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Elements and Penalty of Estafa by Means of Deceit

Republic of the Philippines


Supreme Court
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
LYZAH SY FRANCO,
Petitioner,

G.R. No. 171328

- versus PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,


Respondent.
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x
STEVE BESARIO,
Petitioner,

G.R. No. 171335


Present:

- versus -

CORONA, C. J., Chairperson,


VELASCO, JR.,
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,
DEL CASTILLO, and
PEREZ, JJ.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,


Promulgated:
Respondent.
February 16, 2011
x--------------------------------------------------------x

DECISION
DEL CASTILLO, J.:
In the prosecution for the crime of estafa committed under Article 315, paragraph
2(a) of the Revised Penal Code, there must be evidence of false representation or false
pretense on the part of the accused to prove reasonable doubt. In this case, the employees
act of soliciting a client despite previous knowledge of several complaints against his or
her employer for failure to deliver the motor vehicle that was the subject of the
agreement, is tantamount to misrepresentation.
Factual Antecedents

These petitions for review on certiorari impugn the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals
(CA) in CA-G.R. CR No. 27414 which affirmed with modifications the Decision[2] of the
Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 52, in Criminal Case No. 99-173688, convicting
petitioners Lyzah Sy Franco (Franco) and Steve Besario (Besario) of the crime of
Estafa. The Information filed against petitioners and their co-accused, Antonio Rule, Jr.
(Rule) and George Torres (Torres), contained the following accusatory allegations:
That on or about the first week of June 1998, in the City of Manila, Philippines,
the said accused, conspiring and confederating together and helping one another, did then
and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously defraud MA. LOURDES G. ANTONIO,
in the following manner, to wit: the said accused by means of false manifestations and
fraudulent representations which they made to said Ma. Lourdes G. Antonio, to the effect
that they are employees of FINAL ACCESS MARKETING, a business entity engaged
in the sale and financing of used or repossessed cars, and as such could process and
facilitate the sale of a Mazda car 323 bearing plate number PVB-999 worth P130,000.00
provided they be given the amount of P80,000.00 as down payment and by means of
other deceits of similar import, induced and succeeded in inducing the said Ma. Lourdes
G. Antonio to give and deliver as in fact she gave and delivered to herein accused the said
amount of P80,000.00, and accused knowing fully well that their manifestations and
representations were false and untrue and were made only to obtain the said amount
of P80,000.00 which amount once in their possession, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously misapply, misappropriate and convert the said amount
of P80,000.00 to their own personal use and benefit, to the damage and prejudice of said
MA. LOURDES G. ANTONIO in the aforesaid amount of P80,000.00 in its equivalent
amount to the Philippine Currency.
Contrary to law.[3]

During arraignment, petitioners entered separate pleas of not guilty. Rule and
Torres failed to appear and, to date, remain at large. After the termination of the pre-trial
conference, trial ensued.
The Version of the Prosecution
Ma. Lourdes G. Antonio (Lourdes) testified that petitioners swindled her. She claimed
that Franco was a friend of her niece and that she has known her for almost a year. In the
first week of June 1998, Franco came to her house and offered to assist her in purchasing
a used car. Franco introduced herself as Assistant Administrative Coordinator of Final
Access Marketing which was engaged in the sale and financing of second-hand and
repossessed vehicles. Franco gave her calling card after their conversation.
Lourdes was interested in the offer of Franco since she and her husband were actually
looking for a used car for their taxicab operation. She therefore contacted Franco to take
up her offer.
On June 26, 1998, Franco and Lourdes went to a showroom on Houston Street, San
Juan, Metro Manila, where Lourdesimmediately chose a blue Mazda 323 car with Plate
No. PVB No. 999 from those that were on display.

At around 7 oclock in the evening of July 2, 1998, Franco went to the house
of Lourdes and presented a sales proposal. She was with Besario and Rule, whom she
introduced as her superiors. Rule then made a presentation on the Mazda 323 car
informing Lourdes that she can buy it for P130,000.00 with a downpayment
of P80,000.00 and the balance to be paid in 12 equal monthly installments. Rule also
told Lourdes that the car would be delivered within three days from receipt of her money.
Lourdes agreed to pay the downpayment the following day. Before the petitioners
departed, Rule ordered Franco to sign the sales proposal as sales executive. Lourdes also
signed the document. Rule then issued a receipt dated July 3, 1998 and instructed Franco
and Besario to give it to Lourdes after receiving her downpayment upon their return on
the next day.
The following day, July 3, 1998, Franco and Besario returned to the house of Lourdes to
collect the downpayment ofP80,000.00. Besario received and counted the money and
handed it to Franco. After counting the money, Franco returned the same to Besario, who
put it inside the bag he was carrying. They gave to Lourdes the receipt dated July 3, 1998
that was signed by Rule. At the same time, they assured her that the car would be
delivered in three days.
The car, however, was not delivered as promised. Lourdes called up Final Access
Marketings office and was able to talk to the owner/manager, Torres, who assured her
that her downpayment would be refunded or that they would look for a replacement.
Meanwhile, Lourdes and her husband returned to the showroom on Houston Street, San
Juan, where they saw the Mazda car already clean. The security guard told them it was
ready for release in the afternoon.
When the car was still undelivered, Lourdes sought the aid of Hoy Gising, a television
show that broadcasts grievances of people against fraudulent schemes. During a visit to
the shows office, Lourdes learned that 12 other persons were victimized by the group of
petitioners.
Lourdes also met with Atty. Renz Jaime, legal counsel of Final Access Marketing, who
assured her that Final Access Marketing would return her money by August. When he
reneged on his promise, formal demand was made on him to settle the obligation of said
business enterprise.
Erlinda Acosta (Erlinda) was one of the alleged victims of petitioners whom Lourdes met
while airing her complaint in the television program Hoy Gising. Erlinda testified that
she was referred to Besario when she was looking for a second-hand vehicle. She went to
the office of Final Access Marketing in Timog Avenue, Quezon City, and was shown by
Besario several pictures of vehicles from which she chose a Mitsubishi Pajero.
On April 7, 1998, Erlinda and her son met Besario, Rule and their other companions in a
restaurant. They brought the vehicle Erlinda wanted to purchase and her son drove it for
a road test. Thereafter, she agreed to buy the vehicle for P600,000.00. She signed a
Vehicle Sales Proposal and handed to Rule a downpayment of US$3,000.00.

On April 20, 1998, Erlinda delivered to Besario and Rule a managers check in the
amount of P245,000.00 as payment for the entire balance. She was then assured that the
vehicle will be delivered a week later. However, Besario and Rule reneged on their
promise. Erlinda went to the office of Final Access Marketing and complained to Franco
but to no avail. Her motor vehicle was never delivered. Thus, she went to Hoy Gising.
Juanito Antonio corroborated the testimony of his wife, Lourdes. He was present when
petitioners Franco and Besario, together with Rule, went to their house in the evening of
July 2, 1998 with a written proposal for the sale of a vehicle. After his wife signed the
document, she gave a downpayment of P80,000.00. When the car was not delivered on
the date agreed upon, he and his wife went to the office of Final Access Marketing. Upon
their inquiries, the security guard on duty said that the car they purchased already had a
gate pass and would be delivered in the afternoon. However, the said vehicle was never
delivered to them.
The Version of the Petitioners
Franco denied involvement in the alleged conspiracy to commit estafa
against Lourdes. She alleged that it was Torres, the owner of Final Access Marketing,
who was the swindler. And like Lourdes, she was a victim in this case.
Franco claimed that petitioner Besario hired her as a clerk-typist. She was
promoted to the position of Assistant Administrative Coordinator and was authorized to
solicit clients for Final Access Marketing.
Franco learned from her sister that Lourdes wanted to purchase a second-hand
car. She went to see Lourdes and presented to the latter a list of repossessed vehicles. She
gave her calling card to Lourdes before they parted. Later on, Lourdescalled and visited
the office of Final Access Marketing, where Franco introduced Lourdes to Besario and
Rule.
Franco accompanied Lourdes to showrooms where the latter chose a blue Mazda
car with Plate No. PVB 999. Rule agreed to sell the car
to Lourdes for P130,000.00. Thus, on the evening of July 2, 1998, she, Besario and Rule
went to the house of Lourdes with a Vehicle Sales Proposal. Franco signed the document
without reading and understanding the same upon the insistence of Rule. Rule then
signed an official receipt and instructed Franco and Besario to return the next day to give
the same to Lourdes after collecting her downpayment. Lourdes was also assured that
the car would be delivered within three days from receipt of the downpayment.
On July 3, 1998, at around 10 a.m., Franco and Besario came back to collect the
downpayment. Lourdes gave her cash payment to Besario, who counted it. He gave said
cash to Franco, who counted it again. When the money was handed back to Besario, he
put it inside a black bag. Thereafter, Franco and Besario went to a restaurant to pick-up
Rule. They rode a taxi and proceeded to the house of Torres, but it was only Besario and
Rule who went inside. Franco went home without receiving a single centavo for her
transportation fare.

When the car was not delivered, Lourdes called Franco who in turn reminded her
boss to expedite its release. However, the continued failure to receive the vehicle
compelled Lourdes to report the incident to Hoy Gising. It was only during this period
that
Franco
learned
of
similar
complaints
from
other
customers. Thereafter, Lourdes called
her
intermittently
asking
for
a
reimbursement. However, the latter could not do anything since her employers no longer
reported to the office. Rule and Torres left Manila and went to Cebu. She was not aware
of their whereabouts at the time of her testimony.
On the other hand, Besario failed to attend several hearings. The notice to appear
and to present evidence sent to him was returned unserved since he moved to another
address without informing the trial court. Thus, upon motion of the prosecution, he was
declared to have waived his right to present evidence. The case was consequently
submitted for decision.
The Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
On October 23, 2001, the trial court rendered its Decision finding petitioners guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of estafa under Article 315, par. 1(b) of the Revised
Penal Code. The dispositive portion reads as follows:
ACCORDINGLY, above premises all considered, the Court finding accused
Lyzah Sy Franco and Steve Besario GUILTY, beyond reasonable doubt, of the crime
charged in the Information, the Court hereby sentences said two accused to each suffer
the indeterminate penalty of imprisonment ranging from seventeen (17) years
of reclusion temporal as MAXIMUM to eight (8) years and one (1) day
of prison mayor as MINIMUM and to suffer all the accessory penalties as provided by
law.
Accused Franco and Besario, jointly and severally are likewise ordered to pay
private complainant Ma. Lourdes Antonio the sum of P80,000.00 as actual damages.
SO ORDERED.[4]

The Ruling of the Court of Appeals


On July 26, 2005, the CA promulgated its Decision that affirmed with
modification the decision of the trial court. It convicted the petitioners for the crime of
estafa under Article 315, par. 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code and modified the
penalty. The dispositive portion of its Decision reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing premises, the Decision dated October
23, 2001 rendered by the trial court is hereby AFFIRMED, with modification to the
effect that the penalty imposed upon each of the appellants is hereby MODIFIED to an
indeterminate sentence of Four (4) years, Two (2) months, and One (1) day of prision
correccional as minimum to Thirteen (13) years of reclusion temporal as maximum.
Accused Franco and Besario are likewise ordered to pay, jointly and severally,
private complainant, Ma. Lourdes Antonio, the sum of P80,000.00 as actual damages.
SO ORDERED.[5]

Hence, petitioners filed separate petitions for review on certiorari assailing the
Decision of the CA. Franco contends that the Court of Appeals decided the case on a
mistaken inference and [misappreciation] of facts bordering on speculations, surmises or
conjectures.[6]
On the other hand, Besario ascribes the following error to the CA:
PUBLIC RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE
ERROR BY DISREGARDING THE LAW, JURISPRUDENCE AND EVIDENCE
WHEN IT RULED THAT PETITIONER BESARIO IS GUILTY OF THE CRIME OF
ESTAFA AS CHARGED IN THE INFORMATION.[7]

In its Consolidated Comment, the Solicitor General opposes the petitions by arguing that
petitioners raise[d] questions of fact which are inappropriate in a petition for review
on certiorari. x x x.[8] The Solicitor General also believes the prosecutions evidence was
sufficient to convict petitioners of estafa under Article 315, par. 2(a) of the Revised Penal
Code and that petitioners defenses failed to overturn the evidence showing their guilt
beyond reasonable doubt.
Our Ruling
The petitions are not meritorious.
Exception to the Finality and Conclusiveness
of Factual Findings of the Court of Appeals
[A]s a rule, our jurisdiction in cases brought to us from the Court of Appeals is limited to
the review and revision of errors of law allegedly committed by the appellate court, as
findings of fact are deemed conclusive and we are not duty-bound to analyze and weigh
all over again the evidence already considered in the proceedings below.[9] While this rule
is not without exception, there are no exceptional circumstances in these cases that
warrant a departure from the findings of facts of the trial court, as affirmed by the
CA. Even after considering the merits, the petitions deserve outright denial.
The conviction of Franco and Besario for conspiring to commit estafa
against Lourdes must therefore stand. The prosecution satisfactorily established their
participation in the scheme to defraud Lourdes, their acts were not isolated from but
related to a plot to deceive her. The prosecution likewise proved beyond reasonable doubt
that the well-planned swindling scheme of Franco and Besario resulted to estafa.
Conspiracy must be Shown as Clearly as the
Commission of the Offense[10]
There is conspiracy when two or more persons agree to commit a felony
and decide to commit it.[11] Conspiracy must be proven on the same quantum of evidence
as the felony subject of the agreement of the parties. [It] may be proved by direct or

circumstantial evidence consisting of acts, words, or conduct of the alleged conspirators


[prior to], during and after the commission of the felony to achieve a common design or
purpose.[12]
Several circumstances in this case conclusively show Francos role in
defrauding Lourdes. She was the one who personally approached Lourdes and actively
made representations on behalf of Final Access Marketing despite previous knowledge of
the companys failure to deliver the vehicle sold to Erlinda. She offered to
help Lourdes purchase a second-hand car by presenting herself as an Assistant
Administrative Coordinator of said company. She also assisted Lourdes in selecting a car
she wanted to buy. Six days later, Franco arrived with Besario and Rule in the house
of Lourdes after regular business hours.Franco made the necessary introductions and
they commenced with a presentation that persuaded Lourdes to part with her
money. They showed Lourdes a prepared Sales Proposal Agreement that Franco signed
as a sales executive.
Franco, together with Besario, returned the next day to collect the downpayment
of Lourdes. After counting the money and putting it inside a bag, they
assured Lourdes that the car would be delivered within three days. When they failed to
fulfill their promise and their unlawful scheme was unraveled, she did not do anything to
placate Lourdes.
We cannot lend credence to Francos assertion that she only knew of her employers
fraudulent scheme after Lourdesreported the same to Hoy Gising. For sure, before their
former clients reported their anomalous transactions to Hoy Gising, they first lodged
their complaints with the company itself. Hence, we are at a loss why Franco, as the
companys Assistant Administrative Coordinator would feign ignorance of the same. We
also could not understand why after discovering her employers fraudulent transactions,
and after said employers absconded, Franco continued to report to their office. She did
not even bother to inform Lourdes that her employers had already absconded. Finally,
since she made representations to Lourdesthat the car would be delivered in three days
time, the least that Franco could have done was to investigate the matter and explain
to Lourdes the companys failure to deliver the car. After all, Franco was a friend
of Lourdes niece.
Besario, for his part, actively conspired with Franco by inducing Lourdes to part
with her money. He also went to the house of Lourdes and induced the latter to make a
downpayment on the car she wanted to purchase and sign the Sales Proposal
Agreement. He and Franco collected the money from Lourdes and promised her that the
car would be delivered three days later even if he had knowledge from the previous
transaction with Erlinda that the delivery would never happen. Thereafter, he could not
be reached or found when the car was still undelivered and their devious plot was
exposed.
Evidently, petitioners actions were in relation to the attainment of a common
objective. They had vital roles in the nefarious scheme to sell a vehicle that they knew
would never be delivered, but for which they obtained a substantial sum of money
from Lourdes.

Having established the existence of a conspiracy between Franco and Besario, the
prosecution proceeded to present evidence to prove that the acts of the petitioners
constituted estafa.
Estafa by Means of Deceit
Article 315, par. 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code penalizes fraud or deceit when
committed as follows:
xxxx
2. by means of any of the following false pretenses or fraudulent acts executed
prior to or simultaneously with the commission of fraud:
(a)
by using fictitious name, or actions, falsely pretending to
possess power, influence, qualification, property, credit, agency, business or
imaginary transactions, or by means of other similar deceits.

The elements of the crime of estafa under the foregoing provision are: (1) there
must be a false pretense, fraudulent acts or fraudulent means; (2) such false pretense,
fraudulent act or fraudulent means must be made or executed prior to or simultaneously
with the commission of the fraud; (3) the offended party must have relied on the false
pretense, fraudulent act or fraudulent means and was thus induced to part with his money
or property; and (4) as a result thereof, the offended party suffered damage. [13]
Petitioners presented themselves to Lourdes as persons possessing the authority
and capacity to engage in the financing of used vehicles in behalf of Final Access
Marketing. This was a clear misrepresentation considering their previous knowledge not
only of Erlindas complaint but also of several others as regards the failure of Final Access
Marketing to deliver the motor vehicles bought. Lourdes relied on their
misrepresentations and parted with her money. Almost a week passed by, but petitioners
and Rule did not deliver the said motor vehicle. They also did not fulfill their subsequent
promise to provide a replacement or to refund her payment. When Lourdes visited the
office of Final Access Marketing to demand the return of her money, it was already
closed. She could not locate any of them except for Franco who denied any
wrongdoing. Consequently, she suffered damage.
If indeed they were innocent as they claimed to be, Erlindas complaint to
petitioners and the 12 other similar complaints with Hoy Gising regarding undelivered
vehicles should have dissuaded petitioners from further soliciting customers. The fact
that they continued to offer for sale a second-hand car to Lourdes is indicative of deceit
and their complicity in the conspiracy to commit estafa. The manner in which petitioners
transacted business with Erlinda and Lourdes as well as their awareness of 12 other
similar complaints with Hoy Gising were sufficient to establish the existence of a modus
operandi.
Francos attempt to escape culpability by feigning ignorance of the previously
failed transactions on the delivery of vehicles by Final Access Marketing cannot be

countenanced. As gleaned from the testimony of Erlinda, Franco was already with Final
Access Marketing at the time these transactions occurred. She was therefore familiar
with the companys procedure and policy on the sales of second-hand vehicles. She even
accompanied Lourdes to showrooms and introduced her to Besario and Rule.
As an employee of Final Access Marketing, Franco was expected to be familiar
with its daily activities. It would be unworthy of belief that she did not know of the
complaints for the unexplained failure of Final Access Marketing to deliver vehicles to its
customers. Human nature and experience would compel her to make queries on her own
to discover the reasons for the non-delivery of the vehicles. Her continued insistence in
soliciting Lourdes as a client by introducing herself as an Assistant Administrative
Coordinator of Final Access Marketing with the ability to provide financing for a vehicle
of her choice is therefore indicative of fraudulent misrepresentation.
The petitioners also contend that they are not criminally liable since the transaction
with Lourdes was a contract of sale.This contention does not deserve serious
consideration. While the fact that they entered into a contract with Lourdes cannot be
denied, the transaction transpired due to their deceit. It was their misrepresentation that
induced Lourdes to sign the Sales Proposal agreement and part with her money.
In denying any criminal wrongdoing, petitioners blame their co-accused, Torres,
whom they claim to be the owner of Final Access Marketing. The shifting of blame is
common among conspirators in their attempt to escape liability. It is a desperate strategy
to compensate for their weak defense. We are not readily influenced by such a
proposition since its obvious motive is to distort the truth and frustrate the ends of justice.
[14]

The Penalty
Having committed the crime of estafa, the petitioners must suffer the proper
penalties provided by law. The law imposes the penalty of prision correccional in its
maximum period to prision mayor in its minimum period if the amount is
over P12,000.00 but does not exceed P22,000.00. If the amount swindled
exceeds P22,000.00, the penalty shall be imposed in its maximum period, adding one
year for each additional P10,000.00, but the total penalty which may be imposed shall
not exceed 20 years.[15] To determine the minimum of the indeterminate penalty, prision
correccional in its maximum period toprision mayor in its minimum period shall be
reduced by one degree, that is, to prision correccional in its minimum and medium
periods. The minimum period of the indeterminate penalty shall be taken from the full
range of the penalty of prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods, which
is six (6) months and one (1) day to four (4) years and two (2) months. With the amount
of the fraud at P80,000.00, there is P58,000.00 in excess of P22,000.00. Five years must
therefore be added to the maximum period of the prescribed penalty ranging from six (6)
years, eight (8) months and twenty-one (21) days to eight (8) years. Thus, the maximum
term of the penalty would range from eleven (11) years, eight (8) months and twenty-one
(21) days to thirteen (13) years. This is in accord with our ruling in People v. Temparada,
[16]
viz:

The prescribed penalty for estafa under Article 315, par. 2(d) of the RPC, when
the amount defrauded exceeds P22,000.00, isprision correccional maximum to prision
mayor minimum. The minimum term is taken from the penalty next lower or anywhere
within prision correccional minimum and medium (i.e. from 6 months and 1 day to 4
years and 2 months). Consequently, the RTC correctly fixed the minimum term for the
five estafa cases at 4 years and 2 months of prision correccional since this is within the
range of prision correccional minimum and medium.
On the other hand, the maximum term is taken from the prescribed penalty
of prision correccional maximum to prision mayor minimum in its maximum period,
adding 1 year of imprisonment for every P10,000.00 in excess of P22,000.00, provided
that the total penalty shall not exceed 20 years. However, the maximum period of the
prescribed penalty of prision correccionalmaximum to prision mayor minimum is
not prision mayor minimum as apparently assumed by the RTC. To compute the
maximum period of the prescribed penalty, prision correccional maximum
to prision mayor minimum should be divided into three equal portions of time each of
which portion shall be deemed to form one period in accordance with Article 65 of the
RPC. Following this procedure, the maximum period of prision correccional maximum
to prision mayor minimum is from 6 years, 8 months and 21 days to 8 years. The
incremental penalty, when proper, shall thus be added to anywhere from 6 years, 8
months and 21 days to 8 years, at the discretion of the court.
In computing the incremental penalty, the amount defrauded shall be subtracted
by P22,000.00, and the difference shall be divided by P10,000.00. Any fraction of a year
shall be discarded as was done starting with the case of People v. Pabalan in consonance
with the settled rule that penal laws shall be construed liberally in favor of the accused. x
x x.

WHEREFORE, the petitions for review on certiorari are DENIED. The


Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 27414 which affirmed with
modification the Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 52, in Criminal Case No.
99-173688 convicting petitioners Lyzah Sy Franco and Steve Besario of the crime of
estafa is AFFIRMED with further modification that the indeterminate prison term
imposed on each of the petitioners is four (4) years and two (2) months ofprision
correccional as minimum to thirteen (13) years of reclusion temporal as maximum.
SO ORDERED.

MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO


Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:

RENATO C. CORONA
Chief Justice
Chairperson

PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.


Associate Justice

TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO


Associate Justice

JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ


Associate Justice

C E R T I F I C AT I O N
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, it is hereby certified that the
conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was
assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.

RENATO C. CORONA
Chief Justice

[1]

CA rollo, pp. 185-199; penned by Associate Justice Arcangelita M. Romilla-Lontok and concurred in by Associate
Justices Rodrigo V. Cosico and Danilo B. Pine. .
[2]
Records, pp. 360-373; penned by Judge Edgardo F. Sundiam.
[3]
Id. at 1-2.
[4]
Id. at 373.
[5]
CA rollo, p. 199.
[6]
Rollo of G.R. No. 171328, p. 10.
[7]
Rollo of G.R. No. 171335, p. 17.
[8]
Id. at 197.
[9]
People v. Petralba, 482 Phil. 362, 374 (2004).
[10]
Erquiaga v. Court of Appeals, 419 Phil. 641, 647 (2001).
[11]
REVISED PENAL CODE, Article 8.
[12]
Preferred Home Specialties, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 163593, December 16, 2005, 478 SCRA 387,
414-415.
[13]
RCL Feeders PTE., Ltd. v. Hon. Perez, 487 Phil. 211, 220-221 (2004).
[14]
People v. Macaliag, 392 Phil. 284, 299 (2000).
[15]
REVISED PENAL CODE, Article 315.
[16]
G.R. No. 173473, December 17, 2008, 574 SCRA 258, 283-284.

What damage can be demanded by the employee due to


employers failure to follow the procedural requirement of
two-notice rule?

SECOND DIVISION
LYNVIL
FISHING
ENTERPRISES,
INC.
and/or ROSENDO S. DE
BORJA,
Petitioners,

-versus-

G.R. No. 181974


Present:
CARPIO, J.,
Chairperson,
BRION,
PEREZ,
SERENO, and
REYES, JJ.
Promulgated:

ANDRES
G.
ARIOLA,
February 1, 2012
JESSIE
D.
ALCOVENDAS, JIMMY B.
CALINAO
AND
LEOPOLDO
G.
SEBULLEN,
Respondents.
x---------------------- -------------------------x
DECISION
PEREZ, J.:
Before the Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari [1] of the
Decision[2] of the Fourteenth Division of the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. SP No. 95094 dated 10 September 2007, granting the
Writ of Certiorari prayed for under Rule 65 of the 1997 Revised
Rules of Civil Procedure by herein respondents Andres G. Ariola,
Jessie D. Alcovendas, Jimmy B. Calinao and Leopoldo Sebullen
thereby reversing the Resolution of the National Labor Relations
Commission (NLRC). The dispositive portion of the assailed
decision reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision dated March 31, 2004
rendered
by
the
National
Labor
Relations
Commission
is
hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. In lieu thereof, the Decision of the Labor

Arbiter is hereby REINSTATED, except as to the award of attorneys fees, which


is ordered DELETED.[3]

The version of the petitioners follows:


1. Lynvil Fishing Enterprises, Inc. (Lynvil) is a company engaged in deepsea fishing, operating along the shores of Palawan and other outlying islands of the
Philippines.[4] It is operated and managed by Rosendo S. de Borja.
2. On 1 August 1998, Lynvil received a report from Romanito Clarido, one
of its employees, that on 31 July 1998, he witnessed that while on board the
company vessel Analyn VIII, Lynvil employees, namely: Andres G. Ariola
(Ariola), the captain; Jessie D. Alcovendas (Alcovendas), Chief Mate; Jimmy B.
Calinao (Calinao), Chief Engineer; Ismael G. Nubla (Nubla), cook; Elorde Baez
(Baez), oiler; and Leopoldo D. Sebullen (Sebullen), bodegero, conspired with one
another and stole eight (8) tubs of pampano and tangigue fish and delivered them
to another vessel, to the prejudice of Lynvil.[5]
3. The said employees were engaged on a per trip basis or por viaje which
terminates at the end of each trip.Ariola, Alcovendas and Calinao were managerial
field personnel while the rest of the crew were field personnel.[6]
4. By reason of the report and after initial investigation, Lynvils General
Manager Rosendo S. De Borja (De Borja) summoned respondents to explain
within five (5) days why they should not be dismissed from service.However,
except for Alcovendas and Baez,[7] the respondents refused to sign the receipt of
the notice.
5. Failing to explain as required, respondents employment was terminated.
6. Lynvil, through De Borja, filed a criminal complaint against the dismissed
employees for violation of P.D. 532, or the Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway Robbery
Law of 1974 before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Malabon City.[8]
7. On 12 November 1998, First Assistant City Prosecutor Rosauro Silverio
found probable cause for the indictment of the dismissed employees for the crime
of qualified theft[9] under the Revised Penal Code.
On the other hand, the story of the defense is:
1. The private respondents were crew members of Lynvils vessel named
Analyn VIII.[10]
2. On 31 July 1998, they arrived at the Navotas Fishport on board Analyn
VIII loaded with 1,241 baeras of different kinds of fishes. These baeras were
delivered to a consignee named SAS and Royale.[11]

The following day, the private respondents reported back to Lynvil office to
inquire about their new job assignment but were told to wait for further
advice. They were not allowed to board any vessel.[12]
3. On 5 August 1998, only Alcovendas and Baez received a memorandum
from De Borja ordering them to explain the incident that happened on 31 July
1998. Upon being informed about this, Ariola, Calinao, Nubla and Sebullen went
to the Lynvil office. However, they were told that their employments were already
terminated.[13]
Aggrieved, the employees filed with the Arbitration Branch of the National
Labor Relations Commission-National Capital Region on 25 August 1998 a
complaint for illegal dismissal with claims for backwages, salary differential
reinstatement, service incentive leave, holiday pay and its premium and 13 th month
pay from 1996 to1998. They also claimed for moral, exemplary damages and
attorneys fees for their dismissal with bad faith.[14]
They added that the unwarranted accusation of theft stemmed from their oral
demand of increase of salaries three months earlier and their request that they
should not be required to sign a blank payroll and vouchers.[15]
On 5 June 2002, Labor Arbiter Ramon Valentin C. Reyes found merit in
complainants charge of illegal dismissal.[16] The dispositive portion reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered finding
that complainants were illegally dismissed, ordering respondents to jointly and
severally pay complainants (a) separation pay at one half month pay for every
year of service; (b) backwages; (c) salary differential; (d) 13 th month pay; and (e)
attorneys fees, as follows:
1) Andres Ariola
Backwages P234,000.00
(P6,500.00 x 36 = P234,000.00)
Separation Pay P74,650.00
13th Month Pay P6,500.00
P325,250.00
2) Jessie Alcovendas
Backwages P195,328.00
(P5,148.00 x 36 = P195,328.00)
Separation Pay P44,304.00
13th Month Pay 5,538.00
Salary Differential 1,547.52
P246,717.52
3) Jimmy Calinao
Backwages P234,000.00

(P6,500.00 x 36 = P234,000.00)
Separation Pay 55,250.00
13th Month Pay P6,500.00 P295,700.00
4) Leopoldo Sebullen
Backwages P154,440.00
(P4, 290.00 x 36 = P154,440.00)
Separation Pay P44,073.00
13th Month Pay 2,473.12
Salary Differential 4,472.00
P208,455.12
5) Ismael Nubla
Backwages P199,640.12
Separation Pay P58,149.00
13th Month Pay 2,473.12
Salary Differential P5,538.00
P265, 28.12
___________
TOTAL P 1, 341, 650.76
All other claims are dismissed for lack of merit.[17]

The Labor Arbiter found that there was no evidence showing that the private
respondents received the 41 baeras ofpampano as alleged by De Borja in his replyaffidavit;
and
that
no
proof
was
presented
that
the
[18]
8 baeras of pampano[and tangigue] were missing at the place of destination.
The Labor Arbiter disregarded the Resolution of Assistant City Prosecutor Rosauro
Silverio on the theft case. He reasoned out that the Labor Office is governed by
different rules for the determination of the validity of the dismissal of employees.
[19]

The Labor Arbiter also ruled that the contractual provision that the employment
terminates upon the end of each trip does not make the respondents dismissal
legal. He pointed out that respondents and Lynvil did not negotiate on equal terms
because of the moral dominance of the employer.[20]
The Labor Arbiter found that the procedural due process was not complied with
and that the mere notice given to the private respondents fell short of the
requirement of ample opportunity to present the employees side.[21]
On appeal before the National Labor Relations Commission, petitioners asserted
that private respondents were only contractual employees; that they were not

illegally dismissed but were accorded procedural due process and that De Borja did
not commit bad faith in dismissing the employees so as to warrant his joint liability
with Lynvil.[22]
On 31 March 2004, the NLRC reversed and set aside the Decision of the
Labor Arbiter. The dispositive portion reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered REVERSING AND
SETTING ASIDE the Decision of the Labor Arbiter a quo and a new one entered
DISMISSING the present complaints for utter lack of merit;
However as above discussed, an administrative fine of PhP5,000.00 for
each complainant, Andres Ariola, Jessie Alcovendas, Jimmy Canilao, Leopoldo
Sebullen and Ismael Nobla or a total of PhP25,000.00 is hereby awarded.[23]

The private respondents except Elorde Baez filed a Petition for Certiorari[24] before
the Court of Appeals alleging grave abuse of discretion on the part of NLRC.
The Court of Appeals found merit in the petition and reinstated the Decision
of the Labor Arbiter except as to the award of attorneys fees. The appellate court
held that the allegation of theft did not warrant the dismissal of the employees
since there was no evidence to prove the actual quantities of the missing kinds of
fish loaded to Analyn VIII.[25] It also reversed the finding of the NLRC that the
dismissed employees were merely contractual employees and added that they were
regular ones performing activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the
business and trade of Lynvil. Finally, it ruled that the two-notice rule provided by
law and jurisprudence is mandatory and non-compliance therewith rendered the
dismissal of the employees illegal.
The following are the assignment of errors presented before this Court by
Lynvil:
I
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FAILING TO
CONSIDER THE ESTABLISHED DOCTRINE LAID DOWN IN NASIPIT
LUMBER COMPANY V. NLRC HOLDING THAT THE FILING OF A
CRIMINAL CASE BEFORE THE PROSECUTORS OFFICE CONSTITUTES
SUFFICIENT BASIS FOR A VALID TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT ON
THE GROUNDS OF SERIOUS MISCONDUCT AND/OR LOSS OF TRUST
AND CONFIDENCE.
II
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THE
TERMINATION OF RESPONDENTS EMPLOYMENT WAS NOT
SUPPORTED BY SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE.
III
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FAILING TO
CONSIDER THAT THE RESPONDENTS EMPLOYMENT, IN ANY EVENT,
WERE CONTRACTUAL IN NATURE BEING ON A PER VOYAGE BASIS.

THUS, THEIR RESPECTIVE EMPLOYMENT TERMINATED AFTER THE


END OF EACH VOYAGE
IV
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THE
RESPONDENTS WERE NOT ACCORDED PROCEDURAL DUE PROCESS.
V
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THE
RESPONDENTS ARE ENTITLED TO THE PAYMENT OF THEIR MONEY
CLAIMS.
VI
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FAILING TO
CONSIDER THAT PETITIONER ROSENDO S. DE BORJA IS NOT JOINTLY
AND SEVERALLY LIABLE FOR THE JUDGMENT WHEN THERE WAS NO
FINDING OF BAD FAITH.[26]

The Courts Ruling


The Supreme Court is not a trier of facts. Under Rule 45,
parties may raise only questions of law. We are not duty-bound
to analyze again and weigh the evidence introduced in and
considered by the tribunals below. Generally when supported by
substantial evidence, the findings of fact of the CA are conclusive
and binding on the parties and are not reviewable by this Court,
unless the case falls under any of the following recognized
exceptions:
[27]

(1) When the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation,


surmises and conjectures;
(2) When the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or
impossible;
(3) Where there is a grave abuse of discretion;
(4) When the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts;
(5) When the findings of fact are conflicting;
(6) When the Court of Appeals, in making its findings, went beyond the
issues of the case and the same is contrary to the admissions of
both appellant and appellee;
(7) When the findings are contrary to those of the trial court;
(8) When the findings of fact are conclusions without citation of specific
evidence on which they are based;
(9) When the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioners'
main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondents; and
(10) When the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are premised on
the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the
evidence on record. (Emphasis supplied)[28]

The contrariety of the findings of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC prevents
reliance on the principle of special administrative expertise and provides the reason
for judicial review, at first instance by the appellate court, and on final study
through the present petition.

In the first assignment of error, Lynvil contends that the filing of a criminal
case before the Office of the Prosecutor is sufficient basis for a valid termination of
employment based on serious misconduct and/or loss of trust and confidence
relying on Nasipit Lumber Company v. NLRC.[29]
Nasipit is about a security guard who was charged with qualified theft which
charge was dismissed by the Office of the Prosecutor. However, despite the
dismissal of the complaint, he was still terminated from his employment on the
ground of loss of confidence. We ruled that proof beyond reasonable doubt of an
employee's misconduct is not required when loss of confidence is the ground for
dismissal. It is sufficient if the employer has "some basis" to lose confidence or
that the employer has reasonable ground to believe or to entertain the moral
conviction that the employee concerned is responsible for the misconduct and that
the nature of his participation therein rendered him absolutely unworthy of the trust
and confidence demanded by his position.[30] It added that the dropping of the
qualified theft charges against the respondent is not binding upon a labor tribunal.
[31]

In Nicolas v. National Labor Relations Commission, [32] we held that a


criminal conviction is not necessary to find just cause for employment termination.
Otherwise stated, an employees acquittal in a criminal case, especially one that is
grounded on the existence of reasonable doubt, will not preclude a determination in
a labor case that he is guilty of acts inimical to the employers interests. [33] In the
reverse, the finding of probable cause is not followed by automatic adoption of
such finding by the labor tribunals.
In other words, whichever way the public prosecutor disposes of a
complaint, the finding does not bind the labor tribunal.
Thus, Lynvil cannot argue that since the Office of the Prosecutor found
probable cause for theft the Labor Arbiter must follow the finding as a valid reason
for the termination of respondents employment. The proof required for purposes
that differ from one and the other are likewise different.
Nonetheless, even without reliance on the prosecutors finding, we find that
there was valid cause for respondents dismissal.
In illegal dismissal cases, the employer bears the burden of
proving that the termination was for a valid or authorized cause.
[34]

Just cause is required for a valid dismissal. The Labor


Code
provides that an employer may terminate an employment
based on fraud or willful breach of the trust reposed on the
employee. Such breach is considered willful if it is done
intentionally, knowingly, and purposely, without justifiable excuse,
as distinguished from an act done carelessly, thoughtlessly,
heedlessly or inadvertently. It must also be based on substantial
[35]

evidence and not on the employers whims or caprices or


suspicions otherwise, the employee would eternally remain at the
mercy of the employer. Loss of confidence must not be
indiscriminately used as a shield by the employer against a claim
that the dismissal of an employee was arbitrary. And, in order to
constitute a just cause for dismissal, the act complained of must
be work-related and shows that the employee concerned is unfit
to continue working for the employer. In addition, loss of
confidence as a just cause for termination of employment is
premised on the fact that the employee concerned holds a
position of responsibility, trust and confidence or that the
employee concerned is entrusted with confidence with respect to
delicate matters, such as the handling or care and protection of
the property and assets of the employer. The betrayal of this trust
is the essence of the offense for which an employee is penalized.
[36]

Breach of trust is present in this case.


We agree with the ruling of the Labor Arbiter and Court of
Appeals that the quantity of tubs expected to be received was the
same as that which was loaded. However, what is material is the
kind of fish loaded and then unloaded. Sameness is likewise
needed.
We cannot close our eyes to the positive and clear narration
of facts of the three witnesses to the commission of qualified
theft. Jonathan Distajo, a crew member of the Analyn VIII, stated
in his letter addressed to De Borja[37]dated 8 August 1998, that
while the vessel was traversing San Nicolas, Cavite, he saw a
small boat approach them.When the boat was next to their
vessel, Alcovendas went inside the stockroom while Sebullen
pushed an estimated four tubs of fish away from it. Ariola, on the
other hand, served as the lookout and negotiator of the
transaction.Finally, Baez and Calinao helped in putting the tubs in
the small boat. He further added that he received P800.00 as his
share for the transaction. Romanito Clarido, who was also on
board the vessel, corroborated the narration of Distajo on all
accounts in his 25 August 1998 affidavit. [38] He added that
Alcovendas told him to keep silent about what happened on that
day. Sealing tight the credibility of the narration of theft is the
affidavit[39] executed by Elorde Baez dated 3 May 1999. Baez was
one of the dismissed employees who actively participated in the
taking of the tubs. He clarified in the affidavit that the four tubs
taken out of the stockroom in fact contained fish taken from the
eight tubs. He further stated that Ariola told everyone in the
vessel not to say anything and instead file a labor case against
the management. Clearly, we cannot fault Lynvil and De Borja
when it dismissed the employees.
The second to the fifth assignment of errors interconnect.

The nature of employment is defined in the Labor Code,


thus:
Art. 280. Regular and casual employment. The provisions of written
agreement to the contrary notwithstanding and regardless of the oral
agreement of the parties, 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, 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 service to be performed is seasonal in nature and the employment
is for the duration of the season.
An employment shall be deemed to be casual if it is not covered by the
preceding paragraph: Provided, That any employee who has rendered at
least one year of service, whether such service is continuous or broken,
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.

Lynvil contends that it cannot be guilty of illegal dismissal


because the private respondents were employed under a fixedterm contract which expired at the end of the voyage. The
pertinent provisions of the contract are:
xxxx

1. NA ako ay sumasang-ayon na maglingkod at gumawa ng mga gawain sangayon sa patakarang por viaje na magmumula sa pagalis sa Navotas papunta sa
pangisdaan at pagbabalik sa pondohan ng lantsa sa Navotas, Metro Manila;
xxxx

1. NA ako ay nakipagkasundo na babayaran ang aking paglilingkod sa paraang


por viaje sa halagang P__________ isang biyahe ng kabuuang araw xxxx.[40]

[41]

Lynvil insists on the applicability of the case of Brent School,


to wit:
Accordingly, and since the entire purpose behind the
development of legislation culminating in the present Article 280 of the
Labor Code clearly appears to have been, as already observed, to
prevent circumvention of the employee's right to be secure in his
tenure, the clause in said article indiscriminately and completely ruling
out all written or oral agreements conflicting with the concept of
regular employment as defined therein should be construed to refer to
the substantive evil that the Code itself has singled out: agreements
entered into precisely to circumvent security of tenure. It should have
no application to instances where a fixed period of employment was
agreed upon knowingly and voluntarily by the parties, without any
force, duress or improper pressure being brought to bear upon the
employee and absent any other circumstances vitiating his consent, or
where it satisfactorily appears that the employer and employee dealt
with each other on more or less equal terms with no moral dominance
whatever being exercised by the former over the latter. Unless thus
limited in its purview, the law would be made to apply to purposes
other than those explicitly stated by its framers; it thus becomes
pointless and arbitrary, unjust in its effects and apt to lead to absurd
and unintended consequences.

Contrarily, the private respondents contend that they


became regular employees by reason of their continuous hiring
and performance of tasks necessary and desirable in the usual
trade and business of Lynvil.
Jurisprudence,[42] laid two conditions for the validity of a
fixed-contract agreement between the employer and employee:
First, the fixed period of employment was knowingly and
voluntarily agreed upon by the parties without any force, duress,
or improper pressure being brought to bear upon the employee
and absent any other circumstances vitiating his consent; or
Second, it satisfactorily appears that the employer and the
employee dealt with each other on more or less equal terms
with no moral dominance exercised by the former or the latter.
[43]

Textually, the provision that: NA ako ay sumasang-ayon na maglingkod at gumawa


ng mga gawain sang-ayon sa patakarang por viaje na magmumula sa pagalis sa
Navotas papunta sa pangisdaan at pagbabalik sa pondohan ng lantsa sa Navotas,
Metro Manila is for a fixed period of employment. In the context, however, of the
facts that: (1) the respondents were doing tasks necessarily to Lynvils fishing
business with positions ranging from captain of the vessel to bodegero; (2) after
the end of a trip, they will again be hired for another trip with new contracts; and
(3) this arrangement continued for more than ten years, the clear intention is to go
around the security of tenure of the respondents as regular employees. And
respondents are so by the express provisions of the second paragraph of Article
280, thus:
xxx Provided, That any employee who has rendered at least one year of service,
whether such service is continuous or broken, 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.

The same set of circumstances indicate clearly enough that it was the need for a
continued source of income that forced the employees acceptance of the por
viaje provision.
Having found that respondents are regular employees who
may be, however, dismissed for cause as we have so found in this
case, there is a need to look into the procedural requirement of
due process in Section 2, Rule XXIII, Book V of the Rules
Implementing the Labor Code. It is required that the employer
furnish the employee with two written notices: (1) a written
notice served on the employee specifying the ground or grounds
for termination, and giving to said employee reasonable
opportunity within which to explain his side; and (2) a written
notice of termination served on the employee indicating that upon
due consideration of all the circumstances, grounds have been
established to justify his termination.

From the records, there was only one written notice which
required respondents to explain within five (5) days why they
should not be dismissed from the service. Alcovendas was the
only one who signed the receipt of the notice.The others, as
claimed by Lynvil, refused to sign. The other employees argue
that no notice was given to them.Despite the inconsistencies,
what is clear is that no final written notice or notices of
termination were sent to the employees.
The twin requirements of notice and hearing constitute the
elements of [due] process in cases of employee's dismissal. The
requirement of notice is intended to inform the employee
concerned of the employer's intent to dismiss and the reason for
the proposed dismissal. Upon the other hand, the requirement of
hearing affords the employee an opportunity to answer his
employer's charges against him and accordingly, to defend
himself therefrom before dismissal is effected. [44] Obviously, the
second written notice, as indispensable as the first, is intended to
ensure the observance of due process.
Applying the rule to the facts at hand, we grant a monetary award of P50,000.00 as
nominal damages, this, pursuant to the fresh ruling of this Court in Culili v.
Eastern Communication Philippines, Inc.[45] Due to the failure of Lynvil to follow
the procedural requirement of two-notice rule, nominal damages are due to
respondents despite their dismissal for just cause.
Given the fact that their dismissal was for just cause, we cannot grant
backwages and separation pay to respondents. However, following the findings of
the Labor Arbiter who with the expertise presided over the proceedings below,
which findings were affirmed by the Court of Appeals, we grant the 13 th month pay
and salary differential of the dismissed employees.
Whether De Borja is jointly and severally liable with Lynvil
As to the last issue, this Court has ruled that in labor cases,
the corporate directors and officers are solidarily liable with the
corporation for the termination of employment of employees done
with malice or in bad faith.[46]Indeed, moral damages are
recoverable when the dismissal of an employee is attended by
bad faith or fraud or constitutes an act oppressive to labor, or is
done in a manner contrary to good morals, good customs or
public policy.
It has also been discussed in MAM Realty Development
Corporation v. NLRC[47] that:

x x x A corporation being a juridical entity, may act only through its


directors, officers and employees. Obligations incurred by them, acting
as such corporate agents, are not theirs but the direct accountabilities
of the corporation they represent. True, solidary liabilities may at times
be incurred but only when exceptional circumstances warrant such as,
generally, in the following cases:
1. When directors and trustees or, in appropriate cases, the officers of
a corporation:
xxx
(b) act in bad faith or with gross negligence in directing the corporate
affairs;
x x x [48]

The term "bad faith" contemplates a "state of mind affirmatively


operating with furtive design or with some motive of self-interest
or will or for ulterior purpose."[49]
We agree with the ruling of both the NLRC and the Court of Appeals when they
pronounced that there was no evidence on record that indicates commission of bad
faith on the part of De Borja. He is the general manager of Lynvil, the one tasked
with the supervision by the employees and the operation of the business. However,
there is no proof that he imposed on the respondents the por viaje provision for
purpose of effecting their summary dismissal.
WHEREFORE, the petition is partially GRANTED. The 10 September
2007 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 95094 reversing the
Resolution dated 31 March 2004 of the National Labor Relations Commission is
hereby MODIFIED. The Court hereby rules that the employees were dismissed
for just cause by Lynvil Fishing Enterprises, Inc. and Rosendo S. De Borja, hence,
the reversal of the award for backwages and separation pay. However, we affirm
the award for 13th month pay, salary differential and grant an additionalP50,000.00
in favor of the employees representing nominal damages for petitioners noncompliance with statutory due process. No cost.
SO ORDERED.

JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ


Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice
Chairperson

ARTURO D. BRION
Associate Justice

MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO


Associate Justice

BIENVENIDO L. REYES
Associate Justice
ATTESTATION
I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been
reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer
of the opinion of the Courts Division.
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice
Chairperson
CERTIFICATION
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the
Division Chairpersons Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in
the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the
case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts
Division.

RENATO C. CORONA
Chief Justice

[1]

Rollo, pp. 3-51.


Penned by Associate Justice Arcangelita M. Romilla-Lontok with Associate Justices Mariano C. Del Castillo (now
a member of this Court) and Romeo F. Barza concurring. Id. at 60-70.
[3]
Id. at 70.
[4]
Position Paper of Lynvil, id. at 144.
[5]
Id. at 144-145.
[6]
Id. at 145.
[7]
Id.
[8]
Id.
[9]
Art. 310, Revised Penal Code. Art. 310. Qualified theft. The crime of theft shall be punished by the penalties next
higher by two degrees than those respectively specified in the next preceding article, if committed by a domestic
servant, or with grave abuse of confidence, or if the property stolen is motor vehicle, mail matter or large cattle or
consists of coconuts taken from the premises of the plantation or fish taken from a fishpond or fishery, or if property
is taken on the occasion of fire, earthquake, typhoon, volcanic eruption, or any other calamity, vehicular accident or
civil disturbance.
[10]
Position Paper of the Private Respondents, rollo, p. 124.
[11]
Id. at 126.
[12]
Id.
[2]

[13]

Id.
Complaint Forms, id. at 119-122.
[15]
Id. at 126-127.
[16]
Id. at 190-203.
[17]
Decision of the Labor Arbiter, id. at 202-203.
[18]
Id. at 198.
[19]
Id. at 199.
[20]
Id. at 763.
[21]
Id. at 764.
[22]
Decision of the NLRC, id. at 251.
[23]
Id. at 264.
[24]
Id. at 279-297.
[25]
Decision of the Court of Appeals, id. at 66.
[26]
Id. at 9-10.
[27]
Revised Rules on Civil Procedure.
[28]
Cirtek Employees Labor Union-Federation of Free Workers v. Cirtek Electronics, Inc., G.R.
No. 190515, 6 June 2011.
[29]
257 Phil. 937 (1989).
[30]
Id. at 946.
[31]
Id. at 946-947.
[32]
327 Phil. 883, 886-887 (1996); Reno Foods, Inc. v. Nagkakaisang Lakas ng Manggagawa
(NLM) Katipunan, G.R. No. 164016, 15 March 2010, 615 SCRA 240.
[33]
Reno Foods, Inc. and/or Vicente Khu v. Nagkakaisang Lakas ng Manggagawa (NLM)
Katipunan, G.R. No. 164016, 15 March 2010, 615 SCRA 240, 248.
[34]
Well-entrenched is the principle that in order to establish a case before judicial and quasiadministrative bodies, it is necessary that allegations must be supported by
substantial evidence. Substantial evidence is more than a mere scintilla. Ledesma, Jr.
v. NLRC, G.R. No. 174585, 19 October 2007, 537 SCRA 358, 368; Philippine Air Lines
v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 159556, 26 May 2005, 459 SCRA 236, 251.
It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.
[35]
Art. 282. ARTICLE 282. Termination by employer. An employer may terminate an employment for any of the
following causes:
(a) Serious misconduct or willful disobedience by the employee of the lawful orders of
his employer or representative in connection with his work;
(b) Gross and habitual neglect by the employee of his duties;
(c) Fraud or willful breach by the employee of the trust reposed in him by
his employer or duly authorized representative;
(d) Commission of a crime or offense by the employee against the person of
his employer or any immediate member of his family or his duly
authorized representatives; and
(e) Other causes analogous to the foregoing.
[14]

[36]

Lopez v. Alturas Group of Companies, G.R. No. 191008, 11 April 2011. 647 SCRA 568, 573-574.
Rollo, p. 338.
[38]
Id. at 339.
[39]
Id. at 341.
[40]
Rollo, p. 344-347.
[41]
Brent School, Inc. v. Zamora, supra note 19.
[42]
Caparoso and Quindipan v. Court of Appeals et. al., G.R. No. 155505, 15 February 2007, 516 SCRA 30; Pure
Foods Corp. v. NLRC, 347 Phil 434, 443 (1997).
[43]
Id. at 35.
[44]
Rubia v. NLRC, Fourth Division, et. al, G.R. No. 178621, 26 July 2010, 625 SCRA 494, 509.
[45]
G.R. No. 165381, 9 February 2011, 642 SCRA 338.
[46]
Alba v. Yupangco, G.R. No. 188233, 29 June 2010, 622 SCRA 503, 508.
[47]
G.R. No. 114787, 2 June 1995, 244 SCRA 797.
[48]
Id. at 802.
[49]
Air France v. Carrascoso, G.R. No. L-21438, 28 September 1966, 18 SCRA 155, 166-167.
[37]