Favor workers, SC tells state agencies handling benefits | Inquirer News

Favor workers, SC tells state agencies handling benefits

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 05:46 AM July 16, 2022
The Supreme Court building is viewed from its closed gateway.

The Supreme Court building is viewed from its closed gateway. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

State agencies tasked with awarding workers’ compensation should be liberal in applying existing policies in favor of the employees, according to the Supreme Court.

The high court reiterated this principle of social justice as it sided with a widow, whose claim for the death benefits of her husband was denied by the Social Security System (SSS) and the Employees Compensation Commission (ECC).

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Voting unanimously, the tribunal’s five-member Second Division dismissed the petition for review filed by the SSS and the ECC, which challenged the two decisions that the Court of Appeals issued in 2014 and 2015 that favored Violeta Simacas.

The two government agencies rejected Simacas’ application for compensation after her husband, Irnido, died of prostrate cancer in 2010.

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They argued that Simacas failed to prove that her husband developed cancer due to his work as a steel fabrication helper for 15 years.

But the tribunal said the martial law-era edict Presidential Decree No. 626, which provided state-funded compensation for workers, “continues to be ‘an employees’ compensation law or a social legislation,’ which should be liberally construed in favor of labor.”

It quoted its previous ruling, which declared that the law’s “primordial purpose is to provide meaningful protection to the working class against the hazards of disability, illness and other contingencies resulting in the loss of income.”

“Thus, as the official agents charged by law to implement social justice guaranteed by the Constitution, the ECC and the SSS should adopt a liberal attitude in favor of the employee in deciding claims for compensability,” the court said in a 10-page decision.

“It is only this kind of interpretation that can give meaning and substance to the compassionate spirit of the law as embodied in Article 4 of the New Labor Code, which states that all doubts in the implementation and interpretation of the provisions of the Labor Code … should be resolved in favor of labor,” it added.

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TAGS: ECC, GSIS, SSS, Supreme Court
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