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NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION (2nd DIVISION), PHILIPPINE OVERSEAS EMPLOYMENT ADMINISTRATION (POEA) and PHILIP MEDEL, JR., respondents.
Facts: Petitioner Asia World Recruitment is a domestic corporation with authority granted by POEA to recruit and deploy Filipino overseas contract workers abroad over which the private respondent, Philip Medel, Jr is hereby employed. The private respondent contracted with the petitioner to work as a Security Officer in its diamond mine in Angola for 12 months with a salary of US$88.00 per month plus 50% of the salary by way of bonus with an overtime pay for work. Also, he was made as a Dispatcher and Metallurgy Inspector in the diamond mine. On March 10, 1989, the private respondent received a termination letter and was repatriated to the Philippines on March 12, 1989. The private respondent filed a complaint of illegal dismissal, a cancellation of petitioner’s l icense, refund of placement fee plus interest, payment of salary differentials, reimbursement of amounts illegally deducted from his monthly salary, payment of salaries for the unexpired portion of the contract, damages and attorney’s fee against the petitioner. POEA found the petitioner solidarily liable for illegal dismissal and ordered the petitioner to pay for the unexpired portion of contract only. On NLRC, it grants the private respondents claim for illegal deductions, salary differentials and overtime pay. Issue: Whether or not the NLRC committed grave abuse of discretion when it affirmed with modification the decision of POEA? Ruling. No. The records clearly show that the private respondent was an employee with a fixed period of 12 months, whose employment was to end only upon the expiration period stipulated in his contract. Thus, this is not an ample case of illegal dismissal but the complaint is also about breach of contract of employment for a definite period. He should have had enjoyed a security of tenure that no worker shall be dismissed except for cause provided by law and after due process, that is a value guaranteed by the Constitution. Furthermore, the right of employees to freely select or discharge his employees is regulated by the State, considering that the preservation of the lives of the citizens is a duty of State, more basic than the preservation of business profit. A valid dismissal is constituted valid if (a) the existence of a cause expressly stated in Art 282 of the Labour Code and (b) observance of due process, including the opportunity given the employees to be heard and defend himself. In the case at hand, the NLRC correctly found that there was no valid cause for dismissal of private respondent. Moreover, the violation of basic labour law principles cannot be permitted this court when the notice of termination dated March 1, 1989 was received on March 10, 1989 and repatriated on March 12, 1989. Taking in consideration the effectivity date of his termination and the span of time of the letter was received and his date of repatriation, we cannot consider that such is the notice required for a valid termination employment. The employer should at least give ample time for the employee to be heard and to defend himself with the assistance of his representatives if he so desires as held in the case of International Pharmaceutical, Inc vs NLRC. The law requires that the employer must furnish the worker sought to be dismissed with two written notices before the termination of employee can be legally effected. Failure to comply with the requirements taints the dismissal with illegality. Applying the above criteria, we find that the private respondent herein was indeed dismissed without cause and without due process. One final note. The Filipinos sought employment abroad to earn money in order to improve their lives and provide proper education for their children but have found themselves exploited by foreign employers or recruiters who harass and abuse them. Hence, Filipino recruiting agencies must not only comply with Governmentprescribed responsibilities but they must also impose on themselves the duty to properly help fellow citizens sent abroad to work for foreign principals. Note that the country is not exporting slaves but human beings and, above all, fellow Filipinos seeking merely to improve their lives.