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G.R. No. 89621 September 24, 1991
PEPSI COLA DISTRIBUTORS OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., represented by its Plant General Manager
ANTHONY B. SIAN, ELEAZAR LIMBAB, IRENEO BALTAZAR & JORGE HERAYA, petitioners,
HON. LOLITA O. GAL-LANG, SALVADOR NOVILLA, ALEJANDRO OLIVA, WILFREDO CABAÑAS &
FULGENCIO LEGO, respondents.
Aurelio D. Menzon for petitioners.
Mario P. Nicolasora co-counsel for petitioners.
Papiano L. Santo for private respondents.
The question now before us has been categorically resolved in earlier decisions of the Court that a
little more diligent research would have disclosed to the petitioners. On the basis of those cases
and the facts now before us, the petition must be denied.
The private respondents were employees of the petitioner who were suspected of complicity in the
irregular disposition of empty Pepsi Cola bottles. On July 16, 1987, the petitioners filed a criminal
complaint for theft against them but this was later withdrawn and substituted with a criminal
complaint for falsification of private documents. On November 26, 1987, after a preliminary
investigation conducted by the Municipal Trial Court of Tanauan, Leyte, the complaint was
dismissed. The dismissal was affirmed on April 8, 1988, by the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor.
Meantime, allegedly after an administrative investigation, the private respondents were dismissed
by the petitioner company on November 23, 1987. As a result, they lodged a complaint for illegal
dismissal with the Regional Arbitration Branch of the NLRC in Tacloban City on December 1, 1987,
and decisions manded reinstatement with damages. In addition, they instituted in the Regional
Trial Court of Leyte, on April 4, 1988, a separate civil complaint against the petitioners for damages
arising from what they claimed to be their malicious prosecution.
The petitioners moved to dismiss the civil complaint on the ground that the trial court had no
jurisdiction over the case because it involved employee-employer relations that were exclusively
cognizable by the labor arbiter. The motion was granted on February 6, 1989. On July 6, 1989,
however, the respondent judge, acting on the motion for reconsideration, reinstated the
complaint, saying it was "distinct from the labor case for damages now pending before the labor
courts." The petitioners then came to this Court for relief.
The petitioners invoke Article 217 of the Labor Code and a number of decisions of this Court to
support their position that the private respondents civil complaint for damages falls under the
jurisdiction of the labor arbiter. They particularly cite the case of Getz Corporation v. Court of
Appeals, 1 where it was held that a court of first instance had no jurisdiction over the complaint
filed by a dismissed employee "for unpaid salary and other employment benefits, termination pay
and moral and exemplary damages."
We hold at the outset that the case is not in point because what was involved there was a claim
arising from the alleged illegal dismissal of an employee, who chose to complain to the regular
court and not to the labor arbiter. Obviously, the claim arose from employee-employer relations
and so came under Article 217 of the Labor Code which then provided as follows:
ART. 217. Jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters and the Commission. — (a) The Labor Arbiters shall have the
original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide within thirty (30) working days after
submission of the case by the parties for decision, the following cases involving all workers,
whether agricultural or non-agricultural:
1. Unfair labor practice cases;
2. Those that workers may file involving wages, hours of work and other terms and conditions of
3. All money claims of workers, including those based on non-payment or underpayment of wages,
overtime compensation, separation pay and other benefits provided by law or appropriate
agreement, except claims for employees' compensation, social security, medicare and maternity
4. Cases involving household services; and
5. Cases arising from any violation of Article 265 of this Code, including questions involving the
legality of strikes and lockouts.
(b) The Commission shall have exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all cases decided by labor
It must be stressed that not every controversy involving workers and their employers can be
resolved only by the labor arbiters. This will be so only if there is a "reasonable causal connection"
between the claim asserted and employee-employer relations to put the case under the provisions
of Article 217. Absent such a link, the complaint will be cognizable by the regular courts of justice in
the exercise of their civil and criminal jurisdiction.
In Medina v. Castro-Bartolome, 3 two employees filed in the Court of First Instance of Rizal a civil
complaint for damages against their employer for slanderous remarks made against them by the
company president. On the order dismissing the case because it came under the jurisdiction of the
labor arbiters, Justice Vicente Abad Santos said for the Court:
It is obvious from the complaint that the plaintiffs have not alleged any unfair labor practice. Theirs
is a simple action for damages for tortious acts allegedly committed by the defendants. Such being
the case, the governing statute is the Civil Code and not the Labor Code. It results that the orders
under review are based on a wrong premise.
In Singapore Airlines Ltd. v. Paño, 4 where the plaintiff was suing for damages for alleged violation
by the defendant of an "Agreement for a Course of Conversion Training at the Expense of
Singapore Airlines Limited," the jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance of Rizal over the case was
questioned. The Court, citing the earlier case of Quisaba v. Sta. Ines Melale Veneer and Plywood,
Inc., 5 declared through Justice Herrera:
Stated differently, petitioner seeks protection under the civil laws and claims no benefits under the
Labor Code. The primary relief sought is for liquidated damages for breach of a contractual
obligation. The other items demanded are not labor benefits demanded by workers generally taken
cognizance of in labor disputes, such as payment of wages, overtime compensation or separation
pay. The items claimed are the natural consequences flowing from breach of an obligation,
intrinsically a civil dispute.
In Molave Sales, Inc. v. Laron, 6 the same Justice held for the Court that the claim of the plaintiff
against its sales manager for payment of certain accounts pertaining to his purchase of vehicles and
automotive parts, repairs of such vehicles, and cash advances from the corporation was properly
cognizable by the Regional Trial Court of Dagupan City and not the labor arbiter, because "although
a controversy is between an employer and an employee, the Labor Arbiters have nojurisdiction if
the Labor Code is not involved."
The latest ruling on this issue is found in San Miguel Corporation v. NLRC, 7 where the above cases
are cited and the changes in Article 217 are recounted. That case involved a claim of an employee
for a P60,000.00 prize for a proposal made by him which he alleged had been accepted and
implemented by the defendant corporation in the processing of one of its beer products. The claim
was filed with the labor arbiter, who dismissed it for lack of jurisdiction but was reversed by the
NLRC on appeal. In setting aside the appealed decision and dismissing the complaint, the Court
observed through Justice Feliciano:
It is the character of the principal relief sought that appears essential, in this connection. Where
such principal relief is to be granted under labor legislation or a collective bargaining agreement,
the case should fall within the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC, even though a claim
for damages might be asserted as an incident to such claim.
xxx xxx xxx
Where the claim to the principal relief sought is to be resolved not by reference to the Labor Code
or other labor relations statute or a collective bargaining agreement but by the general civil law,
the jurisdiction over the dispute belongs to the regular courts of justice and not to the Labor
Arbiter and the NLRC. In such situations, resolution of the dispute requires expertise, not in labor
management relations nor in wage structures and other terms and conditions of employment, but
rather in the application of the general civil law. Clearly, such claims fall outside the area of
competence or expertise ordinarily ascribed to Labor Arbiters and the NLRC and the rationale for
granting jurisdiction over such claims to these agencies disappears.
xxx xxx xxx
While paragraph 3 above refers to "all money claims of workers," it is not necessary to suppose
that the entire universe of money claims that might be asserted by workers against their employers
has been absorbed into the original and exclusive jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters.
xxx xxx xxx
For it cannot be presumed that money claims of workers which do not arise out of or in connection
with their employer-employee relationship, and which would therefore fall within the general
jurisdiction of the regular courts of justice, were intended by the legislative authority to be taken
away from the jurisdiction of the courts and lodged with Labor Arbiters on an exclusive basis. The
Court, therefore, believes and so holds that the 'money claims of workers" referred to in paragraph
3 of Article 217 embraces money claims which arise out of or in connection with the employeremployee relationship, or some aspect or incident of such relationship. Put a little differently, that
money claims of workers which now fall within the original and exclusive jurisdiction of Labor
Arbiters are those money claims which have some reasonable causal connection with the
employer-employee relationship (Ibid.).
The case now before the Court involves a complaint for damages for malicious prosecution which
was filed with the Regional Trial Court of Leyte by the employees of the defendant company. It
does not appear that there is a "reasonable causal connection" between the complaint and the
relations of the parties as employer and employees. The complaint did not arise from such
relations and in fact could have arisen independently of an employment relationship between the
parties. No such relationship or any unfair labor practice is asserted. What the employees are
alleging is that the petitioners acted with bad faith when they filed the criminal complaint which
the Municipal Trial Court said was intended "to harass the poor employees" and the dismissal of
which was affirmed by the Provincial Prosecutor "for lack of evidence to establish even a slightest
probability that all the respondents herein have committed the crime imputed against them." This
is a matter which the labor arbiter has no competence to resolve as the applicable law is not the
Labor Code but the Revised Penal Code.
"Talents differ, all is well and wisely put," so observed the philosopher-poet. 8 So it must be in the
case we here decide.
WHEREFORE, the order dated July 6, 1989, is AFFIRMED and the petition DENIED, with costs against
Narvasa (Chairman), Griño-Aquino and Medialdea, JJ., concur.
G.R. No. 127639 December 3, 1999
SAN MIGUEL CORPORATION and BERNARDO NOEL in his capacity as Industrial Relations
ALFREDO ETCUBAN, BERNABE ETCUBAN, NORBERTO LABUCA, FELIPE ECHAVEZ, BERNARDINO
ENJAMBRE, ROGELIO ABELLANOSA, ROMULO CATALAN, PEDRO EBOT, ANATOLIO GERALDIZO,
JOSE ALFANTA, EDUARDO LOFRANCO, LECERIO PARBA, RAFAEL AGUILAR, RICARDO LACUAREN,
BENJAMIN ALESNA, ANTONIO BACUS, PRIMO SOTEROL, JESUS JADORMEO, MANUEL MANKIKIS,
APRONIANO ANG, RENATO VILLALON, SAMUEL OUANO, JOSE DELA, JESUS BASILGO, CATALINO
COLE, SR., ALFREDO GONZALES, RAMON FLORES, MARCOS VITO CRUZ, JACINTO DIVINAGRACIA,
ALAN ALINSUGAY and CLAUDIO AGAN, respondents.
Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision, dated 16 May 1996 of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 46554 and of its Resolution, dated November 1996 denying
petitioners' motion for reconsideration of said decision. The Court of Appeals' decision reversed
and set aside the resolution of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu, Branch 19, in Civil Case No. CEB15310, dismissing for lack of jurisdiction respondents' complaint for damages against petitioners
for terminating their employment by fraudulently inducing them to accept petitioners'
The antecedents of this case are as follows:
In 1981, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) informed its Mandaue City Brewery employees that it was
suffering from heavy losses and financial distress which could eventually lead to its total closure. In
several meetings convened by SMC with its employee, it was explained to them that the distressed
state of SMC was caused by its poor sales performance which, in order to survive, called for a
cutback in production and a corresponding reduction in the work force. Because of this, SMC
offered its "Retrenchment to Prevent Loss Program" to its employees. The offering of the
retrenchment program was coupled with an unsolicited advise from SMC that it would be in the
best interest of the affected employees to avail of the said program since, by doing so, they would
be able to obtain their retrenchment benefits and privileges with ease. SMC admonished its
employees that their failure to avail of the retrenchment program might lead to difficulty in
following-up and obtaining their separation pay from the SMC's main office in Manila.
Convinced by the representations and importunings of SMC, respondents, who had been
employees of SMC since the 1960s, availed of the retrenchment program at various times in 1981,
1982 and 1983. After their inclusion in the retrenchment program, respondents were given their
termination letters and separation pay. In return, respondents executed "receipt and release"
documents in favor of SMC.
Sometime in May of 1986, respondents got hold of an SMC publication allegedly revealing that
SMC was never in financial distress during the time when they were being retrenched but was, in
fact, enjoying a growth in sales. Respondents also learned that, during their retrenchment, SMC
was engaged in hiring new employees. Thus, respondents concluded that SMC's financial distress
story and retrenchment program were merely schemes to rid itself of regular employees and, thus,
avoid the payment of their actual benefits.
On 17 October 1988, respondents filed a complaint before the Regional Arbitration Branch No. VII
of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) for the declaration of nullity of the
retrenchment program. In their complaint, respondents alleged that they were former regular
employees of SMC who were deceived into severing their employment due to SMC's concocted
financial distress story and fraudulent retrenchment program. Respondents prayed for
reinstatement, backwages and damages. On 25 July 1989, the Labor Arbiter dismissed the
complaint on the ground of prescription, stating:
What is apparent from their allegations, however, is that complainants are contesting their
respective terminations pursuant to the Retrenchment Program effected by San Miguel
Corporation in 1981, 1982, and 1983. These then are claims for illegal dismissal which fall within
the ambit of Article 291 of the New Labor Code. It provides:
Art. 291. Money claims. — All money claims arising from employer-employee relations accruing
during the effectivity of this Code, shall be filed within three (3) years from the time the cause of
action accrued; otherwise they shall be forever barred. . . .
Under the aforequoted provision therefore, complainants' causes of action have already
Even if this Office were to apply the more liberal interpretation of the above provisions enunciated
by the Honorable Supreme Court in the case of Callanta vs. Carnation Phils., Inc., G.R. No. 70615,
Nov. 3, 1986, an interpretation that views illegal dismissal as an injury upon the rights of a person,
hence, under Article 1146 of the Civil Code prescribes in 4 years, those who were retrenched in
1983, at the very latest, had only until 1987 to institute a complaint against SMC.
The records will show that all the above captioned cases were filed in 1988.
Clearly, therefore, complainants' causes of action have already prescribed. 1
Respondents then appealed to the NLRC which, on 20 December 1990, dismissed the appeal and
affirmed the decision of the labor arbiter.
On 14 December 1993, respondents, who were thirty-one (31) in number, again filed a
complaint 2 against SMC, but this time before the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City, Branch 19.
Although their complaint was captioned as an action for damages, respondents sought the
declaration of nullity of their so-called collective "contract of termination" with SMC. Respondents
theorized that SMC's offer of retrenchment and their acceptance of the same resulted in the
consummation of a collective "contract of termination" between themselves and SMC.
Respondents asserted that since the cause of their "contract of termination" was non-existent, i.e.,
the claim of SMC that it was under financial distress, the said contract is null and void. In this
regard, respondents claimed that they were entitled to damages because of the deception
employed upon them by SMC which led to their separation from the company. They further
asseverated that their separation from employment resulted in the loss of earnings and other
benefits. Hence, they prayed that petitioners jointly and severally be ordered, among others, to
pay each of them the sum of P650,000.00 as actual and compensatory damages, P100,000.00 as
moral damages, P50,000.00 as exemplary damages, and 25% of whatever may be awarded to them
as attorney's fees.
Instead of filing an answer, SMC filed a motion to dismiss on the bases of lack of jurisdiction, res
judicata, payment, prescription and failure to state a cause of action. On 21 June 1994, the RTC
issued a resolution granting SMC's motion to dismiss on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction and
prescription. The pertinent portion of the resolution reads:
Although plaintiffs, among others, pray for the declaration of nullity of the contract of termination,
their main cause is for damages, actual, compensatory and moral damages in the "aggregate
amount of P650,000.00 each and P1,200,000.00 each" for plaintiffs Bernabe Etcuban and Jose Dela.
The alleged acts leading to their signing of the contract of termination are acts constituting labor
disputes. It is a case for damages resulting from illegal termination. Under Article 217 of the Labor
Code, such cases fall within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter and the National
Labor Relations Commission. In fact, in 1988, plaintiffs instituted the same case for
"implementation of Art. 217, par. 5, now (sic) Labor Code and Declaration of Nullity of
"Retrenchment" Program, and Damages" (see annex "A" to Motion to Dismiss) with the National
Labor Relations Commission. Their cases were dismissed, not because of lack of jurisdiction, but
because their cause of action already prescribed, the cases having been filed after the three-year
prescriptive period. Plaintiffs have already submitted to the jurisdiction of the NLRC when they
filed their cases with that agency. And they prayed for the declaration of nullity of the
retrenchment program of defendant corporation. It was only after the dismissal of those cases that
they instituted this present suit.
xxx xxx xxx
Moreover, the contract of termination which plaintiffs were allegedly induced to sign is not void
from the beginning. At most, such contract is voidable, plaintiffs' consent thereto being allegedly
vitiated by fraud and deceit.
Thus plaintiffs allege that "the brainwashing conducting (ted) on the affected employees through
briefings and pulong-pulongs relative to the actual economic condition of defendant corporation
finally led plaintiffs to believe that indeed said defendant was incurring losses and has opted to
reduce its production to arrest an immediate collapse of its operations. Thus, the corresponding
need to cut down on its work force;" (par. 11, complaint);" This distressed state of affairs of the
defendant corporation inculcated into their (sic) minds of defendants and the worry of nonrecovery of their benefits in the event defendant corporation closes down, induced plaintiffs to
accept the "offer of retrenchment". Thereupon, they were paid their so-called "separation pay".
Hence, the contract of termination evidenced by individual termination letters and benefits paid to
each plaintiff was consummated." (par. 12). But that "records, however, revealed that from 1973
up to 1983, inclusive, defendant corporation never suffered any business reverses or losses in its
operation."; (par. 13, complaint).
When the consent of one of the contracting parties is vitiated by fraud or deceit, the resulting
contract is only voidable or annulable, not void or inexistent. The action to annul the same should
be filed within four (4) years from discovery of the fraud or deceit. According to plaintiffs'
complaint, they "acquired knowledge of the actual business condition of defendant corporation
only in May 1986 when one of them got hold of a copy of the company's publication. That was the
time they discovered that indeed, defendants deceived them . . . . (par. 14, complaint.) From May
1986 to January 14, 1993, more than six (6) years have already elapsed. Clearly, the action, has
The rest of the grounds need not be discussed.
WHEREFORE, for want of jurisdiction, and on the further ground of prescription, the above-entitled
case is dismissed.
SO ORDERED. 3
Respondents seasonably appealed to the Court of Appeals (CA). In its Decision dated 16 May 1996,
the CA reversed and set aside the lower court's order of dismissal and remanded the case to the
RTC for further proceedings. The pertinent portion of the decision reads:
A scrutiny of the allegations of the present complaint reveals that plaintiffs' cause of action is not
actually based on an employer-employee relationship between the plaintiffs and the defendants. It
primarily involves a civil dispute arising from the claim of plaintiffs that the cause for the contract
of termination of their services is inexistent rendering said contract as null and void from the
beginning. . . .
xxx xxx xxx
Guided thereby, we find that recourse by plaintiffs-appellants to the civil law on contracts by
raising the issue [of] whether or not the contract of termination of services entered into by
plaintiffs with defendants is void from the beginning due to inexistent cause of action under Article
1409 of the Civil Code, places the case within the jurisdiction of the civil courts.
As refined by the Supreme Court, where the resolution of the dispute requires expertise, not in
labor management relations nor in wage structures and other terms and conditions of
employment, but rather in the application of the general civil law, such claim falls outside the area
of competence of expertise ordinarily ascribed to Labor Arbiters and the NLRC. Thus, the trial court
erred in finding that it has no jurisdiction over the case.
Secondly, the trial court erred in ruling that the complaint of plaintiffs-appellants has prescribed.
Article 1410 of the Civil Code, in relation to Article 1409 as herein before quoted, specifically
provides that the action for the declaration of the inexistence of a contract on ground (3) above
does not prescribe.
Thirdly, one of the requisites for the application of the principle of res judicata is that there must
be a judgment on the merits in the earlier case involving the same parties and the same issues.
Plaintiffs-appellants' complaint was dismissed by the NLRC on the ground that their cause of action
had prescribed; no trial has been held on the first complaint. Thus, the dismissal of the first
complaint is not a judgment on the merits and therefore not applicable to the present case.
xxx xxx xxx
WHEREFORE, the order of dismissal is reversed and set aside. Let the original records of Civil Case
No. CEB-15310, be remanded to the Regional Trial Court (Branch 19), Cebu City for further
proceedings. Costs against defendants-appellees.
SO ORDERED. 4
SMC filed a motion for reconsideration but was denied in the CA's Resolution dated 14 November
1996 5. Hence, this petition.
In its petition, SMC contends that the CA erred:
IN HOLDING THAT THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF CEBU, BRANCH 19, HAS JURISDICTION OVER
THE INSTANT CASE AND THE CAUSE OF ACTION OF THE RESPONDENTS ARE NOT ACTUALLY BASED
ON AN EMPLOYER-EMPLOYEE RELATIONSHIP WHEN THE COMPLAINT SHOWS THAT THE
RESPONDENTS ARE CLAIMING TO HAVE BEEN UNJUSTLY SEPARATED FROM THEIR REGULAR
EMPLOYMENTS (sic) BY THE PETITIONERS AND ARE DEMANDING TO BE PAID ACTUAL AND
COMPENSATORY DAMAGES CONSISTING OF "THEIR EXPECTED INCOME BY WAY OF SALARIES AND
OTHER FRINGE BENEFITS DUE THEM UNDER THE LAW FROM THE TIME OF THEIR SEPARATION AND
UNTIL THEIR RETIREMENT DUE TO AGE OR LENGTH OF SERVICE . . . SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM
BENEFITS . . . RETIREMENT BENEFITS.
IN RULING THAT THE COMPLAINT OF THE RESPONDENTS HAVE NOT YET PRESCRIBED WHEN THE
RESPONDENTS HAVE CLAIMED IN THEIR COMPLAINT THAT THEY HAVE BEEN ALLEGEDLY
BRAINWASHED BY THE PETITIONERS AND THEIR COMPAINT (sic) WAS FILED ONLY AFTER MORE
THAN SIX (6) YEARS HAVE LAPSED FROM THE TIME THAT THE RESPONDENTS CLAIMED TO HAVE
"DISCOVERED THAT INDEED, DEFENDANTS (Petitioners) DECEIVED THEM INTO BELIEVING THAT
THE DEFENDANT CORPORATION WAS INCURRING LOSSES IN ITS OPERATION HENCE, THE
NECESSITY TO TRIM DOWN ITS WORK FORCE TO INDUCE THEM TO ACCEPT THE "OFFER OF
IN RULING THAT "THE DISMISSAL OF THE FIRST COMPLAINT IS NOT A JUDGMENT ON THE MERITS
AND THEREFORE NOT APPLICABLE TO THE PRESENT CASE" WHEN IT IS THE SAID DIVISION'S OWN
FINDING THAT: "THE COMPLAINT FILED BY HEREIN PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS (Respondents) WITH
THE REGIONAL ARBITRATION BRANCH PRAYED FOR THE DECLARATION OF THE TERMINATION
SCHEME ALLEGEDLY DECEPTIVELY FORCED UPON THEM TO BE NULL AND VOID WITH THE SAME
PRAYER THAT THEY BE REINSTATED TO THEIR REGULAR EMPLOYMENT WITHOUT ANY LOSS OF ANY
RIGHTS (sic) AND BENEFITS (sic) AS WELL AS PAYMENT OF THEIR BACK WAGES AND DAMAGES." 6
We find the petition impressed with merit.
The demarcation line between the jurisdiction of regular courts and labor courts over cases
involving workers and their employers has always been the subject of dispute. We have recognized
that not all claims involving such groups of litigants can be resolved solely by our labor
courts. 7 However, we have also admonished that the present trend is to refer worker-employer
controversies to labor courts, unless unmistakably provided by the law to be otherwise. 8Because
of this trend, jurisprudence has developed the "reasonable causal connection rule." Under this
rule, if there is a reasonable causal connection between the claim asserted and the employeremployee relations, then the case is within the jurisdiction of our labor courts. 9 In the absence of
such nexus, it is the regular courts that have jurisdiction. 10
The jurisdiction of labor courts is provided under Article 217 of the Labor Code, to wit:
Art. 217. Jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters and the Commission. — (a) Except as otherwise provided
under this Code the Labor Arbiter shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide,
within thirty (30) calendar days after the submission of the case by the parties for decision without
extension, even in the absence of stenographic notes, the following cases involving all workers,
whether agricultural or non-agricultural:
1. Unfair labor practice cases;
2. Termination disputes;
3. If accompanied with a claim for reinstatement, those cases that workers may file involving
wages, rates of pay, hours of work and other terms and conditions of employment;
4. Claims for actual, moral, exemplary and other forms of damages arising from employeremployee relations;
5. Cases arising from any violation of Article 264 of this Code including questions involving the
legality of strikes and lockouts; and
6. Except claims for Employees Compensation, Social Security, Medicare and maternity benefits, all
other claims, arising from employer-employee relations, including those of persons in domestic or
household service, involving an amount exceeding five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) regardless of
whether accompanied with a claim for reinstatement.
(b) The Commission shall have exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all cases decided by Labor
(c) Cases arising from the interpretation or implementation of collective bargaining agreements
and those arising from the interpretation or enforcement of company personnel policies shall be
disposed of by the Labor Arbiter by referring the same to the grievance machinery and voluntary
arbitration as may be provided in said agreements. 11
With regard to claims for damages under paragraph 4 of the above article, this Court has observed
Jurisprudence has evolved the rule that claims for damages under paragraph 4 of Article 217, to be
cognizable by the Labor Arbiter, must have a reasonable causal connection with any of the claims
provided for in that article. Only if there is such a connection with the other claims can the claim
for damages be considered as arising from employer-employee relations. 12
In the present case, while respondents insist that their action is for the declaration of nullity of
their "contract of termination," what is inescapable is the fact that it is, in reality, an action for
damages emanating from employer-employee relations. First, their claim for damages is grounded
on their having been deceived into severing their employment due to SMC's concocted financial
distress and fraudulent retrenchment program — a clear case of illegal dismissal. Second, a
comparison of respondents' complaint for the declaration of nullity of the retrenchment program
before the labor arbiter and the complaint for the declaration of nullity of their "contract of
termination" before the RTC reveals that the allegations and prayer of the former are almost
identical with those of the latter except that the prayer for reinstatement was no longer included
and the claim for backwages and other benefits was replaced with a claim for actual damages.
These are telltale signs that respondents' claim for damages is intertwined with their having been
separated from their employment without just cause and, consequently, has a reasonable causal
connection with their employer-employee relations with SMC. Accordingly, it cannot be denied
that respondents' claim falls under the jurisdiction of the labor arbiter as provided in paragraph 4
of Article 217.
Respondents' assertion that their action is for the declaration of nullity of their "contract of
termination" is merely an ingenious way of presenting their actual action, which is a claim for
damages grounded on their having been illegal terminated. However, it would seem that
respondents committed a Freudian slip when they captioned their claim against SMC as an action
for damages. 13 Even the term used for designating the contract, i.e. "contract of termination," was
formulated in a shrewd manner so as to avoid a semblance of employer-employee relations. This
observation is bolstered by the fact that if respondents' designation for the contract were to be
made complete and reflective of its nature, its proper designation would be a "contract of
termination of employment."
The Court is aware that the Civil Code provisions on contracts and damages may be used as bases
for addressing the claim of respondents. However, the fact remains that the present action
primarily involves an employer-employee relationship. The damages incurred by respondents as a
result of the alleged fraudulent retrenchment program and the allegedly defective "contract of
termination" are merely the civil aspect of the injury brought about by their illegal dismissal. 14 The
civil ramifications of their actual claim cannot alter the reality that it is primordially a labor matter
and, as such, is cognizable by labor courts. In Associated Citizens Bank vs. Japson, 15 we held:
For the unlawful termination of employment, this Court in Primero v. Intermediate Appellate
Court,supra, ruled that the Labor Arbiter had the exclusive and original jurisdiction over claims for
moral and other forms of damages, so that the employee in the proceedings before the Labor
Arbiter should prosecute his claims not only for reliefs specified under the Labor Code but also for
damages under the Civil Code. This is because an illegally dismissed employee has only a single
cause of action although the act of dismissal may be a violation not only the Labor Code but also of
the Civil Code. For a single cause of action, the dismissed employee cannot institute a separate
action before the Labor Arbiter for backwages and reinstatement and another action before the
regular court for the recovery of moral and other forms of damages because splitting a single cause
of action is procedurally unsound and obnoxious to the orderly administration of justice. (Primero
v. Intermediate Appellate Court, supra, citing Gonzales v. Province of Iloilo, 38 SCRA 209; Cyphil
Employees Association-Natu v. Pharmaceutical Industries, 77 SCRA 135; Calderon v. Court of
Appeals, 100 SCRA 459, etc.) 16
Even assuming arguendo that the RTC has jurisdiction, it is obvious from respondents' own
pleadings that their action for the declaration of nullity of the "contract of termination" will not
prosper. Respondents allege that they were deceived by SMC into believing that it was under
financial distress which, thus, led them into concluding the "contract of termination" with the
latter. 17 Respondents then posit that since the cause of the contract, SMC's alleged financial
distress, was inexistent, the contract is null and void. The argument is flawed.
The fact that SMC was never in financial distress does not, in any way, affect the cause of their
"contract of termination." Rather, the fraudulent representations of SMC only affected the consent
of respondents in entering into the said contract. 18 If the consent of a contracting party is vitiated
by fraud, the contract is not void but, merely, voidable. 19 In Abando vs. Lozada, 20 we ruled:
As correctly pointed out by the appellate court, the strategem (sic), the deceit, the
misrepresentations employed by Cuevas and Pucan are facts constitutive of fraud which is defined
in Article 1338 of the Civil Code as that (sic) insidious words or machinations of one of the
contracting parties, by which the other is induced to enter into a contract which, without them, he
would not have agreed to. When fraud is employed to obtain the consent of the other party to
enter into a contract, the resulting contract is merely a voidable contract, that is, a valid and
subsisting contract until annulled or set aside by a competent court. . . . 21
An action to annul a voidable contract based on fraud should be brought within four (4) years from
the discovery of the same. 22 In the present case, respondents discovered SMC's fraud in May 1986.
However, the action to question the validity of the contract was only brought on 14 December
1993, or more than seven (7) years after the discovery of the fraud. Clearly, respondents' action
has already prescribed.
The issue of jurisdiction and prescription having been resolved, it is no longer necessary to discuss
the issue onres judicata raised in this petition.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 16 May 1996 and its
Resolution dated 14 November 1996 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the Resolution
dated 21 June 1994 of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu, Branch 19, in CEB-15310, REINSTATED.
G.R. No. 128024 May 9, 2000
BEBIANO M. BAÑEZ, petitioner,
HON. DOWNEY C. VALDEVILLA and ORO MARKETING, INC., respondents.
The orders of respondent judge 1 dated June 20, 1996 and October 16, 1996, taking jurisdiction
over an action for damages filed by an employer against its dismissed employee, are assailed in this
petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court for having been issued in grave abuse of
Petitioner was the sales operations manager of private respondent in its branch in Iligan City. In
1993, private respondent "indefinitely suspended" petitioner and the latter filed a complaint for
illegal dismissal with the National Labor Relations Commission ("NLRC") in Iligan City. In a decision
dated July 7, 1994, Labor Arbiter Nicodemus G. Palangan found petitioner to have been illegally
dismissed and ordered the payment of separation pay in lieu of reinstatement, and of backwages
and attorney's fees. The decision was appealed to the NLRC, which dismissed the same for having
been filed out of time. 2 Elevated by petition for certiorari before this Court, the case was dismissed
on technical grounds3; however, the Court also pointed out that even if all the procedural
requirements for the filing of the petition were met, it would still be dismissed for failure to show
grave abuse of discretion on the part of the NLRC.
On November 13, 1995, private respondent filed a complaint for damages before the Regional Trial
Court ("RTC") of Misamis Oriental, docketed as Civil Case No. 95-554, which prayed for the
payment of the following:
a. P709,217.97 plus 12% interest as loss of profit and/or unearned income of three years;
b. P119,700.00 plus 12% interest as estimated cost of supplies, facilities, properties, space, etc. for
c. P5,000.00 as initial expenses of litigation; and
d. P25,000.00 as attorney's fees. 4
On January 30, 1996, petitioner filed a motion to dismiss the above complaint. He interposed in the
court below that the action for damages, having arisen from an employer-employee relationship,
was squarely under the exclusive original jurisdiction of the NLRC under Article 217(a), paragraph 4
of the Labor Code and is barred by reason of the final judgment in the labor case. He accused
private respondent of splitting causes of action, stating that the latter could very well have
included the instant claim for damages in its counterclaim before the Labor Arbiter. He also
pointed out that the civil action of private respondent is an act of forum-shopping and was merely
resorted to after a failure to obtain a favorable decision with the NLRC.
Ruling upon the motion to dismiss, respondent judge issued the herein questioned Order, which
summarized the basis for private respondent's action for damages in this manner:
Paragraph 5 of the complaint alleged that the defendant violated the plaintiff's policy re: His
business in his branch at Iligan City wherein defendant was the Sales Operations Manager, and
paragraph 7 of the same complaint briefly narrated the modus operandi of defendant, quoted
herein: Defendant canvassed customers personally or through salesmen of plaintiff which were
hired or recruited by him. If said customer decided to buy items from plaintiff on installment basis,
defendant, without the knowledge of said customer and plaintiff, would buy the items on cash
basis at ex-factory price, a privilege not given to customers, and thereafter required the customer
to sign promissory notes and other documents using the name and property of plaintiff, purporting
that said customer purchased the items from plaintiff on installment basis. Thereafter, defendant
collected the installment payments either personally or through Venus Lozano, a Group Sales
Manager of plaintiff but also utilized by him as secretary in his own business for collecting and
receiving of installments, purportedly for the plaintiff but in reality on his own account or business.
The collection and receipt of payments were made inside the Iligan City branch using plaintiff's
facilities, property and manpower. That accordingly plaintiff's sales decreased and reduced to a
considerable extent the profits which it would have earned. 5
In declaring itself as having jurisdiction over the subject matter of the instant controversy,
respondent court stated:
A perusal of the complaint which is for damages does not ask for any relief under the Labor Code of
the Philippines. It seeks to recover damages as redress for defendant's breach of his contractual
obligation to plaintiff who was damaged and prejudiced. The Court believes such cause of action is
within the realm of civil law, and jurisdiction over the controversy belongs to the regular courts.
While seemingly the cause of action arose from employer-employee relations, the employer's claim
for damages is grounded on the nefarious activities of defendant causing damage and prejudice to
plaintiff as alleged in paragraph 7 of the complaint. The Court believes that there was a breach of a
contractual obligation, which is intrinsically a civil dispute. The averments in the complaint
removed the controversy from the coverage of the Labor Code of the Philippines and brought it
within the purview of civil law. (Singapore Airlines, Ltd. Vs. Paño, 122 SCRA 671.) . . . 6
Petitioner's motion for reconsideration of the above Order was denied for lack of merit on October
16, 1996. Hence, this petition.
Acting on petitioner's prayer, the Second Division of this Court issued a Temporary Restraining
Order ("TRO") on March 5, 1997, enjoining respondents from further proceeding with Civil Case
No. 95-554 until further orders from the Court.
By way of assignment of errors, the petition reiterates the grounds raised in the Motion to Dismiss
dated January 30, 1996, namely, lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action, res
judicata, splitting of causes of action, and forum-shopping. The determining issue, however, is the
issue of jurisdiction.
Art. 217(a), paragraph 4 of the Labor Code, which was already in effect at the time of the filing of
this case, reads:
it may help to refer to that period from 1979 to 1980 when jurisdiction over employment-predicated actions for damages vacillated from labor tribunals to regular courts. the jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters and the NLRC in Article 217 is comprehensive enough to include claims for all forms of damages "arising from the employer-employee relations" Whereas this Court in a number of occasions had applied the jurisdictional provisions of Article 217 to claims for damages filed by employees. splitting the cause of action and possible conflicting findings and conclusions by two tribunals on one and the same claim. a court is spared the often onerous task of determining what essentially is a factual matter. now completely superseded by the Labor Code). Evidently. and the assumption of jurisdiction of regular courts over the same is a nullity. Presidential Decree ("P. 113 SCRA 52. the decision in the labor case stands as a final judgment on the merits. . however. exemplary and other forms of damages arising from the employeremployee relations. even in the absence of stenographic notes.D. and more importantly. Respondent court clearly having no jurisdiction over private respondent's complaint for damages. as distinguished from backwages and separation pay. those equivalent to the value of private respondent's property and supplies which petitioner used in conducting his "business ". Jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters and the Commission. 1367 amended said Article 217 to the effect that "Regional Directors shall not indorse and Labor Arbiters shall not entertain claims for moral or other forms of damages. which is prejudicial to the orderly administration of justice. 1979. the damages alleged in the complaint below are: first. jurisdiction over all money claims of workers. namely. 1367 and restored to the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC their jurisdiction to award all kinds of damages in cases arising from employer-employee relations. 1 this Court discussed: The lawmakers in divesting the Labor Arbiters and the NLRC of jurisdiction to award moral and other forms of damages in labor cases could have assumed that the Labor Arbiters' position-paper procedure of ascertaining the facts in dispute might not be an adequate tool for arriving at a just and accurate assessment of damages. . Eisma. and the instant action for damages cannot take the place of such lost appeal. Thus. having been otherwise preoccupied by his unauthorized installment sale scheme. where the damages separately claimed by the employer were allegedly incurred as a consequence of strike or picketing of the union. private respondent would not have taken issue with petitioner's "doing business of his own" had the latter not been concurrently its employee. found to the contrary — that no business losses may be attributed to petitioner as in fact. however. moral. It will be recalled that years prior to R. . and that the trial procedure in the Court of First Instance would be a more effective means of determining such damages. the issue of actual damages has been settled in the labor case. 6715. respondent court's taking jurisdiction over the instant case would bring about precisely the harm that the lawmakers sought to avoid in amending the Labor Code to restore jurisdiction over claims for damages of this nature to the NLRC. and presented evidence in support thereof. This is. or was necessarily intertwined with. . (Emphasis supplied). As held by this Court in National Federation of Labor vs. such complaint for damages is deeply rooted from the labor dispute between the parties. 18 Thus." 8This limitation in jurisdiction. including claims for damages.A. it is obvious that private respondent's remedy is not in the filing of this separate action for damages. it was by reason of petitioner's installment plan that the sales of the Iligan branch of private respondent (where petitioner was employed) reached its highest record level to the extent that petitioner was awarded the 1989 Field Sales Achievement Award in recognition of his exceptional sales performance. Claims for actual. and which put to rest the earlier confusion as to who between Labor Arbiters and regular courts had jurisdiction over claims for damages as between employers and employees. of course. 875 (the "Industrial Peace Act". Even under Republic Act No. claimed for were based on tort 14. but in properly perfecting an appeal from the Labor Arbiter's decision. the lawmaking authority had second thoughts about depriving the Labor Arbiters and the NLRC of the jurisdiction to award damages in labor cases because that setup would mean duplicity of suits. No. the present Labor Code is even more committed to the view that on policy grounds. which took effect on March 21. de Guzman. No. Presidential Decree No. Having lost the right to appeal on grounds of untimeliness. jurisprudence was settled that where the plaintiff's cause of action for damages arose out of. as amended." 11 Thus. The Labor Arbiter.A. P. however.D. 7 On May 1. the jurisdiction is exclusively with the (now defunct) Court of Industrial Relations. even after the enactment of the Labor Code. we will no longer pass upon petitioner's other assignments of error. and that the installment scheme was in fact with the knowledge of the management of the Iligan branch of private respondent. which is now final and executory. to allow respondent court to proceed with the instant action for damages would be to open anew the factual issue of whether petitioner's installment sale scheme resulted in business losses and the dissipation of private respondent's property. In Ebon vs. or breach of contract.D. the following cases involving all workers. So. This issue has been duly raised and ruled upon in the illegal dismissal case. as when the claimant seeks to recover a debt from a former employee 16 or seeks liquidated damages in enforcement of a prior employment contract. the damages that may be incurred by either labor or management as a result of disputes or controversies arising from employer-employee relations. Article 217(a) of the Labor Code. 12 In other words. within thirty (30) calendar days after the submission of the case by the parties for decision without extension. to distinguish from cases of actions for damages where the employer-employee relationship is merely incidental and the cause of action proceeds from a different source of obligation. 1691 nullified P. those amounting to lost profits and earnings due to petitioner's abandonment or neglect of his duties as sales manager. the Labor Arbiter has jurisdiction to award not only the reliefs provided by labor laws. 1691 (which substantially reenacted Article 217 in its original form) nullified Presidential Decree No. . 10 To allow otherwise would be "to sanction split jurisdiction. whether agricultural or non-agricultural: xxx xxx xxx 4. 127 SCRA 419: Certainly. Still on the prospect of re-opening factual issues already resolved by the labor court. 9 we hold that by the designating clause "arising from the employer-employee relations" Article 217 should apply with equal force to the claim of an employer for actual damages against its dismissed employee. In the first place. and equally so in the interest of greater promptness in the disposition of labor matters. 6715. and should be entered as a counterclaim in the illegal dismissal case. 6715. Second. the dispute is intrinsically civil.") No. .Art. clearly bestows upon the Labor Arbiter original and exclusive jurisdiction over claims for damages arising from employeremployee relations — in other words. . There is no mistaking the fact that in the case before us. and second. 217.") No. where private respondent brought up as a defense the same allegations now embodied in his complaint. Clearly. the jurisdiction of regular courts was upheld where the damages. 1367 and restored Article 217 of the Labor Code almost to its original form. private respondent's claim against petitioner for actual damages arose from a prior employer-employee relationship. an alleged unfair labor practice committed by the union. — (a) Except as otherwise provided under this Code the Labor Arbiters shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide. malicious prosecution 15. and back to labor tribunals. xxx xxx xxx The above provisions are a result of the amendment by Section 9 of Republic Act ("R. 17 Neither can we uphold the reasoning of respondent court that because the resolution of the issues presented by the complaint does not entail application of the Labor Code or other labor laws. but also damages governed by the Civil Code. was originally lodged with the Labor Arbiters and the NLRC by Article 217 of the Labor Code. where the basis for the claim arises from or is necessarily connected with the fact of termination. 1980. lasted only briefly since on May 1. on May 1. Thus. 1989.A. and should be dismissed by ordinary courts for lack of jurisdiction. Presently. and as amended by R. 1980.
VP (M21). inclusive of . bringing the total cost of the Honda CR-V to P868.539.000.272. 1998. Respondents. Eviota has resorted to falsehoods derogatory to the reputation of the Bank. 1998.807. Annex "B").012. On June 19. the Bank: (a) renovated and refurbished the room which was to serve as Eviota’s office. 1998.00 Cost of Appraisal – Housing Loan 3. such as the salary schedule of all Corporate and Institutional Banking officers and photocopies of schedules of benefits provided expatriates being employed by the Bank. (d) arranged the takeout of Eviota’s loans with Eviota’s former employer.00). Among others.g.53) and Fund Transfer Price (P18. the respondent Standard Chartered Bank and petitioner Eduardo G. Defendant Eduardo Eviota ("Eviota") is a former employee of the Bank. and undermining its ability to recruit and retain the best personnel in the labor market. Antipolo. (c) purchased a desktop IBM computer for Eviota’s use. there is evidence to show that in his attempts to justify his hasty departure from the Bank and conceal the real reason for his move. aborted meetings previously scheduled among Bank officers. PADRD 1830WV00108) for Eviota’s use.00 (of which Eviota initially shouldered P48. 1998. and STANDARD CHARTERED BANK." 7. the respondent bank filed a complaint against the petitioner with the RTC of Makati City. the Bank had to pay a total of P208. representing costs incurred in connection with the purchase of the Honda CR-V.00. Eviota instructed the Bank’s HR Administrator to book him a flight for Singapore. the petitioner abruptly resigned from the respondent bank barely a month after his employment and rejoined his former employer. the Petition is GRANTED. Cottonwoods. Worse.. and the complaint in Civil Case No.38.232.200. Presiding Judge of Branch 136.995. the Bank realizes that it was simply used by Eviota as a mere leverage for his selfish efforts at negotiating better terms of employment with his previous employer.00 c. Confident of Eviota’s professed commitment to the Bank. 1997. 6756 Ayala Avenue.000. 1998. Office Reconfiguration 29. Acting on the Employment Contract and on Eviota’s uninhibited display of interest in assuming his position. The same day. 2-Drawer Lateral File Cabinet 13. His untruthful remarks have falsely depicted the Bank as a contract violator and an undesirable employer.WHEREFORE.646. the Bank allowed Eviota access to certain sensitive and confidential information and documents concerning the Bank’s operations. incidental costs in the form of Processing Fees (P1. 11. the Bank received two manager’s checks in the aggregate amount of P868.881. and may be served with summons and other court processes at 8 Maple Street. Eviota executed a contract of employment under which the petitioner was employed by the respondent bank as Compensation and Benefits Manager. In particular.. Eviota indicated his conformity with the Bank’s Offer of Employment by signing a written copy of such offer dated January 22. was so unexpected that it disrupted plans already in the pipeline (e. On March 16. A copy of the Bank’s demand letter dated March 16. as follows: a. 1998. and the processing of merit promotion recommendations).00 d. vs. At one Human Resources ("HR") Committee meeting held on March 3. 8.000. G.815.000. 1 Honda CR-V 800. Signing Bonus P 300.00 g. the Bank promptly proceeded to carry out the terms of the Employment Contract as well as to facilitate his integration into the workforce. On April 29.. the Bank made a written demand on Eviota to return the aforementioned computer diskette and other confidential documents and papers.636. 10. 152121 July 29. In partial compliance with said demand. 1998 is hereto attached as Annex "D. with principal offices at the 5th Floor.000. Branch 136.000.00 TOTAL P1. The Bank made sure that Eviota was fully aware of all the terms and conditions of his possible job with the Bank. Metro Manila. On February 25. Eviota made off with a computer diskette and other papers and documents containing confidential information on employee compensation and other Bank matters. (f) booked Eviota’s participation in a Singapore conference on Y2K project scheduled on March 10 and 11.500. 1 Hanging Shelf 2. the latter made the aforementioned airline booking for him.00 for the inconvenience and work/program disruptions suffered by the Bank.00 e. THE HON. Makati City. COURT OF APPEALS. In addition. reimburse the Bank for the various expenses incurred on his account as a result of his resignation (with legal interest).50. thus damaging the Bank’s reputation and business standing in the highly competitive banking community. Eviota suddenly resigned his employment with immediate effect to re-join his previous employer. Eviota began negotiating with the Bank on his possible employment with the latter. THE HON. FPD/MCAR/98-155684 (P1. (e) released Eviota’s signing bonus in the net amount of P300. 1998. and (g) introduced Eviota to the local and regional staff and officers of the Bank via personal introductions and electronic mail.38. However. After leading the Bank to believe that he had come to stay. where he was scheduled to participate in a Y2K project on March 10 and 11. (b) purchased a 1998 Honda CR-V (Motor No.00 An itemized schedule of the above expenses incurred by the Bank is hereto attached as Annex "B. Taken up during these negotiations were not only his compensation and benefit package. On January 26. The respondent bank alleged inter alia in its complaint that: 1. 1 Officer’s Chair 31. 1998 (the "Employment Contract"). 4. On December 22. 1 Guest Chair 2. but also the nature and demands of his prospective position. Eviota made arrangements with his previous employer to reimburse the Bank for the expenses incurred in connection with the Bank’s purchase of the Honda CR-V for his use. the development of a salary/matrix grid and salary structure. Regional Trial Court of Makati.881.000.00 i. Chassis No. For the services of this third party. The Bank informed Eviota that in addition to the Honda CR-V’s purchase price of P848. 2. Petitioner. PEWED7P101101. EVIOTA. Staff Loan Processing Title Verification 375. 95-554 before Branch 39 of the Regional Trial Court of Misamis Oriental is hereby DISMISSED. which did not comply with the 30-day prior notice rule under the law and under the Employment Contract.00 b. 6.00 h. Bankmer Bldg. The various expenses incurred by the Bank in carrying out the above acts are itemized below. It is a foreign banking institution authorized to do business in the Philippines. A copy of a receipt for the above expenses is hereto attached as Annex "C" (See also.R. No. 2003 EDUARDO G.: Before us is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court. 3.00 f. 60141 denying the petition for certiorari filed by the petitioner praying the nullification of the Order of the Regional Trial Court of Makati. SO ORDERED. SR. DECISION CALLEJO.2 Sometime on January 26. 1998. A copy of the Employment Contract between Eviota and the Bank is hereto attached as Annex "A. With the benefit of hindsight. J. he has been maliciously purveying the canard that he had hurriedly left the Bank because it had failed to provide him support. No pronouncement as to costs. and pay damages in the amount of at least P500. IBM Desktop Computer 89.200." 12.84) were incurred. Eviota assumed his position as Compensation and Benefits Manager with the Bank and began to discharge his duties. and forced the Bank to hire the services of a third party to perform the job he was hired to do.00). SP No. Aside from causing no small degree of chaos within the Bank by reason of his sudden resignation.R. Eviota energetically presented to senior management his projects for the year. 1998. His resignation. 9. of the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G." 5. JOSE BAUTISTA. thus raising the latter’s expectations.
by way of its causes of action against the petitioner. Less reimbursements received from Eviota.e.000.000. an employee may terminate without just cause the employer-employee relationship by serving written notice on the employer at least one (1) month in advance. less the P48. claiming that its action for damages was within the exclusive jurisdiction of the trial court. as amended by Rep. and as such is governed by the New Civil Code: The Court holds that here. Section 13 of the Employment Contract specifically provides that: "Your [i. as amended. Previously.00.00. Eviota had induced the Bank to believe that he was committed to fulfilling his obligations under the Employment Contract. ratiocinating that the primary relief prayed for by the respondent bank was grounded on the tortious manner by which the petitioner terminated his employment with the latter. (See.1.00. Costs of the suit. 13. as amended (the Labor Code). 2. 5.00.000. If accompanied with a claim for reinstatement. These derogatory statements have injured the Bank’s business standing in the banking community." (Annex "A. the manner in and circumstances under which he exercised the same are clearly abusive and contrary to the rules governing human relations. since the primary relief prayed for by the plaintiff is for damages. 1989 reads: ART. the principal cause of action being the alleged omission of petitioner in giving notice to the respondent Bank employer of termination of their relationship. Eviota never complied with the Bank’s demand that he reimburse the latter for the other expenses incurred on his account. the CA promulgated a decision dismissing the petition.000.7 The petition is barren of merit.5 The respondent bank appended to its complaint a copy of the petitioner’s employment contract. 1999.000. Eviota’s actions have compelled plaintiff to obtain the services of undersigned counsel for a fee. rates of pay. the present controversy is removed from the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter and brings in within the purview of the regular courts. Eviota’s false and derogatory statements that the Bank had failed to deliver what it had purportedly promised have besmirched the Bank’s reputation and depicted it as a contract violator and one which does not treat its employees properly.00. those cases that workers may file involving wages. which has jurisdiction of the subject matter of the complaint in Civil Case No. Hence. Annex "B").00 he had advanced for the Honda CR-V’s purchase price. Hence. the petitioner filed his petition with this Court contending that: Suffice to state immediately that on the basis of the allegations in the complaint.00 signing bonus. On November 29. For violating the 30-day notice requirement under the Labor Code and order (sic) the Employment Contract. The petitioner averred that the respondent bank’s claim for damages arose out of or were in connection with his employeremployee relationship with the respondent bank or some aspect or incident of such relationship. Article 217 of the Labor Code of the Philippines.000. the following: First Cause of Action 14. 6715 which took effect on March 21." p. and 6.000.4 The respondent bank prayed. Jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters and the Commission.12. Third Cause of Action 16. 3.000.562. the Bank is entitled to actual damages of P360. 6 and the cost of the third-party services mentioned in par. 14. 3. 2. Unfair labor practice cases. in order to protect its interests.00 18. but the court issued an order denying the same. it is the Labor Arbiter.000. Under Article 285 (a) of Presidential Decree No. Act No. As attorney’s fees. In addition. Eviota had returned his P300.000. Assuming arguendo that Eviota had the right to terminate his employment with the Bank for no reason. Claims for actual. Eviota’s failure to comply with the above requirement threw a monkey wrench into the Bank’s operations – Eviota’s sudden resignation aborted meetings previously scheduled among Bank officers and disrupted plans for a salary/merit review program and development of a salary structure and merit grid already in the pipeline. With his motion for reconsideration of the decision having been denied by the CA. moral. the amount of P200.1. Termination disputes.processing fees and other incidental costs. It held that the latter’s claims for damages were grounded on the petitioner’s sudden and unceremonious severance of his employment with the respondent bank barely a month after assuming office.562. the trial court issued an order denying the petitioner’s motion to dismiss. plaintiff is entitled to attorney’s fees of at least P200. Annex "C"). By his actions and representations. On November 15. the amount of P1.000. Eviota’s] employment may be terminated by either party giving notice of at least one month. the following cases involving all workers.562. plaintiff is entitled to moral damages of at least P2.12 (see. the said claims are actually predicated on the petitioner’s acts and omissions which are separately. 442. As moral damages.000. and have undermined the Bank’s ability to recruit and retain the best personnel. that after due proceedings. Eviota is liable to the Bank for damages in the amount of at least P100. 386. exemplary and other forms of damages arising from the employeremployee relations. and to deter other parties from committing similar acts in the future. damages in the amount of at least P100. it is respectfully prayed that judgment be rendered ordering the defendant to pay the plaintiff: 1. The petitioner filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals for the nullification of the orders of the trial court. and not on tortious acts. whereas the claims for other actual/moral/exemplary damages are well within the competence of the Labor Arbiter. Eviota’s actions constitute a clear violation of Articles 19. even in the absence of stenographic notes. the amount of P2. the amount of P360. the same are recoverable under the applicable provision of the Civil Code. The petitioner filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground that the action for damages of the respondent bank was within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter under paragraph 4. judgment be rendered in its favor as follows: WHEREFORE.12. Article 217 of the Labor Code of the Philippines.00. Other just and equitable reliefs are likewise prayed for. 17. Although its claims for damages incidentally involved an employer-employee relationship.6 The petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the said order.000. as amended (the "Civil Code"). grounded on the tortious manner by which the defendant terminated his employment with the company. As exemplary damages.000. not the Regional Trial Court.) 15. the respondent bank claimed damages in its complaint against the petitioner based on his employment contract. holding that the trial court and not the Labor Arbiter had exclusive jurisdiction over the action of the respondent bank. 8. defendant should be held liable for exemplary damages of at least P1. 5. 4. The respondent bank opposed the motion. whether agricultural or non-agricultural: 1.—(a) Except as otherwise provided under this Code the Labor Arbiters shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide within thirty (30) calendar days after the submission of the case by the parties for decision without extension. 2001. The petitioner further asserted that contrary to the ruling of the court. 4. specifically and distinctly governed by the New Civil Code. . the Bank incurred expenses in carrying out its part of the contract (see Annexes "B" and "C").00. As actual damages. 98-1397.. Hence. 20 and 21 of Republic Act No. representing expenses referred to in items c to i of par. amounting to P360. hours of work and other terms and conditions of employment. By way of example or correction for the public good. alleging that the court a quo committed grave abuse of its discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in issuing the said orders. As a result.3 The respondent bank alleged. Second Cause of Action 15. 217.
Villarama. In Singapore Airlines Limited v.10 we held that the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter under Article 217 of the Labor Code. Absent such a link. Imelda Tamayo and Harold Catipay. 2001 PERPETUAL HELP CREDIT COOPERATIVE. Paño.: On January 3.13 we held that a complaint of an employee for damages against the employer for slanderous remarks made against him was within the exclusive jurisdiction of the regular courts of justice because the cause of action of the plaintiff was for damages for tortious acts allegedly committed by the employer. and/or employed. Benedicto Faburada. Only if there is such a connection with the other claims can the claim for damages be considered as arising from employer-employee relations. More so when we consider that the stipulation refers to the post-employment relations of the parties. Forthwith. wage differential. the petitioner took off with the private respondent’s computer diskette. The items claimed are the natural consequences flowing from breach of an obligation. Castro-Bartolome. We further stated that while seemingly the cause of action arose from employeremployee relations. thus: Petitioner does not ask for any relief under the Labor Code of the Philippines. the petitioner had already been replaced by the private respondent before the action was filed against the petitioner.R.9 In Georg Grotjahn GMBH & Co. moral damages. Inc. Dumaguete City. It seeks to recover damages agreed upon in the contract as redress for private respondent’s breach of his contractual obligation to its "damage and prejudice" (Rollo. and for having maliciously and with bad faith violated the terms and conditions of their agreement for a course of conversion training at the expense of the employer. overtime compensation or separation pay. as amended."16 The petitioner alleged in its complaint with the trial court that: Petitioner claimed that private respondent became an employee of Angel Sound Philippines Corporation. for illegal dismissal. as well as which court has jurisdiction over the same. The fact that there was between the parties an employer-employee relationship does not negate the jurisdiction of the trial court. Such averments removed the controversy from the coverage of the Labor Code of the Philippines and brought it within the purview of the Civil Law. Petitioner further alleged that private respondent is holding the position of Head of the Material Management Control Department. SO ORDERED. thus. to the prejudice of the private respondent. SISINITA VILLAR. we held that jurisdiction over the controversy belongs to the civil courts. It is evident that the causes of action of the private respondent against the petitioner do not involve the provisions of the Labor Code of the Philippines and other labor laws but the New Civil Code.11 the complaint of the employer against the employee for damages for wanton justice and refusal without just cause to report for duty. with any business firm. Moreover. We reversed the order of the trial court and held. intrinsically civil in nature. J. be a consultant and/or be an informative body directly or indirectly. 57). v. The private respondent was left in a lurch. The petitioner volte face when. intrinsically a civil dispute. as amended.18 In this case. premium pay on holidays and rest days. Thus. petitioner. EMPLOYEE shall not in any manner be connected. filed a complaint against the Perpetual Help Credit Cooperative. respondents. the date of private respondent’s resignation from petitioner’s employ. 1992. the same position he held while in the employ of petitioner.Case law has it that the nature of an action and the subject matter thereof. Such cause of action is within the realm of Civil Law. and attorney's fees. Not every controversy or money claim by an employee against the employer or vice-versa is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the labor arbiter. In Medina v. the private respondent’s first cause of action for damages is anchored on the petitioner’s employment of deceit and of making the private respondent believe that he would fulfill his obligation under the employment contract with assiduousness and earnestness. he abandoned his office and rejoined his former employer. On its second cause of action. Cebu City. depicting the private respondent as unworthy of trust.. Jurisprudence has evolved the rule that claims for damages under paragraph 4 of Article 217. INC. HAROLD CATIPAY. petitioner seeks protection under the civil laws and claims no benefits under the Labor Code. The fact that the private respondent was the erstwhile employer of the petitioner under an existing employment contract before the latter abandoned his employment is merely incidental. the employer’s claim for damages is grounded on "wanton failure and refusal" without just cause to report to duty coupled with the averment that the employee "maliciously and with bad faith" violated the terms and conditions of the contract to the damage of the employer. and its corporate plans and program in jeopardy and disarray. Sisinita Vilar. forcing the private respondent to hire a replacement.8 Actions between employees and employer where the employer-employee relationship is merely incidental and the cause of action precedes from a different source of obligation is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the regular court. within two years from January 30. A money claim by a worker against the employer or vice-versa is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the labor arbiter only if there is a "reasonable causal connection" between the claim asserted and employee-employer relation. In Singapore Airlines Ltd. vs. IMELDA TAMAYO. v. Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). There is no causal relationship between the causes of action of the private respondent’s causes of action against the petitioner and their employer-employee relationship. The Decision of the Court of Appeals dismissing the petition of the petitioner is AFFIRMED. Paño. Isnani. other labor laws or their collective bargaining agreements. petitioner. its banking operations and the conduct of its business. 1990. Fourth Division. such as payment of wages. G. is limited to disputes arising from an employer-employee relationship which can only be resolved by reference to the Labor Code of the Philippines. In fact. Anent its third cause of action. must have a reasonable causal connection with any of the claims provided for in that article. We stated that the action was for breach of a contractual obligation.17 The trial court dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter because the cause of action for damages arose out of the parties’ employer-employee relationship. which is intrinsically a civil dispute.1âwphi1The primary relief sought is for liquidated damages for breach of a contractual obligation. a corporation engaged in the same line of business as that of petitioner. are determined by the material allegations of the complaint and the reliefs prayed for in relation to the law involved. separation pay. p.12 The claims were the natural consequences flowing from a breach of an obligation. we ruled that jurisdiction over the action belongs to the civil court: On appeal to this court.14 we held that: Stated differently. private respondents.15 the petitioner sued its employee Adonis Limjuco for breach of contract which reads: That for a period of two (2) years after termination of service from EMPLOYER. Jr. papers and documents containing confidential information on employee compensation and other bank matters. 121948 October 8. and the NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION. BENEDICTO FABURADA. No. thus. to be cognizable by the Labor Arbiter. the Petition is DENIED. with the Arbitration Branch. the said causes of action are intrinsically civil. without the requisite thirty-day notice under the contract and the Labor Code of the Philippines. the petitioner simply walked away from his employment with the private respondent sans any written notice. the complaint will be cognizable by the regular courts of justice. petitioner PHCCI filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground that there is no employer-employee relationship between them as private respondents are all members and co- . the petitioner made false and derogatory statements that the private respondent reneged on its obligations under their contract of employment. In Dai-Chi Electronics Manufacturing Corporation v. IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING. The other items demanded are not labor benefits demanded by workers generally taken cognizance of in labor disputes. SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ. and jurisdiction over the controversy belongs to the regular courts. entity or undertaking engaged in a business similar to or in competition with that of the EMPLOYER.. (PHCCI).
(2) the power to dismiss. and 1:00 to 4:00 p.1 the NLRC affirmed the Labor Arbiter's decision. the same being supported by substantial evidence. and P1. Article 280 of the Labor Code provides for three kinds of employees: (1) regular employees or those who have been engaged to perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer. for one and a half (1 1/2) years. and every Saturday from 8:00 to 11:30 a. Imelda C. That an employer-employee exists between the parties is shown by the averments of private respondents in their respective affidavits. private respondents have not exhausted the remedies provided in the cooperative by-laws. — Enter data into the computer. 6939. otherwise known as the Cooperative Development Authority Law which took effect on March 26. 1987 up to December 29. to pay complainants 13th month pay. Catipay. compute interests on savings deposits.00 . and for at least three (3) hours during Sundays. dividends and patronage funds.from July to December 1989. P1. Monthly salary: P60.m.00 — from June to December 1988. One's regularity of employment is not determined by the number of hours one works but by the nature and by the length of time one has . every Saturday — 8:00 to 11:30 a. and Imelda C. Worked with the Cooperative since December 1. Duties: Among others. However. Worked with the Cooperative since June 1. 1989 to June 30.00 — from October to November 1987. post daily collections from the two (2) collectors in the market. the completion or termination of which has been determined at the time of the engagement of the employee or where the work or service to be performed is seasonal in nature and the employment is for the duration of the season. for two (2) years and two (2) months. and perform such other bookkeeping and accounting duties as may be assigned her from time to time. and 1:00 to 4:00 p. worked with petitioner for more than one (1) year: Benedicto Faburada.from January to June 1989. Harold D. were paid regular wages and made to accomplish daily time records just like any other regular employee. and one Sunday each month — for at least three (3) hours. P500.. premises considered. carefully considered by respondent NLRC in affirming the Labor Arbiter's decision. fill up members logbook of regular depositors. reconcile passbooks and ledgers of members in the market.2 The above elements are present here. thus: Benedicto Faburada —Regular part-time Computer programmer/ operator. 1989. prepare checks and cash vouchers for regular and emergency loans. wage differentials and Ten Percent (10%) attorney's fees from the aggregate monetary award. Tamayo — Clerk. receive deposits from members. On November 23. check petty cash vouchers. Worked with the Cooperative since March 3 to December 29. In determining the existence of an employer-employee relationship. dividends. No particular form of proof is required to prove the existence of an employer-employee relationship. assist in the posting and preparation of deposit slips. 1989. On September 3. maintain the masterlist of the cooperative members.000. and (3) casual employees or those who are neither regular nor project employees.. post the monthly balance of fixed and savings deposits in preparation for the computation of interests. thus respondent is directed to pay Complainants backwages computed from the time they were illegally dismissed up to the actual reinstatement but subject to the three year backwages rule. Not being regular employees. whether such service is continuous or broken. and P1. effective December 29. requires conciliation or mediation within the cooperative before a resort to judicial proceeding. such as. 1989. But unfortunately.Duties: Among others.m. through Mr. Sisinita Vilar. Work schedule: Tuesdays and Thursdays. mortuary and patronage funds. separation pay for one month for every year of service since reinstatement is evidently not feasible anymore. private respondents were rendering services necessary to the day-to-day operations of petitioner PHCCI. 1990. complainant Benedicto Faburada shall only be awarded what are due him in proportion to the nine and a half months that he had served the respondent.000. petitioner filed a supplemental motion to dismiss alleging that Article 121 of R.00 — from December 1. P1. the Labor Arbiter rendered a decision. All of them were given a memorandum of termination on January 2. P250.m.m and 1:00 to 4:00 p..00 from July to December 1989. Duties: Among others. Petitioner PHCCI. The issue for our resolution is whether or not respondent judge committed grave abuse of discretion in ruling that there is an employer-employee relationship between the parties and that private respondents were illegally dismissed.8:00 to 11:30 a. perform various forms for mimeographing. the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE.m. On the same date. 1990.00 — from January 1. and perform such other bookkeeping and accounting duties as may be assigned to her from time to time. Sisinita Vilar — Clerk. and P1. Prepare summary of salary advances. 1987 up to December 29. Monthly salary: P500. 1987 to December 31. Monthly salary: P900. the following elements are considered: (1 ) the selection and engagement of the worker or the power to hire.000. Necessarily. Monthly salary: P1. hired private respondents to work for it. Jr.4 Undeniably. with the latter assuming primacy in the overall consideration. and perform such other duties as may be assigned from time to time. from 1:00 p. he being a part-time employee. We are not prepared to disregard the findings of both the Labor Arbiter and respondent NLRC.150. 1988.for at least three (3) hours. P950 — from January to June 1989. All of them. (2) project employees or those whose employment has been fixed for a specific project or undertaking. junior depositors and special accounts.m. and for one Sunday each month . for two (2) years. 1990. The computation of the foregoing awards is hereto attached and forms an integral part of this decision. take charge of the preparation of new passbooks and ledgers for new applicants. with respect to the activity in which they are employed.m. effect mortuary deductions and dividends on fixed deposits. This fact alone qualified them as regular employees.m.00 — from January to December 1988. No.m. schedule loans. 1988 up to December 29. Saturday — 8:00 to 11:30 a.00 — from March to June 1989. 1989 to December 31. this petition by the PHCCI. P1. they cannot sue petitioner. and assist the other clerks in their duties.m. journal vouchers. disburse checks during regular and emergency loans. judgment is hereby rendered declaring complainants illegally dismissed. Work schedule: — Monday to Friday — 8:00 to 11:30 a. accounting and collecting duties. 1993. 1989. Work schedule: Monday to Friday . Furthermore. like this one.050. reconcile bank statements to the daily summary of disbursements. That Benedicto Faburada worked only on a part-time basis. Petitioner PHCCI contends that private respondents are its members and are working for it as volunteers. take charge of loan releases every Monday morning. pick up balances for the computation of interests on savings deposit. 1989. All other claims are hereby dismissed for lack of merit.m. They worked under the supervision of the cooperative manager. prepare cash vouchers.m and 2:00 to 5:30 p. the Labor Arbiter denied petitioner's motion to dismiss. Edilberto Lantaca. Duties: Among others.350. Worked with the Cooperative since October 19. Hence. except Harold D. mortuary. and (4) the power to control the worker's conduct. that quantum of evidence required in quasi judicial proceedings. They worked regularly on regular working hours.00 — from July 1. (3) the payment of wages by whatever means. Any competent and relevant evidence may show the relationship. does not mean that he is not a regular employee.owners of the cooperative. to 5:30 p. 1989.. and 2:00 to 5:30 p. daily summary of disbursements to respective classifications. Tamayo. and (b) those casual employees who have rendered at least one (1 ) year of service. this leads us to the issue of whether or not private respondents are regular employees. its Manager.00 for December 1987. were assigned specific duties." On appeal.A. 1989. Catipay — Clerk. Bookkeeping. they were dismissed.3 The employees who are deemed regular are: (a) those who have been engaged to perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual trade or business of the employer.Work schedule: Regular working hours. holding that the case is impressed with employer-employee relationship and that the law on cooperatives is subservient to the Labor Code.500.00 from July to December 1989.00 .
JOEL WALES. be settled amicably in accordance with the conciliation or mediation mechanisms embodied in the by-laws of the cooperative. the effectivity date of R. We hold that private respondents have been illegally dismissed. PORFIRIO BALACY. 175 (strengthening the Cooperative Movement) 8 and its implementing rules and regulations under LOI 23. on the other hand. It was in the form of a Memorandum signed by the Manager of the Cooperative dated January 2. ELDER HECTOR V. In July. rest day and termination of employment. That if no mediation or conciliation succeeds within three (3) months from request thereof. ELEUTERIO LOBITANA. selling literature of the SDA over the island of Negros. (2) redundancy. in NLRC Case No. Its invocation of San Jose City Electric Cooperative vs. the matter shall be settled in a court of competent jurisdiction. The decision of respondent NLRC is AFFIRMED. as far as practicable.D. HON. Procedural due process requires that the employer serve the employees to be dismissed two (2) written notices before the termination of their employment is effected: (a) the first. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION (Fourth Division). the Cooperative Development Authority did not issue a Certificate of Non-Resolution pursuant to Section 8 of R.: Subject of the instant petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is the Resolution 1 of public respondent National Labor Relations Commission (the "NLRC"). to apprise them of the particular acts or omissions for which their dismissal is sought and (b) the second. and. DAVID RODRIGO. Under Art. the petition is hereby DENIED. Ministry of Labor and Employment (173 SCRA 697. Austria vs. RUFO GASAPO. The issue in this case is whether or not the employees-members of a cooperative can organize themselves for purposes of collective bargaining. TESSIE BALACY. — Upon request of either or both parties." Complementing this Article is Section8 of R. ALOLOR. MR. respondents. V-0120-93. — Disputes among members. Petitioner. LORETO MAYPA.2 He began his work with the SDA on 15 July 1963 as a literature evangelist.A.been in that particular job. The records show that petitioner Pastor Dionisio V. plus other benefits or their monetary equivalent computed from the time their compensation was withheld from them up to the time of their actual reinstatement. Austria worked with the SDA for twenty eight (28) years from 1963 to 1991. Obviously. rendered on 23 January 1996. only one notice was served upon private respondents by petitioner. officers of the SDA. 217 of the Labor Code. WILLIAM U. The above provisions apply to members. 1989. ZOSIMO KARA-AN. unless the closing is for the purpose of circumventing the provisions of law. and as such work at its pleasure. and MR. with observance of due process. computed from the time they were illegally dismissed up to the time of the finality of this Decision. G. 1968. PASTORS REUBEN MORALDE. The just causes are: (1) serious misconduct or willful disobedience of lawful orders in connection with the employee's work. in 1989. 6715 10 they are granted full backwages. this LOI has no relevance to the instant case. The authorized causes are: (1) the installation of labor-saving devices. directors. 175 does not provide for a grievance machinery where a dispute or claim may first be submitted." which dismissed the case for illegal dismissal filed by the petitioner against private respondents for lack of jurisdiction. 1972. not whether or not the members can be employees. No.R. without deducting from their backwages the earnings derived by them elsewhere during the period of their illegal dismissal. 6939 (Cooperative Development Authority Law) which reads: SEC. Petitioner missed the point As regular employees or workers. KAPUNAN. Petitioner held the same position up to 1988. was a Pastor of the SDA until 31 October 1991. The valid causes are categorized into two groups: the just causes under Articles 282 of the Labor Code and the authorized causes under Articles 283 and 284 of the same Code. petitioner worked his way up the ladder and got promoted several times. Settlement of Disputes. ISACHAR GARSULA. As illegally dismissed employees.5 Petitioner's contention that private respondents are mere volunteer workers. ELISEO DOBLE. a certificate of non-resolution shall be issued by the Commission prior to the filing of appropriate action before the proper courts. not regular employees. 1999 PASTOR DIONISIO V. as when the relationship between petitioner and private respondents has become strained.9 Since they were dismissed after March 21. 703 (1989) is misplaced.1âwphi1. Petitioner contends that the labor arbiter has no jurisdiction to take cognizance of the complaint of private respondents considering that they failed to submit their dispute to the grievance machinery as required by P. 1989.12 WHEREFORE. payment of their separation pay in lieu of reinstatement is in order. meaning. must necessarily fail. There is no evidence that private respondents are members of petitioner PHCCI and even if they are. analogous cases. thus: ART. petitioner became the Assistant Publishing Director in the West Visayan Mission of the SDA. vs. 124382 August 16. Finally. 1990 terminating their services effective December 29. P. these disputes are within the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter. petitioner.A. MR. the dispute is about payment of wages.11 If reinstatement is no longer feasible. and in applicable laws.13 SO ORDERED. Petitioner thus vehemently insists that their dismissal is not against the law. and the provinces of Romblon and Guimaras. MR. CEBU CITY. Article 284 provides that an employer would be authorized to terminate the services of an employee found to be suffering from any disease if the employee's continued employment is prohibited by law or is prejudicial to his health or to the health of his fellow employees6 Private respondents were dismissed not for any of the above causes. to inform them of the decision of the employer that they are being dismissed. As aptly stated by the Solicitor General in his comment. private respondents are therefore entitled to reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and other privileges and to full backwages.A. Central Philippine Union Mission Corporation of Seventh Day Adventists. 6938 (Cooperative Code of the Philippines) provides the procedure how cooperative disputes are to be resolved.nêt Private Respondent Central Philippine Union Mission Corporation of the Seventh-Day Adventists (hereinafter referred to as the "SDA") is a religious corporation duly organized and existing under Philippine law and is represented in this case by the other private respondents. ELY SACAY.. the Authority shall mediate and conciliate disputes within a cooperative or between cooperatives: Provided. being its members. GIDEON BUHAT. EUFRONIO IBESATE. overtime pay. officers. OSCAR L. and (4) closing or cessation of operations of the establishment or undertaking. DONATO. (4) commission of a crime or an offense against the person of the employer or his immediate family member or representative. et al. From then on. Thus. with modification in the sense that the backwages due private respondents shall be paid in full. inclusive of allowances. They were dismissed because petitioner considered them to be mere voluntary workers. 121. petitioner failed to comply with the twin requisites of a valid notice. and committee members. GAYARES. he was elevated to the position of Pastor in the West Visayan Mission covering the island of Panay. and intra-cooperative disputes shall. 6939 or the Cooperative Development Authority Law. In January. Clearly. Should such a conciliation/mediation proceeding fail. Likewise. entitled "Pastor Dionisio V. MRS. their services may be terminated only for a valid cause. 7 In this case. when his services were terminated. (2) gross or habitual neglect of duties. officers and directors of the cooperative involved in disputes within a cooperative or between cooperatives. 8 Mediation and Conciliation.D. petitioner was promoted as District Pastor of the Negros Mission of the SDA and was assigned at . (3) fraud or willful breach of trust. J. CENTRAL PHILIPPINE UNION MISSION CORPORATION OF THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS. LOI 23 refers to instructions to the Secretary of Public Works and Communications to implement immediately the recommendation of the Postmaster General for the dismissal of some employees of the Bureau of Post. private respondents are entitled to security of tenure. No. Article 121 of Republic Act No. (3) retrenchment to prevent losses. AUSTRIA.
are hereby ordered to immediately reinstate complainant Pastor Dionisio Austria to his former position as Pastor of Brgy.14 In view of the reversal of the original decision of the NLRC." 6 Irked by such remark. He held the position of district pastor until his services were terminated on 31 October 1991.27 SO ORDERED. Pastor David Rodrigo. on 16 October 1991. Danny Diamada. Eufronio Ibesate who authorized his wife to collect the tithes and offerings since he was very sick to do the collecting at that time.12 The SDA. After the submission of memoranda of all the parties. 1991. Negros Occidental. willful breach of trust. the recourse to this Court by petitioner.. petitioner overheard Pastor Buhat saying. gross and habitual neglect of duties. and commission of an offense against the person of employer's duly authorized representative. petitioner filed a complaint11 on 14 November 1991. since it was heavy. While on his way out. The decretal portion of the NLRC decision states: WHEREFORE. 1993 is REINSTATED. 7 Fortunately.00) without deductions and qualificatioons. Cebu City. through its officers.770. Attorney's Fee — P 22. After the filing of the petition. To be discussed in the meeting were the non-remittance of church collection and the events that transpired on 16 October 1991. petitioner returned to the office of Pastor Buhat. not ecclesiastical. reversed itself once again. is as follows: WHEREFORE. in his district which amounted to P15. Thereafter. respondents herein.83 C. 2) Whether or not the termination of the services of petitioner is an ecclesiastical affair. and to remit the same to the Negros Mission. Subsequently. 1994 is VACATED and the decision of the Labor Arbiter dated February 15. serious misconduct. Reacting against the adverse decision of the SDA. the NLRC vacated the findings of the Labor Arbiter. to collect from Pastor Rodrigo the unpaid balance for the repair of the latter's motor vehicle which he failed to pay to Diamada.9 Out of the six (6) members requested to inhibit themselves from the investigation and decision-making. Service Incentive Leave Pay — P 3. president of the SDA and chairman of the fact-finding committee. 13th month pay — P 21. On various occasions from August up to October. 1991. Fourth Division. Bacolod City. Accordingly.00 E. the fact-finding committee conducted an investigation of petitioner. SO ORDERED. Notable in the motion for reconsideration filed by private respondents is their invocation. with twelve (12) churches under his jurisdiction. namely: Pastor Buhat and Pastor Rodrigo. For two (2) days. without loss of seniority and other rights and backwages in the amount of ONE HUNDRED FIFTEEN THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED THIRTY PESOS (P115. During said call. the case was submitted for decision. he immediately proceeded to the office of Pastor Buhat on the date abovementioned and asked the latter to convene the Executive Committee.078. only two (2) were actually excluded. the NLRC issued a Resolution reversing its original decision. Sensing that the result of the investigation might be one-sided. In his written explanation dated 11 October 1991. on 29 October 1991. Labor Arbiter Cesar D. Our decision dated August 26. PREMISES CONSIDERED. and. as such. The issues to be resolved in this petition are: 1) Whether or not the Labor Arbiter/NLRC has jurisdiction to try and decide the complaint filed by petitioner against the SDA. private respondents Pastors Yonilo Leopoldo and Claudio Montaño were around and they pacified both Pastor Buhat and petitioner.012. On 15 February 1993. Thelma Austria. for the first time on appeal. Mrs. petitioner received a letter of dismissal10 citing misappropriation of denominational funds. petitioner immediately wrote Pastor Rueben Moralde. Exemplary Damages — P 25. On 17 October 1991. The dispositive portion of the NLRC resolution dated 23 January 1996. appealed the decision of the Labor Arbiter to the National Labor Labor Relations Commission. the latter harbored ill-feelings against petitioner. the SDA filed a motion for reconsideration of the above resolution.13 Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the above-named decision. Interestingly.5 Due to the assistance of petitioner in collecting Pastor Rodrigo's debt. and threw the phone. Pastor Buhat denied the request of petitioner since some committee members were out of town and there was no quorum.85 D. the dispositive portion of which reads thus: WHEREFORE. SO ORDERED.00 F.Sagay. though unsuccessfully. In a decision. Taculing.15 Hence. The dispositive portion of the resolution reads: WHEREFORE. SO ORDERED. and 3) Whether or not such termination is valid. When news reached petitioner that Pastor Rodrigo was about to file a complaint against him with the Negros Mission. petitioner received a letter 8 inviting him and his wife to attend the Executive Committee meeting at the Negros Mission Conference Room on 21 October 1991. in view of all the foregoing. petitioner was transferred to Bacolod City. Allowance — P 4. Sideño rendered a decision in favor of petitioner. as grounds for the termination of his services.060. respondents CENTRAL PHILIPPINE UNION MISSION CORPORATION OF THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS (CPUMCSDA) and its officers. the Court ordered the Office of the Solicitor General (the "OSG") to file its comment on behalf of public respondent NLRC. premises considered.000. the president of the Negros Mission. Moral Damages — P 50. Thereafter. before the Labor Arbiter for illegal dismissal against the SDA and its officers and prayed for reinstatement with backwages and benefits. petitioner received several communications3 from Mr. The dispute between Pastor Rodrigo and petitioner arose from an incident in which petitioner assisted his friend.10. The NLRC.00 B. Respondent CPUMCSDA is further ordered to pay complainant the following: A. Progreso and Banago. at around 7:30 a. the Decision appealed from is hereby VACATED and a new one ENTERED dismissing this case for want of merit. the instant motion for reconsideration is hereby granted.461. the two exchanged heated arguments.000. petitioner went to the office of Pastor Buhat. . and tried to overturn the latter's table. On 18 July 1995. dated 26 August 1994. the OSG submits that the termination of petitioner from his employment may be questioned before the NLRC as the same is secular in nature. sustained the argument posed by private respondents and. Thereafter. at nine in the morning. petitioner tried to persuade Pastor Buhat to convene the Executive Committee for the purpose of settling the dispute between him and the private respondent.4 petitioner reasoned out that he should not be made accountable for the unremitted collections since it was private respondents Pastor Gideon Buhat and Mr. Balintawak and Toboso. A fact-finding committee was created to investigate petitioner. without ruling on the merits of the case. moral and exemplary damages and other labor law benefits. this case is hereby DISMISSED for lack of jurisdiction. from October 21 and 22. Petitioner then left the office of Pastor Buhat. requesting that certain members of the fact-finding committee be excluded in the investigation and resolution of the case. the treasurer of the Negros Mission asking him to admit accountability and responsibility for the church tithes and offerings collected by his wife. In January.830. accordingly. "Pastor daw inisog na ina iya (Pador you are talking tough). subject of the present petition. that the Labor Arbiter has no jurisdiction over the complaint filed by petitioner due to the constitutional provision on the separation of church and state since the case allegedly involved an ecclesiastical affair to which the State cannot interfere.m. Eufronio Ibesate. the OSG filed a manifestation and motion in lieu of comment16 setting forth its stand that it cannot sustain the resolution of the NLRC. petitioner banged the attaché case of Pastor Buhat on the table. dismissed the complaint of petitioner. involves the separation of church and state. In its manifestation. scattered the books in his office.
and giving to said employee reasonable opportunity within which to explain his side. including educational. Rule XXIII. rightfully exercised its management prerogative to dismiss an employee. 20 The case at bar does not concern an ecclesiastical or purely religious affair as to bar the State from taking cognizance of the same. 21 Based on this definition. the grounds invoked for petitioner's dismissal. namely: misappropriation of denominational funds.35 . 27 We turn now to the crux of the matter. and. Finally. an ecclesiastical affair involves the relationship between the church and its members and relate to matters of faith. willful breach of trust. Section 1. worship and governance of the congregation. the provision which governs the dismissal of employees. that petitioner has been its employee for twenty-eight (28) years. the State. is tantamount to an invocation of that jurisdiction and a willingness to abide by the resolution of the case and will bar said party from later on impugning the court or body's jurisdiction. examples of this so-called ecclesiastical affairs to which the State cannot meddle are proceedings for excommunication. and. The contention of private respondents deserves scant consideration. in instances when the findings of the NLRC differ from those of the labor arbiter. As a matter of fact.. 25 Thus. however. coupled with his failure to object to the jurisdiction of the court or quasi-judicial body where the action is pending. This is made more evident by the fact that the Rules Implementing the Labor Code. 26 When the findings of NLRC do not agree with those of the Labor Arbiter. this again is an eloquent admission by private respondents that NLRC has jurisdiction over the case. to wit: Sec. Coupled with this is the act of the SDA in furnishing NLRC with a copy of petitioner's letter of termination. serves to apprise the employee of the particular acts or omissions for which his dismissal is sought. he must be given an opportunity to be heard and to defend himself. findings of fact of administrative bodies like the NLRC are binding upon this Court. which is purely secular in nature. 28 Thus. Book V of the Rules Implementing the Labor Code further require the employer to furnish the employee with two (2) written notices. what is involved here is the relationship of the church as an employer and the minister as an employee.22 By this alone. From all of these it is clear that when the SDA terminated the services of petitioner. petitioner was not ex-communicated or expelled from the membership of the SDA but was terminated from employment. It is purely secular and has no relation whatsoever with the practice of faith. — This Rule shall apply to all establishments and undertakings. 30 Before the services of an employee can be validly terminated. however. categorically includes religious institutions in the coverage of the law. SDA admitted in a certification 23 issued by its officer. administration of sacraments and other activities with attached religious significance. The jurisdictional question now settled. "Strong fences make good-neighbors. the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC have no jurisdiction to entertain the complaint filed by petitioner. (b) a written notice of termination served on the employee indicating that upon due consideration of all the circumstances. grounds have been established to justify his termination. Since the matter at bar allegedly involves the discipline of a religious minister. the termination would. 31 The second notice on the other hand seeks to inform the employee of the employer's decision to dismiss him. A review of such findings is justified. to wit: (a) a written notice served on the employee specifying the ground or grounds for termination. 18 The demarcation line calls on the entities to "render therefore unto Ceasar the things that are Ceasar's and unto God the things that are God's. the worker's records of petitioner have been submitted by private respondents as part of their exhibits. the cited article does not make any exception in favor of a religious corporation.33 This is in consonance with the express provision of the law on the protection to labor and the broader dictates of procedural due process. particularly. religious doctrines. private respondents are estopped from raising the issue of lack of jurisdiction for the first time on appeal.The first two issues shall be resolved jointly. 32 This decision. as correctly pointed out by petitioner. While the matter at hand relates to the church and its religious minister it does not ipso facto give the case a religious significance. Ibesate. The issue being the legality of petitioner's dismissal. such as the SDA. An ecclesiastical affair is "one that concerns doctrine. charitable and religious institutions and organizations. the active participation of private respondents in the proceedings before the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC mooted the question on jurisdiction. private respondents must not merely rely on the weaknesses of petitioner's evidence but must stand on the merits of their own defense. As such. namely: (a) the employee must be afforded due process. are all based on Article 282 of the Labor Code which enumerates the just causes for termination of employment. Under the Labor Code. or the adoption and enforcement within a religious association of needful laws and regulations for the government of the membership. the matter of terminating an employee. As aptly stated by the OSG. whether for profit or not. Article 277 (b) of the Labor Code and Section 2. Book VI on the Termination of Employment and Retirement. worship or doctrines of the church. whether operated for profit or not.24 With this clear mandate. if he so desires. Coverage. we shall now proceed to determine whether the dismissal of petitioner was valid. Simply stated. serious misconduct. SDA even registered petitioner with the Social Security System (SSS) as its employee. since they are related. this Court must of necessity review the records to determine which findings should be preferred as more comfortable to the evidentiary facts. In termination cases. gross and habitual neglect of duties and commission of an offense against the person of his employer's duly authorized representative. Aside from these. As pointed out by the OSG in its memorandum. It is already too late in the day for private respondents to question the jurisdiction of the NLRC and the Labor Arbiter since the SDA had fully participated in the trials and hearings of the case from start to finish. through the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC. Indeed. In this case. 1. the SDA cannot hide behind the mantle of protection of the doctrine of separation of church and state to avoid its responsibilities as an employer under the Labor Code. in cases of regular employment with the exception of the Government and its political subdivisions including government-owned or controlled corporations. in the eyes of the law. be illegal. The principle of separation of church and state finds no application in this case. ordinations of religious ministers. must come only after the employee is given a reasonable period from receipt of the first notice within which to answer the charge and ample opportunity to be heard and defend himself with the assistance of a representative. the same must be measured against the requisites for a valid dismissal." Obviously.34 Non-compliance therewith is fatal because these requirements are conditions sine quanon before dismissal may be validly effected. as in this case. or form of worship of the church. it is to be considered a purely ecclesiastical affair to which the State has no right to interfere. At the outset. in its coverage. it is palpable that the reason for petitioner's dismissal from the service is not religious in nature. The case at bar does not even remotely concern any of the abovecited examples."17 The idea advocated by this principle is to delineate the boundaries between the two institutions and thus avoid encroachments by one against the other because of a misunderstanding of the limits of their respective exclusive jurisdictions. To be concrete. is different from the ecclesiastical act of expelling a member from the religious congregation. medical."19 While the state is prohibited from interfering in purely ecclesiastical affairs. creed. it was merely exercising its management prerogative to fire an employee which it believes to be unfit for the job. Private respondents contend that by virtue of the doctrine of separation of church and state.e. has the right to take cognizance of the case and to determine whether the SDA. as employer. Article 278 of the Labor Code on post-employment states that "the provisions of this Title shall apply to all establishments or undertakings. the Church is likewise barred from meddling in purely secular matters. the settled rule is that the burden of proving that the termination was for a valid or authorized cause rests on the employer. This is in consonance with the mandate of the Constitution to afford full protection to labor. we note that as a general rule. and the power of excluding from such associations those deemed unworthy of membership. is comprehensive enough to include religious corporations. The Court has already ruled that the active participation of a party against whom the action war brought. The first notice. 29 Without the concurrence of this twin requirements. which may be considered as the proper charge. (b) the dismissal must be for a valid cause as provided in Article 282 of the Labor Code. The rationale of the principle of the separation of church and state is summed up in the familiar saying. Mr. i. Rule 1.
to remit the tithes and offerings amounting to P15. Ibesate. While the Constitution does condone wrongdoing by the employee. the letter never even mentioned that petitioner would be subject to investigation. First of all.44 Based on this standard. The challenged Resolution of public respondent National Labor Relations Commission. it was Mrs. petitioner remitted the amounts which he collected to the Negros Mission for which corresponding receipts were issued to him. a dereliction of duty. Private respondents' evidence. the Negros Mission Church Auditor and a witness for private respondents. caprices or suspicion. petitioner cannot be made accountable for the alleged infraction committed by his wife. In the letter of termination. he labored hard for the SDA. 160236 October 16. Thelma Austria. gross and habitual neglect of duties. The final ground invoked by private respondents is gross and habitual neglect of duties allegedly committed by petitioner. collections and offerings amounting to P15. is NULLIFIED and SET ASIDE. revealed how petitioner travelled to different churches to attend to the faithful under his care. On the other hand. which were collected in his district.40 This ground has never been intended to afford an occasion for abuse. because of its subjective nature. A perusal of the said letter reveals that it never categorically stated the particular acts or omissions on which petitioner's impending termination was grounded. he did not physically assault Pastor Buhat or any other pastor present during the incident of 16 October 1991.Private respondent failed to substantially comply with the above requirements. therefore. The testimony of these church treasurers were corroborated and confirmed by Ms. who failed to remit the same to the treasurer of the Negros Mission. the cited actuation of petitioner does not justify the ultimate penalty of dismissal from employment. A breach is willful if it is done intentionally. the notice of termination.47 which consisted of petitioner's Worker's Reports.078.38 It must rest on substantial grounds and not on the employer's arbitrariness.10 which were collected by his wife. Indeed. as proven by convincing and substantial evidence consisting of the testimonies of the witnesses for private respondents who are church treasurers. heedlessly or inadvertently. Suffice it to say that all private respondents had were allegations but not proof. It is the transgression of some established and definite rule of action. we sustain the finding of the Labor Arbiter that petitioner was terminated from service without just or lawful cause.37 dated 29 October 1991. and donations for the church. in the absence of conspiracy and collusion. it cannot be presumed that petitioner was actually on the verge of dismissal. After all. this does not cure the initial defect of lack of the proper written charge required by law. The alleged grounds for the dismissal of petitioner from the service were only revealed to him when the actual letter of dismissal was finally issued.46 WHEREFORE. the breach of trust must be willful. willful breach of trust. The letter merely mentioned that petitioner and his wife were invited to a meeting wherein what would be discussed were the alleged unremitted church tithes and the events that transpired on 16 October 1991. Thelma Austria who actually collected the tithes and donations from them.39 It should be genuine and not simulated. serious misconduct and commission of an offense against the person of the employer's duly authorized representative pertain to the 16 October 1991 incident wherein petitioner allegedly committed an act of violence in the office of Pastor Gideon Buhat.36 dated 17 October 1991. we believe that the minor infraction committed by petitioner does not merit the ultimate penalty of dismissal. throwing the telephone and scattering the books in the office of Pastor Buhat. 2009 . Misconduct has been defined as improper or wrong conduct. Petitioner's rise from the ranks disclose that he was actually a hard-worker. In view of the foregoing. the evidence on record shows otherwise. cannot be considered as grave enough to be considered as serious misconduct.42 Though private respondents were able to establish that petitioner collected and received tithes and donations several times. they were notable to establish that petitioner failed to remit the same to the Negros Mission. For this reason. the allegations of private respondents that petitioner breached their trust have no leg to stand on. Thus. For this reason. In fact. Having been illegally dismissed. While admittedly. In fact. rendered on 23 January 1996.nêt SO ORDERED.43 For misconduct to be considered serious it must be of such grave and aggravated character and not merely trivial or unimportant. we believe that the act of petitioner in banging the attaché case on the table. officers of the SDA. despite demands. a forbidden act. to digress from the findings of the Labor Arbiter which is fully supported by the evidence on record. the Labor Arbiter found it difficult to see the basis for the alleged loss of confidence and breach of trust. it cannot be said that petitioner was given enough opportunity to properly prepare for his defense. We cannot sustain the validity of dismissal based on the ground of breach of trust. show that Pastor Austria was able to remit all his collections to the treasurer of the Negros Mission. knowingly and purposely. in the churches under his jurisdiction. whims. in return.45 Where a penalty less punitive would suffice. This argument deserves little consideration. Hence. dated 15 February 1993. Breach of trust and misappropriation of denominational funds refer to the alleged failure of petitioner to remit to the treasurer of the Negros Mission tithes. private respondents try to pin on petitioner the alleged non-remittance of the tithes collected by his wife. willful in character. but. Mrs. Hence. is REINSTATED and hereby AFFIRMED. In a vain attempt to support their claim of breach of trust. and. private respondents complied with the second requirement. The records show that there were only six (6) instances when petitioner personally collected and received from the church treasurers the tithes. In fact. although improper. they still have separate and distinct personalities. does not require an exhaustive discussion. as such. With respect to the grounds of serious misconduct and commission of an offense against the person of the employer's duly authorized representative. petitioner is entitled to reinstatement to his former position without loss of seniority right 48 and the payment of full backwages without any deduction corresponding to the period from his illegal dismissal up to actual reinstatement. The Decision of the Labor Arbiter.10. Geniebla and Mr.R. without justifiable excuse. The final ground alleged by private respondents in terminating petitioner. the alleged offense committed upon the person of the employer's representatives was never really established or proven by private respondents. thoughtlessly. No. he was rewarded with a dismissal from the service for a non-existent cause.1âwphi1. there is no basis for the allegation that petitioner's act constituted serious misconduct or that the same was an offense against the person of the employer's duly authorized representative. whatever missteps may have been committed by the worker ought not be visited with a consequence so severe such as dismissal from employment.46 For the foregoing reasons. between petitioner and his wife. namely: misappropriation of denominational funds. Private respondents allege that they have lost their confidence in petitioner for his failure. though petitioner committed damage to property. and commission of an offense against the person of employer's duly authorized representative.41 The stenographic notes on the testimony of Naomi Geniebla. as distinguished from an act done carelessly. After all. serious misconduct. Aside from merely citing the said ground. which notified petitioner and his wife to attend the meeting on 21 October 1991. and that he pocketed the amount and used it for his personal purpose. With regard to the first notice. it nevertheless urges a moderation of the sanctions that may be applied to him in light of the many disadvantages that weigh heavily on him like an albatross on his neck. private respondents failed to prove culpability on the part of petitioner. Thus. A careful study of the voluminous records of the case reveals that there is simply no basis for the alleged loss of confidence and breach of trust. otherwise the employee would eternally remain at the mercy of the employer. Settled is the rule that under Article 282 (c) of the Labor Code. which private respondents failed to demonstrate. From the tenor of the letter. we find the same unmeritorious and. private respondents enumerated the following as grounds for the dismissal of petitioner. As such. the letter. In fact. Naomi Geniebla. do not warrant petitioner's dismissal from the service.078. petitioner was surprised to find out that the alleged meeting turned out to be an investigation. as correctly observed by the Labor Arbiter. collections. The Court does not find any cogent reason. as admitted by their own witness. gross and habitual neglect of duties. G. the petition for certiorari is GRANTED. cannot be construed as the written charge required by law. and implies wrongful intent and not mere error in judgment.
Brion. is a domestic corporation primarily engaged in the business of owning and holding shares of stock of different companies.. Manalo Street.734. Negros Occidental.00 in the third note. and several armed men implemented the Sto. 1996 20executed by MMC in favor of GHI to secure the aforesaid P550M promissory notes. 26 the dispositive portion of which reads: . and set the hearing on the application for a writ of injunction.550. INC. subject to GHI’s posting of a P5M bond. Ramirez. Manila. directed the issuance of a partial writ of execution (Brion Writ). INC. The Facts The petitioner. Quisumbing. 1997 Order in OS-AJ-10-96-014 (Quisumbing Order). SEVEN HUNDRED THIRTY FOUR THOUSAND AND EIGHTY (Php248. vs.. Special Civil Action (SCA) No. Tomas Writ.00 in the second note. 2.23 On October 17. dated September 5. 1996 was illegal and that MMC committed unfair labor practice. was the exclusive bargaining agent of the rank and file employees of Maricalum Mining Corporation (MMC).R. as well as assets presently in use by MMC but which are not listed or included in paragraphs 1 and 2 above and shall include all assets that may hereinafter be acquired by MMC.715.21 and that the mortgaged properties were already extrajudicially foreclosed in July 2001 and sold to GHI as the highest bidder on December 3.715. Arturo D. Mortgages over assets listed in APT Specific Catalogue GC-031 for MMC. 2001.734. Leonardo A. In his July 30. Negros Occidental.080. now also an Associate Justice of this Court. in 2006. that this deed was registered on February 24. with office at Bacolod City following the auction conducted pursuant to the provisions of Act 1508. Punta. we sustained the validity of the Quisumbing Order. more particularly listed and described in the Sheriff’s Certificate of Sale dated September 7. 2 It was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission on August 3. Interest shall accrue on the amount of this Note at a rate per annum equal to the interest of 90-day Treasury Bills prevailing on the Friday preceding the maturity date of every calendar quarter. Nos. 2000. Tomas Writ). 1996.080. 2002. MARICALUM MINING CORPORATION (Maker) x x x x9 Upon the signing of the Purchase and Sale Agreement and upon the full satisfaction of the stipulated down payment. all acting Sheriffs. 75322.550. Respondents. with the latter eventually filing with the National Conciliation and Mediation Board of Bacolod City a notice of strike. the trial court ordered the issuance of a Writ of Injunction (issued on October 18.12 In two separate cases─G. MMC started its commercial operations in August 1985. (GHI). then DOLE Secretary Patricia A. 10 Almost four years thereafter. NATIONAL MINES AND ALLIED WORKERS UNION Local 103 (NAMAWU).7 These financial claims were converted into three Promissory Notes 8 issued by MMC in favor of GHI totaling P500M and secured by mortgages over MMC’s properties. 11 Then Labor Secretary. Philippines. 13 On May 11. Tomas ordered the issuance of the July 18. then Acting Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary. The Brion Writ was not fully satisfied because MMC’s resident manager resisted its enforcement. and took full control of the management and operation of MMC. on or before October 2. which became final and executory on January 26. A chattel mortgage over assets and personal properties more particularly listed and described in the Sheriff’s Certificate of Sale dated September 7. GHI immediately took physical possession of the mine site and its facilities. and ordered the DOLE sheriffs to proceed to the MMC premises for the execution of the same. now Associate Justice of this Court. Metro Manila. Ana. SHERIFFS RICHARD H. 1992. 2000. 157696-97.4 MMC was incorporated by the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and the Philippine National Bank (PNB) on October 19. its successors and/or assigns: 1. the RTC issued its December 4.. 1984 issued by the Ex-Officio Provincial Sheriff of Negros Occidental. and levied on the properties of MMC located at its compound in Sipalay. A mortgage over certain parcels of land.5 On October 2. Later. Rolando V. F. and "PESOS TWO HUNDRED FORTY EIGHT MILLION. entitled Maricalum Mining Corporation v. He then ordered the reinstatement of the laid-off workers.00 [Php186. 2002 Alias Writ of Execution and Break-Open Order (Sto. 2002. Negros Occidental. Region VI. 1127 for Contempt with Prayer for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and Writ of Preliminary Injunction and to Nullify the Sheriff’s Levy on Properties.15 affirmed the propriety of the issuance of the Brion Writ.25 Resolving. "G" Holdings. on account of their foreclosure of Marinduque Mining and Industrial Corporation’s assets.00)" in the second note. DECISION NACHURA. MMC hereby establishes and constitutes in favor of "G" HOLDINGS. a labor dispute (refusal to bargain collectively and unfair labor practice) arose between MMC and NAMAWU. read as follows: PROMISSORY NOTE AMOUNT . PHILIPPINES. Sto. this Court."G" HOLDINGS. Nos. DBP and PNB transferred it to the National Government for disposition or privatization because it had become a non-performing asset. with payment of full backwages and benefits. NAMAWU’s separate motions for the reconsideration of the injunction order and for the dismissal of the case. Ramirez. with office at Bacolod City following the auction sale conducted pursuant to the provisions of Act 3135. the respondent acting sheriffs. a copy of which Catalogue is hereby made an integral part hereof by way of reference.] MAKATI. the former bought ninety percent (90%) of MMC’s shares and financial claims. 2002. 2002 Omnibus Order. 2003 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. Manila Memorial Park Bldg. 2002. SP No. Secretary Quisumbing declared that the lay-off (of workers) implemented on May 7. SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTEEN THOUSAND AND THREE HUNDRED SIXTY (Php114. October 2. as evidenced by the Certificate of Sale dated December 4.. Tomas Writ and from conducting any public sale of the levied-on properties.Php114.360. Bacolod City. National Mines and Allied Workers Union Local 103 (NAMAWU). which were similarly worded except for their amounts. and directed the execution of a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) incorporating the terms and conditions of the previous CBA providing for an annual increase in the workers’ daily wage.19 GHI contended that the levied properties were the subject of a Deed of Real Estate and Chattel Mortgage. Bacolod District Office. GHI filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Kabankalan City. a copy of which Certificate of Sale is hereto attached as Annex "B" and made an integral part hereof. 1992 For Value Received.3 an entity operating a copper mine and mill complex at Sipalay.00)" in the third note]. 2283 Pasong Tamo Extension. and Php248.R.16 On motion of NAMAWU. PHILIPPINE CURRENCY. at its office at Phimco Compound. INC. 133519 and 138996─filed with this Court. 2001. As collateral security.18 On October 14. or on August 23. among others. 2001. Private respondent. 1992. later assumed jurisdiction over the dispute and ruled in favor of NAMAWU.560. Makati. in G.22 The trial court issued ex parte a TRO effective for 72 hours. on motion of NAMAWU. 2002) 24 enjoining the DOLE sheriffs from further enforcing the Sto.17 On October 11.14Much later. a copy of which certificate of sale is hereto attached as Annex "A" and made an integral part hereof. MARICALUM MINING CORPORATION (MMC) with postal address at 4th Floor. the amount of PESOS ONE HUNDRED FOURTEEN MILLION. Sta. 1984 issued by the Ex-Officio Provincial Sheriff of Negros Occidental. Petitioner. 1984.560.: Before this Court is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the October 14. APROSTA and ALBERTO MUNOZ.00) ["PESOS ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY SIX MILLION FIVE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND FIFE HUNDRED AND SIXTY (Php186. Inc. Rolando V. J. pursuant to a Purchase and Sale Agreement6 executed between GHI and Asset Privatization Trust (APT). METRO MANILA. hereby promises to pay "G" HOLDINGS. 3. 1996 and October 7. the members of the union. Brion and NAMAWU.360.R. The notes. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT.
immediately after the Court affirmed with finality the Quisumbing Order. VII WHETHER OR NOT GHI IS A DISTINCT AND SEPARATE CORPORATE ENTITY FROM MMC. suspiciously. and. Whether it was proper for the CA to pierce the veil of corporate fiction between MMC and GHI. given the factual circumstances obtaining.32 The Issues Dissatisfied. will necessitate a ruling on the following key and interrelated questions: 1. is strictly warned not to resort again to disrespectful and contemptuous language in his pleadings. 2002 and the December 4. Pursuant thereto. and thus. raising the following issues: I WHETHER OR NOT GHI IS A PARTY TO THE LABOR DISPUTE BETWEEN NAMAWU AND MMC.34 in which we upheld the right of herein private respondent. VI WHETHER OR NOT. 2000. without any legal ground or reason. V WHETHER OR NOT THE VALIDITY OF THE DEED OF REAL AND CHATTEL MORTGAGE OVER THE SUBJECT PROPERTIES BETWEEN MMC AND GHI MAY BE COLLATERALLY ATTACKED. GHI elevated the case to this Court via the instant petition for review on certiorari. assailing the October 17. Branch 61 of Kabankalan City. however. firm or entity. Negros Occidental are hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE for having been issued in excess or without authority. ASSUMING ARGUENDO THAT THE PERTINENT DECISION OR ORDER IN THE SAID LABOR DISPUTE BETWEEN MMC AND NAMAWU MAY BE ENFORCED AGAINST GHI. we acknowledge our Decision in Republic of the Philippines. and. and 3. Thereafter. 31 The dispositive portion of the appellate court’s decision reads: WHEREFORE.. Whether there was an effective levy by the DOLE upon the MMC’s real and personal properties. In fact. IV WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE HENRY D. Upon the same principle of judicial notice.R. The October 17. The CA ruled. the main inquiry addressed by the CA decision was whether GHI could be treated as a third party or a . To repeat.000. NOS. Our Ruling Before we delve into an extended discussion of the foregoing issues. NAMAWU filed with the CA a petition for certiorari under Rule 65. ASSUMING ARGUENDO THAT THE VALIDITY OF THE SAID REAL AND CHATTEL MORTGAGE MAY BE COLLATERALLY ATTACKED. 2002 is likewise DENIED. THERE IS ALREADY A FINAL DEETERMINATION BY THE SUPREME COURT OF THE RIGHTS OF THE PARTIES IN SAID LABOR DISPUTE CONSIDERING THE PENDENCY OF G. 2.35 in which GHI was recognized as the rightful purchaser of the shares of stocks of MMC. Each of these notes uniformly contains stipulations "establishing and constituting in favor of GHI" mortgages over MMC’s real and personal properties. were part of the documents executed in 1992 in the privatization sale of MMC by the Asset Privatization Trust (APT) to GHI. Arturo D. it was registered only on February 24. shortly after the issuance of the Brion Writ. the appellate court rendered a Decision setting aside the RTC issuances and directing the immediate execution of the Sto. These company notes. through its trustee. more importantly. Hon. NAMAWU. Judicial Notice. they should have guided the courts below in the disposition of the controversy at their respective levels. 2002 approving petitioner’s Injunction Bond in the amount of P5. we find it timely to reiterate that: "courts have also taken judicial notice of previous cases to determine whether or not the case pending is a moot one or whether or not a previous ruling is applicable to the case under consideration. as will be explained below. Accordingly. Respondent’s lawyer. premises considered. Tomas Writ. 2002 orders of the RTC. Jose Lapak. it is essential to take judicial cognizance of cases intimately linked to the present controversy which had earlier been elevated to and decided by this Court. Judicial notice must be taken by this Court of its Decision in Maricalum Mining Corporation v. fictitious and fraudulent. Respondent’s Motion to Dismiss as embodied in its Opposition to Extension of Temporary Restraining Order and Issuance of Writ of Preliminary Injunction with Motion to Dismiss and Suspend Period to File Answer dated October 15. The assailed CA decision apparently failed to consider the impact of these two decisions on the case at bar. the core issue is whether. the same shall be dealt with accordingly. effected precisely to prevent the satisfaction of the judgment against MMC.33 Stripped of non-essentials. It noted that the foreclosure proceedings were initiated in July 2001. that it was executed two weeks after the labor dispute arose in 1996. The stipulations were subsequently formalized in a separate document denominated Deed of Real Estate and Chattel Mortgage on September 5. 1996 Deed of Real Estate and Chattel Mortgage yielded the conclusion that the deed was sham.WHEREFORE. The Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued by the said court is lifted. 2003.36 We find both decisions critically relevant to the instant dispute." 38 However. the CA pierced the veil of corporate fiction of the two corporations. Inc. on October 14. in favor of any person. these decisions respectively confirm the right of NAMAWU to its labor claims 37 and affirm the right of GHI to its financial and mortgage claims over the real and personal properties of MMC. the petition is GRANTED. respondent sheriffs are ordered to return the levied firearms and handguns to the petitioner provided the latter puts [up] a bond in the amount of P332. SO ORDERED. ARLES CORRECTLY ISSUED A WRIT OF INJUNCTION AGAINST THE UNLAWFUL EXECUTIOIN ON GHI’S PROPERTIES. the Asset Privatization Trust v. in view of the foregoing considerations. the RTC properly issued the writ of injunction to prevent the enforcement of the Sto. II WHETHER OR NOT. 1996.28 After due proceedings. among others.27 Aggrieved. consisting of three (3) Promissory Notes.00 is hereby DENIED. Whether the mortgage of the MMC’s properties to GHI was a sham. 2000. respondent NAMAWU Local 103’s Motion for Reconsideration dated October 23. Tomas Writ.29 The CA further ruled that the subsequent foreclosure of the mortgage was irregular. VIII WHETHER OR NOT GHI CAN BE PREVENTED THROUGH THE ISSUANCE OF A RESTRAINING ORDER OR INJUNCTION FROM TAKING POSSESSION OR BE DISPOSSESSED OF ASSETS PURCHASED BY IT FROM APT. otherwise.00. The CA also found that the certificates of title to MMC’s real properties did not contain any annotation of a mortgage lien."30 Further. Brion and NAMAWU. "G" Holdings. Atty. entitled to the delivery of the company notes accompanying the said purchase. the basis for the extrajudicial foreclosure was not the failure of MMC to pay the mortgage debt.200. The resolution of this principal issue. the CA correctly assessed that the authority of the lower court to issue the challenged writ of injunction depends on the validity of the third party’s (GHI’s) claim of ownership over the property subject of the writ of execution issued by the labor department. 2002 Order of the RTC. Petitioner’s Urgent Motion for the return of the levied firearms is GRANTED. THE SAID MORTGAGE IS SHAM. that the circumstances surrounding the execution of the September 5. 2002 for the reconsideration of the Order of this Court directing the issuance of Writ of Injunction prayed for by petitioner and the Order dated October 18. the Deed was registered on February 4. but surprisingly. 157696-97. to its labor claims. III WHETHER OR NOT GHI IS THE ABSOLUTE OWNER OF THE PROPERTIES UNLAWFULLY GARNISHED BY RESPONDENTS SHERIFFS. and the DOLE Sheriff is directed to immediately enforce the Writ of Execution issued by the Department of Labor and Employment in the case "In re: Labor Dispute in Maricalum Mining Corporation" docketed as OS-AJ-10-96-01 (NCMB-RB6-08-96). but its failure "to satisfy any money judgment against it rendered by a court or tribunal of competent jurisdiction. Thus. GHI did not intervene in the long drawn-out labor proceedings to protect its right as a mortgagee of virtually all the properties of MMC.000. 18 and December 4. FICTITIOUS AND FRAUDULENT.
This presumption would cover all related transactional acts and documents needed to consummate the privatization sale.42 It is difficult to conceive that these mortgages. through the APT as its trustee. against the Republic to compel it to close the sale in accordance with the purchase and sale agreement. 95-76132 became final in mid-1996. 2. this Court having been convinced that the Purchase and Sale Agreement is indeed subject to the final closing conditions prescribed by Stipulation No. Under the agreement. as to invoke a rule of judicial notice. whose properties were beyond the reach of the Writ of Execution dated December 18.280. APT sold the aforesaid MMC shares and notes to GHI.704. this Court has recognized this Purchase and Sale Agreement in Republic. During the pre-trial. Mortgages over assets listed in APT Specific catalogue GC-031 for MMC. it is beyond cavil that this formal document of mortgage was merely a derivative of the original mortgage stipulations contained in the Promissory Notes of October 2. Rolando V. and "G" Holdings culminated in the execution of a purchase and sale agreement on October 2. Given the Government consent thereto. "G" Holdings. 3. No other judicial remedy was resorted to until July 2. x x x Finding that the grounds necessary for the annulment of judgment were inexistent.. Obviously.161. the manifest intention of the parties to "establish and constitute" the mortgages on MMC’s real and personal properties. It also provided for a down payment of P98. through APT. at its present value of P241. eventually. These cases may be so closely interwoven. 1984 issued by the Ex-Officio Provincial Sheriff of Negros Occidental. the appellate court dismissed the petition. through APT. Republic etc. It ruled in favor of "G" Holdings and held: "In line with the foregoing. inclusive of the Promissory Notes.. Rolando V. with office at Bacolod City following the auction conducted pursuant to the provision of Act 1508. 1999 when the Republic. then. the notice of appeal was filed with the Court of Appeals (CA). with office at Bacolod City following the auction sale conducted pursuant to the provisions of Act 3135. SO ORDERED. Even as the parties had already validly constituted the mortgages in 1992. Section 10 of the Rules of Court. viz: Subsequently. fictitious or fraudulent. it may have become necessary to execute the Deed of Real Estate and Chattel Mortgage on September 5. in compliance with its mandate to privatize government assets. x x x x43 With the RTC decision having become final owing to the failure of the Republic to perfect an appeal. v. Having recognized these crucial Court rulings. Apparently. shall have paid in full the entire balance. 1992. Contrary to the rules of procedure. Then. more particularly listed and described in the Sheriff’s Certificate of Sale dated September 7. these notes uniformly contained stipulations "establishing and constituting" mortgages over MMC’s real and personal properties. that the Government. filed a petition for annulment of judgment with the CA. 1996. This conclusion surfaces when we consider the genesis of Civil Case No. and clothed with the presumption of regularity. v. as mentioned above. It is obvious. situating the facts in proper perspective.122. 95-76132. etc. not with the trial court which rendered the judgment appealed from. giving rise to the presumption of regularity in its execution. v. the trial court rendered its decision. as follows: The series of negotiations between the petitioner Republic of the Philippines.02 and conformably to Rule 39. as explicitly provided in the Promissory Notes. Because the Government had actively negotiated and. This appears to be the most plausible explanation for the execution of the Deed of Real Estate and Chattel Mortgage only in September 1996. As already adverted to above." The Solicitor General filed a notice of appeal on behalf of the Republic on June 28. executed the agreement. all the more does it become imperative to take judicial notice of the two cases aforesaid. Branch 49. Unable to settle the issue. 1996. we now proceed to resolve the questions identified above. 2001.stranger to the labor dispute. this . 1996. On June 11. 95-76132 and subsequent incidents thereto. "G" Holdings. The participation of the Government. through the APT. In Juaban v. as narrated in Republic. "G" Holdings filed a complaint for specific performance and damages with the Regional Trial Court of Manila. a copy of which Catalogue is hereby made an integral part hereof by way of reference. acknowledged the existence of the Purchase and Sale Agreement between the APT and the GHI. After all. the mortgages cannot be characterized as sham.39 In this light. the move to execute a formal document denominated as the Deed of Real Estate and Chattel Mortgage came about after the decision of the RTC of Manila in Civil Case No. then the transaction is imbued with an aura of official authority. a specific deed of mortgage in a separate document may have been deemed necessary for registration purposes. Inc. To repeat. 5."41 The "company notes" mentioned therein were actually the very same three (3) Promissory Notes amounting toP550M. the three (3) Promissory Notes. and our review of the instant case cannot stray from the findings and conclusions therein. Accordingly. computed pursuant to the prepayment provisions of the Agreement. It may be remembered that APT acquired the MMC from the PNB and the DBP. The complaint was docketed as Civil Case No. they were agreed upon long before the seeds of the labor dispute germinated. The Republic claimed that it should be on the seventh month from the signing of the agreement while "G" Holdings insisted that it should begin seven months after the fulfillment of the closing conditions. etc. but instead reinforces. and recounts the facts attendant to that transaction. to "G" Holdings in consideration of the purchase price of P673." The two cases that we have taken judicial notice of are of such character.. in this transaction is significant. 1992. were a "fictitious" arrangement intended to defraud NAMAWU. Inc. Indeed. Espina.000 with the balance divided into four tranches payable in installment over a period of ten years. accordingly orders that the Asset Privatization Trust execute the corresponding Document of Transfer of the subject shares and financial notes and cause the actual delivery of subject shares and notes to "G" Holdings.702. Inc. "G" Holdings. Ramirez. "established and constituted" in favor of GHI the following mortgages: 1.. A chattel mortgage over assets and personal properties more particularly listed and described in the Sheriff’s Certificate of Sale dated September 7. as well as assets presently in use by MMC but which are not listed or included in paragraphs 1 and 2 above and shall include all assets that may hereinafter be acquired by MMC. a disagreement on the matter of when installment payments should commence arose between the parties. the respective counsels of the parties manifested that the issue involved in the case was one of law and submitted the case for decision. executed on October 2. a copy of which certificate of sale is hereto attached as Annex "A" and made an integral part hereof. in order to enforce the trial court’s decision of June 11. Plaintiff shall pay the balance simultaneously with the delivery of the Deed of Transfer and actual delivery of the shares and notes. The execution of this Deed in 1996 does not detract from. issued by MMC in favor of GHI. or so clearly interdependent. A mortgage over certain parcels of land. the Republic undertook to sell and deliver 90% of the entire issued and outstanding shares of MMC. consented to the "establishment and constitution" of the mortgages on the assets of MMC in favor of GHI. a copy of which Certificate of Sale is hereto attached as Annex "B" and made an integral part hereof.40 we held that "in some instances. within a period of thirty (30) days from receipt of this Decision. It claimed that the decision should be annulled on the ground of abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction on the part of the trial court. the notes (and the stipulations therein) enjoy the benefit of the same presumption of regularity accorded to government actions. 1992. already existing in 1992. however. Inc. While it is true that the Deed of Real Estate and Chattel Mortgage was executed only on September 5. as they provide the necessary perspective to determine whether GHI is such a party with a valid ownership claim over the properties subject of the writ of execution. almost four (4) years before NAMAWU filed its notice of strike.86. Ramirez. as well as its company notes. 1996. courts have also taken judicial notice of proceedings in other cases that are closely connected to the matter in controversy.. as provided in the notes. The mortgage was not a sham.and after "G" Holdings Inc. 1996. 1984 issued by the Ex-Officio Provincial Sheriff of Negros Occidental.
Patent from the "Assignment Agreement" is the fact that petitioner assumed the payment of US$18. On the other hand. The facts of the case so far show that the assignment contracts were executed in good faith. Placer Dome agreed to have its subsidiary. after the NLRC decision became final and executory on April 29. "three years after its execution. Sheriff Bajar51 pertinent and instructive: Article 1387 of the Civil Code of the Philippines provides: "Art. 1997. Three other circumstances have been put forward by the CA to support its conclusion that the mortgage contract is a sham. and almost one month after the Supreme Court rendered its decision in the labor dispute. the third-party claimant. because at the time of its execution. as far as the CA is concerned. the mortgages had already been "established and constituted" as early as October 2. and to invalidate the mortgage deed on this pretext.1997 is not the alphaof this case. the latter being a preferred creditor. while the participation of APT in this case clothes the transaction in 1992 with such a presumption that has not been successfully rebutted. the design to defraud creditors may be proved in any other manner recognized by law and of evidence. this fact alone cannot give rise to an adverse inference for two reasons. the CA found that the mortgage deed itself was executed without any consideration. the timing of the registration of the mortgage deed was too coincidental. Solidbank cannot assert a better right than ADB. it is highly inconceivable that ADB. While the execution of these assignment contracts almost coincided with the rendition on May 7. This presumption of fraud is not conclusive and may be rebutted by satisfactory and convincing evidence. etc. "G" Holdings. ADB and Marcopper executed. v. v. the conduct of a fullblown trial led to the finding─duly supported by evidence─that the voluntary sale of the assets of the judgment debtor was madein bad faith. Solidbank cannot deny this fact considering that a substantial portion of the said payment. Those contracts cannot be viewed in isolation. 1997.45 In this case. To say otherwise. The decision or attachment need not refer to the property alienated. In the case at bar. Inc. We find this Court’s ruling in MR Holdings. It is basic that mortgaged properties answer primarily for the mortgaged credit. 1992. in the absence of satisfactory evidence to the contrary. after the DOLE had already issued a Partial Writ of Execution on May 9. while the date of the foreclosure signified that it was "effected precisely to prevent the satisfaction of the judgment awards. as discussed above. Contrary to the CA decision. 2001. 1996 only for the purpose of defrauding NAMAWU. Tanongon v. well ahead of the union’s notice of strike on August 23. nor will it independently affect the right of the mortgagee to foreclose. v. however. 1997 of the Partial Judgment in Civil Case No. it does not provide a sufficient basis to invalidate this public document. In addition to these presumptions. Besides. its major stockholder. Samson44 is not "on all fours" with the instant case. When Marcopper ceased operations on account of disastrous mine tailings spill into the Boac River and ADB pressed for payment of the loan. In Tanongon.453. was remitted in favor of the Bank of Nova Scotia. which obliged APT to deliver the MMC shares and financial notes to GHI. The fact that MMC’s obligation to GHI is not reflected in the former’s financial statements─a circumstance made capital of by NAMAWU in order to cast doubt on the validity of the mortgage deed─is of no moment.12 to ADB only for the purpose of defrauding Solidbank of the sum ofP52. no trial was held. the failure of the mortgagor to record in its financial statements its loan obligations is surely not an essential element for the validity of mortgage agreements.52 .756. Second. All that is necessary is to establish affirmatively that the conveyance is made in good faith and for a sufficient and valuable consideration. Considering that petitioner assumed Marcopper’s debt to ADB.450. By itself. pay ADB the amount of US$18. a separate action was filed in the regular courts by GHI. Alienations by onerous title are also presumed fraudulent when made by persons against whom some judgment has been rendered in any instance or some writ of attachment has been issued.453. 1997 and the "Deed of Assignment" on December 8. when the donor did not reserve sufficient property to pay all debts contracted before the donation. "G" Holdings. respectively. However. herein petitioner. 96-80083 by the Manila RTC. Finally. First. showing the clear intent of the parties to impose a lien upon MMC’s properties. Furthermore. 1992. 9680083 by the Manila RTC. this case involves an involuntary transfer (foreclosure of mortgage) arising from a loan obligation that well-existed long before the commencement of the labor claims of the private respondent. 1997. Thereupon. what is involved is a loan with mortgage agreement executed on October 2.886. in Tanongon. 1387. The "Assignment Agreement" and the "Deed of Assignment" were executed for valuable considerations.. resulting in the inability of the judgment creditor to satisfy the judgment. the CA considered it highly suspect that the Deed of Real Estate and Chattel Mortgage was registered only on February 4. the questioned transaction in Tanongon was a plain.89. thus allowing the NLRC Sheriff to levy on execution and to determine the rights of third-party claimants. As such. 1996. Placer Dome had already bound itself under a "Support and Standby Credit Agreement" to provide Marcopper with cash flow support for the payment to ADB of its obligations.47 To the appellate court.12 to ADB in satisfaction of Marcopper’s remaining debt as of March 20. owing to the motion to dismiss filed by NAMAWU. It is said that the test as to whether or not a conveyance is fraudulent is ― does it prejudice the rights of creditors? We cannot see how Solidbank’s right was prejudiced by the assignment contracts considering that substantially all of Marcopper’s properties were already covered by the registered "Deed of Real Estate and Chattel Mortgage" executed by Marcopper in favor of ADB as early as November 11. Inc. the mere filing of a notice of strike by NAMAWU did not. is the fact that the mortgages were foreclosed on July 31. etc. voluntary transfer in the form of a sale executed by the judgment debtor in favor of a dubious third-party. not for the judgment credit of the mortgagor’s unsecured creditor. No presumption of regularity inheres in the deed of sale in Tanongon." This article presumes the existence of fraud made by a debtor.06. If we may add. It would ignore our ruling in Republic. And it is equally incredible for petitioner to be paying the huge sum of US$18. the assignment contracts were connected with transactions that happened long before the rendition in 1997 of the Partial Judgment in Civil Case No.12." Obviously. and to declare that the mortgage deed was void for being simulated and fictitious. vest in NAMAWU any definitive right that could be prejudiced by the execution of the mortgage deed. and need not have been obtained by the party seeking rescission. there was no intention on the part of petitioner to defeat Solidbank’s claim. 2000. 1992.791.49 These circumstances provided the CA with sufficient justification to apply Article 1387 of the Civil Code on presumed fraudulent transactions. in the sum of US$13. At issue in Tanongon was a third-party claim arising from a Deed of Absolute Sale executed between Olizon and Tanongon on July 29.450."48 Furthermore. It bears reiterating that as early as November 4. in favor of petitioner an "Assignment Agreement" and a "Deed of Assignment. There are material differences between the two cases.453. Here. and the CA failed to consider the factual findings made by this Court in Republic.970. all the assets of MMC had already been transferred to GHI.50 We do not agree. 1992 in the Promissory Notes. would furnish MMC a convenient excuse to absolve itself of its mortgage obligations by adopting the simple strategy of not including the obligations in its financial statements. It is undeniable that the Deed of Real Estate and Chattel Mortgage was formally documented two weeks after NAMAWU filed its notice of strike against MMC on August 23.the claimant did not exercise his option to file a separate action in court. 2001. a reputable international financial organization. First. an alienation of a property will be held fraudulent if it is made after a judgment has been rendered against the debtor making the alienation. All contracts by virtue of which the debtor alienates property by gratuitous title are presumed to have been entered into in fraud of creditors.450. will connive with Marcopper to feign or simulate a contract in 1992 just to defraud Solidbank for its claim four years thereafter. it follows that Solidbank’s right as judgment creditor over the subject properties must give way to that of the former.explanation is more logical and more sensible than the strained conjecture that the mortgage was executed on September 5. as yet. Thus. 1996."46 Equally suspicious. Ltd. The execution of the "Assignment Agreement" on March 20.
was registered in the office of the register of deeds of Manila. 2006. when the plaintiff purchased the automobile in question on August 22. the second mortgagee has at most only the right to redeem. Likewise.) No. stood to suffer a loss if it did not avail itself of the remedy of foreclosure.59 The Purchase and Sale Agreement and the Promissory Notes themselves are the best evidence that there was ample consideration for the mortgage. there is nothing in Act No. we note the narration of subsequent facts contained in the Comment of the Office of the Solicitor General. mortgage. Exhibit 2. 1529. by reason of its late registration. 2001. lien. lien. 2001. was a simulated or fictitious contract. But no deed. it is presumed that he knew.D. constituted in 1992. And it cannot be denied that this original agreement was supported by an adequate consideration. 1996 was simply the formal documentation of what had already been agreed in the seminal transaction (the Purchase and Sale Agreement) between APT and GHI. attachment." GHI’s mortgage rights. 2006 would have been the earliest date for the unimpeded enforcement of the Partial Writ of Execution.54 which reads: SECTION 51. the outcome of that labor dispute was yet unascertainable at that time. 1933. No. order. and without the least indication of fraud. 2001 against MMC. or at least. the date when GHI foreclosed on the mortgaged properties. deeds. charge or otherwise deal with the same in accordance with existing laws. RTC of Manila). Section 16 of the Revised Rules of Court. therefore. "all the real and personal property of MMC had already been transferred in the hands of G Holdings.53 But." It has long been settled by this Court that "The right of those who so acquire said properties should not and can not be superior to that of the creditor who has in his favor an instrument of mortgage executed with the formalities of the law. we can draw parallel conclusions. be constructive notice to all persons from the time of such registering. Given this reality. Yet. we held that "As between the first and second mortgagees. The APT was even ordered by the court to deliver the shares and financial notes of MMC in exchange for the payments that GHI had made. 1992. it is alleged that after the Partial Writ of Execution was issued on May 9.—An owner of registered land may convey. that said automobile was subject to a mortgage lien. very much willing to respect the lien existing thereon. nowhere in the Agreement or in the RTC decision is there any mention of real and personal properties of MMC being included in the sale to GHI in 1992. it should be presumed that he did so." that same foreclosure does not necessarily translate to having been "effected to prevent satisfaction of the judgment award" against MMC. In purchasing it. Section 25 of the Revised Rules). 157696. The act of registration shall be the operative act to convey or affect the land insofar as third persons are concerned.56 Thus. Section 22 of the old Rules of Court (now Rule 39. lease. antedated the Partial Writ of Execution by nearly ten (10) years. because. leases or other voluntary instrument as are sufficient in law." If liens were not so registered. No. To paraphrase MR Holdings. and in all cases under this Decree. order. the Court of Appeals had no basis to conclude that this Deed of Real Estate and Chattel Mortgage. This chronology of subsequent events shows that February 9. The execution of the subsequent Deed of Real Estate and Chattel Mortgage on September 5. 1529. and NAMAWU could only have hoped for. support the conclusion of the CA that GHI’s act of foreclosing on MMC’s properties was "effected to prevent satisfaction of the judgment award. On the issue of whether there had been an effective levy upon the properties of GHI. It was also about this time.60 this Court declared that: Defendants-appellants purchase of the mortgaged chattels at the public sheriff's sale and the delivery of the chattels to them with a certificate of sale did not give them a superior right to the chattels as against plaintiffs-mortgagees. by the mere fact that the instrument of mortgage. This is all the more true in the present case. 2001 was "effected [only] to prevent satisfaction of the judgment award.From this ruling in MR Holdings. judgment. He may use such forms. It was a reasonable option open to a mortgagee which. mortgage. it eventually became the subject of a review petition before this Court.R." The superiority of the mortgagee's lien over that of a subsequent judgment creditor is now expressly provided in Rule 39. 2001. as amended by P. shall take effect as a conveyance or bind the land. or by its delayed registration. as already mentioned. as it was only then that this Court resolved the issue. in good faith. then it "shall operate only as a contract between the parties and as evidence of authority to the Registry of Deeds to make registration. or after the DOLE had already issued a Partial Writ of Execution on May 9. 57 While it is true that GHI’s foreclosure of MMC’s mortgaged properties may have had the "effect to prevent satisfaction of the judgment award against the specific mortgaged property that first answers for a mortgage obligation ahead of any subsequent creditors. when substantially all of the properties of MMC were already mortgaged to GHI as early as October 2. The importance of registration and its binding effect is stated in Section 51 of the Property Registration Decree or Presidential Decree (P. the purchaser acquires no more than the right of redemption from the first mortgagee. Further. lease or other voluntary instrument. docketed as G. This happened four and a half years after July 31. instrument or entry affecting registered land. 55 Under the Torrens system. 1529. filed or entered in the Office of the Register of Deeds for the province or city where the land to which it relates lies. with full knowledge that such circumstances existed. Neither will the circumstance of GHI’s foreclosure of MMC’s properties on July 31. 9576132. a favorable ruling. 2002. except a will purporting to convey or effect registered land.R. provides: SECTION 52. No. it is not accurate to say that the foreclosure made on July 31. Thus.D. mortgages. attachment. as amended by Section 52 of P. 496. The well-settled rule is that a mortgage lien is inseparable from the property mortgaged." In another case between two mortgagees. mortgage. he would acquire a better right than that which the vendor then had. that when the appeal was dismissed by the CA on January 24. that the denial of the motion was appealed to the CA.—Every conveyance. cited by appellants precisely provides that "the sale conveys to the purchaser all the right which the debtor had in such property on the day the execution or attachment was levied. we cannot see how NAMAWU’s right was prejudiced by the Deed of Real Estate and Chattel Mortgage. Rule 39. It should not be viewed in isolation. 496. entrenched in our jurisdiction is the doctrine that registration in a public registry creates constructive notice to the whole world." If registered. since he should not have expected that with the purchase. 157696 was decided by this Court only on February 9. judgment. and even when the second mortgagee goes through the formality of an extrajudicial foreclosure." The mere lapse of time from the execution of the mortgage document to the moment of its registration does not affect the rights of a mortgagee. and that G. or speculated about. it "shall be the operative act to convey or affect the land insofar as third persons are concerned. a motion for reconsideration was filed by MMC. in 1996. if registered. The well-settled principle is that the rights of a mortgage creditor over the mortgaged properties are superior to those of a subsequent attaching creditor. These properties simply served as mortgaged collateral for the 1992 Promissory Notes. lease. we must reject the conclusion of the CA that the Deed of Real Estate and Chattel Mortgage executed in 1996 was a simulated transaction. that imposes a period within which to register annotations of "conveyance." We also observe the error in the CA’s finding that the 1996 Deed of Real Estate and Chattel Mortgage was not supported by any consideration since at the time the deed was executed. But. 1992. Evangelista. he knew. lease. No.D. Conveyance and other dealings by registered owner. Therein. GHI’s resort to foreclosure was a legitimate enforcement of a right to liquidate a bona fide debt. filing or entering."58 It should be remembered that the Purchase and Sale Agreement between GHI and APT involved large amounts (P550M) and even spawned a subsequent court action (Civil Case No. instrument or entry affecting registered land shall. not being a party to the labor dispute between NAMAWU and MMC. the registration shall be made in the Office of the Register of Deeds for the province or the city where the land lies. but shall operate only as a contract between the parties and as evidence of authority to the Registry of Deeds to make registration. registration is the operative act which gives validity to the transfer or creates a lien upon the land. Constructive notice upon registration. apart from the original agreement of October 2. that NAMAWU filed a notice of strike to protest non-payment of its rightful labor claims. Section 51 of Act No. mortgage. Thus. In Cabral v. which states with regard to the effect of levy on execution as to third persons that "The levy on execution shall create a lien in favor of .
such as respondent herein. RTC Manila). resulting in a merger of the personalities of the creditor (GHI) and the debtor (MMC) in one person. 2001.. defend crime. a subsidiary of defendant that was formed to develop the Top O’ the World resort community overlooking Lake George. when there was already a judgment rendered or a writ of attachment issued. at that moment in time. and the mortgagor has mere rights of redemption. like NAMAWU. 2002. 66 well ahead of any levy by NAMAWU. it is not the alienation by onerous title contemplated in Article 1387 of the Civil Code wherein fraud is presumed. By this attribute. or business conduit for the sole benefit of the stockholders or of another corporate entity. we find American jurisprudence persuasive. For this reason. This is particularly true when the fiction is used to defeat public convenience. since even the courts were already judicially aware of its existence since 1992. The notion of separate personality is clearly being utilized by the two corporations to perpetuate the violation of a positive legal duty arising from a final judgment to the prejudice of the petitioner’s right. (hereinafter LGV). adjunct. Prior registration of a lien creates a preference. and even made subject of court litigation (Civil Case No. Under a factual background largely resembling this case at bar.. the notion of corporate entity will be pierced or disregarded with reference to the particular transaction involved. protect fraud. justify wrong. and the foreclosure is not fraudulent because the mortgage deed has been previously executed in accordance with formalities of law. plaintiffs seek to recover the balance due under judgments they obtained against Lake George Ventures Inc. generally. for they had already been conveyed to the consortium of banks by mortgage (defined as a "conditional sale"). viz: In this action. Mejia. or just to the financial notes that already contained the mortgage clauses over MMCs disputed assets. the latter’s rights are subject to the notice of the foreclosure on the subject properties by a prior mortgagee’s right. Inc. and not 200165 What is undisputed though is that the mortgage of GHI was registered on February 4. or by virtue of the DOLE’s levy to enforce NAMAWU’s claims. To pierce the veil of corporate fiction would require that their personalities as creditor and debtor be conjoined. alleging fraudulent corporate asset-shifting effected after a prior final judgment. The sheriff could not have attached the properties themselves. 2000. Since the properties were already mortgaged to GHI. We thus hold that when the alienation is involuntary. Neither was MMC used merely as an alter ego. such that the debt of one to the other is thereby extinguished. so his levy must be understood to have attached only the mortgagor's remaining interest in the mortgaged property — the right to redeem it from the mortgage. In the case at bar. such as when the same is used for fraudulent or wrongful ends. In this regard. This is likewise true where the corporate entity is being used as an alter ego. the Court denied piercing the veil of corporate fiction to favor a judgment creditor who sued the parent corporation of the debtor. But the debt embodied in the 1992 Financial Notes has been established. However. like the petitioner. In a decision by the Supreme Court of New York71 bearing upon similar facts. Accordingly. Its registration of the mortgage was not intended to defraud NAMAWU of its judgment claims. we consider the CA interpretation unwarranted. We also cannot agree that the presumption of fraud in Article 1387 of the Civil Code relative to property conveyances. who has levied an attachment on the judgment debtor's (CMI) real properties which had been mortgaged to a consortium of banks and were subsequently sold to a third party. but also to the delivery of those instruments.the judgment creditor over the right."68 On the issue of piercing the veil of corporate fiction. "G" Holdings. We have held that — The main issue in this case is the nature of the lien of a judgment creditor. GHI’s mortgage right had already been registered by then. The right of redemption was the only leviable or attachable property right of the mortgagor in the mortgaged real properties. or the APT in particular. any undue motive to participate in a transaction designed to perpetrate fraud. we reject the CA’s conclusion that it was right to pierce the veil of corporate fiction. and the foreclosure is resorted to in order to liquidate a bona fide debt. then their separate personalities must be recognized. and vice versa. was actually a levy on the interest only of the judgment debtor CMI on those properties. confuse legitimate legal or judicial issues. a stockholder may not. The negotiations between the GHI and the Government--through APT. by piercing the corporate veil or . Since the factual antecedents of this case do not warrant a finding that the mortgage and loan agreements between MMC and GHI were simulated. we now ask: Was the CA correct in piercing the veil of corporate identity of GHI and MMC? In our disquisition above. cannot be depicted as a contrived transaction. adjunct. we cannot impute to this Court’s findings on the case any badge of fraud. Top Rate. xxxx The sheriff's levy on CMI's properties. we have shown that the CA’s finding that there was a "simulated mortgage" between GHI and MMC to justify a wrong or protect a fraud has struggled vainly to find a foothold when confronted with the ruling of this Court in Republic v. We find that Article 1387 finds less application to an involuntary alienation such as the foreclosure of mortgage made before any final judgment of a court. NAMAWU claims that the levy on two trucks was effected on June 22. 200163over some of the contested properties came ahead of the levy thereon. In fact. as the act of registration is the operative act that conveys and affects the land. Certainly. to justify piercing the former’s veil of corporate fiction so that the latter could be held liable to claims of third-party judgment creditors. 61 Similar rules apply to cases of mortgaged real properties that are registered. Inc. in the said Republic. The right of redemption was the only leviable or attachable property right of CMI in the mortgaged real properties. not for the judgment credit of the mortgagor’s unsecured creditor. This separate and distinct personality is. This can only mean that GHI and MMC have separate corporate personalities. etc. dating back to 1992-culminating in the Purchase and Sale Agreement. title and interest of the judgment debtor in such property at the time of the levy. merely a fiction created by law for convenience and to promote the ends of justice. the Deed of Real Estate and Chattel Mortgage was entered into between MMC and G Holdings for the purpose of evading the satisfaction of the legitimate claims of the petitioner against MMC. "G" Holdings. the only interest remaining in the mortgagor CMI was its right to redeem said properties from the mortgage. 362 SCRA 738). Furthermore. however. either NAMAWU had no properties of MMC to attach because the same had been previously foreclosed by GHI as mortgagee thereof. when the legal fiction of the separate corporate personality is abused. under the writ of attachment obtained by the petitioner. Thus. upon coming into existence. is invested by law with a personality separate and distinct from those persons composing it as well as from any other legal entity to which it may be related. the only interest remaining in the mortgagor was its right to redeem said properties from the mortgage. we cannot ascribe to the Government. In all these cases. this Court adjudged that GHI was entitled to its rightful claims─ not just to the shares of MMC itself. Thus. the courts have not hesitated to pierce the corporate veil (Francisco vs. the interlocking of directors and officers in two different corporations is not a conclusive indication that the corporations are one and the same for purposes of applying the doctrine of piercing the veil of corporate fiction. mortgagees over chattel have superior. authorizes piercing the veil of corporate identity in this case. subject to liens or encumbrances then existing. or the reverse. with the registration of the mortgage. The CA found that: "Ordinarily. 95-76132."69 Settled jurisprudence70 has it that – "(A) corporation.62 xxxx There appears in the record a factual contradiction relating to whether the foreclosure by GHI on July 13. and "it is basic that mortgaged properties answer primarily for the mortgaged credit. be made to answer for acts or liabilities of the said corporation. or business conduit for the sole benefit of GHI. 64 which GHI disputes as a misstatement because the levy was attempted on July 18. Given this jurisprudential principle and the factual circumstances obtaining in this case. preferential and paramount rights thereto. because the foregoing circumstances belie such an inference. it may not be used or invoked for ends subversive to the policy and purpose behind its creation or which could not have been intended by law to which it owes its being.67 even against subsequent judgment creditors. v. Since the properties were already mortgaged to the consortium of banks. perpetrate deception or otherwise circumvent the law." Even in the matter of possession.
D.Y. our decision was predicated upon the existence of such evidence. Notably. both causes of action pleaded in the amended complaint must fail. not mere majority or complete control.Y. Defendant's principal. we specifically reject a number of plaintiffs' assertions. we have reiterated that mere ownership by a single stockholder or by another corporation of all or nearly all of the capital stock of a corporation is not. even upon a mere prima facie showing of ownership of such claimant--a separate action for injunctive relief against such levy may be maintained in court. it was APT. of Taxation & Fin. 680 N. 254 of the New Labor Code (herein earlier quoted) which prohibits injunctions or restraining orders in any case involving or growing out of a 'labor . supra) set forth a "roadmap" for the proof required at trial and mandated a verdict in favor of plaintiffs upon their production of evidence that supported the decision's "listed facts". 675 N. later. 623 N.070. 82 N. 92 N. not only of finances but of policy and business practice in respect to the transaction attacked so that the corporate entity as to this transaction had at the time no separate mind. and the two loans were consolidated into a first mortgage loan of $6 million. not only of finances but of policy and business practice in respect to the transaction attacked. since said action neither involves nor grows out of a labor dispute insofar as the third party is concerned. Supreme Court thereafter rendered judgment in favor of defendant upon its findings that. New York State Dept. unjust act in contravention of plaintiffs legal rights.1avvphi1 The trial evidence showed that LGV was incorporated in November 1985. defendant purchased the project note from Chemical Bank for $3. by LGV's divestiture of the water company stock or the sports complex property. of the mortgages earlier constituted in the Promissory Notes dated October 2. to perpetuate the violation of a statutory or other positive legal duty. Francesco Galesi.2d 609.E. even including the water company and sports complex at the values plaintiffs would assign to them. On the propriety of injunction to prevent execution by the NLRC on the properties of third-party claimants It is settled that a Regional Trial Court can validly issue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and. Corp. It appears that if there was any control or domination exercised over MMC.S.2d 609. In fact.Y. Fundamentally. 603 N. a sufficient ground for disregarding a separate corporate personality. v.2d 807.50. Due to LGV's lack of success in marketing the project's townhouses and in order to protect itself from the exercise of Chemical Bank's enforcement remedies. National Labor Relations Commission. at the time of the foreclosure sale.75 In this case. not GHI. but complete domination. paid the $1. 77 Instructively. in exchange for a $950. We are equally unpersuaded by plaintiffs' continued reliance upon defendant's December 1991 unilateral conversion of its intercompany loans with LGV from debt to equity. LGV transferred to defendant all of the shares of Top of the World Water Company.S.2d 234.2d 234. 1992. defendant brought an action to foreclose its mortgage. or by defendant's transfer to LGV of a third party's uncollectible note. we are at a loss as to how plaintiffs perceive themselves to have been inequitably affected by defendant's foreclosure action against LGV. 141. but complete domination..2d 234) and the matter proceeded to a nonjury trial. again guaranteed by defendant. Clear and convincing evidence is needed to pierce the veil of corporate fiction.1 million. MKI Sec. and accepting that defendant exercised complete domination and control over LGV. 3. National Mines and Allied Workers’ Union v. initially held 90% of the stock and all of the stock was ultimately transferred to defendant. a party seeking to pierce the corporate veil must show complete domination and control of the subsidiary by the parent and also that such domination was used to commit a fraud or wrong against the plaintiff that resulted in the plaintiff's injury ( 252 A.5 million balance on the term note and took an assignment of the first mortgage on the project's realty.2d 335. defendant was forced to make monthly installments of principal and interest on LGV's behalf.2d 1157). In 1989. and for some period of time had been. absent a finding of any inequitable consequence to plaintiffs. a separate entity that had been organized to construct and operate the water supply and delivery system for the project.2d 135. Chemical Bank thereafter loaned an additional $3.S. secured by defendant's guarantee of repayment of the loan and completion of the project. that wielded it.5 million to LGV.S. Inc.2d 749). Ultimately.246.1 million project note on which LGV was the obligor and defendant was a guarantor. xxxx Time and again.72 This doctrine is good law under Philippine jurisdiction. Control. a writ of preliminary injunction to prevent enforcement of a writ of execution issued by a labor tribunal on the basis of a third-party’s claim of ownership over the properties levied upon. so that the corporate entity as to this transaction had at the time no separate mind. Initial project funding was provided through a $2. As properly concluded by Supreme Court.Y. in a full privatization process.D. "[e]vidence of domination alone does not suffice without an additional showing that it led to inequity. no temporary or permanent injunction or restraining order in any case involving or growing out of a labor dispute shall be issued by any court--where the writ of execution issued by a labor tribunal is sought to be enforced upon the property of a stranger to the labor dispute. and.2d 609.S. see.2d 891.74 It is basic that a corporation has a personality separate and distinct from that composing it as well as from that of any other legal entity to which it may be related. it did not use that domination to commit a fraud or wrong on plaintiffs. absent which we would have granted summary judgment in favor of defendant.070. The mortgage deed transaction attacked as a basis for piercing the corporate veil was a transaction that was an offshoot. Plaintiffs appealed. although defendant dominated LGV. even if plaintiffs' analysis were utilized to eliminate the entire $3 million deficiency judgment. The loan proceeds were utilized to purchase the real property upon which the project was to be established.76 While. the loan was modified by splitting the loan into a $1.50.5 million loan from Chemical Bank. accomplished solely for tax purposes. Vera78 Petitioners' reliance on the provision of Art. We previously upheld Supreme Court's denial of defendant's motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint (252 A. Ultimately.000 reduction in the deficiency judgment. defendant obtained a judgment of foreclosure and sale in the amount of $6. 2. Neither can we conclude that the constitution of the loan nearly four (4) years prior to NAMAWU’s notice of strike could have been the proximate cause of the injury of NAMAWU for having been deprived of MMC’s corporate assets. After LGV failed to make payments on the indebtedness over the course of the succeeding two years.73 we laid down the test in determining the applicability of the doctrine of piercing the veil of corporate fiction. 703 N. But these Promissory Notes with mortgage were executed by GHI with APT in the name of MMC. In Concept Builders..246. as a rule.upon the theory that LGV's transfer of certain assets constituted fraudulent transfers under the Debtor and Creditor Law. It is undisputed that LGV was. will or existence of its own. Following the foreclosure sale. liens against its property exceeded the value of its assets by several million dollars. 610.Y. including the entirely erroneous claims that our determination on the prior appeal (252 A.9 term note on which defendant was primary obligor and a $4.S. xxxx In reaching that conclusion.E. the U.D. Matter of Morris v. Not only must there be a showing that there was majority or complete control. the fact remains that subordinate mortgages totaling nearly an additional $2 million have priority over plaintiffs' judgments. The aforesaid control and breach of duty must proximately cause the injury or unjust loss complained of.Y. unable to meet its obligations and. the mere interlocking of directors and officers does not warrant piercing the separate corporate personalities of MMC and GHI. Supreme Court of New York held— Based on the foregoing. or dishonest and. to wit: 1.Y. 675 N. Such control must have been used by the defendant to commit fraud or wrong. will or existence of its own. 675 N. supra. by itself. Defendant bid in the property at the foreclosure sale and thereafter obtained a deficiency judgment in the amount of $3. To the contrary. a derivative. which constituted nothing more than a "bookkeeping transaction" and had no apparent effect on LGV's obligations to defendant or defendant's right to foreclose on its mortgage. fraud or malfeasance" (TNS Holdings v. 339.
1992. ROMERO. vs. or a complaint for damages against the bond filed by the judgment creditor in favor of the sheriff. 2749 does not put in issue either the fact or validity of the proceeding in theNLRC case nor the decision therein rendered. but merely rescissible under Article 1381(3) of the Civil Code. From our discussion above. To deny the victim of the wrongful levy. RODOLFO MARIANO. 2003 is SET ASIDE. under the pretext that no court of general jurisdiction can interfere with the writ of execution issued in a labor dispute. which reconsidered a resolution it rendered on April 15. in which we respectively recognized the entitlement of GHI to the shares and the company notes of MMC (under the Purchase and Sale Agreement). however. WHEREFORE. because the mortgage has been previously recognized to exist. 2749 is whether the NLRC's decision and writ of execution. It does not seek to enjoin the execution of the decision against the properties of the judgment debtor. neither the lower court nor the CA. Notably. This has no application to the case at bar. v. will be sanctioning a greater evil than that sought to be avoided by the Labor Code provision in question. ULDARICO GARCIA. RICARDO ESCUETA. in issuing the questioned orders. As success fades from NAMAWU’s efforts to execute on the properties of MMC. Branch 61 of Kabankalan City.: Petitioners. The property levied upon being that of a stranger is not subject to levy. "G" Holdings. MARIO CREDO BERNABE GERONIMO. he cannot.841avvphi1 While. much less the writ of execution issued thereunder. did not commit grave abuse of discretion. which were validly foreclosed by GHI. Kabankalan City on July 13. the Court believes. No costs. the recourse such as that availed of by the herein private respondents. acknowledged by this Court in Maricalum.. therefore. Thus. At this stage. 1993. strictly speaking. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and PHILTREAD (FIRESTONE) TIRE AND RUBBER CORPORATION. So also is the consequential issue of the separate and distinct personalities of GHI and MMC. all former employees of private respondent Philtread (Firestone) Tire and Rubber Corporation (Philtread. 1992. petitioner is situated squarely as such third-party claimant. 2749 is one which neither "involves" nor "grows out" of a labor dispute. etc. 2001 are the basis of its conclusion. cannot be considered as interference. Civil Case No. As correctly held by the lower court: The subject incidents for TRO and/or Writ of Injunction were summarily heard and in resolving the same.dispute' is not well-taken.80 Upon the findings and conclusions we have reached above. 110226 June 19. and the rights of NAMAWU to its labor claims. this case is not ended by this decision. The registration of the mortgage document operated as notice to all on the matter of the mortgagee’s prior claims. ANICETO ARBAN.R. "G" Holdings. MANOLITO CUSTODIO. ANDREW DE LA ISLA BAYANI PILAR. Negros Occidental is AFFIRMED. shall be permitted to be satisfied against properties of private respondents. These include the examination of the judgment obligor when judgment is unsatisfied. and RICARDO B. therefore. the matter of whether the mortgage and foreclosure of the assets that are the subject of said foreclosure is ended herein. v. CARLITO CHOSAS. SILVA. G.83 or even the resort to receivership. we now rule that the trial court. ERNESTO BARENG. theoretically. Such a recourse is allowed under the provisions of Section 17. To sustain petitioners' theory will inevitably lead to disastrous consequences and lend judicial imprimatur to deprivation of property without due process of law. JAIME ACEVEDO. Inc. The private respondents are not parties to the said NLRC case. and November 18. hold that such an independent action cannot now be maintained. Certainly. RODOLFO JUAN. They allege that its resolution . Possession and Control over said mortgaged properties on July 19. the fact that said Ex-Officio Sheriff and the Clerk of Court issue a Notice of Foreclosure. can depart from our findings in those two cases because of the doctrine of stare decisis. in Republic. upon a claim and prima facie showing of ownership by the petitioner.. and may still have. Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. we find no more need to remand the case to the lower court. Brion and NAMAWU. still awaits final execution.. impute grave abuse of discretion on the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) 1 for issuing two resolutions. Official proceedings relative to the foreclosure of the subject properties constituted a prima facie showing of ownership of such claimant to support the issuance of injunctive reliefs. for brevity). does not constitute interference with the powers or processes of the labor department. STEVE VELECINA. ample supplemental remedies found in Rule 39 of the Rules of Court in order to protect its rights against MMC. and not of the judgment debtor named in the NLRC decision and writ of execution. Unless said mortgage contract is annulled or declared null and void.82 the examination of the obligors of judgment obligors. PABLO ALULOD. the presumption of regularity of transaction must be considered and said document must be looked [upon] as valid. What is sought to be tried in Civil Case No. respondents. EDILBERTO VIRAY ANGELES BARON. For well-settled is the rule that the power of a court to execute its judgment extends only over properties unquestionably belonging to the judgment debtor. our Decisions in Republic. ERNESTO BANAY. dated April 7. Having resolved these principal issues with certainty. or to consider. Simply because a writ of execution was issued by the NLRC does not authorize the sheriff implementing the same to levy on anybody's property. an independent action is needed to rescind the contract of mortgage. What 'involves' or 'grows out' of a labor dispute is the NLRC case between petitioners and the judgment debtor. the fact that petitioner initiated a foreclosure of said properties before the Clerk of Court and Ex-Officio Sheriff. The Omnibus Order dated December 4. 2002 of the Regional Trial Court. RTC Branch 61. VICENTE SANTOS. we see that NAMAWU always had. it thereby admitted that the mortgage was not void. PASTOR VELUZ. however. Philippine Iron Mines. that the petitioner has a clear and unmistakable right over the levied properties. ERNESTO LITADA. Civil Case No. 1997 ALBERTO S. We have observed. and. The existence of the subject Deed of Real Estate and Chattel Mortgage. petitioners. VALERIANO MAUBAN. however. and Maricalum Mining Corporation v. The questioned restraining order of the lower court. because its issuance was amply supported by factual and legal bases. SO ORDERED. that could not have been the intendment of the law creating the NLRC. nor even this Court. RENAN HALILI. as well as the order granting preliminary injunction.81 We. the Petition is GRANTED. VENTURA. BONIFACIO URBANO. Inc. CEFERINO ROMERO. VICENTE CHAVEZ. 2001 and the fact that a Sheriff’s Certificate of Sale was issued on December 3. FELOMENO BALLON. the Office of the Solicitor General also aptly observed that when the respondent maintained that the Deed of Real Estate and Chattel mortgage was entered into in fraud of creditors. with a valid consideration. A final word The Court notes that the case filed with the lower court involves a principal action for injunction to prohibit execution over properties belonging to a third party not impleaded in the legal dispute between NAMAWU and MMC. appeal from the order denying his claim." Likewise. GERONIMO ESPLANA. J. etc. SEVERINO ROSETE. above mentioned. RICARDO CUEVAS. only for the purpose of resolving again the matter of whether GHI owns the properties that were the subject of the latter’s foreclosure. a separate action for recovery. of the fact that the labor claims of NAMAWU. since the lower court is still to try the case filed with it and decide it on the merits. We are not unmindful. NONILON DAWAL. 2001. HERNANI ABOROT. ORLANDO MENDOZA. for the third and final time. but he should file a separate reivindicatory action against the execution creditor or the purchaser of the property after the sale at public auction. ANANIAS HERMOCILLA. The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated October 14.79 A separate civil action for recovery of ownership of the property would not constitute interference with the powers or processes of the labor tribunal which rendered the judgment to execute upon the levied properties. No. that the lower court and the CA failed to take judicial notice of. WALLY LEONES. since the third-party claimant is not one of the parties to the action.
1992 resolution of the NLRC had been properly served at the address of the law firm of Atty. These are jurisdictional and mandatory requirements which must be strictly complied with. They posit that since the bailiff's return indicated May 5. Subsequent demands for re-employment made by petitioners were ignored. is only relevant if the tribunal or body which takes cognizance of a . petitioners lodged a complaint 3 with the National Capital Region Arbitration Branch of the NLRC for unfair labor practice (ULP). and (2) that petitioners had no locus standi. 1992 resolution by the law firm of Borreta. he dwelt solely on the question whether the petitioners were entitled to priority in re-employment on the basis of the CBA. 9 It was thus incumbent upon the NLRC to have dismissed outright Philtread's late motion for reconsideration. this petition. this Court has been emphatic in ruling that the seasonable filing of a motion for reconsideration within the l0-day reglementary period following the receipt by a party of any order. as shown by the bailiff's return. or after the filing of the complaint on December 5. Philtread moved for the dismissal of the complaint based on two grounds. 1989. 1988. petitioners filed their respective applications for employment with Philtread. ruling that even before the amendatory law took effect. which was cognizable by the regular courts. 6715 took effect only on March 21. It ruled that while petitioners had standing to sue. the NLRC. This being the case. Article III of the 1986 and 1983 CBAs. therefore. its actuation was not only whimsical and capricious but also a demonstration of its utter disregard for its very own rules. in accordance with Section 4. their decisions thereon were null and void and. pursuant to Article 217 (a) (1) of the Labor Code. it is settled doctrine that the NLRC. it affirmed its earlier resolution dated November 18. Although there are exceptions to said rule. 1992. The argument is not tenable. 1992. stressed that the complaint was one for unfair labor practice precipitated by the unjust and unreasonable refusal of Philtread to reemploy them. petitioners deemed it highly irregular and capricious for the NLRC to still allow reconsideration of its April 15. petitioners concluded that the NLRC had jurisdiction over the case. 1992.of April 15. petitioners fault the NLRC for issuing the assailed resolutions even when the resolution sought to be reconsidered had already attained finality upon Philtread's failure to timely move for its reconsideration. petitioners immediately moved for reconsideration. Thus. 10 However. As stated at the outset. promulgated one of its challenged resolutions dismissing the complaint of petitioners. its motion could not be considered late. Subsequently. Philtread claims. 1992. The Court is aware of Philtread's obvious attempt to skirt the requirement for seasonable filing of a motion for reconsideration by persuading us that both the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC have no jurisdiction over petitioners' complaint. Philtread's counsel of record. Petitioners. Being one for unfair labor practice. Philtread. petitioners. regardless of age qualifications and other pre-employment conditions. resolution or decision. acting on a motion for reconsideration filed by Atty. however. The NLRC. Being of the impression that the April 15. To be sure. which however. 1992. subject only to existing vacancies and a finding of good physical condition. namely: (1) that the NLRC lacked jurisdiction. it was Atty. 1992. lies. Gutierrez and Leogardo. then rank-and-file employees and members of Philtread Workers Union (PWU). 1992 resolution. then Philtread only had ten (10) calendar days or until May 15. 1992. 1992. While we agree with the dictum that a void judgment cannot attain finality. Dismayed by the NLRC's sudden change of position. however. did not tackle the jurisdictional issue posed by Philtread in its position paper. Instead. however. On November 18. Abraham B. the Labor Arbiter. the case at bar presents no peculiar circumstances warranting a departure therefrom. They pointed out that the NLRC's reliance on Article 261 of the Labor Code was patently erroneous because it was the amended provision which was being cited by the NLRC. the retrenchment program instituted by Philtread with the understanding that they would have priority in re-employment in the event that the company recovers from its financial crisis. expanded its operations and hired new personnel. He alleged that in the several conciliation conferences held. 5 The statutory bases for this is found in Article 223 of the Labor Code 6 and Section 14. Philtread maintains that the ten-day reglementary period could not have started running and. Certiorari. petitioners argued that the subsequent amendment cannot retroactively divest the Labor Arbiter of the jurisdiction already acquired in accordance with Articles 217 and 248 of the Labor Code. Hence. 4 In dismissing the complaint. 2 In November 1986. Petitioners further stressed that the resolution of April 15. Gutierrez and Leogardo had already been dissolved. Article III of the Collective Bargaining Agreement concluded on July 5. the CBA. and availed of. Time and again. said rule. Daniel C. therefore. however. had already become final and executory since Philtread's counsel of record did not file any motion for reconsideration within the period of ten (10) days from receipt of the resolution on May 5. as well as those former employees similarly situated for available positions provided they meet the necessary current qualifications. apparently having recovered from its financial reverses. It directed Philtread to re-employ petitioners and other employees similarly situated. which. the complaint should have been filed with the voluntary arbitrator. In another resolution issued on April 7. On its part. 1992. Madriaga rendered a decision dismissing the complaint but directing Philtread to give petitioners priority in hiring. The petition is impressed with merit. On April 15. 1983. as mandated by the provisions of Section 4. 7 In the case at bar. there being no employer-employee relationship between it and petitioners and that the basic issue involved was the interpretation of a contract. therefore. Borreta of the law firm of Borreta. 1988. matters involving bargaining agreements were already within the exclusive jurisdiction of the voluntary arbitrator. not being privy to the CBA executed between the union and Philtread. Even the request of the incumbent union for Philtread to stop hiring new personnel until petitioners were first hired failed to elicit any favorable response. Both parties submitted their respective position papers. lies instead with the voluntary arbitrator so that when the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC took cognizance of the case. On August 31. The record unfolds the following facts: Sometime in 1985. 1989. within which to file a motion for reconsideration. Petitioners duly appealed the decision of the Labor Arbiter to the NLRC. since the primary issue was the implementation and interpretation of the CBA. as an administrative and quasi-judicial body. damages and attorney's fees against Philtread. incapable of attaining finality. merely agreed to consider them for future vacancies. the filing of a motion for reconsideration and filing it ON TIME are not mere technicalities of procedure. In short. This resolution was received by Atty. as the date of receipt of the April 15. By doing exactly the opposite. challenging Philtread's motion to dismiss. Rule VII of the New Rules of Procedure of the National Labor Relations Commission. 1992 resolution only on June 5. They added that the amendment of Article 261 introduced by Republic Act No. Gutierrez. 1993. Atty. Labor Arbiter Edgardo M. 8 or 31 days after receipt of said resolution. the NLRC issued a resolution reversing the decision of the Labor Arbiter. on December 5. was not convinced by petitioners' assertions. an ex parte manifestation explaining that he was returning the copy of the resolution rendered on April 15. Philtread opted not to interpose an appeal despite the Labor Arbiter's failure to rule squarely on the question of jurisdiction. 1992. volunteered for. Jurisdiction. it is uncontroverted that Philtread's counsel filed a motion for reconsideration of the April 15. Since Philtread indisputably failed to file any such motion within said period. is a mandatory requirement to forestall the finality of such order. 1992 became final and executory when Philtread failed to seasonably file a motion for reconsideration within the ten-day reglementary period required by Article 223 of the Labor Code. Gutierrez and that no seasonable motion for reconsideration was ever filed by Philtread. is not bound by the rigid application of technical rules of procedure in the conduct of its proceedings. Gutierrez and Leogardo on May 5. was erroneously served on him by the process server of the NLRC. Gutierrez who exclusively handled the case on behalf of Philtread and informed the Labor Arbiter and petitioners that the law firm of Borreta. petitioners moved for its execution. as set forth in Article 262 of the Labor Code. resolution or decision of the NLRC. Upon discovery of this development. 1992. Borreta filed with the NLRC on May 20. according to him. pursuant to Article 261 of the Labor Code.
Medicare and maternity benefits. Voluntary arbitration. (b) The Commission shall have exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all cases decided by Labor Arbiters. . involving an amount exceeding five thousand pesos (P5. Cases arising from any violation of Article 265 of this Code. When the issue concerns an interpretation or implementation of the CBA. Philtread's refusal to re-employ them was tantamount to a violation of the re-employment clause in the 1983 CBA which was also substantially reproduced in the 1986 CBA. those cases that workers may file involving wages. one can understand why petitioners lodged their complaint for ULP with the Labor Arbiter. — All grievances referred to in the immediately preceding Article which are not settled through the grievance procedure provided in the collective agreement shall be referred to voluntary arbitration prescribed in said agreement: Provided. damages and attorney's fees on December 5. Art. the present jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC is as follows: Art. On March 21. amending several provisions of the Labor Code.000. Jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters and the Commission.particular subject matter indeed lacks jurisdiction over the same. whether agricultural or non-agricultural: 1. If accompanied with a claim for reinstatement. all other claims. the NLRC and the voluntary arbitrator. the following cases involving all workers. grievances shall be subject to negotiation." the jurisdiction of which pertains to the Grievance Machinery or thereafter. one cannot immediately jump to the conclusion that jurisdiction is with the voluntary arbitrator. 1988. (a) The Labor Arbiters shall have the original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide within thirty (30) working days after submission of the case by the parties for decision. We note that at the time petitioners filed their complaint for unfair labor practice. within thirty (30) calendar days after the submission of the case by the parties for decision without extension. To their mind. and 5." It is further provided in said article that the parties to a CBA shall name or designate their respective representatives to the grievance machinery and if the grievance is not settled in that level. it is not the voluntary arbitrator who can take cognizance of the complaint. including questions involving the legality of strikes and lockouts. To this effect was the ruling of the Court in Sanyo Philippines Workers Union-PSSLU v. Canizares. They appear to share the view that once the question involved is an interpretation or implementation of CBA provisions. Cases arising from any violation of Article 264 of this Code. In this regard. notwithstanding Philtread's claim that the real issue is the interpretation of the CBA provision on re-employment. hours of work and other terms and conditions of employment. the voluntary arbitrator cannot assume jurisdiction. 3. 12 or the so-called "Herrera-Veloso Amendments. to a voluntary arbitrator or panel of voluntary arbitrators. the following cases involving all workers. then the same necessarily falls within the competence of the voluntary arbitrator pursuant to Article 261 of the Labor Code. As a result. Cases involving household services. only disputes involving the union and the company shall be referred to the grievance machinery or voluntary arbitrators. We hold that the Labor Arbiter and not the Grievance Machinery provided for in the CBA has the jurisdiction to hear and decide the complaints of the private respondents. the governing provision of the Labor Code with respect to the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC was Article 217 which states: Art. medicare and maternity benefits. Those that workers may file involving wages. All money claims of workers. 217.: Art. 11 where we clarified the jurisdiction of the voluntary arbitrator in this manner: In the instant case. Respondents' posture is too simplistic and finds no support in law or in jurisprudence. unless the parties agree to submit them to voluntary arbitration. There is an equally important need to inquire further if the disputants involved are the union and the employer. exemplary and other forms of damages arising from the employeremployee relations. Under the above provisions then prevailing. 4. did the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC validly acquire jurisdiction when both of them entertained the complaint? A brief review of relevant statutory provisions is in order. even in the absence of stenographic notes. 1989. as erroneously contended by Philtread. 217. That termination disputes shall be governed by Article 278 of this Code. Republic Act 6715. 262. Hence. including those of persons in domestic or household service. however. conciliation or arbitration as provided elsewhere in this Code. social security. defined the jurisdiction of the voluntary arbitrator. arising from employer-employee relations. — (a) Except as otherwise provided under this Code the Labor Arbiters shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide. however. including the respective jurisdictions of the Labor Arbiter. any violation of the CBA was unqualifiedly treated as ULP of the employer falling within the competence of the Labor Arbiter to hear and decide. and 6. whether agricultural or non-agricultural: 1. then pursuant to the Sanyodoctrine. the employer and the bargaining representative shall meet to adjust the grievance. (Emphasis supplied) Since the contending parties in the instant case are not the union and Philtread. it shall automatically be referred to voluntary arbitrators (or panel of voluntary arbitrators) designated in advance by the parties. 2. We are of the opinion that these facts do not come within the phrase "grievances arising from the interpretation or implementation of (their) Collective Bargaining Agreement and those arising from the interpretation or enforcement of company personnel policies." took effect. At the time. 2. Grievance machinery. on the other hand. including disciplinary actions imposed on members of the bargaining unit. the rule adverted to is misapplied for it is actually the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC which possess jurisdiction over petitioners' complaint and NOT the voluntary arbitrator. moral. 4. Unfair labor practice cases. Social Security. separation pay and other benefits provided by law or appropriate agreement. While it appears that the dismissal of the private respondents was made upon the recommendation of PSSLU pursuant to the union security clause provided in the CBA. which in this case is the re-employment clause.00) regardless of whether accompanied with a claim for reinstatement. as amended. does not write finis to the discussion. 3. Jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters and the Commission. including those based on non-payment or underpayment of wages. Where there is no collective agreement and in cases where the grievance procedure as provided herein does not apply. Article 260 of the Labor Code on grievance machinery and voluntary arbitrator states that "(t)he parties to a Collective Bargaining Agreement shall include therein provisions that will ensure the mutual observance of its terms and conditions. Unfair labor practices of employers. In this case. overtime compensation. Termination disputes. viz. rates of pay. It need not be mentioned that the parties to a CBA are the union and the company. except claims for employees' compensation. Except claims for Employees Compensation. Claims for actual. — Whenever a grievance arises from the interpretation or implementation of a collective agreement. 248. The Court. A more important question arises: If the voluntary arbitrator could not have assumed jurisdiction over the case. otherwise. Thus: Art. 5. including questions involving the legality of strikes and lockouts. — It shall be unlawful for an employer to commit any of the following unfair labor practice: xxx xxx xxx (i) To violate a collective bargaining agreement. Unfair labor practice cases. Articles 261 and 262. we observe that there is a confusion in the minds of both Philtread and the NLRC with respect to the proper jurisdiction of the voluntary arbitrator. however. 261. They shall establish a machinery for the adjustment and resolution of grievances arising from the interpretation or implementation of their Collective Bargaining Agreement and those arising from the interpretation or enforcement of company personnel policies. hours of work and other terms and conditions of employment.
000. a significant change: The unqualified jurisdiction conferred upon the Labor Arbiter prior to the amendment by RA 6715 has been narrowed down so that "violations of a Collective Bargaining Agreement. It bears emphasis that the Court accorded E. as amended.14 where we refused to give retroactive application to Executive Order No. This means that petitioners should have been required to show in their complaint the gross nature of the CBA violation. 1989. Thus. involving employer-employee relations arising out of or by virtue of any law or contract involving Filipino workers for overseas employment. the Court applied the exception rather than the general rule. E. including money claims. regional directors have jurisdiction). In ruling against the retroactive application of the law. No. cured the Regional Director's lack of jurisdiction by giving the Labor Arbiter and the Regional Director concurrent jurisdiction over all cases involving money claims. we categorically held that amendments relative to the jurisdiction of labor arbiters (under Presidential Decree No.A. Under said law. 1367. 13 we held: Republic Act No. divesting the labor arbiter of jurisdiction) partake of the nature of curative statutes. do not constitute gross violation of the CBA for purposes of lodging jurisdiction with the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC. for a ULP case to be cognizable by the Labor Arbiter.O. 261. the implication is that the qualified jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC should have been applied when the ULP complaint was still pending. E. where the claim does not exceed P5. reiterated that PD No. however. except those which are gross in character. 111. Camus Engineering Corp. 111 and Article 217. since Article 217 of the Labor Code. the Labor Arbiter's assumption of jurisdiction therein was likewise questioned in view of the subsequent enactment of E. We adopt instead the more recent case of Erectors. In this case. No. to our mind. the Labor Arbiter had clear jurisdiction over the same. POEA was vested with "original and exclusive jurisdiction over all cases. 797 did not divest the Labor Arbiter's authority to hear and decide the case filed by private respondent prior to its effectivity. the Court explained its position as follows: The rule is that jurisdiction over the subject matter is determined by the law in force at the time of the commencement of the action. the Court. gross violations of Collective Bargaining Agreement shall mean flagrant and/or malicious refusal to comply with the economic provisions of such agreement.O.S. amended Article 217 of the Labor Code to widen the worker's access to the government for redress of grievances by giving the Regional Directors and Labor Arbiters . .M. Briad Agro Development Corp. As such. 1391 which vested the Regional Offices of the Ministry of Labor and the Labor Arbiters with "original and exclusive jurisdiction over all cases involving employer-employee relations including money claims arising out of any law or contracts involving Filipino workers for overseas employment. shall no longer be treated as unfair labor practice and shall be resolved as as grievances under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.O. National Labor Relations Commission. 6715 a retroactive application because as curative statutes. Martinez. 111 and R. On March 31. 1691 and Presidential Decree No. namely: (1) gross violation of the CBA. (Emphasis supplied) Art. . 797 an intention to give it retroactive effect. (c) Cases arising from the interpretation or implementation of collective bargaining agreements and those arising from the interpretation or enforcement of company personnel policies shall be disposed of by the Labor Arbiter by referring the same to the grievance machinery and voluntary arbitration as may be provided in said agreements. Thus. Thus.J. 1982. except those which are gross in character. it is even doubtful if the CBA provision on re-employment fits into the accepted notion of an economic provision of the CBA. while it would make out a case for ULP. the divestment affected pending litigations. 1367 [is] curative and retrospective in nature. and L. the prevailing laws were Presidential Decree No. on November 9. .00. Dela Cerna. the allegations in the complaint should show prima facie the concurrence of two things.A. when this new law divested Regional Directors of the power to hear money claims. Garcia has since been uniformly applied in subsequent cases. 111. as well as the economic provision violated. In several instances prior to the instant case. inBriad Agro Development Corporation v. No. It also affected this particular case.) 6715 which divested the Regional Directors of the power to hear money claims. (Note that under par 6. In Garcia v. We fail to perceive in the language of E. 262. we declared that it can be applied retroactively to pending cases. shall also hear and decide all other labor disputes including unfair labor practices and bargaining deadlocks. The Decision of this case. acknowledged the retrospective characteristics of Executive Order No. vested in the Labor Arbiters exclusive jurisdiction over such cases. v. amending Article 217 of the Labor Code. Dela Cerna cited by the petitioner is not applicable to the case at bar. Jurisdiction of Voluntary Arbitrators or panel of Voluntary Arbitrators. The lack of jurisdiction was cured by the issuance of the amendatory decree which is in the nature of a curative statute with retrospective application to a pending proceeding. According violations of a Collective Bargaining Agreement. finally. Court of Appeals. Unsubstantiated conclusions of bad faith and unjustified refusal to re-employ petitioners.O. In Briad. Executive Order No. With the amendments introduced by RA 6715. under present law. upon agreement of the parties. while that of the voluntary arbitrator is defined in this wise: Art. in view of the promulgation of Republic Act (R. sufficient details supporting the conclusion of bad faith and unjust refusal to re-employ petitioners must be indicated. 797 which created the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). Inc. challenged the jurisdiction of the Regional Director of the Department of Labor and Employment over cases involving workers' money claims. it can be gleaned that the Labor Arbiter still retains jurisdiction over ULP cases.O. The case of Briad Agro Development Corp. they fall under the exceptions to the rule on prospectivity of laws. . without which the complaint would be dismissible. the law in force at the time of the filing of the complaint. Herein lies the problem. may the Briad doctrine be applied to the instant case and cause its dismissal for want of jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC? Upon a careful and meticulous study of Briad. in Calderon v. Jurisdiction over other labor disputes. As in the instant case. The Court's appreciation of petitioners' cause of action is that. 1004). 797. — The Voluntary Arbitrator or panel of Voluntary Arbitrators. like its predecessors. the Court already made its pronouncement that RA 6715 is in the nature of a curative statute. the Court holds that the rationale behind it does not apply to the present case. ." At the time of the filing of the complaint. Laws should only be applied prospectively unless the legislative intent to give them retroactive effect is expressly declared or is necessarily implied from the language used. With the Briad ruling in place. For purposes of this article. 1989. given the foregoing considerations. vs. however. No.O. reconsidered and set aside its June 29 Decision and referred the case to the Labor Arbiter for proper proceedings. The Court dismissed the petition in its Decision dated June 29. in a Resolution. the same falls short of the special requirements necessary to make it cognizable by the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC. and the NLRC to exercise its appellate jurisdiction. 9657 (See 82 C. thus: It now appears that at the time this case was decided the lower court had jurisdiction over Velasco's complaint although at the time it was filed said court was not clothed with such jurisdiction. There is. 6715. 111." Hence. It ruled that the enactment of E. at the time private respondent filed his complaint against the petitioner. . has retroactive application." 15 which jurisdiction was originally conferred upon the Labor Arbiter. Although evidentiary matters are not required (and even discouraged) to be alleged in complaint. — The Voluntary Arbitrator or panel of Voluntary Arbitrators shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide all unresolved grievances arising from the interpretation or implementation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and those arising from the interpretation or enforcement of company personnel policies referred to in the immediately preceding article. still. shall no longer be treated as unfair labor practice but as grievances under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.(b) The Commission shall have exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all cases decided by Labor Arbiters. Thus. It is further stated that "gross violations of Collective Bargaining Agreement shall mean flagrant and/or malicious refusal to comply with the economic provisions of such agreement. However. like Civil Case No. Furthermore. AND (2) the violation pertains to the economic provisions of the CBA. No.
1 According to the Labor Arbiter: It should be stressed at this juncture that the labor relations system in the Philippines has no extraterritorial jurisdiction. therefore. until September 1999. There is here no overlapping of jurisdiction to speak of because matters involving interpretation and implementation of CBA provisions. but looks incredulously at such superficial moves. Atty. This Court.R. as amended by then Executive Order No. the underlying reason for applying RA 6715 retroactively was the fact that prior to its amendment. 111 and R. or househelper under the Code. as what in fact happened here. in case the dissolution took place midstream.) xxx In this case. The Court view it as merely a matter of change in policy of the lawmakers. Gutierrez who exclusively represented Philtread and that the law firm of Borreta. European Head of PCIBank. No. 1990. although by a Philippine Corporation. created a situation where the jurisdiction of the Regional Directors and the Labor Arbiters overlapped. Hence. 6715 are therefore curative statutes. It is well-settled doctrine that the basic premise for dismissal on the ground of loss of confidence is that the employee concerned holds a position of trust and confidence. this Office is inclined to rule in favor of the respondent. WHEREFORE. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and EQUITABLE PCI-BANK. why then did he use the firm's name. no longer being employed. Commodore Condominium Arquiza corner M. Similarly. the preliminary conferences adverted to by Atty. Like in Erectors. the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. and sought the dismissal of the complaint. is not impressed. (National Sugar Refineries Corporation vs. Borreta take fifteen days to file his Manifestation and inform the NLRC of the "improper" service of the resolution to him? Why did he not object immediately to the service by the bailiff? Considering that Atty.O. 1988. especially since the 1987 Constitution adheres to the preferential use of voluntary modes of dispute settlement. Gutierrez and Leogardo" whose address could be found at the "3rd Floor. while its resolution dated April 15.informing her that she was being dismissed due to loss of trust and confidence based on alleged mismanagement and misappropriation of funds. we uphold the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter which attached to this case at the time of its filing on December 5. The law at bar. instruments or acts of public authorities which would otherwise be void for want of conformity with certain existing legal requirements. transpired at around that date. . No.A. Complainant. all ULP cases were exclusively within the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter. This amendment. All other cases within the exclusive and original jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter. indeed. This situation was viewed as a defect in the law so that when RA No. Article 217 of the Labor Code. Gutierrez and Leogardo had been dissolved. As a lawyer. On this premise. filed by Atty. E. J. instead of the inherent defect in the law. A curative statute is enacted to cure defects in a prior law or to validate legal proceedings. The same thing cannot be said of the case at bar. Gutierrez cannot now blame the NLRC for serving its resolution at the address of the firm still on record. Since complainant was hired and assigned in a foreign land. must be applied retroactively. Gutierrez. is REINSTATED for immediate execution. alleging that she was initially employed by Equitable PCI-Bank (respondent) in 1990 as Italian Remittance Marketing Consultant to the Frankfurt Representative Office. it bears emphasizing. 1988. Assuming for the sake of argument that this Office has jurisdiction over this case. Presumably. 6715 was passed and delineated the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiters and Regional Directors. In other words. respondent's position paper). however. Gutierrez and Atty.A. G. It must be noted that the complaint of petitioners was filed on December 5. it was incumbent upon him not to have used the firm's name in the first place. Under R." If. 286 SCRA 478. What RA 6715 merely did was to re-apportion the jurisdiction over ULP cases by conferring exclusive jurisdiction over such ULP cases that do not involve gross violation of a CBA's economic provision upon the voluntary arbitrator. and April 7. 157376 October 2.the Senior Officer. Gutierrez. the conclusion that it was curative in nature and. this is not the first time that the Court refused to apply RA 6715 retroactively. the Court deemed it a rectification of such defect. this case should be dismissed for want of jurisdiction. are SET ASIDE. As for Atty. in the aforementioned notice to the NLRC? Moreover. Manila. and its new address at that. . (2) the claimant.: Corazon Sim (petitioner) filed a case for illegal dismissal with the Labor Arbiter. Hence. a further elucidation on the matter would be an exercise in futility. created a scenario where the Labor Arbiters and the Regional Directors of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) had overlapping jurisdiction over money claims. On September 3. the Labor Arbiter rendered its Decision dismissing the case for want of jurisdiction and/or lack of merit.Europe -. 16 Our previous decisions on whether to give it retroactive application or not depended to a great extent on what amended provisions were under consideration. notwithstanding the fact that a different law is involved. Borreta to have at least advised his former partner of the receipt of the resolution. Gutierrez supposedly declared that he was exclusively representing Philtread. 111. 797. the respondent company had strong reason to believe that the complainant was guilty of the offense charged against her. SIM. these excuses cannot camouflage the clever ploy of Philtread's counsel to earn a last chance to move for reconsideration. It is limited to the relationship between labor and capital within the Philippines. 6715 further amended Article 217 by delineating their respective jurisdictions. however. No. as well as the factual circumstances to which they were made to apply.3 . it behooves Atty. or he should have withdrawn the appearance of the firm and entered his own appearance. Eventually.000. R. The assailed resolutions of the NLRC dated November 18. hence. We do not see anything in the act of reapportioning jurisdiction curative of any defect in the law as it stood prior to the enactment of RA 6715. Guerrero Streets. respondents*. Respondent denied any employer-employee relationship between them. NLRC.A. Atty. why did Atty. 17 This. Gutierrez declared during the Labor Arbiter's proceedings that he was exclusively representing Philtread. must be the rationale that prompted the amendment. if the law firm of Borreta. is surprised to discover that the record bears a Notice of Change of Address dated March 12. the instant case presents no defect in the law requiring a remedy insofar as the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter and the Voluntary Arbitrator is concerned. Borreta. as General Manager is an employee whom the respondent company reposed its trust and confidence. where Atty. Borreta were once partners in their law firm. are lame excuses to cast doubt on the propriety of service to Atty. she held a position of trust. DECISION AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ.2 On appeal. and (3) the aggregate money claim of the employee or househelper does not exceed P5.concurrent jurisdiction over cases involving money claims. 1992. 1992. the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) affirmed the Labor Arbiter's Decision and dismissed petitioner's appeal for lack of merit. By failing to exercise either option.O.00. have always been determined by the Voluntary Arbitrator even prior to RA 6715. Ermita. In Briad. Borreta. the contention that it was Atty. 2001. E. is not a curative statute. the Italian law allegedly provides severance pay which was applied and extended to herein complainant (Annex "P". As a remedy. Actually. We do not find any reason why the Court should not apply the above ruling to the case at bar. As can be gleaned from the foregoing. indicating therein that the counsel for respondent (Philtread) was "Borreta. Gutierrez. 18 To our mind. she was promoted to Manager position. and Leogardo were really dissolved. petitioners. vs. as well as interpretation and enforcement of company personnel policies. . 6715. Finally. does not seek reinstatement. it follows that the law that govern their relationship is the law of the place where the employment was executed and her place of work or assignment. still. 1993. and Managing Director of PCIB. 2007 CORAZON C. The Court. his receipt of the adverse resolution should have alerted him of the adverse consequences which might follow if the same were not acted upon promptly. the Regional Director has exclusive original jurisdiction over cases involving money claims provided: (1) the claim is presented by an employer or person employed in domestic or household service. when she received a letter from Remegio David -. SO ORDERED.
If accompanied with a claim for reinstatement. including questions involving the legality of strikes and lockouts. (d) where. (g) where the proceedings in the lower court are a nullity for lack of due process. (f) where. Except claims for Employees Compensation. countered that at the time she withdrew said amount. Consequently. . Hence. never demandable as a matter of right. the Court of Appeals correctly dismissed the petition. (e) where petitioner was deprived of due process and there is extreme urgency for relief. hours of work and other terms and conditions of employment. she gives up some of the rigid guaranties available to ordinary workers. More so since petitioner failed to show any error on the part of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC in ruling that she was dismissed for cause. however. and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. A reading of the petition filed with the CA shows otherwise. do not fall within the exception from the filing of a motion for reconsideration. Under Rule 65. Claims for actual. hence.00) regardless of whether accompanied with a claim for reinstatement. Termination disputes. including those of persons in domestic or household service. (h) where the proceeding was ex parte or in which the petitioner had no opportunity to object. as where the court a quo has no jurisdiction. – (a) Except as otherwise provided under this Code the Labor Arbiters shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide. and (i) where the issue raised is one purely of law or public interest is involved. the present recourse under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. and there is a question of law where the doubt or difference arises as to what the law is on a certain state of facts. The issues raised in this case are mixed questions of fact and law. 217. moral. and valid reason for doing so. however. the CA4 dismissed the petition due to petitioner's nonfiling of a motion for reconsideration with the NLRC. which was affirmed by the NLRC. In fact. he who seeks a writ of certiorari must apply for it only in the manner and strictly in accordance with the provisions of the law and the Rules. A company's resort to acts of self-defense would be more easily justified.16 The Court notes. under the circumstances.11 (Emphasis supplied) Petitioner also contends that the issue at bench is purely a question of law. The legality of petitioner's dismissal hinges on the question of whether there was an employer-employee relationship. the Court notes that the petition filed before the CA failed to allege any reason why a motion for reconsideration was dispensed with by petitioner.5 Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but it was nonetheless denied by the CA per Resolution dated February 26. The National Labor Relations Commission decided a question of jurisdiction heretofore not yet determined by the Court and decided the same in a manner not in accord with law when it ruled that it had no jurisdiction over a labor dispute between a Philippine corporation and its employee which it assigned to work for a foreign land. These are mixed questions of fact and law and. as such. 2. Unfair labor practice cases. 2002. Medicare and maternity benefits. unless it is shown that grave abuse of discretion or lack or excess of jurisdiction has been committed by said quasi-judicial bodies.9 There are."17 Article 217 of the Labor Code provides for the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter and the National Labor Relations Commission. the radio program was already off the air. Court of Appeals: It must be emphasized that a writ of certiorari is a prerogative writ. and 6. loss of trust and confidence is a valid ground for her dismissal. The rule is that the Court is bound by the findings of facts of the Labor Arbiter or the NLRC. involving an amount of exceeding five thousand pesos (P5. In a Resolution dated October 29. It was wrong for the Labor Arbiter to rule that "labor relations system in the Philippines has no extra-territorial jurisdiction. whether agricultural or non-agricultural: 1. 14 The mere existence of a basis for believing that a managerial employee has breached the trust of the employer would suffice for his/her dismissal. within thirty (30) calendar days after the submission of the case by the parties for decision without extension. never issued except in the exercise of judicial discretion. 7 A "plain" and "adequate remedy" is a motion for reconsideration of the assailed order or resolution. There is a question of fact when doubt or difference arises as to the truth or falsehood of the alleged facts. of course. Infractions which if committed by others would be overlooked or condoned or penalties mitigated may be visited with more severe disciplinary action. rates of pay. committed a breach of trust and confidence justifying her dismissal. Respondent is a managerial employee. Respondent. 5. 10 Petitioner. exemplary and other forms of damages arising from the employeremployee relations. 2003. Petitioner argues that filing a motion for reconsideration with the NLRC would be merely an exercise in futility and useless. As stressed in Cervantes v. or any plain. also questions the NLRC's ruling affirming the Labor Arbiter's conclusion that she was validly dismissed by respondent. to wit: (a) where the order is a patent nullity. the filing of which is an indispensable condition to the filing of a special civil action for certiorari. But it is not for petitioner to determine whether it is so. Social Security.000. or are the same as those raised and passed upon in the lower court. which was denied by respondent. viz. indeed. however.Without filing a motion for reconsideration with the NLRC. a motion for reconsideration would be useless. relief from an order of arrest is urgent and the granting of such relief by the trial court is improbable. (b) where the questions raised in the certiorari proceedings have been duly raised and passed upon by the lower court.000. in a criminal case. II.15 [w]hen an employee accepts a promotion to a managerial position or to an office requiring full trust and confidence.8 This is to give the lower court the opportunity to correct itself. What petitioner submits is that she used said amount for the Radio Pilipinas sa Roma radio program of the company. with regard to the issue on jurisdiction. arising from employer-employee relations. an exception to the rule. compelling. exceptions to the foregoing rule. Cases arising from any violation of Article 264 of this Code. Thus.Petitioner may not arrogate to himself the determination of whether a motion for reconsideration is necessary or not. petitioner must show a concrete. Jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters and the Commission. To dispense with the requirement of filing a motion for reconsideration. 4. the remedy of filing a special civil action for certiorari is available only when there is no appeal. are bereft of sufficient substantiation. whether petitioner.00 lire from the bank's account. (c) where there is an urgent necessity for the resolution of the question and any further delay would prejudice the interests of the Government or of the petitioner or the subject matter of the action is perishable. even in the absence of stenographic notes. speedy. and.13 The Court will not deviate from said doctrine without any clear showing that the findings of the Labor Arbiter. the CA was not in error when it dismissed the petition. 3. It was only in her motion for reconsideration of the CA's resolution of dismissal and in the petition filed in this case that petitioner justified her non-filing of a motion for reconsideration. The Court of Appeals departed from the accepted and usual concepts of remedial law when it ruled that the petitioner should have first filed a Motion for Reconsideration with the National Labor Relations Commission. Hence. as affirmed by the NLRC. petitioner went to the Court of Appeals (CA) via a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. all other claims. failed to qualify her case as among the few exceptions. Petitioner alleges that: I.: ART. which petitioner failed to do.000. Petitioner does not deny having withdrawn the amount of P3. Thus. 12 Petitioner. a palpable error in the Labor Arbiter's disposition of the case.6 The pivotal question that needs to be resolved is whether or not a prior motion for reconsideration is indispensable for the filing of a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court with the CA. if in the affirmative. the following cases involving all workers. aside from questioning the ruling of the NLRC sustaining the Labor Arbiter's view that it does not have any jurisdiction over the case. those cases that workers may file involving wage.
1993. Respondents. and regulate the relations between workers and employers. The appellate court granted the petition filed by Fe Gerong (Gerong) and Spouses Bienvenido and Editha Broqueza (spouses Broqueza) and dismissed the consolidated complaints filed by Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. Gerong and Editha Broqueza’s termination from employment resulted in the loss of continued benefits under their retirement plans.780. 52400. The appellate court reversed and set aside the Decision3 of Branch 139 of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City (RTC) in Civil Case No. and considering that the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC's factual findings as regards the validity of petitioner's dismissal are accorded great weight and respect and even finality when the same are supported by substantial evidence. moral. 1991.: G. On December 12.000. 8042. the loans are immediately demandable. and just and humane conditions of work [Article 3 of the Labor Code of the Philippines. On 19 September 1996. including termination disputes involving all workers. 00-787 dated 11 December 2000. Article II and Section 3. among whom are overseas Filipino workers.) No. LTD. the petition is DENIED. acting through its Board of Trustees and represented by Alejandro L. 62685.A. SPOUSES BIENVENIDO AND EDITHA BROQUEZA.A.6 HSBCL-SRP. 52911 against Gerong.. WHEREFORE. No. Also. among whom are petitioners Editha Broqueza and Fe Gerong. Demands to pay the respective obligations were made upon petitioners. Thus. Retirement Trust Fund. The dispositive portion of the MeTC’s decision reads: WHEREFORE. This pronouncement is in keeping with the basic public policy of the State to afford protection to labor. 178610 is a petition for review1 assailing the Decision2 promulgated on 30 March 2006 by the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. Meanwhile [in 1993]. Article XIII. The employees then filed an illegal dismissal case before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) against HSBC. No. No.(b) The commission shall have exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all cases decided by Labor Arbiters. Under these provisions. vs. The Facts The appellate court narrated the facts as follows: Petitioners Gerong and [Editha] Broqueza (defendants below) are employees of Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC). — Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary. all Filipino workers enjoy the protective mantle of Philippine labor and social legislation. 178610 November 17. Employees Union. HSBCLSRP filed Civil Case No. Money Claims. promote full employment. Majority of HSBC’s employees were terminated. Gerong’s case was docketed Civil Case No. Thus.R. subject to the rules and procedures of the NLRC. petitioner Gerong applied and was granted an emergency loan in the amount of Php35. SO ORDERED.00. SO ORDERED. the RTC affirmed the MeTC’s decision in toto. Staff Retirement Plan (HSBCL-SRP. The HSBCL-SRP is a retirement plan established by HSBC through its Board of Trustees for the benefit of the employees. On 11 December 2000. This ruling is likewise rendered imperative by Article 17 of the Civil Code which states that laws "which have for their object public order. Section 62 of the Omnibus Rules and Regulations Implementing R. Both suits were civil actions for recovery and collection of sums of money. security of tenure. vs. race or creed. petitioners were not able to pay the monthly amortizations of their respective loans. As unsecured and pure obligations. 3. et al.344. The Regional Trial Court’s Ruling The RTC initially denied the joint appeal because of the belated filing of Gerong and the spouses Broqueza’s memorandum. entitledHongkong Shanghai Banking Corp. On the other hand. as well as its Order 4 dated 5 September 2000. while the spouses Broqueza’s case was docketed as Civil Case No. DECISION CARPIO. Ltd.00 at six percent interest per annum from the time of demand and in Civil Case No. National Labor Relations Commission. it is clear that labor arbiters have original and exclusive jurisdiction over claims arising from employer-employee relations. 1990. 52400 against the spouses Broqueza on 31 July 1996. To pay the amount of Php20. See also Section 18. The Metropolitan Trial Court’s Ruling On 28 December 1999.00 on June 2. she again applied and was granted an appliance loan in the amount of Php24. Because of their dismissal. On October 1. For the State assures the basic rights of all workers to self-organization. collective bargaining. Staff Retirement Plan (HSBCL-SRP) for recovery of sum of money. G. exemplary and other forms of damages. In Civil Case No. ensure equal work opportunities regardless of sex.18 provides: SECTION 10.000. 52911.00. since the CA did not commit any error in dismissing the petition before it for failure to file a prior motion for reconsideration with the NLRC. or by determination or conventions agreed upon in a foreign country. SP No. moral. a labor dispute arose between HSBC and its employees.000. Costs against petitioner. CV No. Cost of suit. Custodio. exemplary and other forms of damages. et al. to pay the amount of Php116.12 at six percent per annum from the time of the filing of these cases. public policy and good customs shall not be rendered ineffective by laws or judgments promulgated. 52400 for Recovery of a Sum of Money.00 each as reasonable attorney’s fees. the claims arising out of an employer-employee relationship or by virtue of any law or contract involving Filipino workers for overseas deployment including claims for actual. 56797. petitioner [Editha] Broqueza obtained a car loan in the amount of Php175. the loans secured by their future retirement benefits to which they are no longer entitled are reduced to unsecured and pure civil obligations. the MeTC promulgated its Decision7 in favor of HSBCL-SRP. until the amount is fully paid. filed Civil Case No. ordering the latter: 1.R. plaintiff below). or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995. contract stipulations to the contrary notwithstanding. Moreover.20 In Philippine National Bank v." 21 (Emphasis supplied) In any event. within ninety (90) calendar days after the filing of the complaint. the Labor Arbiters of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) shall have the original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide. the Court pronounced: x x x Whether employed locally or overseas. Section 10 of Republic Act (R. 2010 HONGKONG AND SHANGHAI BANKING CORP. the Court finds no compelling reason to relax the rule on the filing of a motion for reconsideration prior to the filing of a petition for certiorari. The MeTC ruled that the nature of HSBCL-SRP’s demands for payment is civil and has no connection to the ongoing labor dispute. These loans are paid through automatic salary deduction.740. 2. 8042 19 provides that the Labor Arbiters of the NLRC shall have the original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide all claims arising out of employer-employee relationship or by virtue of any law or contract involving Filipino workers for overseas deployment including claims for actual. the Court finds that the plaintiff was able to prove by a preponderance of evidence the existence and immediate demandability of the defendants’ loan obligations as judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendants in both cases. respondent HSBCL-SRP considered the accounts of petitioners delinquent. The RTC’s decision affirmed the Decision5 dated 28 December 1999 of Branch 61 of the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of Makati City in Civil Case No. 00-787.) Petitioner. The legality or illegality of such termination is now pending before this appellate Court in CA G. to pay the amount of Php25. They are also members of respondent Hongkong Shanghai Banking Corporation. Cabansag. 00-786. STAFF RETIREMENT PLAN. premises considered and in view of the foregoing.R. but they failed to pay. J. Inc. Ltd.R. The RTC later reconsidered the order of denial and resolved the issues in the interest of justice.8 Gerong and the spouses Broqueza filed a joint appeal of the MeTC’s decision before the RTC. 1987 Constitution].9 .
we apply the first paragraph of Article 1179 of the Civil Code: Art. CRESENCIO. HSBCL-SRP can immediately demand payment of the loans at anytime because the obligation to pay has no period. Every obligation whose performance does not depend upon a future or uncertain event. we GRANT the petition. 1996. which HSBC collected through payroll check-off. Section 144. HSBCL-SRP has a legal right to demand immediate settlement of the unpaid balance because of Gerong and Editha Broqueza’s continued default in payment and their failure to provide new security for their loans. SO ORDERED. MARIANNE V. The decision of Branch 139 of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City in Civil Case No.M. In case of judicial execution. HSBCL-SRP made a demand to enforce a pure obligation. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. as well as the decision of Branch 61 of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Makati City in Civil Case No. respondent and FASAP entered into a Collective Bargaining Agreement3 incorporating the terms and conditions of their agreement for the years 2000 to 2005. SO ORDERED. 52400 against the spouses Bienvenido and Editha Broqueza. the spouses Broqueza admitted that prior to Editha Broqueza’s dismissal from HSBC in December 1993. As a consequence. G. NOEMI R. the fulfillment of which are demandable at once. In a Resolution 13 of this Court dated 10 September 2007. We agree with the rulings of the MeTC and the RTC. the assailed Decision of the RTC is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. and in such a case our liability shall remain joint and several. Costs against respondents. On July 11. TUGAS. MARY CHRISTINE A. SP No. Editha Broqueza. payable monthly. her obligation to pay the loans will be suspended. and considered the case against Gerong closed and terminated.00) as and for attorney’s fees in addition to expenses and costs of suit.R.R. there is no longer any security for the loans. The Ruling of the Court of Appeals On 30 March 2006. M. (Emphasis supplied. No. MA. KATINDIG. DECISION PERALTA. The spouses Broqueza’s obligation to pay HSBCL-SRP is a pure obligation. a labor organization certified as the sole and exclusive certified as the sole and exclusive bargaining representative of the flight attendants. the spouses Broqueza have already incurred in default in paying the monthly installments. For the Cabin Attendants hired before 22 November 1996: xxxx 3. 14 The Court’s Ruling The petition is meritorious.: Before this Court is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking to annul and set aside the Decision1 and the Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. defaulted in her monthly loan payment due to her dismissal. granted the motion. The loan obligations are considered pure obligations. the absence of a period within which to pay the loan allows HSBCL-SRP to demand immediate payment. Moreover. SP. the enforcement of a loan agreement involves "debtor-creditor relations founded on contract and does not in any way concern employee relations. no cause of action accrued in favor of HSBCL-SRP.The RTC ruled that Gerong and Editha Broqueza’s termination from employment disqualified them from availing of benefits under their retirement plans. ROSE ANNA G. The Court of Appeals has departed from the accepted and usual course of judicial proceedings in reversing the decision of the Regional Trial Court and the Metropolitan Trial Court. CYNTHIA A. The RTC is correct in ruling that since the Promissory Notes do not contain a period. Thus."16A definite amount is paid to HSBCL-SRP on a specific date. Issues HSBCL-SRP enumerated the following grounds to support its Petition: I. Section 12 of the Rules of Court.11 HSBCL-SRP filed a motion for reconsideration which the CA denied for lack of merit in its Resolution12promulgated on 19 June 2007. upon written notice. Finally. Editha Broqueza authorized HSBCL-SRP to make deductions from her payroll until her loans are fully paid. the payroll deduction is merely a convenient mode of payment and not the sole source of payment for the loans. HSBCL-SRP filed a manifestation withdrawing the petition against Gerong because she already settled her obligations. VICTA. PULIDO. is demandable at once. I/WE _____ jointly and severally promise to pay to THE HSBC RETIREMENT PLAN (hereinafter called the "PLAN") at its office in the Municipality of Makati. Petitioners were employed as female flight attendants of respondent Philippine Airlines (PAL) on different dates prior to November 22. VILLARETE. As such it should be enforced through a separate civil action in the regular courts and not before the Labor Arbiter. HSBCL-SRP never agreed that the loans will be paid only through salary deductions. however.) We affirm the findings of the MeTC and the RTC that there is no date of payment indicated in the Promissory Notes. LORNA B. 2009 PATRICIA HALAGUEÑA. Article 1179 of the Civil Code applies. PHILIPPINE AIRLINES INCORPORATED. Metro Manila. with interest from date hereof at the rate of Six per cent (6%) per annum. Moreover. Petitioners.1avvphi1 In case collection is made by or through an attorney. J. she "religiously paid the loan amortizations. The CA ruled that the HSBCL-SRP’s complaints for recovery of sum of money against Gerong and the spouses Broqueza are premature as the loan obligations have not yet matured. 172013 October 2. The Court of Appeals has decided a question of substance in a way not in accord with law and applicable decisions of this Honorable Court. hereinafter referred to as PAL-FASAP CBA. 00-787. provides that: A. the CA rendered its Decision 10 which reversed the 11 December 2000 Decision of the RTC. HSBCL-SRP has the right to demand immediate payment. On 6 August 2007. Neither did HSBCL-SRP agree that if Editha Broqueza ceases to be an employee of HSBC. on or before until fully paid the sum of PESOS ___ (P___) Philippine Currency without discount. 62685 promulgated on 30 March 2006 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE.R. BERNADETTE A. Gerong and the spouses Broqueza then filed a Petition for Review under Rule 42 before the CA. In their Answer. Once Editha Broqueza defaulted in her monthly payment. or upon a past event unknown to the parties." 17 WHEREFORE. I/WE hereby jointly and severally waive our rights under the provisions of Rule 39. and II. vs. ____ 19__ FOR VALUE RECEIVED. x x x. SANTIAGO. I/WE agree that the PLAN may. TERESITA P. STEHMEIER. The Promissory Notes uniformly provide: PROMISSORY NOTE P_____ Makati. The fact that HSBCL-SRP was content with the prior monthly check-off from Editha Broqueza’s salary is of no moment. CABALQUINTO. They are members of the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP). I/WE hereby expressly consent to any extensions or renewals hereof for a portion or whole of the principal without notice to the other(s). flight stewards and pursers of respondent. Respondent. I/WE jointly and severally agree to pay ten percent (10%) of the amount due on this note (but in no case less than P200. No. ANGELITA L. The dispositive portion of the appellate court’s Decision reads as follows: WHEREFORE. MA. 1179. 2001. and other flight attendants of PHILIPPINE AIRLINES. Compulsory Retirement . Despite the spouses Broqueza’s protestations. this Court treated the manifestation as a motion to withdraw the petition against Gerong. Part A of the PAL-FASAP CBA. 86813. A new one is hereby rendered DISMISSING the consolidated complaints for recovery of sum of money. are AFFIRMED.15 In ruling for HSBCL-SRP. increase the interest rate stipulated in this note at any time depending on prevailing conditions.
In a letter dated July 22. Petitioners have the constitutional right to fundamental equality with men under Section 14. but also because it highlights the fact that twenty-three years after the Philippine Senate ratified the CEDAW. the Labor Code. but must also implement measures towards its elimination. The petition is meritorious. This demand was reiterated in a letter 5 by petitioners' counsel addressed to respondent demanding the removal of gender discrimination provisions in the coming re-negotiations of the PAL-FASAP CBA. as the controversy partakes of a labor dispute. with the allegations in the Petition constituting the bases for such relief sought. Part A of the PAL-FASAP CBA. and the CEDAW. The RTC reasoned that: In the instant case. in violation of the Constitution. 1987 of the Constitution and.13 which was denied by the CA in its Resolution dated March 7. 2004. It further prayed that the (1) petitioners' application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction be denied. consequently. at the soonest possible time. Jurisdiction of the court is determined on the basis of the material allegations of the complaint and the character of the relief prayed for irrespective of whether plaintiff is entitled to such relief. against respondent for the invalidity of Section 144. 04-886. On September 27. including our courts. the thrust of the Petition is Sec. This case is not directed specifically against respondent arising from any act of the latter. "CEDAW"). discrimination against women continues. on the other hand. thus. even criminal. 2004. not only must condemn all forms of discrimination against women. orders and processes it has so far issued therein are ANNULED and SET ASIDE. for an employer to discriminate against women employees with respect to terms and conditions of employment solely on account of their sex under Article 135 of the Labor Code as amended by Republic Act No. Part A of the PAL-FASAP CBA. Section 114. 28. docketed as Civil Case No. x x x. with the male cabin attendants of Philippine Airlines. Petitioners have the statutory right to equal work and employment opportunities with men under Article 3. the petitioners pray that judgment be rendered on the merits declaring Section 144. On July 29. Petitioners submit that the RTC has jurisdiction in all civil actions in which the subject of the litigation is incapable of pecuniary estimation and in all cases not within the exclusive jurisdiction of any court. For being patently unconstitutional and unlawful. On August 9. Part A of the PAL-FASAP CBA null and void.Subject to the grooming standards provisions of this Agreement. 37. dated August 31. the labor arbiter or the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) has no jurisdiction over the case and. Part A of the PAL-FASAP CBA. 2004. Respondent. 144. Robert D. Part A of the PAL-FASAP 20002005 CBA must be declared invalid and stricken down to the extent that it discriminates against petitioner. The pertinent portion of the petition recites: CAUSE OF ACTION 24. 14 In the case at bar. Branch 147. Part A of the PAL-FASAP CBA. There is no reasonable. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration. and (2) the petition be dismissed or the proceedings in this case be suspended. 6725 or the Act Strengthening Prohibition on Discrimination Against Women. Part A of the PAL-FASAP 2000-20005 CBA on compulsory retirement from service is invidiously discriminatory against and manifestly prejudicial to Petitioners because. The CA rendered a Decision. The RTC set a hearing on petitioners' application for a TRO and. The dispute concerns the terms and conditions of petitioners' employment in PAL. and demanded for an equal treatment with their male counterparts. person or body exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions. 33. filed a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with Prayer for a Temporary Restraining Order and Writ of Preliminary Injunction 12 with the Court of Appeals (CA) praying that the order of the RTC. This discrimination against Petitioners is likewise against the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (hereafter. 144 of the subject CBA which is allegedly discriminatory as it discriminates against female flight attendants.4 petitioners and several female cabin crews manifested that the aforementioned CBA provision on compulsory retirement is discriminatory. 27. respondent alleged that petitioners' prayer before this Court to resolve their petition for declaratory relief on the merits is procedurally improper and baseless. 26. differentiate or classify cabin attendants on the basis of sex and thereby arbitrarily set a lower compulsory retirement age of 55 for Petitioners for the sole reason that they are women. Presidential Decree No. 2003. it has the power to decide issues of constitutionality or legality of the provisions of Section 144. 31. respondent. Rather. Regular courts have no power to set and fix the terms and conditions of employment. 04-886. thereafter. within the specific context of this case. with the male cabin attendants of Philippine Airlines. Respondent court is ordered to DISMISS its Civil Case No. much less lawful. Anduiza. 2005. Hence. 2006. This case is a matter of public interest not only because of Philippine Airlines' violation of the Constitution and existing laws. the RTC issued an Order 11 directing the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction enjoining the respondent or any of its agents and representatives from further implementing Sec. 2004. all the proceedings. On July 12. compulsory retirement shall be fifty-five (55) for females and sixty (60) for males. The respondent filed an omnibus motion 10 seeking reconsideration of the order overruling its objection to the jurisdiction of the RTC the lifting of the TRO. granting the respondent's petition. As the issue involved is constitutional in character. President of FASAP submitted their 2004-2005 CBA proposals6 and manifested their willingness to commence the collective bargaining negotiations between the management and the association. within the specific context of this case. The RTC issued a TRO on August 10. the RTC issued an Order 8 upholding its jurisdiction over the present case. this case seeks a declaration of the nullity of the questioned provision of the CBA. Finally. petitioners filed a Special Civil Action for Declaratory Relief with Prayer for the Issuance of Temporary Restraining Order and Writ of Preliminary Injunction 7 with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City. 2004. tribunal. Article II. which denied its objection to its jurisdiction. which is within the Court's competence. basis for Philippine Airlines to distinguish. nor does it involve a claim against the respondent. The Labor Code and.9 enjoining the respondent for implementing Section 144. The main issue in this case is whether the RTC has jurisdiction over the petitioners' action challenging the legality or constitutionality of the provisions on the compulsory retirement age contained in the CBA between respondent PAL and FASAP. be annuled and set aside for having been issued without and/or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. Part A of the PAL-FASAP CBA pending the resolution of the case. the instant petition assigning the following error: THE COURT OF APPEALS' CONCLUSION THAT THE SUBJECT MATTER IS A LABOR DISPUTE OR GRIEVANCE IS CONTRARY TO LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE. and ruled that: WHEREFORE. SO ORDERED. they are compelled to retire at a lower age (fifty-five (55) relative to their male counterparts (sixty (60). the allegations in the petition for declaratory relief plainly show that petitioners' cause of action is the annulment of Section 144. . required the parties to submit their respective memoranda. alleges that the labor tribunals have jurisdiction over the present case. Accordingly. the respondent court is by us declared to have NO JURISDICTION OVER THE CASE BELOW and. 29. Section 114. The RTC has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of petitioners' petition for declaratory relief because the Voluntary Arbitrator or panel of Voluntary Arbitrators have original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide all unresolved grievances arising from the interpretation or implementation of the CBA. 2004. on October 8. a multilateral convention that the Philippines ratified in 1981. 442. The Government and its agents. The allegations in the Petition do not make out a labor dispute arising from employer-employee relationship as none is shown to exist. Aggrieved. It is unlawful. specifically their retirement age. The RTC has the power to adjudicate all controversies except those expressly witheld from the plenary powers of the court.
Here. It may. Part A of the PAL-FASAP CBA. the jurisdiction over the dispute belongs to the regular courts of justice and not to the labor arbiter and the NLRC. Petitioners submit that the suspension was inordinately long. The dispute has to be settled before an impartial body. Thus. Clearly. this Court denied the petition for certiorari.. the employer-employee relationship between the parties is merely incidental and the cause of action ultimately arose from different sources of obligation.e. But the resolution of the validity or voidness of the contracts remains a legal or judicial question as it requires the exercise of judicial function. Clearly. the creeping take-over by the administrative agencies of the judicial power vested in the courts would render the judiciary virtually impotent in the discharge of the duties assigned to it by the Constitution. 15 Being an ordinary civil action. it does not necessarily follow that a resolution of controversy that would bring about a change in the terms and conditions of employment is a labor dispute. as it is like vesting power to someone who cannot wield it. The complaint was not merely for the determination of rights under the mining contracts since the very validity of those contracts is put in issue.22 after Philippine Airlines (PAL) and PAL Employees Association (PALEA) entered into an agreement. Applying the same rationale to the case at bar. exclusively cognizable by the RTC. the Constitution and CEDAW. This would also relieve the regular courts of a substantial number of cases that would otherwise swell their already clogged dockets. Petitioners should be adjudged and declared entitled. the interpretation and application of those laws. to work until they are sixty (60) years old. 04-886 is the annulment of Section 144. ruling that there is available to petitioners a plain. is but a necessary and unavoidable consequence of the principal relief sought. then which tribunal or forum shall determine the constitutionality or legality of the assailed CBA provision? This Court holds that the grievance machinery and voluntary arbitrators do not have the power to determine and settle the issues at hand. which includes the provision to suspend the PAL-PALEA CBA for 10 years. NULL and VOID to the extent that it discriminates against Petitioners. to insure a more knowledgeable solution of the problems submitted to them.38.21 this Court emphasized the primacy of the regular court's judicial power enshrined in the Constitution that is true that the trend is towards vesting administrative bodies like the SEC with the power to adjudicate matters coming under their particular specialization. petitioners' proper remedy is an ordinary civil action for annulment of contract. it is most respectfully prayed that the Honorable Court: c. No grievance between them exists which could be brought to a grievance machinery. i. in effect. not in labor management relations nor in wage structures and other terms and conditions of employment.. Although the CBA provides for a procedure for the adjustment of grievances. on the other hand.20 this Court affirmed the jurisdiction of courts over questions on constitutionality of contracts. where the principal relief sought is to be resolved not by reference to the Labor Code or other labor relations statute or a collective bargaining agreement but by the general civil law. Not every controversy or money claim by an employee against the employer or vice-versa is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the labor arbiter. In Georg Grotjahn GMBH & Co. such referral to the grievance machinery and thereafter to voluntary arbitration would be inappropriate to the petitioners. x x x x From the petitioners' allegations and relief prayed for in its petition. Otherwise.19 If We divest the regular courts of jurisdiction over the case. and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. Part A of the PAL-FASAP CBA is unlawful and unconstitutional. speedy. PALEA. It is unfair to preclude petitioners from invoking the trial court's jurisdiction merely because it may eventually result into a change of the terms and conditions of employment.. In such situations. Jr. such claims fall outside the area of competence or expertise ordinarily ascribed to labor arbiters and the NLRC and the rationale for granting jurisdiction over such claims to these agencies disappears. way beyond the maximum statutory life of 5 years for a CBA provided for in Article 253-A of the Labor Code. The said issue cannot be resolved solely by applying the Labor Code. Rather. the same is beyond the jurisdiction of labor tribunals. The grievance machinery with members designated by the union and the company cannot be expected to be impartial against the dismissed employees.. Actions between employees and employer where the employer-employee relationship is merely incidental and the cause of action precedes from a different source of obligation is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the regular court. other labor statutes. In the instant case. v. the dispute is not a mining conflict. In that case. Along that line. Thus. Due process demands that the dismissed workers’ grievances be ventilated before an impartial body. The change in the terms and conditions of employment. the petitioners' primary relief in Civil Case No. In Gonzales v. like their male counterparts. PRAYER WHEREFORE.e. because the union and the management have unanimously agreed to the terms of the CBA and their interest is unified. Isnani. nullification of the alleged discriminatory provision in the CBA. Their exercise of jurisdiction is futile. It requires the ascertainment of what laws are applicable to the dispute. several employees questioned its validity via a petition for certiorari directly to the Supreme Court. v. NLRC. Accordingly. abdicated the workers' constitutional right to bargain for another CBA at the mandated time. after trial on the merits: (I) declare Section 114. but rather in the application of the general civil law. a court of general jurisdiction. cognizable by labor tribunals. By agreeing to a 10-year suspension. law on contracts and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. To be sure. involve questions of fact especially with regard to the determination of the circumstances of the execution of the contracts. Climax Mining Ltd. But as expedient as this policy may be. i. in some instances. both the union and the company are united or have come to an agreement regarding the dismissal of private respondents. Part A of the PAL-FASAP 2000-2005 CBA INVALID.23 this Court held that: x x x Hence. as the same involves the exercise of judicial power. it requires the application of the Constitution. They said that the suspension was unconstitutional and contrary to public policy. it cannot be said that the "dispute" is between the union and petitioner company because both have previously agreed upon the provision on . The Court said: Whether the case involves void or voidable contracts is still a judicial question. Saura. Espiritu. its object was actually the nullification of the PAL-PALEA agreement. it should not deprive the courts of justice of their power to decide ordinary cases in accordance with the general laws that do not require any particular expertise or training to interpret and apply. The problem or dispute in the present case is between the union and the company on the one hand and some union and non-union members who were dismissed. only disputes involving the union and the company shall be referred to the grievance machinery or voluntary arbitrators. labor statutes. as amended. In Saura v. In Pantranco North Express. It is essentially judicial. the trial court is not asked to set and fix the terms and conditions of employment. and the rendering of a judgment based thereon. They have no jurisdiction and competence to decide constitutional issues relative to the questioned compulsory retirement age.17 this Court held that not every dispute between an employer and employee involves matters that only labor arbiters and the NLRC can resolve in the exercise of their adjudicatory or quasi-judicial powers. 18 Here. consistent with the constitutional and statutory guarantee of equality between men and women.16 and the power to apply and interpret the constitution and CEDAW is within the jurisdiction of trial courts.. or their collective bargaining agreement. in Rivera v. pursuant to Section 19 (1) of Batas Pambansa Blg. should Section 144 of the CBA be held invalid. which allegedly discriminates against them for being female flight attendants. but is called upon to determine whether CBA is consistent with the laws. an action which properly falls under the jurisdiction of the regional trial courts. Inc. x x x . 129. The Court said that while the petition was denominated as one for certiorari and prohibition. resolution of the dispute requires expertise. As such. The subject of litigation is incapable of pecuniary estimation. The jurisdiction of labor arbiters and the NLRC under Article 217 of the Labor Code is limited to disputes arising from an employer-employee relationship which can only be resolved by reference to the Labor Code. it is clear that the issue raised is whether Section 144.
the utilization of the grievance machinery or voluntary arbitration would be pointless. The rule is settled that pure questions of fact may not be the proper subject of an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court. Slimmers World preventively suspended Okol. 2009 LESLIE OKOL. especially provisions relating to matters affected with public policy. the petition is PARTLY GRANTED.. public order or public policy."compulsory retirement" as embodied in the CBA. Besides. since a contract is the law between the parties. endeavored to adjust. dated August 31. Inc.25 this Court held that: The principle of party autonomy in contracts is not. A perusal of the petition before Us. If the retirement provisions in the CBA run contrary to law. This mode of appeal is generally limited only to questions of law which must be distinctly set forth in the petition. Put a little differently. On 19 September 1999. contract. The shipment of the equipment was placed under the names of Okol and two customs brokers for a value less than US$500. applying the principle in the aforementioned case cited. The dispute is between respondent PAL and several female flight attendants who questioned the provision on compulsory retirement of female flight attendants. G. to say the least.24 The provision regarding the compulsory retirement of flight attendants is not ambiguous and does not require interpretation. which jurisdiction to hear the same is properly lodged with the the RTC. vs. No. FASAP." Thus. Slimmers World terminated Okol’s employment. J. The Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals. respectively. of our Civil Code is that the contracting parties may establish such stipulations as they may deem convenient. such provisions may very well be voided. is not merely contractual in nature but impressed with public interest. Part A of the PAL-FASAP CBA is discriminatory or not is a question of fact. SLIMMERS WORLD INTERNATIONAL. Further. Slimmers World found Okol’s explanation to be unsatisfactory. in a letter dated July 12. FASAP's attempt to change the questioned provision was shallow and superficial.Respondents. Inc. Through a letter dated 22 September 1999 signed by its president Ronald Joseph Moy (Moy).: The Case Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari1 assailing the Decision2 dated 18 October 2002 and Resolution dated 22 September 2003 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. SP. petitioners sought relief before this Court through the instant petition for review under Rule 45. On 28 July 1999. because it exerted no further efforts to pursue its proposal. Thus. Petitioner. However. BEHAVIOR MODIFICATIONS.R. Also. This would require the presentation and reception of evidence by the parties in order for the trial court to ascertain the facts of the case and whether said provision violates the Constitution. submitted its association's bargaining proposal for the remaining period of 2004-2005 of the PAL-FASAP CBA. 160146 December 11. Neither is there any question regarding the implementation of the subject CBA provision. On 17 September 1999. referral to the grievance machinery and voluntary arbitration would not serve the interest of the petitioners. 69893. A full-blown trial is necessary. an absolute principle. prior to Okol’s dismissal. SP No. When the CA annuled and set aside the RTC's order. Okol received a memorandum that her suspension had been extended from 2 September until 1 October 1999 pending the outcome of the investigation on the Precor equipment importation. Interpretation. are deemed written into the contract. For being undervalued. The Supreme Court is not a trier of facts. a remand of this case to the RTC for the proper determination of the merits of the petition for declaratory relief is just and proper. who have both previously agreed upon the provision on the compulsory retirement of female flight attendants as embodied in the CBA. 2006. On 2 September 1999. INC. A CBA. good customs. in CA-G. morals. 1996. which set aside the Resolutions dated 29 May 2001 and 21 December 2001 of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). 86813 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. "provided they are not contrary to law. it was only private respondent on his own who questioned the compulsory retirement. x x x. In the same vein. In Pakistan International Airlines Corporation v. This Court is not persuaded. However. When petitioners in their individual capacities questioned the legality of the compulsory retirement in the CBA before the trial court.27 It should not be taken to mean that retirement provisions agreed upon in the CBA are absolutely beyond the ambit of judicial review and nullification. is the art of or process of discovering and ascertaining the meaning of a statute. The rule in Article 1306. Although it is a rule that a contract freely entered between the parties should be respected. No. 2004. there was no showing that FASAP. Branch 147 is DIRECTED to continue the proceedings in Civil Case No. Part A of PAL-FASAP CBA when several of its female flight attendants reached the compulsory retirement age of 55. the issue in the petition for certiorari brought before the CA by the respondent was the alleged exercise of grave abuse of discretion of the RTC in taking cognizance of the case for declaratory relief. 28 Finally. Okol filed her written explanation. 2005 and March 7. Okol filed a complaint3 with the Arbitration branch of the NLRC against Slimmers World. and RONALD JOSEPH MOY.1avvphi1 WHEREFORE. the governing principle is that parties may not contract away applicable provisions of law especially peremptory provisions dealing with matters heavily impressed with public interest. petitioners pray for the declaration of the alleged discriminatory provision in the CBA against its female flight attendants. because the manner of implementing the same is clear in itself. The law relating to labor and employment is clearly such an area and parties are not at liberty to insulate themselves and their relationships from the impact of labor laws and regulations by simply contracting with each other. counter-balancing the principle of autonomy of contracting parties is the equally general rule that provisions of applicable law. the dispute in the case at bar is not between FASAP and respondent PAL. 04-886 with deliberate dispatch. DECISION CARPIO. which includes the renegotiation of the subject Section 144. and Moy (collectively called respondents) for illegal suspension. Behavior Modifications. said rule is not absolute. The only controversy lies in its intrinsic validity. as their representative. addressed to PAL. Okol received another memorandum from Slimmers World requiring her to explain why no disciplinary action should be taken against her in connection with the equipment seized by the Bureau of Customs. however. particularly those employed before November 22. The trial court in this case is not asked to interpret Section 144. (Slimmers World) employed petitioner Leslie Okol (Okol) as a management trainee on 15 June 1992. settle or negotiate with PAL for the removal of the difference in compulsory age retirement between its female and male flight attendants. Without FASAP's active participation on behalf of its female flight attendants. They are so impressed with public interest that labor contracts must yield to the common good. these are imbued with public interest and therefore are subject to the police power of the state. The Regional Trial Court of Makati City.29 The question as to whether said Section 114. the relations between capital and labor are not merely contractual. The Facts Respondent Slimmers World International operating under the name Behavior Modifications. Part A of the PAL-FASAP CBA. Ople. SO ORDERED.R. statutes and treaties. a referral of the case to the grievance machinery and to the voluntary arbitrator under the CBA would be futile because respondent already implemented Section 114. illegal dismissal. the equipment were seized. or other written document. as a labor contract. Moreover. will.R. The suspension arose from the seizure by the Bureau of Customs of seven Precor elliptical machines and seven Precor treadmills belonging to or consigned to Slimmers World. She rose up the ranks to become Head Office Manager and then Director and Vice President from 1996 until her dismissal on 22 September 1999. . public morals.x x x 26 The supremacy of the law over contracts is explained by the fact that labor contracts are not ordinary contracts. or public policy. Therefore. as defined in Black's Law Dictionary.
the NLRC reversed and set aside the labor arbiter’s order. damages and attorney’s fees. In a number of cases. A new one is hereby ENTERED ordering respondent Behavior Modification. On 22 February 2000. It is the "four-fold" test. and an elected corporate officer. Respondents then filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals. All other claims are dismissed for lack of factual or legal basis. the NLRC denied the motion for lack of merit. 2000 until fully reinstated. is not a simple labor problem but a matter that comes within the area of .12 we held that an "office" is created by the charter of the corporation and the officer is elected by the directors or stockholders. the factors cited by petitioner that she was a mere employee do not prove that she was not an officer of Slimmers World. The labor arbiter ruled that Okol was the vice-president of Slimmers World at the time of her dismissal. determine the existence of an employer-employee relationship. On the other hand. which must be applied. respondents filed a Motion to Dismiss4 the case with a reservation of their right to file a Position Paper at the proper time. by itself. The relevant portions of the Amended By-Laws of Slimmers World which enumerate the power of the board of directors as well as the officers of the corporation state: Article II The Board of Directors 1. Mere title or designation in a corporation will not. the labor arbiter granted the motion to dismiss./Slimmers World International to reinstate complainant Leslie F. secretary. Petitioner asserts that even as vice-president. Also. Inc. the jurisdiction to hear and decide the case is vested with the labor arbiter and the NLRC.5 dated 20 March 2000. the respondents. (2) the payment of wages.250. The Court of Appeals ruled that the case. holding one subscribed share of the capital stock. In the present case.unpaid commissions. In an Order. Qualifications and Election – The general management of the corporation shall be vested in a board of five directors who shall be stockholders and who shall be elected annually by the stockholders and who shall serve until the election and qualification of their successors. The GIS and minutes of the meeting of the board of directors indicated that petitioner was a member of the board of directors. The Issue The issue is whether or not the NLRC has jurisdiction over the illegal dismissal case filed by petitioner. an "employee" usually occupies no office and generally is employed not by action of the directors or stockholders but by the managing officer of the corporation who also determines the compensation to be paid to such employee.00 as indemnity pay plus attorney’s fee equivalent to ten (10%) of the total monetary award. SO ORDERED. in their motion to dismiss filed before the labor arbiter. Vice-President – Like the Chairman of the Board and the President. In a Resolution6 dated 29 May 2001. the dispute was an intra-corporate controversy falling outside the jurisdiction of the Arbitration branch. xxx Clearly. The charges of illegal suspension. xxx Article III Officers xxx 4. Since it involved a corporate officer. Respondents. The Vice-President shall be vested with all the powers and authority and is required to perform all the duties of the President during the absence of the latter for any cause. which facts provide further basis that petitioner’s separation from Slimmers World does not come under the NLRC’s jurisdiction. the Vice-President shall be elected by the Board of Directors from [its] own members. falls within the jurisdiction of the regular courts pursuant to Republic Act No. the NLRC not only decided the case on the merits but did so in the absence of position papers from both parties. Section 25 of the Corporation Code enumerates corporate officers as the president. Even the alleged absence of any resolution of the Board of Directors approving petitioner’s termination does not constitute proof that petitioner was not an officer. However.000. unpaid commissions. the work that she performed conforms to that of an employee rather than a corporate officer.000. with prayer for reinstatement and payment of backwages. from the documents submitted by respondents. Slimmers World’s president: (1) petitioner received salary evidenced by pay slips. In Tabang v.000. 8799. Hence. treasurer and such other officers as may be provided for in the by-laws. Okol filed an appeal with the NLRC. The Vice-President will perform such duties as the Board of Directors may impose upon him from time to time. and the further sum of P1. not a mere employee.7 Respondents filed a Motion for Reconsideration with the NLRC. 1999 to November 28. Petitioner enumerated the instances that she was under the power and control of Moy. 69893.10 The appellate court added that the NLRC had acted without jurisdiction in giving due course to the complaint and deprived respondents of their right to due process in deciding the case on the merits. docketed as CA-G. respondents attached the General Information Sheet 13 (GIS) dated 14 April 1998. However. illegal dismissal. The Court’s Ruling The petition lacks merit.R. the instant petition. on the other hand. SP No. The Ruling of the Court of Appeals In a Decision9 dated 18 October 2002. Respondents assert that petitioner was not only an officer but also a stockholder and director. In the motion. petitioner was a director and officer of Slimmers World. reinstatement and back wages imputed by petitioner against respondents fall squarely within the ambit of intra-corporate disputes. and (4) the power to control. Petitioner insists that the Court of Appeals erred in ruling that she was a corporate officer and that the case is an intra-corporate dispute falling within the jurisdiction of the regular courts. namely (1) the power to hire. Thus. In a Resolution8 dated 21 December 2001.15 and the Amended By-Laws16 dated 1 August 1994 of Slimmers World as submitted to the SEC to show that petitioner was a corporate officer whose rights do not fall within the NLRC’s jurisdiction. should reinstatement be not feasible separation pay equivalent to one month pay per year of service is awarded. (3) the power to dismiss. The question of remuneration involving a stockholder and officer. being an intra-corporate dispute. questioned the jurisdiction of the NLRC in taking cognizance of petitioner’s complaint. NLRC.00 computed from July 28. Minutes14 of the meeting of the Board of Directors dated 14 April 1997 and Secretary’s Certificate. Respondents asserted that the NLRC had no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the complaint. Okol to her former position with full back wages which to date stood in the amount of P10. Okol filed a Motion for Reconsideration which was denied in a Resolution 11 dated 22 September 2003. a fraction of at least six months considered one whole year. the Order appealed from is SET ASIDE and REVERSED. maintain that petitioner was a corporate officer at the time of her dismissal from Slimmers World as supported by the General Information Sheet and Director’s Affidavit attesting that petitioner was an officer. (2) Moy deducted Medicare and SSS benefits from petitioner’s salary. or an intra-corporate controversy which arises between a stockholder and a corporation. Respondents contended that the relief prayed for was confined only to the question of jurisdiction. The issue revolves mainly on whether petitioner was an employee or a corporate officer of Slimmers World. The dispositive portion of the resolution states: WHEREFORE. the appellate court set aside the NLRC’s Resolution dated 29 May 2001 and affirmed the labor arbiter’s Order dated 20 March 2000. and (3) petitioner was dismissed from employment not through a board resolution but by virtue of a letter from Moy.17 we have held that a corporate officer’s dismissal is always a corporate act. having shown that an employer-employee relationship exists.
(EDI). We AFFIRM the 18 October 2002 Decision and 22 September 2003 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. trustees. G.500. 1993 letter for curricula vitae of qualified applicants for the position of "Computer Specialist. SP No. on July 21. disobedience. and in his Confirmation of Appointment as Computer Specialist. ruled that there was neither underpayment nor illegal dismissal.150. he executed a Declaration 13 releasing OAB from any financial obligation or otherwise. we DENY the petition. The Ruling of the Labor Arbiter In his February 10.00 for a period of two years.R.00 as unpaid salaries. OAB. partnerships and other forms of associations registered with it as expressly granted under existing laws and decrees. 8 After accepting OAB's offer of employment. In addition.250.948.00 only. and deployed by ESI to work for OAB. Arbiter Caday also cited the Declaration executed by Gran. Section 5 of Republic Act No." 7 In a facsimile transmission dated November 29.00). 1993. In addition to the regulatory and adjudicative functions of the Securities and Exchange Commission over corporations. ordering Expertise Search International (ESI). 56120 which affirmed the January 15. The Commission’s jurisdiction over all cases enumerated under Section 5 of Presidential Decree No. from the applicants' curricula vitae submitted to it for evaluation. J. Third Division. Thus. Non-compliance to pre-qualification requirements by the recruitment agency[.11 on the following grounds: 1. and on the same day. However.6 It appears that OAB asked EDI through its October 3. EDI may arrange for Gran's immediate dispatch. in Riyadh. In addition. the appellate court correctly ruled that it is not the NLRC but the regular courts which have jurisdiction over the present case.corporate affairs and management and is a corporate controversy in contemplation of the Corporation Code. is an intra-corporate dispute subject to the jurisdiction of the regular courts. The Ruling of the NLRC The NLRC held that EDI's seemingly harmless transfer of Gran's contract to ESI is actually "reprocessing.10 After Gran had been working for about five months for OAB. and Western Guaranty Corporation with the NLRC. EDIStaffbuilders International. No.00 representing his final pay.] vide OAB letter ref. petitioner. 1994 letter. while his Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) Information Sheet indicated USD 600. 69893.. and his failure to submit daily activity reports. 902-A19 (PD 902-A) provided that intra-corporate disputes fall within the jurisdiction of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC): Sec. against ESI/EDI. Gran signed an employment contract 9 that granted him a monthly salary of USD 850. The Facts Petitioner EDI is a corporation engaged in recruitment and placement of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). Upon arrival in Riyadh. The Labor Arbiter reasoned that there was no underpayment of salaries since according to the POEA-Overseas Contract Worker (OCW) Information Sheet. 2000 Decision2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. 1999 Resolution4 rendered by the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) (Third Division) in POEA ADJ (L) 94-06-2194. namely. 902-A is hereby transferred to the Courts of general jurisdiction or the appropriate Regional Trial Court. which was equivalent to USD 600. 1998 Decision. it shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide cases involving: xxx c) Controversies in the election or appointments of directors. Country Bankers Insurance Corporation. Dissatisfied. F-5751-93. SO ORDERED. (3) that Gran refused to follow management's instruction for him to gain more knowledge of the job to prove his worth as computer specialist. Gran was then deployed to Riyadh. 145587 October 26. After his arrival in the Philippines." The faxed letter also stated that if Gran agrees to the terms and conditions of employment contained in it. This scheme constituted misrepresentation through the conspiracy between EDI and ESI in misleading Gran and even POEA of the actual terms and conditions of the OFW's employment. it appears from the records that Gran failed to furnish EDI with a copy of his Appeal Memorandum. OAB informed EDI that. Insubordination or disobedience to Top Management Order and/or instructions (non-submittal of daily activity reports despite several instructions). GRAN. respondents. Thus. his monthly basic salary was fixed at SR 2.00. 1998 with the NLRC.00 monthly as food allowance. Caday. Gran filed an Appeal15 on April 6. Gran's monthly salary was USD 600. DECISION VELASCO. the charge of insubordination was not . On July 11. Arbiter Caday dismissed Gran's complaint for lack of merit. Quezon City. Subsection 5. 1994.18 Prior to its amendment. (2) that he was not qualified for the job as computer specialist due to his insufficient knowledge in programming and lack of knowledge in ACAD system. Accordingly.00 a month.00. the Labor Arbiter found that Gran failed to refute EDI's allegations. Inc. (OAB) jointly and severally to pay Eleazar S. 8799.00. Gran questioned the discrepancy in his monthly salary—his employment contract stated USD 850. to whom Gran's case was assigned.00. 1998. 20 The determination of the rights of a director and corporate officer dismissed from his employment as well as the corresponding liability of a corporation. to justify that Gran had no claim for unpaid salaries or wages against OAB. 5. Non-compliance to contract requirements by the recruitment agency primarily on your salary and contract duration. However.00. With regard to the issue of illegal dismissal. and Omar Ahmed Ali Bin Bechr Est. xxx It is a settled rule that jurisdiction over the subject matter is conferred by law. OAB agreed to pay Gran USD 850. towards him. and the absence of pre-qualification requirements cannot be attributed to Gran but to EDI. it selected Gran for the position of "Computer Specialist. (5) and that Gran was paid a monthly salary of USD 850. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and ELEAZAR S. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. which dealt directly with OAB. Gran instituted a complaint.00 (USD 600.R.2. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on February 7.: The Case This Petition for Review on Certiorari1 seeks to set aside the October 18. (1) that Gran did not submit a single activity report of his daily activity as dictated by company policy. partnerships or associations. through the assistance of the EDI office in Riyadh. INC. his employment was terminated through OAB's July 9. This Decision is without prejudice to petitioner Leslie Okol’s taking recourse to and seeking relief through the appropriate remedy in the proper forum. dated October 3. 1993. Gran received from OAB the total amount of SR 2. The alleged non-compliance with contractual stipulations relating to Gran's salary and contract duration. transferred to regional trial courts the SEC’s jurisdiction over all cases listed in Section 5 of PD 902-A: 5. (4) that Gran's employment contract had never been substituted. National Capital Region. JR.R. Private respondent Gran was an OFW recruited by EDI. 2. which took effect on 8 August 2000.. the Labor Arbiter decided that Gran was validly dismissed from his work due to insubordination.12 3. it was found that Gran did not commit any act that constituted a legal ground for dismissal. on February 10. Gran (Gran) the amount of USD 16. if any. and USD 350. 1994.5 ESI is another recruitment agency which collaborated with EDI to process the documentation and deployment of private respondent to Saudi Arabia. SP No. 1999 Decision 3 and September 30. WHEREFORE. 1994. Section 5(c) of Presidential Decree No. 2007 EDI-STAFFBUILDERS INTERNATIONAL." which is a prohibited transaction under Article 34 (b) of the Labor Code.2. which was docketed as POEA ADJ (L) 94-06-2194 for underpayment of wages/salaries and illegal dismissal. vs. officers or managers of such corporations.14 Labor Arbiter Manuel R. one of which was a monthly salary of SR (Saudi Riyal) 2.
is to require the appellant to comply with the rule that the opposing party should be provided with a copy of the appeal memorandum. given that OAB did not abide by the twin notice requirement.24 this Court set aside the order of the NLRC which dismissed an appeal on the sole ground that the appellant did not furnish the appellee a memorandum of appeal contrary to the requirements of Article 223 of the New Labor Code and Section 9. WHETHER THE FAILURE OF GRAN TO FURNISH A COPY OF HIS APPEAL MEMORANDUM TO PETITIONER EDI WOULD CONSTITUTE A JURISDICTIONAL DEFECT AND A DEPRIVATION OF PETITIONER EDI'S RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS AS WOULD JUSTIFY THE DISMISSAL OF GRAN'S APPEAL. Thus. on October 18. The CA also held that Gran was not afforded due process.23 The Court's Ruling The petition lacks merit except with respect to Gran's failure to furnish EDI with his Appeal Memorandum filed with the NLRC. The court found that Gran was terminated on the same day he received the termination letter. other than the termination letter. Respondents Expertise Search International. 1999. the doctrine that evolved from these cases is that failure to furnish the adverse party with a copy of the appeal is treated only as a formal lapse. IS APPLICABLE IN THE INSTANT CASE. however.D. the abject failure of the NLRC to order Gran to furnish EDI with the Appeal Memorandum constitutes grave abuse of discretion. WHETHER GRAN WAS AFFORDED DUE PROCESS PRIOR TO TERMINATION. SO ORDERED. As for the charge of insubordination and disobedience due to Gran's failure to submit a "Daily Activity Report. and hence. On the procedural issue.28 and in Sunrise Manning Agency. Finally.27 Pagdonsalan v. Rules of Court. National Labor Relations Commission. the CA held that the Declaration signed by Gran did not bar him from demanding benefits to which he was entitled. Magpayo. Inc. in such a case. WHETHER GRAN IS ENTITLED TO BACKWAGES FOR THE UNEXPIRED PORTION OF HIS CONTRACT. it was ruled that failure of appellant to furnish a copy of the appeal to the adverse party is not fatal to the appeal. the assailed decision is SET ASIDE. an excusable neglect. without having been apprised of the bases of his dismissal or afforded an opportunity to explain his side." Unconvinced of the NLRC's reasoning. and as such is frowned upon as contrary to public policy especially where the monetary consideration given in the Declaration was very much less than what he was legally entitled to—his backwages amounting to USD 16. In Estrada v. First Issue: NLRC's Duty is to Require Respondent to Provide Petitioner a Copy of the Appeal Petitioner EDI claims that Gran's failure to furnish it a copy of the Appeal Memorandum constitutes a jurisdictional defect and a deprivation of due process that would warrant a rejection of the appeal. The Issues Petitioner raises the following issues for our consideration: I. this instant petition is before the Court.) The J. NLRC." the appellate court found that EDI failed to show that the submission of the "Daily Activity Report" was a part of Gran's duty or the company's policy. National Labor Relations Commission. not a jurisdictional defect. Time and again We have acted on petitions to review decisions of the Court of Appeals even in the absence of proof of service of a copy thereof to the Court of Appeals as required by Section 1 of Rule 45. Seeing that the NLRC did not act on Gran's motion after EDI had filed its Opposition. the appeal should not be dismissed. and Gran was not even afforded the required notice and investigation on his alleged offenses. (OAB) are hereby ordered jointly and severally liable to pay the complainant Eleazar Gran the Philippine peso equivalent at the time of actual payment of SIXTEEN THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED FIFTY US DOLLARS (US$16. Inc. As enunciated in J.D.substantiated. the order of dismissal of an appeal to the NLRC based on the ground that "there is no showing whatsoever that a copy of the appeal was served by the appellant on the appellee"25was annulled. 1999 with the NLRC and petitioner receiving a copy of this motion on the same date. Accordingly. While Gran's failure to furnish EDI with a copy of the Appeal Memorandum is excusable. The court held that since the law requires the recruitment agencies to subject OFWs to trade tests before deployment. In compliance with the . v. Also. however. and ruled upon" in the Decision. 2000. NLRC." 22 The court also held that petitioner EDI failed to prove that private respondent was terminated for a valid cause and in accordance with due process. AS APPLIED BY THE COURT OF APPEALS. Gran must have been competent and qualified.18 To prevent the execution.150. We act on the petitions and simply require the petitioners to comply with the rule. but not dismissed. The Ruling of the Court of Appeals The CA subsequently ruled on the procedural and substantive issues of EDI's petition. and Omar Ahmed Ali Bin Bechr Est.150. 1999. he would not have been hired and deployed abroad.D. The appellate court found that the Declaration was in the form of a quitclaim. Hence..00. Magpayo Customs Brokerage Corp. WHETHER PETITIONER HAS ESTABLISHED BY WAY OF SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE THAT GRAN'S TERMINATION WAS JUSTIFIABLE BY REASON OF INSUBORDINATION AND DISOBEDIENCE. V. an excusable neglect and not a jurisdictional defect which would justify the dismissal of his appeal.00) representing his salaries for the unexpired portion of his contract.16 Gran then filed a Motion for Execution of Judgment 17 on March 29. III. v. the duty that is imposed on the NLRC. The records reveal that the NLRC discovered that Gran failed to furnish EDI a copy of the Appeal Memorandum. In a catena of cases. This position is devoid of merit. otherwise. in J. II. the appellate court denied the petition to set aside the NLRC Decision. ratiocinating that the issues and arguments raised in the motion "had already been amply discussed. Rule XIII of its Implementing Rules and Regulations. petitioner filed. EDI Staffbuilders Int'l. in such a situation. he should have just been suspended or reprimanded. NLRC. it should not be given due course either. the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. an excusable neglect. COROLLARY HERETO. WHETHER PETITIONER EDI HAS ESTABLISHED BY WAY OF SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE THAT GRAN'S TERMINATION WAS JUSTIFIABLE BY REASON OF INCOMPETENCE.20 The NLRC then issued a Resolution21 denying petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration. no evidence was presented to show how and why Gran was considered to be incompetent. The court also held that even if Gran was guilty of insubordination.26 (Emphasis supplied. on August 26. and that Gran's Declaration releasing OAB from any monetary obligation had no force and effect. As a result of these findings. IV.. Petitioner claimed in its petition that the NLRC committed grave abuse of discretion in giving due course to the appeal despite Gran's failure to perfect the appeal. the appellate court held that "Gran's failure to furnish a copy of his appeal memorandum [to EDI was] a mere formal lapse. petitioner filed an Opposition19 to Gran's motion arguing that the Writ of Execution cannot issue because it was not notified of the appellate proceedings before the NLRC and was not given a copy of the memorandum of appeal nor any opportunity to participate in the appeal. the NLRC reversed the Labor Arbiter's Decision and rendered a new one. WHETHER THE PRIETO VS. The appellate court ratiocinated that EDI had the burden of proving Gran's incompetence. The NLRC then ordered Gran to present proof of service. NLRC RULING. EDI filed a Petition for Certiorari before the CA. considered. Magpayo ruling was reiterated in Carnation Philippines Employees Labor Union-FFW v.29 Thus. a Motion for Reconsideration of the NLRC Decision after receiving a copy of the Decision on August 16. and that there was "no cogent reason or patent or palpable error that warrant any disturbance thereof. Inc. The Court ratiocinated as follows: The failure to give a copy of the appeal to the adverse party was a mere formal lapse.
The second is an unsigned April 11. thus. it is only deemed complete when the addressee or his agent received the mail or after five (5) days from the date of first notice of the postmaster. In formulating the contract. and ESI experienced when they thought that the dismissal of Gran's complaint became final. 277. consistent. Sec. after seeing that Gran failed to attach the proof of service. The registry return card shall be filed immediately upon its receipt by the sender. termination procedures.D. A contract freely entered into is considered law between the parties. morals. afterwards. the local recruiter/agent. EDI. Worse. the employment contract signed by Gran specifically states that Saudi Labor Laws will govern matters not provided for in the contract (e. 13. Magpayo and the other cases. service shall take effect after such time. but if the addressee fails to claim his mail from the post office within five (5) days from the date of first notice of the postmaster. the NLRC should not have simply accepted the post office's list of mail and parcels sent. containing a full statement of the date. which outlined the reasons why OAB had terminated Gran's employment. If service is made by registered mail." 45 Petitioner . if the service is done through registered mail. petitioner claims that private respondent Gran was validly dismissed for just cause. good customs. and disobedience In cases involving OFWs. 1998. or the affidavit of the party serving. The first is the July 9. He is presumed to know only domestic or forum law. it did not prove the pertinent Saudi laws on the matter. the party who wants to have a foreign law applied to a dispute or case has the burden of proving the foreign law.43 addressed to Gran. 1994 termination letter. insubordination. however. nor is it conclusive proof that EDI received its copy of the Appeal Memorandum. One can only surmise the shock and dismay that OAB. they will be discussed jointly.Service by registered mail is complete upon receipt by the addressee or his agent. proof thereof shall consist of an affidavit of the person mailing of facts showing compliance with section 7 of this Rule. we apply Philippine labor laws in determining the issues presented before us.) Hence.g. and the other appears to be addressed to Neil B. even if pleaded. x x x In many cases. Nicolaou. provides for proofs of service: Section 13. Hence. Based on the foregoing provision. this failure deprived EDI of procedural due process guaranteed by the Constitution which can serve as basis for the nullification of proceedings in the appeal before the NLRC. Managing Director of OAB.32 Proof and completeness of service. clauses. provided they are not contrary to law. place and manner of service. from Andrea E. it is obvious that the list submitted by Gran is not conclusive proof that he had served a copy of his appeal memorandum to EDI.). and hence. He should have submitted an affidavit proving that he mailed the Appeal Memorandum together with the registry receipt issued by the post office. accurate. the NLRC Rules do not state what would constitute proper proof of service. Gran submitted a copy of Camp Crame Post Office's list of mail/parcels sent on April 7. the parties may establish such stipulations. but it should have required Gran to properly furnish the opposing parties with copies of his Appeal Memorandum as prescribed in J.—The return is prima facie proof of the facts indicated therein. The rights of the employers to procedural due process cannot be cavalierly disregarded for they too have rights assured under the Constitution. However. the rights and obligations among and between the OFW.36 Where a foreign law is not pleaded or. Petitioner claims that Gran was incompetent for the Computer Specialist position because he had "insufficient knowledge in programming and zero knowledge of [the] ACAD system. In international law. should be respected. Gran should have immediately filed the registry return card. Manila—both of whom are not connected with petitioner. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS39 (b) Subject to the constitutional right of workers to security of tenure and their right to be protected against dismissal except for a just and authorized cause and without prejudice to the requirement of notice under Article 283 of this Code.35 Unfortunately for petitioner. Rule 13 of the Rules of Court. Saudi Labor Laws should govern all matters relating to the termination of the employment of Gran.37 Thus. de Guzman of Legaspi Village.34 In the present case.31 of Ermita. This is not level playing field and absolutely unfair and discriminatory against the employer and the job recruiters. Section 33 of Article 277 of the Labor Code38 states that: ART. 40 Taking into account the character of the charges and the penalty meted to an employee. the International Law doctrine ofpresumed-identity approach or processual presumption comes into play. it has been established by Philippine law and jurisprudence that the employer should prove that the dismissal of employees or personnel is legal and just. Proof of service. Any decision taken by the employer shall be without prejudice to the right of the workers to contest the validity or legality of his dismissal by filing a complaint with the regional branch of the National Labor Relations Commission. 5 of the NLRC Rules of Procedure (1990) provides for the proof and completeness of service in proceedings before the NLRC: Section 5. 1995 letter44 from OAB addressed to EDI and ESI. To prove its allegations. Sec. EDI submitted two letters as evidence.—Proof of personal service shall consist of a written admission of the party served or the official return of the server. Second and Third Issues: Whether Gran's dismissal is justifiable by reason of incompetence. it has been held that in termination disputes or illegal dismissal cases. and convincing evidence to prove that the dismissal is valid and legal. This mailing list. the employer is bound to adduce clear. is not a conclusive proof that EDI indeed received a copy of the Appeal Memorandum. (Emphasis supplied. or in lieu thereof the unclaimed letter together with the certified or sworn copy of the notice given by the postmaster to the addressee (emphasis supplied). only to receive a copy of Gran's Motion for Execution of Judgment which also informed them that Gran had obtained a favorable NLRC Decision. the employer shall furnish the worker whose employment is sought to be terminated a written notice containing a statement of the causes for termination and shall afford the latter ample opportunity to be heard and to defend himself with the assistance of his representative if he so desires in accordance with company rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to guidelines set by the Department of Labor and Employment.The burden of proving that the termination was for a valid or authorized cause shall rest on the employer. as this constitutes grave abuse of discretion. terms and conditions as they may deem convenient. Being the law intended by the parties (lex loci intentiones) to apply to the contract. 42 In the instant case. The glaring failure of NLRC to ensure that Gran should have furnished petitioner EDI a copy of the Appeal Memorandum before rendering judgment reversing the dismissal of Gran's complaint constitutes an evasion of the pertinent NLRC Rules and established jurisprudence.41 This is consistent with the principle of security of tenure as guaranteed by the Constitution and reinforced by Article 277 (b) of the Labor Code of the Philippines. Garcia (or Gran). the presumption is that foreign law is the same as ours. the employer has the burden of proving that the dismissal is for just and valid causes. instead of annulling the dispositions of the NLRC and remanding the case for further proceedings we will resolve the petition based on the records before us to avoid a protracted litigation. This claim has no merit. Makati. public order. If the service is by ordinary mail.33 The second and third issues have a common matter—whether there was just cause for Gran's dismissal—hence. and the foreign employer/principal are governed by the employment contract. and failure to do so would necessarily mean that the dismissal was not justified and therefore illegal. specific causes for termination. proof shall be made by such affidavit and registry receipt issued by the mailing office.30 The post office's list shows that private respondent Gran sent two pieces of mail on the same date: one addressed to a certain Dan O. is not proved. etc. The NLRC should not have proceeded with the adjudication of the case. The foreign law is treated as a question of fact to be properly pleaded and proved as the judge or labor arbiter cannot take judicial notice of a foreign law. or public policy. Petitioner EDI claims that it had proven that Gran was legally dismissed due to incompetence and insubordination or disobedience. In illegal dismissal cases. due to incompetence and insubordination or disobedience.order. However.
without any other evidence. According to petitioner. he was denied the opportunity to respond to said notice.00 as indemnity. it can be presumed that Gran had passed the required trade test and that Gran is qualified for the job. NLRC. insubordinate. that when the contract is for a fixed term and the employees are dismissed without just cause. and pertains to the duties which he had been engaged to discharge. In Agabon v. even before Gran was furnished the termination letter. is not applicable to the present case. in the absence of proof of Saudi laws. cannot be given credence. he was not qualified for the job for which he was hired. as prescribed by the Labor Code. No. insubordination. While it furnished Gran the written notice informing him of his dismissal. lawful.48 Thus. there was no intention to provide Gran with due process. the issue is rendered moot and academic because Gran's incompetency is unproved." 46However.56 Consequently. Even though EDI and/or ESI were merely the local employment or recruitment agencies and not the foreign employer. Even if there was no objective trade test done by EDI. plus his salaries for the unexpired portion of his employment contract or for three (3) months for every year of the unexpired term whichever is less. ruled that Gran must have passed the test. or criterion. otherwise. the employer must give the employee two written notices and a hearing or opportunity to be heard if requested by the employee before terminating the employment: a notice specifying the grounds for which dismissal is sought a hearing or an opportunity to be heard and after hearing or opportunity to be heard. and (2) the order violated must have been reasonable. In the case at bar. Summing up. This position is untenable. Fourth Issue: Gran was not Afforded Due Process As discussed earlier. and expose bogus qualifications. indeed. We disagree. the elements that must concur for the charge of insubordination or willful disobedience to prosper were not present. for cases arising after the effectivity of R. we held that: For willful disobedience to be a valid cause for dismissal. using the ruling in the said case. Pursuant to the doctrine laid down in Agabon. (1) if the dismissal is based on a just cause under Article 282. it failed to furnish Gran the written notice apprising him of the charges against him. and (2) if the dismissal is based on authorized causes under Articles 283 and 284. Gran was not afforded due process. were properly observed in the present case. Gran was notified and his employment arbitrarily terminated on the same day. Petitioner EDI had clearly failed to overcome the burden of proving that Gran was validly dismissed. characterized by a wrongful and perverse attitude. No. Since OAB was in breach of the due process requirements under the Labor Code and its regulations. Obviously. NLRC. petitioner failed to prove that Gran was justifiably dismissed due to incompetence. this Court ruled that "[i]t is presumed that before their deployment. since he was allowed to work and improve his capabilities for five months prior to his termination. OAB's manner of dismissing Gran fell short of the two notice requirement. made known to the employee and must pertain to the duties which he had been engaged to discharge. Under the twin notice requirement. the employer must give the employee and the Department of Labor and Employment written notices 30 days prior to the effectivity of his separation. NLRC. Petitioner EDI claims that private respondent Gran was afforded due process. It should also be pointed out that OAB failed to give Gran the chance to be heard and to defend himself with the assistance of a representative in accordance with Article 277 of the Labor Code. Therefore. v. more particularly by a Computer Specialist. OAB did not schedule a hearing or conference with Gran to defend himself and adduce evidence in support of his defenses. it was still EDI's responsibility to subject Gran to a trade test. or any other document that would show that the "Daily Activity Reports" were required for submission by the employees. Inc. Since EDI deployed Gran to Riyadh. NLRC. Fifth and Last Issue: Gran is Entitled to Backwages We reiterate the rule that with regard to employees hired for a fixed period of employment.54 this Court held that: Procedurally. In between the first and second notice.A. the employees should be given a hearing or opportunity to defend themselves personally or by counsel of their choice. This shows that OAB had already condemned Gran to dismissal. jointly and solidarily. are liable to Gran in the amount of PhP 30.A. lawful. Before the Labor Arbiter. 1995. Philippine Labor laws and regulations shall govern the relationship between Gran and EDI. they should have adduced additional evidence to convincingly show that Gran's employment was validly and legally terminated. the employees must be given two (2) notices before their employment could be terminated: (1) a first notice to apprise the employees of their fault. However. Petitioner's imputation of incompetence on private respondent due to his "insufficient knowledge in programming and zero knowledge of the ACAD system" based only on the above mentioned letters. ESI. Clearly. The burden devolves not only upon the foreign-based employer but also on the employment or recruitment agency for the latter is not only an agent of the former.52 and Malaya Shipping Services. when the termination of employment is without just. Gran's job description.000. The purpose of the required trade test is to weed out incompetent applicants from the pool of available workers. 51 EDI also claims that the requirements of due process.49 as used by the CA in its Decision.57 an employer is liable to pay nominal damages as indemnity for violating the employee's right to statutory due process. The CA is correct in applying Prieto. 47 EDI failed to discharge the burden of proving Gran's insubordination or willful disobedience. and for unjustified grounds.59 On the other hand. no other evidence was presented to show how and why Gran was considered incompetent. in cases arising before the effectivity of R. our laws and rules on the requisites of due process relating to termination of employment shall apply. petitioner failed to show that the order of the company which was violated—the submission of "Daily Activity Reports"—was part of Gran's duties as a Computer Specialist.55 A careful examination of the records revealed that. Thus. An allegation of incompetence should have a factual foundation." 50 The CA. Jr. 8042.also claims that Gran was justifiably dismissed due to insubordination or disobedience because he continually failed to submit the required "Daily Activity Reports. v. the petitioners were subjected to trade tests required by law to be conducted by the recruiting agency to insure employment of only technically qualified workers for the foreign principal. Incompetence may be shown by weighing it against a standard. NLRC. as enunciated in Santos. or willful disobedience. EDI should have provided a copy of the company policy. the following twin elements must concur: (1) the employee's assailed conduct must have been willful.53 cited by the CA in its Decision. In any case. and EDI. Gran misrepresented himself in his curriculum vitae as a Computer Specialist. but is also solidarily liable with the foreign principal for any claims or liabilities arising from the dismissal of the worker. EDI failed to establish any such bases to show how petitioner found Gran incompetent.60 . As indicated by the second requirement provided for in Micro Sales Operation Network. 8042 58 (Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act) on August 25. they are entitled to the payment of their salaries corresponding to the unexpired portion of their contract. valid or authorized cause as defined by law or contract. 1994 termination letter was effective on the same day. In addition. the worker shall be entitled to the full reimbursement of his placement fee with interest of twelve percent (12%) per annum. It is supposed to reveal applicants with false educational backgrounds. Petitioner also raised the issue that Prieto v. other than the abovementioned letters. he would not have been hired. we must determine whether the order violated by the employee is reasonable. In Prieto. and its failure to do so only weakened its position but should not in any way prejudice Gran. that is. In Micro Sales Operation Network v. the July 9. or disobedient. made known to the employee. In addition. thus. OAB. in order to justify willful disobedience. a notice of the decision to dismiss. the Prieto ruling is not applicable because in the case at hand. through the same letter. and (2) a second notice to communicate to the employees that their employment is being terminated. benchmark. EDI was at fault when it deployed Gran who was allegedly "incompetent" for the job. Moreover.
and 4. the foreign laws shall apply. The relevant portions of the Declaration are as follows: I. There should be two (2) witnesses to the execution of the quitclaim who must also sign the quitclaim.64 the parameters for valid compromise agreements. A statement that the employer has clearly explained to the employee in English.150. HAS NO OBLIGATION TOWARDS ME IN WHATEVER FORM. or undue influence exerted on their person. d.00 (SAUDI RIYALS TWO THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED FORTY EIGHT ONLY) REPRESENTING COMPLETE PAYMENT (COMPENSATION) FOR THE SERVICES I RENDERED TO OAB ESTABLISHMENT. Esquillo: Quitclaims. 2. The benefits of the employees if possible with the corresponding amounts. Gran received a copy of his letter of termination.00. 2. the amount is unreasonably small compared to the future wages of Gran.948. NLRC. more particularly those executed by employees. On July 10.R. or coercion. or the terms of settlement are unconscionable on its face. 1994. or in the dialect known to the employees—that by signing the waiver or quitclaim. The waivers should be carefully examined.) Is the waiver and quitclaim labeled a Declaration valid? It is not. 3. then the consideration should be much much more than the monthly salary of SR 3.00 which is the amount Gran is legally entitled to get from petitioner EDI as backwages. which was equivalent to USD 16. 66 Thus. The Court finds the waiver and quitclaim null and void for the following reasons: 1.00). Petitioner EDI questions the legality of the award of backwages and mainly relies on the Declaration which is claimed to have been freely and voluntarily executed by Gran.R. ELEAZAR GRAN (COMPUTER SPECIALIST) AFTER RECEIVING MY FINAL SETTLEMENT ON THIS DATE THE AMOUNT OF: S. 1999 Resolution of the NLRC .00 even if it was against his will—since he was told on July 10. the employer is being unjust to the employee as there is no meaningful choice on the part of the employee while the terms are unreasonably favorable to the employer. 1994. SIGNED. citing Periquet v. the employment contract provides that the employment contract shall be valid for a period of two (2) years from the date the employee starts to work with the employer.948. (Emphasis supplied.A. As correctly pointed out by the court a quo. On July 21. waivers. is unreasonably low. b.948.00 for the payment of his ticket. it is binding on the parties and may not later be disowned simply because of a change of mind. ELEAZAR GRAN Courts must undertake a meticulous and rigorous review of quitclaims or waivers.63 (Emphasis supplied. 1994. I STATE FURTHER THAT OAB EST. It is advisable that the stipulations be made in English and Tagalog or in the dialect known to the employee. 3. the Bureau of Labor Relations. 62 hence. If the Declaration is a quitclaim. The October 18. On July 9. Gran departed from Riyadh. On July 12. Saudi Arabia. 4. OAB. In order to prevent disputes on the validity and enforceability of quitclaims and waivers of employees under Philippine laws. WHEREFORE. 1999 Decision and September 30. Gran filed the Complaint before the NLRC. but also the factual circumstances under which they have been executed. I ATTEST TO THE TRUTHFULNESS OF THIS STATEMENT BY AFFIXING MY SIGNATURE VOLUNTARILY.67 This compromise settlement becomes final and binding under Article 227 of the Labor Code which provides that: [A]ny compromise settlement voluntarily agreed upon with the assistance of the Bureau of Labor Relations or the regional office of the DOLE. in regard not only to the words and terms used. He could have entertained some apprehensions as to the status of his stay or safety in Saudi Arabia if he would not sign the quitclaim. Consider the following chronology of events: a. with full understanding of what he was doing. he signed the Declaration. 2. misrepresentation. In the case of the Declaration. It is made clear that the foregoing rules on quitclaim or waiver shall apply only to labor contracts of OFWs in the absence of proof of the laws of the foreign country agreed upon to govern said contracts. the transaction must be recognized as a valid and binding undertaking. Gran was instructed to depart Saudi Arabia and required to pay his plane ticket. and had fully understood the contents of the document and that their consent was freely given without any threat. A fixed amount as full and final compromise settlement. 1994. Filipino. 1996.948.65 c.00 (USD 850. An adhesion contract is contrary to public policy as it leaves the weaker party—the employee—in a "take-it-or-leave-it" situation. The foregoing events readily reveal that Gran was "forced" to sign the Declaration and constrained to receive the amount of SR 2. Panganiban in Land and Housing Development Corporation v.In the present case. 1994. The Declaration reveals that the payment of SR 2. In addition. On July 11.150. that the law will step in to annul the questionable transaction. and the consideration for the quitclaim is credible and reasonable. Otherwise.00 (USD 850.948. the petition is DENIED. Saudi Arabia and started to work on February 7. The salary paid to Gran upon his termination. He had no other choice but to sign the Declaration as he needed the amount of SR 2. 1994 to leave Riyadh on July 12. The court a quo is correct in its finding that the Declaration is a contract of adhesion which should be construed against the employer. and e. It is only where there is clear proof that the waiver was wangled from an unsuspecting or gullible person.00 is actually the payment for Gran's salary for the services he rendered to OAB as Computer Specialist. shall be final and binding upon the parties and the NLRC or any court "shall not assume jurisdiction over issues involved therein except in case of noncompliance thereof or if there is prima facieevidence that the settlement was obtained through fraud. No. releases and other waivers of benefits granted by laws or contracts in favor of workers should be strictly scrutinized to protect the weak and the disadvantaged. 8042. the NLRC or a labor attaché in a foreign country.61 Gran arrived in Riyadh. 1994. they are forfeiting or relinquishing their right to receive the benefits which are due them under the law. HAS NO FINANCIAL OBLIGATION IN MY FAVOUR AFTER RECEIVING THE ABOVE MENTIONED AMOUNT IN CASH. The court may however step in when such amount is unconscionably low or unreasonable although the employee voluntarily agreed to it. This requirement was clearly articulated by Chief Justice Artemio V. SP No. intimidation. Since he was illegally dismissed on July 9. I HEREBY DECLARE THAT OAB EST.00 is even lower than his monthly salary of SR 3. A quitclaim will understandably be lower than the sum total of the amounts and benefits that can possibly be awarded to employees or to be earned for the remainder of the contract period since it is a compromise where the employees will have to forfeit a certain portion of the amounts they are claiming in exchange for the early payment of a compromise amount. he is therefore entitled to backwages corresponding to the unexpired portion of his contract. his employment contract is until February 7. If the agreement was voluntarily entered into and represents a reasonable settlement. duress.) This Court had also outlined in Land and Housing Development Corporation. 2000 Decision in CA-G. Certainly. 1994. it is also very much less than the USD 16. and quitclaims: Not all waivers and quitclaims are invalid as against public policy.00)—although possibly less than the estimated Gran's salaries for the remaining duration of his contract and other benefits as employee of OAB.948. The document should be subscribed and sworn to under oath preferably before any administering official of the Department of Labor and Employment or its regional office. in the amount of SR 2. said agreements should contain the following: 1.190. Such official shall assist the parties regarding the execution of the quitclaim and waiver. 56120 of the Court of Appeals affirming the January 15. violence. before the effectivity of R. 1994. The factual circumstances surrounding the execution of the Declaration would show that Gran did not voluntarily and freely execute the document.190. the Declaration purporting to be a quitclaim and waiver is unenforceable under Philippine laws in the absence of proof of the applicable law of Saudi Arabia. the payment of SR 2. which the employees are giving up in consideration of the fixed compromise amount. But where it is shown that the person making the waiver did so voluntarily. A statement that the employees signed and executed the document voluntarily.
(emphasis supplied) The imposition of joint and solidary liability is in line with the policy of the state to protect and alleviate the plight of the working class. denominated as a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). As to petitioners’ contentions that Philippine labor laws on probationary employment are not applicable since it was expressly provided in respondent’s employment contract. finding that petitioners neither showed that there was just cause to warrant respondent’s dismissal nor that she failed to qualify as a regular employee. petitioners failed to discharge. Republic Act No. held that respondent was illegally dismissed and accordingly ordered petitioners to pay her US$3. petitioner ATCI cannot likewise be held liable. hence. Petitioners further contended that Ikdal should not be liable as an officer of petitioner ATCI. morals.1 all newly-hired employees undergo a probationary period of one (1) year and are covered by Kuwait’s Civil Service Board Employment Contract No. respondent filed with the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) a complaint2 for illegal dismissal against petitioner ATCI as the local recruitment agency.200. 8042. thus. Petitioners’ motion for reconsideration having been denied by Resolution5 of April 22. 2007. the appellate court held that under Sec. Petitioner ATCI. company policies and labor laws and legislation of the host country. customs and practices of the host country. the NLRC affirmed the Labor Arbiter’s decision by Resolution4 of January 26. she not having allegedly passed the probationary period. they appealed to the Court of Appeals. termination procedures. As to Ikdal’s liability. which she voluntarily entered into. to allow petitioners to simply invoke the immunity from suit of its foreign principal or to wait for the judicial determination of the foreign principal’s liability before petitioner can be held liable renders the law on joint and solidary liability inutile. being a foreign government agency. Unfortunately for petitioner. By Decision6 of March 30. as the foreign principal. practices. The Court’s ruling in EDI-Staffbuilders Int’l. the "Migrant and Overseas Filipinos’ Act of 1995. representing her salary for the three months unexpired portion of her contract. the same was not substantiated. Petitioners maintain that they should not be held liable because respondent’s employment contract specifically stipulates that her employment shall be governed by the Civil Service Law and Regulations of Kuwait. vs. NLRC10 illuminates: In the present case. On appeal of petitioners ATCI and Ikdal.g. the immunity extended to them. 2 of the POEA Rules and Regulations) accord respect to the "customs. the Ministry of Public Health of Kuwait (the Ministry).600. 2001. or that such foreign principal’s liability must first be established before it. 178551 October 11. As the Ministry denied respondent’s request for reconsideration. petitioners argue that even the Philippine Overseas Employment Act (POEA) Rules relative to master employment contracts (Part III. given that the foreign principal is a government agency which is immune from suit. It is hornbook principle. 2000 but was terminated from employment on February 11. shouldering her own air fare. under the doctrine of processual presumption which. as in fact it did not sign any document agreeing to be held jointly and solidarily liable. 2002. By Decision3 of November 29. Respondent was deployed on February 17. this will render nugatory the very purpose for which the law governing the employment of workers for foreign jobs abroad was enacted. the appellate court affirmed the NLRC Resolution.." corporate officers. terms and conditions as they may deem convenient. can be held jointly and solidarily liable. Sec. the International Law doctrine of presumed-identity approach or processual presumption comes into . IKDAL and MINISTRY OF PUBLIC HEALTHKUWAITPetitioners.: Josefina Echin (respondent) was hired by petitioner ATCI Overseas Corporation in behalf of its principal-co-petitioner. In providing for the joint and solidary liability of private recruitment agencies with their foreign principals. DECISION CARPIO MORALES. 2. Inc. cannot evade responsibility for the money claims of Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) which it deploys abroad by the mere expediency of claiming that its foreign principal is a government agency clothed with immunity from suit.9 Verily. it can be sued jointly and severally with the foreign principal for any violation of the recruitment agreement or contract of employment.is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that petitioner EDI-Staffbuilders International. In international law. represented by petitioner. 10 of Republic Act No. specific causes for termination. 2001. J. MA. . 2004. the party who wants to have a foreign law applied to a dispute or case has the burden of proving the foreign law. 2007. The foreign law is treated as a question of fact to be properly pleaded and proved as the judge or labor arbiter cannot take judicial notice of a foreign law.Otherwise. shall pay the amount of PhP 30. as long as they are not contrary to law. directors and partners of a recruitment agency may themselves be jointly and solidarily liable with the recruitment agency for money claims and damages awarded to overseas workers. Under the MOA.00. however. Saudi Labor Laws should govern all matters relating to the termination of the employment of Gran. They thus conclude that it was patent error for the labor tribunals and the appellate court to apply the Labor Code provisions governing probationary employment in deciding the present case. good customs. more so since the Ministry’s liability had not been judicially determined as jurisdiction was not acquired over it. Indeed.). the responsibilities of such parties towards the contracted employees under the agreement do not at all end. v. No costs. with a monthly salary of US$1. Further. The petition fails. in this case. as agent. the appellate court noted that under the law. Amalia Ikdal (Ikdal). Maguad8 explains: . SO ORDERED. [T]he obligations covenanted in the recruitment agreement entered into by and between the local agent and its foreign principal are not coterminous with the term of such agreement so that if either or both of the parties decide to end the agreement. etc." Finally. the employment contract signed by Gran specifically states that Saudi Labor Laws will govern matters not provided for in the contract (e. a private employment agency shall assume all responsibilities for the implementation of the contract of employment of an overseas worker. is immune from suit and. the Labor Arbiter. it did not prove the pertinent Saudi laws on the matter. as a private recruitment agency.00. G. contending that their principal. JOSEFA ECHIN. . as such. a contract freely entered into is considered the law between the parties who can establish stipulations. Petitioners’ motion for reconsideration having been denied by the appellate court by Resolution7 of June 27.R. petitioners posit that assuming arguendo that Philippine labor laws are applicable. clauses. Respondent. for the position of medical technologist under a two-year contract. 2001. 2004. including the laws which they wish to govern their respective obligations. the present petition for review on certiorari was filed. Being the law intended by the parties (lex loci intentiones) to apply to the contract. 2010 ATCI OVERSEAS CORPORATION. No. Skippers United Pacific v. On July 27. that the party invoking the application of a foreign law has the burden of proving the law. He is presumed to know only domestic or forum law. and the Ministry. and that respondent was validly dismissed for her failure to meet the performance rating within the one-year period as required under Kuwait’s Civil Service Laws.000.00 to respondent Gran as nominal damages for non-compliance with statutory due process. 8042 precisely affords the OFWs with a recourse and assures them of immediate and sufficient payment of what is due them. In brushing aside petitioners’ contention that they only acted as agent of the Ministry and that they cannot be held jointly and solidarily liable with it. but the same extends up to and until the expiration of the employment contracts of the employees recruited and employed pursuant to the said recruitment agreement. the Ministry. she returned to the Philippines on March 17. AMALIA G. that the terms of her engagement shall be governed by prevailing Kuwaiti Civil Service Laws and Regulations as in fact POEA Rules accord respect to such rules. public order or public policy.
do not sufficiently prove that respondent was validly terminated as a probationary employee under Kuwaiti civil service laws. Head of the Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of Consular Affairs Inslamic Certification and Translation Unit. This provision shall be incorporated in the contract for overseas employment and shall be a condition precedent for its approval. that he was told to return the following day but was unable to do so because he had to accomplish clearance requirements with Metro Ayala. the corporate officers and directors and partners as the case may be. March 4. viz: SEC. or if he be the clerk of a court having a seal. respondent claimed as follows: 4 On April 15. 2003. respondent suspended petitioner for one month effective July 1. 10. with a certificate that such officer has the custody. 2003. DECISION CARPIO MORALES. vice consul. Instead of submitting a copy of the pertinent Kuwaiti labor laws duly authenticated and translated by Embassy officials thereat. under the seal of such court. By Memorandum of June 27. which provides that the employee is subject to a probationary period of one (1) year and that the host country’s Civil Service Laws and Regulations apply. 2003 with a request of explanation in your part of your habitual tardiness. Petitioner. they must not only be alleged. the presumption is that foreign law is the same as ours. and authenticated by the seal of his office. What attestation of copy must state. his filing on July 2. This certification is being issued upon request of the interested party for whatever legal purpose it may serve.) was due to expire on June 30. Cebu Business Park. J. 2003. (emphasis and underscoring supplied) The Philippines does not take judicial notice of foreign laws. drawing respondent to send him a June 27. is not proved. even if pleaded. The attestation must be under the official seal of the attesting officer. he informed respondent of his need for a letter of introduction to Metro Ayala since his Metro Ayala Identification Card (I. we apply Philippine labor laws in determining the issues presented before us. the claims arising out of an employer-employee relationship or by virtue of any law or contract involving Filipino workers for overseas deployment including claims for actual moral. (respondent). and a translated copy of the certificate of termination. Respondent.: Respondent Tri-Union International Corp. there has been no improvement of your habitual tardiness since our first memorandum . you answered and walked out from the office before your superior told you to do so. they must be proven. as provided by law. 24. 8042 on money claims. in August 2002. which markets and distributes Company B products. but that petitioner refused to receive it and in fact answered back and walked out on his immediate supervisor. This Office. he realized that respondent had no intention of giving him one and was terminating his employment. that he later learned that the assistant could and actually did sign letters of introduction for and in behalf of the supervisor. Cebu City. G. he repaired to respondent’s office but was told that his supervisor was absent and that the latter’s assistant could not give the letter of introduction by herself.R. the same is in order too following the express provision of R. To prove a foreign law. 2003. hired on July 18. (emphasis and underscoring supplied) WHEREFORE. Thus the subject certifications read: xxxx This is to certify that the herein attached translation/s from Arabic to English/Tagalog and or vice versa was/were presented to this Office for review and certification and the same was/were found to be in order. If the office in which the record is kept is in a foreign country. the attestation must state. May 20. shall be answerable for all money claims or damages that may be awarded to the workers. in substance. whether taken singly or as a whole. 2003. 2003 a Complaint1 for illegal dismissal and non-payment of overtime pay. or a specific part thereof. and June 3. The performance bond to be filed by the recruitment/placement agency.D. citing his tardiness on February 18. and that on June 17. that on June 24. VII. 2003. allowances and separation pay before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) Regional Arbitration Branch No. petitioners submitted the following: MOA between respondent and the Ministry. you refuse[d] to sign the memorandum for the said violation. respondent was validly terminated. it sent petitioner a Violation Memorandum5 warning him for habitual tardiness. what petitioners submitted were mere certifications attesting only to the correctness of the translations of the MOA and the termination letter which does not prove at all that Kuwaiti civil service laws differ from Philippine laws and that under such Kuwaiti laws. No. that the copy is a correct copy of the original. SO ORDERED. 2003 Memorandum via registered mail suspending him for one month effective July 1. a translated copy11 (Arabic to English) of the termination letter to respondent stating that she did not pass the probation terms. that on June 26. without specifying the grounds therefor. Another situation that may arise after this memorandum will be a ground for your suspension. However. hence. exemplary and other forms of damages. — The record of public documents referred to in paragraph (a) of Section 19. service incentive leave. Instead. 2003. as the case may be. 2003. assumes no responsibility as to the contents of the document/s. Upon the other hand. and accompanied. wherein she noted that in her first eight (8) months of employment.12 both of which documents were certified by Mr. respondent asked him to sign a contract of employment covering five months2 but he refused. These documents. drawing him to file on July 2. May 6. 176700 September 4. 3 and that as his wait for a letter of introduction did not come by June 30. 25. the petition is DENIED. when admissible for any purpose. may be evidenced by an official publication thereof or by a copy attested by the officer having the legal custody of the record. as represented by ATCI. which Memorandum required him to submit a written explanation therefor. however. Mustapha Alawi. TRI-UNION INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION. 2009 ROMERO MONTEDERAMOS. viz: You are hereby warned to follow all rules and regulations of our company where you are employed. This memo serves as your warning. and April 1. Proof of official record. 2003 reading: You were given second memorandum last June 17. By petitioner’s claim. 2003. (emphasis supplied) SEC. consul. 2003.—Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary. 2003. The liability of the principal/employer and the recruitment/placement agency for any and all claims under this section shall be joint and several.A. 2003. 1997 Romero Montederamos (petitioner) as a stockman at its outlet at the Metro Ayala Department Store. vs. 2003. 2003. 2003. if the record is not kept in the Philippines. within ninety (90) calendar days after the filing of the complaint. hence. prompting the latter to send him a Memorandum on June 18. the Labor Arbiters of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) shall have the original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide. or by his deputy. However. as required under the Rules. and respondent’s letter 13 of reconsideration to the Ministry. 2003 of the Complaint against respondent. (emphasis supplied)1avvphi1 Respecting Ikdal’s joint and solidary liability as a corporate officer. knowing that he was already a regular employee. Money Claims. the certificate may be made by a secretary of the embassy or legation. If the recruitment/placement agency is a juridical being. the party invoking it must present a copy thereof and comply with Sections 24 and 25 of Rule 132 of the Revised Rules of Court which reads: SEC. To prove the Kuwaiti law.play. or consular agent or by any officer in the foreign service of the Philippines stationed in the foreign country in which the record is kept. Thus. 2003. it sent petitioner a second Violation Memorandum 6 for habitual tardiness. And he failed to submit an explanation behind his habitual tardiness. consul general. — Whenever a copy of a document or record is attested for the purpose of the evidence. she was given a rating of "Excellent" albeit it changed due to changes in her shift of work schedule. March 18. one of these is to attend [the] company meeting scheduled every Tuesday of the week.7 (Underscoring supplied) Again petitioner refused to receive the third Memorandum. if there be any. 2003. Where a foreign law is not pleaded or. shall themselves be jointly and solidarily liable with the corporation or partnership for the aforesaid claims and damages. citing his tardiness on April 22.
2003" as amounting to constructive dismissal.last April 15. You will resume work on August 1. 2005. G. the NLRC. J. He particularly highlights the fact that his one month suspension ended on July 31. NACHURA. cannot be given credence. Brushing aside petitioner’s alleged tardiness in 2003 in light of respondent’s failure to present the daily time records of petitioner who had been working for respondent since 1997. Carreon.versus Chairperson. This is the third time you did this. In another vein.000. the Court finds well-taken the Labor Arbiter’s grant thereto. respondent just the same. YNARES-SANTIAGO. JJ. the appellate court noted that the refusal occurred in August 2002 yet. On appeal. the NLRC held that respondent failed to refute petitioner’s allegation that he was made to sign a 5-month contract but that he refused as he had attained regular status. by June 27. finding that there was neither illegal dismissal nor abandonment.22 Not any of these circumstances exists to call for a ruling that petitioner was constructively dismissed. petitioner filed the present Petition for Review on Certiorari. It thus held that if indeed respondent wanted to terminate the services of petitioner on the basis of such refusal. He. 2003. 2003" but that he was given a chance to report on August 11. 2005. 2003 Memorandum. [the following day]. suspended effective July 1.D. Another situation that may arise after this memo will be a ground for your termination. DENIED. August 1. On July 31. 2003 but later advising him to resume work 10 days later or on August 11. 96171. . in light of the foregoing discussions. the appellate court held that respondent’s offer of reinstatement to petitioner runs counter to the charge of illegal dismissal. the petition is. 2003. petitioner’s filing on July 2. which affirmed the Resolution2 dated 5 May 2006 of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) in NLRC NCR CC No. 2003 but we are giving you a chance to report on August 11. Respondent’s inability to provide the letter-introduction for the renewal of petitioner’s Metro Ayala I. which claim he did not refute.Petitioner. SP No. however. in fact. precipitated. leaving him with no option but to forego his continued employment. petitioner’s failure to report for work after the expiration of the period of his suspension notwithstanding. He was. 2003 at 9 o’clock in the morning. or a demotion in rank or a diminution of pay. 2003. you showed insubordination [on] your part by answering back your immediate superior. Noting that "it is to the best interest of complainant that he should no longer be reinstated to his former position. ordered respondent to reinstate petitioner without backwages. Promulgated: September 30. By Decision15 of July 27. 2003. offered to reinstate him during the mandatory conference and even after receiving the promulgation of the decision of Labor Arbiter. it could have done so much earlier. amount to constructive dismissal. 2007. . CORPORATION. 2003.10 By Decision11 of November 10. SO ORDERED. 2006. The petition is bereft of merit. WHEREFORE. quitting because continued employment is rendered impossible.D. I am hoping [for] your presence on the date mentioned above. the NLRC concluded. and a subsequent Memorandum via registered mail. You are supposed to report at the office this August 1. 2003 does not. and ended in his illegal dismissal when respondent denied his request for the issuance of a letter of introduction for the renewal of his Metro Ayala I. Thereby. 000307-05 NCMB NCR NS 09-199-05. it appealed via Certiorari to the Court of Appeals. cannot be considered an act of discrimination or insensibility to warrant a finding of constructive dismissal. While the employer bears the burden in illegal dismissal cases to prove that the termination was for valid or authorized cause. there being no concrete proof that he had indeed rendered overtime service. among other things. you are suspended for one month effective July 1. This memo serves as your last warning. Instead. 2003. 2003 that he was "supposed to report . dismissing for lack of merit the complaint for unfair labor practice filed by petitioner National Union of Workers in Hotels. Finally.00. which was duly received by him on April 15." the NLRC granted him backwages and separation pay covering the period July 1. however. first was last April 15.19This petitioner failed to discharge.: This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. For respondent’s claim of having settled it bears no documentation. The appellate court held that respondent’s June 27. hence. 2003 but he was given "a chance to report on August 9(sic). assailing the Decision1dated 30 May 2007 rendered by the Court of Appeals in CA-G. His Motion for Reconsideration16 having been denied by Resolution17 of January 23.18 insisting that he was illegally/constructively dismissed and not merely suspended by respondent. in itself. by its claim.8 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) Hence. respondent claimed that it had paid petitioner overtime pay. You disrespect our office personnel.20 requiring him to explain his habitual tardiness on the therein indicated dates but that he failed to comply therewith. 2003. the employee must first establish by substantial evidence the fact of dismissal from service. the last day of the 30-day suspension of petitioner. 2003. 2003 belied the charge of illegal dismissal. That respondent advised petitioner on July 31. was yet to expire on June 30. 2003 of his Complaint. 2003 to 2004. It bears noting that petitioner’s Metro Ayala I.D. but the Violation Memoranda were issued to petitioner much later starting April 2003. reversed and set aside the Labor Arbiter’s decision and entered a new one declaring petitioner to have been illegally dismissed. and service incentive leave. Such refusal of petitioner. 2003 but you refuse[d] to sign. 21 Constructive dismissal contemplates.9 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) Petitioner never ever reported for work. No. Bare allegations of constructive dismissal. the Court of Appeals reversed and set aside the NLRC decision and reinstated the Labor Arbiter’s decision. and ACESITE PHILIPPINES HOTEL CHICO-NAZARIO. entitled to separation pay. subject to recomputation upon finality of the Decision. With these offenses. allowance. . Respecting petitioner’s claim that his refusal to sign the 5-month contract precipitated his suspension. Restaurants and Allied Industries-Manila Pavilion Hotel (NUWHRAIN) against Manila Pavilion Hotel (the Hotel).12 by Decision dated February 21. when uncorroborated by the evidence on record. 2008 x-------------------------------------------------x DECISION CHICO-NAZARIO. you were given a second memo with a request of explanation on your part last June 17. NATIONAL UNION OF WORKERS IN HOTELS. insensibility or disdain by an employer becomes unbearable to the employee.23 Respecting petitioner’s claim for service incentive leave. .. and pay him service incentive leave pay in the amount of P3. backwages and other money claims. 2003 [sic]. It clearly exists when an act of clear discrimination. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ. 2003. It went on to hold that petitioner’s infractions resulting in his suspension ─ tardiness and refusal to attend company meetings because he was not allegedly paid remuneration ─ were of his own wrongdoings. As for petitioner’s claim for overtime pay. and REYES. 2003 Memorandum to petitioner suspending him for one month ending July 31. The same incident took place last June 26.R. failed to refute respondent’s claim that it sent him a Violation Memorandum. 179402 RESTAURANTS AND ALLIED INDUSTRIES— Present: MANILA PAVILLION HOTEL CHAPTER. respondent advised petitioner as follows: This is to remind you that your suspension ends this July 31. the same fails. Petitioner’s claim for overtime pay was denied as it was unsubstantiated. unreasonable or unlikely. Labor Arbiter Ernesto F. Respondent’s Motion for Reconsideration 13 having been denied by Resolution14 of July 22.R. J. Finally. Respondents. 2003.
in violation of Section 2. (Emphasis provided) On 1 August 2005. effective 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2007. HIMPHLU served the Hotel with a written demand dated 28 July 200510 for the dismissal of 36 employees following their expulsion from HIMPHLU for alleged acts of disloyalty and violation of its Constitution and by-laws. 000307-05 NCMB NCR NS 09-199-05.18 In a Resolution19 dated 5 May 2006.R. while blaming NUWHRAIN for the labor problems of the Hotel. entitled IN RE: Labor Dispute at Manila Pavilion Hotel. NUWHRAIN filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the foregoing NLRC Resolution.. the NLRC determined that the issuance of the Notices directing the 36 employees to explain why they should not be dismissed was in compliance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement provisions regarding the union security clause.R. NUWHRAIN proceeded to file a Notice of Strike before the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) on 8 September 2005 on the ground of unfair labor practice under Article 248. It clarified that these Notices did not amount to the termination of the employees concerned but merely sought their explanation on why the union security clause should not be applied to them. During the reconciliatory conference held on 5 August 2005. The Court of Appeals further noted that the unhampered organization and registration of NUWHRAIN negated its allegation that the Hotel required its employees not to join a labor organization as a condition for their employment. .7 Thereafter. Firstly. The NLRC concluded that these statements did not constitute unfair labor practice for they could not have coerced or influenced either of the contending unions. failure to join the UNION within the period specified in the immediately preceding section or failure to maintain membership with the UNION in good standing either through resignation or expulsion from the UNION in accordance with the UNION’s Constitution and by-laws due to disloyalty.A. the Hotel and HIMPHLU negotiated the extension of the provisions of the existing Collective Bargaining Agreement for two years.8 On 5 July 2007. It further denied that respondent’s Vice President Norma Azores and the Hotel’s Resident Manager Bernardo Corpus. It was accordingly certified as the exclusive bargaining agent for rank and file employees of the Hotel.3 while respondent Acesite Philippines Hotel Corporation is the owner and operator of said Hotel. Jr.Petitioner NUWHRAIN is a legitimate labor organization composed of rank-and-file employees of the Hotel. Secondly. however. Even thereafter. The Notices directed the 36 employees to submit a written explanation for their alleged acts of disloyalty and violation of the union security clause for which HIMPHLU sought their dismissal. G. The appellate court also gave credence to the denial by the officers of the respondent and the Hotel that they made statements favoring HIMPHLU over NUWHRAIN during the reconciliatory conferences.6 On 21 June 2005.0017 Respondent countered that it merely complied with its contractual obligations with HIMPHLU when it issued the assailed Notices.15 The Secretary of Labor intervened and certified the case for compulsory arbitration with the NLRC. the NLRC interpreted the statements made by the officials of respondent and the Hotel during the reconciliatory conferences – encouraging the withdrawal of the Petition for Certification Election and the reaffirmation by the 36 employees of their membership in HIMPHLU – as proposed solutions to avoid the dismissal of the said employees. An Investigation Report11 was attached to the said written demand. both of whom did not agree in the suggested course of action or to any other manner of settling the dispute. who were members of HIMPHLU. that the UNION shall hold the HOTEL free and harmless from any and all liabilities that may arise should the dismissed employee question in any manner the dismissal. Both parties consented that the representation aspect and other non-economic provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement were to be effective for five years or until 30 June 2005. The Notices and the statements made by the officers of the respondent and the Hotel were allegedly intended to intimidate and coerce the employees in the exercise of their right to self-organization. docketed as C. It declared that the Hotel had acted prudently when it issued the Notices to the 36 employees after HIMPHLU demanded their dismissal. and clarified that none of the 36 employees were dismissed by the Hotel.000. which provided for a union security clause that reads: 12 Section 2. NUWHRAIN filed a Petition forCertiorari before the Court of Appeals. nor was it liable for moral and exemplary damages. joining another union or non-payment of UNION dues shall be a ground for the UNION to demand the dismissal from the HOTEL of the employee concerned. SP No. respondent insisted that it did not commit unfair labor practice. Thirdly. HIMPHLU. Jr.5 During the 60-day freedom period which preceded the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. however. on 16 June 2006. NUWHRAIN exercised the right to challenge the majority status of the incumbent union.000. implored NUWHRAIN’s members to withdraw their Petition for Certification Election and reaffirm their membership in HIMPHLU. stated her preference to deal with HIMPHLU. the NLRC pronounced that the Hotel was not guilty of unfair labor practice. made the statements attributed to them. Norma Azores. extending the effectivity of the existing Collective Bargaining Agreement for another two years. provided. The reconciliatory conferences facilitated by the Hotel were held on 5 August 2005 and 1 September 2005. and the economic provisions of the same were to be effective for three years or until 30 June 2003.A. NUWHRAIN claimed that it was entitled to moral damages in the amount of P50. Thus. the exclusive bargaining agent of the rank-and-file employees of the Hotel. extending the effectivity of the existing Collective Bargaining Agreement. the Court of Appeals promulgated its Decision 22 in C. The demand shall be accompanied by the UNION’s investigation report and the HOTEL shall act accordingly subject to existing laws and jurisprudence on the matter.21 On 30 May 2007. purportedly expressing their preference for HIMPHLU during the reconciliatory conferences. Accordingly. In the meantime. 000307-05 NCMB NCR NS 09-199-05. SP No. DISMISSAL PURSUANT TO UNION SECURITY CLAUSE. the Hotel issued Disciplinary Action Notices 13 (Notices) to the 36 employees identified in the written demand of HIMPHLU.14 However. upholding the Resolution dated 5 May 2006 of the NLRC in NLRC NCR CC No. by filing a Petition for Certification Election on 28 June 2005.20 Thus. stating that the 36 employees.16 NUWHRAIN asserted that the Hotel committed unfair labor practice when it issued the Notices to the 36 employees who switched allegiance from HIMPHLU to NUWHRAIN. 9 After the lapse of the 60-day freedom period. Finally. Bernardo Corpus. but pending the disposition of the Petition for Certification Election filed by NUWHRAIN. The parties subsequently re-negotiated the economic provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and extended the term of their effectivity for another two years or until 30 June 2005. It was denied by the NLRC in another Resolution dated 30 June 2006. The parties signed the Memorandum of Agreement on 20 May 2005 and the employees ratified it on 27 May 2005.00 and exemplary damages of P20. The case was docketed as NLRC NCR CC No. the Hotel had not acted improperly as it did not wrongfully terminate any of the 36 employees. paragraphs (a) and (b) of the Labor Code. NUWHRAIN was accorded by the Labor Relations Division of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) the status of a legitimate labor organization. the NLRC adjudged that the execution of the Memorandum of Agreement between respondent and HIMPHLU. the NLRC declared that the claim for moral and exemplary damages of NUWHRAIN lacked sufficient factual and legal bases. be compelled to act on any such UNION demand if made within a period of sixty (60) days prior to the expiry date of this agreement. On 1 September 2005. the Certification Election for regular rank and file employees of the Hotel was held.4 The factual antecedents of the instant Petition are as follows: The Hotel entered into a Collective Bargaining Agreement with HI-MANILA PAVILION HOTEL LABOR UNION (HIMPHLU). the Industrial Relations Division of the DOLE allowed the registration of the Memorandum of Agreement executed between HIMPHLU and the Hotel. was entered into with the view of responding to the employees’ economic needs. 96171. G. Article IV of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. joined NUWHRAIN. The HOTEL shall not. 96171. starting on 1 May 2005 and ending on 30 June 2005. and not intended to interfere with or restrain the exercise of the right to self-organization of NUWHRAIN’s members. the Resident Manager of the Hotel. respondent’s Vice President. which HIMPHLU won. The Hotel called the contending unions and the employees concerned for a reconciliatory conference in an attempt to avoid the dismissal of the 36 employees.
NUWHRAIN has the burden of proving its allegation that Norma Azores and Bernardo Corpus. hours of work. including the delayed reinstatement of striking employees and the offering of bribes. "Union security" is a generic term which is applied to and comprehends "closed shop. demanding the dismissal of 36 of its former members who joined NUWHRAIN. or such amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion. even if made under oath. implored NUWHRAINs’ members to withdraw their Petition for Certification Election and reaffirm their membership in HIMPHLU. The burden of proof rests upon the party who asserts the affirmative of an issue. Ltd. V." "union shop.27 this Court held that employees have the right to disaffiliate from their union and form a new organization of their own. NLRC. respondent’s Vice President Norma Azores expressed her preference to deal with HIMPHLU. the members of NUWHRAIN would owe their loyalty to their union. None of these acts were attributed to the respondent in the present case. was to conduct its own inquiry so as to make its own findings on whether there was sufficient ground to dismiss the said employees who defected from HIMPHLU.33 And in labor cases. Court of Industrial Relations. NLRC. the sole bargaining agent for the rank and file employees of the Hotel. Ltd. and wage increases to loyal employees after refusing to bargain with the union. CIR. the Hotel would have been subjected to a suit for its failure to comply with the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. especially since the success of this case would also redound to their benefit.R. The records clearly show that the Notices were issued after HIMPHLU served the Hotel with a letter dated 28 July 2005. as NUWHRAIN suggests it should have done. except of those employees who are already members of another union at the time of the signing of the collective bargaining agreement x x x. 37 SCRA 244 . one of the proposals laid on the table to settle the dispute between the unions and preclude the dismissal of the 36 employees was for NUWHRAIN to withdraw its Petition for Certification Election and. and (2) the acts of discrimination. (e) To discriminate in regard to wages. upon its receipt of the demand of HIMPHLU for the dismissal of the 36 employees. (Emphasis supplied. Greenfield v. 106916. the Collective Bargaining Agreement includes a union security provision. former members of HIMPHLU. they must suffer the consequences of their separation from the union under the security clause of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.32 for (1) the dismissal of some of its striking employees without even giving them an opportunity to explain their side. By thus promoting unionism. 248. Still. 1999. 80 SCRA 434  and INSULAR LIFE ASSURANCE CO. despite the insistence of HIMPHLU. and eventually dismissing said employees. G. In its letter. Insular Life Assurance Co. and the Hotel’s Resident Manager Bernardo Corpus. 246 SCRA 445 .. This argument is specious. LTD. for HIMPHLU to re-accept the employees without sanctions. the only sensible option left to the Hotel. the present Petition. During the reconciliatory conferences. This Court. and ASUNCION V. SUCH A RULING CONTRADICTS EXISTING JURISPRUDENCE SUCH AS MASAGANA CONCRETE PRODUCTS INC. SEPTEBMER 3. JRS BUSINESS CORPORATION V.NUWHRAIN’s Motion for Reconsideration of the aforementioned Decision of the Court of Appeals was denied by the same court in a Resolution dated 24 August 2007. NLRC. however. instead of each member presenting their sincere and individual narrations of events. Instead. NUWHRAIN claimed that during the reconciliatory conferences. 362 SCRA 56 . Before the Court of Appeals. Employees Association-NATU v.34 which NUWHRAIN failed to discharge in the present case. The fact that six members of the union signed a single statement. even afforded the employees involved a chance to be heard. The issuance by the respondent of the Notices requiring the 36 employees to submit their explanations to the charges against them was the reasonable and logical first step in a fair investigation.. 31 the Court declared the employer guilty of unfair labor practice for singling out its workers who refused to join the employer’s preferred union by not giving them work assignments and regular status. and (2) the officers of the respondent and the Hotel allegedly uttered statements during the reconciliatory conferences indicating their preference for HIMPHLU and their disapproval of NUWHRAIN. in return. a natural bias which somewhat puts into question their credibility as witnesses.24 The instant Petition lacks merit. on the basis of the union security clause of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. it arranged for reconciliatory conferences between the contending unions in order to avert the possibility of dismissing the 36 employees for violation of the union security clause of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. HIMPHLU alleged that it had found these members guilty of disloyalty and demanded their dismissal pursuant to the union security clause in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. bonuses.28 To avoid the clear possibility of liability for breaching the union security clause of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and to protect its own interests. Inciong. NUWHRAIN maintains that the respondent committed unfair labor practice when (1) the Hotel issued the Notices to the 36 employees. absent any other independent evidence which indicates that . Unfair labor practices of employers." "maintenance of membership" or any other form of agreement which imposes upon employees the obligation to acquire or retain union membership as a condition affecting employment. It is important to note that the Hotel did not take further steps to terminate the 36 employees. Undoubtedly. while blaming NUWHRAIN for the Hotel’s labor problems. The only act attributed to the respondent is its issuance of the Notices which. and must accordingly be denied. Had the Hotel totally ignored this demand. NO. respondent denied that such statements were made and that the officers of the respondent and the Hotel were merely misquoted. and other terms and conditions of employment in order to encourage or discourage membership in any labor organization. Ramos 29 clearly stated the general rule: the dismissal of an employee by the company pursuant to a labor union’s demand in accordance with a union security agreement does not constitute unfair labor practice. workers are able to negotiate with management on an even playing field and with more persuasiveness than if they were to individually and separately bargain with the employer. Jr. Jr. Nothing in this Code or in any other law shall prevent the parties from requiring membership in a recognized collective bargaining agent as a condition for employment. in Malayang Samahan ng Manggagawa sa M.26 In Villar v. wherein the officers of the respondent and the Hotel acted as mediators. THE INSULAR LIFE ASSURANCE CO. who switched allegiance to NUWHRAIN. In the present case. NUWHRAIN asserts that the sworn testimony signed by its six union members that the officers of the respondent and the Hotel did utter the offending statements deserve more credence than the unsworn denial of respondent. The employer was found guilty of unfair labor practice in Insular Life Assurance Co.) The law allows stipulations for "union shop" and "closed shop" as a means of encouraging workers to join and support the union of their choice in the protection of their rights and interests vis-à-vis the employer. gives the impression that it was signed in a perfunctory manner and motivated by a sense of union solidarity. contrary to being an unfair labor practice. there is even less possibility of sustaining a finding of guilt for unfair labor practice where respondent did not dismiss the 36 employees. The cases cited by NUWHRAIN are not applicable to the present case given their diverse factual backgrounds. the quantum of proof necessary is substantial evidence. in which NUWHRAIN makes the following assignment of errors: I THE COURT OF APPEALS GAVE MORE PROBATIVE VALUE TO RESPONDENT HOTEL’S GENERAL AND UNSWORN DENIAL VERSUS THAT OF PETITIONER’S SWORN TESTIMONY NARRATING RESPONDENT’S HOTEL’S VIOLATION OF PETITIONER’S RIGHT TO SELF ORGANIZATION. The self-serving statement signed by six of NUWHRAIN’s members have very little weight. 23 Hence.25 Article 248(e) of the Labor Code recognizes the effectivity of a union shop clause: Art.. II THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT RESPONDENT HOTEL IS NOT GUILTY OF UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICE CONTRARY TO ARTICLE 248 OF THE LABOR CODE AND THE SUPREME COURT’S RULING IN PROGRESSINVE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION V. did make the statements being attributed to them. LTC EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION-NATU V. An employer is not considered guilty of unfair labor practice if it merely complied in good faith with the request of the certified union for the dismissal of employees expelled from the union pursuant to the union security clause in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. In Progressive Development Corporation v... 30 In the case at bar.
SP No. as the respondent in fact failed to respond to the petitioner’s memoranda. informing him that he had been absent without official leave (AWOL) from August 7. 35 Considering the expertise of these agencies in matters pertaining to labor disputes. and ECOLA. 96171 is hereby AFFIRMED. The respondent alleged that on August 6. wire and nails. 2003. 2006. and the Court of Appeals affirmed. service incentive leave. the petitioner sent him a letter by registered mail dated August 12. The NLRC Ruling The respondent appealed the labor arbiter’s decision to the NLRC on November 14. but also finality.166. . exhibiting a note from his doctor indicating that he was fit to work. In all. the petitioner never carried the burden of proving the legality of a dismissal. On January 20. 3 and (b) the Resolution of the CA dated August 15. DECISION Before this Court is the Petition for Review on Certiorari1 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court filed by Pentagon Steel Corporation (the petitioner). In a Decision dated June 28. The respondent maintained that his illness had prevented him from reporting for work for ten (10) days. 174141 June 26.I. a corporation engaged in the manufacture of G. the respondent failed to respond. 2002 and October 10 and 18. 20062 modifying the Decision of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) dated January 31. the respondent refused to return to work and insisted that he be paid his separation pay. however. On January 31.10 The NLRC ruled that the petitioner’s defense of abandonment has no legal basis since there was no clear intent on the respondent’s part to sever the employer-employee relationship. vs. still during the conciliation proceedings. he contracted flu associated with diarrhea and suffered loose bowel movement due to the infection. did not allow him to resume work on the same date. inclusive of allowances and other benefits or their monetary equivalent computed from the time his compensation was withheld from him up to the time of his actual reinstatement. the NLRC found. 2002. 2002. for this reason. Findings of fact of the NLRC are given much weight and are considered conclusive by this Court. and service incentive leave. No. 2002. the respondent filed a complaint with the Arbitration Branch of the NLRC for underpayment/nonpayment of salaries and wages. the respondent formally amended his complaint to include his claim of illegal dismissal.the officers of the respondent and the Hotel made such hostile and coercive utterances that tend to interfere or influence the employees’ exercise of the right to self-organization. the findings of administrative agencies of the Department of Labor are generally accorded not only respect. 4 denying the motion for reconsideration that the petitioner subsequently filed. The NLRC found it difficult to accept the petitioner’s allegation that the respondent absented himself for unknown reasons.9 The decision directed the company to pay the respondent separation pay. When the respondent finally reported for work on August 17. but directed the petitioner "to pay the complainant his SIL and 13th month pay in the amount of Five Thousand One Hundred Sixty-Six Pesos and 66/100 (P5. however. backwages. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and PERFECTO BALOGO. the respondent maintained a neutral stand in the dispute between HIMPHLU and NUWHRAIN. 2002. 2006. The records are bereft of any instance that would show that respondent rode roughshod over its employees’ freedom to decide which union to join. 2005."12 The CA held that the respondent was constructively dismissed when the petitioner repeatedly refused to accept the respondent back to work despite the valid medical reason that justified his absence from work. COURT OF APPEALS. 13th month pay. specifically questioning the ruling that no illegal dismissal took place. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING. the petitioner considered him on AWOL from August 7. 2002.R. the petitioner filed a special civil action for certiorari11 with the CA."8 In dismissing the respondent’s claim of illegal dismissal. the NLRC also considered the strained relationship existing between the parties and. The labor arbiter noted that the respondent’s allegation that he reported for work is not reliable for lack of corroborating evidence. 2002. to submit himself to the company physician to determine whether he was fit to return to work in accordance with existing policies. 2003. the labor arbiter rendered his decision dismissing the illegal dismissal charge. this kind of action is inconsistent with the respondent’s twenty-three (23) years of service and lack of derogatory record during these years. alleging grave abuse of discretion on the part of the NLRC in ruling that illegal dismissal took place. all pointing out his absences. 2002. Thus. 2006. awarded separation pay in lieu of reinstatement. the instant Petition is DENIED. 2009 PENTAGON STEEL CORPORATION. On August 19. however. The CA Ruling On May 6. 1979 in its wire drawing department. 2005. The assailed Decision dated 30 May 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. and in awarding the respondent separation pay and backwages. In their Reply before the NLRC. in addition to backwages. G. the NLRC denied the petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. separation pay.Respondents. according to the petitioner. Subsequently. NUWHRAIN admitted that before issuing its Notices. the NLRC held that the respondent was illegally dismissed. On October 22. the decision was confined to the directive to pay service incentive leave and 13th month pay. It is only when such findings are not substantially supported by the records that this Court will step in and make its independent evaluation of the facts. As a consequence. the petitioner refused to take him back despite the medical certificate he submitted. the respondent presented a medical certificate issued by the company physician. requiring an explanation for his absence. Other letters were sent to the respondent by registered mail. the respondent presented the medical certificate covering his period of absence. the CA affirmed the NLRC’s finding that the dismissal was illegal. 2003. employed respondent Perfecto Balogo (the respondent) since September 1. holiday pay.66). the labor arbiter found that no dismissal took place. Thus. 5 On September 13. 2002. respondent had not committed any act which would constitute unfair labor practice. they were not dismissed for their affiliation with NUWHRAIN.7 The Labor Arbiter Ruling On October 27. THE FACTUAL ANTECEDENTS The petitioner. also by registered mail. 2002. thus. The petitioner sent another letter to the respondent on August 21.R. however. to no avail. 2002. The petitioner refused the respondent’s demand for separation pay for lack of basis. 2002 to August 21. Petitioner. Together with this conclusion.36 Even the surrounding circumstances would contradict NUWHRAIN’s allegation that the respondent interfered with or coerced its employees in their choice of union membership. The CA concluded that the respondent complied with the petitioner’s directive to submit a written explanation when the former presented the medical certificate to explain his absences. 13th month pay. He was thus driven to file a complaint against the petitioner. 6 During the conciliation proceedings on October 9. the respondent again reported for work on August 21 and 23. As a result. overtime pay. 2005. the respondent again reported for work. that the officers of the respondent and the Hotel did not make statements that would have constituted unfair labor practice. The petitioner alleged that the respondent absented himself from work on August 7. In the case at bar. 37 Neither did the respondent threaten the 36 employees who shifted their allegiance to NUWHRAIN with any form of reprisal. the NLRC Third Division vacated and set aside the decision of the labor arbiter. 2002 without giving prior notice of his absence. The petitioner. written in Filipino. It seeks to set aside: (a) the Decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) dated June 28. On March 31. Costs against petitioner NUWHRAIN. 2002. The petitioner required him. but modified the challenged decision by adding reinstatement and the payment of "full backwages. SO ORDERED.
The petitioner points out that it wrote the respondent various memoranda requiring him to explain why he incurred absences without leave. the petitioner imputes grave abuse of discretion against the CA: 1) in basing its decision on the proceedings that transpired when the parties were negotiating for a compromise agreement during the preliminary conference of the case. 16 Indeed. in legal contemplation. the respondent. First. The reasons behind the exclusion are two-fold. but the CA denied the motion for lack of merit in the Resolution dated August 15. hypothetically. we find that the CA did indeed consider the statements the parties made during conciliation. 2003 strongly speaks against the petitioner’s charge of abandonment.20 In the present case.21 To constitute abandonment." This was the provision we cited in Nissan Motors Philippines. In the present case. we see no reason to depart from the unanimous factual findings of the NLRC and the CA that the respondent’s actions after his absence from work for ten (10) days due to illness showed his willingness to return to work. the award was based on the information NCMB Administrator Olalia secured from the confidential position given him by the company during conciliation. which we discuss below.13 In this present petition. First. Secretary of Labor15 when we pointedly disallowed the award made by the public respondent Secretary. manifested through overt acts. the respondent’s filing of the amended complaint for illegal dismissal on January 20. using the lack of written explanation as a clever ruse to terminate Balogo’s employment. since the law favors the settlement of controversies out of court. Both tribunals found that after the respondent presented his medical certificate to the petitioner to explain his absence. the jurisprudential rule is that abandonment is a matter of intention that cannot be lightly presumed from equivocal acts." Another written explanation from him would be superfluous and even redundant if the facts already appearing in the medical certificate would inevitably be stated again in that other written explanation. 2006. or on the part of a plaintiff. The CA also held that to deny the respondent the benefits due from his long service with the company would be very harsh since his long service would not be amply compensated by giving him only separation pay. the petitioner must show that the respondent’s overt acts point unerringly to his intent not to work anymore. Why the petitioner persistently refused to accept Balogo back despite his presentation of the medical certificate and the doctor’s note about his fitness to work was not credibly explained by the petitioner. the respondent was illegally dismissed. The CA also ruled that the respondent’s filing of a complaint for illegal dismissal with a prayer for reinstatement manifested his desire to return to his job. but consider as final. but for a different reason. two elements must concur: (1) the failure to report for work or absence without valid or justifiable reason. The petitioner never effectively refuted the respondent’s reason for his absence.23 In this case. disagreed with the NLRC’s application of the doctrine of "strained relations. for it is . The CA. Second. We thus concur with the CA’s view that the respondent submitted a valid reason for his absence and thereby substantially complied with the petitioner’s requirement of a written explanation. Before going into the substantive merits of the controversy. These findings of fact we duly accept as findings that we must not only respect. to sever the employer-employee relationship. many settlements would be prevented and unnecessary litigation would result. hence. The respondent presented a medical certificate from his doctor attesting to the fact that he was sick with flu associated with diarrhea or loose bowel movement which prevented him from reporting for work for 10 days. the CA erred by considering excluded materials in arriving at its conclusion. 2) in declaring that respondent was illegally dismissed by the petitioner. The employer bears the burden of showing a deliberate and unjustified refusal by the employee to resume his employment without any intention of returning. and requiring him as well to report for work.The CA also disregarded the petitioner’s charge of abandonment against the respondent. The CA took note of the respondent’s eagerness to return to work when he obtained a note from his doctor about his fitness to return to work.14 We agree with the petitioner. that his or her claim is groundless or even doubtful. Petitioner moved for reconsideration of the decision. Statements and/or agreements made at conciliation proceedings are privileged and cannot be used as evidence The petitioner contends that the CA cannot use the parties’ actions and/or agreements during the negotiation for a compromise agreement as basis for the conclusion that the respondent was illegally dismissed because an offer of compromise is not admissible in evidence under Section 27. there was no clear intention on the respondent’s part to sever the employeremployee relationship. the respondent had a valid reason for absenting himself from work. offers for compromise are irrelevant because they are not intended as admissions by the parties making them. he even went back to his doctor for a certification that he was already fit to return to work. however. Considering that "intention" is a mental state. and in contemplation of mutual concessions. since they are supported by substantial evidence. Conciliators and similar officials shall not testify in any court or body regarding any matters taken up at conciliation proceedings conducted by them. since it is made with a view to avoid controversy and save the expense of litigation. The correct reason for the CA’s error in considering the actions and agreements during the conciliation proceedings before the labor arbiter is Article 233 of the Labor Code which states that "[i]nformation and statements made at conciliation proceedings shall be treated as privileged communication and shall not be used as evidence in the Commission. and 3) in ordering that respondent be reinstated to his former position with backwages. Rule 130 of the Rules of Court. the CA’s conclusion on illegal dismissal. hence. thus negating the petitioner’s charge of abandonment.17 Second. The appellate court ruled that the petitioner failed to prove a clear and deliberate intent on the respondent’s part to discontinue working with no intention of returning. Based on these other pieces of evidence. the petitioner claims that there was no illegal dismissal since the respondent abandoned his job. never bothered to reply in writing. a person is entitled to "buy his or her peace" without danger of being prejudiced in case his or her efforts fail. It is the distinguishing mark of an offer of compromise that it is made tentatively. v. we shall first resolve the propriety of the CA’s consideration of the proceedings that transpired during the mandatory preliminary conference of the case.24 In addition. but was amply supported by other evidence on record. and (2) a clear intent. The refusal is indicative of the petitioner’s ill motive towards him. however. our ruling regarding the statement made during conciliation has no effect at all on our final conclusion. any communication made toward that end will be regarded as privileged. was not grounded solely on the parties’ statements during conciliation.18 A true offer of compromise does not. Balogo should be judged as having fully complied with the petitioner’s directive by his presenting of the medical certificate to justify or explain his absences because the medical certificate already constituted the required "written explanation.22 We agree with the CA that the petitioner failed to prove the charge of abandonment. Respondent did not abandon his job The rule is that the burden of proof lies with the employer to show that the dismissal was for a just cause. We quote with approval the following discussion in the CA’s decision: In his case. thus. however. THE COURT’S RULING We do not find the petition meritorious. since no prudent person would dare offer or entertain a compromise if his or her compromise position could be exploited as a confession of weakness. if every offer to buy peace could be used as evidence against a person who presents it. In evaluating a charge of abandonment. Inc. involve an admission on the part of a defendant that he or she is legally liable." citing jurisprudence that the doctrine should be strictly applied in order not to deprive an illegally dismissed employee of his right to reinstatement.19 While we agree with the petitioner that the CA should not have considered the agreements and/or statements made by the parties during the conciliation proceedings.
Second. DUBRICO. does not merit the severance of the employee-employer relationship between the parties. Petitioners. we find no evidentiary support for the conclusion that strained relations existed between the parties. (Phil. inclusive of allowances and other benefits or their monetary equivalent. Separation pay may take into account the respondent’s past years of service. this issue – factual in nature – was not the subject of evidence on the part of both the petitioner and the respondent. computed from the time his compensation was withheld from him up to the time of his actual reinstatement. constitute constructive dismissal. an unjustly dismissed employee can never be reinstated. We take note. 2009 PLANTATION BAY RESORT and SPA and EFREN BELARMINO. sufficient proof of the existence of strained relations that would rule out the possibility of reinstatement. 2004. the respondent’s service record was unblemished having had no record of infraction of company rules. a drug testing laboratory.R. To our mind. shall in a few years retire. for it can also be implied. the respondent manifested his willingness to comply with the petitioner’s rules and regulations and his desire to continue working for the latter.32 We agree with the CA’s specific finding that the conflict. any separation pay paid at this point cannot equal the retirement pay due the respondent upon retirement. Respondents. as affirmed by the CA. 2007 Decision1 and March 3. the petitioner did not raise the defense of strained relationship with the respondent before the labor arbiter. by itself. under these circumstances. 89587. Under the given facts. There thus exists no competent evidence on which to base the conclusion that the relationship between the petitioner and the respondent has reached the point where their relationship is now best severed. WHEREFORE. 182216 December 4. the implementation of the doctrine of strained relationship must be supplemented by the rule that the existence of a strained relationship is for the employer to clearly establish and prove in the manner it is called upon to prove the existence of a just cause. Drug). GODFREY D. 2006 and its Resolution dated August 15.illogical for an employee to abandon his employment and. but who had to absent himself because of illness. 20063 and June 23. To be sure. were administered on about 122 employees by the Martell Medical Trade and Lab Services (Martell). A dismissal need not be expressed orally or in writing." and the phrase cannot be given an overarching interpretation. Since the application of this doctrine will result in the deprivation of employment despite the absence of just cause. after 23 years of service. On several dates in September 2004. vs. Respondent Romel Dubrico (Dubrico) failed to take the drug test conducted on September 14. no basis in reason exists for the petitioner’s theory that the respondent abandoned his job. And confirmatory tests were conducted by the Philippine Drug Screening Laboratory.: Via petition for review on certiorari. benefit and privileges – there may be constructive dismissal if an act of clear discrimination. and. A dismissal effected through the fig leaf of an alleged violation of a company directive is no less than an actual illegal dismissal that jurisprudence has labeled as a constructive dismissal. The circumstances in this case do not warrant an exception to the rule that reinstatement is the consequence of an illegal dismissal. we find it difficult to accept the petitioner’s allegation that the respondent absented himself for unjustifiable reasons with the intent to abandon his job. The drug tests. 20064 Resolutions of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) in Case No. This is a clear manifestation of the petitioner’s lack of respect and consideration for the respondent who had long served the company without blemish.28 The respondent’s illegal dismissal carries the legal consequence defined under Article 279 of the Labor Code: the illegally dismissed employee is entitled to reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and other privileges and to his full backwages. we uphold the CA ruling that the respondent should be reinstated to his former position or to a substantially equivalent position without loss of seniority rights. As the NLRC correctly held. Catinoy27describes this type of company action when it ruled that "[c]onstructive dismissal does not always involve forthright dismissal or diminution in rank. given the result of the petitioner’s action and the attendant insensibility and disdain the employer exhibited. we quote with approval the CA’s disquisition: That Balogo was dismissed in contravention of the letter and spirit of the Constitution and the Labor Code on the security of tenure guaranteed to him as employee is clear for us. but will deprive the respondent of compensation for the future productive years that his security of tenure protects. Respondent was constructively dismissed The above conclusion necessarily leads us to sustain the NLRC’s finding. SO ORDERED. Again. hence. the filing of the complaint for illegal dismissal is proof enough of the desire to return to work. Prior to his dismissal. ROMEL S. a Department of Health-accredited laboratory. NGUJO and JULIUS D. premises considered. he was issued a memorandum7 requiring him to appear in a mandatory . insensibility. conducted surprise random drug tests on its employees. barred him from resuming his work under the pretext that he had violated a company directive. Consequently. thereafter. 31 In the present case. except only to the extent recognized by the law itself as expressed in jurisprudence. speaks against any intent to sever the employer-employee relationship. J. compensation. Respondents are former employees of Plantation Bay located in Cebu.6 Plantation Bay. the degree of hostility attendant to a litigation is not.26 We additionally take note of the undisputed fact that the respondent had been in the petitioner’s employ for 23 years. We significantly note that by reporting for work repeatedly. V-000366-2005 in favor of herein respondents. or disdain by an employer becomes so unbearable on the part of the employee that it could foreclose any choice by him except to forego his continued employment. illegal dismissal results because the employee is thus prevented from returning to work under the façade of a violation of a company directive. if any. Inc. said to have been carried out with the assistance of the Philippine National Police-Scene of Crime Operations (SOCO). The records disclose that respondent has been in the petitioner’s employ for 23 years and has no previous record of inefficiency or infraction of company rules prior to his illegal dismissal from service.1avvphi1 The petitioner’s actions.R. otherwise. petitioners Plantation Bay Resort and Spa (Plantation Bay) and Efren Belarmino (Belarmino) challenge the Court of Appeals August 30. consequently.30 Indeed. The petitioner. we hereby DENY the petition. First. occasioned by the respondent’s filing of an illegal dismissal case. The existence of strained relations between the parties was not clearly established. as in this case. 2008 Resolution2dismissing their petition and affirming the March 24. G. VILLAFLOR. that the respondent was dismissed without just cause. too. AFFIRM the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated June 28. however. No. For all these reasons. DECISION CARPIO MORALES. file a complaint for illegal dismissal. That abandonment is negated finds support in a long line of cases where the immediate filing of a complaint for illegal dismissal was coupled with a prayer for reinstatement. We significantly note that payment of separation pay in lieu of respondent’s reinstatement will work injustice to the latter when considered with his long and devoted years in the petitioner’s service. Hyatt Taxi Services. in compliance with Republic Act No. SP No. When the employer continuously refuses to accept the employee back despite his having a valid reason for his absence from work. v. that the respondent. labor disputes almost always result in "strained relations." The respondent’s situation is no different from what Hyatt defined. 29 The imposition of this legal consequence is a matter of law that allows no discretion on the part of the decision maker. abandonment after the respondent’s long years of service and the consequent surrender of benefits earned from years of hard work are highly unlikely. of which Belarmino is the Manager. Inc. 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002). after Plantation Bay issued a series of memoranda and conducted seminars5relative to its drug-free workplace policy. We have consistently ruled that the doctrine of strained relations cannot be used recklessly or applied loosely to deprive an illegally dismissed employee of his means of livelihood and deny him reinstatement.25 The prayer for reinstatement. 2006 in CA-G. Respondent is entitled to reinstatement not separation pay As the CA correctly ruled. the NLRC erred when it awarded separation pay instead of reinstatement.
To achieve this goal. by giving the opposing party sufficient opportunity to meet and rebut the new or additional evidence15 introduced. Issued on 09/29/04 at p. 2005 Decision and declared that respondents were illegally dismissed. it. holding that in testing positive for the use of shabu. the Appeal is DISMISSED. In compliance with separate memoranda9 issued by the management of Plantation Bay. Ngujo and Villaflor and three others thereupon filed on November 18. The petition is bereft of merit. they were guilty of serious misconduct.m.conference on September 20. the NLRC abandoned its earlier statement that it was the SOCO which conducted the drug tests. the present petition. disposing as follows: WHEREFORE. For how could one "confirm" some thing which was yet to be established or discovered? Needless to say. We thus agree with complainants that if the drug tests against them were true.13 Its motion for reconsideration having been denied by Resolution of June 23. 2004 their respective complaints10 for illegal dismissal. provided due process is observed. Technical rules of procedure are not strictly adhered to in labor cases. 2005. For an employee's dismissal to be valid. petitioners reiterating the same issues raised in the appellate court. affirmed the Decision of the Labor Arbiter. there is not only doubt that on the version of respondents but also their conduct is highly suspicious based on their own evidence. 2004. The importance of the confirmatory test is underscored in Plantation Bay’s own "Policy and Procedures. Labor Arbiter Jose G. Julius Villaflor Urine sample received on 09/29/04 at 5:32 p. Such move is proper. Issued on 09/29/04 at p. questioning the conduct of the drug tests without the presence of the DOLE Regional Director or his representative. Indeed. Drug: Name Drug Test Confirmatory Test Romel Dubrico Urine sample received on 09/29/04 at 5:14 p. the procedure for the random drug testing was not followed such that he was not informed about his selection.12 The Labor Arbiter discredited the drug test results presented by the employees as the tests were taken more than 72 hours after the conduct of the random drug tests. and that they were afforded due process. the law considers the case a matter of illegal dismissal. On respondents’ motion for reconsideration. Or that is the confirmatory tests were correct. the NLRC gravely abused its discretion when it reversed its findings based on such new issue. requiring that a confirmatory test must be conducted if an employee is found positive for drugs in the Employee’s Prior Screening Test. valid and legal cause for termination of employment. hence. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)1avvphi1 On the issue of due process. Additionally.171avvphil1 Records show the following timeline. The appellate court affirmed the NLRC March 24. we now rule that respondents were not really into drugs. inter alia. While it is a well-settled rule. Time and again. (a) the dismissal must be for a valid cause and (b) the employee must be afforded due process. arguing that. Hence. he averring that. The Constitution no less directs the State to afford full protection to labor. and that both tests must arrive at the same positive result. Plantation Bay dismissed them including herein respondents. Plantation Bay validly terminated their employment. hence. the supposed confirmatory tests conducted on them were not based on their urine samples that were the subject of the drug tests. 2006. Plantation Bay appealed to the Court of Appeals. however. new or additional evidence may be introduced on appeal before the NLRC. Thus. the employees submitted their explanations on the result of the tests. how can the presence of shabu be confirmed when the results of the initial screening were not yet out? Plantation Bay’s arguments that it should not be made liable thereof and that the doubt arising from the time of the conduct of the drug and confirmatory tests was the result of the big volume of printouts being handled by Martell do not thus lie. these could not have been gotten from their urine samples which were yet to undergo drug testing. technical rules of procedure shall be liberally construed in favor of the working class in accordance with the demands of substantial justice. that issues not raised below cannot be raised for the first time on appeal. the results thereof being the bases in terminating the employees’ services. he left and failed to be tested. by Decision of October 26. we have ruled that where there is no showing of a clear. SO ORDERED. At any rate. In the interest of substantial justice. the veracity of the confirmatory tests was raised by respondents only when they filed a belated Motion for Reconsideration of the NLRC Decision. the confirmatory test results were released earlier than those of the drug test. reversed its October 26. 9165. Before the scheduled conference or on September 19. 16 On the merits. The NLRC accordingly reversed the Decision of the Labor Arbiter. 2006 Resolution with modification by deleting the award of damages. the drug testing should always come ahead of the confirmatory testing.m. the NLRC held that the results of the confirmatory drug tests cannot be given credence since they were conducted prior to the conduct by the employer of the drug tests. the NLRC. as was the case here. It added that respondents were not given the opportunity to examine the evidence and confront the witnesses against them through their counsel. we agree with complainants that either or both drug tests and confirmatory tests conducted on them were fabricated. as they did refute the results of the drug tests by submitting results of recent drug tests.m. and if the results turned out to be questionable or erroneous. The burden is on the employer to prove that the termination of employment was for a valid and legal cause. Dubrico explained in writing8 his failure to undergo the drug test. Twenty other employees were found positive for use of shabu including herein respondents Godfrey Ngujo (Ngujo) and Julius Villaflor (Villaflor). they maintain that in terminating the services of respondents. which explanations were found unsatisfactory. hence.m. and that he was at the appointed time and place for the pre-test meeting but that the duty manager was not around. By Decision11 of April 18. Gutierrez dismissed the employees’ complaints. and the assailed Decision is AFFIRMED in toto. inter alia. Issued on 09/29/04 at p. it being crucial in determining the validity of respondents’ dismissal from their employment. It was Plantation Bay’s responsibility to ensure that the tests would be properly administered. 14 there are exceptions thereto among which are for reasons of public policy or interest.20 (Emphasis supplied) . The NLRC did not err in considering the issue of the veracity of the confirmatory tests even if the same was raised only in respondents’ Motion for Reconsideration of its Decision. also applicable in labor cases. the petition just the same fails. hence." in compliance with Republic Act No. Dubrico was later tested and found positive for use of methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu). they having been issued memoranda as to the mandatory investigation and given the chance to. It ratiocinated: Considering the indubitable documentary evidence on record notably submitted by respondents [petitioners herein] themselves. they should not be made liable therefor. farce or sham.m. On appeal. 2004. this time declaring that it was Martell which actually administered them. Godfrey Ngujo Urine sample received on 09/29/04 at 5:24 p. 2006.m. (Underscoring supplied) As reflected in the above matrix. thereby casting doubts on the veracity of the confirmatory results. by Resolution of March 24. based on the reports on respondents’ respective drug tests18 administered by Martell and confirmatory tests19 undertaken by the Phil. In finding for respondents. they relied on the results of the random drug tests undertaken by an accredited and licensed drug testing facility. 2005. not the other way around. Respondents Dubrico.
HON. against Hilario Ramirez (Ramirez). he alleged that it was complainant who abandoned his job. did not report at Calawisan. owner of H. as petitioners failed to indubitably prove that respondents were guilty of drug use in contravention of its drug-free workplace policy amounting to serious misconduct. We do not rule out a case of abandonment because the overt act of not answering an emergency call is not insufficient to constitute abandonment. As emergency/rescue mechanic. premium pay for holidays and rest days.287. February 27.98 Philippine currency. By 2002. complainant is ordered to report back for work within ten (10) days from receipt hereof. as he allegedly intended to return to Mindanao. RAMIREZ. First were the mechanics assigned to specific stations. where she pointed out that: The allegation of complainant that his refusal to work on pakiao basis prompted respondent Hilario Ramirez to dismiss him from the service is not substantiated by any piece of evidence. and service incentive leaves with claims for moral and exemplary damages and attorney’s fees. Rule VI of the NLRC Rules of Procedure. Valcueba belonged to the last category. Valcueba did not report to the Calawisan station. Complainant advanced no reason as to why he failed to answer an emergency call of duty nor did he file an application for a leave of absence when he failed to report for work that day. xxxx Respondent has not offered a meritorious ground for the reduction of the appeal bond and the amount ofP10. within ten (10) days from receipt hereof.6 In the end. secretary of Ramirez. the same is in order. Cebu City. SO ORDERED.P30.825. Valcueba. Second were the mechanics paid on pakyaw basis. There were three categories of mechanics at the workplace. Lapu-Lapu City when respondent Ramirez ordered him to answer an emergency call. NOT GUILTY of illegally dismissing complainant from the service. asserting that Valcueba was first hired as construction worker. which reads: Upon a careful perusal of the motion to reduce bond. temporarily assigned at Babag Station. on February 26. which required him to fix Ramirez’s troubled taxi unit. On the contrary. it was the latter who abandoned his job. 13th month pay differential.00 he posted is not a reasonable amount in relation to the monetary . however.00.5 Further. He was not also paid the complete amount of his 13th month pay. the Labor Arbiter decreed: WHEREFORE. which required him to fix the respondent’s troubled taxi unit. As rescue or emergency mechanic temporarily assigned at Babag Station. Valcueba claimed that Ramirez hired him as mechanic on 28 May 1999. 4th Division. complainant would be guilty of abandonment and respondent of illegal dismissal. Nonetheless. DECISION CHICO-NAZARIO. 2009 HILARIO S. Cebu City and MARIO S. On the contrary.00 in 2005. and respondent Hilario Ramirez must complainant (sic) back to work as soon as the latter would express his intention to report for work or within the same period of ten (10) days from receipt hereof. Lapu-lapu City.R. it appearing that there is no dismissal to speak of in this case. Complainant must go back to work within ten (10) days from receipt of this judgment. there is reason for Us to doubt complainant’s submission that he was dismissed from his employment grounded on disobedience to the lawful order of respondent. Proof of compliance hereof. he did not report for work anymore. holiday pay. On 27 February 2006. is hereby ordered to pay complainant MARIO S. the Commission found that the same does not comply with Section 6. Consequently. COURT OF APPEALS. also within ten (10) days from receipt of this decision. In addition. 13th Month Pay - 15. G. it is best that the parties to this case should be restored to their previous employment relations. J. Taxi.538. vs. informed Valcueba that he would not be allowed to return to work unless he agreed to work on pakyaw basis. he was paid a daily wage of P140. He was not paid for holidays and rest days.00 a day in 2003 and to P190. Josephine Torres.7 Records show that Ramirez received the Labor Arbiter’s decision on 5 June 2006.000. the Labor Arbiter rendered her decision. The refusal of complainant to obey the lawful order of respondent Ramirez is bolstered by his failure to report for work the following day. Consequently.R. Ramirez. presented a different version of the antecedents.98 Total Award - P45. Valcueba advanced no reason regarding his failure to answer an emergency call of duty. A fortiori. Ramirez insisted that Valcueba was never terminated from his employment. the NLRC issued a Resolution9 dated 29 September 2006. 27 February 2006. whichever comes first. through the Cashier of this Arbitration Branch. As to the appellate court’s deletion of the award of damages. Other claims are DISMISSED for failure to substantiate. The mechanic assigned in the area was then absent at that time. and eventually as mechanic.4 Aggrieved. No. The refusal of Valcueba to obey the lawful order of Ramirez was bolstered by his failure to report for work the following day. which was increased to P165. On the side of respondent Ramirez. those who were classified as rescue/emergency mechanics. as rescue or emergency mechanic. Resolving the motion. there being no clear showing that the termination of respondents’ services was actuated by bad faith. OWNER OF H. must be submitted within the same period (sic). Wage Differential . and finally. then as helper of the mechanic. he filed this case. TAXI. VIEWED FROM THE FOREGOING. he was assigned to various stations to perform emergency/rescue work. Lapu-lapu City when Ramirez ordered him to answer an emergency call. Not even a declaration under oath by any affiant attesting to the credibility of complainant’s allegation is presented. No documentary evidence purporting to clearly indicate that complainant was discharged was submitted for Our judicious consideration. Petitioner. 2006.00 b. NLRC. After hearing. The facts are: Respondent Mario Valcueba (Valcueba) filed a Complaint3 for illegal dismissal and nonpayment of wage differential. HON. while respondent must accept complainant back to work. while he was assigned at the Babag station. He filed a Motion for Reconsideration and/or Memorandum of Appeal with Urgent Motion to Reduce Appeal Bond8 on the 9th day of the reglementary period or on 14 June 2006 before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).Respondents.: This is a Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the (a) 13 July 2007 Resolution1 of the Court of Appeals which dismissed the Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 filed by petitioner Hilario Ramirez for failure to properly verify his petition and to state material dates and (b) the 7 March 2008 Resolution2 of the same court denying petitioner’s Motion for reconsideration. respondent HILARIO RAMIREZ. complainant did not report at Calawisan. he insisted that complainant was never terminated from his employment. there being no dismissal nor abandonment involved in this case. nor did he file an application for a leave of absence when he failed to report for work that day. On 26 February 2006. Ramirez directed him to proceed to Calawisan. The mechanic assigned in the area was then absent at that time. 2006. on the other hand. judgment is hereby rendered declaring respondent HILARIO RAMIREZ. In fact. as the records are bereft of any evidence that respondent sent complainant a letter which advised the latter to report for work. WHEREFORE. VALCUEBA. VALCUEBA the following: a. 182626 December 4. respondents are deemed to have been illegally dismissed. On 26 February 2006.In fine. as a unit had developed engine trouble and the mechanic assigned in that area was absent. the petition is DENIED.R.
iii) a certificate of non-forum shopping. reaffirms the explicit jurisdictional principle in Article 223 even as it allows in justifiable cases the reduction of the appeal bond. The NLRC then held: WHEREFORE. it should be stressed that the right to appeal is not a natural right or a part of due process.Decisions. with no evidence to support of (sic). an appeal by the employer may be perfected only upon the posting of a bond. The word "may" refers to the perfection of an appeal as optional on the part of the defeated party. awards.98. the appeal of respondent is hereby DISMISSED for non-perfection due to want of an appeal bond. ii) posting of a cash or surety bond as provided in Section 6 of this Rule. if he desires to appeal. 18 The posting of a bond is indispensable to the perfection of an appeal in cases involving monetary awards from the decision of the labor arbiter. 223. b. and (3) payment of the required cash or surety bond. an appeal by the employer may be perfected only upon the posting of a cash or surety bond issued by a reputable bonding company duly accredited by the Commission in the amount equivalent to the monetary award in the judgment appealed from. although Ramirez posted an appeal bond. as amended. his motion to reduce appeal bond shall not be entertained and his appeal is dismissed for non-perfection due to lack of an appeal bond. and iv) proof of service upon the other parties."15 The issues are: I PUBLIC RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT CONSIDERING THE SUBSTANTIAL COMPLIANCE OF THE FILED PETITION.11 The decision of the Labor Arbiter became final and executory on 19 February 2007 and was entered in the Book of Entries of Judgment on 4 May 2007. or orders of the Labor Arbiter are final and executory unless appealed to the Commission by any or both parties within ten (10) calendar days from receipt of such decisions.10 Ramirez filed a Motion for Reconsideration. . If made purely on questions of law. Ramirez’s Motion for Reconsideration was denied by the Court of Appeals in a resolution dated 7 March 2008. — In case the decision of the Labor Arbiter or the Regional Director involves a monetary award. Rule 7 of the Rules of Court. Under the Rules. order or award was secured through fraud or coercion. If the decision. which shall either be in the form of cash deposit or surety bond equivalent in amount to the monetary award. for in three (3) legibly type written or printed copies. While the filing of a motion to reduce bond can be considered as a motion of preference in case of an appeal. WHEREFORE. Thus.R.award of P45. SP NO. Verily. If serious errors in the finding of facts are raised which would cause grave or irreparable damage or injury to the appellant. exclusive of damages and attorney's fees. this petition where Ramirez prays that the "dismissal resolution issued by the Court of Appeals be set aside and in its stead to give due course to this petition by dismissing the unwarranted claims imposed by the NLRC for being highly speculative.20 In this case. the relief prayed for. It is intended to discourage employers from using an appeal to delay or evade their obligation to satisfy their employees’ just and lawful claims. The relevant provision states: SECTION 4. since the assailed Decision of the Labor Arbiter contains a monetary award in favor of complainant. The mere filing of a motion to reduce bond without complying with the requisites in the preceding paragraphs shall not stop the running of the period to perfect an appeal. including graft and corruption.13 the Court of Appeals dismissed the Petition outright for failure of Ramirez to properly verify his petition and to state material dates. and may be exercised only in the manner prescribed by and in accordance with the provisions of law." The word "only" in Articles 223 of the Labor Code makes it unmistakably plain that the lawmakers intended the posting of a cash or surety bond by the employer to be the essential and exclusive means by which an employer's appeal may be perfected. National Labor Relations Commission22 succinctly elucidates that an employer who files a motion to reduce the appeal bond is still required to post the full amount of cash or surety bond within the tenday reglementary period. or orders. and d. it behooves upon respondent to post the required bond. The meaning and the intention of the legislature in enacting a statute must be determined from the language employed. respondent’s motion to reduce bond which missed to comply with such requisites does not deserve to be entertained nor to be given a preferred resolution. Such appeal may be entertained only on any of the following grounds: a. The intention of the lawmakers to make the bond a mandatory requisite for the perfection of an appeal by the employer is clearly expressed in the provision that an appeal by the employer may be perfected "only upon the posting of a cash or surety bond. xxxx No motion to reduce bond shall be entertained except on meritorious grounds. he loses the right to appeal. the motion for reconsideration of respondent is hereby DENIED for lack of merit. resolution or order. awards. the same holds true only when such motion complies with the requirements stated above.12 Ramirez went up to the Court of Appeals. and with a statement of the date the appellant received the appealed decision. premises considered. Requisites for Perfection of Appeal. and where there is no ambiguity in the words used. c. (2) filing of the memorandum of appeal. they will receive the money judgment in their favor upon the dismissal of the employer's appeal. when Ramirez sought a reduction of the bond.) Sections 4(a) and 6 of Rule VI of the New Rules of Procedure of the NLRC. the filing of the bond is not only mandatory but also a jurisdictional requirement that must be complied with in order to confer jurisdiction upon the NLRC. as it was not equivalent to the monetary award of the Labor Arbiter. If there is prima facie evidence of abuse of discretion on the part of the Labor Arbiter. In a resolution dated 13 July 2007. 02614. it is merely a statutory privilege. premises considered. xxxx SECTION 6. respondent’s failure to abide with the requisites so mentioned has not perfected his appeal. . Bond. The case was docketed as CA-G.19 Clearly. then there is no room for construction. but not to the compulsory posting of an appeal bond. Consequently. This requirement is intended to assure the workers that if they prevail in the case.16 The case presents no novel issue. The party who seeks to avail himself of the same must comply with the requirements of the rules. the same was insufficient. Non-compliance with the requirement renders the decision of the Labor Arbiter final and executory. We first resolve the propriety of dismissal by the NLRC. as amended. 02614. 3) in the form of a memorandum of appeal which shall state the grounds relied upon and the arguments in support thereof. appeals involving monetary awards are perfected only upon compliance with the following mandatory requisites. Consequently. and 5) accompanied by i) proof payment of the required appeal fee. which the NLRC resolved in a Resolution dated 20 December 2006 in this wise: The mere filing of a motion to reduce bond without complying with the requisites of meritorious grounds and posting of a bond in a reasonable amount in relation to the monetary award does not stop the running of the period to perfect an appeal.825. namely: (1) payment of the appeal fees. 2) verified by the appellant himself in accordance with Section 4. Moreover.(a) The appeal shall be: 1) filed within the reglementary period provided in Section 1 of this Rule. Failing to do so. he merely said that the bond was excessive and baseless without amplifying why he considered it as such. 21 Colby Construction and Management Corporation v.14hence. even pending resolution of his motion. In case of a judgment involving a monetary award. At the outset. Appeal. II THE DISMISSAL RESOLUTION (ANNEX "A") HAS NOT RESOLVED THE LEGAL ISSUES RAISED IN CA-G. .R.17 Article 223 of the Labor Code provides for the procedure in case of appeal to the NLRC: Art. and only upon the posting of a bond in a reasonable amount in relation to the monetary award. SP No. (Emphasis supplied.
it is true that verification is merely a formal requirement intended to secure an assurance that matters that are alleged are true and correct. Rule 7 in relation to Section 1. Noncompliance with such legal requirements is fatal and has the effect of rendering the judgment final and executory. Thus. Again as in the NLRC. The finding of the labor tribunal that Ramirez did not present sufficient justification for the reduction thereof cannot be said to have been done with grave abuse of discretion. which under Section 3. National Labor Relations Commission. Rule 65 of the Rules of Court which now requires that a pleading must be verified by an affidavit that the affiant has read the pleading and the allegations therein are true and correct of his personal knowledge or based on authentic records. 00-2-10SC amending Section 4. Guanzon. is a rule of jurisdiction and not of procedure. the filing of the motion to reduce bond shall not stop the running of the period to perfect an appeal. While the bond may be reduced upon motion by the employer. The clear intent of both statutory and procedural law is to require the employer to post a cash or surety bond securing the full amount of the monetary award within the ten (10)-day reglementary period. . 2. this is subject to the conditions that (1) the motion to reduce the bond shall be based on meritorious grounds. in Ong v. the employer is still expected to post the cash or surety bond securing the full amount within the said ten (10)-day period. and (2) a reasonable amount in relation to the monetary award is posted by the appellant. as it arises solely from grant of statute. produces no legal effect. the Labor Code. the exercise of the authority is not a matter of right on the part of the movant. which states: SECTION 1. Given that Ramirez is involved in taxi business. which prescribes the appeal bond requirement. It must be emphasized that there is no inherent right to an appeal in a labor case. the respondents therein filed their memorandum of appeal and motion to reduce bond on the 10th or last day of the reglementary period. The Court of Appeals found that he committed the following fatal defects in his petition: 1.27 While Section 6. In Calabash Garments.28 It is daylight-clear from the foregoing that while the bond may be reduced upon motion by the employer. Court of Appeals. the full discretion to grant or deny Ramirez’s motion to reduce the amount of the appeal bond. 223 of the Labor Code and NLRC Rule of Procedure. the court may simply order the correction of unverified pleadings or act on them and waive strict compliance with the rules. the NLRC justifiably denied the motion to reduce bond. we have repeatedly emphasized that the requirement for posting the surety bond is not merely procedural but jurisdictional and cannot be trifled with. namely. for the same failed to elucidate why the amount of the bond was either unjustified or prohibitive. Ramirez has not shown any justifiable ground to set aside technical rules for his failure to comply with the requirement regarding the verification of his petition. Ramirez violated basic tenets of remedial law. as it had no basis upon which it could actually and completely determine Ramirez’s motion to reduce bond. The Court found no basis for therein respondent’s contention that the awards of the Labor Arbiter were null and excessive. National Labor Relations Commission. We emphasized in that case that it behooves the Court to give utmost regard to the legislative and administrative intent to strictly require the employer to post a cash or surety bond securing the full amount of the monetary award within the 10-day reglementary period. Thus.23 By stating that the bond is excessive and baseless without more. 31 However. There is a concession to the employer. The qualification effectively requires that unless the NLRC grants the reduction of the cash bond within the 10-day reglementary period. For the same reason. 30 On Ramirez’s failure to verify his petition. but lies within the sound discretion of the NLRC upon a showing of meritorious grounds. such that strict adherence thereto is required. Nothing in the Labor Code or the NLRC Rules of Procedure authorizes the posting of a bond that is less than the monetary award in the judgment. v. Ramirez did not even come near to substantially complying with the requirements of Art. because in filing a special civil action for certiorari without indicating the requisite material date therein. Not even the filing of a motion to reduce bond is deemed to stay the period for requiring an appeal. or deems such insufficient posting as sufficient to perfect the appeal.32 the Court states the rationale – Rules of procedure are tools designed to promote efficiency and orderliness as well as to facilitate attainment of justice. We have consistently enucleated that a mere claim of excessive bond without more does not suffice.M. there is that proviso in Rule VI.24 this Court held that the NLRC did not act with grave abuse of discretion when it denied petitioner’s motion. In Moncielcoji Corporation v. Failure of petitioner to properly verify the petition in accordance with A. The application of the Rules may be relaxed only when rigidity would result in a defeat of equity and substantial justice. he has not shown that he had difficulty raising the amount of the bond or was unable to raise the amount specified in the award of the Labor Arbiter.29 That settled. Nothing in the Labor Code or the NLRC Rules of Procedure authorizes the posting of a bond that is less than the monetary award in the judgment. and without proof that he is incapable of raising the amount of the bond. and certainly none premised on the ground that its requirements are mere technicalities." It is clear from both the Labor Code and the NLRC Rules of Procedure that there is legislative and administrative intent to strictly apply the appeal bond requirement. therefore. All given. Section  that the filing of such motion does not stay the reglementary period. On the other hand. Rule VI of the NLRC’s New Rules of Procedure allows the Commission to reduce the amount of the bond. For the same reasons above. as a consequence of which the petition is treated as an unsigned pleading. Article 223 indubitably requires that the appeal be perfected only upon the posting of the cash or surety bond which is equivalent to the monetary award in the judgment appealed from. we sustain the dismissal of its petition by the Court of Appeals on technical grounds. in excluding damages and attorney's fees from the computation of the appeal bond. If the NLRC does eventually grant the motion for reduction after the reglementary period has elapsed. the correct relief would be to reduce the cash or surety bond already posted by the employer within the ten (10)-day period. we allow a relaxation in the application of the rules to set right an arrant injustice. But. the same was inadequate compared to the monetary award.Very recently. Although they posted an initial appeal bond. otherwise. petitioner has not presented any persuasive reason for this Court to be liberal. Rule 7 of the Rules of Court. There is little leeway for condoning a liberal interpretation thereof. or would deem such insufficient postage as sufficient to perfect the appeal. but none obtains in this case. even pro hac vice. The qualification effectively requires that unless the NLRC grants the reduction of the cash bond within the ten (10)-day reglementary period. Rule 46 of the Rules of Court. Petition for certiorari. Thus. we never intend to forge a weapon for erring litigants to violate the rules with impunity. No. unless considerations of equity and substantial justice present cogent reasons to hold otherwise. – x x x. we also find no reversible error in the assailed resolution of the Court of Appeals dismissing Ramirez’s petition on the ground of failure to state material dates. particularly Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. we next resolve the issue of whether or not the Court of Appeals correctly dismissed the petition of Ramirez. and the Court should give utmost regard to this intention. Inc. does not necessarily give the employer-appellant a `meritorious case’ and does not automatically warrant a reduction of the appeal bond. Petitioner failed to indicate in the petition the material dates showing when notice of the resolution subject hereof was received and when the motion for reconsideration was filed in violation of Section 3. the employer is still expected to post the cash or surety bond securing the full amount within the said 10-day period. 25 it was held that "a substantial monetary award.26 (Emphases supplied. even if it runs into millions.) While in certain instances. in Mcburnie v. We have always stressed that Article 223. The liberal interpretation and application of rules apply only to proper cases of demonstrable merit and under justifiable causes and circumstances. The NLRC had. this Court invariably sustains the Court of Appeals’ dismissal of the petition on technical grounds under this provision.
respondents. the date when notice of the judgment or final order or resolution was received.xxxx The petition shall be accompanied by a certified true copy of the judgment. The Court of Appeals was not in any position to determine when this period commenced to run and whether the motion for reconsideration itself was filed on time since the material dates were not stated. Thus. holiday pay. The complaint was decided by the Labor Arbiter in favor of respondent Salutin in a decision. and an entry of judgment was accordingly made on 20 August 1992. moral and exemplary damages. Rule 46.R. the petition was bereft of any persuasive explanation as to why Ramirez failed to observe procedural rules properly.000.) Exemplary Damages 10. INC. Ramirez must show reasonable cause justifying his non-compliance with the rules and must convince the court that the outright dismissal of the petition would defeat the administration of substantive justice. vs. and third. if any. and attorney's fees. 2 A motion for reconsideration was filed which was denied in NLRC's resolution of 13 January 1992. failure to comply with any of the requirements shall be sufficient ground for the dismissal of the petition. 34 Quite apparent from the foregoing is that the Court of Appeals did not err. neither do we see any. 106915 August 31.000. Section 1 (2nd par. we find no sufficient justification to set aside the NLRC and Court of Appeals resolutions. 28-91 on forum-shopping. The rationale for this strict provision of the Rules of Court is not difficult to appreciate. when a motion for new trial or reconsideration. that the petition for certiorari was filed forty-one (41) days from receipt of the denial of the motion for reconsideration is hardly relevant.700.115. G. effect of non-compliance with requirements. ("JDI"). Section 3 (2nd par. petitioner. the petition was dismissed for failure to comply with this Court's Circular No. xxxx The failure of the petitioner to comply with any of the foregoing requirements shall be sufficient ground for the dismissal of the petition. JDI filed its first petition for certiorari with this Court. dated 22 July 1992. without loss of seniority and other rights. the petition filed with the Court of Appeals failed to indicate when the notice of the NLRC Resolution was received and when the Motion for Reconsideration was filed. First. began when respondent Salutin filed a complaint against petitioner JDI for illegal dismissal. On the other hand.60 d. However. paragraph 3. There are three material dates that must be stated in a petition for certiorari brought under Rule 65. the promotion and use of JDI's pesticides and other products. x x x. 103720. dated 17 October 1991. "on payroll only". dated 08 August 1991.: The instant petition for certiorari seeks the reversal of the resolution of respondent National Labor Relations Commission. Hagad. was filed and when notice of the denial thereof was received. At the time when the above narrated events were still unfolding.R. No. some material facts occured beginning with JDI's appeal to the NLRC on the 08 August 1991 decision of the . Therefore.33 the court explains that the requirement is for purpose of determining the timeliness of the petition. thus: The requirement of setting forth the three (3) dates in a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 is for the purpose of determining its timeliness. In a decision. concomitant to a liberal application of the rules of procedure should be an effort on the part of the party invoking liberality to at least explain its failure to comply with the rules. SO ORDERED. moral and exemplary damages. J. of the Labor Code.) and Rule 46. the date when a motion for new trial or for reconsideration was filed. In actions filed under Rule 65./Jardine Agchem is hereby ordered to reinstate complaint to his former position. In the case before us. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION. and a sworn certification of non-forum shopping as provided in the third paragraph of Section 3. Romeo B. second. We are not unmindful of exceptional cases where this Court has set aside procedural defects to correct a patent injustice. in violation of Rule 65. Such a petition is required to be filed not later than sixty (60) days from notice of the judgment. Ramirez’s failure to verify and state material dates as required under the rules warranted the outright dismissal of his petition. SO ORDERED. without deduction and qualification.00 e. as a demonstrator/agronomist to provide services relating to.) Holiday pay 13. and with backwages. premises considered. 3 On 14 February 1992. separation pay plus wage differential. which is ten percent (10%) of the total awarded amount. on 15 July 1985. Its subsequent motion for reconsideration was itself denied on 20 May 1992. order or Resolution sought to be assailed. 1993 JARDINE DAVIES. In sum. – x x x . in denying due course to and dismissing the petition for certiorari for its procedural defects. absent valid and compelling reasons for such procedural lapse. The appellate court saw no compelling need meriting the relaxation of the rules.100. with prayer for reinstatement and backwages or. dated 26 February 1992. docketed as G. & Hilado Law Office for petitioner. No. NLRC dismissed JDI's appeal for lack of merit but modified the decision by eliminating the awards given for holiday pay. The Resolutions of the Court of Appeals dated 13 July 2007 and 7 March 2008 and the Resolutions of the NLRC dated 29 September 2006 and 20 December 2006 are AFFIRMED.) 13th month pay P 8. To merit liberality. Hilado.) Moral Damages 20. Contents and filing of petition. 1avvphi1 As explicitly stated in the aforementioned Rule. In the instant case. the date when notice of the denial thereof was received. the petition is Denied for lack of merit. In Santos v. order or resolution subject thereof. In our resolution. Court of Appeals.00 f.) Service Incentive pay 1. The resolution of 26 February 1992 became final and executory on 19 June 1992.84 c. the pertinent provision under Rule 46 is explicit: Sec. respondent Jardine Davies. Inc.) Attorney's fees. Respondent is further ordered to pay complaint the following: a. It also reinstated Salutin. JDI appealed the case to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). The controversy that spawned two (2) special Civil actions for certiorari (this instance included) with this Court. 36 Wherefore. The desired leniency cannot be accorded.). copies of all pleadings and documents relevant and pertinent thereto. PREMISES CONSIDERED. and SALVADOR SALUTIN. 3.00).35 The relaxation of procedural rules cannot be made without any valid reasons proffered for or underpinning it. thirteenth (13th) month pay. 1 in compliance with the writ of execution issued by the Labor Arbiter pursuant to Article 223. in amount of FIFTY SIX THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED PESOS (P56. much less commit grave abuse of discretion. FOURTH DIVISION.. Inc. the decision of the Labor Arbiter is already final and executory and binding upon this Court. service incentive leave pay. service incentive leave pay. beginning 26 August 1991. Esuerte for private respondent. CEBU CITY. and it posted a supersedeas bond to answer for the monetary awards.557. Respondent Salvador Salutin ("Salutin") was employed by petitioner Jardine Davies. the decretal portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. the petition shall further indicate the material dates showing when notice of the judgment or final order or resolution subject thereof was received. in the alternative.00 b. VITUG. and to give advice on. which declared private respondent Salvador Salutin as not having abandoned his work by his alleged failure to report for work during the pendency of the petitioner's appeal before the respondent Commission. assailing the 17 October 1991 decision and the resolution of 13 January 1992 of respondent Commission. Costs against petitioner.
Inc. and the temporary restraining order issued by this Court is hereby LIFTED. the same fate of dismissal is still inevitable. to wit: THE RESPONDENT COMMISSION ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN DENYING PETITIONER'S CONTENTION/SUBMISSION THAT PRIVATE RESPONDENT SALUTIN SHOULD BE CONSIDERED AS HAVING ABANDONED HIS WORK WHEN HE FAILED TO REPORT FOR WORK PENDING THE PETITIONER-EMPLOYER'S APPEAL FROM THE ARBITER'S DECISION GRANTING REINSTATEMENT. WHEREFORE. On 17 October 1991. he foregoes such a temporary relief and is not paid of his salary. as directed reported on the 24th of September 1991 at around 9:20 a. became final and executory on 19 June 1992.146. he left and was reported not to have thereafter returned for work. this Court resolved to issue a temporary restraining order. assailing the 17 October 1991 decision of NLRC. 4 Salutin opposed the motion. Shortly after the reinstatement of Salutin "on payroll only". did seek medical consultation on 7 November 1991.A. without loss of seniority and other rights. Petitioner raises this sole assignment of error. JDI. dated 16 June 1992. denying the petition in G. the petition is hereby DISMISSED. on 30 January 1992. 7 claiming that he had reported for work when he recovered from his ailment on 11 December 1991." 6 Salutin. dated 3 March 1993. HENCE HE WAS RECEIVING SALARIES FROM BOTH. among other things. stressed by the petitioner. This refusal must be clearly shown. respondent Commission issued its assailed resolution stating. it must be accompanied by overt acts pointing to the fact that the employee simply does not want to work anymore. to set for hearing the Manifestation and Motion of 17 October 1991. he. which this Court dismissed with finality. during the period from 01 September to 31 December 1991. respondent Commission denied JDI's "Manifestation & Motion" stating. 5 On 13 January 1992. and on 11 December 1991. 13 Considering that this matter was thus already taken up by the petitioner in its first petition for certiorari. to Salutin directing him to report for work to their Bacolod Branch Manager. where the charge of abandonment is seriously controverted. 103720) with this Court on 14 February 1992. No. He did not stay long. received a lettercertification issued by the Officer-in-Charge of King's Enterprises of Iloilo City that Salutin was employed by Monsato Philippines. viz: WHEREFORE. and that any award for reinstatement to his former position. Salutin. as an added argument on the alleged abandonment of work by Salutin. Although this Court is not a trier of facts. this was the reason given by JDI in its ex parte motion. Be that as it may. 8 On 22 July 1992. on 24 September 1991. until he formally seeks for the enforcement of the decision is likewise denied. we second the wellconsidered view of NLRC. since after fifteen minutes or so. JDI filed an ex parte motion. In its resolution. He submitted a medical certificate to support his claim. In the subsequent pages of its petition. dated 17 October 1991. in the Arbiter's decision subject of this appeal be considered and held as waived or lost. the fact that he was gainfully employed elsewhere.Labor Arbiter. but that he could not stay long because he was ailing at that time. dated 21 September 1991. from 01 September to 31 December 1991. No. although perhaps belatedly made. to set for hearing the aforestated "Manifestation and Motion. Mere absence is not sufficient. this is a new and factual matter which has to be determined and resolved in appropriate proceedings before the Arbitration Branch. JDI sent a letter. for "peptic ulcer". Respondent Salutin's interim employment. Prescinding from its receipt of an information that Salutin was employed elsewhere. SO ORDERED. Hence. In this instance. JDI forthwith stopped further payment of salary to Salutin. thus — The order of immediate reinstatement pending appeal. as directed. When the motion for reconsideration was likewise denied. . certain uncontroverted facts show just exactly the opposite. Is this enough? What we have heretofore said is this — For abandonment to constitute a valid cause for termination of employment. NLRC denied the said ex parte motion in the now assailed resolution of 22 July 1992. When JDI filed its first petition for certiorari (in G. ALTHOUGH AT THAT TIME HE WAS ON REINSTATEMENT ON PAYROLL — THIS NOTWITHSTANDING PETITIONER'S SHOWING THAT SUCH FAILURE TO REPORT WAS BECAUSE RESPONDENT-EMPLOYEE WAS THEN WORKING ALSO WITH ANOTHER COMPANY. at its request. JDI filed a "Manisfestation and Motion" with the respondent Commission stating. on his part. Premises considered. The final determination of the rights and obligations respectively of the parties is the ultimate and final resolution of this Commission. also filed a motion praying that JDI be ordered to release his withheld salary. did respondent Commission not gravely abuse its discretion when it did not take into consideration such other employment? Our answer is in the negative.m. inter alia. 14 The petitioner's evidence to establish Salutin's supposed abandonment of work is the certification of employment issued by King's Enterprises at the request of herein petitioner to the effect that Salutin had indeed been employed by Monsato Philippines. Here. JDI filed an "urgent motion for the issuance of writ of preliminary injunction and/or restraining order" to prevent the respondent Commission from enforcing its resolution of 22 July 1992 and 25 August 1992 insofar as it ordered the reinstatement of Salutin. . in cases of illegal dismissal is an ancillary relief under R. The complainant's motion for release of his salary since 24 September 1991. 12 Thus. If the employee chooses not to report for work pending resolution of the case appeal. SO ORDERED. 15 Abandonment of position is a matter of intention expressed in clearly certain and unequivocal acts. dated 16 June 1992. there must be a deliberate unjustified refusal of the employee to resume his employment. The records show that at the time JDI filed its Manifestation and Motion.00 per month. JDI instituted on 18 September 1992 the present petition for certiorari. that: As to the issue of whether the complaint-appellee Salvador Salutin is guilty of work abandonment. the sole basis of its prayer for a declaration that Salutin abandoned his work was his alleged unauthorized absences from the date he was notified to report for work. 11 A shift to a new focus took place when. who was then on payroll reinstatement since 26 August 1991. This Court's resolution of 26 February 1992. Inc. more especially in the present case. not guilty of abandonment when his failure to report for work was because he was also working for another entity from 01 September 1991 to 31 December 1991? Correlatively. however. Salutin did report. the respondent's prayer to declare or consider the complainant to have abandoned his job for his alleged failure to report back to work during the pendency of the appeal in this case is hereby denied for lack of merit. in fact.R. 103720. did not stain the picture at all.R. he did. claiming that he was forced to leave in haste because he was then suffering from a serious ailment. for which he was paid P5. . however. it may still wade through the records of a case if only to prevent any possible misgiving in its ultimate disposition.. During the pendency of this petition. the petitioner should really now be barred from invoking anew that issue in this present (second) petition.. The questioned resolutions of the National Labor Relations Commission are AFFIRMED. it also raised. manifest his desire to assume his work with the petitioner. that: Salutin be considered as having abandoned his work considering his continuous absence of more than three (3) weeks since he was required to report for work . JDI paraphrased the assigned issue in this wise: Is Salutin. 6715 granted to a dismissed employee to cushion him and his family against the impact of economic dislocation or abrupt loss of earnings. at the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital. as Aggressive Crop Technician.