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POLICE POWER OF THE STATE

ST. LUKE'S MEDICAL CENTER EMPLOYEE'S FOUNDATION AFW v. NLRC


G.R. No. 162053 March 7, 2007
AZCUNA, J.:

Procedural History:
This is a petition for review on certiorari the Decision of the Court of
Appeals affirming the decision rendered by the National Labor Relations
Commission (NLRC). The NLRC affirming the decision of Labor Arbiter
ordering the SLMC to pay Maribel Santos P115,500.00 representing her
separation pay.

Statement of Facts:
Congress passed and enacted Republic Act No. 7431 known as the
"Radiologic Technology Act of 1992." Said law requires that no person shall
practice or offer to practice as a radiology and/or x-ray technologist in the
Philippines without having obtained the proper certificate of registration from
the Board of Radiologic Technology. Petitioner Maribel Santos was hired as XRay Technician in the Radiology department of private respondent St. Luke's
Medical Center, Inc. (SLMC). Pursuant to RA 7431 the assistant Executive
Director-Ancillary Services and HR Director of private respondent SLMC
issued a final notice to all practitioners of Radiologic Technology to comply
with the requirement otherwise, the unlicensed employee will be transferred
to an area which does not require a license to practice if a slot is available.

The Director of the Institute of Radiology issued another memorandum


to petitioner Maribel S. Santos advising her that only a license can assure her
of her continued employment at the Institute of Radiology of the private
respondent SLMC and that the latter is giving her the last chance to take and

pass the forthcoming board examination scheduled in June 1998; otherwise,


private respondent SLMC shall be constrained to take action which may
include her separation from employment.On November 23, 1998, the
Director of the Institute of Radiology issued a notice to petitioner Maribel S.
Santos informing the latter that the management of private respondent
SLMC has approved her retirement in lieu of separation pay. SLMC issued a
"Notice of Separation from the Company" to petitioner Maribel S. Santos
effective December 30, 1998 in view of the latter's refusal to accept private
respondent SLMC's offer for early retirement.

Petitioner Maribel Santos files a complaint against private respondent


illegal dismissal and non-payment of salaries, allowances and other
monetary benefits. She further contends that her failure to pass the board
licensure exam for exam for X-ray technicians did not constitute just cause
for termination as it violated her constitutional right to security of tenure.
The appellate court finds this contention untenable, hence this petition for
certiorari.
Issue:
Whether or not the petitioner is legally dismissed pursuant to R.A.
7431 exercising police power of the State?

Answer:
Yes, the petitioner dismissal is valid due to her inability to secure a
certificate of registration from Board of Radiologic Technology.

Reasoning:
While the right of workers to security of tenure is guaranteed by the
Constitution, its exercise may be reasonably regulated pursuant to the police
power of the State to safeguard health, morals, peace, education, order,
safety, and the general welfare of the people. Consequently, persons who
desire to engage in the learned professions requiring scientific or technical

knowledge may be required to take an examination as a prerequisite to


engaging in their chosen careers. The state is justified in prescribing the
specific requirements for x-ray technicians and/or any other professions
connected with the health and safety of its citizens. Respondent being
engaged in the hospital and health care business, is a proper subject of the
cited law; thus, having in mind the legal requirements of these laws, the
latter cannot close its eyes and complainant private interest override public
interest. The law is clear that the Certificate of Registration cannot be
substituted by any other requirement to allow a person to practice as a
Radiologic Technologist and/or X-ray Technologist (Technician).

Holding:
The petition is denied for lack of merit and upholds the decision of
appellate court that Maribel Santos is legally dismissed pursuant R.A 7431
and ordered the respondent to pay separation pay.