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G.R NO. 195518: March 20, 2013

Magsaysay maritime service and princess cruise lines, LTD. petitioner, vs. Earlwin Meinrad
Antero F. Laurel, Respondents .


After being declared fit for service by the company physician, respondent
Laurel was deployed as second pastry man on board “M/V Star Princess.”
In the course of the voyage, Laurel fell ill thus he was repatriated back to Philippines. He was diagnosed with
hyperthyroidism which was not work-related. Laurel filed a complaint against the petitioners before the
NLRC, claiming medical reimbursement, sickness allowance, and permanent disability
Benefits, damages, and attorney’s fees. The petitioners opposed Laurel’s
claims, contending that his illness had been categorically determined as not work-related. Labor Arbiter
dismissed the complaint since hyperthyroidism was found as not work-
related by petitioner’s company physician. On appeal,
the NLRC reversed the LA decision and awarded disability compensation in favor of Laurel. The NLRC pointed out
that for a claimant to be entitled to disability benefits, it was not required that the employment be the sole cause
of the illness. It was enough that the employment had contributed, even in a small degree, to the development
of the disease. After the emotion for reconsideration was denied, the petitioners elevated the case to the CA
through a petition for certiorari. The CA, however, dismissed the petition and sustained the award of disability
benefits in favor of Laurel. Subsequent motion for reconsideration was denied. Hence, petitioner filed this
petition to this Court asserting that the burden is placed upon the seafarer to substantiate his claim
that the illness is work-related and to prove that there is a connection between his employment and his
illness. Laurel presented no substantial proof that hishyperthyroidism was caused or aggravated by the
working conditions onboard MV Star Princess.

Whether or not the issues raised in the petition are factual in nature, hence not subject to review by the
Supreme Court.


NLRC decision was in favor to Laurel. That the illness was work related for failure of the petitioner to overcome
the presumption provided under the POEA- SEC that an illness occurring during the employment, even if not
listed, was work related. The NLRC added that under the said contract, the petitioners had the legal obligation to
compensate Laurel for is incapability to continue his job. NLRC says that, it is not the work being compensated
but the incapability to work and that he entitled to disability benefits.


After the motion for reconsideration was denied, the petitioner elevated the case to the CA through the petition
for certiorari. CA, however, dismissed the petition and sustained the award of disability to Laurel.

CA explained that although the petitioners’ medical literature spokes that the illness found as hereditary to the
extent that it triggers others disease. It found that the work condition on board the Cruise had contributed and
aggravated to the illness of Laurel and this findings according t the CA was sufficient to entitle him disability