Telephone Engr. & Services Co. Inc vs WCC - Digest

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G.R. No. L-28694 May 13, 1981 TELEPHONE ENGINEERING & SERVICE COMPANY, INC., petitioner, vs. WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION COMMISSION, PROVINCIAL SHERIFF OF RIZAL and LEONILA SANTOS GATUS, for herself and in behalf of her minor children, Teresita, Antonina and Reynaldo, all surnamed GATUS, respondents. MELENCIO-HERRERA, J. FACTS: Petitioner is a domestic corporation engaged in the business of manufacturing telephone equipment. It has a sister company, the Utilities Management Corporation (UMACOR), with
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  G.R. No. L-28694 May 13, 1981TELEPHONE ENGINEERING & SERVICE COMPANY, INC ., petitioner,vs. WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION COMMISSION, PROVINCIAL SHERIFF OF RIZALand LEONILA SANTOS GATUS, for herself and in behalf of her minor children,Teresita, Antonina and Reynaldo, all surnamed GATUS, respondents. MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.  FACTS:Petitioner is a domestic corporation engaged in the business of manufacturingtelephone equipment. It has a sister company, the Utilities Management Corporation(UMACOR), with offices in the same location. UMACOR is also under the managementof Jose Luis Santiago.UMACOR employed the late Pacifica L. Gatus as Purchasing Agent. Then was detailedwith petitioner company. He reported back to UMACOR and after 2 years he contractedillness and died of liver cirrhosis with malignant degeneration. Respondent Leonila S. Gatus, filed a Notice and Claim for Compensation withWorkmen's Compensation Commission sub-office, alleging therein that her deceasedhusband was an employee of TESCO, and that he died of liver cirrhosis. On August 9,1967, and Office wrote petitioner transmitting the Notice and for Compensation, andrequiring it to submit an Employer's Report of Accident or Sickness pursuant to Section37 of the Workmen's Compensation Act (Act No. 3428). An Employer's Report ofAccident or Sickness was thus submitted with UMACOR indicated as the employer ofthe deceased. The Report was signed by Jose Luis Santiago. In answer, the employerstated that it would not controvert the claim for compensation, and admitted that thedeceased employee contracted illness in regular occupation. On the basis of thisReport, the Acting Referee awarded death benefits plus burial expenses in favor of theheirs of Gatus.TESCO filed its Motion for Reconsideration and/or Petition to Set Aside Award alleging as grounds therefor, that the admission made in the Employer's Report ofAccident or Sickness was due to honest mistake and/or excusable negligence on itspart, and that the illness for which compensation is sought is not an occupationaldisease, hence, not compensable under the law. The Motion for Reconsideration wasdenied. Meanwhile, the Provincial Sheriff of Rizal levied on and attached the propertiesof TESCO and scheduled the sale of the same at public auction. Thus petition for Certiorari with Preliminary Injunction seeking to annul the award and to enjoin theSheriff from levying and selling its properties at public auction.ISSUE: Whether or not TESCO is liable for the death claim of the deceased.  HELD:Viewed in the light of these criteria, we note that it is only in this Petition before us thatpetitioner denied, for the first time, the employer-employee relationship. Althoughrespect for the corporate personality as such, is the general rule, there are exceptions.In appropriate cases, the veil of corporate fiction may be pierced as when the same ismade as a shield to confuse the legitimate issues. While, indeed, jurisdiction cannot beconferred by acts or omission of the parties, TESCO'S denial at this stage that it is theemployer of the deceased is obviously an afterthought, a devise to defeat the law andevade its obligations. This denial also constitutes a change of theory on appeal which isnot allowed in this jurisdiction.   Moreover, issues not raised before the Workmen'sCompensation Commission cannot be raised for the first time on appeal. For thatmatter, a factual question may not be raised for the first time on appeal to the SupremeCourt. 20  WHEREFORE, this Petition is hereby dismissed.
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