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G.R. No.

L-50459 August 25, 1989

LEONARDO D. SUARIO, petitioner,
BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, Davao Branch or The Manager/Cashier and

Petitioner Leonardo D. Suario was the head of the loan section of respondent BPI in
1976. During his employment he pursued his studies of law with the consent of the BPI.

Sometime in March 1976, Suario verbally requested the then VP and Branch Manager,
Mr. Armando N. Guilatico, for a 6-month leave of absence without pay in order for him to
take the pre-bar review in Manila. Mr. Guilatico informed Suario that there would be no
problem as to the requested leave of absence (LoA).

Sometime in May 1976, Suario received a verbal notice from the new Branch Manager,
Mr. Vicente Casino, that he was approved only a 30 day LOA. However, Mr Guilatico, then
assigned in Head Office as VP advised Mr. Casino to inform Suario to avail the 30-day LOA
and proceed to Manila since the request would be ultimately granted. Suario availed the 30day LOA and proceeded to Manila.

During the 1st week of August, he received a letter ordering him to report back for work
since his request was disapproved. He decided not to report back because of the
considerable expenses already incurred in Manila. Hence, he received an application for a
clearance to terminate on the ground of resignation/or abandonment. Suario failed to file his
opposition because he was busy taking up the review.

During the 1st week of December 1976, Suario went to respondent BPI but was verbally
informed that he was already dismissed. He wrote a letter to the respondent bank
requesting for a written and formal advise as to his real status. The lawyers of BPI replied
that his service is terminated. Therefore, Suario filed a complaint praying for separation pay,
damages and attorneys fees against the BPI on the ground that he was illegally dismissed.

The Labor Arbiter ordered BPI to pay Suarios claim for separation pay. His claim for
damages and attorneys fee were dismissed for lack of merit.

On appeal, NLRC affirmed the decision of the Labor Arbiter

Issue1: Whether NLRC has the authority to entertain claims for moral and other forms of
P.D. 1691, a decree which substantially reenacted Article 217 of the Labor Code in its original
form, nullified P.D. 1367 and restored to the Labor Arbiters and the NLRC their jurisdiction to
award all kinds of damages in cases arising from ER-EE relationship.
Issue2: Whether petitioner Suario is entitled to his claim for moral damages
Although it is already settled that Labor Arbiters are allowed to award moral and other forms of
damages arising from ER-EE relations, it is consistently ruled that in the absence of a wrongful
act or omission or of fraud or bad faith, moral damages cannot be awarded.
The SC did not find any bad faith or fraud on the part of the bank officials who denied the
petitioners request for 6 months leave of absence without pay. He was merely given personal
assurances which could be reconsidered in later developments. There is no evidence that they
meant to deceive the petitioner.

Therefore, the fact that petitioners request was denied, does not entitle him to damages.