Dear clients and friends,
We look at 2021 with gratitude as we thank you for your continued support and trust in us. All 102 of us truly thank you and we do hope we have given you the service you deserve.
We also look at 2021 with hope that the pandemic can be contained. The Philippines now has less covid cases resulting in reduced alert levels, less quarantines and less lockdowns. Indeed, we can foresee a brighter 2022.
We are advised that seafarer deployment have reached pre-pandemic levels. This is good news for the Philippines as a lot of families rely on seafarers for their livelihood. Let us hope and pray that this trend continues thru next year and beyond.
As always, may we ask that you say a short prayer for the countless Filipino seafarers who are unable to spend their Christmas season with their families. If you see any Filipino seafarer this Christmas season, greet them “Maligayang Pasko” from all of us here in the Philippines.
We wish all of you and your family the best of the season and may the coming year 2022 bless us all with good health, happiness and prosperity.
MALIGAYANG PASKO AT MANIGONG BAGONG TAON
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR
Ruben Del Rosario / Arturo Del Rosario
Charles Jay Dela Cruz / Joseph Rebano / Herbert Tria
Denise Cabanos / Florencio Aquino / Catherine Mangahas-Soliven / Pamela Coseip-Abarico / Saben Loyola
Veronica Del Rosario-Aguinaldo / Josie Dino / Jay Arthur Del Rosario / Deogracias Garcia
Substantial Examination and Tests Make the Findings of the Company-Designated Physician More Credible
Seafarer was employed as Bosun on board the ship. During employment, he suffered chest pains and was brought to a hospital where he was diagnosed with non-ST myocardial infarction. He was and referred to the company-designated physician (CDP) for further treatment. After extensive medical attention, the CDP certified the seafarer as fit to work and was in fact offered re-deployment. Seafarer sought the medical opinion of his doctor of choice who declared him unfit to resume sea duties. On this basis, the seafarer filed a complaint for payment of full disability benefits. The company argued that seafarer is not entitled to disability benefits as he was declared fit by the CDP and seafarer himself even signed a Certificate of Fitness to Work.
The Labor Arbiter dismissed seafarer's complaint and noted that seafarer himself agreed and confirmed his fitness to work when he signed the Certificate for Fitness to Work which barred him from claiming disability benefits.
The NLRC reversed the ruling of the Labor Arbiter and awarded the claim for disability benefits. The NLRC gave credence to the opinion of seafarer’s doctor and also noted that seafarer was no longer deployed.
The appellate court affirmed the ruling of the NLRC and ruled that seafarer’s medical condition bars him from returning to his job and there was no showing that he was rehired.
Upon further appeal, the dismissal of the claim, as ruled by the Labor Arbiter was reinstated.
The fitness to work findings of the company-designated physician is more credible
The Court noted that seafarer anchored his claim for disability benefits on the medical certificate issued by his chosen doctor who assessed him with a disability. However, a reading of said medical certificate would show that it is not supported by any diagnostic tests as to effectively and adequately refute the assessment madeby the CDP. While it may be true that seafarer was required to continue his medications even after he was declared fit to work, this did not discredit the findings of the CDP that seafarer is fit to resume sea duties. The Court also noted that it was the CDP who monitored seafarer’s medical condition and conducted several tests over a period of about three months since he was repatriated. As between the findings of the CDP who conducted extensive examination on the seafarer and the seafarer’s chosen doctor who saw him on only one occasion and did not even perform any medical test to support his assessment, the former's opinion should prevail.
The signing of the Certificate of Fitness to Work binds the seafarer
The Court held that seafarer’s signing of the Certificate of Fitness to Work effectively released the company from any liability arising from his medical condition. In the absence of evidence that the company coerced or duped the seafarer into signing the said certificate, he should be bound by the conditions thereof. His allegation that he signed it on the belief he would be re-deployed is not supported by evidence. On the contrary, seafarer’s admission that he underwent another pre-employment medical examination to seek another employment with the company belied his claim for disability benefits. It was only after he failed to gain another employment that he opted to file this complaint.
Seafarers are contractual employees
The Court further held that thatseafarers are contractual employees. As such, the company is not under obligation to rehire the seafarer after the termination of his contract. Thus, the fact that he was not employed immediately after he was declared fit to resume sea duties should not be taken against the company.
C.F. Sharp Crew Management, James Fisher Tankship Ltd., et al vs. J. J., G.R. No. 208981, February 1, 2021; Third Division, Associate Justice Ramon Paul Hernando, ponente (Attys. Charles Jay Dela Cruz and Gina Guinto of DelRosarioLaw handled for vessel interests).
DelRosarioLaw Partners enriched their relationship with London P&I Club through a Zoom virtual meeting with the Club’s claims team from various offices held on 25 November 2021. The main agenda was the presentation given by our Partners Charles Dela Cruz and Joseph Rebano entitled: “Pandemic induced changes: Crewing landscape.” An interactive session on related topics then ensued. We would like to thank Reine Gomis for arranging the virtual meeting and we look forward to more mutually beneficial meetings – online or in-person – in the future.
Areas of Specialization: Labour & personal injury, litigation and dispute resolution, corporate and commercial, shipping and admiralty, intellectual property, cargo claims and charter party, transport, insurance and reinsurance, arbitration and ADR, immigration.
“‘Outstanding’ shipping boutique Del Rosario & Del Rosario is regularly sought out by the international group of P&I clubs as well as insurance companies and cruise lines. The firm has expertise in all aspects of shipping matters including labour, personal injury, vessel arrest, collisions, salvage, oil pollution, damage of cargoes, bunker claims, protection and indemnity, and ship finance. Its notable IP group has also been engaged by global giants such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Sony”. 2021 AsiaLaw Profile
“Specialising in maritime law, Del Rosario & Del Rosario is best known for acting for multinational clients in disputes relating to oil pollution, damaged cargo, salvage and vessel arrest. The group also has an extensive labour practice which is active in a full range of disputes involving Filipino seafarers. Del Rosario advise a variety of noteworthy clients, including shipping companies, insurers and P&I clubs.” 2021 Legal 500 Asia Pacific