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SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 118978. May 23, 1997.]


PHILIPPINE TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE COMPANY, *, Petitioner, v.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and GRACE DE
GUZMAN, Respondents.
D. P. Mercado & Associates for Petitioner.
AC Estrada & Partner for Private Respondent.
SYLLABUS
1. LABOR AND SOCIAL LEGISLATION; LABOR CODE; EMPLOYMENT;
EMPLOYERS POLICY OF NOT ACCEPTING FOR WORK ANY WOMAN WORKER
WHO CONTRACTS MARRIAGE, CONTRARY TO LAW, GOOD MORALS AND
PUBLIC POLICY. In the case at bar, petitioners policy of not accepting or
considering as disqualified from work any woman worker who contracts
marriage runs afoul of the test of, and the right against, discrimination,
afforded all women workers by our labor laws and by no less than the
Constitution. Petitioners policy is not only in derogation of the provisions of
Article 136 of the Labor Code on the right of a woman to be free from any
kind of stipulation against marriage in connection with her employment, but
it likewise assaults good morals and public policy, tending as it does to
deprive a woman of the freedom to choose her status, a privilege that by all
accounts inheres in the individual as an intangible and inalienable right.
Hence, while it is true that the parties to a contract may establish any
agreements, terms, and conditions that they may deem convenient the same
should not be contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order, or public
policy. Carried to its logical consequences, it may even be said that
petitioners policy against legitimate marital bonds would encourage illicit or
common-law relations and subvert the sacrament of marriage.
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; DISMISSAL; LOSS OF CONFIDENCE, VALID GROUND.
While loss of confidence is a just cause of termination of employment, it
should not be simulated. It must rest on an actual breach of duty committed
by the employee and not on the employers caprices. Furthermore, it should
never be used as a subterfuge for causes which are improper, illegal, or
unjustified.

3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; CONCEALMENT OF FEMALE EMPLOYEE OF TRUE


NATURE OF STATUS FOR FEAR OF BEING DISQUALIFIED FROM WORK, NOT
SUFFICIENT BASIS. Contrary to petitioners assertion that it dismissed
private respondent from employment on account of her dishonesty, the
record discloses clearly that her ties with the company were dissolved
principally because of the companys policy that married women are not
qualified for employment in PT & T, and not merely because of her supposed
acts of dishonesty. Private respondents act of concealing the true nature of
her status from PT & T could not be properly characterized as willful or in bad
faith as she was moved to act the way she did mainly because she wanted to
retain a permanent job in a stable company. In other words, she was
practically forced by that very same illegal company policy into
misrepresenting her civil status for fear of being disqualified from work.
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; FAILURE TO REMIT COMPANY FUNDS, NOT AN
ADDITIONAL GROUND; CASE AT BAR. Finally, petitioners collateral
insistence on the admission of private respondent that she supposedly
misappropriated company funds, as an additional ground to dismiss her from
employment, is somewhat insincere and self-serving. Concededly, private
respondent admitted in the course of the proceedings that she failed to remit
some of her collections, but that is an altogether different story. The fact is
that she was dismissed solely because of her concealment of her marital
status, and not on the basis of that supposed defalcation of company funds.
That the labor arbiter would thus consider petitioners submissions on this a
mere afterthought, just too bolster its supposed dishonesty as case for
dismissal, is a perceptive conclusion born of experience in labor cases. For,
there was no showing that private respondent deliberately misappropriated
the amount or whether her failure to remit the same was through negligence
and, if so, whether the negligence was in nature simple or grave. In fact, it
was merely agreed that private respondent execute a promissory note to
refund the same, which she did, and the matter was deemed settled as a
peripheral issue in the labor case.
5. ID.; ID.; ID., EMPLOYEE ILLEGALLY DISMISSED A FEW DAYS BEFORE
COMPLETION OF HER PROBATIONARY EMPLOYMENT AND WHO WAS
PREVIOUSLY HIRED RELIEVER FOR SEVERAL TIMES GAINED REGULAR
STATUS. Private respondent, it must be observed, had gained regular
status at the time of her dismissal. When she was served her walking papers
on January 29, 1992, she was about to complete the probationary period of
150 days as she was contracted as a probationary employee on September 2,
1991. That her dismissal would be effected just when her probationary period
was winding down clearly raises the plausible conclusion that it was done in
order to prevent her from earning security of tenure. On the other hand, her
earlier stints with the company as reliever were undoubtedly those of a
regular employee, even if the same were for fixed periods, as she performed
activities which were essential or necessary in the usual trade and business
of PT & T. The primary standard of determining regular employment is the

reasonable connection between the activity performed by the employee in


relation to the business or trade of the employer.
6. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ENTITLED TO REINSTATEMENT WITHOUT LOSS OF
SENIORITY RIGHTS AND OTHER PRIVILEGES. As an employee who had
therefore gained regular status, and as she had been dismissed without just
cause, she is entitled to reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and
other privileges and to full back wages, inclusive of allowances and other
benefits or their monetary equivalent.
7. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID; PERIOD OF SUSPENSION FOR DISHONESTY
DEDUCTED FROM AMOUNT RECOVERABLE FOR ILLEGAL DISMISSAL.
However, as she had undeniably committed an act of dishonesty, in
concealing her status, albeit under the compulsion of an unlawful imposition
of petitioner, the three-month suspension imposed by respondent NLRC must
be upheld to obviate the impression or inference that such act should be
condoned. It would be unfair to the employer if she were to return to its fold
without any sanction whatsoever for her act which was not totally, justified.
Thus, her entitlement to back wages, which shall be computed from the time
her compensation was withheld up to the time of her actual reinstatement,
shall be reduced by, deducting therefrom the amount corresponding to her
three months suspension.
8. CIVIL LAW; OBLIGATIONS AND CONTRACTS; CONTRACT OF LABOR;
IMPRESSED WITH PUBLIC POLICY SHOULD NOT CONTAIN OPPRESSIVE
PROVISIONS NOR IMPAIR THE INTEREST OR CONVENIENCE OF THE PUBLIC;
POLICY AGAINST MARRIAGE, A PROHIBITED PROVISION. Parenthetically,
the Civil Code provisions on the contract of labor state that the relations
between the parties, that is, of capital and labor, are not merely, contractual,
impressed as they are with so much public interest that the same should
yield to the common good. It goes on to intone dust neither capital nor labor
should visit acts of oppression against the other, nor impair the interest or
convenience of the public. In the final reckoning, the danger of just such a
policy against marriage followed by petitioner PT & T is that it strikes at the
very essence, ideals and purpose of marriage as an inviolable social
institution and. ultimately, of the family as the foundation of the nation. That
it must be effectively interdicted here in all its indirect, disguised or
dissembled forms as discriminatory conduct derogatory of the laws of the
land is not only in order but imperatively required.
DECISION
REGALADO, J.:

Seeking relief through the extraordinary writ of certiorari, petitioner


Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Company (hereafter, PT&T) invokes the
alleged concealment of civil status and defalcation of company funds as
grounds to terminate the services of an employee. That employee, herein
private respondent Grace de Guzman, contrarily argues that what really
motivated PT&T to terminate her services was her having contracted
marriage during her employment, which is prohibited by petitioner in its
company policies. She thus claims that she was discriminated against in
gross violation of law, such a proscription by an employer being outlawed by
Article 136 of the Labor Code.
Grace de Guzman was initially hired by petitioner as a reliever, specifically as
a "Supernumerary Project Worker," for a fixed period from November 21,
1990 until April 20, 1991 vice one C.F. Tenorio who went on maternity leave.
1 Under the Reliever Agreement which she signed with petitioner company,
her employment was to be immediately terminated upon expiration of the
agreed period. Thereafter, from June 10, 1991 to July 1, 1991, and from July
19, 1991 to August 8, 1991, private respondent s services as reliever were
again engaged by petitioner, this time in replacement of one Erlinda F. Dizon
who went on leave during both periods. 2 After August 8, 1991, and pursuant
to their Reliever Agreement, her services were terminated.
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On September 2, 1991, private respondent was once more asked to join


petitioner company as a probationary employee, the probationary period to
cover 150 days. In the job application form that was furnished her to be filled
up for the purpose, she indicated in the portion for civil status therein that
she was single although she had contracted marriage a few months earlier,
that is, on May 26, 1991. 3
It now appears that private respondent had made the same representationin the two successive reliever agreements which she signed on June 10, 1991
and July 8, 1991. When petitioner supposedly learned about the same later,
its branch supervisor in Baguio City, Delia M. Oficial, sent to private
respondent a memorandum dated January 15, 1992 requiring her to explain
the discrepancy. In that memorandum, she was reminded about the
companys policy of not accepting married women for employment. 4
In her reply letter dated January 17, 1992, private respondent stated that
she was not aware of PT&Ts policy regarding married women at the time,
and that all along she had not deliberately hidden her true civil status. 5
Petitioner nonetheless remained unconvinced by her explanations. Private
respondent was dismissed from the company effective January 29, 1992, 6
which she readily contested by initiating a complaint for illegal dismissal,
coupled with a claim for non-payment of cost of living allowances (COLA),
before the Regional Arbitration Branch of the National Labor Relations
Commission in Baguio City.
At the preliminary conference conducted in connection therewith, private

respondent volunteered the information, and this was incorporated in the


stipulation of facts between the parties, that she had failed to remit the
amount of P2,380.75 of her collections. She then executed a promissory note
for that amount in favor of petitioner. 7 All of these took place in a formal
proceeding and with the agreement of the parties and/or their counsel.
On November 23, 1993, Labor Arbiter Irenarco R. Rimando handed down a
decision declaring that private respondent, who had already gained the
status of a regular employee, was illegally dismissed by petitioner. Her
reinstatement, plus payment of the corresponding back wages and COLA,
was correspondingly ordered, the labor arbiter being of the firmly expressed
view that the ground relied upon by petitioner in dismissing private
respondent was clearly insufficient, and that it was apparent that she had
been discriminated against on account of her having contracted marriage in
violation of company rules.
On appeal to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), said public
respondent upheld the labor arbiter and, in its decision dated April 29, 1994,
it ruled that private respondent had indeed been the subject of an unjust and
unlawful discrimination by her employer, PT&T. However, the decision of the
labor arbiter was modified with the qualification that Grace de Guzman
deserved to be suspended for three months in view of the dishonest nature
of her acts which should not be condoned. In all other respects, the NLRC
affirmed the decision of the labor arbiter, including the order for the
reinstatement of private respondent in her employment with PT&T.
The subsequent motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner was rebuffed by
respondent NLRC in its resolution of November 9, 1994, hence this special
civil action assailing the aforestated decisions. of the labor arbiter and
respondent NLRC, as well as the denial resolution of the latter.
1. Decreed in the Bible itself is the universal norm that women should be
regarded with love and respect but, through the ages, men have responded
to that injunction with indifference, on the hubristic conceit that women
constitute the inferior sex. Nowhere has that prejudice against womankind
been so pervasive as in the field of labor, especially on the matter of equal
employment opportunities and standards. In the Philippine setting, women
have traditionally been considered as falling within the vulnerable groups or
types of workers who must be safeguarded with preventive and remedial
social legislation against discriminatory and exploitative practices in hiring,
training, benefits, promotion and retention.
The Constitution, cognizant of the disparity in rights between men and
women in almost all phases of social and political life, provides a gamut of
protective provisions. To cite a few of the primordial ones, Section 14, Article
II 8 on the Declaration of Principles and State Policies, expressly recognizes
the role of women in nation-building and commands the State to ensure, at
all times, the fundamental equality before the law of women and men.

Corollary thereto, Section 3 of Article XIII 9 (the progenitor whereof dates


back to both the 1935 and 1973 Constitution) pointedly requires the State to
afford full protection to labor and to promote full employment and equality of
employment opportunities for all, including an assurance of entitlement to
tenurial security of all workers. Similarly, Section 14 of Article XIII 10
mandates that the State shall protect working women through provisions for
opportunities that would enable them to reach their full potential.
2. Corrective labor and social laws on gender inequality have emerged with
more frequency in the years since the Labor Code was enacted on May 1,
1974 as Presidential Decree No. 442, largely due to our countrys
commitment as a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). 11
Principal among these laws are Republic Act No. 6727 12 which explicitly
prohibits discrimination against women with respect to terms and conditions
of employment, promotion, and training opportunities, Republic Act No. 6955
13 which bans the "mail-order-bride" practice for a fee and the export of
female labor to countries that cannot guarantee protection to the rights of
women workers; Republic Act No. 7192, 14 also known as the "Women in
Development and Nation Building Act," which affords women equal
opportunities with men to act and to enter into contracts, and for
appointment, admission, training, graduation, and commissioning in all
military or similar schools of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the
Philippine National Police; Republic Act No. 7322 15 increasing the maternity
benefits granted to women in the private sector; Republic Act No. 7877 16
which outlaws and punishes sexual harassment in the workplace and in the
education and training environment; and Republic Act No. 8042, 17 or the
"Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995," which prescribes as a
matter of policy, inter alia, the deployment of migrant workers, with
emphasis on women, only in countries where their rights are secure.
Likewise, it would not be amiss to point out that in the Family Code, 18
womens rights in the field of civil law have been greatly enhanced and
expanded.
In the Labor Code, provisions governing the rights of women workers are
found in Articles 130 to 138 thereof. Article 130 involves the right against
particular kinds of night work while Article 132 ensures the right of women to
be provided with facilities and standards which the Secretary of Labor may
establish to ensure their health and safety. For purposes of labor and social
legislation, a woman working in a nightclub, cocktail lounge, massage clinic,
bar or other similar establishments shall be considered as an employee under
Article 138. Article 135, on the other hand, recognizes a woman s right
against discrimination with respect to terms and conditions of employment
on account simply of sex. Finally, and this brings us to the issue at hand,
Article 136 explicitly prohibits discrimination merely by reason of the
marriage of a female employee.

3. Acknowledged as paramount in the due process scheme is the


constitutional guarantee of protection to labor and security of tenure. Thus,
an employer is required, as a condition sine qua non prior to severance of the
employment ties of an individual under his employ, to convincingly establish,
through substantial evidence, the existence of a valid and just cause in
dispensing with the services of such employee, one s labor being regarded
as constitutionally protected property.
On the other hand, it is recognized that regulation of manpower by the
company falls within the so-called management prerogatives, which
prescriptions encompass the matter of hiring, supervision of workers, work
assignments, working methods and assignments, as well as regulations on
the transfer of employees, lay-off of workers, and the discipline, dismissal,
and recall of employees. 19 As put in a case, an employer is free to regulate,
according to his discretion and best business judgment, all aspects of
employment, "from hiring to firing," except in cases of unlawful
discrimination or those which may be provided by law. 20
In the case at bar, petitioners policy of not accepting or considering as
disqualified from work any woman worker who contracts marriage runs afoul
of the test of, and the right against, discrimination, afforded all women
workers by our labor laws and by no less than the Constitution. Contrary to
petitioners assertion that it dismissed private respondent from employment
on account of her dishonesty, the record discloses clearly that her ties with
the company were dissolved principally because of the companys policy that
married women are not qualified for employment in PT&T, and not merely
because of her supposed acts of dishonesty.
That it was so can easily be seen from the memorandum sent to private
respondent by Delia M. Oficial, the branch supervisor of the company, with
the reminder, in the words of the latter, that "youre fully aware that the
company is not accepting married women employee (sic), as it was verbally
instructed to you." 21 Again, in the termination notice sent to her by the
same branch supervisor, private respondent was made to understand that
her severance from the service was not only by reason of her concealment of
her married status but, over and on top of that, was her violation of the
company s policy against marriage ("and even told you that married women
employees are not applicable [sic] or accepted in our company.") 22
Parenthetically, this seems to be the curious reason why it was made to
appear in the initiatory pleadings that petitioner was represented in this case
only by its said supervisor and not by its highest ranking officers who would
otherwise be solidarily liable with the corporation. 23
Verily, private respondents act of concealing the true nature of her status
from PT&T could not be properly characterized as willful or in bad faith as she
was moved to act the way she did mainly because she wanted to retain a
permanent job in a stable company. In other words, she was practically
forced by that very same illegal company policy into misrepresenting her civil

status for fear of being disqualified from work. While loss of confidence is a
just cause for termination of employment, it should not be simulated. 24 It
must rest on an actual breach of duty committed by the employee and not on
the employers caprices. 25 Furthermore, it should never be used as a
subterfuge for causes which are improper, illegal, or unjustified. 26
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In the present controversy, petitioners expostulations that it dismissed


private respondent, not because the latter got married but because she
concealed that fact, does have a hollow ring. Her concealment, so it is
claimed, bespeaks dishonesty hence the consequent loss of confidence in her
which justified her dismissal. Petitioner would asseverate, therefore, that
while it has nothing against marriage, it nonetheless takes umbrage over the
concealment of that fact. This improbable reasoning, with interstitial
distinctions, perturbs the Court since private respondent may well be minded
to claim that the imputation of dishonesty should be the other way around.
Petitioner would have the Court believe that although private respondent
defied its policy against its female employees contracting marriage, what
could be an act of insubordination was inconsequential. What it submits as
unforgivable is her concealment of that marriage yet, at the same time,
declaring that marriage as a trivial matter to which it supposedly has no
objection. In other words, PT&T says it gives its blessings to its female
employees contracting marriage, despite the maternity leaves and other
benefits it would consequently respond for and which obviously it would have
wanted to avoid. If that employee confesses such fact of marriage, there will
be no sanction; but if such employee conceals the same instead of
proceeding to the confessional, she will be dismissed. This line of reasoning
does not impress us as reflecting its true management policy or that we are
being regaled with responsible advocacy.
This Court should be spared the ennui of strained reasoning and the tedium
of propositions which confuse through less than candid arguments. Indeed,
petitioner glosses over the fact that it was its unlawful policy against married
women, both on the aspects of qualification and retention, which compelled
private respondent to conceal her supervenient marriage. It was, however,
that very policy alone which was the cause of private respondents secretive
conduct now complained of. It is then apropos to recall the familiar saying
that he who is the cause of the cause is the cause of the evil caused.
Finally, petitioners collateral insistence on the admission of private
respondent that she supposedly misappropriated company funds, as an
additional ground to dismiss her from employment, is somewhat insincere
and self-serving. Concededly, private respondent admitted in the course of
the proceedings that she failed to remit some of her collections, but that is
an altogether different story. The fact is that she was dismissed solely
because of her concealment of her marital status, and not on the basis of
that supposed defalcation of company funds. That the labor arbiter would
thus consider petitioners submissions on this supposed dishonesty as a mere

afterthought, just to bolster its case for dismissal, is a perceptive conclusion


born of experience in labor cases. For, there was no showing that private
respondent deliberately misappropriated the amount or whether her failure to
remit the same was through negligence and, if so, whether the negligence
was in nature simple or grave. In fact, it was merely agreed that private
respondent execute a promissory note to refund the same, which she did,
and the matter was deemed settled as a peripheral issue in the labor case.
Private respondent, it must be observed, had gained regular status at the
time of her dismissal. When she was served her walking papers on January
29, 1992, she was about to complete the probationary period of 150 days as
she was contracted as a probationary employee on September 2, 1991. That
her dismissal would be effected just when her probationary period was
winding down clearly raises the plausible conclusion that it was done in order
to prevent her from earning security of tenure. 27 On the other hand, her
earlier stints with the company as reliever were undoubtedly those of a
regular employee, even if the same were for fixed periods, as she performed
activities which were essential or necessary in the usual trade and business
of PT&T. 28 The primary standard of determining regular employment is the
reasonable connection between the activity performed by the employee in
relation to the business or trade of the employer. 29
As an employee who had therefore gained regular status, and as she had
been dismissed without just cause, she is entitled to reinstatement without
loss of seniority rights and other privileges and to full back wages, inclusive
of allowances and other benefits or their monetary equivalent. 30 However,
as she had undeniably committed an act of dishonesty in concealing her
status, albeit under the compulsion of an unlawful imposition of petitioner,
the three-month suspension imposed by respondent NLRC must be upheld to
obviate the impression or inference that such act should be condoned. It
would be unfair to the employer if she were to return to its fold without any
sanction whatsoever for her act which was not totally justified. Thus, her
entitlement to back wages, which shall be computed from the time her
compensation was withheld up to the time of her actual reinstatement, shall
be reduced by deducting therefrom the amount corresponding to her three
months suspension.
4. The government, to repeat, abhors any stipulation or policy in the nature
of that adopted by petitioner PT&T. The Labor Code states, in no uncertain
terms, as follows:
jgc:chanrobles.com .ph

"ART. 136. Stipulation against marriage. It shall be unlawful for an


employer to require as a condition of employment or continuation of
employment that a woman shall not get married, or to stipulate expressly or
tacitly that upon getting married, a woman employee shall be deemed
resigned or separated, or to actually dismiss, discharge, discriminate or
otherwise prejudice a woman employee merely by reason of marriage."
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This provision had a studied history for its origin can be traced to Section 8 of
Presidential Decree No. 148, 31 better known as the "Women and Child Labor
Law," which amended paragraph (c), Section 12 of Republic Act No. 679, 32
entitled "An Act to Regulate the Employment of Women and Children, to
Provide Penalties for Violations Thereof, and for Other Purposes." The
forerunner to Republic Act No. 679, on the other hand, was Act No. 3071
which became law on March 16, 1923 and which regulated the employment
of women and children in shops, factories, industrial, agricultural, and
mercantile establishments and other places of labor in the then Philippine
Islands.
It would be worthwhile to reflect upon and adopt here the rationalization in
Zialcita, Et. Al. v. Philippine Air Lines, 33 a decision that emanated from the
Office of the President. There, a policy of Philippine Air Lines requiring that
prospective flight attendants must be single and that they will be
automatically separated from the service once they marry was declared void,
it being violative of the clear mandate in Article 136 of the Labor Code with
regard to discrimination against married women. Thus:
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"Of first impression is the incompatibility of the respondents policy or


regulation with the codal provision of law. Respondent is resolute in its
contention that Article 136 of the Labor Code applies only to women
employed in ordinary occupations and that the prohibition against marriage
of women engaged in extraordinary occupations, like flight attendants, is fair
and reasonable, considering the peculiarities of their chosen profession.
We cannot subscribe to the line of reasoning pursued by Respondent. All
along, it knew that the controverted policy has already met its doom as early
as March 13, 1973 when Presidential Decree No. 148, otherwise known as
the Women and Child Labor Law, was promulgated. But for the timidity of
those affected or their labor unions in challenging the validity of the policy,
the same was able to obtain a momentary reprieve. A close look at Section 8
of said decree, which amended paragraph (c) of Section 12 of Republic Act
No. 679, reveals that it is exactly the same provision reproduced verbatim in
Article 136 of the Labor Code, which was promulgated on May 1, 1974 to
take effect six (6) months later, or on November 1, 1974.
It cannot be gainsaid that, with the reiteration of the same provision in the
new Labor Code, all policies and acts against it are deemed illegal and
therefore abrogated. True, Article 132 enjoins the Secretary of Labor to
establish standards that will ensure the safety and health of women
employees and in appropriate cases shall by regulation require employers to
determine appropriate minimum standards for termination in special
occupations, such as those of flight attendants, but that is precisely the
factor that militates against the policy of Respondent. The standards have
not yet been established as set forth in the first paragraph, nor has the
Secretary of Labor issued any regulation affecting flight attendants.

It is logical to presume that, in the absence of said standards or regulations


which are as yet to be established, the policy of respondent against marriage
is patently illegal. This finds support in Section 9 of the New Constitution,
which provides:
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"Sec. 9. The State shall afford protection to labor, promote full employment
and equality in employment, ensure equal work opportunities regardless of
sex, race, or creed, and regulate the relations between workers and
employees. The State shall assure the rights of workers to self-organization,
collective bargaining, security of tenure, and just and humane conditions of
work . . ."
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Moreover, we cannot agree to the respondents proposition that termination


from employment of flight attendants on account of marriage is a fair and
reasonable standard designed for their own health, safety, protection and
welfare, as no basis has been laid therefor. Actually, respondent claims that
its concern is not so much against the continued employment of the flight
attendant merely by reason of marriage as observed by the Secretary of
Labor, but rather on the consequence of marriage-pregnancy. Respondent
discussed at length in the instant appeal the supposed ill effects of pregnancy
on flight attendants in the course of their employment. We feel that this
needs no further discussion as it had been adequately explained by the
Secretary of Labor in his decision of May 2, 1976.
chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

In a vain attempt to give meaning to its position, respondent went as far as


invoking the provisions of Articles 52 and 216 of the New Civil Code on the
preservation of marriage as an inviolable social institution and the family as a
basic social institution, respectively, as bases for its policy of non-marriage.
In both instances, respondent predicates absence of a flight attendant from
her home for long periods of time as contributory to an unhappy married life.
This is pure conjecture not based on actual conditions, considering that, in
this modern world, sophisticated technology has narrowed the distance from
one place to another. Moreover, respondent overlooked the fact that married
flight attendants can program their lives to adapt to prevailing circumstances
and events.
Article 136 is not intended to apply only to women employed in ordinary
occupations, or it should have categorically expressed so. The sweeping
intendment of the law, be it on special or ordinary occupations, is reflected in
the whole text and supported by Article 135 that speaks of nondiscrimination on the employment of women.
The judgment of the Court of Appeals in Gualberto, Et. Al. v. Marinduque
Mining & Industrial Corporation 34 considered as void a policy of the same
nature. In said case, respondent, in dismissing from the service the
complainant, invoked a policy of the firm to consider female employees in the
project it was undertaking as separated the moment they get married due to
lack of facilities for married women. Respondent further claimed that

complainant was employed in the project with an oral understanding that her
services would be terminated when she gets married. Branding the policy of
the employer as an example of "discriminatory chauvinism tantamount to
denying equal employment opportunities to women simply on account of
their sex, the appellate court struck down said employer policy as unlawful in
view of its repugnance to the Civil Code, Presidential Decree No. 148 and the
Constitution.
Under American jurisprudence, job requirements which establish employer
preference or conditions relating to the marital status of an employee are
categorized as a "sex-plus" discrimination where it is imposed on one sex and
not on the other. Further, the same should be evenly applied and must not
inflict adverse effects on a racial or sexual group which is protected by
federal job discrimination laws. Employment rules that forbid or restrict the
employment of married women, but do not apply to married men, have been
held to violate Title VII of the United States Civil Rights Act of 1964, the main
federal statute prohibiting job discrimination against employees and
applicants on the basis of, among other things, sex. 35
Further, it is not relevant that the rule is not directed against all women but
just against married women. And, where the employer discriminates against
married women, but not against married men, the variable is sex and the
discrimination is unlawful. 36 Upon the other hand, a requirement that a
woman employee must remain unmarried could be justified as a "bona fide
occupational qualification," or BFOQ, where the particular requirements of
the job would justify the same, but not on the ground of a general principle,
such as the desirability of spreading work in the workplace. A requirement of
that nature would be valid provided it reflects an inherent quality reasonably
necessary for satisfactory job performance. Thus, in one case, a no-marriage
rule applicable to both male and female flight attendants, was regarded as
unlawful since the restriction was not related to the job performance of the
flight attendants. 37
5. Petitioners policy is not only in derogation of the provisions of Article 136
of the Labor Code on the right of a woman to be free from any kind of
stipulation against marriage in connection with her employment, but it
likewise assaults good morals and public policy, tending as it does to deprive
a woman of the freedom to choose her status, a privilege that by all accounts
inheres in the individual as an intangible and inalienable right. 38 Hence,
while it is true that the parties to a contract may establish any agreements,
terms, and conditions that they may deem convenient, the same should not
be contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order, or public policy. 39
Carried to its logical consequences, it may even be said that petitioners
policy against legitimate marital bonds would encourage illicit or common-law
relations and subvert the sacrament of marriage.
Parenthetically, the Civil Code provisions on the contract of labor state that
the relations between the parties, that is, of capital and labor, are not merely

contractual, impressed as they are with so much public interest that the
same should yield to the common good. 40 It goes on to intone that neither
capital nor labor should visit acts of oppression against the other, nor impair
the interest or convenience of the public. 41 In the final reckoning, the
danger of just such a policy against marriage followed by petitioner PT&T is
that it strikes at the very essence, ideals and purpose of marriage as an
inviolable social institution and, ultimately, of the family as the foundation of
the nation. 42 That it must be effectively interdicted here in all its indirect,
disguised or dissembled forms as discriminatory conduct derogatory of the
laws of the land is not only in order but imperatively required.
ON THE FOREGOING PREMISES, the petition of Philippine Telegraph and
Telephone Company is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit, with double costs
against petitioner.
chanroble s lawlibrary : re dnad

SO ORDERED.
Romero, Puno, Mendoza and Torres, Jr., JJ., concur.
Endnotes:

* The phrase "herein represented by DELIA M. OFICIAL", added hereto in the


title of this case as stated in the petition, has been deleted for being
unnecessary and violative of the rules on pleadings, and is commented upon
in the text of this opinion.
1. Rollo, 42; Annex D.
2. Ibid., 44-45; Annexes F and G.
3. Ibid., 46-48; Annexes H and I.
4. Ibid., 49; Annex J.
5. Id., 50; Annex K.
6. Id., 51; Annex L.
7. Id., 53, Annex N.
8. The State recognizes the role of women in nation-building, and shall
ensure the fundamental equality before the law of women and men (Sec. 14,
Art. II).
9. The State shall afford full protection to labor, local and overseas, organized
or unorganized and promote full employment and equality of employment

opportunities for all.


It shall guarantee the rights of all workers to self-organization, collective
bargaining and negotiations, and peaceful concerted activities, including the
right to strike in accordance with law. They shall be entitled to security of
tenure, humane conditions of work, and a living wage. They shall also
participate in policy and decision-making processes affecting their rights and
benefits as may be provided by law.
The State shall promote the principle of shared responsibility between
workers and employers and the preferential use of voluntary modes of
settling disputes, including conciliation, and shall enforce their mutual
compliance therewith to foster industrial peace.
The State shall regulate the relations between workers and employers,
recognizing the right of labor to its just share in the fruits of production and
the right of enterprises to reasonable returns on investment, and to
expansion and growth (Sec. 3. Art. XIII).
10. The State shall protect working women by providing safe and healthful
working conditions, taking into account their maternal functions, and such
facilities and opportunities that will enhance their welfare and enable them to
realize their full potential in the service of the nation (Sec. 14, Art. XIII).
11. Adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, it is regarded as the most
comprehensive international treaty governing the rights of women. The
Philippines became a signatory thereto a year after its adoption by the UN
and in 1981, the country ratified it.
The Philippines had likewise been an active participant in all the four U.N.
World Conferences on Women, namely those held in Mexico in 1975,
Copenhagen in 1980, Nairobi in 1985, and Beijing in 1995.
Other relevant international laws to which the Philippines adheres as a
member of the international community include the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and
the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
12. Approved, June 9, 1989.
13. Approved, June 13, 1990.
14. Approved, February 12, 1992.
15. Approved, March 30, 1992.
16. Approved, February 14, 1995.

17. Approved, June 7, 1995.


18. Effective August 3, 1988.
19. Caltex Refinery Employees Association (CREA) v. National Labor Relations
Commission, Et Al., G.R. No. 102993, July 14, 1995, 246 SCRA 271; Oriental
Mindoro Electric Cooperative, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission, Et
Al., G.R. No. 111905, July 31, 1995, 246 SCRA 794; Nuez v. National Labor
Relations Commission, Et Al., G.R. No. 107574, December 28, 1994, 239
SCRA 518; San Miguel Corporation v. Ubaldo, Et Al., G.R. No. 92859,
February 1, 1993, 218 SCRA 293.
20. NAFLU v. National Labor Relations Commission, Et Al., G.R. No. 90739,
October 3, 1991, 202 SCRA 346.
21. Quoted in the Decision of the Third Division, NLRC, in NLRC Case No.
RAB-CAR-02-0042-92, Annex B of petition; Rollo, 35. See also Annex J,
supra, Fn. 4.
22. Annex L, id.; Rollo, 51.
23. Art. 289, Labor Code; see AC Ransom Labor Union-CCLU v. National
Labor Relations Commission, Et Al., G.R. No. 69494, June 10, 1986, 142
SCRA 269; Chua v. National Labor Relations Commission, Et Al., G.R. No.
81450, February 15, 1990, 182 SCRA 353.
24. Mapalo v. National Labor Relations Commission, Et Al., G.R. No. 107940,
June 17, 1994, 233 SCRA 266; PNOC-Energy Development Corporation v.
National Labor Relations Commission, Et Al., G.R. No. 79182, September 11,
1991, 201 SCRA 487.
25. San Antonio v. National Labor Relations Commission, Et Al., G.R. No.
100829, November 21, 1995, 250 SCRA 359; Labor v. National Labor
Relations Commission, G.R. No. 110388, September 14, 1995, 248 SCRA
183.
26. Hospicio de San Jose de Basili v. National Labor Relations Commission, Et
Al., G.R. No. 75997, August 18, 1988, 164 SCRA 516.
27. Cielo v. National Labor Relations Commission, Et Al., G.R. No. 78693,
January 28, 1991, 193 SCRA 410; Brent School, Inc. v. Zamora, Et Al., G.R.
No. 48494, February 5, 1990, 181 SCRA 702.
28. Art. 280, Labor Code; see PLDT v. Montemayor, Et Al., G.R. No. 88626
October 12, 1990, 190 SCRA 427.
29. De Leon v. National Labor Relations Commission, Et Al., G.R. No. 70705,
August 21, 1989, 176 SCRA 615.

30. Molave Tours Corp. v. National Labor Relations Commission, Et Al., G.R.
No. 112909, November 24, 1995, 250 SCRA 325; see Art. 279, Labor Code,
as amended by Republic Act No. 6715.
31. Promulgated on March 13, 1973.
32. Approved on April 15, 1952. It was later amended by Republic Act No.
1131, which in turn was approved on June 16, 1954.
33. Case No. RO4-3-3398-76; February 20, 1977.
34. CA-G.R. No. 52753-R, June 28, 1978.
35. 45A Am. Jur. 2d, Job Discrimination, Sec. 506, p. 486.
36. Ibid., id., id.
37. Ibid., id., Sec. 507.
38. Tolentino, A., Civil Code of the Philippines, Vol. III, 1979 ed., 235; see
Art. 874, Civil Code.
39. Art. 1306, Civil Code.
40. Art. 1700, Civil Code; see Macleod & Co. of the Philippines v. Progressive
Federation of Labor, 97 Phil. 205 (1955).
41. Art. 1701. Civil Code.
42. The 1987 Constitution provides:

chanrob1e s virtual 1aw library

The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and
strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. . . . (Sec. 15,
Art. II).
The State recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation.
Accordingly, it shall strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its total
development (Sec. 1, Art. XV).
Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family
and shall be protected by the State (Sec. 2, Art. XV).

[G.R. No. 162994. September 19, 2005]


DUNCAN ASSOCIATION vs. GLAXO

SECOND DIVISION
Sirs/Mesdames:
Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court
dated SEP 19 2005.
G.R. No. 162994 (Duncan Association Of Detailman-PTGWO and Pedro A.
Tecson vs. Glaxo Wellcome Philippines, Inc.)
For resolution is a Motion for Reconsideration dated 8 October 2004, filed by
petitioners who seek the reversal of the Court's Resolution1 dated 17
September 2004 denying the instant Petition for Review.
A brief recapitulation of the facts is in order. Petitioner Pedro Tecson
("Tecson") was employed in 1995 by respondent Glaxo Wellcome Philippines,
Inc. ("Glaxo") as a medical representative. He was assigned to market
Glaxo's products in the Camarines Sur-Camarines Norte sales area. Upon his
employment, Tecson signed an employment contract, wherein he agreed,
among others, to study and abide by existing company rules; to disclose to
management any existing or future relationship by consanguinity or affinity
with co-employees or employees of competing drug companies; and if
management found that such relationship posed a possible conflict of
interest, to resign from the company.
Nonetheless, Tecson became romantically involved with Bettsy, an employee
of a rival pharmaceutical firm Astra Pharmaceuticals ("Astra"). The two
eventually married in September of 1998. The relationship, including the
subsequent marriage, was cause for consternation to Glaxo. On January
1999, Tecson's superiors informed him that his marriage to Bettsy had given
rise to a conflict of interest. Negotiations ensued, with Tecson adverting to
his wife's possible resignation from Astra, and Glaxo making it known that
they preferred to retain his services owing to his good performance. Yet no
resolution came to pass. In September 1999, Tecson applied for a transfer to
Glaxo's milk division, but his application was denied in view of Glaxo's "leastmovement-possible" policy. Then in November 1999, Glaxo transferred
Tecson to the Butuan City-Surigao City-Agusan del Sur sales area. Tecson
asked Glaxo to reconsider its decision, but his request was denied.
The matter was then brought to the Glaxo Grievance Committee, and
subsequently to a voluntary arbitrator. On 15 November 2000, the National
Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) rendered itsDecision declaring as
valid Glaxo's policy on relationships between its employees and persons
employed with competitor companies, and affirming Glaxo's right to transfer
Tecson to another sales territory. This Decision was assailed by petitioners
before the Court of Appeals and this Court, but for naught.

The present Motion for Reconsideration advances four main arguments: that
the Court erroneously relied on a conjectural presumption that Tecson's
relationship might compromise the interest of the company or allow a
competitor to gain access to Glaxo's secrets and procedures; that Glaxo's
policy regarding the marriage of its employees to employees of rival
companies is contrary to public policy, morals and good customs; that Glaxo
violated its own policy which authorized the transfer of the subject employee
to another department when it denied Tecson's application to transfer to the
milk division; and that Tecson was constructively dismissed when he was
transferred to the Butuan City-Surigao City-Agusan del Sur sales area.
One of the central anchors of the assailed Resolution was the holding that
Glaxo's policy on marriage did not violate the equal protection clause of the
Constitution,2 as the constitutional guarantee does not encompass
discriminatory behavior engaged by private individuals. 3 Petitioners do not
challenge this holding of the Court, and we see no reason to revisit this
issue.
But before we engage in a renewed discussion on the validity of Glaxo's
policy itself, we should examine the claim that Tecson was constructively
dismissed. After all, assuming that the policy itself were declared invalid, a
finding nonetheless that Tecson was not constructively dismissed would still
render this petition futile. The Court has ruled Tecson was not actually
dismissed, and the Motion for Reconsideration adduces no substantial
reasons why this holding should be reversed.
The Resolution cited Abbott Laboratories (Phils.), Inc. v. NLRC 4 wherein the
Court upheld the prerogative of a drug company to reassign a medical
representative under its employ to a new territory. In the same vein, the
Court has consistently affirmed as a valid prerogative of the employer the
reasonable reassignment or transfer of an employee. As held in Philippine
Japan Active Carbon Corp. v. NLRC:5
It is the employer's prerogative, based on its assessment and perception of
its employees' qualifications, aptitudes, and competence, to move them
around in the various areas of its business operations in order to ascertain
where they will function with maximum benefit to the company. An
employee's right to security of tenure does not give him such a vested right
in his position as would deprive the company of its prerogative to change his
assignment or transfer him where he will be most useful. When his transfer is
not unreasonable, nor inconvenient, nor prejudicial to him, and it does not
involve a demotion in rank or a diminution of his salaries, benefits, and other
privileges, the employee may not complain that it amounts to a constructive
dismissal.6
In Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp. v. Laplana,7 the Court again
upheld the prerogative of management to reassign an employee to a

different locality, despite the "personal inconvenience or hardship that will be


caused to the employee by reason of the transfer."
Tecson was not relieved of his employment with Glaxo. Neither was he
transferred to a different position of lower rank or remuneration. The alleged
constructive dismissal pertained to his transfer to Butuan from Naga City, a
reassignment that would fall within the ambit of management's prerogative
to transfer employees.
Petitioners, in their Motion for Reconsideration, purport that constructive
dismissal was proved by the allegation that Tecson's commissions for January
and February were withheld from him, and that he was forced to surrender
his sales paraphernalia. Yet the veracity of these factual allegations were not
acknowledged by either the voluntary arbitrator or the Court of Appeals. This
Court, which is not a trier of facts, could not very well at this late stage
reverse the established factual conclusions on the basis of mere allegations
which have not been previously substantiated but which in fact have been
consistently rebutted by the respondents.8
In case of a constructive dismissal, the employer has the burden of proving
that the transfer and demotion of an employee are for valid and legitimate
grounds, i.e., that the transfer is not unreasonable, inconvenient, or
prejudicial to the employee; nor does it involve a demotion in rank or a
diminution of his salaries, privileges and other benefits.9 In this case, Glaxo
did not opt to terminate or demote Tecson, but transferred him to a sales
region that included the respective home provinces of himself and his wife,
and offered monetary assistance to shoulder his family's relocation. 10.
Certainly, the choice of location was not selected with petty malice
aforethought, but even designed for the easier palatability of the employee.
The fact that the employee may be displaced from established roots by
reason of the transfer is not sufficient to deny the valid management
prerogative to transfer its employees. Tecson himself had acknowledged this
prerogative when he signed the contract of employment which expressly
agreed "to be assigned any work or work station for such periods as may be
determined by the company and whenever the operations require such
assignment."
This finding that Tecson was not actually dismissed is determinative of this
case, especially considering that his transfer by Glaxo from Naga to Butuan
would have been a valid exercise of an employer's prerogative, whether or
not the company policy on marriage subsists. Nonetheless, it would be
specious to assume that Tecson's transfer had nothing to do with his
marriage to an employee from a rival drug company. Moreover, questions on
the validity, if not appropriateness of Glaxo's policy itself, has attracted
comment on the various triers of this case, as well as the public at large.

May an employer impose conditions, restrictions or consequences on an


employee by reason of the latter's choice to marry or choice of spouse? The
answer would really all depend on the particular circumstances in each case.
The governing legal framework should be established. Under Article 136 of
the Labor Code, it is illegal for an employer to prohibit a female employee
from getting married or to actually dismiss, discharge, discriminate or
otherwise prejudice a woman employee merely by reason of her marriage.
This provision addresses a concern, particularly gender discrimination, with
no direct relevance to this case. Nonetheless, it can be invoked by a female
employee who finds herself prohibited by her employer from contracting
marriage, or otherwise dismissed or discriminated upon by reason of her
marriage, and the employer faces the unenviable burden of establishing the
inapplicability of Article 136.11
Of more general application is Article 282 of the Labor Code, which governs
the termination by employers for "just causes." Had Tecson been actually
terminated in this case, Article 282 would have necessarily found application,
since Articles 282 to 284 stand as the only basis in law for the valid
termination of an employee by an employer.12
Under Article 282, the employer may dismiss the employee for any of the
following causes: (a) serious misconduct or willful disobedience by the
employee of the lawful order of his employer or representative in connection
with his work; (b) gross and habitual neglect by the employee of his duties;
(c) fraud or willful breach by the employee of the trust reposed in him by his
employer or duly authorized representative; (d) commission of a crime or
offense against the person of his employer or any immediate member of his
family or his duly authorized representative; and (e) other causes analogous
to the foregoing. Assuming that there is a company policy allowing the
dismissal, constructive13 or otherwise, of an employee by reason of the
employee's marriage or choice of spouse, such policy alone cannot justify the
dismissal. The employer will have to establish not only the existence of the
policy, but the presence of any of the grounds enumerated in Article 282. Our
Constitution and Labor Code guarantee an employee's security of tenure. For
regular employees as defined under the Labor Code, security of tenure is
assured by the prohibition against termination except for the causes
enumerated under Articles 282 to 284.
Thus, the validity of a company policy on marriage such as that maintained
by Glaxo would not necessarily be determinative of the question of whether
an employee who violated such policy may be terminated. Still, there may be
instances wherein the validity of the policy, whether standing by itself or as
incorporated into an employment contract, would be the decisive factor. Such
may arise if for example, the employee is sought to be dismissed on the
ground of loss of confidence,14 and such loss of confidence developed due to
the marriage to an employee from a rival company. In such cases wherein it

is necessary to pass judgment on the employer's policy itself, the following


points should be considered.
Both the Constitution and our body of statutory laws accord special status
and protection to the contract of marriage. Our Constitution recognizes that
"marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family,
and shall be protected by the State,"15 and our Family Code acknowledges
that marriage is "a special contract of permanent union ... an inviolable social
institution whose nature, consequences and incidents are governed by
law."16 It may be debatable whether these provisions, by themselves, may
be the source of operative and executory rights, but at the very least, they
establish a pervasive public policy that frowns upon acts that encumber any
person's freedom to marry.
Moreover, if such encumbrance is contained in an employment contract, the
stipulation can be declared void under Article 1409(1) of the Civil Code,
which provides that a contract whose cause, object or purpose is contrary to
law, morals, good customs, public order or public policy is inexistent and void
from the beginning.17 The standard is of great utility, as it allows a measure
of relief for persons laboring under private contractual obligations that, while
insusceptible to the traditional constitutional challenge under the Bill of
Rights, nonetheless stand as onerous to the obligor and noxious to our
general body of laws.
Still, it would be injudicious, if not irresponsible, to judicially enforce a
universal position that disencumbers marriage from adverse consequences, if
the encumbrance stands to protect third persons inevitably affected by an act
of marital union. For much as we may want to see and regard marriage in a
vestal state, it may be a source of negativity for third persons, and not just
the jilted. This is apparent even on the most visceral level, as anybody who
dislikes an immediate family member's choice of bride or groom can attest
to. The statutory protections accorded to marriage do not translate to a legal
compulsion on people to favor another person's choice in spouse.
The thesis is harmless enough if the consequence of such disapproval
extends merely into the personal sphere and not the legal. Yet, such as in
this case, the consequences may be economic as well. For example, an aunt
who voluntarily extends regular financial benefits to a nephew may refuse to
continue the doleout by reason of the relative's marriage or choice of wife. In
such a case, the nephew would have no cause of action to compel his aunt to
continue the remuneration, even if the aunt's reasons for disliking the new
wife are noxious, such as bigotry. The invocation of the inviolability of
marriage or its protection under law will not suffice to legally compel the aunt
to extend her largesse to her nephew, for this act of charity arises solely
from private volition. The State may protect marriage, but it cannot compel
private persons to give away money out of their pockets to the bride and
groom.

If the prohibitions or restrictions are contained in a private employment


policy or contract, the norms that would govern their review are such as
those contained in the Labor Code, and to an extent, the "public policy"
clauses of the Civil Code.18 However, the sanctity of the marital vow should
not be the only relevant consideration at hand. The considerations which may
have impelled the employer to impose such conditions on the employee's
absolute right to marry warrant examination as well.
We can surmise that if the restrictions or conditions on the employee's right
to marry bear no relevance to any interests that the employer should be
concerned with, then they should be voided if they are of obligatory import.
In that regard, it is difficult to foresee an instance wherein an absolute
prohibition on any marriage imposed on the employees may be
sanctioned.19 Even if the prohibition is premised on the belief that a married
employee would be able to devote less time to the job, whatever causal
economic concerns hardly outweigh the right of an individual to get married.
Employees this day and age have long transcended the yoke of serfdom and
absolute fealty to master and the expense of the marital bind.
If the prohibition or restriction pertains to the choice of spouse, rather than
the choice to marry at all, there should be an examination of the rationale
behind the constraint. Again, if the restrictions or conditions bear no
relevance to any interests that the employer should be concerned with, then
they should not be upheld. Restrictions that are nothing more than the
enforcement of personal biases, such as prohibitions on marrying members
of a particular race or ethnic group, may be struck down.
Nonetheless, while generalities may be sufficient to strike down the most
obnoxious of prohibitions, those restrictions that are geared towards
maintaining valid economic concerns of the employer have to be assessed on
a case to case basis. Our fundamental law respects the right of enterprises to
adopt and enforce such a policy to protect its right to reasonable returns on
investments and to expansion and growth.20
If the rationale in question relates to a consideration so vital to the interests
of the employer as to warrant legal protection, it should then be determined
whether the means employed by the employer are reasonable enough as to
allow a measure of balance between these key interests of the employer and
the fundamental right of the employee to marry.
Let us pay particular attention to Glaxo's policy. As noted in the Resolution,
Glaxo belongs to the highly competitive pharmaceutical industry. The
competitive nature of the business is further highlighted by the fact that
pharmaceutical drugs are indispensable to modern society, and that the rival
companies tend to produce drugs of like effect but marketed under
respective brand names. Thus, within the pharmaceutical industry, the
hazard of industrial espionage looms largely, more so than most other
competitive industries. To that end, Glaxo is entitled to guard its trade

secrets, manufacturing formulas, marketing strategies and other confidential


programs and information from competitors, concomitant to its right to
protect its own economic interests.
This in mind, it is but reasonable for Glaxo to be cautious about the social
interaction of its employees with those of companies which it directly
competes with. If the employee goes as far as sharing hearth and home with
the employee of the rival company, there is greater cause of concern on the
part of Glaxo. The fear may not so much arise from the possibility of willful
betrayal by its employees of trade secrets, but from the myriad opportunities
in the course of shared lives that one may inadvertently divulge to the
spouse confidential information that the rival drug company may benefit
from. After all, the employer has no control over pillow talk. Neither could it
be expected that the employee maintain a higher fidelity to the employer
than to the spouse.
It may be so, as petitioners argue, much of the fear is hypothetical in nature.
Yet Glaxo, as with any other industry, is allowed to take reasonable steps in
order to prevent potential damage from becoming actual, especially if the
economic consequences are substantial. Glaxo is hardly a small-scale
industry, and the pharmaceutical business seldom characterized by oldfashioned rectitude.
Still, these concerns aside, the steps that Glaxo may employ to avoid the
undue divulgence of its trade secrets should be within reason. If termination
is to be considered as an option, it should be only as a final resort, if there is
no other way to avoid the conflict of interest.
In this case, Glaxo's assailed policy does not call for automatic termination,
providing as it does a process that allows for all the opportunities for a
mutually agreeable solution. Per the Employee Handbook, "every effort shall
be made, together by management and the employee, to arrive at a solution
within six (6) months, either by transfer to another department in a noncounter checking position, or by career preparation toward outside
employment after Glaxo Wellcome. Employees must be prepared for possible
resignation within six (6) months, if no other solution is feasible." 21
This procedure is extremely reasonable under the circumstances, and we
have no problems in upholding its validity. As noted in the Resolution: "[i]n
any event, from the wordings of the contractual provision and the policy in its
employee handbook, it is clear that Glaxo does not impose an absolute
prohibition against relationships between its employees and those of
competitor companies. Its employees are free to cultivate relationships with
and marry persons of their own choosing."22 It recognizes the concern
arising from the possible conflict of interest, yet dissuades the enforcement
of a hasty, unilateral solution. It appears from the record of this case that
such a procedure was adopted in good faith by both parties. Tecson may find
fault with the fact that Glaxo refused his request for transfer to the milk

division, a step which, if resorted to, may have resolved the perceived
conflict of interest. Yet the procedure involved allows the transfer only if
mutually agreed upon, and besides, employees cannot generally compel the
employer to transfer them from one division to another, this being a
management prerogative.
And finally, if no mutual resolution is arrived at, termination and voluntary
resignation remain as viable options. Neither obtained in this case, and we
have already ruled that the transfer was valid and did not constitute
constructive dismissal. If Glaxo, or any employer with a similarly drawn-out
procedure, were to ultimately resort to termination, the burden would still fall
upon it to establish that such termination is in accordance with the just
causes as provided in Article 282 of the Labor Code. Without such linkage,
the termination would be invalid.
The fact that there was no actual termination in this case obviates the need
for us to further apply Article 282 or the jurisprudential rules on illegal
termination to this case.
Still, should Glaxo retain the said policy, and another employee trek the same
trail as Tecson did, it cannot be foreordained that the Court would similarly
rule for Glaxo and against the said employee. As repeatedly emphasized, it
all depends on the particular circumstances of each case. And ultimately, if
dismissal, constructive or otherwise, is resorted to, the standards for
termination set by the Labor Code must still be complied with.
WHEREFORE, petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED WITH
FINALITY.
Very truly yours,
(Sgd.) LUDICHI YASAY-NUNAG
Clerk of Court

Endnotes:
1 G.R. No. 162994, 17 September 2004, 438 SCRA 343.
2 See Section 1, Article III, Constitution.
3 "The challenged company policy does not violate the equal protection

clause of the Constitution as petitioners erroneously suggest. It is a settled


principle that the commands of the equal protection clause are addressed

only to the state or those acting under color of its authority. Corollarily, it has
been held in a long array of U.S. Supreme Court decisions that the equal
protection clause erects no shield against merely private conduct, however
discriminatory or wrongful. The only exception occurs when the state in any
of its manifestations or actions has been found to have become entwined or
involved in the wrongful private conduct. Obviously, however, the exception is
not present in this case. Significantly, the company actually enforced the
policy after repeated requests to the employee to comply with the policy.
Indeed, the application of the policy was made in an impartial and evenhanded manner, with due regard for the lot of the employee." Duncan
Association v. Glaxo, supra note 1 at 354-355.
4 G.R. No. L-76959, 12 October 1987, 154 SCRA 713.
5 G.R. No. 83239, 8 March 1989, 171 SCRA 164.
6 Ibid.
7 G.R. No. 76645, 23 July 1991, 199 SCRA 485.
8 See Rollo, pp. 76-77.
9 Castillo v. NLRC, 367 Phil. 605 (1999).
10 Rollo, p. 210.
11 We have held that a company policy prohibiting female employees from

contracting marriage during their employment is void for violating Article 136
of the Labor Code. SeePT&T v. NLRC, 338 Phil. 1093 (1997). However, the
American case of Emory v. Georgia Hospital Service Association, previously
cited in our Decision, is also worth noting. Therein, a female employee was
discharged by her employer, a health insurance firm, for having married a
salesman from a rival insurance company. The discharged employee brought
suit under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, alleging unlawful discrimination
against her because of her sex. However, the Georgia District Court ruled
that plaintiff was validly terminated, as her termination was occasioned not
by reason of her sex, but by her violation of company policy prohibiting
marriage to employees of directly competing insurance businesses. Emory v.
Georgia Hospital Service Association (1971), DC Ga., 4 CCH EPD 7785, 4 BNA
FEP Cas 891, affd (CA5) 446 F2d 897, 4 CCH EPD 7786; Cited 45 Am Jur 2d
Sec. 469.
12 In this case, Articles 283 (governing dismissals for authorized causes),

and 284 (on dismissals on the ground of disease) would not have found
application.

13 "In constructive dismissal, the employer has the burden of proving that

the transfer and demotion of an employee are for just and valid grounds such
as genuine business necessity. The employer must be able to show that the
transfer is not unreasonable, inconvenient, or prejudicial to the employee. It
must not involve a demotion in rank or a diminution of salary and other
benefits. If the employer cannot overcome this burden of proof, the
employee's demotion shall be tantamount to unlawful constructive dismissal."
Globe Telecom v. Florendo-Flores, 438 Phil. 756 (2002).
14 "Loss of confidence, as a just cause for termination of employment, is

premised on the fact that the employee concerned holds a position of


responsibility, trust and confidence. He must be invested with confidence on
delicate matters such as the custody, handling, care and protection of the
employer's property and/or funds. But in order to constitute a just cause for
dismissal, the act complained of must be "work-related" such as would show
the employee concerned to be unfit to continue working for the employer."
Gonzales v. NLRC, G.R. No. 131653, 26 March 2001, 355 SCRA 195.
15 Section 2, Article XV, CONSTITUTION.
16 Article 1, FAMILY CODE.
17 See Article 1409 (1), Civil Code. See also Article 1352, Civil Code, which

states that "[C]ontracts without cause, or with unlawful cause, produce no


effect whatever. The cause is unlawful if it is contrary to law, morals, good
customs, public order or public policy." Yet, while the principle is of longstanding recognition, it is also of purposeful ambiguity. "Public policy" is a
vague expression, and few cases can arise in which its application may not
be disputed. Noble v. City of Palo Alto, 89 Cal. App. 47, 50-51 (1928). A
court's power to void a contract as being in contravention of public policy has
been described as delicate and undefined, see Jeffrey Lake Development,
Inc. v. Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation Dist., 262 Neb. 515, 633
N.W. 2d 102 (2001); In re Kaufman, 201 OK 88, 37 P.3d 845 (Okla. 2001),
and is thus exercised sparingly. First Nat. Bank of Springfield v. Malpractice
Research, Inc., 179 III. 2d 353, 228 III. Dec. 202, 688 N.E. 2d 1179, 70
A.L.R. 5th 759. The concepts of "morals", "good customs", and "public order"
are no less susceptible to easy definition.
18 Properly speaking, Articles 1306, 1352 and 1409 (1) pertain to contracts.

These provisions can operate to nullify clauses contained in employment


contracts. We are aware though that in many establishments, employees are
not required to sign formal contracts, but are otherwise enjoined to observe
company policies. The absence of a formal contract would not preclude the
application of the Civil Code in preventing the enforcement of obligations that
are contrary to law, good customs or public policy. Article 1183 of the Civil
Code mandates the annulment of conditions to an obligation that are
contrary to good customs, public policy, or otherwise prohibited by law.
Moreover, Article 6 prohibits the waiver of rights if such waiver is contrary to

law, public order, public policy, morals or good customs. Such rights would
include the right to marry or the choice of whom to marry.
19 The grey area may exist in instances wherein the employer is a religious

order which, in accordance with its tenets, demands a vow of celibacy. In


such a case, the freedom of exercise of religion would be accorded its due
respect, depending on its appropriate applicability in the particular case.
20 See Section 3, Article XIII, CONSTITUTION.
21 See Duncan Association v. Glaxo, supra note 1 at 352.
22 Id. at 355.

SECOND DIVISION
[G.R. NO. 164774 : April 12, 2006]
STAR PAPER CORPORATION, JOSEPHINE ONGSITCO &
SEBASTIAN CHUA,Petitioners, v. RONALDO D. SIMBOL,
WILFREDA N. COMIA & LORNA E. ESTRELLA,Respondents.
DECISION
PUNO, J.:
We are called to decide an issue of first impression: whether
the policy of the employer banning spouses from working in
the same company violates the rights of the employee under
the Constitution and the Labor Code or is a valid exercise of
management prerogative.
At bar is a Petition for Review on Certiorari of the Decision of
the Court of Appeals dated August 3, 2004 in CA-G.R. SP No.
73477 reversing the decision of the National Labor Relations
Commission (NLRC) which affirmed the ruling of the Labor
Arbiter.
Petitioner Star Paper Corporation (the company) is a
corporation engaged in trading - principally of paper products.
Josephine Ongsitco is its Manager of the Personnel and

Administration Department while Sebastian Chua is its


Managing Director.
The evidence for the petitioners show that respondents
Ronaldo D. Simbol (Simbol), Wilfreda N. Comia (Comia) and
Lorna E. Estrella (Estrella) were all regular employees of the
company.1
Simbol was employed by the company on October 27, 1993.
He met Alma Dayrit, also an employee of the company, whom
he married on June 27, 1998. Prior to the marriage, Ongsitco
advised the couple that should they decide to get married, one
of them should resign pursuant to a company policy
promulgated in 1995,2 viz.:
1. New applicants will not be allowed to be hired if in case
he/she has [a] relative, up to [the] 3rd degree of relationship,
already employed by the company.
2. In case of two of our employees (both singles [sic], one
male and another female) developed a friendly relationship
during the course of their employment and then decided to get
married, one of them should resign to preserve the policy
stated above.3
Simbol resigned on June 20, 1998 pursuant to the company policy.4
Comia was hired by the company on February 5, 1997. She met Howard
Comia, a co-employee, whom she married on June 1, 2000. Ongsitco likewise
reminded them that pursuant to company policy, one must resign should they
decide to get married. Comia resigned on June 30, 2000. 5
Estrella was hired on July 29, 1994. She met Luisito Zuiga (Zuiga), also a
co-worker. Petitioners stated that Zuiga, a married man, got Estrella pregnant.
The company allegedly could have terminated her services due to immorality
but she opted to resign on December 21, 1999.6
The respondents each signed a Release and Confirmation Agreement. They
stated therein that they have no money and property accountabilities in the
company and that they release the latter of any claim or demand of whatever
nature.7

Respondents offer a different version of their dismissal. Simbol and Comia


allege that they did not resign voluntarily; they were compelled to resign in
view of an illegal company policy. As to respondent Estrella, she alleges that
she had a relationship with co-worker Zuiga who misrepresented himself as a
married but separated man. After he got her pregnant, she discovered that he
was not separated. Thus, she severed her relationship with him to avoid
dismissal due to the company policy. On November 30, 1999, she met an
accident and was advised by the doctor at the Orthopedic Hospital to recuperate
for twenty-one (21) days. She returned to work on December 21, 1999 but she
found out that her name was on-hold at the gate. She was denied entry. She was
directed to proceed to the personnel office where one of the staff handed her a
memorandum. The memorandum stated that she was being dismissed for
immoral conduct. She refused to sign the memorandum because she was on
leave for twenty-one (21) days and has not been given a chance to explain. The
management asked her to write an explanation. However, after submission of
the explanation, she was nonetheless dismissed by the company. Due to her
urgent need for money, she later submitted a letter of resignation in exchange
for her thirteenth month pay.8
Respondents later filed a complaint for unfair labor practice, constructive
dismissal, separation pay and attorney's fees. They averred that the
aforementioned company policy is illegal and contravenes Article 136 of the
Labor Code. They also contended that they were dismissed due to their union
membership.
On May 31, 2001, Labor Arbiter Melquiades Sol del Rosario dismissed the
complaint for lack of merit, viz.:
[T]his company policy was decreed pursuant to what the respondent
corporation perceived as management prerogative. This management
prerogative is quite broad and encompassing for it covers hiring, work
assignment, working method, time, place and manner of work, tools to be used,
processes to be followed, supervision of workers, working regulations, transfer
of employees, work supervision, lay-off of workers and the discipline,
dismissal and recall of workers. Except as provided for or limited by special
law, an employer is free to regulate, according to his own discretion and
judgment all the aspects of employment. 9 (Citations omitted.)
On appeal to the NLRC, the Commission affirmed the decision of the Labor
Arbiter on January 11, 2002.10

Respondents filed a Motion for Reconsideration but was denied by the NLRC
in a Resolution11 dated August 8, 2002. They appealed to respondent
court via Petition for Certiorari.
In its assailed Decision dated August 3, 2004, the Court of Appeals reversed the
NLRC decision, viz.:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the May 31, 2002 (sic)12 Decision of the
National Labor Relations Commission is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE
and a new one is entered as follows:
(1) Declaring illegal, the petitioners' dismissal from employment and ordering
private respondents to reinstate petitioners to their former positions without loss
of seniority rights with full backwages from the time of their dismissal until
actual reinstatement; and
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(2) Ordering private respondents to pay petitioners attorney's fees amounting to


10% of the award and the cost of this suit.13
On appeal to this Court, petitioners contend that the Court of Appeals erred in
holding that:
1. x x x the subject 1995 policy/regulation is violative of the constitutional
rights towards marriage and the family of employees and of Article 136 of the
Labor Code; and
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2. x x x respondents' resignations were far from voluntary.14


We affirm.
The 1987 Constitution15 states our policy towards the protection of labor under
the following provisions, viz.:
Article II, Section 18. The State affirms labor as a primary social economic
force. It shall protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare.
xxx
Article XIII, Sec. 3. The State shall afford full protection to labor, local and
overseas, organized and unorganized, and promote full employment and
equality of employment opportunities for all.

It shall guarantee the rights of all workers to self-organization, collective


bargaining and negotiations, and peaceful concerted activities, including the
right to strike in accordance with law. They shall be entitled to security of
tenure, humane conditions of work, and a living wage. They shall also
participate in policy and decision-making processes affecting their rights and
benefits as may be provided by law.
The State shall promote the principle of shared responsibility between workers
and employers, recognizing the right of labor to its just share in the fruits of
production and the right of enterprises to reasonable returns on investments,
and to expansion and growth.
The Civil Code likewise protects labor with the following provisions:
Art. 1700. The relation between capital and labor are not merely contractual.
They are so impressed with public interest that labor contracts must yield to the
common good. Therefore, such contracts are subject to the special laws on
labor unions, collective bargaining, strikes and lockouts, closed shop, wages,
working conditions, hours of labor and similar subjects.
Art. 1702. In case of doubt, all labor legislation and all labor contracts shall be
construed in favor of the safety and decent living for the laborer.
The Labor Code is the most comprehensive piece of legislation protecting
labor. The case at bar involves Article 136 of the Labor Code which provides:
Art. 136. It shall be unlawful for an employer to require as a condition of
employment or continuation of employment that a woman employee shall not
get married, or to stipulate expressly or tacitly that upon getting married a
woman employee shall be deemed resigned or separated, or to actually dismiss,
discharge, discriminate or otherwise prejudice a woman employee merely by
reason of her marriage.
Respondents submit that their dismissal violates the above provision.
Petitioners allege that its policy "may appear to be contrary to Article 136 of
the Labor Code" but it assumes a new meaning if read together with the first
paragraph of the rule. The rule does not require the woman employee to resign.
The employee spouses have the right to choose who between them should
resign. Further, they are free to marry persons other than co-employees. Hence,
it is not the marital status of the employee, per se, that is being discriminated. It
is only intended to carry out its no-employment-for-relatives-within-the-thirddegree-policy which is within the ambit of the prerogatives of management. 16

It is true that the policy of petitioners prohibiting close relatives from working
in the same company takes the nature of an anti-nepotism employment policy.
Companies adopt these policies to prevent the hiring of unqualified persons
based on their status as a relative, rather than upon their ability.17 These policies
focus upon the potential employment problems arising from the perception of
favoritism exhibited towards relatives.
With more women entering the workforce, employers are also enacting
employment policies specifically prohibiting spouses from working for the
same company. We note that two types of employment policies involve
spouses: policies banning only spouses from working in the same
company (no-spouse employment policies), and those banning all immediate
family members, including spouses, from working in the same company (antinepotism employment policies).18
Unlike in our jurisdiction where there is no express prohibition on marital
discrimination,19 there are twenty state statutes20in the United States prohibiting
marital discrimination. Some state courts 21 have been confronted with the issue
of whether no-spouse policies violate their laws prohibiting both marital status
and sex discrimination.
In challenging the anti-nepotism employment policies in the United States,
complainants utilize two theories of employment discrimination:
the disparate treatment and the disparate impact. Under the disparate
treatment analysis, the plaintiff must prove that an employment policy is
discriminatory on its face. No-spouse employment policies requiring an
employee of a particular sex to either quit, transfer, or be fired are facially
discriminatory. For example, an employment policy prohibiting the employer
from hiring wives of male employees, but not husbands of female employees, is
discriminatory on its face.22
On the other hand, to establish disparate impact, the complainants must prove
that a facially neutral policy has a disproportionate effect on a particular class.
For example, although most employment policies do not expressly indicate
which spouse will be required to transfer or leave the company, the policy often
disproportionately affects one sex.23
The state courts' rulings on the issue depend on their interpretation of the scope
of marital status discrimination within the meaning of their respective civil
rights acts. Though they agree that the term "marital status" encompasses
discrimination based on a person's status as either married, single, divorced, or

widowed, they are divided on whether the term has abroader meaning. Thus,
their decisions vary.24
The courts narrowly25 interpreting marital status to refer only to a person's
status as married, single, divorced, or widowed reason that if the legislature
intended a broader definition it would have either chosen different language or
specified its intent. They hold that the relevant inquiry is if one is married
rather than to whom one is married. They construe marital status discrimination
to include only whether a person is single, married, divorced, or widowed and
not the "identity, occupation, and place of employment of one's spouse." These
courts have upheld the questioned policies and ruled that they did not violate
the marital status discrimination provision of their respective state statutes.
The courts that have broadly26 construed the term "marital status" rule that it
encompassed the identity, occupation and employment of one's spouse. They
strike down the no-spouse employment policies based on the broad legislative
intent of the state statute. They reason that the no-spouse employment policy
violate the marital status provision because it arbitrarily discriminates against
all spouses of present employees without regard to the actual effect on the
individual's qualifications or work performance. 27 These courts also find the nospouse employment policy invalid for failure of the employer to present any
evidence of business necessity other than the general perception that spouses
in the same workplace might adversely affect the business. 28 They hold that the
absence of such a bona fide occupational qualification29 invalidates a rule
denying employment to one spouse due to the current employment of the other
spouse in the same office.30 Thus, they rule that unless the employer can prove
that the reasonable demands of the business require a distinction based on
marital status and there is no better available or acceptable policy which would
better accomplish the business purpose, an employer may not discriminate
against an employee based on the identity of the employee's spouse. 31 This is
known as the bona fide occupational qualification exception.
We note that since the finding of a bona fide occupational qualification justifies
an employer's no-spouse rule, the exception is interpreted strictly and narrowly
by these state courts. There must be a compelling business necessity for which
no alternative exists other than the discriminatory practice. 32 To justify a bona
fide occupational qualification, the employer must prove two factors: (1) that
the employment qualification is reasonably related to the essential operation of
the job involved; and, (2) that there is a factual basis for believing that all or
substantially all persons meeting the qualification would be unable to properly
perform the duties of the job.33

The concept of a bona fide occupational qualification is not foreign in our


jurisdiction. We employ the standard ofreasonableness of the company policy
which is parallel to the bona fide occupational qualification requirement. In the
recent case of Duncan Association of Detailman-PTGWO and Pedro Tecson
v. Glaxo Wellcome Philippines, Inc.,34 we passed on the validity of the policy
of a pharmaceutical company prohibiting its employees from marrying
employees of any competitor company. We held that Glaxo has a right to guard
its trade secrets, manufacturing formulas, marketing strategies and other
confidential programs and information from competitors. We considered the
prohibition against personal or marital relationships with employees of
competitor companies upon Glaxo's employees reasonableunder the
circumstances because relationships of that nature might compromise the
interests of Glaxo. In laying down the assailed company policy, we recognized
that Glaxo only aims to protect its interests against the possibility that a
competitor company will gain access to its secrets and procedures. 35
The requirement that a company policy must be reasonable under the
circumstances to qualify as a valid exercise of management prerogative was
also at issue in the 1997 case of Philippine Telegraph and Telephone
Company v. NLRC.36 In said case, the employee was dismissed in violation of
petitioner's policy of disqualifying from work any woman worker who
contracts marriage. We held that the company policy violates the right against
discrimination afforded all women workers under Article 136 of the Labor
Code, but established a permissible exception, viz.:
[A] requirement that a woman employee must remain unmarried could be
justified as a "bona fide occupational qualification," or BFOQ, where the
particular requirements of the job would justify the same, but not on the ground
of a general principle, such as the desirability of spreading work in the
workplace. A requirement of that nature would be valid provided it reflects an
inherent quality reasonably necessary for satisfactory job
performance.37 (Emphases supplied.)
The cases of Duncan and PT&T instruct us that the requirement of
reasonableness must be clearly established to uphold the questioned
employment policy. The employer has the burden to prove the existence of a
reasonable business necessity. The burden was successfully discharged in
Duncan but not in PT&T.
We do not find a reasonable business necessity in the case at bar.

Petitioners' sole contention that "the company did not just want to have two (2)
or more of its employees related between the third degree by affinity and/or
consanguinity"38 is lame. That the second paragraph was meant to give teeth to
the first paragraph of the questioned rule39 is evidently not the valid reasonable
business necessity required by the law.
It is significant to note that in the case at bar, respondents were hired after they
were found fit for the job, but were asked to resign when they married a coemployee. Petitioners failed to show how the marriage of Simbol, then a
Sheeting Machine Operator, to Alma Dayrit, then an employee of the
Repacking Section, could be detrimental to its business operations. Neither did
petitioners explain how this detriment will happen in the case of Wilfreda
Comia, then a Production Helper in the Selecting Department, who married
Howard Comia, then a helper in the cutter-machine. The policy is premised on
the mere fear that employees married to each other will be less efficient. If we
uphold the questioned rule without valid justification, the employer can create
policies based on an unproven presumption of a perceived danger at the
expense of an employee's right to security of tenure.
Petitioners contend that their policy will apply only when one employee
marries a co-employee, but they are free to marry persons other than coemployees. The questioned policy may not facially violate Article 136 of the
Labor Code but it creates a disproportionate effect and under the disparate
impact theory, the only way it could pass judicial scrutiny is a showing that it
is reasonable despite the discriminatory, albeit disproportionate, effect. The
failure of petitioners to prove a legitimate business concern in imposing the
questioned policy cannot prejudice the employee's right to be free from
arbitrary discrimination based upon stereotypes of married persons working
together in one company.40
Lastly, the absence of a statute expressly prohibiting marital discrimination in
our jurisdiction cannot benefit the petitioners. The protection given to labor in
our jurisdiction is vast and extensive that we cannot prudently draw inferences
from the legislature's silence41 that married persons are not protected under our
Constitution and declare valid a policy based on a prejudice or stereotype.
Thus, for failure of petitioners to present undisputed proof of a reasonable
business necessity, we rule that the questioned policy is an invalid exercise of
management prerogative. Corollarily, the issue as to whether respondents
Simbol and Comia resigned voluntarily has become moot and academic.
As to respondent Estrella, the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC based their ruling
on the singular fact that her resignation letter was written in her own

handwriting. Both ruled that her resignation was voluntary and thus valid. The
respondent court failed to categorically rule whether Estrella voluntarily
resigned but ordered that she be reinstated along with Simbol and Comia.
Estrella claims that she was pressured to submit a resignation letter because she
was in dire need of money. We examined the records of the case and find
Estrella's contention to be more in accord with the evidence. While findings of
fact by administrative tribunals like the NLRC are generally given not only
respect but, at times, finality, this rule admits of exceptions, 42 as in the case at
bar.
Estrella avers that she went back to work on December 21, 1999 but was
dismissed due to her alleged immoral conduct. At first, she did not want to sign
the termination papers but she was forced to tender her resignation letter in
exchange for her thirteenth month pay.
The contention of petitioners that Estrella was pressured to resign because she
got impregnated by a married man and she could not stand being looked upon
or talked about as immoral43 is incredulous. If she really wanted to avoid
embarrassment and humiliation, she would not have gone back to work at all.
Nor would she have filed a suit for illegal dismissal and pleaded for
reinstatement. We have held that in voluntary resignation, the employee is
compelled by personal reason(s) to dissociate himself from employment. It is
done with the intention of relinquishing an office, accompanied by the act of
abandonment.44 Thus, it is illogical for Estrella to resign and then file a
complaint for illegal dismissal. Given the lack of sufficient evidence on the part
of petitioners that the resignation was voluntary, Estrella's dismissal is declared
illegal.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP
No. 73477 dated August 3, 2004 isAFFIRMED.
rbl rl l lbrr

SO ORDERED.

Endnotes:

Petition for Review on Certiorari, 2; rollo, p. 9.

The records do not state the exact date when the policy in question was promulgated. The date of reference is "sometime in 1995."

Petition for Review on Certiorari, p. 3; rollo, p. 10.

Id. at 4; Id. at 11.

Ibid.

Ibid.

Petition for Review on Certiorari, pp. 4-5; rollo, pp. 11-12. See CA rollo, pp. 40-49.

CA Decision, p. 4; rollo, p. 29.

Decision of Labor Arbiter Melquiades Sol del Rosario; CA rollo, pp. 40-49.

10

Resolution, p. 7; CA rollo, p. 36.

11

Resolution; Id. at 37.

12

Should be January 11, 2002.

13

CA Decision, p. 11; rollo, p. 36.

14

Petition, p. 7; rollo, p. 14. Lower case in the original.

15

The questioned Decision also invokes Article II, Section 12. The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen
the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The
natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall
receive the support of the Government.
16

Memorandum [for Petitioners], p. 11; rollo, p. 73.

17

A. Giattina, Challenging No-Spouse Employment Policies As Marital Status Discrimination: A Balancing Approach, 33 Wayne L. Rev. 1111
(Spring, 1987).
18

Ibid.

19

See Note 23, Duncan Association of Detailman-PTGWO and Pedro Tecson v. Glaxo Wellcome Philippines, Inc., G.R. No. 162994,
September 17, 2004.
20

ALASKA STAT. - 18.80.200 (1986); CAL. GOV'T CODE - 12940 (West 1980 & Supp. 1987); CONN. GEN. STAT. - 46a-60 (1986); DEL.
CODE ANN. tit. 19, - 711 (1985); D.C. CODE ANN. - 1-2512 (1981); FLA. STAT. - 760.01 (1986); HAWAII REV. STAT. - 378-2 (1985); ILL.
REV. STAT. ch. 68, '' 1 - 103, 2-102 (Supp. 1986); MD. ANN. CODE art. 49B, - 16 (1986); MICH. COMP. LAWS ANN. - 37.2202 (West
1985); MINN. STAT. ANN. - 363.03 (West Supp. 1987); MONT. CODE ANN. - 49-2-303 (1986); NEB. REV. STAT. - 48-1104 (1984); N.H.
REV. STAT. ANN. - 354-A:2 (1984); N.J. REV. STAT. - 10:5-12 (1981 & Supp. 1986); N.Y. EXEC. LAW - 296 (McKinney 1982 & Supp.
1987); N.D. CENT. CODE - 14-02.4-03 (1981 & Supp. 1985); OR. REV. STAT. - 659.030 (1985); WASH. REV. CODE - 49.60.180 (Supp.
1987); WIS. STAT. - 111.321 (Supp. 1986). Cited in Note 34, A. Giattina, supra note 18.
21

State courts in Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New York, and Washington have interpreted the marital status provision of their respective
state statutes. SeeNote 10, A. Giattina, supra note 18.
22

Supra note 18.

23

Ibid.

24

Ibid.

25

Whirlpool Corp. v. Michigan Civil Rights Comm'n, 425 Mich. 527, 390 N.W.2d 625 (1986); Maryland Comm'n on Human Relations v.
Greenbelt Homes, Inc., 300 Md. 75, 475 A.2d 1192 (1984); Manhattan Pizza Hut, Inc. v. New York State Human Rights Appeal Bd., 51 N.Y.2d
506, 434 N.Y.S.2d 961, 415 N.E.2d 950 (1980); Thompson v. Sanborn's Motor Express Inc., 154 N.J. Super. 555, 382 A.2d 53 (1977).

26

Ross v. Stouffer Hotel Co., 72 Haw. 350, 816 P.2d 302 (1991); Thompson v. Board of Trustees, 192 Mont. 266, 627 P.2d 1229 (1981); Kraft,
Inc. v. State, 284 N.W.2d 386 (Minn.1979); Washington Water Power Co. v. Washington State Human Rights Comm'n, 91 Wash.2d 62, 586
P.2d 1149 (1978).
27

See note 55, A. Giattina, supra note 18.

28

See note 56, ibid.

29

Also referred to as BFOQ.

30

See note 67, A. Giattina, supra note 18.

31

See Muller v. BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc., 923 P.2d 783, 73 Fair Empl.Prac.Cas. (BNA) 579, 69.

32

See note 117, A. Giattina, supra note 18.

33

Richard G. Flood and Kelly A. Cahill, The River Bend Decision and How It Affects Municipalities' Personnel Rule and Regulations, Illinois
Municipal Review, June 1993, p. 7.
34

G.R. No. 162994, September 17, 2004.

35

Ibid.

36

G.R. No. 118978, May 23, 1997.

37

Ibid.

38

Petition, p. 9; rollo, p. 16.

39

Ibid.

40

See A. Giattina, supra note 18.

41

See dissenting opinion of Chief Justice Compton in Muller v. BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc., 923 P.2d 783 (1996).

42

In Employees Association of the Philippine American Life Insurance Co. v. NLRC (G.R. No. 82976, July 26, 1991), the established
exceptions are as follows:
a) the conclusion is a finding of fact grounded on speculations, surmises and conjectures;
b) the inferences made are manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible;
c) there is a grave abuse of discretion;
d) there is misappreciation of facts; and

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e) the court, in arriving in its findings, went beyond the issues of the case and the same are contrary to the admission of the parties or the
evidence presented.
43

Petition, p. 11; rollo, p. 18.

44

Great Southern Maritime Services Corporation v. Acua, et al., G.R. No. 140189, February 28, 2005.

SECOND DIVISION
[G.R. NO. 164774 : April 12, 2006]

STAR PAPER CORPORATION, JOSEPHINE ONGSITCO &


SEBASTIAN CHUA,Petitioners, v. RONALDO D. SIMBOL,
WILFREDA N. COMIA & LORNA E. ESTRELLA,Respondents.
DECISION
PUNO, J.:
We are called to decide an issue of first impression: whether
the policy of the employer banning spouses from working in
the same company violates the rights of the employee under
the Constitution and the Labor Code or is a valid exercise of
management prerogative.
At bar is a Petition for Review on Certiorari of the Decision of
the Court of Appeals dated August 3, 2004 in CA-G.R. SP No.
73477 reversing the decision of the National Labor Relations
Commission (NLRC) which affirmed the ruling of the Labor
Arbiter.
Petitioner Star Paper Corporation (the company) is a
corporation engaged in trading - principally of paper products.
Josephine Ongsitco is its Manager of the Personnel and
Administration Department while Sebastian Chua is its
Managing Director.
The evidence for the petitioners show that respondents
Ronaldo D. Simbol (Simbol), Wilfreda N. Comia (Comia) and
Lorna E. Estrella (Estrella) were all regular employees of the
company.1
Simbol was employed by the company on October 27, 1993.
He met Alma Dayrit, also an employee of the company, whom
he married on June 27, 1998. Prior to the marriage, Ongsitco
advised the couple that should they decide to get married, one
of them should resign pursuant to a company policy
promulgated in 1995,2 viz.:

1. New applicants will not be allowed to be hired if in case


he/she has [a] relative, up to [the] 3rd degree of relationship,
already employed by the company.
2. In case of two of our employees (both singles [sic], one
male and another female) developed a friendly relationship
during the course of their employment and then decided to get
married, one of them should resign to preserve the policy
stated above.3
Simbol resigned on June 20, 1998 pursuant to the company policy.4
Comia was hired by the company on February 5, 1997. She met Howard
Comia, a co-employee, whom she married on June 1, 2000. Ongsitco likewise
reminded them that pursuant to company policy, one must resign should they
decide to get married. Comia resigned on June 30, 2000. 5
Estrella was hired on July 29, 1994. She met Luisito Zuiga (Zuiga), also a
co-worker. Petitioners stated that Zuiga, a married man, got Estrella pregnant.
The company allegedly could have terminated her services due to immorality
but she opted to resign on December 21, 1999.6
The respondents each signed a Release and Confirmation Agreement. They
stated therein that they have no money and property accountabilities in the
company and that they release the latter of any claim or demand of whatever
nature.7
Respondents offer a different version of their dismissal. Simbol and Comia
allege that they did not resign voluntarily; they were compelled to resign in
view of an illegal company policy. As to respondent Estrella, she alleges that
she had a relationship with co-worker Zuiga who misrepresented himself as a
married but separated man. After he got her pregnant, she discovered that he
was not separated. Thus, she severed her relationship with him to avoid
dismissal due to the company policy. On November 30, 1999, she met an
accident and was advised by the doctor at the Orthopedic Hospital to recuperate
for twenty-one (21) days. She returned to work on December 21, 1999 but she
found out that her name was on-hold at the gate. She was denied entry. She was
directed to proceed to the personnel office where one of the staff handed her a
memorandum. The memorandum stated that she was being dismissed for
immoral conduct. She refused to sign the memorandum because she was on
leave for twenty-one (21) days and has not been given a chance to explain. The

management asked her to write an explanation. However, after submission of


the explanation, she was nonetheless dismissed by the company. Due to her
urgent need for money, she later submitted a letter of resignation in exchange
for her thirteenth month pay.8
Respondents later filed a complaint for unfair labor practice, constructive
dismissal, separation pay and attorney's fees. They averred that the
aforementioned company policy is illegal and contravenes Article 136 of the
Labor Code. They also contended that they were dismissed due to their union
membership.
On May 31, 2001, Labor Arbiter Melquiades Sol del Rosario dismissed the
complaint for lack of merit, viz.:
[T]his company policy was decreed pursuant to what the respondent
corporation perceived as management prerogative. This management
prerogative is quite broad and encompassing for it covers hiring, work
assignment, working method, time, place and manner of work, tools to be used,
processes to be followed, supervision of workers, working regulations, transfer
of employees, work supervision, lay-off of workers and the discipline,
dismissal and recall of workers. Except as provided for or limited by special
law, an employer is free to regulate, according to his own discretion and
judgment all the aspects of employment. 9 (Citations omitted.)
On appeal to the NLRC, the Commission affirmed the decision of the Labor
Arbiter on January 11, 2002.10
Respondents filed a Motion for Reconsideration but was denied by the NLRC
in a Resolution11 dated August 8, 2002. They appealed to respondent
court via Petition for Certiorari.
In its assailed Decision dated August 3, 2004, the Court of Appeals reversed the
NLRC decision, viz.:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the May 31, 2002 (sic)12 Decision of the
National Labor Relations Commission is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE
and a new one is entered as follows:
(1) Declaring illegal, the petitioners' dismissal from employment and ordering
private respondents to reinstate petitioners to their former positions without loss
of seniority rights with full backwages from the time of their dismissal until
actual reinstatement; and
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(2) Ordering private respondents to pay petitioners attorney's fees amounting to


10% of the award and the cost of this suit.13
On appeal to this Court, petitioners contend that the Court of Appeals erred in
holding that:
1. x x x the subject 1995 policy/regulation is violative of the constitutional
rights towards marriage and the family of employees and of Article 136 of the
Labor Code; and
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2. x x x respondents' resignations were far from voluntary.14


We affirm.
The 1987 Constitution15 states our policy towards the protection of labor under
the following provisions, viz.:
Article II, Section 18. The State affirms labor as a primary social economic
force. It shall protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare.
xxx
Article XIII, Sec. 3. The State shall afford full protection to labor, local and
overseas, organized and unorganized, and promote full employment and
equality of employment opportunities for all.
It shall guarantee the rights of all workers to self-organization, collective
bargaining and negotiations, and peaceful concerted activities, including the
right to strike in accordance with law. They shall be entitled to security of
tenure, humane conditions of work, and a living wage. They shall also
participate in policy and decision-making processes affecting their rights and
benefits as may be provided by law.
The State shall promote the principle of shared responsibility between workers
and employers, recognizing the right of labor to its just share in the fruits of
production and the right of enterprises to reasonable returns on investments,
and to expansion and growth.
The Civil Code likewise protects labor with the following provisions:
Art. 1700. The relation between capital and labor are not merely contractual.
They are so impressed with public interest that labor contracts must yield to the

common good. Therefore, such contracts are subject to the special laws on
labor unions, collective bargaining, strikes and lockouts, closed shop, wages,
working conditions, hours of labor and similar subjects.
Art. 1702. In case of doubt, all labor legislation and all labor contracts shall be
construed in favor of the safety and decent living for the laborer.
The Labor Code is the most comprehensive piece of legislation protecting
labor. The case at bar involves Article 136 of the Labor Code which provides:
Art. 136. It shall be unlawful for an employer to require as a condition of
employment or continuation of employment that a woman employee shall not
get married, or to stipulate expressly or tacitly that upon getting married a
woman employee shall be deemed resigned or separated, or to actually dismiss,
discharge, discriminate or otherwise prejudice a woman employee merely by
reason of her marriage.
Respondents submit that their dismissal violates the above provision.
Petitioners allege that its policy "may appear to be contrary to Article 136 of
the Labor Code" but it assumes a new meaning if read together with the first
paragraph of the rule. The rule does not require the woman employee to resign.
The employee spouses have the right to choose who between them should
resign. Further, they are free to marry persons other than co-employees. Hence,
it is not the marital status of the employee, per se, that is being discriminated. It
is only intended to carry out its no-employment-for-relatives-within-the-thirddegree-policy which is within the ambit of the prerogatives of management. 16
It is true that the policy of petitioners prohibiting close relatives from working
in the same company takes the nature of an anti-nepotism employment policy.
Companies adopt these policies to prevent the hiring of unqualified persons
based on their status as a relative, rather than upon their ability.17 These policies
focus upon the potential employment problems arising from the perception of
favoritism exhibited towards relatives.
With more women entering the workforce, employers are also enacting
employment policies specifically prohibiting spouses from working for the
same company. We note that two types of employment policies involve
spouses: policies banning only spouses from working in the same
company (no-spouse employment policies), and those banning all immediate
family members, including spouses, from working in the same company (antinepotism employment policies).18

Unlike in our jurisdiction where there is no express prohibition on marital


discrimination,19 there are twenty state statutes20in the United States prohibiting
marital discrimination. Some state courts 21 have been confronted with the issue
of whether no-spouse policies violate their laws prohibiting both marital status
and sex discrimination.
In challenging the anti-nepotism employment policies in the United States,
complainants utilize two theories of employment discrimination:
the disparate treatment and the disparate impact. Under the disparate
treatment analysis, the plaintiff must prove that an employment policy is
discriminatory on its face. No-spouse employment policies requiring an
employee of a particular sex to either quit, transfer, or be fired are facially
discriminatory. For example, an employment policy prohibiting the employer
from hiring wives of male employees, but not husbands of female employees, is
discriminatory on its face.22
On the other hand, to establish disparate impact, the complainants must prove
that a facially neutral policy has a disproportionate effect on a particular class.
For example, although most employment policies do not expressly indicate
which spouse will be required to transfer or leave the company, the policy often
disproportionately affects one sex.23
The state courts' rulings on the issue depend on their interpretation of the scope
of marital status discrimination within the meaning of their respective civil
rights acts. Though they agree that the term "marital status" encompasses
discrimination based on a person's status as either married, single, divorced, or
widowed, they are divided on whether the term has abroader meaning. Thus,
their decisions vary.24
The courts narrowly25 interpreting marital status to refer only to a person's
status as married, single, divorced, or widowed reason that if the legislature
intended a broader definition it would have either chosen different language or
specified its intent. They hold that the relevant inquiry is if one is married
rather than to whom one is married. They construe marital status discrimination
to include only whether a person is single, married, divorced, or widowed and
not the "identity, occupation, and place of employment of one's spouse." These
courts have upheld the questioned policies and ruled that they did not violate
the marital status discrimination provision of their respective state statutes.
The courts that have broadly26 construed the term "marital status" rule that it
encompassed the identity, occupation and employment of one's spouse. They
strike down the no-spouse employment policies based on the broad legislative

intent of the state statute. They reason that the no-spouse employment policy
violate the marital status provision because it arbitrarily discriminates against
all spouses of present employees without regard to the actual effect on the
individual's qualifications or work performance. 27 These courts also find the nospouse employment policy invalid for failure of the employer to present any
evidence of business necessity other than the general perception that spouses
in the same workplace might adversely affect the business. 28 They hold that the
absence of such a bona fide occupational qualification29 invalidates a rule
denying employment to one spouse due to the current employment of the other
spouse in the same office.30 Thus, they rule that unless the employer can prove
that the reasonable demands of the business require a distinction based on
marital status and there is no better available or acceptable policy which would
better accomplish the business purpose, an employer may not discriminate
against an employee based on the identity of the employee's spouse. 31 This is
known as the bona fide occupational qualification exception.
We note that since the finding of a bona fide occupational qualification justifies
an employer's no-spouse rule, the exception is interpreted strictly and narrowly
by these state courts. There must be a compelling business necessity for which
no alternative exists other than the discriminatory practice. 32 To justify a bona
fide occupational qualification, the employer must prove two factors: (1) that
the employment qualification is reasonably related to the essential operation of
the job involved; and, (2) that there is a factual basis for believing that all or
substantially all persons meeting the qualification would be unable to properly
perform the duties of the job.33
The concept of a bona fide occupational qualification is not foreign in our
jurisdiction. We employ the standard ofreasonableness of the company policy
which is parallel to the bona fide occupational qualification requirement. In the
recent case of Duncan Association of Detailman-PTGWO and Pedro Tecson
v. Glaxo Wellcome Philippines, Inc.,34 we passed on the validity of the policy
of a pharmaceutical company prohibiting its employees from marrying
employees of any competitor company. We held that Glaxo has a right to guard
its trade secrets, manufacturing formulas, marketing strategies and other
confidential programs and information from competitors. We considered the
prohibition against personal or marital relationships with employees of
competitor companies upon Glaxo's employees reasonableunder the
circumstances because relationships of that nature might compromise the
interests of Glaxo. In laying down the assailed company policy, we recognized
that Glaxo only aims to protect its interests against the possibility that a
competitor company will gain access to its secrets and procedures. 35

The requirement that a company policy must be reasonable under the


circumstances to qualify as a valid exercise of management prerogative was
also at issue in the 1997 case of Philippine Telegraph and Telephone
Company v. NLRC.36 In said case, the employee was dismissed in violation of
petitioner's policy of disqualifying from work any woman worker who
contracts marriage. We held that the company policy violates the right against
discrimination afforded all women workers under Article 136 of the Labor
Code, but established a permissible exception, viz.:
[A] requirement that a woman employee must remain unmarried could be
justified as a "bona fide occupational qualification," or BFOQ, where the
particular requirements of the job would justify the same, but not on the ground
of a general principle, such as the desirability of spreading work in the
workplace. A requirement of that nature would be valid provided it reflects an
inherent quality reasonably necessary for satisfactory job
performance.37 (Emphases supplied.)
The cases of Duncan and PT&T instruct us that the requirement of
reasonableness must be clearly established to uphold the questioned
employment policy. The employer has the burden to prove the existence of a
reasonable business necessity. The burden was successfully discharged in
Duncan but not in PT&T.
We do not find a reasonable business necessity in the case at bar.
Petitioners' sole contention that "the company did not just want to have two (2)
or more of its employees related between the third degree by affinity and/or
consanguinity"38 is lame. That the second paragraph was meant to give teeth to
the first paragraph of the questioned rule39 is evidently not the valid reasonable
business necessity required by the law.
It is significant to note that in the case at bar, respondents were hired after they
were found fit for the job, but were asked to resign when they married a coemployee. Petitioners failed to show how the marriage of Simbol, then a
Sheeting Machine Operator, to Alma Dayrit, then an employee of the
Repacking Section, could be detrimental to its business operations. Neither did
petitioners explain how this detriment will happen in the case of Wilfreda
Comia, then a Production Helper in the Selecting Department, who married
Howard Comia, then a helper in the cutter-machine. The policy is premised on
the mere fear that employees married to each other will be less efficient. If we
uphold the questioned rule without valid justification, the employer can create

policies based on an unproven presumption of a perceived danger at the


expense of an employee's right to security of tenure.
Petitioners contend that their policy will apply only when one employee
marries a co-employee, but they are free to marry persons other than coemployees. The questioned policy may not facially violate Article 136 of the
Labor Code but it creates a disproportionate effect and under the disparate
impact theory, the only way it could pass judicial scrutiny is a showing that it
is reasonable despite the discriminatory, albeit disproportionate, effect. The
failure of petitioners to prove a legitimate business concern in imposing the
questioned policy cannot prejudice the employee's right to be free from
arbitrary discrimination based upon stereotypes of married persons working
together in one company.40
Lastly, the absence of a statute expressly prohibiting marital discrimination in
our jurisdiction cannot benefit the petitioners. The protection given to labor in
our jurisdiction is vast and extensive that we cannot prudently draw inferences
from the legislature's silence41 that married persons are not protected under our
Constitution and declare valid a policy based on a prejudice or stereotype.
Thus, for failure of petitioners to present undisputed proof of a reasonable
business necessity, we rule that the questioned policy is an invalid exercise of
management prerogative. Corollarily, the issue as to whether respondents
Simbol and Comia resigned voluntarily has become moot and academic.
As to respondent Estrella, the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC based their ruling
on the singular fact that her resignation letter was written in her own
handwriting. Both ruled that her resignation was voluntary and thus valid. The
respondent court failed to categorically rule whether Estrella voluntarily
resigned but ordered that she be reinstated along with Simbol and Comia.
Estrella claims that she was pressured to submit a resignation letter because she
was in dire need of money. We examined the records of the case and find
Estrella's contention to be more in accord with the evidence. While findings of
fact by administrative tribunals like the NLRC are generally given not only
respect but, at times, finality, this rule admits of exceptions, 42 as in the case at
bar.
Estrella avers that she went back to work on December 21, 1999 but was
dismissed due to her alleged immoral conduct. At first, she did not want to sign
the termination papers but she was forced to tender her resignation letter in
exchange for her thirteenth month pay.

The contention of petitioners that Estrella was pressured to resign because she
got impregnated by a married man and she could not stand being looked upon
or talked about as immoral43 is incredulous. If she really wanted to avoid
embarrassment and humiliation, she would not have gone back to work at all.
Nor would she have filed a suit for illegal dismissal and pleaded for
reinstatement. We have held that in voluntary resignation, the employee is
compelled by personal reason(s) to dissociate himself from employment. It is
done with the intention of relinquishing an office, accompanied by the act of
abandonment.44 Thus, it is illogical for Estrella to resign and then file a
complaint for illegal dismissal. Given the lack of sufficient evidence on the part
of petitioners that the resignation was voluntary, Estrella's dismissal is declared
illegal.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP
No. 73477 dated August 3, 2004 isAFFIRMED.
rbl rl l lbrr

SO ORDERED.

Endnotes:

Petition for Review on Certiorari, 2; rollo, p. 9.

The records do not state the exact date when the policy in question was promulgated. The date of reference is "sometime in 1995."

Petition for Review on Certiorari, p. 3; rollo, p. 10.

Id. at 4; Id. at 11.

Ibid.

Ibid.

Petition for Review on Certiorari, pp. 4-5; rollo, pp. 11-12. See CA rollo, pp. 40-49.

CA Decision, p. 4; rollo, p. 29.

Decision of Labor Arbiter Melquiades Sol del Rosario; CA rollo, pp. 40-49.

10

Resolution, p. 7; CA rollo, p. 36.

11

Resolution; Id. at 37.

12

Should be January 11, 2002.

13

CA Decision, p. 11; rollo, p. 36.

14

Petition, p. 7; rollo, p. 14. Lower case in the original.

15

The questioned Decision also invokes Article II, Section 12. The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen
the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The
natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall
receive the support of the Government.
16

Memorandum [for Petitioners], p. 11; rollo, p. 73.

17

A. Giattina, Challenging No-Spouse Employment Policies As Marital Status Discrimination: A Balancing Approach, 33 Wayne L. Rev. 1111
(Spring, 1987).
18

Ibid.

19

See Note 23, Duncan Association of Detailman-PTGWO and Pedro Tecson v. Glaxo Wellcome Philippines, Inc., G.R. No. 162994,
September 17, 2004.
20

ALASKA STAT. - 18.80.200 (1986); CAL. GOV'T CODE - 12940 (West 1980 & Supp. 1987); CONN. GEN. STAT. - 46a-60 (1986); DEL.
CODE ANN. tit. 19, - 711 (1985); D.C. CODE ANN. - 1-2512 (1981); FLA. STAT. - 760.01 (1986); HAWAII REV. STAT. - 378-2 (1985); ILL.
REV. STAT. ch. 68, '' 1 - 103, 2-102 (Supp. 1986); MD. ANN. CODE art. 49B, - 16 (1986); MICH. COMP. LAWS ANN. - 37.2202 (West
1985); MINN. STAT. ANN. - 363.03 (West Supp. 1987); MONT. CODE ANN. - 49-2-303 (1986); NEB. REV. STAT. - 48-1104 (1984); N.H.
REV. STAT. ANN. - 354-A:2 (1984); N.J. REV. STAT. - 10:5-12 (1981 & Supp. 1986); N.Y. EXEC. LAW - 296 (McKinney 1982 & Supp.
1987); N.D. CENT. CODE - 14-02.4-03 (1981 & Supp. 1985); OR. REV. STAT. - 659.030 (1985); WASH. REV. CODE - 49.60.180 (Supp.
1987); WIS. STAT. - 111.321 (Supp. 1986). Cited in Note 34, A. Giattina, supra note 18.
21

State courts in Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New York, and Washington have interpreted the marital status provision of their respective
state statutes. SeeNote 10, A. Giattina, supra note 18.
22

Supra note 18.

23

Ibid.

24

Ibid.

25

Whirlpool Corp. v. Michigan Civil Rights Comm'n, 425 Mich. 527, 390 N.W.2d 625 (1986); Maryland Comm'n on Human Relations v.
Greenbelt Homes, Inc., 300 Md. 75, 475 A.2d 1192 (1984); Manhattan Pizza Hut, Inc. v. New York State Human Rights Appeal Bd., 51 N.Y.2d
506, 434 N.Y.S.2d 961, 415 N.E.2d 950 (1980); Thompson v. Sanborn's Motor Express Inc., 154 N.J. Super. 555, 382 A.2d 53 (1977).
26

Ross v. Stouffer Hotel Co., 72 Haw. 350, 816 P.2d 302 (1991); Thompson v. Board of Trustees, 192 Mont. 266, 627 P.2d 1229 (1981); Kraft,
Inc. v. State, 284 N.W.2d 386 (Minn.1979); Washington Water Power Co. v. Washington State Human Rights Comm'n, 91 Wash.2d 62, 586
P.2d 1149 (1978).
27

See note 55, A. Giattina, supra note 18.

28

See note 56, ibid.

29

Also referred to as BFOQ.

30

See note 67, A. Giattina, supra note 18.

31

See Muller v. BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc., 923 P.2d 783, 73 Fair Empl.Prac.Cas. (BNA) 579, 69.

32

See note 117, A. Giattina, supra note 18.

33

Richard G. Flood and Kelly A. Cahill, The River Bend Decision and How It Affects Municipalities' Personnel Rule and Regulations, Illinois
Municipal Review, June 1993, p. 7.
34

G.R. No. 162994, September 17, 2004.

35

Ibid.

36

G.R. No. 118978, May 23, 1997.

37

Ibid.

38

Petition, p. 9; rollo, p. 16.

39

Ibid.

40

See A. Giattina, supra note 18.

41

See dissenting opinion of Chief Justice Compton in Muller v. BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc., 923 P.2d 783 (1996).

42

In Employees Association of the Philippine American Life Insurance Co. v. NLRC (G.R. No. 82976, July 26, 1991), the established
exceptions are as follows:
a) the conclusion is a finding of fact grounded on speculations, surmises and conjectures;
b) the inferences made are manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible;
c) there is a grave abuse of discretion;
d) there is misappreciation of facts; and

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e) the court, in arriving in its findings, went beyond the issues of the case and the same are contrary to the admission of the parties or the
evidence presented.
43

Petition, p. 11; rollo, p. 18.

44

Great Southern Maritime Services Corporation v. Acua, et al., G.R. No. 140189, February 28, 2005.

THIRD DIVISION
[G.R. NO. 168081 : October 17, 2008]
ARMANDO G. YRASUEGUI, Petitioners, v. PHILIPPINE AIRLINES,
INC., Respondents.
DECISION
REYES, R.T., J.:
THIS case portrays the peculiar story of an international flight steward who
was dismissed because of his failure to adhere to the weight standards of the
airline company.
He is now before this Court via a Petition for Review on certiorari claiming
that he was illegally dismissed. To buttress his stance, he argues that (1) his
dismissal does not fall under 282(e) of the Labor Code; (2) continuing
adherence to the weight standards of the company is not a bona fide
occupational qualification; and (3) he was discriminated against because
other overweight employees were promoted instead of being disciplined.

After a meticulous consideration of all arguments pro and con, We uphold the
legality of dismissal. Separation pay, however, should be awarded in favor of
the employee as an act of social justice or based on equity. This is so
because his dismissal is not for serious misconduct. Neither is it reflective of
his moral character.
The Facts
Petitioner Armando G. Yrasuegui was a former international flight steward of
Philippine Airlines, Inc. (PAL). He stands five feet and eight inches (5 8") with
a large body frame. The proper weight for a man of his height and body
structure is from 147 to 166 pounds, the ideal weight being 166 pounds, as
mandated by the Cabin and Crew Administration Manual1 of PAL.
The weight problem of petitioner dates back to 1984. Back then, PAL advised
him to go on an extended vacation leave from December 29, 1984 to March
4, 1985 to address his weight concerns. Apparently, petitioner failed to meet
the company's weight standards, prompting another leave without pay from
March 5, 1985 to November 1985.
After meeting the required weight, petitioner was allowed to return to work.
But petitioner's weight problem recurred. He again went on leave without pay
from October 17, 1988 to February 1989.
On April 26, 1989, petitioner weighed 209 pounds, 43 pounds over his ideal
weight. In line with company policy, he was removed from flight duty
effective May 6, 1989 to July 3, 1989. He was formally requested to trim
down to his ideal weight and report for weight checks on several dates. He
was also told that he may avail of the services of the company physician
should he wish to do so. He was advised that his case will be evaluated on
July 3, 1989.2
On February 25, 1989, petitioner underwent weight check. It was discovered
that he gained, instead of losing, weight. He was overweight at 215 pounds,
which is 49 pounds beyond the limit. Consequently, his off-duty status was
retained.
On October 17, 1989, PAL Line Administrator Gloria Dizon personally visited
petitioner at his residence to check on the progress of his effort to lose
weight. Petitioner weighed 217 pounds, gaining 2 pounds from his previous
weight. After the visit, petitioner made a commitment 3 to reduce weight in a
letter addressed to Cabin Crew Group Manager Augusto Barrios. The letter, in
full, reads:
Dear Sir:

I would like to guaranty my commitment towards a weight loss from 217


pounds to 200 pounds from today until 31 Dec. 1989.
From thereon, I promise to continue reducing at a reasonable percentage
until such time that my ideal weight is achieved.
Likewise, I promise to personally report to your office at the designated time
schedule you will set for my weight check.
Respectfully Yours,
F/S Armando Yrasuegui4
Despite the lapse of a ninety-day period given him to reach his ideal weight,
petitioner remained overweight. On January 3, 1990, he was informed of the
PAL decision for him to remain grounded until such time that he satisfactorily
complies with the weight standards. Again, he was directed to report every
two weeks for weight checks.
Petitioner failed to report for weight checks. Despite that, he was given one
more month to comply with the weight requirement. As usual, he was asked
to report for weight check on different dates. He was reminded that his
grounding would continue pending satisfactory compliance with the weight
standards.5
Again, petitioner failed to report for weight checks, although he was seen
submitting his passport for processing at the PAL Staff Service Division.
On April 17, 1990, petitioner was formally warned that a repeated refusal to
report for weight check would be dealt with accordingly. He was given
another set of weight check dates.6 Again, petitioner ignored the directive
and did not report for weight checks. On June 26, 1990, petitioner was
required to explain his refusal to undergo weight checks. 7
When petitioner tipped the scale on July 30, 1990, he weighed at 212
pounds. Clearly, he was still way over his ideal weight of 166 pounds.
From then on, nothing was heard from petitioner until he followed up his
case requesting for leniency on the latter part of 1992. He weighed at 219
pounds on August 20, 1992 and 205 pounds on November 5, 1992.
On November 13, 1992, PAL finally served petitioner a Notice of
Administrative Charge for violation of company standards on weight
requirements. He was given ten (10) days from receipt of the charge within
which to file his answer and submit controverting evidence. 8

On December 7, 1992, petitioner submitted his Answer.9 Notably, he did not


deny being overweight. What he claimed, instead, is that his violation, if any,
had already been condoned by PAL since "no action has been taken by the
company" regarding his case "since 1988." He also claimed that PAL
discriminated against him because "the company has not been fair in treating
the cabin crew members who are similarly situated."
On December 8, 1992, a clarificatory hearing was held where petitioner
manifested that he was undergoing a weight reduction program to lose at
least two (2) pounds per week so as to attain his ideal weight.10
On June 15, 1993, petitioner was formally informed by PAL that due to his
inability to attain his ideal weight, "and considering the utmost leniency"
extended to him "which spanned a period covering a total of almost five (5)
years," his services were considered terminated "effective immediately." 11
His motion for reconsideration having been denied,12 petitioner filed a
complaint for illegal dismissal against PAL.
Labor Arbiter, NLRC and CA Dispositions
On November 18, 1998, Labor Arbiter Valentin C. Reyes ruled 13 that
petitioner was illegally dismissed. The dispositive part of the Arbiter ruling
runs as follows:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered,
declaring the complainant's dismissal illegal, and ordering the respondent to
reinstate him to his former position or substantially equivalent one, and to
pay him:
A. Backwages of Php10,500.00 per month from his dismissal on June 15,
1993 until reinstated, which for purposes of appeal is hereby set from June
15, 1993 up to August 15, 1998 at P651,000.00;
b. Attorney's fees of five percent (5%) of the total award.
SO ORDERED.14
The Labor Arbiter held that the weight standards of PAL are reasonable in
view of the nature of the job of petitioner.15 However, the weight standards
need not be complied with under pain of dismissal since his weight did not
hamper the performance of his duties.16Assuming that it did, petitioner could
be transferred to other positions where his weight would not be a negative
factor.17 Notably, other overweight employees, i.e., Mr. Palacios, Mr. Cui, and
Mr. Barrios, were promoted instead of being disciplined.18
Both parties appealed to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). 19

On October 8, 1999, the Labor Arbiter issued a writ of execution directing the
reinstatement of petitioner without loss of seniority rights and other
benefits.20
On February 1, 2000, the Labor Arbiter denied 21 the Motion to Quash Writ of
Execution22 of PAL.
On March 6, 2000, PAL appealed the denial of its motion to quash to the
NLRC.23
On June 23, 2000, the NLRC rendered judgment24 in the following tenor:
WHEREFORE, premises considered[,] the Decision of the Arbiter dated 18
November 1998 as modified by our findings herein, is hereby AFFIRMED and
that part of the dispositive portion of said decision concerning complainant's
entitlement to backwages shall be deemed to refer to complainant's
entitlement to his full backwages, inclusive of allowances and to his other
benefits or their monetary equivalent instead of simply backwages, from date
of dismissal until his actual reinstatement or finality hereof. Respondent is
enjoined to manifests (sic) its choice of the form of the reinstatement of
complainant, whether physical or through payroll within ten (10) days from
notice failing which, the same shall be deemed as complainant's
reinstatement through payroll and execution in case of non-payment shall
accordingly be issued by the Arbiter. Both appeals of respondent thus,
are DISMISSED for utter lack of merit.25
According to the NLRC, "obesity, or the tendency to gain weight
uncontrollably regardless of the amount of food intake, is a disease in
itself."26 As a consequence, there can be no intentional defiance or serious
misconduct by petitioner to the lawful order of PAL for him to lose weight. 27
Like the Labor Arbiter, the NLRC found the weight standards of PAL to be
reasonable. However, it found as unnecessary the Labor Arbiter holding that
petitioner was not remiss in the performance of his duties as flight steward
despite being overweight. According to the NLRC, the Labor Arbiter should
have limited himself to the issue of whether the failure of petitioner to attain
his ideal weight constituted willful defiance of the weight standards of PAL. 28
PAL moved for reconsideration to no avail.29 Thus, PAL elevated the matter to
the Court of Appeals (CA) via a Petition forCertiorariunder Rule 65 of the
1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.30
By Decision dated August 31, 2004, the CA reversed 31 the NLRC:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, we hereby GRANT the petition. The
assailed NLRC decision is declared NULL and VOID and is hereby SET ASIDE.
The private respondent's complaint is hereby DISMISSED. No costs.

SO ORDERED.32
The CA opined that there was grave abuse of discretion on the part of the
NLRC because it "looked at wrong and irrelevant considerations" 33 in
evaluating the evidence of the parties. Contrary to the NLRC ruling, the
weight standards of PAL are meant to be acontinuing qualification for an
employee's position.34 The failure to adhere to the weight standards is
an analogous cause for the dismissal of an employee under Article 282(e) of
the Labor Code in relation to Article 282(a). It is not willful disobedience as
the NLRC seemed to suggest.35 Said the CA, "the element of willfulness that
the NLRC decision cites is an irrelevant consideration in arriving at a
conclusion on whether the dismissal is legally proper." 36 In other words, "the
relevant question to ask is not one of willfulness but one of reasonableness of
the standard and whether or not the employee qualifies or continues to
qualify under this standard."37
Just like the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC, the CA held that the weight
standards of PAL are reasonable.38 Thus, petitioner was legally dismissed
because he repeatedly failed to meet the prescribed weight standards. 39 It is
obvious that the issue of discrimination was only invoked by petitioner for
purposes of escaping the result of his dismissal for being overweight. 40
On May 10, 2005, the CA denied petitioner's motion for
reconsideration.41 Elaborating on its earlier ruling, the CA held that the
weight standards of PAL are a bona fide occupational qualification which, in
case of violation, "justifies an employee's separation from the service."42
Issues
In this Rule 45 Petition for Review, the following issues are posed for
resolution:
I.
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN HOLDING
THAT PETITIONER'S OBESITY CAN BE A GROUND FOR DISMISSAL UNDER
PARAGRAPH (e) OF ARTICLE 282 OF THE LABOR CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES;
II.
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN HOLDING
THAT PETITIONER'S DISMISSAL FOR OBESITY CAN BE PREDICATED ON THE
"BONA FIDE OCCUPATIONAL QUALIFICATION (BFOQ) DEFENSE";
III.

WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN HOLDING


THAT PETITIONER WAS NOT UNDULY DISCRIMINATED AGAINST WHEN HE
WAS DISMISSED WHILE OTHER OVERWEIGHT CABIN ATTENDANTS WERE
EITHER GIVEN FLYING DUTIES OR PROMOTED;
IV.
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT
BRUSHED ASIDE PETITIONER'S CLAIMS FOR REINSTATEMENT [AND] WAGES
ALLEGEDLY FOR BEING MOOT AND ACADEMIC.43 (Underscoring supplied)
cralawlibrary

Our Ruling
I. The obesity of petitioner is a ground for dismissal under Article 282(e)
the Labor Code.

44

of

A reading of the weight standards of PAL would lead to no other conclusion


than that they constitute a continuing qualification of an employee in order to
keep the job. Tersely put, an employee may be dismissed the moment he is
unable to comply with his ideal weight as prescribed by the weight standards.
The dismissal of the employee would thus fall under Article 282(e) of the
Labor Code. As explained by the CA:
x x x [T]he standards violated in this case were not mere "orders" of the
employer; they were the "prescribed weights" that a cabin crew
must maintain in order to qualify for and keep his or her position in
the company. In other words, they were standards that
establish continuing qualifications for an employee's position. In this
sense, the failure to maintain these standards does not fall under Article
282(a) whose express terms require the element of willfulness in order to be
a ground for dismissal. The failure to meet the employer's qualifying
standards is in fact a ground that does not squarely fall under grounds (a)
to (d) and is therefore one that falls under Article 282(e) - the "other causes
analogous to the foregoing."
By its nature, these "qualifying standards" are norms that apply prior to
and after an employee is hired. They applyprior to employment because
these are the standards a job applicant must initially meet in order to be
hired. They applyafter hiring because an employee must continue to meet
these standards while on the job in order to keep his job. Under this
perspective, a violation is not one of the faults for which an employee can be
dismissed pursuant to pars. (a) to (d) of Article 282; the employee can be
dismissed simply because he no longer "qualifies" for his job irrespective of
whether or not the failure to qualify was willful or intentional. x x x 45
Petitioner, though, advances a very interesting argument. He claims that
obesity is a "physical abnormality and/or illness."46 Relying onNadura v.
Benguet Consolidated, Inc.,47 he says his dismissal is illegal:

Conscious of the fact that Nadura's case cannot be made to fall squarely
within the specific causes enumerated in subparagraphs 1(a) to (e), Benguet
invokes the provisions of subparagraph 1(f) and says that Nadura's illness occasional attacks of asthma - is a cause analogous to them.
Even a cursory reading of the legal provision under consideration is sufficient
to convince anyone that, as the trial court said, "illness cannot be included as
an analogous cause by any stretch of imagination."
It is clear that, except the just cause mentioned in sub-paragraph 1(a), all
the others expressly enumerated in the law are due to the voluntary and/or
willful act of the employee. How Nadura's illness could be considered as
"analogous" to any of them is beyond our understanding, there being no
claim or pretense that the same was contracted through his own voluntary
act.48
The reliance on Nadura is off-tangent. The factual milieu in Nadura is
substantially different from the case at bar. First, Nadura was not decided
under the Labor Code. The law applied in that case was Republic Act (RA) No.
1787. Second, the issue of flight safety is absent inNadura, thus, the
rationale there cannot apply here. Third, in Nadura, the employee who was a
miner, was laid off from work because of illness, i.e., asthma. Here, petitioner
was dismissed for his failure to meet the weight standards of PAL. He was not
dismissed due to illness. Fourth, the issue in Nadura is whether or not the
dismissed employee is entitled to separation pay and damages. Here, the
issue centers on the propriety of the dismissal of petitioner for his failure to
meet the weight standards of PAL. Fifth, in Nadura, the employee was not
accorded due process. Here, petitioner was accorded utmost leniency. He was
given more than four (4) years to comply with the weight standards of PAL.
In the case at bar, the evidence on record militates against petitioner's claims
that obesity is a disease. That he was able to reduce his weight from 1984 to
1992 clearly shows that it is possible for him to lose weight given the proper
attitude, determination, and self-discipline. Indeed, during the clarificatory
hearing on December 8, 1992, petitioner himself claimed that "[t]he issue is
could I bring my weight down to ideal weight which is 172, then the answer
is yes. I can do it now."49
True, petitioner claims that reducing weight is costing him "a lot of
expenses."50 However, petitioner has only himself to blame. He could have
easily availed the assistance of the company physician, per the advice of
PAL.51 He chose to ignore the suggestion. In fact, he repeatedly failed to
report when required to undergo weight checks, without offering a valid
explanation. Thus, his fluctuating weight indicates absence of willpower
rather than an illness.
Petitioner cites Bonnie Cook v. State of Rhode Island, Department of Mental
Health, Retardation and Hospitals,52 decided by the United States Court of

Appeals (First Circuit). In that case, Cook worked from 1978 to 1980 and
from 1981 to 1986 as an institutional attendant for the mentally retarded at
the Ladd Center that was being operated by respondent. She twice resigned
voluntarily with an unblemished record. Even respondent admitted that her
performance met the Center's legitimate expectations. In 1988, Cook reapplied for a similar position. At that time, "she stood 5 2" tall and weighed
over 320 pounds." Respondent claimed that the morbid obesity of plaintiff
compromised her ability to evacuate patients in case of emergency and it
also put her at greater risk of serious diseases.
Cook contended that the action of respondent amounted to discrimination on
the basis of a handicap. This was in direct violation of Section 504(a) of the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973,53 which incorporates the remedies contained in
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Respondent claimed, however, that
morbid obesity could never constitute a handicap within the purview of the
Rehabilitation Act. Among others, obesity is a mutable condition, thus
plaintiff could simply lose weight and rid herself of concomitant disability.
The appellate Court disagreed and held that morbid obesity is a disability
under the Rehabilitation Act and that respondent discriminated against Cook
based on "perceived" disability. The evidence included expert testimony that
morbid obesity is a physiological disorder. It involves a dysfunction of both
the metabolic system and the neurological appetite - suppressing signal
system, which is capable of causing adverse effects within the
musculoskeletal, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems. Notably, the Court
stated that "mutability is relevant only in determining the substantiality of
the limitation flowing from a given impairment," thus "mutability only
precludes those conditions that an individual can easily and quickly reverse
by behavioral alteration."
Unlike Cook, however, petitioner is not morbidly obese. In the words of the
District Court for the District of Rhode Island, Cook was sometime before
1978 "at least one hundred pounds more than what is considered appropriate
of her height." According to the Circuit Judge, Cook weighed "over 320
pounds" in 1988. Clearly, that is not the case here. At his heaviest, petitioner
was only less than 50 pounds over his ideal weight.
In fine, We hold that the obesity of petitioner, when placed in the context of
his work as flight attendant, becomes an analogous cause under Article
282(e) of the Labor Code that justifies his dismissal from the service. His
obesity may not be unintended, but is nonetheless voluntary. As the CA
correctly puts it, "[v]oluntariness basically means that the just cause is solely
attributable to the employee without any external force influencing or
controlling his actions. This element runs through all just causes under Article
282, whether they be in the nature of a wrongful action or omission. Gross
and habitual neglect, a recognized just cause, is considered voluntary
although it lacks the element of intent found in Article 282(a), (c), and (d)." 54

II. The dismissal of petitioner can be predicated on the bona fide


occupational qualification defense.
Employment in particular jobs may not be limited to persons of a particular
sex, religion, or national origin unless the employer can show that sex,
religion, or national origin is an actual qualification for performing the job.
The qualification is called a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ). 55 In
the United States, there are a few federal and many state job discrimination
laws that contain an exception allowing an employer to engage in an
otherwise unlawful form of prohibited discrimination when the action is based
on a BFOQ necessary to the normal operation of a business or enterprise. 56
Petitioner contends that BFOQ is a statutory defense. It does not exist if
there is no statute providing for it.57 Further, there is no existing BFOQ
statute that could justify his dismissal. 58
Both arguments must fail.
First, the Constitution,59 the Labor Code,60 and RA No. 727761 or the Magna
Carta for Disabled Persons62 contain provisions similar to BFOQ.
Second, in British Columbia Public Service Employee Commission (BSPSERC)
v. The British Columbia Government and Service Employee's Union
(BCGSEU),63 the Supreme Court of Canada adopted the so-called "Meiorin
Test" in determining whether an employment policy is justified. Under this
test, (1) the employer must show that it adopted the standard for a purpose
rationally connected to the performance of the job;64 (2) the employer must
establish that the standard is reasonably necessary 65 to the accomplishment
of that work-related purpose; and (3) the employer must establish that the
standard is reasonably necessary in order to accomplish the legitimate workrelated purpose. Similarly, in Star Paper Corporation v. Simbol,66 this Court
held that in order to justify a BFOQ, the employer must prove that (1) the
employment qualification is reasonably related to the essential operation of
the job involved; and (2) that there is factual basis for believing that all or
substantially all persons meeting the qualification would be unable to
properly perform the duties of the job.67
In short, the test of reasonableness of the company policy is used because it
is parallel to BFOQ.68 BFOQ is valid "provided it reflects an inherent quality
reasonably necessary for satisfactory job performance." 69
In Duncan Association of Detailman-PTGWTO v. Glaxo Wellcome Philippines,
Inc.,70 the Court did not hesitate to pass upon the validity of a company
policy which prohibits its employees from marrying employees of a rival
company. It was held that the company policy is reasonable considering that
its purpose is the protection of the interests of the company against possible
competitor infiltration on its trade secrets and procedures.

Verily, there is no merit to the argument that BFOQ cannot be applied if it


has no supporting statute. Too, the Labor Arbiter,71 NLRC,72and CA73 are one
in holding that the weight standards of PAL are reasonable. A common
carrier, from the nature of its business and for reasons of public policy, is
bound to observe extraordinary diligence for the safety of the passengers it
transports.74 It is bound to carry its passengers safely as far as human care
and foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence of very cautious
persons, with due regard for all the circumstances. 75
The law leaves no room for mistake or oversight on the part of a common
carrier. Thus, it is only logical to hold that the weight standards of PAL show
its effort to comply with the exacting obligations imposed upon it by law by
virtue of being a common carrier.
The business of PAL is air transportation. As such, it has committed itself to
safely transport its passengers. In order to achieve this, it must necessarily
rely on its employees, most particularly the cabin flight deck crew who are on
board the aircraft. The weight standards of PAL should be viewed as imposing
strict norms of discipline upon its employees.
In other words, the primary objective of PAL in the imposition of the weight
standards for cabin crew is flight safety. It cannot be gainsaid that cabin
attendants must maintain agility at all times in order to inspire passenger
confidence on their ability to care for the passengers when something goes
wrong. It is not farfetched to say that airline companies, just like all common
carriers, thrive due to public confidence on their safety records. People,
especially the riding public, expect no less than that airline companies
transport their passengers to their respective destinations safely and soundly.
A lesser performance is unacceptable.
The task of a cabin crew or flight attendant is not limited to serving meals or
attending to the whims and caprices of the passengers. The most important
activity of the cabin crew is to care for the safety of passengers and the
evacuation of the aircraft when an emergency occurs. Passenger safety goes
to the core of the job of a cabin attendant. Truly, airlines need cabin
attendants who have the necessary strength to open emergency doors, the
agility to attend to passengers in cramped working conditions, and the
stamina to withstand grueling flight schedules.
On board an aircraft, the body weight and size of a cabin attendant are
important factors to consider in case of emergency. Aircrafts have constricted
cabin space, and narrow aisles and exit doors. Thus, the arguments of
respondent that "[w]hether the airline's flight attendants are overweight or
not has no direct relation to its mission of transporting passengers to their
destination"; and that the weight standards "has nothing to do with
airworthiness of respondent's airlines," must fail.

The rationale in Western Air Lines v. Criswell76 relied upon by petitioner


cannot apply to his case. What was involved there were two (2) airline pilots
who were denied reassignment as flight engineers upon reaching the age of
60, and a flight engineer who was forced to retire at age 60. They sued the
airline company, alleging that the age-60 retirement for flight engineers
violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. Age-based BFOQ
and being overweight are not the same. The case of overweight cabin
attendants is another matter. Given the cramped cabin space and narrow
aisles and emergency exit doors of the airplane, any overweight cabin
attendant would certainly have difficulty navigating the cramped cabin area.
In short, there is no need to individually evaluate their ability to perform
their task. That an obese cabin attendant occupies more space than a slim
one is an unquestionable fact which courts can judicially recognize without
introduction of evidence.77 It would also be absurd to require airline
companies to reconfigure the aircraft in order to widen the aisles and exit
doors just to accommodate overweight cabin attendants like petitioner.
The biggest problem with an overweight cabin attendant is the possibility of
impeding passengers from evacuating the aircraft, should the occasion call
for it. The job of a cabin attendant during emergencies is to speedily get the
passengers out of the aircraft safely. Being overweight necessarily impedes
mobility. Indeed, in an emergency situation, seconds are what cabin
attendants are dealing with, not minutes. Three lost seconds can translate
into three lost lives. Evacuation might slow down just because a wide-bodied
cabin attendant is blocking the narrow aisles. These possibilities are not
remote.
Petitioner is also in estoppel. He does not dispute that the weight standards
of PAL were made known to him prior to his employment. He is presumed to
know the weight limit that he must maintain at all times.78 In fact, never did
he question the authority of PAL when he was repeatedly asked to trim down
his weight. Bona fides exigit ut quod convenit fiat. Good faith demands that
what is agreed upon shall be done. Kung ang tao ay tapat kanyang
tutuparin ang napagkasunduan.
Too, the weight standards of PAL provide for separate weight limitations
based on height and body frame for both male and female cabin attendants.
A progressive discipline is imposed to allow non-compliant cabin attendants
sufficient opportunity to meet the weight standards. Thus, the clear-cut rules
obviate any possibility for the commission of abuse or arbitrary action on the
part of PAL.
III. Petitioner failed to substantiate his claim that he was
discriminated against by PAL.
Petitioner next claims that PAL is using passenger safety as a convenient
excuse to discriminate against him.79 We are constrained, however, to hold

otherwise. We agree with the CA that "[t]he element of discrimination came


into play in this case as a secondary position for the private respondent in
order to escape the consequence of dismissal that being overweight entailed.
It is a confession-and-avoidance position that impliedly admitted the cause of
dismissal, including the reasonableness of the applicable standard and the
private respondent's failure to comply."80 It is a basic rule in evidence that
each party must prove his affirmative allegation.81
Since the burden of evidence lies with the party who asserts an affirmative
allegation, petitioner has to prove his allegation with particularity. There is
nothing on the records which could support the finding of discriminatory
treatment. Petitioner cannot establish discrimination by simply naming the
supposed cabin attendants who are allegedly similarly situated with him.
Substantial proof must be shown as to how and why they are similarly
situated and the differential treatment petitioner got from PAL despite the
similarity of his situation with other employees.
Indeed, except for pointing out the names of the supposed overweight cabin
attendants, petitioner miserably failed to indicate their respective ideal
weights; weights over their ideal weights; the periods they were allowed to
fly despite their being overweight; the particular flights assigned to them;
the discriminating treatment they got from PAL; and other relevant data that
could have adequately established a case of discriminatory treatment by PAL.
In the words of the CA, "PAL really had no substantial case of discrimination
to meet."82
We are not unmindful that findings of facts of administrative agencies, like
the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC, are accorded respect, even finality.83 The
reason is simple: administrative agencies are experts in matters within their
specific and specialized jurisdiction.84 But the principle is not a hard and fast
rule. It only applies if the findings of facts are duly supported by substantial
evidence. If it can be shown that administrative bodies grossly
misappreciated evidence of such nature so as to compel a conclusion to the
contrary, their findings of facts must necessarily be reversed. Factual findings
of administrative agencies do not have infallibility and must be set aside
when they fail the test of arbitrariness.85
Here, the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC inexplicably misappreciated evidence.
We thus annul their findings.
To make his claim more believable, petitioner invokes the equal protection
clause guaranty86 of the Constitution. However, in the absence of
governmental interference, the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution
cannot be invoked.87 Put differently, the Bill of Rights is not meant to be
invoked against acts of private individuals.88 Indeed, the United States
Supreme Court, in interpreting the Fourteenth Amendment, 89 which is the
source of our equal protection guarantee, is consistent in saying that the
equal protection erects no shield against private conduct, however

discriminatory or wrongful.90 Private actions, no matter how egregious,


cannot violate the equal protection guarantee.91
IV. The claims of petitioner for reinstatement and wages are moot.
As his last contention, petitioner avers that his claims for reinstatement and
wages have not been mooted. He is entitled to reinstatement and his full
backwages, "from the time he was illegally dismissed" up to the time that the
NLRC was reversed by the CA.92
At this point, Article 223 of the Labor Code finds relevance:
In any event, the decision of the Labor Arbiter reinstating a dismissed or
separated employee, insofar as the reinstatement aspect is concerned, shall
immediately be executory, even pending appeal. The employee shall either
be admitted back to work under the same terms and conditions prevailing
prior to his dismissal or separation or, at the option of the employer, merely
reinstated in the payroll. The posting of a bond by the employer shall not
stay the execution for reinstatement provided herein.
The law is very clear. Although an award or order of reinstatement is selfexecutory and does not require a writ of execution, 93 the option to exercise
actual reinstatement or payroll reinstatement belongs to the employer. It
does not belong to the employee, to the labor tribunals, or even to the
courts.
Contrary to the allegation of petitioner that PAL "did everything under the
sun" to frustrate his "immediate return to his previous position,"94 there is
evidence that PAL opted to physically reinstate him to a substantially
equivalent position in accordance with the order of the Labor Arbiter.95 In
fact, petitioner duly received the return to work notice on February 23, 2001,
as shown by his signature.96
Petitioner cannot take refuge in the pronouncements of the Court in a
case97 that "[t]he unjustified refusal of the employer to reinstate the
dismissed employee entitles him to payment of his salaries effective from the
time the employer failed to reinstate him despite the issuance of a writ of
execution"98 and ""even if the order of reinstatement of the Labor Arbiter is
reversed on appeal, it is obligatory on the part of the employer to reinstate
and pay the wages of the employee during the period of appeal until reversal
by the higher court."99 He failed to prove that he complied with the return to
work order of PAL. Neither does it appear on record that he actually rendered
services for PAL from the moment he was dismissed, in order to insist on the
payment of his full backwages.
In insisting that he be reinstated to his actual position despite being
overweight, petitioner in effect wants to render the issues in the present case

moot. He asks PAL to comply with the impossible. Time and again, the Court
ruled that the law does not exact compliance with the impossible. 100
V. Petitioner is entitled to separation pay.
Be that as it may, all is not lost for petitioner.
Normally, a legally dismissed employee is not entitled to separation pay. This
may be deduced from the language of Article 279 of the Labor Code that
"[a]n employee who is unjustly dismissed from work shall be entitled to
reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and other privileges and to his
full backwages, inclusive of allowances, and to his other benefits or their
monetary equivalent computed from the time his compensation was withheld
from him up to the time of his actual reinstatement." Luckily for petitioner,
this is not an ironclad rule.
Exceptionally, separation pay is granted to a legally dismissed employee as
an act "social justice,"101 or based on "equity."102 In both instances, it is
required that the dismissal (1) was not for serious misconduct; and (2) does
not reflect on the moral character of the employee. 103
Here, We grant petitioner separation pay equivalent to one-half (1/2)
month's pay for every year of service.104 It should include regular allowances
which he might have been receiving.105 We are not blind to the fact that he
was not dismissed for any serious misconduct or to any act which would
reflect on his moral character. We also recognize that his employment with
PAL lasted for more or less a decade.
WHEREFORE, the appealed Decision of the Court of Appeals
is AFFIRMED but MODIFIED in that petitioner Armando G. Yrasuegui is
entitled to separation pay in an amount equivalent to one-half (1/2) month's
pay for every year of service, which should include his regular allowances.
SO ORDERED.
Endnotes:

Rollo, p. 136; Annex "A" of Annex "G."

The Cabin Crew Administration Manual of PAL provides:


"C. A cabin crew one (1) to four (4) pounds over his/her weight maximum
shall be given a verbal warning and a two (2)-week period in which to meet
weight standards.

1. A record of the verbal warning shall be maintained in the cabin crew's


permanent file.
2. A cabin crew who fails to progress shall be given a written letter and an
additional two (2)-week period to meet weight standards.
3. A cabin crew who fails to reach the prescribed weights standard as
required shall be removed from schedule.
A. A cabin crew who has been removed from schedule shall report to his/her
assigned Check Cabin Crew for a weight check every two (2) weeks and will
be required to lose two (2) pounds per week.
b. A cabin crew who fails to reach his/her required weight standard within a
maximum period of ninety (90) days shall be terminated.
c. A cabin crew will return to active flight duty when he/she has reduced to
his/her maximum weight requirement.
1. A cabin crew who returns to active flight duty after being removed from
schedule and within the following three (3) months exceeds the maximum
weight standard will be removed from schedule until he/she reached his/her
maximum allowable standard.
D. A cabin crew who is five (5) pounds or more over his/her weight
maximum will be given a written letter and a two (2) week period to show
substantial weight reduction to meet standards. At the end of the initial two
(2) weeks period, a cabin crew who has shown progress will continue on
weight check until he/she reached his/her maximum allowable standard.
1. Cabin crew who fails to show substantial weight reduction shall be
removed from schedules.
A. Refer to letter C above for discipline guideline.
2. A cabin crew who is ten (10) pounds or more over his/her weight
maximum shall be removed from schedule immediately."

MEN
HEIGHT
FEET inches w/o
shoes
Five 7

SMALL FRAME

MEDIUM FRAME

LARGE FRAME

128-137

134-147

142-161

132-141

138-152

147-166

136-145

142-156

151-170

10

140-150

146-160

155-174

11

144-154

150-165

159-179

Six 0

148-158

154-170

164-184

152-162

158-175

168-189

156-167

162-180

173-194

160-171

167-185

178-199

164-175

172-190

180-204

SMALL FRAME

MEDIUM FRAME

LARGE FRAME

Five 2

102-110

107-119

115-131

105-113

110-122

118-134

108-116

113-126

121-138

111-119

116-130

125-142

114-123

120-135

129-146

118-127

124-139

133-150

122-131

128-143

137-154

126-135

132-147

141-158

10

130-140

136-151

145-163

WOMEN
HEIGHT
FEET inches w/o
shoes

11
2

Annex "C" of Annex "G."

Annex "D" of Annex "G."

Rollo, p. 139.

Annex "E" of Annex "G."

Annex "F" of Annex "G."

Annex "G" of Annex "G."

Annex "H" of Annex "G."

Annex "J" of Annex "G."

10

Annex "K" of Annex "G."

11

Annex "M" of Annex "G."

12

Annex "N" of Annex "G."

134-144

144-159

153-173

Rollo, pp. 94-99; Annex "E." NLRC NCR Case No. 00-05-03078-96-A,
promulgated on November 18, 1998.
13

14

Id. at 99.

15

Id. at 96.

16

Id. at 96-98.

17

Id. at 98.

18

Id.

19

Annexes "N" and "O."

20

Annex "Q."

21

Annex "U."

22

Annex "R."

23

Annex "V."

Rollo, pp. 76-88; Annex "C." NLRC NCR Case No. 019725-99, promulgated
on June 23, 2000. Penned by Commissioner Alberto R. Quimpo and
concurred in by Commissioner Vicente S.E. Veloso.
24

25

Id. at 87-88.

26

Id. at 83.

27

Id.

28

Id. at 83-86.

29

Annex "E."

30

Annex "BB."

Rollo, 46-64; Annex "A." CA-G.R. SP No. 63027, promulgated on August


31, 2004. Penned by Associate Justice Arturo D. Brion (now a member of this
Court), with Associate Justices Delilah Vidallon-Magtolis and Eliezer R. De los
Santos, concurring.
31

32

Id. at 64.

33

Id. at 60.

34

Id. at 61.

35

Id.

36

Id.

37

Id.

38

Id. at 62.

39

Id.

40

Id.

41

Annex "B."

42

Rollo, p. 70.

43

Id. at 659-660.

Termination by employer. - An employer may terminate an employment for


any of the following causes.
44

a) Serious misconduct or willful disobedience by the employee of the lawful


orders of his employer or representative in connection with his work;
b) Gross and habitual neglect by the employee of his duties;
c) Fraud or willful breach by the employee of the trust reposed in him by his
employer or duly authorized representative;
d) Commission of a crime or offense by the employee against the person of
his employer or any immediate member of his family or his duly authorized
representatives; and
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e) Other causes analogous to the foregoing.


45

Id. at 60-61.

46

Id. at 663.

47

G.R. No. L-17780, August 24, 1962, 5 SCRA 879.

48

Nadura v. Benguet Consolidated, Inc., id. at 881-882.

49

Rollo, p. 153.

50

Id.

51

Id. at 137.

52

10 F. 3d 17, 20 (Ist Cir. 1993).

53

(a) Promulgation of rules and regulations

No otherwise qualified individual with handicaps in the United States, as


defined in section 706(8) of this title, shall, solely by reason of her or his
handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or
be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving
Federal financial assistance or under any program or activity conducted by
any Executive agency or by the United States Postal Service. The head of
each such agency shall promulgate such regulations as may be necessary to
carry out the amendments to this section made by the Rehabilitation,
Comprehensive Services, and Developmental Disabilities Act of 1978. Copies
of any proposed regulation shall be submitted to appropriate authorizing
committees of the Congress, and such regulation may take effect no earlier
than the thirtieth day after the date on which such regulation is so submitted
to such committees.
54

Id. at 71.

55

Black's Law Dictionary, 6th ed.

56

45A Am. Jur. 2d, Job Discrimination, - 269.

57

Rollo, p. 669.

58

Id. at 670.

Constitution (1987), Art. XIII, Sec. 3. The State shall afford full protection
to labor, local and overseas, organized and unorganized, and promote full
employment and equality of employment opportunities for all.
59

It shall guarantee the rights of all workers to self-organization, collective


bargaining and negotiations, and peaceful concerted activities, including the
right to strike in accordance with law. They shall be entitled to security of
tenure, humane conditions of work, and a living wage. They shall also
participate in policy and decision-making processes affecting their rights and
benefits as may be provided by law.
The State shall promote the principle of shared responsibility between
workers and employers and the preferential use of voluntary modes in
settling disputes, including conciliation, and shall enforce their mutual
compliance therewith to foster industrial peace.
The State shall regulate the relations between workers and employers,
recognizing the right of labor to its just share in the fruits of production and
the right of enterprises to reasonable returns to investments, and to
expansion and growth.
ART. 3. Declaration of Basic Policy. ' The State shall afford protection to
labor, promote full employment, ensure equal work opportunities regardless
of sex, race or creed, and regulate the relations between workers and
employers. The State shall assure the rights of workers to self-organization,
collective bargaining, security of tenure, and just and humane conditions of
work.
60

61

Approved on March 24, 1992.

Sec. 32. Discrimination of Employment. - No entity, whether public or


private shall discriminate against a qualified disabled person by reason of
disability in regard to job application procedures, the hiring, promotion, or
discharge of employees compensation, job training and other terms,
conditions and privileges of employment. The following constitute acts of
discrimination:
62

a) Limiting, segregating or classifying a disabled job applicant in such a


manner that adversely affects his work opportunities;

b) Using qualification standards, employment tests or other selection criteria


that screen out or tend to screen out a disabled person unless such
standards, tests or other selection criteria are shown to be related for the
position in question and are consistent with business necessity;
c) Utilizing standards, criteria, or methods of administration that:
1) have the effect of discrimination on the basis of disability; or
2) perpetuate the discrimination of others who are the subject to common
administrative control.
d) Providing less compensation, such as salary, wage or other forms of
remuneration and fringe benefits, to qualified disabled employee, by reason
of his disability, than the amount to which a non-disabled person performing
the same work is entitled;
e) Favoring a non-disabled employee over a qualified disabled employee with
respect to promotion, training opportunities, study and scholarship grants,
solely on account of the latter's disability;
f) Re-assigning or transferring a disabled employee to a job or position he
cannot perform by reason of his disability;
g) Dismissing or terminating the services of a disabled employee by reason
of his disability unless the employer can prove that he impairs the
satisfactory performance of the work involved to the prejudice of the
business entity; Provided, however, That the employer first sought to provide
reasonable accommodations for the disabled persons;
h) Failing to select or administer in the most effective manner employment
tests which accurately reflect the skills, aptitude or other factor of the
disabled applicant or employee that such test purports to measure, rather
than the impaired sensory, manual or speaking skills of such applicant or
employee, if any; and
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i) Excluding disabled persons from membership in labor unions or similar


organizations.
63

3 SCR 3 (1999).

The focus is not on the validity of the particular standard but rather on the
validity of its more general purpose.
64

To show that the standard is reasonably necessary, it must be


demonstrated that it is impossible to accommodate individual employees
65

sharing the characteristics of the claimant without imposing undue hardship


on the employer.
66

G.R. No. 164774, April 12, 2006, 487 SCRA 228.

Star Paper Corporation v. Simbol, id. at 242-243, citing Flood, R.G. and
Cahill, K.A., The River Bend Decision and How It Affects Municipalities'
Personnel Rule and Regulations (June 1993), Illinois Municipal Review, p. 7.
67

68

Id. at 243.

Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Company v. National Labor Relations


Commission, G.R. No. 118978, May 23, 1997, 272 SCRA 596, 613.
69

70

G.R. No. 162994, September 17, 2004, 438 SCRA 343.

Rollo, p. 96. "In light of the nature of complainant's function as a cabin


flight crew member, the setting of weight standard by company policy finds
relevance, and in fact, reasonableness. But in judging what is reasonably set
for a cabin crew member to comply should not be viewed in isolation from its
obvious ultimate objective, which is to maintain agility at all time while on
flight, especially in time of emergencies, effect to grooming merely
secondary. x x x"
71

Id. at 84. "Observe that the reasonableness of the rule [i.e., the weight
standards of PAL] was already established with his [i.e., the Labor Arbiter]
finding - to which we agree - that the aim thereof is to maintain their agility
to as to assure the air safety of passengers, as well by his finding of the
parties unanimity in the correctness of the weight range that should be
observed by complainant as prescribed in the rule. x x x"
72

Id. at 61-62. "While the private respondent disputes in his position paper
the reasonableness of PAL's weight standards, the NLRC's assailed decision
finds the weight standard to be valid and reasonable. In our view, this is a
fair and correct assessment as the weight limits are not whimsical standards.
They are standards put in place by an air carrier for reasons of safety in
order to comply with the extraordinary diligence in the care of passengers
that the law exacts. x x x"
73

74

Civil Code, Art. 1733.

Id., Art. 1755. Thus, in case of death or injuries to passengers, a common


carrier is presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently, unless
it proves that it observed extraordinary diligence. (Id., Art. 1756)
75

Not only that. The responsibility of a common carrier for the safety of
passengers cannot be dispensed with or lessened by stipulation, by the

posting of notices, by statements on tickets, or otherwise. (Id., Art. 1757) So


much so that when a passenger is carried gratuitously, a stipulation limiting
the liability for negligence of a common carrier is valid, but not for willful acts
or gross negligence. (Id., Art. 1758) Even a reduction of fare does not justify
any limitation of the liability of the common carrier. (Id.)
The burden that the law imposes on a common does not stop there. A
common carrier is liable for the death or injuries to passengers through the
negligence or willful acts of its employees. (Id., Art. 1759) This liability
attaches although such employees may have acted beyond the scope of their
authority or in violation of the orders of the common carrier. (Id.) Truly, the
requirement of the law is very strict in that the liability of a common carrier
for the death of or injuries to passengers does not cease upon proof that it
exercised all the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and
supervision of its employees. (Id.) The liability of a common carrier cannot
be eliminated or limited by stipulation, by the posting of notices, by
statements on the tickets or otherwise. (Id., Art. 1760) Although the
passenger must observe the diligence of a good father of a family to avoid
injury to himself (id., Art. 1761), the contributory negligence of the
passenger does not bar recovery of damages for his death or injuries, if the
proximate cause is the negligence of the common carrier. (Id., Art. 1762) In
such case, the amount of damages shall only be equitably reduced. (Id.) It
does not totally excuse the common carrier.
Lastly, a common carrier is responsible for injuries suffered by a passenger
on the account of the willful acts or negligence of the other passengers or of
strangers, if the employees of the common carrier through the exercise of
the diligence of a good father of a family could have prevented or stopped
the act or omission. (Id., Art. 1763)
76

472 US 400 (1985).

77

Rules of Court, Rule 129, Sec. 2.

See Duncan Association of Detailman-PTGWO v. Glaxo Wellcome


Philippines, Inc., G.R. No. 162994, September 17, 2004, 438 SCRA 343, 356.
78

79

Rollo, p. 673.

80

Id. at 63.

Jimenez v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 116960, April 2,


1996, 256 SCRA 84, 89.
81

82

Rollo, p. 63.

83

Zarate, Jr. v. Olegario, G.R. No. 90655, October 7, 1996, 263 SCRA 1.

84

Id.

Philippine Airlines, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No.


117038, September 25, 1997, 279 SCRA 445.
85

Constitution (1987), Art. III, Sec. 1. "No person shall be deprived of life,
liberty, or property without due process of law,nor shall any person be
denied the equal protection of the laws."
86

87

People v. Marti, G.R. No. 81561, January 18, 1991, 193 SCRA 57, 65.

Id. at 67. The Court, in buttressing its ruling also cited the Sponsorship
Speech of Commissioner Bernas in the Bill of Rights; Record of the
Constitutional Commission, Vol. 1, p. 674; July 17, 1986, viz.:
88

"First, the general reflections. The protection of the fundamental liberties in


the essence of constitutional democracy. Protection against whom? Protection
against the state. The Bill of Rights governs the relationship between the
individual and the state. Its concern is not the relation between individuals,
between a private individual and other individuals. What the Bill of Rights
does is to declare some forbidden zones in the private sphere inaccessible to
any power holder."
United States Constitution, Fourteenth Amendment (ratified July 9, 1868),
Sec. 1. "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to
the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State
wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall
abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall
any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process
of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of
the laws."
89

16B Am. Jur. 2d, Constitutional Law, - 799 citing District of Columbia v.
Carter, 409 US 418, 93 S. Ct. 602, 34 L. Ed. 2d 613 (1973), reh g denied,
410 US 959, 93 S. Ct. 1411, 35 L. Ed. 2d 694 (1973) and on remand to, 489
F. 2d 1272 (D.C. Cir. 1974); Moose Lodge No. 107 v. Irvis, 407 US 163, 92 S.
Ct. 1965, 32 L. Ed. 2d 627 (1972); Equality Foundation of Greater Cincinnati,
Inc. v. City of Cincinnati, 54 F. 3d 261, 67 Fair Empl. Prac. Cas. (BNA) 1290,
66 Empl. Prac. Dec. (CCH) - 43542, 1995 FED App. 147P (6th Cir. 1995),
cert. granted, judgment vacated on other grounds, 116 S. Ct. 2519, 135 L.
Ed. 2d 1044, 71 Fair Empl. Prac. Cas. (BNA) 64 (US 1996), ON REMAND TO,
128 F. 3d 289, 75 Fair Empl. Prac. Cas. (BNA) 115, 1997 FED App. 318P (6th
Cir. 1997); Gallagher v. Neil Young Freedom Concert, 49 F. 3d 1442, 98 Ed.
Law Rep. 639 (10th Cir. 1995); Mahoney v. Babbitt, 105 F. 3d 1452 (DC Cir.
1997), reh g denied, 113 F. 3d 219 (DC Cir. 1997).
90

Id., citing Medical Institute of Minnesota v. National Ass'n of Trade and


Technical Schools, 817 F. 2d 1310, 39 Ed. Law Rep. 62 (8th Cir. 1987); First
91

Nat. Bank of Kansas City v. Danforth, 523 S.W. 2d 808 (Mo. 1975), cert.
denied, 421 US 992, 95 S. Ct. 1999, 44 L. Ed. 2d 483 (1975) and cert.
denied, 421 US 1016, 95 S. Ct. 2424, 44 L. Ed. 2d 685 (1975).
92

Rollo, p. 687.

Pioneer Texturizing Corporation v. National Labor Relations Commission,


G.R. No. 118651, October 16, 1997, 280 SCRA 806.
93

94

Rollo, p. 684.

95

Id. at 648. Petitioner was informed that:

"In connection with our manifestation dated 25 January 2001 you are hereby
directed to physically return to work effective 01 March 2001. You are to
report to the Office of the Vice-President-Airport Services.
Pending appeal you are going to be assigned to a 'substantially equivalent'
position in accordance with the 18 November 1998 Decision of Labor Arbiter
Ramon Valentin Reyes as modified by the 23 June Resolution of the National
Labor Relations Commission.
Failure on your part to heed this order may be a ground to administratively
charge you in accordance with the Company Code of Discipline, policy, rules
and regulations.
CESAR B. LAMBERTE"
96

Id.

Roquero v. Philippine Airlines, Inc., G.R. No. 152329, April 22, 2003, 401
SCRA 424.
97

98

Id. at 430.

99

Id.

Pizza Inn/Consolidated Foods Corporation v. National Labor Relations


Commission, G.R. No. L-74531, June 28, 1988, 162 SCRA 773; Philippine
Engineering Corporation v. Court of Industrial Relations, G.R. No. L-27880,
September 30, 1971, 41 SCRA 89.
100

San Miguel Corporation v. Lao, 433 Phil. 890, 898 (2002); Philippine Long
Distance Telephone Company v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R.
No. L-80609, August 23, 1988, 164 SCRA 671, 682.
101

Aparente, Sr. v. National Labor Relations Commission, 387 Phil. 96, 107
(2000).
102

San Miguel Corporation v. Lao, supra at 898; Aparente, Sr. v. National


Labor Relations Commission, id.; Philippine Long Distance Telephone
Company v. National Labor Relations Commission, supra at 682.
103

104

Aparente, Sr. v. National Labor Relations Commission, supra at 108.

Planters Products, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No.


78524, January 20, 1989, 169 SCRA 328;Insular Life Assurance Co., Ltd. v.
National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. L-74191, December 21, 1987,
156 SCRA 740; Soriano v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. L75510, October 27, 1987, 155 SCRA 124.
105

EN BANC
[G.R. No. L-14827. October 31, 1960.]
CHUA YENG, Petitioner, v. MICHAELA ROMA, and her minor children
GUADALUPE, PILAR, ROSARIO, CORNELIO and GERARDO, all
surnamed ROMEO, Respondents.
Pedro B. Uy Calderon and A. Marigomen for Petitioner.
D. V. Nacua and J. D. Palma for Respondents.
SYLLABUS
1. EMPLOYER AND EMPLOYEE; WORKMENS COMPENSATION; ACTS
REASONABLY NECESSARY TO HEALTH AND COMFORT OF EMPLOYEE ARE
INCIDENTAL TO THE EMPLOYMENT; INJURIES SUSTAINED WHILE
PERFORMING SUCH ACTS ARE COMPENSABLE. Acts reasonably necessary
to the health and comfort of an employee while at work, such as satisfaction
of his thirst (like in the present case), hunger, or other physical demands, or
protecting himself from excessive cold, are incidental to the employment,
and injuries sustained in the performance of such acts are compensable as
arising out of and in the course of the employment (58 Am. Jur., sec. 236, p.
742, citing numerous cases). The fact that the deceased employee was in the
kitchen of appellants house drinking water when he was bitten by the puppy
and not at his usual place of work does not bring the case out of the
operation of this rule, for the reason that the laborer was practically driven to
that place through appellants fault in not providing an adequate supply of
drinking water at the warehouse.
2. ID.; ID.; INJURIES SUSTAINED WHILE PERFORMING ACTS RELATED OR

INCIDENTAL TO EMPLOYEES DUTIES COMPENSABLE. Even if the injury


occurred while the worker was not performing acts strictly within the scope of
his duties, but engaged in an activity either related or incidental to his duties,
or doing an act in the interest of his employer, the same is compensable.
Thus, injury to an employee of a bus firm, occurring outside of assigned
territory, in undertaking to retrieve personal belongings of a passenger, was
held compensable (Verzosa v. Arnaz Vda. de Cruz, L-7305, December 15,
1953); so was that of a laborer who, trying to alight from a truck to pick up a
sack which had fallen, belonging to his employer, was caught between the
wheels (Ramos v. Poblete, 40 Off. Gaz., 3474); likewise, the death of a
worker who tried to recover a piece of board which had fallen into a molasses
tank, and died from the deadly fumes therein (Estandarte v. Phil. Motor
Alcohol Corp., G. R. No. 39733, Nov. 1933).
3. ID.; WORKMENS COMPENSATION ACT; LIBERAL CONSTRUCTION IN
FAVOR OF WORKINGMAN. The Workmens Compensation Act being a social
legislation, and in line with the intent of the law to effect social justice, the
provisions thereof should be liberally construed in favor of the workingman
(Luzon Brokerage Co., Inc. v. Dayao, Et Al., 106 Phil., 525 Madrigal Shipping
Co. v. Baens del Rosario, Et Al., L-13130, October 31, 1959).
DECISION
REYES, J. B. L., J.:
Appeal by certiorari from the decision of the Workmens Compensation
Commission, dated September 17, 1958, and its resolution en banc, dated
December 4, 1958, awarding compensation for the death of Santos Romeo.
The appeal raises issues of fact and of law, but since findings of fact by the
Workmens Compensation Commission are final, if supported by substantial
evidence, (Batangas Transportation Co., v. Galicano Rivera, Et Al., supra., p.
175; Laguna Tayabas Bus Co. v. Consunto, Et Al., 108 Phil., 62, and since the
record shows that such evidence is not wanting, this Court will consider the
case on the facts as found by the commission.
Santos Romeo was, on May 16, 1956, working for petitioner as cargador in
loading and unloading copra at the formers warehouse at C. Padilla Street,
Cebu City. In the morning of that day, after asking permission from his
employer, Santos Romeo went to petitioners house just across the street
from the warehouse to get a drink of water, the water pump in the
warehouse being out of order and no supply being available. Reaching the
kitchen of said house and while he was drinking, he saw a puppy eating some
fried fish inside an open cabinet. He tried to drive away the puppy by saying
"tse," but as the puppy still continued to eat the fish, Santos made a motion

with his hand to drive it away, in the course of which his right hand was
bitten by said puppy. On June 26, 1958, Santos Romeo died of hydrophobia
from the dog bite. It appears that the puppy was not owned by petitioner.
Appellant contends that, under the circumstances narrated, the death of the
laborer can not be considered to arise "out of and in the course" of his
employment.
We find no merit in this contention. The rule is well established that
"Such acts as are reasonably necessary to the health and comfort of an
employee while at work, such as satisfaction of his thirst, hunger, or other
physical demands, or protecting himself from excessive cold, are
nevertheless incidental to the employment, and injuries sustained in the
performance of such act are generally held to be compensable as arising out
of and in the course of the employment." (58 Am. Jur., sec. 236, p. 742,
citing numerous cases.)
That Santos Romeo was in the kitchen of appellants house and not at his
usual place of work does not bring the case out of the operation of the rule
previously quoted, for the reason that the laborer was practically driven to
that place through the appellants fault in not providing an adequate supply
of drinking water at the warehouse.
Appellant urges that the dog bite was provoked by Santos trying to take the
fish away from the puppy and hence, while he was engaged in an
independent activity. We do not regard such act as a voluntary deviation
from his duties, considering that the act of the deceased was practically an
instinctive one, that would naturally be expected from any person in his
position. Moreover, it was motivated by a sense of loyalty to his employer, a
desire to protect the latters property, that can not be deemed wholly foreign
to the duties of the laborer as such (71 C.J. 675). In fact, it has been held
that the act of saving the employees own property from an apparent danger,
is compensable (in re Brightman, 107 N.E. 527, cited in 71 C. J. 670). There,
it was said:
jgc:chanroble s.com.ph

"the standard to be applied is not that which now, in the light of all that has
happened, is seen to have been directly within the line of labor helpful to the
master, but that which the ordinary man required to act in such an
emergency might do while actuated with a purpose to do his duty."
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Compensation has been granted, even if the injury occurred while the worker
was not performing acts strictly within the scope of his duties, but engaged in
an activity either related or incidental to his duties, or doing an act in the
interest of his employer. Thus, injury to an employee of a bus firm, occurring
outside of assigned territory, in undertaking to retrieve personal belongings
of a passenger, was compensable (Vergoza v. Arnaz Vda. de Cruz, L-7305,
December 15, 1953); so was that of a laborer who, trying to alight from a

truck to pick up a sack which had fallen, belonging to his employer, was
caught between the wheels (Ramos v. Poblete, 40 Off. Gaz., 3474); likewise,
the death of a worker who tried to recover a piece of board which had fallen
into a molasses tank, and died from the deadly fumes therein (Estandarte v.
Phil. Motor Alcohol Corp., G. R. No. 39733, Nov. 1, 1933). In the foregoing,
an impelling factor considered by the court was the fact that the employee
was acting in the interest of the employer.
To the argument that the employee sustained the injury not from drinking
water but from driving away the puppy, suffice it to say that under the
circumstances that impelled him to act without opportunity for deliberate
reflection, we are not prepared to say that his act was unreasonable or
negligent. Driving away a puppy is not so fraught with potent danger as to
deter every man possessed of reasonable disposition. As has been said
". . . he was doing a thing which a man while working may reasonably do
a workman of his sort may reasonably smoke, he may reasonably drop his
pipe, and he may reasonably pick it up again." (Ramos v. Poblete, supra,
citing MLauchan v. Anderson, S.C. 529.)
By analogy, the deceased in this case may reasonably get a drink of water to
satisfy his thirst; while drinking, he may reasonably see a puppy eating some
fried fish belonging to his employer; and he may reasonably be expected to
make a motion with his hand to drive said puppy away.
At any rate, the resulting injury is not without causation in the conditions
under which deceased was required to perform his work. It appears that
there were no adequate and sanitary means of water supply in the place of
work; that petitioners workers used, for drinking purposes, water from a well
at the back of the warehouse; that this well was out of order at the time of
the incident, so that the deceased had to cross a wide public street to
petitioners house just to get a drink, thereby exposing himself to hazards
which may well have been avoided if there were drinking facilities at, or more
proximate to, the place of work.
Finally, the Workmens Compensation Act being a social legislation, and in
line with the intent of the law to effect social justice, the provisions thereof
should be liberally construed in favor of the workingman (Luzon Brokerage
Co., Inc., v. Dayao, Et Al., 106 Phil., 525; Madrigal Shipping Co. v. Baens del
Rosario, Et Al., L-13130, October 31, 1959).
Wherefore, the decision and the resolution appealed from are hereby
affirmed. Costs against petitioner.
Paras, C.J., Bengzon, Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Barrera, Gutierrez
David, and Paredes, JJ., concur.

EN BANC
[G.R. No. L-26341. November 27, 1968.]
ILOILO DOCK & ENGINEERING CO., Petitioner, v. WORKMENS
COMPENSATION COMMISSION and IRENEA M. PABLO, for herself and
in behalf of her minor children EDWIN, EDGAR and EDNA, all
surnamed PABLO, Respondents.
Luisito C. Hofilea for Petitioner.
Villavieja & Villanueva for respondent Workmens Compensation
Commission.
Gualberto C. Opong for respondent Irenea M. Pablo and her minor
children.
SYLLABUS
1. LABOR LAWS; WORKMENS COMPENSATION ACT; GRANT OF AWARD FOR
INJURIES SUSTAINED IN THE COURSE OF EMPLOYMENT; SCOPE OF TERM
"EMPLOYMENT." Employment includes not only the actual doing of the
work, but a reasonable margin of time and space necessary to be used in
passing to and from the place where the work is to be done. If the employee
be injured while passing, with the express or implied consent of the
employer, to or from his work by a way over the employers premises, or
over those of another in such proximity and relation as to be in practical
effect a part of the employers premises, the injury is one arising out of and
in the course of the employment as much as though it had happened while
the employee was engaged in his work at the place of its performance. In
other words, the employment may begin in point of time before the work is
entered upon and in point of space before the place where the work is to be
done is reached. Probably, as a general rule, employment may be said to
begin when the employee reaches the entrance to the employers premises
where the work is to be done; "but it is clear that in some cases the rule
extends to include adjacent premises used by the employee as a means of
ingress and agrees with the express or implied consent of the employer"
(Bountiful Brick Company v. Giles, 72 L. ed. 507, Feb. 20, 1928).
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; INJURIES SUSTAINED BY AN EMPLOYEE IN AN "ACCESS
AREA" WHICH MAY BE TREATED AS PART OF THE EMPLOYERS PREMISES,
COMPENSABLE; CASE AT BAR. That part of the road where Pablo was
killed is in very close proximity to the employers premises. It is an "access
area" "so clearly related to the employees premises as to be fairly treated as
a part of the employers premises." That portion of the road bears "so
intimate a relation" to the companys premises. It is the chief means of

entering the IDEGO premises, either for the public or for its employees. The
IDEGO uses it, if extensively in pursuit of its business. It has rights of
passage over the road, either legal, if by virtue of easement, or contractual,
if by reason of lease. Pablo was using the road as a means of access to his
work solely because he was an employee. For this reason, the IDEGO was
under obligation to keep the place safe for its employees. Safe, that is,
against dangers that the employees might encounter therein, one of these
dangers being assault by third persons. Having failed to take the proper
security measures over the said area which it controls, the IDEGO is liable for
the injuries suffered by Pablo resulting in his death.
DECISION
CASTRO, J.:
This is an appeal by the Iloilo Dock and Engineering Company (hereinafter
referred to as the IDECO) from the decision dated February 28, 1966 of the
Workmens Compensation Commission (hereinafter referred to as the
Commission) affirming the decision of the Regional Office VII in Iloilo City,
and ordering the IDECO to pay to the widow and children of Teodoro G. Pablo
(Irenea M. Pablo and the minors Edwin, Edgar and Edna, all surnamed Pablo)
the sum of P4,000, to pay to the widow P89 as reimbursement for burial
expenses and P300 as attorneys fees, and to pay to the Commission the
amount of P46 as fees pursuant to Section 55 of the Workmens
Compensation Act, as amended.
At about 5:02 oclock 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 slayer, Martin
Cordero, was not heard to say anything before or after the killing. The motive
for the crime was and still is unknown as Cordero was himself killed before
he could be tried for Pablos death. At the time of the killing, Pablos
companion was Rodolfo Galopez, another employee, who, like Pablo, had
finished overtime work at 5:00 p.m. and was going home. From the main
IDECO gate to the spot where Pablo was killed, there were four "carinderias"
on the left side of the road and two "carinderias" and a residential house on
the right side. The entire length of the road is nowhere stated in the record.
According to the IDECO, the Commission erred (1) in holding that Pablos
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 Pablos death was an accident within the purview of the
Workmens Compensation Act. The principal issue is whether Pablos death
comes within the meaning and intendment of that "deceptively simple and

litigiously prolific" 1 phrase "arising out of and in the course of employment."


2 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; 3 however, it should not be forgotten that the basic
concept of compensation coverage is unitary, not dual, and is best expressed
in the word, "word-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. 4 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. 5
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 reasonably may be, and while
he is fulfilling his duties or is engaged in doing something incidental thereto.
6
The general rule in workmens 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 workmens 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. 8
We address ourselves particularly to an examination and consideration of the
second exception, i.e., injuries sustained off the premises of the employer,
but while using a customary means of ingress and egress.
This exception, known as the "proximity rule," was applied in Philippine Fiber
Processing Co., Inc. v. Ampil. 9 There, the employee, at about 5:15 a.m.,
while proceeding to his place of work and running to avoid the rain, slipped
and fell into a ditch fronting the main gate of employers factory, as a result
of which he died the next day. The sole question was whether or not the
accident which caused the employees death arose out of and in the course of
his employment. This Court ruled in favor of the claimant, thus:
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"The very case of Afable v. Singer Sewing Machine Co. invoked by the
petitioner intimated that `we do not of course mean to imply that an
employee can never recover for injuries suffered while on his way to or from
work. That depends on the nature of his employment. Considering the facts

found by the Commission, namely, that the deceased Angel Ariar was not
under any shift routine; that his assignment covered the entire working
hours of the factory; that the first working hour starts at 6:00 oclock in the
morning; that it takes at least thirty minutes before the machine operates at
full speed or load; that the spot where he fell (ditch fronting petitioners
factory or sidewalk of its premises), is immediately proximate to his place of
work, the accident in question must be deemed to have occurred within the
zone of his employment and therefore arose out of and in the course thereof.
In Salilig v. Insular Lumber Co., G.R. No. 28951, September 10, 1928,
referred to in the Comments on the Workmens Compensation Commission
Act by Morabe and Inton, 1955 edition, compensation was allowed for injury
received by a laborer from an accident in going to his place of work, along a
path or way owned by his employer and commonly used by the latters
laborers."
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In contrast is Pampanga Sugar Development Co., Inc. v. Quiroz, 10 which


concerned injuries sustained by a centrifugal operator. He had reported for
work at 9:30 p.m. (March 7, 1958) and was dismissed at 5:30 the following
morning. Soon "after he stepped out of the company gate, and while
standing about 2 1/2 meters from it between the shoulder of the highway
and a railroad that came from inside the compound and intersected the
highway, waiting for a ride home, he was bumped by a jeepney, as a result of
which he sustained" injuries. In holding that these injuries were "not
produced by an accident `arising out of and in the course of employment,"
this Court reasoned thus:
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"The compensability of an injury suffered by an employee proceeding to or


coming from his 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 (Brousseau v. Blackstone Mills, 130 A 2d 543,
545). Conversely, it is not enough to say that the employee would not have
been on the public highway had it not been for his job, since the same can
usually be said of the general public (Payne & Dolan v. Industrial
Commission, 46 NE 2d 925). The law, in effect, insures the employee against
losses arising from the perils of his work. In other words, the Workmens
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. In order to warrant recovery for off-thepremises injuries, it must be shown that there has been a very special
danger, some particular risk which the employer could have caused or
allowed to exist. Hence,
`It is significant that practically all successful off-the- premises cases have
involved normal route of access to the plant, or an icy sidewalk adjacent to
the premises and therefore identified with the premises in the sense that the
employer should have removed the ice. (Italics supplied.)

"It is true that in Philippine Fiber Processing Co. v. Ampil, G.R. No. L-8130
(June 30, 1956), we held the employer liable for an injury sustained by an
employee who, as he was running to his place of work to avoid the rain,
slipped and fell into a ditch in front of the factorys main gate and near the
same. The ditch was, however, in itself an obvious hazard which, owing to its
proximity to the gate, the employer should have taken measures to remove.
Thus, thru his inaction, he had contributed, in a special way, to the
occurrence of the accident.
"In the case at bar, no such special circumstance appears to exist. There is
no particular causative connection between the injury sustained by the
employee and either his work or his employer. Although, as stated in the
decision appealed from, the record does not show that the company `had
taken measures to make the waiting place safe for the employees, neither
does the record show either that the accident occurred at the usual waiting
place of the employee, or that said place was particularly unsafe."
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Our Workmens Compensation Act being essentially American in origin and


text, it is not amis to pay deference to pertinent American jurisprudence. In
the precise area of law here involved, we can draw guidance from an
affluence of Federal and State precedents.
From Samuel B. Horovitz Injury and Death under Workmens Compensation
Laws (1944), pp. 159 to 165, we glean the following observations:
jgc:chanrobles.com .ph

"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.
"Thus, if the injury occurred fifteen minutes before working hours and within
one hundred feet of the employers premises, on sidewalks or public roads,
the question of `in the course of the employment is flatly raised.
"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 employers 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 employers premises.
The Supreme Court of the United States has declared that it will not overturn
any state decision that so enlarges the scope of its act. Hence, a deaf worker,
trespassing on railroad tracks adjacent to his employers brick-making
premises (but shown by his superintendent the specific short crossing over
the track), and killed by a train, was held to be in the course of his
employment when hit by an on-coming train fifteen minutes before his day
would have begun. So long as a causal relation to the employment is
discernible, no federal question arises.
"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 employers
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 traveling for the
employer, i.e. traveling workers; (4) if the employer pays for the employees
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."
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Schneider (supra, at p. 117) makes this significant statement:

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"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."
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On pp. 98 to 99 of 85 ALR, we find the following disquisition:

jgc:chanroble s.com.ph

"The compensation acts have been very generally held not to authorize an
award in case of an injury or death from a peril which is common to all
mankind, or to which the public at large is exposed. 28 R.C.L. 804. And they
do not as a general rule cover injuries received while going to or from work
on public streets, where the employee has not reached, or has left the
employers premises. The question whether an injury arises out of and in the

course of the employment, however, is one depending upon the facts of each
case, and in some cases, where an injury occurred while the employee was
going to or from work, but was in the street in front of the employers
premises, it has been held compensable.
"Thus, in the reported case (BARNETT V. BRTILING CAFETERIA CO., ante, 85)
the injury was held to have arisen out of and in the course of the
employment, where the employee slipped on ice on the sidewalk immediately
in front of the employers place of business, while on her way to report for
duty, and just before entering by the only entrance to her place of
employment. The court here recognized the general rule that, if an employee
is injured while going to or from his work to his house, or to or from some
point not visited for the discharge of a duty arising out of the employment, or
while in the use of a public highway, he does not come within the protection
of the Workmens Compensation Act, but stated that there is an exception to
this rule and that the employment is not limited by the actual time when the
workman reaches the scene of his labor and begins it, or when he ceases,
but includes a reasonable time and opportunity before and after, while he is
at or near his place of employment. The court reasoned that in the case at
bar, although the employee had not entered the employers place of business,
and the sidewalk was a public highway so much therefore as was infront of
the employers place of business was a necessary adjunct, used in connection
with the business, and that the sidewalk was to a limited degree and purpose
a part of the employers premises.
In Industrial Commission v. Barber (1927) 117 Ohio St 373, 159 NE 363, the
injury was held to have arisen in the course of the employment where an
employee, about five minutes before the hour when he was to go on duty,
was struck by an automobile owned and driven by another employee, within
a short distance from the employers plant, which was located at the dead
end of a street maintained by the employer from its plant to the intersection
with another street, and, although the street was a public one, it led nowhere
except to the employers plant, and all of its employees were obliged to use it
in going to and from their work. The court stated that where the conditions
under the control of an industrial plant are such that the employee has no
option but to pursue a given course with reference to such conditions and
environments, the pursuance of such course is an implied obligation of the
employer in his contract with such employee, and that when he, for the
purpose of entering his employment, has entered into the sphere or zone
controlled by his employer and is pursuing a course with reference to which
he has no option, he is then not only within the conditions and environments
of the plant of his employer, but is then in the course of his employment; and
that, when he receives an injury attributable to such conditions and
environments, there is a direct causal connection between his employment
and his injury, and the injury falls within the class of industrial injuries for
which compensation has been provided by the Workmens Compensation
Law."
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99 C.J.S., at pp. 307-314, has this to say:

jgc:chanroble s.com.ph

"It is laid down as a general rule, known as the `going and coming rule,
that, in the absence of special circumstances, and except in certain unusual
circumstances, and where nothing else appears, harm or injury sustained by
an employee while going to or from his work is not compensable. Such injury,
or accident, is regarded by the weight of authority of many courts as not
arising out of his employment, and as not being, or not occurring, in the
course thereof. "However, this rule is not inflexible, is not of inevitable
application, and is subject to qualifications, and to exceptions which depend
on the nature, circumstances, and conditions of the particular employment,
the circumstances of the particular case, and the cause of the injury."
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Jaynees v. Potlach Forests 11 expresses with enlightening clarity the rationale


for extending the scope of "course of employment" to certain "off-premises"
injuries:
jgc:chanrobles.com .ph

"We are urged here to again recognize and apply the distinction between offpremises injuries which occur on private property and those which occur on
public streets and highways. The extension of the course of employment to
off-premises injuries is not based upon the principle which would justify a
distinction upon the narrow ground of private and public property; it is not
sound to say that while an employee is on a public highway he is always
there as a member of the public and in nowise in the exercise of any right
conferred by his contract of employment; nor is it a complete answer to say
that while he is on his employers premises his presence there is by contract
right, otherwise he would be a trespasser. The question of whether or not
one is a covered employee should not be resolved by the application of the
law relating to rights to enter upon lands, or by the law of trespass, licensee,
invitee or otherwise.
"A substantial and fair ground to justify the extension of the course of
employment beyond the premises of the employer is to extend its scope to
the necessary risks and hazards associated with the employment. These risks
may or may not be on the premises of the employer and for this reason there
is no justification to distinguish between extended risks on public highways
and private pathways. In fact it is at most a distinction without a difference.
Under the better reasoned cases the technical status as public or private is
obviously of no moment or in any event in and of itself is not conclusive."
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Likewise enlightening is the following explanation of the premises rule


exceptions:
jgc:chanrobles.com .ph

"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." (Larsons Workmens
Compensation Law, 1965 ed. vol. 1. pp. 210-211)
We now direct our attention to the cause of the employees death: assault.
An "assault," although resulting from a deliberate act of the slayer, is
considered an "accident" within the meaning of Sec. 2 of the Workmens
Compensation Act, since the word "accident" is intended to indicate that "the
act causing the injury shall be casual or unforeseen, an act for which the
injured party is not legally responsible." 12
In the cases where the assault was proven to have been work- connected,
compensation was awarded. In Nava, supra, the helmsman of a boat was
engaged in hauling the ships cable and in coiling it on the deck of the boat
preparatory to passing it down a hatchway. He found the space necessary for
coiling the cable party occupied by a folding bed of one of the passengers.
This passenger, upon being asked, declared his ownership of the bed. Nava
expressed his intention of pushing it out of the way and proceeded to do so.
Angered by this, the passenger exchanged hot words with Nava, and then,
with a piece of wood, jabbed Nava at the pit of the stomach. At this point,
the passengers brother ran up to Nava and stabbed him to death. The death
was adjudged compensable.
In Bohol Land Transportation Co. v. Vda. de Mandaguit, 13 the truck which
Mandaguit was driving collided with a cyclist going in the opposite direction.
The latter turned around and immediately pursued the bus. He overtook it a
few minutes later when it stopped to take on passengers. The driver then
disembarked from the bus to wash his hands at a drugstore nearby. The
cyclist followed him there and knifed him to death. We affirmed the grant of
compensation upon the finding that the death arose out of and in the course
of employment.
In Galicia v. Dy Pac, 14 the employee, Pablo Carla, was asked to work in lieu
of another employee who had been suspended from work upon request of his
labor union; while Carla was working, the suspended employee asked him to
intercede for him, but Carla refused; an altercation resulted; shortly
thereafter the suspended employee stabbed Carla to death. The death was
held compensable because "the injury sustained by the deceased was caused
by an accident arising out of his employment since the evidence is clear that
the fight which resulted in the killing of the deceased had its origin or cause
in the fact that he was placed in the job previously occupied by the
assailant."
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In the three cases above-cited, there was evidence as to the motive of the
assailant.
In A.P. Santos, Inc. v. Dabacol, 15 the death of an employee- driver who,

while driving a cab, was killed by an unidentified passenger, was held


compensable by the Commission. However, the question of whether the
assault arose out of the employment, was not raised on appeal to this Court.
In Batangas Transportation Company v. Vda. de Rivera, 16 that question was
raised. While the employee-driver was driving the bus, a passenger boarded
it and sat directly behind the driver. After about thirty minutes, during which
the passenger and the driver never so much as exchanged a word, the
passenger shot the driver to death and then fled. There was no competent
proof as to the cause of the assault, although there were intimations that the
incident arose from a personal grudge. The majority decision 17 ruled the
death compensable. The bases: (1) Once it is proved that the employee died
in the course of the employment, the legal presumption, in the absence of
substantial evidence to the contrary, is that the claim "comes within the
provisions of the compensation law" (sec. 43), in other words, that the
incident arose out of the workmans employment. (2) Doubts as to rights to
compensation are resolved in favor of the employee and his dependents. (3)
The Commissioners declaration on the work-connection might be binding on
the Court. (4) There are employments which increase the risk of assault on
the person of the employee and it is in that sense that an injury or harm
sustained by the assaulted worker arises out of the employment, because the
increased risk to assault supplies the link or connection between the injury
and the employment. Among the jobs enumerated as increasing the risk of
assault are (a) jobs having to do with keeping the peace or guarding
property; (b) jobs having to do with keeping or carrying of money which
subject the employee to the risk of assault because of the increased
temptation to robbery; (c) jobs which expose the employee to direct contact
with lawless and irresponsible members of the community, like that of a
bartender; and (d) work as bus driver, taxi driver or street car conductor.
It has been said that an employment may either increase risk of assault
because of its nature or be the subject-matter of a dispute leading to the
assault. The first kind of employment, the so-called "increased risk" jobs
comprehend (1) jobs involving dangerous duties, such as that of guarding
the employers property, that of carrying or keeping money, that where the
employee is exposed to lawless or irresponsible members of the public, or
that which subjects him to increased or indiscriminate contact with the
public, such as the job of a street car conductor or taxi-driver; 18 (2) jobs
where the employee is placed in a dangerous environment; 19 and (3) jobs
of employees whose work takes them on the highway. On the other hand, the
employment itself may be the subject-matter of a dispute leading to the
assault as where a supervisor is assaulted by a workmen he has fired, or
where the argument was over the performance of work or possession of tools
or the like, or where the violence was due to labor disputes. 20
In Rivera, supra, the unexplained assault on the employee was considered to
have arisen out of the employment because it occurred in the course of
employment. This Court relied on the presumption of law that in any

proceeding for the enforcement of a claim, the claim is presumed to come


within the provisions of the Act. 21 According to this Court, "this statutory
presumption was copied from New York." Concerning the corresponding New
York provision of law, Larson has this to say:
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"In a few jurisdictions, notably New York and Massachusetts, a statutory


presumption in favor of coverage has figured in unexplained- accident cases.
The Massachusetts statute provides:
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`In any claim for compensation, where the employee has been killed, or is
physically or mentally unable to testify, it shall be presumed, in the absence
of substantial evidence to the contrary, that the claim comes within the
provisions of this chapter, that sufficient notice of the injury has been given,
and that the injury or death was not occasioned by the wilful intention of the
employee to injure or kill himself or another.
"This provision was largely copied from the New York section on
presumptions, except that the New York act creates the presumption in all
cases, not merely those involving an employees death or inability to testify.
"The sweeping inclusiveness of this language might seem at first glance to
mean that the mere making of a claim is also the making of a prima facie
case, as long as death or injury is shown to have occurred. The New York and
Massachusetts courts have not so interpreted these statutes, however. It
seems to be necessary to establish some kind of preliminary link with the
employment before the presumption can attach. Otherwise the claimant
widow would have merely to say, `My husband, who was one of your
employee, has died, and I therefore claim death benefits, whereupon the
affirmative burden would devolve upon the employer to prove that there was
no connection between the death and the environment.
"It is not yet entirely clear what initial demonstration of employmentconnection will give the presumption a foothold. Apparently, the idea is to
rule out cases in which claimant can show neither that the injury occurred in
the course of employment nor that it arose out of it, as where he contracted
a disease but has no evidence to show where he got it. If there is evidence
that the injury occurred in the course of employment, the presumption will
usually supply the `arising-out-of-employment factor. "Larsons Workmens
Compensation Law (1965) vol. 1, pp. 123-124.
We also quote from the decision of the Court of Appeals of New York in Daus
v. Gunderman & Sons : 22
"The statute is not intended to relieve completely an employee from the
burden of showing that accidental injuries suffered by him actually were
sustained in the course of his employment. `It is not the law that mere proof
of an accident, without other evidence, creates the presumption under
Section 21 of the Workmens Compensation Law (Consol. Laws, c. 67) that

the accident arose out of and in the course of the employment. On the
contrary, it has been frequently held, directly and indirectly, that there must
be some evidence from which the conclusion can be drawn that the injuries
did arise out of and in the course of the employment. Proof of the accident
will give rise to the statutory presumption only where some connection
appears between the accident and the employment."
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Likewise of relevance is the following treatise:

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"The discussion of the coverage formula, `arising out of and in the course of
employment, was opened with the suggestion that, while `course and
`arising were put under separate headings for convenience, some interplay
between the two factors should be observed in the various categories
discussed. "A few examples may now be reviewed to show that the two tests,
in practice, have not been kept in air-tight compartments, but have to some
extent merged into a single concept of work-connection. One is almost
tempted to formulate a sort of quantum theory of work- connection: that a
certain minimum quantum of work-connection must be shown, and if the
`course quantity is very small, but the `arising quantity is large, the
quantum will add up to the necessary minimum, as it will also when the
`arising quantity is very small but the `course quantity is relatively large.
"But if both the `course and `arising quantities are small, the minimum
quantum will not be met.
"As an example of the first, a strong `arising factor but weak `course factor,
one may cite the cases in which recoveries have been allowed of the
employment premises, outside business hours, when an employee going to
or coming from work is injured by a hazard distinctly traceable to the
employment, such as a traffic jam overflowing from the employment
premises, or a rock flying through the air from a blast on the premises. Here,
by normal course of employment standards, there would be no award, since
the employee was not on the premises while coming or going. Yet the
unmistakeable character of the casual relation of the injury to the
employment has been sufficient to make up for the weakness of the `course
factor. Another example of the same kind of balancing-out is seen in the line
of cases dealing with injury to travelling men or loggers while sleeping in
hotels or bunk-houses. It was shown in the analysis of these cases that,
although the `course factor is on the borderline when the employee is sound
asleep at the time of injury, a strong causal relation of the injury to the
conditions of employment as where a fellow logger runs amok, or a straw
falls into the bunk-house-inmates throat from the mattress above, or the
employee is trapped in a burning hotel will boost the case over the line to
success; while a weak causal connection, as where the salesman merely slips
in a hotel bath, coupled with a weak `course factor due to the absence of
any direct service performed for the employer at the time, will under present
decisions add up to a quantum of work-connection too small to support an
award. It was also shown that when the `course element is strengthened by

the fact that the employee is at all times on call, the range of compensable
sources of injury is broader than when the employee, although living on the
premises is not on call.
"A somewhat similar balancing-out process is seen in the holding that a
borderline course-of-employment activity like seeking personal comfort or
going to and from work falls short of compensability if the method adopted is
unusual, unreasonable and dangerous, while no such restriction applies to
the direct performance of the work.
"As an example of the reverse situation, a strong `course element and a
weak `arising element, one may recall the `positional cases discussed in
Section 10, as well as the unexplained-fall and other `neutra -cause cases.
Here the course of employment test is satisfied beyond the slightest doubt:
the employee is in the midst of performing the active duties of his job. But
the causal connection is very weak, since the source of the injury whether
a stray bullet, a wandering lunatic, an unexplained fall or death, or a
mistaken assault by a stranger is not distinctly associated with
employment conditions as such, and is tied to the employment only by the
argument that the injury would not have occurred to this employee but for
the obligation of the employment which placed him in the position to be hurt.
Yet, since the `course element is so strong, awards are becoming
increasingly common on these facts.
"Incidentally, it may be observed that this `quantum idea forms a useful
yardstick for measuring just how generous a court has become in expanding
compensation coverage; for if a court makes an award when a case, by the
above standards, is weak both on course of employment and on causal
connection, one can conclude that the court is capable of giving the act a
broad construction. Thus, an award was made in Puffin v. General Electric,
where the course element was weak (rest period) and the causal element
was weak (setting fire to own sweater while smoking). Both factors were
likewise very weak in OLeary v. Brown Pacific-Maxon Inc., where the course
of employment consisted of a recreation period interrupted by a rescue of a
stranger, and the arising factor consisted of drowning in a channel where
decedent was prohibited from going. And, in Martin v. Plaut, the course of
employment factor was weak (a cook dressing in the morning) and the
causal factor was also weak (an unexplained fall); yet an award was made in
New York.
"But another New York case shows that the simultaneous weakness of course
and arising factors may reach the point where the requisite quantum is not
found. In Shultz v. Nation Associates, compensation was denied to an
employee who while combing her hair preparatory to going to lunch
negligently struck her eye with the comb. Here we see thinness on all fronts:
as to course of employment time factor, we have a lunch period; as to the
course of employment activity factor, we have care of personal appearance;
and as to the causal factor, we have negligence of the employee. Eack

weakness standing alone lunch period, care of appearance, negligence


would not be fatal; there are many awards in which one or another of these
is present. But when all are present, while an award is not impossible and
could be defended on a point by point basis, it can not be relied upon in most
jurisdictions by the prudent lawyer." Larsons Workmens Compensation Law,
1965 ed. Vol. 1, pp. 452.97 to 452.100.
In resum:

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1. Workmens compensation is granted if the injuries result from an accident


which arise out of and in the course of employment.
2. Both the "arising" factor and the "course" factor must be present. If one
factor is weak and the other is strong, the injury is compensable, but not
where both factors are weak. Ultimately, the question is whether the accident
is work-connected.
3. In a proceeding for the enforcement of a claim, the same is presumed to
come within the provisions of the Workmens Compensation Act. But a
preliminary link must first be shown to exist between the injury and the
employment. Thus if the injury occurred in the course of employment, it is
presumed to have arisen out of the employment.
4. The "course" factor applies to time, place and circumstances. This factor is
present if the injury takes place within the period of employment, at a place
where the employee may be, and while he is fulfilling his duties or is engaged
in doing something incidental thereto.
5. The rule is that an injury sustained while the employee goes to or comes
from his place of work, is not of employment.
6. The exception to the rule is an injury sustained off the employees
premises, but while in close proximity thereto and while using a customary
means of ingress and egress. The reason for extending the scope of "course
of employment" to off-premises injuries is that there is a causal connection
between the work and the hazard.
7. An "assault" may be considered an "accident" within the meaning of the
Workmens Compensation Act. The employment may either increase risk of
assault because of its nature or be the subject-matter of a dispute leading to
the assault.
From these milestones, we now proceed to take our bearings in the case at
bar, having in mind always that no cover-all formula can be spelled out with
specificity, that the particular facts and circumstances of each case must be
inquired into, and that in any perceptive inquiry, the question as to where the
line should be drawn beyond which the liability of the employer cannot
continue has been held to be usually one of fact.

We shall first dwell on the question of ownership of the private road where
Pablo was killed. In granting compensation, that Commission said that "the
road where the deceased was shot was of private ownership, was called the
IDECO road, and led straight to the main IDECO gate, thus raising the
reasonable assumption that it belonged" to the IDECO. The Commission
reasoned out that "even if the ownership of the road were open to question,
there was no doubt that its private character was obviously exploited by the
respondent for the purpose of its own business to such an extent as to make
it to all intents and purposes an extension of its premises," so that "the
shooting of the deceased may be considered to have taken place on the
premises, and therefore within the employment," and that "while respondent
allowed its name to be used in connection with the private road for the
ingress and egress of the employees it did not apparently take the necessary
precaution to make it safe for its employees by employing security guards."

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library

But the IDECO denies ownership of the road. In its memorandum filed with
the Regional Office, IDECO averred that Pablos death did not originate from
his work as to time, place and circumstances. This, in effect, is a denial of
ownership of the road. The decision of the Regional Office does not state that
the road belongs to the IDECO. All that it says is that Pablo was shot "barely
two minutes after he was dismissed from work and while walking along the
IDECO road about twenty (20) meters from the gate." In its motion for
reconsideration and/or review," the IDECO emphasized that "the place where
the incident happened was a public road, not less than (20) meters away
from the main gate of the compound, and therefore not proximate to or in
the immediate vicinity of the place of work." Again, the ownership of the road
was implicitly denied. And in its "motion for reconsideration and/or appeal to
the Commission en banc," the IDECO alleged outright that the "road where
the incident took place, although of private ownership, does not belong to
IDECO. There is absolutely no evidence on record that shows IDECO owns
the road." If the road were owned by the IDECO, there would have been no
question that the assault arose "in the course of employment." 23 But if it did
indeed own the road, then the IDECO would have fenced it, and placed its
main gate at the other end of the road where it meets the public highway.
But while the IDECO does not own the private road, it cannot be denied that
it was using the same as the principal means of ingress and egress. The
private road leads directly to its main gate. 24 Its right to use the road must
then perforce proceed from either an easement of right of way or a lease. Its
right, therefore, is either a legal one or a contractual one. In either case the
IDECO should logically and properly be charged with security control of the
road. The IDECO owned its employees a safe passage to its premises. In
compliance with such duty, the IDECO should have seen to it not only the
road was properly paved and did not have holes or ditches, but should also
have instituted measures for the proper policing of the immediate area. The
point where Pablo was shot was barely twenty meters away from the main
IDECO gate, certainly nearer than a stones throw therefrom. The spot is

immediately proximate to the IDECOs premises. Considering this fact, and


the further facts that Pablo has just finished overtime work at the time, and
was killed barely two minutes after dismissal from work, the Ampil case is
squarely applicable here. We may say, as we did in Ampil, that the place
where the employee was injured being "immediately proximate to his place
of work, the accident in question must be deemed to have occurred within
the zone of his employment and therefore arose out of and in the course
thereof." Our principal question is whether the injury was sustained in the
course of employment. We find that it was, and so conclude that the assault
arose out of the employment, even though the said assault is unexplained.
American jurisprudence supports this view.
In Bountiful Brick Company v. Giles, 25 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled:

jgc:chanroble s.com.ph

"Employment includes not only the actual doing of the work, but a
reasonable margin of time and space necessary to be used in passing to and
from the place where the work is to be done. If the employee be injured
while passing, with the express or implied consent of the employer, to or
from his work by a way over the employers, to or from his work by a way
over the employers premises, or over those of another such proximity and
relation as to be in practical effect a part of the employers premises, the
injury is one arising out and in the course of the employment as much as
though it had happened while the employee was engaged in his work at the
place of its performance. In other words, the employment may begin in point
of time before the work is entered upon and in point of space before the
place where the work is to be done is reached. Probably, as a general rule,
employment may be said to begin when the employee reaches the entrance
to the employers premises where the work is to be done; but it is clear that
in some cases the rule extends to include adjacent premises used by the
employee as a means of ingress and egress with the express or implied
consent of the employer."
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The above ruling is on all fours with our facts. Two minutes from dismissal
and twenty meters from the main IDECO gate are "a reasonable margin of
time and space necessary to be used in passing to and from" the IDECOs
premises. The IDECO employees used the private road with its consent,
express or implied. Twenty meters on that road from the main gate is in
closed proximity to the IDECOs premises. It follows that Pablos death was in
the course of employment.
In Carter v. Lanzetta, 26 it was held that "such statutes envision extension of
coverage to employees from the time they reach the employers premises
until they depart therefrom and that hours of service include a period when
this might be accomplished within a reasonable interval" ; and that "under
exceptional circumstances, a continuance of the course of employment may
be extended by allowing the employee a reasonable time not only to enter or
leave the premises but also to surmount certain hazards adjacent thereto."

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The private road led directly to the main IDECO gate. From this description, it
would appear that the road is a dead-end street. In Singer v. Rich Marine
Sales, 27 it was held that, where the employee, while returning to work at
the end of the lunch period, fell at the curb of the sidewalk immediately
adjacent to the employers premises and one other located thereon, and the
general public used the street only in connection with those premises, and
the employer actually stored boats on the sidewalk, the sidewalk was within
the precincts of employment. In that case there were even two business
establishments on the dead-end street. Here, it is exclusively the IDECO
premises which appear to be at the end of the private road.
We find in Jaen v. Chrysler Corporation 28 a meaningful statement of the
obligation of the employer to its employees: "That the employer owes, so to
speak, a duty of `safe passage to an employee to the point where he can
reach the proper arrival or departure from his work seems without
question."
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We next quote extensively from Kelty v. Traverllers Insurance Company: 29


"The rule has been repeatedly announced in Texas that an injury received by
an employee while using the public streets and highways in going to or
returning from the place of employment is not compensable, the rationale of
the rule being that in most instances such an injury is suffered as a
consequence of risk and hazards to which all members of the travelling public
are subject rather than risk and hazards having to do with and originating in
the work or business of the employer. . . .
"Another exception, however, which is applicable is found in the so-called
`access cases. In these cases a workman who has been injured at a place
intended by the employer for use as a means of ingress and egress to and
from the actual place of the employees work has been held to be in the
course of his employment. The courts have said that these access areas are
so closely related to the employers premises as to be fairly treated as a part
of the employers premises. We shall discuss the principal authorities dealing
with this exception to the general rule.
"The leading cases in Texas dealing with the `access exception, and one
which we think is controlling of this appeal, is Lumbermans Reciprocal Assn.
v. Behnken, 112 Tex. 103, 246 S.W. 72, 28 A.L.R. 1402. In that case the
employee was employed by Hartburg Lumber Company, which company
operated and owned a sawmill in Hartburg, Texas, which was a lumber town,
consisting solely of the employers facilities. A railroad track ran through the
town and a part of the lumber companys facilities was situated on either side
of the right- of-way. A public road ran parallel to the railroad tracks which led
to the various buildings on the property of the lumber company. This crossing
was used by any member of the public desiring to go to any part of the
lumber company facilities. On the day in question the decedent quit work at

noon, went home for lunch and while returning to the lumber company plant
for the purpose of resuming his employment, was struck and killed by a train
at the crossing in question. The insurance company contended (as it does
here) that the decedents death did not originate in the work or business of
his employer and that at the time of his fatal injuries he was not in or about
the furtherance of the affairs or business of his employer. The Supreme
Court, in an extensive opinion, reviewed the authorities from other states
and especially Latters Case 238 Mass. 326, 130 N.E. 637, 638, and arrived
at the conclusion that the injury and death under such circumstances were
compensable under the Texas Act. The court held that the railroad crossing
bore so intimate a relation to the lumber companys premises that it could
hardly be treated otherwise than as a part of the premises. The court pointed
out that the lumber company had rights in and to the crossing which was
used in connection with the lumber companys business, whether by
employees or by members of the public. In announcing the `access doctrine
Justice Greenwood said:
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`Was Behnken engaged in or about the furtherance of the affairs or business


of his employer when he received the injury causing his death? He was upon
the crossing provided as the means of access to his work solely because he
was an employee. He encountered the dangers incident to use of the crossing
in order that he might perform the duties imposed by his contract of service.
Without subjecting himself to such dangers he could not do what was
required of him in the conduct of the lumber companys business. He had
reached a place provided and used only as an adjunct to that business and
was injured from a risk created by the conditions under which the business
was carried on. To hold that he was not acting in furtherance of the affairs or
business of the lumber company would be to give a strict interpretation to
this remedial statute, which should be liberally construed with a view to
accomplish its purpose and to promote justice.. . . "In Texas Employers Ins.
Assn. v. Anderson, Tex. Civ. App., 125 S.W. 2d 674, wr. ref., this court
followed the rule announced in Behnken, supra. In that case the employee
was killed while crossing the railroad track near his place of employment. In
discussing the question of the situs of the injury Justice Looney said:
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`Its use as a means of ingress to and exit from his place of work not only
conduced to his safety and convenience, but contributed to the promptness
and efficiency with which he was enabled to discharge the duties owing his
employer; hence the reason and necessity for his presence upon the railroad
track (that portion of the pathway leading over the railroad right of way)
when injured, in our opinion, had to do with, originated in and grew out of
the work of the employer; and that, the injury received at the time, place,
and under the circumstances, necessarily was in furtherance of the affairs or
business of the employer.
"Again, in Texas Employers Ins. Assn. v. Boecker, Tex. Civ. App., 53 S.W. 2d
327, err. ref., this court had occasion to follow the `access doctrine. In that
case Chief Justice Jones quoted from the Supreme Court of the United States

in the case of Bountiful Brick Company Et. Al. v. Giles, 276 U.5. 154, 48 S.Ct.
221, 72 L.Ed. 507, 66 A. L.R. 1402, as follows:
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`An employment includes not only the actual doing of the work, but a
reasonable margin of time and space necessary to be used in passing to and
from the place where the work is to be done. If the employee be injured
while passing, with the express or implied consent of the employer, to or
from his work by a way over the employers premises, or over those of
another in such proximity and relation as to be in practical effect a part of
the employers premises, the injury is one arising out of and in the course of
the employment as much as though it had happened while the employee was
engaged in his work at the place of its performance. In other words, the
employment may begin in point of time before the work is entered upon and
in point of space before the place where the work is to be done is reached."
The ruling enunciated above is applicable in the case at bar. That part of the
road where Pablo was killed is in very close proximity to the employers
premises. It is an "access area" "so clearly related to the employees
premises as to be fairly treated as a part of the employers premises." That
portion of the road bears "so intimate a relation" to the companys premises.
It is the chief means of entering the IDECO premises, either for the public or
for its employees. The IDECO uses it extensively in pursuit of its business. It
has rights of passage over the road, either legal, if by virtue of easement, or
contractual, if by reason of lease. Pablo was using the road as a means of
access to his work solely because he was an employee. For this reason, the
IDECO was under obligation to keep the place safe for its employees. Safe,
that is, against dangers that the employees might encounter therein, one of
these dangers being assault by third persons. Having failed to take the
proper security measures over the said area which it controls, the IDECO is
liable for the injuries suffered by Pablo resulting in his death. As heretofore
stated, the assault on Pablo is unexplained. The murderer was himself killed
before he could be brought to trial. It is true there is authority for the
statement that before the "proximity" rule may be applied it must first be
shown that there is a causal connection between the employment and the
hazard which resulted in the injury. 30 The following more modern view was
expressed in Lewis Wood Preserving Company v. Jones. 31
"While some earlier cases seem to indicate that the causative danger must
be peculiar to the work and not common to the neighborhood for the injuries
to arise out of and in the course of the employment (see Maryland Casualty
Co. v. Peek, 36 Ga. App. 557 [137 S.E. 121], Hartford Accident and
Indemnity Co. v. Cox, 61 Ga App. 420, 6 S.E. 2d 189), later cases have been
somewhat more liberal, saying that, `to be compensable, injuries do not
have to arise from something peculiar to the employment. Fidelity &
Casualty Co. of N.Y. v. Bardon, 79 Ga. App. 260, 262, 54 S.E. 2d 443, 444.
`Where the duties of an employee entail his presence (at a place and a time)
the claim for an injury there occurring is not to be barred because it results
from a risk common to all others .. unless it is also common to the general

public without regard to such conditions, and independently of place,


employment, or pursuit. New Amsterdam Casualty Co. v. Sumrell, 30 Ga.
App. 682, 118 S.E. 786, cited in Globe Indemnity Co. v. MacKendree, 39 Ga.
App. 58, 146 S.E. 46, 47. McKiney v. Reynolds & Manley Lumber Co., 79 Ga.
App. 826, 829, 54 S.E. 2d 471, 473."
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But even without the foregoing pronouncement, the employer should still be
held liable in view of our conclusion that that portion of the road where Pablo
was killed, because of its proximity, should be considered part of the IDECOs
premises. Hence, the injury was in the course of employment, and there
automatically arises the presumption invoked in Rivera that the injury
by assault arose out of the employment, i.e., there is a causal relation
between the assault and the employment.
We do say here that the circumstances of time, two minutes after dismissal
from overtime work, and space, twenty meters from the employers main
gate, bring Pablos death within the scope of the course factor. But it may
logically be asked: Suppose it were three minutes after and thirty meters
from, or five minutes after and fifty meters from, would the "proximity" rule
still apply? In answer, we need but quote that portion of the decision in Jean
v. Chrysler Corporation, supra, which answered a question arising from an
ingenious hypothetical situation put forth by the defendant therein:
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"We could, of course, say `this is not the case before us and utilize the old
saw, `that which is not before us we do not decide. Instead, we prefer to
utilize the considerably older saw: `Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof
(Matthew 1:34), appending, however, this admonition: no statute is static; it
must remain constantly viable to meet new challenges placed to it. Recovery
in a proper case should not be suppressed because of a conjectural posture
which may never arise and which if it does, will be decided in the light of
then-existing law." Since the Workmens Compensation Act is basically a
social legislation designed to afford relief to workmen, it must be liberally
construed to attain the purpose for which it was enacted. 32 Liberally
construed, Sec. 2 of the Act comprehends Pablos death. The Commission did
not err in granting compensation.
ACCORDINGLY, the decision appealed from is affirmed, at petitioners costs.
Concepcion, CJ., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Zaldivar, Sanchez, Fernando and
Capistrano, JJ., concur.
Endnotes:

1. Description used by Justice Frank Murphy in Cardillo v. Liberty Mutual


Insurance Co., 330 US 469 (1947), 91 L ed 1028.

2. Sec. 2, Workmens Compensation Act.


3. Arthur Larsons Workmens Compensation Law (1952 ed. with 1959
supplement), vol. 1, p. 41; see also 1965 ed., vol. 1, p. 42.
4. See note 3, at pp. 42 & 43.
5. Afable v. Singer Sewing Machine Co., 58 Phil. 42, citing Fitzgerald v. Clarke
& Sons, 1 BWCC 197, Dretzen Co v. Industrial Board, 279, Ill. 11, 116 NE
684.
6. PHHC v. WCC & Alba Titong, L-18246, Oct. 30, 1964, citing Murillo v.
Mendoza, 66 Phil. 689, & Larsons Workmens Compensation Law, 1952 ed., p
153.
7. Vol. 8, William R. Schneider, Workmens Compensation Text, Permanent
Edition, p. 3.
8. See note 7, at pp. 7 and 8.
9. L-8130, June 30, 1956, 99 Phil. 1050.
10. L-22117, April 29, 1966.
11. 50 ALR 2d 356, Idaho Supreme Court, June 15, 1954.
12. Taller vda. de Nava v. Ynchausti Steamship Co., 57 Phil. 751.
13. 70 Phil. 685.
14. G.R. No. 7402, March 25, 1941, 40 OG No. 1, p. 83 (Court of Appeals
case, decision of a special division of five Justices, Justice Alex Reyes,
ponente).
15. L-19051, Nov. 23, 1966.
16. L-7658, May 8, 1956. .
17. Five Justices dissented.
18. The jobs of the employees in the Nava, Rivera, Madanguit and Dabacol
cases are within this class.
19. The injuries resulting from assault on the manager of a building used as
a rooming house by unsavory characters, was adjudged compensable in
Israel v. Ramble Properties, Inc., 58 NYS 2d 388.
20. The Galicia case probably comes under this category. For a discussion of

assaults as a work hazard, see Larsons Workmens Compensation Law (1965


ed.), vol. 1, pp. 132-144.
21. Sec. 43(1), Workmens Compensation Act.
22. 28 NE 2d 914.
23. The presumption that the injury arises out of and in the course of
employment prevails where the injury occurs on the employers premises.
The injuries were sustained by the employee when she was struck by an
automobile while walking from the processing plant where she worked to her
automobile which was parked in the adjoining parking area maintained for
employees. Forest v. Birds Eye Division of General Foods Corporation, 422
P2d 616, Supreme Court of Idaho, Jan. 17, 1967.
"Where state vehicle being driven with consent of the state and under its
direction and upon its business struck a state hospital employee on the
premises of the state hospital after she had completed her shift, the injuries
sustained were declared covered by workmens compensation law in Nichols
v. Godfrey, 411, P2d 763, March 4, 1966.
24. "Main" means principal, chief, first in size, rank, importance. 26 Words &
Phrases 60, citing Evers v. Flanagan, 61 NYS 2d 496, 499, 186 Misc. 101. It
may be reasonably assumed then that the main gate is not the only gate,
although the natural tendency of employees and customers is to pass
through the main gate.
25. 72 L. ed. 507, Feb. 20, 1928.
26. 193 SO 2d 259, Supreme Court of Louisiana, December 12, 1966. Here,
the Court held that the accident when the employee fell on the step adjoining
the employers front door, as the employee was leaving, occurred during the
course of employment although the employee had been engaged for one day
and had already been paid, and although the employee had lingered for from
20 to 30 minutes talking to the employer.
27. 271 NYS 2d 514, New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third
Department, April 29, 1966.
28. 140 NW 2d 756, Court of Appeals of Michigan, March 22, 1966.
29. 391 SW 2d 558, Court of Civil Appeals of Texas, May 21, 1965.
30. Jaynes v. Potlatch Forests, supra.
31. 140 SE 2d 113, Court of Appeals of Georgia, Nov. 24, 1964.
32. Abana v. Quisumbing, L-23489, March 27, 1968, 22 SCRA 1278, 1968A

PHILD 997; Manila Railroad Co. v. WCC, L-21504, Sept. 15, 1967, 21 SCRA
98, 1967 PHlLD 676: ITEMCOP v. Reyes-Florzo, L-21969, August 31, 1966,
17 SCRA 1104.
FIRST DIVISION
[G.R. No. L-34228. February 21, 1980.]
SOTERO ARMAMENTO, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. CIPRIANO
GUERRERO, Defendant-Appellee.
DECISION
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:
A case certified by the Court of Appeals pursuant to section 31 of the
Judiciary Act, as amended, on the ground that it raises purely questions of
law.
Plaintiff brought this action against defendant in the Court of First Instance of
Cotabato (General Santos City) on January 27, 1967, seeking the
reconveyance of a parcel of land, or for the declaration of an implied trust
thereon, and for damages. The disputed property is Lot No. 974, PLS-247-D,
situated in Klinan 6, Polomolok, South Cotabato, with an area of
approximately 11 hectares. The property is covered by Original Certificate of
Title No. V-16135 issued by the Register of Deeds of Cotabato pursuant to
Free Patent No V-19129 granted by the Director of Lands on July 20, 1961 in
favor of defendant, but which plaintiff claims was acquired by defendant
through fraud and misrepresentation.
Defendant raised the following affirmative defenses in his Answer: that
plaintiff has no cause of action; that the trial Court has no jurisdiction over
the subject matter; that the action has prescribed; and that it has not been
brought in the name of the real party in interest.
The trial Court, in an Order dated February 14, 1968, sustained defendants
affirmative defenses and dismissed the Complaint holding that plaintiff has
no cause of action against defendant; that if the action is to be based on
fraud, the action has prescribed; and that if the action is for cancellation of
title, plaintiff has no personality to bring the action, the proper party to
institute the same being the Republic of the Philippines.
From this Order, plaintiff appealed to the Court of Appeals assigning the
following errors:
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I
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT EXERCISING ITS EQUITY JURISDICTION
AS ENUNCIATED BY JURISPRUDENCE ON THE MATTER;
"II
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN IGNORING THE PLAINTIFF-APPELLANTS CLAIM
OF POSSESSION AND OF OWNERSHIP OVER THE LAND IN QUESTION;
"III
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT HAS NO
CAUSE OF ACTION;
"IV
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT PLAINTIFF-APPELLANTS
ACTION FOR RECONVEYANCE AND DECLARATION OF AN IMPLIED TRUST,
AND DAMAGES HAS PRESCRIBED."
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In a Resolution dated July 24, 1971, and as previously stated, the Court of
Appeals certified the case to this Court because the appeal involves only legal
issues.
The Complaint alleges that plaintiff is the possessor-actual occupant of, and
the homestead applicant, over Lot No. 974, having continuously possessed
and cultivated the same since 1955 and having filed his Homestead
Application No. 37-31 therefor on July 7, 1959; that the aforesaid application
was approved by the Bureau of Lands on July 7, 1959 (the correct date is
January 6, 1964); that when he was following up his Homestead Application,
he was shocked to discover that defendant, through fraud and
misrepresentation, succeeded in obtaining Free Patent No. V-19129 and OCT
No. V-16135 by falsely stating in his Free Patent Application that he had
continuously possessed the lot in question since July 4, 1945 or prior thereto,
when, in truth and in fact, defendant was never in possession thereof. He
then prayed that the Court order defendant to reconvey the disputed lot to
him, or if reconveyance is improper, that the lot be declared in trust for the
benefit of the Republic of the Philippines, and for him, who is clearly entitled
thereto.
Defendant, in his Answer, denied that he was not in possession, alleging that
he had been in occupation of said lot and had even authorized Macario
Caangay to administer the same while he was temporarily away for

missionary work in Cagayan de Oro; that he had filed his application on


August 1, 1958 prior to plaintiffs application filed on July 7, 1959, and that
title was issued in his favor on July 20, 1961. Defendant also attached to his
Answer a Certification dated April 1, 1967, issued by the Acting District Land
Officer, District Land Office VIII-4, General Santos, Cotabato, to the effect
that the parties conflicting claims are under investigation in D.L.O. Conflict
No. 15 (N). 1
It will thus be seen that the disputed land was the subject of two Patent
Applications. Defendant filed his Free Patent Application on August 1, 1958.
Plaintiff filed his Homestead Patent Application approximately one year later
or on July 7, 1959. Defendant was issued Free Patent No. V-19129 on July
20, 1961 and Original Certificate of Title No. V-16135 on February 23, 1962.
Plaintiffs Homestead Application was approved on January 6, 1964. The
present suit was instituted on January 27, 1967.
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It is to be noted that the trial Court dismissed the case after a hearing on the
affirmative defenses. No trial on the merits was held. That dismissal was
based on the following grounds: that plaintiff has no personality to file the
action for reconveyance, the proper party being the Republic of the
Philippines; that plaintiff has no cause of action in the absence of privity of
contract between the parties; that defendants title, issued in 1962, has
become indefeasible, consequently, the Court is powerless to cancel the
same; and that even if the suit were based on fraud, the action has
prescribed.
It is true that the basic rule is that after the lapse of one year, a decree of
registration is no longer open to review or attack, although its issuance is
attended with fraud. 2 This does not mean, however, that the aggrieved
party is without remedy at law. If the property has not as yet passed to an
innocent purchaser for value, an action for reconveyance is still available. 3
"The sole remedy of the land owner whose property has been wrongfully or
erroneously registered in anothers name is, after one year from the date of
the decree, not to set aside the decree, . . . but, respecting the decree as
incontrovertible and no longer open to review, to bring an ordinary action in
the ordinary court of justice for reconveyance or, if the property has passed
into the hands of an innocent purchaser for value, for damages." 4
This is exactly what plaintiff has done. He has instituted this action for
reconveyance alleging that defendant had succeeded in obtaining title
through fraud and misrepresentation by falsely stating in his free patent
application that he had continuously possessed the land since July 4, 1945
when, in truth and in fact, defendant had never been in possession. Plaintiff
has been unable to prove his charges of fraud and misrepresentation because
of the dismissal Order of the trial Court without benefit of a full-dress
hearing.

While plaintiff is not the "owner" of the land he is claiming, so that, strictly
speaking, he has no personality to file this action, 5 he pleads for equity and
invokes the doctrine of implied trust enunciated in Article 1456 of the Civil
Code as follows:
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"Art. 1456. If property is acquired through mistake or fraud, the person


obtaining it is, by force of law, considered a trustee of an implied trust for the
benefit of the person from whom the property comes."
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The particular circumstances obtaining herein impel us to exercise our equity


jurisdiction to the end that substantial justice may be dispended to the party
litigants. To affirm the trial Courts Order of dismissal would leave the present
controversy unresolved and pending investigation at the administrative level.
Aside from the length of time it would probably take for the case to reach the
highest administrative authority, any final adjudication rendered by the latter
may eventually be raised to the appellate Courts for judicial review. This
circuitous and tedious process can be eliminated for the sake of the speedy
administration of justice by remanding the case to the trial Court for
determination on the merits of the issue of validity of the issuance of Free
Patent No. V-19129 and of the title which followed as a matter of course.
"A court of equity which has taken jurisdiction and cognizance of a cause for
any purpose will ordinarily retain jurisdiction for all purposes (Texas v.
Florida, 306 US 298; Yarnell v. Hillsborough Packing Co., 92 ALR 1475;
Erkskine v. Upham, 132 P 2d 219, and other cases cited), decide all issues
which are involved in the subject matter of the dispute between the litigants
(Russel v. Clark, 3 L ed 271 and other cases cited), and award relief which is
complete and finally disposes of the litigation (Katchen v. Landy, 382 US 323
and other cases cited), so as to accomplish full justice between the parties
litigants, (Hepburn v. Dunlop [US] 4 L ed 65; Henderson v. Henderson, 46 SE
2d 10 and other cases cited), prevent future litigation (Sonnicksen v.
Sonnicksen, 113 P 2d 495 and other cases cited), and make performance of
the courts decree perfectly safe to those who may be compelled to obey it
(Wright v. Scotton, 121 A 69; Olsen v. National Memorial Gardens, Inc. 115
NW 2d 312) (cited in 27 Am Jur 2d Equity, sec. 108)."
cralaw virtua1aw library

Likewise to satisfy the demands of justice, the doctrine of implied trust may
be made to operate in plaintiffs favor, assuming that he can prove his
allegation that defendant had acquired legal title by fraud.
". . . a constructive trust is a trust raised by construction of law, or arising by
operation of law. In a more restricted sense and as contradistinguished from
a resulting trust, a constructive trust is a trust not created by any words,
either expressly or impliedly evincing a direct intention to create a trust, but
by the construction of equity in order to satisfy the demands of justice. It
does not arise by agreement or intention but by operation by law. (89 C.J.S.
726-727).If a person obtains legal title to property by fraud or concealment,
courts of equity will impress upon the title a so-called constructive trust in

favor of the defrauded party. A constructive trust is not a trust in the


technical sense (Gayondato v. Treasurer of the Phil., 49 Phil. 244; see Art.
1456 of the Civil Code." 6
Plaintiffs action for reconveyance may not be said to have prescribed, for,
basing the present action on implied trust, the prescriptive period is ten
years. 7 Title was obtained by defendant on February 23, 1962. Plaintiff
commenced this suit for reconveyance on January 27, 1967. And if plaintiffs
cause of action is based on fraud, which should ordinarily be brought within
four years from the discovery of the fraud, deemed to have taken place when
the certificate of title was issued, 8 it need only be recalled that the
conflicting rights of the parties were already pending investigation before
District Land Office VIII-4, General Santos, Cotabato, even before plaintiff
instituted the present suit for reconveyance.
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WHEREFORE, this case is hereby ordered remanded to the Court of First


Instance of Cotabato, Branch II, at General Santos City, for hearing on the
merits and rendition of the corresponding judgment.
SO ORDERED.
Teehankee (Chairman), Makasiar, Fernandez, Guerrero and De Castro, JJ.,
concur.
Endnotes:

1. Pp. 12-14, Record on Appeal.


2. Sec. 38, Act No. 496.
3. Sec. 55, Act No. 496; Clemente v. Lukban, 53 Phil. 931.
4. Director of Lands, Et Al., v. Register of Deeds of Rizal, Et Al., 92 Phil. 826
(1953).
5. Nebrada v. Heirs of Alivio, Et Al., 104 Phil. 126 (1958); Sumail v. Judge,
96 Phil. 946 (1955).
6. Ramos v. Ramos, 61 SCRA 284, 298-299 (1974).
7. Jaramil v. CA, 78 SCRA 420 (1977); Carantes v. CA, 76 SCRA 514 (1977);
Ruiz v. CA, 79 SCRA 525 (1977); Duque v. Domingo, 80 SCRA 654 (1977);
Vda. de Nacalaban v. CA, 80 SCRA 428 (1977).
8. Fabian v. Fabian, 22 SCRA 231 (1968).

[G.R. No. L-34568. March 28, 1988.]


RODERICK DAOANG and ROMMEL DAOANG, assisted by their father,
ROMEO DAOANG,Petitioners, v. THE MUNICIPAL JUDGE, SAN
NICOLAS, ILOCOS NORTE, ANTERO AGONOY and AMANDA RAMOSAGONOY, Respondents.
SYLLABUS
1. STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION AND INTERPRETATION; ART. 335, (par. 1),
CIVIL CODE; WORDS USED IN ENUMERATING DISQUALIFIED TO ADOPT;
CLEAR AND UNAMBIGUOUS. We find, that the words used in paragraph (1)
of Art. 335 of the Civil Code, in enumerating the persons who cannot adopt,
are clear and unambiguous. The children mentioned therein have a clearly
defined meaning in law and, as pointed out by the respondent judge, do not
include grandchildren.
2. ID.; A STATUTE CLEAR AND UNAMBIGUOUS NEED NOT BE INTERPRETED.
Well known is the rule of statutory construction to the effect that a statute
clear and unambiguous on its face need not be interpreted; stated otherwise,
the rule is that only statutes with an ambiguous or doubtful meaning may be
the subject of statutory construction.
3. CIVIL LAW; ADOPTION; OBJECT. Adoption used to be for the benefit of
the adoptor. It was intended to afford to persons who have no child of their
own the consolation of having one, by creating through legal fiction, the
relation of paternity and filiation where none exists by blood relationship. The
present tendency, however, is geared more towards the promotion of the
welfare of the child and the enhancement of his opportunities for a useful and
happy life, and every intendment is sustained to promote that objective.
4. ID.; CHILD AND YOUTH WELFARE CLUB; ADOPTION; HAVING A CHILD, NO
LONGER A DISQUALIFICATION TO ADOPT. Under the law now in force,
having legitimate, legitimated, acknowledged natural children, or children by
legal fiction, is no longer a ground for disqualification to adopt.
DECISION
PADILLA, J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision, dated 30 June 1971,
rendered by the respondent judge * in Spec. Proc. No. 37 of the Municipal

Court of San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, entitled: "In re Adoption of the Minors
Quirino Bonilla and Wilson Marcos; Antero Agonoy and Amanda R. Agonoy,
petitioners", the dispositive part of which reads, as follows:
jgc:chanroble s.com.ph

"Wherefore, Court renders judgment declaring that henceforth Quirino Bonilla


and Wilson Marcos be, to all legitimate intents and purposes, the children by
adoption of the joint petitioners Antero Agonoy and Amanda R. Agonoy and
that the former be freed from legal obedience and maintenance by their
respective parents, Miguel Bonilla and Laureana Agonoy for Quirino Bonilla
and Modesto Marcos and Benjamina Gonzales for Wilson Marcos and their
family names Bonilla and Marcos be changed with Agonoy, which is the
family name of the petitioners.
"Successional rights of the children and that of their adopting parents shall
be governed by the pertinent provisions of the New Civil Code.
"Let copy of this decision be furnished and entered into the records of the
Local Civil Registry of San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, for its legal effects at the
expense of the petitioners." 1
The undisputed facts of the case are as follows:

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On 23 March 1971, the respondent spouses Antero and Amanda Agonoy filed
a petition with the Municipal Court of San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, seeking the
adoption of the minors Quirino Bonilla and Wilson Marcos. The case, entitled:
In re Adoption of the Minors Quirino Bonilla and Wilson Marcos, Antero
Agonoy and Amanda Ramos-Agonoy, petitioners", was docketed therein as
Spec. Proc. No. 37. 2
The petition was set for hearing on 24 April 1971 and notices thereof were
caused to be served upon the Office of the Solicitor General and ordered
published in the ILOCOS TIMES, a weekly newspaper of general circulation in
the province of Ilocos Norte, with editorial offices in Laoag City. 3
On 22 April 1971, the minors Roderick and Rommel Daoang, assisted by their
father and guardian ad litem, the petitioners herein, filed an opposition to the
aforementioned petition for adoption, claiming that the spouses Antero and
Amanda Agonoy had a legitimate daughter named Estrella Agonoy,
oppositors mother, who died on 1 March 1971, and therefore, said spouses
were disqualified to adopt under Art. 335 of the Civil Code. 4
After the required publication of notice had been accomplished, evidence was
presented. Thereafter, the Municipal Court of San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte
rendered its decision, granting the petition for adoption. 5
Hence, the present recourse by the petitioners (oppositors in the lower
court).

The sole issue for consideration is one of law and it is whether or not the
respondent spouses Antero Agonoy and Amanda Ramos-Agonoy are
disqualified to adopt under paragraph (1), Art. 335 of the Civil Code.
cralawnad

The pertinent provision of law reads, as follows:


"Art. 335. The following cannot adopt:

jgc:chanroble s.com.ph

chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

(1) Those who have legitimate, legitimated, acknowledged natural children,


or children by legal fiction;
x

x"

In overruling the opposition of the herein petitioners, the respondent judge


held that "to add grandchild or grandchildren in this article where no
grandchild is included would violate to (sic) the legal maxim that what is
expressly included would naturally exclude what is not included."
But, it is contended by the petitioners, citing the case of In re Adoption of
Millendez, 6 that the adoption of Quirino Bonilla and Wilson Marcos would not
only introduce a foreign element into the family unit, but would result in the
reduction of their legitimes. It would also produce an indirect, permanent and
irrevocable disinheritance which is contrary to the policy of the law that a
subsequent reconciliation between the offender and the offended person
deprives the latter of the right to disinherit and renders ineffectual any
disinheritance that may have been made.
We find, however, that the words used in paragraph (1) of Art. 335 of the
Civil Code, in enumerating the persons who cannot adopt, are clear and
unambiguous. The children mentioned therein have a clearly defined
meaning in law and, as pointed out by the respondent judge, do not include
grandchildren.
cralawnad

Well known is the rule of statutory construction to the effect that a statute
clear and unambiguous on its face need not be interpreted; stated otherwise,
the rule is that only statutes with an ambiguous or doubtful meaning may be
the subject of statutory construction. 7
Besides, it appears that the legislator, in enacting the Civil Code of the
Philippines, obviously intended that only those persons who have certain
classes of children, are disqualified to adopt. The Civil Code of Spain, which
was once in force in the Philippines, and which served as the pattern for the
Civil Code of the Philippines, in its Article 174, disqualified persons who have
legitimate or legitimated descendants from adopting. Under this article, the
spouses Antero and Amanda Agonoy would have been disqualified to adopt
as they have legitimate grandchildren, the petitioners herein. But, when the
Civil Code of the Philippines was adopted, the word "descendants" was
changed to "children", in paragraph (1) of Article 335.
chanroble s.com:cralaw:re d

Adoption used to be for the benefit of the adoptor. It was intended to afford
to persons who have no child of their own the consolation of having one, by
creating through legal fiction, the relation of paternity and filiation where
none exists by blood relationship. 8 The present tendency, however, is geared
more towards the promotion of the welfare of the child and the enhancement
of his opportunities for a useful and happy life, and every intendment is
sustained to promote that objective. 9 Under the law now in force, having
legitimate, legitimated, acknowledged natural children, or children by legal
fiction, is no longer a ground for disqualification to adopt. 10
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The judgment of the Municipal Court of
San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte in Spec. Proc. No. 37 is AFFIRMED. Without
pronouncement as to costs in this instance.
SO ORDERED.
Yap, Melencio-Herrera, Paras and Sarmiento, JJ., concur.
Endnotes:

* Judge Pascual C. Barba.


1. Rollo, pp. 19-20.
2. Id., p. 8.
3. Id., p. 12.
4. Id., p. 13.
5. Id., p. 14.
6. G.R. No. L-28196, June 10, 1971, 39 SCRA 499.
7. 2 Sutherland, Statutory Construction, 3rd. ed., Section 4502, p. 316.
8. In re Adoption of Resaba, 95 Phil. 244.
9. Santos v. Aranzanso, 123 Phil 160.
10. Child and Welfare Code, Art. 28.
SECOND DIVISION
[G.R. No. 81327. December 4, 1989.]

CRISPINA VANO, Petitioner, v. GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE


SYSTEM, (Bureau of Posts) and EMPLOYEES COMPENSATION
COMMISSION, Respondents.
Severino B. Estonina for Petitioner.
The Government Corporate Counsel for GSIS.
SYLLABUS
1. LABOR AND SOCIAL LEGISLATION; EMPLOYEES COMPENSATION LAW;
DEATH OR INJURIES RESULTING FROM ACCIDENT WHILE EMPLOYEE IS
GOING TO AND FROM THE PLACE OF WORK, COMPLIANCE. The case of
Vda. de Torbela v. Employees Compensation Commission (96 SCRA 260,
263, 264) supports petitioners contention of compensability. In the said
case, this Court held: "It is a fact that Jose P. Torbela, Sr. died on March 3,
1975 at about 5:45 oclock in the morning due to injuries sustained by him in
a vehicular accident while he was on his way to school from Bacolod City,
where he lived, to Hinigaran, Negros Occidental where the school of which he
was the principal was located and that at the time of the accident he had in
his possession official papers he allegedly worked on in his residence on the
eve of his death. "The claim is compensable. When an employee is
accidentally injured at a point reasonably proximate to the place of work,
while he is going to and from his work, such injury is deemed to have arisen
out of and in the course of his employment." The same ruling was reiterated
in the more recent case of Alano v. Employees Compensation Commission
(158 SCRA, 669, 472): "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 principals being at the place of the accident. She was there because
her employment required her to be there." We see no reason to deviate from
the foregoing rulings. Like the deceased in these two (2) aforementioned
cases, it was established that petitioners husband in the case at bar was on
his way to his place of work when he met the accident. His death, therefore,
is compensable under the law as an employment accident.
DECISION
PARAS, J.:

The only issue in this case is whether or not the death of petitioners
husband, Filomeno Vano is compensable under the Employees Compensation
Law.
Filomeno Vano was a letter carrier of the Bureau of Posts in Tagbilaran City.
On July 31, 1983, a Sunday, at around 3:30 p.m. Vano was driving his
motorcycle with his son as backrider allegedly on his way to his station in
Tagbilaran for his work the following day, Monday. As they were approaching
Hinawanan Bridge in Loay, Bohol, the motorcycle skidded, causing its
passengers to be thrown overboard. Vanos head hit the bridges railing which
rendered him unconscious. He was taken to the Engelwood Hospital where he
was declared dead on arrival due to severe hemorrhage.
Vanos widow, Crispina Vano, filed a death benefit claim under PD 626, as
amended, with the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). On April
6, 1984, the GSIS denied the claim, citing the following reason:
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"It appears on record that your husband was on his way to his station when
he died in a vehicular accident he figured in a Sunday, July 31, 1983.
"Obviously, the accident occurred outside of his time and place of work;
neither was he performing official duties at the time of its occurrence.
Accordingly, the conditions for compensability in accordance with the law
have not been satisfied, to wit:
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1. that the employee must have been injured at the place where his work
requires him to be;
2. that 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 his employer."
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(p. 22, Rollo)


Crispina Vanos requests for reconsideration were denied by the GSIS,
consequently, the case was elevated to the Employees Compensation
Commission (ECC) for appropriate review under ECC Case No. 2658.
In a Decision dated October 13, 1987, the ECC affirmed the decision denying
the claim of Crispina Vano because:
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"Under the Employees Compensation law, injuries resulting from accidents


while an employee is going to and from the place of work is not
compensable. Some exceptions, however, are: when the injury is sustained
at a place proximate to the work-place, when the employee meets the
accident while riding in a company vehicle and when he is on special errand
for his employer. (Section 1, Rule III of the Amended Rules of Employees

Compensation).
"We note that the case at bar does not fall under any of the foregoing
exceptions. In fact, the subject employees accident happened on a Sunday, a
non-working day. In the light of the foregoing, we cannot but affirm
respondents denial of the claim." (pp. 13-15, Rollo; p. 2, Decision, ECC Case
No. 2658).
The petitioner then came to this Court on a petition for review on certiorari.
She alleges that since her husband was precisely commuting from his
hometown to Tagbilaran City, where he would report for duty as letter carrier
the following day, when he met the accident, then his consequent death
should be compensated.
The respondent Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) reiterates its
views and contends that the present provision of law on employment injury is
different from that provided in the old Workmens Compensation Act and is
"categorical in that the injury must have been sustained at work while at the
workplace or elsewhere while executing an order from the employer. (Rollo,
p. 69).
For its part, the respondent Employees Compensation Commission stood
firm in asserting that the death of Filomeno Vano is not the result of an
employment accident as contemplated by law hence petitioner is clearly not
entitled to her claim for death benefits.
The case of Vda. de Torbela v. Employees Compensation Commission (96
SCRA 260, 263, 264) supports petitioners contention of compensability. In
the said case, this Court held:
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"It is a fact that Jose P. Torbela, Sr. died on March 3, 1975 at about 5:45
oclock in the morning due to injuries sustained by him in a vehicular
accident while he was on his way to school from Bacolod City, where he lived,
to Hinigaran, Negros Occidental where the school of which he was the
principal was located and that at the time of the accident he had in his
possession official papers he allegedly worked on in his residence on the eve
of his death.
"The claim is compensable. When an employee is accidentally injured at a
point reasonably proximate to the place of work, while he is going to and
from his work, such injury is deemed to have arisen out of and in the course
of his employment."
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The same ruling was reiterated in the more recent case of Alano v.
Employees Compensation Commission (158 SCRA, 669, 672):
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"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 principals being at
the place of the accident. She was there because her employment required
her to be there."
cralaw virtua1aw library

We see no reason to deviate from the foregoing rulings. Like the deceased in
these two (2) aforementioned cases, it was established that petitioners
husband in the case at bar was on his way to his place of work when he met
the accident. His death, therefore, is compensable under the law as an
employment accident.
chanrobles.com :cralaw:red

WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby SET ASIDE and the
Government Service Insurance System is ordered to pay petitioner the sum
of Twelve Thousand Pesos (P12,000.00)) as death benefit and the sum of
One Thousand Two Hundred Pesos (P1,200.00) as attorneys fees.
SO ORDERED.
Padilla, Sarmiento and Regalado, JJ., concur.
Melencio-Herrera, J., is on leave.
[G.R. No. 80157. February 6, 1990.]
AMALIA NARAZO, Petitioner, v. EMPLOYEES COMPENSATION
COMMISSION AND GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM
(Provincial Governors Office, Negros Occidental), Respondents.
Citizens Legal Assistance Office for petitioner.
DECISION
PADILLA, J.:
This is a petition for review of the decision of the Employees Compensation
Commission (ECC) dated 19 May 1987, 1 denying petitioners claim for
compensation benefits under PD 626, as amended, for the death of her
husband, Geronimo Narazo.
Geronimo Narazo was employed for thirty eight (38) years as Budget
Examiner in the Office of the Governor, Province of Negros Occidental. His
duties included preparation of the budget of the Province, financial reports
and review or examination of the budget of some provincial and municipal
offices.
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On 14 May 1984, Narazo died at the age of fifty seven (57). His medical
records show that he was confined three (3) times at the Doa Corazon L.
Montelibano Hospital in Bacolod City, for urinary retention, abdominal pain
and anemia. He was thereafter diagnosed to be suffering from "obstructive
nepropathy due to benign prostatic hypertrophy", commonly known as
"Uremia."
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Petitioner, as the widow of the deceased, filed a claim with the Government
Service Insurance System (GSIS) for death benefits for the death of her
husband, under the Employees Compensation Law (PD 626, as amended).
However, said claim was denied on the ground that the cause of death of
Narazo is not listed as an occupational disease, and that there is no showing
that the position and duties of the deceased as Budget Examiner had
increased the risk of contracting "Uremia." 2 Petitioner moved for
reconsideration of said decision, claiming that although the cause of her
husbands death is not considered as an occupational disease, nevertheless,
his job as Budget Examiner which required long hours of sedentary work,
coupled with stress and pressure, caused him many times to delay urination,
which eventually led to the development of his ailments. The GSIS denied
said motion for reconsideration.
On appeal, the Employees Compensation Commission affirmed the decision
of the GSIS on the ground that the ailments of the deceased could not be
attributed to employment factors and as impressed by medical experts,
benign prostatic hypertrophy is quite common among men over fifty (50)
years of age, regardless of occupation, while uremia is a complication of
obstructive nephtropathy due to benign prostatic hypertrophy; 3 hence, this
petition.
Petitioner avers that the nature, length of time, and circumstances of the
occupation of the deceased were not considered in determining whether the
work of the said deceased had increased the risks of contracting the ailments
which caused his death. The work of the deceased, which required long
sedentary work under pressure, aggravated the risk of contracting the
disease leading to his hospital confinement and death. 4
In controversion, the ECC argues that petitioner failed to show proof that the
disease which caused the death of her husband is work-connected; and that
no credence could be given to petitioners claim that her husbands delayed
urination gave rise to the development of his ailments, for lack of medical
bases. All that petitioner has shown, according to the ECC, are mere
aggravation, and not work-connection causes. 5
Rule III, section 1, paragraph 3(b) of Presidential Decree No. 626, as
amended, defines a "compensable sickness" as any illness definitely accepted
as an occupational disease listed by the ECC or any illness caused by
employment subject to proof by the employee that the risk of contracting the
same is increased by working conditions. 6 The ECC is empowered to

determine and approve occupational diseases and work-related illnesses that


may be considered compensable based on peculiar hazards of employment.
7
Thus, a sickness or death caused by said sickness is compensable if the same
is listed as an occupational disease. If it is not so listed, compensation may
still be recovered if the illness was aggravated by employment. However, it is
incumbent upon the claimant to show proof that the risk of contracting the
illness was increased by his working conditions.
The death of petitioners husband was caused by "Uremia due to obstructive
nephropathy and benign prostatic hypertrophy," which is admittedly not
among those listed as occupational diseases. 8 As per finding of the ECC,
"Uremia is a toxic clinical condition characterized by restlessness, muscular
twitchings, mental disturbance, nausea, and vomiting associated with renal
insufficiency brought about by the retention in blood of nitrogeneous urinary
waste products." One of its causes is the obstruction in the flow of urinary
waste products. 9
Under the circumstances, the burden of proof was upon petitioner to show
that the conditions under which her deceased husband was then working had
increased the risk of contracting the illness which caused his death.
cralawnad

To establish compensability under the increased risk theory, the claimant


must show proof of reasonable work-connection, not necessarily direct causal
relation. The degree of proof required is merely substantial evidence which
means such relevant evidence as will support a decision, or clear and
convincing evidence. Strict rules of evidence are not applicable. To require
proof of actual causes or factors which lead to an ailment would not be
consistent with the liberal interpretation of the Labor Code and the social
justice guarantee in favor of the workers. 10 Although strict roles of evidence
are not applicable, yet the basic rule that mere allegation is not evidence
cannot be disregarded. 11
The nature of the work of the deceased as Budget Examiner in the Office of
the Governor dealt with the detailed preparation of the budget, financial
reports and review and/or examination of the budget of other provincial and
municipal offices. Full concentration and thorough study of the entries of
accounts in the budget and/or financial reports were necessary, such that the
deceased had to sit for hours, and more often that not, delay and even
forego urination in order not to interrupt the flow of concentration. In
addition, tension and pressure must have aggravated the situation. In the
case of Ceniza v. ECC, 12 the Court held that:
jgc:chanrobles.com .ph

". . . . It may be added that teachers have a tendency to sit for hours on end,
and to put off or postpone emptying their bladders when it interferes with
their teaching hours or preparation of lesson plans. From human experience,
prolonged sitting down and putting off urination result in stagnation of the

urine. This encourages the growth of bacteria in the urine, and affects the
delicate balance between bacterial multiplication rates and the host defense
mechanisms. Delayed excretion may permit the retention and survival of
micro-organisms which multiply rapidly, and infect the urinary tract. These
are predisposing factors to pyelonephritis and uremia. Thus, while We may
concede that these illnesses are not directly caused by the nature of the
duties of a teacher, the risk of contracting the same is certainly aggravated
by their working habits necessitated by demands of job efficiency."
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Under the foregoing circumstances, we are persuaded to hold that the cause
of death of petitioners husband is work-connected, i.e. the risk of contracting
the illness was aggravated by the nature of the work, so much so that
petitioner is entitled to receive compensation benefits for the death of her
husband.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision of the Employees
Compensation Commission denying petitioners claim for benefits under PD
626, as amended, arising from the death of her husband, is hereby
REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
chanroble s lawlibrary : re dnad

SO ORDERED.
Melencio-Herrera (Chairman), Paras, Sarmiento and Regalado, JJ., concur.
Endnotes:

1. Rollo, pp. 8-11.


2. Ibid., p. 9.
3. Ibid., p. 10.
4. Petition, Rollo, pp. 2-6.
5. Comment by ECC, Rollo, pp. 81-83.
6. Sierra v. GSIS, G.R. No. 50954, 8 February 1989; Carbajal v. GSIS, G.R
No. L-46654, August 9, 1988, 164 SCRA 204.
7. Bonifacio v. GSIS, G.R. No. 62207, December 15, 1986, 146 SCRA 276.
8. Annex "A" to the Employees Compensation Law.
9. Rollo, p. 10, citing Christophers Textbook of Surgery, Davis, 7th Ed., 911915, 862-865.

10. Limjoco v. Republic, G.R. No. L-46575, 31 August 1988, 165 SCRA 202.
11. Garol v. ECC, G.R. No. 55233, 29 November 1988.
12. G.R. No. 55645, 2 November 1982, 118 SCRA 138.
[G.R. No. 132761. March 26, 2003.]
NORMA ORATE, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS, EMPLOYEES
COMPENSATION COMMISSION, SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM (MANILA
BAY SPINNING MILLS, INC.),Respondents.
DECISION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court
assailing the May 14, 1997 Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals 2 in CA-G.R.
SP No. 42280, and its January 29, 1998 Resolution 3 denying petitioners
motion for reconsideration.
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The undisputed facts are as follows:

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On December 5, 1972, petitioner Norma Orate was employed by Manila Bay


Spinning Mills, Inc., as a regular machine operator. 4 Her duties included the
following:
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A) Doffing:

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1) Obtain empty cones from storage prior to doffing; incl. patrol round trip.
2) Prepare empty cones to each spindle prior to doffing; incl. attention to
condition of empty cones.
3) Doff full cones to bank over machine.
4) Take empty cones by L. H. drop ends inside cone or wrap around cones
and load to spindle then start spindle.
B) Creeling:

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1) Remove empty bobbins from creel pin to conveyor.


2) Obtain one-full cop from bank and remove tail ends.
3) Fit full cop to creel pin and thread to guides

4) Find end from running cone and joint-end from full cop; incl. keep clearer
free from accumulated cone.
5) Remove tail from empty bobbin when necessary. 20%
6) Stop spindles. (occasionally when stop motion malfunction. 10%)
C) Repair Breaks:

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1) Patrol to break-end.
2) Stop spindle. (occasionally) 10%
3) Get end from full cop and thread to guides.
4) Find end from running cone by R.H. and joint ends by knotter on L. H.,
then start spindle; including keep cleaner free from accumulated cone.
D) Machine Cleaning Duties once per shift (start of shift):

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1) Patrol to obtain brush.


2) Brush ends of machine.
3) Brush creel bar.
4) Brush frame beam and stand. 5
On March 22, 1995, she was diagnosed to be suffering from invasive ductal
carcinoma (breast, left), 6 commonly referred to as cancer of the breast.
Consequently, she underwent modified radical mastectomy on June 9, 1995.
7 The operation incapacitated her from performing heavy work, for which
reason she was forced to go on leave and, eventually, to retire from service
at the age of 44.
On November 17, 1995, petitioner applied for employees compensation
benefits 8 with the Social Security System (SSS), but the same was denied
on the ground that her illness is not work-related. On January 22, 1996, she
moved for reconsideration contending that her duties as machine operator
which included lifting heavy objects increased the risk of contracting breast
cancer. 9 The SSS, however, reiterated its denial of petitioners claim for
benefits under the Employees Compensation Program. Instead, it approved
her application as a sickness benefit claim under the SSS, 10 and classified
the same as a permanent partial disability equivalent to a period of twentythree (23) months. 11 Thus
Respectfully referred is a letter and copies of EC-Sickness Benefit Claim of

subject employee for your further evaluation and review.


Said claim was not considered as EC, however, sickness and disability benefit
claims under SSS were approved, computer print-out hereto attached. 12
Petitioner requested the elevation of her case to the Employees
Compensation Commission (ECC), which affirmed on June 20, 1996, the
decision of the SSS in ECC Case No. MS-7938-296. The ECC ruled that
petitioners disability due to breast cancer is not compensable under the
Employees Compensation Program because said ailment is not included
among the occupational diseases under Annex "A" of the Rules on
Employees Compensation; and it was not established that the risk of
contracting said ailment was increased by the working conditions at Manila
Bay Spinning Mills, Inc. 13 The dispositive portion of the ECCs decision reads

IN LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, the decision appealed from is hereby


AFFIRMED and the instant case is accordingly DISMISSED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED. 14
Petitioner filed a petition for review with the Court of Appeals, docketed as
CA-G.R. SP No. 42280. On May 14, 1997, the Court of Appeals reversed the
decision of the ECC, and granted petitioners claim for compensation benefit
under the Workmens Compensation Act (Act No. 3428). 15 It held that
petitioners breast cancer must have intervened before the effectivity of Title
II, Book IV of the Labor Code on Employees Compensation and State
Insurance Fund on January 1, 1975, hence, the governing law on petitioners
claim for compensation benefit is Act No. 3428, which works upon the
presumption of compensability, and not the provisions of the Labor Code on
employees compensation. The Court of Appeals further ruled that since
Manila Bay Spinning Mills, Inc. failed to discharge the burden of proving that
petitioners ailment did not arise out of or in the course of employment, the
presumption of compensability prevails, entitling her to compensation. The
dispositive portion of the said decision states:
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THE FOREGOING CONSIDERED, the contested Decision (ECC Case No. MS7838-296) is hereby set aside; petitioner instead should be entitled to the
benefits under Act No. 3428, as amended, together with the medical-surgical
expenses, including doctors bill.
SO ORDERED. 16
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration 17 arguing that it is the Labor
Code which should be applied to her case inasmuch as there is no evidence
that the onset of her breast carcinoma occurred before January 1, 1975. She
claimed that the basis of the computation of her compensation benefits
should be the Labor Code and not the Workmens Compensation Act.

On January 29, 1998, the Court of Appeals denied her motion for
reconsideration. 18
Hence, petitioner filed the instant petition insisting that her disability should
be compensated under the provisions of the Labor Code and not under the
Workmens Compensation Act.
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The resolution of the instant controversy hinges on the following issues: (1)
What is the law applicable to petitioners claim for disability benefits? and (2)
Is she entitled under the applicable law to be compensated for disability
arising from breast carcinoma?
The first law on workmens compensation in the Philippines is Act No. 3428,
otherwise known as the Workmens Compensation Act, which took effect on
June 10, 1928. This Act works upon the presumption of compensability which
means that if the injury or disease arose out of and in the course of
employment, it is presumed that the claim for compensation falls within the
provisions of the law. Simply put, the employee need not present any proof
of causation. It is the employer who should prove that the illness or injury
did not arise out of or in the course of employment. 19
On November 1, 1974, the Workmens Compensation Act was repealed by
the Labor Code (Presidential Decree No. 442). On December 27, 1974,
Presidential Decree No. 626 (which took effect on January 1, 1975) was
issued. It extensively amended the provisions of Title II, Book IV of the Labor
Code on Employees Compensation and State Insurance Fund. 20 The law as
it now stands requires the claimant to prove a positive thing that the
illness was caused by employment and the risk of contracting the disease is
increased by the working conditions. 21 It 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 employers obligation to pay workmens compensation and the
employees right to receive reparation for work-connected death or disability.
22
In Sarmiento v. Employees Compensation Commission, Et Al., 23 we
explained the nature of the new employees compensation scheme and the
State Insurance Fund, as follows
The new law establishes a state insurance fund built up by the contributions
of employers based on the salaries of their employees. The injured worker
does not have to litigate his right to compensation. No employer opposes his
claim. There is no notice of injury nor requirement of controversion. The sick
worker simply files a claim with a new neutral Employees Compensation

Commission which then determines on the basis of the employees


supporting papers and medical evidence whether or not compensation may
be paid. The payment of benefits is more prompt. The cost of administration
is low. The amount of death benefits has also been doubled.
On the other hand, the employers duty is only to pay the regular monthly
premiums to the scheme. It does not look for insurance companies to meet
sudden demands for compensation payments or set up its own funds to meet
these contingencies. It does not have to defend itself from spuriously
documented or long past claims.
The new law applies the social security principle in the handling of workmens
compensation. The Commission administers and settles claims from a fund
under its exclusive control. The employer does not intervene in the
compensation process and it has no control, as in the past, over payment of
benefits. The open ended Table of Occupational Diseases requires no proof of
causation. A covered claimant suffering from an occupational disease is
automatically paid benefits.
Since there is no employer opposing or fighting a claim for compensation, the
rules on presumption of compensability and controversion cease to have
importance. The lopsided situation of an employer versus one employee,
which called for equalization through the various rules and concepts favoring
the claimant, is now absent. . . .
In workmens compensation cases, the governing law is determined by the
date when the claimant contracted the disease. An injury or illness which
intervened prior to January 1, 1975, the effectivity date of P.D. No. 626, shall
be governed by the provisions of the Workmens Compensation Act, while
those contracted on or after January 1, 1975 shall be governed by the Labor
Code, as amended by P.D. No. 626. 24 Corollarily, where the claim for
compensation benefit was filed after the effectivity of P.D. No. 626 without
any showing as to when the disease intervened, the presumption is that the
disease was contracted after the effectivity of P.D. No. 626.25
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In the case at bar, petitioner was found to be positive for breast cancer on
March 22, 1995. No evidence, however, was presented as to when she
contracted said ailment. Hence, the presumption is that her illness intervened
when P.D. No. 626 was already the governing law.
The instant controversy is not on all fours with the cases where the Court
applied the "presumption of compensability" and "aggravation" under the
Workmens Compensation Act, even though the claim for compensation
benefit was filed after January 1, 1975. In the said cases, the symptoms of
breast cancer manifested before or too close to the cut off date January 1,
1975, that it is logical to presume that the breast carcinoma of the employee
concerned must have intervened prior to January 1, 1975. Thus

(1) In Avendao v. Employees Compensation Commission, 26 the Workmens


Compensation Act was applied to a claim for disability income benefit arising
from breast carcinoma, though the said claim was filed only in 1976, after
the effectivity of the Labor Code. Per certification of the physician of the
claimant, her breast cancer was contracted sometime in 1959, although the
clinical manifestations thereof started only in 1969.
(2) In Cayco, Et. Al. v. Employees Compensation Commission, Et Al., 27 the
deceased employees breast carcinoma first showed up in 1972 or 6 years
before she died on April 26, 1978. We ruled therein that the presumption on
compensability under the Workmens Compensation Act governs since her
right accrued before the Labor Code took effect.
(3) In Ajero v. Employees Compensation Commission, Et Al., 28 the claimant
was confined and treated for pulmonary tuberculosis and cancer of the breast
from January 5 to 15, 1976. In granting the employees claim for income
benefit, it was held that her ailments, especially pulmonary tuberculosis,
must have supervened several years before, when the Workmens
Compensation Act was still in force.
(4) In Mandapat v. Employees Compensation Commission, Et Al., 29 we held
that since the deceased underwent radical mastectomy on May 10, 1975, it is
obvious that the tumor in her right breast started to develop even before
1975. We further noted" [t]hat the onset of cancer is quiet and gradual, in
contrast [to] many diseases . . . It takes six to twelve months for a breast
cancer to grow from a size which can just be found to the size actually
encountered at the time of surgery."
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(5) In Nemaria v. Employees Compensation Commission, Et Al., 30 the


deceased employee was confined for cancer of the liver, duodenal cancer, and
cancer of the breast, from September 825, 1978, before she succumbed to
death October 16, 1978. In the said case, we recognized that cancer is a
disease which is often discovered when it is too late. Hence, we surmised
that the possibility that its onset was even before the effectivity of the New
Labor Code cannot be discounted.
(6) In De Leon v. Employees Compensation Commission, Et Al., 31 we ruled
that the governing law on the claim for income benefit filed by the mother of
the deceased on June 8, 1976 is the Workmens Compensation Act. The
modified radical mastectomy conducted on the deceased on September 16,
1968 obviously showed that she contracted breast carcinoma before the
effectivity of P.D. No. 626.
Clearly therefore, the "presumption of compensability" and "aggravation"
under the Workmens Compensation Act cannot be applied to petitioners
claim for compensation benefit arising from breast cancer. We are not
experts in this field to rule that the onset of her breast carcinoma occurred
prior to January 1, 1975, or almost twenty years ago. Hence, the provisions

of the Labor Code govern. For breast carcinoma and resulting disability to be
compensable, the claimant must prove, by substantial evidence, either of two
things: (a) that the sickness was the result of an occupational disease listed
under Annex "A" of the Rules on Employees Compensation; or (b) if the
sickness is not so listed, that the risk of contracting the disease was
increased by the claimants working conditions. 32
There is no dispute that cancer of the breast is not listed as an occupational
disease under Annex "A" of the Rules on Employees Compensation. As such,
petitioner has the burden of proving, by substantial evidence, the causal
relationship between her illness and her working conditions.
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Substantial evidence means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind


might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. 33 In the case at bar,
petitioner argued before the SSS and the ECC that her job as machine
operator, which required lifting of heavy objects increased the risk of her
contracting breast carcinoma. In addition, she contended that her job in the
winding department exposed her to cancer-causing dyes used in coloring
threads. 34 In support thereof, she cited the following:
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Some industrial chemicals create a cancer hazard for people who work with
them. Such chemicals include aniline dyes, arsenic, asbestos, chromium and
iron compounds, lead, nickel, vinyl chloride, and certain products of coal,
lignite, oil shale, and petroleum. Unless industrial plants carefully control the
use of such chemicals, excessive amounts may escape or be released into
the environment. The chemicals then create a cancer hazard for people in
surrounding areas. (World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, 1992 ed., p. 119) 35
Regrettably, however, said bare allegations and vague excerpts on cancer do
not constitute such evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support the conclusion that there is a causal relationship
between her illness and her working conditions. Awards of compensation
cannot rest on speculations and presumptions. The claimant must prove a
positive proposition. 36 A perusal of the records reveals that there is no
evidence that she was indeed exposed to dyes. Even assuming that she was
dealing directly with chemicals, there is no proof that the company where she
worked did not implement measures to control the hazards occasioned by the
use of such chemicals.
Indeed, cancer is a disease that strikes people in general. The nature of a
persons employment appears to have no relevance. Cancer can strike a
lowly paid laborer or a highly paid executive or one who works on land, in
water, or in the deep bowels of the earth. It makes no difference whether the
victim is employed or unemployed, a white collar employee or a blue collar
worker, a housekeeper, an urban dweller or a resident of a rural area. 37
It is not also correct to say that all disability or death resulting from all kinds
of cancer are not compensable. 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. What the law requires for others is proof. 38 This was not satisfied
in the instant case.
Hence, while we sustain petitioners claim that it is the Labor Code that
applies to her case, we are nonetheless constrained to rule that under the
same code, her disability is not compensable. Much as we commiserate with
her, our sympathy cannot justify an award not authorized by law. It is well to
remember that 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 law
ignores the need to show a greater concern for the trust fund to which the
tens of millions of workers and their families look to for compensation
whenever covered accidents, diseases and deaths occur. This stems from the
development in the law that no longer is the poor employee still arrayed
against the might and power of his rich corporate employer, hence the
necessity of affording all kinds of favorable presumptions to the employee.
This reasoning is no longer good policy. It is now the trust fund and not the
employer which suffers if benefits are paid to claimants who are not entitled
under the law. 39
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the decision of the Court of Appeals
in CA-G.R. SP No. 42280, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The decision of the
Employees Compensation Commission in ECC Case No. MS-7938-296,
dismissing petitioners claim for compensation benefits under the Employees
Compensation Program is REINSTATED.
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SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Vitug, Carpio and Azcuna, JJ., concur.
Endnotes:

1. Rollo, p. 101.
2. Special Second Division, composed of Associate Justices: Bernardo LL.
Salas (Ponente), Romeo A. Brawner (Member) and Angelina SandovalGutierrez (Chairman).
3. Rollo, p. 120.
4. Certification of Manila Bay Spinning Mills, Inc., Rollo, p. 60.

5. Manila Bay Spinning Mills guidelines and routine duties for petitioner
(Rollo, p. 72).
6. Surgical Pathology Report of the Philippine General Hospital (Rollo, p. 62).
7. Discharge Summary, Philippine General Hospital (Rollo, p. 68).
8. Employees Notification, SSS Form B-300 (Rollo, p. 70).
9. Rollo, p. 73.
10. Rollo, p. 74.
11. Rollo, p. 75.
12. Rollo, 74.
13. Decision, Rollo, p. 77.
14. Rollo, p. 82.
15. Rollo, p. 101.
16. Rollo, p. 113
17. Rollo, p. 114.
18. Resolution, Rollo, p. 120.
19. Valencia v. Workmens Compensation Commission, Et Al., G.R. No. L41554, 30 July 1976, 72 SCRA 242, 247; citing Section 44 of Act No. 3428;
A.D. Santos, Inc. v. De Sapon, Et Al., 213 Phil. 630, 634 (1966); Naira v.
Workmens Compensation Commission, 116 Phil. 675, 677678 (1962).
20. This explains why the present law on Employees Compensation, although
part of the Labor Code, is also known as P.D. No. 626.
21. Raro v. Employees Compensation Commission, Et Al., G.R. No. 58445,
27 April 1989, 172 SCRA 845, 849.
22. Ibid., p. 850.
23. G.R. No. L-65680, 11 May 1988, 161 SCRA 312, 315317; citing De
Jesus v. Employees Compensation Commission, Et Al., 226 Phil. 33, 4041
(1986); Bonifacio v. Government Service Insurance System, Et Al., G.R. No.
L-62207, 15 December 1986, 146 SCRA 276.
24. Gonzaga v. Employees Compensation Commission, Et Al., 212 Phil. 405,

412 (1984); citing Najera v. Employees Compensation Commission, 207 Phil.


600, 605 (1983); Segismundo v. Government Service Insurance System v.
Court of Appeals, Et Al., 206 Phil. 238, 246 (1983); Delegente v. Employees
Compensation Commission, 203 Phil. 447, 456 (1982); Ceniza v. Employees
Compensation Commission, 203 Phil. 521, 530 (1982); Evangelista v.
Employees Compensation Commission, 197 Phil. 60, 63 (1982); Corales v.
Employees Compensation Commission, G.R. No. L-44065, 27 February 1979,
88 SCRA 547.
25. Rosales v. Employees Compensation Commission, Et Al., G.R. No. L46443, 28 June 1988, 162 SCRA 727, 729; Casumpang v. Employees
Compensation Commission, Et Al., G.R. No. L-48664, 20 May 1987, 150
SCRA 21, 23.
26. G.R. No. L-48593, 30 April 1980, 97 SCRA 464, 468.
27. G.R. No. L-49755, 21 August 1980, 99 SCRA 268, 270271.
28. G.R. No. L-44597, 29 December 1980, 101 SCRA 868, 871872.
29. 191 Phil. 47, 5051 (1981); citing Illustrated Medical and Health
Encyclopedia, Volume 2, pp. 385 and 397.
30. G.R. No. L-57889, 28 October 1987, 155 SCRA 166, 174.
31. G.R. No. L-46474, 14 November 1988, 167 SCRA 342, 345.
32. Government Service Insurance System v. Court of Appeals, Et Al., 357
Phil. 511, 528529(1998).
33. Reyes v. Employees Compensation Commission, Et Al., G.R. No. 93003,
3 March 1992, 206 SCRA 726, 732; citing Magistrado v. Employees
Compensation Commission, Et Al., G.R. No. 62641, 30 June 1989, 174 SCRA
605.
34. Rollo, p. 4951.
35. Rollo, p. 50.
36. Rio v. Employees Compensation Commission, Et Al., G.R. No. 132558, 9
May 2000, 331 SCRA 596, 603; citing Kirit, Sr. v. Government Service
Insurance System, Et Al., G.R. No. 48580, 6 July 1990, 187 SCRA 224; Raro
v. Employees Compensation Commission, Et Al., supra, at 852.
37. Raro v. Employees Compensation Commission, Et Al., supra, at 847848.
38. Id., at 848.

39. Government Service Insurance System v. Court of Appeals, Et Al., supra,


at 531532; Rio v. Employees Compensation Commission, Et Al., supra, at
603604.

[G.R. NO. 146360 : May 20, 2004]


AZUCENA O. SALALIMA, Petitioner, v. EMPLOYEES
COMPENSATION COMMISSION and SOCIAL SECURITY
SYSTEM, Respondents.
DECISION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari of the
Decision1 of the Court of Appeals dated April 12, 2000 as well
as its Resolution dated December 6, 2000, which affirmed the
Employees Compensation Commissions denial of petitioners
claim for compensation benefits resulting from the death of her
husband, Juancho Salalima, under Presidential Decree No.
626, as amended.
Petitioners husband, Juancho S. Salalima, was employed for
twenty-nine years as a route helper and subsequently as route
salesman for the Meycauayan Plant of Coca-Cola Bottlers
Phils., Incorporated. In 1989, during an annual company
medical examination, Juancho was diagnosed with minimal
pulmonary tuberculosis.2 His illness remained stationary until
October 1994 when Juancho was confined at the Manila
Doctors Hospital to undergo section biopsy. His biopsy revealed
that he had Adenocarcinoma, poorly differentiated,
metastatic.3 Consequently, he underwent chemotherapy at the
Makati Medical Center. On February 1, 1995, he was found to
be suffering from pneumonia.4 On February 14, 1995, he was
confined at the Makati Medical Center.He died two days later
on February 16, 1995 due to Adenocarcinoma of the Lungs
with widespread metastasis to Neck, Brain, Peritoneal Cavity,
Paracaval Lymph Nodes, Abscen; Acute Renal Failure;
Septicemia; Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding.5
rll

A claim for compensation benefits under P.D. 626 as amended


was filed by his surviving wife, Azucena, petitioner herein, with
the Social Security System (SSS). In a report dated November
12, 1998, SSS Branch Manager Elnora Montenegro and Senior
Physicians Corazon Bondoc and Annabelle Bonifacio
recommended the denial of petitioners claim on the ground
that Adenocarcinoma of the Lungs (Cancer of the Lungs) had
no causal relationship with Juanchos job as a route
salesman.6 Petitioners motion for reconsideration was
denied.Hence, petitioner brought the case to the Employees
Compensation Commission (ECC), which affirmed the decision
of the SSS. In its Decision7 dated October 7, 1999, the ECC
relied upon the Quality Assurance Medical Report prepared by
Dr. Ma. Victoria M. Abesamis for the SSS stating that Juanchos
exposure to smog and dust is not associated with the
development of lung cancer.8
rll

Petitioner elevated the case to the Court of Appeals arguing


that Juanchos route as a salesman exposed him to all kinds of
pollutants, not to mention the daily hazards and fatigue that
came with his tasks. She pointed out that the SSS and the ECC
disregarded Juanchos medical history and the fact that the risk
of contracting Juanchos ailment was increased by the nature of
his work.9 In its Comment, ECC averred that the presumption
of compensability and the theory of aggravation prevalent
under the Workmens Compensation Act have been abandoned.
Under the implementing rules of P.D. 626, as amended, for the
sickness and the resulting disability or death to be
compensable, the sickness must be the result of an
occupational disease listed under Annex A of the 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. The ECC argued that neither condition
is present in Juanchos case since lung cancer is not an
occupational disease nor is the risk of contracting lung cancer
increased by Juanchos working conditions.10 The SSS joined
the arguments of the ECC and added that petitioner was not
able to present substantial evidence to overcome the

conclusion reached by the SSS that Juanchos cause of death


was not work-connected.11
rll

In her Reply, petitioner cited the raison dtre for the passage of
Republic Act No. 8749, otherwise known as the Clean Air Act.
Petitioner stated that the Act provides for a comprehensive
pollution control policy that mainly concentrates on the
prohibition of leaded gasoline due to its scientifically proven
deleterious effect on the health of individuals.12 Petitioner
likewise attached a clipping from the newspaper Manila
Standard13 containing a report stating that if the present level
of diesel exhaust continues, the pollution could be expected to
cause more than 125,000 cases of lung cancer in 70 years.
On April 12, 2000, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision
of the ECC, stating that the factual findings of quasi-judicial
agencies, such as the ECC, if supported by substantial
evidence, are entitled to great respect in view of their
expertise in their respective fields.14 Petitioners Motion for
Reconsideration15 was denied for lack of merit.16
rll

Hence, this Petition for Review on Certiorari , raising the lone


issue:
rbl rl l lbrr

WHETHER OR NOT THE DECISION OF THE HONORABLE COURT


OF APPEALS DENYING PETITIONERS CLAIM UNDER P.D. 626,
AS AMENDED, IS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE RULES ON
EMPLOYEES COMPENSATION AND EXISTING JURISPRUDENCE.
Petitioner claims that the judgment of the Court of Appeals
was premised upon a misapprehension of the relevant facts of
the case at bar. She anchors her petition on the fact that while
the cause of her husband Juanchos death was Adenocarcinoma
of the lungs, he nonetheless suffered from two listed
occupational diseases, namely pulmonary tuberculosis and
pneumonia, prior to his untimely demise, which she insists
justifies her claim for death benefits.
We find merit in the petition.

P.D. No. 62617 amended Title II of Book IV on the ECC and


State Insurance Fund of the Labor Code. Under the provisions
of the law as amended, for the sickness and resulting disability
or death to be compensable, the claimant must prove that: (a)
the sickness must be the result of an occupational disease
listed under Annex A of the Rules on Employees
Compensation, or (b) the risk of contracting the disease was
increased by the claimants working conditions.18 This means
that if the illness or disease that caused the death of the
member is not included in the said Annex A, then his heirs are
entitled to compensation only if it can be proven that the risk
of contracting the illness or disease was increased by the
members working conditions.
Under the present law, Adenocarcinoma of the lungs (cancer of
the lungs) which was the immediate cause of Juanchos death
as stated in his death certificate, while listed as an
occupational disease, is compensable only among vinyl
chloride workers and plastic workers.19 This, however, would
not automatically bar petitioners claim for as long as she could
prove that Juanchos risk of contracting the disease was
increased by the latters working conditions.20
rll

In the case at bar, there are two conflicting medical reports on


the correlation between Juanchos work as a route salesman
and the illness he suffered which was the immediate cause of
his demise.Dr. Pablo S. Santos, Coca-Colas Head of Medical
Services, stated in his report that while Juanchos job does not
expose him to any chemical material used within the plant,
consideration must be given to smog and dust as factors in the
development of his lung cancer.21 On the other hand, Dr. Ma.
Victoria M. Abesamis of the Social Security System declared in
her report that Juanchos exposure to smog and dust is not
associated with the development of lung cancer.22
rll

According to medical experts, Adenocarcinoma of the lungs is


one of the four major histologic varieties of bronchogenic
carcinoma, the characterization being based upon the cell
types that compose the carcinoma. Bronchogenic carcinoma,

more commonly known as lung cancer, is the term used to


designate nearly all types of malignant lung tumors. Medical
books list the etiology of lung cancers as follows: cigarette
smoking, occupational exposure, air pollution, and other
factors such as preexisting lung damage and genetic
influences.23
rll

We agree with petitioner that the respondent government


agencies failed to take into consideration Juanchos medical
history in their assessment of the claim for benefits filed by
petitioner. For a considerable stretch of Juanchos stay at CocaCola, he was found to be suffering from pulmonary
tuberculosis. Several months before his demise, he was
diagnosed with Adenocarcinoma of the lungs. A little over two
weeks before his death, Juancho was afflicted with
pneumonia.The obvious deduction is that Juancho, from the
time he acquired pulmonary tuberculosis until his passing
away, was predisposed to varied lung diseases.
It is worth noting that tuberculosis is most commonly confused
with carcinoma of the lung because the highest incidence of
both diseases is in the upper lobe of the lungs and in older
men. The symptoms of both diseases include loss of weight,
chronic cough, blood-streaked sputum and mild
fever.24 Likewise, numerous studies indicate that scars within
the lungs and diffuse pulmonary fibrosis are associated with a
slightly increased incidence of lung cancer.25 Tuberculosis is a
disease characterized by lesions in the lungs as well as
tuberculous scars.26 Thus, in light of Juanchos continued
exposure to detrimental work environment and constant
fatigue, the possibility that Juanchos Adenocarcinoma of the
lungs developed from the worsening of his pulmonary
tuberculosis is not remote.
The degree of proof required under P.D. No. 626 is merely
substantial evidence, which means, such relevant evidence as
a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion. What the law requires is a reasonable workconnection and not a direct causal relation. It is enough that

the hypothesis on which the workmen's claim is based is


probable. Medical opinion to the contrary can be disregarded
especially where there is some basis in the facts for inferring a
work-connection. Probability, not certainty, is the
touchstone.27 In Juanchos case, we believe that this probability
exists. Juanchos job required long hours on the streets as well
as his carrying of cases of soft drinks during sales calls. The
combination of fatigue and the pollutants that abound in his
work environment verily contributed to the worsening of his
already weak respiratory system.His continuous exposure to
these factors may have led to the development of his cancer of
the lungs.
It escapes reason as well as ones sense of equity that
Juanchos heirs should now be denied compensation (death)
benefits for the sole reason that his illness immediately before
he died was not compensable in his line of work. The picture
becomes more absurd when we consider that had Juancho died
a few years earlier, when the diagnosis on him revealed only
pulmonary tuberculosis, his heirs would not perhaps be going
through this arduous path to claim their benefits. Denying
petitioners claim is tantamount to punishing them for Juanchos
death of a graver illness.
P.D. 626, as amended, is said to have abandoned the
presumption of compensability and the theory of aggravation
prevalent under the Workmens Compensation Act. Despite
such abandonment, however, the present law has not ceased
to be an employees compensation law or a social legislation;
hence, the liberality of the law in favor of the working man and
woman still prevails, and the official agency charged by law to
implement the constitutional guarantee of social justice should
adopt a liberal attitude in favor of the employee in deciding
claims for compensability, especially in light of the
compassionate policy towards labor which the 1987
Constitution vivifies and enhances.28
rll

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Petition for Review


on Certiorari is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals

in CA-G.R. SP No. 56174 dated April 12, 2000 is REVERSED


and SET ASIDE. The Social Security System is ordered to pay
petitioner Azucena Salalimas claim for death benefits under
the Employees Compensation Act.
SO ORDERED.
Panganiban, (Acting Chairman), Carpio, and
Azcuna, JJ., concur.
Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), on official leave.
Endnotes:

Penned by Associate Justice Romeo J. Callejo, Sr. as


concurred in by Associate Justices Cancio C. Garcia and Martin
S. Villarama, Jr.
1

Roentgenological Report dated 16 December 1989, Court of


Appeals Rollo, p. 12.
2

SSS Physicians Medical Report dated 12 November 1998,


Rollo, p. 58.
3

Roentgenological Report dated 1 February 1995, Rollo p. 47.

Supra, note 3.

Id.

Rollo, p. 60.

Court of Appeals Rollo, p. 40.

Petition for Review filed with the Court of Appeals, Rollo, pp.
24-32.
9

10

Comment of the ECC, Rollo, pp. 66-71.

11

Comment of the SSS, Rollo, pp. 72-79.

12

Reply, Rollo, pp. 80-84.

13

Rollo, p. 85.

14

Court of Appeals Decision, Rollo, pp. 87-93.

15

Rollo, p. 94.

16

Rollo, p. 122.

17

Promulgated on 27 December 1974.

Amended Rules on Employees Compensation, Rule III,


Section 1(b).
18

19

Amended Rules on Employees Compensation Annex A (17).

Limbo v. Employees Compensation Commission and Social


Security System, G.R. No. 146891, 30 July 2002, 385 SCRA
466.
20

21

Court of Appeals Rollo, p. 39.

22

Supra, note 5.

23

Allen R. Myers, Medicine, 1986, pp. 77-78.

Harrisons Principles of Internal Medicine, 1970, 6th ed., p.


872.
24

25

Supra, note 23.

26

Supra, note 24, pp. 870-871.

Salmone v. Employees' Compensation Commission and


Social Security System, G.R. No. 142392, 26 September 2000,
341 SCRA 150.
27

Employees Compensation Commission and Government


Service Insurance System v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No.
121545, 14 November 1996, 264 SCRA 248.
28

[G.R. No. L-14827. October 31, 1960.]


CHUA YENG, Petitioner, v. MICHAELA ROMA, and her minor children
GUADALUPE, PILAR, ROSARIO, CORNELIO and GERARDO, all
surnamed ROMEO, Respondents.
Pedro B. Uy Calderon and A. Marigomen for Petitioner.
D. V. Nacua and J. D. Palma for Respondents.
SYLLABUS
1. EMPLOYER AND EMPLOYEE; WORKMENS COMPENSATION; ACTS
REASONABLY NECESSARY TO HEALTH AND COMFORT OF EMPLOYEE ARE
INCIDENTAL TO THE EMPLOYMENT; INJURIES SUSTAINED WHILE
PERFORMING SUCH ACTS ARE COMPENSABLE. Acts reasonably necessary
to the health and comfort of an employee while at work, such as satisfaction
of his thirst (like in the present case), hunger, or other physical demands, or
protecting himself from excessive cold, are incidental to the employment,
and injuries sustained in the performance of such acts are compensable as
arising out of and in the course of the employment (58 Am. Jur., sec. 236, p.
742, citing numerous cases). The fact that the deceased employee was in the
kitchen of appellants house drinking water when he was bitten by the puppy
and not at his usual place of work does not bring the case out of the
operation of this rule, for the reason that the laborer was practically driven to
that place through appellants fault in not providing an adequate supply of
drinking water at the warehouse.
2. ID.; ID.; INJURIES SUSTAINED WHILE PERFORMING ACTS RELATED OR
INCIDENTAL TO EMPLOYEES DUTIES COMPENSABLE. Even if the injury
occurred while the worker was not performing acts strictly within the scope of
his duties, but engaged in an activity either related or incidental to his duties,
or doing an act in the interest of his employer, the same is compensable.
Thus, injury to an employee of a bus firm, occurring outside of assigned
territory, in undertaking to retrieve personal belongings of a passenger, was
held compensable (Verzosa v. Arnaz Vda. de Cruz, L-7305, December 15,
1953); so was that of a laborer who, trying to alight from a truck to pick up a
sack which had fallen, belonging to his employer, was caught between the
wheels (Ramos v. Poblete, 40 Off. Gaz., 3474); likewise, the death of a
worker who tried to recover a piece of board which had fallen into a molasses
tank, and died from the deadly fumes therein (Estandarte v. Phil. Motor
Alcohol Corp., G. R. No. 39733, Nov. 1933).
3. ID.; WORKMENS COMPENSATION ACT; LIBERAL CONSTRUCTION IN
FAVOR OF WORKINGMAN. The Workmens Compensation Act being a social
legislation, and in line with the intent of the law to effect social justice, the

provisions thereof should be liberally construed in favor of the workingman


(Luzon Brokerage Co., Inc. v. Dayao, Et Al., 106 Phil., 525 Madrigal Shipping
Co. v. Baens del Rosario, Et Al., L-13130, October 31, 1959).
DECISION
REYES, J. B. L., J.:
Appeal by certiorari from the decision of the Workmens Compensation
Commission, dated September 17, 1958, and its resolution en banc, dated
December 4, 1958, awarding compensation for the death of Santos Romeo.
The appeal raises issues of fact and of law, but since findings of fact by the
Workmens Compensation Commission are final, if supported by substantial
evidence, (Batangas Transportation Co., v. Galicano Rivera, Et Al., supra., p.
175; Laguna Tayabas Bus Co. v. Consunto, Et Al., 108 Phil., 62, and since the
record shows that such evidence is not wanting, this Court will consider the
case on the facts as found by the commission.
Santos Romeo was, on May 16, 1956, working for petitioner as cargador in
loading and unloading copra at the formers warehouse at C. Padilla Street,
Cebu City. In the morning of that day, after asking permission from his
employer, Santos Romeo went to petitioners house just across the street
from the warehouse to get a drink of water, the water pump in the
warehouse being out of order and no supply being available. Reaching the
kitchen of said house and while he was drinking, he saw a puppy eating some
fried fish inside an open cabinet. He tried to drive away the puppy by saying
"tse," but as the puppy still continued to eat the fish, Santos made a motion
with his hand to drive it away, in the course of which his right hand was
bitten by said puppy. On June 26, 1958, Santos Romeo died of hydrophobia
from the dog bite. It appears that the puppy was not owned by petitioner.
Appellant contends that, under the circumstances narrated, the death of the
laborer can not be considered to arise "out of and in the course" of his
employment.
We find no merit in this contention. The rule is well established that
"Such acts as are reasonably necessary to the health and comfort of an
employee while at work, such as satisfaction of his thirst, hunger, or other
physical demands, or protecting himself from excessive cold, are
nevertheless incidental to the employment, and injuries sustained in the
performance of such act are generally held to be compensable as arising out
of and in the course of the employment." (58 Am. Jur., sec. 236, p. 742,
citing numerous cases.)

That Santos Romeo was in the kitchen of appellants house and not at his
usual place of work does not bring the case out of the operation of the rule
previously quoted, for the reason that the laborer was practically driven to
that place through the appellants fault in not providing an adequate supply
of drinking water at the warehouse.
Appellant urges that the dog bite was provoked by Santos trying to take the
fish away from the puppy and hence, while he was engaged in an
independent activity. We do not regard such act as a voluntary deviation
from his duties, considering that the act of the deceased was practically an
instinctive one, that would naturally be expected from any person in his
position. Moreover, it was motivated by a sense of loyalty to his employer, a
desire to protect the latters property, that can not be deemed wholly foreign
to the duties of the laborer as such (71 C.J. 675). In fact, it has been held
that the act of saving the employees own property from an apparent danger,
is compensable (in re Brightman, 107 N.E. 527, cited in 71 C. J. 670). There,
it was said:
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"the standard to be applied is not that which now, in the light of all that has
happened, is seen to have been directly within the line of labor helpful to the
master, but that which the ordinary man required to act in such an
emergency might do while actuated with a purpose to do his duty."
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Compensation has been granted, even if the injury occurred while the worker
was not performing acts strictly within the scope of his duties, but engaged in
an activity either related or incidental to his duties, or doing an act in the
interest of his employer. Thus, injury to an employee of a bus firm, occurring
outside of assigned territory, in undertaking to retrieve personal belongings
of a passenger, was compensable (Vergoza v. Arnaz Vda. de Cruz, L-7305,
December 15, 1953); so was that of a laborer who, trying to alight from a
truck to pick up a sack which had fallen, belonging to his employer, was
caught between the wheels (Ramos v. Poblete, 40 Off. Gaz., 3474); likewise,
the death of a worker who tried to recover a piece of board which had fallen
into a molasses tank, and died from the deadly fumes therein (Estandarte v.
Phil. Motor Alcohol Corp., G. R. No. 39733, Nov. 1, 1933). In the foregoing,
an impelling factor considered by the court was the fact that the employee
was acting in the interest of the employer.
To the argument that the employee sustained the injury not from drinking
water but from driving away the puppy, suffice it to say that under the
circumstances that impelled him to act without opportunity for deliberate
reflection, we are not prepared to say that his act was unreasonable or
negligent. Driving away a puppy is not so fraught with potent danger as to
deter every man possessed of reasonable disposition. As has been said
". . . he was doing a thing which a man while working may reasonably do
a workman of his sort may reasonably smoke, he may reasonably drop his

pipe, and he may reasonably pick it up again." (Ramos v. Poblete, supra,


citing MLauchan v. Anderson, S.C. 529.)
By analogy, the deceased in this case may reasonably get a drink of water to
satisfy his thirst; while drinking, he may reasonably see a puppy eating some
fried fish belonging to his employer; and he may reasonably be expected to
make a motion with his hand to drive said puppy away.
At any rate, the resulting injury is not without causation in the conditions
under which deceased was required to perform his work. It appears that
there were no adequate and sanitary means of water supply in the place of
work; that petitioners workers used, for drinking purposes, water from a well
at the back of the warehouse; that this well was out of order at the time of
the incident, so that the deceased had to cross a wide public street to
petitioners house just to get a drink, thereby exposing himself to hazards
which may well have been avoided if there were drinking facilities at, or more
proximate to, the place of work.
Finally, the Workmens Compensation Act being a social legislation, and in
line with the intent of the law to effect social justice, the provisions thereof
should be liberally construed in favor of the workingman (Luzon Brokerage
Co., Inc., v. Dayao, Et Al., 106 Phil., 525; Madrigal Shipping Co. v. Baens del
Rosario, Et Al., L-13130, October 31, 1959).
Wherefore, the decision and the resolution appealed from are hereby
affirmed. Costs against petitioner.
Paras, C.J., Bengzon, Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Barrera, Gutierrez
David, and Paredes, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. L-48594 March 16, 1988


GENEROSO ALANO, Petitioner, vs. EMPLOYEES'
COMPENSATION COMMISSION,Respondent.
GUTTIERREZ, JR., J.:
The only issue in this case is whether or not the injury
sustained by the deceased Dedicacion de Vera resulting in her
death is compensable under the law as an employment
accident.
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The facts as found by the respondent Employees'


Compensation Commission are as follows:

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.
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On June 27, 1977, Generoso C. Alano, brother of the


deceased, filed the instant claim for in come 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. (Rollo, p. 12)
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." (Rollo, p. 13)
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According to the respondent Commission, the deceased's


accident did not meet any of the aforementioned conditions.
First, the accident occured 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. The case, therefore,


was dismissed.
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The petitioner then went to this Court on petition for review on


certiorari. He alleges that the deceased's accident has "arisen
out of or in the course of her employment."
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The respondent Commission reiterates its views and contends


that the present provision of law on employment injury is
different from that provided in the old Workmen's
Compensation Act (Act 3428) and is "ategorical in that the
injury must have been sustained at work while at the
workplace, or elsewhere while executing an order from the
employer." (Rollo, p. 44)
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The Government Service Insurance System which received a


copy of the Court's resolution requiring the parties to submit
their memoranda, however manifests that it does not appear
to be a party to the case because it had not been impleaded as
a party thereto.
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We rule in favor of the petitioner.

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This case does not come to us with a novel issue. In the earlier
case of Vda. de Torbela v. Employees' Compensation
Commission (96 SCRA 260,263,264) which has a similar
factual background, this Court held:
It is a fact that Jose P. Torbela, Sr. died on March 3, 1975 at
about 5:45 o'clock in the morning due to injuries sustained by
him in a vehicular accident while he was on his way to school
from Bacolod City, where he lived, to Hinigaran Negros
Occidental where the school of which he was the principal was
located and that at the time of the accident he had in his
possession official papers he allegedly worked on in his
residence on the eve of his death.
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The claim is compensable. When an employee is accidentally


injured at a point reasonably proximate to the place at work,

while he is going to and from his work, such injury is deemed


to have arisen out of and in the course of his employment.
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.
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As to the Government Service Insurance System's


manifestation, we hold that it is not fatal to this case that it
was not impleaded as a party respondent. As early as the case
of La O v. Employees' Compensation Commission, (97 SCRA
782) up to Cabanero v. Employees' Compensation
Commission (111 SCRA 413) and recently, Clemente v.
Government Service Insurance System (G.R. No. L-47521,
August 31,1987), this Court has ruled that the Government
Service Insurance System is a proper party in employees'
compensation cases as the ultimate implementing agency of
the Employees' Compensation Commission. We held in the
aforecited cases that "the law and the rules refer to the said
System in all aspects of employee compensation including
enforcement of decisions (Article 182 of Implementing
Rules)."
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WHEREFORE, the decision of the Employees' Compensation


Commission appealed from is hereby SET ASIDE and the
Government Service Insurance System is ordered to pay the
heirs of the deceased the sum of Twelve Thousand Pesos
(P12,000.00) as death benefit and the sum of One Thousand
Two Hundred Pesos (P1,200.00) as attorney's fees.
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SO ORDERED.
Fernan (Chairman), Feliciano, Bidin and Cortes, JJ., concur.
G.R. No. L-42627 February 21, 1980

EXALTACION VDA. DE TORBELA, Petitioner,


vs. EMPLOYEES COMPENSATION COMMISSION and
GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM (Bureau of
Public Schools), Respondents.
Exaltacion Vda. de Torbela in her own behalf.

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Romulo P. Untalan for respondents.


FERNANDEZ, J.:
This is a petition to review the decision of the Employees'
Compensation Commission in ECC Case No. 0009 (Jose P.
Torbela, Deceased) entitled "Exaltacion Vda. de Torbela,
Appellant, versus, Government Service Insurance System"
affirming the decision of the Government Service Insurance
System which denied the claim of Exaltacion Vda. de Torbela
on the ground that the death of her husband, Jose P. Torbela,
Sr., is not compensable." 1
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The petitioner, Exaltacion Vda. de Torbela, filed a claim for


compensation dated March 20,1975 with Regional Office VII,
Workmen's Compensation Unit, Iloilo City, for the death of her
husband, Jose P. Torbela, Sr., who was a secondary school
principal of the Bureau of Public Schools in Hinigaran, Negros
Occidental when he died in a vehicular accident on March 3,
1975. The petitioner also filed an application for compensation
dated April 4, 1975 with the Government Service Insurance
System. The claim was denied by the Government Service
Insurance System on the ground that the death of Jose P.
Torbela, Sr. was not the result of an employment accident.
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The claimant, petitioner herein, appealed to the Employees'


Compensation Commission which affirmed the decision of the
Government Service Insurance System .
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The facts, as found by the Employees' Compensation


Commission, are:
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Jose P. Torbela, Sr. in his lifetime, was employed as a


Secondary School Principal of the Bureau of Public Schools. He
died on March 3. 1975 at about 5:45 o'clock a.m. due to
injuries sustained by him in a vehicular accident while he was
on his way to school from Bacolod City, where he lived, to
Hinigaran, Negros Occidental where the school of which he was
the principal is located. In his possession at the time of the
accident were official papers he allegedly worked on in his
residence on the eve of his death. 2
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The Employees' Compensation Commission affirmed the


decision denying the claim because:
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The appealed decision denying the instant claim for


compensation is hereby affirms Under Presidential Decree No.
626 and its implementing rules, for the injury and the resulting
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 sustained the injury during his
working hours; (2) the employee must have been injured at
the place where his work required him to be; and (3) the
employee must have been performing his official functions.
The evidence on record unerringly points to the fact that not
even one of these conditions, which must all concur, has been
satisfied. On the contrary, the evidence shows that the
deceased was merely engaged in ordinary travel from home to
work, during which time he was not even doing something
related or incidental to his duties as secondary School
Principal; that the accident occurred at a time not incompassed
by his official working hours; and that the place of the accident
is not where his work required him to be or so proximate
thereto as to be deemed a part of his workplace, he being not
on special errand for his employer at the time he met his
death, his possession of official papers notwithstanding. Thus,
we find that there is sufficient factual and legal bases for the
GSIS conclusion at the death in question is not the result of an
injury from an employment accident and, therefore, such
findings should not be disturbed. 3
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It is a fact that Jose P. Torbela, Sr. died on March 3, 1975 at


about 5:45 o'clock in the morning due to injuries sustained by
him in a vehicular accident while he was on his way to school
from Bacolod City, where he lived, to Hinigaran. Negros
Occidental where the school of which he was the principal was
and that at the time of the accident he had in his possession
official papers he allegedly worked on in his residence on the
eve of his death.
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The claim is compensable. When an employee is accidentally


injured at a point reasonably proximate to the place of work,
while he is going to and from his work, such injury is deemed
to have arisen out of and in the course of his employment. 4

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WHEREFORE, the decision of the Employees' Compensation


Commission appealed from is hereby set aside and the
Government Service Insurance System is ordered to pay the
petitioner the sum of Twelve Thousand Pesos (P12,000.00) as
death benefit, the sum of One Thousand Pesos (P1,000.00) as
funeral expenses pursuant to Section 19, P.D. No. 1146, and
the sum of One Thousand Two Hundred Pesos (P1,200.00) as
attorney's fees.
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SO ORDERED.
Teehankee (Chairman), Makasiar, Guerrero, De Castro,
concur.
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Separate Opinions
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., dissenting:
I am constrained to dissent.

chanroble svirtualawlibrary

chanrobles virtual law library

chanroble s virtual law library

Petitioner's husband died in a vehicular accident on March 3,


1975. The provisions of the new Labor Code PI No. 442), as
amended), and its implementing Rules, therefore, are
applicable.
chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanroble s virtual law library

ART. 208. Applicability. - This Title (Title II, Book IV) shall
apply to injury sickness, disability or death occurring on or
after January 1, 1975 (New Labor Code).
chanroble svirtualawlibrary

xxx xxx xxx

chanroble s virtual law library

chanrobles virtual law library

(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 on Employee's Compensation.
Section I, Rule III, of the Amended Rules on Employees'
Compensation provides:
chanroble s virtual law library

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
conditions:
chanrobles virtual law library

(1) The employee must have sustained the injury during his
working hours;
chanrobles virtual law library

(2) The employee must have been injured at the place where
his work require 9 him to be; and
chanrobles virtual law library

(3) The employee must have been performing his official


functions.
In the light of the foregoing provision, petitioner's claim was
correctly denied by the Government Service Insurance System
on the ground that the death of Jose P. Torbela, Sr. was not the
result of an employment accident satisfying all the conditions
enumerated. He died due to injuries sustained by him in a
vehicular accident at 5:45 A.M. while he was on his way to
school.
chanroble svirtualawlibrary

chanroble s virtual law library

The general rule is that an employee is not entitled to recover


for personal injuries resulting from an accident that befalls him
while going to or returning from his place of employment
because such an accident does not arise out of and in the
course of his employment (Afable vs. Singer Sewing Machine

Co., 58 Phil. 39). The case of Ollero vs. Workmen's


Compensation, et al., (84 SCRA 695 [1978]) also held that:

chanroble s virtual law library

Under American Jurisprudence, the general rule is that the


hazards encountered by employees while going to or returning
from their regular place of work, before reaching or after
leaving the employer's premises, are not ordinarily incident to
the employment. and for this reason injuries resulting from
such hazards are in most instances held not to be
compensable as arising out of and in the course of the
employment (82 Am Jur 2d, Sec. 255, p. 43, citing: Voehl v.
Indemnity Ins. Co., 288 US 162, 77 L Ed 676 53 S Ct 380, 81
ALR 245, and a host of cases).
chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

chanrobles virtual law library

The aforementioned general rule however admits various ex.


exceptions in most of the States of the Union, and among
these are: where the employer provides transportation or
remunerates the employee for the time or expense involved,
where the employee performs some task in connection with his
employment at home or en-route, or is on a special mission at
his employer's behest, and so on (p. 44, Ibid.).
The present case does not fall under any of the exceptions
thus enumerated. Nor under any of the following
circumstances, which may well be considered as exceptions to
the general rule that injuries sustained by an employee outside
the premises of the employer, while going to or returning from
work, are not compensable. Thus, where an employee was
accidentally injured while he was running to his place of work
to avoid rain, slipped and fell into a ditch in front of the
factory's main gate the ditch in itself being an obvious hazard
owing to its proximity to the gate and the employer's inaction
to remove the same had contributed in a special way to the
occurrence of the accident (Philippine Fiber Processing Co. vs.
Fermina Ampil, 99 Phil. 1050 [1956]): where injuries are
sustained by a workman who is provided with transportation
while going to or coming from his work, they are considered as
arising out of and in the course of his employment and
therefore, are compensable (Talisay-Silay Milling Co. Inc. vs.

Workmen's Compensation Commission, 21 SCRA 366, 367


[1967]); where the employer remunerates the employee for
transportation expenses and agreed to shoulder 75% of her
transportation expenses when employer assigned her to take
the place of another teacher in a different place not her regular
place of work, said employee was entitled to a disability
compensation for she was injured while performing an acttravelling home from school, which was a necessary incident to
her employment (Ollero vs. Workmen's Compensation
Commission, 84 SCRA 696 [1978]); or where a school teacher
was on her way home from school and would continue to
perform other school work in connection with her employment
as school teacher, her taking the ride in that fatal vehicle can
be treated as a necessary incident to her school work, thus her
heirs were entitled to the benefits arising from her death as
having occurred in connection with her duty Bael vs.
Workmen's Compensation Commission. 75 SCRA 181, 182
[1977]); or where the employee is on a special mission (Unite
vs. Workmen's Compensation Commission, 90 SCRA 289, 313
[1979]).
chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

chanrobles virtual law library

To determine whether or not an injury is sustained either "in


the course of employment" or "out of employment", the case
of Pampanga Sugar Development Co., Inc. vs. Quiroz, 16
SCRA 785-786 [1966], citing In re Mc Nicol (102 NE [1913]
697), held:
chanrobles virtual law library

... It is sufficient to say that an injury is received 'in the course


of employment when it comes while the workman is doing the
duty which he is employed to perform. It arises 'out of' the
employment when there is apparent in the rational mind ...
causal connection between the conditions under which the
work is required to be performed and the resulting injury... But
it excludes an injury which cannot fairly be traced to the
employment as a contributing proximate cause and which
comes from a hazard to which the workman would have been
equally exposed apart from the employment. The causative
danger must be peculiar to the work, and not common to the
neighborhood. It must be incidental to the character of the

business, and not independent of the relation of master and


servant. It need not have been foreseen or expected, but after
the event, it must appear to have had its origin on a risk
connected with the employment, to haveflowed from that
source as a rational consequence.
chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

chanrobles virtual law library

An injury or accident 'befalls a man in the course of' his


employment, if it occurs while he is doing what a man may
reasonably do within a time during which he is employed, and
at a place where he may reasonably be during that time. 13
NACCA LAW JOURNAL 28-29. And it "arises out of" the work of
the employer, when it results from a risk or hazard which is
necessarily or ordinarily or reasonably inherent in or incident
to the conduct of such work or business. (Emphasis supplied).
Evidently, the injuries and the resulting death suffered by the
petitioner's spouse caused by a vehicular accident, could not
be distinctly attributed to the peculiarities of his employment
as a school principal. A vehicular accident during or ordinary
travel to and from an employee's place of work is a street peril
or hazard common to the public. The deceased, apart from his
employment, would have been equally exposed to the same
hazard as anybody commuting from one place to another.
Thus, as in Pampanga Sugar Development Co., Inc. vs.
Quiroz, supra, the injury sustained by petitioner's husband is
not compensable.
chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

chanrobles virtual law library

Lastly, the cases granting compensation under the "going toand-coming-from rule", among them, Bael vs. Workmen's
Compensation Commission, 75 SCRA 182 (1977); Unite vs.
Workmen's Compensation Commission, 90 SCRA 293
(1979); Talisay-Silay Milling Co., Inc. vs. Workmen's
Compensation Commission, 21 SCRA 366 (1967); Philippine
Fiber Processing Co., Inc. vs. Ampil, 99 Phil. 1050
(1956); Onero vs. Workmen's Compensation Commission, 84
SCRA 695 (1978), were all decided under the regime of the
Workmen's Compensation Act (Act No. 3428), section 2 of
which provided as a ground for compensation "any accident
arising out of and in the course of his employment", a clause

that is elastic and is susceptible of interpretation. In contrast,


not only has the Workmen's Compensation Act been expressly
repealed by the new Labor Code, but also, the grounds of
compensability in Rule III of the Amended Rules on Employee's
Compensation (based on PD No. 626, as amended by PD 850,
PD 865-A and PD 891) are specific and enumerate the
conditions that must be satisfied in order that an injury and
the resulting disability or death can be compensable.
chanroble svirtualawlibrary

chanroble s virtual law library

The province of the Courts is to apply the statutes and not to


construe them beyond the intendment of the legislative. The
cases heretofore decided, therefore, must be viewed in the
light of present, extant legislation enacted despite full
cognizance of doctrinal jurisprudence which has emanated
from this Court. By this, there need be no fear of violation of
the Constitutional mandate of affording protection to labor and
promoting social justice. It is merely applying the clear
provisions of the new Labor Laws. Moreover, enough leeway
should be given to administrative agencies applying the law
within their competence. Their opinions and rulings are entitled
to great respect (Regalado vs. Yulo, 61 Phil. 173 [1935];
Grapilon vs.Municipal Council of Carigara, 2 SCRA 103 [1961];
Tan vs, Municipality of Pagbilao, Quezon, 7 SCRA 887, 892
[1963]).
chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanroble s virtual law library

This contemporaneous construction is highly persuasive:

chanroble s virtual law library

The practice and interpretive regulations by officers,


administrative agencies, departmental heads and other officials
charged with the duty of administering and enforcing a statute
will carry great weight in determining the operation of a
statute. (2 Sutherland, Statutory Construction, p. 516).
chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Separate Opinions
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., dissenting:
I am constrained to dissent.

chanroble s virtual law library

chanrobles virtual law library

Petitioner's husband died in a vehicular accident on March 3,


1975. The provisions of the new Labor Code PI No. 442), as
amended), and its implementing Rules, therefore, are
applicable.
ART. 208. Applicability. - This Title (Title II, Book IV) shall
apply to injury sickness, disability or death occurring on or
after January 1, 1975 (New Labor Code).
xxx xxx xxx
(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 on Employee's Compensation.
Section I, Rule III, of the Amended Rules on Employees'
Compensation provides:
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
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 require 9 him to be; and
(3) The employee must have been performing his official
functions.
In the light of the foregoing provision, petitioner's claim was
correctly denied by the Government Service Insurance System
on the ground that the death of Jose P. Torbela, Sr. was not the
result of an employment accident satisfying all the conditions
enumerated. He died due to injuries sustained by him in a
vehicular accident at 5:45 A.M. while he was on his way to
school.
chanroble s virtual law library

The general rule is that an employee is not entitled to recover


for personal injuries resulting from an accident that befalls him
while going to or returning from his place of employment
because such an accident does not arise out of and in the
course of his employment (Afable vs. Singer Sewing Machine
Co., 58 Phil. 39). The case of Ollero vs. Workmen's
Compensation, et al., (84 SCRA 695 [1978]) also held that:
Under American Jurisprudence, the general rule is that the
hazards encountered by employees while going to or returning
from their regular place of work, before reaching or after
leaving the employer's premises, are not ordinarily incident to
the employment. and for this reason injuries resulting from
such hazards are in most instances held not to be
compensable as arising out of and in the course of the
employment (82 Am Jur 2d, Sec. 255, p. 43, citing: Voehl v.
Indemnity Ins. Co., 288 US 162, 77 L Ed 676 53 S Ct 380, 81
ALR 245, and a host of cases).
chanroble s virtual law library

The aforementioned general rule however admits various ex.


exceptions in most of the States of the Union, and among
these are: where the employer provides transportation or
remunerates the employee for the time or expense involved,
where the employee performs some task in connection with his
employment at home or en-route, or is on a special mission at
his employer's behest, and so on (p. 44, Ibid.).
The present case does not fall under any of the exceptions
thus enumerated. Nor under any of the following
circumstances, which may well be considered as exceptions to
the general rule that injuries sustained by an employee outside
the premises of the employer, while going to or returning from
work, are not compensable. Thus, where an employee was
accidentally injured while he was running to his place of work
to avoid rain, slipped and fell into a ditch in front of the
factory's main gate the ditch in itself being an obvious hazard
owing to its proximity to the gate and the employer's inaction
to remove the same had contributed in a special way to the
occurrence of the accident (Philippine Fiber Processing Co. vs.

Fermina Ampil, 99 Phil. 1050 [1956]): where injuries are


sustained by a workman who is provided with transportation
while going to or coming from his work, they are considered as
arising out of and in the course of his employment and
therefore, are compensable (Talisay-Silay Milling Co. Inc. vs.
Workmen's Compensation Commission, 21 SCRA 366, 367
[1967]); where the employer remunerates the employee for
transportation expenses and agreed to shoulder 75% of her
transportation expenses when employer assigned her to take
the place of another teacher in a different place not her regular
place of work, said employee was entitled to a disability
compensation for she was injured while performing an acttravelling home from school, which was a necessary incident to
her employment (Ollero vs. Workmen's Compensation
Commission, 84 SCRA 696 [1978]); or where a school teacher
was on her way home from school and would continue to
perform other school work in connection with her employment
as school teacher, her taking the ride in that fatal vehicle can
be treated as a necessary incident to her school work, thus her
heirs were entitled to the benefits arising from her death as
having occurred in connection with her duty Bael vs.
Workmen's Compensation Commission. 75 SCRA 181, 182
[1977]); or where the employee is on a special mission (Unite
vs. Workmen's Compensation Commission, 90 SCRA 289, 313
[1979]).
chanrobles virtual law library

To determine whether or not an injury is sustained either "in


the course of employment" or "out of employment", the case
of Pampanga Sugar Development Co., Inc. vs. Quiroz, 16 SCRA
785-786 [1966], citing In re McNicol (102 NE [1913] 697),
held:
... It is sufficient to say that an injury is received 'in the course
of employment when it comes while the workman is doing the
duty which he is employed to perform. It arises 'out of' the
employment when there is apparent in the rational mind ...
causal connection between the conditions under which the
work is required to be performed and the resulting injury... But
it excludes an injury which cannot fairly be traced to the

employment as a contributing proximate cause and which


comes from a hazard to which the workman would have been
equally exposed apart from the employment. The causative
danger must be peculiar to the work, and not common to the
neighborhood. It must be incidental to the character of the
business, and not independent of the relation of master and
servant. It need not have been foreseen or expected, but after
the event, it must appear to have had its origin on a risk
connected with the employment, to haveflowed from that
source as a rational consequence.
chanrobles virtual law library

An injury or accident 'befalls a man in the course of' his


employment, if it occurs while he is doing what a man may
reasonably do within a time during which he is employed, and
at a place where he may reasonably be during that time. 13
NACCA LAW JOURNAL 28-29. And it "arises out of" the work of
the employer, when it results from a risk or hazard which is
necessarily or ordinarily or reasonably inherent in or incident
to the conduct of such work or business. (Emphasis supplied).
Evidently, the injuries and the resulting death suffered by the
petitioner's spouse caused by a vehicular accident, could not
be distinctly attributed to the peculiarities of his employment
as a school principal. A vehicular accident during or ordinary
travel to and from an employee's place of work is a street peril
or hazard common to the public. The deceased, apart from his
employment, would have been equally exposed to the same
hazard as anybody commuting from one place to another.
Thus, as in Pampanga Sugar Development Co., Inc. vs.
Quiroz, supra, the injury sustained by petitioner's husband is
not compensable.
chanrobles virtual law library

Lastly, the cases granting compensation under the "going toand-coming-from rule", among them, Bael vs. Workmen's
Compensation Commission, 75 SCRA 182 (1977); Unite vs.
Workmen's Compensation Commission, 90 SCRA 293
(1979); Talisay-Silay Milling Co., Inc. vs. Workmen's
Compensation Commission, 21 SCRA 366 (1967); Philippine
Fiber Processing Co., Inc. vs. Ampil, 99 Phil. 1050

(1956); Onero vs. Workmen's Compensation Commission, 84


SCRA 695 (1978), were all decided under the regime of the
Workmen's Compensation Act (Act No. 3428), section 2 of
which provided as a ground for compensation "any accident
arising out of and in the course of his employment", a clause
that is elastic and is susceptible of interpretation. In contrast,
not only has the Workmen's Compensation Act been expressly
repealed by the new Labor Code, but also, the grounds of
compensability in Rule III of the Amended Rules on Employee's
Compensation (based on PD No. 626, as amended by PD 850,
PD 865-A and PD 891) are specific and enumerate the
conditions that must be satisfied in order that an injury and
the resulting disability or death can be compensable.
chanroble s virtual law library

The province of the Courts is to apply the statutes and not to


construe them beyond the intendment of the legislative. The
cases heretofore decided, therefore, must be viewed in the
light of present, extant legislation enacted despite full
cognizance of doctrinal jurisprudence which has emanated
from this Court. By this, there need be no fear of violation of
the Constitutional mandate of affording protection to labor and
promoting social justice. It is merely applying the clear
provisions of the new Labor Laws. Moreover, enough leeway
should be given to administrative agencies applying the law
within their competence. Their opinions and rulings are entitled
to great respect (Regalado vs. Yulo, 61 Phil. 173 [1935];
Grapilon vs.Municipal Council of Carigara, 2 SCRA 103 [1961];
Tan vs, Municipality of Pagbilao, Quezon, 7 SCRA 887, 892
[1963]).
This contemporaneous construction is highly persuasive:
The practice and interpretive regulations by officers,
administrative agencies, departmental heads and other officials
charged with the duty of administering and enforcing a statute
will carry great weight in determining the operation of a
statute. (2 Sutherland, Statutory Construction, p. 516).

Endnotes:

1 Annex "C", Rollo, pp. 15-17.

chanrobles virtual law library

2 Rollo p. 15.
3 Rollo, pp.15-16.

chanrobles virtual law library

4 Philippine Fiber Processing Co Inc. vs. Fermina Ampil, 99 Phil. 1050; Talisay-Silay Milling Co., Inc,
vs. Workmen's Compensation Commission, 21 SCRA 366.

G.R. No. L-42627 February 21, 1980


EXALTACION VDA. DE TORBELA, Petitioner,
vs. EMPLOYEES COMPENSATION COMMISSION and
GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM (Bureau of
Public Schools), Respondents.
Exaltacion Vda. de Torbela in her own behalf.

chanrobles virtual law library

Romulo P. Untalan for respondents.


FERNANDEZ, J.:
This is a petition to review the decision of the Employees'
Compensation Commission in ECC Case No. 0009 (Jose P.
Torbela, Deceased) entitled "Exaltacion Vda. de Torbela,
Appellant, versus, Government Service Insurance System"
affirming the decision of the Government Service Insurance
System which denied the claim of Exaltacion Vda. de Torbela
on the ground that the death of her husband, Jose P. Torbela,
Sr., is not compensable." 1
chanroble s virtual law library

The petitioner, Exaltacion Vda. de Torbela, filed a claim for


compensation dated March 20,1975 with Regional Office VII,
Workmen's Compensation Unit, Iloilo City, for the death of her
husband, Jose P. Torbela, Sr., who was a secondary school
principal of the Bureau of Public Schools in Hinigaran, Negros
Occidental when he died in a vehicular accident on March 3,
1975. The petitioner also filed an application for compensation
dated April 4, 1975 with the Government Service Insurance

System. The claim was denied by the Government Service


Insurance System on the ground that the death of Jose P.
Torbela, Sr. was not the result of an employment accident.

chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

chanrobles virtual law library

The claimant, petitioner herein, appealed to the Employees'


Compensation Commission which affirmed the decision of the
Government Service Insurance System .
chanroble svirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The facts, as found by the Employees' Compensation


Commission, are:
chanrobles virtual law library

Jose P. Torbela, Sr. in his lifetime, was employed as a


Secondary School Principal of the Bureau of Public Schools. He
died on March 3. 1975 at about 5:45 o'clock a.m. due to
injuries sustained by him in a vehicular accident while he was
on his way to school from Bacolod City, where he lived, to
Hinigaran, Negros Occidental where the school of which he was
the principal is located. In his possession at the time of the
accident were official papers he allegedly worked on in his
residence on the eve of his death. 2
chanrobles virtual law library

The Employees' Compensation Commission affirmed the


decision denying the claim because:
chanrobles virtual law library

The appealed decision denying the instant claim for


compensation is hereby affirms Under Presidential Decree No.
626 and its implementing rules, for the injury and the resulting
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 sustained the injury during his
working hours; (2) the employee must have been injured at
the place where his work required him to be; and (3) the
employee must have been performing his official functions.
The evidence on record unerringly points to the fact that not
even one of these conditions, which must all concur, has been
satisfied. On the contrary, the evidence shows that the
deceased was merely engaged in ordinary travel from home to
work, during which time he was not even doing something
related or incidental to his duties as secondary School
Principal; that the accident occurred at a time not incompassed

by his official working hours; and that the place of the accident
is not where his work required him to be or so proximate
thereto as to be deemed a part of his workplace, he being not
on special errand for his employer at the time he met his
death, his possession of official papers notwithstanding. Thus,
we find that there is sufficient factual and legal bases for the
GSIS conclusion at the death in question is not the result of an
injury from an employment accident and, therefore, such
findings should not be disturbed. 3
chanrobles virtual law library

It is a fact that Jose P. Torbela, Sr. died on March 3, 1975 at


about 5:45 o'clock in the morning due to injuries sustained by
him in a vehicular accident while he was on his way to school
from Bacolod City, where he lived, to Hinigaran. Negros
Occidental where the school of which he was the principal was
and that at the time of the accident he had in his possession
official papers he allegedly worked on in his residence on the
eve of his death.
chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

chanrobles virtual law library

The claim is compensable. When an employee is accidentally


injured at a point reasonably proximate to the place of work,
while he is going to and from his work, such injury is deemed
to have arisen out of and in the course of his employment. 4

chanroble s virtual law library

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Employees' Compensation


Commission appealed from is hereby set aside and the
Government Service Insurance System is ordered to pay the
petitioner the sum of Twelve Thousand Pesos (P12,000.00) as
death benefit, the sum of One Thousand Pesos (P1,000.00) as
funeral expenses pursuant to Section 19, P.D. No. 1146, and
the sum of One Thousand Two Hundred Pesos (P1,200.00) as
attorney's fees.
chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

chanrobles virtual law library

SO ORDERED.
Teehankee (Chairman), Makasiar, Guerrero, De Castro,
concur.
chanrobles virtual law library

Separate Opinions
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., dissenting:
I am constrained to dissent.

chanroble svirtualawlibrary

chanrobles virtual law library

chanroble s virtual law library

Petitioner's husband died in a vehicular accident on March 3,


1975. The provisions of the new Labor Code PI No. 442), as
amended), and its implementing Rules, therefore, are
applicable.
chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanroble s virtual law library

ART. 208. Applicability. - This Title (Title II, Book IV) shall
apply to injury sickness, disability or death occurring on or
after January 1, 1975 (New Labor Code).
chanroble svirtualawlibrary

xxx xxx xxx

chanroble s virtual law library

chanrobles virtual law library

(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 on Employee's Compensation.
Section I, Rule III, of the Amended Rules on Employees'
Compensation provides:
chanroble s virtual law library

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
conditions:
chanrobles virtual law library

(1) The employee must have sustained the injury during his
working hours;
chanrobles virtual law library

(2) The employee must have been injured at the place where
his work require 9 him to be; and
chanrobles virtual law library

(3) The employee must have been performing his official


functions.
In the light of the foregoing provision, petitioner's claim was
correctly denied by the Government Service Insurance System
on the ground that the death of Jose P. Torbela, Sr. was not the

result of an employment accident satisfying all the conditions


enumerated. He died due to injuries sustained by him in a
vehicular accident at 5:45 A.M. while he was on his way to
school.
chanroble svirtualawlibrary

chanroble s virtual law library

The general rule is that an employee is not entitled to recover


for personal injuries resulting from an accident that befalls him
while going to or returning from his place of employment
because such an accident does not arise out of and in the
course of his employment (Afable vs. Singer Sewing Machine
Co., 58 Phil. 39). The case of Ollero vs. Workmen's
Compensation, et al., (84 SCRA 695 [1978]) also held that:
chanroble s virtual law library

Under American Jurisprudence, the general rule is that the


hazards encountered by employees while going to or returning
from their regular place of work, before reaching or after
leaving the employer's premises, are not ordinarily incident to
the employment. and for this reason injuries resulting from
such hazards are in most instances held not to be
compensable as arising out of and in the course of the
employment (82 Am Jur 2d, Sec. 255, p. 43, citing: Voehl v.
Indemnity Ins. Co., 288 US 162, 77 L Ed 676 53 S Ct 380, 81
ALR 245, and a host of cases).
chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

chanrobles virtual law library

The aforementioned general rule however admits various ex.


exceptions in most of the States of the Union, and among
these are: where the employer provides transportation or
remunerates the employee for the time or expense involved,
where the employee performs some task in connection with his
employment at home or en-route, or is on a special mission at
his employer's behest, and so on (p. 44, Ibid.).
The present case does not fall under any of the exceptions
thus enumerated. Nor under any of the following
circumstances, which may well be considered as exceptions to
the general rule that injuries sustained by an employee outside
the premises of the employer, while going to or returning from
work, are not compensable. Thus, where an employee was
accidentally injured while he was running to his place of work
to avoid rain, slipped and fell into a ditch in front of the

factory's main gate the ditch in itself being an obvious hazard


owing to its proximity to the gate and the employer's inaction
to remove the same had contributed in a special way to the
occurrence of the accident (Philippine Fiber Processing Co. vs.
Fermina Ampil, 99 Phil. 1050 [1956]): where injuries are
sustained by a workman who is provided with transportation
while going to or coming from his work, they are considered as
arising out of and in the course of his employment and
therefore, are compensable (Talisay-Silay Milling Co. Inc. vs.
Workmen's Compensation Commission, 21 SCRA 366, 367
[1967]); where the employer remunerates the employee for
transportation expenses and agreed to shoulder 75% of her
transportation expenses when employer assigned her to take
the place of another teacher in a different place not her regular
place of work, said employee was entitled to a disability
compensation for she was injured while performing an acttravelling home from school, which was a necessary incident to
her employment (Ollero vs. Workmen's Compensation
Commission, 84 SCRA 696 [1978]); or where a school teacher
was on her way home from school and would continue to
perform other school work in connection with her employment
as school teacher, her taking the ride in that fatal vehicle can
be treated as a necessary incident to her school work, thus her
heirs were entitled to the benefits arising from her death as
having occurred in connection with her duty Bael vs.
Workmen's Compensation Commission. 75 SCRA 181, 182
[1977]); or where the employee is on a special mission (Unite
vs. Workmen's Compensation Commission, 90 SCRA 289, 313
[1979]).
chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

chanrobles virtual law library

To determine whether or not an injury is sustained either "in


the course of employment" or "out of employment", the case
of Pampanga Sugar Development Co., Inc. vs. Quiroz, 16
SCRA 785-786 [1966], citing In re Mc Nicol (102 NE [1913]
697), held:
chanrobles virtual law library

... It is sufficient to say that an injury is received 'in the course


of employment when it comes while the workman is doing the
duty which he is employed to perform. It arises 'out of' the

employment when there is apparent in the rational mind ...


causal connection between the conditions under which the
work is required to be performed and the resulting injury... But
it excludes an injury which cannot fairly be traced to the
employment as a contributing proximate cause and which
comes from a hazard to which the workman would have been
equally exposed apart from the employment. The causative
danger must be peculiar to the work, and not common to the
neighborhood. It must be incidental to the character of the
business, and not independent of the relation of master and
servant. It need not have been foreseen or expected, but after
the event, it must appear to have had its origin on a risk
connected with the employment, to haveflowed from that
source as a rational consequence.
chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

chanrobles virtual law library

An injury or accident 'befalls a man in the course of' his


employment, if it occurs while he is doing what a man may
reasonably do within a time during which he is employed, and
at a place where he may reasonably be during that time. 13
NACCA LAW JOURNAL 28-29. And it "arises out of" the work of
the employer, when it results from a risk or hazard which is
necessarily or ordinarily or reasonably inherent in or incident
to the conduct of such work or business. (Emphasis supplied).
Evidently, the injuries and the resulting death suffered by the
petitioner's spouse caused by a vehicular accident, could not
be distinctly attributed to the peculiarities of his employment
as a school principal. A vehicular accident during or ordinary
travel to and from an employee's place of work is a street peril
or hazard common to the public. The deceased, apart from his
employment, would have been equally exposed to the same
hazard as anybody commuting from one place to another.
Thus, as in Pampanga Sugar Development Co., Inc. vs.
Quiroz, supra, the injury sustained by petitioner's husband is
not compensable.
chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

chanrobles virtual law library

Lastly, the cases granting compensation under the "going toand-coming-from rule", among them, Bael vs. Workmen's
Compensation Commission, 75 SCRA 182 (1977); Unite vs.

Workmen's Compensation Commission, 90 SCRA 293


(1979); Talisay-Silay Milling Co., Inc. vs. Workmen's
Compensation Commission, 21 SCRA 366 (1967); Philippine
Fiber Processing Co., Inc. vs. Ampil, 99 Phil. 1050
(1956); Onero vs. Workmen's Compensation Commission, 84
SCRA 695 (1978), were all decided under the regime of the
Workmen's Compensation Act (Act No. 3428), section 2 of
which provided as a ground for compensation "any accident
arising out of and in the course of his employment", a clause
that is elastic and is susceptible of interpretation. In contrast,
not only has the Workmen's Compensation Act been expressly
repealed by the new Labor Code, but also, the grounds of
compensability in Rule III of the Amended Rules on Employee's
Compensation (based on PD No. 626, as amended by PD 850,
PD 865-A and PD 891) are specific and enumerate the
conditions that must be satisfied in order that an injury and
the resulting disability or death can be compensable.
chanroble svirtualawlibrary

chanroble s virtual law library

The province of the Courts is to apply the statutes and not to


construe them beyond the intendment of the legislative. The
cases heretofore decided, therefore, must be viewed in the
light of present, extant legislation enacted despite full
cognizance of doctrinal jurisprudence which has emanated
from this Court. By this, there need be no fear of violation of
the Constitutional mandate of affording protection to labor and
promoting social justice. It is merely applying the clear
provisions of the new Labor Laws. Moreover, enough leeway
should be given to administrative agencies applying the law
within their competence. Their opinions and rulings are entitled
to great respect (Regalado vs. Yulo, 61 Phil. 173 [1935];
Grapilon vs.Municipal Council of Carigara, 2 SCRA 103 [1961];
Tan vs, Municipality of Pagbilao, Quezon, 7 SCRA 887, 892
[1963]).
chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanroble s virtual law library

This contemporaneous construction is highly persuasive:

chanroble s virtual law library

The practice and interpretive regulations by officers,


administrative agencies, departmental heads and other officials
charged with the duty of administering and enforcing a statute

will carry great weight in determining the operation of a


statute. (2 Sutherland, Statutory Construction, p. 516).

chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

chanrobles virtual law library

Separate Opinions
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., dissenting:
I am constrained to dissent.

chanroble s virtual law library

Petitioner's husband died in a vehicular accident on March 3,


1975. The provisions of the new Labor Code PI No. 442), as
amended), and its implementing Rules, therefore, are
applicable.
ART. 208. Applicability. - This Title (Title II, Book IV) shall
apply to injury sickness, disability or death occurring on or
after January 1, 1975 (New Labor Code).
xxx xxx xxx
(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 on Employee's Compensation.
Section I, Rule III, of the Amended Rules on Employees'
Compensation provides:
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
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 require 9 him to be; and
(3) The employee must have been performing his official
functions.

In the light of the foregoing provision, petitioner's claim was


correctly denied by the Government Service Insurance System
on the ground that the death of Jose P. Torbela, Sr. was not the
result of an employment accident satisfying all the conditions
enumerated. He died due to injuries sustained by him in a
vehicular accident at 5:45 A.M. while he was on his way to
school.
chanroble s virtual law library

The general rule is that an employee is not entitled to recover


for personal injuries resulting from an accident that befalls him
while going to or returning from his place of employment
because such an accident does not arise out of and in the
course of his employment (Afable vs. Singer Sewing Machine
Co., 58 Phil. 39). The case of Ollero vs. Workmen's
Compensation, et al., (84 SCRA 695 [1978]) also held that:
Under American Jurisprudence, the general rule is that the
hazards encountered by employees while going to or returning
from their regular place of work, before reaching or after
leaving the employer's premises, are not ordinarily incident to
the employment. and for this reason injuries resulting from
such hazards are in most instances held not to be
compensable as arising out of and in the course of the
employment (82 Am Jur 2d, Sec. 255, p. 43, citing: Voehl v.
Indemnity Ins. Co., 288 US 162, 77 L Ed 676 53 S Ct 380, 81
ALR 245, and a host of cases).
chanroble s virtual law library

The aforementioned general rule however admits various ex.


exceptions in most of the States of the Union, and among
these are: where the employer provides transportation or
remunerates the employee for the time or expense involved,
where the employee performs some task in connection with his
employment at home or en-route, or is on a special mission at
his employer's behest, and so on (p. 44, Ibid.).
The present case does not fall under any of the exceptions
thus enumerated. Nor under any of the following
circumstances, which may well be considered as exceptions to
the general rule that injuries sustained by an employee outside
the premises of the employer, while going to or returning from

work, are not compensable. Thus, where an employee was


accidentally injured while he was running to his place of work
to avoid rain, slipped and fell into a ditch in front of the
factory's main gate the ditch in itself being an obvious hazard
owing to its proximity to the gate and the employer's inaction
to remove the same had contributed in a special way to the
occurrence of the accident (Philippine Fiber Processing Co. vs.
Fermina Ampil, 99 Phil. 1050 [1956]): where injuries are
sustained by a workman who is provided with transportation
while going to or coming from his work, they are considered as
arising out of and in the course of his employment and
therefore, are compensable (Talisay-Silay Milling Co. Inc. vs.
Workmen's Compensation Commission, 21 SCRA 366, 367
[1967]); where the employer remunerates the employee for
transportation expenses and agreed to shoulder 75% of her
transportation expenses when employer assigned her to take
the place of another teacher in a different place not her regular
place of work, said employee was entitled to a disability
compensation for she was injured while performing an acttravelling home from school, which was a necessary incident to
her employment (Ollero vs. Workmen's Compensation
Commission, 84 SCRA 696 [1978]); or where a school teacher
was on her way home from school and would continue to
perform other school work in connection with her employment
as school teacher, her taking the ride in that fatal vehicle can
be treated as a necessary incident to her school work, thus her
heirs were entitled to the benefits arising from her death as
having occurred in connection with her duty Bael vs.
Workmen's Compensation Commission. 75 SCRA 181, 182
[1977]); or where the employee is on a special mission (Unite
vs. Workmen's Compensation Commission, 90 SCRA 289, 313
[1979]).
chanrobles virtual law library

To determine whether or not an injury is sustained either "in


the course of employment" or "out of employment", the case
of Pampanga Sugar Development Co., Inc. vs. Quiroz, 16 SCRA
785-786 [1966], citing In re McNicol (102 NE [1913] 697),
held:

... It is sufficient to say that an injury is received 'in the course


of employment when it comes while the workman is doing the
duty which he is employed to perform. It arises 'out of' the
employment when there is apparent in the rational mind ...
causal connection between the conditions under which the
work is required to be performed and the resulting injury... But
it excludes an injury which cannot fairly be traced to the
employment as a contributing proximate cause and which
comes from a hazard to which the workman would have been
equally exposed apart from the employment. The causative
danger must be peculiar to the work, and not common to the
neighborhood. It must be incidental to the character of the
business, and not independent of the relation of master and
servant. It need not have been foreseen or expected, but after
the event, it must appear to have had its origin on a risk
connected with the employment, to haveflowed from that
source as a rational consequence.
chanrobles virtual law library

An injury or accident 'befalls a man in the course of' his


employment, if it occurs while he is doing what a man may
reasonably do within a time during which he is employed, and
at a place where he may reasonably be during that time. 13
NACCA LAW JOURNAL 28-29. And it "arises out of" the work of
the employer, when it results from a risk or hazard which is
necessarily or ordinarily or reasonably inherent in or incident
to the conduct of such work or business. (Emphasis supplied).
Evidently, the injuries and the resulting death suffered by the
petitioner's spouse caused by a vehicular accident, could not
be distinctly attributed to the peculiarities of his employment
as a school principal. A vehicular accident during or ordinary
travel to and from an employee's place of work is a street peril
or hazard common to the public. The deceased, apart from his
employment, would have been equally exposed to the same
hazard as anybody commuting from one place to another.
Thus, as in Pampanga Sugar Development Co., Inc. vs.
Quiroz, supra, the injury sustained by petitioner's husband is
not compensable.
chanrobles virtual law library

Lastly, the cases granting compensation under the "going toand-coming-from rule", among them, Bael vs. Workmen's
Compensation Commission, 75 SCRA 182 (1977); Unite vs.
Workmen's Compensation Commission, 90 SCRA 293
(1979); Talisay-Silay Milling Co., Inc. vs. Workmen's
Compensation Commission, 21 SCRA 366 (1967); Philippine
Fiber Processing Co., Inc. vs. Ampil, 99 Phil. 1050
(1956); Onero vs. Workmen's Compensation Commission, 84
SCRA 695 (1978), were all decided under the regime of the
Workmen's Compensation Act (Act No. 3428), section 2 of
which provided as a ground for compensation "any accident
arising out of and in the course of his employment", a clause
that is elastic and is susceptible of interpretation. In contrast,
not only has the Workmen's Compensation Act been expressly
repealed by the new Labor Code, but also, the grounds of
compensability in Rule III of the Amended Rules on Employee's
Compensation (based on PD No. 626, as amended by PD 850,
PD 865-A and PD 891) are specific and enumerate the
conditions that must be satisfied in order that an injury and
the resulting disability or death can be compensable.
chanroble s virtual law library

The province of the Courts is to apply the statutes and not to


construe them beyond the intendment of the legislative. The
cases heretofore decided, therefore, must be viewed in the
light of present, extant legislation enacted despite full
cognizance of doctrinal jurisprudence which has emanated
from this Court. By this, there need be no fear of violation of
the Constitutional mandate of affording protection to labor and
promoting social justice. It is merely applying the clear
provisions of the new Labor Laws. Moreover, enough leeway
should be given to administrative agencies applying the law
within their competence. Their opinions and rulings are entitled
to great respect (Regalado vs. Yulo, 61 Phil. 173 [1935];
Grapilon vs.Municipal Council of Carigara, 2 SCRA 103 [1961];
Tan vs, Municipality of Pagbilao, Quezon, 7 SCRA 887, 892
[1963]).
This contemporaneous construction is highly persuasive:

The practice and interpretive regulations by officers,


administrative agencies, departmental heads and other officials
charged with the duty of administering and enforcing a statute
will carry great weight in determining the operation of a
statute. (2 Sutherland, Statutory Construction, p. 516).

Endnotes:

1 Annex "C", Rollo, pp. 15-17.

chanrobles virtual law library

2 Rollo p. 15.
3 Rollo, pp.15-16.

chanrobles virtual law library

4 Philippine Fiber Processing Co Inc. vs. Fermina Ampil, 99 Phil. 1050; Talisay-Silay Milling Co., Inc,
vs. Workmen's Compensation Commission, 21 SCRA 366.

G.R. No. L-42627 February 21, 1980


EXALTACION VDA. DE TORBELA, Petitioner,
vs. EMPLOYEES COMPENSATION COMMISSION and
GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM (Bureau of
Public Schools), Respondents.
Exaltacion Vda. de Torbela in her own behalf.

chanrobles virtual law library

Romulo P. Untalan for respondents.


FERNANDEZ, J.:
This is a petition to review the decision of the Employees'
Compensation Commission in ECC Case No. 0009 (Jose P.
Torbela, Deceased) entitled "Exaltacion Vda. de Torbela,
Appellant, versus, Government Service Insurance System"
affirming the decision of the Government Service Insurance
System which denied the claim of Exaltacion Vda. de Torbela
on the ground that the death of her husband, Jose P. Torbela,
Sr., is not compensable." 1
chanroble s virtual law library

The petitioner, Exaltacion Vda. de Torbela, filed a claim for


compensation dated March 20,1975 with Regional Office VII,
Workmen's Compensation Unit, Iloilo City, for the death of her
husband, Jose P. Torbela, Sr., who was a secondary school
principal of the Bureau of Public Schools in Hinigaran, Negros
Occidental when he died in a vehicular accident on March 3,
1975. The petitioner also filed an application for compensation
dated April 4, 1975 with the Government Service Insurance
System. The claim was denied by the Government Service
Insurance System on the ground that the death of Jose P.
Torbela, Sr. was not the result of an employment accident.
chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

chanrobles virtual law library

The claimant, petitioner herein, appealed to the Employees'


Compensation Commission which affirmed the decision of the
Government Service Insurance System .
chanroble svirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The facts, as found by the Employees' Compensation


Commission, are:
chanrobles virtual law library

Jose P. Torbela, Sr. in his lifetime, was employed as a


Secondary School Principal of the Bureau of Public Schools. He
died on March 3. 1975 at about 5:45 o'clock a.m. due to
injuries sustained by him in a vehicular accident while he was
on his way to school from Bacolod City, where he lived, to
Hinigaran, Negros Occidental where the school of which he was
the principal is located. In his possession at the time of the
accident were official papers he allegedly worked on in his
residence on the eve of his death. 2
chanrobles virtual law library

The Employees' Compensation Commission affirmed the


decision denying the claim because:
chanrobles virtual law library

The appealed decision denying the instant claim for


compensation is hereby affirms Under Presidential Decree No.
626 and its implementing rules, for the injury and the resulting
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 sustained the injury during his
working hours; (2) the employee must have been injured at
the place where his work required him to be; and (3) the

employee must have been performing his official functions.


The evidence on record unerringly points to the fact that not
even one of these conditions, which must all concur, has been
satisfied. On the contrary, the evidence shows that the
deceased was merely engaged in ordinary travel from home to
work, during which time he was not even doing something
related or incidental to his duties as secondary School
Principal; that the accident occurred at a time not incompassed
by his official working hours; and that the place of the accident
is not where his work required him to be or so proximate
thereto as to be deemed a part of his workplace, he being not
on special errand for his employer at the time he met his
death, his possession of official papers notwithstanding. Thus,
we find that there is sufficient factual and legal bases for the
GSIS conclusion at the death in question is not the result of an
injury from an employment accident and, therefore, such
findings should not be disturbed. 3
chanrobles virtual law library

It is a fact that Jose P. Torbela, Sr. died on March 3, 1975 at


about 5:45 o'clock in the morning due to injuries sustained by
him in a vehicular accident while he was on his way to school
from Bacolod City, where he lived, to Hinigaran. Negros
Occidental where the school of which he was the principal was
and that at the time of the accident he had in his possession
official papers he allegedly worked on in his residence on the
eve of his death.
chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

chanrobles virtual law library

The claim is compensable. When an employee is accidentally


injured at a point reasonably proximate to the place of work,
while he is going to and from his work, such injury is deemed
to have arisen out of and in the course of his employment. 4

chanroble s virtual law library

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Employees' Compensation


Commission appealed from is hereby set aside and the
Government Service Insurance System is ordered to pay the
petitioner the sum of Twelve Thousand Pesos (P12,000.00) as
death benefit, the sum of One Thousand Pesos (P1,000.00) as
funeral expenses pursuant to Section 19, P.D. No. 1146, and

the sum of One Thousand Two Hundred Pesos (P1,200.00) as


attorney's fees.
chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

chanrobles virtual law library

SO ORDERED.
Teehankee (Chairman), Makasiar, Guerrero, De Castro,
concur.
chanrobles virtual law library

Separate Opinions
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., dissenting:
I am constrained to dissent.

chanroble svirtualawlibrary

chanrobles virtual law library

chanroble s virtual law library

Petitioner's husband died in a vehicular accident on March 3,


1975. The provisions of the new Labor Code PI No. 442), as
amended), and its implementing Rules, therefore, are
applicable.
chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanroble s virtual law library

ART. 208. Applicability. - This Title (Title II, Book IV) shall
apply to injury sickness, disability or death occurring on or
after January 1, 1975 (New Labor Code).
chanroble svirtualawlibrary

xxx xxx xxx

chanroble s virtual law library

chanrobles virtual law library

(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 on Employee's Compensation.
Section I, Rule III, of the Amended Rules on Employees'
Compensation provides:
chanroble s virtual law library

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
conditions:
chanrobles virtual law library

(1) The employee must have sustained the injury during his
working hours;
chanrobles virtual law library

(2) The employee must have been injured at the place where
his work require 9 him to be; and
chanrobles virtual law library

(3) The employee must have been performing his official


functions.
In the light of the foregoing provision, petitioner's claim was
correctly denied by the Government Service Insurance System
on the ground that the death of Jose P. Torbela, Sr. was not the
result of an employment accident satisfying all the conditions
enumerated. He died due to injuries sustained by him in a
vehicular accident at 5:45 A.M. while he was on his way to
school.
chanroble svirtualawlibrary

chanroble s virtual law library

The general rule is that an employee is not entitled to recover


for personal injuries resulting from an accident that befalls him
while going to or returning from his place of employment
because such an accident does not arise out of and in the
course of his employment (Afable vs. Singer Sewing Machine
Co., 58 Phil. 39). The case of Ollero vs. Workmen's
Compensation, et al., (84 SCRA 695 [1978]) also held that:
chanroble s virtual law library

Under American Jurisprudence, the general rule is that the


hazards encountered by employees while going to or returning
from their regular place of work, before reaching or after
leaving the employer's premises, are not ordinarily incident to
the employment. and for this reason injuries resulting from
such hazards are in most instances held not to be
compensable as arising out of and in the course of the
employment (82 Am Jur 2d, Sec. 255, p. 43, citing: Voehl v.
Indemnity Ins. Co., 288 US 162, 77 L Ed 676 53 S Ct 380, 81
ALR 245, and a host of cases).
chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

chanrobles virtual law library

The aforementioned general rule however admits various ex.


exceptions in most of the States of the Union, and among
these are: where the employer provides transportation or
remunerates the employee for the time or expense involved,
where the employee performs some task in connection with his
employment at home or en-route, or is on a special mission at
his employer's behest, and so on (p. 44, Ibid.).

The present case does not fall under any of the exceptions
thus enumerated. Nor under any of the following
circumstances, which may well be considered as exceptions to
the general rule that injuries sustained by an employee outside
the premises of the employer, while going to or returning from
work, are not compensable. Thus, where an employee was
accidentally injured while he was running to his place of work
to avoid rain, slipped and fell into a ditch in front of the
factory's main gate the ditch in itself being an obvious hazard
owing to its proximity to the gate and the employer's inaction
to remove the same had contributed in a special way to the
occurrence of the accident (Philippine Fiber Processing Co. vs.
Fermina Ampil, 99 Phil. 1050 [1956]): where injuries are
sustained by a workman who is provided with transportation
while going to or coming from his work, they are considered as
arising out of and in the course of his employment and
therefore, are compensable (Talisay-Silay Milling Co. Inc. vs.
Workmen's Compensation Commission, 21 SCRA 366, 367
[1967]); where the employer remunerates the employee for
transportation expenses and agreed to shoulder 75% of her
transportation expenses when employer assigned her to take
the place of another teacher in a different place not her regular
place of work, said employee was entitled to a disability
compensation for she was injured while performing an acttravelling home from school, which was a necessary incident to
her employment (Ollero vs. Workmen's Compensation
Commission, 84 SCRA 696 [1978]); or where a school teacher
was on her way home from school and would continue to
perform other school work in connection with her employment
as school teacher, her taking the ride in that fatal vehicle can
be treated as a necessary incident to her school work, thus her
heirs were entitled to the benefits arising from her death as
having occurred in connection with her duty Bael vs.
Workmen's Compensation Commission. 75 SCRA 181, 182
[1977]); or where the employee is on a special mission (Unite
vs. Workmen's Compensation Commission, 90 SCRA 289, 313
[1979]).
chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

chanrobles virtual law library

To determine whether or not an injury is sustained either "in


the course of employment" or "out of employment", the case
of Pampanga Sugar Development Co., Inc. vs. Quiroz, 16
SCRA 785-786 [1966], citing In re Mc Nicol (102 NE [1913]
697), held:
chanrobles virtual law library

... It is sufficient to say that an injury is received 'in the course


of employment when it comes while the workman is doing the
duty which he is employed to perform. It arises 'out of' the
employment when there is apparent in the rational mind ...
causal connection between the conditions under which the
work is required to be performed and the resulting injury... But
it excludes an injury which cannot fairly be traced to the
employment as a contributing proximate cause and which
comes from a hazard to which the workman would have been
equally exposed apart from the employment. The causative
danger must be peculiar to the work, and not common to the
neighborhood. It must be incidental to the character of the
business, and not independent of the relation of master and
servant. It need not have been foreseen or expected, but after
the event, it must appear to have had its origin on a risk
connected with the employment, to haveflowed from that
source as a rational consequence.
chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

chanrobles virtual law library

An injury or accident 'befalls a man in the course of' his


employment, if it occurs while he is doing what a man may
reasonably do within a time during which he is employed, and
at a place where he may reasonably be during that time. 13
NACCA LAW JOURNAL 28-29. And it "arises out of" the work of
the employer, when it results from a risk or hazard which is
necessarily or ordinarily or reasonably inherent in or incident
to the conduct of such work or business. (Emphasis supplied).
Evidently, the injuries and the resulting death suffered by the
petitioner's spouse caused by a vehicular accident, could not
be distinctly attributed to the peculiarities of his employment
as a school principal. A vehicular accident during or ordinary
travel to and from an employee's place of work is a street peril
or hazard common to the public. The deceased, apart from his

employment, would have been equally exposed to the same


hazard as anybody commuting from one place to another.
Thus, as in Pampanga Sugar Development Co., Inc. vs.
Quiroz, supra, the injury sustained by petitioner's husband is
not compensable.
chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

chanrobles virtual law library

Lastly, the cases granting compensation under the "going toand-coming-from rule", among them, Bael vs. Workmen's
Compensation Commission, 75 SCRA 182 (1977); Unite vs.
Workmen's Compensation Commission, 90 SCRA 293
(1979); Talisay-Silay Milling Co., Inc. vs. Workmen's
Compensation Commission, 21 SCRA 366 (1967); Philippine
Fiber Processing Co., Inc. vs. Ampil, 99 Phil. 1050
(1956); Onero vs. Workmen's Compensation Commission, 84
SCRA 695 (1978), were all decided under the regime of the
Workmen's Compensation Act (Act No. 3428), section 2 of
which provided as a ground for compensation "any accident
arising out of and in the course of his employment", a clause
that is elastic and is susceptible of interpretation. In contrast,
not only has the Workmen's Compensation Act been expressly
repealed by the new Labor Code, but also, the grounds of
compensability in Rule III of the Amended Rules on Employee's
Compensation (based on PD No. 626, as amended by PD 850,
PD 865-A and PD 891) are specific and enumerate the
conditions that must be satisfied in order that an injury and
the resulting disability or death can be compensable.
chanroble svirtualawlibrary

chanroble s virtual law library

The province of the Courts is to apply the statutes and not to


construe them beyond the intendment of the legislative. The
cases heretofore decided, therefore, must be viewed in the
light of present, extant legislation enacted despite full
cognizance of doctrinal jurisprudence which has emanated
from this Court. By this, there need be no fear of violation of
the Constitutional mandate of affording protection to labor and
promoting social justice. It is merely applying the clear
provisions of the new Labor Laws. Moreover, enough leeway
should be given to administrative agencies applying the law
within their competence. Their opinions and rulings are entitled
to great respect (Regalado vs. Yulo, 61 Phil. 173 [1935];

Grapilon vs.Municipal Council of Carigara, 2 SCRA 103 [1961];


Tan vs, Municipality of Pagbilao, Quezon, 7 SCRA 887, 892
[1963]).
chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanroble s virtual law library

This contemporaneous construction is highly persuasive:

chanroble s virtual law library

The practice and interpretive regulations by officers,


administrative agencies, departmental heads and other officials
charged with the duty of administering and enforcing a statute
will carry great weight in determining the operation of a
statute. (2 Sutherland, Statutory Construction, p. 516).
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Separate Opinions
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., dissenting:
I am constrained to dissent.

chanroble s virtual law library

Petitioner's husband died in a vehicular accident on March 3,


1975. The provisions of the new Labor Code PI No. 442), as
amended), and its implementing Rules, therefore, are
applicable.
ART. 208. Applicability. - This Title (Title II, Book IV) shall
apply to injury sickness, disability or death occurring on or
after January 1, 1975 (New Labor Code).
xxx xxx xxx
(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 on Employee's Compensation.
Section I, Rule III, of the Amended Rules on Employees'
Compensation provides:
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
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 require 9 him to be; and
(3) The employee must have been performing his official
functions.
In the light of the foregoing provision, petitioner's claim was
correctly denied by the Government Service Insurance System
on the ground that the death of Jose P. Torbela, Sr. was not the
result of an employment accident satisfying all the conditions
enumerated. He died due to injuries sustained by him in a
vehicular accident at 5:45 A.M. while he was on his way to
school.
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The general rule is that an employee is not entitled to recover


for personal injuries resulting from an accident that befalls him
while going to or returning from his place of employment
because such an accident does not arise out of and in the
course of his employment (Afable vs. Singer Sewing Machine
Co., 58 Phil. 39). The case of Ollero vs. Workmen's
Compensation, et al., (84 SCRA 695 [1978]) also held that:
Under American Jurisprudence, the general rule is that the
hazards encountered by employees while going to or returning
from their regular place of work, before reaching or after
leaving the employer's premises, are not ordinarily incident to
the employment. and for this reason injuries resulting from
such hazards are in most instances held not to be
compensable as arising out of and in the course of the
employment (82 Am Jur 2d, Sec. 255, p. 43, citing: Voehl v.
Indemnity Ins. Co., 288 US 162, 77 L Ed 676 53 S Ct 380, 81
ALR 245, and a host of cases).
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The aforementioned general rule however admits various ex.


exceptions in most of the States of the Union, and among
these are: where the employer provides transportation or
remunerates the employee for the time or expense involved,

where the employee performs some task in connection with his


employment at home or en-route, or is on a special mission at
his employer's behest, and so on (p. 44, Ibid.).
The present case does not fall under any of the exceptions
thus enumerated. Nor under any of the following
circumstances, which may well be considered as exceptions to
the general rule that injuries sustained by an employee outside
the premises of the employer, while going to or returning from
work, are not compensable. Thus, where an employee was
accidentally injured while he was running to his place of work
to avoid rain, slipped and fell into a ditch in front of the
factory's main gate the ditch in itself being an obvious hazard
owing to its proximity to the gate and the employer's inaction
to remove the same had contributed in a special way to the
occurrence of the accident (Philippine Fiber Processing Co. vs.
Fermina Ampil, 99 Phil. 1050 [1956]): where injuries are
sustained by a workman who is provided with transportation
while going to or coming from his work, they are considered as
arising out of and in the course of his employment and
therefore, are compensable (Talisay-Silay Milling Co. Inc. vs.
Workmen's Compensation Commission, 21 SCRA 366, 367
[1967]); where the employer remunerates the employee for
transportation expenses and agreed to shoulder 75% of her
transportation expenses when employer assigned her to take
the place of another teacher in a different place not her regular
place of work, said employee was entitled to a disability
compensation for she was injured while performing an acttravelling home from school, which was a necessary incident to
her employment (Ollero vs. Workmen's Compensation
Commission, 84 SCRA 696 [1978]); or where a school teacher
was on her way home from school and would continue to
perform other school work in connection with her employment
as school teacher, her taking the ride in that fatal vehicle can
be treated as a necessary incident to her school work, thus her
heirs were entitled to the benefits arising from her death as
having occurred in connection with her duty Bael vs.
Workmen's Compensation Commission. 75 SCRA 181, 182
[1977]); or where the employee is on a special mission (Unite

vs. Workmen's Compensation Commission, 90 SCRA 289, 313


[1979]).
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To determine whether or not an injury is sustained either "in


the course of employment" or "out of employment", the case
of Pampanga Sugar Development Co., Inc. vs. Quiroz, 16 SCRA
785-786 [1966], citing In re McNicol (102 NE [1913] 697),
held:
... It is sufficient to say that an injury is received 'in the course
of employment when it comes while the workman is doing the
duty which he is employed to perform. It arises 'out of' the
employment when there is apparent in the rational mind ...
causal connection between the conditions under which the
work is required to be performed and the resulting injury... But
it excludes an injury which cannot fairly be traced to the
employment as a contributing proximate cause and which
comes from a hazard to which the workman would have been
equally exposed apart from the employment. The causative
danger must be peculiar to the work, and not common to the
neighborhood. It must be incidental to the character of the
business, and not independent of the relation of master and
servant. It need not have been foreseen or expected, but after
the event, it must appear to have had its origin on a risk
connected with the employment, to haveflowed from that
source as a rational consequence.
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An injury or accident 'befalls a man in the course of' his


employment, if it occurs while he is doing what a man may
reasonably do within a time during which he is employed, and
at a place where he may reasonably be during that time. 13
NACCA LAW JOURNAL 28-29. And it "arises out of" the work of
the employer, when it results from a risk or hazard which is
necessarily or ordinarily or reasonably inherent in or incident
to the conduct of such work or business. (Emphasis supplied).
Evidently, the injuries and the resulting death suffered by the
petitioner's spouse caused by a vehicular accident, could not
be distinctly attributed to the peculiarities of his employment
as a school principal. A vehicular accident during or ordinary

travel to and from an employee's place of work is a street peril


or hazard common to the public. The deceased, apart from his
employment, would have been equally exposed to the same
hazard as anybody commuting from one place to another.
Thus, as in Pampanga Sugar Development Co., Inc. vs.
Quiroz, supra, the injury sustained by petitioner's husband is
not compensable.
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Lastly, the cases granting compensation under the "going toand-coming-from rule", among them, Bael vs. Workmen's
Compensation Commission, 75 SCRA 182 (1977); Unite vs.
Workmen's Compensation Commission, 90 SCRA 293
(1979); Talisay-Silay Milling Co., Inc. vs. Workmen's
Compensation Commission, 21 SCRA 366 (1967); Philippine
Fiber Processing Co., Inc. vs. Ampil, 99 Phil. 1050
(1956); Onero vs. Workmen's Compensation Commission, 84
SCRA 695 (1978), were all decided under the regime of the
Workmen's Compensation Act (Act No. 3428), section 2 of
which provided as a ground for compensation "any accident
arising out of and in the course of his employment", a clause
that is elastic and is susceptible of interpretation. In contrast,
not only has the Workmen's Compensation Act been expressly
repealed by the new Labor Code, but also, the grounds of
compensability in Rule III of the Amended Rules on Employee's
Compensation (based on PD No. 626, as amended by PD 850,
PD 865-A and PD 891) are specific and enumerate the
conditions that must be satisfied in order that an injury and
the resulting disability or death can be compensable.
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The province of the Courts is to apply the statutes and not to


construe them beyond the intendment of the legislative. The
cases heretofore decided, therefore, must be viewed in the
light of present, extant legislation enacted despite full
cognizance of doctrinal jurisprudence which has emanated
from this Court. By this, there need be no fear of violation of
the Constitutional mandate of affording protection to labor and
promoting social justice. It is merely applying the clear
provisions of the new Labor Laws. Moreover, enough leeway
should be given to administrative agencies applying the law

within their competence. Their opinions and rulings are entitled


to great respect (Regalado vs. Yulo, 61 Phil. 173 [1935];
Grapilon vs.Municipal Council of Carigara, 2 SCRA 103 [1961];
Tan vs, Municipality of Pagbilao, Quezon, 7 SCRA 887, 892
[1963]).
This contemporaneous construction is highly persuasive:
The practice and interpretive regulations by officers,
administrative agencies, departmental heads and other officials
charged with the duty of administering and enforcing a statute
will carry great weight in determining the operation of a
statute. (2 Sutherland, Statutory Construction, p. 516).
[G.R. No. L-26341. November 27, 1968.]
ILOILO DOCK & ENGINEERING CO., Petitioner, v. WORKMENS
COMPENSATION COMMISSION and IRENEA M. PABLO, for herself and
in behalf of her minor children EDWIN, EDGAR and EDNA, all
surnamed PABLO, Respondents.
Luisito C. Hofilea for Petitioner.
Villavieja & Villanueva for respondent Workmens Compensation
Commission.
Gualberto C. Opong for respondent Irenea M. Pablo and her minor
children.
SYLLABUS
1. LABOR LAWS; WORKMENS COMPENSATION ACT; GRANT OF AWARD FOR
INJURIES SUSTAINED IN THE COURSE OF EMPLOYMENT; SCOPE OF TERM
"EMPLOYMENT." Employment includes not only the actual doing of the
work, but a reasonable margin of time and space necessary to be used in
passing to and from the place where the work is to be done. If the employee
be injured while passing, with the express or implied consent of the
employer, to or from his work by a way over the employers premises, or
over those of another in such proximity and relation as to be in practical
effect a part of the employers premises, the injury is one arising out of and
in the course of the employment as much as though it had happened while
the employee was engaged in his work at the place of its performance. In
other words, the employment may begin in point of time before the work is

entered upon and in point of space before the place where the work is to be
done is reached. Probably, as a general rule, employment may be said to
begin when the employee reaches the entrance to the employers premises
where the work is to be done; "but it is clear that in some cases the rule
extends to include adjacent premises used by the employee as a means of
ingress and agrees with the express or implied consent of the employer"
(Bountiful Brick Company v. Giles, 72 L. ed. 507, Feb. 20, 1928).
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; INJURIES SUSTAINED BY AN EMPLOYEE IN AN "ACCESS
AREA" WHICH MAY BE TREATED AS PART OF THE EMPLOYERS PREMISES,
COMPENSABLE; CASE AT BAR. That part of the road where Pablo was
killed is in very close proximity to the employers premises. It is an "access
area" "so clearly related to the employees premises as to be fairly treated as
a part of the employers premises." That portion of the road bears "so
intimate a relation" to the companys premises. It is the chief means of
entering the IDEGO premises, either for the public or for its employees. The
IDEGO uses it, if extensively in pursuit of its business. It has rights of
passage over the road, either legal, if by virtue of easement, or contractual,
if by reason of lease. Pablo was using the road as a means of access to his
work solely because he was an employee. For this reason, the IDEGO was
under obligation to keep the place safe for its employees. Safe, that is,
against dangers that the employees might encounter therein, one of these
dangers being assault by third persons. Having failed to take the proper
security measures over the said area which it controls, the IDEGO is liable for
the injuries suffered by Pablo resulting in his death.
DECISION
CASTRO, J.:
This is an appeal by the Iloilo Dock and Engineering Company (hereinafter
referred to as the IDECO) from the decision dated February 28, 1966 of the
Workmens Compensation Commission (hereinafter referred to as the
Commission) affirming the decision of the Regional Office VII in Iloilo City,
and ordering the IDECO to pay to the widow and children of Teodoro G. Pablo
(Irenea M. Pablo and the minors Edwin, Edgar and Edna, all surnamed Pablo)
the sum of P4,000, to pay to the widow P89 as reimbursement for burial
expenses and P300 as attorneys fees, and to pay to the Commission the
amount of P46 as fees pursuant to Section 55 of the Workmens
Compensation Act, as amended.
At about 5:02 oclock 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 slayer, Martin

Cordero, was not heard to say anything before or after the killing. The motive
for the crime was and still is unknown as Cordero was himself killed before
he could be tried for Pablos death. At the time of the killing, Pablos
companion was Rodolfo Galopez, another employee, who, like Pablo, had
finished overtime work at 5:00 p.m. and was going home. From the main
IDECO gate to the spot where Pablo was killed, there were four "carinderias"
on the left side of the road and two "carinderias" and a residential house on
the right side. The entire length of the road is nowhere stated in the record.
According to the IDECO, the Commission erred (1) in holding that Pablos
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 Pablos death was an accident within the purview of the
Workmens Compensation Act. The principal issue is whether Pablos death
comes within the meaning and intendment of that "deceptively simple and
litigiously prolific" 1 phrase "arising out of and in the course of employment."
2 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; 3 however, it should not be forgotten that the basic
concept of compensation coverage is unitary, not dual, and is best expressed
in the word, "word-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. 4 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. 5
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 reasonably may be, and while
he is fulfilling his duties or is engaged in doing something incidental thereto.
6
The general rule in workmens 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 workmens 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. 8
We address ourselves particularly to an examination and consideration of the

second exception, i.e., injuries sustained off the premises of the employer,
but while using a customary means of ingress and egress.
This exception, known as the "proximity rule," was applied in Philippine Fiber
Processing Co., Inc. v. Ampil. 9 There, the employee, at about 5:15 a.m.,
while proceeding to his place of work and running to avoid the rain, slipped
and fell into a ditch fronting the main gate of employers factory, as a result
of which he died the next day. The sole question was whether or not the
accident which caused the employees death arose out of and in the course of
his employment. This Court ruled in favor of the claimant, thus:
jgc:chanroble s.com.ph

"The very case of Afable v. Singer Sewing Machine Co. invoked by the
petitioner intimated that `we do not of course mean to imply that an
employee can never recover for injuries suffered while on his way to or from
work. That depends on the nature of his employment. Considering the facts
found by the Commission, namely, that the deceased Angel Ariar was not
under any shift routine; that his assignment covered the entire working
hours of the factory; that the first working hour starts at 6:00 oclock in the
morning; that it takes at least thirty minutes before the machine operates at
full speed or load; that the spot where he fell (ditch fronting petitioners
factory or sidewalk of its premises), is immediately proximate to his place of
work, the accident in question must be deemed to have occurred within the
zone of his employment and therefore arose out of and in the course thereof.
In Salilig v. Insular Lumber Co., G.R. No. 28951, September 10, 1928,
referred to in the Comments on the Workmens Compensation Commission
Act by Morabe and Inton, 1955 edition, compensation was allowed for injury
received by a laborer from an accident in going to his place of work, along a
path or way owned by his employer and commonly used by the latters
laborers."
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In contrast is Pampanga Sugar Development Co., Inc. v. Quiroz, 10 which


concerned injuries sustained by a centrifugal operator. He had reported for
work at 9:30 p.m. (March 7, 1958) and was dismissed at 5:30 the following
morning. Soon "after he stepped out of the company gate, and while
standing about 2 1/2 meters from it between the shoulder of the highway
and a railroad that came from inside the compound and intersected the
highway, waiting for a ride home, he was bumped by a jeepney, as a result of
which he sustained" injuries. In holding that these injuries were "not
produced by an accident `arising out of and in the course of employment,"
this Court reasoned thus:
jgc:chanrobles.com .ph

"The compensability of an injury suffered by an employee proceeding to or


coming from his 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 (Brousseau v. Blackstone Mills, 130 A 2d 543,
545). Conversely, it is not enough to say that the employee would not have
been on the public highway had it not been for his job, since the same can

usually be said of the general public (Payne & Dolan v. Industrial


Commission, 46 NE 2d 925). The law, in effect, insures the employee against
losses arising from the perils of his work. In other words, the Workmens
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. In order to warrant recovery for off-thepremises injuries, it must be shown that there has been a very special
danger, some particular risk which the employer could have caused or
allowed to exist. Hence,
`It is significant that practically all successful off-the- premises cases have
involved normal route of access to the plant, or an icy sidewalk adjacent to
the premises and therefore identified with the premises in the sense that the
employer should have removed the ice. (Italics supplied.)
"It is true that in Philippine Fiber Processing Co. v. Ampil, G.R. No. L-8130
(June 30, 1956), we held the employer liable for an injury sustained by an
employee who, as he was running to his place of work to avoid the rain,
slipped and fell into a ditch in front of the factorys main gate and near the
same. The ditch was, however, in itself an obvious hazard which, owing to its
proximity to the gate, the employer should have taken measures to remove.
Thus, thru his inaction, he had contributed, in a special way, to the
occurrence of the accident.
"In the case at bar, no such special circumstance appears to exist. There is
no particular causative connection between the injury sustained by the
employee and either his work or his employer. Although, as stated in the
decision appealed from, the record does not show that the company `had
taken measures to make the waiting place safe for the employees, neither
does the record show either that the accident occurred at the usual waiting
place of the employee, or that said place was particularly unsafe."
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Our Workmens Compensation Act being essentially American in origin and


text, it is not amis to pay deference to pertinent American jurisprudence. In
the precise area of law here involved, we can draw guidance from an
affluence of Federal and State precedents.
From Samuel B. Horovitz Injury and Death under Workmens Compensation
Laws (1944), pp. 159 to 165, we glean the following observations:
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"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.
"Thus, if the injury occurred fifteen minutes before working hours and within
one hundred feet of the employers premises, on sidewalks or public roads,
the question of `in the course of the employment is flatly raised.
"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 employers 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 employers premises.
The Supreme Court of the United States has declared that it will not overturn
any state decision that so enlarges the scope of its act. Hence, a deaf worker,
trespassing on railroad tracks adjacent to his employers brick-making
premises (but shown by his superintendent the specific short crossing over
the track), and killed by a train, was held to be in the course of his
employment when hit by an on-coming train fifteen minutes before his day
would have begun. So long as a causal relation to the employment is
discernible, no federal question arises.
"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 employers
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 traveling for the
employer, i.e. traveling workers; (4) if the employer pays for the employees
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."
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Schneider (supra, at p. 117) makes this significant statement:

jgc:chanrobles.com .ph

"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."
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On pp. 98 to 99 of 85 ALR, we find the following disquisition:

jgc:chanroble s.com.ph

"The compensation acts have been very generally held not to authorize an
award in case of an injury or death from a peril which is common to all
mankind, or to which the public at large is exposed. 28 R.C.L. 804. And they
do not as a general rule cover injuries received while going to or from work
on public streets, where the employee has not reached, or has left the
employers premises. The question whether an injury arises out of and in the
course of the employment, however, is one depending upon the facts of each
case, and in some cases, where an injury occurred while the employee was
going to or from work, but was in the street in front of the employers
premises, it has been held compensable.
"Thus, in the reported case (BARNETT V. BRTILING CAFETERIA CO., ante, 85)
the injury was held to have arisen out of and in the course of the
employment, where the employee slipped on ice on the sidewalk immediately
in front of the employers place of business, while on her way to report for
duty, and just before entering by the only entrance to her place of
employment. The court here recognized the general rule that, if an employee
is injured while going to or from his work to his house, or to or from some
point not visited for the discharge of a duty arising out of the employment, or
while in the use of a public highway, he does not come within the protection
of the Workmens Compensation Act, but stated that there is an exception to
this rule and that the employment is not limited by the actual time when the
workman reaches the scene of his labor and begins it, or when he ceases,
but includes a reasonable time and opportunity before and after, while he is
at or near his place of employment. The court reasoned that in the case at
bar, although the employee had not entered the employers place of business,
and the sidewalk was a public highway so much therefore as was infront of
the employers place of business was a necessary adjunct, used in connection
with the business, and that the sidewalk was to a limited degree and purpose
a part of the employers premises.
In Industrial Commission v. Barber (1927) 117 Ohio St 373, 159 NE 363, the
injury was held to have arisen in the course of the employment where an
employee, about five minutes before the hour when he was to go on duty,
was struck by an automobile owned and driven by another employee, within
a short distance from the employers plant, which was located at the dead
end of a street maintained by the employer from its plant to the intersection
with another street, and, although the street was a public one, it led nowhere
except to the employers plant, and all of its employees were obliged to use it

in going to and from their work. The court stated that where the conditions
under the control of an industrial plant are such that the employee has no
option but to pursue a given course with reference to such conditions and
environments, the pursuance of such course is an implied obligation of the
employer in his contract with such employee, and that when he, for the
purpose of entering his employment, has entered into the sphere or zone
controlled by his employer and is pursuing a course with reference to which
he has no option, he is then not only within the conditions and environments
of the plant of his employer, but is then in the course of his employment; and
that, when he receives an injury attributable to such conditions and
environments, there is a direct causal connection between his employment
and his injury, and the injury falls within the class of industrial injuries for
which compensation has been provided by the Workmens Compensation
Law."
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99 C.J.S., at pp. 307-314, has this to say:

jgc:chanroble s.com.ph

"It is laid down as a general rule, known as the `going and coming rule,
that, in the absence of special circumstances, and except in certain unusual
circumstances, and where nothing else appears, harm or injury sustained by
an employee while going to or from his work is not compensable. Such injury,
or accident, is regarded by the weight of authority of many courts as not
arising out of his employment, and as not being, or not occurring, in the
course thereof. "However, this rule is not inflexible, is not of inevitable
application, and is subject to qualifications, and to exceptions which depend
on the nature, circumstances, and conditions of the particular employment,
the circumstances of the particular case, and the cause of the injury."
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Jaynees v. Potlach Forests 11 expresses with enlightening clarity the rationale


for extending the scope of "course of employment" to certain "off-premises"
injuries:
jgc:chanrobles.com .ph

"We are urged here to again recognize and apply the distinction between offpremises injuries which occur on private property and those which occur on
public streets and highways. The extension of the course of employment to
off-premises injuries is not based upon the principle which would justify a
distinction upon the narrow ground of private and public property; it is not
sound to say that while an employee is on a public highway he is always
there as a member of the public and in nowise in the exercise of any right
conferred by his contract of employment; nor is it a complete answer to say
that while he is on his employers premises his presence there is by contract
right, otherwise he would be a trespasser. The question of whether or not
one is a covered employee should not be resolved by the application of the
law relating to rights to enter upon lands, or by the law of trespass, licensee,
invitee or otherwise.
"A substantial and fair ground to justify the extension of the course of
employment beyond the premises of the employer is to extend its scope to

the necessary risks and hazards associated with the employment. These risks
may or may not be on the premises of the employer and for this reason there
is no justification to distinguish between extended risks on public highways
and private pathways. In fact it is at most a distinction without a difference.
Under the better reasoned cases the technical status as public or private is
obviously of no moment or in any event in and of itself is not conclusive."
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Likewise enlightening is the following explanation of the premises rule


exceptions:
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"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." (Larsons Workmens
Compensation Law, 1965 ed. vol. 1. pp. 210-211)
We now direct our attention to the cause of the employees death: assault.
An "assault," although resulting from a deliberate act of the slayer, is
considered an "accident" within the meaning of Sec. 2 of the Workmens
Compensation Act, since the word "accident" is intended to indicate that "the
act causing the injury shall be casual or unforeseen, an act for which the
injured party is not legally responsible." 12
In the cases where the assault was proven to have been work- connected,
compensation was awarded. In Nava, supra, the helmsman of a boat was
engaged in hauling the ships cable and in coiling it on the deck of the boat
preparatory to passing it down a hatchway. He found the space necessary for
coiling the cable party occupied by a folding bed of one of the passengers.
This passenger, upon being asked, declared his ownership of the bed. Nava
expressed his intention of pushing it out of the way and proceeded to do so.
Angered by this, the passenger exchanged hot words with Nava, and then,
with a piece of wood, jabbed Nava at the pit of the stomach. At this point,
the passengers brother ran up to Nava and stabbed him to death. The death
was adjudged compensable.
In Bohol Land Transportation Co. v. Vda. de Mandaguit, 13 the truck which
Mandaguit was driving collided with a cyclist going in the opposite direction.
The latter turned around and immediately pursued the bus. He overtook it a
few minutes later when it stopped to take on passengers. The driver then
disembarked from the bus to wash his hands at a drugstore nearby. The
cyclist followed him there and knifed him to death. We affirmed the grant of
compensation upon the finding that the death arose out of and in the course
of employment.

In Galicia v. Dy Pac, 14 the employee, Pablo Carla, was asked to work in lieu
of another employee who had been suspended from work upon request of his
labor union; while Carla was working, the suspended employee asked him to
intercede for him, but Carla refused; an altercation resulted; shortly
thereafter the suspended employee stabbed Carla to death. The death was
held compensable because "the injury sustained by the deceased was caused
by an accident arising out of his employment since the evidence is clear that
the fight which resulted in the killing of the deceased had its origin or cause
in the fact that he was placed in the job previously occupied by the
assailant."
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In the three cases above-cited, there was evidence as to the motive of the
assailant.
In A.P. Santos, Inc. v. Dabacol, 15 the death of an employee- driver who,
while driving a cab, was killed by an unidentified passenger, was held
compensable by the Commission. However, the question of whether the
assault arose out of the employment, was not raised on appeal to this Court.
In Batangas Transportation Company v. Vda. de Rivera, 16 that question was
raised. While the employee-driver was driving the bus, a passenger boarded
it and sat directly behind the driver. After about thirty minutes, during which
the passenger and the driver never so much as exchanged a word, the
passenger shot the driver to death and then fled. There was no competent
proof as to the cause of the assault, although there were intimations that the
incident arose from a personal grudge. The majority decision 17 ruled the
death compensable. The bases: (1) Once it is proved that the employee died
in the course of the employment, the legal presumption, in the absence of
substantial evidence to the contrary, is that the claim "comes within the
provisions of the compensation law" (sec. 43), in other words, that the
incident arose out of the workmans employment. (2) Doubts as to rights to
compensation are resolved in favor of the employee and his dependents. (3)
The Commissioners declaration on the work-connection might be binding on
the Court. (4) There are employments which increase the risk of assault on
the person of the employee and it is in that sense that an injury or harm
sustained by the assaulted worker arises out of the employment, because the
increased risk to assault supplies the link or connection between the injury
and the employment. Among the jobs enumerated as increasing the risk of
assault are (a) jobs having to do with keeping the peace or guarding
property; (b) jobs having to do with keeping or carrying of money which
subject the employee to the risk of assault because of the increased
temptation to robbery; (c) jobs which expose the employee to direct contact
with lawless and irresponsible members of the community, like that of a
bartender; and (d) work as bus driver, taxi driver or street car conductor.
It has been said that an employment may either increase risk of assault
because of its nature or be the subject-matter of a dispute leading to the
assault. The first kind of employment, the so-called "increased risk" jobs

comprehend (1) jobs involving dangerous duties, such as that of guarding


the employers property, that of carrying or keeping money, that where the
employee is exposed to lawless or irresponsible members of the public, or
that which subjects him to increased or indiscriminate contact with the
public, such as the job of a street car conductor or taxi-driver; 18 (2) jobs
where the employee is placed in a dangerous environment; 19 and (3) jobs
of employees whose work takes them on the highway. On the other hand, the
employment itself may be the subject-matter of a dispute leading to the
assault as where a supervisor is assaulted by a workmen he has fired, or
where the argument was over the performance of work or possession of tools
or the like, or where the violence was due to labor disputes. 20
In Rivera, supra, the unexplained assault on the employee was considered to
have arisen out of the employment because it occurred in the course of
employment. This Court relied on the presumption of law that in any
proceeding for the enforcement of a claim, the claim is presumed to come
within the provisions of the Act. 21 According to this Court, "this statutory
presumption was copied from New York." Concerning the corresponding New
York provision of law, Larson has this to say:
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"In a few jurisdictions, notably New York and Massachusetts, a statutory


presumption in favor of coverage has figured in unexplained- accident cases.
The Massachusetts statute provides:
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`In any claim for compensation, where the employee has been killed, or is
physically or mentally unable to testify, it shall be presumed, in the absence
of substantial evidence to the contrary, that the claim comes within the
provisions of this chapter, that sufficient notice of the injury has been given,
and that the injury or death was not occasioned by the wilful intention of the
employee to injure or kill himself or another.
"This provision was largely copied from the New York section on
presumptions, except that the New York act creates the presumption in all
cases, not merely those involving an employees death or inability to testify.
"The sweeping inclusiveness of this language might seem at first glance to
mean that the mere making of a claim is also the making of a prima facie
case, as long as death or injury is shown to have occurred. The New York and
Massachusetts courts have not so interpreted these statutes, however. It
seems to be necessary to establish some kind of preliminary link with the
employment before the presumption can attach. Otherwise the claimant
widow would have merely to say, `My husband, who was one of your
employee, has died, and I therefore claim death benefits, whereupon the
affirmative burden would devolve upon the employer to prove that there was
no connection between the death and the environment.
"It is not yet entirely clear what initial demonstration of employmentconnection will give the presumption a foothold. Apparently, the idea is to

rule out cases in which claimant can show neither that the injury occurred in
the course of employment nor that it arose out of it, as where he contracted
a disease but has no evidence to show where he got it. If there is evidence
that the injury occurred in the course of employment, the presumption will
usually supply the `arising-out-of-employment factor. "Larsons Workmens
Compensation Law (1965) vol. 1, pp. 123-124.
We also quote from the decision of the Court of Appeals of New York in Daus
v. Gunderman & Sons : 22
"The statute is not intended to relieve completely an employee from the
burden of showing that accidental injuries suffered by him actually were
sustained in the course of his employment. `It is not the law that mere proof
of an accident, without other evidence, creates the presumption under
Section 21 of the Workmens Compensation Law (Consol. Laws, c. 67) that
the accident arose out of and in the course of the employment. On the
contrary, it has been frequently held, directly and indirectly, that there must
be some evidence from which the conclusion can be drawn that the injuries
did arise out of and in the course of the employment. Proof of the accident
will give rise to the statutory presumption only where some connection
appears between the accident and the employment."
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Likewise of relevance is the following treatise:

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"The discussion of the coverage formula, `arising out of and in the course of
employment, was opened with the suggestion that, while `course and
`arising were put under separate headings for convenience, some interplay
between the two factors should be observed in the various categories
discussed. "A few examples may now be reviewed to show that the two tests,
in practice, have not been kept in air-tight compartments, but have to some
extent merged into a single concept of work-connection. One is almost
tempted to formulate a sort of quantum theory of work- connection: that a
certain minimum quantum of work-connection must be shown, and if the
`course quantity is very small, but the `arising quantity is large, the
quantum will add up to the necessary minimum, as it will also when the
`arising quantity is very small but the `course quantity is relatively large.
"But if both the `course and `arising quantities are small, the minimum
quantum will not be met.
"As an example of the first, a strong `arising factor but weak `course factor,
one may cite the cases in which recoveries have been allowed of the
employment premises, outside business hours, when an employee going to
or coming from work is injured by a hazard distinctly traceable to the
employment, such as a traffic jam overflowing from the employment
premises, or a rock flying through the air from a blast on the premises. Here,
by normal course of employment standards, there would be no award, since
the employee was not on the premises while coming or going. Yet the

unmistakeable character of the casual relation of the injury to the


employment has been sufficient to make up for the weakness of the `course
factor. Another example of the same kind of balancing-out is seen in the line
of cases dealing with injury to travelling men or loggers while sleeping in
hotels or bunk-houses. It was shown in the analysis of these cases that,
although the `course factor is on the borderline when the employee is sound
asleep at the time of injury, a strong causal relation of the injury to the
conditions of employment as where a fellow logger runs amok, or a straw
falls into the bunk-house-inmates throat from the mattress above, or the
employee is trapped in a burning hotel will boost the case over the line to
success; while a weak causal connection, as where the salesman merely slips
in a hotel bath, coupled with a weak `course factor due to the absence of
any direct service performed for the employer at the time, will under present
decisions add up to a quantum of work-connection too small to support an
award. It was also shown that when the `course element is strengthened by
the fact that the employee is at all times on call, the range of compensable
sources of injury is broader than when the employee, although living on the
premises is not on call.
"A somewhat similar balancing-out process is seen in the holding that a
borderline course-of-employment activity like seeking personal comfort or
going to and from work falls short of compensability if the method adopted is
unusual, unreasonable and dangerous, while no such restriction applies to
the direct performance of the work.
"As an example of the reverse situation, a strong `course element and a
weak `arising element, one may recall the `positional cases discussed in
Section 10, as well as the unexplained-fall and other `neutra -cause cases.
Here the course of employment test is satisfied beyond the slightest doubt:
the employee is in the midst of performing the active duties of his job. But
the causal connection is very weak, since the source of the injury whether
a stray bullet, a wandering lunatic, an unexplained fall or death, or a
mistaken assault by a stranger is not distinctly associated with
employment conditions as such, and is tied to the employment only by the
argument that the injury would not have occurred to this employee but for
the obligation of the employment which placed him in the position to be hurt.
Yet, since the `course element is so strong, awards are becoming
increasingly common on these facts.
"Incidentally, it may be observed that this `quantum idea forms a useful
yardstick for measuring just how generous a court has become in expanding
compensation coverage; for if a court makes an award when a case, by the
above standards, is weak both on course of employment and on causal
connection, one can conclude that the court is capable of giving the act a
broad construction. Thus, an award was made in Puffin v. General Electric,
where the course element was weak (rest period) and the causal element
was weak (setting fire to own sweater while smoking). Both factors were
likewise very weak in OLeary v. Brown Pacific-Maxon Inc., where the course

of employment consisted of a recreation period interrupted by a rescue of a


stranger, and the arising factor consisted of drowning in a channel where
decedent was prohibited from going. And, in Martin v. Plaut, the course of
employment factor was weak (a cook dressing in the morning) and the
causal factor was also weak (an unexplained fall); yet an award was made in
New York.
"But another New York case shows that the simultaneous weakness of course
and arising factors may reach the point where the requisite quantum is not
found. In Shultz v. Nation Associates, compensation was denied to an
employee who while combing her hair preparatory to going to lunch
negligently struck her eye with the comb. Here we see thinness on all fronts:
as to course of employment time factor, we have a lunch period; as to the
course of employment activity factor, we have care of personal appearance;
and as to the causal factor, we have negligence of the employee. Eack
weakness standing alone lunch period, care of appearance, negligence
would not be fatal; there are many awards in which one or another of these
is present. But when all are present, while an award is not impossible and
could be defended on a point by point basis, it can not be relied upon in most
jurisdictions by the prudent lawyer." Larsons Workmens Compensation Law,
1965 ed. Vol. 1, pp. 452.97 to 452.100.
In resum:

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1. Workmens compensation is granted if the injuries result from an accident


which arise out of and in the course of employment.
2. Both the "arising" factor and the "course" factor must be present. If one
factor is weak and the other is strong, the injury is compensable, but not
where both factors are weak. Ultimately, the question is whether the accident
is work-connected.
3. In a proceeding for the enforcement of a claim, the same is presumed to
come within the provisions of the Workmens Compensation Act. But a
preliminary link must first be shown to exist between the injury and the
employment. Thus if the injury occurred in the course of employment, it is
presumed to have arisen out of the employment.
4. The "course" factor applies to time, place and circumstances. This factor is
present if the injury takes place within the period of employment, at a place
where the employee may be, and while he is fulfilling his duties or is engaged
in doing something incidental thereto.
5. The rule is that an injury sustained while the employee goes to or comes
from his place of work, is not of employment.
6. The exception to the rule is an injury sustained off the employees
premises, but while in close proximity thereto and while using a customary

means of ingress and egress. The reason for extending the scope of "course
of employment" to off-premises injuries is that there is a causal connection
between the work and the hazard.
7. An "assault" may be considered an "accident" within the meaning of the
Workmens Compensation Act. The employment may either increase risk of
assault because of its nature or be the subject-matter of a dispute leading to
the assault.
From these milestones, we now proceed to take our bearings in the case at
bar, having in mind always that no cover-all formula can be spelled out with
specificity, that the particular facts and circumstances of each case must be
inquired into, and that in any perceptive inquiry, the question as to where the
line should be drawn beyond which the liability of the employer cannot
continue has been held to be usually one of fact.
We shall first dwell on the question of ownership of the private road where
Pablo was killed. In granting compensation, that Commission said that "the
road where the deceased was shot was of private ownership, was called the
IDECO road, and led straight to the main IDECO gate, thus raising the
reasonable assumption that it belonged" to the IDECO. The Commission
reasoned out that "even if the ownership of the road were open to question,
there was no doubt that its private character was obviously exploited by the
respondent for the purpose of its own business to such an extent as to make
it to all intents and purposes an extension of its premises," so that "the
shooting of the deceased may be considered to have taken place on the
premises, and therefore within the employment," and that "while respondent
allowed its name to be used in connection with the private road for the
ingress and egress of the employees it did not apparently take the necessary
precaution to make it safe for its employees by employing security guards."

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But the IDECO denies ownership of the road. In its memorandum filed with
the Regional Office, IDECO averred that Pablos death did not originate from
his work as to time, place and circumstances. This, in effect, is a denial of
ownership of the road. The decision of the Regional Office does not state that
the road belongs to the IDECO. All that it says is that Pablo was shot "barely
two minutes after he was dismissed from work and while walking along the
IDECO road about twenty (20) meters from the gate." In its motion for
reconsideration and/or review," the IDECO emphasized that "the place where
the incident happened was a public road, not less than (20) meters away
from the main gate of the compound, and therefore not proximate to or in
the immediate vicinity of the place of work." Again, the ownership of the road
was implicitly denied. And in its "motion for reconsideration and/or appeal to
the Commission en banc," the IDECO alleged outright that the "road where
the incident took place, although of private ownership, does not belong to
IDECO. There is absolutely no evidence on record that shows IDECO owns
the road." If the road were owned by the IDECO, there would have been no
question that the assault arose "in the course of employment." 23 But if it did

indeed own the road, then the IDECO would have fenced it, and placed its
main gate at the other end of the road where it meets the public highway.
But while the IDECO does not own the private road, it cannot be denied that
it was using the same as the principal means of ingress and egress. The
private road leads directly to its main gate. 24 Its right to use the road must
then perforce proceed from either an easement of right of way or a lease. Its
right, therefore, is either a legal one or a contractual one. In either case the
IDECO should logically and properly be charged with security control of the
road. The IDECO owned its employees a safe passage to its premises. In
compliance with such duty, the IDECO should have seen to it not only the
road was properly paved and did not have holes or ditches, but should also
have instituted measures for the proper policing of the immediate area. The
point where Pablo was shot was barely twenty meters away from the main
IDECO gate, certainly nearer than a stones throw therefrom. The spot is
immediately proximate to the IDECOs premises. Considering this fact, and
the further facts that Pablo has just finished overtime work at the time, and
was killed barely two minutes after dismissal from work, the Ampil case is
squarely applicable here. We may say, as we did in Ampil, that the place
where the employee was injured being "immediately proximate to his place
of work, the accident in question must be deemed to have occurred within
the zone of his employment and therefore arose out of and in the course
thereof." Our principal question is whether the injury was sustained in the
course of employment. We find that it was, and so conclude that the assault
arose out of the employment, even though the said assault is unexplained.
American jurisprudence supports this view.
In Bountiful Brick Company v. Giles, 25 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled:

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"Employment includes not only the actual doing of the work, but a
reasonable margin of time and space necessary to be used in passing to and
from the place where the work is to be done. If the employee be injured
while passing, with the express or implied consent of the employer, to or
from his work by a way over the employers, to or from his work by a way
over the employers premises, or over those of another such proximity and
relation as to be in practical effect a part of the employers premises, the
injury is one arising out and in the course of the employment as much as
though it had happened while the employee was engaged in his work at the
place of its performance. In other words, the employment may begin in point
of time before the work is entered upon and in point of space before the
place where the work is to be done is reached. Probably, as a general rule,
employment may be said to begin when the employee reaches the entrance
to the employers premises where the work is to be done; but it is clear that
in some cases the rule extends to include adjacent premises used by the
employee as a means of ingress and egress with the express or implied
consent of the employer."
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The above ruling is on all fours with our facts. Two minutes from dismissal
and twenty meters from the main IDECO gate are "a reasonable margin of
time and space necessary to be used in passing to and from" the IDECOs
premises. The IDECO employees used the private road with its consent,
express or implied. Twenty meters on that road from the main gate is in
closed proximity to the IDECOs premises. It follows that Pablos death was in
the course of employment.
In Carter v. Lanzetta, 26 it was held that "such statutes envision extension of
coverage to employees from the time they reach the employers premises
until they depart therefrom and that hours of service include a period when
this might be accomplished within a reasonable interval" ; and that "under
exceptional circumstances, a continuance of the course of employment may
be extended by allowing the employee a reasonable time not only to enter or
leave the premises but also to surmount certain hazards adjacent thereto."

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The private road led directly to the main IDECO gate. From this description, it
would appear that the road is a dead-end street. In Singer v. Rich Marine
Sales, 27 it was held that, where the employee, while returning to work at
the end of the lunch period, fell at the curb of the sidewalk immediately
adjacent to the employers premises and one other located thereon, and the
general public used the street only in connection with those premises, and
the employer actually stored boats on the sidewalk, the sidewalk was within
the precincts of employment. In that case there were even two business
establishments on the dead-end street. Here, it is exclusively the IDECO
premises which appear to be at the end of the private road.
We find in Jaen v. Chrysler Corporation 28 a meaningful statement of the
obligation of the employer to its employees: "That the employer owes, so to
speak, a duty of `safe passage to an employee to the point where he can
reach the proper arrival or departure from his work seems without
question."
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We next quote extensively from Kelty v. Traverllers Insurance Company: 29


"The rule has been repeatedly announced in Texas that an injury received by
an employee while using the public streets and highways in going to or
returning from the place of employment is not compensable, the rationale of
the rule being that in most instances such an injury is suffered as a
consequence of risk and hazards to which all members of the travelling public
are subject rather than risk and hazards having to do with and originating in
the work or business of the employer. . . .
"Another exception, however, which is applicable is found in the so-called
`access cases. In these cases a workman who has been injured at a place
intended by the employer for use as a means of ingress and egress to and
from the actual place of the employees work has been held to be in the
course of his employment. The courts have said that these access areas are

so closely related to the employers premises as to be fairly treated as a part


of the employers premises. We shall discuss the principal authorities dealing
with this exception to the general rule.
"The leading cases in Texas dealing with the `access exception, and one
which we think is controlling of this appeal, is Lumbermans Reciprocal Assn.
v. Behnken, 112 Tex. 103, 246 S.W. 72, 28 A.L.R. 1402. In that case the
employee was employed by Hartburg Lumber Company, which company
operated and owned a sawmill in Hartburg, Texas, which was a lumber town,
consisting solely of the employers facilities. A railroad track ran through the
town and a part of the lumber companys facilities was situated on either side
of the right- of-way. A public road ran parallel to the railroad tracks which led
to the various buildings on the property of the lumber company. This crossing
was used by any member of the public desiring to go to any part of the
lumber company facilities. On the day in question the decedent quit work at
noon, went home for lunch and while returning to the lumber company plant
for the purpose of resuming his employment, was struck and killed by a train
at the crossing in question. The insurance company contended (as it does
here) that the decedents death did not originate in the work or business of
his employer and that at the time of his fatal injuries he was not in or about
the furtherance of the affairs or business of his employer. The Supreme
Court, in an extensive opinion, reviewed the authorities from other states
and especially Latters Case 238 Mass. 326, 130 N.E. 637, 638, and arrived
at the conclusion that the injury and death under such circumstances were
compensable under the Texas Act. The court held that the railroad crossing
bore so intimate a relation to the lumber companys premises that it could
hardly be treated otherwise than as a part of the premises. The court pointed
out that the lumber company had rights in and to the crossing which was
used in connection with the lumber companys business, whether by
employees or by members of the public. In announcing the `access doctrine
Justice Greenwood said:
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`Was Behnken engaged in or about the furtherance of the affairs or business


of his employer when he received the injury causing his death? He was upon
the crossing provided as the means of access to his work solely because he
was an employee. He encountered the dangers incident to use of the crossing
in order that he might perform the duties imposed by his contract of service.
Without subjecting himself to such dangers he could not do what was
required of him in the conduct of the lumber companys business. He had
reached a place provided and used only as an adjunct to that business and
was injured from a risk created by the conditions under which the business
was carried on. To hold that he was not acting in furtherance of the affairs or
business of the lumber company would be to give a strict interpretation to
this remedial statute, which should be liberally construed with a view to
accomplish its purpose and to promote justice.. . . "In Texas Employers Ins.
Assn. v. Anderson, Tex. Civ. App., 125 S.W. 2d 674, wr. ref., this court
followed the rule announced in Behnken, supra. In that case the employee
was killed while crossing the railroad track near his place of employment. In

discussing the question of the situs of the injury Justice Looney said:

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`Its use as a means of ingress to and exit from his place of work not only
conduced to his safety and convenience, but contributed to the promptness
and efficiency with which he was enabled to discharge the duties owing his
employer; hence the reason and necessity for his presence upon the railroad
track (that portion of the pathway leading over the railroad right of way)
when injured, in our opinion, had to do with, originated in and grew out of
the work of the employer; and that, the injury received at the time, place,
and under the circumstances, necessarily was in furtherance of the affairs or
business of the employer.
"Again, in Texas Employers Ins. Assn. v. Boecker, Tex. Civ. App., 53 S.W. 2d
327, err. ref., this court had occasion to follow the `access doctrine. In that
case Chief Justice Jones quoted from the Supreme Court of the United States
in the case of Bountiful Brick Company Et. Al. v. Giles, 276 U.5. 154, 48 S.Ct.
221, 72 L.Ed. 507, 66 A. L.R. 1402, as follows:
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`An employment includes not only the actual doing of the work, but a
reasonable margin of time and space necessary to be used in passing to and
from the place where the work is to be done. If the employee be injured
while passing, with the express or implied consent of the employer, to or
from his work by a way over the employers premises, or over those of
another in such proximity and relation as to be in practical effect a part of
the employers premises, the injury is one arising out of and in the course of
the employment as much as though it had happened while the employee was
engaged in his work at the place of its performance. In other words, the
employment may begin in point of time before the work is entered upon and
in point of space before the place where the work is to be done is reached."
The ruling enunciated above is applicable in the case at bar. That part of the
road where Pablo was killed is in very close proximity to the employers
premises. It is an "access area" "so clearly related to the employees
premises as to be fairly treated as a part of the employers premises." That
portion of the road bears "so intimate a relation" to the companys premises.
It is the chief means of entering the IDECO premises, either for the public or
for its employees. The IDECO uses it extensively in pursuit of its business. It
has rights of passage over the road, either legal, if by virtue of easement, or
contractual, if by reason of lease. Pablo was using the road as a means of
access to his work solely because he was an employee. For this reason, the
IDECO was under obligation to keep the place safe for its employees. Safe,
that is, against dangers that the employees might encounter therein, one of
these dangers being assault by third persons. Having failed to take the
proper security measures over the said area which it controls, the IDECO is
liable for the injuries suffered by Pablo resulting in his death. As heretofore
stated, the assault on Pablo is unexplained. The murderer was himself killed
before he could be brought to trial. It is true there is authority for the
statement that before the "proximity" rule may be applied it must first be

shown that there is a causal connection between the employment and the
hazard which resulted in the injury. 30 The following more modern view was
expressed in Lewis Wood Preserving Company v. Jones. 31
"While some earlier cases seem to indicate that the causative danger must
be peculiar to the work and not common to the neighborhood for the injuries
to arise out of and in the course of the employment (see Maryland Casualty
Co. v. Peek, 36 Ga. App. 557 [137 S.E. 121], Hartford Accident and
Indemnity Co. v. Cox, 61 Ga App. 420, 6 S.E. 2d 189), later cases have been
somewhat more liberal, saying that, `to be compensable, injuries do not
have to arise from something peculiar to the employment. Fidelity &
Casualty Co. of N.Y. v. Bardon, 79 Ga. App. 260, 262, 54 S.E. 2d 443, 444.
`Where the duties of an employee entail his presence (at a place and a time)
the claim for an injury there occurring is not to be barred because it results
from a risk common to all others .. unless it is also common to the general
public without regard to such conditions, and independently of place,
employment, or pursuit. New Amsterdam Casualty Co. v. Sumrell, 30 Ga.
App. 682, 118 S.E. 786, cited in Globe Indemnity Co. v. MacKendree, 39 Ga.
App. 58, 146 S.E. 46, 47. McKiney v. Reynolds & Manley Lumber Co., 79 Ga.
App. 826, 829, 54 S.E. 2d 471, 473."
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But even without the foregoing pronouncement, the employer should still be
held liable in view of our conclusion that that portion of the road where Pablo
was killed, because of its proximity, should be considered part of the IDECOs
premises. Hence, the injury was in the course of employment, and there
automatically arises the presumption invoked in Rivera that the injury
by assault arose out of the employment, i.e., there is a causal relation
between the assault and the employment.
We do say here that the circumstances of time, two minutes after dismissal
from overtime work, and space, twenty meters from the employers main
gate, bring Pablos death within the scope of the course factor. But it may
logically be asked: Suppose it were three minutes after and thirty meters
from, or five minutes after and fifty meters from, would the "proximity" rule
still apply? In answer, we need but quote that portion of the decision in Jean
v. Chrysler Corporation, supra, which answered a question arising from an
ingenious hypothetical situation put forth by the defendant therein:
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"We could, of course, say `this is not the case before us and utilize the old
saw, `that which is not before us we do not decide. Instead, we prefer to
utilize the considerably older saw: `Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof
(Matthew 1:34), appending, however, this admonition: no statute is static; it
must remain constantly viable to meet new challenges placed to it. Recovery
in a proper case should not be suppressed because of a conjectural posture
which may never arise and which if it does, will be decided in the light of
then-existing law." Since the Workmens Compensation Act is basically a
social legislation designed to afford relief to workmen, it must be liberally
construed to attain the purpose for which it was enacted. 32 Liberally

construed, Sec. 2 of the Act comprehends Pablos death. The Commission did
not err in granting compensation.
ACCORDINGLY, the decision appealed from is affirmed, at petitioners costs.
Concepcion, CJ., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Zaldivar, Sanchez, Fernando and
Capistrano, JJ., concur.
Endnotes:

1. Description used by Justice Frank Murphy in Cardillo v. Liberty Mutual


Insurance Co., 330 US 469 (1947), 91 L ed 1028.
2. Sec. 2, Workmens Compensation Act.
3. Arthur Larsons Workmens Compensation Law (1952 ed. with 1959
supplement), vol. 1, p. 41; see also 1965 ed., vol. 1, p. 42.
4. See note 3, at pp. 42 & 43.
5. Afable v. Singer Sewing Machine Co., 58 Phil. 42, citing Fitzgerald v. Clarke
& Sons, 1 BWCC 197, Dretzen Co v. Industrial Board, 279, Ill. 11, 116 NE
684.
6. PHHC v. WCC & Alba Titong, L-18246, Oct. 30, 1964, citing Murillo v.
Mendoza, 66 Phil. 689, & Larsons Workmens Compensation Law, 1952 ed., p
153.
7. Vol. 8, William R. Schneider, Workmens Compensation Text, Permanent
Edition, p. 3.
8. See note 7, at pp. 7 and 8.
9. L-8130, June 30, 1956, 99 Phil. 1050.
10. L-22117, April 29, 1966.
11. 50 ALR 2d 356, Idaho Supreme Court, June 15, 1954.
12. Taller vda. de Nava v. Ynchausti Steamship Co., 57 Phil. 751.
13. 70 Phil. 685.
14. G.R. No. 7402, March 25, 1941, 40 OG No. 1, p. 83 (Court of Appeals
case, decision of a special division of five Justices, Justice Alex Reyes,
ponente).

15. L-19051, Nov. 23, 1966.


16. L-7658, May 8, 1956. .
17. Five Justices dissented.
18. The jobs of the employees in the Nava, Rivera, Madanguit and Dabacol
cases are within this class.
19. The injuries resulting from assault on the manager of a building used as
a rooming house by unsavory characters, was adjudged compensable in
Israel v. Ramble Properties, Inc., 58 NYS 2d 388.
20. The Galicia case probably comes under this category. For a discussion of
assaults as a work hazard, see Larsons Workmens Compensation Law (1965
ed.), vol. 1, pp. 132-144.
21. Sec. 43(1), Workmens Compensation Act.
22. 28 NE 2d 914.
23. The presumption that the injury arises out of and in the course of
employment prevails where the injury occurs on the employers premises.
The injuries were sustained by the employee when she was struck by an
automobile while walking from the processing plant where she worked to her
automobile which was parked in the adjoining parking area maintained for
employees. Forest v. Birds Eye Division of General Foods Corporation, 422
P2d 616, Supreme Court of Idaho, Jan. 17, 1967.
"Where state vehicle being driven with consent of the state and under its
direction and upon its business struck a state hospital employee on the
premises of the state hospital after she had completed her shift, the injuries
sustained were declared covered by workmens compensation law in Nichols
v. Godfrey, 411, P2d 763, March 4, 1966.
24. "Main" means principal, chief, first in size, rank, importance. 26 Words &
Phrases 60, citing Evers v. Flanagan, 61 NYS 2d 496, 499, 186 Misc. 101. It
may be reasonably assumed then that the main gate is not the only gate,
although the natural tendency of employees and customers is to pass
through the main gate.
25. 72 L. ed. 507, Feb. 20, 1928.
26. 193 SO 2d 259, Supreme Court of Louisiana, December 12, 1966. Here,
the Court held that the accident when the employee fell on the step adjoining
the employers front door, as the employee was leaving, occurred during the
course of employment although the employee had been engaged for one day

and had already been paid, and although the employee had lingered for from
20 to 30 minutes talking to the employer.
27. 271 NYS 2d 514, New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third
Department, April 29, 1966.
28. 140 NW 2d 756, Court of Appeals of Michigan, March 22, 1966.
29. 391 SW 2d 558, Court of Civil Appeals of Texas, May 21, 1965.
30. Jaynes v. Potlatch Forests, supra.
31. 140 SE 2d 113, Court of Appeals of Georgia, Nov. 24, 1964.
32. Abana v. Quisumbing, L-23489, March 27, 1968, 22 SCRA 1278, 1968A
PHILD 997; Manila Railroad Co. v. WCC, L-21504, Sept. 15, 1967, 21 SCRA
98, 1967 PHlLD 676: ITEMCOP v. Reyes-Florzo, L-21969, August 31, 1966,
17 SCRA 1104.

G.R. No. L-14827

October 31, 1960

CHUA YENG, Petitioner, vs. MICHAELA ROMA, and her


minor children GUADALUPE, PILAR, ROSARIO,
CORNELIO and GERARDO, Respondents.
Pedro B. Uy Calderon and A. Marigomen for petitioner.
D. V. Nacua and J. D. Palma for respondents.
REYES, J.B.L., J.:
Appeal by certiorari from the decision of the Workmen's
Compensation Commission, dated September 17, 1958, and its
resolution en banc, dated December 4, 1958, awarding
compensation for the death of Santos Romeo.
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The appeal raises issues facts and of law, but since findings of
the fact by the Workmen's Compensation Commission are
final, if supported by substantial evidence mission are final, if
supported by substantial evidence, (Batangas Transportation
Co.,vs. Galicano Rivera, et al., supra., p. 175; Laguna Tayabas
Bus Co., vs. Consuto, et al., 108 Phil., 62, and since the record

shows that such evidence is not wanting, the Court will


consider the case on the facts as found by the commission.

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Santos Romeo was, on May 16, 1956, working for petitioner


as cargador in loading and unloading copra at the former's
warehouse at C. Padilla Street, Cebu City. In the morning of
that day, after asking permission from his employer, Santos
Romeo went to petitioner's house just across the street from
the warehouse to get a drink of water, the water pump in the
warehouse being out of order and no supply being available.
Reaching the kitchen of said house and while he was drinking,
he saw a puppy eating some fried fish inside an open cabinet.
He tried to drive away the puppy by saying "tse", but as the
puppy still continue to eat the fish, Santos made a motion with
hand to drive it away, in the course of which his right hand was
bitten by said puppy. On June 26, 1958, Santos Romeo died of
hydrophobia from the dog bite. It appears that the puppy was
not owned by petitioner.
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Appellant contends that, under the circumstances narrated,


the death of the laborer can not be considered to arise "out of
and in course" of his employment.
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We find no merit in this contention. The rule is well established


that Such acts as are reasonably necessary to the health and
comfort of an employee while at work, such as satisfaction of
his thirst, hunger, or other physical demands, or protecting
himself from excessive cold, are nevertheless incidental to the
employment, and injuries sustained in the performance of such
act are generally held to be compensable as arising out of and
in the course of the employment. (58 Am. Jur., sec. 236,p .
742, citing numerous cases.)
That Santos Romeo was in the kitchen of appellant's house and
not at his usual place of work does not bring the case out of
the operation of the rule previously quoted, for the reason that
the laborer was practically driven to that place through the

appellant's fault in not providing an adequate supply of


drinking water at the warehouse.
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Appellant urges that the dog bite was provoked by Santos'


trying to take the fish away from the puppy and hence, while
he was engaged in an independent activity. We do not regard
such act as voluntary deviation from his duties, considering
that the act of the deceased was practically an instinctive one,
that would naturally be expected from any person in his
position. Moreover, it was motivated by a sense of loyalty to
his employer, a desire to protect the latter's property, that can
not be deemed wholly foreign to the duties of the laborer as
such (71 C.J. 675). In fact, it has been held that the act of
saving the employee's own property from an apparent danger,
is compensable (in re Brightman, 107 N.E. 527, cited in 71 C.
J. 670). There, is was said:
the standard to be applied is not that which now, in the light of
all that has happened, is seen to have been directly within the
line of labor helpful to the master, but that which the ordinary
man required to act in such an emergency might do while
actuated with a purpose to do his duty.
Compensation has been granted, even if the injury occurred
while the order was not performing acts strictly within the
scope of his duties, but engaged in an activity either related or
incidental to his duties, or doing an act in the interest of his
employer. Thus, injury to an employee of a bus firm, occurring
outside of assigned territory, in undertaking to retrieve
personal belongings of a passenger, was compensable
(Vergozavs. Arnaz Vda. de Cruz, L-7305, December 15, 1953);
so was that of a laborer who, trying to alight from a truck to
pick up a sack which had fallen, belonging to his employer, was
caught between the wheels (Ramos vs. Poblete, 40 Off. Gaz.,
3474); likewise, the death of a worker who tried to recover a
price of board which had fallen into a molasses tank, and died
from the deal fumes therein (Estandarte vs. Phil. Motor Alcohol
Corp., G. R. No. 39733, Nov. 1, 1933). In the foregoing, an

impelling factor considered by the court was the fact that the
employee was acting in the interest of the employer.
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To the argument that the employee sustained the injury not


from drinking water but from driving away the puppy, suffice it
to say that under the circumstances that impelled him to act
without opportunity for deliberate reflection, we are not
prepared to say that his act was unreasonable or negligent.
Driving away a puppy is not so fraught with potent danger as
to deter every man possessed of reasonable disposition. As
has been said . . . he was doing a thing which a man while working may
reasonably do-a workman of his sort may reasonably smoke,
he may reasonably drop his pipe, and he may reasonably pick
it up again. (Ramos vs. Poblete, supra., citing
M'Lauchan vs. Anderson, S.C. 529.)
By analogy, the deceased in this case may reasonably get a
drink of water to satisfy his thirst; while drinking, he may
reasonably see a puppy eating some fried fish belonging to his
employer; and he may reasonably be expected to make a
motion with his hand to drive said puppy away.
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At any rate, the resulting injury is not without causation in the


conditions under which deceased was required to perform his
work. It appears that there were no adequate and sanitary
means of water supply in the place of work; that petitioner's
workers used, for drinking purposes, water from a well at the
back of the warehouse; that this well was out or order at the
time of the incident, so that the deceased had to cross a wide
public street to petitioner's house just to get a drink, thereby
exposing himself to hazards which may well have been avoided
if there were drinking facilities at, or more proximate to, the
place of work.
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Finally, the Workmen's Compensation Act being a social


legislation, and in line with the intent of the law to effect social
justice, the provisions thereof should be liberally construed in
favor of the workingman (Luzon Brokerage Co.,

Inc., vs. Dayao, et al., 106 Phil., 525; Madrigal Shipping


Co. vs. Baens del Rosario, et al., L-13130, October 31,
1959).
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Wherefore, the decision and the resolution appealed from are


hereby affirmed. Costs against petitioner.
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Paras, C. J., Bengzon, Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Labrador,


Barrera, Gutierrez David and Paredes, JJ., concur.