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743 Phil. 457

FIRST DIVISION
[ G.R. No. 206555, September 17, 2014 ]
ATTY. FORTUNATO PAGDANGANAN, JR., ATTY. ABIGAIL D. SUAREZ,
AND EUGENIO A. VILLANUEVA, PETITIONERS, VS. FLORENTINO P.
SARMIENTO, RESPONDENT.
DECISION
PERLAS-BERNABE, J.:
Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari[1] are the Decision[2] dated October 23,
2012 and the Resolution[3] dated March 26, 2013 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CAG.R. SP No. 118912 which reversed and set aside the Decision[4] dated September 30,
2010 and the Resolution[5] dated December 30, 2010 of the National Labor Relations
Commission (NLRC) in NLRC NCR Case No. OFW(M) 05-07119-09/NLRC LAC No.
OFW(M) 03-000209-10 which, inter alia, absolved petitioners Atty. Fortunato
Pagdanganan, Jr. (Atty. Pagdanganan), Atty. Abigail D. Suarez (Atty. Suarez), and
Eugenio A. Villanueva (Villanueva) from any liability in connection with the labor
complaint filed by respondent Florentino P. Sarmiento (Sarmiento).
The Facts
On May 8, 2008, Sea Gem Maritime International, Inc. (Sea Gem), on behalf of its
foreign principal, Corinthian Maritime S. A. (Corinthian), hired Sarmiento as Chief Mate
of the vessel M/T Intuition[6] for an initial period of seven (7) months.

On May 10,

2008, he boarded the said vessel.[7] Upon the expiration of the contract on December
10, 2008, the same was extended for another two (2) months; thereafter, or on
January 3, 2009, Sarmiento was transferred to the vessel M/T Setubal I[8] where he
was also assigned as its Chief Mate.[9]
On January 14, 2009, while M/T Setubal I was docked at Nigeria, Sarmiento felt a loss
of strength in his left arm and fingers. Upon examination at the Adeiza Clinic in Lagos,
Nigeria, he was diagnosed to have Mild Cardiovascular Stroke, Disused Atrophy of the
Left Hand, and Hypertension, for which his repatriation was recommended.[10] Hence,
on January 18, 2009, Sarmiento was repatriated to the Philippines and referred to the
MRI Diagnosis Center.[11]
Subsequently, or on July 7, 2009,[12] Sarmiento filed a complaint against Sea Gem,
Corinthian, Cielo B. Peñalosa (Peñalosa), Gracia P. Fernandez (Fernandez), Dulce P.
Cruz (D. Cruz), Grace Ann C. Javier (Javier), Allan P. Cruz (A. Cruz), Abigail Torrefil
(Torrefil), Joseph Stevenson B. Alican (Alican), and herein petitioners Atty.
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