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CocaColaBottlersPhilippines,Inc.Vs.

IlocosProfessionalandTechnicalEmployersUnion(IPTEU)
G.R.No.193798
September9,2015
PERALTA,J.
FACTS:
1. OnJuly9,2007,IlocosProfessionalandTechnicalEmployeesUnion(IPTEU)filedaverifiedPetition
forcertificationelectionseekingtorepresentabargainingunitconsistingofapproximatelytwentytwo
(22) rankandfile professional and technical employees of CocaCola Bottlers Philippines, Inc.
(CCBPI)IlocosNortePlant.
2. CCBPIprayedforthedenialanddismissalofthepetition,arguingthattheSalesLogisticsCoordinator
andMaintenanceForemanaresupervisoryemployees,whiletheeight(8)FinancialAnalysts,five(5)
QualityAssuranceSpecialists,MaintenanceManagerSecretary,TradePromotionsandMerchandising
Assistant(TPMA),TradeAssetControllerandMaintenanceCoordinator(TACMC),SalesInformation
Analyst(SIA),SalesLogisticsAssistant,ProductSupplyCoordinator,Buyer,InventoryPlanner,and
InventoryAnalystareconfidentialemployees;hence,ineligibleforinclusionasmembersofIPTEU.
3. Convincedthattheunionmembersarerankandfileemployeesandnotoccupyingpositionsthatare
supervisory or confidential in nature, MediatorArbiter Florence Marie A. GacadUlep granted
IPTEUSpetition.
4. In the Preelection Conference, CCBPI and IPTEU mutually agreed to conduct the certification
electiononSeptember21,2007.Onelectionday,onlysixteen(16)ofthetwentytwo(22)employees
intheIPTEUlistvoted.However,novoteswerecanvassed.CCBPIfiledandregisteredaProtest
questioningtheconductandmechanicsoftheelectionandaChallengetoVotesonthegroundthatthe
votersaresupervisoryandconfidentialemployees.
5. Byagreement,thepartiesmetfortheopeningandcountingofthechallengedvotes.CCBPIfileda
motionfor inhibition,which the MediatorArbiter verbally denied onthe grounds that it was not
verifiedandwouldcauseunduedelayontheproceedingsastherearenootherMediatorsArbitersin
theRegion.Thepartieswereinformedthattheiragreementtohavetheballotsopenedcouldnotbind
theMediatorArbiter.Instead,theyweredirectedtosubmitadditionalevidencethatwouldaidinthe
resolutionofthechallengedvotes.
6. TheMediatorArbiterdeniedCCBPIschallengetothe16votes.Shefoundthatthevotersarerank
andfileemployeesholdingpositionsthatarenotconfidentialinnature.Consequently,thechallenged
voteswereopenedandcanvassed.Aftergarnering14outofthe16votescast,IPTEUwasproclaimed
asthesoleandexclusivebargainingagentoftherankandfileexemptworkersinCCBPIIlocosNorte
Plant.
7. CCBPIelevatedthecasetotheSOLEarguing,amongothers,thattheHonorablepublicappelleeerred
indenyingthechallengetothesixteen(16)actualvoters,andsubsequentlydeclaringthatprivate
appelleeisthesoleandexclusivebargainingagentoftherankandfileexemptemployees.
8. TheappealofCCBPIwasdenied. TheSOLEheldthatevenifthe16challengedvotersmayhave
accesstoinformationwhichareconfidentialfromthebusinessstandpoint,theexerciseoftheirrightto
selforganizationcouldnotbedefeatedbecausetheircommonfunctionsdonotshowthatthereexista
confidentialrelationshipwithintherealmoflaborrelations.
9. CCBPIfiledbeforetheCAapetitionforcertiorari.Itreiterated,amongothers,thatthesixteen(16)
voters are not eligible for Union membership because they are confidential employees occupying
confidentialpositions.
10. TheCAdeniedthepetition.CCBPIfiledamotionforreconsideration,whichwasalsodenied;hence,
thispetition.
ISSUE: Whetherornotthe16voterssoughttobeexcludedfromtheappropriatebargainingunitare
confidentialemployees.

HELD: No,theyarenotconfidentialemployees. Thepetitionisunmeritorious.Astowhetherthe16


voterssoughttobeexcludedfromtheappropriatebargainingunitareconfidentialemployees,suchqueryis
aquestionoffact,whichisnotaproperissueinapetitionforreviewunderRule45oftheRules.This
holdsmoretrueinthepresentcaseinviewoftheconsistentfindingsoftheMediatorArbiter,theSOLE,
andtheCA.
ThedeterminationoffactualissuesisvestedintheMediatorArbiterandtheDepartmentofLaborand
Employment.Pursuanttothedoctrineofprimaryjurisdiction,theCourtshouldrefrainfromresolvingsuch
controversies unless the case falls under recognized and wellestablished exceptions. The doctrine of
primaryjurisdictiondoesnotwarrantacourttoarrogateuntoitselftheauthoritytoresolveacontroversy
thejurisdictionoverwhichisinitiallylodgedwithanadministrativebodyofspecialcompetence.
Inthiscase,organizationalcharts,detailedjobdescriptions,andtrainingprogramswerepresented
byCCBPIbeforetheMediatorArbiter,theSOLE,andtheCA.Despitethese,theMediatorArbiter
ruled that employees who encounter or handle trade secrets and financial information are not
automatically classified as confidential employees. It was admitted that the subject employees
encounterandhandlefinancialaswellasphysicalproductiondataandotherinformationwhichare
consideredvitalandimportantfromthebusinessoperationsstandpoint.Nevertheless,itwasopined
that such information is not the kind of information that is relevant to collective bargaining
negotiations and settlement of grievances as would classify them as confidential employees. The
SOLE, which the CA affirmed, likewise held that the questioned voters do not have access to
confidentiallaborrelationsinformation.
TheSCdeferstothefindingsoffactoftheMediatorArbiter,theSOLE,andtheCA.Certainly,
accesstovitallaborinformationistheimperativeconsideration.Anemployeemustassistoractina
confidential capacity and obtain confidential information relating to labor relations policies.
Exposuretointernalbusinessoperationsofthecompanyisnotperseagroundfortheexclusionin
thebargainingunit.
WHEREFORE,premisesconsidered,thepetitionisDENIED.
Note: There is no discussion on the petitioners argument that some of the voters are supervisory
employees.Itseemsthattheydroppedthisdefenseandsticktotheirotherargumentthatthechallenged
votersareconfidentialemployees,ascanbegleanedintheappealssubsequentlyfiled.