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128 SECOND DIVISION G.R. Nos. 85122-24 March 22, 1991 CAGAMPAN, et. al., petitioners, vs.

NLRC & ACE MARITIME AGENCIE , INC., respondents.


!RIE"#
Presented before the SC for review is the decision of public respondent National Labor Relations Commission handed down on March 16, 1 !! reversin" the decision of the Philippine #versees $mplo%ment &dministration and correspondin"l% dismissin" the cases for lac' of merit. (he P#$& decision "ranted overtime pa% to petitioners e)uivalent to *+, of their basic pa%. "ACT # #n &pril 1- and 1!,1 !., petitioners, all seamen, entered into separate contracts of emplo%ment with the /olden Li"ht #cean (ransport, Ltd., throu"h its local a"enc%, private respondent &C$ M&R0(0M$ &/$NC0$S, 0NC. with their respective ratin"s and monthl% salar% rates. Petitioners were deplo%ed on Ma% -, 1 !., and dischar"ed on 1ul% 12, 1 !6. (hereafter, petitioners collectivel% and3or individuall% filed complaints for non4pa%ment of overtime pa%, vacation pa% and terminal pa% a"ainst private respondent. 0n addition, the% claimed that the% were made to si"n their contracts in blan'5 that althou"h the% a"reed to render services on board the vessel Rio Colorado mana"ed b% /olden Li"ht #cean (ransport, Ltd., the vessel the% actuall% boarded was M6 7S#0C 07 mana"ed b% Columbus Navi"ation5 and more so, petitioners de Castro and de 1esus char"ed that althou"h the% were emplo%ed as ordinar% seamen, the% actuall% performed the wor' and duties of &ble Seamen. Private respondent was furnished with copies of petitioners8 complaints and summons, but it failed to file its answer within the re"lementar% period. (hus, on 1anuar% 12, 1 !-, an #rder was issued declarin" that private respondent has waived its ri"ht to present evidence in its behalf and that the cases are submitted for decision. #n &u"ust ., 1 !-, the Philippine #verseas $mplo%ment &dministration 9P#$&: rendered a ;ecision ;0SM0SS0N/ petitioners8 claim for terminal pa% but /R&N($; their pra%er for leave pa% and overtime pa%. Private respondent appealed from the P#$&8s ;ecision to the NLRC on &u"ust 2<, 1 !-. #n March 16, 1 !!, the NLRC promul"ated a ;ecision, R$6$RS0N/ and S$((0N/ &S0;$ and another one entered dismissin" the cases for lac' of merit. #n Ma% !, 1 !!, petitioners filed an =r"ent Motion for Reconsideration of the NLRC8s ;ecision but the same was denied b% the NLRC for lac' of merit in its Resolution dated September 12, 1 !!. >ence, this appeal from the decision and resolution of the respondent NLRC. Petitioners alle"e that respondent Commission, NLRC, "ravel% abused its discretion or erred in reversin" and settin" aside the P#$& decision and correspondin"l% dismissin" the appeal of petitioners, alle"edl% in contravention of law and ?urisprudence. Private respondent maritime compan% disclaims the aforesaid alle"ations of petitioners. (he Solicitor /eneral, ar"uin" for public respondent NLRC, contends that@ The NLRC did not abuse its discretion in the rendition of subject decision because the evidence presented by petitioners in support of their complaint is by itself sufficient to back up the decision. The issue of the disallowance of overtime pay stems from an interpretation of particular provisions of the employment contract.

$E#

A#N respondent Commission NLRC "ravel% abused its discretion or erred in R$6$RS0N/ the decision of P#$& 9in "rantin" overtime pa% to petitioners e)uivalent to *+, of their basic pa%:. Page 1 of 2

%EL&#
No.

RATI' &ECI&EN&I#
(he NLRC cannot be faulted for disallowin" the pa%ment of overtime pa% because it merel% strai"htened out the distorted interpretation asserted b% petitioners and defined the correct interpretation of the provision on overtime pa% embodied in the contract conformabl% with settled doctrines on the matter. Notabl%, the NLRC rulin" on the disallowance of overtime pa% is abl% supported b% the fact that petitioners never produced an% proof of actual performance of overtime wor'. Petitioners have convenientl% adopted the view that the 7"uaranteed or fiBed overtime pa% of *+, of the basic salar% per month7 embodied in their emplo%ment contract should be awarded to them as part of a 7pac'a"e benefit.7 (he% have theoriCed that even without sufficient evidence of actual rendition of overtime wor', the% would automaticall% be entitled to overtime pa%. (heir theor% is erroneous for bein" illo"ical and unrealistic. (heir thin'in" even runs counter to the intention behind the provision. (he contract provision means that the fixed overtime pay of !" would be the basis for computin# the overtime pay if and when overtime work would be rendered. $imply, stated, the rendition of overtime work and the submission of sufficient proof that said work was actually performed are conditions to be satisfied before a seaman could be entitled to overtime pay which should be computed on the basis of !" of the basic monthly salary. %n short, the contract provision #uarantees the ri#ht to overtime pay but the entitlement to such benefit must first be established. Realisticall% spea'in", a seaman, b% the ver% nature of his ?ob, sta%s on board a ship or vessel be%ond the re"ular ei"ht4hour wor' schedule. Dor the emplo%er to "ive him overtime pa% for the eBtra hours when he mi"ht be sleepin" or attendin" to his personal chores or even ?ust lullin" awa% his time would be eBtremel% unfair and unreasonable. Reiterated in the case of National $hipyards and $teel Corporation v. C%R 9* SCR& ! +:, the SC ruled@ Ae cannot a"ree with the Court below that respondent Malondras should be paid overtime compensation for ever% hour in eBcess of the re"ular wor'in" hours that he was on board his vessel or bar"e each da%, irrespective of whether or not he actuall% put in wor' durin" those hours. Seamen are re)uired to sta% on board their vessels b% the ver% nature of their duties, and it is for this reason that, in addition to their re"ular compensation, the% are "iven free livin" )uarters and subsistence allowances when re)uired to be on board. 0t could not have been the purpose of our law to re)uire their emplo%ers to pa% them overtime even when the% are not actuall% wor'in"5 otherwise, ever% sailor on board a vessel would be entitled to overtime for siBteen hours each da%, even if he spent all those hours restin" or sleepin" in his bun', after his re"ular tour of dut%. The correct criterion in determinin# whether or not sailors are entitled to overtime pay is not, therefore, whether they were on board and cannot leave ship beyond the re#ular ei#ht workin# hours a day, but whether they actually rendered service in excess of said number of hours.

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