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G.R. No. 83491 August 27, 1990 MA-AO SUGAR CENTRAL CO., INC. a ! GUILLERMO ARANETA, petitioners, vs.

"ON. COURT O# A$$EALS a ! "ERMINIA #AMOSO, respondents. CRU%, J.: To say the least, the Court views with regret the adamant refusal of petitioner Ma-ao Sugar Central to recompense the private respondent for the death of Julio Famoso, their main source of support, who was killed in line of duty while in its employ. t is not only a matter of law !ut also of compassion on which we are called upon to rule today. "e shall state at the outset that on !oth counts the petition must fail. #n March $$, %&'(, Famoso was riding with a co-employee in the ca!oose or )car!onera) of *lymouth +o. %$, a cargo train of the petitioner, when the locomotive was suddenly derailed. ,e and his companion -umped off to escape in-ury, !ut the train fell on its side, caught his legs !y its wheels and pinned him down. ,e was declared dead on the spot. 1 The claims for death and other !enefits having !een denied !y the petitioner, the herein private respondent filed suit in the .egional Trial Court of /ago City. Judge Marietta ,o!illa-0linio ruled in her favor !ut deducted from the total damages awarded $12 thereof for the decedent3s contri!utory negligence and the total pension of *4%,567.6( private respondent and her children would !e receiving from the SSS for the ne8t five years. The dispositive portion of the decision read9 ",:.:F#.:, in view of the foregoing facts and circumstances present in this case, the Court order, as it does here!y order the defendant Ma-ao Sugar Central thru its Manager Mr. ;uillermo <. 0raneta to pay plaintiff the following amount9 *5(,(((.(( = for the death of plaintiff3s hus!and, the late Julio Famoso *5(,(((.(( = for actual, e8emplary and moral damages *%(,(((.(( = loss of earnings for twenty >$(? years *5,(((.(( = funeral e8penses ===== *75,(((.(( = Total @amages Aess9 *%',$1(.(( = $12 for the deceased3s contri!utory negligence Aess9 *4%,567.6( = pension plaintiff and her minor children would ===== !e receiving for five >1? years from the SSS *l5,5'$.4( *lus9 *5,(((.(( = 0ttorney3s fees and cost of this suit ===== *l6,5'$.4( = Total amount paya!le to the plaintiff. ===== S# #.@:.:@. The widow appealed, claiming that the deductions were illegal. So did the petitioner, !ut on the ground that it was not negligent and therefore not lia!le at all. n its own decision, the Court of 0ppeals 2 sustained the rulings of the trial court e8cept as to the contri!utory negligence of the deceased and disallowed the deductions protested !y the private respondent. Thus, the respondent court declared9 ",:.:F#.:, the decision appealed from is M#@ F :@ !y ordering the defendant-appellant to pay the plaintiffappellee the following amounts9 *5(,(((.((, for the death of Julio Famoso *5(,(((.((, for actual, e8emplary and moral damages *%(,(((.((, for loss of earnings for twenty >$(? years

*5,(((.((, for funeral e8penses *5,(((.((, for attorney3s fees ==== *76,(((.(( Total 0mount BBBBBBBB n this petition, the respondent court is faulted for finding the petitioner guilty of negligence notwithstanding its defense of due diligence under 0rticle $%76 of the Civil Code and for disallowing the deductions made !y the trial court. nvestigation of the accident revealed that the derailment of the locomotive was caused !y protruding rails which had come loose !ecause they were not connected and fi8ed in place !y fish plates. Fish plates are descri!ed as strips of iron ') to %$) long and 5 %C$) thick which are attached to the rails !y 4 !olts, two on each side, to keep the rails aligned. 0lthough they could !e removed only with special eDuipment, the fish plates that should have kept the rails aligned could not !e found at the scene of the accident. There is no Duestion that the maintenance of the rails, for the purpose inter alia of preventing derailments, was the responsi!ility of the petitioner, and that this responsi!ility was not discharged. 0ccording to Jose Treyes, its own witness, who was in charge of the control and supervision of its train operations, cases of derailment in the milling district were freDuent and there were even times when such derailments were reported every hour. 3 The petitioner should therefore have taken more prudent steps to prevent such accidents instead of waiting until a life was finally lost !ecause of its negligence. The argument that no one had !een hurt !efore !ecause of such derailments is of course not accepta!le. 0nd neither are we impressed !y the claim that the !rakemen and the conductors were reDuired to report any defect in the condition of the railways and to fill out prescri!ed forms for the purpose. For what is important is that the petitioner should act on these reports and not merely receive and file them. The fact that it is not easy to detect if the fish plates are missing is no e8cuse either. ndeed, it should stress all the more the need for the responsi!le employees of the petitioner to make periodic checks and actually go down to the railroad tracks and see if the fish plates were in place. t is argued that the locomotive that was derailed was on its way !ack and that it had passed the same rails earlier without accident. The suggestion is that the rails were properly aligned then, !ut that does not necessarily mean they were still aligned afterwards. t is possi!le that the fish plates were loosened and detached during its first trip and the rails were as a result already mis-aligned during the return trip. /ut the Court feels that even this was unlikely, for, as earlier noted, the fish plates were supposed to have !een !olted to the rails and could !e removed only with special tools. The fact that the fish plates were not found later at the scene of the mishap may show they were never there at all to !egin with or had !een removed long !efore. 0t any rate, the a!sence of the fish plates E whatever the cause or reason E is !y itself alone proof of the negligence of the petitioner. Res ipsa loquitur. The doctrine was descri!ed recently in Layugan v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 4 thus9 "here the thing which causes in-ury is shown to !e under the management of the defendant, and the accident is such as in the ordinary course of things does not happen if those who have the management use proper care, it affords reasona!le evidence, in the a!sence of an e8planation !y the defendant, that the accident arose from want of care. The petitioner also disclaims lia!ility on the ground of 0rticle $%76 of the Civil Code, contending it has e8ercised due diligence in the selection and supervision of its employees. The Court cannot agree. The record shows it was in fact la8 in reDuiring them to e8ercise the necessary vigilance in maintaining the rails in good condition to prevent the derailments that sometimes happened )every hour.) #!viously, merely ordering the !rakemen and conductors to fill out prescri!ed forms reporting derailments-which reports have not !een acted upon as shown !y the hourly derailments is-not the kind of supervision envisioned !y the Civil Code. "e also do not see how the decedent can !e held guilty of contri!utory negligence from the mere fact that he was not at his assigned station when the train was derailed. That might have !een a violation of company rules !ut could not have directly contri!uted to his in-ury, as the petitioner suggests. t is pure speculation to suppose that he would not have !een in-ured if he had stayed in the front car rather than at the !ack and that he had !een killed !ecause he chose to ride in the ca!oose. Contri!utory negligence has !een defined as )the act or omission amounting to want of ordinary care on the part of the person in-ured which, concurring with the defendant3s negligence, is the pro8imate cause of the in-ury.) & t has !een held that )to hold a person as having contri!uted to his in-uries, it must !e shown that he performed an act that !rought a!out his in-uries in disregard of warnings or signs of an impending danger to health and !ody.) ' There is no showing that the ca!oose where Famoso was riding was a dangerous place and that he recklessly dared to stay there despite warnings or signs of impending danger. The last point raised !y the petitioner is easily resolved. Citing the case of Floresca v. *hile8 Mining Corporation, 7 it argues that the respondent court erred in disauthoriFing the deduction from the total damages awarded the private respondent of the amount of *4%,567.6(, representing the pension to !e received !y the private respondent from the Social Security System for a period of five years. The argument is that such deduction was Duite proper !ecause of 0rt. %75 of the Aa!or Code, as amended. This article provides that any amount received !y the heirs of a deceased employee from the :mployees Compensation Commission, whose funds are administered !y the SSS, shall !e e8clusive of all other amounts that may otherwise !e claimed under the Civil Code and other pertinent laws. The amount to !e paid !y the SSS represents the usual pension received !y the heirs of a deceased employee who was a mem!er of the SSS at the time of his death and had regularly contri!uted his premiums as reDuired !y the System. The pension is the !enefit deriva!le from such contri!utions. t does not represent the death !enefits paya!le under the "orkmen3s Compensation 0ct to an employee who dies as a result of a work-connected in-ury. ndeed, the certification from the SSS 8 su!mitted !y the petitioner is simply to the effect that9

T# ",#M T M0< C#+C:.+9 This is to certify that Mrs. ,erminia Gda. de Famoso is a recipient of a monthly pension from the Social Security System arising from the death of her late hus!and, Julio Famoso, an SSS member with SSS No. 07-0 ! 7"- . This certification is issued to Ma-ao Sugar Central for whatever legal purpose it may serve !est. ssued this 'th day of 0pril %&'5 in /acolod City, *hilippines. ;#@#F.:@# S. S S#+ .egional Manager /y9 >S;@.? C#SM: H. /:.M:#, J.. Chief, /enefits /ranch t does not indicate that the pension is to !e taken from the funds of the :CC. The certification would have said so if the pension represented the death !enefits accruing to the heirs under the "orkmen3s Compensation 0ct. This conclusion is supported !y the e8press provision of 0rt. %75 as amended, which categorically states that9 0rt. %75. #$%lusiveness o& liability. = Inless otherwise provided, the lia!ility of the State nsurance Fund under this Title shall !e e8clusive and in place of all other lia!ilities of the employer to the employee, his dependents or anyone otherwise entitled to receive damages on !ehalf of the employee or his dependents. The payment of compensation under this Title shall not bar the re%overy o& bene&its as provided &or in Section 6&& of the .evised 0dministrative Code, Republi% A%t Numbered #leven hundred si$ty-one' as amended' Commonwealth 0ct +um!ered #ne hundred eighty-si8, as amended, .epu!lic 0ct +um!ered Si8 hundred ten, as amended, .epu!lic 0ct +um!ered Forty-eight hundred si8ty-four, as amended and other laws whose !enefits are administered !y the System or !y other agencies of the government. >:mphasis supplied?. .ep. 0ct +o. %%6%, as amended, is the Social Security Aaw. 0s o!served !y Justice J./.A. .eyes in the case of (alen%ia v. )anila *a%ht +lub, 9 which is still controlling9 . . . /y their nature and purpose, the sickness or disa!ility !enefits to which a mem!er of the System may !e entitled under the Social Security law >.ep. 0ct +o. %%6%, as amended !y .ep. 0cts +os. %7&$ and $61'? are not the same as the compensation that may !e claimed against the employer under the "orkmen3s Compensation 0ct or the Civil Code, so that payment to the mem!er employee of social security !enefits would not wipe out or e8tinguish the employer3s lia!ility for the in-ury or illness contracted !y his employee in the course of or during the employment. t must !e realiFed that, under the "orkmen3s Compensation 0ct >or the Civil Code, in a proper case?, the employer is reDuired to compensate the employee for the sickness or in-ury arising in the course of the employment !ecause the industry is supposed to !e responsi!le thereforeJ whereas, under the Social Security 0ct, payment is !eing made !ecause the haFard specifically covered !y the mem!ership, and for which the employee had put up his own money, had taken place. 0s this Court had said9 . . . To deny payment of social security !enefits !ecause the death or in-ury or confinement is compensa!le under the "orkmen3s Compensation 0ct would !e to deprive the employees mem!ers of the System of the statutory !enefits !ought and paid for !y them, since they contri!uted their money to the general common fund out of which !enefits are paid. n other words, the !enefits provided for in the "orkmen3s Compensation 0ct accrues to the employees concerned due to the haFards involved in their employment and is made a !urden on the employment itself ,owever, social security !enefits are paid to the System3s mem!ers, !y reason of their mem!ership therein for which they contri!ute their money to a general common fund . . . . t may !e added that whereas social security !enefits are intended to provide insurance or protection against the haFards or risks for which they are esta!lished, e.g., disa!ility, sickness, old age or death, irrespective of whether they arose from or in the course of the employment or not, the compensation receiva!le under the "orkmen3s Compensation law is in the nature of indemnity for the in-ury or damage suffered !y the employee or his dependents on account of the employment. >.ural Transit :mployees 0sso. vs. /achrach Trans. Co., $% SC.0 %$65 K%&67%L? 0nd according to Justice Jesus ;. /arrera in ,enguet +onsolidated' In%. v. So%ial Se%urity System9) 10 The philosophy underlying the "orkmen3s Compensation 0ct is to make the payment of the !enefits provided for therein as a responsi!ility of the industry, on the ground that it is industry which should !ear the resulting death or in-ury to employees engaged in the said industry. #n the other hand, social security sickness !enefits are not paid as a !urden on the industry, !ut are paid to the mem!ers of the System as a matter of right, whenever the haFards provided for in the law occurs. To deny payment of social security !enefits !ecause the death or in-ury or confinement is compensa!le under the "orkmen3s Compensation 0ct would !e to deprive the employees-mem!ers of the System of the statutory !enefits !ought and paid for !y them, since they contri!ute their money to the general common fund out of which !enefits are paid. n other words, the !enefits provided for in the "orkmen3s Compensation 0ct accrues to the employees concerned, due to the haFards involved in their employment and is made a !urden on the employment itself ,owever, social security !enefits are paid to the System3s mem!ers, !y reason of their mem!ership therein for which they contri!uted their money to a general common fund.

Famoso3s widow and nine minor children have since his death sought to recover the -ust recompense they need for their support. nstead of lending a sympathetic hand, the petitioner has sought to frustrate their efforts and has even come to this Court to seek our assistance in defeating their claim. That relief-and we are happy to say this must !e withheld. ",:.:F#.:, the appealed decision is 0FF .M:@ in toto. The petition is @:+ :@, with costs against the petitioner. S# #.@:.:@. Narvasa -+hairman.' /an%ay%o' /ri0o-Aquino and )edialdea' 11.' %on%ur.