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123BLUESKYTRADINGCOMPANY,INC.

and/orJOSE
TANTIANSUandLINDATANTIANSU,Petitioners,vs.
ARLENEP.BLASandJOSEPHD.SILVANO,Respondents
[G.R.No.190559;March7,2012]
TOPIC:Preventivesuspension
PONENTE:REYES,

AUTHOR:
NOTES:(ifapplicable)

J.

FACTS:(chronologicalorder)
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PetitionerBlueSkyTradingCompany,Inc.(BlueSky)isadulyregistereddomesticcorporationengagedintheimportationand
saleofmedicalsuppliesandequipment.PetitionerJoseG.Tantiansu,Jr.(Jose)isBlueSky'svicepresidentforoperationswhile
petitionerLindaG.Tantiansu(Linda)isitsassistantcorporatesecretary.TherespondentsArleneP.Blas(Arlene)andJosephD.
Silvano(Joseph)wereregularemployeesofBlueSkyandtheyrespectivelyheldthepositionsofstockclerkandwarehousehelper
beforetheyweredismissedfromservice.
LornaN.Manalastas(Lorna),BlueSky'swarehousesupervisor,wroteJoseamemoranduminformingthelatterthatsixpairsof
intensifyingscreensweremissing.LornalikewisestatedthatwhenacertainBoyconductedaninventory,thescreenswerestill
completelyaccountedfor.
HelarioAdonis,Jr.(Helario),warehousepersonnel,wassummonedbyLinda,Jose'swifeAliceTantiansu,andhumanresources
departmentheadJeanB.DeLaPaz(Jean).Helariowasaskedtoadmithisparticipationinthetheftofthemissingscreens.While
hewasofferedtobepaidaseparationpayifhewouldconfesscomplicitywiththeallegedtheft,hepleadedutterinnocence.
JeannotifiedHelarioofhisterminationfromserviceonthegroundofhisfailuretoproperlyaccountforandmaintainabalanceof
thecompany'sstockinventories,hence,resultinginBlueSky'slossoftrustandconfidenceinhim.Thedayafter,BlueSky
promptlyfiledwiththeDepartmentofLaborandEmployment(DOLE)anestablishmentterminationreportindicatingtherein
Helario'sdismissalfromserviceforcause.
Jeanissuednoticestoexplain/preventivesuspensiontoArlene,Joseph,deliverypersonnelJaydeTanoan(Jayde)andmaintenance
personnel/driverWilfredoFasonilao(Wilfredo).Thenoticesinformedthemthattheywerebeingaccusedofgrossdishonestyin
connectionwiththeirallegedparticipationinandconspiracywithotheremployeesincommittingtheftagainstcompanyproperty,
specificallyrelativetothelossofthesixintensifyingscreens.Theywereplacedunderpreventivesuspensionpendinginvestigation
andwerethusrequiredtofiletheirwrittenexplanationswithin48hoursfromreceiptofthenotices.
ArlenesubmittedtoJeanahandwrittenmemorandumdenyingknowledgeorcomplicitywiththetheftoftheintensifyingscreens.
Joseph,JaydeandWilfredoalsofiledtheirwrittenexplanationsdenyinganyinvolvement inthetheftwhichtookplaceand
professingtheirdedicationandloyaltytoBlueSky.
OnFebruary5,2005,JeanissuedtoArlene,Joseph,JaydeandWilfredonoticesofdismissalforcausestatingthereinthatevidence
thattheyhadconspiredwitheachothertocommittheftagainstcompanypropertywastooglaringtoignore. BlueSkyhadlostits
trustandconfidenceonthemandasanactofselfpreservation,theirterminationfromservicewasinorder.
BlueSkyfiledwiththeDOLEanestablishmentterminationreportstatingthereinthedismissalofArlene,Joseph,Jaydeand
Wilfredo.Arlene,Joseph,Helario,JaydeandWilfredofiledwiththeNationalLaborRelationsCommission(NLRC)acomplaint
forillegaldismissalandsuspension,underpaymentofovertimepay,andnonpaymentofemergencycostoflivingallowance
(ECOLA),withprayersforreinstatementandpaymentoffullbackwages.
Meanwhile, an entrapment operation was conducted by the police during which Jayde and Helario were caught allegedly
attemptingtoselltoanoperativeanultrasoundprobewortharoundP400,000.00belongingtoBlueSky.QuezonCityInquest
ProsecutorArleenTagabanissuedaresolutionrecommendingthefilingincourtofcriminalchargesagainstJaydeandHelario.
Before the complaint which was filed with the NLRC can be resolved, Helario, Jayde and Wilfredo executed affidavits of
desistance[16]statingthereinthattheirterminationbyBlueSkywasforcauseandafterobservanceofdueprocess.
LA:LaborArbiterDemaisipdismissedthecomplaintrelativetoHelario,JaydeandWilfredoasaconsequenceoftheirfilingof
theaffidavitsofdesistance.AstoArleneandJoseph,LADemaisipdeniedtheirclaimsofillegalsuspensionanddismissal.Indeed,
thefunctionsofthetwoconsistingofremoving,storing,furnishing,monitoringandgainingingresstoandegressfromthe
"bodega",wherethe"stocks"orsuppliesarekept,involvedtrustandconfidence.Article282oftheLaborCodeallowsthe
employertoterminatetheservicesoftheemployees,amongothers,forbreachoftrustandconfidence.
NLRC:FoundthatArleneandJoseph,astockclerkandawarehousehelper,respectively,didnothaveunlimitedaccesstoor
custodyoverBlueSky'sproperty.
CA:FoundthatArleneandJosephexercisedcustodyovercompanyproperty.

ISSUE(S): WHETHERORNOTTHEEVIDENCEADDUCEDARESUFFICIENTTOESTABLISHTHECHARGESWHICH
WAS(sic)BASISFORTHELOSSOFTRUSTANDCONFIDENCEAGAINSTRESPONDENTS[]EMPLOYEES.
HELD:NO.

RATIO:

Theruleislongandwellsettledthat,inillegaldismissalcasesliketheoneatbench,theburdenofproofisupontheemployertoshow
thattheemployeesterminationfromserviceisforajustandvalidcause.Theemployerscasesucceedsorfailsonthestrengthofits
evidenceandnotontheweaknessofthatadducedbytheemployee,inkeepingwiththeprinciplethatthescalesofjusticeshouldbe
tiltedinfavorofthelatterincaseofdoubtintheevidencepresentedbythem.Oftendescribedasmorethanamerescintilla,the
quantumofproofissubstantialevidencewhichisunderstoodassuchrelevantevidenceasareasonablemindmightacceptasadequate
to support a conclusion, even if other equally reasonable minds might conceivably opine otherwise. Failure of the employer to
dischargetheforegoingonuswouldmeanthatthedismissalisnotjustifiedandthereforeillegal.
Fortheretobeavaliddismissalbasedonlossoftrustandconfidence,thebreachoftrustmustbewillful,meaningitmustbedone
intentionally,knowingly,andpurposely,withoutjustifiableexcuse.
Inthecaseatbar,theSupremeCourtagreedwiththepetitionersthatmeresubstantialevidenceandnotproofbeyondreasonabledoubt
isrequiredtojustifythedismissalfromserviceofanemployeechargedwiththeftofcompanyproperty.However,theCourtfoundno
errorintheCAsfindingsthatthepetitionershadnotadequatelyprovenbysubstantialevidencethatArleneandJosephindeed
participatedorcooperatedinthecommissionoftheftrelativetothesixmissingintensifyingscreenssoastojustifythelatters
terminationfromemploymentonthegroundoflossoftrustandconfidence.
TheSCobservedthatthenatureofArleneandJoseph'sregulardutieswhileunderBlueSky'semployandtheirspecificparticipationin
orknowledgeofthetheftoftheintensifyingscreensremainuncertain.Thus,whetherornotArleneandJosephhadactualcustodyover
companyproperty,weagreewiththeCAthatthepetitionershadfailedtoestablishbysubstantialevidencethechargeswhichledto
ArleneandJoseph'sdismissalfromservice.
Theemployerscasesucceedsorfailsonthestrengthofitsevidenceandnotontheweaknessofthatadducedbytheemployee,in
keepingwiththeprinciplethatthescalesofjusticeshouldbetiltedinfavorofthelatterincaseofdoubtintheevidencepresentedby
them.
NotwithstandingouraffirmationoftheCA'sfindingthatthepetitionershadfailedtodischargetheburdenofproofimposeduponthem
tojustifythedismissalofArleneandJoseph,wedeemitpropertomodifytheassaileddecisionandresolutioninthemannertobe
discussedhereunder.
BlueSkycommittednoimproprietyinimposingpreventivesuspensionagainstArleneandJosephpendinginvestigationofthe
theftallegedlycommittedagainstthecompany.
CASELAW/DOCTRINE:
DISSENTING/CONCURRINGOPINION(S):