Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.R. Nos.
L-57999, 58143-53 August 15, 1989 RESURRECCION SUZARA, CESAR DIMAANDAL, ANGELITO MENDOZA, ANTONIO TANEDO, AMORSOLO CABRERA, DOMINADOR SANTOS, ISIDRO BRACIA, RAMON DE BELEN, ERNESTO SABADO, MARTIN MALABANAN, ROMEO HUERTO and VITALIANO PANGUE, petitioners, vs. THE HON. JUDGE ALFREDO L. BENIPAYO and MAGSAYSAY LINES, INC., respondents. G.R. Nos. L-64781-99 August 15, 1989 RESURRECCION SUZARA, CESAR DIMAANDAL, ANGELITO MENDOZA, ANTONIO TANEDO, RAYMUNDO PEREZ, AMORSOLO CABRERA, DOMINADOR SANTOS, ISIDRO BRACIA, CATALINO CASICA, VITALIANO PANGUE, RAMON DE BELEN, EDUARDO PAGTALUNAN, ANTONIO MIRANDA, RAMON UNIANA, ERNESTO SABADO, MARTIN MALABANAN, ROMEO HUERTO and WILFREDO CRISTOBAL, petitioners, vs. THE HONORABLE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, THE NATIONAL SEAMEN BOARD (now the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration), and MAGSAYSAY LINES, INC., respondents. Quasha, Asperilla, Ancheta, Peñ;a and Nolasco for petitioners. Samson S. Alcantara for private respondent.
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: These petitions ask for a re-examination of this Court's precedent — setting decision in Vir-Jen Shipping and Marine Services Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission, et al. (125 SCRA 577 ). On constitutional, statutory, and factual grounds, we find no reason to disturb the doctrine in Vir-Jen Shipping and to turn back the clock of progress for sea-based overseas workers. The experience gained in the past few years shows that, following said doctrine, we should neither deny nor diminish the enjoyment by Filipino seamen of the same rights and freedoms taken for granted by other working-men here and abroad. The cases at bar involve a group of Filipino seamen who were declared by the defunct National Seamen Board (NSB) guilty of breaching their employment contracts with the private respondent because they demanded, upon the intervention and assistance of a third party, the International Transport Worker's Federation (ITF), the payment of wages over and above their contracted rates without the approval of the NSB. The petitioners were ordered to reimburse the total amount of US$91,348.44 or its equivalent in Philippine Currency representing the said over-payments and to be suspended from the NSB registry for a period of three years. The National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) affirmed the decision of the NSB. In a corollary development, the private respondent, for failure of the petitioners to return the overpayments made to them upon demand by the former, filed estafa charges against some of the petitioners. The criminal cases were eventually consolidated in the sala of then respondent Judge Alfredo Benipayo. Hence, these consolidated petitions, G.R. No. 64781-99 and G.R. Nos. 57999 and 58143-53, which respectively pray for the nullification of the decisions of the NLRC and the NSB, and the dismissal of the criminal cases against the petitioners. The facts are found in the questioned decision of the NSB in G.R. No. 64781-99. From the records of this case it appears that the facts established and/or admitted by the parties are the following: that on different dates in 1977 and 1978 respondents entered into separate contracts of employment (Exhs. "B" to "B-17", inclusive) with complainant (private respondent) to work aboard vessels owned/operated/manned by the latter for a period of 12 calendar months and with different rating/position, salary, overtime pay and allowance, hereinbelow specified: ...; that aforesaid employment contracts were verified and approved by this Board; that on different dates in April 1978 respondents (petitioners) joined the M/V "GRACE RIVER"; that on or about October 30, 1978 aforesaid vessel, with the respondents on board, arrived at the port of Vancouver, Canada; that at this port respondent received additional wages under rates prescribed by the Intemational Transport Worker's Federation (ITF) in the total amount of US$98,261.70;
"R-21") . the petitioners claimed before the NSB that contrary to the private respondent's allegations. 64-66. when they were later furnished xerox copies of what they had signed. that aforesaid amounts were over and above the rates of pay of respondents as appearing in their employment contracts approved by this Board.244. "20") and to pay ITF differentials to respondents in order not to delay the departure of the vessel and to prevent further losses is shown in the "Agreement" (Exhs. 1979) 3) The fact that complainant and the owner/operator of the vessel were compelled to sign the Special Agreement (Exh. Nos. telling them that for their own good and safety they should sign an agreement prepared by him on board the vessel and that if they do. Rule VI. they noticed that the line "which amount(s) was/were received and held by CREWMEMBERS in trust for SHIPOWNERS" was inserted therein. the petitioners signed the. Nos. the cases filed against them with NSB on November 17. 1978. while the vessel was docked at Nagoya. Thus. Section 18. that the respondent entered into the "Special Agreement" to pay the petitioners' wage differentials because it was under duress as the vessel would not be allowed to leave Vancouver unless the said agreement was signed. 16. whichever is higher . that on December 14. p. 1979). (Annex C of Petition) However.R. Japan.. they did not commit any illegal act nor stage a strike while they were on board the vessel. (pp.". 69-70. In G. the petitioners sought the assistance of a third party (ITF) to demand from the private respondent wages in accordance with the ITF rates. was at Yura. 1978. staged an illegal strike and by means of threats.. while aforesaid vessel. aforesaid vessel. 7.that the respondents received the amounts appearing opposite their names. "Agreement" dated December 5. Under this pronounced policy of the ITF. Japan. Canada for Yokohama. 1978 would be dismissed. 12. When the vessel reached Manila. charges were filed against some of them with the NSB and the Professional Regulations Commission.. that on November 10. respondent Cesar Dimaandal admitted that the ITF differential pay was computed by the ITF representative (TSN. 1978. and to prevent the shipowner from incurring further delay in the shipment of goods. Rollo) Furthermore. Rollo)
. On the other hand. (pp. DIFFERENTIALS APRIL TO OCTOBER 1978". Canada assisted and intervened by reason of the assistance sought by the latter. Dec. having been executed after peaceful negotiations. 6. coercion and intimidation compelled the owners of the vessel to pay to them various sums totalling US$104. OVERTIME. Dec. p.. the private respondent alleged that the petitioners breached their employment contracts when they. left Vancouver. Respondent Suzara admitted that the entries in his Pay-Off Clearance Slip (Exh. the NSB stated: 1) The fact that respondents sought the aid of a third party (ITF) and demanded for wages and overtime pay based on ITF rates is shown in the entries of their respective Pay-Off Clearance Slips which were marked as their Exhs. 2) The fact that the ITF assisted and intervened for and in behalf of the respondents in the latter's demand for higher wages could be gleaned from the answer of the respondents when they admitted that the ITF acted in their behalf in the negotiations for increase of wages. Japan. which rates are over and above their rates of pay as appearing in their NSB-approved contracts. acting in concert and with the active participations of the ITF while the vessel was in Vancouver. "1") are correct (TSN.. Japan had been forced upon them and that intercalations were made to make it appear that they were merely trustees of the amounts they received in Vancouver. Estafa charges were also filed before different branches of the then Court of First Instance of Manila which. As bases for this conclusion. 57999 and 58143-53. "1" to "18". with respondent on board. Moreover. they were made to disembark. and we quote "DEMANDED ITF WAGES.ñèt Moreover. 64781-99.lâwphî1. and that the "Agreement" executed in Nagoya.35.R. that the "Special Agreement" entered into in Vancouver to pay their salary differentials is valid. according to the petitioners. as earlier stated. Petitioners further argued that the amounts they received were in accordance with the provision of law. The respondent NSB ruled that the petitioners were guilty of breach of contract because despite subsisting and valid NSBapproved employment contracts.. the latter's names must be removed from the NSB's Registry and that they should be ordered to return the amounts they received over and above their contracted rates. a certain Atty. Oscar Torres of the NSB Legal Department boarded the vessel and called a meeting of the seamen including the petitioners. thereby making it appear that the amounts given to the petitioners representing the increase in their wages based on ITF rates were only received by them in trust for the private respondent. it is reasonable to assume that the representatives of the ITF in Vancouver. the private respondent demanded from the petitioners the "overpayments" made to them in Canada. As the petitioners refused to give back the said amounts. were subsequently consolidated in the sala of the respondent Judge Alfredo Benipayo and which eventually led to G. citing among others. Book I of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Labor Code which provides that "the basic minimum salary of seamen shall not be less than the prevailing minimum rates established by the International Labor Organization (ILO) or those prevailing in the country whose flag the employing vessel carries. it is the policy (reiterated very often) by the ITF that it does not interfere in the affairs of the crewmembers and masters and/or owners of a vessel unless its assistance is sought by the crewmembers themselves. and that in view of petitioners' breach of contract.. to wit: ..
64781-99. Similarly. And as proof of this conclusion. by receiving lower wages and cheaper accommodations. the criminal cases of estafa must be dismissed because it follows as a consequence that the amounts received by the petitioners belong to them and not to the private respondent. the petitioners in G. the means employed are violent and illegal for in demanding higher wages the respondents sought the aid of a third party and in turn the latter intervened in their behalf and prohibited the vessel from sailing unless the owner and/or operator of the vessel acceded to respondents' demand for higher wages. In arriving at the questioned decision. The respondent judge denied the motion. then the decision of the NLRC and NSB must be reversed. Nos. 72. This would be a logical and natural reaction for any worker in whose benefit the ITF or any other labor group had intervened. in turn. in Vancouver. nevertheless. such as to load or unload its cargo. however. Meanwhile. Nos. they simply applied effective pressure when they intimated the possibility of interdiction should the shipowner fail to heed the call for an upward adjustment of the rates of the Filipino seamen. The principal issue in these consolidated petitions is whether or not the petitioners are entitled to the amounts they received from the private respondent representing additional wages as determined in the special agreement... On appeal. It was the fear of ITF interdiction. the owner and/or operator of the vessel had no altemative but to pay respondents' wages in accordance with the ITF scale. therefore. Canada. This Court is cognizant of the fact that during the period covered by the labor controversies in Wallem Philippines Shipping. all they did was to exercise their freedom of speech in a most peaceful way. There is nothing in the public and private respondents' pleadings. sanction the same if the means employed are violent and illegal. did not employ any violent means to force the private respondent to accede to their demands.R. were threatening the employment and livelihood of seamen from developed nations. In the case at bar. Philippine courts have no jurisdiction. the NLRC affirmed the NSB's findings. The NSB's contusion that it is ITF's policy not to intervene with the plight of crewmembers of a vessel unless its intervention was sought is without basis. to provision it or to perform such other chores ordinarily incident to the docking of the ship at a certain port. in turn. Vir-Jen Shipping and Marine Services. the NSB cited the following: (a) the entries in the petitioners Pay-Off Clearance Slip which contained the phrase "DEMANDED ITF WAGES .The NSB further said: While the Board recognizes the rights of the respondents to demand for higher wages. the latter manifested their support. 57999 and 58143-53 moved to quash the criminal cases of estafa filed against them on the ground that the alleged crimes were committed. the petitioners' admission that ITF acted in their behalf. the same should have been done in accordance with law and not thru illegal means. (b) the alleged policy of the ITF in not interfering with crewmembers of a vessel unless its intervention is sought by the crewmembers themselves. (c). provided the means are peaceful and legal. the NSB ruled that the petitioners are not entitled to the wage differentials as determined by the ITF because the means employed by them in obtaining the same were violent and illegal and because in demanding higher wages the petitioners sought the aid of a third party. Inc. the second petition. to support the allegations that the petitioners used force and violence to secure the special agreement signed in Vancouver.". it nevertheless ruled that the computation should be based on the rates of pay as appearing in the petitioners' NSB-approved contracts. Although the respondent NSB found that the petitioners were entitled to the payment of earned wages and overtime pay/allowance from November 1. The Board condemns the act of a party who enters into a contract and with the use of force/or intimidation causes the other party to modify said contract. the petition in G. There was no need for any form of intimidation coming from the Filipino seamen because the Canadian Brotherhood of Railways and Transport W orkers (CBRT). Instead. they. Minister of Labor (102 SCRA 835 . If the respondents believe that they have a valid ground to demand from the complainant a revision of the terms of their contracts. Hence. intervened in their behalf and prohibited the vessel from sailing unless the owner and/or operator of the vessel acceded to respondents' demand for higher wages.R. and (d) the fact that the private respondent was compelled to sign the special agreement at Vancouver. Canada and. They only prove that when ITF acted in petitioners' behalf for an increase in wages. The ITF people. Rollo). not any action taken by the seamen on board the vessel which led the shipowners to yield. 1978. Interdiction is nothing more than a refusal of ITF members to render service for the ship. 1978 to December 14. continued working and going about their usual chores. The bases used by the respondent NSB to support its decision do not prove that the petitioners initiated a conspiracy with the ITF or deliberately sought its assistance in order to receive higher wages. Hence. It ordered that the amounts to which the petitioners are entitled under the said computation should be deducted from the amounts that the petitioners must return to the private respondent.
. backed by an international labor federation was actually doing all the influencing not only on the ship-owners and employers but also against third world seamen themselves who. v. Inc. v. To avoid suffering further incalculable losses. (at p. If they are. British Columbia. The petitioners admit that while they expressed their conformity to and their sentiments for higher wages by means of placards. In other words. a strong Canadian labor union. if at all. it could not. which.
as the appellate tribunal from the decisions of the National Seamen Board. who refused to abide with the terms of the Special Agreement. respondents' behavior should not be censured because it is but natural for them to employ some means of pressing their demands for petitioner. The standard forms embody the basic minimums which must be incorporated as parts of the employment contract. British Columbia to first secure the approval of the NSB in Manila before signing an agreement which the employer was willing to sign. This contention is now well-taken. the employer can always improve the working conditions without violating any law or stipulation. The National Labor Relations Commission. (at page 843) We likewise. The ITF was waiting on its own volition in all Canadian ports. interdicting foreign vessels and demanding wage increases for third world seamen. Australia. the ITF was militant worldwide especially in Canada. As earlier stated. Whatever pressure existed. Shipping Inc. et al. (at page 589) It is impractical for the NSB to require the petitioners. They were only acting in the exercise of their rights. Rules and Regulations Implementing the Labor Code). correctly ruled that the seamen did not violate their contracts to warrant their dismissal. supra: Petitioner claims that the dismissal of private respondents was justified because the latter threatened the ship authorities in acceding to their demands. to honor and respect the same.. There was no need for Filipino or other seamen to seek ITF intervention. oppressive. assuming they were so minded. that the affected seamen cannot petition their employer for higher salaries during the 12 months duration of the contract runs counter to estabhshed principles of labor legislation. v. and this constitutes serious misconduct as contemplated by the Labor Code." Under the facts and circumstances of these petitions. We stated in the Vir-Jen case (supra) that: The form contracts approved by the National Seamen Board are designed to protect Filipino seamen not foreign shipowners who can take care of themselves. representative of the Japanese shipowner lends credence to the petitioners' claim that the clause "which
. the agreement signed in Japan by the crewmembers of the M/V Grace River and a certain M. it was mild compared to accepted and valid modes of labor activity. . therefore. the ITF was not really acting for the petitioners out of pure altruism. But even if there had been such a threat. Minister of Labor. The ITF was merely protecting the interests of its own members. An examination of Annex C of the petition. or malicious. physical or otherwise employed by the petitioners in demanding for additional wages. To state. The fact that the petitioners placed placards on the gangway of their ship to show support for ITF's demands for wage differentials for their own benefit and the resulting ITF's threatened interdiction do not constitute violence. not particularly for the petitioners' vessel but for all ships similarly situated. not only because the private respondent's consent to pay additional wages was not vitiated by any violence or intimidation on the part of the petitioners but because the said NSB-approved form contracts are not unalterable contracts that can have no room for improvement during their effectivity or which ban any amendments during their term. mutual consent and without the prior approval of the NSB to be without basis. Tabei.lâwphî1. (Section 15. find the public respondents' conclusions that the acts of the petitioners in demanding and receiving wages over and above the rates appearing in their NSB-approved contracts is in effect an alteration of their valid and subsisting contracts because the same were not obtained through. As stated in Vir-Jen Shipping (supra): The seamen had done no act which under Philippine law or any other civilized law would be termed illegal. The petitioners happened to be pawns in a higher and broader struggle between the ITF on one hand and shipowners and third world seamen. and various European countries. (at page 591) Given these factual situations.NLRC (supra) and these consolidated petitions. For one thing. Rule V. The petitioners were exercising their freedom of speech and expressing sentiments in their hearts when they placed the placard We Want ITF Rates. we cannot affirm the NSB and NLRC's finding that there was violence. It is also totally unrealistic to expect the petitioners while in Canada to exhibit the will and strength to oppose the ITF's demand for an increase in their wages. on the other. Scandinavia. we see no reason to deprive the seamen of their right to freedom of expression guaranteed by the Philippine Constitution and the fundamental law of Canada where they happened to exercise it. caught in the middle of a labor struggle between the ITF and owners of ocean going vessels halfway around the world in Vancouver. therefore. and to deprive them of their freedom of expression is contrary to law and public policy.ñèt They are not collective bargaining agreements or immutable contracts which the parties cannot improve upon or modify in the course of the agreed period of time. To subject our seamen to criminal prosecution and punishment for having been caught in such a struggle is out of the question.. The records fail to establish clearly the commission of any threat. As we have ruled in Wallem Phil.
who claim they cannot survive without resorting to tricky and deceptive schemes. it is not the fault of the petitioners that the NSB not only violated the Labor Code which created it and the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Labor Code but also seeks to punish the seamen for a shortcoming of NSB itself. The reliable employers. especially when they feel that these are sub-standard or are capable of improvement according to internationally accepted rules. not only meet the minimums required by fair labor standards legislation but even go away above the minimums while earning reasonable profits and prospering. The same is true of international employment. 15. the United Kingdom." Section 15. Book I of the Omnibus Rules provides: Section 8. however. — The NSB shall devise a model contract of employment which shall embody all the requirements of pertinent labor and social legislations and the prevailing standards set by applicable International Labor Organization Conventions. there would not be so many of them in the vessels sailing in every ocean and sea on this globe. All employers of Filipinos shall adopt the model contract in connection with the hiring and engagement of the services of Filipino seafarers. competent. whichever is higher. 45. Japan and other developed nations.06" where it clearly does not belong. the monthly minimum basic wage for able seamen ordered by NSB was still fixed at US$130. mandated the Board to "(O)btain the best possible terms and conditions of employment for seamen. There is no other space where the word "were" could be intercalated. on the other.221. 587-588) It is noteworthy to emphasize that while the Intemational Labor Organization (ILO) set the minimum basic wage of able seamen at US$187. But certainly they are entitled to government protection when they ask for fair and decent treatment by their employer and when they exercise the right to petition for improved terms of employment. Rule X. Article 21(c) of the Labor Code. and law-abiding employers. Section 8. — The basic minimum salary of seamen shall be not less than the prevailing minimxun rates established by the International Labor Organization or those prevailing in the country whose flag the employing vessel carries. However. However. the proposition that the petitioners should have pretended to accept the increased wages while in Vancouver but returned them to the shipowner when they reached its country. not cheap labor that makes our seamen so greatly in demand. supra. The verb "were" was also inserted above the verb "was" to make the clause grammatically correct but the insertion of "were" is already on the same line as "Antonio Miranda and 5. 18. It is competence and reliability. enjoining all shipping companies to adopt the said minimum basic wage. has already been answered earlier by the Court: Filipino seamen are admittedly as competent and reliable as seamen from any other country in the world. and in no case shall a shipboard employment contract be allowed where the same provides for benefits less than those enumerated in the model employment contract. At any rate. Rule V of Book I of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Labor Code provides: Sec. there are marginal employers who prepare two sets of payrolls for their employees — one in keeping with minimum wages and the other recording the sub-standard wages that the employees really receive. The model contract shall set the minimum standards of the terms and conditions to govern the employment of Filipinos on board vessels engaged in overseas trade. Otherwise. In the domestic scene. this provision shall not apply if any shipping company pays its crew members salaries above the minimum herein provided. Section 18 of Rule VI of the same Rules and Regulations provides: Sec. It was correct for the respondent NSB to state in its decision that when the petitioners entered into separate contracts between 1977-1978. — The Board shall adopt a standard format of service agreement in accordance with pertinent labor and social legislation and prevailing standards set by
. There is no reason why this court and the Ministry of Labor and Employment or its agencies and commissions should come out with pronouncements based on the standards and practices of unscrupulous or inefficient shipowners. pp. (See Rollo.00 as early as October 1976. it was only in 1979 that the respondent NSB issued Memo Circular No. or in any way conflicts with any other provisions embodied in the model contract. (Vir-Jen Shipping. instead of Government maintaining labor law and jurisprudence according to the practices of honorable. when it created the NSB. Model contract of employment. Use of standard format of service agreement. Japan.amount(s) was received and held by CREWMEMBERS in trust for SHIPOWNER" was an intercalation added after the execution of the agreement. The clause appears too closely typed below the names of the 19 crewmen and their wages with no similar intervening space as that which appears between all the paragraphs and the triple space which appears between the list of crewmembers and their wages on one hand and the paragraph above which introduces the list.00. page 80). domestic or foreign. Filipino seamen have never demanded the same high salaries as seamen from the United States. Basic minimum salary of able-seamen.
should stifle not only their right to ask for improved terms of employment but their freedom of speech and expression. The Wallem case was decided on February 20. that if the respondent seamen are sustained by this Court.applicable International Labor Organization Conventions. or in any way conflict with any other provision embodied in the standard format. was decided in 1981. And costs include salaries of officers and crew members. The sanctions applied by NSB and affirmed by NLRC are moreover not in keeping with the basic premise that this Court stressed in the Vir-Jen Shipping case (supra) that the Ministry now the Department of Labor and Employment and all its agencies exist primarily for the workingman's interest and the nation's as a whole. admittedly among the best in the world. 585-586) The Wallem Shipping case. labor. the incident in Vancouver happened. The standard format shall set the minimum standard of the terms and conditions to govern the employment of Filipino seafarers but in no case shall a shipboard employment contract (sic). and the national as a whole beyond reasonable doubt. should remain satisfied with relatively lower if not the lowest. There has'been no drying up of employment opportunities for Filipino seamen. The terms and conditions agreed upon in Vancouver were well within ILO rates even if they were above NSB standards at the time. and none of the dire consequences repeatedly emphasized by the petitioner. where efforts by workingmen to better their terms of employment would be characterized as prejudicing the interests of labor as a whole. Not only have their wages improved thus leading ITF to be placid and quiet all these years insofar as Filipinos are concerned but the hiring of Philippine seamen is at its highest level ever. those employed would lose their jobs. The case before us does not represent any major advance in the rights of labor and the workingmen. minimum wages. It took three years for the NSB to implement requirements which. Filipino seamen. and the still unemployed would be left hopeless. they were obliged to follow and execute immediately. should accept as sacred. There have been no severe repercussions. pretend to receive higher salaries at certain foreign ports only to return the increased pay once the ship leaves that port. The contention that manning industries in the Philippines would not survive if the instant case is not decided in favor of the petitioner is not supported by evidence. Otherwise." In other words. Implicit in these petitions and the only reason for the NSB to take the side of foreign shipowners against Filipino seamen is the "killing the goose which lays the golden eggs" argument. The local manning office is an agent whose primary function is recruitment and who usually gets a lump sum from the shipowner to defray the salaries of the crew. we would in effect "kill the hen that lays the golden egg. and immutable the side contracts which require: them to falsely pretend to be members of international labor federations. The private respondents merely sought rights already established. under the law. if not the dismal prophecy. and should suffer instant termination of employment at the slightest sign of dissatisfaction with no protection from their Government and their courts. During those three years. there is no evidence that it is typical of employers hiring Filipino seamen or that it can speak for them. employers' liability acts. no drying up of employment opportunities for seamen. It is now 1989." The claims of workingmen were described as outrageously injurious not only to the employer but more so to the employees themselves before these claims or demands were established by law and jurisprudence as "rights" and before these were proved beneficial to management. No matter how much the petitioner-employer tries to present itself as speaking for the entire industry. the petitioners contend that Filipinos would no longer be accepted as seamen. xxx xxx xxx Unionism. Vir-Jen Shipping was decided in 1983. We reiterate the ruling of the Court in Vir-Jen Shipping (supra) There are various arguments raised by the petitioners but the common thread running through all of them is the contention. This is not the first time and it will not be the last where the threat of unemployment and loss of jobs would be used to argue against the interests of labor. social security and collective bargaining to name a few were all initially opposed by employers and even well meaning leaders of government and society as "killing the hen or goose which lays the golden eggs. iron clad. workmen's compensation. should not agitate for higher wages while their contracts of employment are subsisting.
. international rates of compensation. Why should Vir-Jen be an exception? The wages of seamen engaged in international shipping are shouldered by the foreign principal. (at pp. 1981. The hiring of seamen and the determination of their compensation is subject to the interplay of various market factors and one key factor is how much in terms of profits the local manning office and the foreign shipowner may realize after the costs of the voyage are met.
concur. Indicators. Griñ. Fernan. Melencio-Herrera.913 in 1988 exceeded by a wide margin of 28. 1988 at page 29). (Business World.15 percent the year end total in 1987. the criminal prosecutions for estafa in G. R. 64781-99 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE and a new one is entered holding the petitioners not guilty of the offenses for which they were charged. the minimum monthly salary of able bodied seamen set by the ILO and adhered to by the Philippines is now $276.. The experience from 1981 to the present vindicates the finding in Vir-Jen Shipping that a decision in favor of the seamen would not necessarily mean severe repercussions. drying up of employment opportunities for seamen. News Briefs. Nos. are ordered DISMISSED.R. Canada.o-Aquino. (The Business Star.
. we find that the NSB and NLRC committed grave abuse of discretion in finding the petitioners guilty of using intimidation and illegal means in breaching their contracts of employment and punishing them for these alleged offenses. The private respondent is ordered to pay the petitioners their earned but unpaid wages and overtime pay/allowance from November 1. Medialdea and Regalado. The criminal cases for estafa.) more than double the $130. Paras. 1978 according to the rates in the Special Agreement that the parties entered into in Vancouver. subject matter of G. Bidin.000.Reporting its activities for the year 1988.lâwphî1. JJ. Sarmiento.J. SO ORDERED. seabased workers numbering 95.5 percent increase from the 1988 aggregate. C.00 ( id. More Filipino Seamen Expected Development. 1989 at page 2) According to the POEA. Narvasa. R. is on leave. December 27. Cruz. The report shows that sea-based workers posted bigger monthly increments compared to those of landbased workers. Cortes. 1978 to December 14. Nos.. Drilon that the Philippines has a big jump over other crewing nations because of the Filipinos' abilities compared with any European or westem crewing country. The decisions of the National Seamen Board and National Labor Relations Commission in G. the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) stated that there will be an increase in demand for seamen based overseas in 1989 boosting the number to as high as 105. Consequently.00 sought to be enforced by the public respondents in these petitions. This will represent a 9. Padilla. and other dire consequences predicted by manning agencies and recruiters in the Philippines. Gancayco.. The petitioners' suspension from the National Seamen Board's Registry for three (3) years is LIFTED.ñèt Parenthetically. J. took no part. 57999 and 58143-53 should be dismissed. WHEREFORE. 57999 and 58143-53. including luxury liners. the petitions are hereby GRANTED. January 11. From the foregoing. January 11. (Manila Bulletin. Nos. 1988 at page 2) Augmenting this optimistic report of POEA Administrator Tomas Achacoso is the statement of Secretary of Labor Franklin M. Feliciano. Drilon added that cruise shipping is also a growing market for Filipino seafarers because of their flexibility in handling odd jobs and their expertise in handling almost all types of ships.
petitioner. petitioner.. J. an entertainment dancer. No. IWATA I.
PUNO. Sarmiento. Jaz Talents Promotion: Date: Dec. RAYALA. petitioner. 10. HON. ZAPANTA. vs. This is a petition for certiorari to review the Decision of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). 1995 ESALYN CHAVEZ. Jose A.5000. Jr. dismissing petitioner's complaint for unpaid salaries amounting to Six Thousand Dollars (US$6. HON. 1988 SUBJECT: Salary Deduction MANAGERIAL COMMISSION DATE OF DEPARTURE: _________________ ATTENTION: MR.: One of the anguished cries in our society today is that while our laws appear to protect the poor.00). private respondent Centrum Placement & Promotions Corporation. and TIMES SURETY & INSURANCE COMPANY. do hereby with my own free will and voluntarily have the honor to authorize your good office to please deduct the amount of TWO HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS ($250) from my contracted monthly salary of SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS ($750) as monthly commission for my Manager.000. AZUCENA. but incredibly found public respondent straining the seams of our law to disfavor her. a poor. JOSE A. uncounselled entertainment dancer signed a contract with her Japanese employer calling for a monthly salary of One Thousand Five Hundred U. HON. On December 1. 1888. SARMIENTO. entered into a standard employment contract for overseas Filipino 2 artists and entertainers with Planning Japan Co.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION
G.. That. which affirmed the Decision of public respondent Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) Administrator Jose N. ESALYN CHAVEZ. On December 5. 1992. Azucena. JOSE N. 109808 March 1. petitioner executed the following side agreement with her Japanese employer through her local manager. INC. JR. We will not allow this travesty.S. by petitioner)
. The facts are undisputed. In the case at bench.500) but later had to sign an immoral side agreement reducing her salary below the minimum standard set by the POEA.. CENTRUM PROMOTIONS PLACEMENT CORPORATION. Petitioner invoked the law to collect her salary differentials.R. 1992. through its Philippine representative. HON.00). ROGELIO T. DOMINGO H. DANCER. dated December 29. 1988. respondents. Dollars (US$1. dated February 17. the POEA approved the contract. Mr. and petitioner was to be paid a monthly compensation of One Thousand Five Hundred Dollars (US$1. The contract had a duration of two (2) to six (6) months. my monthly salary (net) is FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS ($500). Subsequently. There is no greater disappointment to the poor like petitioner than to discover the ugly reality behind the beautiful rhetoric of laws. (sgd. EDNA BONTO-PEREZ. Ltd. their interpretation is sometimes anti-poor.
especially so if the contracting party did not consent/participate in such arrangement. that she entered into a side contract on December 10. the NLRC upheld the Decision. There is. thus: We fail to see any conspiracy that the complainant (petitioner herein) imputes to the respondents. not established and/or laid the basis for Us to arrive at a conclusion that the respondents have been and should be held liable for her claims. Hence. Apparently and from all indications. Under the prevailing circumstances of this case. thus. she/he would immediately react to protect her/his rights which is not true in the case at bar. Likewise. 1991. 1991. We affirmed. Japan. 1991. petitioner instituted the present petition. 1988. to put it bluntly. Moreover. .000.. The way We see it. leading another party to believe that there is nothing wrong with his own claim. .) On appeal. it is outside the regulatory powers of the Administration to rule on the liability of respondent Jaz Talents Promotions.000. She prayed for the payment of Six Thousand U. petitioner left for Osaka.. 1992. and private 5 respondents are not solidarily liable to her for Six Thousand US Dollars (US$6. no merit in the appeal. Dollars (US$750. the records do not at all indicate any connection between respondents Centrum Promotion & Placement Corporation and Jaz Talents Promotion. where she worked for six (6) months. . Complainant (petitioner) cannot now demand from respondent agency to pay her the salary based (on) the processed Employment Contract for she is now considered in bad faith and hence. The complaint was dismissed by public respondent POEA Administrator on February 17. inter alia: . . 1988. This resulted in placing the negligent party in estoppel to assert or enforce his right. therefore.S.
Dissatisfied with the NLRC's Decision. if any. alleging that public respondents committed grave abuse of discretion in finding: that she is guilty of laches. its insurer. xxx xxx xxx (Citations omitted. Respondent agency had no knowledge nor participation in the said agreement such that it could not be faulted for violation of the Standard Employment Contract regarding the stipulated salary. the Supreme Court in one case held that not only is inaction within reasonable time to enforce a right the basic premise that underlies a valid defense of laches but such inaction evinces implied consent or acquiescence to the violation of the right . 1989. (it) not being a licensed private agency but a promotion which trains entertainers for abroad..S.00). She came back to the Philippines on June 14.. The petition is meritorious. Times Surety and Insurance Co. and Jaz Talents Promotion. . until June 10. Jaz Talents Promotion consenting to a monthly salary of US$750. nullified and invalidated the standard employment contract she entered into on December 1. . Co.00) which superseded. . The term laches has been defined as one's negligence or failure to assert his right in due time or within reasonable time from the accrual of his cause of action. Inc. 1988. the Philippine representative of Planning Japan. Ltd. Dollars (US$6. she entered into a side agreement with the Japanese employer thru her local manager. Inc. Charged in the case were private respondent Centrum Promotions and Placement Corporation.
. if a person's right (is) violated. representing the unpaid portion of her basic salary for six months. She has. Normally. her self-imposed silence for a long period of time worked to her own disadvantage as she allowed laches to prevail which barred respondent from doing something at the outset.. 1988 for the reduction of her basic salary to Seven Hundred Fifty U. 1989.On December 16. The records show that after signing the Standard Employment Contract on December 1. We cannot take cognizance of such violation when one of the principal party (sic) thereto opted to receive a salary different from what has been stipulated in their contract.00) in unpaid wages. complainant (referring to petitioner herein) was satisfied and did not have any complaint (about) anything regarding her employment in Japan until after almost two (2) years (when) she filed the instant complaint on February 21. and that Planning Japan Co. He ratiocinated.00 which she affirmed during the conference of May 21. estopped from claiming thereto thru her own act of consenting and agreeing to receive a salary not in accordance with her contract of employment. Petitioner instituted the case at bench for underpayment of wages with the POEA on February 21.
Sec. Dollars (US$250. formulate and review employment standards in accordance with the market development and welfare objectives of the overseas employment program and the prevailing market conditions. Series of 1986. and for not having been approved by the POEA. the basic salary of One Thousand Five Hundred U. morals and public policy. Dollars (US$750.) Clearly. thus: Book V. Rule II Sec.S. (Emphasis supplied. we hold that the managerial commission agreement executed by petitioner to authorize her Japanese Employer to deduct Two Hundred Fifty U. The following shall be considered the minimum requirements for contracts of employment: a. Guaranteed wages for regular working hours and overtime pay for services rendered beyond regular working hours in accordance with the standards established by the Administration. Employment Standards. Minimum Provisions for Contract. Standard Employment Contract. Book VI of the 1991 Rules and Regulations Governing Overseas Employment.00) is null and void for violating the POEA's minimum employment standards.Firstly. 2. Book V and Section 2(f). xxx xxx xxx (Emphasis supplied. The administration shall undertake development and/or periodic review of region. Grounds for suspension/cancellation of license .S. Rule I. Dollars (US$1. the side agreement which reduced petitioner's basic wage to Seven Hundred Fifty U. Indeed. of this Rule and shall recognize the prevailing labor and social legislations at the site of employment and international conventions. xxx xxx xxx f.S. The SEC shall set the minimum terms and conditions of employment. Substituting or altering employment contracts and other documents approved and verified by the Administration from the time of actual signing thereof by the parties up to and including the period of expiration of the same without the Administration's approval.) The stipulation is in line with the provisions of Rule II. 2.00) guaranteed to petitioner under the parties' standard employment contract is in accordance with the minimum employment standards with respect to wages set by the POEA.500. 1. 1988 approved by the POEA with the following stipulation appended thereto: It is understood that the terms and conditions stated in this Employment Contract are in conformance with the Standard Employment Contract for Entertainers prescribed by the POEA under Memorandum Circular No.00) from her monthly basic salary is void because it is against our existing laws. country and skills specific employment contracts for landbased workers and conduct regular review of standard employment contracts (SEC) for seafarers. The Administration shall determine.) and BOOK VI. Thus. RULE I Sec. 2. Any alterations or changes made in any part of this contract without prior approval by 6 the POEA shall be null and void. These contracts shall provide for minimum employment standards herein enumerated under Section 2. xxx xxx xxx Sec. It cannot supersede the standard employment contract of December 1. 3.
. All employers and principals shall adopt the SEC in connection with the hiring of workers without prejudice to their adoption of other terms and conditions of employment over and above the minimum standards of the Administration. this side agreement is a scheme all too frequently resorted to by unscrupulous employers against our helpless overseas workers who are compelled to agree to satisfy their basic economic needs. (Emphasis supplied.
xxx xxx xxx (Emphasis supplied. the discouragement of stale claims. Book I of the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code. the fact of delay. Courts should never apply the doctrine of laches earlier than the expiration of time limited for the commencement of actions at law. Intermediate Appellate Court . we hold the doctrine of laches inapplicable to petitioner. Ltd. The pertinent positive rules being present here. is insufficient to constitute laches. Ltd. Thus. each case is to be determined according to its particular circumstances.Secondly. Laches has been defined as the failure or neglect for an unreasonable and unexplained length time to do that which. judicial rules of procedure. Requirement before recruitment.7 of the parties' standard employment contract which provides: 13. . The doctrine of laches or "stale demands"' cannot be applied to petitioner. 200 SCRA 178 (1991): . .) This solidary liability also arises from the provisions of Section 10(a)(2). Such formal appointment or recruitment agreement shall contain the following provisions. Laches is a doctrine in equity while prescription is based on law. For this reason. this Court was more emphatic upholding the rules of procedure. . its application is controlled by equitable considerations. and is principally a question of the inequity or unfairness of permitting a right or claim to be enforced or asserted.
. petitioner filed her claim well within the three-year prescriptive period for the filing of money claims set 12 forth in Article 291 of the Labor Code. Power of the agency to sue and be sued jointly and solidarily with the principal or foreign based employer for any of the violations of the recruitment agreement and the contracts of employment. . (Emphasis supplied. Our courts are basically courts of law not courts of equity. which has been aptly described as a "justice outside legality. they should pre-empt and prevail over all abstract arguments based only on equity. private respondents Centrum and Times as well as Planning Japan Co. thus giving rise to a presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has abandoned or declined to 8 9 assert it. As we ruled in Imperial Victory Shipping Agency v. recovery therefore cannot be barred by laches. It cannot be worked to defeat justice or to perpetrate fraud and 11 injustice. — Before recruiting any worker. could or should have 7 been done earlier. 10. — the agency's foreign principal — are solidarily liable to petitioner for her unpaid wages.. ) and its locally (sic) agent/promoter/representative (private respondent Centrum Promotions & Placement Corporation) shall be 13 jointly and severally responsible for the proper implementation of the terms and conditions in this Contract. Jr. . We have ruled in Arsenal v. . Court of Appeals . . thus: Sec. NLRC. 10 There is no absolute rule as to what constitutes laches. Courts exercising equity jurisdiction are bound by rules of law and have no arbitrary discretion to disregard them. among others: xxx xxx xxx 2. v. It is not concerned with mere lapse of time. In Zabat.. as amended. The Employer (in this case. that it is a long standing principle that equity follows the law. Rule V.) Thirdly." this applied only in the absence of. The question of laches is addressed to the sound discretion of the court. . the private employment agency shall submit to the Bureau the following documents: a) A formal appointment or agency contract executed by a foreign-based employer in favor of the license holder to recruit and hire personnel for the former .7. We said therein: As for equity. by exercising due diligence. where the claim was filed within the three-year statutory period.. . In the case at bench. as in this case. Planning Japan Co. laches cannot be invoked to resist the enforcement of an existing legal right. standing alone. The doctrine of laches is based upon grounds of public policy which requires. and since it is an equitable doctrine. and never against. statutory law or. Aequetas nunguam contravenit legis. Thus. Citations omitted. for the peace of society. This is in accordance with stipulation 13.
Out of despondence. Private respondents are held jointly and severally liable to petitioner for the payment of SIX THOUSAND US DOLLARS (US$6. They will climb mountains. The least we can do is to protect them with our laws in our land. Costs against private respondents. They are thoroughly disadvantaged.
.xxx xxx xxx (Emphasis supplied. endure slave treatment in foreign lands just to survive. the petition is GRANTED. respondent public officials who should sympathize with the working class appear to have a different orientation.00) in unpaid wages. cross the seas. trapped in an environment of crime. Hardly literate and in ill health. The Decisions of respondent POEA Administrator and NLRC Commissioners in POEA Case No. 1993.) Our overseas workers constitute an exploited class. Their unfortunate circumstance makes them easy prey to avaricious employers. 1992. respectively dated February 17 and December 29. 91-02-199 (ER). Adj. their only hope lies in jobs they can hardly find in our country. SO ORDERED.000. Most of them come from the poorest sector of our society. they will work under sub-human conditions and accept salaries below the minimum. IN VIEW WHEREOF. Their profile shows they live in suffocating slums. dated March 23. Regretfully. are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. and the Resolution of the NLRC.
Casco of the Welfare Employment Office of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (WEO-POEA). We quote the telegram:
. petitioner. Batangas and an overseas Filipino worker. Batangas.. represented by HON. 2000 to work-train at Yeongjin Machinery. Manny dela Rosa Razon. Gardiner. from an apparent pancreatic attack or 'bangungot. died of acute cardiac arrest while asleep at the dormitory of the Samsong Textile Processing Factory in South Korea. 2006
EQUI-ASIA PLACEMENT. DOMINGO L. Razon (Uncle) with telephone number (043)411-2308. INC. We are also coordinating with the deceased's employer for documentation requirements and financial assistance for the repatriation of the remains.' According to the verbal reports of Moises and Ronald Recarde. to Director R. Forthwith. The Court of Appeals summarized the facts of this case in this wise: On September 16. Cesar L. died last Saturday. through Atty. 2000 to the President/General Manager of the petitioner. please be advised in advance that we will need about US$4. No. he was found already lifeless inside their quarters at around 11:00 in the morning of the above date. a native of Lemery.. 29 years old. Per information gathered.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G. DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS (DFA) represented by the HON. Inc. JR. the OWWA.R. it was discovered that Manny Razon was recruited and deployed by petitioner Equi-Asia Placement. vs. Rowena Razon (Auntie) and Mr.00 to repatriate the cadaver (to include hospital and morgue costs) to Manila. respondents. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT (DOLE). from Bukal. POEA addressed the herein first assailed telegram-directive dated September 22. and was sent to South Korea on April 3. In anticipation of the next-of-kins' likely move to seek financial assistance from OWWA for the repatriation of their loved [one]. J. Upon verification by the WEO-POEA on its data base. POLO is awaiting signed statements from the aforementioned workers who promised to send it by fax this afternoon. for appropriate action. xxx" In turn. The Decision denied petitioner's petition for certiorari while the Resolution denied its Motion for Reconsideration.000. 16 September. indorsed the matter. Lemery.: This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari of the Decision dated 4 October 2001 and Resolution dated 18 February 2002 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. an undocumented worker. the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) at South Korea immediately relayed the incident to the Philippine Embassy in South Korea. His next-ofkins are Mrs. BIENVENIDO LAGUESMA. Inc. Thereupon.R. Chavez. the deceased is single. the [Labor] Attaché of the Philippine Embassy dispatched a letter to Eleuterio N. SIAZON. Manny's co-workers. We will highly appreciate if Home Office could advise the next-of-kins of the urgent need to issue a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) to facilitate the repatriation requirements of the subject. SP No. administrator of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). The letter reads: "VERY URGENT. 61904. POLO has recently received a report that OFW Manny dela Rosa RAZON. Informed thereof. SECRETARY. DECISION CHICO-NAZARIO. 2000. 152214 September 19.. They rushed him to Uri Hospital where the Doctor declared him dead on arrival.
YOU ARE GIVEN TWO (2) DAYS FROM RECEIPT HEREOF WITHIN WHICH TO PROVIDE SAID TICKET AND ASSISTANCE. you are required to provide the PTA for the deceased OFW in compliance with the requirement in accordance with R. He violated his employment/training/dispatching contracts on June 25. Nevertheless. petitioner. 2000 – Director Ricardo R. which pertinently reads: "We have received a copy of your fax message dated 26 September 2000 as regards to your response to our request for PTA for aforesaid deceased OFW. petitioner wrote back Director Ricardo R. However. KINDLY SUBMIT YOUR REPORT TO ASSISTANCE AND WELFARE DIVISION (AWD). Trusting for your kind understanding" On the same date – September 26. Casco. KOREA. re: the repatriation of the remains of the deceased. 2000. Hence.. The recovery of the same costs from the estate of the dead worker before the NLRC. The responsibility of the agency to advance the cost of plane fare without prior determination of the cause of the deceased worker's termination.. Casco of the WEO-POEA sent to the petitioner the herein second assailed letter-directive. The deceased was deployed by our agency on April 3. 2000. 3. 2000 to Yeongjin Machine Company in South Korea. The action to be imposed by POEA for non-compliance therewith within 48 hours are violative of due process and/or the principle on due delegation of power. Section 55 of the Omnibus Rules and Regulations Implementing the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 on the matters covering the following: 1. 8042. Failure in this regard will constrain us to impose the appropriate sanction under our rules." On September 27. He allegedly died of 'bangungot' thereafter. YOU CAN COORDINATE WITH YOUR FOREIGN EMPLOYER AND TO WAD/OWWA (MLA) AS REGARDS TO THIS MATTER. 2. his relatives can avail of the benefits provided for by OWWA in cases involving undocumented/illegal Filipino workers abroad. 2000 by unlawfully escaping/running away (TNT) from his company assignment without prior KFSMB authorization and working/staying in unknown company/place. FAILURE TO DO SO WILL CONSTRAIN US TO IMPOSE APPROPRIATE SANCTION UNDER OUR RULES" Responding thereto. and in relation to. this is to report to your good office the following: 1.A. ex-trainee (OFW) MANNY DELA ROSA RAZON. The Rules further provide for the procedure to be followed in cases when the foreign employer/agency fails to provide for the cost of the repatriation. 2000 the following message to the Assistance and Welfare Division of the POEA: "In connection with your telegram. dated 09/22/2000.
. for the repatriation of the remains of said OFW."PLEASE PROVIDE PTA [Prepaid Ticket Advice] FOR THE REPATRIATION OF REMAINS AND BELONGINGS OF OFW MANNY DELA ROSA RAZON AS PER REQUEST OF PHILIPPINE EMBASSY. his/her remains and transport of his personal effects is the primary responsibility of the principal or agency and to immediately advance the cost of plane fare without prior determination of the cause of worker's repatriation. You are given forty-eight (48) hours upon receipt hereof within which to provide said ticket. 53. 2. In view thereof. Jr. we cannot heed your requests as embodied in your telegram. otherwise known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995. requiring us to report the circumstances surrounding the death of OFW MANNY DELA ROSA RAZON in Korea and requesting us to issue a PTA. faxed on September 26. 3. 54 and 55 of the Implementing Rules Governing RA 8042. please be informed that the provisions of Section 53 as well as. 2/F POEA. the repatriation of OFW. may we remind you that pursuant to Sections 52. compliance of which is punishable by suspension of the license of the agency or such sanction as the Administration shall deem proper. thru its President Daniel Morga. thus: "In connection with your fax letter dated September 26. etc.
is not the proper remedy as the same is only available when "there is no appeal. Thereafter. posing. Besides. petitioner." On 4 October 2001. and apprehensive of the adverse repercussions which may ensue on account of its non-compliance with the directive. to impose the corresponding penalty of suspension in case of non-compliance therewith. for Our consideration. and 55 of the Omnibus Rules as the unconstitutionality of a statute or rules may not be passed upon unless the issue is directly raised in an 6 appropriate proceeding. 2. the instant petition is DENIED and is accordingly DISMISSED. that petitioner is contesting the compliance and conformity of the POEA directives with Sections 52.
. advanced under protest the costs for the repatriation of the remains of the late Manny dela Rosa Razon. The Court of Appeals ruled that the POEA did not commit any grave abuse of discretion as its directives to petitioner were 4 issued pursuant to existing laws and regulations. in dismissing the petition. the sections in question unduly grant the powers to require advance payment of the plane fare. an adequate remedy available to petitioner. The Court of Appeals.A. on September 29. within 48 hours and to recover said advance payment from the dead worker's estate upon the return of his remains to the country before the NLRC. for lack of merit. 53. Lastly. IS ILLEGAL AND/OR VIOLATIVE OF DUE PROCESS SUCH THAT POEA ACTED WITHOUT [OR IN] EXCESS OF ITS JURISDICTION AND/OR IN GRAVE ABUSE OF 2 DISCRETION IN ISSUING SAID ORDER TO PAY SAID EXPENSES." Nonetheless. 53. 54. the sole issue of – "WHETHER OR NOT SECTIONS 52. The Court of Appeals erred in the appreciation of the issue as it mistakenly considered. HAS NO EXISTING EMPLOYMENT (DISPATCHING) CONTRACT WITH EITHER SAID PETITIONER OR HIS FOREIGN PRINCIPAL AND NO VALID VISA OR IS NOT WORKING WITH THE FOREIGN PRINCIPAL TO WHICH PETITIONER DEPLOYED HIM. exemplary and other forms of damages. AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH. again erred in ruling that constitutional questions cannot be passed upon and adjudged in a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. WHICH POEA SUMMARILY ORDERED THE HEREIN PETITIONER TO COMPLY VIZ-A-VIZ THE PAYMENT IN ADVANCE OF THE EXPENSES FOR THE REPATRIATION OF THE REMAINS OF A DECEASED WORKER-TRAINEE WHO. the costs for the repatriation of the remains of the deceased Manny dela Rosa Razon. in dismissing the petition before it." There is. the Court of Appeals stated that petitioner was mainly accusing the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) of grave abuse of discretion when it ordered petitioner to pay. the Court of Appeals rendered the Decision which is now the subject of the present petition. subject to the rules and procedures of the NLRC. when the law itself does not expressly provide for the grant of such powers. 54 AND 55 OF THE OMNIBUS RULES AND REGULATIONS IMPLEMENTING THE MIGRANT WORKERS AND OVERSEAS FILIPINOS ACT OF 1995 (R. petitioner went to this Court via the instant petition for certiorari. It likewise held that a petition for certiorari. moral. 2000. petitioner submits the following issues for our consideration: 1. ISSUED BY DFA AND POEA. The dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals' Decision states: WHEREFORE.This is so because Sec. 53. which was the remedy availed of by petitioner. Please provide us immediately with the death certificate/post mortem report/police report pertinent to above as proof of death and cause thereof. and 55 of the Omnibus Rules and Regulations implementing in particular Section 15 of RA 8042.A. in advance.
In dismissing the petition for certiorari. speedy. 8042). 8042 clearly contemplates prior notice and hearing before responsibility thereunder could be established against the agency that sets up the defense of sole fault – in avoidance of said responsibility -. and 5 adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. In the present recourse. 54." Section 62 of the Omnibus Rules and Regulations Implementing the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 or Republic Act 8042 ("Omnibus Rules") states that "the Labor Arbiters of NLRC shall have the original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide all claims arising out of employer-employee relationship or by virtue of any law or contract involving Filipino workers for overseas deployment including claims for actual. therefore. or any plain. 15 of R. the Court of Appeals declared that it could not strike down as unconstitutional Sections 52. x x x x x x x x x.
or his/her remains. Petitioner also contends that. OWWA shall advance the costs of repatriation with recourse to the agency or principal. On 28 August 2006. Emergency Repatriation Fund. However. petitioner argues that the word "likewise" at the start of the third sentence of Section 15 of Republic Act No. invalid and/or violative of the right of petitioner to due process of law and. the principal or agency may recover the cost of repatriation from the worker if the termination of employment was due solely to his/her fault. are supposed to implement Section 15 of Republic Act No. 54. the responsible personnel at site shall simultaneously notify OWWA and the POEA of such need. under the facts of the case that gave rise to the petition before it. while Section 52 of the Omnibus Rules unduly imposes such burden on a placement agency. the same sections of the said rules and regulations are illegal. The POEA shall inform OWWA of the action of the agency. Repatriation Procedure. The POEA shall notify the agency concerned of the need for repatriation. – When a need for repatriation arises and the foreign employer fails to provide for it cost. 8042 which provides: SEC. Section 55. therefore. we gave due course to the present petition and directed the parties to submit their 8 respective memoranda. instead of resolving whether Sections 52. The Court of Appeals erred in not holding that. The agency shall provide the plane ticket or the prepaid ticket advice (PTA) to the Filipinos Resource Center or to the appropriate Philippine Embassy. Said provisions. jurisdiction and/or in grave abuse of discretion. the repatriation of remains and transport of the personal belongings of a deceased worker and all costs attendant thereto shall be borne by the principal and/or the local agency. after the worker has returned to the country. – The repatriation of the worker and the transport of his personal belongings shall be the primary responsibility of the agency which. Petitioner contends that the Court of Appeals misappreciated the issue it presented in its petition for certiorari when. Moreover. Upon notice from the POEA. – If the employment agency fails to provide the ticket or PTA within 48 hours from receipt of the notice. 15. 53. Repatriation of Workers. the principal/employer or agency shall not in any manner be responsible for the repatriation of the former and/or his belongings. we resolved to dispense with the memorandum of the estate/heirs of deceased Manny dela Rosa Razon. – The primary responsibility to repatriate entails the obligation on the part of principal or agency to advance the cost of plane fare and to immediately repatriate the worker should the need for it arise. 8042 does not impose on a recruitment agency the primary responsibility for the repatriation of a deceased Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW). All costs attendant to repatriation shall be borne by or charged to the agency concerned and/or its principal. Primary Responsibility for Repatriation. Section 53. Likewise. on the other hand. In Our Resolution of 20 November 2002. Every contract for overseas employment shall provide for the primary responsibility of agency to advance the cost of plane fare. All costs attendant thereto shall be borne by the principal or the agency concerned. recruited or deployed the worker overseas. Section 54. – The repatriation of the worker. without a prior determination of the cause of the termination of the worker's employment. The administrative sanction shall not be lifted until the agency reimburses the OWWA of the cost of repatriation with legal interest. or in 7 excess of. petitioner insists that the subject portions of the omnibus rules are invalid on the ground that Section 15 of Republic Act No. and the obligation of the worker to refund the cost thereof in case his/her fault is determined by the Labor Arbiter. and 55 of the Omnibus Rules are illegal and violative of due process. in cases where the termination of employment is due solely to the fault of the worker. Repatriation of Workers.3. Action on Non-Compliance. the POEA directives issued pursuant thereto constitute acts committed without. and the transport of his/her personal effects shall be the primary responsibility of the principal or agency which recruited or deployed him/her abroad. a special civil action for certiorari is the appropriate remedy to raise constitutional issues. At the center of this petition are the following provisions of the omnibus rules: Section 52. and notify POEA of such compliance. However. 8042 is used merely as a connective word indicating the similarity between a recruitment agency's financial obligation in the
. it merely confined itself to the question of whether or not the POEA committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing its directives of 22 September 2000 and 27 September 2000. contrary to the finding of the Court of Appeals. Also. the POEA shall suspend the license of the agency or impose such sanctions as it may deem necessary.
as Section 53 of the Omnibus Rules stipulates that a placement agency or principal shall bear the primary responsibility of repatriating an OFW and of advancing the payment for his or her plane fare. Indeed. is an invalid exercise of legislative power by an administrative agency. 8042 leaves no doubt that a recruitment agency shall bear the primary responsibility for the repatriation of an OFW whether the latter is dead or alive. or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Rule 46. necessarily make a placement agency primarily responsible for the repatriation of a deceased OFW unlike in the case of an OFW who is alive. international or executive agreement. As for Section 53 of the Omnibus Rules. fees or charges or any increment thereto. is not limited to the Court of Appeals or to this Court alone for even the regional trial courts can take cognizance of actions assailing a specific rule or set of rules promulgated by administrative bodies. There is no denying that regular courts have jurisdiction over cases involving the validity or constitutionality of a rule or regulation issued by administrative agencies. and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. The Solicitor General for its part counters that Sections 52. Finally. and a sworn certification of non-forum shopping as provided in the third paragraph of Section 3. the requirements of prior notice and hearing are not essential. Because of this. petitioner submits that the same is invalid as Section 15 of Republic Act No. Section 1. The Solicitor General also adds that since petitioner is engaged in the recruitment of Filipino workers for work abroad. petitioner claims Section 53 of the Omnibus Rules violates the due process clause of the constitution as it deprives the deploying agency of the right to prior notice and hearing through which it can prove that it should not bear the burden of repatriating an OFW. or regulation in the courts. and 55 of the Omnibus Rules are valid quasi-legislative 10 acts of respondents Department of Foreign Affairs and Department of Labor and Employment. however. It does not. sans prior notice and hearing. ordinance. the omibus rules. and there is no appeal. Such jurisdiction. a person aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court. to effectuate measures affecting private property. Besides. x x x. alleging the facts with certainty and praying that judgment be rendered annulling or modifying the proceedings of such tribunal. The petition shall be accompanied by a certified true copy of the judgment.repatriation of living and a deceased OFW. treaty. copies of all pleadings and documents relevant and pertinent thereto. order or resolution subject thereof. nor any plain. Petition for Certiorari. the Constitution vests the power of judicial review or the power to declare a law. 53.
. the Solicitor General insists that actions assailing the validity of implementing rules and regulations are within the original jurisdiction of the regional trial courts. instruction. presidential decree. In addition. and granting such incidental reliefs as law and justice may require. board or officer. board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions has acted without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction. However. One such measure is the primary responsibility imposed upon placement agencies with regard to the repatriation of an OFW or of his remains. or 2) in summary proceedings of distraint and levy upon the property of delinquent taxpayers in the collection of internal revenue taxes. petitioner points out that it should be the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration which should advance the costs of repatriation of the deceased Razon with the resources coming out of the emergency repatriation fund of said agency. – When any tribunal. Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure states: SECTION 1. the nature of its business calls for the exercise of the state's police power in order to safeguard the rights and welfare of the Filipino laborers. including 12 the regional trial courts. or 3) in the preventive suspension of a public officer 11 pending investigation. such as: 1) [F]or the summary abatement of nuisance per se which affects the immediate safety of persons and property. 54. there are cases where even in the exercise of quasijudicial power. as far as this section is concerned. We shall first address the procedural question involved in the present petition. administrative agencies are allowed. 8042 clearly states that a placement agency shall not in any manner be responsible for the repatriation of the deceased OFW and his or her belongings should the termination of the OFW's employment be due to his or her fault. order. The Solicitor General also argues that the wording of Section 15 of Republic Act No. speedy. Lastly. however.
the law must be complete in all its terms and conditions when it leaves 17 the legislature such that when it reaches the delegate. We resolve that the questioned provisions of the Omnibus Rules meet these requirements. speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. The second test or the sufficient standard test. these rules were clearly promulgated by respondents Department of Foreign Affairs and Department of Labor and Employment in the exercise of their quasi-legislative powers or the authority to promulgate rules and regulations. The determination of facts and the applicable law. Jr. On the other hand. Given the volume and variety of interactions involving the members of today's society. a board or an officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions. the need to delegate to administrative bodies. These requirements include prior notice and hearing. 8042 by: first. the following requisites must be present: (1) the writ is directed against a tribunal. While Republic Act No. are essential for the performance of this function. as enumerated in Ang Tibay. such duty is imposed upon him as the statute clearly dictates that "the repatriation of remains and transport of the personal belongings of a deceased worker and all costs attendant thereto shall be borne by the principal and/or the local agency. 8042 itself permits the situation wherein a local recruitment agency can be held exclusively responsible for the repatriation of a deceased OFW. only judicial or quasi-judicial acts are proper subjects thereof. and that the regulation be not in contradiction to. petitioner is impugning the subject provisions of the Omnibus Rules for allegedly expanding the scope of Section 15 of Republic Act No. board or officer has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction. Hence. as elements of due process. 54. but in conformity with. Be that as it may. imposing upon it the primary obligation to repatriate the remains of the deceased Razon including the duty to advance the cost of the plane fare for the transport of Razon's remains. the standards prescribed by the law. and 55 of the Omnibus Rules." The mandatory nature of said obligation is characterized by the legislature's use of the word "shall. (2) such tribunal. an administrative body adjudicates the rights of persons before it. Because of this. thus. All that is required for the valid exercise of this power of subordinate legislation is that the regulation must be germane to the objects and purposes 16 of the law. quasi-legislative power is exercised by administrative agencies through the promulgation of rules and regulations within the confines of the granting statute and the doctrine of non-delegation of certain powers flowing from the separation of the great branches of the government. we see no reason to invalidate Section 52 of the omnibus rules as Republic Act No. In this case.From this. we shall proceed to resolve the substantive issues raised in this petition for review in order to finally remove the doubt over the validity of Sections 52. Prior notice to and hearing of every affected party. we discussed the nature of these powers to be – In exercising its quasi-judicial function. However. are not required since there is no determination of past events or facts that have to be established or ascertained. nevertheless. mandates that there should be adequate guidelines or limitations in the law to determine the 18 boundaries of the delegate's authority and prevent the delegation from running riot. As a general rule. the only thing he will have to do is to enforce it. mistaken in availing himself of the remedy of an original action for certiorari as obviously. Nor do we see any reason to stamp Section 53 of the Omnibus Rules as invalid for allegedly contravening Section 15 of the law which states that a placement agency shall not be responsible for a worker's repatriation should the termination of the employer-employee relationship be due to the fault of the OFW. and second. it is clear that in order for a petition for certiorari to prosper. If only for these. as basis for official action and the exercise of judicial discretion. must be observed. In this regard. the quasi-legislative and the quasi-judicial. the statute merely states the general principle
. it is elementary that due process requirements. v. and (3) there is no appeal or any plain. Civil Service Commission. by ordering it to do so without prior determination of the existence of employer-employee relationship between itself and Razon. 53. prior notice and hearing are not essential to the validity of rules or regulations promulgated to govern future conduct. 14 In Abella. To our mind. Basically. 8042 does not expressly state that petitioner shall be primarily obligated to transport back here to the Philippines the remains of the deceased Razon. Under the first test or the so-called completeness test." That the concerned government agencies opted to demand the performance of said responsibility solely upon petitioner does not make said directives invalid as the law plainly obliges a local placement agency such as herein petitioner to bear the burden of repatriating the remains of a deceased OFW with or without recourse to the principal abroad. petitioner assails certain provisions of the Omnibus Rules. It bears emphasizing that administrative bodies are vested with two basic powers. It is now well-settled that delegation of legislative power to various specialized administrative agencies is allowed in the face of increasing complexity of modern life. the petition deserves outright dismissal. petitioner was. as the principal agencies tasked to execute laws with respect to their specialized fields. in accordance with the standards laid down by the law. Petitioner's argument that Section 15 does not provide that it shall be primarily responsible for the repatriation of a deceased OFW is specious and plain nitpicking. the 15 authority to promulgate rules and regulations to implement a given statute and effectuate its policies. On these considerations. it is doubtful if the legislature can promulgate laws dealing with the minutiae aspects of everyday life.
A.. the Petition for Review is DENIED. economy and welfare." "justice and equity." and "simplicity. concur.J. C. Austria-Martinez. Chairperson. J. To be left stranded in a foreign land without the financial means to return home and being at the mercy of unscrupulous individuals is a violation of the OFW's dignity and his human rights. Section 15 of Republic Act No. however. No. we hold that the legislature's pronouncements that Republic Act No.that in case the severance of the employment was because of the OFW's own undoing. 19 These are the same rights R." "public convenience and welfare. Callejo. As aptly pointed out by the Solicitor General – Such a situation is unacceptable. Panganiban. certainly does not preclude a placement agency from establishing the circumstances surrounding an OFW's dismissal from service in an appropriate proceeding. both here and abroad. The Court of Appeals' Decision dated 4 October 2001 and Resolution dated 18 February 2002 are hereby AFFIRMED. Repatriation is in effect an unconditional responsibility of the agency and/or its principal that cannot be delayed by an investigation of why the worker was terminated from employment.." In this case. This is the same reason why repatriation is made by law an obligation of the agency and/or its principal without the need of first determining the cause of the termination of the worker's employment.
. 8042 seeks to protect. it is only proper that an OFW be brought back here in our country at the soonest possible time lest he remains stranded in a foreign land during the whole time that recruitment agency contests its liability for repatriation. Ynares-Santiago. As such determination would most likely take some time. this Court had. meet the requirement and provide enough guidance for the formulation of the omnibus rules.J. 8042.. 8042 was enacted with the thought of upholding the dignity of the Filipinos may they be here or abroad and that the State shall at all times afford full protection to labor. WHEREFORE. With costs. SO ORDERED. 24. accepted as sufficient standards the following: "public 20 interest. in the past. it is only fair that he or she should shoulder the costs of his or her homecoming. As for the sufficiency of standard test. Sr.