheld respondents' vigorous opposition and denied petitioner's
ONG, MIKHAEL GO

motion to dismiss for being unmeritorious. Its motion for reconsideration having met the same
fate on February 3, 1976, petitioner filed the instant special civil action for certiorari,
prohibition and mandamus with preliminary injunction, contending that respondent judge acted
with grave abuse of discretion when he refused to dismiss the complaint for damages on the
ground of lack of jurisdiction.
• Supreme Court subsequently granted a temporary restraining order prohibiting the trial court
from proceeding with the hearing of the case.

Ruling

In the recent case of Floresca vs. Philex Mining Company, L-30642, April 30, 1985, 136 SCRA
141, involving a complaint for damages for the death of five miners in a cave in on June 28, 1967, this
Court was confronted with three divergent opinions on the exclusivity rule as presented by several
amici curiae One view is that the injured employee or his heirs, in case of death, may initiate an action
to recover damages [not compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act) with the regular courts
on the basis of negligence of the employer pursuant to the Civil Code. Another view, as enunciated in
the Robles case, is that the remedy of an employee for work connected injury or accident is exclusive
in accordance with Section 5 of the WCA. A third view is that the action is selective and the employee
or his heirs have a choice of availing themselves of the benefits under the WCA or of suing in the
regular courts under the Civil Code for higher damages from the employer by reason of his negligence.
But once the election has been exercised, the employee or his heirs are no longer free to opt for the
other remedy. In other words, the employee cannot pursue both actions simultaneously. This latter view
was adopted by the majority, in the Floresca case, reiterating as main authority its earlier decision in
Pacaña vs. Cebu Autobus Company, L-25382, April 30, 1982, 32 SCRA 442. In so doing, the Court
rejected the doctrine of exclusivity of the rights and remedies granted by the WCA as laid down in the
Robles case. Three justices dissented.

It is readily apparent from the succession of cases dealing with the matter at issue that this Court
has vacillated from one school of thought to the other. Even now, the concepts pertaining thereto have
remained fluid. But unless and until the Floresca ruling is modified or superseded, and We are not so
inclined, it is deemed to be the controlling jurisprudence vice the Robles case.

As thus applied to the case at bar, respondent Lim spouses cannot be allowed to maintain their
present action to recover additional damages against petitioner under the Civil Code. In open court,
respondent Consorcia Geveia admitted that they had previously filed a claim for death benefits with the
WCC and had received the compensation payable to them under the WCA. It is therefore clear that
respondents had not only opted to recover under the Act but they had also been duly paid. At the very
least, a sense of fair play would demand that if a person entitled to a choice of remedies made a first
election and accepted the benefits thereof, he should no longer be allowed to exercise the second
option. "Having staked his fortunes on a particular remedy, [he] is precluded from pursuing the
alternate course, at least until the prior claim is rejected by the Compensation Commission."

In the light of this Court's recent pronouncement in the Floresca case, respondent Judge
Avelino's denial order of petitioner's motion to dismiss is adjudged to be improper.

Petition dismissed. The temporary restraining order issued by this Court enjoining respondent
ONG, MIKHAEL GO

Judge Avelino from conducting further proceedings in said case is made permanent.

Opinion

Through this case, we ask ourselves, how much does the grief of parent for the loss of their
child equate to? It is not known through the case whether Rolando's parents were merely using his
death to gain more financially or if they feel that their son's life is worth more than the amount they
received. Regardless of the degree of grief the parents may have had, their grief would still not be
above the law.
It would seem that sentiment plays a vital role in how things are done by our State today. When
do we let sentiment rule over law? Does it not create a cycle like the chicken-egg dilemma (“Which
came first?”)? Humans resorted to creating laws in order to exercise sentiments freely. But the laws that
we have discourage sentiment altogether and uphold the stern coldness of the legal system. As students
of the law, we know that we should uphold the latter (law over sentiment), but do we not lose sight of
the purpose of having rules and laws in the first place?