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G.R. No.

122917 July 12, 1999

xxx xxx xxx

MARITES BERNARDO et.al. vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION
and FAR EAST BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, respondents.
PANGANIBAN, J.:
The Magna Carta for Disabled Persons mandates that qualified disabled persons be
granted the same terms and conditions of employment as qualified able-bodied
employees. Once they have attained the status of regular workers, they should be
accorded all the benefits granted by law, notwithstanding written or verbal contracts to
the contrary. This treatments is rooted not merely on charity or accomodation, but on
justice for all.
The Case
Challenged in the Petition for Certiorari 1 before us is the June 20, 1995 Decision 2 of
the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), 3 which affirmed the August, 22
1994 ruling of Labor Arbiter Cornelio L. Linsangan. The labor arbiter's Decision
disposed as follows: 4
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered dismissing the abovementioned complaint for lack of merit.
Also assailed is the August 4, 1995 Resolution 5 of the NLRC, which denied the
Motion for Reconsideration.
The Facts
The facts were summarized by the NLRC in this wise:

6

Complainants numbering 43 (p. 176, Records) are deaf-mutes who
were hired on various periods from 1988 to 1993 by respondent Far
East Bank and Trust Co. as Money Sorters and Counters through a
uniformly worded agreement called "Employment Contract for
Handicapped Workers". (pp. 68 & 69, Records).
In 1988, two (2) deaf-mutes were hired under this Agreement; in
1989 another two (2); in 1990, nineteen (19); in 1991 six (6); in
1992, six (6) and in 1993, twenty-one (21). Their employment[s]
were renewed every six months such that by the time this case
arose, there were fifty-six (56) deaf-mutes who were employed by
respondent under the said employment agreement. The last one
was Thelma Malindoy who was employed in 1992 and whose
contract expired on July 1993.

Disclaiming that complainants were regular employees, respondent
Far East Bank and Trust Company maintained that complainants
who are a special class of workers — the hearing impaired
employees were hired temporarily under [a] special employment
arrangement which was a result of overtures made by some civic
and political personalities to the respondent Bank; that
complainant[s] were hired due to "pakiusap" which must be
considered in the light of the context career and working
environment which is to maintain and strengthen a corps of
professionals trained and qualified officers and regular employees
who are baccalaureate degree holders from excellent schools
which is an unbending policy in the hiring of regular employees;
that in addition to this, training continues so that the regular
employee grows in the corporate ladder; that the idea of hiring
handicapped workers was acceptable to them only on a special
arrangement basis; that it was adopted the special program to help
tide over a group of workers such as deaf-mutes like the
complainants who could do manual work for the respondent Bank;
that the task of counting and sorting of bills which was being
performed by tellers could be assigned to deaf-mutes that the
counting and sorting of money are tellering works which were
always logically and naturally part and parcel of the tellers' normal
functions; that from the beginning there have been no separate
items in the respondent Bank plantilla for sortes or counters; that
the tellers themselves already did the sorting and counting chore as
a regular feature and integral part of their duties (p. 97, Records);
that through the "pakiusap" of Arturo Borjal, the tellers were
relieved of this task of counting and sorting bills in favor of deafmutes without creating new positions as there is no position either
in the respondent or in any other bank in the Philippines which
deals with purely counting and sorting of bills in banking operations.
As earlier noted, the labor arbiter and, on appeal, the NLRC ruled against herein
petitioners. Hence, this recourse to this Court. 9
The Ruling of the NLRC
In affirming the ruling of the labor arbiter that herein petitioners could not be deemed
regular employees under Article 280 of the Labor Code, as amended, Respondent
Commission ratiocinated as follows:
We agree that Art. 280 is not controlling herein. We give due
credence to the conclusion that complainants were hired as an
accommodation to [the] recommendation of civic oriented
personalities whose employment[s] were covered by . . .
Employment Contract[s] with special provisions on duration of
contract as specified under Art. 80. Hence, as correctly held by the

However. indubitably show that the petitioners. As such. because their task as money sorters and counters was necessary and desirable to the business of respondent bank.1âwphi1." At the outset. the terms of the contract shall be the law between the parties. which agreement shall include: (a) The names and addresses of the handicapped workers to be employed. the Court will resolve whether petitioners have become regular employees. Unless renewed in writing by the employer. after the latter had decided not to renew anymore their special employment contracts. viewed in light of the Labor Code and the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons. Private respondent. which provides. on proscription against discrimination against disabled persons. does not review the factual findings of public respondents in a certiorari proceeding. except sixteen of them. the employer may terminate the contract at any time for a just and reasonable cause. This Court's Ruling The petition is meritorious. the "special position" that was created for the petitioners no longer exist[s] in private respondent [bank]. The Honorable Commission committed grave abuse of discretion in holding that the petitioners — money sorters and counters working in a bank — were not regular employees. after which the employer shall determine whether or not they should be allowed to finish the 6-month term of the contract." 12 Rather. as above-quoted from the assailed Decision. "with the assistance of government representatives. not because of need "but merely for humanitarian reasons. on the other hand. submits that petitioners were hired only as "special workers and should not in any way be considered as part of the regular complement of the Bank. 80. they have acquired legal rights that this Court is duty-bound to protect and uphold.nêt According to private respondent. . Hence. we cannot allow it to elude the legal consequences of that effort. III. as a rule. II. Furthermore. Art. However. The Honorable Commission committed grave abuse of discretion in not applying the provisions of the Magna Carta for the Disabled (Republic Act No. let it be known that this Court appreciates the nobility of private respondent's effort to provide employment to physically impaired individuals and to make them more productive members of society. In their Memorandum. the Court. Specifically. — Any employer who employs handicapped workers shall enter into an employment agreement with them." Issues Petitioners maintain that they should be considered regular employees." that they could not become regular employees because there were no plantilla positions for "money sorters. simply because it now deems their employment irrelevant. should be deemed regular employees. it maintains that the Court cannot pass upon the findings of public respondent that petitioners were not regular employees. not as a matter of compassion but as a consequence of law and justice. we shall not change the facts found by the public respondent. In resolving whether the petitioners have become regular employees. They were told from the start. 10 Main Issue Are Petitioners Regular Employee? The NLRC also declared that the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons was not applicable. True. Preliminary Matter: Propriety of Certiorari Respondent Far East Bank and Trust Company argues that a review of the findings of facts of the NLRC is not allowed in a petition for certiorari. 7277).Labor Arbiter a quo. the contract shall automatically expire at the end of the term. Private respondent contends that it never solicited the services of petitioners. 11 In the main. their dismissal from employement was illegal. Employment agreement." Respondent submits that "as of the present. they were "special" workers under Article 80 of the Labor Code. Their contracts were renewed several times. "considering the prevailing circumstances/milieu of the case. The uniform employment contracts of the petitioners stipulated that they shall be trained for a period of one month. Our task is merely to determine whether the NLRC committed grave abuse of discretion in applying the law to the established facts. only the employees. They further allege that their contracts served merely to preclude the application of Article 280 and to bar them from becoming regular employees. petitioners cite the following grounds in support of their cause: I. The facts. The Honorable Commission committed grave abuse of discretion in holding that the employment contracts signed and renewed by the petitioners — which provide for a period of six (6) months — were valid. the employment contracts were prepared in accordance with Article 80 of the Labor code. who worked for more than six months and whose contracts were renewed are deemed regular." whose task used to be performed by tellers. whose employment was merely an "accommodation" in response to the requests of government officials and civic-minded citizens.

Lani R. Pinky Baloloa. Isabel Mamauag. Hence. George P. the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons mandates that a qualified disabled employee should be given the same terms and conditions of employment as a qualified able-bodied person. Section 5 of the Magna Carta provides: Sec. Lilibeth Q. even if the performance is not continuous and merely intermittent. fringe benefits. Cynthia de Vera. except where the employment has been fixed for a specific project or undertaking the completion or termination of which has been determined at the time of the The test of whether an employee is regular was laid down in De Leon v. ad infinitum. their disability did not render them unqualified or unfit for the tasks assigned to them. benefits. Montes. Elvira Go Diamante. of determining regular employment is the reasonable connection between the particular activity performed by the employee in relation to the usual trade or business of the employer. 13 however. Edmund M. Isabel B. Jeanette Cervantes. Melody V. Pardo. 14 in which this Court held: The primary standard. Without a doubt. David. the employees thereby became regular employees. With the exception of sixteen of them. Gruela. these facts show that they were qualified to perform the responsibilities of their positions. More important. and while such activity exist. 7277 (the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons). That. but only with respect to such activity. Jeannie Ramil. which provides: Art. the task of counting and sorting bills is necessary and desirable to the business of respondent bank. Cortez." 15 The contract signed by petitioners is akin to a probationary employment. When the bank renewed the contract after the lapse of the six-month probationary period. Rozaida Pascual. The employment agreement shall be subject to inspection by the Secretary of Labor or his duly authorized representatives. Also if the employee has been performing the job for at least one year.. shall be considered as regular employee with respect to the activity in which he is employed and his employment shall continue while such activity exists. Violeta G. A qualified disabled employee shall be subject to the same terms and conditions of employment and the same compensation. engagement of the employee or where the work or services to be performed is seasonal in nature and the employment is for the duration of the season. . Since the Magna Carta accords them the rights of qualified able-bodied persons. The connection can be determined by considering the nature of the work performed and its relation to the scheme of the particular business or trade in its entirety. Equal Opportunity for Employment. two of them worked from 1988 to 1993. petitioners performed these tasks for more than six months. Thelma Sebastian. In this light. "Articles 280 and 281 of the Labor Code put an end to the pernicious practice of making permanent casuals of our lowly employees by the simple expedient of extending to them probationary appointments. therefore. during which the bank determined the employees' fitness for the job. As held by the Court. NLRC. an employment shall be deemed to be regular where the employee has been engaged to perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer. Succeeding events and the enactment of RA No. the renewal of the contracts of the handicapped workers and the hiring of others lead to the conclusion that their tasks were beneficial and necessary to the bank. Agero. Thus. Margaret Cecilia Canoza. Ligutan Jr. David P. Ma. Sales. (d) The work to be performed by handicapped workers. they are thus covered by Article 280 of the Labor Code. incentives or allowances as a qualified able bodied person. Pascual. (c) The duration of employment period. Regular and Casual Employment. In fact. justify the application of Article 280 of the Labor Code. Respondent bank entered into the aforesaid contract with a total of 56 handicapped workers and renewed the contracts of 37 of them. whether such service is continuous or broken. Concepcion. Albert Hallare. Jose E. The test is whether the former is usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer. Bernadeth D. The stipulations in the employment contracts indubitably conform with the aforecited provision. and An employment shall be deemed to be casual if it is not covered by the preceding paragraph: Provided. the law deems repeated and continuing need for its performance as sufficient evidence of the necessity if not indispensibility of that activity to the business. In other words. Agdon. The fact that the employees were qualified disabled persons necessarily removes the employment contracts from the ambit of Article 80. any employee who has rendered at least one year of service. Rebecca E. — The provisions of written agreement to the contrary notwithstanding and regardless of the oral agreement of the parties. Joselito O. Albino Tecson. 280. Ma. privileges. Marmolejo. the following twenty-seven petitioners should be deemed regular employees: Marites Bernardo. Cortez. the employment is considered regular. 16 No employer is allowed to determine indefinitely the fitness of its employees. 5. Raquel Estiller. — No disabled person shall be denied access to opportunities for suitable employment. Verily. Elizabeth Ventura and Grace S.(b) The rate to be paid the handicapped workers which shall be not less than seventy five (75%) per cent of the applicable legal minimum wage.

In this light. The term limit in the contract was premised on the fact that the petitioners were disabled. the bank adds." 23 Clearly. the agreement of the parties regarding the period of employment cannot prevail over the provisions of the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons. Because respondent failed to show such cause. an employee is regular because of the nature of work and the length of service. the twenty-seven petitioners are entitled to security of tenure. The wellsettled rule is that the character of employment is determined not by stipulations in the contract. 25 the Court held that "the determination of whether employment is casual or regular does not depend on the will or word of the employer. not because of the mode or even the reason for hiring them. 280 was emplaced in our statute books to prevent the circumvention of the employee's right to be secure in his tenure by indiscriminately and completely ruling out all written and oral agreements inconsistent with the concept of regular employment defined therein. to 5:00 p. Equally unavailing are private respondent's arguments that it did not go out of its way to recruit petitioners. . we are not persuaded. their services may be terminated only for a just or authorized cause. Zamora 21 in which the Court upheld the validity of an employment contract with a fixed term. This excuse cannot justify the termination of their employment. Thus. which mandate that petitioners must be treated as qualified able-bodied employees.m. and to some extent. 18 petitioners are hereby awarded separation pay in lieu of reinstatement. NLRC: 27 Art. Datu v. Because the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) required that cash in the bank be turned over to the BSP during business hours from 8:00 a. As reaffirmed in subsequent cases. and that the bank had to determine their fitness for the position. But this Court went on to say that where from the circumstances it is apparent that the periods have been imposed to preclude acquisition of tenurial security by the employee. but on the nature of the activities performed by the employee. it reasons that this task "could not be done by deaf mutes because of their physical limitations as it is very risky for them to travel at night. 20 Because the other sixteen worked only for six months. NLRC. T. xxx xxx xxx At this juncture. Indeed. Zamora proves instructive. was a glaring instance of the very mischief sought to be addressed by the new law. they should be struck down or disregarded as contrary to public policy and morals. and the procedure of hiring . Still. Moreover. Where an employee has been engaged to perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business of the employer. are entitled to terms and conditions of employment enjoyed by qualified able-bodied individuals.As regular employees. As earlier noted. In fact. 22 Provisions of applicable statutes are deemed written into the contract. It adds that the petitioners had in fact an advantage. its validity is based on Article 80 of the Labor Code. hence." 24 We find no basis for this argument. Respondent's reason for terminating the employment of petitioners is instructive. and that its plantilla did not contain their positions. it must be emphasized that a contract of employment is impressed with public interest. In L. It ruled that the decisive determinant in "term employment" should not be the activities that the employee is called upon to perform but the day certain agreed upon the parties for the commencement and termination of their employment relationship. 26 Otherwise. Other Grounds Cited by Respondent Respondent argues that petitioners were merely "accommodated" employees. Article 80 does not apply because petitioners are qualified for their positions. they are not deemed regular employees and hence not entitled to the same benefits. the leading case of Brent School.. 17 these twenty-seven petitioners are deemed illegally dismissed and therefore entitled to back wages and reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and other privileges. We are not persuaded. such employee is deemed a regular employee and is entitled to security of tenure notwithstanding the contrary provisions of his contract of employment. respondent resorted to nighttime sorting and counting of money. Inc. . imposed by reason of their disability. they agreed with the stipulation in the contract regarding this point. argues that the parties entered into the contract on equal footing. This fact does not change the nature of their employment. 18 Considering the allegation of respondent that the job of money sorting is no longer available because it has been assigned back to the tellers to whom it originally belonged. Applicability of the Brent Ruling Respondent bank. Travelling at night involves risks to handicapped and able-bodied persons alike. v. that is. But as noted earlier. the length of performance and its continued existence. under the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons. we iterate our ruling in Romares v. no employee can become regular by the simple expedient of incorporating this condition in the contract of employment. citing Brent School v. The validation of the limit imposed on their contracts. because they were backed by then DSWD Secretary Mita Pardo de Tavera and Representative Arturo Borjal. and the "parties are not at liberty to insulate themselves and their relationships from the impact of labor laws and regulations by simply contracting with each other. . but by the nature of the work performed. this Court has upheld the legality of fixed-term employment.m." Private respondent argues that the petitioners were informed from the start that they could not become regular employees. petitioners proved themselves to be qualified disabled persons who.

Albino Tecson.. Cynthia de Vera. No. but on justice and the equal treatment of qualifiedpersons. Jeannie Ramil. within fifteen days from the finality of this Decision. No costs. Elvira Go Diamante. we note the Office of the Solicitor General's prayer joining the petitioners' cause. premises considered. Rebecca E. namely. Bernadeth D. Lani R. Agero. The noble objectives of Magna Carta for Disabled Persons are not based merely on charity or accommodation. concur. Cortez.In rendering this Decision. they should be treated and granted the same rights like any other regular employees. Edmund M. Albert Hallare. Rozaida Pascual. Respondent Far East Bank and Trust Company is hereby ORDERED to pay back wages and separation pay to each of the following twenty-seven (27) petitioners. Jeanette Cervantes. Melody V. JJ. but also the concern of the State for the plight of the disabled. after showing their fitness for the work assigned to them. David. Margaret Cecilia Canoza. simply because they are physically impaired? The Court believes. 114337 September 29. Isabel B. Marmolejo. Concepcion. George P. Violeta G. Raquel Estiller.R. In this light. the Petition is hereby GRANTED. Agdon. Romero. pursuant to existing laws and regulations. G..nêt SO ORDERED. Sales. Cortez. Vitug. Gruela. disabled or not. the handicap of petitioners (deaf-mutes) is not a hindrance to their work. The eloquent proof of this statement is the repeated renewal of their employment contracts. The June 20. Liliberh Q. Isabel Mamauag. 1995 Resolution of the NLRC are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Marites Bernardo. 28 WHEREFORE. Ma. Montes. Jose E. Pascual. In the present case. 1995 Decision and the August 4.1âwphi1. Purisima and Gonzaga-Reyes. Elizabeth Ventura and Grace S. David P. that. Why then should they be dismissed. Pardo. Pinky Baloloa. Joselito O. Ma. the Court emphasizes not only the constitutional bias in favor of the working class. Ligutan Jr. 1995 . Thelma Sebastian. The NLRC is hereby directed to compute the exact amount due each of said employees.

1990. molder and core maker as evidenced by an apprenticeship agreement 2 for a period of six (6) months from May 28.04 Bibigyan siya ng kompanya ng Siyam na araw na libreng sahod hanggang matanggal ang tahi ng kanyang kamay. At around 1:00 p. 1990 private respondent executed a Quitclaim and Release in favor of petitioner for and in consideration of the sum of P1.NITTO ENTERPRISES. which reversed the decision of the Labor Arbiter. or on August 6.m. KAPUNAN. 1990 Wala siyang tanggap ng utos mula sa superbisor at wala siyang experiensa kung papaano gamitin and "TOOL" sa pagbuhat ng salamin. a company engaged in the sale of glass and aluminum products. Roberto Capili who was handling a piece of glass which he was working on. the termination is valid and for cause. 1990 to November 28. The following day. and the money claims dismissed for lack of merit. The dispositive portion of the ruling reads: WHEREFORE. 1990. petitioner. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and ROBERTO CAPILI. On October 9. Ang kompanya ang magbabayad ng lahat ng gastos pagtanggal ng tahi ng kanyang kamay. There. 1990. after office hours. J. Naiintindihan ko ang lahat ng nakasulat sa itaas. kasama ng kanyang comfirmasyon at pag-ayon na ang lahat sa itaas ay totoo. National Capital Region a complaint for illegal dismissal and payment of other monetary benefits. sarili niyang desisyon ang paggamit ng tool at may disgrasya at nadamay pa ang isang sekretarya ng kompanya. 4 Three days after.04 to cover the medication of private respondent.75 which was 75% of the applicable minimum wage. the facts of the case are as follows: Petitioner Nitto Enterprises.: This petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court seeking to annul the decision 1 rendered by public respondent National Labor Relations Commission. Briefly. (Sgd. SO ORDERED. Sa araw ding ito limang (5) minute ang nakakalipas mula alas-singko ng hapon siya ay pumasok sa shop na hindi naman sakop ng kanyang trabaho.00 as financial assistance. he operated one of the power press machines without authority and in the process injured his left thumb. accidentally hit and injured the leg of an office secretary who was treated at a nearby hospital.79. Tatanggapin niya ang sahod niyang anim na araw. The respondent however is ordered to pay the complainant the amount of P500. Petitioner spent the amount of P1.023. private respondent formally filed before the NLRC Arbitration Branch. pagkatapos ng siyam na araw mula ika-2 ng Agosto. 5 . premises considered. at ang lahat ng ito ay aking pagkakasala sa hindi pagsunod sa alintuntunin ng kompanya. Nakagastos ang kompanya ng mga sumusunod: Sa lahat ng nakasulat sa itaas. the Labor Arbiter rendered his decision finding the termination of private respondent as valid and dismissing the money claim for lack of merit. of August 2. private respondent entered a workshop within the office premises which was not his work station.) Roberto Capili Roberto Capili On August 3. 1990 with a daily wage rate of P66. hinihingi ng kompanya ang kanyang resignasyon. hired Roberto Capili sometime in May 1990 as an apprentice machinist. Later that same day. Roberto Capili was asked to resign in a letter 3 which reads: August 2. Emergency and doctor fee P715. vs. mula ika-30 ng Hulyo at ika-4 ng Agosto.912. 1991. Pinakialaman at kinalikot ang makina at nadisgrasya niya ang kanyang sariling kamay.00 Medecines (sic) and others 317. respondents.

1993. which reads: I WHETHER OR NOT PUBLIC RESPONDENT NLRC COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN HOLDING THAT PRIVATE RESPONDENT WAS NOT AN APPRENTICE. l 74 Araneta Avenue. Labor Arbiter Libo-on called for a conference at which only private respondent's representative was present. the appealed decision is hereby set aside. We find no merit in the petition. 1990. 6 On July 26.Labor Arbiter Patricio P. we cannot understand how an apprenticeship agreement filed with the Department of Labor only on June 7.R. private respondent had shown that "he does not have the proper attitude in employment particularly the handling of machines without authority and proper training. who thus enjoyed the security of tenure guaranteed in Section 3. Hence. (G. therefore. finding merit in [private respondent's] Motion for Issuance of the Writ. and turn over such amount to this Office for proper disposition. 227(b) and as ruled in Edwin Gesulgon vs. a Writ of Execution was issued. we cannot but rule that the complainant was illegally dismissed. the instant petition — for certiorari. You are also to collect the amount of P122. Second.1990. Feliciano. March 5. 1994. Clearly. The Arbiter of origin is hereby directed to further hear complainant's money claims and to dispose them on the basis of law and evidence obtaining. THEREFORE. 1993. you are hereby commanded to proceed to the premises of [petitioner] Nitto Enterprises and Jovy Foster located at No. NOW. the National Labor Relations Commission issued an order reversing the decision of the Labor Arbiter. First. as early as May 28. 3rd Div. Portero.) to prove that the dismissal of complainant was for a valid cause. NLRC. SO ORDERED. 1990 could be validly used by the Labor Arbiter as basis to conclude that the complainant was hired by respondent as a plain "apprentice" on May 28. Petitioner further insists that the mere signing of the apprenticeship agreement already established an employer-apprentice relationship. Absent such proof. 8 On January 28.690. J. private respondent who was hired as an apprentice violated the terms of their agreement when he acted with gross negligence resulting in the injury not only to himself but also to his fellow worker. 90349. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but the same was denied. Petitioner assails the NLRC's finding that private respondent Roberto Capili cannot plainly be considered an apprentice since no apprenticeship program had yet been filed and approved at the time the agreement was executed. Malabon. On April 22. pursuant to Art.85 representing his backwages as called for in the dispositive portion. . Metro Manila or at any other places where their properties are located and effect the reinstatement of herein [private respondent] to his work last performed or at the option of the respondent by payroll reinstatement. II WHETHER OR NOT PUBLIC RESPONDENT NLRC COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN HOLDING THAT PETITIONER HAD NOT ADEQUATELY PROVEN THE EXISTENCE OF A VALID CAUSE IN TERMINATING THE SERVICE OF PRIVATE RESPONDENT. The respondent is hereby directed to reinstate complainant to his work last performed with backwages computed from the time his wages were withheld up to the time he is actually reinstated. No. et al. The complainant being for illegal dismissal (among others) it then behooves upon respondent.. Libo-on gave two reasons for ruling that the dismissal of Roberto Capilian was valid. 1994. the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. Article XIII of our 1987 Constitution. 7 The issues raised before us are the following: The NLRC declared that private respondent was a regular employee of petitioner by ruling thus: As correctly pointed out by the complainant. the complainant was respondent's regular employee under Article 280 of the Labor Code.

The law is clear on this matter. the apprenticeship agreement was enforced the day it was signed. (Emphasis supplied) and pursuant to the constitutional mandate to "protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare. may be entered into only in accordance with apprenticeship program duly approved by the Minister of Labor and Employment. Petitioner further argues that. Based on the evidence before us. must be complied with. if he so desires.Petitioner's argument is erroneous. the dismissal becomes void. since the apprenticeship agreement between petitioner and private respondent has no force and effect in the absence of a valid apprenticeship program duly approved by the DOLE. However. except where the employment has been fixed for a specific project or undertaking the completion or termination of which has been determined at the time of the engagement of the employee or where the work or services to be performed is seasonal in nature and the employment is for the duration of the season. 1990 allegedly employing the latter as an apprentice in the trade of "care maker/molder. including the main rates of apprentices. 11 . an employment shall be deemed to be regular where the employee has been engaged to perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer. The period of apprenticeship shall not exceed six months." To translate such objectives into existence. The twin requirements of notice and hearing constitute the essential elements of due process. petitioner did not comply with the requirements of the law. whether such service is continuous or broken. before valid dismissal exists. any employee who has rendered at least one year of service. there is a valid cause for the dismissal of private respondent. the apprenticeship agreement between petitioner and private respondent was executed on May 28. shall conform to the rules issued by the Minister of Labor and Employment. Article 57 of the Labor Code provides that the State aims to "establish a national apprenticeship program through the participation of employers. It is mandated that apprenticeship agreements entered into by the employer and apprentice shall be entered only in accordance with the apprenticeship program duly approved by the Minister of Labor and Employment. Apprenticeship agreements providing for wage rates below the legal minimum wage." 9 Prior approval by the Department of Labor and Employment of the proposed apprenticeship program is. There is an abundance of cases wherein the Court ruled that the twin requirements of due process. a condition sine quo non before an apprenticeship agreement can be validly entered into. Article 61 of the Labor Code provides: Contents of apprenticeship agreement. shall be considered a regular employee with respect to the activity in which he is employed and his employment shall continue while such activity exists. 1990. 10 Without which. prior approval of the DOLE to any apprenticeship program has to be secured as a condition sine qua non before any such apprenticeship agreement can be fully enforced." On the same date. The Ministry shall develop standard model programs of apprenticeship. which in no case shall start below 75% per cent of the applicable minimum wage. — The provisions of written agreement to the contrary notwithstanding and regardless of the oral agreement of the parties. — Apprenticeship agreements. (emphasis supplied) In the case at bench. the apprenticeship Agreement was filed only on June 7. The role of the DOLE in apprenticeship programs and agreements cannot be debased. therefore. Regular and Casual Employment. This simply means that the employer shall afford the worker ample opportunity to be heard and to defend himself with the assistance of his representative. Hence. An employment shall be deemed to be casual if it is not covered by the preceding paragraph:Provided. He should rightly be considered as a regular employee of petitioner as defined by Article 280 of the Labor Code: Art. workers and government and non-government agencies" and "to establish apprenticeship standards for the protection of apprentices. Ample opportunity connotes every kind of assistance that management must accord the employee to enable him to prepare adequately for his defense including legal representation. substantive and procedural. 280. The act of filing the proposed apprenticeship program with the Department of Labor and Employment is a preliminary step towards its final approval and does not instantaneously give rise to an employer-apprentice relationship. That. Notwithstanding the absence of approval by the Department of Labor and Employment. an apprenticeship program was prepared by petitioner and submitted to the Department of Labor and Employment. private respondent's assertion that he was hired not as an apprentice but as a delivery boy ("kargador" or "pahinante") deserves credence.

Ruffy vs. Private respondent averred that he was actually employed by petitioner as a delivery boy ("kargador" or "pahinante"). in the absence of which. NLRC: 12 The law requires that the employer must furnish the worker sought to be dismissed with two (2) written notices before termination of employee can be legally effected: (1) notice which apprises the employee of the particular acts or omissions for which his dismissal is sought. NLRC. WHEREFORE. SO ORDERED. Inc. Rules and Regulations Implementing the Labor Code as amended). and (2) the subsequent notice which informs the employee of the employer's decision to dismiss him (Sec. 182 SCRA 365 [1990]).As held in the case of Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. NLRC. He further asserted that petitioner "strong-armed" him into signing the aforementioned resignation letter and quitclaim without explaining to him the contents thereof. finding no abuse of discretion committed by public respondent National Labor Relations Commission. 185 SCRA 498 [1990]. Jr. Book V. This procedure is mandatory. 168 SCRA 122. 13 Petitioner cannot disguise the summary dismissal of private respondent by orchestrating the latter's alleged resignation and subsequent execution of a Quitclaim and Release. NLRC. The fact is private respondent filed a case of illegal dismissal with the Labor Arbiter only three days after he was made to sign a Quitclaim. Sec. the appealed decision is hereby AFFIRMED. BP 130.. he did not have a choice. v. any judgment reached by management is void and in existent (Tingson. 2-6 Rule XIV. vs. a clear indication that such resignation was not voluntary and deliberate. A judicious examination of both events belies any spontaneity on private respondent's part. . Petitioner made it clear to him that anyway. vs. Failure to comply with the requirements taints the dismissal with illegality. National Service Corp. 13.