DISPOSITIVE:

ACCORDINGLY, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated February 10, 2020 and Resolution dated October 2, 2020 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 155268 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Respondents Next Wave Maritime Management, Inc., MTM Ship Management Pte. Ltd., and Arnold Marquez, are ordered to jointly and severally PAY petitioner Resty S. Caampued the following:

1. US$60,000.00 or its Philippine Peso equivalent at the time of payment for total and permanent disability rating in accordance with the 2010 PO EA-SEC;

2. Ten percent (10%) of the monetary award as attorney’s fees; and

3. Six percent (6%) legal interest per annum on the total monetary award from finality of this decision until fully paid.

So Ordered.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

INTER-ALIA, THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME IMPORTANT POINTS IN THE CASE: PETITIONER WAS CLAIMING FOR TOTAL DISABILITY BENEFITS DUE TO MEDICAL CONDITION ARISING FROM HIS WORK IN A VESSEL.  RESPONDENTS ARGUE THAT HIS MEDICAL CONDITION EXISTED PRIOR TO HIS EMPLOYMENT ON BOARD THE VESSEL WHICH HE ALLEGEDLY FAILED TO DISCLOSE AND SUCH FAILURE BARS HIS CLAIM. COURT OF APPEALS DENIED HIS CLAIM. SUPREME COURT REVERSED C.A. AND GRANTED HIS CLAIM. SC SAID EVEN IF PETITIONER HAS PRE-EXISTING DISEASE, STILL HIS CLAIM IS COMPENSABLE IF HIS WORK AGGRAVATED HIS PRE-EXISTING MEDICAL CONDITION. ALSO HIS ALLEGED FAILURE TO DISCLOSE PRE-EXISTING CONDITION MUST BE ATTENDED WITH MALICE. HERE, THERE WAS NO PROOF OF MALICE. FURTHER, THE COMPANY DESIGNATED PHYSICIAN MUST ISSUE A FINAL MEDICAL ASSESSMENT AND THIS MUST BE COMMUNICATED TO PETITIONER. HERE, THERE WAS NO FINAL MEDICAL ASSESSMENT BUT ONLY A REPORT BY THE PHYSICIAN TO RESPONDENT COMPANY AND THERE IS NO PROOF THAT SUCH REPORT WAS FURNISHED TO PETITIONER.

“In Gere v. Anglo-Eastern Crew Management Phils., Inc. 62 the Court decreed that the company-designated physician must not only “issue” a final medical assessment of the seafarer’s medical condition. He must also – and the Court cannot emphasize this enough – “give” his assessment to the seafarer concerned. That is to say that the seafarer must be fully and properly informed of his medical condition. The results of his/her medical examinations, the treatments extended to the seafarer, the diagnosis and prognosis, if needed, and, of course, the seafarer’s disability grading must be fully explained to him/her by no less than the company-designated physician.

Here, Dr. Alegre only issued a medical report addressed to Crew Operations Manager Captain Arnold Marquez. As in Gere, this medical report cannot be regarded as anything more than an internal communication between the company-designated physician and respondent Next Wave. Further, petitioner was not even furnished a copy of said medical report. Respondents did not deny this. They simply posited that the assessment was explained to petitioner.”

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