G.R. No. 182836, 13 October 2009
Rolando Hortillano, an employee of Continental Steel, claimed for Paternity Leave, Bereavement Leave, and Death and Accident Insurance for the miscarriage of his unborn child on his wife’s 38th week of pregnancy, pursuant to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Continental Steel granted Hortillano paternity leave, but denied claims for bereavement leave and death and accident insurance. Atty. Allan Montaño, the chosen arbitrator to resolve the issue, argued that Hortillano is entitled to the claim.
However, Continental Steel posited its denial stating that the provision of the CBA did not include the coverage of the death of an unborn child without legal personality, that the fetus delivered dead could not be considered dependent of support nor acquired any right to be supported, hence not a legitimate dependent.
Whether or not the unborn child a legitimate dependent, thereby entitling Hortillano the bereavement and death and accident insurance claims.
Yes. The Supreme Court ruled that since the marriage of Hortillano and his wife is unquestionable, the child born during their marriage is legitimate. Moreover, the unborn child can also be considered a dependent under CBA because the Hortillanos’s child could not have reached 38 weeks of its gestational life without depending upon the support of the wife for sustenance. Continental Steel misplaced in positing civil personality of the unborn child since it is not relevant in the case. In addition, since Hortillano filed the complete requisites for his denied claims in accordance with the CBA, he is entitled for the bereavement and death and accident insurance claims as provided for in the CBA. The petition of Continental Steel is herein denied and Hortillano must be awarded with claims against the cost of Continental Steel.
* Case digest by Aisha Mie Faith M. Fernandez, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018