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SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 110187. September 4, 1996]


JOSE G. EBRO III, petitioner, vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS
O!!ISSION, INTERNATIONAL AT"OLI !IGRATION
O!!ISSION, JON #ARRA", ALE$ #%&RE%ES, ARRIE 'ILSON,
()* !ARI+I SOLI+EN, respondents.
# E I S I O N
!EN#O,A, J.-
This is a petition for certiorari to set aside the order dated October 13,
1992 and the resolution dated arch 3, 1993 of the National !abor "elations
Co##ission $N!"C%&
'1(
The antecedent facts are as follo)s*
+ri,ate respondent International Catholic i-ration Co##ission $ICC% is
a non.pro/t a-enc0 en-a-ed in international hu#anitarian and ,oluntar0
)or1& It is dul0 re-istered )ith the 2nited Nations Econo#ic and Social
Council $ECOSOC% and en3o0s Consultati,e Status, Cate-or0 II& It )as one of
the a-encies accredited b0 the +hilippine -o,ern#ent to operate the refu-ee
processin- center at Saban-, oron-, 4ataan&
On 5une 26, 1978, pri,ate respondent ICC e#plo0ed petitioner 5ose 9&
Ebro III to teach :En-lish as a Second !an-ua-e and Cultural Orientation
Trainin- +ro-ra#; at the refu-ee processin- center& The e#plo0#ent
contract pro,ided in pertinent part*
Salar0* <our #onthl0 salar0 for the /rst = #onths probationar0 period is
+3,188&>> inclusi,e of cost of li,in- allo)ance& 2pon bein- #ade re-ular
after successful co#pletion of the si? $=% #onths probationar0 period 0our
#onthl0 salar0 )ill be ad3usted to +3,668&>> inclusi,e of cost of li,in-
allo)ance&
& & & &
Ter#ination of E#plo0#ent* E#plo0#ent #a0 be ter#inated b0 ICC in an0
of the follo)in- situations*
a& @ cessation or reduction in pro-ra# operation, b0 Depart#ent of State
order,
b& 2nsuccessful co#pletion of probationar0 period, at an0 ti#e durin-
that period,
c& Aor due cause, in cases of ,iolation of pro,isions detailed in ICC
+ersonnel +olicies and ad#inistrati,e re-ulations,
d& Aor 3ust and authoriBed causes e?pressl0 pro,ided for or authoriBed b0
la),
e& Aor reasons of inadeCuate or de/cient professional perfor#ance based
on rele,ant -uidelines and procedures relatin- to the position,
f& In cases )here, as a #e#ber of the +"+C co##unit0, ICC is directed
to ta1e action&
If either part0 )ishes to ter#inate e#plo0#ent, a notice of t)o $2% )ee1s
should be -i,en in )ritin- to the other part0&
@fter si? #onths, ICC noti/ed petitioner that eDecti,e Dece#ber 21,
1978, the latterEs ser,ices )ere ter#inated for his failure to #eet the
reCuire#ents of :1& classroo# perfor#ance & & & up to the standards set in the
9uide for InstructionF 2& re-ular attendance in the #andated teacher
trainin-, and in the scheduled tea# #eetin-s, one.on.one conferences )ith
the super,isor, etc&F 3& co#pliance )ith ICC and +"+C policies and
procedures&;
On Aebruar0 6, 197=, petitioner /led a co#plaint for ille-al dis#issal,
unfair labor practice, underpa0#ent of )a-es, accrued lea,e pa0, 16th
#onth pa0, da#a-es, attorne0Es fees, and e?penses of liti-ation& The
co#plaint )as /led a-ainst pri,ate respondents ICC and its +ro3ect Director
5on Darrah, +ersonnel OGcer @le? D0."e0es, +ro-ra# OGcer of the Cultural
Orientation +ro-ra# Carrie Hilson, and Super,isor of the Cultural Orientation
+ro-ra# ari,ic Soli,en& +etitioner alle-ed that there )as no ob3ecti,e
e,aluation of his perfor#ance to )arrant his dis#issal and that he should
ha,e been considered a re-ular e#plo0ee fro# the start because ICC failed
to acCuaint hi# )ith the standards under )hich he #ust Cualif0 as such& Ie
pra0ed for reinstate#ent )ith bac1)a-esF +3,188&>> for probationar0 and
+3,668&>> for re-ular salar0 ad3ust#entsF ,alue of lod-in- or dor#itor0
pri,ile-esF cost of insurance co,era-e for -roup life, #edical, death,
dis#e#ber#ent and disabilit0 bene/tsF #oral, and e?e#plar0, and no#inal
da#a-es plus interest on the abo,e clai#s )ith attorne0Es fees&
@ns)erin- the co#plaint, ICC clai#ed that petitioner failed to Cualif0
for re-ular e#plo0#ent because he sho)ed no interest in i#pro,in- his
professional perfor#ance both in and out of the classroo# after he had been
periodicall0 e,aluated $obser,ation su##ar0 fro# @u-ust 2> to October 2,
1978 and e,aluation su##ar0 of Dece#ber 16, 1978%F that petitioner )as
paid his salar0 up to Dece#ber 31, 1978, t)o )ee1s pa0 in lieu of notice,
and 16th #onth pa0 pro.rataF and that his accrued lea,e balance had
alread0 been con,erted to cash&
@fter the parties had for#all0 oDered their e,idence, pri,ate respondents
sub#itted their #e#orandu# on 5ul0 31, 1979 in )hich, a#on- other thin-s,
the0 in,o1ed ICCEs diplo#atic i##unit0 on the basis of the e#orandu#
of @-ree#ent si-ned on 5ul0 18, 1977 bet)een the +hilippine -o,ern#ent
and ICC&
The !abor @rbiter held that petitionerEs le-al i##unit0 under the
e#orandu# could not be -i,en retroacti,e eDect since :'that )ould(
depri,e co#plainantEs propert0 ri-ht )ithout due process and i#pair the
obli-ation of contract of e#plo0#ent&; In addition, he e?pressed doubt about
petitionerEs le-al i##unit0 on the -round that it )as pro,ided for b0
a-ree#ent and not throu-h an act of Con-ress& @ccordin-l0, the !abor
@rbiter ordered ICC to reinstate petitioner as re-ular teacher )ithout loss of
seniorit0 ri-hts and to pa0 hi# one 0ear bac1)a-es, other bene/ts, and ten
percent attorne0Es fees for a total su# of +J>,966&78&
4oth parties appealed to the N!"C& On @u-ust 13, 199>, petitioner #o,ed
to dis#iss pri,ate respondentEs appeal because of the latterEs failure to post
a cashKsuret0 bond& In its order of October 13, 1992, ho)e,er, the N!"C
ordered the case dis#issed on the -round that, under the e#orandu# of
@-ree#ent bet)een the +hilippine -o,ern#ent and ICC, the latter )as
i##une fro# suit&
+etitioner #o,ed for reconsideration, ar-uin- a#on- other thin-s, that
the e#orandu# of @-ree#ent could not be -i,en retroacti,e eDect and
that in an0 case ICC had )ai,ed its i##unit0 b0 consentin- to be sued&
Io)e,er, petitionerEs #otion )as denied b0 the N!"C in its resolution
dated arch 6, 1993&
'2(
Ience this petition presentin- the follo)in- issues*
a% Hhether pri,ate respondents ha,e perfected their appeal and
)hether public respondent #a0, on appeal, entertain or re,ie) pri,ate
respondentsE clai# of i##unit0F
b% Hhether a #ere e#orandu# of @-ree#ent entered into b0 the
Secretar0 of Aorei-n @Dairs )ith respondent International Catholic
i-ration Co##ission, )hich is not a la), can di,est the !abor @rbiter
and the National !abor "elations Co##ission of their 3urisdiction o,er
the sub3ect #atter and o,er the persons of respondents in the pendin-
caseF
c% Hhether the e#orandu# of @-ree#ent #a0 be -i,en retroacti,e
eDectF
d% Hhether the dis#issal of the case based on the clai# of i##unit0 )ill
depri,e petitioner of his propert0 )ithout due process of la)F
e% Hhether the dis#issal of the case based on the clai# of i##unit0 )ill
result in the i#pair#ent of the obli-ations assu#ed b0 respondent
International Catholic i-ration Co##ission under its contract of
e#plo0#ent )ith petitionerF
f% @ssu#in- for the sa1e of ar-u#ent that the e#orandu# of
@-ree#ent has ,alidl0 conferred i##unit0 on pri,ate respondents,
)hether the0 #a0 be considered as ha,in- )ai,ed such i##unit0F
-% 2pon the sa#e consideration, )hether pri,ate respondents #a0 be
considered estopped fro# clai#in- i##unit0& The basic issue in this
case is )hether the e#orandu# of @-ree#ent e?ecuted on5ul0 18,
1977 -a,e ICC i##unit0 fro# suit& The Court holds it
did& ConseCuentl0, both the !abor @rbiter and the N!"C had no
3urisdiction o,er the case&
First& +etitionerEs contention that the e#orandu# of @-ree#ent is not
an act of Con-ress )hich is needed to :repeal or supersede; the pro,ision of
the !abor Code on the 3urisdiction of the N!"C and of the !abor @rbiter is
untenable& The -rant of i##unit0 to ICC is in ,irtue of the Con,ention on
the +ri,ile-es and I##unities of SpecialiBed @-encies of the 2nited Nations,
adopted b0 the 2N 9eneral @sse#bl0 on No,e#ber 21, 196J, and concurred
in b0 the +hilippine Senate on a0 1J, 1969& This Con,ention has the force
and eDect of la), considerin- that under the Constitution,
the +hilippines adopts the -enerall0 accepted principles of international la)
as part of the la) of the land&
'3(
The e#orandu# of @-ree#ent in Cuestion
#erel0 carries out the +hilippine -o,ern#entEs obli-ation under the
Con,ention& In International Catholic Migration Commission v. Calleja,
'6(
this
Court e?plained the -rant of i##unit0 to ICC in this )ise*
The -rant of i##unit0 fro# local 3urisdiction to ICC & & & is clearl0
necessitated b0 their international character and respecti,e purposes& The
ob3ecti,e is to a,oid the dan-er of partialit0 and interference b0 the host
countr0 in their internal )or1in-s& The e?ercise of 3urisdiction b0 the
Depart#ent of !abor in these instances )ould defeat the ,er0 purpose of
i##unit0, )hich is to shield the aDairs of international or-aniBations, in
accordance )ith international practice, fro# political pressure or control b0
the host countr0 to the pre3udice of #e#ber States of the or-aniBation, and
to ensure the unha#pered perfor#ance of their functions&
Second& +etitioner ar-ues that in an0 case ICCEs i##unit0 can not appl0
because this case )as /led belo) before the si-nin- of the e#orandu# on
5ul0 18, 1977& +etitioner cites in support the state#ent of this Court in the
aforesaid case of International Catholic Migration Commission v. Calleja,
'8(
distin-uishin- that case fro# an earlier case
'=(
also in,ol,in- ICC,
)herein the N!"C, as )ell as the Court, too1 co-niBance of a co#plaint
a-ainst ICC for pa0#ent of salar0 for the une?pired portion of a si?.#onth
probationar0 e#plo0#ent& The Court held*
'J(
'N(ot onl0 did the facts of said contro,ers0 'ICC v. N!"C, 1=9 SC"@ =>=
$1979%( occur bet)een 1973.1978, or before the -rant to ICC on 18 5ul0
1977 of the status of a specialiBed a-enc0 )ith correspondin- i##unities,
but also because ICC in that case did not in,o1e its i##unit0 and,
therefore, #a0 be dee#ed to ha,e )ai,ed it, assu#in- that durin- that
period $1973.1978% it )as tacitl0 reco-niBed as en3o0in- such i##unit0&
Iere, accordin- to petitioner, his e#plo0#ent and subseCuent dis#issal
b0 ICC too1 place in 1978, prior to the e?ecution of the e#orandu# of
@-ree#ent on 5ul0 18, 1977 and, therefore, li1e in the 1979 ICC case, the
e#orandu# should not be #ade to appl0 to hi#&
This Court did not reall0 re3ect ICCEs in,ocation of i##unit0 for causes
of action accruin- prior to the e?ecution of the e#orandu#& It left open the
possibilit0 that ICC #a0 ha,e been tacitl0 en3o0in- diplo#atic i##unit0
beforehand& It is i#portant to note that in the 1979 case ICC did not in,o1e
its i##unit0 not)ithstandin- the fact that the e#orandu# too1 eDect
)hile the case )as pendin- before the Court&
'7(
oreo,er, in the 199> ICC case, ICCEs i##unit0 )as in fact upheld
despite the fact that at the ti#e the case arose, the e#orandu#
reco-niBin- ICCEs status as a specialiBed a-enc0 had not 0et been si-ned&
In that case, the petition for certi/cation election a#on- its ran1 and /le
e#plo0ees )as /led on 5ul0 16, 197= and the order directin- a certi/cation
election )as #ade )hen ICCEs reCuest for reco-nition as a specialiBed
a-enc0 )as still pendin- in the Depart#ent of Aorei-n @Dairs& <et this Court
held that the subseCuent e?ecution of the e#orandu# )as a bar to the
-rantin- of the petition for certi/cation election&
The scope of i##unit0 of the ICC contained in the Con,ention on the
+ri,ile-es and I##unities of the SpecialiBed @-encies of the 2nited Nations
is instructi,e& @rt& III, L 6 of the Con,ention pro,ides for i##unit0 fro#
:e,er0 for# of le-al process&; Thus, e,en if pri,ate respondents had been
ser,ed su##ons and subpoenas prior to the e?ecution of the e#orandu#,
the0, as oGcers of ICC, can clai# i##unit0 under the sa#e in order to
pre,ent enforce#ent of an ad,erse 3ud-#ent, since a )rit of e?ecution is :a
le-al process; )ithin the #eanin- of @rticle III, L 6&
'9(
Third& @nother Cuestion is )hether ICC can in,o1e its i##unit0 because
it onl0 did so in its #e#orandu# before the !abor @rbiter& It is contended
that ICC )ai,ed its i##unit0 in an0 e,ent& @rt& III, L 6 of the Con,ention on
the +ri,ile-es and I##unities of the SpecialiBed @-encies of the 2nited
Nations reCuires, ho)e,er, that the )ai,er of the pri,ile-e #ust be e?press&
There )as no such )ai,er of i##unit0 in this case& Nor can ICC be
estopped fro# clai#in- diplo#atic i##unit0 since estoppel does not operate
to confer 3urisdiction to a tribunal that has none o,er a cause of action&
'1>(
Fourth& Ainall0, neither can it be said that reco-nition of ICCEs i##unit0
fro# suit depri,es petitioner of due process& @s pointed out in International
Catholic Migration Commission v. Calleja,
'11(
petitioner is not e?actl0 )ithout
re#ed0 for )hate,er ,iolation of ri-hts it #a0 ha,e suDered for the follo)in-
reason*
Section 31 of the Con,ention on the +ri,ile-es and I##unities of the
SpecialiBed @-encies of the 2nited Nations pro,ides that :each specialiBed
a-enc0 shall #a1e pro,ision for appropriate #odes of settle#ent of* $a%
disputes arisin- out of contracts or other disputes of pri,ate character to
)hich the specialiBed a-enc0 is a part0&; oreo,er, pursuant to @rticle IV of
the e#orandu# of @-ree#ent bet)een ICC and the +hilippine
9o,ern#ent, )hene,er there is an0 abuse of pri,ile-e b0 ICC, the
9o,ern#ent is free to )ithdra) the pri,ile-es and i##unities accorded&
Thus*
@rticle IV& Cooperation with Government Authorities& M 1& The Co##ission
shall cooperate at all ti#es )ith the appropriate authorities of the
9o,ern#ent to ensure the obser,ance of +hilippine la)s, rules and
re-ulations, facilitate the proper ad#inistration of 3ustice and pre,ent the
occurrences of an0 abuse of the pri,ile-es and i##unities -ranted its
oGcials and alien e#plo0ees in @rticle III of this @-ree#ent to the
Co##ission&
2& In the e,ent that the 9o,ern#ent deter#ines that there has been an
abuse of the pri,ile-es and i##unities -ranted under this @-ree#ent,
consultations shall be held bet)een the 9o,ern#ent and the Co##ission to
deter#ine )hether an0 such abuse has occurred and, if so, the 9o,ern#ent
shall )ithdra) the pri,ile-es and i##unities -ranted the Co##ission and its
oGcials&
'"ERE.ORE, the petition is DISISSED for lac1 of #erit&
SO OR#ERE#.
Regalado (Chairman! Romero! "uno and Torres! #r.! ##.! concur&

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