SC reminds GSIS, SSS, ECC be considerate to employees' claims

February 28, 2013 11:21 pm 

By Perfecto T. Raymundo

MANILA, Feb. 28 — The Supreme Court has reminded the Government Service Insurance System, Social Security System and Employees Compensation Commission to be considerate in dealing with employees' claims.

In an eight-page ruling by the SC's Second Division released Thursday, it upheld the Court of Appeals' ruling to grant the death benefits to the survivors of Bernardo Alcaraz, a laborer and Metro Aide I at the Metro Manila Development Authority.

"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 favour 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 SC, through Associate Justice Arturo D. Brion said.

Alcaraz has been working with the MMDA for almost 29 years.

He was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis and community acquired pneumonia in 2004.

He was also confined at the Ospital ng Makati.

He was found dead at the basement of the MMDA building on Jan. 15, 2005.

Autopsy showed he died of myocardial infarction.

His widow, Marilou filed a claim for death benefits with the GSIS who 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 CA.

The CA 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 SC alleging that the CA committed grave abuse of discretion.

However, the SC affirmed the CA 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 SC said.

The SC also took note of the fact that Bernardo died at his employer's premises.

It added 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." (PNA)



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