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ANASTACIO VIANA v.

ALEJO Al-LAGADAN
May 31, 1956/Concepcion, J.
By Cate Alegre

Summary
Alejandro Al-Lagadans parents wants to claim compensation under the
Workmens Compensation Act alleging that Viana was their sons employer.
SC remanded the case to the Commission to elicit further facts to establish
the ee-er relationship in this case.

Doctrine:
In determining the existence of employer-employee relationship,
the following elements are generally considered: (1) the selection
and engagement of the employee; (2) the payment of wages; (3)
the power of dismissal; and (4) the power to control the
employees conduct the most important element

Facts

Petitioner Anastacio Viana owned the fishing sailboat Magkapatid and


Alejandro Al-Lagadan was a crew member of the said boat. On
September 3, 1948, the boat sunk as a consequence of a collision with
the USS Tingles, a US Navy vessel

Respondents Alejo Al-Lagadan and Filomena Piga (parents of Alejandro)


filed a claim for compensation under Act No. 3428

February 23, 1953 a referee of the Workmens Compensation


Commission ordered Viana to pay the respondents

October 22, 1954 the decision was affirmed by the Workmens


Compensation Commissioner

Viana:
1) The gross income of his business for 1947 was less than P10,000
hence the case doesnt fall under the purview of Act No. 3428
2) Alejandro Al-Lagadan was, at the time of his death, his industrial
partner and not his employee
o The owner receives of the earnings and the is divided pro
rata among its members (4 parts to the patron or captain, 3 parts
to the piloto or next in command, 1 parts to the wheelsman
and 1 part each for the crew members)
Issues
1. WON the case falls under the purview of Act No. 3438
2. WON Al-Lagadan is Vianas employee REMANDED
Held
1. The first ground raised by Viana is untenable.

Viana did not invoke this before the rendition of the Referees decision
and was only made when he sought a review of the said decision by
the Workmens Compensation Commissioner.

The non-applicability of the Act is a matter of defense which cannot be


availed of unless pleaded in the employers answer to the claim for
compensation

2. Case was remanded to determine the employer-employee


relationship existing in this case
According to the Referee, as well as the Commissioner, the mere fact
that Alejandros share n the understanding could be reckoned in terms
of money, sufficed to characterize him as an employee of Viana. The
Court doesnt agree with this.
In
determining
the
existence
of
employer-employee
relationship, the following elements are generally considered:
(1) the selection and engagement of the employee; (2) the
payment of wages; (3) the power of dismissal; and (4) the
power to control the employees conduct the most important
element
Assuming that Alejandros share could partake the nature of wages, the
second element therefore exists. The records doesnt contain any
specific data regarding the third and fourth elements
For the first element, the facts are insufficient to warrant a reasonable
conclusion. According to Atty. Morente (lawyer of the WCC), the crew
members are selected and engaged by the patron and subject to his
control and may be dismissed by him. Viana averred that a contract of
partnership existed. If Alejandro was a partner, then neither Viana nor
the patron can control or dismiss him.

Case was remanded to the Workmens Compensation Commission for


further evidence and findings to determine the employer-employee
relationship (who selected and engaged the services of the crew; if
selected by the patron, was Viana part of the decision; could Viana refuse
to accept any of the crew members; did Viana have authority to determine
the work conditions and who could dismiss the members)