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Antamoc Goldfields Mining Co. v.

CIR (1940)
Petitioners: Antamok Goldfields Mining Company (Antamok)
Respondents: Court of Industrial Relations and National Labor Union, Inc. (Union)
Ponente: Imperial
Topic: Protection to Labor / Balancing of Power
FACTS:

On December 12, 1938, the Union, representing Antamoks workers and employees who
were members of the labor union, addressed a letter to Antamok requesting 21 claims in
favor of their members.
Antamoks officials informed the workers in a meeting on January 2, 1939 that some claims
had been accepted and had already been put into practice, others would be considered, and
the rest were rejected for being unreasonable.
On the night of the same day, Antamoks workers went on strike and abandoned their work.
Antamok immediately informed the Department of Labor of this strike and requested its
intervention in order to resolve it.
Officials appointed by the Secretary of Labor convened a conference attended by Antamoks
officials, the strikers representative, and the head of the Baguio Federation of Labor, a
workers' organization affiliated with the Union. As a result of the conference, the parties
agreed on an amicable settlement to end the strike under the conditions that:
o All laborers will be readmitted upon the execution of this agreement
o Provided, that all laborers whose services should be dispensed with due to lack of
work in those tunnels where they are no longer needed will be given not less than
15 days employment from the date of this settlement or resumption of work, and
o Provided, further, that as soon as the stopes in 1360 and 1460 levels are opened
and the services of men are needed, [Antamok] will give preference to efficient
laborers when reducing the personnel as above mentioned in those working places
and may transfer them to other divisions to replace inefficient men.
The agreement was signed by the parties on January 4, 1939, but the workers did not
appear until 9:00 am on January 6.
Antamoks management did not, however, allow any worker to enter the underground
section known as "830 level" because of the fact that the air had been vitiated by the strike
and it was necessary to renew it with pure air to avoid personal misfortune.
This precaution was taken by the workers as Antamoks refusal to have them work again, so
they went on strike again. The workers who worked in the mine called "680 division," a
separate mine located 3 kilometers from the factory, joined the strikers sympathetically.
Again the Department of Labor intervened and, through mediation, the workers returned to
work on the night of January 6, 1939, when mine work resumed gradually.
On January 9, 1939 the Department of Labor endorsed the dispute to the Court of Industrial
Relations (CIR) in accordance with Article 4 of Commonwealth Act (CA) No. 103.
On March 31, 1939, with most of the Unions 21 claims still pending, the Union filed a
motion before the CIR alleging that:
o The foreman A. Haber and 9 other workers had been suspended indefinitely on
March 29
o These workers had previously been transferred to outside work in order to provide
Antamok with an excuse to separate them later from service

Another group of about 30 workers were dismissed by [Antamok] without any


reason and without authorization from the court and
o The suspensions and separations were acts of revenge and discriminatory for the
workers.
Thus, the Union requested that Antamoks officials responsible for such acts be punished for
contempt and that Antamok be forced to replace the workers in their primitive works within
the mines and to pay their wages corresponding to the period in which they were separated
from the service.
Antamok contested the motion by denying the imputed facts and claimed that:
o Haber and his nine companions were suspended for their continued laziness during
working hours and for having consistently refused to work, and
o The 45 workers headed by foreman Victoriano Madayag were dismissed for having
refused to point out those responsible for the ill-treatment of foreman Juan Moldero
on the morning of March 30, 1939.
At the hearing of the Unions motion on April 3, 1939, the parties presented their witnesses.
The CIR designated one of its special agents to be sent in Antamoks mine and to conduct
an investigation to supplement the facts that were proven during the hearing.
The CIR in its order of May 6, 1939, declared the following facts proven:
o "1. The discharges and indefinite suspensionswere made by [Antamok] without
first securing the consent of the [CIR] in violation of [its] orderof January 23,
1939."
o "2. The discharges and indefinite suspensions were made by [Antamok] without just
cause."
The CIR observed:
o "The charge that Haber and the group of nine laborers were indefinitely suspended
because of continuous loafing and refusal to work was not established. The real
motive behind the lay off was the completion of their work 'outside.' Under the
circumstances, the provision of the order of March 21, to the effect that these men
should be returned to their work underground after the completion of their work
'outside' should have been observed. [Antamok] instead of complying with the order
laid off the men."
o "The discharge of Victoriano Madayag and his 44 companions as a result of the
Moldero incident also lacks justification. In the case of Madayag, although he was
present with Haber when Moldero was attacked, neither one is accused of the
aggression. The two of them were conversing with Moldero when the latter was
stoned from behind without anybody apparently being able to point out the
aggressor.
o Less justification can be found for the discharge of the 44 men as a result of the
incident. The investigation disclosed that at the time of the assault, they were at the
Creek busy with their work. Both the distance and the topographical situation of the
place where the men were working, which is far and well below the bank of the
place of the incident, precluded their hearing or seeing clearly what transpired
above them in the place where Moldero was assaulted. An ocular inspection of the
premises made by the investigator confirmed this view. So far as is known, despite
the investigations conducted by the officials of [Antamok] and the policemen of the
camp and by the constabulary authorities in Baguio, the person or persons
responsible for the stoning has not been determined. The precipitate and
unwarranted dismissal of the 45 men after the incident seems to have been spurred
by an over anxious desire on the part of [Antamok] to get rid of these men."
o

"As previously found, in the order of [the CIR] of March 21, 1939, about 134
underground laborers of [Antamok] were transferred and made to work 'outside of
the mines' or surface work. The majority of these men were muckers, miners,
timbermen, trammers, and mine helpers and had to their favor from 6 months to 5
years service in the mines of [Antamok] and not a few of them have done
underground work in several capacities and in different tunnels and divisions of the
mine. Among them are found leaders of the movement of the laborers for
higher pay and better working conditions which culminated in the strike
called on January 3, 1939. These leaders have been prominent in the
formation of the union and its activities and in connection with the strike. The
temporary transfer of these men to 'outside' work was authorized by the Court in
said order on the strength of the assurance of [Antamok] that no more work suited
for them inside the mines existed. It was directed, however, in the aforesaid order
that as soon as their work outside was completed the laborers should be
immediately returned to their respective work inside the mines. Subsequent events
and acts of the officials of [Antamok] in charge of the mines have convinced the
[CIR] that work existed and exists for the men inside the tunnels and their transfers
were made to provide an opportunity to [Antamok] to dispense with their services as
soon as the work outside is completed. The unwarranted discharges of Haber and
nine others and those of Victoriano Madayag and his 44 companions amply
demonstrated this conclusion. Upon [Antamok]'s own admission, as shown in its
reports in the records and upon the findings of the investigator of the [CIR], more
than 400 workers of different classescoming from different mines in the region
have been employed by [Antamok] as fresh laborers. Almost all, if not all, of
these men are not members of the [Union].
o "At the same time the work in different tunnels and divisions in the mines are
allegedly being completed, the old workers are being laid off. Although a small
number of the men found transfer to other divisions being operated, the majority are
being left without work. Instead of laying hands on the old men laid off and
making them work in the tunnels needing hands and reinstating in the tunnel
work those laborers transferred to the 'outside' department, [Antamok]
preferred to take in and hire other workers coming from different places
because evidently they are not members of the union." xxx
o From all what appears, it is inferred that [Antamok] desires to discourage
membership in the union and to rout it if possible. The wholesale discharges were
the expression of such desire. The acts in the mind of the [CIR] are calculated to
have two effects. They will not only immediately affect the discharged laborers but
would also discourage other laborers from joining or remaining members of the
union."
o "Under normal circumstances, the exercise of judgment of the employer in selecting
men he is to employ should not be interfered with. But when such judgment is
arbitrarily exercised to the prejudice of members of a labor union whose rights
should be safeguarded in consonace with the policies of the law, the Court not only
feels it justified but rightly its duty to interfere to afford protection to the laborers
affected."
The CIR ordered Antamok:
o To reinstate in their previous work or in other substantially equivalent work the 45
workers (Madayag) and the 10 workers headed by A. Haber who were excluded
indefinitely and
o

To pay to these 55 workers the wages they should have received from the date of
their suspension or separation until their replacement
The CIR denied Antamoks motion for reconsideration. Thus, this appeal by certiorari.
Antamok: Commonwealth Act (CA) No. 103, as amended by Acts Nos. 254 and 355, is
unconstitutional because:
o (1) it violates the principle of separation of powers
o (2) by it, the National Assembly abdicated its legislative power violating the doctrine
on delegation of powers
o (3) the judicial powers conferred by the law on the CIR, considered separately, are
arbitrary and unreasonable and allow the deprivation of freedom and property
without due process of law and
o (4) assuming that the law is valid and constitutional in its entirety, at least part of
Article 20, which requires the CIR to "adopt its procedural regulations", must be
declared null and void because it infringes Section 13 of Article VIII of the [1935]
Constitution, obliging the CIR to observe the general rules of procedure applicable
to the courts of justice. Antamok alleges that as it had been subjected to an arbitrary
procedure and different from that applied to other litigants in the Philippine courts, it
had been denied due process of law and the principle of equal protection before the
law.
o

ISSUES:

WoN CA 103 violates the principle of separation of powers and the doctrine on delegation of
powers
o NO. CA 103 gives the CIR full discretion to resolve and decide agrarian and
industrial disputes in the manner it believes to be fair and equitable, regardless of
technicalities or legal forms (Article 20), and the power thus granted is judicial rather
than legislative. So it does not violate the principle of separation of powers, the
prohibition on delegation of legislative powers or equal protection before the law. As
has been said in the Cincinnati case, W. & ZR Co. v. Comm., Of Clinton County,
1852), 1 Ohio St., 88, cited in Rubi et al. v. Provincial Board of Mindoro: "The true
distinction therefore is between the delegation of power to make the law, which
necessarily involves a discretion as to what it shall be, and conferring an authority
or discretion as to its execution, to be exercised under and in pursuance of the law.
The first cannot be done to the later no valid objection can be made."
o Antamok emphasizes the resolution of Schechter v. United States (1935), in which
the United States Supreme Court declared the National Recovery Act to be
unconstitutional. There is, however, a marked difference between that case and the
one considered here because the National Recovery Act, rather than creating a
court of law, I believe together With legislative powers (faulty translation) and
authorized the President of the United States to promulgate codes that prescribe
the rules of precedence in order to carry out the purposes of the law.
o CA 103, which provides for the protection of the worker by creating a CIR
empowered to:
Fix a minimum wage for the workers and the maximum rent to be paid by
the tenants
Enforce compulsory arbitration between employers or owners and
employees or tenants, respectively,

And prescribes penalties for breach of its decrees, has been promulgated by the
National Assembly pursuant to the precepts contained in the 1935 Constitution
which provide:
Art. II, SEC. 5. The promotion of social justice to insure the well-being and
economic security of all the people should be the concern of the State.
Art. XIII, SEC. 6. The State shall afford protection to labor, especially to
working women and minors, and shall regulate the relations between
landowner and tenant, and between labor and capital in industry and in
agriculture. The State may provide for compulsory arbitration.
Art. VIII, SEC. 1. The Judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court
and in such inferior courts as may be established by law.
Art. VIII, SEC. 2. The National Assembly shall have the power to define,
prescribe, and apportion the jurisdiction of the various courts
o In compliance with these precepts, the National Assembly promulgated CA103
creating the CIR which is a special court with judicial powers (Pambusco
Employees Union v. Court of Industrial Relations et al, GR No. 46727, Ang Tibay et
al. Vs. Court of Industrial Relations et al., GR No. 46496, concurring opinion of
Justice Jose P. Laurel).
WoN the legal powers CA 103 grants to the CIR are so arbitrary and unreasonable that they
allow deprivation of liberty and property without due process of law or that Article 20, CA 103
at least suffers from this fundamental defect because it confers on the CIR the power to
issue its own rules of procedure, which contravenes Section 13, Article VIII, of the
Constitution which prescribes that the Supreme Court shall issue rules concerning written
pleadings, uniform practice and procedure for all courts of the same category.
o NO. Section 20 reads: "The Court of Industrial Relations shall adopt its rules of
procedure and shall have such other powers as generally pertain to a court of
justice: Provided, however, That in the hearing, investigation and determination of
any question or controversy and in exercising any duties and powers under this Act,
the Court shall act according to justice and equity and substantial merits of the
case, without regard to technicalities or legal forms and shall not be bound by any
technical rules of legal evidence but may inform its mind in such manner as it may
deem just and equitable." (Note: This provision is similar to Article 227 [221] of the
Labor Code re: Labor Arbiters and the National Labor Relations Commission)
o Article 20 has not empowered the CIR to investigate and resolve questions and
disputes between workers and employers and tenants and owners in an arbitrary
and capricious manner without being subject to a specific rule of conduct. Article 20
clearly stipulates that the rules of procedure which it adopts, to which the court must
conform, must be based on justice and equity, and prescribes that the criterion
which must be formed must be based on the substantial merits of the case, without
regard to technicalities or legal forms. CA 103 cannot be challenged on the ground
that authorizes the deprivation of liberty and property without due process of law nor
does it conflict with the precept of Section 13, Article VIII, of the Constitution
because the CIR is not of the same category as the municipal courts, courts of
justice and courts of first instance for which the regulations of the Courts by the
Supreme Court [apply].
Citing the concurring opinion of Justice Laurel in Ang Tibay v. CA, to reassure the settled
view that CA 103 and its amendments are valid and not unconstitutional:
o Our Constitution was adopted in the midst of surging unrest and dissatisfaction
resulting from economic and social distress which was threatening the stability of
governments the world over.
o

Embodying the spirit of the present epoch, general provisions were inserted in the
Constitution which are intended to bring about the needed social and economic
equilibrium between component elements of society through the application of what
may be termed as the justitia communis advocated by Grotius and Leibnits many
years ago to be secured through the counterbalancing of economic and social
forces and opportunities which should be regulated, if not controlled, by the State or
placed, as it were, in custodia societatis. The promotion of social justice to insure
the well-being and economic security of all the people' was thus inserted as vital
principle in our Constitution. (Sec. 5, Art. II, Constitution.) And in order that this
declaration of principle may not just be an empty medley of words, the Constitution
in various sections thereof has provided the means towards its realization. For
instance, section 6 of Article XIII declares that the State 'shall afford protection to
labor, especially to working women and minors, and shall regulate the relations
between landowner and tenant, and between labor and capital in industry and in
agriculture. The same section also states that 'the State may provide for compulsory
arbitration. In extraordinary cases mentioned in section 16, Article VI, of the
Constitution, the President of the Philippines may be authorized by law, for a limited
period and subject to such restrictions as the National Assembly may prescribe, to
'promulgate rules and regulations to carry out a declared national policy.
Albeit, almost at the same time the Congress of the United States approved the
National Labor Regulations Act on July 5, 1935, commonly known as the Wagner
Act, we were in the Philippines headway towards the adoption of our fundamental
law, pursuant to congressional authority given in the Tydings-McDuffie
Independence Act, approved March 24, 1934. In our Bill of Rights we now find the
following provision 'The right to form associations or societies for purposes not
contrary to law shall not be abridged (Par. 6, section 1, art. Ill, Constitution.) What
was an agitation in the United States which brought about the recommendation by
the Commission on Industrial Relations created by an Act of Congress in 1912 for
the adoption of a Labor Bill of Rights as an amendment to the United States
Constitution is, in our case, virtually an accepted principle, which may be expanded
and vitalized by legislation to keep pace with the development of time and
circumstances.
"By and large, these [constitutional provisions] all evince and express the need of
shifting emphasis to community interest with a view to affirmative enhancement of
human values. In conformity with the constitutional objective and cognizant of the
historical fact that industrial and agricultural disputes had given rise to disquietude,
bloodshed and revolution in our country, the National Assembly enacted CA 103,
entitled 'An Act to afford protection of labor by creating a Court of Industrial
Relations empowered to fix minimum wages for laborers and maximum rental to be
paid by tenants, and to enforce compulsory arbitration between employers or
landlords, and employees or tenants, respectively and by prescribing penalties for
the violation of the orders' and, later, CA 213, entitled, 'An Act to define and regulate
legitimate labor organizations.'
Social and industrial disturbances which fifty years ago were feudal-like and of
isolated importance may now well result in a serious strain upon the entire
economic organism of the nation. In the United States, labor legislation has
undergone a long process of development too long to narrate here, culminating in
the enactments of what were commonly known as the Clayton Act, the Norris-La
Guardia Act, and finally, the Wagner Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

The Wagner Act created the National Labor Relations Board as an instrumentality of
the Federal Government in the settlement of labor disputes, which device is aimed
at the avoidance of unnecessary friction between labor and capital and the
establishment of industrial peace. Scrutiny of legislation in that country and of
pronouncements made by its Supreme Court reveals a continuous renovation and
change made necessary by the impact of changing needs and economic pressure
brought about by the irresistible momentum of new social and economic forces
developed here. In the light of changes that have occurred, it is doubted if the
pronouncements made by the said Supreme Court in 1905 (Lochner v. New York)
or in 1908 (Adair v. U. S., and Coppage v. Kansas)cases which are relied upon by
[Ang Tibay] in its printed memorandumstill retain their virtuality at the present
time.
o In the Philippines, social legislation has had a similar development, although of
course to a much smaller degree and of different adaptation giving rise to several
attempts at meeting and solving our peculiar social and economic problems. (See
Commonwealth Acts Nos. 37, 104, 139, 211 Presidential Message to the National
Assembly, September 2, 1936 Executive Order No. 49, S. 1936). The system of
voluntary arbitration devised by Act No. 4055 of the defunct Philippine Legislature
has apparently been abandoned by the enactment of Commonwealth Acts Nos. 103
and 213. In the midst of changes that have taken place, it may likewise be doubted
if the pronouncement made by this court in the case of People vs. Pomaralso
relied upon by [Ang Tibay] in its printed memorandumstill retains its virtuality as a
living principle. The policy of laissez faire has to some extent given way to the
assumption by the government of the right of intervention even in contractual
relations affected with public interests."
o "In CA 103, and by it, our Government no longer performs the role of a mere
mediator or intervenor but that of the supreme arbiter."
WoN the conduct of the investigator, the investigation practiced and the manner in which the
matter was heard by the CIR deprived it of an impartial and fair hearing and constitute
deprivation of his property without due process of law.
o NO. The commissioner was appointed by the CIR in the exercise of his authority
conferred by article 10 of CA 103 and at the inspection and hearings held by the
commissioner and court, respectively, the parties were duly represented, were
heard and presented the evidence that they had available and thought it convenient
to offer. Such inspection and hearings had the character of an impartial and fair
judicial hearing and constitute the due process of law guaranteed by the
Constitution.
WoN the CIR order of May 6, 1939 is arbitrary because there is no substantial evidence to
support it
o NO. The order is sustained by the outcome of the commissioner's investigation and
the evidence that the parties submitted directly to the CIR. In these conclusions all
the evidence presented by the parties has been considered and analyzed by the
CIR.
WoN the CIR can order the payment of wages to the 55 retired workers that they ceased to
receive during their separation from service
o YES. Articles 1 and 4 of CA 103, as amended first by Article 1 of Act No. 254, confer
power and jurisdiction on the CIR to hear, resolve and decide all questions,
controversies and disputes between employers and workers and owners and
landlords and the wages of the retired workers during the time they were separated

from service were included in the disputes and disputes submitted to the
Department of Labor and certified by it to the CIR.
NOTES: