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Marsaman Manning and Diamantides Maritime vs NLRC and Cajeras
Standard Employment Contract
Migrant Workers Act
Marsaman Manning was the local agency of Diamantides Maritime. In June 1995, Marsaman contracted Cajeras to be a cook in oneof the ships operated by Diamantides (MV Prigipos). The contract was for 10 months. But less than 2 months later, Cajeras was sentback home. The captain of the shop, in his entry to the Deck Log, said that the dismissal of Cajeras was of mutual consent; that acertain Dr. Hoed diagnosed Cajeras to be having some sort of a mental disorder. Cajeras subsequently sued Marsaman for illegaldismissal. NLRC ruled in favor of Cajeras. Marsaman assailed the NLRC decision. Marsaman further alleged that in awardingbackpays to workers, the law applicable should be Sec. 10 or RA 8042 (or 3 months salary for every year of service).
Whether or not Cajeras was illegally dismissed.
Yes. There was no proof of the mutual consent between the captain and Cajeras. Under the Standard Employment Contractby the POEA, mutual consent of leaving overseas employment should be reduced in writing. There was no showing that Cajerasreduced his consent to writing. The captains entry in the Deck Log is a mere unilateral act which does not bind Cajeras. Further, theDeck Log was not properly produced and authenticated (unlike in a previous case
Wallem Maritime Services, Inc. v. NLRC
).On the other hand, Dr. Hoed was not shown to be qualified to be making such diagnosis. The court cannot take judicial notice of hisfindings without competent proof as to his qualification. Neither did Dr. Hoed elaborate his findings which were mere sweeping
statements as to Cajeras’ illness. It did not show how such illness affected Cajeras’ function. In fact, as per the last rati
ng of Cajeras,
he was rated as a ―Very Good‖ cook.
Section 10 of RA 8042 (Migran
t Workers Act) is indeed applicable but the assertion of Marsaman to pay only 3 months of Cajeras’s
salary is untenable. A plain reading of Sec. 10 clearly reveals that the choice of which amount to award an illegally dismissedoverseas contract worker, i.e., whether his salaries for the unexpired portion of his employment contract or three months salary forevery year of the unexpired term, whichever is less, comes into play only when the employment contract concerned has a term of atleast one year or more (Cajeras was contracted for 10 months only). This is evident from the words for every year of the unexpired
term which follows the words salaries x x x for three months. To follow Marsaman’s thinking that Cajeras is entitled to three
monthssalary only simply because it is the lesser amount is to completely disregard and overlook some words used in the statute whilegiving effect to some. This is contrary to the well-established rule in legal hermeneutics that in interpreting a statute, care should betaken that every part or word thereof be given effect since the law-making body is presumed to know the meaning of the wordsemployed in the statue and to have used them advisedly.
Ut res magis valeat quam pereat
Pacific Asia Overseas Shipping vs NLRC and Rances
Delay in Filing Appeal (Employer)
Foreign Judgments Cannot Be Enforced by POEA
Pacific Asia is an overseas employment agency that provided Rances work abroad. Rances was engaged by Gulf-East ShipManagement a Radio Operator but due to insubordination he was dismissed our months later. According to Rances he sued Gulf-Eastin Dubai and the Gulf-
East compromised with him that instead of paying him $9k+ they’ll just pay
him $5.5k plus his fare going
home to the Philippines plus if in case Rances’ wife does not agree with the amount of the allowance being sent to her via Pa
cificAsia, Rances is entitled to have $1.5k more from pacific Asia.Back in the Philippines, Rances was sued by Pacific Asia for acts unbecoming of a marine officer (due in part to his insubordination to
Pacific Asia’s client). Rances filed a counterclaim for the $1.5k as his wife did not agree with the monthly allowance sent b
y PacificAsia to her. POE
A ruled in favor of Pacific Asia but did not rule on Rances’ counterclaim. Rances then filed a separate case for his
$1.5k claim. Rances produced the original copy of the Dubai court decision awarding him the compromised amount of $5.5k. Thesaid court decision was in Arabic but it came with an English translation. It also came with a certification from a certain Mohd BinSaleh who was purportedly an Honorary Consul for the Philippines. This time he won.Pacific Asia appealed but its appeal was one day late after the reglementary period. POEA denied the appeal. NLRC likewise deniedthe appeal.
Whether or not Pacific Asia can be allowed to appeal.
Yes. The delay was due to an excusable mistake. Apparently, there was a mistake in the filing of the appeal when the newmessenger honestly thought that the appeal was supposed to be filed in NLRC Intramuros but actually it was supposed to be in POEAOrtigas (that happened to be the last day as well, and when he was advised to go to Ortigas, offices were already closed).
Also, on the merits; POEA has no jurisdiction to enforce foreign judgments. It’s the regular courts that have jurisdiction. T
he POEA isnot a court; it is an administrative agency exercising, inter alia, adjudicatory or quasi-judicial functions. Further, Rances is not suingon the strength of an employer-employee relationship between him and Gulf-East, but rather on the strength of a foreign judgment.