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STOLT-NIELSEN MARINE SERVICES, INC. (now STOLT-NIELSEN TRANSPORTATION GROUP, INC.), Petitioner,
G.R. No. 147623 Present: PANGANIBAN, J., Chairman SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, CORONA, CARPIO MORALES, and GARCIA, JJ.
- versus -
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, LABOR ARBITER ARIEL C. SANTOS, RICARDO O. ATIENZA and RAMON ALPINO, Respondents.
Promulgated: December 13, 2005
DECISION GARCIA, J.:
Before the Court is this petition for review under Rule 45 seeking the reversal of the decision dated March 29, 2000 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 51046 and its Resolution dated March 2, 2001, denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration.  The assailed decision affirmed the resolution dated August 29, 1997 of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) denying petitioner‘s Urgent Motion to Reduce or be Exempted from Filing an Appeal Bond. The factual background of the case may be stated, as follows: In 1978, herein private respondent Ramon Alpino was employed as motorman by petitioner Stolt Nielsen Marine Services, Inc., a corporation based in Connecticut, U.S.A., for the latter‘s vessel ―M/T Stolt Sincerity.‖ Respondent‘s employment with petitioner, albeit not continuous, lasted until 1984 when he was repatriated to the Philippines after being diagnosed with Cardiac Enlargement, Pulmonary Hypertension and Acute Psychotic Reaction and declared unfit for sea duty. In early 1985, respondent filed a complaint before the Philippine Overseas and Employment Agency (POEA), docketed as POEA Case No. (M) 85-01-039, for recovery of sickness and disability benefits and claim for personal belongings and underpayment of wages against petitioner. Petitioner offered to amicably settle the money claims of respondent, which offer was accepted by respondent‘s sister and attorney-in-fact Anita Alpino by virtue of a Special Power of Attorney (SPA). Thus, on March 21, 1985, respondent, through his sister and attorney-in-fact, executed a ―Receipt and Release‖ whereby he acknowledged receipt of the sum of P130,000.00 representing disability benefits, medical and hospitalization expenses, and damages. On the basis of said ―Receipt and Release,‖ POEA dismissed Case No. (M) 85-01-039. In December 1987, another complaint against petitioner was lodged by respondent before the POEA for the same causes of action (recovery of sickness and disability benefits and claim for personal belongings and underpayment of wages). The case, docketed as POEA Case No. (M) 87-12-997, was dismissed by the POEA on ground of res judicata.
On March 14, 1989, respondent filed another complaint against petitioner, this time with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) at Quezon City, docketed as Civil Case No. Q-89-2009, for the Annulment of the Receipt and Release. In his complaint, respondent alleged that he was mentally incapacitated to execute the SPA in favor of his sister Anita Alpino. In an Order dated July 16, 1993, the RTC dismissed Civil Case No. Q-89-2009 for insufficiency of evidence.  Therefrom, respondent went to the Court of Appeals which affirmed the RTC‘s judgment of dismissal. In time,  respondent moved for a reconsideration but his motion was denied by the appellate court. Undaunted, on July 26, 1994, respondent filed a case against petitioner with the POEA for recovery of sickness and disability benefits, allegedly arising from his sickness while under the latter‘s employ. The case was docketed as POEA Case No. (M) 94-07-2223. By reason of the passage of Republic Act 8042, otherwise known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas  Filipinos Act of 1995, POEA Case No. (M) 94-07-2223 was transferred to the NCR-Arbitration Branch of the NLRC and assigned to herein public respondent, Labor Arbiter Ariel Santos. On May 6, 1997, Labor Arbiter Santos rendered a decision declaring ―invalid and ineffectual‖ the SPA executed by respondent in favor of his sister Anita and the subsequent Receipt and Release signed by the latter in behalf of her brother. In resolving the case, Labor Arbiter Santos ratiocinated as follows: The principal issue to be resolved is whether or not the special power of attorney executed by [respondent] in favor of [his] sister and the subsequent Receipt and Release are valid documents to forestall any claim by [respondent]. After a careful and judicious study of the respective pleadings and pieces of evidence submitted by both parties, undersigned finds that the documents adverted and relied upon by [petitioner] to negate [respondent‘s] claim are shot with loopholes that would render it voidable and unenforceable. First, it is to be noted that [petitioner] did not controvert the merit of [respondent‘s] claim for sickness and disability benefits but relied mainly on the invalid Receipt and Release signed by [respondent‘s] sister as the basis for dismissing [respondent‘s] claim. A cursory look at the documents Receipt and Release and the Special Power of Attorney marked as Annex ―1‖ and Annex ―2,‖ respectively, would readily indicate that they were prepared with haste and haphazardly to render it valid and lawful. Both documents were prepared on the same day. In fact, the Receipt and Release was not even executed under oath so that its due execution is put under a cloud of doubt. Secondly, even gratia argumenti that the documents adverted to are valid and were entered into voluntarily, the consideration thereof is oppressive, unreasonable and unconscionable. It is a public policy that where the consideration in a public document is disproportionately unconscionable to the claims of [respondent] who was declared to be mentally unfit, the State should step in to protect the rights of the aggrieved party and declare the same document to be invalid and without force and effect. Thirdly, the consideration of P130,000.00 paid by [petitioner] to [respondent‘s] attorney -in-fact corresponds only to [respondent‘s] claim for lost luggages and should not extinguish [respondent‘s] right to claim for sickness and disability benefits as recognized under insurance health cover before  any seaman can board any foreign vessel. The dispositive portion of Labor Arbiter Santos‘ decision states: WHEREFORE, finding the subject documents Annex ―1‖ and Annex ―2‖ of [petitioner‘s] Answer to be invalid and ineffectual, [petitioner] is hereby directed to pay [respondent‘s] claim for sickness and disability benefits.
‖ The aforequoted provisions are very clear. made a computation of respondent Alpino‘s claim for sickness and disability benefits as follows: Sickness benefit for October 1979 (Payment for sickness & operation) Injury and sickness for Sept.427. that said claims should have been dismissed by the Labor Arbiter on ground of res judicata. Acting Chief of Research and Information Unit of NLRC.3 The Research and Information Unit is hereby ordered to make the proper computation which will become part and parcel of this decision.  [Words in brackets added].34  On July 25. petitioner filed with the respondent NLRC its Appeal with Attached Urgent Motion to Reduce or be Exempted from Filing Appeal Bond. or seven days after its receipt of the aforementioned Labor Arbiter‘s decision. In so ruling. 1997. POEA Administrator and Regional Director or his duly authorized hearing officer involves a monetary award. and that the validity of the Receipt and Release and the Special Power of Attorney had already been passed upon by the RTC of Quezon City in Civil Case No. an appeal by the employer shall be perfected only upon the posting of a cash or surety bond issued by a reputable bonding company duly accredited by the Commission or the Supreme Court in an amount equivalent to the monetary award xxx. herein other public respondent Ricardo Atienza.810. Rule VI of the New Rules of Procedure of the NLRC provides: ―SECTION 6. that all the requirements for the perfection of an appeal must be made and complied with within the reglementary period to appeal. Q-89-2009 and affirmed by the Court of Appeals. – No motion or request for the extension of the period within which to perfect an appeal shall be allowed. respondent NLRC affirmed the Labor Arbiter‘s decision and denied petitioner‘s Urgent Motion to Reduce or be Exempted from Filing an Appeal Bond on account of petitioner‘s failure to post cash or surety bond within the reglementary period.32 = 5.60 US$45.568. BOND. In compliance with the above directive.42 = 28. 1980 (Payment for last finger cut) Sickness benefit for March 1985 (Payment for sickness of Acute Psychotic Reaction) TOTAL AWARD = = US$11. 1997.‖ ―SECTION 7. NO EXTENSION OF PERIOD.  Petitioner argued therein that the money claims of respondent Alpino were already barred by prescription. – In case the decision of a Labor Arbiter. that is: the filing of . the NLRC reasoned: The URGENT MOTION TO REDUCE OR BE EXEMPTED FROM FILING APPEAL BOND is denied.806. SO ORDERED.  In a Resolution dated August 29. Sections 6 and 7.
SANCTIONED THE DECISION DATED MAY 6. thus: The law is clear. The filing of a Motion to Reduce Bond will not suspend the running of the ten (10) days period. Its motion for reconsideration having been denied by the NLRC in its decision dated October 28. arbitrary or whimsical exercise judgment on the part of respondent NLRC. In implementing article 223. said motion is therefore denied. respondent NLRC however laid down the rule allowing reduction of the amount of bond which it can approve in meritorious cases. this petition perforce must fall. Rule VI that ―the filing xxx of the motion to reduce bond shall not stop the running of the period to perfect appeal. If at all. 2001.4 the appeal and the posting of a cash or surety bond must be made within the period of ten (10) days. The NLRC then decreed: WHEREFORE. the movant should have secured the approval of the Commission for the reduction of bond within the same period allowed by law. per article 223 of the Labor Code. This is evident form the last sentence of Section 6. Considering that the movant failed to comply with the requirements for perfecting an appeal. Thus respondent NLRC correctly affirmed the decision of Arbiter Santos since the appeal was not perfected due to lack of an appeal bond. xxx.‖ Thus the present rule is unequivocal that the filing of the motion does not toll the running of the period of appeal and the logical implication and inevitable result is the dismissal of the appeal if the reduction is denied. IN EFFECT. Rule VI of the New Rules of Procedure is that the reduction of the bond should be approved within the ten (10) day appeal period and the appellant should exert its utmost diligence to obtain the approval of respondent NLRC before the lapse of the period or else there is a big risk that the appeal will be dismissed for non-perfection of the appeal due to the absence of the appeal bond. shall be perfected only upon posting of a cash or surety bond in cases involving monetary award. in its decision of March 29. On perfection of appeal. The plain import of article 223 of the Labor Code and the amended section 6. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS. AFFIRMING PUBLIC RESPONDENT NLRC. 1998 decision in St. Martin Funeral Home vs. With its motion for reconsideration having been denied by the appellate court in its Resolution of March 2. There is a caveat however that the filing of the motion to reduce bond does not stop the running of the period to perfect appeal. Accordingly. 1997 is AFFIRMED in toto. National Labor Relations Commission. As stated at the threshold hereof. affirmed the judgment of the NLRC. xxx xxx xxx There being no capricious. the URGENT MOTION TO REDUCE OR BE EXEMPTED FROM FILING APPEAL BOND is DENIED for non-perfection of the appeal. the decision dated May 6. An appeal. 1997  petitioner went to this Court via a petition for certiorari which this Court referred to the Court of Appeals  pursuant to its September 16. the appellate court. IN DISMISSING PETITIONER‘S PETITION FOR CERTIORARI. IN EFFECT. 2000. it is well entrenched in this jurisdiction that perfection of an appeal within the period and in the manner prescribed by law is jurisdictional and non-compliance with such requirement is fatal and has the effect of rendering the judgment final and executory. 1997 OF PUBLIC RESPONDENT LABOR ARBITER WHICH ON ITS FACE WAS MANIFESTLY RENDERED IN EXCESS OF HIS JURISDICTION IN THAT – . petitioner is now with us on the following grounds: I.
1988 IN POEA CASE NO. 1993 IN CA-G. .34 ALLEGEDLY REPRESENTING DISABILITY AND SICKNESS BENEFITS FOR OCTOBER 1979. NOT ONCE. (M) 85-01-039 DISMISSING THE CASE WITH PREJUDICE IN VIEW OF THE AMICABLE SETTLEMENT ENTERED INTO BY THE PARTIES. THE QUASI-JUDICIAL BODY WHICH THEN HAD THE JURISDICTION OVER SAID CLAIM IN ITS ORDERS. iii. SEPTEMBER 1980. C. ORDER DATED APRIL 17.806. i. THE ALLEGED MONEY CLAIM IS ALREADY BARRED BY RES JUDICATA. (M) 85-01-039 AND SUBSEQUENTLY IN POEA CASE NO. ii. THE QUESTIONED AWARD IN THE AMOUNT OF US$45. Q-89-2009 DISMISSING PRIVATE RESPONDENT‘S COMPLAINT FOR INSUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE. 35954 AFFIRMING WITH FINALITY THE AFOREMENTIONED ORDER OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT. ii. II. (M) 87-12-997 DISMISSING THE CASE ON THE GROUND OF RES JUDICATA. AS SHOWN IN THE UNILATERAL COMPUTATION OF PUBLIC RESPONDENT ATIENZA WHICH FORMED PART OF PUBLIC RESPONDENT LABOR ARBITER‘S DECISION DATED MAY 6. AND THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ITSELF IN ITS DECISION DATED JULY 16. CV NO. BRANCH 104 OF QUEZON CITY IN ITS ORDER DATED SEPTEMBER 6. BUT TWICE. IN POEA CASE NO. 2001. (M) 87-12-997. 2994. AND MARCH 1985 IS CLEARLY BARRED BY PRESCRIPTION AS PRIVATE RESPONDEN‘S COMPLAINT WAS FILED ONLY ON JULY 26. III. TO WIT – B. AS THE SAME HAD ALREADY BEEN RULED UPON BY THE POEA. AND ORDER DATED MAY 28.5 A. PUBLIC RESPONDENT LABOR ARBITER EXCEEDED HIS JURISDICTION WHEN HE DECLARED AS ‗INVALID AND INEFFECTUAL‘ THE RECEIPT AND RELEASE AND THE SPECIAL POWER OF ATTORNEY THE VALIDITY OF WHICH HAD ALREADY BEEN PASSED UPON BY: i. 1985 IN POEA CASE NO. THE POEA. THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT. 1991 IN CIVIL CASE NO. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GROSSLY ERRED AND GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT WITTINGLY AND STUBBORNLY REFUSED TO CONSIDER THE SUBSTANTIAL MERITS OF PETITIONER‘S CASE WHICH IMPERATIVELY CALL FOR THE LIBERAL APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 223 OF THE LABOR CODE AS THE VERY FACTUAL BASIS AND GROUNS OF PETITIONER‘S PETITION ARE THEMSELVES RECOGNIZED BY THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS IN ITS DECISION OF MARCH 29. 1997. NOT ONCE BUT TWICE. BRNACH 104 OF QUEZON CITY. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS AND PUBLIC RESPONDENT NLRC GROSSLY ERRED AND GRAVELY ABUSED THEIR DISCRETION WHEN THEY STUBBORNLY IGNORED THE CURRENT POLICY OF THIS HONORABLE COURT CALLING FOR LIBERAL INTERPREATTION OF ARTICLE 223 OF THE LABOR CODE WITH RESPECT TO THE POSTING OF AN APPEAL BOND AS A CONDITION FOR PERFECTING AN APPEAL AND HOLDING THAT A MOTION TO REDUCE BOND BASED ON MANIFESTLY MERITORIOUS GROUNDS IS A SUBSTANTIAL COMPLIANCE THEREOF.R.
awards or th th orders. xxx. and in case of a decision of the Regional Director or his duly authorized Hearing Officer within five (5) calendar days from receipt of such decisions. The party who seeks to avail of the same must comply with the requirements of the rules.  Article 223 of the Labor Code sets forth the rules on appeal from the Labor Arbiter‘s monetary award. shall be accompanied by a memorandum of appeal which shall state the grounds relied upon and the arguments in support thereof. . The pertinent provisions of Rule VI which were in effect when petitioner filed its appeal on July 25. TH HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS MISERABLY ABDICATED ITS JUDICIAL POWER OF REVIEW OVER PUBLIC RESPONDENTS AND FAILED TO EXERCISE CANDOR IN THE  DISPOSITION OF PETITIONER‘S PETITION. xxx xxx xxx In case of a judgment involving a monetary award. Bond.6 IV. provides. If the 10 or 5 day. The petition lacks merit. Time and again. 1991) xxx xxx xxx Section 3. as the case may be. . shall be under oath with proof of payment of the required appeal fee and the posting of a cash or surety bond as provided on Section 5 of this Rule. an appeal by the . Requisites for Perfection of Appeal. order or award and proof of service on the other party of such appeal. Appeal. A mere notice of appeal without complying with the other requisites aforestated shall not stop the running of the period for perfecting an appeal. Periods of Appeal. inter alia. failing in which the right to appeal is lost. the last day to perfect the appeal shall be the next working day.Decisions. awards or orders of the Labor Arbiter or of the Administrator. or orders. an appeal by the employer may be perfected only upon the posting of a cash or surety bond issued by a reputable bonding company duly accredited by the Commission in the amount equivalent to the monetary award in the judgment appealed from. thu s: Article 223. and a statement of the date when the appellant received the appealed decision. awards or orders of the Labor Arbiter and the POEA Administrator shall be final and executory unless appealed to the Commission by any or both partieswithin ten (10) calendar days from receipt of such decisions. awards. Sunday or a holiday. falls on a Saturday. as follows: Section 1. but merely a statutory privilege and may be exercised only in the manner and in accordance with the provisions of the law. it has been held that the right to appeal is not a natural right or a part of due process. . (Emphasis ours)  Rule VI of the New Rules of Procedure of the NLRC implements the aforequoted Article. (As amended on November 7. 1997. or orders of the Labor Arbiter are final and executory unless appealed to the Commission by any or both parties within ten (10) calendar days from receipt of such decisions. POEA Administrator and Regional Director or his duly authorized hearing officer involves a monetary award. xxx xxx xxx Section 6.(a) The appeal shall be filed within the reglementary period as provided in Section 1 of this Rule. the relief prayed for.In case the decision of a Labor Arbiter.— Decisions. awards.
We disagree.No motion or request for extension of the period within which to perfect an appeal shall be allowed. it also validates and justifies. 1996) Section 7. the appeal shall be perfected only upon (1) proof of payment of the required appeal fee and (2) posting of a cash or surety bond issued by a reputable bonding company and (3) filing of a memorandum of appeal. The reason therefor is explained by the Court in this language: … [T]he obvious and logical purpose of an appeal bond is to insure. or even evade. From July 18. 1997. (As amended on November 5. during the period of appeal.  Further. However. and non-compliance therewith is fatal and has the effect of  rendering the award final and executory. The word ―only‖ makes it perfectly clear that the lawmakers intended the posting of a cash or surety bond to be the exclusive means by which an employer‘s appeal may be perfected. reduce the amount of the bond. the implementing rules of respondent NLRC are unequivocal in saying that ―the filing of the motion to reduce bond shall not stop the running of the period to perfect appeal. This requirement is intended to dissuade employers from using the appeal to delay.7 employer shall be perfected only upon the posting of a cash or surety bond issued by a reputable bonding company duly accredited by the Commission or the Supreme Court in an amount equivalent to the monetary award. exclusive of moral and exemplary damages and attorney's fees. Here. petitioner has a limited period of ten (10) days to perfect its appeal. in meritorious cases and upon Motion of the Appellant. 1997. In a judgment involving a monetary award. however. in lieu of the required cash or surety bond.[Emphasis ours] Evident it is from the foregoing that an appeal from rulings of the Labor Arbiter to the NLRC must be perfected within ten (10) calendar days from receipt thereof. Petitioner filed its memorandum of appeal on July 25. No Extension of Period. otherwise the same shall become final and executory. at least prima facie. petitioner should have seasonably filed the appeal bond within the ten-day reglementary period following its receipt of the decision of Labor Arbiter Ariel . A mere notice of appeal without complying with the other requisites mentioned shall  not stop the running of the period for perfection of appeal. 1997. The mandatory filing of a bond for the perfection of an appeal is evident from the aforequoted provision of Article 223 of the Labor Code which explicitly states that the appeal may be perfected only upon the posting of cash or surety bond. of the motion to reduce bond shall not stop the running of the period to perfect appeal. petitioner received the decision of the Labor Arbiter on July 18. The employer as well as counsel shall submit a joint declaration under oath attesting that the surety bond posted is genuine and that it shall be in effect until final disposition of the case. The Commission may. The NLRC denied the motion and consequently dismissed the appeal for non-perfection. petitioner filed a motion to reduce or be exempted from filing an  appeal bond. . Petitioner now insists that its Motion to Reduce Bond constitutes a substantial compliance of the requirement for perfecting an appeal under Article 223 of the Labor Code and the NLRC Rules of Procedure. an interpretation that would limit the amount of the bond to the aggregate of the sums awarded other than in the concept of moral and  exemplary damages. The filing. The requirement of a cash or surety bond for the perfection of an appeal from the Labor Arbiter‘s monetary award is not only mandatory but jurisdictional as well. against any occurrence that would defeat or diminish recovery under the judgment if subsequently affirmed. their obligation to satisfy their employee‘s just and lawful claims.‖ Thus.
Section 6. relaxation of this rule can only be done where there was substantial compliance of the NLRC Rules of Procedure or where the party involved. admittedly. no appeal was perfected from the decision of Labor Arbiter Santos. the decision sought to be appealed to the NLRC had become final and executory and therefore immutable. WHEREFORE. . No. the result would have been the same since it failed to post cash or surety bond within the prescribed period. Nevertheless. SO ORDERED. but still. we find the challenged decision of the Court of Appeals in accordance with law. even granting arguendo that petitioner has meritorious grounds to reduce the appeal bond. petitioner failed to do so. Hence. Costs against petitioner. we find no cogent reason to apply the same liberal interpretation in this case. Petitioner did not post a full or partial appeal bond within the prescribed period. It is true that the requirement of posting a bond on appeals involving monetary awards has been given a liberal  interpretation in certain cases.8 Santos in order to forestall the finality of said decision. demonstrated willingness  to abide by the rules by posting a partial bond.R. Since petitioner failed to post an appeal bond within the reglementary period. However. the petition is DENIED and the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. for which reason. at the very least. Petitioner could have even paid a moderate and reasonable sum as premium for such bond as the law does not require outright payment but merely the posting of a bond to ensure that the award will be eventually paid should the appeal be dismissed. the exercise of the authority is not a matter of right on the part of the  movant but lies within the sound discretion of the NLRC upon showing of meritorious grounds. 51046 AFFIRMED. As payment of the appeal bond is an indispensable and jurisdictional requisite and not a mere technicality of law or procedure. Rule VI of the NLRC Rules of Procedure allows the reduction of the appeal bond upon motion of the appellant. While.
No. DECISION CHICO-NAZARIO.00 . respondents Time Saver Laundry and Leslie Perez are hereby ordered to pay complainant the following: 1.: This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court filed by petitioner Josefina 2 Cada assailing the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 17 December 2007 in CA-G. nonpayment of overtime pay.534.60 . 181480 January 30. She worked for 12 hours a day. In its Decision dated 16 March 2004. to 9:00 p.salary differentials from September 28. Petitioner alleged that she was employed by the respondents on 28 September 2002 as Presser. Without giving her an opportunity to explain and defend her side. On the basis of the petitioner‘s position paper. 2002 to May 7.overtime pay P128. separation pay and attorn ey‘s fees. petitioner was sent home and prevented to work further.38 . premium pay for holiday and rest day pay. service incentive leave pay.17 . Respondent Perez is the owner/proprietor 8 of TSL. from 9:00 a. Petitioner. 05-06071-03 in finding that petitioner Josefina Cada was illegally dismissed by respondents Perez and Time Saver Laundry (TSL). 2003 to date of this decision which will further be computed until finality of this decision 3. SP No. Accordingly.563.m.670. 94616. ECOLA. The Complaint was docketed as NLRC-NCR Case No. Respondents.backwages from May 7. 2009 JOSEFINA CADA. Respondents failed to appear for the entire proceedings before the Labor Arbiter. P 5. The Labor Arbiter heard the case ex 9 parte directing the petitioner to file her position paper. underpayment of salary.280. and 13th month pay. Respondent TSL is a sole proprietorship engaged in the laundry business. vs. While she was working on 7 May 2003.R.10% of the total award as and by way of attorney‘s fees. She also did not receive holiday pay. 13th month pay.718. the NLRC affirmed the Decision dated 16 March 2004 of the Labor Arbiter in NLRC-NCR Case No. P 5. 2003 4. compelling her to file the Complaint for illegal dismissal against respondents. premium pay for holidays and rest days. but she was not paid overtime pay. the Labor Arbiter ruled: WHEREFORE. receiving a salary ofP220. In its Resolution dated 30 November 2004.m.. P 7.ECOLA 5.R.TOTAL 6.75 . TIME SAVER LAUNDRY/LESLIE PEREZ. holiday pay. the management called her attention for quarreling with her co-employee.00 per day. the case was submitted for decision.00 .871. finding complainant to have been illegally dismissed.separation pay 2. 05-06071-03. P12.88 . P29.670.9 G. The Petition at bar stemmed from a Complaint dated 21 May 2003 filed before the NLRC by petitioner against respondents for illegal dismissal. 7 1 . P80. which 3 declared the Resolutions dated 30 November 2004 and 28 February 2006 of the National Labor Relations 4 Commission (NLRC) as null and void on the ground of lack of proper service of summons on respondent Leslie Perez 5 6 (Perez). J. she is entitled to payment of separation pay in lieu of reinstatement as aforestated and backwages. 5 days service incentive leave pay (SILP).
2003. 13) In this jurisdiction. in lieu of reinstatement. much less. The NLRC issued its Resolution dated 30 November 2004. alleging among others. while working. x x x" (Complainant‘s Position Paper. Inc. At bar. stating with particularity the facts attending her illegal dismissal as follows: "x x x. under Art. [herein respondents] failed to discharge this burden. and without giving her an opportunity to explain and defend her side. it is the unwavering rule that the "onus probandi" to show that the dismissal of an employee from service is for cause and due process rests upon the shoulders of the employer. 279 of the Labor Code." (CMP Federal Security Agency. it cannot interpose lack of due process for what the fundamental law abhors is simply the 13 absolute absence of opportunity to be heard. overtime pay and ECOLA pursuant to Article 111 of the Labor Code.590. the dismissal is tainted with illegality. On May 7. sustaining the finding of the Labor Arbiter that petitioner was illegally dismissed: Conclusively of first impression. the awards for salary differential. 14 . considering that reinstatement would not be in the interest of the parties as there is now of ruptured and strained relationship exists between them. 303 SCRA 99). Thereafter. The NLRC did not give credence to respondents‘ argument that they were denied due process: The issue interposed by the [respondents] that their right to due process was denied in the discernment of the present dispute is now rendered moot and academic as We give (sic) them the opportunity to explain and be heard through the judicious resolution of the substantive merits of this case: "The party who has had ample opportunity to present its side of the controversy not only before the Labor Arbiter but also the NLRC on appeal. illegally. p. her attention was called to the Office by Management and accused her of quarreling with an employee of the Company. more so. The claim for attorney‘s fees is granted based on salary differential. p. the fact of her dismissal on May 7. Respondents‘ appeal was docketed as CA No. overtime pay. was sent home and prevented to work further. 2003. In fine. for want of just or authorized cause and in the absence of due process. 11 10 On 21 June 2004. From there. she is entitled. respondents appealed to the NLRC essentially arguing that they were denied due process on the ground of improper service of summons and that the monetary award in favor of petitioner was without basis. NLRC.10 P141. The NLRC then determined the monetary awards to which petitioner would be entitled to: Finding the dismissal of [petitioner] as illegal. for lack of factual or legal basis. 040723-04. However. vs. SILP and 13th month pay are hereby affirmed. 2003. [herein petitioner] filed her verified complaint on May 21. when [petitioner] satisfactorily narrated the ultimate facts attending her dismissal. Record. are DISMISSED. the dismissal of [petitioner] from 12 service is therefore tainted with illegality. 1. All other claims. [petitioner] submitted her verified Position Paper which takes the place of her direct testimonies which substantiate her claim for illegal dismissal. it is more appropriate to award separation pay.63 .TOTAL MONETARY AWARD All other claims are ordered DISMISSED for lack of merit. to reinstatement and full backwages. Failure to discharge this burden. In the absence of proof of payment on the [petitioner‘s] money claims as these were not substantially belied nor controverted by [respondents]. A mere denial that they did not dismiss the [petitioner] is not a sufficient measure of the required proof to belie or controvert the latter‘s assertion that she was dismissed from service.
the assailed decision of 16 March 2004 with modification on the award of attorney‘s fee is 15 AFFIRMED. the instant petition is GRANTED. She should have been afforded her day before the labor arbiter. We determine that the fundamental issue for our resolution in the present Petition is whether there had been improper service of summons upon respondent Perez which renders the judgment by the NLRC against her null and void. xxxx Considering that there was no proper service of summons upon [respondent Perez]. They followed this up with a Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration which only reiterated the arguments presented in their 17 appeal. The records show that the summons was received by one Alfredo Perez on June 7. said service of summons was invalid as it was not personally received by [respondent Perez] herself. xxxx The lack of proper service of summons clearly deprived [respondent Perez] of her right to due process of law. of public respondent NLRC are hereby declared NULL and VOID. docketed as CA-G. Respondents filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the 30 November 2004 Resolution of the NLRC. However. In a Resolution dated 28 February 2006. 19 16 of the Revised Rules In its Decision dated 17 December 2007. The bailiff chose to serve the summons personally upon [respondent Perez].R. the NLRC denied respondents‘ Motion and Supplemental Motion for 18 Reconsideration. 2004 21 and February 28. Aggrieved. since [herein respondent] Leslie Perez is the sole proprietor of Time Saver Laundry. the NLRC decreed: WHEREFORE. 2006. x x x. respectively. service of summons in cases before the Labor Arbiters shall be served on the parties personally or by registered mail. the Court of Appeals held that respondent Perez was indeed denied due process based on the following ratiocination: As above-quoted. petitioner comes before us 22 with the following assignment of errors: I THE COURT OF APPEALS DECIDED THE CASE ON QUESTION OF LAW AND SUBSTANCE DETERMINABLE BY THE HONORABLE SUPREME COURT II THE COURT OF APPEALS IN DECIDING.11 In the end. Perforce. It appears that Alfredo Perez is a co-employee of [herein petitioner]. service of summons must be made to her personally or by registered mail. finding grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of public respondent. HAS DEPARTED FROM THE USUAL AND ACCEPTED JUDICIAL 23 PROCEEDINGS DEROGATORY TO THE RIGHTS OF PETITIONER. the proceedings conducted and the decision rendered is nugatory and without effect. She was deprived of her right to be heard and to present evidence which are essential ingredients of due process of law. respondents filed with the Court of Appeals a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of Court. Thereafter. premises considered. The dispositive portion of the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals reads: WHEREFORE. 2003. such should not be interpreted so as to dispense with the 20 fundamental and essential right of every person to due process of law. We rule in the negative. While it is true that the Labor Arbiters and the NLRC are not bound by technical rules of evidence and procedure. provided that in special circumstances. 94616. The assailed Resolutions dated November 30. service of summons may be effected in accordance with the pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court. SP No. In this case. the Labor Arbiter did not acquire jurisdiction over his (sic) person. .
service shall be made on counsel and upon such number of complainants. In case of service by registered mail. The summons. notices or summonses shall be served on the parties to the case personally. that where parties are so numerous. provided further that in cases where a party to a case or his counsel on record personally seeks service of the decision upon inquiry thereon. Section 6. employee of TSL and uncle of 27 respondent Perez. if he refuses to receive and sign for it by tendering it to him.net Sec. the names of persons served and the date of mailing of the resolution or decision. Pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court regarding service of summons read: RULE 14 SUMMONS Sec. service of summons may be effected in accordance with the pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court. provided that in special circumstances. copies thereof shall be served on both parties and their counsel/representative by registered mail. – Whenever practicable. 28 respondents failed to appear . Sec. stating legibly in his return. The same rule allows under special circumstances. received for the respondents by Beth Diapolet. – The return is prima facie proof of the facts indicated therein. only the petitioner and her counsel appeared. that in cases of decisions and final awards. as maybe practicable. the Labor Arbiter shall issue the required summons. Proof and completeness of service. 6. a) Notices or summonses and copies of orders shall be served on the parties to the case personally by the bailiff or duly authorized public officer within three (3) days from receipt thereof or by registered mail. the bailiff or officer shall write in the return. resolution or decision shall submit his return within two (2) days from the date of service thereof. 5. service to said party shall be deemed effected upon actual receipt thereof. together with a copy of the complaint. order. provided finally. 24 . shall specify the date. which shall be considered substantial compliance with Article 224(a) of the Labor Code. the defendant cannot be served within a reasonable time as provided in the proceding section. 2) Notice of Hearing set on 10 July 2003. Service by registered mail is complete upon receipt by the addressee or his agent. Based on the foregoing rules. Service in person on defendant. summons and notices were served on respondents under the circumstances described below: 1) Summons to respondents dated 27 May 2003. on 7 June 2003 as shown by the bailiff‘s return dated 10 June 2003 . 7. on 1 July 2003. Substituted service. the summons shall be served by handing a copy thereof to the defendant in person. that service of summons may be effected in accordance with the provisions of the Rules of Court. 6. SERVICE OF NOTICES AND RESOLUTIONS. which return shall be immediately attached and shall form part of the records of the case. the names of the persons served and the date of receipt.12 The NLRC Rules governing the issuance and service of summons provide : Sec. x x x (b) The bailiff or officer serving the notice. if any.)1avvph!1. service may be affected (a) by lea ving copies of the summons at the defendant‘s residence with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein. received by Alfredo Perez. but if the addressee fails to claim his mail from the post office within five (5) days from the date of first notice of the postmaster. 3. During the hearing. for justifiable causes. Cashier at respondent TSL. his name. As borne by the records. attaching thereto a copy of the complaint/petition and supporting documents. or. the serving officer shall state the reason therefor in the return. – If. or (b) by leaving the copies at defendant‘s office or regular place of business with some competent person in charge thereof. as 25 amended. Issuance of Summons. If no service was effected. Within two (2) days from receipt of a case. Provided further. Sec. (Emphasis supplied. time and place of the conciliation and mediation conference in two (2) settings. service shall take effect after such 26 time.
on 13 August 2003 as shown by the bailiff‘s return dated 15 August 2003. that official duty has been regularly performed.13 3) Notice of Hearing set on 31 July 2003. respondents did not appear before the Labor Arbiter or file their position paper on the date indicated in the notice. service of summons on respondent Perez should be made personally. she was out of town during the entire proceedings before the Labor Arbiter. personal service of summons was not practicable. in this case. Cashier at respondent TSL. The burden of proving the irregularity in official conduct. In quasi-judicial proceedings before the NLRC and its arbitration branch. the case will proceed ex parte. The constitutional requirement of due process with respect to service of summons only exacts that the service of summons be such as may reasonably be 40 expected to give the notice desired. Given this admission. only substantial compliance is required. Petitioner and counsel appeared but the respondents did not appear. 39 the requirement of notice has been served. and that judicial (quasi-judicial) acts 44 and duties have been and will be duly and properly performed. presumption of regularity in the service of summons and other notices. clearly failed to discharge the same. Again. Following the explicit language of the NLRC Rules. Moreover. Thus. To proceed with personal service of summons on respondent Perez who unequivocally admits that she was out of town during the entire proceedings before the Labor Arbiter would not only be impractical and futile . This Court declared in the said case that technical rules of procedure are not strictly applied in quasi-judicial proceedings. While we are not unmindful of the NLRC rules which state that service of summons should be made personally. that the proceedings of a judicial (and quasi-judicial) tribunal are regular and valid. . To apply the technical rules on service of summons would be to overturn the bias of the Constitution and the laws in favor of labor. the 41 requirement of justice is answered. official duty is presumed to have been performed regularly and judicial proceedings regularly conducted. Only the petitioner appeared and filed her position paper. In labor cases. and 6) Notice of Hearing set on 9 October 2003 with a second "Warning. in this case. 36 37 respondent Perez‘s place of business. This Court is ever mindful of the underlying spirit and intention of the Labor Code to ascertain the facts of each case 42 speedily and objectively without resort to technical rules. received for the respondents by Beth Diapolet. In Columbus Philippines Bus Corporation v. if any. the traditional notion of fair play is satisfied. even if the bailiff would return at some other time to personally serve the summons on respondent Perez. it should not defeat the complete and equitable resolution of the rights and obligations of the parties. The Labor Arbiter set the case for hearing anew on 18 September 2003. due process is served. received for the respondents by Vivian Bon. This notice was received for the respondents by Beth Diapolet. the Labor Arbiter required the parties to file 29 their position paper .it 35 would be absurd. cashier at respondent TSL on 15 September 2003 as shown by the bailiff‘s return dated 17 31 September 2003. Once the service provided by the rules reasonably accomplishes that end. National Labor Relations Commission. 5) Notice of hearing and to file position paper set on 18 September 2003 with a warning that upon failure to appear on this date. procedural rules governing service of summons are not strictly construed. on 26 July 2003 as shown by bailiff‘s return dated 28 July 2003. Vinluan. it is a legal presumption. That the summons was served in the premises of therein petitioners‘ office was enough to convince the court that the service of said processes was completed and resultantly. punctilious adherence to stringent technical rules maybe relaxed in the interest of the working man. based on wisdom and experience. we find that service of summons at TSL. x x x. on 3 October 2003 as shown by the bailiff‘s return dated 6 33 October 2003. to wit: 43 we expounded on the [U]nless the contrary is proven. considering the circumstances in the instant case. it would still yield the same result. By respondent Perez‘s own 34 admission. During this hearing. she would be unable to personally receive the summons and later the notices from the Labor Arbiter. is on the part of respondents who." delivery boy at respondent TSL. service of summons by registered mail at therein petitioners‘ place of business was considered valid. This presumption of the regularity of the quasi-judicial proceedings before DOLE includes the presumption of regularity of service of summons and other notices." This was received for the respondents 32 by "Benjie. Supervisor at 30 respondent TSL. Substantial compliance thereof is sufficient. But was personal service of summons practicable? Conversely. amounts to substantial compliance with the Rules. In the fairly recent case of 38 Scenarios v. 4) Notice of Hearing set on 20 August 2003. was substituted service of summons justified? Obviously.
Nonappearance of the respondent during the second conference shall immediately terminate the mandatory conciliation/mediation conference. emphasizing that. respondents were afforded ample opportunity to be heard. the requirements of which are satisfied where the parties are afforded fair and reasonable opportunity to explain their side of the controversy. Wherefore. The complainant shall thereupon be allowed to file his position paper as well as submit evidence in support of his cause or causes of action after which. Despite such opportunity.R. affirming with modification the Decision dated 16 March 2004 of the Labor Arbiter in NLRC-NCR Case No. Rule V of the Revised Rules of Procedure of the NLRC. a second conference shall proceed.14 It has not escaped our attention the respondents‘ denial of receipt of the notices from the Labor Arbiter. xxxx In case of non-appearance of the respondent/s during the first conference. the instant Petition is Granted. A formal or trial type hearing is not at all times and in all instances essential to due process. they were eventually able to argue their case on appeal before the NLRC. 040723-04. respondents were able to seek the reconsideration of the adverse decision of the Labor Arbiter when they seasonably filed their appeal before the NLRC. and the NLRC Resolutions dated 30 November 2004 and 28 February 2006 in CA No. x x x. in the exercise of its appellate powers. yet they were able to receive a copy of the Labor Arbiter‘s decision and file a timely appeal with the NLRC. . This Court had previously allowed evidence to be submitted on appeal. defect or irregularity in substance or in form. amend or waive any error. respondents had the opportunity to substantiate with evidence their claim that they did not receive the summons and notices from the Labor 46 Arbiter. the Labor Arbiter shall render his decision on 48 the basis of the evidence on record. The NLRC in fact went over the arguments of respondents but it remained unconvinced. is authorized to correct. The essence of due process is simply an opportunity to be heard or as applied to administrative proceedings. a party cannot feign denial of due process where he had been afforded the 47 opportunity to present his side. in labor cases. and before this Court. We must emphasize that even though respondents did not participate in the proceedings before the Labor Arbiter. premises considered." The NLRC. A party who has availed himself of the opportunity to present his position cannot claim to have been denied due process. SO ORDERED.) Undoubtedly. Equally without merit is respondents' assertion that they were not afforded due process when the Labor Arbiter rendered his decision based only on the evidence adduced by petitioner. hence. respondents failed to convincingly 45 establish that their defense is meritorious. 05-06071-03. Necessarily. The Decision dated 17 December 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. it should be deemed rectified in the subsequent proceedings in the NLRC. and that petitioner was not illegally dismissed. (Emphasis supplied. technical rules of evidence are not binding. The authority of the Labor Arbiter to render judgment based solely on the evidence adduced by a complainant is explicitly sanctioned by Section 2. respondents’ contention that they were denied due process because of improper service of summons and notices is devoid of merit. Article 223 of the Labor Code allows an appeal from a decision of the Labor Arbiter "if serious errors in the findings of facts are raised which would cause grave or irreparable injury to the appellant. an opportunity to explain one's side or an opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of . Despite any purported procedural flaw that may have marred the proceedings before the Labor Arbiter. to the Court of Appeals. Indeed. are reinstated. What the law prohibits is absolute absence of the opportunity to be heard. SP No. Costs against respondents. which provides: Section 2 of Rule V: Sec. 2. In their appeal. 94616 is reversed and set aside.
However. (B. As a consequence. On June 13. Article 302 (now. On May 1. P. 1997. The increasing number of labor disputes that find their way to this Court and the legislative changes introduced over the years into the provisions of Presidential Decree ( P. 1972. private respondent appealed to the NLRC contending that the labor arbiter erred (1) in not giving credence to the evidence submitted by him. Martin's Funeral Home. No. the mother of Amelita passed away. 1391 . Since then. Petitioner then filed a motion for reconsideration which was 6 denied by the NLRC in its resolution dated August 18. Before proceeding further into the merits of the case at bar. his office had no 3 jurisdiction over the case. who was formerly working as an overseas contract worker.: The present petition for certiorari stemmed from a complaint for illegal dismissal filed by herein private respondent before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). (2) in holding that he worked as a "volunteer" and not as an employee of St.000. ultimately. 1974. 1996.P.D. the same to take effect six months after its 8 promulgation. as an indication of gratitude.00 which was intended for payment by petitioner 1 of its value added tax (VAT) to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). 2 the latter filed a complaint charging that petitioner had illegally terminated his employment. the owner of petitioner St.D.15 G.D. but P. No.) 129 (The Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980) now stridently call for and warrant a reassessment of that procedural aspect.R. MARTIN FUNERAL HOME. In January 1996. so the latter then took over the management of the business. It was first established in the Department of Labor by P. 130866 September 16. Article 223) thereof also granted an aggrieved party the remedy of appeal from the decision of the NLRC to the Secretary of Labor. 4 and (3) in ruling that there was no employer-employee relationship between him and petitioner. Martin Funeral Home from February 6. Based on the position papers of the parties. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and BIENVENIDO ARICAYOS. III. 1998 ST.) No. Regional Arbitration Branch No. No. hence the present petition alleging that 7 the NLRC committed grave abuse of discretion. asked for financial assistance from the mother of Amelita. REGALADO. private respondent voluntarily helped the mother of Amelita in overseeing the business. Sometime in 1995. 1996 declaring that no employer-employee relationship existed between the parties and. the labor arbiter rendered a decision in favor of petitioner on October 25. Petitioner on the other hand claims that private respondent was not its employee but only the uncle of Amelita Malabed. the Court feels that it is now exigent and opportune to reexamine the functional validity and systemic practicability of the mode of judicial review it has long adopted and still follows with respect to decisions of the NLRC. Created and regulated therein is the present NLRC which was attached to the Department of Labor 9 and Employment for program and policy coordination only. Private respondent alleges that he started working as Operations Manager of petitioner St. Initially. therefore. respondents. 1995 to January 23. 1996. J. vs. She then discovered that there were arrears in the payment of taxes and other government fees. there was no contract of employment executed between him and petitioner nor was his name included in the semi-monthly payroll. 1995. On January 22. private respondent. No. Martin Funeral Home on February 6. 1997 for lack of merit. Amelita then made some changes in the business operation and private respondent and his wife were no longer allowed to participate in the management thereof. Pampanga. Not satisfied with the said decision. We prefatorily delve into the legal history of the NLRC. in San Fernando.D. 21 on October 14. or a period of about one year. although the records purported to show that the same were already paid. No. and its decisions were expressly declared to be appealable to the Secretary of Labor and. to the President of the Philippines. he was dismissed from his employment for allegedly misappropriating P38. petitioner. the NLRC rendered a resolution setting aside the questioned decision and remanding the case to 5 the labor arbiter for immediate appropriate proceedings. 442 (The Labor Code of the Philippines and Batas Pambansa Blg. 442 enacted the Labor Code of the Philippines.
and as sanctioned by subsequent decisions of this Court. to repeat. and (3) Exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all final judgments. and of subparagraph (1) of the third paragraph and subparagraph (4) of the fourth paragraph of Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948. habeas corpus.A. 9. it has been held that this Court may still take cognizance of the petition for certiorari on jurisdictional and due process considerations if 14 filed within the reglementary period under Rule 65. receive evidence and perform any and all acts necessary to resolve factual issues raised in cases falling within its original and appellate jurisdiction. or awards of Regional Trial Courts and quasi-judicial agencies. 129 originally provided as follows: Sec. the remedy of the aggrieved party is 12 to timely file a motion for reconsideration as a precondition for any further or subsequent remedy. the Court nevertheless rejected that thesis. to wit: Sec. instrumentalities. orders. Curiously. habeas corpus. The Intermediate Appellate Court shall have the power to try cases and conduct hearings. prohibition. (2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over actions for annulment of judgments of Regional Trial Courts. and as it presently reads. 6715. and . resolutions. as last amended by Section 12 of R. B. instead merely provides that the Commission shall decide all cases within twenty days from receipt of the answer of the appellee. Subsequently. No. whether or not in aid of its appellate jurisdiction. Jurisdiction. and that such decision shall be final and executory after ten calendar days from receipt thereof by the parties. prohibition. Pursuant to such ruling. and quo warranto. and then 13 seasonably avail of the special civil action of certiorari under Rule 65. although the 10-day period for finality of the decision of the NLRC may already have lapsed as contemplated in Section 223 of the Labor Code. The present Section 223. or commissions. These provisions shall not apply to decisions and interlocutory orders issued under the Labor Code of 15 the Philippines and by the Central Board of Assessment Appeals. that the purpose of judicial review is to keep the administrative agency within its jurisdiction and protect the substantial rights of the parties.P. under the present state of the law. No. 9. No appellate review has since then been provided for. for which said Rule has now fixed the reglementary period of sixty days from notice of the decision. the provisions of this Act. certiorari. since there is no legal provision for appellate review thereof. whether or not in aid of its appellate jurisdiction. including the power to grant and conduct new trials or further proceedings. 7902 effective March 18. this provision was amended by R. 1995. boards. (2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over actions for annulment of judgments of Regional Trial Courts. — The Intermediate Appellate Court shall exercise: (1) Original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus. Thus. there is no provision for appeals from the decision of the 10 NLRC. It held that there is an underlying power of the courts to scrutinize the acts of such agencies on questions of law and jurisdiction even though no right of review is given by statute. and quo warranto. certiorari. Turning now to the matter of judicial review of NLRC decisions. and that it is that part of the checks and balances which restricts the separation of powers and forestalls 11 arbitrary and unjust adjudications.16 subsequently amended said provision and abolished such appeals. When the issue was raised in an early case on the argument that this Court has no jurisdiction to review the decisions of the NLRC.A. decisions. except those falling within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in accordance with the Constitution. and auxiliary writs or processes. No. and auxiliary writs or processes. Jurisdiction. — The Court of Appeals shall exercise: (1) Original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus. and formerly of the Secretary of Labor.
.17 (3) Exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all final judgments. boards or commissions. The Court of Appeals shall have the power to try cases and conduct hearings. Yet. Contrarily. then. brings us to a somewhat perplexing impassè. resolutions.A. that is. because of the aforementioned amendment by transposition. including the power to grant and conduct new trials or further proceedings. This is. As earlier explained. the Employees Compensation Commission and the Civil Service Commission. but to this Court by necessary implication. our mode of judicial review over decisions of the NLRC has for some time now been understood to be by a petition forcertiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. . 7902. the provisions of this Act. The reference to the Labor Code in that last paragraph was transposed to paragraph (3) of the section. 7902 persuades us that there may have been an oversight in the course of the deliberations on the said Act or an imprecision in the terminology used therein. . however. 442. the provisions of B. orders or awards of Regional Trial Courts and quasi-judicial agencies. the Employees Compensation Commission and the Civil Service Commission. Trials or hearings in the Court of Appeals must be continuous and must be completed within. the Labor Code of the Philippines under Presidential Decree No. the Social Security Commission. unless extended by the Chief Justice. as amended. as amended. It will. "those falling within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in accordance with . These cases can. in almost all cases that have been brought to us. among others. a special original action limited to the resolution of jurisdictional issues.P. The same exceptive clause further confuses the situation by declaring that the Court of Appeals has no appellate jurisdiction over decisions falling within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in accordance with the Constitution. No. of course. and Congress could not have intended that procedural gaffe. However. This is illogical and impracticable. the provisions of this Act.P. the following amendments of the original provisions of Section 9 of B. such that the original exclusionary clause therein now provides "except those falling within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in accordance with the Constitution. No. It will readily be observed that. . resolutions. Section 9 of B. including the Securities and Exchange Commission. 129 were effected by R. both in point of purpose and terminology. also supposedly excluded are cases falling within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in accordance with the Labor Code. the Social Security Commission. 442. viz.P. aside from the change in the name of the lower appellate court. three (3) months. under such excepting clause literally construed. however. grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. the appeal from the NLRC cannot be brought to the Court of Appeals. be properly excluded from the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals." (Emphasis supplied). the Labor Code of the Philippines under Presidential Decree No. No. the Labor Code of the Philippines under Presidential Decree No. orders or awards wherein are within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court or of any other court for that matter. 2. of course. A review of the legislative records on the antecedents of R. as amended. and of subparagraph (1) of the third paragraph and subparagraph (4) of the fourth paragraph of Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948. specifically added to and included among the quasi-judicial agencies over which the Court of Appeals shall have exclusive appellate jurisdiction are the Securities and Exchange Commission. . 129 now grants exclusive appellate jurisdiction to the Court of Appeals over all final adjudications of the Regional Trial Courts and the quasi-judicial agencies generally or specifically referred to therein except.A. since there are no cases in the Labor Code the decisions. and those specified cases in Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948. This. but there was an inaccuracy in the term used for the intended mode of review. and of subparagraph (1) of the third paragraph and subparagraph (4) of the fourth paragraph of Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948. lack or excess of jurisdiction and.: 1. The last paragraph which excluded its application to the Labor Code of the Philippines and the Central Board of Assessment Appeals was deleted and replaced by a new paragraph granting the Court of Appeals limited powers to conduct trials and hearings in cases within its jurisdiction. This conclusion which we have 16 . 129. 442. decisions. No." This would necessarily contradict what has been ruled and said all along that appeal does not lie from decisions of the 17 NLRC. instrumentalities. In fine. receive evidence and perform any and all acts necessary to resolve factual issues raised in cases falling within its original and appellate jurisdiction. except those falling within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in accordance with the Constitution. Congress did intend to provide for judicial review of the adjudications of the NLRC in labor cases by the Supreme Court. . 3. No. be noted that paragraph (3).
I understand we are now back to 400.000 cases. Roco delivered his sponsorship speech reproduce the following excerpts: 19 from which we The Judiciary Reorganization Act. but also all final judgment(s). Among others. except those falling within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in accordance with the Constitution. 1495 seeks to eliminate the exceptions enumerated in Section 9 and. 10452. However. instrumentalities. orders or awards of quasi-judicial agencies. 1495/H. President. Among the highest number of cases that are brought up to the Supreme Court are labor cases. We used to have 500. its appellate jurisdiction was expanded to cover not only final judgment of Regional Trial Courts. extends the coverage of appellate review of the Court of Appeals in the decision(s) of the Securities and Exchange Commission. the Social Security Commission. 129 and of subparagraph 1 of the third paragraph and subparagraph 4 of Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948. xxx xxx xxx Surprisingly.18 reluctantly but prudently arrived at has been drawn from the considerations extant in the records of Congress. Mr. allow me to quote the observations of former Chief Justice Teehankee in 1986 in the Annual Report of the Supreme Court: . reorganized the Court of Appeals and at the same time expanded its jurisdiction and powers. so that the Supreme Court may wholly devote its time to cases of public interest in the discharge of its mandated task as the guardian of the Constitution and the guarantor of the people's basic rights and additional task expressly vested on it now "to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. In sponsoring Senate Bill No.000 cases pending all over the land. Mr. In view of the foregoing.000 cases some five years ago. Unless we distribute the work of the appellate courts. No. boards and commissions. . Senator Raul S. 129. 1495 authored by our distinguished Colleague from Laguna provides the ideal situation of drastically reducing the workload of the Supreme Court without depriving the litigants of the privilege of review by an appellate tribunal. Senate Bill No. the following Committee Amendment was introduced by the said 20 sponsor and the following proceedings transpired: . No. in a subsequent session. Mr. President. 1495 and the Reference Committee Report on S. the provisions of BP Blg. . In closing. Amendatory legislation is suggested so as to relieve the Supreme Court of the burden of reviewing these cases which present no important issues involved beyond the particular fact and the parties involved. Mr. and the Employees Compensation Commission to reduce the number of cases elevated to the Supreme Court. additionally. the Committee on Justice and Human Rights requests the support and collegial approval of our Chamber. 1495. we shall continue to mount and add to the number of cases pending. President. more 18 particularly on Senate Bill No. Hence. President. decisions. (Emphases and corrections ours) xxx xxx xxx Senate Bill No. Batas Pambansa Blg. whatever benefits that can be derived from the expansion of the appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals was cut short by the last paragraph of Section 9 of Batas Pambansa Blg. and by virtue of all the reasons we have submitted. 129 which excludes from its coverage the "decisions and interlocutory orders issued under the Labor Code of the Philippines and by the Central Board of Assessment Appeals. resolutions. It has been cut down to 300. however. the purpose of the law is to ease the workload of the Supreme Court by the transfer of some of its burden of review of factual issues to the Court of Appeals .
While we do not wish to intrude into the Congressional sphere on the matter of the wisdom of a law. xxx xxx xxx Thereafter. Mr. President. AS AMENDED. has at times been constrained to remand the case to the NLRC for resolution of unclear or ambiguous factual findings. however. the amendment is approved. The President. aside from the increased number of its component divisions." add the phrase "THE LABOR CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES UNDER P. but would subvert. we move that lines 25 to 30 be deleted. this was also deleted. and that there is undeniably an imperative need for expeditious action on labor cases as a major aspect of constitutional protection to labor. The use of the word "appeal" in relation thereto and in the instances we have noted could have been a lapsus plumae because appeals by certiorari and the original action for certiorari are both modes of judicial review addressed to the appellate courts. after the line "Supreme Court in accordance with the Constitution. on this score we add the further observations that there is a growing number of labor cases being elevated to this Court which. as he commendably and realistically emphasized. Senator Roco. its unanimous approval on third reading followed. the amendment is approved. Mr. modified or reversed. 1495. Incidentally. whereas to indulge in the assumption that appeals by certiorari to the Supreme Court are allowed would not subserve. 10452. Senate Bill No. 1495 and House Bill No. A perusal of the records will reveal appeals which are factual in nature and may." So that it becomes clear. Is there any objection? ( Silence) Hearing none.19 Senator Roco. On the contrary. President. On the same page. Mr. President. 1995. 1495 was passed on second reading and 21 being a certified bill.D. 442. The Conference Committee Report on Senate Bill No. (Emphasis supplied). The Court is. and with which the Court is particularly concerned here is that the special civil action of certiorari is within the concurrent 23 original jurisdiction of this Court and the Court of Appeals. having theretofore been approved by the House of Representatives. to allow these cases to be appealed to the Court of Appeals would give litigants the advantage to have all the evidence on record be reexamined and reweighed after which the findings of facts and conclusions of said bodies are correspondingly affirmed. I move that we close the period of Committee amendments. be dismissed outright by 24 minute resolutions. Under such guarantee. the Supreme Court can then apply strictly the axiom that factual findings of the Court of Appeals are final and may not be reversed on appeal to the Supreme Court. it was noted by the sponsor therein that some quarters were of the opinion that recourse from the NLRC to the Court of Appeals as an initial step in the process of judicial review would be circuitous and would prolong the proceedings. This was also discussed with our Colleagues in the House of Representatives and as we understand it. President. The important distinction between them. the legislative intendment was that the special civil action of certiorari was and still is the proper vehicle for judicial review of decisions of the NLRC. On page 2. The President. since there were no individual amendments. that procedure would be advantageous to the aggrieved party on this reasoning: On the other hand. not being a trier of fact. Mr. that issues arising from the Labor Code will still be appealable to the Supreme Court. . 22 the same was likewise approved by the Senate on February 20. therefore. Senator Romulo. inclusive of the dubious formulation on appeals to the Supreme Court earlier discussed. line 5. Is there any objection? ( Silence) Hearing none. the intention of Congress as expressed in the sponsorship speech on Senate Bill No. of the considered opinion that ever since appeals from the NLRC to the Supreme Court were eliminated. President. that the Court of Appeals is procedurally equipped for that purpose. The President. Is there any objection? ( Silence) Hearing none. There are no further Committee amendments. therefore. the amendment is approved. Senator Roco. as approved in the House. Mr.
intended or otherwise. without pronouncement as to costs. reiterate the judicial policy that this Court will not entertain direct resort to it unless the redress desired cannot be obtained in the appropriate courts or where exceptional and compelling circumstances justify availment of a remedy within and calling for the exercise of our primary jurisdiction. or as better equipped to resolve the issues since this Court is not a trier of facts. No. . therefore. and all pertinent records thereof ordered to be FORWARDED. Apropos to this directive that resort to the higher courts should be made in accordance with their hierarchical order. the instant petition for certiorari is hereby REMANDED. under the foregoing premises. et al. to disregard the hierarchy of courts in our judicial system by seeking relief directly from this Court despite the fact that the same is available in the lower courts in the exercise of their original or concurrent jurisdiction. or is even mandated by law to be sought therein. 25 this pronouncement in Santiago vs. 129 to supposed appeals from the NLRC to the Supreme Court are interpreted and hereby declared to mean and refer to petitions for certiorari under Rule 65. the same may be said of a number of litigants who initiate recourses before us.20 Therefore.P. to the Court of Appeals for appropriate action and disposition consistent with the views and ruling herein set forth. We discern in the proceedings in this case a propensity on the part of petitioner. Vasquez. WHEREFORE. SO ORDERED. all references in the amended Section 9 of B. should be taken into account: One final observation. We. for that matter. in the adjudication of the case which often has to be remanded or referred to the lower court as the proper forum under the rules of procedure. This practice must be stopped. not only because of the imposition upon the precious time of this Court but also because of the inevitable and resultant delay. Consequently. all such petitions should hence forth be initially filed in the Court of Appeals in strict observance of the doctrine on the hierarchy of courts as the appropriate forum for the relief desired. and.
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