GSIS v. Zarate

Government Service Insurance System v. Felicitas Zarate
G.R. No. 170847, August 3, 2010

Facts: Henry Zarate was a fireman of the Bureau of Fire Protection assigned in Quezon City. He visited his ailing mother in Pangasinan. In order to report to his duty the next day, he boarded a Philippine Rabbit Bus headed to Metro Manila, which met an accident. Henry Zarate was pronounced dead on arrival in the hospital. His wife filed a claim for death benefits, which was denied because he was off duty at the time of the accident. The CA, however, granted the claim and declared that there was a reasonable work connection in Henry death.

Issue: Whether or not the heirs of Henry Zarate may claim death benefits under the GSIS law.

Held: Yes. It is not disputed that Henry visited his mother because she was then ill. Likewise, it is not also disputed that he did not simply leave Quezon City for his visit; he asked for his superior permission, which was given on condition that he returned the next day. Hence, on that fateful Sunday, June 15, 1997, Henry had his superior authority to travel and knew that he had to report fresh the following day.Instead of opting to travel to Quezon City on the very same day he was to report for work, Henry returned on the very day of his visit so he could properly report on Monday.In doing this, he did not heed his mother plea to stay a little longer.These were the facts that the CA considered and positively appreciated.