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1. 6 SCRA 6 Labor Law Labor Standards Coverage of the Social

Security Act
Luzon Stevedoring Corporation vs SSS
Luzon Stevedoring Corporation (LSC) is engaged in the business of stevedoring,
lightering and towing in the cities of Iloilo and Bacolod. It owns, maintains and
operates towboats, barges and a drdoc!. In "#$#, it carried in its parolls
temporar emploees of ",%$& and &,$$& stevedores in the cities of Iloilo and
Bacolod, respectivel, who were hired on rotation and on vessel'b' vessel basis.
(he were paid dail with the understanding of being laid o) at the end of each
da. *n the average, each stevedore wor!ed for "+ das during the ear. In
*ctober "#,-, LSC petitioned to the SSS that the temporar emploees be e.empt
from SSS contributions on the ground that the /wor! onl intermittentl and are
not in a position to maintain membership in the Social Securit Sstem long
enough to be full entitled to the law0s sic!ness, disabilit, death and retirement
bene1ts2. 3nd that the law could not have intended them to be covered without
en4oing the bene1ts of the program. SSS however denied LSC0s petition and it
ordered LSC to pa bac! premiums. LSC countered stating that the compulsor
coverage of the SSS contributions onl covers permanent emploees. LSC invo!ed
Section # of the Social Securit 3ct as amended b 5epublic 3ct 6o. "%#& which
states that an emploee must at least have been with the compan for si. months
to be covered b the compulsor coverage. LSC also invo!ed Sec. 7 of the same
law which de1nes emploment covered b the Social Securit 3ct and also
provides e.emption therefrom. 8aragraph "- of that section would state that
services b temporar emploees ma be e.cluded b regulations of the Social
Securit Commission. (his is interpreted b LSC as a provision that Congress has
delegated to the Social Securit Commission the issuance of regulations bearing
on the e.emption of services performed b temporar emploees from social
securit coverage.
ISSUE: 9hether or not the temporar emploees are e.empt from the compulsor
HELD: 6o. (he Social Securit 3ct was amended b 5epublic 3ct 6o. &,$7 on :une
"7, "#,-. (he amendment broadened the coverage of the Social Securit Sstem,
increased its bene1ts and liberalized the terms and conditions for their
en4oment. Sections # and "- were made to read as follows;
SEC. 9. Compulsory Coverage. Coverage in the System shall be compulsory
upon all employees between the ages of sixteen and sixty, inclusive, and their
employers . . .!
SEC. "#. E$ective date of coverage. Compulsory coverage of the
employer shall ta%e e$ect on the &rst day of his operation, and that of the
employee on the date of his employment.!
<liminated was the si. months0 service re=uirement. 9ithout such re=uirement, all
emploees regardless of tenure, such as the emploees in =uestion, would =ualif
for compulsor membership in the SSS> e.cept of course those classes of
emploees contemplated in Section 7(4) of the Social Securit 3ct. 9ith such
removal, it is the intent of Congress to broaden and include temporar wor!ers to
the compulsor coverage. *n the other hand, in regards section 7, paragraph "-
being invo!ed b LSC, no such regulation has been cited to buttress the claim for
e.emption. 8erforce, no e.emption could be granted as there is no wa of telling
whether or not the emploees in =uestion belong to a group or class designated b
regulation of the Social Securit Commission as e.empt.
. !o"#ete Constru$tion Co. v. So$ia# Se$urit% Co&&ission
L'1()*+, -anuar% , 1.)/
8oblete Construction Co. and ?omingo 8oblete, its president and general manager,
appeal from the order of the Court of @irst Instance of 5izal dated Aa "#, "#,-
dismissing Civil Case 6o. &-+# B an action for certiorari against the Social Securit
Commission B hereinafter referred to as the Commission B and :udith 3siain B
and dissolving the writ of preliminar in4unction issued therein.
In a petition 1led with the Social Securit Commission on :anuar &%, "#,- (Case
6o. %7) :udith 3siain sought to recover from appellants the death bene1ts she
would have been entitled to receive from the Social Securit Sstem had
appellants B the emploers of her husband reported him to the Sstem for
coverage prior to his death, as re=uired b law. 3ppellantsC motion to dismiss the
petition on the ground that the Commission had no 4urisdiction over the case, as
appelleeCs husband was not covered b the Sstem, was denied and the
Commission re=uired appellants to answer the claim. 6ot having done so, the
Commission upon motion of appellee entered an order of default and set the date
for the reception of appelleesC evidence. In view thereof, appellants 1led with the
Court of @irst Instance of 5izal a petition for certiorari with in4unction (Civil Case
6o. &-+#'8) to en4oin the Commission from further proceedings in said case. (he
Court issued a writ of preliminar in4unction restraining the Commission from
proceeding with the case pending 1nal determination of the action for certiorari.
Instead of 1ling an answer to the petition for certiorari, appellees moved to dismiss
the case on the ground of lac! of 4urisdiction and improper venue. *ver appellantsC
opposition, the lower court issued the order appealed from. 3ppellants now claim
that the lower court erred in dismissing the case and in not ruling, after trial, that
the Social Securit Commission has no 4urisdiction to tr and decide the petition
1led with it b :udith 3siain and her minor children, the sub4ect matter of which
should have been submitted in an ordinar civil action before the regular courts.
9e 1nd the present appeal to be without merit."'wph(".)*t
In ta!ing cognizance of the petition 1led b :udith 3siain (Case 6o. %7), the Social
Securit Commission was e.ercising its =uasi'4udicial powers granted b Section $
(a) of 5epublic 3ct 6o. "",", as amended. <ven assuming, for the sa!e of
argument, that the claim aforementioned was not within the 4urisdiction of the
Commission, and that it would be proper to issue a writ of certiorari or in4unction to
restrain it from hearing and deciding the same, a Court of @irst Instance has no
4urisdiction to issue either of said writs against the Commission. It must be
observed that in accordance with the provisions of Section $, paragraphs (a) and
(c) of 5epublic 3ct 6o. "",", as amended, the decisions of said Commission are
reviewable both upon law and facts b the Court of 3ppeals, and that if the appeal
from its decision is onl on =uestions of law, the review shall be made b Ds. It is
clear from these provisions that the Commission, in e.ercising its =uasi'4udicial
powers, ran!s with the 8ublic Service Commission and the Courts of @irst Instance.
3s the writs of In4unction, Certiorari and 8rohibition ma be issued onl b a
superior court against an inferior court, board or oEcer e.ercising 4udicial
functions, it necessaril follows that the Court of @irst Instance of 5izal, where
appellants 1led their petition for certiorari, had no 4urisdiction to entertain the
9F<5<@*5<, the order appealed from is hereb aErmed with costs.
0. Case Tit#e:
ALE1ANDE2 3. GATUS 4petitioner5 vs. SOCIAL SECU2IT6S6STE7
Date o8 De$ision: -anuar% ), *11G2 No.: 1(/(+
Topi$; Grounds and 5e=uisites for a ?isease of Sic!ness to be Compensable under
the SSS Law and Implementing 5ules and 5egulations.
Sub'(opicHs; (") Coronar 3rter ?isease a Compensable ?isease under the SSS
(&) Iuantum of <vidence to prove that the ?iseaseHSic!ness is
(J) 6ecessar 8art to 8rove the Compensabilit of the
Gatus wor!ed at the Central 3zucarera de (arlac for a period of J- ears. ?uring
his emploment, he contracted disease and was diagnosed to be su)ering from
Coronar 3rter ?isease (C3?); (riple Kessel and Dnstable 3ngina. Fis medical
records showed him to be hpertensive for "- ears and a smo!er. Fe was given
b the SSS the following <CHSSS 8ermanent 8artial ?isabilit (88?) bene1ts; (a) 7
monthl pensions e)ective September ", "##+and (b) + monthl pensions
e)ective :anuar J, "##%. Fe became an SSS retirement pensioner on @ebruar ",
&--&. Fowever, an SSS audit revealed the need to recover the <C bene1ts alread
paid to him on the ground that his C3?, being attributed to his chronic smo!ing,
was not wor!'related. Fe was noti1ed thereof through a letter dated :ul J", &--J.
8etitioner, believing he was entitled to such bene1ts, assailed the decision of the
SSS. SSS denied the petition. Fe then elevated to the <CC ruled against the
8etitioner. @urther, C3 ruled that the 8etitioner is not entitled to the bene1ts under
8residential ?ecree 6o. ,&,. Fence, this 8etition.
(") 9hether or 6ot the 8etitioner is entitled to the Bene1ts under 8residential
?ecree 6o.,&,.
(he Supreme Court held that the 8etitioner is not entitled to the bene1ts under
8residential ?ecree 6o. ,&, and upheld the ruling of the C3. In its decision, the
Court mentioned of Section ", 5ule III of the 3mended 5ules on <mploees0
Compensation states that the sic!ness must be the result of an occupational
disease listed thereon otherwise proof must be shown that the ris! of contracting
the disease is increased b the wor!ing conditions. (he 8etitioner in this case
failed to prove the compensabilit of his disease, thus, he was not able to prove
with substantial evidence that indeed he is entitled to the bene1ts under 8?
,&,.(he burden of proof is thus on petitioner to show that an of the above
conditions have been met in his case. (he re=uired proof is further discussed in
*rtega v. Social Securit Commission ;(he re=uisite =uantum of proof in cases 1led
before administrative or =uasi'4udicial bodies is neither proof beond reasonable
doubt nor preponderance of evidence. In this tpe of cases, a fact ma be deemed
established if it is supported b substantial evidence, or that amount of relevant
evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as ade=uate to 4ustif a
conclusion. In this case, substantial evidence abounds.
/. G.2. No. 1(0;/) 9e"ruar% , *11
!etitioners ,vs. 2EGIONAL T2IAL COU2T, 32ANCH +1, CIT6 O9 7ANILA,
represented "% HON. !2ESIDING -UDGEANTONIO 7. 2OSALES< !EO!LE O9
THE !HILI!!INES< and t=e SOCIAL SECU2IT6S6STE7, 2espondents.
:ose Aarcel 8anlilio, <rlinda 8anlilio, 6icole Aorris and Aarlo Cristobal (petitioners),
as corporate oEcers of Silahis International Fotel, Inc. (SIFI), 1led with the
5egional (rial Court (5(C) of Aanila, Branch &+, a petition for Suspension of
8aments and 5ehabilitation. (he 5(C of Aanila, Branch &+, issued an *rder
staing all claims against SIFI upon 1nding the petition suEcient in form and
substance. 3t the time, however, of the 1ling of the petition for rehabilitation,
there were a number of criminal charges pendingagainst petitioners in Branch $"
of the 5(C of Aanila. (hese criminal charges were initiated b respondent Social
Securit Sstem (SSS) and involved charges of <stafa. Conse=uentl, petitioners
1led with the 5(C of Aanila, Branch $", a Aanifestation and Aotion to Suspend
8roceedings. 8etitioners argued that the sta order issued b Branch &+ should
also appl to the criminal charges pending in Branch $". 8etitioners, thus, praed
that Branch $" suspend its proceedings until the petition for rehabilitation was
1nall resolved but Branch $" issued an *rder dening petitioners0 motion to
suspend the proceedings. It ruled that the sta order issued b Branch &+ did not
cover criminal proceedings. Branch $" then denied the motion for reconsideration
1led b petitioners. 8etitioners 1led a petition for certiorari with the C3 assailing
the *rder of Branch $" but the C3 issued a ?ecision dening the petition. Fence
petitioners 1led before the Supreme Court a petition for review on certiorari.
9hether or not the suspension of Lall claimsL as an incident to a corporate
rehabilitation also includes thesuspension of criminal charges 1led against the
corporate oEcers of the distressed corporation.
6o, the criminal charges are not included.
(he Supreme Court ?<6I<? the petition and 3@@I5A<? the ?ecision of the Court of
3ppeals. (he 5egional (rial Court of Aanila, Branch $", was *5?<5<? to proceed
with the criminal cases 1led against petitioners.
In 5osario v. Co&+ (5osario), a case of recent vintage, the issue resolved b the
Court was whether or not during the pendenc of rehabilitation proceedings,
criminal charges for violation of Batas 8ambansa Bilang&& should be suspended
and it was ruled that the 1ling of the case for violation of B.8. Blg. && is not a
LclaimL that can be en4oined within the purview of 8.?. 6o. #-&'3. (rue, although
conviction of the accused for the alleged crime could result in the restitution,
reparation or indemni1cation of the private o)ended part for the damage or
in4ur he sustained b reason of the felonious act of the accused, nevertheless,
prosecution for violation of B.8. Blg. && is a criminal action. 3 criminal action has a
dual purpose, namel, the punishment of the o)ender and indemnit to the
o)ended part. (he dominant and primordial ob4ective of the criminal action is the
punishment of the o)ender. (he civil action is merel incidental to and conse=uent
to the conviction of the accused. (he reason for this is that criminal actions are
primaril intended to vindicate an outrage against the sovereignt of the state and
to impose the appropriate penalt for the vindication of the disturbance to the
social order caused b the o)ender. *n the other hand, the action between the
private complainant and the accused is intended solel to indemnif the former.
(he rehabilitation of SIFI and the settlement of claims against the corporation is
not a legal ground for the e.tinction of petitioners0 criminal liabilities. (here is no
reason wh criminal proceedings should be suspended during corporate
rehabilitation, more so, since the prime purpose of the criminal action is to punish
the o)ender in order to deter him and others from committing the same or similar
o)ense, to isolate him from societ, reform and rehabilitate him or, in general, to
maintain social order. 3s correctl observed in 5osario, it would be absurd for one
who has engaged in criminal conduct could escape punishment b the mere 1ling
of a petition for rehabilitation b the corporation of which he is an oEcer. (he
prosecution of the oEcers of the corporation has no bearing on the pending
rehabilitation of the corporation, especiall since the are charged in their
individual capacities.
Such being the case, the purpose of the law for the issuance of the sta order is
not compromised, since the appointed rehabilitation receiver can still full
discharge his functions as mandated b law.
+. 2epu"#i$ vs Asiapro Cooperative 4**(5 G.2. 1(1*1
5espondent 3siapro, as a cooperative, is composed of owners'members. Dnder its
b'laws, owners'members are of two categories, to wit; (") regular member, who is
entitled to all the rights and privileges of membership> and (&)associate member,
who has no right to vote and be voted upon and shall be entitled onl to such
rights and privileges provided in its b'laws, Its primar ob4ectives are to provide
savings and credit facilities and to develop other livelihood services for its owners'
members. In the discharge of the aforesaid primar ob4ectives, respondent
cooperative entered into several Service Contracts with Stan1lco ' a division of
?*L< 8hilippines, Inc. and a compan based in Bu!idnon. (he owners'members do
not receive compensation or wages from the respondent cooperative. Instead,
the receive a share in the service surplus which the respondent cooperative earns
from di)erent areas of trade it engages in, such as the income derived from the
said Service Contracts with Stan1lco. (he owners
members get their income from the service surplus generated b the =ualit and
amount of services the rendered, which is determined b the Board of ?irectors
of the respondent cooperative.
In order to en4o the bene1ts under the Social Securit Law of "##%, the owners'
members of the respondent cooperative, who were assigned to Stan1lco re=uested
the services of the latter to register them with petitioner SSS as self'emploed and
to remit their contributions as such. 3lso, to compl with Section "#'3 of 5epublic
3ct 6o. "",",as amended b 5epublic 3ct 6o. 7&7&, the SSS contributions of the
said owners'members were e=ual to the share of both the emploer and the
*n &, September &--&, however, petitioner SSS through its Kice'8resident for
Aindanao ?ivision, 3tt. <ddie 3. :ara, sent a letter to the respondent cooperative,
addressed to its Chief <.ecutive *Ecer (C<*) and General Aanager Leo G. 8arma,
informing the latter that based on the Service Contracts it e.ecuted with Stan1lco,
respondent cooperative is actuall a manpower contractor suppling emploees to
Stan1lco and for that reason, it is an emploer of its owners'members wor!ing
with Stan1lco. (hus, respondent cooperative should register itself with petitioner
SSS as an emploer and ma!e the corresponding report and remittance of
premium contributions in accordance with the Social Securit Law of "##%.*n #
*ctober &--&, respondent cooperative, through its counsel, sent a repl to
petitioner SSSs letter asserting that it is not an emploer because its owners'
members are the cooperative itself> hence, it cannot be its own emploer. 3gain,
on &" *ctober &--& petitioner SSS sent a letter to respondent cooperative
ordering the latter to register as an emploer and report its owners'members as
emploees for compulsor coverage with the petitioner SSS. 5espondent
cooperative continuousl ignored the demand of petitioner SSS.
3ccordingl, petitioner SSS, on "& :une &--J, 1led a 8etition before petitioner SSC
against the respondent cooperative and Stan1lco praing that the respondent
cooperative or, in the alternative, Stan1lco be directed to register as an emploer
and to report respondent cooperatives owners'members as covered emploees
under the compulsor coverage of SSS and to remit the necessar contributions in
accordance with the Social Securit Law of "##%.(he same was doc!eted as SSC
Case 6o. ,'"$$-%'-J. 5espondent cooperative 1led its 3nswer with Aotion to
?ismiss alleging that no emploer'emploee relationship e.ists between it and its
owners'members, thus, petitioner SSC has no 4urisdiction over the respondent
cooperative. Stan1lco, on the other hand, 1led an 3nswer with Cross'claim against
the respondent cooperative.
9hether the petitioner SSC has 4urisdiction over the petition'complaint 1led before
it b petitioner SSS against the respondent cooperative.
8etitioner SSC0s 4urisdiction is clearl stated in Section $ of 5epublic 3ct 6o. 7&7&
as well as in Section", 5ule III of the "##% SSS 5evised 5ules of 8rocedure.
Section $ of 5epublic 3ct 6o. 7&7& provides;
S<C. $. Settlement of ?isputes. M (a) 3n dispute arising under this 3ct with
respect to coverage ,bene1ts, contributions and penalties thereon or an other
matter related thereto, shall be cognizable b the Commission, . . ..
Similarl, Section ", 5ule III of the "##% SSS 5evised 5ules of 8rocedure states;
Section ". :urisdiction. M 3n dispute arising under the Social Securit 3ct
with respect to coverage, entitlement of bene1ts, collection and
settlement of contributions and penalties thereon, or an other matter
related thereto, shall be cognizable b the Commission after the SSS
through its 8resident, Aanager or *Ecer'in'charge of the
?epartmentHBranchH5epresentative *Ece concerned had 1rst ta!en
action thereon in writing.
It is clear then from the aforesaid provisions that an issue regarding the
compulsor coverage of the SSS is well within the e.clusive domain of the
petitioner SSC. It is important to note, though, that the mandator coverage under
the SSS Law is premised on the e.istence of an emploer'emploee relationship
e.cept in cases of compulsor coverage of the self'emploed.
In this case, the petition'complaint 1led b the petitioner SSS before the petitioner
SSC against therespondent cooperative and Stan1lco alleges that the owners'
members of the respondent cooperativeare sub4ect to the compulsor coverage of
the SSS because the are emploees of the respondentcooperative. Conse=uentl,
the respondent cooperative being the emploer of its owners'membersmust
register as emploer and report its owners'members as covered members of the
SSS and remitthe necessar premium contributions in accordance with the Social
Securit Law of "##%. 3ccordingl,based on the aforesaid allegations in the
petition'complaint 1led before the petitioner SSC, the caseclearl falls within its
4urisdiction. 3s previousl pointed out b this Court, an emploee'
emploerrelationship actuall e.ists between the respondent cooperative and its
owners'members. (he four elements in the four'fold test for the e.istence of an
emploment relationship have been complied with. (he respondent cooperative
must not be allowed to den its emploment relationship with its owners'members
b invo!ing the =uestionable Service Contracts provision, when in actualit, it does (he e.istence of an emploer'emploee relationship cannot be negated b
e.pressl repudiating it in a contract, when the terms and surrounding
circumstances show otherwise. (he emploment status of a person is de1ned and
prescribed b law and not b what the parties sa it should be.
(he =uestion involved here is whether an emploer'emploee relationship can between the cooperative and an owner'member. In fact, a closer loo! at
Cooperative 5ural Ban! of ?avao Cit, Inc. will show that it actuall recognized
that an owner'member of a cooperative can be its own emploee.
It is settled that the contracting parties ma establish such stipulations, clauses,
terms and conditions as the want, and their agreement would have the force of
law between them. Fowever, the agreed terms and conditions must not be
contrar to law, morals, customs, public polic or public order. (he Service
Contract provision in =uestion must be struc! down for being contrar to law and
public polic since it is apparentl being used b the respondent cooperative
merel to circumvent the compulsor coverage of its emploees, who are also its
owners'members, b the Social Securit Law.
It bears stressing, too, that a cooperative ac=uires 4uridical personalit upon its
registration with the Cooperative ?evelopment 3uthorit. It has its Board of
?irectors, which directs and supervises its business> meaning, its Board of
?irectors is the one in charge in the conduct and management of its a)airs. 9ith
that, a cooperative can be li!ened to a corporation with a personalit separate and
distinct from its owners'members. Conse=uentl, an owner'member of a
cooperative can be an emploee of the latter and an emploer'emploee
relationship can between them.
In the present case, it is not disputed that the respondent cooperative had
registered itself with the Cooperative ?evelopment 3uthorit, as evidenced b its
Certi1cate of 5egistration 6o. -',&J'&+,-.In its b'laws, its Board of ?irectors
directs, controls, and supervises the business and manages the propert of the
respondent cooperative. Clearl then, the management of the a)airs of the
respondent cooperative is vested in its Board of ?irectors and not in its owners'
members as a whole. (herefore, it is completel logical that the respondent
cooperative, as a 4uridical person represented b its Board of ?irectors, can enter
into an emploment with its owners'members.
In sum, having declared that there is an emploer'emploee relationship between
the respondent cooperative and its owners'member, we conclude that the
petitioner SSC has 4urisdiction over the petition'complaint 1led before it b the
petitioner SSS.
). SSC vs 2iza# !ou#tr%
G2 1)(*+*
(his petition for certiorari challenges the ?ecision
dated &- September &--+ and
dated # @ebruar &--$ of the Court of 3ppeals. (he instant case
stemmed from a petition 1led b 3lberto 3ngeles (3ngeles) before the Social
Securit Commission (SSC) to compel respondents 5izal 8oultr and Livestoc!
3ssociation, Inc. (5izal 8oultr) or BS? 3gro Industrial ?evelopment Corporation
(BS? 3gro) to remit to the Social Securit Sstem (SSS) all contributions due for
and in his behalf. 5espondents countered with a Aotion to ?ismiss
citing rulings of
the 6ational Labor 5elations Commission (6L5C) and Court of 3ppeals regarding
the absence of emploer'emploee relationship between 3ngeles and the
3s a brief bac!grounder, 3ngeles had earlier 1led a complaint for illegal dismissal
against BS? 3gro andHor its owner, Ben4amin San ?iego (San ?iego). (he Labor
3rbiter initiall found that 3ngeles was an emploee and that he was illegall
dismissed. *n appeal, however, the 6L5C reversed the Labor 3rbiter0s ?ecision
and held that no emploer'emploee relationship e.isted between 3ngeles and
respondents. (he ruling was anchored on the 1nding that the duties performed b
3ngeles, such as carpentr, plumbing, painting and electrical wor!s, were not
independent and integral steps in the essential operations of the compan, which
is engaged in the poultr business.
3ngeles elevated the case to the Court of
3ppeals via petition for certiorari. (he appellate court aErmed the 6L5C ruling and
upheld the absence of emploer'emploee relationship.
3ngeles moved for
reconsideration but it was denied b the Court of 3ppeals.
6o further appeal was
underta!en, hence, an entr of 4udgment was made on &, Aa &--".
3t an rate, the SSC did not ta!e into consideration the decision of the 6L5C. It
denied respondents0 motion to dismiss in an *rder dated "# @ebruar &--&. (he
SSC ratiocinated, thus;
?ecisions of the 6L5C and other tribunals on the issue of e.istence of emploer'
emploee relationship between parties are not binding on the Commission. 3t
most, such 1nding has onl a persuasive e)ect and does not constitute res
4udicata as a ground for dismissal of an action pending before Ds. 9hile it is true
that the parties before the 6L5C and in this case are the same, the issues and
sub4ect matter are entirel di)erent. (he labor case is for illegal dismissal with
demand for bac!wages and other monetar claims, while the present action is for
remittance of unpaid SSNSO contributions. In other words, although in both suits the
respondents invo!e lac! of emploer'emploee relationship, the same does not
proceed from identical causes of action as one is for violation of the Labor Code
while the instant case is for violation of the SSNSO Law.
Aoreover, the respondents0 arguments raising the absence of emploer'emploee
relationship as a defense alread traverse the ver issues of the case at bar, i.e.,
the petitioner0s fact of emploment and entitlement to SSNSO coverage. Generall,
factual matters should not weigh in resolving a motion to dismiss when it is based
on the ground of failure to state a cause of action, but rather, merel the
suEcienc or insuEcienci of the allegations in the complaint. . . .. In this
respect, it must be observed that the petitioner ver categoricall set forth in his
8etition, that he was emploed b the respondent(s) from "#7$ to "##%.
3 subse=uent motion for reconsideration 1led b respondents was li!ewise denied
on "" :une &--&. (he SSC reiterated that the principle of res 4udicata does not
appl in this case because of the Labsence of the indispensable element of
Pidentit of cause of action.0L
Dnfazed, respondents sought recourse before the Court of 3ppeals b wa of a
petition for certiorari. (he Court of 3ppeals reversed the rulings of the SSC and
held that there is a common issue between the cases before the SSC and in the
6L5C> and it is whether there e.isted an emploer'emploee relationship between
3ngeles and respondents. (hus, the case falls s=uarel under the principle of res
4udicata, particularl under the rule on conclusiveness of 4udgment, as enunciated
in Smith Bell and Co. v. Court of 3ppeals.
(he Court of 3ppeals disposed, thus;
9F<5<@*5<, the petition is G536(<?. (he *rder dated @ebruar "#, &--- and the
5esolution dated :une "", &--& rendered b public respondent Social Securit
Commissoin in SSC Case 6o. #'"$&&$'-" are hereb 5<K<5S<? and S<( 3SI?< and
the respondent commission is ordered to ?ISAISS Social Securit Commission
Case 6o. #'"$&&$'-".
3fter the denial of their motion for reconsideration in a 5esolution
dated #
@ebruar &--$, petitioner 1led the instant petition.
@or our consideration are the issues raised b petitioner, to wit;
9F<(F<5 *5 6*( (F< ?<CISI*6 *@ (F< 6L5C 36? (F< C*D5( *@
388<3LS, @I6?I6G 6* <A8L*Q<5'<A8L*Q<< 5<L3(I*6SFI8,
C*6S(I(D(<S 5<S :D?IC3(3 3S 3 5DL< *6 C*6CLDSIK<6<SS *@
:D?GA<6( 3S (* 85<CLD?< (F< 5<LI(IG3(I*6 *@ (F< ISSD< *@
<A8L*Q<5'<A8L*Q<< 5<L3(I*6SFI8 I6 3 SDBS<ID<6( C3S< @IL<?
B<@*5< (F< 8<(I(I*6<5.
9F<(F<5 *5 6*( 5<S8*6?<6( C*D5( *@ 388<3LS A3Q *5?<5
*D(5IGF( (F< ?ISAISS3L *@ (F< SSC C3S< I6 (F< C<5(I*535I
85*C<<?I6GS B<@*5< I(.
SSC maintains that the prior 4udgment rendered b the 6L5C and Court of 3ppeals,
that no emploer'emploee relationship e.isted between the parties, does not
have the force of res 4udicata b prior 4udgment or as a rule on the conclusiveness
of 4udgment. It contends that the labor dispute and the SSC claim do not proceed
from the same cause of action in that the action before SSC is for non'remittance
of SSS contributions while the 6L5C case was for illegal dismissal. (he element of
identit of parties is li!ewise unavailing in this case, according to SSC. 3side from
SSS intervening, another emploer, 5izal 8oultr, was added as respondent in the
case lodged before the SSC. (here is no showing that BS? 3gro and 5izal 8oultr
refer to the same 4uridical entit. (hus, the 1nding of absence of emploer'
emploee relationship between BS? 3gro and 3ngeles could not automaticall
e.tend to 5izal 8oultr. Conse=uentl, SSC assails the order of dismissal of the
case lodged before it.
SSC also claims that the evidence submitted in the SSC case is di)erent from that
adduced in the 6L5C case. 5ather than ordering the dismissal of the SSC case, the
Court of 3ppeals should have allowed SSC to resolve the case on its merits b
appling the Social Securit 3ct of "##%.
5espondents assert that the 1ndings of the 6L5C are conclusive upon the SSC
under the principle of res 4udicata and in line with the ruling in Smith Bell v. Court
of 3ppeals. 5espondents argue that there is substantiall an identit of parties in
the 6L5C and SSC cases because 3ngeles himself, in his 8etition, treated 5izal
8oultr, BS? 3gro and San ?iego as one and the same entit.
5espondents oppose the view pro)ered b SSC that the evidence to prove the
e.istence of emploer'emploee relationship obtaining before the 6L5C and SSS
are entirel di)erent. 5espondents opine that the de1nition of an emploee alwas
proceeds from the e.istence of an emploer'emploee relationship.
In essence, the main issue to be resolved is whether res 4udicata applies so as to
preclude the SSC from resolving anew the e.istence of emploer'emploee
relationship, which issue was previousl determined in the 6L5C case.
5es 4udicata embraces two concepts; (") bar b prior 4udgment as enunciated in
5ule J#, Section +%(b) of the 5ules of Civil 8rocedure> and (&) conclusiveness of
4udgment in 5ule J#, Section +%(c).
(here is Lbar b prior 4udgmentL when, as between the 1rst case where the
4udgment was rendered and the second case that is sought to be barred, there is
identit of parties, sub4ect matter, and causes of action. In this instance, the
4udgment in the 1rst case constitutes an absolute bar to the second action.
But where there is identit of parties in the 1rst and second cases, but no identit
of causes of action, the 1rst 4udgment is conclusive onl as to those matters
actuall and directl controverted and determined and not as to matters merel
involved therein. (his is the concept of res 4udicata !nown as Lconclusiveness of
4udgment.L Stated di)erentl, an right, fact or matter in issue directl ad4udicated
or necessaril involved in the determination of an action before a competent court
in which 4udgment is rendered on the merits is conclusivel settled b the
4udgment therein and cannot again be litigated between the parties and their
privies, whether or not the claim, demand, purpose, or sub4ect matter of the two
actions is the same.
(hus, if a particular point or =uestion is in issue in the second action, and the
4udgment will depend on the determination of that particular point or =uestion, a
former 4udgment between the same parties or their privies will be 1nal and
conclusive in the second if that same point or =uestion was in issue and
ad4udicated in the 1rst suit. Identit of cause of action is not re=uired but merel
identit of issue.
(he elements of res 4udicata are; (") the 4udgment sought to bar the new action
must be 1nal> (&) the decision must have been rendered b a court having
4urisdiction over the sub4ect matter and the parties> (J) the disposition of the case
must be a 4udgment on the merits> and (+) there must be as between the 1rst and
second action, identit of parties, sub4ect matter, and causes of action. Should
identit of parties, sub4ect matter, and causes of action be shown in the two cases,
then res 4udicata in its aspect as a Lbar b prior 4udgmentL would appl. If as
between the two cases, onl identit of parties can be shown, but not identical
causes of action, then res 4udicata as Lconclusiveness of 4udgmentL applies.
Keril, the principle of res 4udicata in the mode of Lconclusiveness of 4udgmentL
applies in this case. (he 1rst element is present in this case. (he 6L5C ruling was
aErmed b the Court of 3ppeals. It was a 4udicial aErmation through a decision
dul promulgated and rendered 1nal and e.ecutor when no appeal was
underta!en within the reglementar period. (he 4urisdiction of the 6L5C, which is a
=uasi'4udicial bod, was undisputed. 6either can the 4urisdiction of the Court of
3ppeals over the 6L5C decision be the sub4ect of a dispute. (he 6L5C case was
clearl decided on its merits> li!ewise on the merits was the aErmance of the
6L5C b the Court of 3ppeals.
9ith respect to the fourth element of identit of parties, we hold that there is
substantial compliance.
(he parties in SSC and 6L5C cases are not strictl identical. 5izal 8oultr was
impleaded as additional respondent in the SSC case. :urisprudence however does
not dictate absolute identit but onl substantial identit.
(here is substantial
identit of parties when there is a communit of interest between a part in the
1rst case and a part in the second case, even if the latter was not impleaded in
the 1rst case.
BS? 3gro, 5izal 8oultr and San ?iego were litigating under one and the same
entit both before the 6L5C and the SSC. 3lthough 5izal 8oultr is not a part in
the 6L5C case, there are numerous indications that all the while, 5izal 8oultr was
also an emploer of 3ngeles together with BS? 3gro and San ?iego. 3ngeles
admitted before the 6L5C that he was emploed b BS? 3gro and San ?iego from
"#7$ until "##%.
Fe made a similar claim in his 8etition before the SSC including
as emploer 5izal 8oultr as respondent.
3ngeles presented as evidence before
the SSC his Identi1cation Card and a :ob *rder to prove his emploment in 5izal
8oultr. Fe clari1ed in his *pposition to the Aotion to ?ismiss
1led before SSC
that he failed to adduce these as evidence before the 6L5C even if it would have
proven his emploment with BS? 3gro. Aost signi1cantl, the three respondents,
BS? 3gro, 5izal 8oultr and San ?iego, litigated as one entit before the SSC. (he
were represented b one counsel and the submitted their pleadings as such one
entit. Certainl, and at the ver least, a communit of interest e.ists among
them. 9e therefore rule that there is substantial if not actual identit of parties
both in the 6L5C and SSC cases.
3s previousl stated, an identit in the cause of action need not obtain in order to
appl res 4udicata b Lconclusiveness of 4udgment.L 3n identit of issues would
(he remittance of SSS contributions is mandated b Section &&(a) of the Social
Securit 3ct of "##%, viz;
S<C. &&. +emittance of Contributions. , (a) (he contributions imposed in the
preceding Section shall be remitted to the SSS within the 1rst ten ("-) das of
each calendar month following the month for which the are applicable or within
such time as the Commission ma prescribe. <ver emploer re=uired to deduct
and to remit such contributions shall be liable for their pament and if an
contribution is not paid to the SSS as herein prescribed, he shall pa besides the
contribution a penalt thereon of three percent (JR) per month from the date the
contribution falls due until paid. . . ..
(he mandator coverage under the Social Securit 3ct is premised on the
e.istence of an emploer'emploee relationship.
(his is evident from Section #(a)
which provides;
S<C. #. Coverage. , (a) Coverage in the SSS shall be compulsor upon all
emploees not over si.t (,-) ears of age and their emploers; -rovided, (hat in
the case of domestic helpers, their monthl income shall not be less than *ne
thousand pesos (8",---.--) a month . . ..
Section 7(d) of the same law de1nes an emploee as an person who performs
services for an emploer in which either or both mental or phsical e)orts are
used and who receives compensation for such services, where there is an
emploer'emploee relationship. (he illegal dismissal case before the 6L5C
involved an in=uir into the e.istence or non'e.istence of an emploer'emploee
relationship. (he ver same in=uir is needed in the SSC case. 3nd there was no
indication therein that there is an essential conceptual di)erence between the
de1nition of LemploeeL under the Labor Code and the Social Securit 3ct.
In the instant case, therefore, res 4udicata in the concept of Lconclusiveness of
4udgmentL applies. (he 4udgment in the 6L5C case pertaining to a 1nding of an
absence of emploer'emploee relationship between 3ngeles and respondents is
conclusive on the SSC case.
3 case in point is Smith Bell and Co. v. Court of 3ppeals
which, contrar to SSC, is
apt and proper reference. Smith Bell availed of the services of private respondents
to transport cargoes from the pier to the companCs warehouse. Cases were 1led
against Smith Bell, one for illegal dismissal before the 6L5C and the other one with
the SSC, to direct Smith Bell to report all private respondents to the SSS for
coverage. 9hile the SSC case was pending before the Court of 3ppeals, Smith Bell
presented the resolution of the Supreme Court in G.5. 6o. L'++,&-, which aErmed
the 6L5C, Secretar of Labor, and Court of 3ppeals0 1nding that no emploer'
emploee relationship e.isted between the parties, to constitute as bar to the SSC
case. 9e granted the petition of Smith Bell and ordered the dismissal of the case.
9e held that the controvers is s=uarel covered b the principle of res 4udicata,
particularl under the rule on Lconclusiveness of 4udgment.L (herefore, the
4udgment in G.5. 6o. L'++,&- bars the SSC case, as the relief sought in the latter
case is ine.tricabl related to the ruling in G.5. 6o. L'++,&- to the e)ect that
private respondents are not emploees of Smith Bell.
(he fairl recent case of Co v. 8eople,
li!ewise applies to the present case. 3n
information was 1led against Co b private respondent spouses who claim to be
emploees of the former for violation of the Social Securit 3ct, speci1call for
non'remittance of SSS contributions. <arlier, respondent spouses had 1led a labor
case for illegal dismissal. (he 6L5C 1nall ruled that there was no emploer'
emploee relationship between her and respondent spouses. Co then 1led a
motion to =uash the information, arguing that the facts alleged in the Information
did not constitute an o)ense because respondent spouses were not her
emploees. In support of her motion, she cited the 6L5C ruling. (his Court applied
Smith Bell and declared that the 1nal and e.ecutor 6L5C decision to the e)ect
that respondent spouses were not the emploees of petitioner is a ruling binding in
the case for violation of the Social Securit 3ct. (he Court further stated that the
doctrine of Lconclusiveness of 4udgmentL also applies in criminal cases.
3ppling the rule on res 4udicata b Lconclusiveness of 4udgmentL in con4unction
with the aforecited cases, the Court of 3ppeals aptl ruled, thus;
In SSC Case 6o. #'"$&&$'-", private respondent 3ngeles is see!ing to compel
herein petitioners to remit to the Social Securit Sstem (SSS) all contributions due
for and in his behalf, whereas in 6L5C 6C5 C3 -"7-,,'## (6L5C 53B'IK'$'#-&7'#%
5I) private respondent praed for the declaration of his dismissal illegal. In SSC 6o.
#'"$&&$'-", private respondent, in see!ing to enforce his alleged right to
compulsor SSS coverage, alleged that he had been an emploee of petitioners>
whereas to support his position in the labor case that he was illegall dismissed b
petitioners BS? 3gro andHor Ben4amin San ?iego, he asserted that there was an
emploer'emploee relationship e.isting between him and petitioners at the time
of his dismissal in "##%. Simpl stated, the issue common to both cases is whether
there e.isted an emploer'emploee relationship between private respondent and
petitioners at the time of the acts complaint of were committed both in SSC Case
6o. #'"$&&$'-" and 6L5C 6C5 C3 -"7-,,'## (6L5C 53B'IK'$'#-&7'#%%'5I).
(he issue of emploer'emploee relationship was laid to rest in C3 G5. S8. 6o.
$$J7J, through this Court0s ?ecision dated *ctober &%, &--- which has long
attained 1nalit. *ur aErmation of the 6L5C decision of Aa "7, "### was an
ad4udication on the merits of the case.
Considering the foregoing circumstances, the instant case falls s=uarel under the
umbrage of res 4udicata, particularl, under the rule on conclusiveness of
4udgment. @ollowing this rule, as enunciated in Smith Bell and Co. and Carriaga, :r.
cases, 9e hold that the relief sought in SSC Case 6o. #'"$&&$'-" is ine.tricabl
related to *ur ruling in C3 G5 S8 6o. $$J7J to the e)ect that private respondent
was not an emploee of petitioners.
(he 6L5C decision on the absence of emploer'emploee relationship being
binding in the SSC case, we aErm the dismissal b Court of 3ppeals of the SSC
9F<5<@*5<, premises considered, the petition is ?<6I<?. (he Court of 3ppeals
?ecision dated &- September &--+, as well as its 5esolution dated # @ebruar
&--$, is 3@@I5A<?.
(. G.2. No. 1.+/1.
!eop#e vs. La##i
Nove&"er 0,*11
5onnie 3ringo as!ed Lolita 8lando if she wants to wor! as restaurant entertainer
in Aalasia, since Lolita is interested, she in=uired how she could appl. 5onnie
brought Lolita to 6estor 5elampagos and Fad4a Lalli. (he latter accompanied Lolita
and other women in Aalasia b boat from Samboanga to Sanda!an, Aalasia and
then boarded a van going to Tota Tinabalu. (he were forced to wor! as
prostitutes in pipen Club in Labuan, Aalasia. Lolita wor!ed as a prostitute from
:une "+ to :ul 7, &--$. <ver night, a customer used her. She had at least one
customer or more a night, and at most, she had around 1ve customers a night.
(he all had se.ual intercourse with her. Lolita was saved b her brother'in'law
who acted as a customer.
Is Lalli, 5elampagos and 3ringo guilt of sndicated illegal recruitment and
traEc!ing in personsU
Secs. , and % of 53 7-+ &3rt. "J (f) of the Labor Code
It is clear that a person or entit engaged in recruitment and placement activities
without the re=uisite authorit from the ?epartment of Labor and <mploment
(?*L<), whether for pro1t or not, is engaged in illegal recruitment. (he 8hilippine
*verseas <mploment 3dministration (8*<3), an agenc under ?*L< created b
<* 6o. %#% to ta!e over the duties of the *verseas <mploment ?evelopment
Board, issues the authorit to recruit under the Labor Code. (he commission of
illegal recruitment b three or more persons conspiring or confederating with one
another is deemed committed b a sndicate and constitutes economic sabotage,
for which the penalt of life imprisonment and a 1ne of not less than V $--,--- but
not more than V",---,--- shall be imposed. In this case, the trial court, as
aErmed b the appellate court, found Lalli, 3ringo and 5elampagos to have
conspired and confederated with one another to recruit and place Lolita for wor! in
Aalasia, without a 8*<3 license. (he three elements of sndicated illegal
recruitment are present in this case, in particular; (") the accused have no valid
license or authorit re=uired b law to enable them to lawfull engage in the
recruitment and placement of wor!ers> (&) the accused engaged in this activit of
recruitment and placement b actuall recruiting, deploing and transporting
Lolita to Aalasia> and (J) illegal recruitment was committed b three persons
(3ringo, Lalli and 5elampagos), conspiring and confederating with one another.
;. G.2. No. 1./++ -une 10, *1
THE !EO!LE O9 THE !HILI!!INES, !#ainti@'Appe##ee,
3UDIN 4AL5 a.A.a. B7ACD6,B a $ertain BTAS,B and a $ertain B-UN,B A$$used,
3E2NADETTE !ANSACALA a.A.a. BNeneng AEid,B A$$used'Appe##ant.
*n appeal is the ?ecision
of the Court of 3ppeals (C3) in C3'G.5. C5'FC 6o.
--,++'AI6 promulgated on &- :ul &-"-, which aErmed the conviction of herein
accused'appellant Bernadette 8ansacala a.!.a 6eneng 3wid, together with co'
accused 6urfrasir Fashim Saraban a.!.a L@ranzH@rans,L Aa!dul :amad Bu!in
a.!.a. LAac!,L a certain L(asL and a certain L:unL for the crime of illegal
recruitment as de1ned under Section , in relation to Section %(b) of 5epublic 3ct.
6o. (5.3.) 7-+& or the Aigrant 9or!ers and *verseas @ilipinos 3ct of "##$.
(he @acts
*n "- Aarch &--+, accused'appellant was charged as follows;
(hat on or about :une "", &--J and for sometime prior or subse=uent thereto, in
the Cit of Samboanga, 8hilippines, and within the 4urisdiction of this Fonorable
Court, the above'named accused, conspiring and confederating together, mutuall
aiding and assisting with one another without having previousl obtained from the
8hilippine *verseas <mploment 3dministration, license or authorit to engage in
the recruitment and deploment of overseas wor!ers, did then and there willfull
NsicO, unlawfull and feloniousl, illegall recruit for a promised emploment
abroad particularl in Brunei and Aalasia, thus causing and prompting the
persons of BBB and 333
to appl which emploment however did not materialize
because in truth and in fact, the promised emploment is non'e.istent, in Wagrant
violation of the above'mentioned law and causing damage and pre4udice to said
complainants> further, the commission of the above stated o)ense tantamount to
economic sabotage in that the same was committed b a sndicate.
*nl accused'appellant and 6urfrasir Fashim Saraban were arrested, and both
entered a plea of Lnot guiltL when arraigned.
8rivate complainants 333 and BBB, 8olice Chief Inspector 5onald 3Xonuevo, and
police oEcers <dmond 5anel Killareal and 5enato 5abua dela 8eXa were
presented b the prosecution to prove the following;
*n "- :une &--J, accused'appellant approached 333, who was then doing her 4ob
as a waitress at a stall in 8aseo de Samboanga, Buenavista, Samboanga Cit, to
encourage 333 to wor! in Aalasia, as accused'appellant !new certain persons
who would soon be leaving for that countr.
*n the ne.t da, "" :une &--J, private complainant BBB was at her house in (alon'
talon Loop, Samboanga Cit, when accused'appellant paid her a visit and invited
her to wor! as a saleslad in Brunei. 3fter being assured that the prospective
emploment was above board and that she would be well compensated, BBB
accepted the invitation.
(he da after, accused'appellant, together with co'accused Aa!dul 3mad Bu!in
a.!.a. LAac!L (Aac!) and a certain L:un,L returned to the house of BBB. 3ccused'
appellant informed BBB that the latter would be escorted to Aalasia b the two
men, and that the would meet the ne.t da at ";-- p.m. at 8laza 8ershing,
Samboanga Cit.
*n "J :une &--J, BBB, Aac! and :un met as planned. (he proceeded to Shop'*'
5ama, where the met with co'accused 6urfrasir Fashim, a.!.a. L@ranzL (@ranz),
who assured BBB that she would be easil hired because of her beaut and height.
(he then agreed to meet at J;-- p.m. that same da at 8aseo de Samboanga.
3t 8aseo de Samboanga, BBB, accused'appellant, Aac!, and :un met with 333, a
certain CCC (allegedl another recruit) and 3rlene (allegedl 3330s emploer).
(hen at %;-- p.m. of that same da, the all proceeded to the wharf, where the
met accused @ranz and a certain Crist, who was also allegedl invited b accused'
appellant to wor! in Aalasia.
(hereafter, 333, BBB, CCC, Crist, Aac! and :un boarded the AHK Grand @lora and
were given pieces of paper containing a name. @ranz, accused'appellant
Bernadette and a certain (iting did not board the boat. 3ccused'appellant
informed private complainants and their companions that she and @ranz would
follow and bring their passports. 9e =uote the ?ecision of the C3 to describe the
4ourne of the group after boarding the AHK @lora bound for Bongao, (awi'(awi, at
"-;-- p.m.;
*n :une "+, &--J, the (BBB, 333, CCC, Crist, accused Aac!) and :un
disembar!ed at Bongao, (awi'(awi, and then the proceeded to Sitang!ai, (awi'
(awi where the staed for two das. *n :une ",, &--J, the went to 8undohan,
which is a terminal going to Lahad ?atu, Sabah, Aalasia.
*n :une "%, &--J, at ,;-- o0cloc! NsicO in the morningN,O the arrived at Lahad ?atu
and soon thenafter NsicO the boarded a van going to Samporna, Aalasia where
the met accused Aac!0s cousin named 8at. (he waited at Samporna until $;--
o0cloc! NsicO in the afternoon when accused @ranz and (ashN,O who was allegedl
their 1nancierN,O arrived. 3ccused @ranz then distributed to 333, BBB, CCC and
Crist their respective passports.
(hereafter, the boarded a bus going to Tota Tinabalu, Aalasia, and the arrived
thereat at %;-- o0cloc! NsicO in the morning of :une "7, &--J. Later, the boarded
again a bus going to Ainumpo, Aalasia and then a barge going to Labuan,
Aalasia where the staed at a hotel Nthe Classic FotelO for three nights or from
the night of :une "7, &--J until :une &-, &--J.
*n :une &", &--J, accused @ranz instructed BBB, 333, CCC and Crist to wear
Lse. clothesL because the were going to meet their supposed boss named
Bunso at Cape Imperial located at Labuan, Aalasia.
9hen the arrived at Cape Imperial, accused Aac! and :un tal!ed to Bunso but
the failed to reach an agreement on the purported compensation of the four girls.
So, accused Aac! and :un brought the girls to Golden Lotus Barber Salon (Salon
for brevit) where the latter were introduced to a certain person named Aomm
Cind, the alleged owner of the salon, and their purported manager Fa!o who was
called Aomm Susan.
(he prosecution also alleged that while the group was staing at the Classic Fotel
in Labuan, BBB was forced on numerous occasions to have se.ual intercourse with
@ranz at his bidding, even in the presence of other people. She followed his orders
for fear that he would inWict phsical harm on her.
3t 1rst, private complainants were not aware of the circumstances surrounding
their emploment at the Golden Lotus. It was onl after the agreed to sta there
for emploment that the were forced to become se. wor!ers to earn mone and
pa o) the debts the incurred from their travel from Samboanga Cit to Labuan,
(hus, from &" :une &--J to "J :ul &--J, 333 and BBB wor!ed as prostituted
women. <ach of the girls would be boo!ed to a customer for the whole night for
J-- 5inggit at a certain hotel near the Golden Lotus. Aeanwhile, during the da,
the would be hired b customers for a Lshort timeL for "$- 5inggit in one of the
rooms of the Golden Lotus. (he girls were told that the would be made to pa a
1ne of "$- 5inggit if the refused to have se.ual intercourse with the customers.
*n "& :ul &--J, BBB had a customer who was a law enforcer at Tota Tinabalu,
Aalasia. She sought his help for her return to the 8hilippines, and he agreed.
(he following da, on "J :ul &--J, the Golden Lotus was raided b the
Immigration *Ecers of Tota Tinabalu, Aalasia, and the prostituted @ilipino
women, including 333 and BBB, were detained at the Bala 8olis (8olice
?epartment) in Labuan until all the women were deported to the 8hilippines.
(he defense, on the other hand, presented three witnesses; accused'appellant
Bernadette, her common'law partner Aa4u4ie :aila Aisuari, and co'accused @ranz.
3ccording to accused'appellant, she and BBB were friends and neighbors in (alon'
talon, Samboanga Cit. Sometime in 3pril &--J, when as!ed b BBB wh accused'
appellant returned to the 8hilippines from Aalasia, the latter said that she had
been made a prostituted woman in Aalasia.
3ccused'appellant denied having o)ered BBB a 4ob in Aalasia, a denial
corroborated b Aa4u4ie :aila Aisuari. 3ccused'appellant also denied !nowing 333
and @ranz. She claimed that she onl met 333 when the latter, together with BBB,
visited her in 4ail and o)ered to withdraw the case if accused'appellant would give
them mone.
Co'accused @ranz merel denied !nowing 333, BBB or accused'appellant.
*n &% :une &--7, after trial on the merits, the 5egional (rial Court (5(C) of
Samboanga Cit rendered a ?ecision,
the dispositive portion of which states;
9F<5<@*5<, the Court 1nds both accused 6D5@53SI5 F3SFIA S353B36 a.!.a
L@536SH@53SL and B<563?<((< 836S3C3L3 a.!.a L6<6<6G 39I?L GDIL(Q
B<Q*6? 5<3S*63BL< ?*DB( of the crime of ILL<G3L 5<C5DI(A<6( de1ned
under Section , and penalized under Section %(b) of 5epublic 3ct 6o. 7-+&
otherwise !nown as the LAigrant 9or!ers and *verseas @ilipinos 3ct of "##$L, as
principals b direct participation, committed b a sndicate, against BBB and 333,
and S<6(<6C<S each of said accused to su)er the penalt of LI@< IA85IS*6A<6(
and to pa a 1ne of 8 ",---,---.-- each>
to pa each of the above
victims 8 $-,---.-- as moral damages> 8 J--,---.-- as e.emplar damages, and
to pa the costs.
S* *5?<5<?.
(he trial court considered that, in the course of the trial, the prosecution and the
defense had entered into a stipulation that neither accused'appellant Bernadette
nor @ranz had a license or an authorit to recruit or deplo wor!ers for overseas
Aoreover, the trial court found that the crime was committed in conspirac b the
accused and other persons. It painsta!ingl enumerated the overt acts of the
accused'appellant showing her direct participation in the commission of the crime.
(hese acts included inducing 333 and BBB to wor! in Aalasia> introducing Aac!,
:un and @ranz to the victims> and escorting them to the wharf, where the victims
boarded the vessel that too! them awa from their families and their countr and
brought them to Aalasia, where M heretofore unbe!nownst to them M the were
made to wor! as prostituted women.
It further held that the credible and positive testimonies of the witnesses for the
prosecution prevailed over those of the defense of mere denial, absent an
showing that the witnesses for the prosecution had an ill motive to falsel testif
and implicate the accused in the commission of the crime charged.
*n appeal, the C3 aErmed the 1ndings of fact of the trial court in the former0s
assailed ?ecision, but modi1ed the award of damages, to wit;
9F<5<@*5<, the 3ppeal is ?ISAISS<?. (he assailed ?ecision dated :une &%, &--7
of the 5egional (rial Court, Branch ", of Samboanga Cit in Criminal Case 6o.
"##&" is 3@@I5A<? with A*?I@IC3(I*6 that the amount of e.emplar damages in
favor of the private complainants be reduced to 8 &$,---.-- each.
S* *5?<5<?.
In the present appeal, instead of 1ling a supplemental brief, both accused'
appellant and the *Ece of the Solicitor General opted to adopt their respective
Briefs 1led with the C3.
(he appeal is unmeritorious.
(o be convicted of the crime of illegal recruitment committed b a sndicate, the
following elements must occur;
". (he accused have no valid license or authorit re=uired b law to
enable them to lawfull engage in the recruitment and placement of
&. (he accused engaged in this activit of recruitment and placement b
actuall recruiting, deploing and transporting.
J. Illegal recruitment was committed b three persons conspiring and
confederating with one another.
3s to the 1rst element, accused'appellant admitted that she did not have a valid
license to recruit persons for overseas emploment, consistent with her defense
that she did not engage in the recruitment of persons for emploment.
3nent the second element, both victims, 333 and BBB, narrated in great detail
how the were induced b accused'appellant to accept an emploment
opportunit, and how the were successfull transported from Samboanga Cit to
Aalasia where the eventuall wor!ed as prostituted women.
*n the third element, accused'appellant posits that the prosecution failed to prove
that there were more than two persons involved in the alleged crime of illegal
recruitment, since the trial court held onl two of the accused liable for the crime.
(he prosecution, she alleges, failed to establish that the other accused Aac!, :un,
and (as also had no license or authorit to recruit wor!ers for overseas
In the recent case 8eople v. Lalli,
we aErmed the trial court0s 1ndings in which &
of the J accused were convicted of illegal recruitment committed b a sndicate,
even though the third accused was at'large. In so ruling, we too! note of the fact
that the victim would not have been able to go to Aalasia were it not for the
concerted e)orts of the three accused. 9e held thus;
@light in criminal law is the evading of the course of 4ustice b voluntaril
withdrawing oneself in order to avoid arrest or detention or the institution or
continuance of criminal proceedings. (he une.plained Wight of an accused person
ma as a general rule be ta!en into consideration as evidence having a tendenc
to establish his guilt. Clearl, in this case, the Wight of accused 5elampagos, who is
still at'large, shows an indication of guilt in the crimes he has been charged.
It is clear that through the concerted e)orts of 3ringo, Lalli and 5elampagos,
Lolita was recruited and deploed to Aalasia to wor! as a prostitute. Such
conspirac among 3ringo, Lalli and 5elampagos could be deduced from the
manner in which the crime was perpetrated B each of the accused plaed a
pivotal role in perpetrating the crime of illegal recruitment, and evinced a 4oint
common purpose and design, concerted action and communit of interest.
@or these reasons, this Court aErms the C3 ?ecision, aErming the 5(C ?ecision,
declaring accused 5onnie 3ringo Aasion and Fad4a :arma Lalli 8urih guilt
beond reasonable doubt of the crime of illegal recruitment committed b a
sndicate in Criminal Case 6o. &"#J-, with a penalt of life imprisonment and a
1ne of 8 $--,--- imposed on each of the accused. (<mphasis supplied.)
In the case at bar, the prosecution was similarl able to establish that accused'
appellant Bernadette and @ranz were not the onl ones who had conspired to bring
the victims to Aalasia. It was also able to establish at the ver least, through the
credible testimonies of the witnesses, that (") :un and Aac! were the escorts of
the women to Aalasia> (&) a certain (ash was their 1nancier> (J) a certain Bunso
negotiated with Aac! for the price the former would pa for the e.penses
incurred in transporting the victims to Aalasia> and (+) Aomm Cind owned the
prostitution house where the victims wor!ed. (he concerted e)orts of all these
persons resulted in the oppression of the victims.
Clearl, it was established beond reasonable doubt that accused'appellant,
together with at least two other persons, came to an agreement to commit the
felon and decided to commit it. It is not necessar to show that two or more
persons met together and entered into an e.plicit agreement laing down the
details of how an unlawful scheme or ob4ective is to be carried out. Conspirac
ma be deduced from the mode and manner in which the o)ense was perpetrated>
or from the acts of the accused evincing a 4oint or common purpose and design,
concerted action and communit of interest.
@indings of fact of the C3, when the aErm those of the trial court, are binding on
this Court, unless the 1ndings of the trial and the appellate courts are palpabl
unsupported b the evidence on record, or unless the 4udgment itself is based on a
misapprehension of facts.
Li!ewise, we have time and again ruled that mere denial cannot prevail over the
positive testimon of a witness. 3 mere denial, 4ust li!e an alibi, is a self'serving
negative evidence, which cannot be accorded greater evidentiar weight than the
declarations of credible witnesses who testif on aErmative matters. 3s between a
categorical testimon that has the ring of truth on the one hand and a bare denial
on the other, the former is generall held to prevail.
9e, however, 1nd it proper to modif the amount of moral and e.emplar
damages awarded b the C3.
*n "& Aa &--J, Congress passed 5.3. #&-7 or the 3nti'(raEc!ing in 8ersons 3ct.
(his law was approved on &, Aa &--J. Ironicall, onl a few das after, private
complainants found themselves in a situation that this law had sought to prevent.
In Lalli, we increased the amount of moral and e.emplar damages from 8 $-,---
to 8 $--,--- and from 8 $-,--- to 8 "--,---, respectivel, having convicted the
accused therein of the crime of traEc!ing in persons. In so doing, we said;
(he Civil Code describes moral damages in 3rticle &&"%;
3rt. &&"%. Aoral damages include phsical su)ering, mental anguish, fright,
serious an.iet, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shoc!, social
humiliation, and similar in4ur. (hough incapable of pecuniar computation, moral
damages ma be recovered if the are the pro.imate result of the defendantCs
wrongful act for omission.
<.emplar damages, on the other hand, are awarded in addition to the pament of
moral damages, b wa of e.ample or correction for the public good, as stated in
the Civil Code;
3rt. &&&#. <.emplar or corrective damages are imposed, b wa of e.ample or
correction for the public good, in addition to the moral, temperate, li=uidated or
compensator damages.
3rt. &&J-. In criminal o)enses, e.emplar damages as a part of the civil liabilit
ma be imposed when the crime was committed with one or more aggravating
circumstances.".wphi" Such damages are separate and distinct from 1nes and
shall be paid to the o)ended part.
(he pament of 8 $--,--- as moral damages and 8 "--,--- as e.emplar
damages for the crime of (raEc!ing in 8ersons as a 8rostitute 1nds basis in 3rticle
&&"# of the Civil Code, which states;
3rt. &&"#. Aoral damages ma be recovered in the following and analogous cases;
(") 3 criminal o)ense resulting in phsical in4uries>
(&) Iuasi'delicts causing phsical in4uries>
(J) Seduction, abduction, rape, or other lascivious acts>
(+) 3dulter or concubinage>
($) Illegal or arbitrar detention or arrest>
(,) Illegal search>
(%) Libel, slander or an other form of defamation>
(7) Aalicious prosecution>
(#) 3cts mentioned in 3rticle J-#>
("-) 3cts and actions referred to in 3rticles &", &,, &%, &7, &#, J-, J&, J+,
and J$.
(he parents of the female seduced, abducted, raped, or abused, referred to in 6o.
J of this article, ma also recover moral damages.
(he spouse, descendants, ascendants, and brothers and sisters ma bring the
action mentioned in 6o. # of this article, in the order named.
(he criminal case of (raEc!ing in 8ersons as a 8rostitute is an analogous case to
the crimes of seduction, abduction, rape, or other lascivious acts. In fact, it is
worse. (o be traEc!ed as a prostitute without one0s consent and to be se.uall
violated four to 1ve times a da b di)erent strangers is horrendous and atrocious.
(here is no doubt that Lolita e.perienced phsical su)ering, mental anguish, fright,
serious an.iet, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shoc!, and social
humiliation when she was traEc!ed as a prostitute in Aalasia. Since the crime of
(raEc!ing in 8ersons was aggravated, being committed b a sndicate, the award
of e.emplar damages is li!ewise 4usti1ed. (<mphasis supplied.)
9e 1nd no legal impediment to increasing the award of moral and e.emplar
damages in the case at bar.".wphi" 6either is there an logical reason wh we
should di)erentiate between the victims herein and those in that case, when the
circumstances are frighteningl similar. (o do so would be to sa that we
discriminate one from the other, when all of these women have been the victims of
unscrupulous people who capitalized on the povert of others. 9hile it is true that
accused'appellant was not tried and convicted of the crime of traEc!ing in
persons, this Court based its award of damages on the Civil Code, and not on the
3nti'(raEc!ing in 8ersons 3ct, as clearl e.plained in Lalli.
9F<5<@*5<, in view of the foregoing, the ?ecision of the Court of 3ppeals in C3'
G.5. C5'FC 6o. --,++'AI6 dated &- :ul &-"- is hereb 3@@I5A<? with
A*?I@IC3(I*6S. 3ccused'appellant Bernadette 8ansacala a.!.a. L6eneng 3widL is
*5?<5<? to pa 333 and BBB the sum of 8 $--,--- each as moral damages
and 8 "--,--- each as e.emplar damages and to pa the costs.