1 Sarmiento vs ECC

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  9/7/19, 8:14 PMSUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 144Page 1 of 10  VOL. 144, SEPTEMBER 24, 1986421 Sarmiento vs. EmployeesÊ Compensation Commission No. L-68648. September 24, 1986. * MARTINIANO SARMIENTO, petitioner, vs.  EMPLOYEESÊCOMPENSATION COMMISSION and GOVERNMENTSERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM, respondents.  Labor; EmployeesÊ Compensation; Evidence; Strict rules of  evidence, not applicable in claims for compensation. ·Strict rules of  _______________ *  SECOND DIVISION. 422 422SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED Sarmiento vs. EmployeesÊ Compensation Commission evidence are not applicable in claims for compensation (San Valentin v. EmployeesÊ Compensation Commission, 118 SCRA 160;Better Building, Inc. v. Pucan, 135 SCRA 62). There are nostringent criteria to follow. The degree of proof required under P.D.626, is merely substantial evidence, which means, „such relevantevidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to supporta conclusion‰ (Cristobal v. EmployeesÊ Compensation Commission, supra,  citing Ang Tibay v. Court of Industrial Relations andNational Labor Union, Inc., 69 Phil. 635; and Acosta v. EmployeesÊCompensation Commission, 109 SCRA 209). The claimant must  9/7/19, 8:14 PMSUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 144Page 2 of 10 show, at least, by substantial evidence that the development of thedisease is brought largely by the conditions present in the nature of the job. What the law requires is a reasonable work-connection andnot a direct causal relation (Cristobal v. EmployeesÊ CompensationCommission, supra;  Sagliba v. EmployeesÊ CompensationCommission, 128 SCRA 723; Neri v. EmployeesÊ CompensationCommission, 127 SCRA 672; Juala v. EmployeesÊ CompensationCommission, 128 SCRA 462; and De Vera v. EmployeesÊCompensation Commission, 133 SCRA 685). Same; Same; Same; Interpretation; Liberal and compassionatespirit of the labor laws.·  This kind of interpretation gives meaning and substance to the liberal and compassionate spirit of the law asembodied in Article 4 of the New Labor Code which states that „alldoubts in the implementation and interpretation of the provisions of this Code including its implementing rules and regulations shall beresolved in favor of labor‰ (Cristobal v. EmployeesÊ CompensationCommission, supra ). The policy is to extend the applicability of thedecree to a greater number of employees who can avail of thebenefits under law, which is in consonance with the avowed policy of the State to give maximum aid and protection to labor (Acosta v.EmployeeÊs Compensation Commission, 109 SCRA 209). Same; Same; Acute follicular pharyngitis with hypertrophicrhinitis; Compensability; ClaimantÊs respiratory diseases establishhis claim of work-connection and increased risk of his ailments.·  The very nature of petitionerÊs ailments as respiratory diseases vis-a-vis his occupation with the Bureau of Agricultural Extensionwhere, as laborer, he was constantly exposed to plant dusts, andchemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers, clearly respiratoryirritants, substantiates petitionerÊs claim of work-connection andincreased risk. This is not the case of an employee subjected togeneral pollution suffered in common with workers and non-workers alike. Mr. Sarmiento worked directly and regularly withpesticides and toxic 423  VOL. 144, SEPTEMBER 24, 1986423 Sarmiento vs. EmployeesÊ Compensation Commission  9/7/19, 8:14 PMSUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 144Page 3 of 10 materials as part of his employment. A closer study of thepetitionerÊs ailments firmly establishes the work-connected natureof his ailments. Same; Same; Same; Same; Reasonable work-connection of claimantÊs diseases to his employment and direct causal relation of his employment and illness, mandates that compensation be granted .·The use of the term „Chronic‰, meaning long-term orlongstanding to characterize petitionerÊs hypertrophic rhinitisfurther confirms work-connection. The same implies a long andgradual development of the ailment. It is a clear indication that itwas not the single bout with infection which associated the samewith follicular pharyngitis, that could have produced thehypertrophy or „permanent enlargement or thickening‰ of petitionerÊs nasal mucous membranes. Not only is there reasonablework-connection shown but direct causal relation of petitionerÊsemployment and illness of hypertrophic rhinitis, for whichcompensation must be given. A general weakening of a personÊsconstitution and body resistance is, likewise, a necessaryconsequence of petitionerÊs working conditions. Coupled withchronic hypertrophic rhinitis, the petitionerÊs susceptibility toinfection was increased causing him to further contract follicularpharyngitis. There is a close and logical link between follicularpharyngitis and petitionerÊs working conditions as the mainpredisposing factor to respiratory ailments. Thus thecompensability cannot be denied.  APPEAL by certiorari to review the decision of theEmployeesÊ Compensation Commission.The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.GUTIERREZ, JR.,  J.: This is an appeal by certiorari, seeking the review of theJuly 20, 1984 decision of the respondent EmployeesÊCompensation Commission in ECC Case No. 2279,affirming the decision of respondent Government ServiceInsurance System which denied the claim of petitionerMartiniano Sarmiento for compensation benefits underPresidential Decree No. 626, as amended. The claim wasdenied on the ground that SarmientoÊs ailments·acutefollicular pharyngitis with hypertrophic rhinitis·are not  9/7/19, 8:14 PMSUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 144Page 4 of 10 occupational nor work-connected in his position as casuallaborer with the Bureau of Agricultural 424 424SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED Sarmiento vs. EmployeesÊ Compensation Commission Extension from January 5, 1976 to his retirement on June30, 1980.Martiniano Sarmiento was a casual laborer of theBureau of Agricultural Extension requiring him to dealwith different kinds of plants which have to be sprayedwith insecticides and pesticides.On February, 1983, as per medical records, petitionerÊsillness started as a fever accompanied by chest pain, cough,and watery nasal discharge.On March 14, 1983, he filed his claim for disabilitycompensation with the respondent Government ServiceInsurance system under P. D. 626, as amended. His illnesswas diagnosed as acute follicular pharyngitis withhypertrophic rhinitis. He was treated for these ailments atthe Provincial Hospital of Bohol by Dr. Segundo T. Rocha, aprivate physician. The history of petitionerÊs illness wasrecorded by Dr. Rocha as follows: „Present condition started three (3) days prior to consultation assudden onset of cough accompanied by chest pain and feverishsensation. Cough hard in character and more in early evening andmorning.„He has been with nasal stuffiness for almost 15 years as on andoff nasal stuffiness associated with frontal headache.‰ On April 6, 1983, the Manager, Disability BenefitsDepartment of GSIS, Mr. Oscar B. Marcelino denied thepetitionerÊs claim stating that the petitionerÊs ailments arenot occupational. From this decision, a petition for reviewwas filed by petitioner before the EmployeesÊ CompensationCommission (ECC).On March 18, 1984, the respondent ECC through itsmedical officer, Dr. Francisco A. Estacio found that there isno proof to establish the compensability of the disease in
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