Republic of the Philippines
G.R. Nos. 182978-79
April 7, 2009
BECMEN SERVICE EXPORTER AND PROMOTION, INC., Petitioner,
SPOUSES SIMPLICIO and MILA CUARESMA (for and in behalf of their daughter,
Jasmin G. Cuaresma), WHITE FALCON SERVICES, INC. and JAIME ORTIZ
(President,White Falcon Services, Inc.), Respondents.
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G.R. Nos. 184298-99
April 7, 2009
SPOUSES SIMPLICIO and MILA CUARESMA (for and in behalf of their
daughter, Jasmin G. Cuaresma), Petitioners,
WHITE FALCON SERVICES, INC. and BECMEN SERVICE EXPORTER AND PROMOTION, INC.,
D E C I S I O N
These consolidated petitions assail the Amended Decision1 of the Court of Appeals dated May 14, 2008 in CA-G.R. SP No. 80619 and CA-G.R. SP No. 81030 finding White Falcon Services, Inc. and Becmen Service Exporter and Promotion, Inc. solidarily liable to indemnify spouses Simplicio and Mila Cuaresma the amount of US$4,686.73 in actual damages with interest.
On January 6, 1997, Jasmin Cuaresma (Jasmin) was deployed by Becmen Service Exporter and Promotion, Inc.2 (Becmen) to serve as assistant nurse in Al-Birk Hospital in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), for a contract duration of three years, with a corresponding salary of US$247.00 per month.
Over a year later, she died allegedly of poisoning.
Jessie Fajardo, a co-worker of Jasmin, narrated that on June 21, 1998, Jasmin was found dead by a female cleaner lying on the floor inside her dormitory room with her mouth foaming and smelling of poison.3
Based on the police report and the medical report of the examining physician of the Al-Birk Hospital, who conducted an autopsy of Jasmin’s body, the likely cause of her death was poisoning. Thus:
According to letter No. 199, dated 27.2.1419H, issued by Al-Birk Police Station, for examining the corpse of Jasmin Cuaresma, 12.20 P.M. 27.2.1419H, Sunday, at Al-Birk Hospital.
1. The Police Report on the Death
2. The Medical Diagnosis
Sex: Female Age: 25 years Relg: Christian
The said person was brought to the Emergency Room of the hospital; time 12.20 P.M. and she was unconscious, blue, no pulse, no respiration and the first aid esd undertaken but without success.
3. Diagnosis and Opinion: Halt in blood circulation respiratory system and brain damage due to an apparent poisoning which is under investigation.4
|Name||: Jasmin Cuaresma|
|Marital Status||: Single Nationality:
|Address||: Al-Birk Genrl.
Hospital Birth Place: The Philippines
On 27.2.1419H, Dr. Tariq Abdulminnem and Dr. Ashoki Komar, both have examined the dead body of Jasmin Cuaresma, at 12.20 P.M., Sunday, 22.2.14189H, and the result was:
1. Report of the Police on the death
2. Medical Examination: Blue skin and paleness on the Extrimes (sic), total halt to blood circulation and respiratory system and
brain damage. There were no external injuries. Likely poisoning by taking poisonous substance, yet not determined. There was a bad smell in the mouth and unknown to us.5 (Emphasis supplied)
Jasmin’s body was repatriated to Manila on September 3, 1998. The following day, the City Health Officer of Cabanatuan City conducted an autopsy and the resulting medical report indicated that Jasmin died under violent circumstances, and not poisoning as originally found by the KSA examining physician. The City Health Officer found that Jasmin had abrasions at her inner lip and gums; lacerated wounds and abrasions on her left and right ears; lacerated wounds and hematoma (contusions) on her elbows; abrasions and hematoma on her thigh and legs; intra-muscular hemorrhage at the anterior chest; rib fracture; puncture wounds; and abrasions on the labia minora of the vaginal area.6
On March 11, 1999, Jasmin’s remains were exhumed and examined by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). The oxicology report of the NBI, however, tested negative for non-volatile, metallic poison and insecticides.7