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Unicol Management Services, Inc. vs.

Malipot
G.R. No. 206562; January 21, 2015; Peralta, J.

SUMMARY:
Respondent Delia Malipot is the surviving spouse of deceased seaman Glicerio Malipot, with whom the latter
has two minor children. Seaman Glicerio was processed for hiring by petitioner Unicol Management Services
(petitioner Unicol), acting for and in behalf of its principal, petitioner Link Marine Pte. Ltd. (petitioner Link
Marine) for the vessel Heredia Sea as Chief Engineer Officer with a monthly salary of $2,500.00 for a contract
duration of four (4) months. Before the end of his employment contract, Glicerio committed suicide by
hanging in the store room of the vessel. Respondent then filed a complaint before the Labor Arbiter claiming
death compensation under Glicerios POEA contract. The LA rendered a decision awarding death
compensation in the amount of USD 71,500, finding that petitioners failed to satisfactorily prove by
substantial evidence that seaman Glicerio committed suicide. The NLRC reversed and set aside the decision of
the LA, holding that petitioners have clearly shown that Glicerios death was due to suicide and that the same
is not compensable under the POEA Employment Contract. The CA reversed the NLRC ruling and awarded
death benefits, holding that petitioners failed to prove the cause or circumstances which lead to Glicerios
suicide. The Supreme Court reversed and set aside the CA decision and reinstated the NLRC decision, finding
that Glicerios death was directly attributable to his deliberate act of hanging himself and that his death,
therefore, is not compensable.

DOCTRINE:
Rule 45 is limited to reviewing errors of law; Exceptions
At the outset, it must be emphasized that the jurisdiction of the Court in cases brought before it under Rule
45 of the Rules of Court is limited only to reviewing errors of law. However, this rule is subject to certain
exceptions, namely:
(1) When the findings are grounded entirely on speculations, surmises or conjectures;
(2) When the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible;
(3) When there is grave abuse of discretion;
(4) When the judgment is based on misapprehension of facts;
(5) When the findings of fact are conflicting;
(6) When in making its findings the Court of Appeals went beyond the issues of the case, or its findings are
contrary to the admissions of both the appellant and the appellee;
(7) When the findings are contrary to that of the trial court;
(8) When the findings are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based;
(9) When the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioners main and reply briefs are not
disputed by the respondent;
(10) When the findings of fact are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the
evidence on record; or
(11) When the Court of Appeals manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties,
which, if properly considered, would justify a different conclusion.

Employer exempt from liability if death is due to employees deliberate or willful act
Clearly, the employer is liable to pay the heirs of the deceased seafarer for death benefits once it is
established that he died during the effectivity of his employment contract. However, the employer may be
exempt from liability if it can successfully prove that the seamans death was caused by an injury directly
attributable to his deliberate or willful act. Thus, since petitioners were able to substantially prove that
seaman Glicerios death is directly attributable to his deliberate act of hanging himself, his death, therefore, is
not compensable and his heirs not entitled to any compensation or benefits.