G.R. No. 137872, 20 April 2001


On November 2, 1990, around 1:30PM Jose Juergo, a construction worker of D.M. Consunji Inc. fell 14 floors from the Renaissance Tower, Pasig City. He was immediately rushed to Rizal Medical Center in Pasig City. The attending physician, Dr. Errol de Yzo, pronounce Jose dead on arrival (DOA) at around 2:15PM.

Jose Juergo, together with Jessie Jaluag and DelsoDestajo, performing their work as carpenter at the elevator core of the 14th floor of Tower D, Renaissance Tower Building were on board a platform. Jose was crushed to death when the platform fell due to removal or looseness of the pin, which was merely inserted to the connecting points of the chain block and platform but without a safety lock. Luckily, Jessie and Delso jumped out of safety.

PO3 Rogelio Villanueva of the Eastern Police District investigated the tragedy and filed report dated Nov. 25, 1990. Maria Juergo, Jose’s widow filed a complaint on May 9, 1991 for damages in the RTC and was rendered a favorable decision to receive support from DMConsunji amounting to P644,000.

DM Consunji seeks reversal of the CA decision.


Whether Maria Juergo can still claim damages with D.M. Consunji apart from the death benefits she claimed in the State Insurance Fund.


The Court ruled that the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur (the thing or transaction speaks for itself) is peculiar to the law of negligence which recognizes that prima facie negligence may be established without direct proof and furnishes a substitute for specific proof of negligence. It has the following requisites: (1) the accident was of a kind which does not ordinarily occur unless someone is negligent; (2) the instrumentality or agency which caused the injury was under the exclusive control of the person charged with negligence; and (3)the injury suffered must not have been due to any voluntary action or contribution on the part of the person injured. All the requisites for the application of the rule of res ipsa loquitur are present in the case at bar, thus a reasonable presumption or inference of appellant’s negligence arises. Petitioner does not cite any other evidence to rebut the inference or presumption of negligence arising from the application of res ipsa loquitur, or to establish any defense relating to the incident.

The claims for damages sustained by workers in the course of their employment could be filed only under the Workmen’s Compensation Law, to the exclusion of all further claims under other laws. In the course of availing the remedies provided under the Workmen’s Compensation law, the claimants are deemed to have waived theirknown right of the remedies provided by other laws. The Court of Appeals, however, held that the case at bar came under exception because private respondent was unaware of petitioner´s negligence when she filed her claim for death benefits from the State Insurance Fund. Had the claimant been aware, she would’ve opted to avail of a better remedy than that of which she already had.

* Case digest by Lea A. Caipang, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018