13) Maritime Factors, Inc. v.

Bienvenido Hindang
GR No. 151993, 19 October 2011
Airway injury
Doctrine:
General rule: Once it is established that the seaman died during the effectivity of his
employment contract, the employer is liable.
Exception: The employer may be exempt from liability if he can successfully prove
that the seaman's death was caused by an injury directly attributable to his
deliberate or willful act.
Facts:
-

-

Maritime Factors Inc (MFI) is a domestic manning agency for and in behalf
of its foreign principal Bahrain Contracting/Panama.
MFI engaged the services of Danilo Hindang to work as a GP/Deckhand
(seaman) on board M/T Reya (ship).
While within the territorial jurisdiction of Saudi Arabia, and on board the
vessel, Danilo was discovered dead in his cabin, hanging by a strap on his
neck in a kneeling position.
His autopsy, performed by Dr. Hameed, concluded that he committed
suicide by hanging himself.
When Danilo’s body was repatriated, his family requested another autopsy
which was conducted by Dr. Maximo Reyes who concluded that cause of
death was asphyxia by strangulation, ligature (someone caused his death,
it wasn’t suicide).
Bienvenido Hindang, Danilo’s brother filed for death compensation benefits.
Arguments of MFI and Hindang:
o MFI: based on Dr. Hameed’s report, Danilo commited suicide, thus
his death is not compensable
o Hindang: Danilo died by asphyxia. Dr. Hameed’s report cannot be
given legal effect because it was a mere photocopy and fax
transmission—unreliable,as to its due execution and genuineness

Labor Arbiter’s (LA) decision: ruled in favor of Hindang, ordering MFI
to pay death benefits. The NBI autopsy report should be given
credence as against MFI’s evidence which was a mere photocopy of
the fax transmission. Burden of proving non-compensability of the
death of a seaman is on the employer.
MFI appealed to the National Labor Relations Commission  affirmed LA
MFI appealed to CA  affirmed NLRC
o Burden of proof shifted to MFI to prove that Danilo committed
suicide. However, MFI failed to discharge burden since its evidence
consisted merely of a photocopy of the fax transmission. Such report
cannot be verified as to its genuiness and due execution in PH
jurisdiction.
o

-

Issue: W/N Danilo committed suicide while he was employed with MFI?
Held: NO. Hindang is entitled to receiving death benefits pursuant to Part II, Section
C, Nos. 1 and 6 of POEA’s “Standard Emplyoment Contract Governing the
Employment of All Filipino Seamen on Board Ocean-Going Vessels.”
General rule: Once it is established that the seaman died during the effectivity of his
employment contract, the employer is liable.
Exception: The employer may be exempt from liability if he can successfully prove
that the seaman's death was caused by an injury directly attributable to his
deliberate or willful act.
The case falls short of the exception because the Saudi report’s genuineness and
due execution were unverifiable.
Medical report attached to pleadings was the English translation, but the
original, Arabic one was not even attached
No assurance that the translated words are accurate
Wasn’t even signed by Dr. Hameed = doubt as to its authenticity.
PETITION DENIED