Seven-Up Bottling vs WCC (GR No. L-31284 June 11, 1975)

Seven-Up Bottling Company Inc. Iloilo vs Workmen’s Compensation Commission
GR No. L-31284 June 11, 1975

Facts: On October 2, 1962, at about 5:30pm, a hand grenade exploded inside the office of the seven-up bottling company, Iloilo plant, in Iloilo City, instantly killing William Peñaflorida, a stock clerk of the company, and Felixberto Herrera, the branch cashier. Another employee, Victorino trespeces, was wounded seriously. When the case was heard, the employer presented Victorina Trespeces, who testified that the late William Peñaflorida was intoxicated at the time of the fatal incident and was himself the one who exploded the hand grenade. It also submitted the police investigation report tending to corroborate the testimony of said witnesses. In view of the extended stay in Manila of the claimant’s rebuttal witness Dr. Teodoro Centeno, the medico-legal officer of the Iloilo police department at the time of the incident, the case was submitted for decision without his testimony. On October 2, 1964, the case was moved to be reopen and the testimony of Dr. Centeno was received – that he did not find any trace of liquor in the body of the late William Peñaflorida and that the hand grenade could have been thrown from somewhere.

Issue: Whether or not Dr. Centeno’s testimony may be considered as substantial evidence.

Held: No. Evidently the medico-legal officer arrived at the conclusion that there was no trace of liquor in the body of the late William Peñaflorida because of the absence of alcoholic odor in his breathe. There is no showing that the deceased’s stomach or intestines were opened and their contents analyzed for possible alcohol contents. Since he was already dead it was impossible to detect the presence of alcohol in his breathe. The means employed by the doctor in arriving at his conclusion was inherently unreliable, and his testimony does not meet the test of substantiality of the evidence, let alone its sufficiency to contradict the police investigation report and the positive testimony of Victorino Trespeces.

At best, Dr. Centeno’s testimony on this point is merely conjecture, an inference without legal basis. Again, it cannot be given any weight in the face of the testimony of Trespeces, even in itself alone cannot be considered substantial evidence.

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