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9/28/2016

G.R. No. 74187

TodayisWednesday,September28,2016

RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila
FIRSTDIVISION
G.R.No.74187January28,1988
STANFORDMICROSYSTEMS,INC.,petitioner,
vs.
NATIONALLABORRELATIONSCOMMISSIONandHENRYTRINIO,respondents.

NARVASA,J.:
Thisspecialcivilactionofcertiorariconcernstheappropriatenessorcommensuratenessofthepenaltyimposedby
anemployeronanemployeefoundguilty,afterdueinvestigation,ofbreachesofcompanyregulations.
HenryTriniowasemployedbyStanfordMicrosystems,Inc.as"securitycoordinator,"toexercisesupervisionoverall
guardsassignedtosecurethelatter'spremisesbyanagencywithwhichStanfordhadasecurityagreement.
HewasdismissedfromemploymentonJuly12,1982,afteraninvestigationconductedbyStanfordestablishedthat
hehadcommittedseriousbreachesofcompanyrulesinthenightofJuly4,1982.Itappearsthatonthatnight,at
about11o'clock,Trinioallowedtwofemalesecurityguards,VickyMagalingandExcelsaMinatocomeinsidethe
SecurityOfficehecausedtheintroductionofintoxicatingliquorintothepremisesofwhichheimbibedheinvited
and allowed a guard on duty, Marcelino Medrana, to partake of the liquor when the latter entered the office and
thereafterhe,amarriedman,hadsexualintercoursewithGuardMina,amarriedwoman,ontopofthedeskofthe
SecurityHead,whileMagalingpretendedtobeasleepduringallthetimethatthelustfulactwascommencedand
consummated.
Professinginnocence,TriniolostnotimeinhalinghisemployerbeforetheMinistryofLaborandEmployment.He
filed a complaint for unfair labor practice and illegal dismissal against Stanford on July 16, 1982. After due
proceedings,judgmentwasrenderedthereonbytheLaborArbiteronSeptember30,1983,asfollows:
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the charge of unfair labor practice is hereby dismissed for lack of
factualbasis.Asregardsthechargeofillegaldismissal,respondentexceededitsdisciplinaryauthority
whenitterminatedtheservicesofcomplainant.Inaccordancewititsrules,ameresuspensionshould
issueandthatsuspensionshouldnotlastformorethanthirty(30)days.EffectiveAugust13,1982,the
suspension lapses and complainant becomes entitled to backwages and other fringe benefits
thereafter. The computation of said monetary award is hereby ordered until complainant is finally
reinstated.
Stanford seasonably brought the case to the National labor Relations Commission on appeal The Commission
howeverdeclinedtosustainStanford'scontentionthattheArbiterhadcommittedgraveabuseofdiscretioninruling
thatithad"exceededitsdisciplinaryauthoritywhenitterminated...(Trinio's)services"notwithstandingsaidArbiter's
ownfindingsthatTriniohadindeedcommittedseriousmisconductandviolationsofcompanyrulesandregulations,
including what he characterized as an act "repulsive to morality." By judgment dated March 10, 1986, the
Commission affirmed the Arbiter's direction for Trinio's reinstatement but modified the award of back wages by
limitingthesametotwo(2)years,withoutdeductionorqualificationofanykind.
In the special civil action of certiorari instituted by it in this Court, Stanford maintains that the NLRC was guilty of
graveabuseofdiscretioninaffirmingthedecisionoftheLaborArbiterinlightofthelatter'spatenterrors
(1) in ordering reinstatement of Trinio despite his factual finding that Trinio was guilty of serious misconduct and
otherinfringementsofCompanyrulesandregulationsand
(2) in holding the Company to be bound by its own rules and regulations prescribing penalties corresponding to
specificoffensesastoestoppedtodischargeanemployeeongroundsprovidedintheLaborCode.
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Thereismeritinthepetition,warrantingitsconcession.Thewritofcertiorariprayedforwillissue.
ThatthereissufficientevidenceprovingtheactsascribedtoTrinioisnotseriouslyindispute.Triniodidviolatehis
employer'srules:heallowedwomenintotheSecurityofficeheallowedliquortobebroughtinhedrankthatliquor
andinvitedanothersecurityguardtodrinkit,tooheandhisladyfriend,bothbeingmarriedbutnotoeachother,
satisfiedtheircarnalpassioninabusinessofficeandtheknownpresenceofanotherperson.Thislastactwas,tobe
sure,one"repulsivetomorality,"astheLaborArbiterhasputit.
Theissuedoesnottheretoforelieinthefacts,orthesufficiencyoftheevidenceinproofthereof.Theissueposed,
rather,iswhetherornotundertheestablishedfacts,thepenaltyofdismissal is merited, instead of merely that of
suspension for not more than 30 days which is what the company rules by their literal terms indicate. The
respondent Commission, in the Comment submitted in its behalf by the Solicitor General, concedes that the
formulationandpromulgationbyanemployerofrulesofconductanddisciplineforitsemployees,inclusiveofthose
deemedtoconstituteseriousmisconduct,cannotandshouldnotoperatetoaltogethernegatehisprerogativeand
responsibilitytodetermineanddeclarewhetherornotfactsnotexplicitlysetoutintherulesmayanddoconstitute
suchseriousmisconductastojustifythedismissaloftheemployeeortheimpositionofsanctionsheavierthanthose
specifically and expressly prescribed. The concession is dictated by logic otherwise, the rules, literally applied,
would result in absurdity: grave offenses, e.g., rape, would be penalized by mere suspension this, despite the
heavierpenaltyprovidedthereforbytheLaborCode,orotherwisedictatedbycommonsense.
ButsaidpublicrespondentwouldminimizethegravityofTrinio'sacts,bypointingoutthatthelatterwasonlyseento
bekissinghisladyfriendwhileembracinghertightly,andthattherewasnoclearshowingthathehadbeendrinking
to excess, and hence, the commensurate penalty for such "first offense" is not separation from employment but
suspensionandforfeitureofbackwages.Thepublicrespondenttheorizesthatwhileitwasintruthmoralitywrongfor
Trinio to have done what he did, it was not sufficient cause for the company to lose trust and confidence in him.
Implicitintheargumentistheacknowledgmentthatifthefactswerereallyasdescribedbytheemployer'sproofs
andasfoundbytheLaborArbiterthepenaltyofdismissalfromtheservicewouldbeotherwiseappropriate.
Theevidencehasbeenmisreadbypublicrespondent.TheevidencedoesestablishthecommissionbyTrinioofthe
acts with which he was charged: drinking liquor on company time in company premises openly and deliberately
sanctioningbreachofcompanyrulesbypersonsunderhissuperintendencepublicperformanceofadulterousactof
sexual intercourse on company time and in company premises. Here was no mere tolerance or disregard of
infringement of company rules for the enforcement of which Trinio was particularly charged, which would be bad
enough.Herewasanopeninvitationbyhimforotherstoviolatethoserules,andatransgressionevenbyhimof
thosesamerulesinamannerthatcouldnotbutexposehispersonaldepravity,andbetrayhiscontemptandscorn
ofthoserulesaswellasthelightnesswithwhichheheldtheresponsibilityentrustedtohimtoprotecthisemployer's
premise,chattels,interest,reputationandintegrity.Theoffensescannotbeexcuseduponapleaoftheirbeing"first
offenses,"orhavenotresultedinprejudicetothecompanyinanyway.Noemployermayrationallybeexpectedto
continue in employment a person whose lack of morals, respect and loyalty to his employer, regard for his
employer'srules,andappreciationofthedignityandresponsibilityofhisoffice,hassoplainlyandcompletelybeen
bared.
Thatthereshouldbeconcern,sympathy,andsolicitudefortherightsandwelfareoftheworkingclass,ismeetand
proper.Thatincontroversiesbetweenalaborerandhismaster,doubtsreasonablyarisingfromtheevidence,orin
theformer'sfavor,isnotanunreasonableorunfairrule.Butthatdisregardoftheemployer'sownrightsandinterests
canbejustifiedbythatconcernandsolicitudeisunjustandunacceptable.1
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the National Labor Relations Commission dated March 10, 1986 and that of the
LaborArbiterdatedSeptember30,1983areannulledandsetaside,andthecomplaintofHenryTrinioagainstthe
petitioner for unfair labor practice and illegal termination of employment, dismissed for lack of factual and legal
basis. The judgment is immediately executory, and no motion for extension of time to file a motion for
reconsiderationthereofwillbeentertained.
Teehankee,C.J.,Cruz,Paras*andGancayco.JJ.,concur

Footnotes
1UniversityoftheEastv.NLRC,140SCRA296,citingSanMiguelBreweryv.NLU,97Phil.379and
ElHogarFilipinov.BuildingEmployees,Inc.,107Phil.473EngineeringEquipment,Inc.v.NLRC,133
SCRA752,citingManilaTrading,etc.v.Phil.LaborUnion,71Phil.124,ElHogarFilipinov.Building
Employees,Inc.,supra,PALv.PALEA,57SCRA480NationalServiceCorp.v.Leogardo,130SCRA
502FederationofFreeFarmersv.CourtofAppeals,107SCRA352Caltex,Inc.v.Phil.Labor
Organization,CaltexChapter92Phil.1014,1018.
*DesignatedaSpecialMemberoftheFirstDivision.
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