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40. G.R. No. 103883 November 14, 1996 VDA. DE GABRIEL vs. HON. COUR O! A""EAL# $%& !

OR UNE IN#URANCE ' #URE ( CO)"AN(, INC. !AC #* Marcelino Gabriel, the insured, was employed by Emerald Construction & Development Corporation ("ECDC") at its construction project in ra!" #e was covered by a personal accident insurance in the amount o$ %&'','''"'' under a (roup policy + procured $rom private respondent by ECDC $or its overseas wor)ers" *he insured ris) was $or "(b)odily injury caused by violent accidental e+ternal and visible means which injury (would) solely and independently o$ any other cause" 3 result in death or disability" ,ithin the li$e o$ the policy, Gabriel died in ra!" A ,e$r -$.er, ECDC reported Gabriel-s death to private respondent by telephone" 4 .mon( the documents therea$ter submitted to private respondent were a copy o$ the death certi$icate / issued by the Ministry o$ #ealth o$ the /epublic o$ ra! 0 which stated1 /E.234 35 DE.*#1 64DE/ E7.M 4.* 34 43, 0 43* 8E* 943,4 6 0 and an autopsy report 0 o$ the 4ational :ureau o$ nvesti(ation ("4: ") to the e$$ect that "(d)ue to advanced state o$ postmortem decomposition, cause o$ death (could) not be determined"" %rivate respondent, the latter, ultimately denied the claim o$ ECDC on the (round o$ 1res2r31.3o%" 9 %etitioner went to the /*C o$ Manila" n her complaint a(ainst ECDC and private respondent, she averred that her husband died o$ electrocution while in the per$ormance o$ his wor) and prayed $or the recovery o$ %&'','''"'' $or insurance indemni$ication" %rivate respondent $iled its answer, which was not veri$ied, admittin( the (enuineness and due e+ecution o$ the insurance policy; it alle(ed, however, that since both the death certi$icate issued by the ra!i Ministry o$ #ealth and the autopsy report o$ the 4: $ailed to disclose the cause o$ Gabriel-s death, it denied liability under the policy" n addition, 1r3v$.e res1o%&e%. r$3se& .4e &e5e%se o5 61res2r31.3o%,6 3%vo73%8 #e2.3o% 384 10 o5 .4e I%s9r$%2e Co&e. *he /*C rendered its decision 11 in $avor (partly) o$ petitioner-s claim" n arrivin( at its conclusion, the trial court held that private respondent was deemed to have waived the de$ense, i"e", that the cause o$ Gabriel-s death was not covered by the policy, when the latter $ailed to impu(n by evidence petitioner-s averment on the matter" ,ith re(ard to the de$ense o$ prescription, the court considered the complaint to have been timely $iled or within one (&) year $rom private respondent-s denial o$ the claim" *he C. reversed the decision o$ the lower court and held that petitioner had $ailed to substantiate her alle(ation that her husband-s death was caused by a ris) insured a(ainst" *he only evidence presented by petitioner were her own a$$idavit and a letter alle(edly written by a co<wor)er o$ the deceased in ra! which, un$ortunately $or her, were held to be both hearsay"

I##UE* ,hether the action has already prescribed" HELD* (E#. 2ection =>? o$ the nsurance Code provides that notice o$ claim must be $iled within si+ months $rom date o$ the accident, otherwise, the claim shall be deemed waived" .ction or suit $or recovery o$ dama(e due to loss or injury must be brou(ht, in proper cases, with the Commissioner or the Courts within one year $rom denial o$ the claim, otherwise, the claimant-s ri(ht o$ action shall prescribe" *he notice o$ death was (iven to private respondent, concededly, more than a year a$ter the death o$ petitioner-s husband" %rivate respondent, in invo)in( prescription, was not re$errin( to the one<year period $rom the denial o$ the claim within which to $ile an action a(ainst an insurer but obviously to the written notice o$ claim that had to be submitted within si+ months $rom the time o$ the accident"