SC tells state social service agencies to adopt liberal attitude in deciding claims




MANILA, Philippines – Be considerate in dealing with employees’ claims, the Supreme Court reminded the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Social Security Network (SSS), Employees Compensation Commission (ECC).

In an 8-page decision by the high court’s second division released Thursday, it affirmed the Court of Appeals’ decision to grant the death benefits to the survivors of Bernardo Alcaraz, a laborer and Metro Aide I at the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

“We take this occasion to reiterate that as an agency charged by law with implementation of social justice guaranteed and secured by the Constitution—the ECC (as well as the GSIS and SSS)—should adopt a liberal attitude in favor of the employees in deciding claims for compensability, especially where there is some basis in the facts for inferring a work-connection to the accident or illness. This is what the Constitution dictates,” the high court, through Associate Justice Arturo Brion said.

Alcaraz has been working with the MMDA for almost 29 years. In 2004, he was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis and community acquired pneumonia. He was also confined at the Ospital ng Makati.

On January 15, 2005, he was found dead at the basement of the MMDA building. Autopsy showed that he died of myocardial infraction (heart attack).

His widow, Marilou filed a claim for death benefits with the GSIS which denied the claim saying the cause of death was not work related but is related to diabetes. She then took her case to the ECC who affirmed the GSIS’ findings prompting her to appeal before the Court of Appeals.

The appeals court reversed GSIS and ECC saying there is enough proof of work connection to the death of Alcaraz. It believed that his work as laborer and metro aide have substantially contributed to his illness. GSIS then took the case to the Supreme Court alleging that the appeals court committed grave abuse of discretion.

But the high court, through Associate Justice Arturo Brion, said the Court of Appeals was correct in saying that the hazardous working environment of Alcaraz aggravated his illness.

“The conclusions of the two agencies totally disregarded the stressful and strenuous conditions under which Bernardo toiled for almost 29 long years as a laborer and as a metro aide,” the high court said taking note of the fact that Bernardo died at his employer’s premises.

The high court added that considering that Alcaraz died a few months after he was hospitalized “a reasonable mind analysing these facts cannot but arrive at the conclusion that the risks present in his work environment for the entire duration of his employment precipitated the acute myocardial infarction that led to his death.”

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  • jack457

    ganyan ang nakagawian ng nakaupo sa pwesto. pagdating sa benipisyo ng mamamayan hangga’t maaari ayaw nila ibigay sa pamamagitan ng paghahanap ng butas o teknikal para maging invalid ang claims.

    • ramelatilano

      tama para maging part na ng savings nila then part na rin ng bunos nila…kawawa naman ang pamilya ng mga members….tama lang si brion saludo ako syo….

  • Marlon

    ang talino naman ni Justice Brion, nag-aral lang ng LAW, naging bihasa na sa MEDICINE!!!

    bakit nyo nasabi na nay direct connection ang diabetes sa pagiging metro aide sa MMDA???

    doktor ka ba???!!!

    • Handiong

      Ibigay mo na, ‘pre. Maliit lang yan, at kawawa naman ang pamilya.

    • ramelatilano

      cguro part ka ng higher management ng GSIS ano…kung manggagawa ka sana maranasan mo ang hirap ng tao at ng pamilya…mamatay ka rin

  • wakats

    I tip my hat to SJ Brion and the SC/CA for the righteous and conscientious decision despite the objections of the GSIS.

    Said agency, with billions of assets coming from the monthly remittances of members and from interest income from its investment portfolio, is known to resort to all technicalities to avoid paying destitute members, especially to employees compensation claims – but is very generous when it comes to bonuses and allowances of its board of trustees and to its employees.

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