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University of the Philippines


COLLEGE OF LAW
Malcolm Hall, Diliman, Q.C.

RECONCILABILITY OF ARTICLE 138 & 139


WITH ARTICLE 241 OF THE LABOR CODE:
A CRITIQUE & LEGAL ANAYLSIS

Submitted by:

Naomi Therese F. Corpuz


Anna Criselda H. Flores

Submitted to:

Justice Vicente S.E. Veloso


Labor Law Review
1st Semester, A.Y. 2014-2015

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I.

Introduction: Article 138 & 139 vis--vis Article


241 of the Labor Code ..3

II.

Legal Analysis
A. Constitutional Rights & Its Mandates
1. Protection of Labor ....6
2. Social Justice & Democratization of Unions
......................................12
B. A Critique of the Laws and Statutes..16

III. Conclusion and Recommendation21

RECONCILABILITY OF ARTICLE 138 & 139 WITH


ARTICLE 241 OF THE LABOR CODE:
A CRITIQUE & LEGAL ANAYLSIS
Naomi Therese F. Corpuz**
Anna Criselda H. Flores***
Labor law should protect worker freedom
instead of union power.
- Edward W. Youngkins1

I. Introduction
Are there only three (3) grounds for the cancellation of a union
registration? This is the issue that this paper aims to resolve by giving a
critique and legal analysis of cases, statutes, rules and regulations and other
laws focusing particularly on Article 238 and 239 of the Labor Code vis--vis
Article 241 of the Labor Code.
Article 238 of the Labor Code specifically states that the grounds for the
cancellation of registration of any legitimate labor organization are those
enumerated in Article 239, which provides for only three grounds. Article 238
and Article 239 of the Labor Code state:
ART. 238. Cancellation of Registration. - The certificate of
registration of any legitimate labor organization, whether national or
J.D., University of the Philippines College of Law (2015 expected); A.B. Psychology, cum laude,
University of the Philippines (2003).
***J.D., University of the Philippines College of Law (2016 expected); A.B. Psychology, cum laude,
University of the Philippines (2011).
1 Edward W. Youngkins, Labor Law should protect worker freedom instead of union power at
http://www.quebecoislibre.org/000318-11.htm (last visited November 26, 2014).
**

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local, may be cancelled by the Bureau, after due hearing, only on
the grounds specified in Article 239 hereof.
ART. 239. Grounds for Cancellation of Union Registration. The following may constitute grounds for cancellation of
union registration:
(a) Misrepresentation, false statement or fraud in connection with the
adoption or ratification of the constitution and by-laws or
amendments thereto, the minutes of ratification, and the list of
members who took part in the ratification;
(b) Misrepresentation, false statements or fraud in connection with
the election of officers, minutes of the election of officers, and the list
of voters;
(c) Voluntary dissolution by the members. (Emphases supplied)

However, paragraph (j) second paragraph and the second to the last
paragraph of Article 241, by their terms, expressly create additional grounds
for cancellation:
ARTICLE 241. Rights and conditions of membership in a labor
organization. The following are the rights and conditions of
membership in a labor organization:
xxx
(j) Every income or revenue of the organization shall be evidenced by
a record showing its source, and every expenditure of its funds shall
be evidenced by a receipt from the person to whom the payment is
made, which shall state the date, place and purpose of such payment.
Such record or receipt shall form part of the financial records of the
organization.
Any action involving the funds of the organization shall
prescribe after three (3) years from the date of submission of the
annual financial report to the Department of Labor and Employment
or from the date the same should have been submitted as required by
law, whichever comes earlier: Provided, That this provision shall
apply only to a legitimate labor organization which has submitted the
financial report requirements under this Code: Provided, further, that
failure of any labor organization to comply with the periodic financial
reports required by law and such rules and regulations promulgated
there under six (6) months after the effectivity of this Act shall

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automatically result in the cancellation of union registration
of such labor organization; (As amended by Section 16, Republic
Act No. 6715, March 21, 1989).
xxx
Any violation of the above rights and conditions of membership
shall be a ground for cancellation of union registration or
expulsion of officers from office, whichever is appropriate. (Emphases
supplied)

Is it possible then to reconcile these provisions? It is of the view of the


authors of this paper that despite the difference of the terms expressly provided
in Article 238 and 239 of the Labor Code, which provides for only three (3)
grounds for cancellation of union registration, and Article 241 of the Labor
Code which provides for additional grounds for such cancellation such
provisions can still be reconciled. The authors, through research, critique and
legal analysis, conclude that grounds for the cancellation of union registration
are not only three (3) but also more, which includes additional grounds
provided by Article 241 of the Labor Code.

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II.

Legal Analysis

A. Constitutional Rights and Its Mandates


1. Protection of Labor
The Constitution ensures and promotes the protection of labor and
workers 2 by guaranteeing them the right to form unions and associations 3 ,
particularly the right to form labor organizations.
This constitutional mandate is reinforced by Presidential Decree No. 442,
or the Labor Code, in its declaration of policies, emphasizing the primacy of
collective bargaining and negotiations between labor 4 - as represented by its
chosen labor organization as the collective bargaining agent, and management,
representing the employer. Furthermore, Article 4 thereof provides for the
construction of all doubts in the interpretation and implementation of the law
in favor of labor. This is in view of the recognition by the law of the fact that
there is an inherent inequality between labor and management and that the
intent is to balance the scales of justice; to put the two parties on relatively
equal positions.5
It may be argued that more grounds for cancellation of union registration
may result to a lesser bargaining power on the part of labor with their
employers as regards the rights of its members because labor organizations
could be dissolved easier on a mere ground of failure to comply with a
2
3
4
5

Sec. 18, Art. II, 1987 Constitution


Sec. 3, Art. XIII and Sec. 8, Art. III, 1987 Constitution
Art. 211, Labor Code
Ledesma v. NLRC, G.R. No. 174585, October 19, 2007

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particular requirement under Article 241 of the Labor Code - thus derogating
protection of labor. However, it is the view of the authors of this paper that the
grounds for the cancellation of registration making it more than three (3), by
considering Article 241, in fact supports far more the protection of labor.
First. Even if there is no union registration, a labor organization is still a
lawful organization and can still deal with the employer. The registration is not
a limitation to the right of assembly and association which may be exercised
with or without said registration.6 Non-registration does not mean a union is
illegitimate; it simply is unregistered and has no legal personality.7 Hence, the
argument that more grounds for the cancellation of union registration will
dissolve unions absolutely is not accurate. All the union has to do is comply
with all requirements for registration and not commit any of the grounds for
cancellation of union registration that includes Article 241 of the Labor Code
that protects the rights of the laborer in a union.
Furthermore, if a unions registration is cancelled for any of the grounds
under Article 241, or even under Article 238 or 239 of the Labor Code, it does
not necessarily mean that an employee cannot bargain anymore with its
employer and has no more recourse to present its individual grievances.

It

should be noted that the worker is an employee first and a union member
second which means an individual employee stands apart from the union.8 As

PAFLU v. Sec. of Labor L-2222, February 27, 1969


C.A., AZUCENA, JR., THE LABOR CODE WITH COMMENTS AND CASES, VOLUME II, 183
(2013).
8 Supra, Note 7.
7

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discussed by Azucena, an employee has the personality and the right to make
individual personal representation to the employer, as she explained:
This fact is explicitly recognized in Article 266, stating that an
individual employee or group of employees shall have the right
at any time to present grievances to their employer. As
between the members and the union, the members are the principal,
the union is the agent and representative. This is the reason policy
questions are decided by the membership. That sovereign power
emanates from the people is as true in a state as its labor union. 9
(Emphasis supplied).

Thus, under Article 266 of the Labor Code, an employee has recourse in
presenting grievances to his employer, even without a union who fails to
register or whose registration is cancelled.
Second. Article 241 of the Labor Code may be viewed as the union
members Bill of Rights.10 If there is a ground for the cancellation of the union
registration which is violation of any of the rights of the members of the union
under Article 241 then the union will not only be encouraged but also
compelled to uphold and protect such rights of its members. It could also serve
as a protection of the union members from the labor organization itself as it
could prevent possible abuses of union officers of their position for their own
personal benefit. It provides for security that the labor organization remains
faithful to its purpose, which is to protect the rights of its members. Article
241 of the Labor Codes 11 rights and conditions may be summarized as
follows12:

Id.

10Supra

Note 7, 223-224
ARTICLE 241. Rights and conditions of membership in a labor organization. The
following are the rights and conditions of membership in a labor organization:
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(a) No arbitrary or excessive initiation fees shall be required of the members of a legitimate
labor organization nor shall arbitrary, excessive or oppressive fine and forfeiture be imposed;
(b) The members shall be entitled to full and detailed reports from their officers and
representatives of all financial transactions as provided for in the constitution and by-laws of
the organization;
(c) The members shall directly elect their officers, including those of the national union or
federation, to which they or their union is affiliated, by secret ballot at intervals of five (5) years.
No qualification requirements for candidacy to any position shall be imposed other than
membership in good standing in subject labor organization. The secretary or any other
responsible union officer shall furnish the Secretary of Labor and Employment with a list of the
newly-elected officers, together with the appointive officers or agents who are entrusted with
the handling of funds, within thirty (30) calendar days after the election of officers or from the
occurrence of any change in the list of officers of the labor organization; (As amended by
Section 16, Republic Act No. 6715, March 21, 1989).
(d) The members shall determine by secret ballot, after due deliberation, any question of major
policy affecting the entire membership of the organization, unless the nature of the
organization or force majeure renders such secret ballot impractical, in which case, the board
of directors of the organization may make the decision in behalf of the general membership;
(e) No labor organization shall knowingly admit as members or continue in membership any
individual who belongs to a subversive organization or who is engaged directly or indirectly in
any subversive activity;
(f) No person who has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude shall be eligible for
election as a union officer or for appointment to any position in the union;
(g) No officer, agent or member of a labor organization shall collect any fees, dues, or other
contributions in its behalf or make any disbursement of its money or funds unless he is duly
authorized pursuant to its constitution and by-laws;
(h) Every payment of fees, dues or other contributions by a member shall be evidenced by a
receipt signed by the officer or agent making the collection and entered into the record of the
organization to be kept and maintained for the purpose;
(i) The funds of the organization shall not be applied for any purpose or object other than those
expressly provided by its constitution and by-laws or those expressly authorized by written
resolution adopted by the majority of the members at a general meeting duly called for the
purpose;
(j) Every income or revenue of the organization shall be evidenced by a record showing its
source, and every expenditure of its funds shall be evidenced by a receipt from the person to
whom the payment is made, which shall state the date, place and purpose of such payment.
Such record or receipt shall form part of the financial records of the organization.
Any action involving the funds of the organization shall prescribe after three (3) years
from the date of submission of the annual financial report to the Department of Labor and
Employment or from the date the same should have been submitted as required by law,
whichever comes earlier: Provided, That this provision shall apply only to a legitimate labor
organization which has submitted the financial report requirements under this Code: Provided,
further, that failure of any labor organization to comply with the periodic financial reports

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required by law and such rules and regulations promulgated there under six (6) months after
the effectivity of this Act shall automatically result in the cancellation of union registration of
such labor organization; (As amended by Section 16, Republic Act No. 6715, March 21, 1989).
(k) The officers of any labor organization shall not be paid any compensation other than the
salaries and expenses due to their positions as specifically provided for in its constitution and
by-laws, or in a written resolution duly authorized by a majority of all the members at a general
membership meeting duly called for the purpose. The minutes of the meeting and the list of
participants and ballots cast shall be subject to inspection by the Secretary of Labor or his duly
authorized representatives. Any irregularities in the approval of the resolutions shall be a
ground for impeachment or expulsion from the organization;
(l) The treasurer of any labor organization and every officer thereof who is responsible for the
account of such organization or for the collection, management, disbursement, custody or
control of the funds, moneys and other properties of the organization, shall render to the
organization and to its members a true and correct account of all moneys received and paid by
him since he assumed office or since the last day on which he rendered such account, and of
all bonds, securities and other properties of the organization entrusted to his custody or under
his control. The rendering of such account shall be made:
(1) At least once a year within thirty (30) days after the close of its fiscal year;
(2) At such other times as may be required by a resolution of the majority of the members of
the organization; and
(3) Upon vacating his office.
The account shall be duly audited and verified by affidavit and a copy thereof shall be
furnished the Secretary of Labor.
(m) The books of accounts and other records of the financial activities of any labor organization
shall be open to inspection by any officer or member thereof during office hours;
(n) No special assessment or other extraordinary fees may be levied upon the members of a
labor organization unless authorized by a written resolution of a majority of all the members in
a general membership meeting duly called for the purpose. The secretary of the organization
shall record the minutes of the meeting including the list of all members present, the votes cast,
the purpose of the special assessment or fees and the recipient of such assessment or fees. The
record shall be attested to by the president.
(o) Other than for mandatory activities under the Code, no special assessments, attorneys fees,
negotiation fees or any other extraordinary fees may be checked off from any amount due to an
employee without an individual written authorization duly signed by the employee. The
authorization should specifically state the amount, purpose and beneficiary of the deduction;
and
(p) It shall be the duty of any labor organization and its officers to inform its members on the
provisions of its constitution and by-laws, collective bargaining agreement, the prevailing labor
relations system and all their rights and obligations under existing labor laws.
For this purpose, registered labor organizations may assess reasonable dues to finance labor
relations seminars and other labor education activities.
Any violation of the above rights and conditions of membership shall be a ground for
cancellation of union registration or expulsion of officers from office, whichever is appropriate.
At least thirty percent (30%) of the members of a union or any member or members specially
concerned may report such violation to the Bureau. The Bureau shall have the power to hear

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(1) Political right the members right to vote and be voted for, subject to
lawful provisions on qualifications and disqualifications.
(2) Deliberative and decision-making right the members right to
participate in deliberations on major policy questions and decide them by
secret ballot.
(3) Rights over money matters the members right against excessive fees;
the right against unauthorized collection of contributions or unauthorized
disbursements; the right to require adequate records of income and expenses
and the right of access of financial records; the right to vote on officers
compensation; the right to vote on special assessments and be deducted a
special assessment only with the members written authorization.
(4) Right to information the members right to be informed about the
organizations

constitution

and

by-laws

and

the

collective

bargaining

agreement and about labor laws.


Any violation of the above rights and conditions of membership shall be
a ground for cancellation of union registration, as provided by the second to
the last paragraph of Article 241 of the Labor Code, will further the rights of
the laborers as this obligates the union to uphold such rights enumerated,
otherwise, the latters union registration will be cancelled. Although the unions
registration is cancelled in such case, it does not cease to exist or become an

and decide any reported violation to mete the appropriate penalty.


Criminal and civil liabilities arising from violations of above rights and conditions of
membership shall continue to be under the jurisdiction of ordinary courts.
12 Supra, Note 7.

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unlawful organization and its juridical personality as well as its statutory rights
and privileges are merely suspended. 13 There is no total dissolution of the
union by mere cancellation.

B. Social Justice & Democratization of Unions


The vast majority of union officials endeavor
honesty to safeguard the rights and
forward the interests of their members and
to discharge the duties of their office. Yet
the reputation of the vast majority and of
the labor movement are imperiled by the
dishonest, corrupt and unethical practices of
the few who betray their trust.
Union members who fail to exercise and
practice their responsibilities as union
citizens likewise bear a high degree of
accountability of the abridgement of their
rights.
Most of the time but not all of it, by any
means they do enjoy their rights as
members of democratic unions. Most of the
time but, unfortunately, not enough of the
time
- Arthur J. Goldberg14

The Constitutional Commission devotes an article Article XIII to


Social Justice and Human Rights. This Article in part provides:
Section 1. The Congress shall give highest priority to the enactment of
measures that protect and enhance the right of all the people to human
dignity, reduce social, economic, and political inequalities, and remove
cultural inequities by equitably diffusing wealth and political power for the
common good.

13

Supra Note 7, 214.


Supra Note 7 page 229 citing Arthur J. Goldberg, Rights and Responsibilities of Union
Mmebers, in E. Wight Bakke (ed.) Union, Management and the Public (Harcourt, New York,
1967), p. 180.
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To this end, the State shall regulate the acquisition, ownership, use, and
disposition of property and its increments.
Section 2. The promotion of social justice shall include the commitment to
create economic opportunities based on freedom of initiative and selfreliance.
Section 3. The State shall afford full protection to labor, local and
overseas, organized and unorganized, and promote full employment and
equality of employment opportunities for all.

Social justice, according to Dr. Jose P. Laurel in Calalang v. Williams,15 is


neither communism, nor despotism, nor atomism nor anarchy, but the
humanization of laws and the equalization of social and economic forces by the
State so that justice in its rational and objectively secular conception may at
least be approximated. Social justice means the promotion of the welfare of all
the people, the adoption of Government of measures calculated to insure
economic stability of all the component elements of society through the
maintenance of proper economic and social equilibrium in the interrelations of
the members of the community, constitutionally, through the adoption of
measures legally justifiable, or extra-constitutionally, through the exercise of
powers underlying the existence of all governments, on the time honored
principle of salus populi est suprema lex.
In relation to this, the legal measure of cancelling a unions registration
for not upholding the rights of the laborer provided under Article 241 of the
Labor Code is an application of social justice.

Azucena explains that social

justice is both a procedural principle and a societal goal. 16 As a procedural

15
16

70 Phil. 726
Supra Note 7, 10.

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principle, it prescribes equality of the people, rich or poor, before the law.17
This same principle applies in the nature of a relationship between a union and
its members.
Unlike in the political sphere of a democratic society, where the
constituents elect their own leaders, the workplace is different.

Workers

cannot select their superiors. However, workers also aspire for power in their
work place. 18 Thus, Article 241 (c) of the Labor Code which requires union
members to elect their officers every five years through secret balloting is a
manner of democratizing the union and an application of social justice.
Election of officers is the heart of union democracy. 19 Azucena further
reiterates, Further stressing union democracy, this Article 241 explicitly
grants policy-approving power to the members. They determine any question
of major policy through the deliberations and secret balloting. As in a republic
where sovereignty resides in the people, the members of the union are the
keepers and dispensers of official authority in the union. The governing power
is the members, not the officers.20 If the union violates this right to vote by its
members, then there should be no union to begin with that violated such right.
It is only deem proper that a unions registration must be cancelled if such
right of members to vote is not respected.

Id.
Supra Note 7, 222.
19 Id. Citing A. Cox, D.C. Bok. R.A. Gorman, Cases and Materials on Labor Law (New York:
Foundation Press, 1977)
20 Supra Note 7, 222.
17
18

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If social justice is a procedural principal on one hand, it is a societal goal
on the other. As a societal goal, it means the attainment of decent quality of
life of the masses through humane productive efforts.21 In the world of work,
these humane productive efforts must not only be made by the employers but
also the union of the members. By protecting the rights of the members in
Article 241 by a union, the quality of life of the workers are uplifted. In Heirs of
Teodoro M. Cruz v. CIR22 the Supreme Court said, The union has been evolved
as an organization of collective strength for the protection of labor against
unjust exactions of capital, but equally important is the fair dealing between
the union and its members, which is fiduciary in nature, and arises out of two
factors: one is the degree of dependence of the individual employee on the
union organization; and the other a corollary of the first, is the comprehensive
power vested in the union with respect to the individual. The union may be
considered but the agent of its members for the purpose of securing for them
fair and just wages and good working conditions.

As agent, the union is

subject to the obligation of giving the members as its principals all information
relevant to union and labor matters entrusted to it.
There is also the duty of the Court to protect laborers from unjust
exploitation not only by oppressive employers but also by oppressive union
leaders. Just as the Supreme Court has stricken down unjust exploitation of
laborers by oppressive employers, so will it strike down their unfair treatment

21
22

Supra Note 7, 10
30 SCRA 917.

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by their own unworthy leaders.23 Fair dealing is equally demanded of unions as
well as of employers in their dealings with employees. 24

Where the union

leadership was recreant in its duty towards the union members, the courts
must be vigilant to protect the individual interests of the union members.25 To
consider additional grounds for cancellation of union registration under Article
241 will eradicate unfair treatment of the union leaders to its laborers.

C. A Critique of the Laws and Statutes


Presidential Decree No. 442 as enacted in 1974 provided for at least
eleven (11) grounds for cancellation of union registration: Article 239 thereof
provides for ten (10) and the second to the last paragraph of Article 241 thereof
adds that the violation of all rights and conditions of membership mentioned in
said section shall be a ground for cancellation of registration.
In 1989, Republic Act No. 6715 was enacted, amending the then
paragraph (j) of Article 241, which provided for a ground for automatic
cancellation of union registration, which is the failure to comply with periodic
financial reports within six (6) months from the effectivity thereof.
Later on, in 2007, Republic Act No. 9481 lapsed into law, completely
amending Articles 238 and 239 of Presidential Decree No. 442 and explicitly
pointing out that only three (3) grounds exist for the cancellation of a union
registration. Said Act did not specifically amend Article 241.

23
24
25

Supra Note 7, 223


Id.
Id.

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In an interview with Prof. Marco De Luz (who asked not to divulge his
real name), a labor law professor of the University of the Philippines College of
Law, there are only three (3) grounds for the cancellation of the union
registration based on Article 238 and 239 of the Labor Code as amended by RA
9841. 26

His basis is the later rule principle and Azucena has the same

opinion.27 Pursuant to RA 9841 which lapsed into law in year 2007, DO 40-F03, Series of 2008 was issued by the then Secretary of Labor, Marianito D.
Roque amending section 3, Rule XIV, Book V of the Omnibus Rules of the
Labor Code. According to Professor De Luz, this said Department Order
pursuant to RA 9841 essentially reduced the ten grounds mentioned in the
unamended Article 239 to three.

He stressed that the latest enactment of

Congress must be followed implying that RA 9841 which was enacted in 2007
must prevail over PD 442 which was enacted in 1974.
This argument of Professor De Luz and supported by Azucena follows the
later rule principle in statutory construction where as between two laws on the
same subject matter, which are irreconcilably inconsistent, that which is
passed later prevails, since this is the express intent of the legislative will.28
However, is there really an express intent of the legislative will to amend
Article 241 of the Labor Code by implication? The authors are of the view that
there is neither express nor implied intent to amend Article 241 of the Labor
Interview with Marco De Luz (not his real name), senior lecturer of labor law of the University
of the Philippines, College of Law (November 21, 2014).
27 Supra Note 3, 214-215
28 R.E. Agpalo, STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION, 21 (5 TH ED., 2003) citing David v. COMELEC, 81
SCAD 482, 271 SCRA 90 (1997).
26

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Code. We must consider that statutory rule of construction that repeal by
implication is not favored. For the legislature is presumed to know the existing
laws on the subject and not to have enacted inconsistent or conflicting
statutes.29 It would have been clear if Congress expressly mentioned that the
second to the last paragraph is amended by including it as one of the
provisions amended by RA 9841 but it did not do so.

The Court in a case

explains the principle in detail as follows:


Repeals by implication are not favored, and will not be decreed unless
it is manifest that the legislature so intended. As laws are presumed to
be passed with deliberation, and with full knowledge of all existing
ones on the subject, it is but reasonable to conclude that in passing a
statute it was not intended to interfere with or abrogate any former
law

Could it be that Congress forgot that there is an existing Article 241 of


the Labor Code which provides for additional grounds? Be that as it may, the
authors are of the view that when RA 9841 was enacted, the Congress being
the lawmakers are presumed to always be mindful of the Constitution. As the
Constitution is the fundamental law to which all laws are subservient, a
statute must not be interpreted independently of the Constitution. The statute
should be construed in harmony with, and not in violation of the fundamental
law.

30

For this reason, the view that DO 40-F-03, Series of 2008 amending

section 3, Rule XIV, Book V of the Omnibus Rules of the Labor Code implies
reduction of the ten grounds to three (3) is incorrect.

R.E. Agpalo, STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION, 21 (5TH ED., 2003) citing U.S. v Palacio, 33 Phil
208 (1916); Maceda v Macaraeg, 197 SCRA 520.
30 R.E. Agpalo, STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION, 21 (5 TH ED., 2003) citing Garcia v. COMELEC
237 SCRA 279 (1994).
29

19
It should be stressed that RA 9841 amended Articles 238 and 239 of the
Labor Code but did not amend Article 241 of the same statute. By the fact that
only Article 238 and 239 were amended, the Department of Labor and
Employment should not have made an amendment to the Omnibus Rules
reducing the grounds to only three (3) when there is an existing unamended
second to the last paragraph of Article 241 of the Labor Code which in its
express terms provides the complete opposite of Articles 238 and 239. Article
241 has not been deleted nor amended, hence it is valid and existing.

If a

discrepancy occurs between the basic law and an implementing rule and
regulation, it is the former that prevails.31
The Constitution protects labor.

Apart from the above-mentioned

Constitutional provisions protecting labor, the Labor Code also provides:


ARTICLE 3. Declaration of basic policy. - The State shall afford
protection to labor, promote full employment, ensure equal work
opportunities regardless of sex, race or creed and regulate the relations
between workers and employers. The State shall assure the rights of
workers to self-organization, collective bargaining, security of tenure, and
just and humane conditions of work.
ARTICLE 4. Construction in favor of labor. - All doubts in the
implementation and interpretation of the provisions of this Code,
including its implementing rules and regulations, shall be resolved in
favor of labor. (Emphases supplied)

It has been stressed by the authors of this paper that the second to the
last paragraph of Article 241 is consistent with the constitutional mandate and
statutory mandate of protecting labor. Even if there are Article 238 and 239

R.E. Agpalo, STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION, 21 (5TH ED., 2003) citing United BF Homeowners
Assn. v. BF Homes, Inc. 109 SCAD 27, 310 SCRA 304, 315-316 (1999).
31

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which in their express terms are contradictory to Article 241, the implementing
rules and regulations must be resolved in favor of labor as provided in Article 4
of the Labor Code. Constitutional and statutory provisions control what rules
and regulations may be promulgated by such a body, as well as with respect to
what fields are subject to regulation by it. 32 It may not make rules and
regulations which are inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution or a
statute, particularly the statute it is administering or which created it, or which
are in derogation of, or defeat the purpose of a statute. 33 In Grego v.
COMELEC 34 the Court said, being merely an implementing rule, the same
must not override, but remain consistent and in harmony with the law it seeks
to apply and implement. Administrative rules and regulations are intended to
carry out, neither to supplant nor modify, the law. Article 241 of the Labor
Code is clear that any violation of the rights of the members enumerated
therein will be a ground for cancellation of union registration which is an
application of the constitutional and statutory mandates of protecting labor
must not be deemed repealed by a mere Omnibus Rule which was amended by
an erring administrative order that is DO 40-F-03, Series of 2008.

32
33
34

Id.
Id.
83 SCAD 923, 274 SCRA 481 (1997)

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IV. Conclusion and Recommendation
In spite of RA 9841 amending Article 238 and Article 239 of the Labor
Code expressly stating that there are three grounds for the cancellation of a
union, we conclude that the ground provided for in Article 241 of the Labor
Code, i.e., the violation of rights and conditions of membership, is not impliedly
repealed and, therefore, still considered a ground for cancellation of union
registration. Repeals by implication are not favored.
Further, Article 241 may be considered the union members Bill of Rights
as it is in fact consistent to the principles of social justice and human rights by
protecting the rights of the members of the union and democratization of
unions. It protects the union members from possible abuses of union officers
and secures that the labor organization serves only its purpose, which is to
protect its members.
Cancellation of registration does not actually result to dissolution of the
union itself. The union still exists, albeit without legal personality, and their
statutory rights and privileges are merely suspended. Nothing in the law
prevents them from registering again provided they comply with all the
requirements.
Lastly, Article 4 of the Labor Code is clear enough, All doubts in the
implementation and interpretation of the provisions of the Labor Code,
including its implementing rules and regulations, shall be resolved in favor of
labor, consistent with the mandate of the Constitution in affording full
protection to labor.

It is a well-settled rule of statutory construction that a

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statute should be construed whenever possible in a manner that will avoid
conflict with the Constitution. The statute must be read and understood in the
light of such provisions of the constitution as may bear on the subject so as to
harmonize the former with the latter and avoid their conflicting with each other.
Henceforth, we recommend that Congress must amend Article 238 and
Article 239 and include the additional grounds for the cancellation of union
registration under Article 241 of the Labor Code.