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G.R. No.

170139, August 05, 2014
SAMEER OVERSEAS PLACEMENT AGENCY, INC., Petitioner, v. JOY C. CABILES, Respondent.
DECISION
LEONEN, J.:
This case involves an overseas Filipino worker with shattered dreams. It is our duty, given the facts and the law, to
approximate justice for her.
We are asked to decide a petition for review1 on certiorari assailing the Court of Appeals’ decision2 dated June 27, 2005. This
decision partially affirmed the National Labor Relations Commission’s resolution dated March 31, 2004, 3 declaring
respondent’s dismissal illegal, directing petitioner to pay respondent’s three-month salary equivalent to New Taiwan Dollar
(NT$) 46,080.00, and ordering it to reimburse the NT$3,000.00 withheld from respondent, and pay her NT$300.00 attorney’s
fees.4
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Petitioner, Sameer Overseas Placement Agency, Inc., is a recruitment and placement agency.5Responding to an ad it
published, respondent, Joy C. Cabiles, submitted her application for a quality control job in Taiwan. 6
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Joy’s application was accepted.7 Joy was later asked to sign a one-year employment contract for a monthly salary of
NT$15,360.00.8 She alleged that Sameer Overseas Agency required her to pay a placement fee of P70,000.00 when she
signed the employment contract.9
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Joy was deployed to work for Taiwan Wacoal, Co. Ltd. (Wacoal) on June 26, 1997. 10 She alleged that in her employment
contract, she agreed to work as quality control for one year.11 In Taiwan, she was asked to work as a cutter.12
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Sameer Overseas Placement Agency claims that on July 14, 1997, a certain Mr. Huwang from Wacoal informed Joy, without
prior notice, that she was terminated and that “she should immediately report to their office to get her salary and
passport.”13 She was asked to “prepare for immediate repatriation.”14
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Joy claims that she was told that from June 26 to July 14, 1997, she only earned a total of NT$9,000. 15According to her,
Wacoal deducted NT$3,000 to cover her plane ticket to Manila. 16
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On October 15, 1997, Joy filed a complaint17 with the National Labor Relations Commission against petitioner and Wacoal.
She claimed that she was illegally dismissed.18 She asked for the return of her placement fee, the withheld amount for
repatriation costs, payment of her salary for 23 months as well as moral and exemplary damages. 19 She identified Wacoal as
Sameer Overseas Placement Agency’s foreign principal. 20
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Sameer Overseas Placement Agency alleged that respondent's termination was due to her inefficiency, negligence in her
duties, and her “failure to comply with the work requirements [of] her foreign [employer].”21 The agency also claimed that it
did not ask for a placement fee of ?70,000.00.22 As evidence, it showed Official Receipt No. 14860 dated June 10, 1997,
bearing the amount of ?20,360.00.23 Petitioner added that Wacoal's accreditation with petitioner had already been transferred
to the Pacific Manpower & Management Services, Inc. (Pacific) as of August 6, 1997. 24 Thus, petitioner asserts that it was
already substituted by Pacific Manpower.25
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Pacific Manpower moved for the dismissal of petitioner’s claims against it. 26 It alleged that there was no employer-employee
relationship between them.27 Therefore, the claims against it were outside the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter.28 Pacific
Manpower argued that the employment contract should first be presented so that the employer’s contractual obligations
might be identified.29 It further denied that it assumed liability for petitioner’s illegal acts. 30
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On July 29, 1998, the Labor Arbiter dismissed Joy’s complaint. 31 Acting Executive Labor Arbiter Pedro C. Ramos ruled that her
complaint was based on mere allegations.32 The Labor Arbiter found that there was no excess payment of placement fees,
based on the official receipt presented by petitioner.33 The Labor Arbiter found unnecessary a discussion on petitioner’s
transfer of obligations to Pacific34 and considered the matter immaterial in view of the dismissal of respondent’s complaint. 35
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Joy appealed36 to the National Labor Relations Commission.
In a resolution37 dated March 31, 2004, the National Labor Relations Commission declared that Joy was illegally
dismissed.38 It reiterated the doctrine that the burden of proof to show that the dismissal was based on a just or valid cause
belongs to the employer.39 It found that Sameer Overseas Placement Agency failed to prove that there were just causes for
termination.40 There was no sufficient proof to show that respondent was inefficient in her work and that she failed to comply
with company requirements.41 Furthermore, procedural due process was not observed in terminating respondent. 42
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The National Labor Relations Commission did not rule on the issue of reimbursement of placement fees for lack of
jurisdiction.43 It refused to entertain the issue of the alleged transfer of obligations to Pacific. 44 It did not acquire jurisdiction

over that issue because Sameer Overseas Placement Agency failed to appeal the Labor Arbiter’s decision not to rule on the
matter.45
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The National Labor Relations Commission awarded respondent only three (3) months worth of salary in the amount of
NT$46,080, the reimbursement of the NT$3,000 withheld from her, and attorney’s fees of NT$300. 46
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The Commission denied the agency’s motion for reconsideration 47 dated May 12, 2004 through a resolution48 dated July 2,
2004.
Aggrieved by the ruling, Sameer Overseas Placement Agency caused the filing of a petition 49 for certiorari with the Court of
Appeals assailing the National Labor Relations Commission’s resolutions dated March 31, 2004 and July 2, 2004.
The Court of Appeals50 affirmed the decision of the National Labor Relations Commission with respect to the finding of illegal
dismissal, Joy’s entitlement to the equivalent of three months worth of salary, reimbursement of withheld repatriation
expense, and attorney’s fees.51 The Court of Appeals remanded the case to the National Labor Relations Commission to
address the validity of petitioner's allegations against Pacific. 52 The Court of Appeals held, thus:
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Although the public respondent found the dismissal of the complainant-respondent illegal, we should point out that the NLRC
merely awarded her three (3) months backwages or the amount of NT$46,080.00, which was based upon its finding that she
was dismissed without due process, a finding that we uphold, given petitioner’s lack of worthwhile discussion upon the same
in the proceedings below or before us. Likewise we sustain NLRC’s finding in regard to the reimbursement of her fare, which
is squarely based on the law; as well as the award of attorney’s fees.
But we do find it necessary to remand the instant case to the public respondent for further proceedings, for the purpose of
addressing the validity or propriety of petitioner’s third-party complaint against the transferee agent or the Pacific Manpower
& Management Services, Inc. and Lea G. Manabat. We should emphasize that as far as the decision of the NLRC on the
claims of Joy Cabiles, is concerned, the same is hereby affirmed with finality, and we hold petitioner liable thereon, but
without prejudice to further hearings on its third party complaint against Pacific for reimbursement.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the assailed Resolutions are hereby partlyAFFIRMED in accordance with the foregoing
discussion, but subject to the caveat embodied in the last sentence. No costs.
SO ORDERED.53
Dissatisfied, Sameer Overseas Placement Agency filed this petition. 54

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We are asked to determine whether the Court of Appeals erred when it affirmed the ruling of the National Labor Relations
Commission finding respondent illegally dismissed and awarding her three months’ worth of salary, the reimbursement of the
cost of her repatriation, and attorney’s fees despite the alleged existence of just causes of termination.
Petitioner reiterates that there was just cause for termination because there was a finding of Wacoal that respondent was
inefficient in her work.55 Therefore, it claims that respondent’s dismissal was valid.56
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Petitioner also reiterates that since Wacoal’s accreditation was validly transferred to Pacific at the time respondent filed her
complaint, it should be Pacific that should now assume responsibility for Wacoal’s contractual obligations to the workers
originally recruited by petitioner.57
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Sameer Overseas Placement Agency’s petition is without merit. We find for respondent.
I
Sameer Overseas Placement Agency failed to show that there was just cause for causing Joy’s dismissal. The employer,
Wacoal, also failed to accord her due process of law.
Indeed, employers have the prerogative to impose productivity and quality standards at work. 58 They may also impose
reasonable rules to ensure that the employees comply with these standards. 59 Failure to comply may be a just cause for their
dismissal.60 Certainly, employers cannot be compelled to retain the services of an employee who is guilty of acts that are
inimical to the interest of the employer.61While the law acknowledges the plight and vulnerability of workers, it does not
“authorize the oppression or self-destruction of the employer.”62 Management prerogative is recognized in law and in our
jurisprudence.
This prerogative, however, should not be abused. It is “tempered with the employee’s right to security of tenure.”63 Workers
are entitled to substantive and procedural due process before termination. They may not be removed from employment
without a valid or just cause as determined by law and without going through the proper procedure.
Security of tenure for labor is guaranteed by our Constitution. 64

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Employees are not stripped of their security of tenure when they move to work in a different jurisdiction. With respect to the

rights of overseas Filipino workers, we follow the principle of lex loci contractus.
Thus, in Triple Eight Integrated Services, Inc. v. NLRC, 65 this court noted:

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Petitioner likewise attempts to sidestep the medical certificate requirement by contending that since Osdana was working in
Saudi Arabia, her employment was subject to the laws of the host country. Apparently, petitioner hopes to make it appear
that the labor laws of Saudi Arabia do not require any certification by a competent public health authority in the dismissal of
employees due to illness.
Again, petitioner’s argument is without merit.
First, established is the rule that lex loci contractus (the law of the place where the contract is made) governs in
this jurisdiction. There is no question that the contract of employment in this case was perfected here in the
Philippines. Therefore, the Labor Code, its implementing rules and regulations, and other laws affecting labor
apply in this case. Furthermore, settled is the rule that the courts of the forum will not enforce any foreign claim obnoxious
to the forum’s public policy. Here in the Philippines, employment agreements are more than contractual in nature. The
Constitution itself, in Article XIII, Section 3, guarantees the special protection of workers, to wit:
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The State shall afford full protection to labor, local and overseas, organized and unorganized, and promote full employment
and equality of employment opportunities for all.
It shall guarantee the rights of all workers to self-organization, collective bargaining and negotiations, and peaceful concerted
activities, including the right to strike in accordance with law. They shall be entitled to security of tenure, humane conditions
of work, and a living wage. They shall also participate in policy and decision-making processes affecting their rights and
benefits as may be provided by law.
....

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This public policy should be borne in mind in this case because to allow foreign employers to determine for and by
themselves whether an overseas contract worker may be dismissed on the ground of illness would encourage illegal or
arbitrary pre-termination of employment contracts. 66 (Emphasis supplied, citation omitted)
Even with respect to fundamental procedural rights, this court emphasized in PCL Shipping Philippines, Inc. v. NLRC,67 to
wit:
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Petitioners admit that they did not inform private respondent in writing of the charges against him and that they failed to
conduct a formal investigation to give him opportunity to air his side. However, petitioners contend that the twin
requirements of notice and hearing applies strictly only when the employment is within the Philippines and that these need
not be strictly observed in cases of international maritime or overseas employment.
The Court does not agree. The provisions of the Constitution as well as the Labor Code which afford protection to
labor apply to Filipino employees whether working within the Philippines or abroad. Moreover, the principle of
lex loci contractus (the law of the place where the contract is made) governs in this jurisdiction. In the present
case, it is not disputed that the Contract of Employment entered into by and between petitioners and private respondent was
executed here in the Philippines with the approval of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). Hence, the
Labor Code together with its implementing rules and regulations and other laws affecting labor apply in this
case.68 (Emphasis supplied, citations omitted)
By our laws, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) may only be terminated for a just or authorized cause and after compliance
with procedural due process requirements.
Article 282 of the Labor Code enumerates the just causes of termination by the employer. Thus:

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Art. 282. Termination by employer. An employer may terminate an employment for any of the following causes:

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(a) Serious misconduct or willful disobedience by the employee of the lawful orders of his employer or representative in
connection with his work;
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(b) Gross and habitual neglect by the employee of his duties;

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(c) Fraud or willful breach by the employee of the trust reposed in him by his employer or duly authorized representative;

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(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
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(e) Other causes analogous to the foregoing.

Respondent started working on June 26. efficiency. Her constitutional right to due process of law was violated. Due process requires that the probationary employee be informed of such standards at the time of his or her engagement so he or she can adjust his or her character or workmanship accordingly. The burden of proving that there is just cause for termination is on the employer. petitioner merely alleged that respondent failed to comply with her foreign employer’s work requirements and was inefficient in her work. what efficiency standards were violated. however. 1997 effective on the same day and barely a month from her first workday. 77 The other notice must “[inform] the employee of the employer’s decision. Courts should remain vigilant on allegations of the employer’s failure to communicate work standards that would govern one’s employment “if [these are] to discharge in good faith [their] duty to adjudicate. Petitioner failed to comply with the due process requirements Respondent’s dismissal less than one year from hiring and her repatriation on the same day show not only failure on the part of petitioner to comply with the requirement of the existence of just cause for termination. the employer may exercise its management prerogative of terminating the employee found unqualified.Petitioner’s allegation that respondent was inefficient in her work and negligent in her duties 69 may. which allow termination of the employee only when there is “just cause or when [the probationary employee] fails to qualify as a regular employee in accordance with reasonable standards made known by the employer to the employee at the time of his [or her] engagement. There was also no showing that respondent was sufficiently informed of the standards against which her work efficiency and performance were judged. we do not see why the application of that ruling should be limited to probationary employment. A valid dismissal requires both a valid cause and adherence to the valid procedure of dismissal. II .”70 Failure to show that there was valid or just cause for termination would necessarily mean that the dismissal was illegal. The parties’ conflict as to the position held by respondent showed that even the matter as basic as the job title was not clear. There is no proof that respondent was legally terminated.74No evidence was shown to support such allegations. This time. it must be shown that: 1) the employer has set standards of conduct and workmanship against which the employee will be judged. She was told that she was terminated on July 14. Petitioner did not even bother to specify what requirements were not met. 2) the standards of conduct and workmanship must have been communicated to the employee. propriety. the standards to be met are set for the purpose of retaining employment or promotion. 75 The employer is required to give the charged employee at least two written notices before termination.”79 cralawred Petitioner failed to comply with the twin notices and hearing requirements. The bare allegations of petitioner are not sufficient to support a claim that there is just cause for termination. which are guaranteed to all employees. This is similar to the law and jurisprudence on probationary employees. “The employer must affirmatively show rationally adequate evidence that the dismissal was for a justifiable cause.”78 Aside from the notice requirement. 76One of the written notices must inform the employee of the particular acts that may cause his or her dismissal. determines if an employee is still qualified and efficient. on a regular basis. whether their employment is probationary or regular. the employee must also be given “an opportunity to be heard. or what particular acts of respondent constituted inefficiency. and 3) the communication was made at a reasonable time prior to the employee’s performance assessment. constitute a just cause for termination under Article 282(b). The employer. Assessing an employee’s work performance does not stop after regularization. The abruptness of the termination negated any finding that she was properly notified and given the opportunity to be heard. and after complying with the due process requirements of notice and hearing. based on work standards. 1997.”72 cralawred However. They patently show that the employers did not comply with the due process requirement. Proper adjustment to fit the standards upon which the employee’s qualifications will be evaluated will increase one’s chances of being positively assessed for regularization by his or her employer. but only if petitioner was able to prove it.”73 cralawre d In this case. therefore. That rule is basic to the idea of security of tenure and due process. The pre-determined standards that the employer sets are the bases for determining the probationary employee’s fitness. The employee cannot be expected to meet any standard of character or workmanship if such standards were not communicated to him or her. 71 cralawred To show that dismissal resulting from inefficiency in work is valid. and qualifications as a regular employee. The regular employee must constantly attempt to prove to his or her employer that he or she meets all the standards for employment. She was also repatriated on the same day that she was informed of her termination. Based on that determination.

Gallant Maritime Services. – Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary. However. It reads: chanRoble svirtualLawlibrary SEC. whichever is less. plus his salaries for the unexpired portion of his employment contract or for three (3) months for every year of the unexpired term. the corporate officers and directors and partners as the case may be. MONEY CLAIMS. – The repatriation of the worker and the transport of his personal belongings shall be the primary responsibility of the agency which recruited or deployed the worker overseas. (Emphasis supplied) chanroble slaw Section 15 of Republic Act No. . which answered for her repatriation. within ninety (90) calendar days after filing of the complaint. REPATRIATION OF WORKERS. the Labor Arbiters of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) shall have the original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide. EMERGENCY REPATRIATION FUND. is entitled to her salary for the unexpired portion of the employment contract that was violated together with attorney’s fees and reimbursement of amounts withheld from her salary. the principal/employer or agency shall not in any manner be responsible for the repatriation of the former and/or his belongings. The Court of Appeals affirmed the National Labor Relations Commission’s decision to award respondent NT$46.00 or the three-month equivalent of her salary. however.. The award of the three-month equivalent of respondent’s salary should. otherwise known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995. amendment or modification made locally or in a foreign country of the said contract. states that overseas workers who were terminated without just.00. and the reimbursement of the withheld NT$3.. having been illegally dismissed. it imposes no duties. Section 10 of Republic Act No. it affords . We uphold the finding that respondent is entitled to all of these awards. If the recruitment/placement agency is a juridical being. the repatriation of remains and transport of the personal belongings of a deceased worker and all costs attendant thereto shall be borne by the principal and/or local agency.. and Marlow Navigation Co. In Serrano v. . 8042 states that “repatriation of the worker and the transport of his [or her] personal belongings shall be the primary responsibility of the agency which recruited or deployed the worker overseas... In case of termination of overseas employment without just.”80 which as we have established.. valid or authorized cause as defined by law or contract. moral. as provided by law. the workers shall be entitled to the full reimbursement of his placement fee with interest of twelve (12%) per annum. attorney’s fees of NT$300.” Sec. The performance bond to be filed by the recruitment/placement agency. 15. Inc. Such liabilities shall continue during the entire period or duration of the employment contract and shall not be affected by any substitution.Respondent Joy Cabiles...000.84 cralawred A statute or provision which was declared unconstitutional is not a law. This provisions [sic] shall be incorporated in the contract for overseas employment and shall be a condition precedent for its approval. whichever is less. shall be answerable for all money claims or damages that may be awarded to the workers. 10. The liability of the principal/employer and the recruitment/placement agency for any and all claims under this section shall be joint and several. All costs attendant to repatriation shall be borne by or charged to the agency concerned and/or its principal. The Labor Code81 also entitles the employee to 10% of the amount of withheld wages as attorney’s fees when the withholding is unlawful. in cases where the termination of employment is due solely to the fault of the worker. 8042. or authorized cause “shall be entitled to the full reimbursement of his placement fee with interest of twelve (12%) per annum. Any compromise/amicable settlement or voluntary agreement on money claims inclusive of damages under this section shall be paid within four (4) months from the approval of the settlement by the appropriate authority. the claims arising out of an employer-employee relationship or by virtue of any law or contract involving Filipino workers for overseas deployment including claims for actual. plus his salaries for the unexpired portion of his employment contract or for three (3) months for every year of the unexpired term. Inc. It “confers no rights. Likewise.82 this court ruled that the clause “or for three (3) months for every year of the unexpired term. whichever is less” 83 is unconstitutional for violating the equal protection clause and substantive due process. be increased to the amount equivalent to the unexpired term of the employment contract.080. exemplary and other forms of damages. valid.00 salary.” The exception is when “termination of employment is due solely to the fault of the worker. shall themselves be jointly and solidarily liable with the corporation or partnership for the aforesaid claims and damages. is not the case.

Any compromise/amicable settlement or voluntary agreement on money claims inclusive of damages under this section shall be paid within thirty (30) days from approval of the settlement by the appropriate authority. the NLRC shall endeavor to update and keep abreast with the developments in the global services industry. 10022 may delay the execution of the judgment in this case. this court is possessed with the constitutional duty to “[p]romulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights. Consistent with this mandate. The law passed incorporates the exact clause already declared as unconstitutional. the worker shall be entitled to the full reimbursement if [sic] his placement fee and the deductions made with interest at twelve percent (12%) per annum. Section 10 of Republic Act No. we are confronted with a unique situation. 8042. 86 Republic Act No.no protection. the existence of Republic Act No. 8042 upon promulgation of Republic Act No. withheld until the said official complies therewith. further frustrating remedies to assuage the wrong done to petitioner. If the recruitment/placement agency is a juridical being. the corporate officers and directors and partners as the case may be. This may cause confusion on the part of the National Labor Relations Commission and the Court of Appeals. valid or authorized cause as defined by law or contract. Hence. Such liabilities shall continue during the entire period or duration of the employment contract and shall not be affected by any substitution. 8042 was not yet in effect at the time of respondent’s termination from work in 1997. the claims arising out of an employer-employee relationship or by virtue of any law or contract involving Filipino workers for overseas deployment including claims for actual. shall be answerable for all money claims or damages that may be awarded to the workers. exemplary and other forms of damage. plus his salaries for the unexpired portion of his employment contract or for three (3) months for every year of the unexpired term. The liability of the principal/employer and the recruitment/placement agency for any and all claims under this section shall be joint and several. moral. Moreover. we do not hesitate to provide for guidance to bench and bar in situations where the same violations are capable of repetition but will evade review. Provided. 8042 before it was amended by Republic Act No. as amended. Money Claims. the Labor Arbiters of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) shall have the original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide. Section 7 of Republic Act No. amendment or modification made locally or in a foreign country of the said contract. shall themselves be jointly and solidarily liable with the corporation or partnership for the aforesaid claims and damages. whichever is less. or any unauthorized deductions from the migrant worker’s salary. In case of termination of overseas employment without just. 10. from participating in the Philippine Overseas Employment Program and from recruiting and hiring Filipino workers until and unless it fully satisfies the judgement award. The performance bond to de [sic] filed by the recruitment/placement agency. 10022 was promulgated on March 8. whichever is less” was reinstated in Republic Act No.”85 cralawre d We are aware that the clause “or for three (3) months for every year of the unexpired term. or caused to be. This is analogous to . 10022 provides: chanRoble svirtualLawlibrary Section 7. This means that the reinstatement of the clause in Republic Act No. 10022 in 2010. At minimum. it creates no office.”87 When cases become moot and academic. (Emphasis supplied) Republic Act No. – Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary. However. When a law is passed. or (c) Dismissal from the service with disqualification to hold any appointive public office for five (5) years. That the penalties herein provided shall be without prejudice to any liability which any such official may have incured [sic] under other existing laws or rules and regulations as a consequence of violating the provisions of this paragraph. chanroble svirtuallawlibrary (b) Suspension for not more than ninety (90) days. it is inoperative as if it has not been passed at all. is hereby amended to read as follows: chanRoble svirtualLawlibrary SEC. this court awaits an actual case that clearly raises adversarial positions in their proper context before considering a prayer to declare it as unconstitutional. it shall be automatically disqualified. This provision shall be incorporated in the contract for overseas employment and shall be a condition precedent for its approval. within ninety (90) calendar days after the filing of the complaint. without any perceived substantial change in the circumstances. 2010. In case of a final and executory judgement against a foreign employer/principal. there is a necessity to decide this constitutional issue. 10022 governs this case. without further proceedings. however. as provided by law. Noncompliance with the mandatory periods for resolutions of case provided under this section shall subject the responsible officials to any or all of the following penalties: cralawlawlibrary (a) The salary of any such official who fails to render his decision or resolution within the prescribed period shall be.

only if classifications are made arbitrarily. when a law or a provision of law is null because it is inconsistent with the Constitution. The new law puts our overseas workers in the same vulnerable position as they were prior to Serrano.89 petitioner argued that the clause was constitutional. In its comment. 2013. 93 However. A law or provision of law that was already declared unconstitutional remains as such unless circumstances have so changed as to warrant a reverse conclusion.91 Petitioner is also of the view that the clause was already declared as constitutional in Serrano. No branch or office of the government may exercise its powers in any manner inconsistent with the Constitution. we identified the classifications made by the reinstated clause. We reiterate our finding in Serrano v. Thus. 10022. in a resolution88 dated October 22. as well as hostile discrimination or the oppression of inequality.107 Within the class of overseas workers with at least one-year employment contracts.cases where there are millions of Filipinos working abroad who are bound to suffer from the lack of protection because of the restoration of an identical clause in a provision previously declared as unconstitutional.92 cralawre d The Office of the Solicitor General also argued that the clause was valid and constitutional. Equal protection of the law is a guarantee that persons under like circumstances and falling within the same class are treated alike. there was a distinction between those with at least a year left in their contracts and those with less than a year left in their contracts when they were illegally dismissed. 108 cralawre d .100 cralawre d The equal protection clause does not infringe on this legislative power. this time as provided in Republic Act. respondent argued that the clause was unconstitutional because it infringed on workers’ right to contract. 10022. Obviously. All laws must be read in light of the Constitution. Any law that is inconsistent with it is a nullity.95 cralawred We observe that the reinstated clause.102 There is no violation of the equal protection clause if the law applies equally to persons within the same class and if there are reasonable grounds for distinguishing between those falling within the class and those who do not fall within the class. it has a wide discretion. In Serrano.90 The legislators intended a balance between the employers’ and the employees’ rights by not unduly burdening the local recruitment agency. Constitutional interpretation is complex. The Constitution cannot be trumped by any other law. 104 cralawre d A reasonable classification “(1) must rest on substantial distinctions. Failure to reiterate the very ratio decidendi of that case will result in the same untold economic hardships that our reading of the Constitution intended to avoid.”99 In exercising such power. (2) must be germane to the purposes of the law. Thus. It distinguished between fixed-period overseas workers and fixed-period local workers. regardless of the existence of any law that supports such exercise. we ordered the parties and the Office of the Solicitor General to comment on the constitutionality of the reinstated clause in Republic Act No. there are special reasons of judicial efficiency and economy that attend to these cases. the Constitution is supreme. in terms of “privileges conferred and liabilities enforced. Likewise.96 Petitioner as well as the Solicitor General have failed to show any compelling change in the circumstances that would warrant us to revisit the precedent. No. violates the constitutional rights to equal protection and due process.”97 It is a guarantee against “undue favor and individual or class privilege. the nullity cannot be cured by reincorporation or reenactment of the same or a similar law or provision.103 A law that does not violate the equal protection clause prescribes a reasonable classification. we cannot countenance added expenses for further litigation that will reduce their hard-earned wages as well as add to the indignity of having been deprived of the protection of our laws simply because our precedents have not been followed.”98 cralawred In creating laws. There is no constitutional doctrine that causes injustice in the face of empty procedural niceties. (3) must not be limited to existing conditions only. Gallant Maritime that limiting wages that should be recovered by an illegally dismissed overseas worker to three months is both a violation of due process and the equal protection clauses of the Constitution. In the hierarchy of laws. We are not convinced by the pleadings submitted by the parties that the situation has so changed so as to cause us to reverse binding precedent. 10022. since the parties never raised the issue of the constitutionality of the clause as reinstated in Republic Act No.”105 cralawred The reinstated clause does not satisfy the requirement of reasonable classification. but it is never unreasonable.106 It also distinguished between overseas workers with employment contracts of less than one year and overseas workers with employment contracts of at least one year. and (4) must apply equally to all members of the same class. its contention is that it is beyond judicial review. the legislature has the power “to make distinctions and classifications.101 A law is void on this basis.94 cralawre d On the other hand.

On the other hand. . which is to “establish a higher standard of protection and promotion of the welfare of migrant workers. these issues justify an equal. It is state policy to protect the rights of workers without qualification as to the place of employment. Their liability for arbitrarily terminating overseas workers is decreased at the expense of the workers whose rights they violated. We also find that the classifications are not relevant to the purpose of the law.”109 cralawre d Under the Constitution. while those who are illegally dismissed with one year or more remaining in their contracts shall be covered by the reinstated clause. the money claims of illegally terminated overseas and local workers with fixed-term employment were computed in the same manner. As Justice Brion said in his concurring opinion in Serrano: chanRoble svirtualLawlibrary Section 10 of R. their families and overseas Filipinos in distress. 8042 affects these well-laid rules and measures. as worded.117 cralawre d Observing the terminologies used in the clause. For this reason. 123 If anything.The Congress’ classification may be subjected to judicial review. if not greater protection and assistance to overseas workers who generally are more prone to exploitation given their physical distance from our government. The rights violated when. which they could have earned had they not been illegally dismissed.115 cralawre d We observed that illegally dismissed overseas workers whose employment contracts had a term of less than one year were granted the amount equivalent to the unexpired portion of their employment contracts.122 cralawred Likewise. this court in Serrano. the jurisdictional and enforcement issues on overseas workers’ money claims do not justify a differentiated treatment in the computation of their money claims. creates a situation where the law meant to protect them makes violation of rights easier and simply benign to the violator. foreign employers are more incentivized by the reinstated clause to enter into contracts of at least a year because it gives them more flexibility to violate our overseas workers’ rights. employ[ed] the standard of strict judicial scrutiny.”124 Further.120 The same is true for the distinctions between overseas workers with an employment contract of less than one year and overseas workers with at least one year of employment contract.’ . 119 In both cases. for it perceive[d] in the subject clause a suspect classification prejudicial to OFWs. 110 Thus. The reinstated clause. illegally dismissed overseas workers with employment terms of at least a year were granted a cap equivalent to three months of their salary for the unexpired portions of their contracts. No. 116 Meanwhile. we also found that “the subject clause creates a sub-layer of discrimination among OFWs whose contract periods are for more than one year: those who are illegally dismissed with less than one year left in their contracts shall be entitled to their salaries for the entire unexpired portion thereof. 8042 subjected the money claims of illegally dismissed overseas workers with an unexpired term of at least a year to a cap of three months worth of their salary. . we cannot subscribe to the argument that “[overseas workers] are contractual employees who can never acquire regular employment status. these overseas workers who are impressed with an expectation of a stable job overseas for the longer contract period disregard other opportunities only to be terminated earlier. and their monetary benefits limited to their salaries for three months only. Overseas workers regardless of their classifications are entitled to security of tenure.”113The adoption of the reinstated clause in Republic Act No. If they were illegally dismissed. the workers’ right to security of tenure is violated.”118 cralawre d We do not need strict scrutiny to conclude that these classifications do not rest on any real or substantial distinctions that would justify different treatments in terms of the computation of money claims resulting from illegal termination. we find specious the argument that reducing the liability of placement agencies “redounds to the benefit of the [overseas] workers. and in fact provides a hidden twist affecting the principal/employer’s liability. For both workers. and between overseas workers with at least a year left in their contracts and overseas workers with less than a year left in their contracts when they were illegally dismissed. say. this deprivation translates to economic insecurity and disparity. While intended as an incentive accruing to recruitment/manning agencies. a fixed-period local worker is illegally terminated are neither greater than nor less than the rights violated when a fixed-period overseas worker is illegally terminated. the law. unlike local workers” 121 because it already justifies differentiated treatment in terms of the computation of money claims. there is a “legislative classification which impermissibly interferes with the exercise of a fundamental right or operates to the peculiar disadvantage of a suspect class.112 Their money claims were computed based on the “unexpired portions of their contracts. therefore. They are left with claims that are less than what others in the same situation would receive. This means that they cannot be dismissed before the end of their contract terms without due process. In Serrano.A. “[i]mbued with the same sense of ‘obligation to afford protection to labor.114 There was no such limitation on the money claims of illegally terminated local workers with fixed-term employment. Meanwhile. and for other purposes. 8042. . labor is afforded special protection. at least for the period agreed upon in their contracts.”111 cralawred We also noted in Serrano that before the passage of Republic Act No.”125 cralawre d Putting a cap on the money claims of certain overseas workers does not increase the standard of protection afforded to them. the workers are deprived of their expected salary.

4305S. goods or credits and the rate allowed in judgments. This is effectively a legally-imposed partial condonation of their liability to OFWs.”129 cralawred III On the interest rate.1 of the Manual of Regulations for Banks and Sections 4305Q. the interest due shall itself earn legal interest from the time it is judicially demanded. the law simply limits their liability for the wrongful dismissals of already deployed OFWs. from a more practical and realistic view. thereby amending Section 2 of Circular No. “[t]here can never be a justification for any form of government action that alleviates the burden of one sector.. Section 10 – read as a grant of incentives to recruitment/manning agencies – oversteps what it aims to do by effectively limiting what is otherwise the full liability of the foreign principals/employers. In view of the above. not only because of the lessened recovery afforded him or her by operation of law. Thus. as follows: chanRoble svirtualLawlibrary 1. and it consists in the payment of a sum of money. The idea that private business interest can be elevated to the level of a compelling state interest is odious. 8042. Through the able ponencia of Justice Diosdado Peralta. When the obligation is breached. Gallery Frames:130 cralawre d II. 126 Further. No. the principals/employers and the recruitment/manning agencies even profit from their violation of the security of tenure that an employment contract embodies. Thus. the incentive. Series of 1982: cralawlawlibrary Section 1. The pertinent portions of Circular No. the lesser cost of dismissing a Filipino will always be a consideration a foreign employer will take into account in termination of employment decisions. 799. With regard particularly to an award of interest in the concept of actual and compensatory damages. respondent is entitled to her salary from July 15. is imposed. i. . Conversely. while the disadvantaged sector is composed of OFWs whose protection no less than the Constitution commands. “To rule otherwise would be iniquitous to petitioner and other OFWs. to encourage greater efforts at recruitment. It is arbitrary as it deprives overseas workers of their monetary claims without any discernable valid purpose. the limitation of liability under Section 10 cannot be an “appropriate” incentive. read: chanRoblesvirtualLa wlibrary The Monetary Board. Since she started working on June 26. Because of this hidden twist. lesser protection is afforded the OFW. Thus.”127 cralawred Along the same line.e. What worsens the situation is the chosen mode of granting the incentive: instead of a grant that. which revised the interest rate for loan or forbearance from 12% to 6% in the absence of stipulation. In this sense.simply limits the OFWs’ recovery in wrongful dismissal situations. The award of the three-month equivalence of respondent’s salary must be modified accordingly. Section 2. in its Resolution No.1 of the Manual of Regulations for Non-Bank Financial Institutions are hereby amended accordingly. approved the following revisions governing the rate of interest in the absence of stipulation in loan contracts. 128 cralawred Respondent Joy Cabiles is entitled to her salary for the unexpired portion of her contract. and would. 1997 to June 25. 1998. we held that the reinstated clause violates due process rights. especially when the favored sector is composed of private businesses such as placement agencies. 905. we laid down the guidelines in computing legal interest in Nacar v. . .1. In the absence of stipulation. The so-called incentive is rendered particularly odious by its effect on the OFWs — the benefits accruing to the recruitment/manning agencies and their principals are taken from the pockets of the OFWs to whom the full salaries for the unexpired portion of the contract rightfully belong. the rate of interest. but also because this same lessened recovery renders a wrongful dismissal easier and less onerous to undertake. justified solely by the law’s intent to encourage greater deployment efforts. the interest due should be that which may have been stipulated in writing. to borrow the term that R. in effect. in short. a loan or forbearance of money. Subsection X305. 1997 and was terminated on July 14. without justifiable reason. 2013. applies in this case. Furthermore. in the absence of an express contract as to such rate of interest. send a wrong signal that principals/employers and recruitment/manning agencies may violate an OFW’s security of tenure which an employment contract embodies and actually profit from such violation based on an unconstitutional provision of law. including the principal/employer – the direct employer primarily liable for the wrongful dismissal. to mitigate its liability for wrongful dismissals.3 and 4303P. is really part of a scheme to sell Filipino overseas labor at a bargain for purposes solely of attracting the market. .A. as well as the accrual thereof. Section 10. it redounds to the benefit of whoever may be liable. shall be six percent (6%) per annum. Series of 2013. 799 of June 21. 796 dated 16 May 2013. 1997. is directly related to extra efforts undertaken. 8042 itself uses to describe the incentive it envisions under its purpose clause. the rate of interest shall be 6% per annum to be computed from . really operates to benefit the wrong party and allows that party. The rate of interest for the loan or forbearance of any money. the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Circular No. . but imposes the same burden on another sector. . in accordance with Section 10 of Republic Act No. This Circular shall take effect on 1 July 2013.

“The contracting parties need not repeat them. and in judgments when there is no stipulation on the applicable interest rate. 136 cralawre d . 2013 and there was no stipulation in the contract providing for a different interest rate. it is only applicable if the judgment did not become final and executory before July 1. therefore. an interest on the amount of damages awarded may be imposed at the discretion of the court at the rate of 6% per annum. 8042 provides that unlawfully terminated overseas workers are entitled to the reimbursement of his or her placement fee with an interest of 12% per annum. an implied stipulation in contracts between the placement agency and the overseas worker that in case the overseas worker is adjudged as entitled to reimbursement of his or her placement fees. shall be adjudged on unliquidated claims or damages.132 cralawred We add that Circular No. goods. Accordingly. The same cannot be said for awards of salary for the unexpired portion of the employment contract under Republic Act No. which provides that the 6% interest rate applies even to judgments. This is despite Section 1 of Circular No. 799 is not applicable when there is a law that states otherwise. They do not even have to be referred to. In sum. from judicial or extrajudicial demand under and subject to the provisions of Article 1169 of the Civil Code. This section also provides that the performance bond filed by the local agency shall be answerable for such money claims or damages if they were awarded to the employee. but the statutory provisions that have any bearing on the matter. 799. The actual base for the computation of legal interest shall. except when or until the demand can be established with reasonable certainty. 2013. we clarify the liabilities of Wacoal as principal and petitioner as the employment agency that facilitated respondent’s overseas employment. thus. This means that respondent is also entitled to an interest of 6% per annum on her money claims from the finality of this judgment. 131 Circular No. 8042 shall be subject to the 6% interest per annum in accordance with Circular No. laws are deemed incorporated in contracts. Further. is breached. 2. 133 these interest rates do not apply when the law provides that a different interest rate shall be applied. the amount shall be subject to a 12% interest per annum. the interest shall begin to run from the time the claim is made judicially or extrajudicially (Art. this interim period being deemed to be by then an equivalent to a forbearance of credit. in any case.”134 cralawre d For example. 1169. These awards are covered by Circular No. 2013.e.default. the interest shall begin to run only from the date the judgment of the court is made (at which time the quantification of damages may be deemed to have been reasonably ascertained). 8042. Moreover. When the judgment of the court awarding a sum of money becomes final and executory. Section 10 of the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 provides that the foreign employer and the local employment agency are jointly and severally liable for money claims including claims arising out of an employer-employee relationship and/or damages. Only a law can repeal another law. or credits. shall not be disturbed and shall continue to be implemented applying the rate of interest fixed therein. IV Finally. above. the issuance of Circular No. This implied stipulation has the effect of removing awards for reimbursement of placement fees from Circular No. where the demand is established with reasonable certainty. 799 does not have the effect of changing the interest on awards for reimbursement of placement fees from 12% to 6%.”135 There is. the rate of legal interest. shall be 6% per annumfrom such finality until its satisfaction. 8042. Section 10 of Republic Act No. but when such certainty cannot be so reasonably established at the time the demand is made. And. When an obligation. 799 is applicable only in loans and forbearance of money. 799’s coverage. be on the amount finally adjudged. 799. While the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has the power to set or limit interest rates. in addition to the above. No interest. “[A] Central Bank Circular cannot repeal a law. if judgment did not become final and executory before July 1. 799 because the law does not provide for a specific interest rate that should apply. 3. not constituting a loan or forbearance of money. contains not only what has been explicitly stipulated. i. Civil Code). Every contract. Since Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas circulars cannot repeal Republic Act No.. other money claims under Section 10 of Republic Act No. whether the case falls under paragraph 1 or paragraph 2. This provision is in line with the state’s policy of affording protection to labor and alleviating workers’ plight. however. judgments that have become final and executory prior to July 1.

in their very own land. By providing that the liability of the foreign employer may be “enforced to the full extent”139 against the local agent. Facetime. maltreatment. In Prieto v. we are a people who contribute much to the provision of material creations of this world. There are also possible conflict of laws. The fundamental effect of joint and several liability is that “each of the debtors is liable for the entire obligation. sub-human lodgings.140 cralawred Corollary to the assurance of immediate recourse in law. Overseas Filipino workers brave alien cultures and the heartbreak of families left behind daily. Hence. being so. The distance of the foreign employer alone makes it difficult for an overseas worker to reach it and make it liable for violations of the Labor Code. and procedural rules that may be raised to frustrate an overseas worker’s attempt to advance his or her claims. the overseas workers are assured that someone — the foreign employer’s local agent — may be made to answer for violations that the foreign employer may have committed. Their travails and their heroism can be told a million times over. if any. be achieved even if only one of the joint and several debtors are impleaded in an action.In overseas employment. the provision on joint and several liability in the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 shifts the burden of going after the foreign employer from the overseas worker to the local employment agency. and creativity of our people. are inoculated with interest in being always on the lookout against foreign employers that tend to violate labor law. patience. They are our true diplomats. insults and other forms of debasement.142 chanrobleslaw But it seems that we have not said enough. There is no reason why. in the case of overseas employment. they who show the world the resilience. it is not possible to determine whether there was indeed a transfer of obligations from petitioner to Pacific. Breach of contract. While we sit. days. Indeed. and years yearning to see their sons and daughters. It may be argued. usually with heavy hearts. We default by limiting the contractual wages that should be paid to our workers when their contracts are breached by the foreign employers. Unknown to them. are only a few of the inhumane acts to which they are subjected by their foreign employers. With the present state of the pleadings. While these workers may indeed have relatively little defense against exploitation while they are abroad. This should not be an obstacle for the respondent overseas worker to proceed with the enforcement of this judgment. V Many times. they remember what their work has cost them. rape. We face a diaspora of Filipinos. This way. Local agencies.”138 A final determination may. each of their stories as real as any other. they keep our economy afloat through the ebb and flow of political and economic crises. However. this court has spoken on what Filipinos may encounter as they travel into the farthest and most difficult reaches of our planet to provide for their families. the overseas worker is assured of immediate and sufficient payment of what is due them. jurisdictional issues. who probably feel they can do as they please in their own country. Petitioner is possessed with the resources to determine the proper legal remedies to enforce its rights against Pacific. either the local agency or the foreign employer may be sued for all claims arising from the foreign employer’s labor law violations. A further implication of making local agencies jointly and severally liable with the foreign employer is that an additional layer of protection is afforded to overseas workers. local agencies must already have mechanisms for guarding against unscrupulous foreign employers even at the level prior to overseas employment applications. this . for instance. it must be emphasized that the local agency that is held to answer for the overseas worker’s money claims is not left without remedy. NLRC:141 cralawre d The Court is not unaware of the many abuses suffered by our overseas workers in the foreign land where they have ventured. Twitter accounts. We all know of the joy and sadness when they come home to see them all grown up and. hours. that the foreign employer must be impleaded in the complaint as an indispensable party without which no final determination can be had of an action. in pursuit of a more fulfilling future. that disadvantage must not continue to burden them when they return to their own territory to voice their muted complaint. insufficient nourishment. They would count the minutes. The Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 ensures that overseas workers have recourse in law despite the circumstances of their employment. This government loses its soul if we fail to ensure decent treatment for all Filipinos. the filing of money claims against the foreign employer is attended by practical and legal complications. months. the protection of our own laws cannot be extended to them in full measure for the redress of their grievances. 137 cralawre d The provision on joint and several liability in the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 assures overseas workers that their rights will not be frustrated with these complications. which are businesses by nature. The law does not preclude it from going after the foreign employer for reimbursement of whatever payment it has made to the employee to answer for the money claims against the foreign employer. therefore. Lest they risk their reputation or finances. and many other gadgets and online applications will never substitute for their lost physical presence.

JUANITA L. Nahas (Nahas) jointly and severally liable for the unpaid salaries. 79028 which denied the Petition for Certiorari filed therewith and affirmed the February 28. moral and exemplary damages and attorney’s fees of respondent Juanita L. if allowed. 2005 Decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CAG. SO ORDERED. . compensation for the unexpired portion of employment contract.R. Since she was not given immediate medical attention. Olarte served Fahad’s family diligently. Consolacion M.R. Petitioner is also ORDERED to reimburse respondent the withheld NT$3. WHEREFORE. she was to serve her employer. 2003 Decision and June 30. Per her employment contract. 169247 June 2. NAHAS. This notwithstanding. 1999. The NLRC dismissed the appeal from the Labor Arbiter's March 20. At that point. Inevitably. J. 8042 is declared unconstitutional and. Cabiles the amount equivalent to her salary for the unexpired portion of her employment contract at an interest of 6% per annum from the finality of this judgment. CONSOLACION M. Saudi Arabia for a contract term of two years. Fajad’s information sheet. DECISION DEL CASTILLO. 032482-02. G.00. “or for three (3) months for every year of the unexpired term. Olarte requested Fahad to just allow her go home to the Philippines. Petitioner Sameer Overseas Placement Agency is ORDERED to pay respondent Joy C. Because of her condition.: "A party will not be allowed to make a mockery of justice by taking inconsistent positions which.00 which was the only pay she received for the whole duration that she worked for Fahad. whichever is less” in Section 7 of Republic Act No. Olarte was deployed as a domestic helper to Hail. She was later diagnosed to be suffering from ostro-arthritis. she was not paid her salaries. doing business under the name and style PERSONNEL EMPLOYMENT AND TECHNICAL RECRUITMENT AGENCY. OLARTE. her condition became critical such that in February 2000 she had to be operated on due to water retention in her leg bones." 1 Assailed in this Petition for Review on Certiorari is the April 29. 6 Upon arriving in Fahad’s home. 2002 Decision in NLRC-NCR OFW Case No. Olarte was surprised that there were four children with one suffering from serious disability. provides that there are two adults and three children living in his household and that no disabled or sick person is to be put under Olarte’s care.000. their dignity is ours as well. SP No. null and void. It was only in December 1999 that she was given US$200. vs. Petitioner. 2 3 4 5 Factual Antecedents On August 27. would result in brazen deception.00 salary and pay respondent attorney’s fees of NT$300.00 at an interest of 6% per annum from the finality of this judgment. 10022 amending Section 10 of Republic Act No. In the succeeding months. Respondent. 2003 Resolution of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) in NLRC CA No. Olarte (Olarte). on the other hand. Olarte started feeling intense pain in her legs. the petition is DENIED. The decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED with modification. The clause. Fahad was already frequently maltreating her since she could no longer accomplish all the household chores due to her illness. No.court will ensure that our laws will reward our overseas workers with what they deserve: their dignity. Fahad Abdulaziz Mohammed Al-Mijary (Fahad) for a basic monthly salary of US$200. therefore. (L) 01-07-1411-00 which held Personnel Employment and Technical Recruitment Agency (PETRA). 2014 MA. But her pleas fell on deaf ears. Royal Dream International Agency (Royal Dream) and petitioner Ma. However.

Lastly. Moreover. the local agency which according to Nahas was the one responsible for Olarte’s deployment. She was met and interviewed by Nahas. PETRA and Royal Dream be held jointly and severally liablewith her foreign employer for all her claims. She made a new allegation. Nahas acknowledged that she is the President/Manager of the said agency. Several months later. the said Annex "A" turned out to be a filled-up bio-data form of Olarte bearing the letterhead of Royal Dream. and also rejected their claim against liability after giving weight to the fact that Nahas admitted to have interviewed Olarte but failed to substantiate the claim that the latter withdrew her application. Ruling of the National Labor Relations Commission In her Memorandum of Appeal. Saudi Arabia on June 16. Nevertheless. moral damages in the amount of P100. she averred that she could not be made liable for Olarte’s claims because she was neither the owner nor an officer of Royal Dream. attorney’s fees and refund of placement fees against her foreign employer Fahad and Nahas/PETRA/Royal Dream. while Nahas was quick in passing the buck to Royal Dream she nevertheless stressed that no summons was served upon the latter. 13 To further avoid personal liability. . Olarte filed a Complaint for illegal dismissal. Subsequently and upon completion of all the necessary papers. the Labor Arbiter’s Decision is not binding on it. Gochangco Building. T.M.000. who instructed her to sign what appeared to be a contract of employment for work as a domestic helper. though. Manila to apply for work abroad as a domestic helper. respondents Petra Agency/Royal [Dream] International Services/Consolacion "Marla" Nahas are hereby jointly and severally ordered to pay the complainant her unpaid salaries for eight (8) months in the amount of US$1. The dispositive portion of the said Decision reads: 11 WHEREFORE. that if at all. she was deployed to Hail. Thus.000.. 8 In the Position Paper she filed for PETRA. the latter allegedly withdrew her application on the pretext that she would just go home to the province. She asserted that Olarte could not have possibly applied with PETRA during that time as the latter was issued a license by the POEA only on July 16. Olarte sought that Nahas. Nahas denied involvement in Olarte’s deployment. 7 Ruling of the Labor Arbiter In her pleadings. her only involvement was that she interviewed Olarte when she was still connected with Royal Dream as a mere employee. As the ones responsible for her deployment abroad. the Labor Arbiter ruled that PETRA/Royal Dream/Nahas failed to discharge the burden of proving that Olarte’s termination and repatriation were for just cause. Notwithstanding her worsening condition. 2000 and there sought refuge at the Philippine Embassy.600. damages.00. i. Kalaw.e. To support this. Olarte had to be brought home from the airport by an emergency ambulance. claiming that the same was a mistake. SO ORDERED. she denied having a hand in Olarte’s deployment abroad. Fahad was not one of PETRA’s accredited foreign employers. Nahas purportedly attached to the said pleading the alleged withdrawal request of Olarte as Annex "A. Olarte alleged that she went to the office of PETRA/Royal Dream at Room 401. 1999. three (3) months salary of the unexpired portion of the contract in the amount [of] US$600. Nahas recanted her earlier admission that Olarte went to PETRA as a walk-in applicant sometime in May 1999. prescinding from the foregoing considerations." However. While she admitted that Olarte indeed went to PETRA’s office as a walk-in applicant sometime in May 1999.00 and exemplary damages amounting to P50.00. she could not be repatriated immediately because her passport was being withheld by Fahad and had to stay for a while in the office of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). 2000.2002. When at last she was able to return to the Philippines on August 21. Saudi Arabia in August 1999 and there experienced her horrible ordeal. 9 10 In a Decision dated March 20.00 and attorney’s fees equivalent to ten (10%) percent of the total monetary awards.Olarte finally saw an opportunity to escape from the abusive hands of her employer when she was allowed to go to Riyadh. Even with this participation. 12 Nahas appealed to the NLRC. Ermita. the manager and owner of the said agencies.

Though she quickly added that she did so only because Olarte applied with PETRA first and that the latter eventually withdrew the same. With the foregoing. as admitted by the herein parties that it was with respondent PETRA that complainant applied for overseas employment as domestic helper. but failed to convince the CA as in its Decision dated April 29. In fact complainant was successfully deployed by Royal Dream as represented to by Nahas. Nahas subsequently recanted this and instead admitted that her agency PETRA was only granted a license by the POEA on 16 July1999 or after Olarte accomplished and filed her application form with ROYAL on 18 May 1999. While it was claimed by PETRA that the application of complainant was withdrawn. was not persuaded and disposed of the case in its Decision of February 28. indeed did so in recognition of the former’s authority. 15 Nahas filed a Motion for Reconsideration which was denied in a Resolution dated June 30. in her Position Paper. her role or position with ROYAL was undeniably significant considering that she took charge [of] interviewing Olarte and eventually made her sign the Contract of Employment. the instant appeal should be.The NLRC. to wit: . Nahas. admitted to having interviewed Olarte for her application to work abroad. however. It is also worthy to point out that the accomplished bio-data of Olarte with the letterhead of ROYAL referred to earlier was attached by no less than Nahas herself in her earlier pleading before the Labor Arbiter supposedly to show that Olarte withdrew her application with PETRA. no evidence on [record] appear to support it. as the Labor Arbiter ruled. It was respondent Nahas herself who interviewed complainant and in all probability furnished her all the requisite[s] for her deployment. and finding the same in order. In the same vein. Nahas likewise admitted being connected with ROYAL before and that she was the one who met and entertained Olarte when the latter applied with ROYAL. Nahas exercised discretion in determining who among the applicants of ROYAL should be accepted and deployed. 2005 it ruled in this wise: 18 Private respondent Olarte unequivocally declared at the [outset] that it was Nahas who interviewed her and facilitated her application for work abroad as a domestic helper by instructing the former to sign the Contract of Employment. thru the efforts of [respondent] Nahas. Records will disclose. her Reply to Olarte’s Position Paper and her Rejoinder. if indeed she was but a mere staff of ROYAL or that she is no longer connected in any way with ROYAL.Hence. The same holds true with appellants[’] claim that respondent Nahas was no longer connected with respondent Royal Dream when complainant was deployed abroad. convinces us. It would be uncanny for Nahas to have in her possession and custody such document. as it is hereby dismissed for lack of merit. 16 17 Ruling of the Court of Appeals Nahas advanced the same arguments she raised before the labor tribunals. Clearly. that both agencies. complainant’s overseas employment was made possible by respondent[’]s agencies. SO ORDERED. WHEREFORE. and as such they are now the law of the case. 2003 as follows: 14 The facts of this case are never disputed by herein appellants. We find nothing capricious or whimsical with the NLRC’s finding and thus affirm Nahas’ liability in accordance with Section 64 of the Omnibus Rules and Regulations Implementing the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of1995 (RA 8024). All along she (Nahas) represented [to be the owner of] and [was connected] with both PETRA and Royal Dream to facilitate her deployment. Obviously. Suffice it to [state] therefore that We find no cogent reason to deviate from the findings of the Labor Arbiter a quo. The fact that complainant was finally deployed thru the intercession of [respondent] Nahas with the aid of both respondent agencies. unless there remains an intimate relationship between her and ROYALor that she once held an important position in the same. the recourse to the CA via a Petition for Certiorari. 2003. While Nahas claim[s] that she is neither the proprietress nor one of the officers of ROYAL at that time. [affirm] it en toto.

the Labor Arbiter. The Court notes that in her quest to evade liability. but even finality. caused her to sign an employment contract. when affirmed by the NLRC and the CA. she admitted that Olarte indeed applied with PETRA and was interviewed by her but later withdrew the application. all of them should be held jointly and solidarily liable with their foreign principal. particularly in this case where there is no showing that it was arbitrary and bereft of any rational basis. She stresses that it was Nahas. the instant petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision of the NLRC dated 28 February2003 and its Resolution of 30 June 2003 are hereby AFFIRMED. who performed the acts of recruitment which led to her deployment abroad. acting for and in behalf of PETRA and Royal Dream. x x x. She maintains that she is a mere employee of Royal Dream and that interviewing and entertaining applicants per se do not establish that she is a corporate officer.‘Section 64. Olarte asserts that the argument that PETRA is different from Royal Dream is clearly an attempt on the part of Nahas. The Court is not a trier of facts. are binding on the Supreme Court. 20 21 The Parties’ Arguments Nahas insists that it is Royal Dream which is solely responsible for Olarte’s deployment and thus should be the one to answer for her claims. therefore." In this case. hence. that the resolution of the issue of whether Nahas acted for and in behalf of PETRA and/or Royal Dream in deploying Olarte abroad is a question of fact. for and in behalf of PETRA/Royal Dream. PETRA and Royal Dream to evade liability. xxxx WHEREFORE. Be that as it may. not duty-bound to inquire into the accuracy of this factual finding. hence. 2005. While Nahas intended to support this position with a document showing that Olarte requested for the . Our Ruling The Petition has no merit. unless patently erroneous. Before the Labor Arbiter. 22 23 24 Nahas’ inconsistent positions militate against her case. Solidary Liability – The liability of the principal/employer and the recruitment placement agency on any and all claims under this Rule shall be [joint] and solidary. On the other hand. and facilitated and made possible her deployment abroad. and the CA are one in their factual conclusion that Nahas. director or partner in said company who could be held solidarily liable." Also "[s]ettled is the rule that the findings of the [Labor Arbiter]. shall themselves be jointly and solidarily liable with the corporation or partnership for the aforesaid claims and damages. Nahas also refutes the CA’s conclusion that since she interviewed and caused Olarte to sign an employment contract. she contends that Royal Dream was not served with summons. the NLRC. the corporate officers and directors and partners as the case may be. the proceedings in this case is not binding upon it. Lastly. Nahas introduced several conflicting assertions. she avers that Olarte’s Complaint is bereft of allegations of attendant circumstances which warrant the grant of moral and exemplary damages. If the recruitment/placement agency is a juridical being. and are binding on this Court. It must be stressed. The Court is. 19 The Motion for Reconsideration thereto having been denied in the CA Resolution dated July 8. Only errors of law are generally reviewed in petitions for review on certiorari criticizing decisions of the CA. her claim of lack of service of summonsupon Royal Dream is likewise untenable. factual findings of the labor tribunals when affirmed by the CA are generally accorded not only respect. SO ORDERED. "Well-settled is the rule that this Court is not a trier of facts and this doctrine applies with greater force in labor cases. Questions of fact are for the labor tribunals to resolve. interviewed Olarte. Nahas now comes to this Court via the present Petition for Review on Certiorari. at the outset. she held an important position in Royal Dream.

if allowed." "[T]he corporate vehicle cannot be used as a shield to protect fraud or justify wrong. she could have easily submitted a certificate of employment from Royal Dream showing that she was a mere employee of the latter during the time material to this case. hardly convinces. Gochangco Building. Gochangco Building. 25 Later in her Memorandum of Appeal with the NLRC. 1999 thereby making it impossible for Olarte to apply in May 1999. PETRA and Royal Dream to hide behind the cloak of corporate fiction in order to evade the rightful claims of Olarte. 1âwphi1 It is quite obvious that Nahas started singing a different song. to concede to this claim of Nahas would in effect allow her. PETRA and Royal Dream are attempting to achieve but which the Court cannot allow. Ermita. Manila where she applied for work as domestic helper. the same. T." Inconsistent and unsupported as they are. so to speak. Aside from the lack of any evidence showing the date of the POEA’s issuance of license to PETRA. Nahas repudiated her earlier admission and averred that Olarte did not at all apply with PETRA. Ermita. . This cannot be tolerated. It bears emphasizing that "the statutorily granted privilege of a corporate veil may be used only for legitimate purposes. it must be stressed that Olarte had categorically declared at the outset that it was in the office of PETRA/Royal Dream at Room 401. respondent Consolacion "Marla" Nahas never denied [Olarte’s claim] that it was [Nahas] who interviewed her. Kalaw. While still maintaining that she interviewed Olarte. Kalaw." which clearly in this case is what Nahas. What was instead unwittingly attached to her Position Paper was Olarte’s accomplished bio-data bearing the letterhead of Royal Dream. when Olarte was repatriated and later filed a Complaint. however.M. the most convenient way out is for her to claim that Olarte did not at all apply with PETRA. 1999 bears the letterhead of Royal Dream and also why the pertinent documents from POEA and OWWA reflect the said agency as Olarte’s local agency. It is basic that mere [allegation]is neither equivalent to proof nor evidence. It has been held that "[a] party will not be allowed to make a mockery of justice by taking inconsistent positions which. 29 30 31 The propriety of the grant of moral and exemplary damages in favor of Olarte is being raised for the first time with this Court. respondent [PETRA] Agency’s claim that[Olarte] subsequently withdrew her application has not been satisfactorily established by concrete evidence. When finally deployed. she now claimed to have done so when she was still connected with Royal Dream as a mere employee. And with her still seeming inability to produce the alleged withdrawal request before the NLRC. was interviewed. the local agency appearing in Olarte’s papers was Royal Dream. 26 Neither does the unsupported averment of Nahas before the NLRC that she was previously connected with Royal Dream as a former employee help her cause. Nahas’ vacillating from one story to another and not being able to support them is nothing but a mere ruse to evade the lawful claims of Olarte. however. after the Labor Arbiter did not buy her claim that Olarte withdrew her application with PETRA due to her utter failure to support the same. But she failed to do so. the same was. and made to sign an employment contract.. 28 Anent the assertion that Royal Dream was not served with summons. More significantly.M. This was effectively corroborated by Nahas herself when she admitted before the Labor Arbiter that Olarte was a walk-in applicant in the said office. For one. 2002 Decision states: x x x While [PETRA/Nahas] admits that complainant was a [walk]-in applicant. Besides. It must be stressed "that he who alleges must prove. x x x [I]t is incumbent upon the party who asserts a fact [to prove the same]. she lodged it against Nahas and PETRA/Royal Dream and summons was served upon them at Room 401. Hence. the fact that it was yet to be issued a license does not preclude the possibility that it was already accepting applicants on behalf of Royal Dream which at that time already possesses the required license." 27 Clearly. T. This did not escape the Labor Arbiter’s attention such that her March 20. the labor tribunals and the CA correctly rejected the contentions of Nahas. never submitted. would result in brazen deception.withdrawal of her application. While Nahas attempted to bolster this new allegation by averring that PETRA was issued a license only on July16. This explains why the accomplished bio-data of Olarte dated May 18. Manila.

80). It stated that his employment would be pre-terminated effective September 11.5 dated May 1. The Facts Petitioner Industrial Personnel & Management Services. After three months. ARRIOLA. JOSE G. based on Canadian labor law. Petitioners. they must "faithfully comply with their government prescribed responsibilities" and be the first to ensure the welfare of the very people upon whose patronage their industry thrives. "[P]oints of law. more or less. DECISION MENDOZA. The position offered had a rate of CA$32. 205703. with petitioner Angelito C. SNC LAVALIN ENGINEERS & CONTRACTORS. AND ANGELITO C. justice and due process. Hernandez as its president and managing director. He asserted that SNC-Lavalin never offered any valid reason for his early . the Court need not belabor upon the same. a Canadian company with business interests in several countries. 2010 Decision 2of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) and its February 2. Aggrieved.8 On June 9. March 07. 2005 and Resolution dated July 8. IPAMS. 33 34 35 WHEREFORE. (SNC-Lavalin) is the principal of IPAMS. once and for all. 79028 are AFFIRMED.00).636. on September 15. Inc. Arriola was repatriated.936. 2013 Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. and his overseas employment contract was processed with the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA)6 In a letter of understanding. One Million Sixty-Two Thousand Nine Hundred Thirty-Six Pesos (P1.3 in NLRC LAC Case No. as part of their bounden duty to protect the welfare of the Filipino workers sent abroad from whom they take their profit. 9 dated September 9.7 dated June 5. a case for illegal termination of an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW). Arriola was then hired by SNC-Lavalin. he signed the contract of employment in the Philippines. should in conscience not add to the misery of maltreated and abused Filipino workers by denying them the reparation to which they are entitled. 2009.00 per hour for forty (40) hours a week with overtime pay in excess of forty (40) hours. He claimed that SNC-Lavalin still owed him unpaid salaries equivalent to the three-month unexpired portion of his contract. SP No. 2008 to December 31. 2008. and arguments not adequately brought to the attention of the lower court (or in this case. On the other hand. 2009.R. This petition for review on certiorari seeks to reverse and set aside the January 24.: When can a foreign law govern an overseas employment contract? This is the fervent question that the Court shall resolve. hence.4 Employee's Position Arriola was offered by SNC-Lavalin." 32 As a final note. (IPAMS) is a local placement agency duly organized and existing under Philippine laws. J. amounting to. Consequently. (IPAMS). v. INC. No. 2009. theories. vacation leave and sick leave pay before the Labor Arbiter (LA). 2008. DE VERA AND ALBERTO B. 2005 of the Court of Appeals in CAG. 08-000572-10/NLRC Case No. 2011 Resolution. 2016 INDUSTRIAL PERSONNEL & MANAGEMENT SERVICES.R. Petitioner SNC Lavalin Engineers & Contractors. Respondents. it is worth stating that recruitment agencies. the position of Safety Officer in its Ambatovy Project site in Madagascar.Notably. Arriola received a notice of pre-termination of employment. NCR 09-13563-09. the appropriate quasi-judicial administrative body) need not be considered by the reviewing court as they cannot be raised for the first time on appeal x x x because this would be offensive to the basic rules of fair play. According to Arriola. 2009 due to diminishing workload in the area of his expertise and the unavailability of alternative assignments. through its letter. It was for a period of nineteen (19) months starting from June 9. issues. Instead. respondent Alberto Arriola (Arriola) is a licensed general surgeon in the Philippines. 118869. Inc. SO ORDERED. HERNANDEZ. SP No. through its local manning agency. SNC-Lavalin deposited in Arriola's bank account his pay amounting to Two Thousand Six Hundred Thirty Six Dollars and Eight Centavos (CA$2. Nahas did not question before the NLRC and the CA the Labor Arbiter’s grant of moral and exemplary damages in favor of Olarte. The assailed Decision dated April 29. INC. G.R. 2008. from SNCLavalin.062. the Petition is DENIED. Arriola started working in Madagascar. Arriola filed a complaint against the petitioners for illegal dismissal and non-payment of overtime pay. which modified the November 30. SNCLavalin confirmed Arriola's assignment in the Ambatovy Project.

The economy of Madagascar. that should be applied in Arriola's employment contract. as all of Arriola's employment documents were processed in Canada. Thus. where SNC-Lavalin had business sites. contract stipulations to the contrary notwithstanding. chanRoble svirtualLawlibrary SO ORDERED.920. the principle of lex loci celebrationis was applicable. judgment is hereby rendered dismissing the complaint for lack of merit. Thus. or the Migrant Workers Act. The Execution Proceedings . dated November 30. the LA opined that there was no other conclusion but to uphold the validity of Arriola's dismissal based on Canadian law. all the foregoing premises being considered. 2010.18 ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary The petitioners moved for reconsideration. pursuant to the Serrano v. 2010 is hereby VACATED and SET ASIDE. Thus. As proof of its looming financial standing. the NLRC found that there was no substantial evidence presented by the petitioners to show any just or authorized cause to terminate Arriola.A. the Labor Code of the Philippines and Republic Act (R. however. Applying the Philippine laws. Thus. The NLRC concluded that. were applied. The LA ruled that the rights and obligations among and between the OFW. should be applied. the provisions on termination of employment found in the ESA. was issued by the CA. The said foreign law did not require any ground for early termination of employment.16 the NLRC stated that whether employed locally or overseas. Employer's Position The petitioners denied the charge of illegal dismissal against them. Even assuming that Philippine laws should apply.10 dated March 5. not to mention that SNC-Lavalin's office was in Ontario.termination and that he was not given sufficient notice regarding the same. Gallant17 doctrine. also slowed down.11 The petitioners also invoked EDI-Staffbuilders International. the decision of the Labor Arbiter dated May 31. Given that SNC-Lavalin was able to produce the duly authenticated ESA. the LA dismissed Arriola's complaint for lack of merit. Arriola also insisted that the petitioners must prove the applicability of Canadian law before the same could be applied to his employment contract. 2011.920. Undaunted. The decretal portion of the NLRC decision states: WHEREFORE.00. Moreover. and the only requirement was the written notice of termination. Accordingly. NLRC12 (EDI-Staffbuilders).15 ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary Aggrieved. or its Philippine Peso equivalent prevailing at the time of payment. but their motion was denied by the NLRC in its resolution. a foreign law which governed Arriola's employment contract. SNC-Lavalin presented a copy of a news item in the Financial Post. In the present case. the local recruiter/agent. the petitioners insisted that Canadian laws governed the contract. Arriola should be awarded CA$81. The NLRC Ruling In its decision. which was duly authenticated by the Canadian authorities and certified by the Philippine Embassy. the NLRC added that the overseas employment contract of Arriola was processed in the POEA. No temporary restraining order. or the Ontario labor law. the NLRC reversed the LA decision and ruled that Arriola was illegally dismissed by the petitioners. 2009. Arriola elevated the LA decision before the NLRC.00 representing sixteen (16) months of Arriola's purported unpaid salary. Respondents-appellees are hereby ordered to pay complainant-appellant the amount of CA$81. Arriola would still be validly dismissed because domestic law recognized retrenchment and redundancy as legal grounds for termination. SO ORDERED. dated February 2. 8042. The petitioners continued that the pre-termination of Arriola's contract was valid for being consistent with the provisions of both the Expatriate Policy and laws of Canada. The LA Ruling In a Decision. Inc. The ground of financial losses by SNC-Lavalin was not supported by sufficient and credible evidence. and the foreign employer/principal were governed by the employment contract pursuant to the EDI-Staffbuilders case.13 the petitioners presented a copy of the Employment Standards Act (ESA) of Ontario. all Filipino workers enjoyed the protective mantle of Philippine labor and social legislation. 2010. They claimed that SNC-Lavalin was greatly affected by the global financial crises during the latter part of 2008.14 dated May 31. for being illegally dismissed. Citing PNB v. Cabansag. premises considered. pointing out that particular labor laws of a foreign country incorporated in a contract freely entered into between an OFW and a foreign employer through the latter's agent was valid.) No. v. the petitioners filed a petition for certiorari before the CA arguing that it should be the ESA. In their Rejoinder. showing the decline of the value of its stocks. as amended. judgment is hereby rendered finding complainant-appellant to have been illegally dismissed. it had no choice but to minimize its expenditures and operational expenses. The fallo of the LA decision reads: chanRoble svirtualLawlibrary WHEREFORE. It re-organized its Health and Safety Department at the Ambatovy Project site and Arriola was one of those affected.

chanRoble svirtualLawlibrary SO ORDERED. Thus. the CA affirmed the decrease in Arriola's backpay because the unpaid period in his contract was just three (3) months and three (3) weeks. the petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. 212031. TWO-WEEK OFF SCHEDULE SHOULD BE USED IN THE COMPUTATION OF ANY MONETARY AWARD. that the NLRC Sixth Division exhibited bias and bad faith when it made a wrong computation on the award of backpay.636.00 or its Philippine Peso equivalent. 2009. and that. WHETHER OR NOT THE AMOUNT BEING CLAIMED BY RESPONDENTS HAD ALREADY BEEN SATISFIED. 2010 decision. No. IPAMS appealed before the Court and the case was docketed as G.80. earlier paid to Arriola. it pronounced that Arriola was entitled to his salary for the unexpired portion of his contract which is three (3) months and three (3) weeks salary. it did not mean that the said foreign law automatically applied in this case. 2013 decision. 2014. NCR 09-13563-09 is MODIFIED in that private respondent is only entitled to a monetary judgment equivalent to his unpaid salaries in the amount of CA$19. Ambatovy Project . Still not satisfied with the decreased award. and the foreign employer are governed by the employment contract. the NLRC corrected the decretal portion of its November 30. The CA Ruling Returning to the principal case of illegal dismissal. The NLRC found that when Arriola was dismissed on September 9. The LA granted the motion for execution in the Order. and his home leaves should be deducted from the award of backpay. dated August 8. hence. assuming there was illegal dismissal. dated July 25. execution proceedings were commenced before the LA by Arriola.21 ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary Hence. does not require any ground for the early termination of employment and it permits the termination without any notice provided that a severance pay is given. The appeal. 22 ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary The petitioners argue that the rights and obligations of the OFW. that the ESA was duly authenticated by the Canadian authorities and certified by the Philippine Embassy. this petition. It.80 SHOULD BE DEDUCTED FROM THE MONETARY AWARD. the CA held that Arriola's dismissal was illegal. that the terms and conditions of Arriola's employment are embodied in the Expatriate Policy. 2011. 2012. or the Ontario labor law. the same must remain consistent with law. In its Decision. citing EDI-Staffbuilders. the backpay of Arriola should only be computed on a 40-hour per week workload. 2013. The assailed Order of the National Labor Relations Commission in NLRC LAC No. however. the CA affirmed that Arriola was illegally dismissed by the petitioners. decreased the award of backpay to Arriola because the NLRC made a wrong calculation. specifically on the right of due process. The ESA could not be made to apply in this case for being contrary to our Constitution. III GRANTING THAT THERE WAS ILLEGAL DISMISSAL. . public order or public policy. Based on his employment contract.636. The CA explained that even though an authenticated copy of the ESA was submitted. the laws of Canada must be applied. Unperturbed. As the petitioners neither complied with the twin notice-rule nor offered any just or authorized cause for his termination under the Labor Code. WHETHER OR NOT THE AMOUNT OF CA$2. Although parties were free to establish stipulations in their contracts. WHETHER OR NOT THE SIX-WEEK ON. The appellate court wrote that the ESA allowed an employer to disregard the required notice of termination by simply giving the employee a severance pay.R. The CA disposed the case in this wise: WHEREFORE.880. anchored on the following ISSUES I WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENT ARRIOLA WAS VALIDLY DISMISSED PURSUANT TO THE EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT. in its assailed January 24. In its decision.200. he only had three (3) months and three (3) weeks or until December 31. that the ESA.00 or equivalent only to three (3) months and three (3) weeks pay based on 70-hours per week workload. II GRANTING THAT THERE WAS ILLEGAL DISMISSAL IN THE CASE AT BAR. 08-000572-10/NLRC Case No.19 dated August 8. 20 dated May 31. OR AT THE VERY LEAST. however. the CA opined that our labor laws should find application.00. Long Term. the local recruiter. IPAMS filed a separate petition for certiorari before the CA. It decreased the award of backpay in the amount of CA$26.In the meantime. Hence. the CA$2. good custom. in view of the foregoing premises. morals.Site. Accordingly. The petitioners appealed the execution order to the NLRC.200. was dismissed outright by the Court in its resolution. 2009 remaining under his employment contract. or in the amount of CA$19. because it was belatedly filed and it did not comply with Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 7 of the Rules of Court. it was settled in the execution proceedings that the award of backpay to Arriola should only amount to three (3) months and three (3) weeks of his pay.

23 Arriola countered that foreign laws could not apply to employment contracts if they were contrary to law. since a contract is the law between the parties. Application of foreign laws with labor contracts At present. or the Migrant Workers Act. that the Pakistan International case was superseded by EDI-Staffbuilders and other subsequent cases. The issue of applying foreign laws to labor contracts was initially raised before the Court in Pakistan International. There is a distressing reality that the offers of employment abroad are more lucrative than those found in our own soils. Between the dominant foreign employers and the vulnerable and desperate OFWs. Put a little differently. adopted regulations and policies. the Court elaborated on the parties' right to stipulate in labor contracts. public order or public policy. R. at times. In his Memorandum. The principle of party autonomy in contracts is not. was enacted to institute the policies on overseas employment and to establish a higher standard of protection and promotion of the welfare of migrant workers. the governing principle is that parties may not contract away applicable provisions of law especially peremptory provisions dealing with matters heavily impressed with public interest. violates the employee's right to security of tenure under Articles 280 and 281 of the Labor Code. where the employer could terminate the employee at any time for any ground and it could even disregard the notice of termination. Ople (Pakistan International). It was also held that the provision in the employment contract. 30 it does not categorically provide that foreign laws are absolutely and automatically applicable in overseas employment contracts. whether skilled or professional. No.80 from the award of backpay because it was raised for the first time on appeal. the State has vigorously enacted laws. and established agencies to ensure that their needs are satisfied and that they continue to work in a humane living environment outside of the country. On the other side of the table is the growing number of foreign employers attracted in hiring Filipino workers because of their reasonable compensations and globallycompetitive skills and qualifications. be respected. the Court held that the labor relationship between OFW and the foreign employer is "much affected with public interest and that the otherwise applicable Philippine laws and regulations cannot be rendered illusory by the parties agreeing upon some other law to govern their relationship. however.A. Filipino laborers. discrimination. 8042 recognized the applicability of foreign laws on labor contracts. and. as PIA argues. "provided they are not contrary to law. especially provisions relating to matters affected with public policy. To reap the promises of the foreign dream." Thus. Despite these efforts.In his Comment. One existing question is posed before the Court -when should an overseas labor contract be governed by a foreign law? To answer this burning query. and (3) that the one-month advance notice in terminating the employment could be dispensed with by paying the employee an equivalent one-month salary. No. an absolute principle. the Court applied the Philippine laws. morals. x x x31 chanRoble svirtualLawlibrary [Emphases Supplied] In that case. however. of course. 8042. It was stated in the labor contract therein (1) that it would be governed by the laws of Pakistan. The rule in Article 1306. are deemed written into the contract. (2) that the employer have the right to terminate the employee at any time.25 the petitioners asserted that R. public order or public policy.24 that the ESA was not applicable because it was contrary to his constitutional right to due process. In order to afford the full protection of labor to our OFWs. the State does not promote overseas employment as a means to sustain economic growth and achieve national development. worse. that the petitioners failed to substantiate an authorized cause to justify his dismissal under Philippine labor law. physical turmoil. a review of the relevant laws and jurisprudence is warranted. morals. and that SNC-Lavalin suffering financial losses was an authorized cause to terminate Arriola's employment. mental and emotional struggle. are enticed to depart from the motherland in search of greener pastures. In their Reply. Therein.636. invoking Pakistan International Airlines Corporation v. there are still issues left unsolved in the realm of overseas employment. The law relating to labor and employment is clearly such an area and parties are not at liberty to insulate themselves and their relationships from the impact of labor laws and regulations by simply contracting with each other. counterbalancing the principle of autonomy of contracting parties is the equally general rule that provisions of applicable law. 28 It emphasized that while recognizing the significant contribution of Filipino migrant workers to the national economy through their foreign exchange remittances. solitude. In their Consolidated Memorandum. there is an inescapable truth that the latter are in need of greater safeguard and protection. to wit: A contract freely entered into should. death.29Although it acknowledged claims arising out of law or contract involving Filipino workers. of our Civil Code is that the contracting parties may establish such stipulations as they may deem convenient."32 Thus. our unsung heroes must endure homesickness. .27 the petitioners reiterated that the ESA was applicable in the present case and that recent jurisprudence recognized that the parties could agree on the applicability of foreign laws in their labor contracts.26 Arriola asserted that his employment contract was executed in the Philippines and that the alleged authorized cause of financial losses by the petitioners was not substantiated by evidence.A. good customs. instead of the Pakistan laws. and that the petitioners could not anymore claim a deduction of CA$2. The Court's Ruling The petition lacks merit. good customs.

A synthesis of the existing laws and jurisprudence reveals that this exception is subject to the following requisites: chanRoble svirtualLawlibrary 1. Article XIII that the State shall afford full protection to labor. morals. With these requisites.00 for moral and exemplary damages. or public policy. hence.34 though not an illegal termination case. It was initially found therein that there was no law in Saudi Arabia that provided for insurance arising from labor accidents. it was reiterated that. the Labor Code and the fundamental procedural rights were observed. Also. That the foreign law invoked must be proven before the courts pursuant to the Philippine rules on evidence. in general. That the overseas employment contract must be processed through the POEA. pursuant to Sections 24 and 25 of Rule 132 of the Revised Rules of Court.. these strict terms are pursuant to the jurisprudential doctrine that "parties may not contract away applicable provisions of law especially peremptory provisions dealing with matters heavily impressed with public interest. Inc. Nevertheless. foreign employers are not at all helpless to apply their own laws to overseas employment contracts provided that they faithfully comply with these requisites. failed to prove the said foreign law. good customs. No. humane conditions of work and a living wage under our Constitution. Lastly. Spouses Cuaresma. "[i]n formulating the contract. 39 As an exception. however. and 4. the private recruitment agency invoked the defense that the foreign employer was immune from suit and that it did not sign any document agreeing to be held jointly and solidarily liable. If the first requisite is absent. morals. clauses. That it is expressly stipulated in the overseas employment contract that a specific foreign law shall govern. then it involved a matter of public interest and public policy. Consequently. That the foreign law stipulated in the overseas employment contract must not be contrary to law. public order. the parties may establish such stipulations. the employer therein asserted the doctrine of forum non conveniens because the overseas employment contracts required the application of the laws of Saudi Arabia. Similar to EDIStaffbuilders. Based on the foregoing. 8042 precisely afforded the OFWs with a recourse against the local agency and the foreign employer to assure them of an immediate and sufficient payment of what was due. Inc. the overseas contract specifically stated that Saudi Labor Laws would govern matters not provided for in the contract. Cabiles36 (Sameer Overseas). Citing PCL Shipping Phils. the State would be able to abide by its constitutional obligation to ensure that the rights and well-being of our OFWs are fully protected. The case of Becmen Service Exporter and Promotion. the general rule is that Philippine laws apply even to overseas employment contracts. 3. The employer. v. however. Echin35 (ATCI Overseas). or that no foreign law was expressly stipulated in the employment contract which was executed in the Philippines." 33 In that case. It involved a complaint for insurance benefits and damages arising from the death of a Filipina nurse from Saudi Arabia. good customs. the doctrine of processual presumption came into play and the Philippine labor laws were applied. in Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) v. then the domestic labor laws shall apply in accordance with the principle of lex loci contractus. the case heavily relied on by the petitioners. and so her family was awarded P5.In EDI-Staffbuilders. In ATCI Overseas Corporation v. Inc. good customs. As the dispute in that case related to the illegal termination of the employees due to their pregnancy. provided they are not contrary to law. uphold the dignity of its citizens whether in country or overseas. terms and conditions as they may deem convenient. the Court concluded that the employer and the recruiter in that case abandoned their legal. in particular. At the same time. such respect must not be so permissive as to lose sight of considerations of law. v.000. even if the OFW has his employment abroad. Thus. The Court is of the view that these four (4) requisites must be complied with before the employer could invoke the applicability of a foreign law to an overseas employment contract. or public policy of the Philippines. . public order. In striking down such argument. at all times. the Philippine courts were not in a position to hear the case. it does not strip him of his rights to security of tenure. in the recent case of Sameer Overseas Placement Agency. As it was established therein that the overseas labor contract was executed in the Philippines.40 Further. the local agency therein failed to prove the Kuwaiti law specified in the labor contract. and the Filipino migrant workers. Such defense. elucidated on the effect of foreign laws on employment. morals." 41 such as laws relating to labor. Rebesencio38. These conditions would also invigorate the policy under R. the parties may agree that a foreign law shall govern the employment contract. NLRC37 (PCL Shipping).A.000. was rejected because R. it was declared that the security of tenure for labor was guaranteed by our Constitution and employees were not stripped of the same when they moved to work in other jurisdictions. This rule is rooted in the constitutional provision of Section 3. it was ruled that Philippine laws properly found application and that Philippine tribunals could assume jurisdiction.A. v. moral and social obligation to assist the victim's family in obtaining justice for her death. whether local or overseas. Hence. the Court did not discuss any longer whether the Saudi labor laws were contrary to Philippine labor laws. the Court held that the principle of lex loci contractus (the law of the place where the contract is made) governed in this jurisdiction. public order. It must be noted that no foreign law was specified in the employment contracts in both cases. 2. or public policy that underlie the contract central to the controversy. 8042 that the State shall. the Court held that while a Philippine tribunal was called upon to respect the parties' choice of governing law. No. and so.

The petitioners miserably failed to adhere to the two other requisites. office was located. the petitioners insisted that the laws of Canada. is not proved. A judicious scrutiny of the records of the case demonstrates that the petitioners were able to observe the second requisite. who is susceptible by his desire and desperation to work abroad. Article 18 provides that no employer may hire a Filipino worker for overseas employment except through the boards and entities authorized by the Secretary of Labor. 8042."42 This was observed in the cases ofEDI-Staffbuilders and ATCI Overseas. morals. they emphasized provision 8. and the Philippine law shall govern the overseas employment contract. the POEA. No. Thus. should apply. good customs. public policy and good customs shall not be rendered ineffective by laws of a foreign country. 44 Unfortunately for the petitioners. Arriola's employment cannot be governed by such foreign law because the third requisite is not satisfied. as amended. declares that the State shall only allow the deployment of overseas Filipino workers in countries where the rights of Filipino migrant workers are protected. the petitioners did not directly cite any specific provision or stipulation in the said labor contract which indicated the applicability of the Canadian labor laws or the ESA. or that the foreign law was not proven pursuant to Sections 24 and 25 of Rule 132 of the Revised Rules of Court. Long Term. which states that the stipulations. It is apparent that the petitioners were simply attempting to stretch the overseas employment contract of Arriola. they finally referred to the ESA. or that the overseas employment contract was not processed through the POEA. As the requisites of the applicability of foreign laws in overseas labor contract have been settled. Section 4 of R. the State has no effective means of assessing the suitability of the foreign laws to our migrant workers. The fourth requisite was also followed because Arriola's employment contract was processed through the POEA. lacking any one of the four requisites would invalidate the application of the foreign law. Thus.A. which provides that said policy would be governed and construed with the laws of the country where the applicable SNC-Lavalin. The petitioners were able to present the ESA. if the fourth requisite is missing. The said doctrine declares that "[w]here a foreign law is not pleaded or. In that manner. The foreign law invoked is contrary to the Constitution and the Labor Code Granting arguendo that the labor contract expressly stipulated the applicability of Canadian law. and (2) Article 1306. it did not mean that said foreign law could be automatically applied to this case. If the third requisite is not met. morals. specifically: (1) Article 17. even though an authenticated copy of the ESA was submitted. still. or public policy. a better rule would be to obligate the foreign employer to expressly declare at the onset of the labor contract that a foreign law shall govern it. In its pleadings.Site. 45 Then. the presumption is that foreign law is the same as ours. then the international law doctrine of processual presumption operates. Thus. The foreign law was not expressly specified in the employment contract The petitioners failed to comply with the first requisite because no foreign law was expressly stipulated in the overseas employment contract with Arriola. they simply asserted that the terms and conditions of Arriola's employment were embodied in the Expatriate Policy. or that the foreign law stipulated is contrary to law. If the second requisite is lacking. public order. public order. Then. even if pleaded. clauses. This finds legal bases in the Civil Code. In other words. public order or public policy. Further. The said doctrine was applied in the case of Pakistan International.43 Unless processed through the POEA. reviews and checks whether the countries have existing labor and social laws protecting the rights of workers. which shall be discussed in seratim. not of Madagascar or the Philippines. good customs. regarding interpretation of the contract. would blindly sign the labor contract even though it is not clearly established on its face which state law shall apply. the doctrine of lex loci celebrationis applies and the Philippine laws shall govern the overseas employment of Arriola. Finally. 46 Because of this provision.This is based on the cases of Sameer Overseas and PCL Shipping. by implication. through the assistance of the Department of Foreign Affairs. Rather. A perusal of the ESA will show that some of its provisions are contrary to the Constitution and the labor laws of the Philippines.47 Considering that no foreign law was specified in the contract and the same was executed in the Philippines. or that the foreign law must be proven before the court pursuant to the Philippine rules on evidence. Ambatovy Project .20 therein. in order that the alleged foreign law would apply. duly authenticated by the Canadian authorities and certified by the Philippine Embassy. To sustain such argument would allow any foreign employer to improperly invoke a foreign law even if it is not anymore reasonably contemplated by the parties to control the overseas employment. Inc. including migrant workers. an overseas employment contract that was not scrutinized by the POEA definitely cannot be invoked as it is an unexamined foreign law. which provides that laws which have. The OFW. those were the only requisites that they complied with. . 2008. In relation thereto. then Article 18 of the Labor Code is violated. it was shown that the overseas labor contract was executed by Arriola at his residence in Batangas and it was processed at the POEA on May 26. before the LA. As correctly held by the CA. terms and conditions in a contract must not be contrary to law. They failed to show on the face of the contract that a foreign law was agreed upon by the parties. the Court can now discuss the merits of the case at bench. for their object. the OFW would be informed of the applicable law before signing the contract. then Philippine laws govern.

FE ABELLA y BUHAIN. At its own pleasure.R. 53 Not only do these provisions collide with the right to security of tenure. vs.58 In addition. Accused-Appellant. the Court has upheld the employee's right to security of tenure in the face of oppressive management behavior and management prerogative. Security of tenure is a right which cannot be denied on mere speculation of any unclear and nebulous basis.55 Concomitant to the employer's right to freely select and engage an employee is the employer's right to discharge the employee for just and/or authorized causes. The purpose of these two-pronged qualifications is to protect the working class from the employer's arbitrary and unreasonable exercise of its right to dismiss. the employer can dismiss any employee for any ground it so desired. No. the petition is DENIED. Thus. dated March 5. To prove its sagging financial standing. 195666 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. Consequently. 49 Necessarily. SNC-Lavalin presented a copy of a news item in the Financial Post. They insist that SNC-Lavalin had no choice but to minimize its expenditures and operational expenses. Plaintiff-Appellee. Thus. these disadvantageous provisions under the ESA produce the same evils which the Court vigorously sought to prevent in the cases of Pakistan International and Sameer Overseas. the Court concurs with the CA that the ESA is not applicable in this case as it is against our fundamental and statutory laws. They simply offered an unreliable news article which deserves scant consideration as it is undoubtedly hearsay. was used to justify Arriola's dismissal. illegal. 54 Glaringly. Here. To validly effect terminations of employment. the Court finds that the computation of the CA was valid and proper based on the employment contract of Arriola. SP No. Second. The petitioners simply argued that they were suffering from financial losses and Arriola had to be dismissed. the petitioners argued that the government of Madagascar prioritized the employment of its citizens. Worse. Also. The January 24. 50 The employee under the ESA could be immediately dismissed without giving him the opportunity to explain and defend himself. 2009. the ESA does not require any ground for the early termination of employment. as the petitioners failed to meet all the four (4) requisites on the applicability of a foreign law. In a host of cases. SO ORDERED.56 Some of the authorized causes to terminate employment under the Labor Code would be installation of labor-saving devices. Arriola was terminated because there was no more job available for him. the petitioners assert that the economy of Madagascar weakened due to the global financial crisis. 118869 is AFFIRMED in toto. The provisions of the ESA are patently inconsistent with the right to security of tenure. 59 The Court finds that Arriola was not validly dismissed. In fine. redundancy. the issue of whether the petitioners had made partial payments on the backpay is a matter best addressed during the execution process. Article 65(4) thereof indicated that the employer could terminate the employment without notice by simply paying the employee a severance pay computed on the basis of the period within which the notice should have been given. 48 Article 54 thereof only provides that no employer should terminate the employment of an employee unless a written notice had been given in advance. SNCLavalin's business also slowed down. therefore. the foreign employer is endowed with the absolute power to end the employment of an employee even on the most whimsical grounds. then the Philippine labor laws must govern the overseas employment contract of Arriola. the petitioners did not even present a single credible evidence to support their claim of financial loss. and failure to discharge the same would mean that the dismissal is not justified and. retrenchment to prevent losses and the closing or cessation of operation of the establishment or undertaking. . the onus of proving that the employee was dismissed and that the dismissal was not illegal rests on the employer. the ESA allows the employer to dispense with the prior notice of termination to an employee. Time and again the Court has ruled that in illegal dismissal cases like the present one. but they also deprive the employee of his constitutional right to due process by denying him of any notice of termination and the opportunity to be heard. 60 As to the amount of backpay awarded. chanroble slaw WHEREFORE. the discharge must be for a valid cause in the manner required by law. 2013 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. G.R. It was not even clear what specific authorized cause. Both the Constitution 51 and the Labor Code52 provide that this right is available to any employee. whether retrenchment or redundancy.57 Each authorized cause has specific requisites that must be proven by the employer with substantial evidence before a dismissal may be considered valid.First. and not foreigners. No authorized cause for dismissal was proven Article 279 of our Labor Code has construed security of tenure to mean that the employer shall not terminate the services of an employee except for a just cause or when authorized by law.

Philippines. 04-225062. did then and there willfully. Branch 52. Fernando B. 5. pleaded not guilty to the offense charge. and mutually helping each other. 2004. Mildred Versoza (Versoza). recruit and promise employment/job placement to the following persons: Mary Jean Mateo y Sanchez Grace Marcelino y dela Peña Nobella Castro y Fernandez Imelda Miguel y Factor Lolita Pansoy y Garcia Ester Castro y Pamisttan Janice Belvis y Morales Ruby Badua y Cabacungan Visitacion Rosete y Cedron Generoso Gumpal y Bangloy Fernando Callang y Buhanget Joselito Danver Huta y Cataño as Laundrywomen/Laundrymen and Waiter in Istanbul. Callang (Callang). inclusive. in Criminal Case No.: For Our consideration is an appeal from the Decision dated September 30.DECISION LEONARDO-DE CASTRO. Series of 1985 and having failed to deploy aforesaid complainants. Grace P. 03974. representing herself to have the capacity to contract.C. unlawfully. and feloniously for a fee. without first having secured the required license or authority from the Department of Labor and Employment. 1 2 The Information reads: 3 That in or about and during the period comprised between October 8. 2010 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. which affirmed with modification the Decision dated March 26. real identity and present whereabouts is still unknown. Abella. Miguel testified that she came to know Abella through Zeny Agpalza (Agpalza) and Lina Mateo (Mateo). in the City of Manila. enlist and transport Filipino workers for employment abroad. In the course of the trial. Manila City.R. CR. bearing . Turkey and Dubai. continuously fails to reimburse despite demands. the said accused conspiring and confederating with another whose true name.-H. 2009 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). Marcelino (Marcelino). No. Upon arraignment. J. assisted by counsel. Miguel met Abella at the latter’s office. charged or accept directly or indirectly from said complainants amounts which are in excess of or greater than those specified in the schedule of allowable fees prescribed by the Department of Labor and Employment under Memorandum Order No. which found accused-appellant Fe Abella yBuhain (Abella) guilty of Illegal Recruitment in Large Scale. the expenses they incurred in connection with the documentation and processing for their deployment. and Senior Police Officer (SPO) 1 Jaime Bunag (Bunag) as witnesses. Miguel (Miguel). who informed her that Abella could help her get work abroad. the prosecution presented Imelda F. Interested. 2003 and March 18.

and P15. be provisionally dropped as such from the Information for their repeated failure to appear and testify in support of their complaints. Miguel. 8 Versoza was an employee at the Licensing Division of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). Abella claimed that she did not personally meet the clients nor did she directly receive money from them.000. In compliance with thesubpoena duces tecum issued by the RTC. P15. Before Abella took the witness stand. however. At the RBC office. all personally received by Abella either at the RBC office or at McDonald’s. Badua.00. 4 5 Marcelino narrated that she came to know Abella through Rosette Danao (Danao). with a salary of $600.00 on December 23.000. Gumpal. 2003. Turkey.000.000. together with the certificate evidencing registration by Abella of the business name of RBC. Danao first recruited Marcelino to work as a domestic helper in Saipan.00 on November 24. Callang paid to Abella P10. Pansoy.000. and Callang as private complainants. neither was he able to recover the amount he paid to Abella. and P20. Janice M. Salomon.00 on November 17.000.000. Abella’s main duty was to receive payments from clients for which she issued cash vouchers. Huta. valued at P5. Marcelino paid a total of P50. Lolito G. and prepared Abella’s Booking Sheet and Arrest Report and letter of referral for inquest dated March 19. Danao and Agpalza both referred to Abella as their Manager. Generoso B. a travel agency registered with the Department of Trade and Industry. Ester P. Miguel also claimed that she underwent training in laundry service for five days at the Executive Technical Consultants Trade Test and Training Center. 2004 at RBC. and Abella would subsequently hand over the payments to RBC owner. leaving Miguel. contrary to her representation and promise. Rodrigo Mariñas. 2003. 2003. moved that the following private complainants: Mary Jean S.000. 2003 for which Abella issued a cash voucher signed by Abella herself in Miguel’s presence. was able to raise and pay only P30. an RBC agent. evidenced by a voucher signed by Abella in Callang’s presence.00 but Miguel must undergo training in laundry service and pay a placement fee of P100. Until the day that Miguel gave her testimony before the RTC. and neither did Abella return the placement fee of P30. Ermita. 2004.000. was not able to deploy Miguel as a laundrywoman in Istanbul. but later turned over Marcelino’s application to Agpalza who was in charge of those applying for jobs in Turkey. he was recruited by Danao. for a total of P40. Turkey.00 for the processing of her papers in four installments: P10. Nobella F.00 on January 15. the RTC granted the defense’s motion. Marcelino.000.00 on December 3. which was sponsored by Abella. Turkey with a monthly salary of $600.000. which was signed by OIC Paragua in her presence. Castro. Manila.00 which Miguel had paid. 2003. 2003. Ermita. Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the POEA Licensing Division. Abella disputed private complainants’ assertion and insisted that she did not promise private complainants . who brought him to the RBC office in Malate.00 as placement fee on November 17. Abella offered Miguel work as a laundrywoman in Istanbul. she verified from the database and other records of their office whether Abella/RBC had license to recruit workers for employment abroad. Manila. Malate.000. 2004.000.00 on January 9. Versoza found out that Abella/RBC had no such license and she prepared a Certification to that effect. for which the latter issued cash vouchers. Atty. Abella alleged that she had been working as a cashier since November 11. Abella. During their meeting. at 1807 Nakpil St. Belvis. Mateo. Barangay 697. As cashier at RBC. and evidenced by vouchers signed by Abella. The first two payments were made at the RBC office while the last payment was at McDonald’s. 10 Abella anchored her defense on denial. 6 7 According to Callang. P10. Versoza recounted that upon the instruction of Yolanda Paragua (Paragua). and Joselito Danver C. Abella discussed with Miguel the details of the latter’s job abroad and provided Miguel with a photocopy of their written agreement.00. her counsel. Without objection from Assistant City Prosecutor Francisco L. Agpalza would then turn over the payments to Abella. Only Abella herself testified for the defense.00 to $700. Abella’s agent.. Miguel was issued a certification after said training.the name Rofema Business Consultancy (RBC). Abella told Callang of the job order for laundryman in Istanbul.00 on December 23.00 and for which the placement fee was P65.00. Ruby C. Versoza personally appeared before the trial court to identify OIC Paragua’s signature on the Certification. Castro. Callang was not deployed for employment abroad.000. 9 SPO1 Bunag was the investigator assigned to the case and affirmed on the witness stand that he was the one who took down the private complainants’ Sinumpang Salaysay Pag-aresto.00. as the clients coursed their payments through Agpalza. 2004. Nothing happened to Marcelino’s application and the amounts she had paid to Abella were not returned to her. Elizabeth Reyes (Reyes). P10. thus.

In her Supplemental Brief.e. premises considered.00.. FE ABELLA y BUHAIN is also ordered to return to. utilizing. and c) Grace Marcelino the amount of Php50.00 and Php50. the appeal is DENIED. and includes referrals.000. 2010.00 to Php500. Costs against accused-appellant.000.000. Abella contends that the prosecution failed to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt as the first element of illegal recruitment in large scale. and (c) the offender committed the same against three or more persons. contract services.000.00. The Court of Appeals. respectively. and (c) the prosecution presented a mere photocopy of the handwritten agreement supposedly executed by Abella in Miguel’s favor. The Decision dated 26 March 2009 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila. otherwise known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995).00. Php40.00. individually or as a group. Mateo. and Danao. affirmed the RTC judgment of conviction but with the modification increasing the amount of fine imposed against Abella. in Criminal Case No.00. Branch 52.00. To constitute illegal recruitment in large scale. the accused undertook a recruitment activity under Article 13(b) of the Labor Code or any prohibited practice under Article 34 of the same Code. she would have already fled after getting private complainants’ money so as to evade arrest.00. who were so persuasive that private complainants travelled from their respective provinces to Manila just to meet Abella. or refund the sums of money she had received from the following private complainants: a) Imelda Miguel the sum of Php30. three elements must concur: (a) the offender has no valid license or authority required by law to enable him to lawfully engage in recruitment placement of workers: (b) the offender undertakes any of the activities within the meaning of "recruitment and placement" under Article 13(b) of the Labor Code. 11 Aggrieved. the present appeal. We find no merit in the instant appeal.employment abroad. 2009. the RTC wrongfully accorded much weight to such evidence. 8042. is herebyAFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in that the amount of fine is increased from Php100. in a Decision dated September 30. Abella maintained that she voluntarily went with Agpalza to the police headquarters and that she and Agpalza were detained at the second floor while private complainants were kept at the ground floor of the police headquarters. b) Fernando Callang the amount of Php40. enlisting.000. transporting.000. the Court finds the accused FE ABELLA y BUHAIN guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Illegal Recruitment in large scale and imposes upon her the penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of Php100. hiring or procuring workers. and considering that the contents of such agreement are in issue in this case. whether for profit or not. Fernando Callang and Grace Marcelino the amounts of Php30. promising or advertising for employment.000. On March 26. Abella points out that: (a) it was not Abella who enticed private complainants to apply for work overseas given that by private complainants’ own testimonies. The dispositive portion of the said Decision reads: WHEREFORE.000.000. is wanting. sentencing her to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and ordering her to pay a fine and to return to private complainants Imelda Miguel. With costs against the accused. locally or abroad. 13 Article 13(b) of the Labor Code defines "recruitment and placement" as "any act of canvassing. they learned about the job opportunities abroad not from Abella. (b) if it were true that Abella received money from private complainants. 12 Hence. contracting. 04-225062 finding accused-appellant Fe Abella y Buhain guilty beyond reasonable doubt of illegal recruitment in large scale. but from Agpalza. During her re-direct examination. or any of the prohibited practices enumerated under Article 34 of the same Code (now Section 6 of Republic Act No. Abella refuted her purported arrest and confrontation with private complainants." It also provides that "any person or entity . Abella appealed before the Court of Appeals. i. the RTC rendered a Decision with the following verdict: WHEREFORE.

whether for profit or not. (e) To influence or attempt to influence any person or entity not to employ any worker who has not applied for employment through his agency. hiring. including the prohibited practices enumerated under Article 34 of this Code. contract services. in any manner. non-holder. (c) To give any false notice. Republic Act No. otherwise known as the Labor Code of the Philippines: Provided. 442. It shall likewise include the following acts. . offers or promises for a fee employment abroad to two or more persons shall be deemed so engaged. – For purposes of this Act.which. Illegal recruitment is deemed committed by a syndicate if carried out by a group of three (3) or more persons conspiring and/or confederating with one another in carrying out any unlawful or illegal transaction. – (a) Any recruitment activities. (g) To obstruct or attempt to obstruct inspection by the Secretary of Labor and Employment or by his duly authorized representative. information or document or commit any act of misrepresentation for the purpose of securing a license or authority under the Labor Code. utilizing. Under Section 6 of Republic Act No. That any such non-licensee or non-holder who. when undertaken by a nonlicensee or non-holder of authority contemplated under Article 13(f) of Presidential Decree No. licensee or holder of authority: (a) To charge or accept directly or indirectly any amount greater than that specified in the schedule of allowable fees prescribed by the Secretary of Labor and Employment. promising or advertising for employment abroad." Article 38 of the same Code particularly defines "illegal recruitment" as follows: ART. 6. (b) Illegal recruitment when committed by a syndicate or in large scale shall be considered an offense involving economic sabotage and shall be penalized in accordance with Article 39 hereof. enlisting. contracting. 38. (b) To furnish or publish any false notice or information or document in relation to recruitment or employment. or to make a worker pay any amount greater than that actually received by him as a loan or advance. The Department of Labor and Employment or any law enforcement officer may initiate complaints under this Article. offers or promises for a fee. illegal recruitment shall mean any act of canvassing. Illegal recruitment is deemed committed in large scale if committed against three (3) or more persons individually or as a group. whether committed by any person. Definition. enterprise or scheme defined under the first paragraph hereof. testimony. transporting. employment to two or more persons shall be deemed engaged in recruitment and placement. in any manner. 8042 broadened the concept of illegal recruitment under the Labor Code and provided stiffer penalties. Illegal Recruitment. whether a nonlicensee. (f) To engage in the recruitment or placement of workers in jobs harmful to public health or morality or to the dignity of the Republic of the Philippines. (d) To induce or attempt to induce a worker already employed to quit his employment in order to offer him another unless the transfer is designed to liberate a worker from oppressive terms and conditions of employment. the following acts constitute "illegal recruitment": SEC. either illegal recruitment in large scale or illegal recruitment committed by a syndicate. to be undertaken by non-licensees or non-holders of authority. 8042. especially if it constitutes economic sabotage. as amended. or procuring workers and includes referring. shall be deemed illegal and punishable under Article 39 of this Code.

separation from jobs. Mateo.. and (m) Failure to reimburse expenses incurred by the worker in connection with his documentation and processing for purposes of deployment. remittance of foreign exchange earnings. (Emphases ours. and we quote: 16 1. Marcelino. Public documents are entitled to a presumption of regularity. the POEA Licensing Division employee who actually perused the database and other records of their office. it is undisputed that neither Abella nor RBC was licensed as a recruitment agency. and it was Abella herself who offered and promised private complainants jobs in Istanbul. A POEA certification is a public document issued by a public officer in the performance of an official duty. Any recruitment activity undertaken by the above-named person/entity is deemed illegal. 15 Second. . stating in detail the terms of Miguel’s alleged overseas employment. Manila. (l) Failure to actually deploy without valid reason as determined by the Department of Labor and Employment. Illegal recruitment is deemed committed by a syndicate if carried out by a group of three (3) or more persons conspiring or confederating with one another. it is prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated pursuant to Section 23. in her personal capacity. Malate. Salary is $400 excluding overtime. and ROFEMA BUSINESS CONSULTANCY with address at 1807 Nakpil St. are not licensed by this Administration to recruit workers for overseas employment. Turkey. both the RTC and the Court of Appeals found that Abella had engaged in recruitment activities. in consideration of placement fees. The Certification14 dated May 17. Miguel’s testimony is further supported by a handwritten agreement signed by Abella. prepared the Certification for OIC Paragua’s signature.(h) To fail to submit reports on the status of employment. Illegal recruitment when committed by a syndicate or in large scale shall be considered an offense involving economic sabotage. There is a probationary period of 3 months. consequently. 697. Fe Abella y Buhain. and Callang that at separate instances. (k) To withhold or deny travel documents from applicant workers before departure for monetary or financial considerations other than those authorized under the Labor Code and its implementing rules and regulations. and personally witnessed OIC Paragua signing the said Certification. The trial and appellate courts accorded weight and credence to the consistent testimonies of private complainants Miguel. First. Brgy. departures and such other matters or information as may be required by the Secretary of Labor and Employment. and/or Danao brought private complainants to the RBC office and introduced them to Abella. employment contracts approved and verified by the Department of Labor and Employment from the time of actual signing thereof by the parties up to and including the period of the expiration of the same without the approval of the Department of Labor and Employment.) The elements of illegal recruitment in large scale are all obtaining in this case and that the prosecution had sufficiently proved that Abella is guilty of said offense. (i) To substitute or alter to the prejudice of the worker. Abella does not negate the contents of the Certification but merely argues that it has no bearing on whether or not she represented herself to the private complainants as someone authorized to recruit for overseas employment. (j) For an officer or agent of a recruitment or placement agency to become an officer or member of the Board of any corporation engaged in travel agency or to be engaged directly or indirectly in the management of a travel agency. It is deemed committed in large scale if committed against three (3) or more persons individually or as a group. appeared as witness before the RTC to authenticate the Certification as one of the documentary evidence for the prosecution. hence. Agpalza." Versoza. Rule 132 of the Rules of Court. placement vacancies. the burden of proof rests upon the person who alleges the contrary. 2005 signed by OIC Paragua of the POEA Licensing Division states that "per available records of this Office. in cases where the deployment does not actually take place without the worker’s fault.

the vouchers for the placement fees paid by private complainants were issued and signed by Abella herself. 7. If Abella was really a mere employee at RBC. Ms. the true owner of RBC. 8:00 AM-5:00 PM. There is likewise absence of any proof of Abella’s turnover to or Reyes’s receipt of the amounts received from private complainants. Fe Abella. Training fee of P4. 8 working hrs. Abella is challenging the probative value of the above handwritten agreement on the ground that it is a mere photocopy. In case of refund certain charges will be deducted so the applicant cannot get the full amount of downpayment. applicant should approach the Philippine Embassy. 5. and not only written. Total placement is P100TH. Fe Abella will be the one answerable for expired medical certificate. 1âwphi1 . an identification card. Neither in the Statute of Frauds nor in the rules of evidence is the presentation of receipts required in order to prove the existence of a recruitment agreement and the procurement of fees in illegal recruitment cases. Turkey. Every payday. Pabalan. In case problems arise in Turkey. one yr. 10. applicant will receive a xeroxed copy of his/her passport with stamped visa. Free board and lodging. the best evidence rule applies.000 to be used in the stamping of visa in the passport.500 & PDOS is included in the placement fee. 8.2. Downpayment of P25. 11. 9. which conspicuously lacked any corroborative evidence. The non-presentation of the original copy of the handwritten agreement is not fatal to the prosecution’s case. thus: 17 [T]he absence of receipts for some of the amounts delivered to the accused did not mean that the appellant did not accept or receive such payments. we affirmed the sufficiency of testimonial evidence to prove receipt by therein accused-appellant of placement fees. an Attorney’s Affidavit will be prepared signed by Ms. the purported true owner of RBC. Downpayment is refundable in case of failure to process papers within the time frame agreed upon which is within 2 months time. Also. Abella made verbal. then she could have presented basic evidence of her employment. without any indication that she issued and signed the same on behalf of Reyes. Miguel personally testified before the RTC as to the circumstances of her recruitment by Abella. contract renewable. Such proof may come from the testimonies of witnesses. In case the applicant does not comply with the payment of the remaining placement (P50TH). applicant will start training for 5 days. even in the absence of documentary evidence such as receipts issued by accused-appellant. 4. The handwritten agreement merely substantiates Miguel’s testimony at best. In People v. After downpayment. We are not swayed by Abella’s bare allegations. The original of the agreement is the best evidence of Abella making representations that she had the power to send private complainants abroad to work. one member of the applicant[’]s family particularly the nearest kin and the Agent handling the applicant. Before departure. such as appointment papers. promises to Miguel of employment abroad. 3. Remaining balance of P25TH will be given upon signing of the contract. or payslips. Abella reasons that since the contents of said agreement are in issue. 18 Abella denies representing to private complainants that she was capable of deploying workers to Istanbul. 6. Abella avows that she was a mere cashier at RBC who issued vouchers for payments made by clients and that she subsequently turned over such payments to Reyes. the applicant should deposit certain amount which they can afford to the ATM account of the company. the applicant. the member of the family will be answerable for his/her obligation. P50TH cash out and P50TH salary deduction. After 1 week.

and Callang were positive and categorical in their testimonies that Abella promised them employment abroad in exchange for their payment of placement fees. 03974. we AFFIRM in toto the Decision dated September 30. Abella’s mere denial cannot prevail over the positive and categorical testimonies of the private complainants. as well as four (4) counts of estafaunder Article 315. Well-settled is the rule that the trial court. 2009. Reyes. SO ORDERED. as the RTC found and the Court of Appeals affirmed. hence.000. the nature of work available. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. 2009. Petitioner. the private complainants Miguel.000. Abella herself provided Miguel with a Certification proving Abella’s registration of the business name RBC. The findings of the trial court are accorded great respect unless the trial court has overlooked or misconstrued some substantial facts. such as the placement fees asked of them. Respondent. SULIMAN. paragraphs (a). Miguel.R.00) nor more than One million pesos (Pl. when affirmed by the Court of Appeals. vs. namely.000. eluded arrest and remained at-large despite the issuance of a warrant for her arrest. No. J. negating Abella’s claim that RBC is actually owned by another person.00) shall be imposed if illegal recruitment constitutes economic sabotage as defined herein. might affect the result of the case. 2003. (l) and (m) of Republic Act No. CR No. Garcia were charged before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila with two (2) counts of illegal recruitment under Section 6. there is no doubt. 190970 November 24. as well as the appellate court's Resolution dated January 8. 19 Lastly. can best assess the credibility of the witnesses and their testimonies.herein petitioner and one Luz P. Marcelino. and their employment destination.C. Istanbul." Hence. Turkey.000. which. in CA-G. 2014 VILMA M.R.-H. paragraph 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code. Based on the foregoing. 8042 provides that "[t]he penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (P500. and Callang. Garcia. WHEREFORE. factual findings of the trial court.: Assailed in the present petition for review on certiorari is the Resolution of the Court of Appeals (CA) dated July 21. all dated June 6. who all testified before the RTC in support of their respective complaints. otherwise known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995. G. 8042. we sustain the penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of P500. 30693 which denied herein petitioner's Motion to Admit Attached Motion for Reconsideration. which constitutes economic sabotage under the last paragraph of Section 6 of Republic Act No. 3 Only petitioner was brought to trial as her co-accused. Furthermore. are deemed binding and conclusive. having the opportunity to observe the witnesses and their demeanor during the trial. No.In contrast.R. CR. The private complainants’ testimonies were consistent and corroborative of one another on material points. DECISION PERALTA. Section 7(b) of Republic Act No.00 imposed on Abella by the Court of Appeals. which likewise denied petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration of the CA Resolution dated July 21. it was established that there were at least three victims in this case. 2010 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Marcelino. 2010. 8042. that Abella is guilty of illegal recruitment in large scale. which is. 1 2 The factual and procedural antecedents of the case are as follows: In six (6) Informations. . if considered.

in view of the foregoing premises. thus: WHEREFORE. 03-216190 for estafa involving private complainant Anthony Mancera. 6 7 Petitioner then filed an appeal with the CA. dated June 7.00 without subsidiary imprisonment in cases of insolvency and to pay the cost. the Court sentences accused-appellant Vilma Suliman to suffer a minimum period of six (6) months and one (1) day of . 03-216189. Branch 21. 03-216193. the dispositive portion of which reads. 03-216188 and 03-216189.00) for each count. accused VILMA SULIMAN is hereby ACQUITTED of the crime charged. let warrantbe issued for her arrest and let the case against her be ARCHIVED to be reinstated upon her apprehension. Accordingly. 03-216190.The six cases were consolidated and. DISMISSED.000. 4) In Crim. 3) In Crim. accused VILMA SULIMAN GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt as principal of the crime charged and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of SIX (6) MONTHS and ONE (1) DAY to TWO (2) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of prision correctional (sic) and to indemnify Anthony Mancera y Rey the amount of P120.00 without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to pay the costs. Branch 21.00 without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to pay the costs. 2006 of the Regional Trial Court. 2.460. her period of detention shall be credited in the service of her sentence. 2003 to July 23.400. and to pay a fine of Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200. Case Nos. the appeal filed in this case is hereby DENIED and consequently. the Court finds as follows: 1) In Crim. Case No. as minimum. 03-216188 and 03-216189 for illegal recruitment. accused VILMA SULIMAN GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt as principal of the crime of Estafa and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of FOUR (4) YEARS and TWO (2) MONTHS of prision correctional (sic) and to indemnify private complainant Perlita A. to twelve (12) years. the CA promulgated its Decision. SO ORDERED. accused VILMA SULIMAN GUILTY beyond reasonable doubtas principal of the crimes charged and is hereby sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of SIX (6) YEARS each and to pay fine of P200. but the RTC denied it in its Order dated January 23. Case No. In Criminal Case No.000. 03-216188. 2004 prior to her posting bond for her provisional liberty.000. 03-216192. The assailed Decision dated June 7. Considering that the accused Vilma Suliman was detained from January 6. the Court sentences accusedappellant VILMA SULIMAN to suffer the indeterminate penalty of six (6) years and one (1) day. 2) In Crim. 5 Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration. as maximum. 03-216191. 5) In Crim. after trial. The dispositive portion of the RTC Decision. rendered judgment finding petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two (2) counts of illegal recruitment and three (3) counts of estafa. Prudencio the amount ofP132. the bond posted for her provisional liberty is hereby CANCELLED. the RTC of Manila. accused VILMA SULIMAN is GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt as principal of the crime charged and is hereby sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of SIX (6) MONTHS and ONE (1) DAY of prision correctional (sic) and to indemnify Jimmy Tumabcao the amount of P21.00 for each count. for failure of the prosecution to prove the guilt beyond reasonable doubt. 2009. 03-216191 and 03-216193 are hereby AFFIRMED with the following modifications: 1. Case No. premises considered. 2007 for lack of merit. reads as follows: 4 WHEREFORE. in the City of Manila in Criminal Cases Nos. 03-216190. 2006. On May 21. Considering that Luz Garcia has not been apprehended nor voluntarily surrendered to date. Case No. In Criminal Case Nos.

Hence. v. eight (8) months and twenty-one (21) days of reclusion temporal. incidental to the prosecution and management of the suit in behalf of his client. filed a Motion to Admit Attached Motion for Reconsideration praying that the same be admitted in the higher interest of "substantial justice and due process. In Criminal Case No. 03-216191 for estafa involving private complainant Perlita A. 12 The petition lacks merit. 8 Petitioner's counsel received a copy of the above CA Decision on May 26. In this respect. People is instructive. eight (8) months and twenty-one (21) days of reclusion temporal. the Court's ruling in Bejarasco. neither petitioner nor her counsel filed a motion for reconsideration within the 15-day reglementary period for filing the said motion. atleast. on June 11. The Court is not persuaded by petitioner's contention that she should not be bound by her counsel's gross neglect of duty in not informing her of the adverse decision of the CA. the Court sentences accused-appellant Vilma Suliman to suffer the minimum period of four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional to maximum term of seventeen (17) years. is a violation of her right to due process. The rationale for the rule isthat a counsel. In Crim. eight (8) months and twenty-one (21) days of prision mayor. but the CA denied it in its Resolution dated January 8. the subject CA Decision became final. petitioner. once retained. such that any act or omission by counsel within the scope of the authority is regarded. the CA issueda Resolution denying petitioner's Motion to Admit Attached Motion for Reconsideration. 11 Hence. the person who referred her to her counsel. the instant petition based on the following grounds: THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT ADMITTING THE MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE PETITIONER THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT HOLDING [THAT] PETITIONER SHOULD NOTBE BOUND BY THE GROSS NEGLIGENCE OF ATTY. the gross negligence should not be accompanied by the client’s own negligence or malice. including even mistakes in the realm of procedural technique. Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration. however. regarding updates ofher appeal with the CA. to wit: 13 The general rule is that a client is bound by the counsel’s acts. A recognized exception to the rule is when the reckless or gross negligence of the counsel deprives the client of due process of law. For the exception to apply. 2010. 3. 2009. 03-216193 for estafa involving private complainant Jimmy Tumabcao. SO ORDERED. The Court agrees with the observation of the CA that petitioner is not entirely blameless as she was not vigilant in monitoring the progress of her case. However. she merely relied on a certain Conrad Lucero. Jr." Petitioner contended that her former counsel committed gross and inexcusable neglect of his duty as counsel in failing to immediately inform petitioner about his receipt of the subject CA Decision. 2009. considering that the client has the duty to be vigilant .prision correccional to a maximum term of fifteen (15) years. 10 On July 21. in turn. 2009 OR IN NOT FILING A MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION TO PROTECT THE RIGHTS AND INTEREST OF THE PETITIONER. 2009. 9 On July 3. thereby depriving petitioner of her right to file a motion for reconsideration which. Evidence of her negligence is the fact that she did not make any effort to personally follow up her appeal with her counsel. 2009. as the act or omission of the client himself. in the eyes of the law. the Court sentences accused-appellant Vilma Suliman to suffer the minimum term of six (6) months and one (1) day of prision correccional to maximum term of six years. Prudencio. holds the implied authority to do all acts necessary or. MAYO IN NOT INFORMING HER ABOUT HIS RECEIPT OF THE DECISION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS ADVERSE TO HER ON MAY 26. through her new collaborating counsel. Case No. 4. Instead.

In the instant case. At this point. the Court still finds no cogent reason to depart from the assailed ruling of the CA. Deviations from the Rules cannot be tolerated. whether a non-licensee. 14 It may not be amiss to add that this Court notes the propensity of petitioner and her counsel to disregard the Rules and directives of the Court. The rationale for this strict attitude is not difficult to appreciate as the Rules are designed to facilitate the orderly disposition of appealed cases. Thus. (b) To furnish or publish any false notice or information or document in relation to recruitment or employment. whether committed by any persons. who.in respect of his interests by keeping himself up-to-date on the status of the case. hiring. the client should suffer whatever adverse judgment is rendered against him. 16 17 18 19 In any case. a litigant bears the responsibility to monitor the status of his case. the Rules need to befollowed by appellants with greater fidelity. promising or advertising for employment abroad. or to make a worker pay any amount greater than that actually received by him as a loan or advance. offers or promises for a fee employment abroad to two or more persons shall be deemed so engaged. contact services. when undertaken by a non-license or non-holder of authority contemplated under Article 13(f) of Presidential Decree No. Indeed. Failing in thisduty. licensee or holder of authority. Truly. which provides as follows: Sec. . petitioner remained obstinate in her non observance of the said Rules. It shall likewise include the following acts. We emphasize that while jurisprudence has provided exceptions to this rule. as amended. On the above basis alone. the factual findings of the RTC. for no prudent party leaves the fate of his case entirely in the hands of his lawyer. non-holder. to merely rely on the bare reassurances of his lawyer that everything is being taken care of is not enough. especially when affirmed by the CA. utilizing. contracting. it is merely a statutory privilege. the Court finds that none of the exceptions are present . In an age where courts are be devilled by clogged dockets. 15 Moreover. whether for profit or not. procuring workers and includes referring. it is a settled rule that the right to appeal is neither a natural right nor a part of due process. hence. enlisting. that such non-license or non-holder. as it appears that petitioner assails not only the denial by the CA of her motion to admit her belated Motion for Reconsideration but likewise seeks the reversal of her conviction for illegal recruitment and estafa. In the instant case. Their observance cannot be leftto the whims and caprices of appellants. 20 21 22 23 The crime of illegal recruitment is defined under Section 6 of RA 8042. even if the Court bends its Rules to allow the present petition. In a Resolution issued by this Court on March 14. . in any manner. and may be exercised only in the manner and in accordance with the provision of law. transporting. It is the client’s duty to be in contact with his lawyer from time to time in order to be informed of the progress and developments of his case. 6. petitioner's counsel was admonished for his failure to file petitioner's Reply to Comment which was required in an earlier Resolution issued by this Court. 442. illegal recruitment shall mean any act of canvassing. there is no cogent reason to depart from the findings of both the RTC and the CA that petitioner is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crimes charged. Provided. an appealing party must strictly comply with the requisites laid down in the Rules of Court. (a) To charge or accept directly or indirectly any amount greater than that specified in the schedule of allowable fees prescribed by the Secretary of Labor and Employment. are generally held binding and conclusive on the Court. DEFINITIONS. The petitioner must additionally show that the cited exceptional circumstances will have a bearing on the results of the case. 2011. otherwise known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995. otherwise known as the Labor Code of the Philippines. after a careful and thorough review of the evidence on record. An appeal being a purely statutory right. it bears reiterating that in a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. the Court finds that the lower courts did not commit any error in convicting petitioner of the crimes of illegal recruitment and estafa. Such obstinacy is incongruous with her late plea for liberality in construing the Rules.For purposes of this Act. the petitioner carries the burden of proving that one or more exceptional circumstances are present in the case. the Court finds that the instant petition is dismissible.

(k) To withhold or deny travel documents from applicant workers before departure for monetary or financial considerations other than those authorized under the Labor Code and its implementing rules and regulations. (f) To engage in the recruitment of placement of workers in jobs harmful to public health or morality or to dignity of the Republic of the Philippines. remittances of foreign exchange earnings. and. (g) To obstruct or attempt to obstruct inspection by the Secretary of Labor and Employment or by his duly authorized representative. (d) To induce or attempt to induce a worker already employed to quit his employment in order to offer him another unless the transfer is designed to liberate a worker from oppressive terms and conditions of employment. As to the charge of estafa. departures and such other matters or information as may be required by the Secretary of Labor and Employment. accomplices and accessories. It is deemed committed in large scale if committed against three (3) or more persons individually or as a group. 1âwphi1 24 In the present case.400. Illegal recruitment when committed by a syndicate or in large scale shall be considered as offense involving economic sabotage. information or document or commit any act of misrepresentation for the purpose of securing a license or authority under the Labor Code.00 and P21.460. Illegal recruitment is deemed committed by a syndicate carried out by a group of three (3) or more persons conspiring or confederating with one another.00. (e) To influence or attempt to influence any persons or entity not to employ any worker who has not applied for employment through his agency. P120. testimony. (j) For an officer or agent of a recruitment or placement agency to become an officer or member of the Board of any corporation engaged in travel agency or to be engaged directly orindirectly in the management of a travel agency. (l) Failure to actually deploy without valid reasons as determined by the Department of Labor and Employment.00 as placement fees. employment contracts approved and verified by the Department of Labor and Employment from the time of actual signing thereof by the parties up to and including the period of the expiration of the same without the approval of the Department of Labor and Employment. both the RTC and the CA found that the prosecution has established that petitioner and her coaccused committed the acts enumerated under the provisions of Section 6 (a). management or direction of their business shall be liable. wherein estafa is committed by any person who shall defraud another by false pretenses or fraudulent acts executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud. the officers having control. (2) they failed to actually deploy the private complainants without valid reasons. (i) To substitute or alter to the prejudice of the worker. placement vacancies. paragraph 2(a) of the RPC. The persons criminally liable for the above offenses are the principals. (3) they failed to reimburse the said complainants after such failure to deploy. or .(c) To give any false notice. (h) To fail to submit reports on the status of employment.000. In case of juridical persons. and (m) Failure to reimburse expenses incurred by the workers in connection with his documentation and processing for purposes of deployment. It is committed by using fictitious name. in cases where the deployment does not actually take place without the worker's fault. (l) and (m) of RA 8042 when: (1) they separately charged the private complainants the amounts of P132. separations from jobs. the act complained of in the instant case is penalized under Article 315.

2013 resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. viz. agency. vs. Wilhelmsen Ship Management. or by means of other similar deceits. filed by respondent Allan Suarez against petitioners Wilhelmsen-Smith Bell Manning. Inc. (c) that the offended party relied on the false pretense. Besides. qualifications. and (d) that. their positive and categorical declarations on the witness stand under the solemnity of an oath deserve full faith and credence. DECISION BRION. that petitioner and her co-accused misrepresented and falsely pretended that they had the capacity to deploy the private complainants for employment either in South Korea.by pretending to possess power. 25 In the instant case. its responsible officer. agency. CR No. JR.. Ltd.: We resolve the present petition for review on certiorari. As a result of such false pretenses and misrepresentations. SP No. of marked relevance is the absence of any showing that the private complainants had any ill motive against petitioner other than to bring her to the bar of justice to answer for the crime of illegal recruitment. all the foregoing elements are present. 2013 decision and May 27. Respondent.. manage mentor direction of the business of the said company. credit. The elements of estafaby means of deceit are the following. as a result thereof. No. or fraudulent means and was induced to part with his money or property. approved by the Philippine Overseas Employment 4 . credit./ FAUSTO R. fraudulent act. are AFFIRMED. business or imaginary transactions. damages and attorney's fees. Petitioner avers that when her co-accused received several amounts of money from the private complainants. The Resolutions of the Court of Appeals. ALLAN SUAREZ. Jr. 207328 April 20. WHEREFORE. PREYSLER.. influence. Undoubtedly.: (a) that there must be a false pretense or fraudulent representation as to his power. 30693. It was the misrepresentation and false pretenses made by petitioner and her co-accused that inducedthe private complainants to part with their money. 1 2 3 The Antecedents The case arose from the complaint for permanent total disability benefits. Preysler. Indeed. 127295. Saudi Arabia and Canada. petitioner was at the forefront of the recruitment activities of Suliman International. 26 27 SO ORDERED. (agency). It was proven beyond reasonable doubt. the instant petition is DENIED. qualifications. 2015 WILHELMSEN-SMITH BELL MANNING/WILHELMSEN SHIP MANAGEMENT. The Court is not persuaded. 2010 in CA-G. especially in the face of positive assertions made by the private complainants who had no ill motive to falsely testify against her. His last contract. as found by the RTC and affirmed by the CA. As owner and general manager.R. Petitioner's denial is an intrinsically weak defense. the offended party suffered damage. assailing the March 15.R. In any case. (b) that such false pretense or fraudulent representation was made or executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud. for strangers to conspire and accuse another stranger of a most serious crime just to mollify their hurt feelings would certainly be against human nature and experience. the private complainants suffered damages as the promised employment abroad never materialized and the various amounts of money they paid were never recovered. and its principal. G. property. Suarez alleged that he has been continuously hired by the petitioners for five years as ordinary seaman and has always been assigned to a car ship. influence. petitioner cannot deny participation in the recruitment of the private complainants because the prosecution has established that petitioner was the one who offered the private complainants an alleged alternative employment in Ireland when their original deployment did not materialize. Where there is nothing to show that the witnesses for the prosecution were actuated by improper motive. she has control. property. she acted in her personal capacity and for her own benefit without the knowledge and consent of petitioner. 2009 and January 8. The misrepresentation was made prior toprivate complainants' payment of placement fees. business or imaginary transactions. Petitioners.R. Fausto R. LTD. dated July 21. Petitioner argues that she could not be held liable because she was not privy nor was she aware of the recruitment activities done by her coaccused. J.

She also reported that the prognosis of his condition was good. Mylene Cruz-Balbon. Dr. 2010. Jr. The petitioners. Karen Frances Hao-Quan. On March 31. Jacinto. He was again examined by Dr. for their part. and because of his condition. they shouldered the cost of his medical treatment until he was declared fit to work by the company-designated physician. 2011 check-up indicated (based on the DTPA scan) that his right kidney was almost non-functional and his left kidney had normal perfusion. who found him with "hydronephrosis secondary to UJO. MMC Asst. thus negating any finding of liability for complainant’s claims." On February 7. Panganiban rendered a decision dismissing the case for lack of merit. he underwent a CT scan of the urography and was continuously treated as an out-patient. while securing chain lashing heavy equipment on board the vessel. Hao-Quan initially diagnosed him with "ureteropelvic junction obstruction" (UJO). They maintained that medical studies show that UJO is mainly a genetic abnormality. He immediately reported to the agency and was referred to its accredited physician at the Metropolitan Medical Center (MMC). Suarez was subjected to prescribed major surgical procedures — cystoretrograde pyelography and nephrectomy. prompting him to file the complaint. 2010. His employment was also covered by a Model Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) of the Associated Marine Officers and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP). Ed Gatchalian. 2011. Allegedly. Suarez suffered severe back pain which radiated to his right abdomen. He further alleged that under the permanent medical unfitness clause of the CBA. He was diagnosed with "hydronephrosis secondary to UJO. Suarez was subjected to medical examinations. right kidney.100. 6 To substantiate his claim. his disability grading secondary to loss of 1 kidney is Grade 7." Dr. Manuel C. On December 30. right. Hao-Quan and was found to be suffering from "hydroneprosis secondary to UJO. Hao-Quan who diagnosed him with "hydroneprhrosis secondary to UJO. he underwent "nephrectomy. 2011. Dr. They thus argued that Suarez’s claim for damages and attorney’s fees had no basis as their denial of his demand for disability compensation was not in bad faith. Jacinto declared Suarez no longer fit to work as a seafarer. and that if he is entitled to disability compensation. He prayed for permanent total disability compensation of US$89. shows that the respondents have fully complied with their contractual obligations. declared Suarez fit to work. He was brought to a medical clinic in Rotterdam. right. barring unforeseen circumstances. after undergoing specialized medical tests. 12 . right. LA Panganiban held that Suarez has not offered any evidence to refute the argument that his illness is not compensable for not being work-related and because the company-designated physician had declared him fit to work. right. 2011. Still. Germany. s/p nephrectomy. 2011. 2011. h. 11 The Rulings on Compulsory Arbitration On October 28. Medical Coordinator. Dr. regardless of his disability grade..Administration (POEA) on May 20. Cruz Balbon reiterated that Suarez’s condition was not work-related. Suarez was medically repatriated and disembarked from the vessel on December 23." Meanwhile. The evidence. Thereafter. Finally or on May 10. he boarded the vessel Toreadoron May 26. LA Panganiban emphasized. he is entitled to permanent disability benefits. despite his medications. 2010. Dr. he again consulted Dr. confirmed that upon his disembarkation. Labor Arbiter (LA) Fedriel S.00 under the AMOSUP CBA." On February 16. or on February 7. His attending physician declared him unfit to work." 7 In her January 31. 2011 medical report. Dr. declared that Suarez’s UJO was not work-related. his condition persisted. 8 9 10 The petitioners also pointed out that under the POEA-SEC.pylori infections chronic pyelonephritis right kidney. the company urologist. Suarez’s illness is not an occupational disease. Suarez alleged that he had become unfit to work since he was repatriated on December 23. 5 Sometime in December 2010. treatments and surgical procedures by the company-designated doctors. no employer in his right mind would hire him. right and cystoscopy. Dr. 2011. Suarez consulted a doctor of his choice. They stressed that the medical report of his January 13. gastric ulcer/erosion. where he was diagnosed with Right Pelvoureteric Junction Obstruction. After his pre-employment medical examination. was for nine months. 2010. right and cystocopy. 2010.

plus 10%attorney’s fees. The CA thus believed that Suarez’s working environment. particularly as regards respondents herein. that he was no longer fit to work as a seaman jibed with the medical findings of one of the company doctors. Citing jurisprudence. a reconsideration from the CA. the CA noted that the declaration by Dr. as well as his diet onboard the vessel. but even assuming that his illness was work-related. despite the fact that their denial of his claim for disability benefits was based on valid grounds. They then appealed to the CA through a petition for certiorari. contending that the NLRC committed grave abuse of discretion in reversing LA Panganiban’s dismissal of the complaint. it stressed that the seafarer may request a second opinion regarding his ailment or injury and the medical report issued by the physician of his choice shall be evaluated on its inherent merit by the labor tribunals and the courts. his claim should nonetheless fail in view of the fit-to-work declaration by the companydesignated physician. jointly and severally. but the NLRC denied the motion. It concurred with the NLRC conclusion that Suarez suffered from permanent total disability since he was unable to return to his job as a seafarer for more than 120 days. It stressed that from the time Suarez was medically repatriated on December 23. he was unable to work for 138 days since he was certified fit to work by the company designated physician only on May 10. Jacinto. Dr. 2010.000. The Petition The petitioners now appeal to the Court to set aside the CA rulings on grounds that the appellate court gravely erred in affirming the award to Suarez of (1) US$60. It emphasized that it is enough that there is a reasonable linkage between the disease suffered by the employee and his work to make a rational mind conclude that Suarez’s work may have contributed to the establishment or. The CA Decision The CA denied the petition. It also found credible Suarez’s claim that the food served onboard the vessel was extremely unhealthy as it was frozen. It considered the assessment not final. Cruz Balbon. 16 The appellate court rejected the petitioners’ submission that there was no evidence that the working conditions on board the Toreador caused or aggravated Suarez’s illness. It ordered the petitioners to pay Suarez. aggravation of any preexisting condition he might have had. 2012. fatty and salty. It found no grave abuse of discretion in the assailed NLRC judgment as it found the judgment supported by substantial evidence. 17 The CA pointed out that in the present case. . Suarez’s chosen physician. 15 Like the NLRC. The CA refused to give credit to the fit-to-work assessment of the company-designated physician.000. It concluded that the two physicians shared the view that Suarez’s work-related illness was subsisting and that he would feel the effect of the loss of his kidney for the rest of his life.00 under the POEA-SEC. despite the declaration of the companydesignated physician that he was fit to work and that his illness was not work-related. may have aggravated or contributed to the development of his Hydronephrosis secondary to UJO. The petitioners argued before the CA that Suarez’s illness was not work-related as there was no evidence showing that the working conditions on board the vessel caused or aggravated his medical condition. binding or conclusive on the seafarer. but failed to secure. at the very least. the labor tribunals. permanent total disability benefits of US$60. or the courts. the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) reversed LA Panganiban’s ruling in its decision of March 27. It refused to honor the AMOSUP CBA "as the parties thereto were not specifically identified. The labor tribunal found Suarez to have suffered from permanent total disability as he was unable to perform his job for more than 120 days. The petitioners moved for.On appeal by Suarez. 2011." 13 14 The petitioners moved for reconsideration. It opined that his illness need not beshown to be work-related provided it occurred during the term of the contract. and (2) attorney’s fees. Suarez was deployed to the petitioners’ car ship and "was exposed to heavy equipment" requiring him to exert force that caused his medical condition.00 in disability benefits.

right (a kidney ailment) is not work-related and therefore not compensable. The AMOSUPCBA likewise provides that "the degree of disability which the employer. that a company-designated physician’s assessment has been upheld in recent decisions of this Court. He maintains that the CA acted judiciously in upholding the findings of the NLRC that because of his disability. The company-designated physician declared Suarez fit to work. subject to this 28 . malice or bad faith. relevant jurisprudence and the provisions of the POEA-SEC. absent any contrary finding of an independent third physician jointly appointed by the parties. a urological surgeon. new arguments. Ed R. 23 24 Also. his claim for permanent total disability compensation cannot prosper. par. 2011. even on the assumption that Suarez’s illness is work-related. In this case. The facts. 20 The company-designated physician.The petitioners bewail the rejection by the CA of the fit-to-work assessment of the company-designated physician. 2011. Moreover. Suarez failed to rebut such presumption by moving for the appointment of a third doctor or by showing that the company doctor’s findings are tainted with bias. He is now cleared to go back to work. the petitioners argue. considering as they point out. they continued his treatment until he was declared fit to work on May 10. the law and relevant jurisprudence militate against the award of permanent total disability benefits to Suarez. He has fully recovered from his surgery. Allan Suarez is now doing well. in his letter of May 10. 18 19 The petitioners insist that Suarez’s illness is mainly a genetic abnormality as medical studies show and is therefore not work-related. According to Dr. they contend that the CA erred in upholding the NLRC finding that Suarez is permanently disabled because he was unable to work for more than 120 days. Under Section 20 (B) 3 of the POEA-SEC. be entitled to compensation according to the provisions of the CBA. the company-designated physician certified that the subject illness is not work-related. Suarez prays for a dismissal of the petition with the submission that the NLRC decision that was affirmed by the CA is supported by substantial evidence. The declaration was made by Dr. it is the company designated physician who determines the fitness to work or the degree of permanent disability of a seafarer who disembarks from the vessel for medical treatment. Even the disputed AMOSUP CBA (invoked by Suarez but rejected by the NLRC) states that a seafarer who suffers permanent disability as a result of work related illness or from an injury as a result of an accident. Suarez’s Comment In his comment filed on November 18. First. The foregoing notwithstanding and. the Court clothed the company doctor’s assessment with the presumption of regularity and legality and. the petitioners submit that Suarez is not entitled to disability compensation and to attorney’s fees. he had become totally unfit to work as a seafarer in any capacity as a result of the illness he contracted on board the petitioners’ vessel. hydronephrosis secondary to UJO. 2011 to Dr. Gatchalian." 27 Under Section 20 (B) 3. 21 22 The Court’s Ruling We find merit in the petition. new evidence or new matter" that will justify a review of the case. therefore should be given respect. MMC Medical Coordinator. Gatchalian: "Mr. In the present case. LA Panganiban aptly concluded that the petitioners were able to overcome the presumption. an assessment supported by medical studies indicating that UJO or uteropelvic junction obstruction is a congenital abnormality that remains an enigma in terms of both diagnosis and therapy. they add. They maintain that the 120-day rule had already been overturned by recent Court rulings and does not apply to Suarez’s claim. It appears that Suarez’s illness. "had failed to come up with new issues. they stress that in another recent ruling. the employer is liable only for compensation/benefits when the seafarer suffers work-related injury or illness during the term of the contract. it is disputably presumed to be work-related. He insists that he is entitled to full disability compensation. The petitioners. Considering that Suarez’s illness was not work-related and that the company-designated physician declared him fit to work within the period set by the rules. assessed Suarez’s illness to be non-work-related on January 27. 25 26 Second. shall in addition to sick pay. Robert Lim. he tells the Court. The abnormality may be observed in both adults and children. Further. 2013. 1 of the POEA-SEC. although under its Section 20(4). UJO is not an occupational disease as it does not appear in the list of occupational diseases under Section 32-A of the POEA-SEC. His urinalysis is now normal. Thus. This assessment notwithstanding.

In Splash Philippines. 2011. Inc. declaring that Suarez was permanently disabled because he had been unable to resume his work as a seaman since he disembarked on December 23. Suarez’s chosen physician. the NLRC and the CA rejected Dr. treatment and management (including surgical procedures) of Suarez’s medical condition until he was declared fit to work by the company urologist on May 10. if one exists is the law between the Parties and must be given respect. 29 30 31 On the other hand. 2011 "shows that it was made without proof of any extensive examination having been conducted" and it was "evident that it was the first and only consultation made by the complainant" with Dr. LA Panganiban noted that the medical certificate issued by Dr. Necessarily. The NLRC and CA’s reliance on the 120-day rule for the award of permanent total disability compensation to Suarez is misplaced.. Jacinto. Suarez’s physician of choice. the Court reiterated that the 120-day rule for the declaration of a permanent total disability laid down in earlier maritime compensation cases. they also upheld the unfit-to-work certification of Dr. The third doctor’s decision shall be final and binding on the parties. 34 35 Citing Vergara v." The POEASEC. was justified not only by the governing law between the parties. Inc. the Court emphasized that the application of the 120-day rule must depend on the circumstances of the case.. claim or grievance arising out of or in connection with the POEA-SEC. The fit-to-work certification issued by Dr. Dr. Book IV of the Implementing Rules of the Labor Code (the Rules on Employees Compensation). for the physician to make an assessment of the seafarer’s disability or to declare him fit to work as explained in Vergara. In this light. Section 20 (B) 6 – In case of permanent total or partial disability of the seafarer caused by either injury or illness the seafarer shall be compensated in accordance with the schedule of benefits in Section 32 of this Contract. et al. the seafarer is entitled to sickness allowance equivalent to his basic wage until he is declared fit to work or the degree of permanent disability has been assessed by the companydesignated physician but in no case shall this period exceed one hundred twenty (120) days. Gatchalian 138 days after his repatriation. Jacinto as a credible basis for his unfit-towork certification. the labor arbiter committed no error when he upheld the fit-to-work assessment of the company-designated physician as it was in accordance with the law that governs Suarez’s employment. is liable to pay shall be determined by a doctor appointed by the Employer. and Philippine law and rules in case of any unresolved dispute. 37 The NLRC and CA rulings were rendered with grave abuse of discretion as they were in total disregard of the POEA-SEC and applicable Philippine law. Ruizo. xxxx If a doctor appointed by the seafarer disagrees with the assessment.Agreement. considering especially the parties’ compliance with their contractual duties and obligations. Jacinto. Jacinto to Suarez on June 6. Ronulfo G. Section 2. The LA’s reliance on the company doctors’ assessment over that of Dr. Gatchalian’s assessment and invoked the 120-day rule. had already been clarified or modified. we just cannot accept Suarez’s one-time consultation with Dr. the Court stressed that the degree of a seafarer’s disability cannot be determined on the basis solely of the 120-day rule or intotal disregard of the seafarer’s employment contract — executed in accordance with the POEA-SEC — the parties’ CBA. Gatchalian clearly negated a permanent total disability assessment. 36 In this case. Inc. 32 33 Third. Stated otherwise. which was well within the extended 240-day period set by Rule X. Hammonia Maritime Services. a third doctor may be agreed jointly between the Employer and the seafarer. v. 38 . Jacinto. 2010. v. supplemented by the CBA. Natividad. the most prominent of which was Crystal Shipping. Computation of benefits arising from an illness or disease shall be governed by the rates and the rules of compensation applicable at the time the illness or disease was contracted.. Jacinto made substantially the same finding as those of the company doctors that Suarez suffered from UJO. And if we may add. Suarez was declared fit to work by Dr. particularly the following provisions: Section 20 (B) 3 – Upon sign-off from the vessel for medical treatment. In this light. but also by the time and resources spent and the effort exerted by the petitioners’ physicians in the examination. Yet. if there is one.

WHEREFORE. the Court declared that the POEA-SEC does not measure disability in terms of number of days but by gradings only. The assailed decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals are SET ASIDE. No costs. permanent total disability is classified under Grade 1 under Section 32. Gatchalian's fit-to-work assessment should prevail. 41 42 Finally. He should have initiated the referral considering that the petitioners were not aware that he consulted Dr. As we stressed in Splash Philippines. INC. Petitioner. 193101 April 20. provides that in case of a permanent total or partial disability. And because there was no third and binding opinion. Significantly. one other consideration why the 120-day rule cannot be accepted as a cure-all formula for the award of a permanent total disability compensation is the provision of a disability compensation system under the POEA-SEC under its Section 32 which laid down a Schedule of Disability Impediment for Injuries Suffered and Diseases including Occupational Diseases or Illness Contracted. The seaman may of course also be declared fit to work at any time such declaration is justified by his medical condition. it is about time that the schedule of disability compensation under Section 32 is seriously observed. Jacinto. There being no impediment grading declared by Dr. he filed the complaint upon issuance of the unfit-to-work certification of Dr." Needless to say. SO ORDERED.R. NAESS SHIPPING PHILIPPINES. Section 2 of the ECC Rules provides: Sec. The filing of the complaint was premature and constituted a breach of Suarez's contractual obligation with the petitioners. for a binding and final opinion. 2010. 2011 of the Labor Arbiter is hereby ordered REINSTATED. 1âwphi1 39 The Court said in Vergara that "if the 120 days initial period is exceeded and no such declaration is made because the seafarer requires further medical attention. Dr. The decision dated October 28.. Instead. 2. Rule X. Jacinto. 2015 NICANOR CERIOLA. the System may declare the total and permanent status at any time after 120 days of continuous temporary total disability as may be warranted by the degree of actual loss or impairment of physical or mental functions as determined by the system. we find merit in the petition. — (a) The income benefit shall be paid beginning on the first day of such disability. However. In a clarificatory resolution dated February 12. No. Jacinto. subject to the right of the employer to declare within this period that a permanent partial or total disability already exists. then the temporary total disability period may be extended up to a maximum of 240 days. vs. Period of entitlement. as we must in this case. in conjunction with Section 20 (B) 6 above which. 2007 in relation to Crystal Shipping. Respondents. the contrary opinion of his chosen physician should have been referred to a third doctor. it shall not be paid longer than 120 days except where such injury or sickness still requires medical attendance beyond 120 days but not to exceed 240 days from onset of disability in which case benefit for temporary total disability shall be paid. in turn. If caused by an injury or sickness. Gatchalian declared Suarez fit to work 138 days after his repatriation on December 23. 43 To reiterate. DECISION PEREZ. MIGUEL OCA AND/OR KUWAIT OIL TANKER. G. J. jointly with the petitioners. The complaint should have been dismissed. the petition for review on certiorari is GRANTED. Suarez's claim for total disability benefits must necessarily fail.: . premises considered.On the other hand. 40 While Suarez was free to consult a physician of his choice regarding his medical condition and/or disability as implied by the last paragraph of Section 20 (B) 3 of the POEA-SEC. and as earlier mentioned. the seafarer he shall be compensated in accordance with Section 32. Dr.

specifically between the contract of 8 July 2000-12 April 2001 and that of 7 July 2001-12 April 2002. in turn. petitioner reported to respondent for extensive medical examination. thus: Before [petitioner] went on board. 1 2 3 From the year 1981." and submitted by respondents NAESS Shipping Philippines. petitioner was re-deployed on board "GAS AL BURGAN" 7 from July 2001 to 12 April 2002. In fact he was declared fit for work in the 23 July 2002 Certification issued by Dr. 107477 which reversed and set aside the Decision of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) granting the appeal of petitioner Nicanor Ceriola sustaining his claims for disability benefit under the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration-Standard Employment Contract (POEA-SEC). Debriefing Questionnaire duly accomplished by petitioner on 16 April 2002. Thus. 3. The results of the medical examination indicated that the dislocation of petitioner’s lumbar vertebrae had aggravated. The NLRC. Results of petitioner’s medical consultation from 11 June 2002 to 1 April 2003 which declared petitioner "unfit to work" due to a work related injury or ailment. He did not suffer any medical condition during the term of his contract nor was proof presented that whatever medical condition he complained of was caused by work-related illness or injury as he made no report of any medical condition when he disembarked." In fact. However. Miguel Oca and/or Kuwait Oil Tanker. offered in evidence by petitioner and cited by the NLRC in reversing the ruling of the Labor Arbiter. respectively supporting the assertions of either the petitioner or respondents: 1. In between these employment contracts. petitioner has been employed as a seafarer on board various vessels of respondent NAESS Shipping Philippines.Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari assailing the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. he was declared fit for work.. Never during his work on board. SP. and (2) from 7 July 2001 until 12 April 2002. where petitioner was deployed on board the vessel "GAS AL AHMADI.R. Records show that [petitioner] was last deployed for the period from 07 July 2001 until 12 April 2002 when [petitioner] disembarked after completion of contract. The controversy between the parties involving the claimed illness of petitioner. [Petitioner] underwent another medical examination on July 2002.employment medical examination as required under Section 20 (B) of the POEA SEC. He therefore did not qualify for the disability benefits forming part of his employment contract. petitioner underwent medical examination because he was experiencing severe back pains." After completing that contract. did [petitioner] complain of any medical condition. his health (sic). is reckoned from the start of the employment contract of 6 June 1999. Inc. 2. No. the finding of fact of the labor tribunals and the appellate court conflict on the results of petitioner’s medical examinations." Despite the diagnosis. petitioner was declared "fit to work" and was deployed for two successive overseas employment contracts on board the vessel "GAS AL BURGAN": (1) from 8 July 2000 to 12 April 2001. and for re-deployment purposes. Three different certifications come up. as previously adverted to: . reversed and set aside the Decision of the Labor Arbiter dismissing the complaint of petitioner. Inc. as per standard procedure. and his possible entitlement to disability benefit. (NAESS Shipping) covered by different overseas employment contracts. 4 Reckoned from this period. Results of petitioner’s medical examination after expiration of his last contract on 12 April 2002 which declared him "fit to work. the Court of Appeals in its Decision and Resolution made differing factual findings thereon. where he was then diagnosed to be suffering from early stage of "Lumbar Spondylosis. petitioner specifically stating that "all ok during his contract inc. [petitioner] did not complain of any illness nor did he report for medical consultation for any medical condition. Calanoc of Seamen’s Hospital. considering that his prior medical clearance in the year 2000 of "fit to work" was effective for two (2) years." (Emphasis supplied) 6 It appears from the record that petitioner never underwent post. for possible redeployment but was declared "unfit to work. When he disembarked on finished contract on 12 April 2002. 5 The instant case arose from the complaint of [petitioner] for disability benefits granted under the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Standard Employment Contract (POEA-SEC) for seamen.

There is no showing that prior thereto. 2002 contains his handwritten acknowledgement that was "all ok during his contract incl. on appeal. The Labor Arbiter dismissed the complaint of petitioner: It is not disputed that [petitioner] completed his last contract with the respondents and was discharged from the vessel on April 13. On the contrary. in June-July 2002. 2002. [Petitioner’s] employment history shows that he spent his entire seafaring career since 1981 with herein respondents.1. . the employer is liable for payment of disability benefits for work-related sickness/injury sustained during the term of the contract only after the degree/extent of injury has been assessed. And. we are persuaded by [petitioner’s] allegations and arguments that: 1. 3. In this case. the declaration of fitness issued by the company designated physician negates [petitioner’s] claim for disability benefits. the [petitioner] underwent a series of examinations preparatory to deployment wherein he was declared fit to work. After every conclusion of his contract. or does not reflect the actual medical condition of the affected seafarer. In the absence of proof that the certification of fitness was irregularly issued." Moreover. 2. judgment is hereby rendered dismissing the complaint for lack of merit. the Debriefing Questionnaire duly accomplished by [petitioner] on April 16. However. xxxx [Petitioner] in this case was declared fit to work on July 23. His injury or ailment was due to his work of lifting heavy objects at the vessel. Accordingly. after being evaluated and treated by the companydesignated physician. his health. 7 2. a disability assessment was not undertaken as the complainant was declared fit to work by the respondents’ designated physician to whom the [petitioner] was referred. premises considered.B of the POEA Standard Contract. x x x In support of his claims. a perusal thereof fails to disclose the declaration of disability that would render operative the provisions of the POEA Standard Employment Contract. xxxx WHEREFORE. and that the declaration of fitness was issued after [petitioner] has undergone a physical therapy program. the certificate states that [petitioner] is "unfit to work" and his illness appears to be work-oriented. the [petitioner] has sustained an injury or suffered an illness during the term of his contract which can be the basis for a claim for disability benefits under the contract. It must be stressed that under Section 20. he would merely take a vacation of approximately two (2) months only. while [petitioner] may have presented a medical certificate to support his claim for disability benefits. the NLRC reversed the Labor Arbiter and granted petitioner’s claim for disability benefits: While it is true that the certification mentioned by the Labor Arbiter appear on record. and the corresponding impediment grade is declared by the companydesignated physician. said certification must be upheld and given probative weight to support the denial of the claim. To reiterate. 2002. the latter seemed not to have noticed the more recent certification which was issued by the respondents’ hospital in April 2003. The fact that such was work-related was attested to by the designated hospital of the respondent. 4.

he was declared fit for work. The seafarer’s work must involve the risks described herein. The disease was contracted as a result of the seafarer’s exposure to the described risks. 6. Other claims are dismissed for lack of basis. during the period he was on board. 8 3. 2. and 7. he could no longer perform heavy works. xxxx WHEREFORE. Hammonia Maritimex x x. On petition for certiorariby respondents alleging grave abuse of discretion by the NLRC in granting petitioner’s claim for disability benefits. Never during his work on board. Calanoc of Seamen’s Hospital. did [petitioner] complain of any medical condition. the assailed Decision is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. In fact he was declared fit for work in the 23 July 2002 Certification issued by Dr.5. Beginning with his contract with the duration of 8 July 2000 to April 2001. He did not suffer any medical condition during the term of his contract nor was proof presented that whatever medical condition he complained of was cause by work-related illness or injury as he made no report of any medical condition when he disembarked. The disease was contracted within a period of exposure and under such other factors necessary to contract it. was again emphasized by the Supreme Court in Vergara v. he was still allowed to be deployed. Since his injury then was not yet severe. When he disembarked on finished contract on 12 April 2002. premises considered. the appellate court reinstated the ruling of the Labor Arbiter denying petitioner’s claim: In the instant case. The foregoing allegations and argument substantiate the following requirements provided under the POEA Standard Employment Contract for an injury or illness to be compensable: 1. 4. he was already diagnosed to have a work-related injury or illness of "lumbar spondylosis" or dislocation of lumbar vertebrae. There was no notorious negligence on the part of the seafarer. xxxx . At present. However. [petitioner] can no longer claim any benefits under his employment contract. 3. Thus. [Petitioner] is hereby directed to strictly comply with the order requiring him to present himself to the Employee’s Compensation Commision (ECC) and secure the impediment grade corresponding to his disability. Respondents are hereby held jointly and solidarily liable to pay [petitioner] his disability benefit in such amount as may correspond to the impediment grade to be provided by the Employees Compensation Commission. xxxx Before [petitioner] went on board. [petitioner] had finished his contract when he disembarked on 12 April 2002. xxxx That the person qualified to determine the disability benefits of a seafarer is the company designated physician. he sustained or aggravated his present illness. He therefore did not qualify for the disability benefits forming part of his employment contract. [petitioner] did not complain of any illness nor did he report for medical consultation for any medical condition. Accordingly. [petitioner’s] appeal is hereby GRANTED.

On motion for reconsideration. [petitioner] cannot make any claim based on the POEA-SEC. Records show that [petitioner] was last deployed for the period from 07 July 2001 until 12 April 2002 when [petitioner] disembarked after completion of contract. [Petitioner] underwent another medical examination on July 2002. Their employment is contractually fixed for a certain period of time. And the complaint is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. 10 Hence. The decision of the NLRC is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the decision of the Labor Arbiter is REINSTATED. WHETHER OR NOT THERE IS REVERSIBLE ERROR IN THE COURT OF APPEALS’ DECISION REVERSING AND SETTING ASIDE THE DECISION OF THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION THAT THE AILMENT OF THE PETITIONER IS WORK-RELATED AND THEREFORE COMPENSABLE III. And he had no complaints whatsoever. He then points out that during his last employment contract from July 2001 to April 2002. When [petitioner] disembarked. They fall under the exception of Article 280 whose employment has been fixed for a specific project or undertaking the completion or termination of which has been determined at the time of engagement of the employee or where the work or services to be performed is seasonal in nature and the employment is for the duration of the season. Their employment is governed by the contracts they sign every time they are re[-]hired and their employment is terminated when the contract expires. For being not covered by a POEA-SEC. When [petitioner] was found to be unfit to work. Seafarers are contractual employees." From the above facts it is clear that [petitioner] was no longer under any POEA-SEC. WHETHER OR NOT THERE IS REVERSIBLE ERROR IN THE COURT OF APPEALS’ DECISION GRANTING THE PETITION FOR CERTIORARI OF THE RESPONDENTS II. a requirement for one to enjoy the disability benefits provided therein. premises considered. he was no longer a subject of any POEA Standard Employment Contract (POEA-SEC) for which disability benefits is a part of and of which [petitioner] is claiming to be entitled to. this appeal by certiorari of petitioner positing reversible error in the appellate court’s ruling: I. the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. We answer in the negative and deny the petition. for possible redeployment but was declared "unfit to work. the appellate court stood pat on its ruling and denied petitioner’s claim for disability benefit: The instant case arose from the complaint of [petitioner] for disability benefits granted under the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Standard Employment Contract (POEA-SEC) for seamen.WHEREFORE. the Motion for Reconsideration is hereby DENIED for lack of merit. Petitioner asseverates that his illness of "Lumbar Spondylosis" is work-related given that he experienced such while on board respondents’ vessel in 1999. albeit he was given a "fit to work" certification effective for two (2) years from year 2000. it was because of the completion of his contract or his contract had ended. Accordingly. WHETHER OR NOT THERE IS REVERSIBLE ERROR IN THE COURT OF APPEALS’ DECISION WHICH DISREGARD THE LATEST MEDICAL CERTIFICATION OF THE RESPONDENTS’ DESIGNATED PHYSICIAN THAT THE AILMENT OF THE PETITIONER IS WORK-RELATED IV. 9 4. Petitioner claims disability benefits for a work-related injury or illness during the term of his contract. his illness worsened . WHETHER OR NOT THERE IS REVERSIBLE ERROR IN THE COURT OF APPEALS’ DECISION THAT RESPONDENT IS NOT ENTITLED TO DISABILITY BENEFITS BECAUSE HE HAS ALREADY FINISHED HIS CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT 11 We impale the foregoing into the sole issue of whether petitioner is entitled to disability benefits.

2003 and was declared "UNFIT" due to a work related injury or ailment is hereto attached and marked as ANNEX "C. x x x . After the completion of his contract of employment for the period covering 7 July 2001 to April 2002. We thus determine herein petitioner’s entitlement to disability benefits under the provisions of the 1996 POEA-SEC since it was." 12 Before we proceed. Upon sign-off from the vessel for medical treatment. COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS FOR INJURY OR ILLNESS The liabilities of the employer when the seafarer suffers injury or illness during the term of his contract are as follows: 1. series of 2002. x x x 3. that petitioner only vaguely refers to the specifics of what transpired after he signed-off from respondents’ vessel in April 2002. The Medical Certification issued by the Seamen’s Hospital dated 1 April 2003 declaring [petitioner] had undergone consultation for Pre-Post Employment Medical Examination from June 11. x x x 2. x x x 2. effectively. However. however. likewise during the term of the employment contract.paragraphs (A). and (D) thereof. although it is this last employment contract on which petitioner bases his claim for disability benefits: 12. he was declared "unfit to work" by the Seamen’s Hospital when the result of the medical examinations was released.and became aggravated resulting in a diagnosis of "herniated disc L3-L4 and L4-L5. through POEA Memorandum Circular No. His ailment of "Lumbar Spondylosis" further aggravated and he was diagnosed to have herniated disc L3-L4 and L4-L5. must be work-related: B. but in no case shall this period exceed one hundred twenty (120) days. [petitioner] underwent another medical examination with the hope that he can be re[-]deployed again come July 2002 until April 2003. Copy of the result or interpretation of the CT scan of [petitioner] is hereto attached and marked as Annex "B". a written notice to the agency within the same period is deemed as compliance. except to specifically indicate that the compensable injury or illness. Failure of the seafarer to comply with the mandatory reporting requirement shall result in his forfeiture of the right to claim the above benefits." We note. However. COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS FOR INJURY OR ILLNESS The liabilities of the employer when the seafarer suffers work-related injury or illness during the term of his contract are as follows: 1. the 2000 POEA-SEC was already in effect. 13 Section 20 (B) of the 1996 POEA-SEC provides the entitlement of a seafarer who suffers injury or illness during the effectivity of his contract: B. the governing circular at the time petitioner’s employment contract was executed. the seafarer is entitled to sickness allowance equivalent to his basic wage until he is declared fit to work or the degree of permanent disability has been assessed by the company-designated physician. we clarify that for petitioner’s last employment contract for the period 7 July 2001 to April 2002. (B). 2002 to April 1. 2. in which case. For this purpose. and was lifted only on 5 June 2002. specifically Section 20. the seafarer shall submit himself to a post-employment medical examination by a companydesignated physician within three working days upon his return except when he is physically incapacitated to do so. Section 20 (B) of the 2000 POEA-SEC does not depart therefrom. the implementation of the provisions of the foregoing 2000 POEA-SEC was temporarily suspended by the Court on 11 September 2000.

3. Upon sign-off from the vessel for medical treatment, the seafarer is entitled to sickness allowance
equivalent to his basic wage until he is declared fit to work or the degree of permanent disability has been
assessed by the company-designated physician but in no case shall this period exceed one hundred twenty
(120) days.
For this purpose, the seafarer shall submit himself to a post- employment medical examination by a companydesignated physician within three working days upon his return except when he is physically incapacitated to do so,
in which case, a written notice to the agency within the same period is deemed as compliance. Failure of the
seafarer to comply with the mandatory reporting requirement shall result in his forfeiture of the right to claim the
above benefits.
If a doctor appointed by the seafarer disagrees with the assessment, a third doctor may be agreed jointly between
the Employer and the seafarer. The third doctor’s decision shall be final and binding on both parties. Clearly,
however, in claiming disability benefits, both the 1996 and 2000 POEA-SEC requires the injury or illness of the
seafarer to be work-related.
Because of the conflicting factual findings of the labor tribunals and the appellate court on petitioner’s actual medical
condition after his last employment contract, we reiterate the parameter of work-related illness in resolving
petitioner’s claim for disability benefits. Under Section 20 (B) (3) of the 1996 POEA-SEC, for the employer to be
liable: (1) the injury or illness must occur during the term of contract, disputably presumed to be work-related; (2) the
injury or illness is work-related; and (3) the work-related injury or illness is determined in a mandatory post
employment medical examination by a company designated physician within three (3) working days of the
seafarer’s return.
14

Claiming entitlement to benefits under the law, petitioner must establish his right thereto by substantial evidence.

15

While petitioner has asserted that his disability is work-related and occurred during the term of his contract, what
jumps out of the different factual findings of all three labor tribunals, the Labor Arbiter, the NLRC and the Court of
Appeals, is that petitioner did not undergo a post employment medical examination as required in Section 20 of both
the 1996 and 2000 POEA-SEC. In fact, petitioner refers to the medical examination he underwent as a "Pre-Post
Employment Medical Examination" from 11 June 2002 to 1 April 2003, which yielded a medical certification that
petitioner is "UNFIT" to work due to a work-related injury or illness.
A mere asseveration that the medical examination is both "pre and post employment" does not comply with the
mandatory language of the POEA-SEC. That the three-day post employment medical examination is mandatory
brooks no argument:
The rationale for the rule [on mandatory post-employment medical examination within three days from repatriation
by a company-designated physician] is that reporting the illness or injury within three days from repatriation fairly
makes it easier for a physician to determine the cause of the illness or injury. Ascertaining the real cause of the
illness or injury beyond the period may prove difficult. To ignore the rule might set a precedent with negative
repercussions, like opening floodgates to a limitless number of seafarers claiming disability benefits, or causing
unfairness to the employer who would have difficulty determining the cause of a claimant’s illness because of the
passage of time. The employer would then have no protection against unrelated disability claims.
In fine, we hold that Victor’s non-compliance with the three-day rule on post-employment medical examination is
fatal to his cause. As a consequence, his right to claim for compensation and disability benefits is forfeited. On this
score alone, his Complaint could have been dismissed outright. (Emphasis supplied)
16

Notably, the post-employment medical examination has two (2) requisites: (1) it is done by a company-designated
physician, (2) within three (3) working days upon the seafarer’s return. The only exception thereto is physical
incapacity of the seafarer to undergo said post-employment medical examination, in which case, a written notice to
the agency within the same period is deemed as compliance. The law specifically declares that failure to comply
with the mandatory reporting requirement shall result in the seafarer’s forfeiture of his right to claim benefits
thereunder. Clearly, the three-day period from return of the seafarer or sign-off from the vessel, whether to undergo
a post-employment medical examination or report the seafarer’s physical incapacity, should always be complied
with to determine whether the injury or illness is work-related.

In Wallem Maritime Services, Inc. v. NLRC and Inductivo, we upheld the exception to the mandatory requirement of
the post-employment medical examination:
17

Admittedly, Faustino Inductivo did not subject himself to post employment medical examination within three (3) days
from his return to the Philippines, as required by the above provision of the POEA Standard Employment Contract.
But such requirement is not absolute and admits of an exception, i.e., when the seaman is physically incapacitated
from complying with the requirement. Indeed, for a man who was terminally ill and in need of urgent medical
attention one could not reasonably expect that he would immediately resort to and avail of the required medical
examination, assuming that he was still capable of submitting himself to such examination at that time. It is quite
understandable that his immediate desire was to be with his family in Nueva Ecija whom he knew would take care of
him. Surely, under the circumstances, we cannot deny him, or his surviving heirs after his death, the right to claim
benefits under the law. (Emphasis supplied)
In Interorient Maritime Enterprises, Inc. v. Remo, we carved another exception, not found in the law, i.e. when the
employer refuses to refer the seafarer to a company-designated physician: What if the seafarer reported to his
employer but despite his request for a post-employment medical examination, the employer, who is mandated to
provide this service under POEA Memorandum Circular No. 055-96, did not do so? Would the absence of a postemployment medical examination be taken against the seafarer?
18

Both parties in this case admitted that Lutero was confined in a hospital in Dubai for almost one week due to a trial
fibrillation and congestive heart failure. Undeniably, Lutero suffered a heart ailment while under the employ of
petitioners. This fact is duly established. Respondent has also consistently asserted that 2-3 days immediately after
his repatriation on April 19, 1999, Lutero reported to the office of Interorient, requesting the required postemployment medical examination. However, it appears that, instead of heeding Lutero's request, Interorient
conveniently prioritized the execution of the Acknowledgment and Undertaking which were purportedly notarized on
April 20, 1999, thus leaving Lutero in the cold. In their pleadings, petitioners never traversed this assertion and did
not meet this issue head on. This self-serving act of petitioners should not be condoned at the expense of our
seafarers. Therefore, the absence of a post-employment medical examination cannot be used to defeat
respondent’s claim since the failure to subject the seafarer to this requirement was not due to the seafarer’s fault but
to the inadvertence or deliberate refusal of petitioners. (Emphasis supplied)
In stark contrast, however, petitioner, in this case, despite his asseveration that his "Lumbar Spondylosis" worsened
during his last employment contract, did not submit himself to a post-employment medical examination. Moreover,
petitioner’s medical certification, albeit emphasized by the NLRC to have been issued by respondents’ hospital, was
issued only in April 2003, long after the last employment contract of petitioner had expired—in April 2002.
Significantly, petitioner does not proffer a reason for his failure to undergo a post-employment medical examination
within three (3) working days from his return given that he claims he suffered the illness during the term of his
employment contract, from July 2001 to April 2002. At the least, petitioner should have reported that he was
suffering from symptoms of his illness while on board respondents’ vessel during the term of his last employment
contract.
Contrary to his present claims, on the date nearest the expiration of his employment contract, specifically, 16 April
2002, petitioner accomplished a Debriefing Questionnaire acknowledging that "all [was] ok during his contract[,]
including his health." He deliberately glosses over the mandatory nature of the post-employment medical
examination, which he did not undergo, by his general averment that after expiration of his last employment contract
in April 2002, he underwent medical examination from June 2002 to April 2003, and was no longer re-deployed
since he was found "UNFIT" due to a work-related illness.
19

To our mind, such a claim is neither here nor there, and is clearly far from the requirement that a claimant must
establish his entitlement to disability benefits under the law by substantial evidence. We cannot overemphasize that
"self-serving and unsubstantiated declarations are insufficient to establish a case x x x where the quantum of
evidence required to establish as fact is substantial evidence."
20

21

Petitioner himself, in paragraph 56 of his petition, highlights the apparent conflict in his medical certifications, which,
in any event, was done beyond the three-day period of the seafarer’s return or sign-off from the vessel to undergo
the mandatory post-employment medical examination:

56. Indeed, the medical certification issued by Dr. Calanoc dated July 23, 2002declared [petitioner] fit to work. Said
certification also stated that he underwent physical therapy for ten (10) sessions. But the said certification was later
on supplanted by another certification by Dr. Calanoc which stated that [petitioner] has undergone Consultation/PrePost employment Medical Examination from June 11, 2002 but is found to be UNFIT for work with the DIAGNOSIS
IMPRESSION: Herniated Disc L3-L4-L4-L5, which is WORK RELATED. (Emphasis supplied)
22

We, thus, cite with favor the Court of Appeals’ disquisition, defining the nature of employment of Filipino seafarers
and the applicable law therefor:
Seafarers are considered contractual employees. Their employment is governed by the contracts they sign every
time they are re[-]hired and their employment is terminated when the contract expires. Their employment is
contractually fixed for a certain period of time. They fall under the exception of Article 280 whose employment has
been fixed for a specific project or undertaking the completion or termination of which has been determined at the
time of engagement of the employee or where the work or services to be performed is seasonal in nature and the
employment is for the duration of the season.
As a Filipino seaman, [petitioner] is governed by the Rules and Regulations of the POEA. The Standard
employment Contract governing the employment of All Filipino Seamen on Board Ocean-Going Vessels of the
POEA, particularly in Part I, Sec. C specifically provides that the contract of seamen shall be for a fixed period.
Moreover, it is an accepted maritime industry practice that employment of seafarers are for a fixed period only.
Constrained by the nature of their employment which is quite peculiar and unique in itself, it is for the mutual interest
of both the seafarer and the employer why the employment status must be contractual only or for a certain period of
time.
In the instant case, [petitioner] had finished his contract when he disembarked on 12 April 2002. Thus, [petitioner]
can no longer claim any benefits under his employment contract.
1awp++i1

xxxx
Before [petitioner] went on board, he was declared fit for work. Never during his work on board, did [petitioner]
complain of any medical condition. When he disembarked on finished contract on 12 April 2002, [petitioner] did not
complain of any illness nor did he report for medical consultation for any medical condition. He therefore did not
qualify for the disability benefits forming part of his employment contract. He did not suffer any medical condition
during the term of his contract nor was proof presented that whatever medical condition he complained of was
cause by work-related illness or injury as he made no report of any medical condition when he disembarked. In fact
he was declared fit for work in the 23 July 2002 Certification issued by Dr. Calanoc of Seamen’s Hospital.
23

In all, petitioner utterly failed to establish by substantial evidence, his entitlement to disability benefits for a workrelated illness under the POEA-SEC, having failed to undergo a post-employment medical examination by a
company designated physician within three (3) working days from his return without valid or justifiable reason.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP
No. 107477 is AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 196357

April 20, 2015

THE HEIRS OF THE LATE DELFIN DELA CRUZ, represented by his SPOUSE, CARMELITA DELA
CRUZ,Petitioners,
vs.
PHILIPPINE TRANSMARINE CARRIERS, INC., represented by MR. CARLOS C. SALINAS and/or TECTO
BELGIUM N.V., Respondents.
DECISION

[Delfin] underwent a Pre-Employment Medical Examination (PEME) and was declared Fit for Sea Service.V.] [There.$298/month fixed overtime US$3. he felt gradual chest pains and pain [in] his upper abdominal region. 2011 Resolution denying the Motion for Reconsideration filed by the heirs of Delfin (petitioners).$535..50/month Point of Hire . as summarized by the CA in its assailed Decision. He.[.8 days/month with Seniority Bonus Pay . Inc. and/or Tecto Belgium N. J.] Inc.OILER Basic Monthly Salary .US$7. [Delfin] went to De Los Santos Medical Center for proper medical attention[.: This Petition for Review on Certiorari assails the June 18. a local manning agent for and in behalf of the latter’s principal. taking records of pressure of temperature of all working apparatus.44 hours per week Overtime . while performing his regular duties.9 months Position . 2005 Decision which. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Factual Antecedents The facts. 2010 Decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.V. Also assailed in this petition is the CA's March 29. requested medical attention and was given medications and advised to be given light duties for the rest of the week.] under the following terms and conditions as provided for in the Contract of Employment: Duration of contract .R.50/hour after 85 hours Vacation Leave w/ . [Delfin] left the Philippines on 16 August 2000 and immediately embarked the vessel "Lady Hilde" on 17 August 2000. (respondents). While on board. 046453-05). On 26 [June] 2001.] he underwent X-Ray and MRI of the [Thoracic] Spine. Philippines As required by law and by the employment contract. 105930 dismissing the petition for certiorari filed therewith and affirming the January 23. . granted the late Delfin Dela Cruz's (Delfin) claims for sickness allowance and disability benefits filed against respondents Philippine Transmarine Carriers. He also sought medical assistance but was not [extended] such. [His] work includes observing routine watch. in tum. On 13 November 2003. Said NLRC Decision reversed and set aside the Labor Arbiter's May 30. Afterwards. He xxx reported to xxx[respondents] as required. he was hit by a metal board on his back. SP No. obeying all orders and commands of the engineers.DEL CASTILLO. 2007 Decision of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) in OFW (M) 03-12-3155-00 (CA No. thereafter.00 per month Hours of Work . are as follows: The late Delfin Dela Cruz was contracted for the position of [Oiler] by x x x Philippine Transmarine Carriers[. he was not employed by xxx [respondents] because he was already incapacitated to engage in his customary work. Upon the vessel’s arrival at a convenient port on 16 August 2001. his contract expired and [he] was signed off from the vessel.Manila. Tecto Belgium N. He filed his claim for sickness allowance from the same manning agency but the same was not [granted]. and maintaining cleanliness of machinery and engine room.

The NLRC also found no evidence that would establish a causal connection between Delfin’s ailment and his working conditions. wounded feelings. lasted for more than 120 days. thereafter. [respondents] asseverated that more than two years had elapsed from the time of the termination of [Delfin’s] employment in August 2001 up to the time the claim was filed in November 2003. Hence. the NLRC.and thus the illness was not acquired during the period of employment.140. 2005in favor of Delfin.His [condition] deteriorated[. This is also the basis of his claim for permanent disability compensation. on one hand. [Delfin]. and damages and attorney’s fees. averred that the medical condition of [Delfin] was not acquired or suffered during the term of his employment. on the other hand. SIXTY THOUSAND US DOLLARS (US$60. [Respondents]. where he was diagnosed to be suffering from [malignant] peripheral nerve sheath tumor [MPNST]. Delfin is entitled to his claims. that said medical condition is not work-related. [Delfin] countered x x x that the applicable prescription period is 3 years. The parties. It found Delfin’s claims to be barred by prescription for having been filed beyond the reglementary period of one year from the termination of the employment contract. submitted their position papers. [Respondents] also argued that the company[-]designated physician neither issued any certification as regards the medical condition of [Delfin] nor conducted a post[-]employment medical examination. The LA opined that Delfin contracted his illness during the period of his employment with respondents and that such illness is a compensable occupational disease. [Delfin] also claimed that attorney’s fees should be paid for the expenses he incurred due to the filing of the suit and that moral damages may be paid as well for injuries such as mental anguish. He shouldered his medical expenses x x x. On 4 December 2003.] therefore. [Delfin] claimed [for] medical reimbursement and sickness allowance. the said illness is not compensable under the POEA Standard Employment Contract. 2007 Resolution. the claim having [been] filed beyond one year from the date of the termination of the contract. according to the POEA Standard Employment Contract. x x x 7 Ruling of the Labor Arbiter (LA) Ultimately. Furthermore. which required medical attention.00) representing total permanent disability compensation. to pay complainant DELFIN C. 9 Ruling of the National Labor Relations Commission On appeal. petitioners filed a Petition for Certiorari with the CA. and[. he filed a complaint before the NLRC to claim payment for sickness allowance and disability compensation. reversed the Decision of the LA. Ruling of the Court of Appeals Aggrieved yet undeterred.000.] [Thereafter. 2007. judgment is hereby rendered ordering respondents. The dispositive portion of the Decision reads: 8 WHEREFORE. On 6 May 2005. [Delfin] passed away. in a Decision handed down on January 23. jointly and severally. DELA CRUZ.00 or its equivalent in local currency at the time of actual payment plus ten percent (10%) of the total monetary award by way of attorney’s fees. Furthermore. 12 11 . All other claims are dismissed for lack of merit. Luke’s Medical Center. besmirched reputation. asseverated in his complaint that he is entitled to sickness allowance because of the incident when he was hit by a metal board on his back. [Delfin] averred that he is entitled [to] sickness allowance because his inability to work and perform his usual occupation after he acquired the sickness while on board. SO ORDERED. after he was discharged from the vessel in August 2001. and social humiliation. 10 Petitioners moved for reconsideration but the same was denied in the NLRC’s March 30. permanent disability compensation. sickness allowance of US$2. he was] admitted at St. x x x [Respondents] filed [a] Motion to Dismiss on the ground of prescription. the LA rendered a Decision dated May 30.

the NLRC and the CA. on the other hand. 2011 Resolution. Peripheral nerves are those that radiate from the brain and spinal cord and stimulate the muscles. this Court does not review questions of facts in a petition filed under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court as only questions of law can be raised in such petition. In case the factual findings of the tribunals or courts below are in conflict with each other. 2003 or two years after the termination of his contract and repatriation when Delfin went to Delos Santos Medical Center for medical check-up and underwent chest x-ray and MRI of the thoracic spine. The CA also found notable that it was only on November 13. the Court is constrained to examine the evidence on record. this rule is not absolute and without exceptions. But when the findings of the labor tribunals and the CA are in conflict with each other. which is known as Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor (MPNST). 13 The findings of said hospital conformed to the diagnosis of St. the CA sustained the NLRC’s pronouncement that petitioners are not entitled to disability compensation as they failed to establish that Delfin’s illness was work-related. Whether xxx [petitioners are] entitled to attorney’s fees and damages. the CA denied the same considering that Delfin’s contract with respondents had long expired. the present Petition for Review on Certiorari. 18 19 . sickness allowance. Issues I. the LA found that petitioners ought to be awarded permanent disability benefits. attorney’s fees and damages. The Decision dated 23 January 2007 by the NLRC is AFFIRMED. The CA’s assailed Decision bears the following dispositive portion: WHEREFORE. 17 Our Ruling The petition lacks merit. However. SO ORDERED. is a type of soft tissue sarcoma that develops in cells that forma protective sheath (covering) around peripheral nerves. Delfin’s illness. aside from the June 26. this Court may make its own examination and evaluation of the evidence on record. A Petition filed under Rule 45 shall raise only questions of law. Luke’s Medical Center that Delfin has MPNST. Whether xxx [petitioners are] entitled to permanent disability benefits and sickness allowance. According to the CA. sickness allowance. With regard to petitioners’ claim for sickness allowance. This was denied by the CA in its March 29. Hence. 14 Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration. the CA held that Delfin’s Complaint was filed well within the reglementary period of three years from the date the cause of action arose. moral damages and exemplary damages as there is no proof that respondents committed bad faith in denying Delfin’s claims. ruled otherwise. 2001 incident where Delfin was hit by a metal board on his back. However. Petitioners could only offer their allegations that Delfin experienced chest pains without. however. 2010 Decision. as provided for in Section 30 of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Standard Terms and Conditions Governing the Employment of Filipino Seafarers OnBoard Ocean-Going Vessels (POEA SEC). As a general rule. The issues petitioners brought before this Court pertain to questions of fact since they basically seek to determine if the illness responsible for Delfin’s disability was acquired by him during the course of his employment as to entitle petitioners to permanent disability benefits. the petition is DISMISSED. It likewise denied petitioners’ claim for attorney’s fees. the Court may make its own examination of the evidence on record.In its June 18. Nonetheless. Here. presenting proofs in support thereof. II. attorney’s fees and damages. 15 16 Thus. there was no other reported incident that would reasonably connect Delfin’s ailment to his working condition.

viz: 20 In view of the Temporary Restraining Order [TRO] issued by the Supreme Court in a Resolution dated 11 September 2000 on the implementation of certain amendments of the Revised Terms and Conditions Governing the Employment of Filipino Seafarers on board Ocean-Going Vessels as contained in DOLE Department Order No. both Series of 1996 shall apply in lieu of Section 20 (A). the POEA had likewise issued Memorandum Circular No. 21 Petitioners are not entitled to permanent disability benefits and sickness allowance. 3) he embarked on Lady Hilde on August 17. 2000.(Emphasis supplied) It must be noted that: 1)the above TRO was lifted only on June 5. However. and not those of the 2000 POEA SEC. Failure of the seafarer to comply with the mandatory reporting requirement shall result in his forfeiture of the right to claim the above benefits. concerning. 33. The employer shall continue to pay the seafarer his wages during the time he is on board the vessel. the seafarer still requires medical attention arising from said injury or illness. Thus. If the injury or illness requires medical and/or dental treatment in a foreign port. initially took effect on June 25. 2000. as the TRO was in effect at the time of Delfin’s employment with respondents. it follows that it is the 1996 POEA SEC provisions concerning permanent disability claims and sickness allowance which should apply. but in no case shall this period exceed one hundred twenty (120) days. 2. at first blush. surgical and hospital treatment as well as board and lodging until the seafarer is declared fit to work or to be repatriated. Section 20. the seafarer shall submit himself to a post-employment medical examination by a company-designated physician within three working days upon his return except when he is physically incapacitated to do so. (B) and (D) of the former Standard Terms and Conditions Governing the Employment of Filipino Seafarers on board Ocean-Going Vessels. and 4) was repatriated on August 16.The 1996 POEA SEC concerning permanent disability claims and sickness allowance applies to this case. (B)and (D) of the Revised Version. . 55. For this purpose. 2002. 2000. Paragraphs (A). among others. as provided in DOLE Department Order No. the employer shall be liable for the full cost of such medical. in which case. 09. a written notice to the agency within the same period is deemed as compliance. must be strictly and faithfully observed in this case. 3. and POEA Memorandum Circular No. compensation and benefits for injury and illness. 11. 04 and Memorandum Circular No. Section 20 (B) of the 1996 POEA SEC reads as follows: SECTION 20. COMPENSATION AND BENEFITSFOR INJURY OR ILLNESS: The liabilities of the employer when the seafarer suffers injury or illness during the term of his contract are as follows: 1. This. both Series of 2000. Upon sign-off from the vessel for medical treatment. series of 2000 (Memorandum Circular 11-00). 2) Delfin’s contract with respondents was entered into on August 8. he shall be so provided at cost to the employer until such time he is declared fit or the degree of his disability has been established by the company-designated physician. please be advised of the following: 1. COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS x x x x B. both Series of 2000. 09. 04 and POEA Memorandum Circular No. the seafarer is entitled to sickness allowance equivalent to his basic wage until he is declared fit to work or the degree of permanent disability has been assessed by the company designated physician. 2001. if after repatriation. serious dental. The Standard Terms and Conditions Governing the Employment of Filipino Seafarers On-Board Ocean-Going Vessels as contained in Department Order No. However.

" Absent a showing thereof. since to ignore the rule would set a precedent with negative repercussions because it would open the floodgates to a limitless number of seafarers claiming disability benefits. the seafarer shall be compensated in accordance with the schedule of benefits enumerated in Section 30 of his Contract. failed to support this. is unsupported by other evidence on record. Inc. In Career Philippines Shipmanagement. Serna. even if other equally reasonable minds might conceivably opine otherwise. we note that the petitioners’ corresponding denial is itself also a bare allegation that. the events that transpired after the July 14. 1999 visit to the petitioner’s office may be seen by some as a bare allegation. Computation of his benefits arising from an illness or disease shall be governed by the rates and the rules of compensation applicable at the time the illness or disease was contracted. or (2) fit to work but the employer is unable to find employment for the seafarer on board his former vessel or another vessel of the employer despite earnest efforts. the Court explained the rationale behind the three-day period requirement. xxxx x x x Moreover. petitioners claim that Delfin went to respondents to comply with the mandatory reporting requirement and to seek medical assistance but his request for medical evaluation was unheeded. 5. the employers would have no protection against unrelated disability claims. (Emphasis supplied) The above provision demonstrates that the 1996 POEA SEC covers all injuries or illnesses occurring in the lifetime of the employment contract. Thus. Under the evidentiary rules. as extensively discussed by the CA above. 22 23 24 However. worse. Accordingly. i. to seek medical assistance. Here. thus: 33 34 We see no reason to disturb the lower tribunals’ finding. In case of permanent total or partial disability of the seafarer during the term of employment caused by either injury or illness. Verily. the post-employment medical examination within 3 days from x xx arrival is required in order to ascertain [the seafarer’s] physical condition. they must establish that Delfin suffered or contracted his injury or illness which resulted in his disability during the term of the employment contract. it would be fairly manageable for the physician to identify whether the disease x xx was contracted during the term of his employment or that his working conditions increased the risk of contracting the ailment. It would certainly be unfair to the employer who would have difficulty determining the cause of a claimant’s illness considering the passage of time. any decision set forth will only be based on unsubstantiated allegations. the Court cannot grant a claim for disability benefits without adequate substantiation for to do so will offend due process. Upon sign-off of the seafarer from the vessel for medical treatment. thus: 29 30 31 32 The 3-day mandatory reporting requirement must be strictly observed since within 3 days from repatriation. In contrast. the Court also reiterates the rule that "whoever claims entitlement to the benefits provided bylaw should establish his right to the benefits by substantial evidence" or "such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. his injury or illness need not be shown to be work-related to be compensable under said employment contract. 25 26 27 28 The 1996 POEA SEC clearly provides that a seafarer must submit himself to a post-employment medical examination within three days from his arrival in the Philippines (mandatory reporting requirement) so that his claim for disability and sickness allowance can prosper. Under these circumstances. Petitioners. however. In such a case. he forfeits his right to claim his disability benefits and sickness allowance.4. v. we find no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the NLRC when it affirmed the labor arbiter ruling and gave credence to Serna on this point.. however. the Court upheld the seafarer’s claim that he complied with the mandatory reporting requirement and sought medical assistance from his agency. The foregoing jurisprudential principle effectively shows that the burden of proving entitlement to disability benefits lies on petitioners. The only exception to this rule is when the seafarer is physically in capacitated to do so. effectively served to corroborate Serna’s claim on the visit’s purpose. While Serna’s verified claim with respect to his July 14. The seafarer only has to prove that his injury or illness was acquired during the term of employment to support his claim for disability benefits and sickness allowance. In Manota v. 1999 visit. Avantgarde Shipping Corporation. the employer shall bear the full cost of repatriation in the event that the seafarer is declared (1) fit for repatriation. Otherwise. shows that petitioners failed to discharge such burden. but there must be a written notice to the agency within the same period of three days for the seaman to be considered to have complied with the requirement. a positive assertion is generally entitled to . An examination of the records.e.

he was examined by a third doctor who found that he had a history of goiter with throtoxicos since 1999.. or two days after his repatriation. the injury that showed up in his chest x-ray and MRI for which he claimed compensation pertains to a different portion of his body. there exists no record thereof.e. that he did so within the period required by law. Besides. it can be safely concluded that the said clinical abstract was issued in or after 2004 since it contained a detailed history of Delfin’s illness starting from his having been diagnosed with MPNST in 2003. then why did he not request for reassessment as advised or submit himself to the mandatory reporting requirement after he was repatriated? What is glaring instead is that against all these. December 2003 and April 2004. the above steps taken by Serna helped establish his claim that he complied with the mandatory reporting requirement and that he sought medical assistance from his employer. he "remained calm and unbothered by the same. Further. Unfortunately in this case. said certificate pertains to a blow on Delfin’s back caused by a metal board and for which he complained of "persistent pain in the chest and upper abdominal region. Specifically. Worse still. Clearly. Otherwise. (Emphasis supplied) There. while Delfin averred that he experienced on-and-off pain even prior to the June 26. it must be emphasized that these findings were issued more than two years after his repatriation." 35 36 Third." For this. nowhere in the records does it show that Delfin submitted any such notice. petitioners only offered their bare allegation that Delfin’s medical condition did not improve thereafter. while petitioners did present a medical certificate dated June 26. while the rule on mandatory reporting requirement is not absolute as a seafarer may show that he was physically incapable to comply with the same by submitting a written notice to the agency within the same three-day period. The reasonable conclusion. 1999. 2001 incident. to submit himself to the mandatory reporting requirement. Second." On the other hand. These only highlight the fact that a considerable period of time had passed from Delfin’s repatriation in August 2001 up to the time that he started to suffer pathologic fractures in May 37 38 . Serna’s check-up with his private physician revealed that he was suffering from toxic goiter. Delfin was not suffering from any physical disability requiring immediate medical attendance. Thus. petitioners failed to show that Delfin complied with the mandatory reporting requirement. Even assuming that there was compliance with the mandatory reporting requirement. Still. the Clinical Abstract submitted by petitioner was undated such that it cannot be determined when the said document was released. To the Court’s mind. about two weeks from the time he reported for the mandatory reporting requirement and was told to wait for a referral. Indeed. a fracture in one of his ribs. Verily. The Court found his allegation credible in light of the fact that despite the nonchalant instruction given to him by his agency to wait for a referral to the company-designated physicians. the injury complained of by Delfin was a serious one and it would seem illogical for him to just suffer in silence and bear the pain for a considerable length of time.more weight than a plain denial. Serna was given a disability rating of Grade 3 classified as permanent medical unfitness which entitled him to 100% compensation as provided for under the collective bargaining agreement. is that at the time of his repatriation. and further. Be that as it may. After all. therefore. Several days later. if indeed there is truth to petitioners’ assertion that Delfin continued to experience pain after he was hit by a metal board on his back. Serna took it upon himself to seek medical assistance and submit to a check-up with his personal physician to find out what was wrong with him. this lapse on petitioners’ part only demonstrates that Delfin did not comply with what was incumbent upon him. other factors that strongly militate against the granting of petitioners’ claims exist in this case. Delfin was advised to undertake only "light duties for [the] rest of [the] week" and that "if not settled[. His having been vigilant in asserting his rights to medical assistance tended to show the same. Delfin himself claimed that despite the pain. i. petitioners failed to show the steps supposedly undertaken by Delfin to comply with the mandatory reporting requirement. On the contrary. First. Moreover. and an enumeration of his documented episodes of pathologic fractures occurring in May 2002. Serna did not stop there. He was also diagnosed with thyrotoxic heart disease. he would have submitted himself for check-up with his personal physician. Ultimately. Serna (the seafarer) claimed that he reported to his employer’s office on July 14. chronic atrial fibrillation and hypertensive cardiovascular disease. 2001 which was issued while Delfin was still employed with respondents. it is also interesting to note that although petitioners did submit Delfin’s chest x-ray and MRI results revealing a fracture in one of his ribs.] will need reassess[ment]. He continued with his medical treatment with his personal physician and even asked for a second opinion from another doctor who concurred with the toxic goiter diagnosis of his first personal physician. nothing therein shows that the incident subject thereof has something to do or is related to MPNST – the injury or illness which caused Delfin’s disability. he submitted to a medical examination conducted by the company-designated physician who diagnosed him with a trial fibrillation and declared him unfit to work. he is deemed to have forfeited his right to claim disability benefits and sickness allowance. and even if his request for medical assistance went unheeded.

petitioners were not able to prove that respondents acted in bad faith in refusing to acknowledge their claims. patient suddenly heard a cracking [sound]. it cannot be said that Delfin’s rib fracture subject of the above-mentioned chest x-ray and MRI was caused by the blow on his back of the metal sheet that fell on him as petitioners would want to impress upon this Court. while in bed. thus: 44 The fact that respondent passed the company’s PEME is of no moment. would result in brazen deception. In short. one (1) affecting his abdomen and two (2) affecting his back down to his legs. viz: The record of the case will reveal that complainant is suffering from two (2) compensable sicknesses. Thus we held in NYK-FIL Ship Management. Inc. trying to change position. the report contained in Delfin’s clinical abstract is telling. again. be allowed." it does not state the real state of health of an applicant. NLRC: While a PEME may reveal enough for the petitioner (vessel) to decide whether a seafarer is fit for overseas employment. it may not be relied upon to inform petitioners of a seafarer’s true state of health. of which Delfin was diagnosed with more than two years after his repatriation. in the Rejoinder later filed by him with the same tribunal. MPNST. "It has been held that a party will not be allowed to make a mockery of justice by taking inconsistent positions which. on the relevance of the seafarer’s passing his PEME vis-à-vis the probability of his having acquired his injury or illness during the period of employment. viz: Patient is a diagnosed case of Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor. However. (2003 SLMC)[. the Court holds that the NLRC and the CA correctly disallowed petitioners' claim for permanent disability benefits and sickness allowance. he drastically changed such theory by claiming that he instead suffers from MPNST. Based on the foregoing. legal. a showing of bad faith in a party's tenacity in pursuing his case even if his belief in his stance is specious. Petitioner is neither entitled to attorneys fees and damages. As to the cause of MPNST.2002. the "fit to work" declaration in the respondent’s PEME cannot be a conclusive proof to show that he was free from any ailment prior to his deployment. The PEME merely determines whether one is "fit to work" at sea or "fit for sea service. it bears stating at this point that petitioners failed to show that the same has any connection with the accident figured in by Delfin while he was on board the vessel. it is quite possible that any wrong movement of his body may cause fracture similar to what happened to him as narrated in the clinical report. with no alleviating factors. this Court deems it proper to reiterate its ruling in Quizora v. Verily. 1âwphi1 45 . being compelled to litigate with third persons or to incur expenses to protect one's rights is not a sufficient reason for granting attorney's fees. For one. causes pathologic fractures. the fact that Delfin passed his PEME is of no moment in this case. x x x (Emphases supplied) 39 Notably. As can be seen from our discussions above. Inc. And since Delfin is prone to pathologic fractures because of MPNST. intermittent. We have ruled that in the past the PEME is not exploratory in nature. v. the Court notes that Delfin’s Position Paper filed with the Labor Arbiter contained vague and ambiguous allegations of two purported compensable illnesses. if allowed. which was followed by shooting pain on the left thigh. It was not intended to be a totally in-depth and thorough examination of an applicant’s medical condition. This Court. 40 Fourth. and equitable grounds.] He also had several episodes of pathologic fractures: x xx Sixteen hours prior to admission. thus. likewise. The claim for attorney's fees cannot. The PEME could not have divulged respondent’s illness considering that the examinations were not exploratory. Suffice it to say that the authority of the court to award attorney's fees under Article 2208 of the Civil Code requires factual. deems it inappropriate to award attorney's fees. They cannot be awarded absent. (Emphases supplied) Hence. localized. The Court has consistently held that attorney's fees cannot be recovered as part of damages based on the policy that no premium should be placed on the right to litigate. Denholm Crew Management (Philippines). what is more likely under the circumstances is that the fracture came about after his repatriation." 41 42 43 Lastly. On the other hand. Thus. aggravated by movement.

respondents). 1 2 3 4 5 The Facts On 6 August 2008. SP No. CORAZON GEUSESONGCUYA. His foot’s condition worsened when he slid down the deck and bumped his right foot. 7 On 19 January 2009. G. Cruz’s report dated 26 January 2009. it cannot grant claims for compensation based on mere conjectures.2-6. the Petition is hereby DENIED. Upon examination. 8 Carcedo was repatriated on 20 January 2009. 01-000007-11 (OFW). for medical treatment. CARCEDO (substituted by his wife PRISCILLA DELA CRUZ-CARCEDO). WHEREFORE. LTD. Indeed. with a basic monthly salary of US$1. the ship doctor gave him antibiotics and allowed him to resume work. J. The doctor diagnosed Carcedo with an open fracture of the right major toe bone with a suspicion of sepsis. he stated: 9 The patient underwent debridement of the wound of the right big toe today at Manila Doctors Hospital.. for its foreign principal Misuga Kajun Co. and/or MISUGA KAJUN CO.1). where he was declared fit for work. Carcedo’s foot was wounded because of his safety shoes. Vascularity of the toe is compromised with beginning gangrene formation. Nicomedez Cruz of the Manila Doctors Hospital. Petitioner. Carcedo (Carcedo) was hired by respondent Maine Marine Philippines. he was treated at the Yoshino Hospital in Japan. SP No. nullifying the Decision dated 8 March 2011 of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) in NLRC LAC Case No. vs. it must be mentioned that the Court respects and upholds the principle of liberality in construing the POEA-SEC in favor of the seafarer. he felt pain in the back of his swollen leg and developed fever and headache. There is foul smelling purulent discharge. He was engaged as Chief Officer on board M/V Speedwell under contract for nine months. No. Diagnosis: Infected wound with gangrene. 2010 Decision and March 29. In November 2008. 6 Carcedo underwent the Pre-Employment Medical Examination on 8 August 2008.R. Respondents. He was referred to our endocrinologist for comanagement.R. Nonetheless. Inc. He tolerated the procedure well. 2011 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. In January 2009. DECISION CARPIO. 105930 are AFFIRMED.. Dr. Ltd. 203804 April 15. Fasting blood sugar is elevated at 14 (normal value = 4. He was immediately referred to the company-designated physician.As a final note.. Operative findings showed infected open wound in the medial aspect of the right big toe. INC. right big toe . 46 SO ORDERED. MAINE MARINE PHILIPPINES.00.R.350.: The Case Before the Court is a petition for review assailing the Decision dated 29 June 2012 and Resolution dated 5 October 2012 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. and reinstating the Decision dated 30 November 2010 of the Labor Arbiter in NLRC NCR-OFW [M]-00-09-13527-09. and/or MA. liberal construction neither warrants the blithe disregard of the evidence on record nor the misapplication of our laws. 120706. (collectively. The June 18. He boarded the vessel on 10 August 2008. 2015 DARIO A. In Dr. Dario A.

00. he walked with difficulty and not without a cane. he is not fit to return to his previous work duties as a chief mate on board". (2) his disability was total and permanent. his employer’s refusal to pay his disability benefits showed evident bad faith. in November 30 of the same year. 19 On 21 October 2009. with the following report from Dr. Maine posited: there were valid reasons to deny Carcedo’s claims. Dr. Cruz: 14 15 16 17 The patient was discharged today from the hospital. sickness allowance and other consequential damages. and. hence.500. for which. 22 The Court of Appeals summarized the positions of the parties. Carcedo consulted orthopedic surgeon. his Orthopedic Surgeon. the injury on his leg was so severe that despite medication. He is advised to continue daily wound care. 11 12 On 24 March 2009. There is a minimal suppuration and serous discharge. the patient again developed chills and was admitted at the UP-PGH where he underwent an amputation of the 2nd ray of the left foot and was diagnosed with chronic osteomyelitis with a nonhealing wound in the said area. Raymundo’s Medical Report dated 16 March 2010 reads: 20 21 The patient saw me last October 29 and was advised that his condition was still in the healing process. However. Dr. Alan Leonardo R. the wound has already completely healed and closed well with no draining sinus noted. Carcedo’s right first metatarsal bone was removed. He was advised to continue his medications. he was denied a better medical treatment because he had to make do with what his depleted resources could afford. he was entitled to moral and exemplary damages. Cruz noted that: There is x x x good granulation tissue on the stump of amputated right big toe. viz: "x x x with his present condition right now. Dr. he is not fit to return to his previous work duties as a chief mate on board. Carcedo averred: (1) his injury was work related because he sustained the wound from his safety shoes at work. RECOMMENDATION: I told him that with his present condition right now. Cleaning and dressing were done. Dr. He now has absence of the first and second toe which is prompting him to walk on the lateral aspect of his left foot with a cane. thus: In his position paper. The wound of the right foot is still open with good granulation tissues. who amputated Carcedo’s second toe on 30 November 2009. Raymundo. his injury was compensable under Section 20(B) of the POEA Standard Employment Contract. Dr. He was discharged on 6 June 2009. Cruz recommended "an impediment disability grading of 8% Loss of first toe (big toe) and some of its metatarsal bone. and attorney’s fees. On follow-up today. He still has some pain on weight bearing but the wound is already completely healed. (3) he suffered severe depression and anxiety. Alan Leonardo R. viz: (1) they were bound by the provisions on disability compensation under the POEA Standard Employment Contract and CBA. Carcedo underwent sequestrectomy of the right first metatarsal bone. the disability compensation . there was no certainty that his former physical condition would get restored and he could resume his customary work. On 27 May 2009. He also underwent curettage and serial debridements of the wound. 18 On his follow-up consultation on 15 June 2009. Carcedo was again admitted to the hospital on 20 April 2009 for intravenous antibiotics.S/P Debridement Diabetes mellitus 10 Carcedo also underwent disarticulation of the right big toe on 26 January 2009. Meanwhile." 13 Due to infection of the amputated stump. He was discharged from the hospital on 12 February 2009. The wound is open but with slight yellowish discharge. Raymundo recommended. Carcedo filed a complaint for total and permanent disability benefits in the amount of US$148. While confined in the hospital.

it paid for all of Carcedo’s medical bills and even offered to pay disability benefit of US$11.375 60 89.08 = US$11.880.00. The dispositive portion of the decision reads: WHEREFORE.00 (2) the disability assessment of the company-designated physician who attended to the seafarer throughout his illness and who had authority to assess his medical condition.00.550 20 29.880. instead of a doctor who had only examined the seafarer later.100 50 74. Labor Arbiter Patricio Libo-on denied Carcedo’s claim for full disability and awarded him only partial disability in the amount of US$11. 23 In Respondents’ Reply to Complainant’s Position Paper.500 x 0. provided: Degree of Disability Rate of Compensation Senior Officers % US$ 100 148. they submitted the opinions of more doctors to refute Carcedo’s claim that he was unfit for sea duty.500 75 111. the partial and permanent disability assessment made by the company-designated physician in accordance with the CBA prevails over the inability of Carcedo to return to his usual work. with any differences.800.800. premises considered. it complied with its duties under the POEA contract. not entitled to attorney’s fees and exemplary damages.250 40 59. The Ruling of the NLRC . 24 The Ruling of the Labor Arbiter On 30 November 2010.400 30 44. since Carcedo’s injury fell under ‘Loss of 1st toe (big toe) and some of its metatarsal bone. as follows: US$148. to be pro rata. including less than ten percent (10%) disability.4 The Company shall provide disability compensation to the seafarer in accordance with APPENDIX 3.[’] his rate of compensation was equivalent to 8% computed. should be given utmost credence.00 in accordance with the contract between the parties. (3) it had not acted in bad faith and had dealt fairly with Carcedo. SO ORDERED. 25 The Labor Arbiter held that the contract between the parties is the law between them. Hence.700 10 14.schedule under the IBF-JSU/AMOSUP IMMAJ CBA Schedule of Disability and Impediment (Annex 3 of the CBA). thus.850 the CBA further stated: 28. and Carcedo was. the complaint for the payment of full disability is dismissed and respondent is ordered to pay the complainant partial disability in the amount of US$11.

2010. or his surviving spouse. the NLRC reversed the Labor Arbiter’s decision and awarded Carcedo full disability benefits and attorney’s fees. DELA CRUZ-CARCEDO. and held that Carcedo’s death was confirmation of his unfitness to do work as a seaman. 26 The NLRC gave credence to the findings of Dr. SO ORDERED. However.500. regardless of whether or not he loses the use of any part of his body. v. the instant appeal is hereby GRANTED. 33 The Court’s Ruling We grant the petition in part. 2011 is NULLIFIED and the Labor Arbiter’s Decision dated November 30." 27 28 29 In its Resolution dated 27 May 2011. plus attorney’s fees not exceeding US$14.850. II THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR OF LAW IN DISMISSING PETITIONER’S CLAIMS FOR DAMAGES AND ATTORNEY’S FEES. INC. 32 Hence. and a new one issued ordering MAINE MARINE PHILIPPINES. and (2) the declarations by the company-designated physician that Carcedo was fit for sea duty were made more than 400 days from repatriation. CARCEDO. herein respondents filed a Petition for Certiorari before the Court of Appeals.. REINSTATED. the amount of ONE HUNDRED FORTY EIGHT THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED US DOLLARS ($148. Raymundo.On appeal. The dispositive portion of the NLRC Decision dated 8 March 2011 reads: WHEREFORE. SO ORDERED. the NLRC denied respondents’ motion for reconsideration for lack of merit.00. the Court of Appeals also declared Carcedo to be suffering from total and permanent disability because (1) he was unable to perform his job for more than 120 days. the Decision dated March 8. The NLRC applied the definition of permanent disability enunciated by the Court in the case of Crystal Shipping Inc. Natividad. The Issues Carcedo assigned the following errors: I THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR OF LAW IN NOT AWARDING TOTAL AND PERMANENT DISABILITY BENEFITS TO THE PETITIONER IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT. to pay DARIO A. The decision appealed from is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. premises considered. 30 31 The Ruling of the Court of Appeals The Court of Appeals upheld the 8% disability grading made by the company-designated physician in accordance with the CBA. Hence. The dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals’ Decision dated 29 June 2012 reads: ACCORDINGLY. which was "the inability of a worker to perform his job for more than 120 days. this petition. Entitlement to Disability Benefits . PRISCILLA V.00).

be regarded as permanently unfit for further sea service in any capacity and be entitled to one hundred percent (100%) compensation. These are: (1) when the seafarer is declared to have suffered 100% disability. shall be entitled to medical attention (including hospitalization) at the Company’s expense: xxxx (b) in the case of injury. the Court held: 36 . any seafarer assessed at less than fifty percent (50%) disability but certified as permanently unfit for further sea service in any capacity by the Company-nominated doctor. The disability suffered by the seafarer shall be determined by a doctor appointed by the Company. be entitled to compensation according to the provisions of this Agreement. Section 20(B)(3) of the POEA-SEC provides a similar mechanism for determining the disability assessment. in accordance with 28. These can be overruled by a third doctor jointly appointed by the company and the union. According to the CBA. including accidents occurring while traveling to or from the ship. including less than ten percent (10%) disability. 28. there are three instances when a seafarer may be entitled to 100% disability compensation. while assessed at below 50% disability. In Remigio v. but excluding permanent disability due to willful acts.2 above is assessed at fifty percent (50%) or more under the attached APPENDIX 3 shall. Book IV of the Labor Code are applicable to the case of seafarers. a third doctor may be nominated jointly between the Company and the Union and the decision of this doctor shall be final and binding on both parties.A contract is the law between the parties. is certified as permanently unfit for sea service. unfit as a result of sickness or injury. 35 However.3 A seafarer repatriated to their port of engagement. and whose ability to do work as a seafarer is reduced as a result thereof. 28. NLRC. 34 Based on the above-quoted provisions of the CBA. 28. in the event that the seafarer’s personal physician disagrees with the evaluations of the company designated physician. If a doctor appointed by or on behalf of the seafarer disagrees with the assessment.3 The Company shall provide disability compensation to the seafarer in accordance with APPENDIX 3. both the disability assessment and the certification as permanently unfit for sea service are to be given by the company-designated physician. with any differences. xxxx Article 28: Disability 28. and (3) when the seafarer. it is not only the contract between the parties that governs the determination of the disability compensation due the seafarer. A seafarer who suffers permanent disability as a result of an accident whilst in the employment of the Company regardless of fault. shall in addition to sick pay.1. shall also be entitled to one hundred percent (100%) compensation. The CBA contains the following pertinent medical and disability provisions: Article 25: Medical xxxx 25. which in this case are the CBA and the POEA-SEC.4. for so long as medical attention is required or until a medical determination in accordance with clause 28. (2) when the seafarer is assessed with disability of at least 50%. to be pro rata. A seafarer whose disability. Furthermore. Any disagreement as to the assessment or entitlement shall be resolved in accordance with clause 28.2 concerning permanent disability.2. The Court has ruled that the provisions on disability of the Labor Code and the Amended Rules on Employee Compensation (AREC) implementing Title II. for the purpose of this paragraph.2 above.

GSIS v. citing ECC v. the seafarer. Chapter VI. international conventions. No. CA. either partially or totally. except as otherwise provided for in Rule X of these Rules. as his condition is defined under the POEA Standard . working conditions.O. or any kind of work which a person of [his] mentality and attainment could do. Rule X of the AREC: SECTION 2. it is not the injury which is compensated. xxxx (c) The following disabilities shall be deemed total and permanent: (1) Temporary total disability lasting continuously for more than one hundred twenty days. In Philippine Transmarine Carriers v. closed shop. (Emphasis supplied) The above rule pertains to Section 2. collective bargaining. upon sign-off from his vessel. x x x (b) A disability is total and permanent if as a result of the injury or sickness the employee is unable to perform any gainful occupation for a continuous period exceeding 120 days. thus: 38 As these provisions operate. Title II.The standard employment contract for seafarers was formulated by the POEA pursuant to its mandate under E.] (Emphasis supplied) The corresponding provision in the AREC is Section 2(b) of Rule VII which reads: SECTION 2. or work of similar nature that [he] was trained for or accustomed to perform. NLRC. Disability. shall be governed by the laws of the Republic of the Philippines. Permanent and total disability. the System may declare the total and permanent status at any time after 120 days of continuous temporary total disability as may be warranted by the degree of actual loss or impairment of physical or mental functions as determined by the System. and Bejerano v. However. Sanico. Book IV: Art. in conjunction with Section 20(B)(3) of the POEASEC. If caused by an injury or sickness it shall not be paid longer than 120 consecutive days except where such injury or sickness still requires medical attendance beyond 120 days but not to exceed 240 days from onset of disability in which case benefit for temporary total disability shall be paid. a contract of labor is so impressed with public interest that the New Civil Code expressly subjects it to "the special laws on labor unions. ECC. treaties and covenants where the Philippines is a signatory. (Emphasis supplied) These provisions. Permanent total disability means disablement of an employee to earn wages in the same kind of work. seaman Carlos Nietes was found to be suffering from congestive heart failure and cardiomyopathy and was declared as unfit to work by the company-accredited physician. the Court has applied the Labor Code concept of permanent total disability to the case of seafarers. Inc. Hammonia Maritime Services. 37 The pertinent Labor Code provision is found in Article 192(c)(1). Period of entitlement. including the annexes thereof. 247 to "secure the best terms and conditions of employment of Filipino contract workers and ensure compliance therewith" and to "promote and protect the well-being of Filipino workers overseas. The Court affirmed the award of disability benefits to the seaman." Even without this provision. (a) The income benefit shall be paid beginning on the first day of such disability. hours of labor and similar subjects. that in a disability compensation. wages." Section 29 of the 1996 POEA SEC itself provides that "[a]ll rights and obligations of the parties to [the] Contract." It likewise cited Bejerano v. the seaman is on temporary total disability as he is totally unable to work. except as otherwise provided for in the Rules[." Thus. were interpreted in the case of Vergara v. must report to the company-designated physician within three (3) days from arrival for diagnosis and treatment. 192. It does not mean absolute helplessness. For the duration of the treatment but in no case to exceed 120 days. ECC that "disability should not be understood more on its medical significance but on the loss of earning capacity. but rather it is the incapacity to work resulting in the impairment of one’s earning capacity. He receives his basic wage during this period until he is declared fit to work or his temporary disability is acknowledged by the company to be permanent. strikes and lockouts.

v. (Emphasis supplied) 41 Assessment of Disability Grading We cannot agree with the Court of Appeals and the Labor Arbiter that the 24 March 2009 disability assessment made by Dr. This was 146 days from repatriation.Employment Contract and by applicable Philippine laws. the company-designated physician is expected to arrive at a definite assessment of the seafarer’s fitness to work or permanent disability within the period of 120 or 240 days. Cruz noted that Carcedo’s wound was still open and that he was to continue his medications. if his illness or injury prevents him from engaging in gainful employment for more than 120 or 240 days. after the 120-day period but less than 240 days. Carcedo’s total and temporary disability lapsed into a total and permanent disability. 43 . an impediment should be characterized as partial and permanent not only under the Schedule of Disabilities found in Section 32 of the POEA-SEC but should be so under the relevant provisions of the Labor Code and the Amended Rules on Employee Compensation (AREC) implementing Title II. However. During the follow-up consultation on 15 June 2009. depending on the need for further medical treatment. His discharge from the hospital was 137 days from repatriation. viz: 1âwphi1 40 Indeed. since Carcedo required further medical treatments beyond the 120 day period. under legal contemplation. without redress. his total and temporary disability was extended. he shall be deemed totally and permanently disabled. the abdication of which transforms the temporary total disability to permanent total disability. However. by legal contemplation. subject to the right of the employer to declare within this period that a permanent partial or total disability already exists. and Dr. sequestrectomy and even amputation of the right first metatarsal bone. Munar held that the declaration by the company-designated physician is an obligation. He was confined in the hospital from 20 April 2009 to 6 June 2009. He was certainly still under total disability. where he underwent serial debridements. albeit temporary at that time. the seafarer shall be deemed totally and permanently disabled. the schedule of disabilities in the CBA.. Following the Court’s rulings in Vergaraand Kestrel. the POEA-SEC and the CBA cannot be read in isolation from the Labor Code and the AREC. That should he fail to do so and the seafarer’s medical condition remains unresolved. hence. In other words. become total and permanent. Here. a partial and permanent disability could. Indeed. Inc. yet he gave none. if those injuries or disabilities with a disability grading from 2 to 14. only those injuries or disabilities that are classified as Grade 1 may be considered as total and permanent. Moreover. Cruz still had nearly 100 days within which to give 42 Carcedo’s final disability assessment. The Court in Kestrel Shipping Co. if there is one. Book IV of the Labor Code. (Emphasis supplied) 39 Hence. should the latter fail or refuse to give one. the company-designated physician failed to give a definitive impediment rating of Carcedo’s disability beyond the extended temporary disability period. That while the seafarer is partially injured or disabled. Carcedo’s injury required tending. then he is. Cruz was definitive. curettage. partial and permanent. The seaman may of course also be declared fit to work at any time such declaration is justified by his medical condition. he is not precluded from earning doing the same work he had before his injury or disability or that he is accustomed or trained to do. Otherwise. regardless of the disability grade. If the 120 days initial period is exceeded and no such declaration is made because the seafarer requires further medical attention. or the POEA-SEC. Dr. therefore. totally and permanently disabled. should be the primary basis for the determination of a seafarer’s degree of disability. the said disability assessment was an interim one because Carcedo continued to require medical treatments even after 24 March 2009. under Section 32 of the POEA-SEC. would incapacitate a seafarer from performing his usual sea duties for a period of more than 120 or 240 days. as the case may be. the disability rating of the seafarer will be completely at the mercy of the company designated physician. By operation of law. The company-designated physician then had until 240 days from repatriation to give the final assessment. Otherwise. To our mind. then the temporary total disability period may be extended up to a maximum of 240 days.

(e) the company-designated physician recognized that he is totally and permanently disabled but there is a dispute on the disability grading. 47 As discussed above. However. as the case may be. on his own and jointly with his employer. within the 120-day period. Cruz’s 24 March 2009 report on the disability grading of Carcedo did not include a certification that he was already fit for sea duty. a seafarer may pursue an action for total and permanent disability benefits if: (a) the company-designated physician failed to issue a declaration as to his fitness to engage in sea duty or disability even after the lapse of the 120-day period and there is no indication that further medical treatment would address his temporary total disability. Hence. but his physician of choice and the doctor chosen under Section 20-B(3) of the POEA-SEC are of a contrary opinion. xxxx 46 The Court of Appeals considered the opinions of Dr. Pascualito Gutay likewise opined that complainant’s current condition will not render him unfit for further sea duties as Chief Officer onboard. hence. In C. (g) the company-designated physician declared him totally and permanently disabled but the employer refuses to pay him the corresponding benefits. (b) 240 days had lapsed without any certification being issued by the company-designated physician.F. Carcedo could have developed any number . During the latter period. Another PEME doctor Dr. and(h) the company-designated physician declared him partially and permanently disabled within the 120-day or 240-day period but he remains incapacitated to perform his usual sea duties after the lapse of the said periods. Third. (d) the company-designated physician acknowledged that he is partially permanently disabled but other doctors who he consulted. (c) the company-designated physician declared that he is fit for sea duty within the 120-day or 240-day period. justify an extension of the period to 240 days. (Emphasis supplied) 45 Certification of Fitness for Sea Service Neither was there a certification from the company-designated physician as to Carcedo’s fitness for sea service. the determination of the fitness of a seafarer for sea duty is the province of the companydesignated physician. beyond this period. Raymundo that Carcedo was unfit to work as a seaman. it is easily discernible that the 120-day or 240-day period and the obligations the law imposed on the employer are determinative of when a seafarer’s cause of action for total and permanent disability may be considered to have arisen. And even if it had. it would be belied by his subsequent reports on. Second. Dr. Raymundo more than nine months since repatriation. Carcedo was still incapacitated to perform his usual sea duties as he was still undergoing medical treatments and was confined in the hospital. Cruz’s declaration of 8% impediment rating was made 63 days from repatriation. c. Carcedo would still have a cause of action for total and permanent disability compensation.Even assuming that Dr. Carcedo consulted Dr. believed that his disability is not only permanent but total as well. Dr. in Respondents’ Reply to Complainant’s Position Paper. they were given in response to a hypothetical inquiry by respondents’ counsel. Cruz’s 24 March 2009 disability rating were definitive. Dr. we also disagree with the NLRC’s giving credence to the declaration of Dr. the Court held: 44 Based on this Court’s pronouncements in Vergara. Thus. Fe Bacungan clearly opined that complainant’s amputated right big toe will not in any way interfere with his current position as Chief Officer on board. and four months since he last consulted the company-designated physician. Bacungan and Dr. they wrote: xxxx b. v. However. We disagree. First. (f) the company-designated physician determined that his medical condition is not compensable or work-related under the POEA-SEC but his doctor-of-choice and the third doctor selected under Section 20-B(3) of the POEA-SEC found otherwise and declared him unfit to work. the continuation of medical treatments and hospitalization of Carcedo after the issuance of the 24 March 2009 report. Bacungan and Dr. Medical Director and PEME doctor Dr. Gutay as fit for sea duty declarations of respondents’ designated physicians. These opinions are not the certifications of fitness for sea duty contemplated by the CBA and the POEA-SEC. Sharp Crew Management. subject to the periods prescribed by law. Taok. Gutay were not the company-designated physicians assigned to the care of Carcedo. neither doctor examined Carcedo in coming up with their opinions. and the fact of. Inc.

The NLRC likewise did not award damages but awarded attorney’s fees.500. Carcedo’s disability is deemed total and permanent due to the lack of a final disability assessment and of a certification of fitness for sea service from Dr. insisted. just to say that Carcedo could have been declared fit for sea duty if he were to re-apply for the same position of chief mate. Besides. However. Cruz immediately upon repatriation only pertain to the first toe. at 100% degree of disability. no less. . in rebuttal. it appears to us. 50 Indeed. Apart from the vague mention of a condition that was still in the healing process. formed the basis of Dr. They even offered to pay disability benefits. Raymundo was only consulted after Carcedo was treated by the company-designated physician. Dr. Raymundo’s disability assessment includes a second ray amputation which he performed on Carcedo. Dr. the same may be awarded if petitioner acted in gross and evident bad faith in refusing to satisfy plaintiff’s plainly valid. and the amputation of the first toe and its metatarsal bone performed by the company-designated physician. the Court lamented: 51 The third-doctor-referral provision of the POEA-SEC. nay. Raymundo did not have a chance to observe Carcedo from the time of his repatriation. Dr. we hold that Carcedo is entitled to full disability compensation. Raymundo’s unfit for sea duty declaration. Carcedo is entitled to US$148. the respondents believed. the assailed decision did not explain the basis for the award of attorney’s fees. has been honored more in the breach than in the compliance. Raymundo’s medical report does not specify what "condition" of Carcedo was "still in the healing process. Disability Compensation Due Based on the foregoing discussion. just and demandable claim. In contrast. When Carcedo submitted the contrary findings of his personal physician. As a senior officer at the time he was injured. that the 24 March 2009 disability rating of 8% was the final assessment of their designated physician. the NLRC only included the award of attorney’s fees in the dispositive portion of the Decision dated 8 March 2011 without a discussion as to the basis therefor. Dr. respondents presented the opinions of five more doctors. the injury diagnosed by the doctor at the Yoshino Hospital in Japan and the initial findings of Dr." 48 In addition. 49 Moral and Exemplary Damages and Attorney’s Fees The Labor Arbiter found no basis to award damages and attorney’s fees. The Court of Appeals did not award moral and exemplary damages but deleted the award of attorney’s fees. Too. Carcedo refused it because he wanted Grade 1. We find no ground to disturb the following findings of the Court of Appeals: As for attorney’s fees. 52 In this case. Nevertheless. albeit. This is unfortunate considering that the provision is intended to settle disability claims voluntarily at the parties’ level where the claims can be resolved more speedily than if they were brought to court. and was not able to monitor his condition throughout the treatments.of conditions that may or may not be related to the injury suffered while on board the ship. Here [respondents] did not act in bad faith because they in fact paid all expenses relative to Carcedo’s treatment and hospitalization.00. Dumadag. Notably. This. Cruz. the third-doctor-referral provision did not find application because of the lack of a definitive disability assessment by the company-designated physician. A Final Note In Philippine Hammonia Ship Agency v. there was no indication that the second ray amputation was a consequence of the injury sustained while on board.

We order Maine Marine Philippines. Incorporated v. G. as the POEA-SEC provides. Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court.a. manning companies and seafarers of their respective obligations as regards the third doctor provision. paragraph 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code. In Bahia. who could have facilitated the election of the third doctor. 2001 and 1st week of November. upon notification that the seafarer disagrees with the company doctor’s assessment based on the duly and fully disclosed contrary assessment from the seafarer’s own doctor. finding appellant Alelie Tolentino (appellant) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of illegal recruitment and estafa. We would like to remind ship owners. "Alelie Tolentino y Hernandez. No. as well as the burden to notify the company that a contrary finding had been made by his own physician. or his surviving spouse.At that point in time. Constantino bears the burden of positive action to prove that his doctor’s findings are correct. 2015 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. Appellee. In INC Shipmanagement.: This is an appeal from the 29 November 2012 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. We REINSTATE with MODIFICATION the Decision dated 8 March 2011 of the National Labor Relations Commission in NLRC LAC Case No. can rule with finality on the disputed medical situation. The award shall be paid in Philippine pesos. We REVERSE the Court of Appeals’ Decision dated 29 June 2012 and Resolution dated 5 October 2012 in CA-G. affirming the trial court's decision.00 only." Appellant. without attorney's fees. ALELIE TOLENTINO a.500. shall be final and binding on the parties. Carcedo. As the party seeking to impugn the certification that the law itself recognizes as prevailing. the parties were yet before the Labor Arbiter. CR-HC No. SP No. The Informations against appellant read: CRIM. DECISION CARPIO. the company carries the burden of initiating the process for the referral to a third doctor commonly agreed between the parties. 2001 and thereafter. 53 WHEREFORE. 02-755 The undersigned Assistant City Prosecutor accuses ALELIE TOLENTINO of the crime of Illegal Recruitment committed as follows: That on or about [or sometime in] the last week of August. to pay Dario A. Upon notification. the seafarer shall then signify his intention to resolve the conflict by the referral of the conflicting assessments to a third doctor whose ruling.R. we said: In the absence of any request from him (as shown by the records of the case). in the City of Muntinlupa.R. 120706. 208686 July 1. CASE NO. the amount of US$148. the petition is GRANTED in part. Upon such notification.R. 01-000007-11 (OFW). vs. we held: To definitively clarify how a conflict situation should be handled. 1 The Facts Appellant was charged with illegal recruitment and five (5) counts of estafa under Article 315. computed at the exchange rate prevailing at the time of payment. Priscilla Dela CruzCarcedo. Rosales. the company must itself respond by setting into motion the process of choosing a third doctor who. Inc.k. J. SO ORDERED. the above-named accused . the employer-company cannot be expected to respond. 04558. under the POEA-SEC.

unlawfully and feloniously defraud one ORLANDO LAYOSO. contract and promise employment to the following persons: LEDERLE PANESA. ORLANDO LAYOSO. committed as follows: That on or about or sometime in the first week of August 2001 and thereafter. 315 Par. 02-756 The undersigned Assistant City Prosecutor accuses ALELIE TOLENTINO of the crime of Estafa under Art.000. 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code.000. Contrary to law. and both of them mutually helping and aiding one another.00.000. CASE NO. 2 CRIM. committed as follows: That on or about or sometime in the first week of November. by means of deceit. fraudulent acts and false pretenses executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud. 4 CRIM. did then and there willfully. in the following manner: accused represented to the said complainant that she could secure work for the said complainant at Korea and she is capable of processing the travel visa and other documents for her travel and employment at Korea and demanded from the said complainant to pay the amount of P75. did [then] and there willfully.00 as placement fee. fraudulent acts and false pretenses executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud. did [then] and there willfully. the above-named accused. in the City of Muntinlupa. misapply and convert the same to her own personal use and benefit to the damage and prejudice of the said complainant in the amount of P15. 2001 and thereafter. unlawfully and feloniously misappropriate. as amended. CASE NO. did then and there willfully. by means of deceit. Contrary to law. Contrary to law. committed as follows: That on or about or sometime in the first week of November.000. and accused once in possession of the said amount.000. as amended. 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code. unlawfully and feloniously defraud one DONNA MAGBOO. 02-758 The undersigned Assistant City Prosecutor accuses ALELIE TOLENTINO of the crime of Estafa under Art. in the City of Muntinlupa. 315 Par. enlist. unlawfully and feloniously defraud one LEDERLE PANESA.000. in the City of Muntinlupa. in the following manner: accused represented to the said complainant that she could secure work for the said complainant at Korea and she is capable of processing the travel visa and other documents for [his] travel and employment at Korea and demanded from the said complainant to pay the amount of P80.00. unlawfully and feloniously advertise for employment. the above-named accused conspiring and confederating with NARCISA SANTOS. fraudulent acts and false pretenses executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud. accused well knew that such representations were false and made only to induce complainant to part with [his] money as in fact complainant gave and delivered the amount of P35. MARCELINO LEJOS and DONNA MAGBOO for a fee without first securing license and/or permit from the government agency concerned. the above-named accused conspiring and confederating with NARCISA SANTOS. 3 CRIM. and accused once in possession of the said amount. did [then] and there willfully. Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. 2001 and thereafter. as amended. in the following manner: .jointly with NARCISA SANTOS did then and there willfully.00 as partial payment to the accused. CASE NO. 02-757 The undersigned Assistant City Prosecutor accuses ALELIE TOLENTINO of the crime of Estafa under Art. misapply and convert the same to her own personal use and benefit to the damage and prejudice of the said complainant in the amount of P35. 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code. by means of deceit.00 as partial payment to the accused. 315 Par. Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. and both of them mutually helping and aiding one another. accused well knew that such representations were false and made only to induce complainant to part with her money as in fact complainant gave and delivered the amount of P15. Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. JIMMY LEJOS. unlawfully and feloniously misappropriate.00 as placement fee.

Appellant told them the procedure for overseas employment and offered them assistance to find work abroad for a fee of P80. On 14 November 2001. appellant told private complainants that she would show it to them at some other time. and both of them mutually helping and aiding one another. 315 Par. Appellant showed them pictures of those she allegedly helped find work abroad and told them that they would be earning $630 monthly as factory workers in Korea. fraudulent acts and false pretenses executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud. Alabang. committed as follows: That on or about or sometime in the first week of November. by means of deceit. Contrary to law. Contrary to law. did then and there willfully. accused well knew that such representations were false and made only to induce complainant to part with [his] money as in fact complainant gave and delivered the amount of P20.000.000. did then and there willfully. and both of them mutually helping and aiding one another. CASE NO. 5 CRIM.000. Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court.00. fraudulent acts and false pretenses executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud. 7 Private complainants Orlando Layoso. 2001 and thereafter. in the following manner: accused represented to the said complainant that she could secure work for the said complainant at Korea and she is capable of processing the travel visa and other documents for [his] travel and employment at Korea and demanded from the said complainant to pay the amount of P80. 315 Par.000. Jimmy Lejos. Muntinlupa City. did [then] and there willfully. accused well knew that such representations were false and made only to induce complainant to part with [his] money as in fact complainant gave and delivered the amount of P35. as amended.000. Donna Magboo.000.00. Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court.000.000.00 as partial payment to the accused. the above-named accused conspiring and confederating with NARCISA SANTOS. by means of deceit. and accused once in possession of the said amount. did then and there willfully. accused well knew that such representations were false and made only to induce complainant to part with her money as in fact complainant gave and delivered the amount of P35.00 as partial payment to the accused.00 as placement fee. misapply and convert the same to her own personal use and benefit to the damage and prejudice of the said complainant in the amount of P20. 6 CRIM. 2001 and thereafter. unlawfully and feloniously defraud one MARCELINO LEJOS. and Marcelino Lejos alleged that sometime in the first week of November 2001.00 as partial payment to the accused.00. unlawfully and feloniously misappropriate. as amended. the above-named accused conspiring and confederating with NARCISA SANTOS. 02-759 The undersigned Assistant City Prosecutor accuses ALELIE TOLENTINO of the crime of Estafa under Art.000. and accused once in possession of the said amount. Arevalo Building. 02-760 The undersigned Assistant City Prosecutor accuses ALELIE TOLENTINO of the crime of Estafa under Art. CASE NO. misapply and convert the same to her own personal use and benefit to the damage and prejudice of the said complainant in the amount of P35. did [then] and there willfully. 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code. and accused once in possession of the said amount. in the City of Muntinlupa.accused represented to the said complainant that she could secure work for the said complainant at Korea and she is capable of processing the travel visa and other documents for her travel and employment at Korea and demanded from the said complainant to pay the amount of P80. they had a meeting with appellant Alelie Tolentino (appellant) in her office at the 3rd floor. committed as follows: That on or about or sometime in the first week of November. Contrary to law. in the following manner: accused represented to the said complainant that she could secure work for the said complainant at Korea and she is capable of processing the travel visa and other documents for [his] travel and employment at Korea and demanded from the said complainant to pay the amount of P80.000. private complainants again met with appellant at 8 . unlawfully and feloniously defraud one JIMMY LEJOS. When asked about her license to recruit overseas workers. unlawfully and feloniously misappropriate. misapply and convert the same to her own personal use and benefit to the damage and prejudice of the said complainant in the amount ofP35. 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code.00 as placement fee. unlawfully and feloniously misappropriate. in the City of Muntinlupa.00 as placement fee.

Appellant assured Panesa that she would be leaving for Korea on the second week of November 2001 and that the balance of the placement fee could be paid upon her receipt of the visa. Subsequently. Appellant informed Panesa that there were no job openings in Korea at that time.000. On 7 September 2001.000 each. She testified that she gave the payments to Narcisa Santos. In Criminal Case Nos. she met with appellant. Appellant promised to secure their visas and employment contracts within three months. evidencing their payments.000. Appellant denied the charges against her. On 9 June 2010. 02-758 and 02-759. Manila for signing of contract. after said meeting. an indeterminate penalty of six months of arresto mayor in its maximum to four years two months and one day of prision correccional in its maximum as the maximum period. they demanded the return of their payments amounting to P35. the names written on the employment contracts were not private complainants’ names. She testified that she was introduced to private complainants by a certain Cezar Manonson and that the owner of the office she is renting is her relative. She confirmed her signature on the petty cash vouchers she issued to private complainants. . On 7 February 2002. at Wendy’s in Arquiza Street.000 as partial payment of the agreed fee. Appellant denied the charges against her and promised them that they would get their money back. Nevertheless. private complainants were able to secure a certification from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) that appellant was not licensed to recruit workers for overseas employment. and to pay the private complainants individually each in the amount of P15. Panesa proceeded to the Office of the City Prosecutor in Manila.her office and each of them gave appellant P20. appellant was presented as the lone witness. She was hesitant to help them because she does not recruit workers as she herself was also applying for work as factory worker through Narcisa Santos. the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE.000. 02-756.000. the trial court rendered a decision. she admitted that she does not have proof that she indeed turned over the money to Narcisa Santos. However.00 she illegally collected each from the private complainants. For the defense. and to pay the private complainant the amount of P5.000. alleged that in August 2001.00 as and for moral damages.000 as initial payment.00. On 30 January 2002. in the following criminal cases and sentences her. However. However. and five counts of estafa under Article 315 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code. Appellant assured them that original contracts bearing their names would subsequently be provided. Panesa gave appellant P15.000.000 each as their second partial payment.00 she illegally collected from the private complainant. On 7 February 2002. Accused is further ordered to return the amount ofP15. 02-757. Appellant offered Panesa employment in other countries such as Malaysia and Palau. as follows: In Criminal Case No. private complainants received information that the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group arrested appellant for illegal recruitment. which prompted Panesa to visit appellant’s office. Another complainant. upon instructions from Narcisa Santos. Appellant never contacted Panesa thereafter. Accused is further ordered to return the amount ofP35. as amended. When private complainants confronted appellant at the Manila City Hall where she was held. who offered her work in Korea for a placement fee of P75. Private complainants signed the contracts and paid P15. Lederle Panesa. the Court finds accused Alelie (also known as Alelie Tolentino) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the offense of large scale illegal recruitment.000. which included expenses for medical examination and processing of their documents for work in Korea. Panesa no longer heard from appellant.00 as and for moral damages.Panesa was informed that appellant was apprehended for illegal recruitment. 02-755 and sentences her to life imprisonment and to pay a fine of P500. Private complainants allegedly sought her help regarding possible work in Korea and that she merely explained the procedure for overseas employment to them. Appellant explained that the contracts were supposedly for other applicants who sought her services but later backed out. appellant was able to persuade Panesa to wait until December 2001. but failed to confront appellant. She admitted having received money from private complainants and issuing receipts for the payments. an indeterminate penalty [of] six months of arresto mayor in its maximum to twelve years of prision mayor in its maximum. which constitutes economic sabotage in Criminal Case Case No. but Panesa refused the offer and demanded the return of her money. except for Marcelino Lejos whose total payment only amounted to P20. private complainants met with appellant. who was accompanied by a certain Narcisa Santos. It was only then that Panesa learned about appellant not being authorized by the POEA to recruit workers for overseas employment.

including the prohibited practices enumerated under Article 34of this Code.00 she illegally collected from the private complainant. The Court of Appeals noted that appellant admitted that she had no authority or valid license to engage in recruitment and placement of workers.000. The testimonies and the documentary evidence submitted by the prosecution showed that appellant led complainants to believe that she had the power or ability to send private complainants to Korea to work as factory workers and that the latter were convinced to give their payment to appellant in order to be employed. enlisting. The Department of Labor and Employment or any law enforcement officer may initiate complaints under this Article. 8042 (RA 8042) in relation to the Labor Code.000. whether for profit or not. The Court of Appeals was correct in affirming the ruling of the trial court that the appellant’s guilt of the crimes she was accused of was clearly established by the witnesses and the evidence of the prosecution. this appeal. hiring or procuring workers. the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision. to be undertaken by non-licensees or non-holders of authority shall be deemed illegal and punishable under Article 39 of this Code. Based on the facts and evidence presented. Illegal recruitment is deemed committed by a syndicate if carried out by a group of three (3) or more persons conspiring and/or confederating with one another in carrying out any unlawful or illegal transaction. Her full period of preventive imprisonment shall be credited in her favor in accordance with Article 29 of the Revised Penal Code.In Criminal Case No. promising or advertising for employment. Illegal Recruitment (a) Any recruitment activities." Illegal recruitment. and estafa under Article 315. on the other hand is defined under Article 38 of the Labor Code as follows: ART. (b) Illegal recruitment when committed by a syndicate or in large scale shall be considered an offense involving economic sabotage and shall be penalized in accordance with Article 39 hereof. The Court of Appeals held that the prosecution adequately proved that appellant engaged in illegal recruitment in large scale. Accused is further ordered to return the amount of P20. On the charge of estafa. an indeterminate penalty of six months of arresto mayor in its maximum as the minimum period to six years and one day of prision mayor in its minimum as the maximum period. The Court of Appeals noted that it was appellant who dealt directly with private complainants. locally or abroad. Hence. and to pay the private complainant the amount of P8. Illegal Recruitment in Large Scale Article 13(b) of the Labor Code defines recruitment and placement as "any act of canvassing. contract services. 9 The Ruling of the Court of Appeals On appeal. Appellant’s claim that it was Narcisa Santos who recruited the private complainants and who profited from the illegal transaction was disregarded by the Court of Appeals for lack of evidence. the Court of Appeals concluded that appellant clearly engaged in illegal recruitment activities. Appellant even issued petty cash vouchers acknowledging receipt of private complainants’ payment and she made them sign Trainee Agreements. The Court of Appeals ruled that a person may be charged and convicted separately of illegal recruitment under Republic Act No. and includes referrals. the Court of Appeals likewise upheld appellant’s conviction for said crime. The Court's Ruling We find the appeal without merit. 38. utilizing.00 as and for moral damages. paragraph 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code. contracting. The evidence presented to prove appellant’s liability for illegal recruitment also established her liability for estafa. 02-760. transporting. enterprise or scheme . SO ORDERED. which were purportedly their contract with their Korean employer.

The Secretary shall order the search of the office or premises and seizure of documents. as amended. 442. information or document or commit any act of misrepresentation for the purpose of securing a license or authority under the Labor Code. That any such non-licensee or non-holder who. whether for profit or not. especially for Illegal Recruitment in Large Scale and Illegal Recruitment Committed by a Syndicate. Definition. in any manner. He did not have the license or the authority to lawfully engage in the recruitment and placement of workers. otherwise known as the Labor Code of the Philippines: Provided. transporting. when undertaken by a non-licensee or non-holder of authority contemplated under Article 13(f) of Presidential Decree No. offers or promises for a fee employment abroad for two or more persons shall be deemed so engaged. which are considered offenses involving economic sabotage. (b) To furnish or publish any false notice or information or document in relation to recruitment or employment. illegal recruitment under this article is limited to recruitment activities undertaken by non-licensees or non-holders of authority. 11 RA 8042. contract services. whether undertaken by a non-licensee or non-holder of authority or by a licensee or holder of authority. . establishments and entities found to be engaged in the recruitment of workers for overseas employment. promising or advertising for employment abroad. – For purposes of this Act. 6. non-holder. to constitute illegal recruitment in large scale. otherwise known as the "Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995. 3. 34 of the Labor Code. while Section 7 enumerates the penalties therefor. (d) To induce or attempt to induce a worker already employed to quit his employment in order to offer him another unless the transfer is designed to liberate a worker from oppressive terms and conditions of employment. 2. licensee or holder of authority: (a) To charge or accept directly or indirectly any amount greater than that specified in the schedule of allowable fees prescribed by the Secretary of Labor and Employment. their families and overseas Filipinos in distress. as defined under Article 38 of the Labor Code. The accused undertook any recruitment activity defined under Art. Illegal recruitment is deemed committed in large scale if committed against three (3) or more persons individually or as a group. hiring. individually or as a group. However. enlisting. encompasses recruitment activities for both local and overseas employment. (Emphases supplied) Illegal recruitment. thus: SEC. RA 8042 also broadened the concept of illegal recruitment for overseas employment and increased the penalties. (c) To give any false notice.defined under the first paragraph hereof. whether a non-licensee. or procuring workers and includes referring. whether committed by any person. Part II of RA 8042 defines and penalizes illegal recruitment for employment abroad. 13 (b) or any prohibited practice enumerated under Art. 12 13 Section 6 of RA 8042 provides for the definition of illegal recruitment. without having been licensed or authorized to do so. (c) The Secretary of Labor and Employment or his duly authorized representatives shall have the power to cause the arrest and detention of such non-licensee or non-holder of authority if after investigation it is determined that his activities constitute a danger to national security and public order or will lead to further exploitation of job-seekers. or to make a worker pay any amount greater than that actually received by him as a loan or advance. properties and other implements used in illegal recruitment activities and the closure of companies. testimony. paraphernalia. Thus. three elements must concur: 10 1. It shall likewise include the following acts. under the Labor Code. He committed the same against three or more persons. illegal recruitment shall mean any act of canvassing. utilizing. contracting." established a higher standard of protection and promotion of the welfare of the migrant workers.

000. illegal recruitment (for overseas employment) may be committed not only by non-licensees or non-holders of authority but also by licensees or holders of authority. (b) The penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (P500. SEC.000. (k) To withhold or deny travel documents from applicant workers before departure for monetary or financial considerations other than those authorized under the Labor Code and its implementing rules and regulations. Provided.(e) To influence or attempt to influence any person or entity not to employ any worker who has not applied for employment through his agency. Illegal recruitment is deemed committed by a syndicate if carried out by a group of three (3) or more persons conspiring or confederating with one another.00) nor more than One million pesos (P1. employment contracts approved and verified by the Department of Labor and Employment from the time of actual signing thereof by the parties up to and including the period of the expiration of the same without the approval of the Department of Labor and Employment. placement vacancies. Penalties. . That the maximum penalty shall be imposed If the person illegally recruited is less than eighteen (18) years of age or committed by a non-licensee or non-holder of authority. departures and such other matters or information as may be required by the Secretary of Labor and Employment. (Emphases supplied) Unlike illegal recruitment as defined under the Labor Code which is limited to recruitment activities undertaken by non-licensees or non-holders of authority. separation from jobs. Illegal recruitment when committed by a syndicate or in large scale shall be considered an offense involving economic sabotage. however. the officers having control. (j) For an officer or agent of a recruitment or placement agency to become an officer or member of the Board of any corporation engaged in travel agency or to be engaged directly or indirectly in the management of a travel agency. 7. (i) To substitute or alter to the prejudice of the worker. accomplices and accessories. The persons liable for the above offenses are the principals. under Article 6 of RA 8042. In case of juridical persons. in cases where the deployment does not actually take place without the worker’s fault. (h) To fail to submit reports on the status of employment. It is deemed committed in large scale if committed against three (3) or more persons individually or as a group. remittance of foreign exchange earnings.000.00).000.00) nor more than Five hundred thousand pesos (P500.00) shall be imposed if illegal recruitment constitutes economic sabotage as defined herein. (g) To obstruct or attempt to obstruct inspection by the Secretary of Labor and Employment or by his duly authorized representative. (f) To engage in the recruitment or placement of workers in jobs harmful to public health or morality or to the dignity of the Republic of the Philippines. management or direction of their business shall be liable. (l) Failure to actually deploy without valid reason as determined by the Department of Labor and Employment. and (m) Failure to reimburse expenses incurred by the worker in connection with his documentation and processing for purposes of deployment. – (a) Any person found guilty of illegal recruitment shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment of not less than six (6) years and one (1) day but not more than twelve (12) years and a fine of not less than Two hundred thousand pesos (P200.000.

whether committed by any person. licensee or holder of authority to engage in any of the enumerated prohibited practices. she submits that she did so only upon the instructions of Narcisa Santos. to whom she turned over the money collected from private complainants. RA 8042 broadened the definition of illegal recruitment for overseas employment by including thirteen acts or practices which now constitute as illegal recruitment. entity. appellant gave the impression that she has the power or ability to secure work for private complainants in Korea. Well-settled is the rule that the trial court. Appellant also explained to them the procedure for overseas employment and promised them that she would secure their visas and employment contracts within three months. even without the authority or license to do so. stating that appellant is not licensed by the POEA to recruit workers for overseas employment. transporting. Clearly. Except for the last two acts [(l) and (m)] on the list under Article 6 of RA8042. who had previously deployed her as domestic helper in Hongkong. whose Affidavits of Complaint were adopted as their direct testimonies. whom she allegedly helped find work abroad. and includes referring. she issued petty cash vouchers with her signature. and Jimmy Lejos all testified that appellant promised them work as factory workers in Korea and induced them to pay placement fees. contracting. purportedly their contract with their Korean employer. making her liable for illegal recruitment. Appellant denies that she gave private complainants the distinct impression that she had the power or ability to send them abroad for work. she charged them placement fees to cover their medical examination and the processing of their travel documents. the prosecution sufficiently proved that appellant engaged in large-scale illegal recruitment. The Court is not swayed by appellant’s contentions. The trial court’s findings are 17 18 . This Court has held in several cases that an accused who represents to others that he could send workers abroad for employment. there are at least three victims in this case which makes appellant liable for large-scale illegal recruitment. the offense of illegal recruitment must be committed against three or more persons. 16 Third. Donna Magboo. when a non-licensee or non-holder of authority undertakes such "prohibited practices. licensee or holder of authority." Thus. However. In this case. and she made them sign Trainee Agreements. Although appellant admits having received payments from private complainants and issuing receipts. and (2) by undertaking any of the acts enumerated under Section 6 of RA 8042.Article 6 enumerates thirteen acts or practices [(a) to (m)] which constitute illegal recruitment. 14 Under RA 8042. despite being a nonlicensee or non-holder of authority. engaged in recruitment activities. Private complainants Orlando Layoso. hiring. licensee or holder of authority. Appellant even showed pictures of previous applicants. despite the absence of a license or authority to undertake recruitment activities. or procuring workers. Part of the evidence submitted by the prosecution is a POEA Certification dated 10 March 2003. whether for profit or not. whether a non-licensee. First. it is unlawful for any individual. Appellant admitted that she has no valid license or authority required by law to lawfully engage in recruitment and placement of workers. 15 Second. appellant. a licensee or holder of authority is also liable for illegal recruitment for overseas employment when he or she undertakes any of the thirteen acts or practices [(a) to (m)] listed under Section 6 of RA 8042. enlisting. acknowledging receipts of their payments. it was clearly established that appellant dealt directly with the private complainants: she explained to them the procedure for overseas employment. appellant is a non-licensee or non-holder of authority. under Article 34 of the Labor Code. utilizing. Donna Magboo. The testimonies of Orlando Layoso. As found by the trial court and the appellate court." he or she is liable for illegal recruitment. To constitute illegal recruitment in large scale. the first eleven acts or practices are also listed in Article 34 of the Labor Code under the heading "Prohibited practices. She insists that she herself had been applying then as a factory worker in Korea through Narcisa Santos. Appellant’s mere denial cannot prevail over the positive and categorical testimonies of the complainants. and Jimmy Lejos were corroborated by private respondents Marcelino Lejos and Lederle Panesa. she promised the eventual release of their visas and employment contracts. which included the expenses for medical examination and the processing of their documents for work in Korea. contract services. On the other hand. whether committed by a non-licensee. commits illegal recruitment. non-holder. can best assess the credibility of the witnesses and their testimonies. having the opportunity to observe the witnesses and their demeanor during the trial. promising or advertising for employment abroad. a non-licensee or non-holder of authority commits illegal recruitment for overseas employment in two ways: (1) by any act of canvassing. but such acts or practices do not constitute illegal recruitment when undertaken by a licensee or holder of authority. individually or as a group. non-holder. under Article 38(A) of the Labor Code.

Clearly. When the amount of fraud exceeds P22. The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its minimum period. evidencing her receipt of the payments. 21 22 The elements of estafa are: (1) the accused defrauded another by abuse of confidence or by means of deceit. is life imprisonment and a fine of P500.000.000. which constitutes economic sabotage. Because of the assurances given by appellant. It is settled that a person. from 4 years. in view of the attending circumstances. may be convicted separately for illegal recruitment under RA 8042 (or the Labor Code). the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that appellant deceived private complainants into believing that she had the authority and capability to send them to Korea for employment. and (2) the offended party or a third party suffered damage or prejudice capable of pecuniary estimation. Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code provides: ART. but the total penalty which may be imposed shall not exceed twenty years. However. the penalty shall be imposed in its maximum period. In such cases. 2 months and 1 day to 8 years. the total number of years included in the .000. factual findings of the trial court. The time included in this penalty is from 6 months and 1 day to 4 years and 2 months. the penalty shall be termed prision mayor or reclusion temporal. the total penalty imposed should not exceed 20 years. if the amount of the fraud is over 12. for which appellant issued petty cash vouchers with her signature.000.000 shall be imposed if illegal recruitment constitutes economic sabotage.000 but not exceeding P22. which is prision correccional in its minimum to medium period. 23 24 The penalty for estafa depends on the amount defrauded. could be properly imposed under the Revised Penal Code. and adding one year for every P10. The range of penalty under Article 315 is composed of only two periods. But. She even showed them pictures of past applicants whom she allegedly sent abroad for work. adding one year for each additional 10. She also assured them that she would be able to secure their visas and employment contracts once they pay the placement fee. Swindling (estafa). i. 19 20 Thus. 315. as the case may be.accorded great respect unless the trial court has overlooked or misconstrued some substantial facts.000 pesos. – Any person who shall defraud another by any of the means mentioned hereinbelow shall be punished by: 1st. Under the Indeterminate Sentence Law. The maximum term under the Indeterminate Sentence Law is that which. the proper penalty in this case is life imprisonment and a fine of P1. the penalty imposed is prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its minimum period.000. Thus.000 pesos. the minimum term shall be within the range of the penalty next lower to that prescribed by the Revised Penal Code. these acts of appellant constitute estafa punishable under Article 315 (2)(a) of the Revised Penal Code. the penalty provided in this paragraph shall be imposed in its maximum period.000 pesos but does not exceed 22.000 in excess of P22.000. we modify the penalty imposed.000. and if such amount exceeds the latter sum. are deemed binding and conclusive. The penalty imposed by the trial court in this case for large-scale illegal recruitment. Section 7 of RA 8042 provides that the penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of not less than P500. Said article further provides that the maximum penalty shall be imposed if committed by a non-licensee or non-holder of authority. and in connection with the accessory penalties which may be imposed and for the purpose of the other provisions of this Code. xxxx Thus. In this case. Furthermore. for the same acts.000 nor more than P1. when the amount of fraud is over P12.. when affirmed by the Court of Appeals.e. which if considered might affect the result of the case. private complainants paid appellant a portion of the agreed placement fee. To compute the maximum period of the indeterminate sentence. despite her not being licensed by the POEA to recruit workers for overseas employment. and estafa under Article 315(2)(a) of the Revised Penal Code. Estafa We likewise affirm appellant’s conviction for five counts of estafa under Article 315(2)(a) of the Revised Penal Code. we affirm the finding of both the trial court and the appellate court that appellant is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of illegal recruitment in large scale.

the minimum. appellant Alelie Tolentino is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of illegal recruitment in large scale. appellant Alelie Tolentino is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of estafa. WHEREFORE. 8 months and 20 days. is not in accord with the penalty prescribed. We fix the maximum term at 7 years of prision mayor. In Criminal Case No. plus the incremental penalty of one year (additional 1 year imprisonment for the P10. 02-756. 2. until the said amount is fully paid. Following this computation. 8 months and 21 days to 8 years) shall be imposed.000) as actual damages. Furthermore. 2. we modify the penalty imposed on the five counts of estafa and we delete the moral damages awarded for having no basis in law. She is ordered to indemnify private complainant Lederle Panesa in the amount of Fifteen Thousand Pesos (P15. i. 5 months and 11 days to 6 years. She is ordered to indemnify private complainant Orlando Layoso in the amount of Thirty Five Thousand Pesos (P35. She is sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of 2 years of prision correccional as minimum to 8 years of prision mayor as maximum.000. In Criminal Case No. and affirmed by the appellate court. until the said amount is fully paid. Appellant should be sentenced to 2 years of prision correccional as minimum to 6 years and 1 day of prision mayor as maximum. Adding the incremental penalty of 1 year to the maximum term.e. at the court’s discretion. 5 months and 10 days. 3. we AFFIRM WITH MODIFICATIONS the Decision dated 29 November 2012 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. we find that a minimum period of 2 years of prision correccional is appropriate. provided the total penalty does not exceed 20 years. Considering the number of victims defrauded. as defined and penalized in Section 6 and Section 7(b) of RA 8042. the maximum period (anywhere from 6 years. 8 months and 21 days to 8 years. 1âwphi1 In Criminal Case No. appellant should indemnify private complainants for the amounts paid to her. Maximum Period – 6 years. She is sentenced to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and is ordered to pay a fine of One Million Pesos (P1. where the amount defrauded is P15. Medium Period – 5 years. 2 months and 1 day to 5 years. from the time of demand. shall be added to anywhere from6 years. 02-757. appellant should be sentenced in each of these cases to 2 years of prision correccional as minimum to 8 years of prision mayor as maximum. one year for every P10. where the amount defrauded is P20. constituting economic sabotage. 25 We find that the penalty imposed by the trial court.R. Any incremental penalty. until the amounts are fully paid. with legal interest at the rate of 6% per annum." Hence. which shall be deemed as the same day the Informations were filed against appellant. 02-755.000. 04558 to read as follows: 26 1.e. In Criminal Case No.two periods should be divided into three equal portions. and 02-759. with legal interest of six percent (6%) per annum from 28 June 2002. where the amount defrauded is P35. 02-758. 5 months and 11 days to 6 years. 5 years.000 each. 02-757. 3. CRHC No. the maximum term shall be taken from the medium period of the penalty prescribed (i. In Criminal Case Nos. medium. appellant Alelie Tolentino is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of estafa. 8 months and 20 days). 02-756. as defined and penalized in Article 315(2)(a) of the Revised Penal Code.000. and maximum periods of the prescribed penalty are: 1.000 in excess of P22. with each portion forming a period. Minimum Period – 4 years. as defined and penalized in Article 315(2)(a) of the Revised Penal Code. She is sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of 2 years of prision correccional as minimum to 6 years and 1 day of prision mayor as maximum.000) as actual damages. and in the absence of any mitigating or aggravating circumstance. with legal interest of six percent (6%) per annum from 28 June 2002. appellant should be sentenced to 2 years of prision correccional as minimum to 6 years and 1 day of prision mayor as maximum. The trial court erroneously imposed the minimum period of "six months of arresto mayor in its maximum. In Criminal Case No.000.000).000 in excess of P22.000). 8 months and 21 days to 8 years. . 02-760.

Inc. 02-758. She is ordered to indemnify private complainant Marcelino Lejos in the amount of Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20. In Criminal Case No. 2009 provides the following antecedent facts and proceedings – On October 4. INC. he signed a five-year employment agreement5 with the company EGI as an Executive Vice-President who shall oversee the management of the company’s hotels and resorts within the Philippines. While in Australia. until the said amount is fully paid. G.00. She is sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of 2 years of prision correccional as minimum to 8 years of prision mayor as maximum. INC. 2013 ANDREW JAMES MCBURNIE.083. 2009 that ordered the dismissal of their appeal to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) for failure to post additional appeal bond in the amount of P54. with legal interest of six percent (6%) per annum from 28 June 2002. EGI-MANAGERS. 178034 & 178117 G R. Nos. Petitioner. as defined and penalized in Article 315(2)(a) of the Revised Penal Code.: For resolution are the – (1) third motion for reconsideration1 filed by Eulalio Ganzon (Ganzon). 1999. 2012. 2002. he was informed by respondent Ganzon that his services were no longer needed because their intended project would no longer push through. She is ordered to indemnify private complainant Donna Magboo in the amount of Thirty Five Thousand Pesos (P35. Antecedent Facts The Decision dated September 18. Ganzon. 186984-85 October 17. Inc. 02-759. She is ordered to indemnify private complainant Jimmy Lejos in the amount of Thirty Five Thousand Pesos (P35. as defined and penalized in Article 315(2)(a) of the Revised Penal Code. J. vs.000) as actual damages. with legal interest of six percent (6%) per annum from 28 June 2002. RESOLUTION REYES. seeking a reconsideration of the Court’s Decision 2 dated September 18. SO ORDERED.000) as actual damages. with legal interest of six percent (6%) per annum from 28 June 2002. and E. when he figured in an accident that compelled him to go back to Australia while recuperating from his injuries. She is sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of 2 years of prision correccional as minimum to 6 years and 1 day of prision mayor as maximum. 2012. an Australian national. McBurnie.4. EGI-Managers. until the said amount is fully paid.. McBurnie claimed that on May 11. 02-760. EULALIO GANZON.appellant Alelie Tolentino is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of estafa. In Criminal Case No. 5. as defined and penalized in Article 315(2)(a) of the Revised Penal Code. assailing the Court en banc’s Resolution4 dated September 4. until the said amount is fully paid. GANZON.R. She is sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of 2 years of prision correccional as minimum to 8 years of prision mayor as maximum. Nos. appellant Alelie Tolentino is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of estafa. He performed work for the company until sometime in November 1999. appellant Alelie Tolentino is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of estafa. instituted a complaint for illegal dismissal and other monetary claims against the respondents.000) as actual damages.910. 2012 that (1) accepted the case from the Court’s Third Division and (2) enjoined the implementation of the Labor Arbiter’s (LA) decision finding him to be illegally dismissed by the respondents. (EGI) and E. In Criminal Case No. Respondents. 6. (respondents) on March 27. and (2) motion for reconsideration3 filed by petitioner Andrew James McBurnie (McBurnie) on September 26. .

The Court’s Resolution dated July 4.The respondents opposed the complaint. Nos. It directed the NLRC. that the monetary awards of the LA were null and excessive. 178034 and 178117. 178034 and 178117. accordingly. 2006. or even the millions of pesos in premium required for such bond.16 This prompted the respondents to file with the CA the Petition for Certiorari (With Urgent Prayers for the Immediate Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and a Writ of Preliminary Injunction) 17 docketed as CA-G.10Furthermore. 223. McBurnie filed a Motion for Leave (1) To File Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration and (2) To Admit the Attached Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration. the respondents appealed the LA’s Decision to the NLRC.00. SP No. CA-G. 2007.R.R. 90845." 12 Thus. the NLRC denied11 the motion to reduce bond. assailing the CA Resolutions that granted the respondents’ application for the injunctive writ. Feeling aggrieved. 2007. 2007 then became final and executory on November 13. 2004. conditioned upon the respondents’ posting of a bond in the amount of P10. When their motion for reconsideration was denied. they lacked the capacity to pay the bond of almost P60 Million. McBurnie sought reconsideration of the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction.00. 90845 and 95916 On February 16. 2007. SP Nos. 2007. 90845.21 A motion for reconsideration was denied with finality in a Resolution22 dated October 8. and posted an appeal bond in the amount of P100. in view of the respondents’ failure to post the required additional bond.000. and thus entitled to receive from the respondents the following amounts: (a) US$985.910. which was later consolidated with CA-G. 95916.R.000. SP No. Nos.R. The respondents’ motion for reconsideration was denied on June 30. 2004.R. they claimed that because of their business losses that may be attributed to an economic crisis.00. a prohibited pleading under Section 2. 2006. SP No. contending that their agreement with McBurnie was to jointly invest in and establish a company for the management of hotels. the LA declared McBurnie as having been illegally dismissed from employment.00 as moral and exemplary damages. 2007. and (c) attorney’s fees equivalent to 10% of the total monetary award. the motion for leave was denied by the Court in a Resolution24 dated November 26.083. On March 31. allegedly with the intention of rendering them incapable of posting the necessary appeal bond. inter alia.162. McBurnie. The respondents contended in their Motion to Reduce Bond. Labor Code to post bond in the amount equivalent to the monetary award x x x. and all persons acting for and under their authority to refrain from causing the execution and enforcement of the LA’s decision in favor of McBurnie. They claimed that an award of "more than P60 Million Pesos to a single foreigner who had no work permit and who left the country for good one month after the purported commencement of his employment" was a patent nullity.23 which was treated by the Court as a second motion for reconsideration. They did not intend to create an employer-employee relationship.25 .00 as salary and benefits for the unexpired term of their employment contract. he had not yet obtained a work permit.000. Rule 56 of the Rules of Court. the CA issued a Resolution18 granting the respondents’ application for a writ of preliminary injunction. 2007. an employer seeking to appeal the [LA’s] decision to the Commission is unconditionally required by Art. the NLRC required from the respondents the posting of an additional bond in the amount of P54.000. 2005. Unyielding. McBurnie then filed with the Court a Petition for Review on Certiorari 20 docketed as G. On July 4. the NLRC dismissed their appeal in a Resolution15 dated March 8. explaining that "in cases involving monetary award. and the execution of the employment contract that was being invoked by McBurnie was solely for the purpose of allowing McBurnie to obtain an alien work permit in the Philippines. the Court denied the petition on the ground of McBurnie’s failure to comply with the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice and to sufficiently show that the CA committed any reversible error. In the meantime.13 the respondents decided to elevate the matter to the Court of Appeals (CA) via the Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition (With Extremely Urgent Prayer for the Issuance of a Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order)14 docketed as CA-G. entry of judgment was made in G. (b) P2.000. 7 On November 5.R. they filed their Memorandum of Appeal8 and Motion to Reduce Bond9. In a Decision6 dated September 30. Thus. At the time McBurnie left for Australia for his medical treatment. but this was denied by the CA in its Resolution19 dated May 29.

2009 Resolution denying petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. 95916 are GRANTED.R. the following conditions must first be satisfied: (1) the motion to reduce bond shall be based on meritorious grounds. much less. SP Nos. McBurnie was never an employee of any of the respondents. which should have prevented the NLRC from immediately dismissing the respondents’ appeal. 95916 which is ordered remanded to the NLRC for further proceedings. The dispositive portion reads: WHEREFORE.083. reversed and set aside the Decision of the LA. the CA also found grave abuse of discretion on the part of the NLRC.32 Undeterred. and its March 3. allowing the respondents’ motion to reduce appeal bond and directing the NLRC to give due course to their appeal. barring a claim of dismissal. 2006 Resolutions of the National Labor Relations Commission in NLRC NCR CA NO. could not be the source of any right or obligation. the CA ruled on the merits of CA-G. 90845 and the petition for certiorari docketed as CA GR SP No. Granting that there was a contract of employment executed by the parties.27 On the issue28 of the NLRC’s denial of the respondents’ motion to reduce appeal bond. the Third Division of this Court rendered its Decision37 which reversed the CA Decision dated October 27. McBurnie failed to obtain a work permit which would have allowed him to work for any of the respondents. 2006 and June 30. Petitioners are hereby DIRECTED to post appeal bond in the amount ofP10. SP No. 2009. and entered a new one dismissing McBurnie’s complaint. SO ORDERED. as amended.38 The Court explained that the respondents’ failure to post a bond equivalent in amount to the LA’s monetary award was fatal to the appeal. Unless the NLRC grants the motion to reduce the cash bond within the 10-day reglementary period to perfect an appeal from a judgment of the LA. the respondents moved that the appeal be resolved on the merits by the CA. SP No. 2008 granting respondents’ Motion to Reduce Appeal Bond and ordering the National Labor Relations Commission to give due course to respondents’ appeal. are REINSTATED and AFFIRMED.R. McBurnie then filed with the Court the Petition for Review on Certiorari34 docketed as G. the CA ruled that the NLRC committed grave abuse of discretion in immediately denying the motion without fixing an appeal bond in an amount that was reasonable.In the meantime. Court Decision dated September 18. are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. and in its Decision35 dated November 17. acting on the CA’s order of remand. Section 6. the employment agreement was void and thus. McBurnie filed a motion for reconsideration.000. the CA issued a Resolution 33 denying both motions. 042913-05 dismissing respondents’ appeal for failure to perfect an appeal and denying their motion for reconsideration. the . Petitioners’ Motion to Reduce Appeal Bond is GRANTED.000. 186984-85. 95916 and rendered its Decision26 dated October 27. Rule VI of the NLRC Rules of Procedure. explaining that an appeal bond in the amount of P54. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Moreover. the appellate court cited the pendency of the petition for certiorari over the denial of the motion to reduce bond. The NLRC is hereby DIRECTED to give due course to petitioners’ appeal in CA GR SP No.R.R. On March 3. recognized as exception a motion to reduce bond upon meritorious grounds and upon posting of a bond in a reasonable amount in relation to the monetary award. the petition for certiorari and prohibition docketed as CA GR SP No. The March 8. 29 The CA explained that "(w)hile Art.39 Although an appeal bond may be reduced upon motion by an employer. accepted the appeal from the LA’s decision. the petition is GRANTED. the NLRC. an illegal dismissal. in view of the foregoing. 36 In the absence of such permit. It explained that based on records.00 was prohibitive and excessive. SO ORDERED. 2009. 2009 On September 18. 223 of the Labor Code requiring bond equivalent to the monetary award is explicit. At the same time. Nos. 2009." 30 On the issue31 of the NLRC’s dismissal of the appeal on the ground of the respondents’ failure to post the additional appeal bond. 90845 and 95916 dated October 27. In the meantime. and (2) a reasonable amount in relation to the monetary award is posted by the appellant.910. respectively.00. 2008 and Resolution dated March 3. 2008. 90845 and CA-G. but a potential investor in a project that included said respondents. as it denied the respondents of their right to appeal from the decision of the LA. The dispositive portion of the CA Decision reads: WHEREFORE. 2009.

the respondents filed with the Court a Motion for Leave to Submit Attached Second Motion for Reconsideration 46 and Second Motion for Reconsideration.53 The third motion for reconsideration is founded on the following grounds: I. 2012 become final and executory and is hereby recorded in the Book of Entries of Judgments.00 was grossly inadequate compared to the LA’s monetary award.employer is mandated to post the cash or surety bond securing the full amount within the said 10-day period. as follows: ENTRY OF JUDGMENT This is to certify that on September 18.47 which motion for leave was granted in a Resolution48 dated March 15. 2008 DECISION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS IS A SUBSTANTIAL AND SPECIAL MERITORIOUS CIRCUMSTANCE TO MERIT RECONSIDERATION OF THIS APPEAL. . however.52 The Entry of Judgment indicated that the same was made for the Court’s Decision rendered in G.000. McBurnie was allowed to submit his comment on the second motion." HENCE. the respondents filed a Motion for Leave to File Attached Third Motion for Reconsideration. THE 10 MILLION PESOS BOND WHICH WAS POSTED IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE OCTOBER 27. 43 The motion was granted by the NLRC in its Decision44 dated January 14.R. 2012. the dispositive part of which reads as follows: xxxx and that the same has. their reply to the comment. the Court issued a Resolution49 denying the second motion "for lack of merit. Thus. The respondents’ first motion for reconsideration41 was denied by the Court for lack of merit via a Resolution42dated December 14. 2010. 18698485. on March 14." WHICH ARE: II. IT IS RESPECTFULLY CONTENDED THAT THERE ARE VERY PECULIAR CIRCUMSTANCES AND NUMEROUS IMPORTANT ISSUES IN THESE CASES THAT CLEARLY JUSTIFY GIVING DUE COURSE TO RESPONDENTS’ "SECOND MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION. RESPONDENTS RESPECTFULLY CONTEND THAT THE SUBSEQUENT 25 JANUARY 2012 RESOLUTION CANNOT DENY THE " SECOND MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION " ON THE GROUND THAT IT IS A PROHIBITED PLEADING.45 Undaunted by the denial of their first motion for reconsideration of the Decision dated September 18. 2010. on the basis of the Court’s Decision. 2009. On January 25. entry of judgment51 was made in due course. On March 27. MOREOVER. Nos." 50 The Court’s Decision dated September 18." "considering that a second motion for reconsideration is a prohibited pleading x x x. with an attached Motion for Reconsideration (on the Honorable Court’s 25 January 2012 Resolution) with Motion to Refer These Cases to the Honorable Court En Banc. 2009 a decision rendered in the above-entitled cases was filed in this Office. 2009. 2012. THE PREVIOUS 15 MARCH 2010 RESOLUTION OF THE HONORABLE COURT ACTUALLY GRANTED RESPONDENTS’ "MOTION FOR LEAVE TO SUBMIT A SECOND MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION. and the respondents. 2009. 2009 became final and executory on March 14. 40 The respondents’ initial appeal bond of P100. McBurnie filed with the NLRC a motion for reconsideration with motion to recall and expunge from the records the NLRC Decision dated November 17. Meanwhile. 2012.

. MAKING THE APPEAL INEFFECTIVE AGAINST THE NLRC. VI. IX. V.III. NLRC HAS DISMISSED THE COMPLAINT OF PETITIONER MCBURNIE IN ITS NOVEMBER 17. INC. AND NO WORKING VISA. BUT NOT OF ANY OF THE RESPONDENTS. 178034 AND 178117 HAVE BEEN INADVERTENTLY INCLUDED IN THIS CASE. ESPECIALLY IF THERE ARE SPECIAL MERITORIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES AND ISSUES. PETITIONER MCBURNIE DID NOT IMPLEAD THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION (NLRC) IN HIS APPEAL HEREIN. IV. GR NOS. AND HAS STILL NOT RETURNED TO THE PHILIPPINES AS CONFIRMED BY THE BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION. PETITIONER PRESENTED WORK FOR CORONADO BEACH RESORT WHICH IS [NEITHER] OWNED NOR CONNECTED WITH ANY OF THE RESPONDENTS. 2009 DECISION. (B) PETITIONER REFERRED TO HIMSELF AS A "VICTIM" OF LEISURE EXPERTS. . (F) PETITIONER LEFT THE PHILIPPINES FOR AUSTRALIA JUST 2 MONTHS AFTER THE START OF THE ALLEGED EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT. (D) PETITIONER WAS NEVER EMPLOYED BY ANY OF THE RESPONDENTS. THE HONORABLE COURT HAS HELD IN NUMEROUS LABOR CASES THAT WITH RESPECT TO ARTICLE 223 OF THE LABOR CODE. THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE LAW SHOULD BE GIVEN A LIBERAL INTERPRETATION. (C) PETITIONER’S POSITIVE LETTER TO RESPONDENT MR. EULALIO GANZON CLEARLY SHOWS THAT HE WAS NOT ILLEGALLY DISMISSED NOR EVEN DISMISSED BY ANY OF THE RESPONDENTS AND PETITIONER EVEN PROMISED TO PAY HIS DEBTS FOR ADVANCES MADE BY RESPONDENTS. THE HONORABLE COURT’S 18 SEPTEMBER 2009 DECISION WAS TAINTED WITH VERY SERIOUS IRREGULARITIES. THE HONORABLE COURT DID NOT DULY RULE UPON THE OTHER VERY MERITORIOUS ARGUMENTS OF THE RESPONDENTS WHICH ARE AS FOLLOWS: (A) PETITIONER NEVER ATTENDED ANY OF ALL 14 HEARINGS BEFORE THE [LA] (WHEN 2 MISSED HEARINGS MEAN DISMISSAL). VIII. THE LA’S JUDGMENT WAS PATENTLY VOID SINCE IT AWARDS MORE THAN P60 MILLION PESOS TO A SINGLE FOREIGNER WHO HAD NO WORK PERMIT. VII. (E) THE [LA] CONCLUDED THAT PETITIONER WAS DISMISSED EVEN IF THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE AT ALL PRESENTED THAT PETITIONER WAS DISMISSED BY THE RESPONDENTS.

Section 2. as a general rule. Philippine EDS Techno-Service. . The Court’s acceptance of the third motion for reconsideration At the outset."58 The general rule.(G) PETITIONER COULD NOT HAVE SIGNED AND PERSONALLY APPEARED BEFORE THE NLRC ADMINISTERING OFFICER AS INDICATED IN THE COMPLAINT SHEET SINCE HE LEFT THE COUNTRY 3 YEARS BEFORE THE COMPLAINT WAS FILED AND HE NEVER CAME BACK. along with the lifting of the entry of judgment in G.54 On September 4. 2009 had become final and executory. (PET. For one." In Tirazona v. and upon taking a second hard look of the parties’ arguments and the records of the case. against second and subsequent motions for reconsideration admits of settled exceptions. Our Ruling In light of pertinent law and jurisprudence. In San Miguel Corporation v. the Court emphasizes that second and subsequent motions for reconsideration are." as allowed under the Internal Rules when the assailed decision is "legally erroneous. Inc. is in order. Second motion for reconsideration. a decision becomes final and executory and. ― The Court shall not entertain a second motion for reconsideration. 2004. 63 the Court en banc reversed on a third motion for reconsideration the ruling of the Court’s Division on therein private respondents’ claim for wages and monetary benefits.57 where he invoked the fact that the Court’s Decision dated September 18. "At some point. prohibited. particularly Section 3. In Vir-Jen Shipping and Marine Services. Inc. It also issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) enjoining the implementation of the LA’s Decision dated September 30. NLRC. the Court has then entertained and granted second motions for reconsideration "in the higher interest of substantial justice. Land Bank of the Philippines. A second motion for reconsideration can only be entertained before the ruling sought to be reconsidered becomes final by operation of law or by the Court’s declaration. Inc. all litigations must come to an end. the Court en banc55 issued a Resolution56 accepting the case from the Third Division. the present Internal Rules of the Supreme Court.).61 we allowed a second motion for reconsideration as the issue involved therein was a matter of public interest." The rule rests on the basic tenet of immutability of judgments. Rule 52 of the Rules of Court provides that "no second motion for reconsideration of a judgment or final resolution by the same party shall be entertained. x x x x (Emphasis ours) In a line of cases." "patently unjust" and "potentially capable of causing unwarranted and irremediable injury or damage to the parties. v. 2012. 2009 and Resolutions dated December 14. 59 we also explained that a second motion for reconsideration may be allowed in instances of "extraordinarily persuasive reasons and only after an express leave shall have been obtained.. as it pertained to the proper application of a basic constitutionally-guaranteed right in the government’s implementation of its agrarian reform program. et al.62 the Court set aside the decisions of the LA and the NLRC that favored claimants-security guards upon the Court’s review of San Miguel Corporation’s second motion for reconsideration."60 In Apo Fruits Corporation v. 2012. There is reconsideration "in the higher interest of justice" when the assailed decision is not only legally erroneous. Rule 15 thereof. 2009 and January 25. NLRC. with an entry of judgment already made by the Court.R. consequently. 3. provides: Sec. the Court has ascertained that a reconsideration of this Court’s Decision dated September 18. however. This prompted McBurnie’s filing of a Motion for Reconsideration. 186984-85. No. and any exception to this rule can only be granted in the higher interest of justice by the Court en banc upon a vote of at least two-thirds of its actual membership. but is likewise patently unjust and potentially capable of causing unwarranted and irremediable injury or damage to the parties.

In Muñoz v. sanctioned the recall of entries of judgment in light of attendant extraordinary circumstances. courts will be mere slaves to or robots of technical rules.65 the Court. However. Executive Secretary. but also to arrive at the correct interpretation of the provisions of the [Local Government Code (LGC)] with respect to the creation of local government units. Their strict and rigid application. and (f) the other party will not be unjustly prejudiced thereby. (b) the existence of special or compelling circumstances. albeit rare. for otherwise. a reconsideration of the .68(Citations omitted) In Munoz v. the compelling concern is not only to afford the movants-intervenors the right to be heard since they would be adversely affected by the judgment in this case despite not being original parties thereto. where the case was elevated to this Court and a first and second motion for reconsideration had been denied with finality . Truly then. the prudent action towards a just resolution of a case is for the Court to suspend rules of procedure. cannot be questioned. must always be avoided. technicalities. "should give way to the realities of the situation. and second. technicalities take a backseat against substantive rights.71 (Citation omitted) In Barnes v. honor or property. In this case. 9355. The power to suspend or even disregard rules of procedure can be so pervasive and compelling as to alter even that which this Court itself had already declared final. (e) a lack of any showing that the review sought is merely frivolous and dilatory. the Court had. as we are now compelled to do in this case. The Court then recalled in Navarro an entry of judgment after it had determined the validity and constitutionality of Republic Act No. x x x. This justification was likewise applied in Tan Tiac Chiong v. recalled the Entry of Judgment as well as the letter of transmittal of the records to the Court of Appeals. explaining that: Verily. for "the power of this Court to suspend its own rules or to except a particular case from its operations whenever the purposes of justice require it. CA . 70 wherein the Court held that: The recall of entries of judgments. xxxx The Rules of Court was conceived and promulgated to set forth guidelines in the dispensation of justice but not to bind and chain the hand that dispenses it. thus.69 the Court resolved to recall an entry of judgment to prevent a miscarriage of justice." 64 In De Guzman v. x x x. as they in fact ought to be. liberty. (d) a cause not entirely attributable to the fault or negligence of the party favored by the suspension of the rules. conscientiously guided by the norm that when on the balance. the Court. even by the highest court of the land. This power to suspend or even disregard the rules can be so pervasive and encompassing so as to alter even that which this Court itself has already declared to be final. the proscription against second and subsequent motions for reconsideration.It is also recognized that in some instances. is not a novelty. this Court has relaxed this rule in order to serve substantial justice considering (a) matters of life. (c) the merits of the case.67 we reiterated the pronouncement in De Guzman that the power to suspend or even disregard rules of procedure can be so pervasive and compelling as to alter even that which this Court itself has already declared final. explained: The rules of procedure should be viewed as mere tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice. shorn of judicial discretion. the rule on immutability of judgments. Judge Padilla.73 (Citations omitted) As we shall explain. on several occasions. the Court has then reconsidered even decisions that have attained finality. Sandiganbayan. which would result in technicalities that tend to frustrate rather than promote substantial justice. That is precisely why courts in rendering real justice have always been.66 (Citations omitted) Consistent with the foregoing precepts. finding it more appropriate to lift entries of judgments already made in these cases. and not the other way around. in the appropriate language of Justice Makalintal." x x x. first. Hon. Cosico. Even the Rules of Court envision this liberality. the instant case also qualifies as an exception to. In Navarro v.72 we ruled: A final and executory judgment can no longer be attacked by any of the parties or be modified. directly or indirectly. CA. in the interest of substantial justice.

as we consider the facts of the case. Instead of doing this." 75 In League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) v. the Court therefore allows the filing of the second motion for reconsideration. We have determined the grave error in affirming the NLRC’s rulings. The Court intends to remedy such error through this resolution. an appeal by the employer may be perfected only upon the posting of a cash or surety bond. Similarly in this case. 2012. 6. the second motion for reconsideration is no longer a prohibited pleading. The present rule on the matter is Section 6. – In case the decision of the Labor Arbiter or the Regional Director involves a monetary award." The word "only" makes it clear that the posting of a cash or surety bond by the employer is the essential and exclusive means by which an employer’s appeal may be perfected.76 we reiterated a ruling that when a motion for leave to file and admit a second motion for reconsideration is granted by the Court. The lawmakers clearly intended to make the bond a mandatory requisite for the perfection of an appeal by the employer as inferred from the provision that an appeal by the employer may be perfected "only upon the posting of a cash or surety bond. 2010 the respondents’ motion for leave to submit their second motion for reconsideration already warranted a resolution and discussion of the motion for reconsideration on its merits. the Court is constrained to rule differently on the petitions. 2009 provides otherwise. Commission on Elections. pertinent law. that must be complied with in order to confer jurisdiction upon the NLRC. 2012 a Resolution 74 denying the motion to reconsider for lack of merit. Rule 56 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. To begin with. x x x. jurisprudence. as it reads in part: The posting of a bond is indispensable to the perfection of an appeal in cases involving monetary awards from the decision of the Labor Arbiter. however. and deny it plainly on such ground. the Court finds it appropriate to accept the pending motion for reconsideration and resolve it on the merits in order to rectify its prior disposition of the main issues in the petition. the filing of the bond is not only mandatory but a jurisdictional requirement as well. xxxx No motion to reduce bond shall be entertained except on meritorious grounds and upon the posting of a bond in a reasonable amount in relation to the monetary award. (Emphasis supplied) While the CA.000. there was then no reason for the Court to still consider the respondents’ second motion for reconsideration as a prohibited pleading. and the degree of the injury and damage to the respondents that will inevitably result from the implementation of the Court’s Decision dated September 18. and which reads: RULE VI APPEALS Sec. merely citing that it was a "prohibited pleading under Section 2. is justified by the higher interest of substantial justice. BOND. which was substantially the same provision in effect at the time of the respondents’ appeal to the NLRC. 2009. 2009. Rule VI of the 2011 NLRC Rules of Procedure. The filing of the motion to reduce bond without compliance with the requisites in the preceding paragraph shall not stop the running of the period to perfect an appeal. Non-compliance therewith renders the decision of the Labor . as amended. More importantly. In such a case. allowed an appeal bond in the reduced amount of P10. Rule 52 in relation to Section 4. the Court agrees with the respondents that the Court’s prior resolve to grant . and not just merely note. Moreover. in this case. the Court issued on January 25. The appeal bond shall either be in cash or surety in an amount equivalent to the monetary award. exclusive of damages and attorney’s fees.Decision dated September 18. Upon review.000. along with the Resolutions dated December 14. 2009 and January 25.00 and then ordered the case’s remand to the NLRC. this Court’s Decision dated September 18. promoting results that are patently unjust for the respondents. The rule on appeal bonds We emphasize that the crucial issue in this case concerns the sufficiency of the appeal bond that was posted by the respondents. in a Resolution dated March 15.

Arbiter final and executory. The qualification effectively requires that unless the NLRC grants the reduction of the cash bond within the 10-day reglementary period. otherwise the filing of the motion to reduce bond shall not stop the running of the period to perfect an appeal. shall suffice to suspend the running of the period to perfect an appeal from the labor arbiter’s decision to the NLRC. the employer is still expected to post the cash or surety bond securing the full amount within the said 10-day period. namely. then the decision of the labor arbiter becomes final and executory. they will receive the money judgment in their favor upon the dismissal of the employer’s appeal. If the NLRC grants the motion and rules that there is indeed meritorious ground and that the amount of the bond posted is reasonable. Thus. 79 To require the full amount of the bond within the 10-day reglementary period would only render nugatory the legal provisions which allow an appellant to seek a reduction of the bond. it behooves the Court to give utmost regard to the legislative and administrative intent to strictly require the employer to post a cash or surety bond securing the full amount of the monetary award within the 10[-]day reglementary period. If the NLRC does eventually grant the motion for reduction after the reglementary period has elapsed. If the NLRC grants the motion for reconsideration and rules that there is indeed meritorious ground and that the amount of the bond posted is reasonable. the correct relief would be to reduce the cash or surety bond already posted by the employer within the 10-day period. and it may rule on the motion beyond the 10-day period within which to perfect an appeal. If the NLRC denies the motion." Thus. Nothing in the Labor Code or the NLRC Rules of Procedure authorizes the posting of a bond that is less than the monetary award in the judgment. This requirement is intended to assure the workers that if they prevail in the case. x x x In order to give full effect to the provisions on motion to reduce bond. the appellant always runs the risk of failing to perfect an appeal. coupled with compliance with the two conditions emphasized in Garcia v. this is subject to the conditions that (1) the motion to reduce the bond shall be based on meritorious grounds. (1) a meritorious ground. the appellant may still file a motion for reconsideration as provided under Section 15. at the time of the filing of the motion to reduce bond and posting of a bond in a reasonable amount. If the NLRC denies the motion. the Court rectifies its prior pronouncement – the unqualified statement that even an appellant who seeks a reduction of an appeal bond before the NLRC is expected to post a cash or surety bond securing the full amount of the judgment award within the 10-day reglementary period to perfect the appeal. and (2) posting of a bond in a reasonable amount. then the appeal is perfected. xxxx Thus. we explained in Garcia: The filing of a motion to reduce bond and compliance with the two conditions stop the running of the period to perfect an appeal. or would deem such insufficient posting as sufficient to perfect the appeal. underscoring ours) To begin with. the appellant must be allowed to wait for the ruling of the NLRC on the motion even beyond the 10-day period to perfect an appeal. then the appeal is perfected. KJ Commercial 78 for the grant of such motion. x x x xxxx The NLRC has full discretion to grant or deny the motion to reduce bond.77 (Emphasis supplied. there is no assurance whether the appellant’s motion is indeed based on "meritorious ground" and whether the bond he or she posted is of a "reasonable amount. The suspension of the period to perfect the appeal upon the filing of a motion to reduce bond To clarify. and (2) a reasonable amount in relation to the monetary award is posted by the appellant. Obviously. It is intended to discourage employers from using an appeal to delay or evade their obligation to satisfy their employees’ just and lawful claims. Rule VII of the Rules. While the bond may be reduced upon motion by the employer. the prevailing jurisprudence on the matter provides that the filing of a motion to reduce bond. xxxx .

Courts should proceed with caution so as not to deprive a party of the right to appeal. free from the constraints of technicalities. the Court’s affirmance in the Decision dated September 18. v. but rather. a liberal interpretation in line with the desired objective of resolving controversies on the merits. the emerging trend in our jurisprudence is to afford every party-litigant the amplest opportunity for the proper and just determination of his cause. Footjoy Industrial Corporation. Again. (2) prevention of miscarriage of justice or of unjust enrichment. without even considering the respondents’ arguments and totally unmindful of the rules and jurisprudence that allow the bond’s reduction." 87 In accordance with the foregoing. 2009 of the NLRC’s strict application of the rule on appeal bonds then demands a re-examination. Rule I of the NLRC Rules of Procedure also provides the policy that "the Rules shall be liberally construed to carry out the objectives of the Constitution. Inc. the NLRC insisted on an amount that was equivalent to the monetary award. In Intertranz Container Lines. Given the circumstances of the case. Instead of resolving the motion to reduce the bond on its merits. and the amount and the issue involved. (2) the prevention of miscarriage of justice or of unjust enrichment. The Court. free from the constraints of technicalities. in cases involving monetary award. NLRC. expeditious and inexpensive resolution and settlement of labor disputes. the rule that the filing of a motion to reduce bond shall not stop the running of the period to perfect an appeal is not absolute. and (3) special circumstances of the case combined with its legal merits. although the general rule provides that an appeal in labor cases from a decision involving a monetary award may be perfected only upon the posting of a cash or surety bond. the principle equally applies to them. These circumstances include: (1) the fundamental consideration of substantial justice. the NLRC still refused to fully decide on the motion. however.89 The bond requirement in appeals involving monetary awards . and the amount and the issue involved. By such haste of the NLRC in peremptorily denying the respondents’ motion without considering the respondents’ arguments. No.83 Time and again. 84 The NLRC’s failure to take action on the motion to reduce the bond in the manner prescribed by law and jurisprudence then cannot be countenanced. 1996). The Court may relax the rule. the Court held: "Jurisprudence tells us that in labor cases. Labor Code to post bond in the amount equivalent to the monetary award (Calabash Garments vs. It was equivalent to the NLRC’s refusal to exercise its discretion. and to assist the parties in obtaining just. 223. the Court has cautioned the NLRC to give Article 223 of the Labor Code. as it refused to determine and rule on a showing of meritorious grounds and the reasonableness of the bond tendered under the circumstances. x x x 82 Prevailing rules and jurisprudence allow the reduction of appeal bonds. it is an essential part of our judicial system. an employer seeking to appeal the Labor Arbiter’s decision to the Commission is unconditionally required by Art. the Labor Code of the Philippines and other relevant legislations. G. These circumstances include: (1) fundamental consideration of substantial justice.In any case. has relaxed this requirement under certain exceptional circumstances in order to resolve controversies on their merits. 110827. as it held: We are constrained to dismiss respondents’ Motion for Reconsideration.86 Section 2. Bautista. and (3) special circumstances of the case combined with its legal merits. Respondents’ contention that the appeal bond is excessive and based on a decision which is a patent nullity involves the merits of the case. the Court has relaxed this requirement under certain exceptional circumstances in order to resolve controversies on their merits. it effectively denied the respondents of their opportunity to seek a reduction of the bond even when the same is allowed under the rules and settled jurisprudence."80(Citations omitted and emphasis ours) A serious error of the NLRC was its outright denial of the motion to reduce the bond. It refused to at least make a preliminary determination of the merits of the appeal.R. Although an appeal by parties from decisions that are adverse to their interests is neither a natural right nor a part of due process. As held by the Supreme Court in a recent case. an appeal from a decision involving a monetary award may be perfected only upon the posting of cash or surety bond. 85 Considering the mandate of labor tribunals. merely explaining: We are constrained to deny respondents’ motion for reduction. ensure that every party has the amplest opportunity for the proper and just disposition of their cause. x x x81 (Emphasis ours) When the respondents sought to reconsider.88 Guidelines that are applicable in the reduction of appeal bonds were also explained in Nicol v. particularly the provisions requiring bonds in appeals involving monetary awards. August 8.

The condition was emphasized in University Plans Incorporated v. in the event that their claims are eventually sustained by the courts. adhering to the principle that substantial justice is better served by allowing the appeal on the merits to be threshed out by the NLRC.91 the Court also emphasized that while Article 22392 of the Labor Code. To ensure that the provisions of Section 6.93 On the part of the appellants. shall only accept motions to reduce bond that are coupled with the posting of a bond in a reasonable amount. the foregoing requirement of the law should be given a liberal interpretation.95 wherein the Court held that while the NLRC’s Revised Rules of Procedure . NLRC. shall exclude damages and attorney’s fees. which requires a cash or surety bond in an amount equivalent to the monetary award in the judgment appealed from may be considered a jurisdictional requirement for the perfection of an appeal. These have also resulted in the filing of numerous petitions against the NLRC. the reduction of the appeal bond shall be justified by meritorious grounds and accompanied by the posting of the required appeal bond in a reasonable amount. given that the percentage of bond that is set by this guideline shall be merely provisional. The judgment of the NLRC which has the discretion under the law to determine such amount cannot as yet be invoked by litigants until after their motions to reduce appeal bond are accepted. At the time of a motion to reduce appeal bond’s filing. when the NLRC eventually disagrees with the party’s assessment. remains firm on the importance of appeal bonds in appeals from monetary awards of LAs. we have explained that the bond requirement imposed upon appellants in labor cases is intended to ensure the satisfaction of awards that are made in favor of appellees. nonetheless. without however defeating the benefits of the bond requirement in favor of a winning litigant. (3) a liberal interpretation of the requirement of an appeal bond would serve the desired objective of resolving controversies on the merits. taking into account their respective rights and the circumstances that attend the case. citing an alleged grave abuse of discretion on the part of the labor tribunal for its finding on the sufficiency or insufficiency of posted appeal bonds. The requirement on the existence of a "meritorious ground" delves on the worth of the parties’ arguments. The appellant shall be given a period of 10 days from notice of the NLRC order within which to perfect the appeal by posting the required appeal bond. the question of what constitutes "a reasonable amount of bond" that must accompany the motion may be subject to differing interpretations of litigants. after considering the motion’s merit. Meritorious ground as a condition for the reduction of the appeal bond In all cases. (2) surrounding facts and circumstances constitute meritorious grounds to reduce the bond. including instances in which (1) there was substantial compliance with the Rules.94 Only after the posting of a bond in the required percentage shall an appellant’s period to perfect an appeal under the NLRC Rules be deemed suspended. The foregoing shall not be misconstrued to unduly hinder the NLRC’s exercise of its discretion. Given these limitations. all motions to reduce bond that are to be filed with the NLRC shall be accompanied by the posting of a cash or surety bond equivalent to 10% of the monetary award that is subject of the appeal. The NLRC retains its authority and duty to resolve the motion and determine the final amount of bond that shall be posted by the appellant. which shall provisionally be deemed the reasonable amount of the bond in the meantime that an appellant’s motion is pending resolution by the Commission. or (4) the appellants. the monetary award. determine that a greater amount or the full amount of the bond needs to be posted by the appellant. Rule VI of the NLRC Rules of Procedure. its posting may also signify their good faith and willingness to recognize the final outcome of their appeal. Rule VI of the NLRC Rules of Procedure that give parties the chance to seek a reduction of the appeal bond are effectively carried out. 90 In Blancaflor v. as amended by Republic Act No. at the very least. 6715. it is not uncommon for a party to unduly forfeit his opportunity to seek a reduction of the required bond and thus. As the Court. still in accordance with the standards of "meritorious grounds" and "reasonable amount". nevertheless. then the party shall comply accordingly. to appeal.has been and may be relaxed in meritorious cases. Time and again. It is in this light that the Court finds it necessary to set a parameter for the litigants’ and the NLRC’s guidance on the amount of bond that shall hereafter be filed with a motion for a bond’s reduction. for the purpose of computing the necessary appeal bond. exhibited their willingness and/or good faith by posting a partial bond during the reglementary period. we stress that the NLRC. pursuant to Section 6. Should the NLRC. In conformity with the NLRC Rules. Solano.

98 the absence of an employer-employee relationship.102 In this case. Thus. in turn. the employment agreement could not have given rise to an employer-employee relationship by reason of legal impossibility. following the CA’s remand of the case to the NLRC. the alleged employment of the petitioner would have been void for being contrary to law. The NLRC reversed and set aside the decision of the LA. The NLRC declared: Absent an employment permit. The agreement with EGI Managers. or from making a preliminary determination of the merits of the appellant’s contentions. Records)103 For the NLRC. the latter even rendered a Decision that contained findings that are inconsistent with McBurnie’s claims.97 the merits of the main appeal such as when there is a valid claim that there was no illegal dismissal to justify the award. Inc. Although a consideration of said arguments at that point would have been merely preliminary and should not in any way bind the eventual outcome of the appeal. namely. and this Court. is made now to support your need to facilitate your work permit with the Department of Labor in view of the expiration of your contract with Pan Pacific. The purported employment contract of the respondents with the petitioner was qualified by the conditions set forth in a letter dated May 11. A void or inexistent contract. the merit referred to may pertain to an appellant’s lack of financial capability to pay the full amount of the bond. the successful completion of the project financing for the hotel project in Baguio City and McBurnie’s acquisition of an Alien Employment Permit. 2012. and entered a new one dismissing McBurnie’s complaint. thus. The two conditions that form part of their agreement. Records). the DOLE issued a certification that McBurnie has neither applied nor been issued an Alien Employment Permit (p. the NLRC then should have considered the respondents’ arguments in the memorandum on appeal that was filed with the motion to reduce the requisite appeal bond. It is understood that this Contract is made subject to the understanding that it is effective only when the project financing for our Baguio Hotel project pushed through.101 For the purpose of determining a "meritorious ground". but lies within the sound discretion of the NLRC upon a showing of meritorious grounds. Any work performed by McBurnie in relation to the project was merely preliminary to the business venture and part of his "due diligence" study before pursuing the project. 99 prescription of claims. but the said project failed to pursue due to lack of funds.104 The NLRC concluded that McBurnie was instead a potential investor in a project that included Ganzon. even found justified the issuance of a preliminary injunction to enjoin the immediate execution of the LA’s decision."allows the [NLRC] to reduce the amount of the bond. remained unsatisfied. without an Alien Employment Permit. has no force and effect from the beginning as if it had never been entered into. Eulalio Ganzon (p. Sgd. In support thereof. a temporary restraining order on September 4. Significantly. 1999 MR. the "Employment Agreement" is void and could not be the source of a right or obligation. 204. they could not have dismissed him from employment.100 and other similarly valid issues that are raised in the appeal. not in furtherance of the employment contract but for his own investment purposes. any employment relationship that McBurnie contemplated with the respondents was void for being contrary to law. 203. since it is undisputed that McBurnie did not have any work permit."105 Lastly. the NLRC is not precluded from receiving evidence. 2007. which reads: May 11. ANDREW MCBURNIE Re: Employment Contract Dear Andrew. 106 . Regards. by its Resolution dated February 16. The CA. it was apparent that the respondents’ defenses came with an indication of merit that deserved a full review of the decision of the LA. 1999. the exercise of the authority is not a matter of right on the part of the movant. "done at his own instance. It explained that McBurnie was not an employee of the respondents." 96 By jurisprudence.

the Court finds the reduction of the appeal bond justified by the substantial amount of the LA’s monetary award. and provided a safeguard against the imposition of excessive bonds by providing that "(T)he Commission may in meritorious cases and upon motion of the appellant.000. in the appeal from the LA’s Decision. vs. 2009. the Supreme Court recognized that: "the NLRC.112 the Court also reversed the outright dismissal of an appeal where the bond posted in a judgment award of more than P30. as substantial compliance with the legal requirements for an appeal from a P789. the Court deemed the posting of a surety bond of P50. found it appropriate to remand the case to the NLRC. v. Reynaldo Fajardo.00. et al. and had thus complied with the requirements for the perfection of an appeal from the LA’s decision.111 Thus. the findings of the NLRC in the November 17. could not dispose of its assets within a short notice. 11-01-91 dated November 7. the Court holds that the respondents had posted a bond in a "reasonable amount". Although the NLRC Rules of Procedure.314. it was held: . NLRC. 2009 decision merit consideration." the merit of the motion shall always take precedence in the determination. President Rodolfo Jimenez. Although the NLRC granted the motion on the said ground via a Decision107that set aside the NLRC’s Decision dated November 17. coupled with a motion to reduce the appeal bond.000. Jr. the Court primarily considers the merits of the motions and appeals. after the appellant therein claimed that it was under receivership and thus. Inc. and should thus be applied in a manner that would only aid the attainment of justice.’"110 What constitutes a reasonable amount in the determination of the final amount of appeal bond As regards the requirement on the posting of a bond in a "reasonable amount. the respondents have posted a bond in the amount of P10." In the case of Cosico. Settled is the rule that procedural rules were conceived." the Court holds that the final determination thereof by the NLRC shall be based primarily on the merits of the motion and the main appeal. Given its considerable amount.000."114 The foregoing jurisprudence strongly indicate that in determining the reasonable amount of appeal bonds. in the present case.McBurnie moved to reconsider. If a stringent application of the rules would hinder rather than serve the demands of substantial justice.00. The CA was correct in ruling that: In the case of Nueva Ecija I Electric Cooperative. (NEECO I) Employees Association. 2009 that reversed and set aside the CA’s Decision authorizing the remand. The Court then directed the NLRC to first determine the merit. Inc. 272 SCRA 583. vs.956. the rule on the posting of an appeal bond should not be allowed to defeat the substantive rights of the parties. January 24. the Court. following the CA’s rendition of its Decision which allowed a reduced appeal bond.000. NLRC. res ipsa loquitor. reduce the amount of the bond. in Nicol where the appellant posted a bond of P10. 108 In Rosewood Processing. 113 Notably.00. of the motion to reduce the bond.00. even force them out of business and affect the livelihood of their employees.00 upon an appeal from the LA’s award ofP51. citing the Court’s Decision of September 18. Nueva Ecija I Electric Cooperative. Given the circumstances in this case and the merits of the respondents’ arguments before the NLRC. we find reason in the respondents’ claim that to require an appeal bond in such amount could only deprive them of the right to appeal.00 was P30. instead of ruling right away on the reasonableness of the bond’s amount solely on the basis of the judgment award.39 monetary award "considering the clear merits which appear. In addition to the apparent merit of the respondents’ appeal. and members.000.000. In University Plans. the former must yield to the latter. In Rosewood. and the petitioner’s substantial compliance with rules governing appeals. or lack of merit. which should first determine the merits of the motion.109 we emphasized: "Where a decision may be made to rest on informed judgment rather than rigid rules. provides that the bond to be posted shall be "in a reasonable amount in relation to the monetary award . NLRC.000. in its Resolution No. especially since the findings made therein are supported by the case records. particularly Section 6 of Rule VI thereof. 1991 deleted the phrase "exclusive of moral and exemplary damages as well as attorney’s fees in the determination of the amount of bond. 2000). 116066. Clearly. the equities of the case must be accorded their due weight because labor determinations should not be ‘secundum rationem but also secundum caritatem.154. Inc.000. (NEECO I) and Patricio de la Peña (GR No.

Any alien seeking admission to the Philippines for employment purposes and any domestic or foreign employer who desires to engage an alien for employment in the Philippines shall obtain an employment permit from the Department of Labor.910. Considering that McBurnie. Galera. We emphasize. 40. Said dismissal deprived petitioners of their right to appeal the Labor Arbiter’s decision.083. xxxx NLRC Rules allow reduction of appeal bond on meritorious grounds (Sec. Inc. v. NLRC abused its discretion." xxxx In dismissing outright the motion to reduce bond filed by petitioners.116 The effect of a denial of the appeal to the NLRC In finding merit in the respondents’ motion for reconsideration. given such results. is consistent with the oft-repeated principle that letter-perfect rules must yield to the broader interest of substantial justice. Employment permit for non-resident aliens. NLRC Rules of Procedure). moreover. A requirement for foreigners who intend to work within the country is an employment permit. 118 Thus. In WPP Marketing Communications. Rule VI. that although a remand and an order upon the NLRC to give due course to the appeal would have been the usual course after a finding that the conditions for the reduction of an appeal bond were duly satisfied by the respondents. taking into account the merits of the motion and the appeal. xxxx The law and the rules are consistent in stating that the employment permit must be acquired prior to employment. alleged illegal dismissal and sought to claim under our labor laws. that he was qualified and duly authorized to obtain employment within our jurisdiction. it was necessary for him to establish.00 prohibitive and excessive. the Court finds it necessary to modify the CA’s order of remand. an Australian. we also take into account the unwarranted results that will arise from an implementation of the Court’s Decision dated September 18. and instead rule on the dismissal of the complaint against the respondents. This Court finds the appeal bond in the amount of P54. Without the reversal of the Court’s Decision and the dismissal of the complaint against the respondents. It should have fixed an appeal bond in a reasonable amount. 115 The foregoing declaration of the Court requiring a bond in a reasonable amount. The Labor Code states: "Any alien seeking admission to the Philippines for employment purposes and any domestic or foreign employer who desires to engage an alien for employment in the Philippines shall obtain an employment permit from the Department of Labor. Title II of the Labor Code which reads: Art. we explained: This is Galera’s dilemma: Galera worked in the Philippines without proper work permit but now wants to claim employee’s benefits under Philippine labor laws. although the respondent therein appeared to have been illegally dismissed from employment.117 we held that a foreign national’s failure to seek an employment permit prior to employment poses a serious problem in seeking relief from the Court. which constitutes a meritorious ground to allow a motion for reduction thereof. first and foremost. McBurnie would be allowed to claim benefits under our labor laws despite his failure to comply with a settled requirement for foreign nationals." Section 4. 2009. Book I of the Implementing Rules and Regulations provides: ."The unreasonable and excessive amount of bond would be oppressive and unjust and would have the effect of depriving a party of his right to appeal. as provided under Article 40. 6. Rule XIV.

119 (Citations omitted and underscoring ours) Clearly. the respondents must have paid his salaries in the sum of US$26. 1999 until he met an accident on the last week of October. however. which was duly considered by the NLRC in its Decision dated November 17. however. More importantly. If an alien enters the country under a non-working visa and wishes to be employed thereafter. McBurnie left for Australia and never came back. 2010. the NLRC has ruled in its Decision dated November 17. does not bar Galera from seeking relief from other jurisdictions. Furthermore. As we have previously explained. 2009. may enter the Philippines without first securing an employment permit from the Ministry. more or less. 2009 was set aside in a Decision dated January 14. then McBurnie would not be obligated to pay anything." Galera cannot come to this Court with unclean hands. We hold that the status quo must prevail in the present case and we leave the parties where they are. record shows that McBurnie worked from September 1.122 Although an employment agreement forms part of the case records. but this was not free of charge. he may be allowed to be employed upon presentation of a duly approved employment permit. It declared that McBurnie was never an employee of any of the respondents. If it were true that it is part of the compensation package as employee. an employer-employee relationship must first be established. 1999 which embodied certain conditions for the employment’s effectivity. the said conditions.00."123 The respondents have sufficiently explained that the note refers to the letter124dated May 11. 2009 and to affirm the CA’s Decision and Resolution in the respondents’ favor effectively restores the NLRC’s basis for rendering the Decision dated November 17. 2009 on the issue of illegal dismissal. First. 120 It explained: All these facts and circumstances prove that McBurnie was never an employee of Eulalio Ganzon or the respondent companies. necessitates the dismissal of his labor complaint. If it were true that the contract of employment was for working visa purposes only. as has been previously discussed. this circumstance on the failure of McBurnie to obtain an employment permit. To grant Galera’s prayer is to sanction the violation of the Philippine labor laws requiring aliens to secure work permits before their employment. – No alien seeking employment. Such defense of the respondents. respondents assigned him Condo Unit # 812 of the Makati Cinema Square Condominium owned by the respondents. it is undisputed that on November 1. by itself. McBurnie failed to present a single evidence that [the respondents] paid his salaries like payslip. he admitted in his letter that he had to pay all the expenses incurred in the apartment. McBurnie further claims that in conformity with the provision of the employment contract pertaining to the obligation of the respondents to provide housing. whether as a resident or non-resident."Employment permit required for entry. . before a case for illegal dismissal can prosper. check or cash vouchers duly signed by him or any document showing proof of receipt of his compensation from the respondents or activity in furtherance of the employment contract. failed to materialize. 1999. particularly on the successful completion of the project financing for the hotel project in Baguio City and McBurnie’s acquisition of an Alien Employment Permit. Granting again that there was a valid contract of employment. but a potential investor in a project with a group including Eulalio Ganzon and Martinez but said project did not take off because of lack of funds. the NLRC’s findings on the contractual relations between McBurnie and the respondents are supported by the records. During the period of employment. but clearly. Assuming for the sake of argument that the employment contract is valid between them.000. 2009. However. was not sufficiently rebutted by McBurnie. the Court’s resolve to now reconsider its Decision dated September 18.121(Emphasis supplied) Although the NLRC’s Decision dated November 17. He was also allowed to use a Hyundai car. This ruling. why did the respondents perform their obligations to him? There is no question that respondents assigned him Condo Unit # 812 of the MCS. x x x. respondent Ganzon signed it with the notation "per my note.

The Court of Appeals Decision dated October 27. based on the records. McBurnie’s motion for reconsideration thereof is denied. SP No. and (4) the power to control the employee’s conduct. Inc. (3) the power of dismissal. This circumstance negates McBurnie’s claim that he had been performing work for the respondents by virtue of an employer-employee relationship. . McBurnie failed to present other competent evidence to prove his claim of an employer-employee relationship. the Court normally remands the case to the NLRC and directs it to properly dispose of the case on the merits. 2012. the other grounds raised in the motion. accordingly. Ganzon. Whoever claims entitlement to the benefits provided by law should establish his or her right thereto. In cases such as this. the dispute can be resolved by us. the Court may dispense with the time-consuming procedure of remanding a case to a labor tribunal in order "to prevent delays in the disposition of the case. the Court may dispense with the time-consuming procedure of remand in order to prevent further delays in the disposition of the case. McBurnie even failed to show through any document such as payslips or vouchers that his salaries during the time that he allegedly worked for the respondents were paid by the company. In Medline Management."128 In Real v. the Court rules as follows: (a) The motion for reconsideration filed on September 26. McBurnie could not successfully claim that he was dismissed. the pleadings. Furthermore. 2009 and Resolutions dated December 14. 126 McBurnie failed in this regard. considering the grounds that already justify the dismissal of McBurnie’s complaint. 2009 and January 25.130 (Citations omitted) It bears mentioning that although the Court resolves to grant the respondents’ motion for reconsideration. it is clear that the CA erred in affirming the decision of the NLRC which dismissed petitioner’s complaint for lack of jurisdiction. 2008 and Resolution dated March 3. As previously observed by the NLRC. 1âwphi1 Given these circumstances. 2012 are SET ASIDE." "to serve the ends of justice" and when a remand "would serve no purpose save to further delay its disposition contrary to the spirit of fair play. If. This Court’s Decision dated September 18. Nos. leaving no root or branch to bear the seeds of litigation.R. is GRANTED. or did not ensue due to the non-fulfillment of the conditions that were set forth in the letter of May 11. the Court finds it unnecessary to discuss the other grounds that are raised in the motion.R. when there is enough basis on which a proper evaluation of the merits of petitioner’s case may be had. Sangu Philippines.127 the Court ruled that when there is enough basis on which the Court may render a proper evaluation of the merits of the case. Given the parties’ conflicting claims on their true intention in executing the agreement.129 we again ruled: With the foregoing. namely: (1) the selection and engagement of the employee. it was necessary to resort to the established criteria for the determination of an employer-employee relationship. besides the employment agreement. in light of the foregoing. Inc. "However. McBurnie failed to present any employment permit which would have authorized him to obtain employment in the Philippines. (b) The motion for reconsideration filed on March 27. v. (2) the payment of wages. 2009 in CA-G. EGI-Managers. more so in the absence of any showing that the NLRC should now rule differently on the case’s merits. All these considered. and E. it would be a circuitous exercise for the Court to remand the case to the NLRC.. deserve no merit for being founded on baseless conclusions. much less illegally dismissed. 1999." "It is already an accepted rule of procedure for us to strive to settle the entire controversy in a single proceeding. especially as they pertain to insinuations on irregularities in the Court. 2012 by respondents Eulalio Ganzon. we will do so to serve the ends of justice instead of remanding the case to the lower court for further proceedings. 186984-85 is LIFTED. The absence of the employment permit instead bolsters the claim that the supposed employment of McBurnie was merely simulated. Inc. the records are barren of any document showing that its termination was by the respondents’ dismissal of McBurnie. and other evidence. In the absence of an employer-employee relationship between McBurnie and the respondents.Second." x x x. Even granting that there was such an employer-employee relationship.125 The rule of thumb remains: the onus probandi falls on the claimant to establish or substantiate the claim by the requisite quantum of evidence. Inc. Roslinda. by the latter. the Court also affirms its Resolution dated September 4. Third. 2012 by petitioner Andrew James McBurnie is DENIED. WHEREFORE. (c) The Entry of Judgment issued in G.

which fact was duly supported by the Certification dated March 14. exclusive o damages and attorney's fees. 2008 of the Department of Labor and Employment ["DOLE" for brevity] Regional Director. the following guidelines shall be observed: (a) The filing o a motion to reduce appeal bond shall be entertained by the NLRC subject to the following conditions: (1) there is meritorious ground. Regional Office No. and E. STEPHEN B. Tomas. Dreamland is presently undertaking operations of its business at National Highway. No. the complaint for illegal dismissal filed by petitioner Andrew James McBurnie against respondents Eulalio Ganzon. 111693 which dismissed outright the petition for certiorari on technical grounds. (b) For purposes o compliance with condition no. Ganzon. 10.) of the monetary award subject o the appeal. Pampanga. Respondent. restaurant and allied businesses. (2). on the matter of the filing and acceptance of motions to reduce appeal bond. 1 2 3 Dreamland Hotel Resort (Dreamland) and its President. J. Inc. is DISMISSED. 2209. Johnson is an Australian citizen who came to the Philippines as a businessman/investor without the authority to be employed as the employee/officer of any business as he was not able to secure his Alien Employment Permit ["AEP" for brevity]. Furthermore.: Before the Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari assailing the December 14. SP No. Prentice (Prentice) (petitioners) alleged the following facts in the instant petition: 9. 95916 are AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATION. the Court hereby RESOLVES that henceforth. It is engaged in the hotel. 2010 Resolutions of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. DECISION REYES. Zambales. Petitioners. Respondent Stephen B.90845 and CA-G. San Fernando City. as provided in Section 6. . Inc. . III. SO ORDERED. 2009 and February 11.R. Prentice is its current President and Chief Executive Officer. (c) Compliance with the foregoing conditions shall suffice to suspend the running o the 1 0-day reglementary period to perfect an appeal from the labor arbiter's decision to the NLRC. a motion shall be accompanied by the posting o a provisional cash or surety bond equivalent to ten percent (10. Rule VI of the 2011 NLRC Rules of Procedure. Matain Subic. In lieu of a remand of the case to the National Labor Relations Commission. Sto.R. 191455 March 12. EGI-Managers. (d) The NLRC retains its authority and duty to resolve the motion to reduce bond and determine the final amount o bond that shall be posted by the appellant. the appellant shall be given a fresh period o ten 1 0) days from notice o the NLRC order within which to perfect the appeal by posting the required appeal bond. JOHNSON. and (e) In the event that the NLRC denies the motion to reduce bond. vs. 2014 DREAMLAND HOTEL RESORT and WESTLEY J. SP No. Dreamland is a corporation duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission on January 15. 2003 to exist for a period of fifty [50] years with registration number SEC A 1998-6436. Westley J. and (2) a bond in a reasonable amount is posted. PRENTICE. still in accordance with the standards o meritorious grounds and reasonable amount. or requires a bond that exceeds the amount o the provisional bond.R.

he was instructed to supervise construction and speak with potential guests. As a fellow Australian citizen. Thus[. 4 On the other hand. proper lighting and air-conditioning unit installation. purportedly so the resort can be completed and operational by August 2007. x x x. Before entering into the said agreement[. From the start of August 2007. he would even be berated and embarrassed in front of the staff. respondent Johnson already reported for work. furniture and appliances and even ironed and hung guest room curtains). Prentice asked on several occasions the production of the AEP and TIN from Johnson. [Johnson] was also not given the authority due to him as resort manager. He never reported back to work despite several attempts of Prentice to clarify his issues. that the [sic] Johnson shall serve as Operations Manager of Dreamland from August 1. x x x. He also undertook the overall preparation of the guestrooms and staff for the opening of the hotel. x x x. Johnson was able to convince Prentice to accept his offer to invest in Dreamland and at the same time provide his services as Operations Manager of Dreamland with a promise that he will secure an AEP and Tax Identification Number ["TIN" for brevity] prior to his assumption of work.] Prentice required the submission of the AEP and TIN from Johnson. as stipulated in the Employment Agreement. measured windows for curtain width and showers for shower curtain rods.] it was agreed that the efficacy of the said agreement shall begin after one (1) month or on August 1. which stipulates among others. It soon became clear to him that he was only used for the money he loaned and there was no real intention to have him as resort manager of Dreamland Hotel. Worse. However. As [Johnson] remained unpaid since August 2007 and he has loaned all his money to petitioners. Johnson promised that the same shall be supplied within one (1) month from the signing of the contract because the application for the TIN and AEP were still under process. Johnson (Johnson) averred that: 4. He was also denied the benefits promised him as part of his compensation such as service vehicles. he asked for his salary after the resort was opened in October 2007 but the same was not given to him by petitioners. 9. Dreamland commenced a dry run of its operations. Believing the word of Johnson. ensured proper grout installation.000. Sometime on June 21. respondent Stephen B. There is also no truth to the allegation that it was [Johnson] who "offered" and "convinced" petitioner Prentice to "invest" in and provide his services to petitioner Dreamland Hotel Resort x x x. even performing menial tasks (i. 15. [Johnson] became very alarmed with the situation as it appears that there was no intention to pay him his salary. even with customers and [Johnson] was powerless to prohibit Prentice. 11. 12. 2007. 2007 and shall serve as such for a period of three (3) years. Prentice would go into drunken tiffs. xxxx 8. which he now depended on for his living as he has been left penniless. The truth of the matter is that it was petitioners who actively advertised for a resort manager for Dreamland Hotel. inspected for cracked tiles. Believing the representations of petitioner Prentice. Johnson gave excuses and promised that he is already in possession of the requirements. Johnson worked as a hotel and resort Operations Manager only at that time. 6. 2007. 13. 2007. beddings. x x x 5. It was Prentice who offered employment and convinced Johnson to give out a loan. meals and insurance. 2007.e. unloaded and installed mattresses. Prentice and Johnson entered into an Employment Agreement.x x x. It was in response to these advertisements that private respondent Johnson contacted petitioners to inquire on the terms for employment offered. He worked for only about three (3) weeks until he suddenly abandoned his work and subsequently resigned as Operations Manager starting November 3. On or about October 8.00) to finish construction of the resort. Prentice countermanded his orders to the staff at every opportunity. private respondent Johnson accepted the employment as Resort Manager and loaned money to petitioners [consisting of] his retirement pay in the amount of One Hundred Thousand US Dollars (USD 100. . It was then that he found out to his dismay that the resort was far from finished. 14.

Unpaid salaries from August 1. 7 Dissatisfied. We quote: 6 There [is] substantial evidence on record that [Johnson] indeed resigned voluntarily from his position by his mere act of tendering his resignation and immediately abandoned his work as Operations Manager from the time that he filed said resignation letter on November 3. SO ORDERED. petitioners refused to pay [Johnson] the salaries and benefits due him. Johnson filed a Complaint for illegal dismissal and non-payment of salaries. Inc[. 2008. he was informed that "… I consider [yo]ur resignation as immediate". which highlighted his lack of real authority in the hotel and the disdain for him by petitioners. x x x. on November 3. let this case be as it is hereby ordered DISMISSED for lack of merit. 5 On January 31.00 from the [petitioners] since July 2007 is not supported by the evidence x . respondent Johnson was forced to submit his resignation.000. This fact was not denied or questioned by him. 2. among others. Evidence on record also show that [Johnson] only served as Operations Manager for a period of three (3) weeks after which he tendered his voluntary resignation and left his job.00. premises considered. against the petitioners. 2007 and never returned to his work up to the filing of this case.000. 2007 amounting to a total of [P]172.000. In deference to the Employment Agreement signed. Thus. The NLRC rendered its Decision on April 30. Johnson appealed to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).00 monthly from November 3. [Johnson] stated that he was willing to continue work for the three month period stipulated therein. there was no illegal dismissal committed against him and for him to be entitled to reinstatement to his former position and backwages. Respondent Wes[t]ley Prentice and/or Dreamland Resort & Hotel. it is significant that the contention that [Johnson] received a total of [P]172.00. Separation pay equivalent to one month’s salary. the dispositive portion of which reads: 8 WHEREFORE. 9 The NLRC also noted the following: Insofar as the charge of abandonment against [Johnson] is concerned. concrete and substantial evidence to confirm the voluntary resignation of [Johnson] from his employment. Backwages computed at [P]60. There being competent. SO ORDERED. All the money claims of the complainant are likewise ordered dismissed for lack of legal basis. the decision appeared from is hereby REVERSED. 2007 up to the finality of this decision. xxxx WHEREFORE. the Labor Arbiter (LA) rendered a Decision dismissing Johnson’s complaint for lack of merit with the finding that he voluntarily resigned from his employment and was not illegally dismissed. On May 23. 2009. 2007 to November 1. 2008. 11. 3.10. in an SMS or text message sent by Prentice to [Johnson] on the same day at around 8:20 pm. Despite demand. 2007.800. His claim that there was breach of employment contract committed by the respondents and that he was not refunded his alleged investment with the respondent Dreamland Hotel and Resort were not properly supported with substantial evidence and besides these issues are not within the ambit of jurisdiction of this Commission. However.] are hereby ordered to pay [Johnson] the following: 1. or [P]60. after another embarrassment was handed out by petitioner Prentice in front of the staff.

x x submitted by the [petitioners]. Except for a promissory note x x x for [P]2,200.00, the pieces of evidence in
question do not bear [Johnson’s] signature, and do not therefore constitute proof of actual receipt by him of the
amounts stated therein. Thus, based on the evidence and on the admission by [Johnson] that he received the
amount of [P]5,000.00 from the [petitioners], it appears that [Johnson] received a total of only [P]7,200.00 from the
[petitioners]. Since based on the Employment Agreement, his employment commenced on August 1, 2007, it follows
that as of November 3, 2007, when he tendered his resignation, the [petitioners] had failed to pay him a total of
[P]172,800.00 representing his unpaid salaries for three months ([P]60,000.00 x 3 mos. = [P]180,000.00 – [P]7,200
= [P]172,800.00). Even the most reasonable employee would consider quitting his job after working for three months
and receiving only an insignificant fraction of his salaries. There was, therefore, not an abandonment of employment
nor a resignation in the real sense, but a constructive dismissal, which is defined as an involuntary resignation
resorted to when continued employment is rendered impossible, unreasonable or unlikely x x x. Consequently,
[Johnson] is entitled to reinstatement with full backwages. However, due to the strained relation between the parties,
which renders his reinstatement inadvisable, separation pay may be awarded in lieu of reinstatement.
10

Consequently, the petitioners elevated the NLRC decision to the CA by way of Petition for Certiorari with Prayer for
the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction under Rule 47.
In the assailed Resolution dated December 14, 2009, the CA dismissed the petition for lack of proof of authority
and affidavit of service of filing as required by Section 13 of the 1997 Rules of Procedure. The subsequent motion
for reconsideration filed by the petitioners was likewise denied by the CA in a Resolution dated February 11, 2010.
11

12

Undaunted, the petitioners filed before this Court the present Petition for Review on Certiorari, raising the following
issues, viz:
A.
THE HONORABLE [CA] COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR IN PROMULGATING ITS FIRST
RESOLUTION (DECEMBER 14, 2009) WHICH OUTRIGHTLY DISMISSED PETITIONERS’ PETITION FOR
CERTIORARI.
B.
THE HONORABLE [CA] COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR IN PROMULGATING ITS SECOND
RESOLUTION (FEBRUARY 11, 2010) WHICH DENIED FOR LACK OF MERIT PETITIONERS’ MOTION
FOR RECONSIDERATION.
C.
THE HONORABLE [CA] COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR IN NOT GIVING DUE CONSIDERATION
TO THE MERITS OF THE PETITIONERS’ PETITION AND IN NOT GRANTING THEIR PRAYER FOR
TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER[.]
13

The petition is partially granted.
At its inception, the Court takes note of the Resolutions dated December 14, 2009 and February 11, 2010 of the CA
dismissing the Petition for Certiorari due to the following infirmities:
1. The affiant has no proof of authority to file the petition in behalf of petitioner Dreamland.
2. The petition has no appended affidavit of service to show proof of service of filing as required by Sec. 13
of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.
14

To justify their stance that the CA should have considered the merits of the case, instead of dismissing merely on
procedural grounds, the petitioners cited numerous cases wherein the Court has decided to waive the strict
application of the Rules in the interest of substantial justice. While "[u]tter disregard of [the rules of procedure]
cannot justly be rationalized by harking on the policy of liberal construction," the Court recognizes badges of
15

16

inequity present in the case at bar, which would be seemingly branded with approval should the Court turn a blind
eye and dismiss this petition on procedural grounds alone.
"While it is desirable that the Rules of Court be faithfully observed, courts should not be so strict about procedural
lapses that do not really impair the proper administration of justice. If the rules are intended to ensure the proper
and orderly conduct of litigation, it is because of the higher objective they seek which are the attainment of justice
and the protection of substantive rights of the parties. Thus, the relaxation of procedural rules, or saving a particular
case from the operation of technicalities when substantial justice requires it, as in the instant case, should no longer
be subject to cavil."
17

Time and again, this Court has emphasized that procedural rules should be treated with utmost respect and due
regard, since they are designed to facilitate the adjudication of cases to remedy the worsening problem of delay in
the resolution of rival claims and in the administration of justice. "From time to time, however, we have recognized
exceptions to the Rules but only for the most compelling reasons where stubborn obedience to the Rules would
defeat rather than serve the ends of justice." "It is true that procedural rules may be waived or dispensed with in the
interest of substantial justice."
18

19

Brushing aside technicalities, in the utmost interest of substantial justice and taking into consideration the varying
and conflicting factual deliberations by the LA and the NLRC, the Court shall now delve into the merits of the case.
The petitioners contend that the employment of Johnson as operations manager commenced only on October 8,
2007 and not on August 1, 2007. However, the employment contract categorically stated that the "term of
employment shall commence on [August 1, 2007]." Furthermore, the factual allegations of Johnson that he actually
worked from August 1, 2007 were neither sufficiently rebutted nor denied by the petitioners. As Johnson has
specifically set forth in his reply before the LA:
Although the resort did not open until approximately 8th October 2007, [Johnson’s] employment began, as per
Employment Agreement, on 1st August 2007. During the interim period[, Johnson] was frequently instructed by
[Prentice] to supervise the construction staff and speak with potential future guests who visited the site out of
curiosity. Other duties carried out by [Johnson] prior to [the] opening included the overall preparation of the guest
rooms for eventual occupation ensuring cracked tiles were replaced, ensuring grout was properly installed between
tiles, ensuring all lighting and air conditioning [were] functioning, measuring windows for curtain width, measuring
showers for shower curtain rods and installing shower curtains. Other duties included the unloading, carrying and
installation of mattresses, bedding[s], TV’s, refrigerators and other furnishings and ironing curtains x x x.
20

Notably, it was only in their Motion for Reconsideration of the NLRC decision where the petitioners belatedly
disagreed that Johnson performed the abovementioned tasks and argued that had Johnson done the tasks he
enumerated, those were tasks foreign and alien to his position as operations manager and [were done] without their
knowledge and consent.
21

22

Nevertheless, Prentice did not deny that he ordered Johnson to speak with potential guests of the hotel. In fact, the
petitioners admitted and submitted documents which showed that Johnson has already taken his residence in the
hotel as early as July 2007—a part of Johnson’s remuneration as the hotel operations manager. In presenting such
documents, the petitioners would want to impress upon the Court that their act of accommodating Johnson was
merely due to his being a fellow Australian national.
23

As it could not be determined with absolute certainty whether or not Johnson rendered the services he mentioned
during the material time, doubt must be construed in his favor for the reason that "the consistent rule is that if doubt
exists between the evidence presented by the employer and that by the employee, the scales of justice must be
tilted in favor of the latter." What is clear upon the records is that Johnson had already taken his place in the hotel
since July 2007.
24

For the petitioners’ failure to disprove that Johnson started working on August 1, 2007, as stated on the employment
contract, payment of his salaries on said date, even prior to the opening of the hotel is warranted.
The petitioners also maintain that they have paid the amount of P7,200.00 to Johnson for his three weeks of service
from October 8, 2007 until November 3, 2007, the date of Johnson’s resignation, which Johnson did not controvert.
25

Even so, the amount the petitioners paid to Johnson as his three-week salary is significantly deficient as Johnson’s
monthly salary as stipulated in their contract is P60,000.00 . Thus, the amount which Johnson should have been
paid is P45,000.00 and not P7,200.00. In light of this deficiency, there is more reason to believe that the petitioners
withheld the salary of Johnson without a valid reason. If they indeed believed that Johnson deserves to be paid only
for three-week worth of service as operations manager, then they should still have paid him the amount due for
three weeks of work rendered.
26

Another argument posited by the petitioners is that the employment contract executed by the parties is inefficacious
because the employment contract is subject to the presentation of Johnson of his Alien Employment Permit (AEP)
and Tax Identification Number (TIN).
Again, this statement is wanting of merit.
Johnson has adduced proof that as a permanent resident, he is exempted from the requirement of securing an AEP
as expressed under Department Order No. 75-06, Series of 2006 of the Department of Labor and Employment
(DOLE), which we quote:
Rule I- Coverage and Exemption
xxxx
2. Exemption. The following categories of foreign nationals are exempt from securing an employment permit:
xxxx
2.7 Resident foreign nationals
Furthermore, Johnson submitted a Certification from DOLE Regional Office III, stating that he is exempted from
securing an AEP as a holder of Permanent Resident Visa. Consequently, the condition imposed upon Johnson’s
employment, if there is any, is in truth without effect to its validity.
27

Anent the requirement of securing a TIN to make the contract of employment efficacious, records show that
Johnson secured his TIN only on December 2007 after his resignation as operations manager. Nevertheless, this
does not negate the fact that the contract of employment had already become effective even prior to such date.
28

In addition to the foregoing, there is no stipulation in the employment contract itself that the same shall only be
effective upon the submission of AEP and TIN. The petitioners did not present any proof to support this agreement
prior to the execution of the employment contract. In the case of Ortañez v. CA , the Court held:
29

Spoken words could be notoriously unreliable unlike a written contract which speaks of a uniform language. Thus,
under the general rule in Section 9 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, when the terms of an agreement were
reduced to writing, as in this case, it is deemed to contain all the terms agreed upon and no evidence of such terms
can be admitted other than the contents thereof. x x x. (Citations omitted)
30

As regards the NLRC findings that Johnson was constructively dismissed and did not abandon his work, the Court is
in consonance with this conclusion with the following basis:
Even the most reasonable employee would consider quitting his job after working for three months and receiving
only an insignificant fraction of his salaries. There was, therefore, not an abandonment of employment nor a
resignation in the real sense, but a constructive dismissal, which is defined as an involuntary resignation resorted to
when continued employment is rendered impossible, unreasonable or unlikely x x x.
31

The petitioners aver that considering that Johnson tendered his resignation and abandoned his work, it is his burden
to prove that his resignation was not voluntary on his part.
32

The payment of separation pay is in addition to payment of backwages. he was illegally dismissed. Diaz where it held that: 33 "There is constructive dismissal if an act of clear discrimination. The petitioners cannot expect Johnson to tolerate working for them without any compensation. then. Mr[. On one hand. As to the reliefs granted to an employee who is illegally dismissed. the NLRC found that due to the strained relations between the parties. Since joining Dreamland Resort & Hotel over three months ago I have put my heart and soul into the business. separation pay is granted." x x x Under the doctrine of strained relations. The two reliefs provided are separate and distinct. Applying the Court’s pronouncement in Duldulao v. I have donated many hours of my personal time. the Court brings to mind its earlier ruling in the case of SHS Perforated Materials. or disdain by an employer becomes so unbearable on the part of the employee that it would foreclose any choice by him except to forego his continued employment. insensibility. CA . .With this. x x x. or separation pay if reinstatement is no longer viable. Inc. (Emphasis and underscoring ours) 36 The above preceding statement only goes to show that while it was Johnson who tendered his resignation. Since Johnson was constructively dismissed. the Court construes that the act of the petitioners in not paying Johnson his salaries for three months has become unbearable on the latter’s part that he had no choice but to cede his employment with them. as an offer involving a demotion in rank and a diminution in pay. due totally to the fact that I have lent you and your resort/hotel well over $200. are reinstatement without loss of seniority rights. the payment of separation pay is considered an acceptable alternative to reinstatement when the latter option is no longer desirable or viable. In effect. unreasonable or unlikely. unreasonable or unlikely that any employee. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) 39 The case of Golden Ace further provides: "The accepted doctrine is that separation pay may avail in lieu of reinstatement if reinstatement is no longer practical or in the best interest of the parties. an illegally dismissed employee is entitled to two reliefs: backwages and reinstatement. an illegally dismissed employee is entitled to either reinstatement. Zambales. Where reinstatement is no longer viable as an option. The normal consequences of respondents’ illegal dismissal. It exists where there is cessation of work because continued employment is rendered impossible. such as Johnson would continue working for an employer who does not pay him his salaries. and payment of backwages computed from the time compensation was withheld up to the date of actual reinstatement. On the other hand. In instances where reinstatement is no longer feasible because of strained relations between the employee and the employer. 1âwphi1 40 In the present case. Golden Ace Builders v. The Court quotes the pertinent sections of Johnson’s resignation letter which reflects the real reason why he was resigning as operations manager of the hotel: 35 I hereby tender my resignation to you. I have frequently worked seven days a week and twelve to thirteen hours a day. Subic. Southern Industrial Gases Philippines is instructive: 37 38 Thus. I am now literally penniless. if viable. separation pay is to be awarded to Johnson in lieu of his reinstatement. Dreamland Resort. Separation pay in lieu of reinstatement may likewise be awarded if the employee decides not to be reinstated. such payment liberates the employee from what could be a highly oppressive work environment. it was due to the petitioners’ acts that he was constrained to resign. Talde referring to Macasero v. Philippines. and backwages.000AU (approx 8million pesos) and your non-payment of wages to me from 1st August 2007 as per Employment Agreement. v." 34 It is impossible. separation pay equivalent to one (1) month salary for every year of service should be awarded as an alternative.] Wes Prentice. it releases the employer from the grossly unpalatable obligation of maintaining in its employ a worker it could no longer trust.

Accordingly. Furthermore.000. 2009 and February 11. the award of backwages should be computed from November 3. 42 WHEREFORE. including the imputed service for which the employee is entitled to backwages.200. Dreamland Hotel Resort and Westley Prentice are ORDERED to PAY Stephen Johnson backwages of P60.00 per month which should be computed from November 3. SO ORDERED. 2007 to August 1. separation pay of P180. 2007. 2007 to August 1. The Decision of the NLRC dated April 30. 41 While the Court agrees with the NLRC that the award of separation pay and unpaid salaries is warranted. 111693 are hereby SET ASIDE.The NLRC held that Johnson is entitled to backwages from November 3.which is three years from August 1. 2007 to November 1.800. 07002711-08 is REINSTATED and AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS in the computation of backwages and separation pay.00. SP No. 2010 . separation pay equivalent to one month salary. 2010 less the P. separation pay is computed from the commencement of employment up to the time of termination. the Resolutions dated December 14.00. and unpaid salaries from August 1. 2009 in NLRC LAC No.7.00 already paid to him.R. 2007 up to the finality of the decision. Likewise. the Court does not lose sight of the fact that the employment contract states that Johnson's employment is for a term of three years. As one-month salary is awarded as separation pay for every year of service. 2010 of the Court of Appeals in CAG. representing Stephen Johnson's three-year contract should be awarded. . 2007 amounting to a total of P172. Johnson should be paid separation pay equivalent to his three-month salary for the three-year contract.000. including imputed service.