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Rolando Tan vs.

Court of Appeals
Petitioner Rolando Tan is the president of Supreme Theater Corporation and the
general manager of Crown and Empire Theaters in Butuan City. Private respondent
Leovigildo Lagrama is a painter making ad billboards and murals for the motion pictures
shown at the Empress, Supreme, and Crown Theaters for more than 10 years.
In October 17, 1998, accordingly Tan summoned for Lagrama and confronted him
for urinating in the workplace again. Without giving Lagrama to explain his side, Tan
told Lagrama to get out and never to work again for him.
Lagrama filed a complaint with the sub-regional Arbitration Branch No. 10 of the
NLRC in Butuan City. He alleged that he had been illegally dismissed and sought
reinvestigation and payment of 13th month pay, service incentive, leave pay, salary
differential, and damages. The labor arbiter issued a decision in favor of Lagrama
ordering Tan to pay him a total amount of Php 136,849.99.
Petitioner Tan appealed to the NLRC fifth Division, Cagayan de Oro City,
claiming that Lagrama cannot be considered his employee but an independent contractor
who painted for him billboards for the movies shown in his theaters. On this, the NLRC
reversed the decision of the labor arbiter. Respondent Lagrama filed a motion for
reconsideration but it was denied for lack of merit. Lagrama then filed a petition for
certiorari before the Court of Appeals and it reversed the decision of the NLRC and reaffirmed the decision of the labor arbiter. Tan moved for reconsideration but denied by
the CA.
Was there an employer-employee relationship between Lagrama and Tan?
Yes, there existed an employer-employee relationship between the petitioner Tan
and private respondent Lagrama. Considering the four elements of the employeremployee relationship, it can be ascertained that such existed between Tan and Lagrama.
1. It was the petitioner who engaged the services of Lagrama without the
intervention of the third party.
2. Element of Control. Lagrama worked under the control and supervision of Tan,
assigning him a specific working area with rules and regulations to observe.
Moreover, the manner how Lagrama would accomplish his work was determined
by Tan, considering also that he had to report to work from 8 oclock in the
morning until 5 oclock in the afternoon.
3. The right to fire. As stated by Tan in his position paper, he could have fired
Lagrama but chose not tois an admission that it is indeed within his power to
fire Lagrama.
4. Payment of wages.