Republic of the Philippines
G.R. No. L-62207 December 15, 1986
JUAN BONIFACIO, petitioner-appellant,
GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM [Ministry of Education & Culture] and EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION, respondents-appellees.
Cenon, Roncesvalles, Reyes & Leus for petitioner-appellant.
Petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Employees Compensation Commission dated August 19, 1982, affirming the denial by the Government Service Insurance System of petitioner's claim for benefits under PD No. 626, as amended, for the death of his spouse, Lourdes Bonifacio.
The facts are undisputed.
The late Lourdes Bonifacio was a classroom teacher assigned to the district of Bagamanoc, Division of Catanduanes, Ministry of Education and Culture from August, 1965 until she contracted carcinoma of the breast with metastases to the gastrointestinal tract and lungs which caused her death on October 5, 1978.
Dra. Corazon Yabes-Almirante of the Ospital ng Bagong Lipunan certified that the late Lourdes Bonifacio underwent radical mastectomy for cancer of the breast in 1973. In 1976, when her ailment was noted to have metastasized to her abdomen, she submitted herself to an operation known as "exploratory laparotomy" in March of the same year. On September 1, 1978, she complained of "abdominal pain, abdominal enlargement, vomiting, and failure to pass stools inspite of laxatives." Upon operation it was found that her entire gastrointestinal tract was enveloped by carcinoma. Despite chemotherapy, she died on October 5, 1978 from carcinoma of the breast metastatic to gastrointestinal tract and lungs.
Thereafter a claim for death benefits under P.D. No. 626, as amended, was filed by petitioner with the GSIS. The same was however denied on the ground that the decedent's principal ailment, carcinoma of the breast with metastases to gastrointestinal tract and lungs, is not an occupational disease for her particular work as a teacher, nor is the risk of contracting said disease increased by her working conditions.
The Employees Compensation Commission, on appeal affirmed the decision of the respondent System.
Petitioner now assails the decision of the respondent Commission on the following grounds:
a] The respondent Commission's affirmance of the denial by respondent System totally ignored the Supreme Court's pronouncements on compensation cases; and
b] Under the law, in case of doubt in the implementation and interpretation of the provisions of the Labor Code, including its implementing rules and regulations, the same shall be resolved in favor of the laborer.
We hold that the GSIS and the Employees Compensation Commission did not err in denying petitioner's claim.
A compensable sickness means "any illness definitely accepted as an occupational disease listed by the Employees Compensation Commission, or any illness caused by employment subject to proof by the employee that the risk of contracting the same is increased by working conditions. For this purpose, the Commission is empowered to determine and approve occupational diseases and work-related illnesses that may be considered compensable based on peculiar hazards of employment." [Art. 167(1) Labor Code as amended by P.D. No. 1368, effective May 1, 1978].
Thus, for the sickness or the resulting disability or death to be compensable, the sickness must be the result of an accepted occupational disease fisted by the Employees Compensation Commission [Annex "A" of the Amended Rules on Employees Compensation], or any other sickness caused by employment subject to proof by claimant that the risk of contracting the same is increased by working conditions. [Sec. 1, Rule 11, Amended Rules on Employees Compensation].
Carcinoma of the breast with metastases to the gastrointestinal tract and lungs is not listed by the Commission as an occupational disease. As to the "metastases to the gastrointestinal tract and lungs" the Commission lists such disease as occupational only in the following employment: