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Hacienda Fatima v.

National Federation Digest


Hacienda Fatima v. National Federation

broadcasting company, and was likewise issued a license and authority to operate
by the National Telecommunications Commission.

Facts:
The petitioner disfavored the fact that the private respondent employees have
formed a union. When the union became the collective bargaining representative in
the certification election, the petitioner refused to sit down to negotiate a CBA.
Moreover, the respondents were not given work for a month amounting to
unjustified dismissal. As a result, the complainants staged a strike to protest but was
settled through a memorandum of agreement which contained a list of those
considered as regular employees for the payroll.

Petitioner employed respondents Nazareno, Gerzon, Deiparine, and Lerasan as


production assistants (PAs) on different dates. They were assigned at the news and
public affairs, for various radio programs in the Cebu Broadcasting Station. On
December 19, 1996, petitioner and the ABS-CBN Rank-and-File Employees executed
a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) to be effective during the period from
December 11, 1996 to December 11, 1999. However, since petitioner refused to
recognize PAs as part of the bargaining unit, respondents were not included to the
CBA.

The NLRC held that there was illegal dismissal and this was affirmed by the Court of
Appeals.

On October 12, 2000, respondents filed a Complaint for Recognition of Regular


Employment Status, Underpayment of Overtime Pay, Holiday Pay, Premium Pay,
Service Incentive Pay, Sick Leave Pay, and 13th Month Pay with Damages against
the petitioner before the NLRC. The Labor Arbiter rendered judgment in favor of the
respondents, and declared that they were regular employees of petitioner as such,
they were awarded monetary benefits. NLRC affirmed the decision of the Labor
Arbiter. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but CA dismissed it.

Issue: W/N the employees are regular workers


RULING: Yes, they are regular and not seasonal employees. For them to be excluded
as regulars, it is not enough that they perform work that is seasonal in nature but
they also are employed for the duration of one season. The evidence only proved
the first but not the second requirement.
The ruling in Mercado v. NLRC is not applicable since in that case, the workers were
merely required to perform phases of agricultural work for a definite period of time,
after which, their services are available to other employers. The management's
sudden change of assignment reeks of bad faith, it is likewise guilty of ULP.
Q: Company Y is engaged in road construction projects of the government. It
engaged the services of certain workers to work on various projects on different
dates. Several of its workers joined Union A as members. Union A filed a motion for
certification election with the regional office. Company Y opposed stating that the
workers were project employees and not qualified to form part of the rank and file
collective bargaining unit. Later, Company Y terminated the employment of the
workers due to the completion of its projects or the expiration of workers
contracts. The affected workers claimed they were dismissed because of their
union activities; and thus staged a strike. The strike was declared illegal and the
workers were deemed to have lost their employment status. Were the workers
validly dismissed?
A: Yes. The contracts of employment of petitioners attest to the fact that
they were hired for specific projects and their employment was
coterminous with the completion of the project for which they had been
hired. Also, they were informed in advance that said project or
undertaking for which they were hired would end on a stated or
determinable date. Since the workers were project employees, their
employment legally ended upon completion of their respective
projects. (Association of Trade Unions v. Abella, G.R. No. 100518, January
24, 2000.
ABS-CBN vs NAZARENO Case Digest
ABS-CBN BROADCASTING CORPORATION vs. MARLYN NAZARENO et al.
G.R. No. 164156
September 26, 2006
Facts: Petitioner ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation (ABS-CBN) is engaged in the
broadcasting business and owns a network of television and radio stations, whose
operations revolve around the broadcast, transmission, and relay of
telecommunication signals. It sells and deals in or otherwise utilizes the airtime it
generates from its radio and television operations. It has a franchise as a

Issue: Whether or not the respondents were considered regular employees of ABSCBN.
Ruling: The respondents are regular employees of ABS-CBN. It was held that where
a person has rendered at least one year of service, regardless of the nature of the
activity performed, or where the work is continuous or intermittent, the employment
is considered regular as long as the activity exists, the reason being that a
customary appointment is not indispensable before one may be formally declared as
having attained regular status.
In Universal Robina Corporation v. Catapang, the Court states that the primary
standard, therefore, of determining regular employment is the reasonable
connection between the particular activity performed by the employee in relation to
the usual trade or business of the employer. The test is whether the former is usually
necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer. The
connection can be determined by considering the nature of work performed and its
relation to the scheme of the particular business or trade in its entirety. Also, if the
employee has been performing the job for at least a year, even if the performance is
not continuous and merely intermittent, the law deems repeated and continuing
need for its performance as sufficient evidence of the necessity if not
indispensability of that activity to the business. Hence, the employment is
considered regular, but only with respect to such activity and while such activity
exists.
Additionally, respondents cannot be considered as project or program employees
because no evidence was presented to show that the duration and scope of the
project were determined or specified at the time of their engagement. In the case at
bar, however, the employer-employee relationship between petitioner and
respondents has been proven. In the selection and engagement of respondents, no
peculiar or unique skill, talent or celebrity status was required from them because
they were merely hired through petitioners personnel department just like any
ordinary employee. Respondents did not have the power to bargain for huge talent
fees, a circumstance negating independent contractual relationship. Respondents
are highly dependent on the petitioner for continued work. The degree of control and
supervision exercised by petitioner over respondents through its supervisors
negates the allegation that respondents are independent contractors.

The presumption is that when the work done is an integral part of the regular
business of the employer and when the worker, relative to the employer, does not
furnish an independent business or professional service, such work is a regular
employment of such employee and not an independent contractor. As regular
employees, respondents are entitled to the benefits granted to all other regular
employees of petitioner under the CBA . Besides, only talent-artists were excluded
from the CBA and not production assistants who are regular employees of the
respondents. Moreover, under Article 1702 of the New Civil Code: In case of doubt,
all labor legislation and all labor contracts shall be construed in favor of the safety
and decent living of the laborer.
BRENT SCHOOL, INC.DIMACHE vs. RONALDO ZAMORA and DOROTEO R. ALEGRE
G.R. No. L-48494 February 5, 1990 en banc
Private respondent Doroteo R. Alegre was engaged as athletic director by petitioner
Brent School, Inc. at a yearly compensation of P20,000.00. The contract fixed a
specific term for its existence, five (5) years, i.e., from July 18, 1971, the date of
execution of the agreement, to July 17, 1976. Subsequent subsidiary agreements
dated March 15, 1973, August 28, 1973, and September 14, 1974 reiterated the
same terms and conditions, including the expiry date, as those contained in the
original contract of July 18, 1971.
On April 20,1976, Alegre was given a copy of the report filed by Brent School with
the Department of Labor advising of the termination of his services effective on July
16, 1976. The stated ground for the termination was "completion of contract,
expiration of the definite period of employment." Although protesting the announced
termination stating that his services were necessary and desirable in the usual
business of his employer, and his employment lasted for 5 years - therefore he had
acquired the status of regular employee - Alegre accepted the amount of P3,177.71,
and signed a receipt therefor containing the phrase, "in full payment of services for
the period May 16, to July 17, 1976 as full payment of contract."
The Regional Director considered Brent School's report as an application for
clearance to terminate employment (not a report of termination), and accepting the
recommendation of the Labor Conciliator, refused to give such clearance and
instead required the reinstatement of Alegre, as a "permanent employee," to his
former position without loss of seniority rights and with full back wages.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the provisions of the Labor Code, as amended, have anathematized
"fixed period employment" or employment for a term.
RULING:
Respondent Alegre's contract of employment with Brent School having lawfully
terminated with and by reason of the expiration of the agreed term of period
thereof, he is declared not entitled to reinstatement.
The employment contract between Brent School and Alegre was executed on July
18, 1971, at a time when the Labor Code of the Philippines (P.D. 442) had not yet
been promulgated. At that time, the validity of term employment was impliedly
recognized by the Termination Pay Law, R.A. 1052, as amended by R.A. 1787. Prior,
thereto, it was the Code of Commerce (Article 302) which governed employment
without a fixed period, and also implicitly acknowledged the propriety of
employment with a fixed period. The Civil Code of the Philippines, which was
approved on June 18, 1949 and became effective on August 30,1950, itself deals
with obligations with a period. No prohibition against term-or fixed-period
employment is contained in any of its articles or is otherwise deducible therefrom.
It is plain then that when the employment contract was signed between Brent

School and Alegre, it was perfectly legitimate for them to include in it a stipulation
fixing the duration thereof Stipulations for a term were explicitly recognized as valid
by this Court.
The status of legitimacy continued to be enjoyed by fixed-period employment
contracts under the Labor Code (PD 442), which went into effect on November 1,
1974. The Code contained explicit references to fixed period employment, or
employment with a fixed or definite period. Nevertheless, obscuration of the
principle of licitness of term employment began to take place at about this time.
Article 320 originally stated that the "termination of employment of probationary
employees and those employed WITH A FIXED PERIOD shall be subject to such
regulations as the Secretary of Labor may prescribe." Article 321 prescribed the just
causes for which an employer could terminate "an employment without a definite
period." And Article 319 undertook to define "employment without a fixed period" in
the following manner: where the employee has been engaged to perform activities
which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the
employer, except where the employment has been fixed for a specific project or
undertaking the completion or termination of which has been determined at the
time of the engagement of the employee or where the work or service to be
performed is seasonal in nature and the employment is for the duration of the
season.
Subsequently, the foregoing articles regarding employment with "a definite period"
and "regular" employment were amended by Presidential Decree No. 850, effective
December 16, 1975.
Article 320, dealing with "Probationary and fixed period employment," was altered
by eliminating the reference to persons "employed with a fixed period," and was
renumbered (becoming Article 271).
As it is evident that Article 280 of the Labor Code, under a narrow and literal
interpretation, not only fails to exhaust the gamut of employment contracts to which
the lack of a fixed period would be an anomaly, but would also appear to restrict,
without reasonable distinctions, the right of an employee to freely stipulate with his
employer the duration of his engagement, it logically follows that such a literal
interpretation should be eschewed or avoided. The law must be given a reasonable
interpretation, to preclude absurdity in its application. Outlawing the whole concept
of term employment and subverting to boot the principle of freedom of contract to
remedy the evil of employer's using it as a means to prevent their employees from
obtaining security of tenure is like cutting off the nose to spite the face or, more
relevantly, curing a headache by lopping off the head.
Such interpretation puts the seal on Bibiso upon the effect of the expiry of an agreed
period of employment as still good rulea rule reaffirmed in the recent case of
Escudero vs. Office of the President (G.R. No. 57822, April 26, 1989) where, in the
fairly analogous case of a teacher being served by her school a notice of termination
following the expiration of the last of three successive fixed-term employment
contracts, the Court held:
Reyes (the teacher's) argument is not persuasive. It loses sight of the fact that her
employment was probationary, contractual in nature, and one with a definitive
period. At the expiration of the period stipulated in the contract, her appointment
was deemed terminated and the letter informing her of the non-renewal of her
contract is not a condition sine qua non before Reyes may be deemed to have
ceased in the employ of petitioner UST. The notice is a mere reminder that Reyes'
contract of employment was due to expire and that the contract would no longer be
renewed. It is not a letter of termination.
Paraphrasing Escudero, respondent Alegre's employment was terminated upon the
expiration of his last contract with Brent School on July 16, 1976 without the
necessity of any notice. The advance written advice given the Department of Labor

with copy to said petitioner was a mere reminder of the impending expiration of his
contract, not a letter of termination, nor an application for clearance to terminate
which needed the approval of the Department of Labor to make the termination of
his services effective. In any case, such clearance should properly have been given,
not denied.
COLUMBUS PHILIPPINES BUS CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. NATIONAL
LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ZENAIDA DOMASIG and ROMAN
DOMASIG, respondents.
This is a petition for certiorari[1] which seeks to nullify the Resolution [2] dated
October 29, 1993 of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) affirming the
Decision[3] dated September 8, 1992 of the Labor Arbiter Ceferina J. Diosana who
found and adjudged that private respondents Roman and Zenaida Domasig were
illegally dismissed by petitioner Columbus Philippines Bus Corporation from their
positions as driver and bus conductress, respectively.
Petitioner Columbus Philippines Bus Corporation is engaged in the business of
operating passenger buses. Since the start of its operations in 1990, it has
maintained a list of drivers and conductors who rendered service in its bus units
allegedly on a first come first served basis and compensated purely on
commission. The drivers and conductors/conductress worked for about ten (10) to
fifteen (15) days a month and were allegedly not required to work everyday.
Private respondent Roman Domasig started working as a driver with the
petitioner on August 30, 1990 with a daily income ranging from Three Hundred Fifty
Pesos (P350.00) to Six Hundred Fifty Pesos (P650.00), while his wife and corespondent, Zenaida Domasig, was employed as a bus conductress on October 1,
1990 with a daily income of Two Hundred Fifty Pesos (P250.00) to Five Hundred
Pesos (P500.00). The employment of private respondents Roman and Zenaida
Domasig with the petitioner was abruptly terminated on January 21 and 22, 1992,
respectively, for their having allegedly formed a labor union.
Thus, these two (2) related cases of unfair labor practice, illegal dismissal,
illegal deductions from salary, and non-payment of service incentive leave pay and
13th month pay were instituted by private respondents against petitioner Columbus
Philippines Bus Corporation and its officers, Atty. Ferdinand Catabian and Mrs.
Amelia de Dios, before the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE),
Arbitration Branch in Manila, National Capital Region. The said related cases were
assigned to Labor Arbiter Ceferina J. Diosa.
In his Sinumpaang Salaysay private respondent Roman Domasig alleged,
among others, the following in his affidavit-complaint, to wit:
xxx xxx xxx
3. Sa tindi ng galit ng pangasiwaan at upang hindi mabuo ang itinatayo naming
unyon, akoy basta na lamang pinababa mula sa aking regular na bus na may
numerong 109 nuong ika-21 ng Enero 1992, bandang alas 4:30 ng madaling araw

nang akoy papalabas na sa garahe at bumiyahe na sana. Simula na noon hindi na


ako pinalabas sa biyahe. Ibinigay na sa iba ang aking regular na bus.
4. Kamiy napilitang magtayo ng unyon dahil sa mahirap na kalagayan namin sa
trabaho. Hinaharap namin ang sumusunod:
(a) Mahabang oras sa trabaho. Umaabot sa higit kumulang 19 hanggang 20 oras ang
ginugugol namin sa trabaho. Kailangang nasa garahe na kami at lumabas ng alas-4
ng madaling araw at makaalis lamang pagkatapos makapag-engreso ng collection
bandang hatinggabi na.
(b) Illegal deductions. Tuwing may labas kami, sapilitang kinakaltasan ang aming
sahod para daw sa pulis. Hindi na nga kami binibigyan ng mga benepisyong
itinatakda ng batas gaya ng 13th month pay at service incentive leave, kinakaltasan
pa kami para daw sa pulis.
(k) Wala kaming kaseguruhan sa trabaho. Kapag kamiy nagreklamo, kami agad
nilang tatanggalin. Napakadali nilang gawin. Hindi ka lang bibigyan ng bus
assignment, wala ka ng magagawa.
5. Tulad ng ganitong kalagayan namin sa trabaho, inumpisahan naming
mangumbinsi sa kapwa naming empleyado noong Disyembre pa ng nakaraang
taon. Ang ilan sa mga kasama ko ay sina Leon Agarao, Santiago Tagum, Alejandro
Bayroon at Zenaida Domasig. Silay tinanggal din sa trabaho. Kumuha kami ng SamaSamang Pahayag mula sa National Federation of Labor para papirmahan sa mga
nais sumapi sa Unyon. Columbus Workers Union ang aming lokal at itoy isinapi
namin sa National Federation of Labor (NFL).
6. Pagpasok ng bagong taon, 1992, mayroon na kaming napapirma na higit sa
limampu (50). Mahigit tatlong daan kami, drayber at konduktor. Sa unang linggo pa
lamang ng Enero 1992. Natutunan ng kompanya ang kilos namin. Tinawag na ako ni
Atty. Ferdinand Catabian, General Manager ng CPBC bago akoy tuluyan niyang
tinanggal noong ika-21 ng Enero 1992 at tinanong kung totoo na mayroon kaming
itinatatag na unyon. Tinanggihan ko noon at akoy kanyang binigyan ng babala ng
ganito: Domasig, ayaw ko ng unyon. Kapag mayroon akong mapapanghawakang
ebidensiya na kayoy nagtatayo ng unyon at ikaw ay kasama, titiyakin ko sa iyo na
tanggal ka agad.
7. Dumating ang araw namin noong ika-21 ng Enero. Noong araw na iyon, humigit
kumulang alas 4:30 ng madaling araw, akoy papalabas ng garahe. Dala-Dala ko ang
aking regular bus No. 109. Pinahinto ako ni Legorio Vellesar, dating dispatcher at
ngayon ay traffic supervisor at sinabihan na itabi ko ang bus dahil kakausapin daw
ako ni Atty. Catabian. Kinabahan na ako nang ibigay sa iba ang aking
minamanehong bus.
8. Pagpasok ko sa opisina ni Atty. Catabian, sinabihan agad ako ni Atty. Catabian ng
ganito: Domasig, Hindi ka na makakalusot pa. Tingnan mo ito. Mayroon siyang
ipinakitang xerox copy ng aming pinapipirmahan Sama-Samang Pahayag. Sa xerox
na ito nakita ko ang pirma ni Zenaida Domasig. Domasig, ito ang ebidensiya na ikaw

ay kasama sa unyon. Alam mo Domasig, akoy , mabuting kaibigan ngunit


masamang kaaway. Sinabi ko sa iyo noon na kapag may mahawakan akong
ebidensiya na nagtatayo kayo ng unyon maghihiwalay tayo. Ayaw na ayaw ko ng
unyon. Pagkasabi nito ni Atty. Catabian, akoy kanyang pinalabas na dahil marami
pang driver at konductor na nakapila sa labas.
9. Katunayan, bago kinausap ni Atty. Catabian, marami na sa mga kapwa ko
employado ang kinausap ni Atty. Catabian. Pinapipirma sila sa isang kasulatan na
kung saan binabawi nila ang kanilang pirma sa Sama-Samang Pahayag. Ang hindi
pumirma ay hindi na pinalabas sa biyahe.
10. Ganon man ang nangyari, pinagpasiyahan pa rin ng mga kasama kong
namumuno, kasama ako, na ipagpatuloy pa rin ang pagtatayo ng unyon. Dahil dito,
ipinasiya ng mga namumuno, kasama ako at si Zenaida Domasig, na huwag
pumirma sa kasulatan at ihain na ang petition for certification election.
11. Nagdulot na matinding pagkabalisa at takot sa amin ni Zenaida Domasig ang
biglang pagtanggal nila sa amin. Wala na kaming aasahan para sa araw-araw na
pangangailangan ng aming pamilya. Nabaon kami sa utang at malaking kahihiyan
sa mga kapit-bahay at kaibigan namin. Tuloy hating-gabi na kung minsan, pinagiisipan pa rin namin ang kinabukasan ng mga bata: ano kaya ang kanilang
kinabukasan.Kung kami o isa sa amin ay tatalikod sa aming pinirmahan,
mapapahamak din ang kapwa naming empleyado at tuluyang mawasak ang unyon.
12. Sadyang napakalupit at hindi makatao ang ginawa ng kompanya sa aming magasawa at sa kapwa namin empleyado. Wala man lamang notice sa amin. Hindi man
lang kami pinagpaliwanag. Wala naman anumang violations na nagawa namin kundi
ang pagtatayo ng unyon.
13. Dahil dito, hinihingi ko sa Tanggapan ito na ibalik sa akin, para sa pamilya, ang
nawalang sahod ko sa panahon na akoy tanggal sa trabaho. Tuwing labas kumikita
ako mula P350 hanggang P650.00 sa loob ng 20 oras humigit kumulang. Hinihingi ko
rin na ibalik ako sa trabaho at pagbayarin ang kompanya ng damages bunga ng
pinsalang tinamasa namin.
Private respondent Zenaida Domasig also made the following allegations in her
affidavit-complaint, to wit:
3. Kami'y nagtayo ng unyon dahil sa api naming kalagayan sa trabaho. Napakahaba
ang oras ng trabaho namin. Kailangan pumasok kami ng alas-4 ng madaling araw at
makakuwi kami ng alas-12 ng hatinggabi. Salitan ng trabaho at pahinga ang aming
pagtatarabaho: dalawang (2) araw na labas at dalawang (2) araw na
pahinga. Maraming sapilitang kaltas mula sa sahod namin. Tuwing labas namin
kinakaltasan kami ng halagang P18.50 ngunit hindi maliwanag kung para saan ito.
Mayroon P300 namang resibong ibinibigay. Kapag magreklamo kami, hindi naman
kami pasasampahin sa bus.
4. Ang benepisyong itinatakda ng batas ay hindi pa ibinibigay. Akoy nagkasakit
mula ika-15 ng Nobyembre 1991 hanggang ika-14 ng Disyembre1991. Gumawa ako

ng sick leave application: isa para sa SSS at isa para sa Employees Compensation
Commission. Si Ginoong Roman Domasig ang nagpapirma ng aking applications sa
kompanya. Ngunit, hindi nila ibinalik kay Ginoong Domasig and aking
applications. Noong lamang ika-12 ng Enero 1992 nila ibinigay sa SSS ang aking sick
leave application. Hindi nila ibinigay sa ECC ang isang application ko at ibinalik na
lang basta sa akin.
5. Ang hindi nila pagfile agad ng aking sick leave ay ginawa ng kompanya upang
magipit kaming mga nangungunang kasapi ng unyon.
6. Sa layuning mapabuti ang aming kalagayan, inumpisahan naming buuin ang
unyon noong mga huling buwan ng 1991. Kumuha kami ng application for
membership sa National Federation of Labor (NFL).Itoy ang Sama-samang
Pahayag. Bago matapos ang taong 1991, kamiy nakapagpapirma ng hindi
kukulangin sa tatlumpu. Sa una o pangalawang linggong Enero 1992, umabot na
malamang sa 70 ang nakapirma. Ngunit sa unang linggo pa lamang ng Enero 1992,
mukhang natutunogan ng pangasiwaan na mayroong nagtatayo ng
unyon. Inumpisahan na ni Atty. Ferdinand Catabian na isa-isang pagtatanungin ang
kanilang pinaghihinalaang lider ng unyon.
Isa sa aking asawa sa mga tinatawag at pinagtatanong ni Atty. Catabian. Silay
binigyan ng mahigpit na babala. Tinawag uli si Ginoong Domasig noong ika-21 ng
Enero 1992. Bago siya tinawag marami ng drayber at konduktor/konduktora na
pinatawag ni Atty. Catabian at silay naghihintay na kausapin ni Atty. Catabian. Ang
mga kinausap ay hindi pinalalabas hanggang hindi sila pumirma sa kasulatan na
kanilang binabawi ang kanilang pagsapi sa unyon, ang Columbus Workers
Union. Hindi na pinalabas si Ginoong Domasig mula ng araw na iyon dahil hindi siya
pumirma sa kasulatan.
7. Kinabukasan, ika-22 ng Enero 1992, akoy hindi na rin binigyan ng bus
assignment. Wala namang ibinibintang na violation laban sa akin. Gaya ng nasabi ko
na, wala namang memorandum na ibinigay sa akin. Basta na lamang hindi ako
binibigyan ng bus assignment mula noon magpahanggang ngayon. Ang tanging
dahilan ng pagtanggal nila sa akin ay ang aking pagsapi sa unyon. Akoy isa sa mga
naunang pumirma sa Sama-Samang Pahayag ng pagsapi sa unyon na kinuha namin
mula sa National Federation.
8. Agad agad na pinag-usapan ng liderato ng unyon ang panggigipit ng isinagawa ng
pangasiwaan. Nagpasiya and iba na para makalabas sila at may makain ang pamilya
nila na pumirma sa kasulatan ng pagbawi ng pagiging kasapi nila ng CWU. Silay
pinalabas. Si Felipe Madrid, isa sa lider namin, ay inilipat pa nga sa Air Conditioned
bus pagkatapos niyang pumirma sa kasulatan. Ang dati niyang bus ay No. 109. Hindi
ito Air Con. Ngayon, ang kanyang minamaneho ay Bus No. 17 isang Air Con Bus. Ang
mga hindi pumirma ay hindi na pinalabas.
9. Ganon paman, pinagpasiyahan na ituloy namin ang pagtatayo ng unyon. Kayat
naghain na kami ng isang petition for certification election sa Department of Labor
and Employment.

10. Ang ginawang pagtanggal sa aming mag-asawa ay nagdulot ng malaking pinsala


sa aming pamilya. Nabalisa kaming mag-asawa dahil wala na kaming maasahang
trabaho. Napilitan kami umutang na sa mga kaibigan at kapit-bahay. Dahil hindi
kami makapagbayad sa takdang araw, malaking kahihiyan ang inaabot
namin. Naguguluhan din ang pag-iisip namin lalung-lalo na kapag gutom ang mga
anak namin at wala man lang kaming pambili ng panawid-gutom. Hindi naman
namin maaaring talikuran ang unyon. Kami ang nauna sa pagpapirma sa unyon.
In support of their respective allegations, private respondents submitted
documentary evidence such as the Petition for Certification Election, Sama-samang
Pahayag ng Pagsapi, Payroll Slips and Parking Fee Slip Receipt.
On the other hand, the petitioner failed to attend the scheduled hearings of the
said cases on the alleged ground that it was not notified. It was only after an
adverse judgment of the Labor Arbiter that petitioner finally filed its position papers.
In her Decision dated September 8, 1992, the Labor Arbiter found for the
complainants, herein private respondents, and ordered the petitioner to reinstate
private respondents Roman and Zenaida Domasig to their former positions as driver
and bus conductress, respectively, without loss of seniority rights and with backpay
accruing from January 21, 1992 and January 22, 1992 up to their actual
reinstatement. However, private respondents other money claims were dismissed
for lack of merit.

the employee has been performing the job for at least one year, even if the
performance is not continuous or merely intermittent, the law deems the repeated
and continuing need for its performance as sufficient evidence of the necessity if not
indispensability of that activity to the business. Hence, the employment is also
consider regular, but only with respect to such activity and while such activity exists.
[6]

Considering the above-quoted standard for determining a regular employment,


it appears that the employment of private respondents is regular. They perform work
necessary and desirable in the business of the petitioner. Without the services of the
bus drivers and conductors, like the private respondents, the petitioner could not
have operated and managed its business of providing transportation services to the
public. However, not all employees paid on commission basis can legally be
considered as regular employees. In the case of Singer Sewing Machine Company v.
Drilon,[7] it was held that while certain individuals were hired to work as collectors or
collecting agents of the company, nevertheless, per a certain written agreement
they were considered as independent contractors and not employees of the
company.
As its principal contention, petitioner ascribes grave abuse of discretion on the
part of public respondent NLRC in affirming the decision of the Labor Arbiter for
being violative of due process and in not ordering the latter to conduct a formal
hearing of the case.

Aggrieved by the adverse judgment of the Labor Arbiter, petitioner appealed to


public respondent National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) where it was
assigned to the First Division. On October 29, 1993, the NLRC affirmed in toto the
Labor Arbiters decision, and in its Order [4] dated January 7, 1994 denied the
petitioners motion for reconsideration. The petitioner now challenges the
correctness of the NLRCs decision via the instant petition.

Petitioner argues that it did not receive any notice for the hearing scheduled on
April 14, 1992. It stressed that the registered mail supposedly containing the notice
for
the aforesaid hearing was
returnedunclaimed
and that no registry notice from the post office was ever delivered to it so that it
could claim the same. Petitioner likewise contends that public respondent NLRC
disregarded the pronouncement of this Court in the case of Johnson & Johnson
(Phils.) Inc. v. Court of Appeals,[8] where we held that:

The petitioner Columbus Philippines Bus Corporation alleges that the private
respondents like its other drivers and conductors are not regular employees, that the
services of private respondents were rendered on a first come first served basis and
compensated purely on commission basis; that they worked for only about ten (10)
to fifteen (15) days a month, and only when they felt like doing so.

The general rule is that service by registered mail is complete upon actual receipt
thereof by the addressee. The exception is where the addressee does not claim his
mail within 5 days from the date of the first notice of the postmaster, in which case
the service takes effect upon the expiration of such period.

To determine whether the employment of an employee is regular or casual,


Article 280[5] of the Labor Code is definitive; and whether such employment is
regular or casual has nothing to do with the manner of computing and paying the
employees wages or compensation. Rather the said provision of the Labor Code
provides that:

Inasmuch as the exception refers to only constructive and not actual service, such
exception must be applied only upon conclusive proof that a first notice was duly
sent by the postmaster to the addressee. The presumption that official duty has
been regularly performed is not applicable where there is evidence to the contrary,
as in the case at bar.

The primary standard, x x x of determining a regular employment is the reasonable


connection between the particular activity performed by the employee in relation to
the usual business or trade of the employer. The test is whether the former is usually
necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer. The
connection can be determined by considering the nature of the work performed and
its relation to the scheme of the particular business or trade in its entirety. Also, if

A certification from the postmaster would be the best evidence to prove that the
notice has been validly sent. The mailman may also testify that the notice was
actually delivered, as we held in Aldecoa vs. Hon. Arellano and Siquenza. The
postmaster should certify not only that the notice was issued or sent but also as to
how, when and to whom the delivery thereof was made.

In the light of the record and the evidence adduced in these two (2) related
cases, petitioners argument appears to be without basis. Hence, the petition must
be dismissed.
Sections 4 and 5 of the Revised Rules of Procedure of the NLRC, provides the
rule for the service of summons and notices in NLRC cases, to wit:
Sec. 4. Service of notices and resolutions. a) Notices or summons and copies of
orders, resolutions or decisions shall be served personally by the bailiff or the duly
authorized public officer or by registered mail on the parties to the case within five
(5) days from receipt thereof by the serving officer; Provided, that where a party is
represented by counsel or authorized representative, service shall be made on the
latter.
xxx xxx xxx
Sec. 5. Proof and completeness of service. The return is prima facie proof of the
facts indicated therein. Service by registered mail is complete upon receipt by the
addressee or his agent.[9]
Considering the above-quoted provisions of the Revised Rules of Procedure of
the NLRC, service by registered mail is complete after five (5) days from the date of
first notice of the postmaster in the event that the addressee fails to claim his
registered mail from the post office. In the instant cases, petitioner merely stressed
that the registered mail containing the notice for the aforesaid scheduled hearing
was returned unclaimed and that it did not allegedly receive any registry notice from
the post office. However, it is a fundamental rule that unless the contrary is proven,
official duty is presumed to have been performed regularly and judicial proceedings
regularly conducted. This presumption of the regularity of the quasi-judicial
proceedings before DOLE includes the presumption of regularity of service of
summons and other notices. It was therefore incumbent upon herein petitioner to
rebut that legal presumption with competent and proper evidence, for the return of
the registered mail as unclaimed is prima facie proof of the facts indicated therein.
[10]
But petitioner failed to do so.
A thorough review of the record of this case discloses the following facts and
circumstances, to wit:
1. Petitioner was notified of the hearing on March 12, 1992, at 10:30
oclock in the morning, with the following warning:
Failure to appear and submit position paper with affidavit of
witness or witnesses and other documentary evidence, if any, will
be construed as a waiver of the opportunity to be heard and case
will be heard ex-parte.
2. Since there was no proof of service to petitioner of this scheduled
hearing, another hearing was set on March 26, 1992 at 1:30 oclock in
the afternoon.

3. However, on March 16, 1992, petitioner through its liason officer, Mr.
Napoleon Pandes, filed a Manifestation and Motion to Reset Schedule
Hearing, stating, among other things, that the hearing be reset to
April 9, 1992 at 9:30 oclock in the morning or at a later date and time
convenient to this Honorable Commission.
4. Thus another hearing was set on April 14, 1992 at 10:00 oclock in the
morning again with the same warning as above quoted.
5. In the April 14, 1992 hearing, private respondents appeared as
scheduled and waited up to 11:05 a.m., but petitioner failed to appear
and submit the required position paper, hence, upon motion of private
respondents the case was submitted for decision.
As clearly gleaned from the foregoing facts, petitioner was afforded more than
an adequate opportunity to present its evidence. In fact, on March 16, 1992,
petitioner through its Liason Officer, Mr. Napoleon Pandes, even filed a Manifestation
and Motion, praying that the hearing set on March 26, 1992 be reset to April 9, 1992
or at a later date and time convenient to the Commission. But on the re-scheduled
hearing on April 14, 1992, petitioner again failed to appear nor did it file its position
paper. If petitioner were really concerned with the outcome of the instant cases,
petitioner should have verified, at the very least whether its Manifestation and
Motion was acted upon. As correctly stated by the NLRC in its Resolution:
Obviously, respondents were not so inclined as they must have found the same as
an excuse to delay the proceedings in the instant cases. For how else can one
explain respondents failure to show up or follow up on their motions requesting for
resetting, and their filing of a position paper five (5) long months after filing their
motions and only after a Decision not to their liking was rendered by the Labor
Arbiter.
Likewise, notwithstanding petitioners allegation that it has not received the
notices of the Labor Arbiter, it, however, admittedly received a copy of the decision
of the Labor Arbiter, and then seasonably pleaded its case by way of appeal before
the NLRC. In the interest of justice, the NLRC considered petitioners position paper,
even if it was filed late.
As to the question whether the Labor Arbiter should have conducted a formal
hearing, Section 4 of Rule V of the New Rules of Procedure of the NLRC, clearly
provides that:
Determination of Necessity of Hearing. Immediately after the submission by the
parties of their position papers/memorandum, the Labor Arbiter shall motu proprio
determine whether there is need for a formal trial or hearing. At this stage, he may,
at his discretion and for the purpose of making such determination, ask clarificatory
questions to further elicit facts or information, including but not limited to the
subpoena of relevant documentary evidence, if any from any party or witness.

It is clear from the above-quoted procedural rule that the Labor Arbiter has the
authority to determine whether or not there is a necessity for conducting formal
hearings in cases brought before him for adjudication. In other words, the holding of
a formal hearing or trial is discretionary with the Labor Arbiter and is something that
the parties cannot demand as a matter of right. [11] It is entirely within the authority
of the Labor Arbiter to decide a labor case before him, based on the position papers
and supporting documents of the parties, without a trial or formal hearing. The
requirement of due process in labor cases before a Labor Arbiter is satisfied when
the parties are given the opportunity to submit their position papers to which they
are supposed to attach all the supporting documents or documentary evidence that
would prove their respective claims, in the event the Labor Arbiter determines that
no formal hearing would be conducted or that such hearing was not necessary. [12]
Equally without merit is petitioners contention that public respondent NLRC
committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in holding that
private respondents were illegally dismissed. Petitioners contention that the Labor
Arbiter ruled in favor of private respondents not because of the evidence submitted
by the private respondents but because of petitioners failure to appear in the
scheduled hearing on April 14, 1992 is without factual basis as shown by the record.
The NLRC, in arriving at its decision regarding the illegal dismissal of
private respondents, considered the position papers of the parties and the evidence
on record. The NLRC in its decision agreed with the Labor Arbiters findings and
conclusions and found nothing substantial in petitioners position paper to warrant a
reversal thereof, thus:
At any rate, and in the interest of justice, We have considered respondents Position
Paper, although filed belatedly, and We find that the allegations therein and the
evidence introduced in support thereof (See annexes A to D-12 of respondents
Position Paper; pp. 62-73 of the Records) do not suffice to support respondents claim
that complainants were not dismissed from their employment.
We, therefore, find that the Labor Arbiter did not commit any error in holding that:
Complainants claim that due to their union activities, as they were the ones
instrumental in the formation of the union in the respondents premises, enlisted
employees to be members of the local union, coupled with the fact that a petition for
certification of an election was filed before the Department of Labor and
Employment, in view of which they were not given any bus assignments, which is
tantamount to their dismissal from the service, appears to be credible and with
basis. As above stated, respondents miserably failed to controvert this fact, thus,
complainants should be reinstated to their former positions, Roman Domasig as
driver, and Zenaida Domasig as conductress, with full backwages and other benefits
and without loss of seniority rights.
Well-settled is the jurisprudential rule that factual findings of quasi-judicial
agencies, such as the NLRC, which have acquired expertise because their jurisdiction
is confined to specific matters, are generally accorded not only respect but even
finality. They are binding upon this Court which is not a trier of facts. Only upon clear

showing of grave abuse of discretion, or that such factual findings were arrived at
arbitrarily or in disregard of the evidence on record will this Court step in and
proceed to make its own independent evaluation of the facts. [13] No cogent reason
exists in the instant cases to deviate from this settled rule.
In termination cases, like the ones before us, the burden of proving that the
dismissal of the employees was for a valid and authorized cause rests on the
employer. It was incumbent upon petitioner Columbus Philippines Bus Corporation to
show by substantial evidence that the termination of the employment of private
respondents was validly made and failure to discharge that duty would mean that
the dismissal is not justified and therefore illegal. [14] On the other hand,
abandonment as a just and valid ground for dismissal requires the deliberate,
unjustified refusal of the employee to resume his employment. Mere absence or
failure to report for work, after notice to return, is not enough to amount to such
abandonment.
For a valid finding of abandonment, two (2) factors must be present, viz: (a)
the failure to report for work or absence without valid or justifiable reason; and (b) a
clear intention to sever employer-employee relationship, with the second element as
the more determinative factor being manifested by some overt acts. [15] The herein
petitioner failed to present evidence to justify the dismissal of the private
respondents. The position paper of petitioner merely contains bare allegations that
the hiring of private respondents was purely on commission basis; that they have no
working hours; that they are not required to work everyday and that they work only
when they wish to earn. It also alleged that private respondents were not dismissed
nor suspended, but that they allegedly abandoned their jobs by simply failing to
work.
From the factual findings of the Labor Arbiter, the absence of private
respondents from work was not without valid or justifiable reason. First, on January
21 and 22, 1992, private respondents were asked to relinquish their assigned buses
and from that date forward, they were not given bus assignments. Thus, under the
circumstances, we find private respondents absences supported with valid
reason. Second, it appeared that private respondents never intended to sever their
working relationship with petitioner. Two weeks after private respondents were not
given bus assignments, they filed their subject complaint for illegal dismissal with
the DOLE. An employee who forthwith takes steps to protest his layoff cannot be
said to have abandoned his work.
It is our view and we hold that the finding and conclusion of the Labor Arbiter
and the respondent NLRC that private respondents were illegally dismissed are
correct and not arbitrary. We find no cogent reason to reverse the same.
However, the amount of backwages must be properly computed inasmuch as
in their respective complaints, private respondents Roman and Zenaida Domasig
alleged that they received a daily income ranging from Three Hundred Fifty Pesos
(P350.00) to Six Hundred Fifty Pesos (P650.00), and Two Hundred Fifty Pesos
(P250.00) to Five Hundred Pesos (P500.00) respectively. The pronouncement of this
Court in the case of Icawat v. NLRC,[16] is relevant and instructive, to wit:

x x x, the dismissal of private respondent being illegal, he is entitled to the payment


of backwages. We do not, however, agree with the amount awarded to herein
private respondent in the absence of any factual basis thereof. Private respondent
has not presented any evidence to warrant such award. The statement in his
complaint that he is earning P800.00 to P1,000.00 when he is driving petitioners'
jeepney on a "straight" basis, or P500.00 when driving on "half shift" basis, is purely
self-serving and speculative.

The petitioner relies on the following stipulation in the agreement: (a) a collector is
designated as a collecting agent" who is to be considered at all times as an
independent contractor and not employee of the Company; While the respondents
rely on Paragraph 4 on the monthly collection quota required by the Company is
deemed by respondents as a control measure over the means by which an agent is
to perform his services.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED, and the challenged


Resolution of public respondent NLRC is AFFIRMED. The computation of the amount
of backwages to which private respondents Roman Domasig and Zenaida Domasig
are entitled is hereby REMANDED to the Labor Arbiter for appropriate action.

Because of the agreement's confirmation of the status of the collecting agent as


independent contractor, court ruled in favor of the petitioner. Saying also that the
monthly collection qouta is a normal requirement in contractual agreements (among
other reasons like, collectors are not bound to report on a daily basis, they are not
prohibited to seek another employment, and they are paid in a commission basis,
etc). Thus concluding also that there is no employer-employee relationship. Denying
the contention that the alleged employees are performing activities that are
necessary for the business is not determinative in this case, due to the agreement.

SO ORDERED.
Singer Sewing Machine Company, petitioner
vs Hon. Franklin Drilon, Med-Arbiter Felix Chaguile, Jr., and Singer Machine Collectors
Union-Baguio, respondents.
Ponente: Gutierrez, Jr.
Facts:
This is a petition for certiorari assailing the order of Chaguile and Drilon denying the
motion for reconsideration in the case of the certification of SIMACUB as the sole and
collective bargaining agent.
February 1989, SIMACUB filed a petition for direct certification as the sole and
exclusive bargaining agent of all collectors of the singer company, Baguio City
branch. The company opposed the petition on the ground that union members are
actually not employees but independent contractors of the company.
But Chaguile, found that there exist an employee-employer relationship between the
union members and company, thus he granted the petition for certification. On
appeal, Drilon affirmed the same. Thus this petition, alleging that Drilon and
Chaguile acted in excess of jurisdiction and/or committed grave abuse of discretion
in that: (1) DOLE has no jurisdiction over cases where there is employee-employer
relationship, (2) right to due process was denied when the evidence of the union
members' being commission agents was disregarded by Drilon, (3) that Drilon and
Chaguile erred in finding the existence of employee-employer relationship, (4) Drilon
and Chaguile disregarded the well-settled rule that commission agents are not
employees but are independent contractors.

The assumption of DOLE over the case is considered rightful because it was brought
on appeal for the revearsal of the Med-arbiter hence the petitioner submits itself as
well as the issue of existence of employment relationship to the jurisdiction of DOLE
which was faced with dispute on an application for certification election.
The Court finds that since private respondents are not employees of the Company,
they are not entitled to the constitutional right to join or form a labor organization
for purposes of collective bargaining. Accordingly, there is no constitutional and
legal basis for their "union" to be granted their petition for direct certification.
Murillo vs Ca
Thelma Dumpit-Murillo was hired by ABC as a newscaster in 1995. Her contract with
the TV station was repeatedly renewed until 1999. She then wrote Jose Javier (VP for
News and Public Affairs of ABC) advising him of her intention to renew the contract.
Javier did not respond.
Dumpit then demanded reinstatement as well as her backwages, service incentive
leave pays and other monetary benefits.
ABC said they could only pay her backwages but her other claims had no basis as
she was not entitled thereto because she is considered as a talent and not a regular
employee.

Respondents insist that the provisions of Collective Agency Agreement contradict


the company's position that the union members are independent contractors.
Proving that union members are performing the most desirable and necessary
activities for the continuous and effective operations of the company. Citing also that
the union members will not qualify as independent contractors because they are not
free from control of the alleged employer, who have substantial capital or
investment in the equipment, tool and other necessities of the business.

Dumpit sued ABC. The Labor Arbiter ruled against Dumpit. The National Labor
Relations Commission reversed the LA. The Court of Appeals reversed the NLRC and
ruled that as per the contract between ABC and Dumpit, Dumpit is a fixed term
employee.

Ruling:

ISSUE: Whether or not Dumpit is a regular employee.

The following elements are generally considered in the determination of the


employer-employee relationship; "(1) the selection and engagement of the
employee; (2) the payment of wages; (3) the power of dismissal; and (4) the power
to control the employee's conduct although the latter is the most important
element"

HELD: Yes. Dumpit was a regular employee under contemplation of law. The
practice of having fixed-term contracts in the industry does not automatically make
all talent contracts valid and compliant with labor law. The assertion that a talent
contract exists does not necessarily prevent a regular employment status.

The duties of Dumpit as enumerated in her employment contract indicate that ABC
had control over the work of Dumpit. Aside from control, ABC also dictated the work
assignments and payment of petitioners wages. ABC also had power to dismiss her.
All these being present, clearly, there existed an employment relationship between
Dumpit and ABC.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered


granting the appeal of [petitioner], reversing and setting aside the
Decision of the Executive Labor Arbiter dated 15 June 2000 and
promulgating a new one dismissing all the consolidated complaints for
lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.

In addition, her work was continuous for a period of four years. This repeated
engagement under contract of hire is indicative of the necessity and desirability of
the Dumpits work in ABCs business.
G.R. No. 167638. June 22, 2005
ABS-CBN vs. MARQUEZ

Respondents moved for a reconsideration but their motion was denied by the
NLRCs 4th Division in its resolution of July 30, 2003.
From there, respondents went to the Court of Appeals via a petition for
certiorari, thereat docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 81750, imputing grave abuse of
discretion on the part of the NLRCs 4 th Division in setting aside the Labor Arbiters
findings and in ruling that they were hired as contractual or project employees, i.e.
as talents engaged for specific projects, under the special work arrangements with
the petitioner, and in upholding the legality of their dismissal.

G.R. No. 167638 (ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation vs. Henrie Marquez, et

Respondents asserted that they are petitioners regular employees and


emphasized the fact of their continuous work after each tele-series program and the
very nature of their work, which is necessary and desirable to the business or
trade of their employer [5]. They also asseverated that the application of the four-fold
test in labor laws clearly shows the existence of an employer-employee relationship
between the parties.

Before us is this petition for review on certiorari assailing the December 20,
2004 decision [1] of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 81750, reversing and
setting aside an earlier decision [2] of National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), 4 th
Division, Cebu City in Case No. V-000967-00 which, in turn, reversed the decision [3]
of the Labor Arbiter in a complaint for illegal dismissal commenced by the herein
respondents against petitioner ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation.

For its part, petitioner insisted that respondents were hired as program
employees in the nature of contractual or project employment; that respondents
were mere talents, i.e. they were contracted because of their expertise or talents
as program employees; and that respondents were, in effect, mere program
employees under Policy Instruction No. 40, series of 1979 whom petitioner
contracted due to their expertise for particular projects, in this case the production
of the Visayan tele-series programs.

Sirs/Mesdames:
Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated JUN 22
2005.
al.)

Petitioner hired the services of respondents on various dates starting


December, 1994 to undertake the production in the Cebuano dialect of television
serial programs for petitioners week-day afternoon time slots in Cebu. Respondents
were assigned among three (3) production groups, each with its own set of directors,
writers, videographers, lightsmen, editors, actors and utility personnel. Each
production group was given a weekly budget, initially at P30,000.00, which was later
increased to P40,000.00 a week.
The television-series did so well that several more were subsequently
produced. The production groups were continuously engaged to film succeeding
programs to replace the concluded ones.
On June 15, 1999, respondents addressed a letter to petitioner asking for a
25% increase in their weekly budget, but the same was denied by petitioners AVP
for the Visayas Cluster, Ma. Luisa L. Ascalon. Instead, respondents were informed of
the termination of their services effective August 13, 1999.
On August 27, 1999, respondents filed with the Regional Arbitration Branch
(RAB) at Region VII of the Department of Labor and Employment their consolidated
complaint for illegal dismissal; illegal deduction; non-payment of overtime and
holiday pay; premium pay for holiday, rest day and night shift differential; nonpayment of 13th month pay, service incentive leave, separation pay, backwages;
and attorneys fees.
On June 15, 2000, the Executive Labor Arbiter of RAB VII rendered a decision [4]
in favor of respondents and ordered petitioner to pay to them their money claims.
However, on petitioners appeal, the NLRCS 4 th Division at Cebu City reversed
the decision of the Labor Arbiter, thus:

In the herein assailed decision [6] dated December 20, 2004, the Court of
Appeals reversed that of the NLRC and reinstated the earlier decision of the Labor
Arbiter, to wit:
WHEREFORE, the Petition for Certiorari is GRANTED, and the
assailed Decision and Resolution of the National Labor Relation
Commission (NLRC), 4th Division, Cebu City, in Case No. V-000050-02, are
hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Decision of Executive Labor Arbiter
of 15 June 2000 finding an employer-employee relationship between
[respondents] and [petitioner] ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation and
ordering the latter to pay [respondents] money claims is REINSTATED in
toto except that the computation of the backwages thereof should be
reckoned until the finality of this decision. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Applying the four-fold test to determine the existence of an employeremployee relationship between the parties, the Court of Appeals viewed
respondents as regular employees of petitioner and not independent contractors.
Respondents employment with petitioner passed the four-fold test on
employer-employee relations, namely: (1) the selection and engagement of the
employee, or the power to hire; (2) the payment of wages; (3) the power to dismiss;
and (4) the power to control the employee[7].
Petitioner never denied having engaged the services of respondents. Neither
did it controvert the fact that respondents received their pay from petitioner twice a
month thru automated teller machines (ATM) and respondents were issued payslips
bearing petitioners corporate name on the heading. The payment of wages clearly
rests upon petitioner. While a weekly budget is given and the directors are

ostensibly given a free hand on how to spend the same subject only to petitioners
budgetary limitation, the hard reality is that such payments were done by the
petitioner itself.
As correctly observed by the Labor Arbiter, the elements of control and
supervision over the respondents were evident. Petitioner employed production
supervisors who monitored and saw to it that the filming of the series shall be
finished within a time-frame and the production output to conform to petitioners
standards. These were bolstered by various memoranda issued by petitioner relative
to production work-approval of filming and editing schedule, new assignments of
production crew and reminders to tele-series directors and editors regarding the
standard policy on editing services. Respondents have to follow company rules in
the work done in company premises. An overseer, in the person of an executive
producer, is assigned by petitioner over each production crew to make sure that the
end result is acceptable to petitioner, and the executive producer can dictate the
work to be re-done. Petitioner also has control in the assignments of crew members
and can thus re-assign or transfer any of them to another production group, thereby
belying petitioners contention that the directors are the ones that control the whole
production. All these, taken together, unmistakably show petitioners power of
control over respondents work.
Anent the power of dismissal and suspension, it cannot be denied that
petitioner exercised such. The records clearly show that petitioner sanctioned
disciplinary measures on some of the respondents for some infraction of company
rules thru disciplinary measures on erring employees. For sure, respondent Orlando
Carillo was suspended for one week by his production head on January 25, 1999 for
failure to edit an episode which was to be sent to petitioners Zamboanga station for
airing.
Additionally, the fact that petitioner itself provided the production equipment
such as video cameras, lights, microphone and TV monitors, largely discounts
petitioners claim that respondents were independent contractors.
It may be so that respondents were assigned to a particular tele-series.
However, petitioner can and did immediately reassign them to a new production
upon completion of a previous one. Hence, they were continuously employed, the
tele-series being a regular feature in petitioners network programs. Petitioners
continuous engagement of respondents from one production after another, for more
than five years, made the latter part of petitioners workpool who cannot be
separated from the service without cause as they are considered regular. A project
employee or a member of a workpool may acquire the status of a regular
employee when the following concur: there is continuous rehiring of
project employees even after the cessation of the project; [8] and the tasks
performed by the alleged project employee are vital, necessary, and
indispensable to the usual business or trade of his employer.[9] It cannot be
denied that the services of respondents as members of a crew in the production of a
tele-series are undoubtedly connected with the business of the petitioner. This Court
has held that the primary standard in determining regular employment is the
reasonable connection between the particular activity performed by the employee in
relation to the business or trade of his employer. [10] Here, the activity performed by
respondents is, without doubt, vital to petitioners trade or business.
We agree with the Court of Appeals when it upheld the conclusion of the Labor
Arbiter that petitioner broadcasts and produces its own television series and other
programs, whether in Cebu or in Manila; and that there is no distinction between its
Cebu station and the mother station because they are one and the same, more so
due to lack of showing by the petitioner that its Cebu station is independent from its
mother station. It cannot thus be said that petitioner is primarily just involved in
mere broadcasting from satellite feeds or other sources. That the production of the
television series is vital, necessary and desirable to petitioners usual business is
beyond question.

It is a matter of record that respondents have rendered almost five (5) years of
continuous service to petitioner, doing work that is necessary and desirable to the
usual business of the latter. Hence, even granting on the extreme that respondents
were not performing work that is vital, necessary and indispensable to the usual
business of petitioner, nonetheless the second paragraph of Article 280 of the Labor
Code still applies. It reads:
ART. 280. REGULAR AND CASUAL EMPLOYMENT
xxx

xxx

xxx

An employment shall be deemed to be casual if it is not covered by


the preceding paragraph. Provided, That, any employee who has
rendered at least one year of service whether such service is
continuous or broken, shall be considered a regular employee
with respect to the activity in which he is employed and his
employment shall continue while such activity exists. (Emphasis
supplied).
We thus rule and so hold that respondents are petitioners regular employees,
at least with respect to the production of petitioners Visayan tele-series programs
and until such activity exists.
Petitioner relied upon and took undue advantage of Policy Instruction No. 40,
by treating herein respondents as talents and classifying them as independent
contractors and freelancers.
Policy Instruction No. 40 pertinently provides:
Program employees are those whose skills, talents or services are
engaged by the station for a particular or specific program or undertaking
and who are not required to observe normal working hours such that on
some days they work for less than eight (8) hours and on other days
beyond the normal work hours observed by station employees and are
allowed to enter into employment contracts with other persons, stations,
advertising agencies or sponsoring companies. The engagement of
program employees, including those hired by advertising or sponsoring
companies, shall be under a written contract specifying, among
other things, the nature of the work to be performed, rates of pay,
and the programs in which they will work. The contract shall be
duly registered by the station with the Broadcast Media Council
within three days from its consummation. (Emphasis supplied)
Ironically, however, petitioner failed to adduce an iota proof that the
requirements for program employment were even complied with by it. It is basic that
project or contractual employees are appraised of the project they will work under a
written contract, specifying, inter alia, the nature of work to be performed and the
rates of pay and the program in which they will work. Sadly, however, no such
written contract was ever presented by the petitioner. Petitioner is in the best of
position to present these documents. And because none was presented, we have
every reason to surmise that no such written contract was ever accomplished by the
parties, thereby belying petitioners posture.
Worse, there was no showing of compliance with the requirement that after
every engagement or production of a particular television series, the required
reports were filed with the proper government agency, as provided no less under the
very Policy Instruction invoked by the petitioner, nor under the Omnibus
Implementing Rules of the Labor Code for project employees. This alone bolsters
respondents contention that they were indeed petitioners regular employees since
their employment was not only for a particular program.

To recapitulate, respondents, due to their length of service, had already


attained the status of regular employment and are thus entitled to security of tenure
provided for under our labor laws. Consequently, they may only be validly dismissed
from service upon petitioners compliance with the legal requisites for termination,
both in their substantive and procedural aspects. In this connection, it bears
emphasis that under the Labor Code and its Omnibus Implementing Rules, not only
must the dismissal be for a just or authorized cause [11], but that the rudimentary
requirements of due process: notice and hearing, [12] must likewise be observed
before a regular employee may be dismissed. Without the concurrence of these two
requisites, the termination would be, in the eyes of the law, illegal [13].
It is incumbent upon petitioner to prove that its dismissal of respondents was
for a valid cause and that they were afforded procedural due process before
termination. As it is, petitioner failed to discharge this burden. Its only assertion is
that the dismissal was due to the expiration or completion of contract, which is not
even a ground for termination allowed by law. Worse, petitioner failed to establish
that respondents were given ample opportunity to contest the legality of their
dismissal. All that petitioner did was simply to furnish them with their walking
papers. Inarguably, petitioner denied them of due process. In fine, with petitioners
failure to establish compliance with the legal requirements on termination of
employment under the Labor Code, the appellate court was correct in declaring
respondents dismissal as tainted with illegality.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DENIED.
SO ORDERED.[1]
3. Consolidated Broadcasting System vs. Oberio, G.R. No. 168424, June 8,
2007
Facts:Respondents alleged that they were employed as drama talents by DYWBBombo Radyo, a radio station owned and operated by
petitioner Consolidated Broadcasting System, Inc. They reported for work daily for
six days in a week and were required to record their drama productionin advance.
Some of them were employed by petitioner since 1974, while the latest one was
hired in 1997. Their drama programs were aired notonly in Bacolod City but also in
the sister stations of DYWB in the Visayas and Mindanao areas. Sometime in August
1998, petitioner reducedthe number of its drama productions from 14 to 11, but was
opposed by respondents. After the negotiations failed, the latter sought
theintervention of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), which on
November 12, 1998, conducted through its Regional Office, aninspection of DWYB
station. The results thereof revealed that petitioner is guilty of violation of labor
standard laws. Petitioner contended thatrespondents are not its employees and
refused to submit the payroll and daily time records despite the subpoena duces
tecum issued by theDOLE Regional Director. Petitioner further argued that the case
should be referred to the NLRC because the Regional Director has no jurisdiction
over the determination of the existence of employer-employee relationship which
involves evidentiary matters that are not verifiable inthe normal course of
inspection. Vexed by the respondents' complaint, petitioner allegedly pressured and
intimidated respondents. RespondentsOberio and Delta were suspended for minor
lapses and the payment of their salaries were purportedly delayed. Eventually, on
February 3, 1999,pending the outcome of the inspection case with the Regional
Director, respondents were barred by petitioner from reporting for work; thus,
theformer claimed constructive dismissal.Issues:1. Whether respondents were
employees of petitioner.
2. Whether respondents dismissal was illegal.
Ruling:
1. Yes, respondents employment with petitioner passed the "four
-fold test" on employer-employee relations, namely: (1) the selection
andengagement of the employee, or the power to hire; (2) the payment of wages;
(3) the power to dismiss; and (4) the power to control theemployee. Petitioner failed
to controvert with substantial evidence the allegation of respondents that they were

hired by the former on variousdates from 1974 to 1997. If petitioner did not hire
respondents and if it was the director alone who chose the talents, petitioner could
have easilyshown, being in possession of the records, a contract to such effect.
However, petitioner merely relied on its contention that respondents werepiece rate
contractors who were paid by results.Note that under Policy Instruction No. 40,
petitioner is obliged to execute the necessary contractspecifying the nature of the
work to be performed, rates of pay, and the programs in which they will work.
Moreover, project or contractualemployees are required to be apprised of the project
they will undertake under a written contract. This was not complied with by the
petitioner, justifying the reasonable conclusion that no such contracts exist and that
respondents were in fact regular employees. Moreover, theengagement of
respondents for a period ranging from 2 to 25 years and the fact that their drama
programs were aired not only in Bacolod Citybut also in the sister stations of DYWB
in the Visayas and Mindanao areas, undoubtedly show that their work is necessary
and indispensable tothe usual business or trade of petitioner. The test to determine
whether employment is regular or not is the reasonable connection between
theparticular activity performed by the employee in relation to the usual business or
trade of the employer.2. Finally, we find that respondents were illegally dismissed. In
labor cases, the employer has the burden of proving that the dismissal was for
a just cause; failure to
show this would necessarily mean that the dismissal was unjustified and, therefore, i
llegal. In this case, petitioner merelycontended that it was respondents who ceased
to report to work, and never presented any substantial evidence to support said
allegation.Furthermore, if doubts exist between the evidence presented by the
employer and the employee, the scales of justice must be tilted in favor of the latter
-the employer must affirmatively show rationally adequate evidence that the
dismissal was for a justifiable cause. It is a time-honoredrule that in controversies
between a laborer and his master, doubts reasonably arising from the evidence
should be resolved in the former'sfavor. The policy is to extend the doctrine to a
greater number of employees who can avail of the benefits under the law, which is
in consonancewith the avowed policy of the State to give maximum aid and
protection of labor
1. Orozco vs. Fifth Division of the Court of AppealsFacts:PDI eng ag ed the
s er vices of Oroz co to wr ite a weeklyco lumn fo r its Lifestyle s ection . She
religious ly sub mitted her articles excep t fo r a 6-month s tint when she
wen t to NY City.N ever th eless , sh e continued to s end her ar ticles
through
m ail.S h e a l s o r e c e i v e d c o m p e n s a t i o n f o r e v e r y c o l u m n t h a t w a
s published.When Orozcos column appeared in the newspaper for the last time, her
editor, Logarta, told her that the PDIs editor-in-chief, Mags ano c, wan ted to
s top pub lishing h er co lumns for no reason at all and advised her to talk to the
editor-in-chief. WhenOrozco talked to Magsanoc, the latter told her that it was the
PDIcha ir pers on who wanted to s top th e pu blication of her
c olumn . However, when Orozco talked to Apostol, the latter told her thatMagsan oc
informed her th at the Lifestyle s ection had alread y many columnists.P D I
c l a i m s t h a t M a g s a n o c m e t w i t h t h e e d i t o r o f t h e L ifes tyle sectio n
to d is cuss how to imp ro ve said sectio n. Th eyag reed to cu t down the
nu mber o f c olumn is ts by keeping on lytho se wh ose colu mns were wellwritten , with reg ular feed backand fo llo wing . In th eir jud gmen t,
p etition er s c olumn failed toimp ro ve, contin ued to b e sup er fi cially and
po or ly written , and failed to meet the high standards of the newspaper. Hence,
theydecided to terminate petitioners column.Oro zco fi led a complaint for
illega l dis missa l. Th e L Adecid ed in favo r o f p etitio ner. On appeal, the
NLRC d ism iss ed the appeal and affirmed the LAs decision. The CA on
the other hand , set a side th e NLRCs d ecis ion and dis missed
O ro zc oscomplaint.Issue:Whether petitioner is an employee of PDI.Whether
petitioner was illegally dismissed.Decision:Petition dismissed. Judgment and

Resolution affirmed.A p p l y i n g t h e f o u r f o l d t e s t , t h e C o u r t h e l d t h a t P D I lacked control over the petitioner.


Though PDI issued guidelinesfor th e p etitio ner to follo w in the cou rse o f
writin g h er column s,ca reful exam in atio n revea ls th at th e fa ctor s
enumer ated b y thepetition er are inh eren t con ditio ns in run nin g
a news pap er. In o t h e r w o r d s , t h e s o
c a l l e d c o n t r o l a s t o t i m e , s p a c e , a n d discipline are
d i c t a t e d b y t h e v e r y n a t u r e o f t h e n e w s p a p e r b u s i n e s s i t s e l f.
A s i d e f r o m t h e c o n s t r a i n t s p r e s e n t e d b y t h e sp ac e a lloc a tion of
h er column , th ere were no res tr aints on her c reativity; petitio ner wa s
free to write her co lu mn in the man ner and style she was accustomed to and
to use whatever
researchm e t h o d s h e d e e m e d s u i t a b l e f o r h e r p u r p o s e . T h e
a p p a r e n t limitatio n tha t she had to wr ite on ly on subjec ts tha t befi tted
theLifestyle sectio n d id no t tr ans la te to con trol, bu t was simply a logical
consequence of the fact that her column appeared in thats e c t i o n a n d
t h e r e f o r e h a d t o c a t e r t o t h e p r e f e r e n c e o f t h e readers of that
section.Orozco in this c ase is co nsidered a s an
independ en tc o n t r a c t o r . A s s t a t e d i n t h e c a s e o f S o n z a v s .
A B S - C B N , independ en t c ontra ctor s
o ften pres ent thems elves to po ssessunique skills, expertise or talent to
distinguish them from ordinaryemp lo yees. L ike th e p etition er in th e cited
case, Petitio ner was engaged as a columnist for her talent, skill, experience, and
her unique viewpo in t as a feminist ad vo ca te. How sh e u tiliz ed
allt h e s e i n w r i t i n g h e r c o l u m n w a s
n o t s u b j e c t t o d i c t a t i o n b y res pond en t. As in
Sonza
, resp ond en t PDI was not in vo lved in th e a ctua l p er fo rm an ce tha t
p rodu ced the fi n ish ed pro duc t. I ton ly res er ved th e rig ht to sho rten
p etition er s articles bas ed onthe news pap er s c apa city to ac co mmo da te
the same. This fact w a s n o t u n i q u e t o p e t i t i o n e r s c o l u m n . I t
is a reality in
thenewspaper business that space constraints often dictate th
e length of articles and columns, even those that regularly
appear therein.Furthermore, respondent PDI did not supply petitioner withthe to ols
an d instru mentalities sh e n eeded to p er fo rm h er wo rk. P e t i t i o n e r o n l y
n e e d e d h e r t a l e n t a n d s k i l l t o c o m e u p w i t h a column every week.
As such, she had all the tools she needed top er fo rm h er wor k. Henc e, s in ce
Oro zco is no t an em ployee of PDI , th e latter c anno t be held gu ilty of
illegally d ismiss in g the petitioner.

AUDION ELECTRIC CO., INC., petitioner, vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS


COMMISSION and NICOLAS MADOLID, respondents.

The facts of the case as summarized by Labor Arbiter Cresencio R. Iniego in his
decision rendered on November 15, 1990 in NLRC-NCR Case No. -00-08-03906-89,
and which are quoted in the questioned Resolution dated March 24, 1992 of the
public respondent are as follows:
From the position paper and affidavit corroborated by oral testimony, it appears that
complainant was employed by respondent Audion Electric Company on June 30,
1976 as fabricator and continuously rendered service assigned in different offices or
projects as helper electrician, stockman and timekeeper. He has rendered thirteen
(13) years of continuous, loyal and dedicated service with a clean record. On August
3, complainant was surprised to receive a letter informing him that he will be
considered terminated after the turnover of materials, including respondents tools
and equipments not later than August 15, 1989.
Complainant claims that he was dismissed without justifiable cause and due process
and that his dismissal was done in bad faith which renders the dismissal illegal. For
this reason, he claims that he is entitled to reinstatement with full backwages. He
also claims that he is entitled to moral and exemplary damages. He includes
payment of his overtime pay, project allowance, minimum wage increase
adjustment, proportionate 13th month pay and attorneys fees.
On its part, respondent merely relied on its unverified letter-communication signed
by its project manager, dated September 25, 1989, the contents of which are as
follows:
Your Honor:
Apropos to the complaints filed by NICOLAS MADOLID with your honorable office are
as stated and corresponding allegations as our defense to said complaints.
A. ILLEGAL DISMISSAL- There is no course (sic) to complain since
employment contract signed by complainant with respondent is coterminus with the project. xxx
B. UNPAID WAGES- Admitting that salary payment was delayed due to
late remittance of collection from respondents Japanese prime
contractor but nonetheless settled with complainant as evidenced by
signed Payroll Slips by complainant. xxx

DECISION
GONZAGA_REYES, J.:
In this special civil action for certiorari, petitioner seeks the annulment of the
resolution[1] dated March 24, 1992, of the National Labor Relations Commission in
NLRC NCR-CA No. 001034-90 and the Order[2] dated July 31, 1992, denying
petitioners motion for reconsideration dated April 22, 1992.

C. NON-PAYMENT OF 13th MONTH PAY- As earlier admitted, there was a


relative delay in the remittance of collection payment from our
Japanese prime contractor but respondent knowing the economic
predecament (sic) of complainant has seen to it that respondent be
satisfied without awaiting for remittance of 13th month from its
Japanese contractor. attached is a xxx
In full satisfaction of the enumerated complaints made by complainant NICOLAS
MADOLID against respondent THE AUDION ELECTRIC CO., INC., we pray that charges
against respondent be withdrawn and dropped.[3]

On November 15, 1990, Labor Arbiter Cresencio R. Iniego rendered a decision,


the dispositive portion states:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered ordering respondent Audion Electric Co.,
Inc. and/or Robert S. Coran, Manager:
1. to reinstate complainant Nicolas Madolid to his former position with full
backwages from the date of his dismissal on August 15, 1989 up to
the signing of this decision without loss of seniority rights in the
amount of P34,710.00;
2. to pay complainant his overtime pay for the period March 16 to April 3,
1989 in the amount of P 765.63;
3. to pay complainant his project allowances as follows:
4. to pay complainant the minimum wage increase adjustment from
August 1 to 14, 1989 in the amount of P256.50;
5. to pay complainant his proportionate 13 th month pay from January to
May 1988 in the amount of P700.00;
6. to pay complainant moral and exemplary damages in the amount of
P20,000.00; and
7. to pay attorneys fees equivalent to 10% of the total award of
complainant.[4]
Petitioner appealed to the National Labor Relations Commission which
rendered the questioned Resolution dated March 24, 1992 dismissing the appeal.
The motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner was denied by the NLRC in its
Order dated July 31, 1992.
Petitioner is now before us raising the following issues:
I
THE RESPONDENT COMMISSION ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN
AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE LABOR ARBITER DIRECTING THE REINSTATEMENT
OF THE PRIVATE RESPONDENT TO HIS FORMER POSITION WITHOUT LOSS OF
SENIORITY RIGHTS AND WITH BACKWAGES AMOUNTING TO P34,710.00
NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT THE PRIVATE RESPONDENT WAS MERELY A
PROJECT EMPLOYEE.
II

THE RESPONDENT COMMISSION ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION WHEN


IT AWARDED THE CLAIM FOR OVERTIME PAY TO PRIVATE RESPONDENT WHEN NO
OVERTIME WORK WAS RENDERED.
III
THE RESPONDENT COMMISSION ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION WHEN
IT AWARDED THE CLAIMS OF PRIVATE RESPONDENT FOR PROJECT ALLOWANCES,
MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE ADJUSTMENT AND PROPORTIONATE 13TH MONTH PAY
WITHOUT ANY EVIDENCE TO PROVE THE SAME.
IV
THE RESPONDENT COMMISSION ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION WHEN
IT DENIED PETITIONERS CLAIM THAT IT WAS DENIED DUE PROCESS.
V
THE RESPONDENT COMMISSION ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION WHEN
IT DID NOT TOUCH UPON MUCH LESS DISCUSS THE PETITIONERS ASSIGNMENTS OF
ERRORS IN ITS APPEAL.
VI
THE RESPONDENT COMMISSION ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN
AWARDING MORAL AND EXEMPLARY DAMAGES IN THE AMOUNT OF P20,000 AS WELL
AS ATTORNEYS FEES CONSIDERING THAT THE SAME ARE WITHOUT FACTUAL AND
LEGAL BASIS.[5]
The core issues presented before us are (a) whether the respondent NLRC
committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction
when it ruled that private respondent was a regular employee and not a project
employee, (b) whether petitioner was denied due process when all the money claims
of private respondent, i.e. overtime pay, project allowances, salary differential,
proportionate 13th month pay, moral and exemplary damages as well as attorneys
fees, were granted.
Petitioner contends that as an electrical contractor, its business depends on
contracts it may obtain from private and government establishments, hence the
duration of the employment of its work force is not permanent but co-terminous with
the project to which they are assigned; that the conclusion reached by the Labor
Arbiter and affirmed by the respondent court that private respondent was a regular
employee of petitioner was merely based on mere allegations of private respondent
since the Labor Arbiter did not consider the letter-communication filed by petitioner
through its project manager for the reason that it was not under oath; that although
private respondents employment records showed that he was hired by petitioner as
fabricator, helper/electrician, stockman and timekeeper in its various projects from
1976 to August 14, 1989, the same employment record showed a gap in his

employment service by reason of completion of a particular project, hence, private


respondent would be re-assigned to other on-going projects of the petitioner or be
laid off if there is no available project; that private respondent is a project worker
whose employment is co-terminous with the completion of project, regardless of the
number of projects in which he had worked as provided under Policy Instruction No.
20 of the Labor Department defining project employees as those employed in
connection with a particular construction project. Petitioner relies on the rulings laid
down in Sandoval Shipyard Inc. vs. NLRC [6] and Cartagenas vs. Romago Electric Co.,
Inc[7] where this court declared the employment of project employees as coterminous with the completion of the project for which they were hired.
Well-settled is the rule that the findings of the NLRC, except when there is
grave abuse of discretion, are practically conclusive on this Court. It is only when the
NLRCs findings are bereft of any substantial support from the records that the Court
may step in and proceed to make its own independent evaluation of the facts. [8] We
see no reason to deviate from the rule.
In finding that private respondent was a regular employee of petitioner and not
a mere project employee, the respondent Commission held:
"Firstly, respondents assigning complainant to its various projects did not make
complainant a project worker. As found by the Labor Arbiter, it appears that
complainant was employed by respondent xxx as fabricator and or projects as
helper electrician, stockman and timekeeper. Simply put, complainant was a regular
non-project worker."[9]
Private respondents employment status was established by the Certification of
Employment dated April 10, 1989 issued by petitioner which certified that private
respondent is a bonafide employee of the petitioner from June 30, 1976 up to the
time the certification was issued on April 10, 1989. The same certificate of
employment showed that private respondents exposure to their field of operation
was as fabricator, helper/electrician, stockman/timekeeper. This proves that private
respondent was regularly and continuously employed by petitioner in various job
assignments from 1976 to 1989, for a total of 13 years. The alleged gap in
employment service cited by petitioner does not defeat private respondents regular
status as he was rehired for many more projects without interruption and performed
functions which are vital, necessary and indispensable to the usual business of
petitioner.
We have held that where the employment of project employees is extended
long after the supposed project has been finished, the employees are removed from
the scope of project employees and considered regular employees. [10] Private
respondent had presented substantial evidence to support his position, while
petitioner merely presented an unverified position paper merely stating therein that
private respondent has no cause to complain since the employment contract signed
by private respondent with petitioner was co-terminous with the project. Notably,
petitioner failed to present such employment contract for a specific project signed
by private respondent that would show that his employment with the petitioner was
for the duration of a particular project. Moreover, notwithstanding petitioners claim
in its reply that in taking interest in the welfare of its workers, petitioner would strive

to provide them with more continuous work by successively employing its workers,
in this case, private respondent, petitioner failed to present any report of
termination. Petitioner should have submitted or filed as many reports of termination
as there were construction projects actually finished, considering that private
respondent had been hired since 1976. The failure of petitioner to submit reports of
termination supports the claim of private respondent that he was indeed a regular
employee.
Policy Instruction No. 20 of the Department of Labor is explicit that employers
of project employees are exempted from the clearance requirement but not from the
submission of termination report. This court has consistently held that failure of the
employer to file termination reports after every project completion with the nearest
public employment office is an indication that private respondent was not and is not
a project employee.[11] Department Order No. 19 superseding Policy Instruction No.
20 expressly provides that the report of termination is one of the indications of
project employment.[12]
As stated earlier, the rule in our jurisdiction is that findings of facts of the NLRC
affirming those of the Labor Arbiter are entitled to great weight and will not be
disturbed if they are supported by substantial evidence. [13] Substantial evidence is
an amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate
to justify a conclusion.[14] We find no grave abuse of discretion committed by NLRC in
finding that private respondent was not a project employee.
Our ruling in the case of Sandoval Shipyard vs. NLRC, supra, is not in point. In
the said case, the hiring of construction workers was not continuous for the reason
that the shipyard merely accepts contracts for shipbuilding or for repair of vessels
from third parties and, it is only on occasions when it has work contracts of this
nature that it hires workers for the job which lasts only for less than a year or
longer. With respect to Cartagenas vs. Romago Electric Co. also relied upon by the
petitioner, the complainants were considered project employees because they were
issued appointments from project to project, which were co-terminous with the
phase or item of work assigned to them in said project, a situation which is not
obtaining in the instant case.
Petitioner further claims that respondent Commission erred in sustaining the
awards for overtime pay, project allowances, minimum wage increase adjustment
and proportionate 13th month pay to private respondent in the absence of any
substantial evidence supporting the same; that private respondent failed to present
any documentary evidence other than his self-serving allegation that he actually
rendered overtime work and that he failed to specify in his position paper the actual
number of overtime work alleged to have been rendered; that in petitioners lettercommunication filed with the labor arbiter, it showed that claims for allowances and
salary differential and 13th month pay were already satisfied although petitioner
admitted that there was a delay in the payment which was not rebutted by private
respondent.
We find no merit in petitioners contention.

Private respondent clearly specified in his affidavit the specific dates in which
he was not paid overtime pay, that is, from the period March 16, 1989 to April 3,
1989 amounting to P765.63, project allowance from April 16, 1989 to July 31, 1989
in the total amount of P255.00, wage adjustment for the period from August 1, 1989
to August 14, 1989 in the amount of P256.50 and the proportionate 13th month pay
for the period covering January to May 1988, November-December 1988, and from
January to August 1989. This same affidavit was confirmed by private respondent in
one of the scheduled hearings where he moved that he be allowed to present his
evidence ex-parte for failure of petitioner or any of his representative to appear
thereat. On the other hand, petitioner submitted its unverified Comment to private
respondents complaint stating that he had already satisfied the unpaid wages and
13th month pay claimed by private respondent, but this was not considered by the
Labor Arbiter for being unverified. As a rule, one who pleads payment has the
burden of proving it. Even where the plaintiff must allege non-payment, the general
rule is that the burden rests on the defendant to prove payment, rather than on the
plaintiff to prove non-payment.[15] The debtor has the burden of showing with legal
certainty that the obligation has been discharged by payment. [16] Petitioner failed to
rebut the claims of private respondent. It failed to show proof by means of payroll or
other evidence to disprove the claim of private respondent. Petitioner was given the
opportunity to cross-examine private respondent yet petitioner forfeited such
chance when it did not attend the hearing, and failed to rebut the claims of private
respondent.
Petitioners contention that it was denied due process when it was not given the
chance to cross-examine the adverse party and his witnesses, is devoid of
merit. The essence of due process is simply an opportunity to be heard [17] or as
applied to administrative proceedings, an opportunity to explain ones side or an
opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. [18] What
the law prohibits is absolute absence of the opportunity to be heard; hence, a party
cannot feign denial of due process where he had been afforded the opportunity to
present his side.[19] Petitioner was not denied due process. As the
respondent commission observed:
The case was initially set for hearing on September 12, 1989 wherein complainant
himself appeared. Respondents representative appeared late. For this reason, the
case was reset to September 26, 1989 at 9:30 a.m. wherein both parties
appeared. Complainant filed his position paper and respondents through its project
manager filed a one-page unverified communication stating therein its defense. The
case was then reset to October 9 and 10, 1990 both at 3:00 p.m. warning the parties
that no further postponement will be allowed. On October 9, 1989 complainant and
his counsel appeared but respondents and representative failed to appear despite
due notice and warning. A reply to respondents position paper was filed by
complainant through counsel during the hearing. To give a chance to respondents to
appear, hearing was reset the next day, October 10, 1989. However, respondents or
representative again failed to appear which constrained counsel for complainant to
move that he be allowed to present evidence ex-parte which motion was
granted. Complainant was presented as witness, confirmed his affidavit, testified on
additional direct examination and identified the annexes attached to his position
paper.

To allow the respondents to cross examine the complainant, hearing was again reset
to October 31, 1989 at 9:30 a.m. with the warning that if respondents again fail to
appear, presentation of evidence will be deemed waived and the case will be
considered submitted for decision. On October 31, 1989, despite due notice and
warning, counsel for respondents failed to appear although a representative
appeared requesting for a resetting alleging that counsel for respondents is busy
with the Office of the Commission of Immigration. Said motion was denied and the
motion of counsel for complainant to submit the case for decision was granted. [20]
Clearly, petitioner had ample opportunity to present its side of the controversy not
only before the Labor Arbiter but also with the NLRC on appeal, where petitioner
submitted a memorandum as well as a motion for reconsideration, which were all
considered by the NLRC in the course of resolving the case. [21] It cannot thereafter
interpose lack of due process since it was given the chance to be heard and present
his case.[22] Consequently, the alleged defect in the proceedings before the Labor
Arbiter, if there be any, should be deemed cured.
Petitioners contention that the respondent Commission did not touch upon
each one of the errors enumerated in petitioners appeal in its resolution of March 24,
1992 is untenable. In affirming the decision of the Labor Arbiter, the respondent
NLRC found the evidence supporting the labor arbiters factual findings to be
substantial, and for this reason found it unnecessary to make a separate discussion.
However, the award of moral and exemplary damages must be deleted for
being devoid of legal basis. Moral and exemplary damages are recoverable only
where the dismissal of an employee was attended by bad faith or fraud, or
constituted an act oppressive to labor, or was done in a manner contrary to morals,
good customs or public policy.[23] The person claiming moral damages must prove
the existence of bad faith by clear and convincing evidence for the law always
presumes good faith.[24] It is not enough that one merely suffered sleepless nights,
mental anguish, serious anxiety as the result of the actuations of the other
party. Invariably, such action must be shown to have been willfully done in bad faith
or with ill motive, and bad faith or ill motive under the law cannot be presumed but
must be established with clear and convincing evidence. [25] Private respondent
predicated his claim for such damages on his own allegations of sleepless nights and
mental anguish, without establishing bad faith, fraud or ill motive as legal basis
therefor.
Private respondent not being entitled to award of moral damages, an award of
exemplary damages is likewise baseless.[26] Where the award of moral and
exemplary damages is eliminated, so must the award for attorneys fees be deleted.
[27]
Private respondent has not shown that he is entitled thereto pursuant to Art.
2208 of the Civil Code.
WHEREFORE, the challenged resolutions of the respondent NLRC are hereby
AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that the awards of moral and exemplary damages
and attorneys fees are DELETED.
SO ORDERED.

UNIVERSAL ROBINA CORPORATION and/or RANDY GREGORIO,Petitionersvs. BENITO


CATAPANG (and other workers), Respondents, October 14, 2005

Facts:
Petitioner Universal Robina Corp. is a corporation duly organized and existing under
the Philippine laws, while petitioner Gregorio is a manager of the petitioner.The
individual respondents were hired by the petitioner company on various dates from
1991 to 1993. The respondents were hired under an employment contract which
provided for a five-month period. After the expiration of the said employment
contracts, the petitioner company would renew them and re-employ the
respondents. Later the petitioners informed the respondents that they were no
longer renewing their employment contracts.In 1996, the respondents filed separate
complaints for illegal dismissal, reinstatement, backwages, damages and attorneys
fees against the petitioners.Petitioners filed an Appeal with the NLRC on the ground
that the Labor Arbiter erred in ruling that the respondents are the petitioner
companys regular employees.

Issue:
Whether or not the respondents are regular employees of the petitioner.

Ruling:
Yes. In any case, we find that the CA, the NLRC and the Labor Arbiter correctly
categorized the respondents as regular employees of the petitioner company. In
Abasolo v. National Labor Relations Commission, the Court reiterated the test in
determining whether one is a regular employee: The primary standard, therefore, of
determining regular employment is the reasonable connection between the
particular activity performed by the employee in relation to the usual trade or
business of the employer. The test is whether the former is usually necessary or
desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer. The connection can be
determined by considering the nature of work performed and its relation to the
scheme of the particular business or trade in its entirety. Also, if the employee has
been performing the job for at least a year, even if the performance is not
continuous and merely intermittent, the law deems repeated and continuing need
for its performance as sufficient evidence of the necessity if not indispensability of
that activity to the business. Hence, the employment is considered regular, but only
with respect to such activity and while such activity exists. Petitioners act of
repeatedly and continuously hiring private respondents in a span of 3 to 5 years to
do the same kind of work negates their contention that private respondents were
hired for a specific project or undertaking only.
ABESCO CONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION and MR. OSCAR
BANZON, General Manager, Petitioners, vs. ALBERTO RAMIREZ, BERNARDO DIWA,
MANUEL LOYOLA, REYNALDO P. ACODESIN, ALEXANDER BAUTISTA, EDGAR TAJONERA
and GARY DISON,* Respondents., April 10, 2006

Facts:
Petitioner company was engaged in a construction business where respondents were
hired on different dates from 1976 to 1992 either as laborers, road roller operators,
painters or drivers. In 1997, respondents filed two separate complaints1 for illegal
dismissal against the company and its General Manager, Oscar Banzon, before the
Labor Arbiter (LA). Petitioners allegedly dismissed them without a valid reason and
without due process of law. Petitioners denied liability to respondents and countered
that respondents were "project employees" since their services were necessary only
when the company had projects to be completed. After trial, the LA declared
respondents as regular employees because they belonged to a "work pool" from
which the company drew workers for assignment to different projects, at its
discretion.Petitioners filed a petition for review in the Court of Appeals (CA) arguing
that they were not liable for illegal dismissal since respondents' services were
merely put on hold until the resumption of their business operations. They also
averred that they had paid respondents their full wages and benefits as provided by
law, hence, the latter had no more right to further benefits.

Issue:
Whether respondents were project employees or regular employees.

Ruling:
The respondents are regular employees. The principal test for determining whether
employees are "project employees" or "regular employees" is whether they are
assigned to carry out a specific project or undertaking, the duration and scope of
which are specified at the time they are engaged for that project. Such duration, as
well as the particular work/service to be performed, is defined in an employment
agreement and is made clear to the employees at the time of hiring. In this case,
petitioners did not have that kind of agreement with respondents. Neither did they
inform respondents of the nature of the latters work at the time of hiring. Hence, for
failure of petitioners to substantiate their claim that respondents were project
employees, we are constrained to declare them as regular employees. Petitioners'
inconsistent and conflicting positions on their true relation with respondents make it
all the more evident that the latter were indeed their regular employees.
PHIL. FEDERATION OF CREDIT COOPERATIVES, INC. (PECCI) and FR. BENEDICTO
JAYOMA, petitioners, vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION (First Division)
and VICTORIA ABRIL, respondents, December 11, 1998

Facts:
Private respondent Victoria Abril was employed by petitioner Philippine Federation of
Credit Cooperatives, Inc. (PFCCI), a corporation engaged in organizing services to
credit and cooperative entities, as Junior Auditor/Field Examiner and thereafter held
positions in different capacities, to wit: as office secretary in 1985 and as cashierdesignate for four (4) months ending in April 1988. Respondent, shortly after
resuming her position as office secretary, subsequently went on leave until she gave
birth to a baby girl. Upon her return sometime in November 1989, however, she
discovered that a certain Vangie Santos had been permanently appointed to her
former position. She, nevertheless, accepted the position of Regional Field Officer as
evidenced by a contract which stipulated, among other things, that respondents
employment status shall be probationary for a period of six (6) months. Said period
having elapsed, respondent was allowed to work until PFCCI presented to her
another employment contract for a period of one year commencing on January 2,
1991 until December 31, 1991, after which period, her employment was terminated.

Issue:
Whether or not the respondent is a regular employee for working beyond the 6
months probationary period.

Ruling:
Yes. It is an elementary rule in the law on labor relations that a probationary
employee who is engaged to work beyond the probationary period of six months, as
provided under Art. 281 of the Labor Code, as amended, or for any length of time
set forth by the employer, shall be considered a regular employee. Regardless of the
designation petitioner may have conferred upon respondents employment status, it
is, however, uncontroverted that the latter, having completed the probationary
period and allowed to work thereafter, became a regular employee who may be
dismissed only for just or authorized causes under Articles 282, 283 and 284 of the
Labor Code, as amended. Therefore, the dismissal, premised on the alleged
expiration of the contract, is illegal and entitles respondent to the reliefs prayed for.
CALS POULTRY SUPPLY CORPORATION and DANILO YAP, petitioners, vs. ALFREDO
ROCO and CANDELARIA ROCO, respondents,July 30, 2002

Facts:
Petitioner CALS Poultry Supply Corporation is engaged in the business of selling
dressed chicken and other related products and managed by Petitioner Danilo Yap.
CALS hired Alfredo Roco as its driver. On the same date, CALS hired Edna Roco,
Alfredos sister, as a helper in the dressing room of CALS. On May 16, 1995, it hired
CandelariaRoco, another sister, as helper, also at its chicken dressing plant on a
probationary basis. Alfredo Roco, Edna Roco and CandelariaRoco filed a complaint
for illegal dismissal against CALS and Danilo Yap. Ednas complaint was dismissed

while Alfredos complaint was also later dismissed.CandelariaRoco claimed that she
was a regular employee since she worked beyond the 6 months probationary period
and thus she is entitled to a regular employees benefits.

Issue:
Whether or not CandelariaRocos termination was valid.

Ruling:
Yes. We agree with CALS contention as upheld by both the Labor Arbiter and the
NLRC that Candelarias services was terminated within and not beyond the 6-month
probationary period. In Cebu Royal v. Deputy Minister of Labor, our computation of
the 6-month probationary period is reckoned from the date of appointment up to the
same calendar date of the 6th month following.
MITSUBISHI MOTORS PHILIPPINES CORPORATION, Petitioner, vs. CHRYSLER
PHILIPPINES LABOR UNION and NELSON PARAS, Respondents., June 29, 2004

Facts:
Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) is a domestic corporation engaged
in the assembly and distribution of Mitsubishi motor vehicles. Chrysler Philippines
Labor Union (CPLU) is a legitimate labor organization and the duly certified
bargaining agent of the hourly-paid regular rank and file employees of MMPC. Paras
was not considered for regularization. On November 26, 1996, he received a Notice
of Termination dated November 25, 1996, informing him that his services were
terminated effective the said date since he failed to meet the required company
standards for regularization. Utilizing the grievance machinery in the collective
bargaining agreement, the CPLU demanded the settlement of the dispute.

Issue:
Whether or not in computing the 6 month probationary period and applying Article
13 of the New Civil Code, the respondent Paras is considered as a regular employee.

Ruling:
Yes. Paras is a regular employee. Applying Article 13 of the Civil Code, the
probationary period of six (6) months consists of one hundred eighty (180) days.
[32] This is in conformity with paragraph one, Article 13 of the Civil Code, which
provides that the months which are not designated by their names shall be
understood as consisting of thirty (30) days each. The number of months in the
probationary period, six (6), should then be multiplied by the number of days within
a month, thirty (30); hence, the period of one hundred eighty (180) days. As clearly
provided for in the last paragraph of Article 13, in computing a period, the first day
shall be excluded and the last day included. Thus, the one hundred eighty (180)
days commenced on May 27, 1996, and ended on November 23, 1996. The
termination letter dated November 25, 1996 was served on respondent Paras only at
3:00 a.m. of November 26, 1996. He was, by then, already a regular employee of
the petitioner under Article 281 of the Labor Code.
MARIWASA MANUFACTURING, INC., and ANGEL T. DAZO, petitioners, vs. HON.
VICENTE LEOGARDO, JR., in his capacity as Deputy Minister of Ministry of Labor and
Employment judgment, and JOAQUIN A. DEQUILA, respondents., January 26, 1989

Facts:
Private respondent Joaquin A. Dequila (or Dequilla) was hired on probation by
petitioner Mariwasa Manufacturing, Inc. (hereafter, Mariwasa only) as a general
utility worker on January 10, 1979. Upon the expiration of the probationary period of
six months, Dequila was informed by his employer that his work had proved
unsatisfactory and had failed to meet the required standards. To give him a chance
to improve his performance and qualify for regular employment, instead of
dispensing with his service then and there, with his written consent Mariwasa
extended his probation period for another three months from July 10 to October 9,
1979. His performance, however, did not improve and on that account Mariwasa
terminated his employment at the end of the extended period. Dequila thereupon
filed with the Ministry of Labor against Mariwasa and its Vice-President for
Administration, Angel T. Dazo, a complaint for illegal dismissal

Issue:

Whether or not, Article 282 of the Labor Code notwithstanding, probationary


employment may validly be extended beyond the prescribed six-month period by
agreement of the employer and the employee.

Ruling:
Yes. Generally, the probationary period of employment is limited to six (6) months.
The exception to this general rule is when the parties to an employment contract
may agree otherwise, such as when the same is established by company policy or
when the same is required by the nature of work to be performed by the employee.
In the latter case, there is recognition of the exercise of managerial prerogatives in
requiring a longer period of probationary employment.The extension of Dequila's
probation was ex gratia, an act of liberality on the part of his employer affording him
a second chance to make good after having initially failed to prove his worth as an
employee. Such an act cannot now unjustly be turned against said employer's
account to compel it to keep on its payroll one who could not perform according to
its work standards. The law, surely, was never meant to produce such an inequitable
result.
JUANITO VILLANUEVA, petitioner, vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION,
(Second Division), HON. COMMISSIONERS: ROGELIO AYALA, RAUL T. AQUINO,
INNODATA PHILS. INC. / INNODATA PROCESSING CORP. and TODD SOLOMON,
respondents., September 10, 1998

Facts:
Petitioner Juanito M. Villanueva started working with respondent Innodata
Philippines, Inc.,/Innodata Processing Corporation as an "abstractor.The contract of
employment provided for a period of effectivity of "one year commencing on Feb.
21, 1994, until Aug. 21, 1995." It was also stipulated that from 21 February 1994 to
21 August 1994, or for a period of six months, petitioner's employment would be
"contractual" and could be terminated at whatever date within this period by mere
service of notice to that effect. However, should his employment be continued
beyond 21 August 1994, he would become a regular employee upon demonstration
of sufficient skill to meet the standards set by the respondent company. Should he
fail to demonstrate the ability to master his task during the first six months, he could
be placed on probation for another six months; after which, he could be evaluated
for promotion as a regular employee. On 21 February 1995, petitioner's services
were terminated by reason of "end of contract." Later, the petitioner was rehired by
the respondent corporation, this time, as a data encoder effective 13 March 1995 to
15 August 1995, with a lesser pay

Issue:
Whether or not the petitioner is a regular employee despite the repetitive
probationary period.

Ruling:
Yes. According to the employment contractif the petitioner was thus allowed to
remain in employment beyond 21 August 1994, it could be for no other reason than
that he demonstrated "sufficient skill in terms of his ability to meet the standards
set" by the respondent company. He, therefore, became a regular employee by
virtue of the third sentence of the second paragraph of Section 2 of the contract.
Besides, the Labor Arbiter found that as an abstractor, the petitioner was engaged in
"processing, encoding of data, precoding, editing, proofreading and scoring, all of
which activities are deemed necessary and desirable in the usual business of
respondent company." The employment then was "regular" under the first paragraph
of Article 280 of the Labor Code. Any ambiguity therein must be resolved against the
respondent company, [13] especially because under Article 1702 of the Civil Code,
in case of doubt, all labor contracts shall be construed in favor of the laborer.
INNODATA PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner, vs.JOCELYN L. QUEJADA-LOPEZ and ESTELLA
G. NATIVIDAD-PASCUAL, respondents., October 12, 2006

Facts:

Innodata Philippines, Inc., is engaged in the encoding/data conversion business. It


employs encoders, indexers, formatters, programmers, quality/quantity staff, and
others, to maintain its business and do the job orders of its clients. Estrella G.
Natividad and Jocelyn L. Quejada were employed as formatters by Innodata
Philippines, Inc. Respondents later filed a complaint for illegal dismissal.hand,
[petitioner] contends that [respondents] employment contracts expired, for [these
were] only for a fixed period of one (1) year.

Issue:
Whether the alleged fixed-term employment contracts entered into by petitioner and
respondents are valid.

Ruling:
No. While this Court has recognized the validity of fixed-term employment contracts
in a number of cases, it has consistently emphasized that when the circumstances of
a case show that the periods were imposed to block the acquisition of security of
tenure, they should be struck down for being contrary to law, morals, good customs,
public order or public policy.In a feeble attempt to conform to the earlier rulings of
this Court in Villanueva and Servidad, petitioner has reworded its present
employment contracts. A close scrutiny of the provisions, however, show that the
double-bladed scheme to block the acquisition of tenurial security still exists.
Indeed, a contract of employment is impressed with public interest. For this reason,
provisions of applicable statutes are deemed written into the contract. Hence, the
"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."
Moreover, in case of doubt, the terms of a contract should be construed in favor of
labor.
ILUMINADA VER BUISER, MA.CECILIA RILLOACUA and MA. MERCEDES P. INTENGAN,
petitioners, vs. HON. VICENTE LEOGARDO, JR., in his capacity as Deputy Minister of
the Ministry of Labor & Employment, and GENERAL TELEPHONE DIRECTORY, CO.,
respondents., July 31, 1984

Facts:
Petitioners were employed by the private respondent GENERAL TELEPHONE
DIRECTORY COMPANY as sales representatives and charged with the duty of
soliciting advertisements for inclusion in a telephone directory. The company hereby
employs the employee as telephone representative on a probationary status for a
period of eighteen (18) months, i.e. from May 1980 to October 1981, inclusive. It is
understood that during the probationary period of employment, the Employee may
be terminated at the pleasure of the company without the necessity of giving notice
of termination or the payment of termination pay.The private respondent prescribed
sales quotas have to be accomplished or met by the petitioners. Failing to meet their
respective sales quotas, the petitioners were dismissed from the service by the
private respondent. Petitioners filed with the National Capital Region, Ministry of
Labor and Employment, a complaint for illegal dismissal with claims.

Issue:
Whether or not the probationary period can exceed the 6 months mandated by law.

Ruling:
Yes. The exception to this general rule is When the parties to an employment
contract may agree otherwise, such as when the same is established by company
policy or when the same is required by the nature of work to be performed by the
employee. In the latter case, there is recognition of the exercise of managerial
prerogatives in requiring a longer period of probationary employment, such as in the
present case where the probationary period was set for eighteen (18) months, i.e.
from May, 1980 to October, 1981 inclusive, especially where the employee must
learn a particular kind of work such as selling, or when the job requires certain
qualifications, skills, experience or training. Moreover, an eighteen month
probationary period is recognized by the Labor Union in the private respondent
company, which is Article V of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

NITTO ENTERPRISES, petitioner, vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and


ROBERTO CAPILI, respondents., September 29, 1995

Facts:
Petitioner Nitto Enterprises, a company engaged in the sale of glass and aluminum
products, hired Roberto Capili sometime in May 1990 as an apprentice machinist,
molder and core maker as evidenced by an apprenticeship agreement 2 for a period
of six (6) months. Roberto Capili who was handling a piece of glass which he was
working on, accidentally hit and injured the leg of an office secretary who was
treated at a nearby hospital. He also later injured himself. The following day, Roberto
Capili was asked to resign in a letter.Private respondent formally filed before the
NLRC Arbitration Branch, National Capital Region a complaint for illegal dismissal.

Issue:
Whether or not private respondent Capili is under an apprentice agreement for
employment.

Ruling:
No. Capili was deemed to be a regular employee.Since the apprenticeship
agreement between petitioner and private respondent has no force and effect in the
absence of a valid apprenticeship program duly approved by the DOLE, private
respondent's assertion that he was hired not as an apprentice but as a delivery boy
("kargador" or "pahinante") deserves credence. He should rightly be considered as a
regular employee of petitioner as defined by Article 280 of the Labor Code.With
regards the apprentice employment the law is clear on this matter. Article 61 of the
Labor Code provides:
Contents of apprenticeship agreement. Apprenticeship agreements, including the
main rates of apprentices, shall conform to the rules issued by the Minister of Labor
and Employment. The period of apprenticeship shall not exceed six months.
Apprenticeship agreements providing for wage rates below the legal minimum wage,
which in no case shall start below 75% per cent of the applicable minimum wage,
may be entered into only in accordance with apprenticeship program duly approved
by the Minister of Labor and Employment. The Ministry shall develop standard model
programs of apprenticeship.
CHIANG KAI SHEK SCHOOL, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and FAUSTINA
FRANCO OH, respondents. April 18, 1989

Facts:
An unpleasant surprise awaited Fausta F. Oh when she reported for work at the
Chiang Kai Shek School in Sorsogon on the first week of July, 1968. She was told she
had no assignment for the next semester. Oh was shocked. She had been teaching
in the school since 1932 for a continuous period of almost 33 years. And now, out of
the blue, and for no apparent or given reason, this abrupt dismissal. Oh sued.

Issue:
Whether or not Oh became a regular employee.

Ruling:
Yes, Oh became a regular employee. The Court holds, after considering the
particular circumstance of Oh'semployment, that she had become a permanent
employee of the school and entitled to security of tenure at the time of her
dismissal. Since no cause was shown and established at an appropriate hearing, and
the notice then required by law had not been given, such dismissal was invalid.R.A.
No. 4670, otherwise known as the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers, confers
security of tenure on the teacher upon appointment as long as he possesses the
required qualification. And under the present policy of the Department of Education,
Culture and Sports, a teacher becomes permanent and automatically acquires
security of tenure upon completion of three years in the service.
ESPIRITU SANTO PAROCHIAL SCHOOL, SISTER MARY MARTINEZ, and SISTER MA.
ENCARNACION DE LOS SANTOS, petitioners, vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS
COMMISSION, ESPIRITU SANTO PAROCHIAL SCHOOL FACULTY ASSOCIATION,
EVANGELINE LOPEZ, CONSTANCIA TEMPONGKO MARISSA, MARTIN BRAVO, EDITHA
ESPIRITU, VIVIAN CAPATI and CORAZON HADAP respondents., September 26, 1989


Facts:
The said seven individual private respondents were hired by the petitioner-school on
a probationary basis on June 1, 1984, 1 whereupon, sometime between April 1 and
15, 1985 2 their services were terminated. On May 8, 1985, 2 they charged the
petitioner-school with unfair labor practice and illegal dismissal.private respondentsteachers contend as follows:
1. Under the Manual of Regulations for Private Schools, teachers undergo a
probationary period of three years, during which, they may be dismissed only for a
just cause.
2. Since the said seven teachers were laid off after less than one year of
probationary service, the lay-off was illegal.

Issue:
Whether or not the respondents were validly dismissed being probationary
employees.

Ruling:
No. The respondents were not validly dismissed since there was no valid or
authorized ground for their removal. We see no clear evidence that the individual
complainants were terminated either for a just cause or that they have failed to
qualify as regular employees in accordance with the standards set by respondent
school made known to the former at the time of hiring. In fact, it is shown that the
individual complainants were issued individual certifications of employment and
whose performance ratings ranged from 85% to 90%.The school manual of the
petitioner school, which provides: PROBATIONARY:
Teachers who have not served the school for three consecutive years are classified
as non-permanent. They are under probation. Their contract with the school
automatically terminates effectively (at the) end of every school year unless the
teacher concerned is dismissed for cause or has resigned from the service before
the end of the school year. Probation is a test of moral and professional fitness of a
teacher.
PROJECT EMPLOYMENT DIGEST
A project employee has been defined to be one whose employment has been fixed
for a specific project or undertaking, the completion or termination of which has
been determined at the time of the engagement of the employee, or where the work
or service to be performed is seasonal in nature and the employment is for the
duration of the season, as in the present case.
-Leyte Geothermal Power Progressive Employees Union v. Philippine National Oil
Company - Energy Development Corporation (G.R. No. 170351, March 30, 2011)
G.R. No. 170181
June 26, 2008
HANJIN HEAVY INDUSTRIES AND CONSTRUCTION CO. LTD., HAK KON KIM
and/or
JHUNIE
ADAJAR,petitioners,
vs.
FELICITO IBAEZ, ALIGWAS CAROLINO, ELMER GACULA, ENRIQUE
DAGOTDOT AND RUEL CALDA,respondents.
Facts:
Petitioner HANJIN is a foreign company duly registered with the Securities and
Exchange Commission to engage in the construction business in the Philippines.
Petitioners HakKon Kim and JhunieAdajar were employed as Project Director and
Supervisor, respectively, by HANJIN. On 11 April 2002, respondents FelicitoIbaez,
AligwasCarolino, Elmer Gacula, Enrique Dagotdot, RuelCalda, and four other coworkers filed a complaint before the NLRC for illegal dismissal with prayer for
reinstatement. Respondents stated that their tasks were usual and necessary or
desirable in the usual business or trade of HANJIN. Respondents additionally averred
that they were employed as members of a work pool from which HANJIN draws the
workers to be dispatched to its various construction projects. Petitioners maintained
that respondents were hired as project employees for the construction of the
LRT/MRT Line 2 Package 2 and 3 Project. HANJIN and respondents purportedly
executed contracts of employment, in which it was clearly stipulated that the

respondents were to be hired as project employees for a period of only three


months, but that the contracts may be renewed. However, petitioners failed to
furnish the Labor Arbiter a copy of said contracts of employment. The LA ruled for
respondents but the decision was reversed by the NLRC. On appeal, the CA
reinstated the LAs ruling. Hence this recourse.
Issue:
Whether or not respondents are regular employees of the petitioner.
Ruling:
Yes. The principal test for determining whether particular employees are properly
characterized as "project employees" as distinguished from "regular employees" is
whether or not the project employees were assigned to carry out a "specific project
or undertaking," the duration and scope of which were specified at the time the
employees were engaged for that project. Even though the absence of a written
contract does not by itself grant regular status to respondents, such a contract is
evidence that respondents were informed of the duration and scope of their work
and their status as project employees. In this case, where no other evidence was
offered, the absence of an employment contract puts into serious question whether
the employees were properly informed at the onset of their employment status as
project employees. It is doctrinally entrenched that in illegal dismissal cases, the
employer has the burden of proving with clear, accurate, consistent and convincing
evidence that a dismissal was valid. Had respondents' allegations been false,
petitioners could simply present as evidence documents and records in their custody
to disprove the same, i.e., payroll for such projects or termination reports, which do
not bear respondents' names. Petitioners, instead, chose to remain vague as to the
circumstances surrounding the hiring of the respondents. This Court finds it unusual
that petitioners cannot even categorically state the exact year when HANJIN
employed respondents. Due to petitioners' failure to adduce any evidence showing
that petitioners were project employees who had been informed of the duration and
scope of their employment, they were unable to discharge the burden of proof
required to establish that respondents' dismissal was legal and valid. Furthermore, it
is a well-settled doctrine that if doubts exist between the evidence presented by the
employer and that by the employee, the scales of justice must be tilted in favor of
the latter. For these reasons, respondents are to be considered regular employees of
HANJIN. Finally, in the instant case, records failed to show that HANJIN afforded
respondents, as regular employees, due process prior to their dismissal, through the
twin requirements of notice and hearing. Respondents were not served notices
informing them of the particular acts for which their dismissal was sought. Nor were
they required to give their side regarding the charges made against them. Certainly,
the respondents' dismissal was not carried out in accordance with law and was,
therefore, illegal. Affirmed CAs ruling.
G.R. No. 167045

August 29, 2008

COCOMANGAS HOTEL BEACH RESORT and/or SUSAN MUNRO, petitioners,


vs.
FEDERICO F. VISCA, JOHNNY G. BAREDO, RONALD Q. TIBUS, RICHARD G.
VISCA and RAFFIE G. VISCA, respondents.
Facts:
The present controversy stemmed from five individual complaints for illegal
dismissal filed on June 15, 1999 by Federico F. Visca (Visca), Johnny G. Barredo,
Ronald Q. Tibus, Richard G. Visca and Raffie G. Visca (respondents) against
Cocomangas Hotel Beach Resort and/or its owner-manager, Susan Munro
(petitioners).respondents alleged that they were regular employees of petitioners
and tasked with the maintenance and repair of the resort facilities; on May 8, 1999,
Maria NidaIigo-Taala, the Front Desk Officer/Sales Manager, informed them not to
report for work since the ongoing constructions and repairs would be temporarily
suspended because they caused irritation and annoyance to the resort's guests; as

instructed, they did not report for work the succeeding days; John Munro, husband of
petitioner Susan Munro, subsequently visited respondent foreman Visca and
informed him that the work suspension was due to budgetary constraints; when
respondent Visca later discovered that four new workers were hired to do
respondents' tasks, he confronted petitioner Munro who explained that respondents'
resumption of work was not possible due to budgetary constraints; when not less
than ten workers were subsequently hired by petitioners to do repairs in two
cottages of the resort and two workers were retained after the completion without
respondents being allowed to resume work, they filed their individual complaints for
illegal dismissal. Petitioners denied any employer-employee relationship with
respondents and countered that respondent Visca was an independent contractor
who was called upon from time to time when some repairs in the resort facilities
were needed and the other respondents were selected and hired by him. Both the
LA and NLRC dismissed the complaint. On appeal, the CA reversed the findings.
Hence
this
case.
Issue:
Whether or not respondents are project employees.
Ruling:
No. The Court finds that the CA did not err in finding that respondents were regular
employees, not project employees. A project employee is one whose "employment
has been fixed for a specific project or undertaking, the completion or termination of
which has been determined at the time of the engagement of the employee or
where the work or service to be performed is seasonal in nature and the
employment is for the duration of the season." Before an employee hired on a perproject basis can be dismissed, a report must be made to the nearest employment
office, of the termination of the services of the workers every time completes a
project. In the present case, respondents cannot be classified as project employees,
since they worked continuously for petitioners from three to twelve years without
any mention of a "project" to which they were specifically assigned. While they had
designations as "foreman," "carpenter" and "mason," they performed work other
than carpentry or masonry. They were tasked with the maintenance and repair of the
furniture, motor boats, cottages, and windbreakers and other resort facilities. There
is likewise no evidence of the project employment contracts covering respondents'
alleged periods of employment. More importantly, there is no evidence that
petitioners reported the termination of respondents' supposed project employment
to the DOLE as project employees. This Court has held that an employment ceases
to be coterminous with specific projects when the employee is continuously rehired
due to the demands of employers business and re-engaged for many more projects
without interruption. The Court is not persuaded by petitioners' submission that
respondents' services are not necessary or desirable to the usual trade or business
of the resort. The repeated and continuing need for their services is sufficient
evidence of the necessity, if not indispensability, of their services to petitioners'
resort business. Once a project or work pool employee has been: (1) continuously,
as opposed to intermittently, rehired by the same employer for the same tasks or
nature of tasks; and (2) these tasks are vital, necessary and indispensable to the
usual business or trade of the employer, then the employee must be deemed a
regular employee, pursuant to Article 280 of the Labor Code and jurisprudence. That
respondents were regular employees is further bolstered by the following evidence:
(a) the SSS Quarterly Summary of Contribution Payments listing respondents as
employees of petitioners; (b) the Service Record Certificates stating that
respondents were employees of petitioners for periods ranging from three to twelve
years and all have given "very satisfactory performance";(c) petty cash vouchers
showing payment of respondents' salaries and holiday and overtime pays. Thus,
substantial evidence supported the CA finding that respondents were regular
employees. Being regular employees, they were entitled to security of tenure, and
their services may not be terminated except for causes provided by law. The CAs
decision is affirmed.

ABESCO CONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION and MR.


OSCAR
BANZON,
General
Manager, Petitioners,
vs.
ALBERTO RAMIREZ, BERNARDO DIWA, MANUEL LOYOLA, REYNALDO P.
ACODESIN,
ALEXANDER
BAUTISTA,
EDGAR
TAJONERA
and
GARY
DISON,* Respondents.
Facts:
Petitioner company was engaged in a construction business where respondents were
hired on different dates from 1976 to 1992 either as laborers, road roller operators,
painters or drivers. In 1997, respondents filed two separate complaints for illegal
dismissal against the company and its General Manager, Oscar Banzon. Petitioners
allegedly dismissed them without a valid reason and without due process of law.
Petitioners denied liability to respondents and countered that respondents were
"project employees" since their services were necessary only when the company
had projects to be completed. Petitioners argued that, being project employees,
respondents' employment was coterminous with the project to which they were
assigned. They were not regular employees who enjoyed security of tenure and
entitlement to separation pay upon termination from work. The LA, NLRC and CA all
ruled in favor of respondents. Hence this present recourse.
Issue:
Whether or not respondents are regular employees.
Ruling:
Yes. The SC clarified that employees (like respondents) who work under different
project employment contracts for several years do not automatically become regular
employees; they can remain as project employees regardless of the number of years
they work. Length of service is not a controlling factor in determining the nature of
one's employment. Moreover, employees who are members of a "work pool" from
which a company (like petitioner corporation) draws workers for deployment to its
different projects do not become regular employees by reason of that fact alone. The
principal test for determining whether employees are "project employees" or
"regular employees" is whether they are assigned to carry out a specific project or
undertaking, the duration and scope of which are specified at the time they are
engaged for that project. Such duration, as well as the particular work/service to be
performed, is defined in an employment agreement and is made clear to the
employees at the time of hiring. In this case, petitioners did not have that kind of
agreement with respondents. Neither did they inform respondents of the nature of
the latter's work at the time of hiring. Hence, for failure of petitioners to substantiate
their claim that respondents were project employees, we are constrained to declare
them as regular employees. On the issue of illegal dismissal, we hold that petitioners
failed to adhere to the "two-notice rule" which requires that workers to be dismissed
must be furnished with: (1) a notice informing them of the particular acts for which
they are being dismissed and (2) a notice advising them of the decision to terminate
the employment.12Respondents were never given such notices. The CAs ruling is
affirmed.
G.R. No. 114290 September 9, 1996
RAYCOR
AIRCONTROL
vs.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS
al., respondents.

SYSTEMS,
COMMISSION

and

INC., petitioner,
ROLANDO

LAYA,

et

Facts:
Petitioner's sole line of business is installing airconditioning systems in the building
of its clients. In connection with such installation work, petitioner hired private
respondents Roberto Fulgencio et al, who worked in various capacities as tinsmith,
leadman, aircon mechanic, installer, welder and painter. Private respondents insist
that they had been regular employees all along, but petitioner maintains that they

were project employees who were assigned to work on specific projects of petitioner,
and that the nature of petitioner's business mere installation (not manufacturing)
of aircon systems and equipment in buildings of its clients prevented petitioner
from hiring private respondents as regular employees. As found by the LA, their
average length of service with petitioner exceeded one year, with some ranging
from two six years (but private respondents claim much longer tenures, some
allegedly exceeding ten years). On different dates in 1992, they were served with
uniformly-worded notices of "Termination of Employment" by petitioner "due to our
present business status", which terminations were to be effective the day following
the date of receipt of the notices. Private respondent felt they were given their
walking papers after they refused to sign a "Contract Employment" providing for,
among others, a fixed period of employment which "automatically terminates
without necessity of further notice" or even earlier at petitioner's sole discretion.
Because of the termination, private respondents filed three cases of illegal dismissal
against petitioner, alleging that the reason given for the termination of their
employment was not one of the valid grounds therefor under the Labor Code. They
also claimed that the termination was without benefit of due process. The LA
dismissed the complaint, however the NLRC reversed the findings. Hence, this
petition.
Issue:
Whether or not private respondents were project employees or regular (non-project)
employees, and whether or not they were legally dismissed.
Ruling:
Respondents are regular employees and are illegally dismissed. Project employees
may or may not be members of a work pool, (that is the employer may or may not
have formed a work pool at all), and in turn, members of a work pool could be either
project employees or regular employees. In the instant case, respondent NLRC did
not indicate how private respondents came to be considered members of a work
pool as distinguished from ordinary (non-work pool) employees. It did not establish
that a work pool existed in the first place. In the realm of business and industry, we
note that "project" could refer to a particular job or undertaking that is within the
regular or usual business of the employer company, but which is distinct and
separate and identifiable as such, from the other undertakings of the company. Such
job or undertaking begins and ends at determined or determinable times. The
typical example of this type of project is a particular construction job or project of a
construction company. A construction company ordinarily carried out two or more
discrete identifiable construction projects: e.g., a twenty-five story hotel in Makati; a
residential condominium building in Baguio City; and a domestic air terminal in Iloilo
City Employees who are hired for the carrying out of one of these separate projects,
the scope and duration of which has been determined and made known to the
employees at the time of employment, are properly treated as "project employees,"
and their services may be lawfully terminated at completion of the project.
petitioner in the case undoubtedly could have presented additional evidence to
buttress its claim. For instance, petitioner could have presented copies of its
contracts with its clients, to show the time, duration and scope of past installation
projects. The data from these contracts could then have been correlated to the data
which could be found in petitioner's payroll records for, let us say, the past three
years or so, to show that private respondents had been working intermittently as
and when they were assigned to said projects, and that their compensation had
been computed on the basis of such work. But petitioner did not produce such
additional evidence, and we find it failed to discharge its burden of proof. It is not so
much that this Court cannot appreciate petitioner's contentions about the nature of
its business and its inability to maintain a large workforce on its permanent payroll.
Private respondents have admitted that petitioner is engaged only in the installation
(not manufacture) of aircon systems or units in buildings, and since such a line of
business would obviously be highly (if not wholly) dependent on the availability of
buildings or projects requiring such installation services, which factor no
businessman, no matter how savvy, can accurately forecast from year to year, it can
be easily surmised that petitioner, aware that its revenues and income would be

unpredictable, would always try to keep its overhead costs to a minimum, and would
naturally want to engage workers on a per-project or per-building basis only,
retaining very few employees (if any) on its permanent payroll. The aforesaid
conflicting data have the net effect of casting doubt upon and clouding the real
nature of the private respondents' employment status. And we are mandated by law
to resolve all doubts in favor of labor. For which reason, we hereby hold that private
respondents were regular employees of the petitioner. In the instant case, petitioner
did not afford them due process thru the twin requirements of notice and hearing, as
the terminations took effect the day following receipt of the notices of termination.
Ineluctably, the said terminations are not in accordance with law and therefore
illegal. Ruled in favor of the respondents.
G.R. No. 102973 August 24, 1993
ROGELIO
vs.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and
PACIFIC CO. OF MANILA, INC.,respondents.

CARAMOL, petitioner,
ATLANTIC

GULF

and

Facts:
Petitioner was hired by respondent ATLANTIC GULF on 2 June 1983 for the position of
rigger. Until the occurrence of the strike on 10 May 1986, his last assignment was at
respondent ATLANTIC GULF's plant in Batangas. Petitioner claims that because of his
involvement in unionism, particularly in actively manning the picket lines, he was
among those who were not re-admitted after the strike. Petitioner, a worker hired by
respondent on a "project-to-project" basis but whose employment was renewed
forty-four (44) times by the latter. On the other hand, respondent ATLANTIC GULF
contends that petitioner was one of the several thousands of workers who were
hired on a "project-to-project" basis and whose employment was covered by Project
Employment Contract for a particular project and for a definite period of time. On 15
May 1986 private respondent dispensed with the services of petitioner claiming as
justification the completion of the Nauru project to which petitioner was assigned
and the consequent expiration of the employment contract. The LA ruled in favor of
petitioner only to be reversed by the NLRC. Thus this present recourse by petitioner.
Issue:
Whether or not petitioner is a regular employee.
Ruling:
Yes. There is no question that stipulation on employment contract providing for a
fixed period of employment such as "project-to-project" contract is valid provided
the period was agreed upon knowingly and voluntarily the parties, without any force,
duress or improper pressure being brought to bear upon the employee and absent
any other circumstances vitiating his consent, or where it satisfactorily appears that
the employer and employee dealt with each other on more or less equal terms with
no moral dominance whatever being exercised by the former over the latter.
However, where from the circumstances it is apparent that periods have been
imposed to preclude the acquisition of tenurial security by the employee, they
should be struck down as contrary tenurial security by the employee, they should be
struck down as contrary to public policy, morals, good custom or public order. The
case at bar sufficiently established circumstances showing that the supposed fixed
period of employment by way of a project-to-project contract has been imposed to
preclude acquisition of tenurial security by the petitioner. Accordingly, such
arrangement must be struck down as contrary to public policy. Admittedly, the
"project-to-project" employment of petitioner was renewed several times, forty-four
(44) project contracts according to him. Private respondent points to this successive
employment as evidence that petitioner is a project employee in its projects. It is
asserted that being in the construction industry, it is not unusual for private
respondent and other similar companies to hire employees or workers for a definite

period only, or whose employment is co-terminus with the completion of a specific


project as recognized by Art. 280 of the Labor Code. However, with the successive
contracts of employment where petitioner continued to perform the same kind of
work, i.e., as rigger throughout his period of employment, it is clearly manifest that
petitioner's tasks were usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade
of private respondent. There can therefore be no escape from the conclusion that
petitioner is a regular employee of private respondent. The primary standard of
determining a regular employment is the reasonable connection between the
particular activity performed by the employee in relation to the usual business or
trade of the employer. The test is whether the former is usually necessary or
desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer. The connection can be
determined by considering the nature of the work performed and its relation to the
scheme of the particular business or trade in its entirety. Also, if the employee has
been performing the job for at least one year, even if the performance is not
continuous or merely intermittent, the law deems the repeated and continuing need
for its performance as sufficient evidence of the necessity if not indispensability of
that activity to the business. Hence the employment is also considered regular, but
only with respect to such activity and while such activity exists. Ruled in favor of
petitioner.
G.R. No. 152427. August 9, 2005
INTEGRATED CONTRACTOR AND PLUMBING WORKS, INC., Petitioners,
vs.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and GLEN SOLON, Respondent.
Facts:
Petitioner is a plumbing contractor. Its business depends on the number and
frequency of the projects it is able to contract with its clients. Private respondent
Solon worked for petitioner on various occasions from December 1994-January.
1998. On February 23, 1998, while private respondent was about to log out from
work, he was informed by the warehouseman that the main office had instructed
them to tell him it was his last day of work as he had been terminated. When private
respondent went to the petitioners office on February 24, 1998 to verify his status,
he found out that indeed, he had been terminated. He went back to petitioners
office on February 27, 1998 to sign a clearance so he could claim his 13th month
pay and tax refunds. However, he had second thoughts and refused to sign the
clearance when he read the clearance indicating he had resigned. On March 6, 1998,
he filed a complaint alleging that he was illegally dismissed without just cause and
without due process. The LA, NLRC and CA ruled in favor of private respondent.
Issue:
Whether or not private respondent is a regular employee.
Ruling:
Yes. The principal test in determining whether an employee is a "project employee"
or "regular employee," is, whether he is assigned to carry out a "specific project or
undertaking," the duration (and scope) of which are specified at the time the
employee is engaged in the project. "Project" refers to a particular job or
undertaking that is within the regular or usual business of the employer, but which is
distinct and separate and identifiable from the undertakings of the company. Such
job or undertaking begins and ends at determined or determinable times. In the
review of the employment contracts of private respondent, the SCis convinced he
was initially a project employee. The services he rendered, the duration and scope of
each project are clear indications that he was hired as a project employee. We
concur with the NLRC that while there were several employment contracts between
private respondent and petitioner, in all of them, private respondent performed
tasks which were usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of
petitioner. A review of private respondents work assignments patently showed he
belonged to a work pool tapped from where workers are and assigned whenever
their services were needed. In a work pool, the workers do not receive salaries and
are free to seek other employment during temporary breaks in the business. They

are like regular seasonal workers insofar as the effect of temporary cessation of
work is concerned. This arrangement is beneficial to both the employer and
employee for it prevents the unjust situation of "coddling labor at the expense of
capital" and at the same time enables the workers to attain the status of regular
employees. Nonetheless, the pattern of re-hiring and the recurring need for his
services are sufficient evidence of the necessity and indispensability of such
services to petitioners business or trade. The test to determine whether
employment is regular or not is the reasonable connection between the particular
activity performed by the employee in relation to the usual business or trade of the
employer. Also, if the employee has been performing the job for at least one year,
even if the performance is not continuous or merely intermittent, the law deems the
repeated and continuing need for its performance as sufficient evidence of the
necessity, if not indispensability of that activity to the business. Thus, the SC held
that where the employment of project employees is extended long after the
supposed project has been finished, the employees are removed from the scope of
project employees and are considered regular employees. Affirmed.
G.R. No. 125837

October 6, 2004

REYNALDO CANO CHUA, doing business under the name & style PRIME
MOVER
CONSTRUCTION
DEVELOPMENT, petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, SOCIAL SECURITY COMMISSION, SOCIAL SECURITY
SYSTEM, ANDRES PAGUIO, PABLO CANALE, RUEL PANGAN, AURELIO
PAGUIO,
ROLANDO
TRINIDAD,
ROMEO
TAPANG
and
CARLOS
MALIWAT, respondents.
Facts:
On 20 August 1985, private respondents filed a Petition with the SSC for SSS
coverage and contributions against petitioner Reynaldo Chua, owner of Prime Mover
Construction Development, claiming that they were all regular employees of the
petitioner in his construction business. Private respondents claimed that they were
assigned by petitioner in his various construction projects, with the corresponding
basic salaries. Private respondents alleged that petitioner dismissed all of them
without justifiable grounds and without notice to them and to the then Ministry of
Labor and Employment. They further alleged that petitioner did not report them to
the SSS for compulsory coverage in flagrant violation of the Social Security Act.
Petitioner claimed that private respondents had no cause of action against him, and
assuming there was any, the same was barred by prescription and laches. In
addition, he claimed that private respondents were not regular employees, but
project employees whose work had been fixed for a specific project or undertaking
the completion of which was determined at the time of their engagement. This being
the case, he concluded that said employees were not entitled to coverage under the
Social Security Act. The SSC and CA ruled in favor of private respondents. Hence,
this recourse.
Issue:
Whether or not private respondents are project employees, hence not entitled to
compulsory SSS coverage.
Ruling:
No. The Social Security Act was enacted pursuant to the policy of the government
"to develop, establish gradually and perfect a social security system which shall be
suitable to the needs of the laborers throughout the Philippines, and shall provide
protection against the hazards of disability, sickness, old age and death." It provides
for compulsory coverage of all employees not over sixty years of age and their
employers. Well-settled is the rule that the mandatory coverage of Republic Act No.
1161, as amended, is premised on the existence of an employer-employee

relationship, the essential elements of which are: (a) selection and engagement of
the employee; (b) payment of wages; (c) the power of dismissal; and (d) the power
of control with regard to the means and methods by which the work is to be
accomplished, with the power of control being the most determinative factor. There
is no dispute that private respondents were employees of petitioner. Petitioner
himself admitted that they worked in his construction projects, although the period
of their employment was allegedly co-terminus with their phase of work. Even
without such admission from petitioner, the existence of an employer-employee
relationship between the parties can easily be determined by the application of the
"control test," the elements of which are enumerated above. It is clear that private
respondents are employees of petitioner, the latter having control over the results of
the work done, as well as the means and methods by which the same were
accomplished. Suffice it to say that regardless of the nature of their employment,
whether it is regular or project, private respondents are subject of the compulsory
coverage under the SSS Law, their employment not falling under the exceptions
provided by the law.Despite the insistence of petitioner that they were project
employees, the facts show that as masons, carpenters and fine graders in
petitioners various construction projects, they performed work which was usually
necessary and desirable to petitioners business which involves construction of
roads and bridges. Moreover, while it may be true that private respondents were
initially hired for specific projects or undertakings, the repeated re-hiring and
continuing need for their services over a long span of timethe shortest being two
years and the longest being eighthave undeniably made them regular employees.
This Court has held that an employment ceases to be co-terminus with specific
projects when the employee is continuously rehired due to the demands of the
employers business and re-engaged for many more projects without interruption.
Affirmed.
G.R. No. 178505
September 30, 2008
CHERRY
J.
PRICE,
STEPHANIE
G.
DOMINGO
AND
LOLITA
ARBILERA, Petitioners,vs INNODATA PHILS. INC.,/ INNODATA CORPORATION,
LEO RABANG AND JANE NAVARETTE, Respondents
Facts:
Respondent Innodata Philippines, Inc./Innodata Corporation (INNODATA) was a
domestic corporation engaged in the data encoding and data conversion business. It
employed encoders, indexers, formatters, programmers, quality/quantity staff, and
others, to maintain its business and accomplish the job orders of its clients.
Respondent Leo Rabang was its Human Resources and Development (HRAD)
Manager, while respondent Jane Navarette was its Project Manager. INNODATA had
since ceased operations due to business losses in June 2002. Petitioners Cherry J.
Price, Stephanie G. Domingo, and Lolita Arbilera were employed as formatters by
INNODATA. The parties executed an employment contract denominated as a
"Contract of Employment for a Fixed Period," stipulating that the contract shall be for
a period of one year. On February 16, 2000, the HRAD Manager of INNODATA wrote
petitioners informing them of their last day of work. According to INNODATA,
petitioners employment already ceased due to the end of their contract. On 22 May
2000, petitioners filed a Complaint for illegal dismissal and damages against
respondents. Petitioners claimed that they should be considered regular employees
since their positions as formatters were necessary and desirable to the usual
business of INNODATA as an encoding, conversion and data processing company. On
the other hand, respondents explained that INNODATA was engaged in the business
of data processing, typesetting, indexing, and abstracting for its foreign clients. The
bulk of the work was data processing, which involved data encoding. Data encoding,
or the typing of data into the computer, included pre-encoding, encoding 1 and 2,
editing, proofreading, and scanning. Almost half of the employees of INNODATA did
data encoding work, while the other half monitored quality control. Due to the wide

range of services rendered to its clients, INNODATA was constrained to hire new
employees for a fixed period of not more than one year. Respondents asserted that
petitioners were not illegally dismissed, for their employment was terminated due to
the expiration of their terms of employment. Petitioners contracts of employment
with INNODATA were for a limited period only, commencing on September 6, 1999
and ending on February 16, 2000. Respondents further argued that petitioners were
estopped from asserting a position contrary to the contracts which they had
knowingly, voluntarily, and willfully agreed to or entered into. There being no illegal
dismissal, respondents likewise maintained that petitioners were not entitled to
reinstatement and backwages. The LA ruled for petitioners. On appeal however,
both the NLRC and CA ruled in favor of respondent. Hence this petition.
Issue:
Whether or not petitioners were hired by INNODATA under valid fixed-term
employment contracts.
Ruling:
No. There were no valid fixed-term contracts and petitioners were regular employees
of the INNODATA who could not be dismissed except for just or authorized cause.
The employment status of a person is defined and prescribed by law and not by
what the parties say it should be. Equally important to consider is that a contract of
employment is impressed with public interest such that labor contracts must yield to
the common good. Thus, provisions of applicable statutes are deemed written into
the contract, and the 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. An employment shall be deemed to be casual if it is not covered by
Art. 280 of the Labor Code which defines regular employees. Provided, that, any
employee who has rendered at least one year of service, whether such service is
continuous or broken, shall be considered a regular employee with respect to the
activity in which he is employed and his employment shall continue while such
activity exists. Based on the afore-quoted provision, the following employees are
accorded regular status: (1) those who are engaged to perform activities which are
necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer, regardless of
the length of their employment; and (2) those who were initially hired as casual
employees, but have rendered at least one year of service, whether continuous or
broken, with respect to the activity in which they are employed. Undoubtedly,
petitioners belong to the first type of regular employees. Under Art. 280 of the Labor
Code, the applicable test to determine whether an employment should be
considered regular or non-regular is the reasonable connection between the
particular activity performed by the employee in relation to the usual business or
trade of the employer.In the case at bar, petitioners were employed by INNODATA on
February 17, 1999 as formatters. The primary business of INNODATA is data
encoding, and the formatting of the data entered into the computers is an essential
part of the process of data encoding. Formatting organizes the data encoded,
making it easier to understand for the clients and/or the intended end users thereof.
Undeniably, the work performed by petitioners was necessary or desirable in the
business or trade of INNODATA. The Court defined "project employees" as those
workers hired (1) for a specific project or undertaking, and wherein (2) the
completion or termination of such project has been determined at the time of the
engagement of the employee. Scrutinizing petitioners employment contracts with
INNODATA, however, failed to reveal any mention therein of what specific project or
undertaking petitioners were hired for. Although the contracts made general
references to a "project," such project was neither named nor described at all
therein. The conclusion by the Court of Appeals that petitioners were hired for the
Earthweb project is not supported by any evidence on record. The one-year period
for which petitioners were hired was simply fixed in the employment contracts
without reference or connection to the period required for the completion of a
project. More importantly, there is also a dearth of evidence that such project or
undertaking had already been completed or terminated to justify the dismissal of
petitioners. In fact, petitioners alleged - and respondents failed to dispute that

petitioners did not work on just one project, but continuously worked for a series of
projects for various clients of INNODATA. Reversed in favor of petitioner.
G.R. No. 120969 January 22, 1998
ALEJANDRO
MARAGUINOT,
JR.
and
PAULINO
ENERO, petitioners,
vs.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION (SECOND DIVISION) composed
of Presiding Commissioner RAUL T. AQUINO, Commissioner ROGELIO I.
RAYALA and Commissioner VICTORIANO R. CALAYCAY (Ponente), VIC DEL
ROSARIO and VIVA FIMS, respondents.
Facts:
Petitioner Alejandro Maraguinot, Jr. maintains that he was employed by private
respondents on 18 July 1989 as part of the filming crew with a salary of P375.00 per
week. About four months later, he was designated Assistant Electrician with a
weekly salary of P400.00, which was increased to P450.00 in May 1990. In June
1991, he was promoted to the rank of Electrician with a weekly salary of P475.00,
which was increased to P539.00 in September 1991.
Petitioner PaulinoEnero, on his part, claims that private respondents employed him
in June 1990 as a member of the shooting crew with a weekly salary of P375.00,
which was increased to P425.00 in May 1991, then to P475.00 on 21 December
1991. Petitioners' tasks consisted of loading, unloading and arranging movie
equipment in the shooting area as instructed by the cameraman, returning the
equipment to Viva Films' warehouse, assisting in the "fixing" of the lighting system,
and performing other tasks that the cameraman and/or director may assign.
Sometime in May 1992, petitioners sought the assistance of their supervisors, Mrs.
AlejandriaCesario, to facilitate their request that private respondents adjust their
salary in accordance with the minimum wage law. In June 1992, Mrs. Cesario
informed petitioners that Mr. Vic del Rosario would agree to increase their salary
only if they signed a blank employment contract. As petitioners refused to sign,
private respondents forced Enero to go on leave in June 1992, then refused to take
him back when he reported for work on 20 July 1992. Meanwhile, Maraguinot was
dropped from the company payroll from 8 to 21 June 1992, but was returned on 22
June 1992. He was again asked to sign a blank employment contract, and when he
still refused, private respondents terminated his services on 20 July 1992.On the
other hand, private respondents claim that Viva Films (hereafter VIVA) is the trade
name of Viva Productions, Inc., and that it is primarily engaged in the distribution
and exhibition of movies but not in the business of making movies; in the same
vein, private respondent Vic del Rosario is merely an executive producer,i.e., the
financier who invests a certain sum of money for the production of movies
distributed and exhibited by VIVA. Private respondents assert that they contract
persons called "producers" also referred to as "associate producers" to
"produce" or make movies for private respondents; and contend that petitioners are
project employees of the association producers who, in turn, act as independent
contractors. As such, there is no employer-employee relationship between
petitioners and private respondents. Private respondents further contend that it was
the associate producer of the film "MahirapMagingPogi," who hired petitioner
Maraguinot. The movie shot from 2 July up to 22 July 1992, and it was only then that
Maraguinot was released upon payment of his last salary, as his services were no
longer needed. Anent petitioner Enero, he was hired for the movie entitled "Sigaw
ng Puso," later re-tired "Narito and Puso." He went on vacation on 8 June 1992, and
by the time he reported for work on 20 July 1992, shooting for the movie had already
been completed. The LA ruled that petitioners were illegally dismissed. However on
appeal, the NLRC stated petitioners were project employees and revered the LAs
findings. Hence this petition.
Issue:
Whether or not petitioners are project employees.

Ruling:
No. The employer-employee relationship between petitioners and VIVA can be
established by the "control test." While four elements are usually considered in
determining the existence of an employment relationship, namely: (a) the selection
and engagement of the employee; (b) the payment of wages; (c) the power of
dismissal; and (d) the employer's power to control of the employee's conduct, the
most important element is the employer's control of the employee's conduct, not
only as to the result of the work to be done but also as to the means and methods to
accomplish the same. These four elements are present here. VIVA's control is
evident in its mandate that the end result must be a "quality film acceptable to the
company." The means and methods to accomplish the result are likewise controlled
by VIVA, viz., the movie project must be finished within schedule without exceeding
the budget, and additional expenses must be justified; certain scenes are subject to
change to suit the taste of the company; and the Supervising Producer, the "eyes
and ears" of VIVA and del Rosario, intervenes in the movie-making process by
assisting the associate producer in solving problems encountered in making the film.
It may not be validly argued then that petitioners are actually subject to the movie
director's control, and not VIVA's direction. The director merely instructs petitioners
on how to better comply with VIVA's requirements to ensure that a quality film is
completed within schedule and without exceeding the budget. At bottom, the
director is akin to a supervisor who merely oversees the activities of rank-and-file
employees with control ultimately resting on the employer.The words "supervisors"
and "Top Management" can only refer to the "supervisors" and "Top Management" of
VIVA. By commanding crew members to observe the rules and regulations
promulgated by VIVA, the appointment slips only emphasize VIVA's control over
petitioners. Aside from control, the element of selection and engagement is likewise
present in the instant case and exercised by VIVA. All the circumstances indicate an
employment relationship between petitioners and VIVA alone, thus the inevitable
conclusion is that petitioners are employees only of VIVA. Reversed in favor of
petitioners.
G.R. No. 116781 September 5, 1997
TOMAS LAO CONSTRUCTION, LVM CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION, THOMAS
and
JAMES
DEVELOPERS
(PHIL.),
INC., petitioners,
vs.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, MARIO O. LABENDIA, SR.,
ROBERTO LABENDIA, NARCISO ADAN, FLORENCIO GOMEZ, ERNESTO
BAGATSOLON, SALVADOR BABON, PATERNO BISNAR, CIRPRIANO BERNALES,
ANGEL MABUHAY, SR., LEO SURIGAO, and ROQUE MORILLO, respondents.
Facts:
TLC, T&J and LVM are engaged in the construction of public roads and bridges. Under
joint venture agreements they entered into among each other, they would
undertake their projects either simultaneously or successively so that, whenever
necessary, they would lease tools and equipment to one another. Each one would
also allow the utilization of their employees by the other two (2). With this
arrangement, workers were transferred whenever necessary to on-going projects of
the same company or of the others, or were rehired after the completion of the
project or project phase to which they were assigned. Soon after, however, TLC
ceased its operations while T&J and LVM stayed on. Sometime in 1989 Andres Lao,
Managing Director of LVM and President of T&J, issued a memorandum requiring all
workers and company personnel to sign employment contract forms and clearances
which were issued on 1 July 1989 but antedated 10 January 1989. These were to be
used allegedly for audit purposes pursuant to a joint venture agreement between
LVM and T&J. To ensure compliance with the directive, the company ordered the
withholding of the salary of any employee who refused to sign. Quite notably, the
contracts expressly described the construction workers as project employees whose

employments were for a definite period, i.e., upon the expiration of the contract
period or the completion of the project for which the workers was hired. Except for
Florencio Gomez all private respondents refused to sign contending that this scheme
was designed by their employer to downgrade their status from regular employees
to mere project employees. Resultantly, their salaries were withheld. They were also
required to explain why their services should not be terminated for violating
company rules and warned that failure to satisfactorily explain would be construed
as "disinterest" in continued employment with the company. Since the workers stood
firm in their refusal to comply with the directives their services were terminated. The
LA dismissed the complaint filed by private respondents. On appeal, the CA reversed
the findings of the LA. Hence this recourse.
Issue:
Whether or not private respondents are regular employees.
Ruling:
Yes. The principal test in determining whether particular employees are "project
employees" distinguished from "regular employees" is whether the "project
employees" are assigned to carry out "specific project or undertaking," the duration
(and scope) of which are specified at the time the employees are engaged for the
project. "Project" in the realm of business and industry refers to a particular job or
undertaking that is within the regular or usual business of employer, but which is
distinct and separate and identifiable as such from the undertakings of the company.
Such job or undertaking begins and ends at determined or determinable times.
While it may be allowed that in the instant case the workers were initially hired for
specific projects or undertakings of the company and hence can be classified as
project employees, the repeated re-hiring and the continuing need for their services
over a long span of time (the shortest, at seven [7] years) have undeniably made
them regular employees. Thus, we held that where the employment of project
employees is extended long after the supposed project has been finished, the
employees are removed from the scope of project employees and considered regular
employees. While length of time may not be a controlling test for project
employment, it can be a strong factor in determining whether the employee was
hired for a specific undertaking or in fact tasked to perform functions which are vital,
necessary and indispensable to the usual business or trade of the employer. In the
case at bar, private respondents had already gone through the status of project
employees. But their employments became non-coterminous with specific projects
when they started to be continuously re-hired due to the demands of petitioners'
business and were re-engaged for many more projects without interruption.A work
pool may exist although the workers in the pool do not receive salaries and are free
to seek other employment during temporary breaks in the business, provided that
the worker shall be available when called to report for a project. Although primarily
applicable to regular seasonal workers, this set-up can likewise be applied to project
workers insofar as the effect of temporary cessation of work is concerned. This is
beneficial to both the employer and employee for it prevents the unjust situation of
"coddling labor at the expense of capital" and at the same time enables the workers
to attain the status of regular employees. Clearly, the continuous rehiring of the
same set of employees within the framework of the Lao Group of Companies is
strongly indicative that private respondents were an integral part of a work pool
from which petitioners drew its workers for its various projects.
In a final attempt to convince the Court that private respondents were indeed
project employees, petitioners point out that the workers were not regularly
maintained in the payroll and were free to offer their services to other companies
when there were no on-going projects. This argument however cannot defeat the
workers' status of regularity.Truly, the cessation of construction activities at the end
of every project is a foreseeable suspension of work. Of course, no compensation
can be demanded from the employer because the stoppage of operations at the end
of a project and before the start of a new one is regular and expected by both
parties to the labor relations. Similar to the case of regular seasonal employees, the
employment relation is not severed by merely being suspended. The employees are,
strictly speaking, not separated from services but merely on leave of absence

without pay until they are reemployed. Thus we cannot affirm the argument that
non-payment of salary or non-inclusion in the payroll and the opportunity to seek
other employment denote project employment. Affirmed in favor of private
respondents.
G.R. No. 114734
March 31, 2000
VIVIAN
Y.
IMBUIDO, petitioner,
vs.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, INTERNATIONAL INFORMATION
SERVICES, INC. and GABRIEL LIBRANDO, respondents.
Facts:
Petitioner was employed as a data encoder by private respondent International
Information Services, Inc., a domestic corporation engaged in the business of data
encoding and keypunching, from August 26, 1988 until October 18, 1991 when her
services were terminated. From August 26, 1988 until October 18, 1991, petitioner
entered into thirteen (13) separate employment contracts with private respondent,
each contract lasting only far a period of three (3) months.In September 1991,
petitioner and twelve (12) other, employees of private respondent allegedly agreed
to the filing of a petition for certification election involving the rank-and-file
employees
of
private
respondent.
Thus,
on
October
8,
1991,
LakasManggagawasaPilipinas (LAKAS) filed a petition for certification election with
the Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR), docketed as NCR-OD-M-9110-128.
Subsequently, on October 18, 1991, petitioner received a termination letter from
Edna Kasilag, Administrative Officer of private respondent, allegedly "due to low
volume of work." Thus, on May 25, 1992, petitioner filed a complaint for illegal
dismissal. Petitioner alleged that her employment was terminated not due to the
alleged low volume of work but because she "signed a petition for certification
election among the rank and file employees of respondents," thus charging private
respondent with committing unfair labor practices. Maintained that it had valid
reasons to terminate petitioner's employment and disclaimed any knowledge of the
existence or formation of a union among its rank-and-file employees at the time
petitioner's services were terminated. Private respondent stressed that its business
relies heavily on companies availing of its services. Its retention by client companies
with particular emphasis on data encoding is on a project to project basis, usually
lasting for a period of two (2) to five (5) months. Private respondent further argued
that petitioner's employment was for a specific project with a specified period of
engagement. According to private respondent, the certainty of the expiration of
complainant's engagement has been determined at the time of their (sic)
engagement (until 27 November 1991) or when the project is earlier completed or
when the client withdraws, as provided in the contract. The happening of the
second event [completion of the project] has materialized, thus, her contract of
employment is deemed terminated per the Brent School ruling. The LA ruled for
petitioners. On appeal, the NLRC reversed the findings of the LA. Hence this petition.
Issue:
Whether or not petitioner is a project employee as found by NLRC.
Ruling:
No. Petitioner is a project employee only at the beginning but has then acquired the
status of regular employee. The principal test for determining whether an employee
is a project employee or a regular employee is whether the project employee was
assigned to carry out a specific project or undertaking, the duration and scope of
which were specified at the time the employee was engaged for that project. A
project employee is one whose employment has been fixed for a specific project or
undertaking, the completion or termination of which has been determined at the
time of the engagement of the employee or where the work or service to be
performed is seasonal in nature and the employment is for the duration of the
season. In the instant case, petitioner was engaged to perform activities which were
usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer, as
admittedly, petitioner worked as a data encoder for private respondent, a

corporation engaged in the business of data encoding and keypunching, and her
employment was fixed for a specific project or undertaking the completion or
termination of which had been determined at the time of her engagement, as may
be observed from the series of employment contracts between petitioner and
private respondent, all of which contained a designation of the specific job contract
and a specific period of employment project employee or a member of a work pool
may acquire the status of a regular employee when the following concur:
1) There is a continuous rehiring of project employees even after
[the] cessation of a project; and
2) The tasks performed by the alleged "project employee" are
vital, necessary and indispensable to the usual business or trade
of the employer.
The evidence on record reveals that petitioner was employed by private respondent
as a data encoder, performing activities which are usually necessary or desirable in
the usual business or trade of her employer, continuously for a period of more than
three (3) years, from August 26, 1988 to October 18, 1991 and contracted for a total
of thirteen (13) successive projects. We have previously ruled that "[h]owever, the
length of time during which the employee was continuously re-hired is not
controlling, but merely serves as a badge of regular employment." Based on the
foregoing, we conclude that petitioner has attained the status of a regular employee
of private respondent. The petition is granted, the NLRCs finding is hereby reversed.
G.R. No. 100333 March 13, 1997
HILARIO
MAGCALAS
et
al.,
petitioners,
vs.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and KOPPEL, INC., respondents.
Facts:
Petitioners alleged that they were all regular employees of the respondent company,
having rendered continuous services in various capacities, ranging from leadman,
tinsmith, tradeshelper to general clerk; that the respondent has been engaged in the
business of installing air conditioning (should be air-conditioning) and refrigeration
equipment in its different projects and jobsites where the complainants have been
assigned; that the complainants have worked for a number of years, the minimum of
which was one and a half years and the maximum (was) eight years under several
supervisors; that on August 30, 1988, they were dismissed (en masse) without prior
notice and investigation, and that their dismissals were effected for no other cause
than their persistent demands for payment of money claims (as) mandated by
law.On the other hand, the respondents interposed the defense of contract/project
employment. The LA ruled for petitioners only to be reversed by the NLRC. Hence,
this petition.
Issue:
Whether or not petitioners were regular workers under the contemplation of Art. 280
of the Labor Code.
Ruling:
Yes. The SC finds that a mere provision in the CBA recognizing contract employment
does not sufficiently establish that petitioners were ipso facto contractual or project
employees. In the same vein, the invocation of Policy No. 20 governing the
employment of project employees in the construction industry does not, by itself,
automatically classify private respondent as part of the construction industry and
entitle it to dismiss petitioners at the end of each project. These facts cannot be
presumed; they must be supported by substantial evidence.On the other hand,
private respondent did not even allege, much less did it seek to prove, that
petitioners had been hired on a project-to-project basis during the entire length of

their employment. Rather, it merely sought to establish that petitioners had been
hired to install the air-conditioning equipment at Asian Development Bank and
Interbank and that they were legally dismissed upon the conclusion of these
projects.Private respondent did not even traverse, and public respondent did not
controvert, the labor arbiter's finding that petitioners were continuously employed
without interruption, from the date of their hiring up to the date of their dismissal, in
spite of the alleged completion of the so-called projects in which they had been
hired. Regular employees cannot at the same time be project employees. Article 280
of the Labor Code states that regular employees are those whose work is necessary
or desirable to the usual business of the employer. The two exceptions following the
general description of regular employees refer to either project or seasonal
employees. The overwhelming fact of petitioners' continuous employment as found
by the labor arbiter ineludibly shows that the petitioners were regular employees.
On the other hand, we find that substantial evidence, applicable laws and
jurisprudence do not support the ruling in the assailed Decision that petitioners were
project employees. The Court here reiterates the rule that all doubts, uncertainties,
ambiguities and insufficiencies should be resolved in favor of labor. It is a wellentrenched doctrine that in illegal dismissal cases, the employer has the burden of
proof. This burden was not discharged in the present case. Reversed in favor of
petitioner.
G.R. No. 117043 January 14, 1998
FELIX
VILLA
et
al.,
petitioners,
vs.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, Fifth Division and NATIONAL
STEEL CORPORATION,respondents.
Facts:
Respondent National Steel Corporation (NSC), one of the biggest modern steel mills
in Southeast Asia, produces hot rolled products, cold rolled products, tinplates and
billets.In line with its program to use 100% scrap, the NSC ventured into a
shipbreaking operation. Under this operation, ships/vessels at sea would be cut up
into large chunks and brought to land to be cut further into smaller sizes. However,
due to scarcity of vessels/ships for salvaging, the higher costs of operation and the
unsuitability of raw materials, this experimental project was stopped after four or
five ships had been chopped. When the project was completely phased out in
November 1986, the laborers hired for said project were terminated. Prior to the
phasing out of the project, the NSC had been beset by labor problems. On May 2,
1986 the National Steel Corporation Employees Association-Southern Philippines
Federation of Labor (NSCEA-SPFL) filed a notice of strike. It charged the NSC with
unfair labor practices consisting of (a) wage discrimination, (b) interference with the
employees' right to self-organization, (c) nonregularization of contractual
employees, (d) illegal termination of employees, (e) nonpayment of wage/benefit
differentials, and (f) nonrecognition of NSCEA-SPFL as the sole bargaining
representative of the company. The then Ministry of Labor and Employment
exercising jurisdiction over the case, issued a return-to-work order. The LM finds that
nothing therein to support the union's contention that as to the nature of
employment, its members should be regularized. Masons, carpenters, laborers,

electricians and painters cannot, by the nature of their job, be considered as regular
employees of the company under Article 281.The case was brought before the SC.
The SC remanded the case to the NLRC. On April 14, 1994, the NLRC rendered a
Resolution ruling that the project employees are not regular employees within the
purview of Art. 280 of the Labor Code. Motion for reconsideration of petitioner was
denied. Hence this recourse.
Issue:
Whether or not workers contracted as project employees may be considered as
regular employees on account of their performance of duties inherent in the
business of the employer.
Ruling:
No. A project employment terminates as soon as the project is completed. Thus, an
employer is allowed by law to reduce the work force into a number suited for the
remaining work to be done upon the completion or proximate accomplishment of the
project. However, the law requires that, upon completion of the project, the
employer must present proof of termination of the services of the project employees
at the nearest public employment office. The Court then distinguished two kinds of
projects which a business or industry may undertake. First, "a project could refer to a
particular job or undertaking that is within the regular or usual business of the
employer company, but which is distinct and separate, and identifiable as such, from
the other undertakings of the company." The example given is a construction
company that may undertake two or more "projects" at the same time in different
places. Second, a project may refer to "a particular job or undertaking that
is notwithin the regular business of the corporation. Such a job or undertaking must
also be identifiably separate and distinct from the ordinary or regular business
operations of the employer. The fact that petitioners were required to render
services necessary or desirable in the operation of NSC's business for a specified
duration did not in any way impair the validity of their contracts of employment
which stipulated a fixed duration therefor. Extant in the record are the findings of the
NLRC that the petitioners in this case were utilized in operations other than billet
making or other components of the FYEP I and II, such as shipbreaking. We are
constrained to rule that while it is true that they performed other activities which
were necessary or desirable in the usual business of the NSC and that the duration
of their employment was for a period of more than one year, these factors did not
make them regular employees in contemplation of Article 280 of the Labor Code, as
amended. Thus, the fact that petitioners worked for NSC under different project
employment contracts for several years cannot be made a basis to consider them as
regular employees, for they remain project employees regardless of the number of
projects in which they have worked. Length of service is not the controlling
determinant of the employment tenure of a project employee. The petition is
dismissed.
Tucor Industries Inc. vs NLRC
GR no. 96608-09 May 20, 1991

Facts: Petitioner is a corporation principally engaged in the moving and storage of


various goods owned by military personnel residing within the United States military
facilities in the Philippines. On various dates, private respondents were hired as
packers, drivers and utilitymen/carpenters. They signed uniform company-prepared
master employment contracts, the terms and conditions of which are as follows:
a.You agree to be employed on "As Needed" basis and to the principle of "no work,
no pay." This is so because of the very nature of the business of Tucor Moving and
Storage wherein the volume of work handled by the Company varies from day to
day and from project to project; b. Other than salaries actually earned, you as a
daily-hired worker, shall not be entitled to any of the benefits enjoyed by the
permanent employees of the Company xxx. In a memorandum-letter dated July 17,
1989, the Chief of Traffic Management of Clark Air Base reminded all agents,
including petitioner of the base policy that "Employees who already have passes in
their possession and who fail the polygraph . . ." administered by an acknowledged
security company will be required to return their passes. On the same day petitioner
terminated the employment of private respondents by sending them separate
identical notices of termination.
Petitioners contend that private respondents cannot be considered as its regular
employees inasmuch as the employment of the latter was contractual in nature; that
they were deemed hired for a specific or a fixed undertaking on an "as needed
basis," the efficacy of said contract being coterminous with or dependent upon the
company and its clients.
Issue: whether private respondents are regular or casual employees.
Held:
An examination of the contract of employment does not show that private
respondents were hired for a "specific project or undertaking" nor was the
completion or termination of the alleged project for which private respondents were
hired determined at the start of the employment.
The term "specific project or undertaking" under Article 280 of the Labor
Code contemplates an activity which was commonly or habitually performed or such
type of work which is not done on a daily basis but only for a specific duration of
time or until the completion of the project. The services employed are thus
necessary or desirable in the employer's usual business only for the period of time it
takes to complete the project. Without the performance of such services on a regular
basis, the employer's main business is not expected to grind to a halt.
In the case at bar, private respondents were assigned to do carpentry work,
packing and driving, activities which are usually necessary and desirable in
petitioners' usual business and which thus had to be done on a regular basis.
The fact that private respondents had rendered more than one year of
service at the time of their dismissal overturns the petitioner's allegation that
private respondents were hired for a specific or a fixed undertaking for a limited
period of time. The company-prepared master employment contracts placed the
private respondents at the mercy of those who crafted the said contract. The work of
the private respondents is hardly "specific" or "seasonal." Such is one instance
under the Code "where the employee has been engaged to perform activities which
are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business."
Private respondents are therefore regular employees of petitioner the provisions of
their contract of employment notwithstanding. They are entitled to security of
tenure.
Their dismissal without just cause in this case and without appropriate
investigation is certainly illegal.
PNOC- Energy Devt. Corp. vs NLRC
GR no. 169353 April 13, 2007
FACTS:

Petitioner PNOC-Energy Development Corporation is a government-owned


and controlled corporation engaged in the exploration, development, and utilization
of energy. It undertakes several projects in areas where geothermal energy has been
discovered.
Petitioners Southern Negros Geothermal Production Field in Negros Oriental
is divided into two phases: Palinpinon I (PAL I) and Palinpinon II (PAL II). To augment
its manpower requirement occasioned by the increased activities in the
development of PAL II, petitioner hired 6 employees in the Administration and
Maintenance Section.
The termination/expiration of their respective employment were specified in
their initial employment contracts, which, however, were renewed and extended on
their respective expiry dates..
On October 29, 1998, the six employees, herein respondents, filed before
the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) a complaint for illegal dismissal
against petitioner. Aside from reinstatement, respondents sought the payment of
backwages, salary differential, collective bargaining agreement benefits, damages
and attorneys fees. Respondents averred that they had rendered continuous and
satisfactory services from the dates of their respective employment until illegally
dismissed on June 30, 1998. Respondents further contended that their dismissal
from employment was a clear case of union busting for they had previously sought
union membership and actually filed a notice of strike.
For its part, petitioner asseverated that respondents were contractual
employees; as such, they cannot claim to have been illegally dismissed because
upon the expiration of the term of the contract or the completion of the project, their
employer-employee relationship also ended.
ISSUE: Whether or not the respondents are project or regular employees.
HELD:

Respondents posit that they were undeniably performing activities which


are necessary or desirable in the usual trade or business of petitioner. They aver
that the completion of their individual employment was not determined at the time
of their engagement due to the fact that their contracts were renewed and extended
over and over again. They claim that had the periods of their employment been
determined, then their work with petitioner would not have lasted beyond the threemonth period provided in their respective initial employment contracts. They
likewise theorized that the contracts they signed were short-term contracts covering
a long period of the same activity, not for a specific project or undertaking.
As defined, project employees are those workers hired (1) for
a specific project or undertaking, and (2) the completion or termination of such
project or undertaking has been determined at the time of the engagement of the
employee.
However,
petitioner
failed
to
substantiate
its
claim that respondents were hired merely as project employees.
Petitioners act of repeatedly and continuously hiring respondents to do the
same kind of work belies its contention that respondents were hired for a specific
project or undertaking. The absence of a definite duration for the project/s has led
the Court to conclude that respondents are, in fact, regular employees.
Respondents had been project employees several times over. Their
employment ceased to be coterminous with specific projects when they were
repeatedly re-hired by petitioner. Where the employment of project employees is
extended long after the supposed project has been finished, the employees are
removed from the scope of project employees and are considered regular
employees.
Olongapo Maintenance Services Inc. vs Chantengco
GR No. 156146 June 21, 2007
Facts: OMSI is a corporation engaged in the business of providing janitorial and
maintenance services to various clients, including GOCCs. On various dates

beginning 1986, OMSI hired the respondents as janitors, grass cutters, and
degreasers, and assigned them at the NAIA. In 1999, OMSI terminated their
employment. Claiming termination without just cause and non-payment of labor
standard benefits, respondents filed a complaint for illegal dismissal, underpayment
of wages, and non-payment of holiday and service incentive leave pays, with prayer
for payment of separation pay, against OMSI.
For its part, OMSI denied the allegations in the complaint. It averred that when
Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) awarded to OMSI the service contracts
for the airport, OMSI hired respondents as janitors, cleaners, and degreasers to do
the services under the contracts. OMSI informed the respondents that they were
hired for the MIAA project and their employments were coterminous with the
contracts. As project employees, they were not dismissed from work but their
employments ceased when the MIAA contracts were not renewed upon their
expiration. The termination of respondents employment cannot, thus, be considered
illegal.
Issue: Are they regular employees?
Held:

Yes. Without question, respondents, as janitors, grass cutters, and


degreasers, performed work necessary or desirable in the janitorial and
maintenance service business of OMSI. The principal test in determining whether an
employee is a project employee is whether he/she is assigned to carry out a
specific project or undertaking, the duration and scope of which are specified at
the time the employee is engaged in the project, or where the work or service to be
performed is seasonal in nature and the employment is for the duration of the
season. A true project employee should be assigned to a project which begins and
ends at determined or determinable times, and be informed thereof at the time of
hiring. In the instant case, the record is bereft of proof that the respondents
engagement as project employees has been predetermined, as required by law.
OMSI did not provide convincing evidence that respondents were informed that they
were to be assigned to a specific project or undertaking when OMSI hired them.
Notably, the employment contracts for the specific project signed by the
respondents were never presented. All that OMSI submitted in the proceedings a
quo are the service contracts between OMSI and the MIAA.
Saberola vs. Suarez
Gr no. 151227 July 14, 2008
FACTS: Case is for illegal dismissal with money claims filed by respondents against
petitioner. Latter is the owner and manager of G.S. Saberola Electrical Services, a
firm engaged in the construction business specializing in installing electrical devices
in subdivision homes and in commercial and non-commercial buildings. Respondents
were employed by petitioner as electricians. They worked from Monday to Saturday
and, occasionally, on Sundays, with a daily wage of P110.00.
Petitioner averred that respondents were part-time project employees and
were employed only when there were electrical jobs to be done in a particular
housing unit contracted by petitioner. He maintained that the services of
respondents as project employees were coterminous with each project. As project
employees, the time of rendition of their services was not fixed. Thus, there was no
practical way of determining the appropriate compensation of the value of
respondents accomplishment, as their work assignment varied depending on the
needs of a specific project.
ISSUE: What is their status? And were they illegally dismissed?
HELD: Project employees (BUT were illegally dismissed)

Petitioner, as an electrical contractor, depends for his business on the contracts that
he is able to obtain from real estate developers and builders of buildings. Thus, the
work provided by petitioner depends on the availability of such contracts or projects.
The duration of the employment of his work force is not permanent but coterminous
with the projects to which the workers are assigned. Viewed in this context, the
respondents are considered as project employees of petitioner.
A project employee is one whose employment has been fixed for a specific project
or undertaking, the completion or termination of which has been determined at the
time of the engagement of the employee or where the work or service to be
performed is seasonal in nature and the employment is for the duration of the
season. However, respondents, even if working as project employees, enjoy
security of tenure.
Nonetheless, when a project employee is dismissed, such dismissal must still comply
with the substantive and procedural requirements of due process. Termination of his
employment must be for a lawful cause and must be done in a manner which affords
him the proper notice and hearing.
Petitioner failed to present any evidence to disprove the claim of illegal dismissal. No
evidence was presented by petitioner to show the termination of the project which
would justify the cessation of the work of respondents. Neither was there proof that
petitioner complied with the substantive and procedural requirements of due
process.
Sandoval Shipyard Inc. vs. NLRC
GR no. L-65689 and 66119 May 31, 1985
FACTS:
Sandoval Shipyards, Inc. has been engaged in the building and repair of
vessels. It contends that each vessel is a separate project and that the employment
of the workers is terminated with the completion of each project. The workers
contend otherwise. They claim to be regular workers and that the termination of one
project does not mean the end of their employment since they can be assigned to
unfinished projects.
In G.R. No. 65689, Rogelio Diamante, Manuel Pacres, Macario Saputalo,
Rolando Cervales and Dionisio Cervales were assigned to the construction of the LCT
Catarman, Project No. 7511. After three months of work, the project was completed
on July 26, 1979. The five workers were served a termination notice. The termination
was reported to the Ministry of Labor on August 3, 1979. They filed a complaint for
illegal dismissal.
In G.R. No. 66119, respondents Danilo de la Cruz, et al., 17 in all, were
assigned to work in Project No. 7901 for the construction of a tanker ordered by
Mobil Oil Philippines, Inc. There were 55 workers in that project. The tanker was
launched on January 31, 1980. Upon the yard manager's recommendation, the
personnel manager of Sandoval Shipyards terminated the services of the welders,
helpers and construction workers effective February 4, 1980. The termination was
duly reported to the Ministry of Labor and Employment.

ISSUE: Whether or not the private respondents were project employees.

HELD:
Yes. The Court held that private respondents were project employees whose
work was coterminous with the project for which they were hired. Project employees,
as distinguished from regular or non-project employees, are mentioned in section
281 of the Labor Code as those "where the employment has been fixed for a specific
project or undertaking the completion or termination of which has been determined
at the time of the engagement of the employee."
Policy Instructions No. 20 of the Secretary of Labor, which was issued to
stabilize employer-employee relations in the construction industry,
Respondent Deputy Minister Leogardo, Jr. ruled that the complainants "are
project workers whose employments are coterminous with the completion of the
project, regardless of the number of projects in which they have worked, as provided
under Policy Instructions No. 20 of the Ministry of Labor and Employment" and "as
their employment is one for a definite period, they are not entitled to separation
pay." The public respondents in the instant two cases acted with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in disregarding these precedents.

Cartagenas vs. Romago Electric Inc. Co.


Gr no. 82973 Sept. 15, 1989
FACTS:

Respondent Romago is a general contractor engaged in contracting and


sub-contracting of specific building construction projects or undertaking such as
electrical, mechanical and civil engineering aspects in the repair of buildings and
from other kindred services. Individual complainants are employed by the
respondent in connection with particular construction projects
Effective July 12,1986, individual complainants and Lawrence Deguit were
temporarily laid-off by virtue of a memorandum issued by the respondent. In said
memorandum they were also informed that a meeting regarding the resumption of
operation will be held on July 16, 1986 and that they will be notified as to when they
will resume work.
On July 28, 1986, complainants filed the instant case for illegal dismissal
but before the respondent could receive a copy of the complaint and the notification
and summons issued by the NLRC National Capital Region (actually received only on
August 22, 1986, page 4, records) individual complainants re-applied with the
respondent and were assigned to work with its project at Robinson-EDSA
ISSUE: Whether or not the petitioners are project employees or regular employees
HELD:
The petitioners are project employees. As an electrical contractor, the
private respondent depends for its business on the contracts it is able to obtain from
real estate developers and builders of buildings. Since its work depends on the
availability of such contracts or "projects," necessarily the duration of the
employment of its work force is not permanent but co-terminus with the projects to

which they are assigned and from whose payrolls they are paid. It would be
extremely burdensome for their employer who, like them, depends on the
availability of projects, if it would have to carry them as permanent employees and
pay them wages even if there are no projects for them to work on. The Court held,
therefore, that the NLRC did not abuse its discretion in finding, based on substantial
evidence in the records, that the petitioners are only project workers of the private
respondent.
This case is similar to Sandoval Shipyards, Inc. vs. NLRC where the Court
held that To our mind, the employment of the employees concerned were fixed for
a specific project or undertaking. For the nature of the business the corporation is
engaged into is one which will not allow it to employ workers for an indefinite
period.

respondent NLRC, and that his project-to-project employment was renewed several
times. With the successive contracts of employment wherein petitioner continued to
perform virtually the same kind of work, i.e., as rigger, throughout his period of
employment, it is manifest that petitioners.
Where from the circumstances it is apparent that periods have been
imposed to preclude the acquisition of tenurial security by the employee, they
should be struck down as contrary to public policy, morals, good customs or public
order. As observed by the Solicitor General, the record of this case discloses, as part
of petitioners position paper, a certification duly issued by private respondent clearly
showing that the formers services were engaged by private respondent on a
continuing basis since 1965. The certification indubitably indicates that after a
particular project has been accomplished, petitioner would be re-hired immediately
the following day save for a gap of one (1) day to one (1) week from the last project
to the succeeding one. There can, therefore, be no escape from the conclusion that
petitioner is a regular employee of private respondent.
D.M. Consunji Inc. vs NLRC
Gr No. 116572 Dec. 18, 2000

Samson vs NLRC
Gr no. 113166 Feb. 1, 1996
Facts:
Petitioner had been working for respondent Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Co.
Manila for approximately 28 years and his project-to-project employment was
renewed several times. His successive contracts of employment required him to
perform virtually the same kind of work throughout his period of employment.
Petitioner would be re-hired immediately, some for a gap of one day to one week
from the last project to the succeeding one.
Petitioner filed a complaint for the conversion of his employment status
from project employee to regular employee, which complaint was later amended to
include claims for underpayment, non-payment of premium pay for holiday and rest
day, refund of reserve fund, and 10% thereof as attorneys fees. Petitioner alleged
therein that on the basis of his considerable and continuous length of service with
AG & P. he should already be considered a regular employee and, therefore, entitled
to the benefits and privileges appurtenant thereto.
The labor arbiter, in a decision dated June 30, 1993,[2] declared that
petitioner should be considered a regular employee on the ground that it has not
been shown that AG & P had made the corresponding report to the nearest Public
Employment Office every time a project wherein petitioner was assigned had been
completed and his employment contract terminated, as required under DOLE Policy
Instruction No. 20. Furthermore, pursuant to the same policy instruction, the labor
arbiter found that since petitioner was not free to leave anytime and to offer his
services to other employers, he should be considered an employee for an indefinite
period because he is a member of a work pool from which AG & P draws its project
employees and is considered an employee thereof during his membership therein,
hence the completion of the project does not mean termination of the employeremployee relationship.

FACTS:

Private respondents were hired by petitioner as project employees to work


on its Cebu Super Block Project in Cebu City. On March 2, 1993, private respondents
services were terminated allegedly without regard to the date of termination as
specified in their contracts of employment. Petitioner reported the termination of
their services to the nearest Regional Office of the Department of Labor alleging that
the term of the contracts of employment had expired. The private respondents then
filed their respective complaints for illegal dismissal.
Labor Arbiter explained that while the private respondents voluntarily
signed the employment contract which fixed the term of their employment, their
dismissal was not actually based on the expiration of the term of their employment
because some of them were dismissed before the end of the contract and there
were those dismissed even long after its expiration.
ISSUES: a. Whether or not the private respondents were project employees
b. Whether or not the termination of their employment was illegal.
a.

Issue: WON petitioner is a regular employee


Held:

Yes. Article 281 of the Labor Code pertinently prescribes that the provisions
of written agreement to the contrary notwithstanding and regardless of the oral
agreements of the parties, an employment shall be deemed to be regular where the
employee has been engaged to perform activities which are usually necessary or
desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer. Where from the
circumstances it appeared that periods have been imposed to preclude the
acquisition of tenurial security by the employee, they should be struck down as
contrary to public policy, morals, good customs, or public order. There can be no
escape from the conclusion that the employee is a regular employee of the
respondent.
It is not disputed that petitioner had been working for private respondent
for approximately twenty-eight (28) years as of the adjudication of his plaint by

b.

HELD:
Yes. Their contracts of employment readily show that the private respondents were
employed with respect to a specific project. The private respondents in this case
were workers in a construction project of the petitioner. While employed with respect
to a specific project, the contracts of employment between the private respondents
and the petitioner provide that the former were employed for a term of one (1)
month which was the estimated period for the project to be finished. The private
respondents do not even claim to be regular employees but merely that, as
employees at the Cebu Super Block, they were terminated before the completion of
the project without just cause and due process. As project employees, there is no
showing that they were part of the work pool of the petitioner construction
company. Hence, in their memorandum, private respondents admit that they are not
unaware that as project employees their employment can be terminated upon the
completion of the project. This Court has held that the length of service of a project
employee is not the controlling test of employment tenure but whether or not the
employment has been fixed for a specific project or undertaking the completion or
termination of which has been determined at the time of the engagement of the
employee.
Yes. The inescapable conclusion is that Agraviador and Mendrez were terminated
prior to the expiration of the period of their employment without just cause, hence,
their termination was illegal. However, private respondents cannot be reinstated
since the project they were assigned to was already completely finished. What they
are entitled to is the payment of their salaries corresponding to the unexpired
portions of their employment. Specifically, private respondents Agraviador and

Mendrez are entitled to the payment of their salaries equivalent to their salary from
the time of termination until the expiration of their employment period of one (1)
month, the estimated period the project was to be completed.
Cioco vs. CE Const. Corp
GR NO. 156748 Sept. 8, 2004
FACTS:

Isaac Cioco, Jr., Rebie A. Mercado, Benito V. Galvadores, Cecilio Solver,


Carmelo Juanzo, Benjamin Baysa, and Rodrigo Napoles (WORKERS) were hired by
C.E. Construction Corporation (COMPANY), a domestic corporation engaged in the
construction business and managed by its owner-president, Mr. Johnny Tan. They
were hired as carpenters and laborers in various construction projects from 1990 to
1999, the latest of which was the GTI Tower in Makati. Prior to the start of every
project, the WORKERS signed individual employment contracts
Sometime in May and June 1999, the WORKERS, along with sixty-six (66)
others, were terminated by the COMPANY on the ground of completion of the phases
of the GTI Tower project for which they had been hired. Alleging that they were
regular employees, the WORKERS filed complaints for illegal dismissal with the
Arbitration Branch of the NLRC. Claims for underpaid wages and unpaid overtime
pay, premium for holiday and rest days, service incentive leave pay, night shift
differential, and 13th month pay were likewise demanded
ISSUE: Whether or not the workers are considered regular employees.

The principal test for determining whether an employee is a project employee or a


regular employee is whether the employment has been fixed for a specific project or
undertaking, the completion or termination of which has been determined at the
time of the engagement of the employee.
It must be noted that there were intervals in petitioners respective employment
contracts, and that their work depended on the availability of such contracts or
projects. Consequently, the employment of URSUMCOs work force was not
permanent but co-terminous with the projects to which the employees were
assigned and from whose payrolls they were paid
The fact that petitioners were constantly re-hired does not ipso facto establish that
they became regular employees. Their respective contracts with respondent show
that there were intervals in their employment. In petitioner Caseress case, while his
employment lasted from August 1989 to May 1999, the duration of his employment
ranged from one day to several months at a time, and such successive
employments were not continuous. With regard to petitioner Pael, his employment
never lasted for more than a month at a time. These support the conclusion that
they were indeed project employees, and since their work depended on the
availability of such contracts or projects, necessarily the employment of
respondents work force was not permanent but co-terminous with the projects to
which they were assigned and from whose payrolls they were paid.
Mercado vs. NLRC
GR No. 79869 Sept. 5, 1991
Facts:

HELD:
No. The Court held that the fact that the WORKERS have been employed with
the COMPANY for several years on various projects, the longest being nine (9) years,
did not automatically make them regular employees considering that the definition
of regular employment in Article 280 of the Labor Code, makes specific exception
with respect to project employment. The re-hiring of petitioners on a project-toproject basis did not confer upon them regular employment status. The practice was
dictated by the practical consideration that experienced construction workers are
more preferred. It did not change their status as project employees

Caseres vs. Universal Robina Sugar Milling Corp.


GR No. 159343 Sept. 28, 2007
FACTS: Universal Robina Sugar Milling Corporation (respondent) is a corporation
engaged in the cane sugar milling business. Petitioners were employees.
At the start of their respective employments, they were made to sign a Contract of
Employment for Specific Project or Undertaking. Petitioners contracts were renewed
from time to time, until May 1999 when they were informed that their contracts will
not be renewed anymore.
Petitioners filed a complaint for illegal dismissal, regularization, incentive leave pay,
13th month pay, damages and attorneys fees.

Petitioners alleged in their complaint that they were agricultural workers


utilized by private respondents in all the agricultural phases of work on the 7 1/2
hectares of ace land and 10 hectares of sugar land owned by the latter; that
Fortunato Mercado, Sr. and Leon Santillan worked in the farm of private respondents
since 1949, Fortunato Mercado, Jr. and Antonio Mercado since 1972 and the rest of
the petitioners since 1960 up to April 1979, when they were all allegedly dismissed
from their employment; and that, during the period of their employment, petitioners
received daily wages. The other private respondents denied having any relationship
whatsoever with the petitioners and state that they were merely registered owners
of the land in question included as correspondents in this case.
As a result, the petitioners filed a complaint for illegal dismissal.
The Labor Arbiter held that the petitioners were not regular employees and the NLRC
affirmed this ruling.
Issue: W/N the petitioners are regular and permanent farm workers
HELD: No, the petitioners are project/seasonal employees. Clearly, therefore,
petitioners being project employees, or, to use the correct term, seasonal
employees, their employment legally ends upon completion of the project or the
season. The termination of their employment cannot and should not constitute an
illegal dismissal.
As such, the termination of employment cannot be considered as illegal dismissal.
The petitioners are free to contract their services to work for other farm owners.
Tacloban Sagkahan Rice and Corn Mills Co. vs NLRC
Gr No. 73806 Mar. 21, 1990

ISSUE: WON they are regular employees


HELD: They are NOT regular employees

FACTS:

Private respondents, before their termination on July 25, 1983, were all
regular employees of petitioners. Carlito Codilan and Maximo Docena started
working in 1958; Eugenio Go in 1961; Teofilo Trangria in 1968; and Reynaldo Tulin in
1977. On July 25, 1983, petitioner Tan Cheng Pian alias "Piana" told private
respondents "to look for another job" without giving any reason.

Facts: The private respondent La Union Tobacco (Lutorco), owned by See Lun Chan is
engaged in buying/processing of tobacco and its by-products. The petitioners worked
in respondent company but work was interrupted when Tabacalera took over the
Lutorco operations due to alleged losses. Aggrieved, the petitioners filed a complaint
for separation pay and dismissal. The respondent contended that it is exempt from
payment of separation pay and denied that there was termination of employees'
services.

Private respondents thus filed their complaint for illegal dismissal with the
Regional Office, NLRC at Tacloban City on August 23, 1983. At the hearing of
September 28, 1983, private respondents, who had been employed elsewhere,
demanded payment of separation pay instead of seeking reinstatement.

Issue: Whether or not petitioners are seasonal workers


Held: No, the petitioners are considered regular and not seasonal employees. They
performed services necessary and indispensable to Lutorco's business. The nature of
one's employment does not depend solely on the will or word of the employer nor on
the procedure of hiring and manner of designating the employee but on the nature of
the activity to be performed considering the employer's nature of business and the
duration and scope of work to be done.
As held in previous decisions, seasonal workers are those who are called to work
from time to time and are temporarily laid off during off-season are not separated from
service in said period but merely considered on-leave until re-employed.

After submission of private respondents' joint affidavit and petitioners' position


paper, Executive Labor Arbiter' Armando Polintan rendered the Decision of April 11,
1984 ordering petitioners to pay private respondents their separation pay as
specifically indicated in the said decision.

2.
ISSUE: Whether or not the private respondents are regular employees.

HELD:
Yes. The evidence on record has established that private respondents
Carlito Codilan and Maximo Docena had been working for petitioners for 25 years,
respondent Eugenio Go for 22 years, respondent Teofilo Trangria for 15 years and
respondent Reynaldo Tulin for 6 years. Aside from their lengthy service, it should be
noted that private respondents' employment was not fixed for a specific project or
undertaking the completion or termination of which has been determined at the
time of their appointment or hiring. Likewise, it must be borne in mind that
petitioners never rebutted private respondents' claim that they performed activities
usually necessary or desirable in the usual business of the former.
Furthermore, the services performed or to be performed by private
respondents are not seasonal in nature. While it may be true that the harvest of
palay is seasonal, the milling operations which is the main business of petitioners
are not seasonal. The fact is that big rice mills such as the one owned by petitioners
continue to operate and do business throughout the year even if there are only two
or three harvest seasons within the year. It is a common practice among farmers
and rice dealers to store their palay and to have the same milled as the need arises.
Thus, the milling operations have no let-up. And finally, considering the number of
years that they have worked for petitioners (the lowest is 6 years), private
respondents have long attained the status of regular employees as defined under
Art. 280 of the Labor Code.

1.

Abasolo v. NLRC

G.R. NO. 156668 NOVEMBER 23, 2007


KIMBERLY-CLARK (PHILS.), INC., PETITIONER, VERSUS SECRETARY OF
LABOR AND AMBROCIO GRAVADOR ET AL
Facts: On June 1986, the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) executed by
and between Kimberly-Clark (Phils.), Inc., (Kimberly) and United KimberlyClark Employees Union-Philippine Transport and General Workers Organization
(UKCEO-PTGWO) expired. Within the freedom period, on April 1986, KILUSANOLALIA, then a newly-formed labor organization, challenged the incumbency
of UKCEO-PTGWO, by filing a petition for certification election with the
Ministry of Labor and Employment (MOLE) of Quezon City.
A certification election was subsequently conducted with UKCEOPTGWO winning by a margin of 20 votes over KILUSAN-OLALIA. Remaining as
uncounted were 64 challenged ballots cast by 64 casual workers whose
regularization was in question. KILUSAN-OLALIA filed a protest.
On November 1986, MOLE issued an Order stating, among others, that
the casual workers not performing janitorial and yard maintenance services
had attained regular status on even date. UKCEO-PTGWO was then declared
as the exclusive bargaining representative of Kimberlys employees, having
garnered the highest number of votes in the certification election.
On March 16, 1987, KILUSAN-OLALIA filed with this Court a petition
for certiorari assailing the Order of the MOLE with prayer for a temporary
restraining order (TRO).
During the pendency of G.R. No. 77629, Kimberly dismissed from
service several employees and refused to heed the workers grievances,
impelling KILUSAN-OLALIA to stage a strike on May 1987. Kimberly filed an
injunction case with the NLRC, which prompted the latter to issue TRO. The
propriety of the issuance of the TROs was again brought by KILUSAN-OLALIA
to this Court via a petition for certiorari and prohibition.
In an Order issued on June 29, 2000, the DOLE considered as physically
impossible, and moot and academic the opening and counting of the 64
challenged ballots because they could no longer be located despite diligent
efforts, and KILUSAN-OLALIA no longer actively participated when the
company went through another CBA cycle.
Issue: Whether or not casual employees who had not rendered 1
year of service were considered regular employees.

Held: The law provides for two kinds of regular employees, namely: (1) those who are
engaged to perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual
business or trade of the employer; and (2) those who have rendered at least one year
of service, whether continuous or broken, with respect to the activity in which they are
employed. The individual petitioners herein who have been adjudged to be regular
employees fall under the second category. These are the mechanics, electricians,
machinists, machine shop helpers, warehouse helpers, painters, carpenters, pipefitters
and masons. It is not disputed that these workers have been in the employ of
KIMBERLY for more than one year at the time of the filing of the petition for
certification election by KILUSAN-OLALIA.
Owing to their length of service with the company, these workers
became regular employees, by operation of law, one year after they were
employed by KIMBERLY through RANK. While the actual regularization of these
employees entails the mechanical act of issuing regular appointment papers
and compliance with such other operating procedures as may be adopted by
the employer, it is more in keeping with the intent and spirit of the law to rule
that the status of regular employment attaches to the casual worker on the
day immediately after the end of his first year of service. To rule otherwise,
and to instead make their regularization dependent on the happening of some
contingency or the fulfillment of certain requirements, is to impose a burden
on the employee which is not sanctioned by law.
The law is explicit. As long as the employee has rendered at least one
year of service, he becomes a regular employee with respect to the activity in
which he is employed. The law does not provide the qualification that the
employee must first be issued a regular appointment or must first be formally
declared as such before he can acquire a regular status.
Considering that an employee becomes regular with respect to the activity in
which he is employed one year after he is employed, the reckoning date for
determining his regularization is his hiring date.
Petition is denied.
3. Tan vs. Lagrama
G.R. No. 151228, August 15, 2002
Facts: Lagrama works for Tan as painter of billboards and murals for the motion
pictures shown at the theaters managed by Tan for more than 10years. Lagrama was
dismissed for having urinated in his working area. Lagrama filed a complaint for illegal
dismissal and nonpayment of benefits. Tan asserted that Lagrama was an independent
contractor as he was paid in piece-work basis
Issue: W/N Lagrama is an independent contractor or an employee of Tan?
Held: Lagrama is an employee not an independent contractor
Applying the Four Fold Test
A. Power of Control - Evidence shows that the Lagrama performed his work as
painter and under the supervision and control of Tan. Lagrama worked in a designated
work area inside the theater of Tan for the use of which petitioner prescribed rules,
which rules included the observance of cleanliness and hygiene and prohibition
against urinating in the work area and any other place other than rest rooms and Tan's
control over Lagrama's work extended not only the use of work area but also the result
of Lagrama;s work and the manner and means by which the work was to be
accomplished. Lagrama is not an independent contractor because he did not enjoy
independence and freedom from the control and supervision of Tan and he was
subjected to Tan's control over the means and methods by which his work is to be
performed and accomplished
B. Payment of Wages- Lagrama worked for Tan on a fixed piece work basis is of no
moment. Payment by result is a method of compensation and does not define the
essence of the relation. That Lagrama was not reported as an employee to the SSS is

not conclusive, on the question whether he was an employee, otherwise Tan would be
rewarded for his failure or even neglect to perform his obligation.
C. Power of Dismissal by Tan stating that he had the right to fire Lagrama, Tan in
effect acknowledged Lagrama to be his employee.
D. Power of Selection and Engagement of Employees Tan engaged the services
of Lagrama without the intervention of third party.

4. G.R. No. 97747 March 31, 1993


PHIL. NATL. OIL COMPANY-ENERGY DEVT CORP/FRANCIS PALAFOX vs.
NLRC and FRANCISCO MATA, respondents.

Facts: On November 1980, petitioners hired private respondent Francisco Mata as


service driver on a daily wage of P39.74. Assigned to the PNOC-EDA Bacon-Manito
Geothermal Project in Bonga, Sorsogon, Sorsogon, he worked there until September 1,
1985. On this day, his employment was terminated through a letter advice on
September 1, 1985, signed by his supervisor B.B. Balista, allegedly for "contract
expiration" even when the project was still a continuing one.
On November 8, 1985, private respondent complained of illegal dismissal, and
accused petitioners of withholding his backwages, overtime pay, and separation pay. A
dismissal of the complaint was sought on jurisdictional ground, petitioner company
asserting that it is a government-owned and controlled corporation, hence, its
employees must be governed by the Civil Service Law and not by the Labor Code, and
citing National Housing Corporation v. Benjamin Juco and the NLRC. Petitioners
maintained that private respondent was a project employee whose employment was
for a definite period and coterminous with the project for which he was hired. It was for
this reason that his employment was terminated.

Issue: Whether or not private respondent is (a) a regular or a project employee and
(b) that he was illegally terminated; and (c) whether Francisco Mata must be awarded
backwages and separation pay.

Held: (a) Accordingly, and since the entire purpose behind the development of
legislation culminating in the present Article 280 of the Labor Code clearly appears to
have been, as already observed, to prevent circumvention of the employee's right to
be secure in his tenure, the clause in said article indiscriminately and completely ruling
out all written or oral agreements conflicting with the concept of regular employment
as defined therein should be construed to refer to the substantive evil that the Code
itself has singled out: agreements entered into precisely to circumvent security of
tenure. It should have no application to instances where a fixed period of employment
was agreed upon knowingly and voluntarily by the parties, without any force, duress or

improper pressure being brought to bear upon the employee and absent any other
circumstances vitiating his consent, or where it satisfactorily appears that the
employer and employee dealt with each other on more or less equal terms with no
moral dominance whatever being exercised by the former over the latter. Unless thus
limited in its purview. the law would be made to apply to purposes other than those
explicitly stated by its framers; it thus becomes pointless and arbitrary, unjust in its
effects and apt to lead to absurd and unintended consequences.
There are two guidelines, by which fixed contracts of employments can be said
NOT to circumvent security of tenure, are either:
1. The fixed period of employment was knowingly and voluntarily agreed upon
by the parties, without any force, duress or improper pressure being brought to bear
upon the employee and absent any other circumstances vitiating his consent; or
2. It satisfactorily appears that the employer and employee dealt with each
other on more or less equal terms with no moral dominance whatever being exercised
by the former on the latter.
Petitioner's fixed contract of employment with private respondent satisfy one of
the guidelines above stated.
A careful examination of the last Employment Contract signed by respondent
Mata shows that he indeed signed the same. In fact petitioners claim that all the
previous employment contracts were also translated for the benefit of private
respondent, and it was only when he understood the same that he signed said
contracts. As per Guideline No. 1, given the circumstances behind private respondent
Mata's employment, private respondent is a project employee.
Paraphrasing Rada v. NLRC, it is clear that private respondent Mata is a project
employee considering that he does not belong to a "work pool" from which petitioner
PNOC would draw workers for assignment to other projects at its discretion. It is
likewise apparent from the facts of the case that private respondent Mata was utilized
only for one particular project, the well-completion project which was part of the
exploration stage of the PNOC Bacon-Manito Geothermal Project. Hence, private
respondent Mata can be dismissed upon the termination of the projects as there would
be no need for his services. We should not expect petitioner to continue on hiring
private respondent in the other phases of the project when his services will no longer
be needed.
(b) and (c) Paragraph No. 5, Policy Instruction No. 20, reads, as follows:
If a construction project or any phase thereof has a duration of more than one
year and a project employee is allowed to be employed therein for at least one year,
such employee may not be terminated until the completion of the project or of any
phase thereof in which he is employed without a previous written clearance from the
Secretary of Labor. If such an employee is terminated without a clearance from the
Secretary of Labor, he shall be entitled to reinstatement with backwages.

Applying the Ochoco doctrine to the instant case, respondent corporation


should have filed as many reports of termination as there were construction projects
actually finished, considering that petitioner had been hired since 1980 up to 1985.
Not a single report was submitted by the respondent company. The records do not
show that petitioners obtained the necessary written clearance to terminate the
contract of employment of private respondent Mata. The latter is. therefore, entitled to
reinstatement with backwages.

5. AMA Computer College Paranaque v Austria


Facts: Respondent Rolando A. Austria was hired by AMA on probationary employment
as a college dean on April 24, 2000. On August 22, 2000, respondents appointment as
dean was confirmed by AMAs Officer-in-Charge, Academic Affairs in his Memorandum.
Sometime in August 2000, respondent was charged with violating AMAs Employees
Conduct and Discipline provided in its Orientation Handbook, as follows:
1) leaking of test questions;
2) failure to monitor general requirements vital to the operations of the
company; and
3) gross inefficiency.
Respondent refuted the charges against him. Thereafter, respondent was
placed on preventive suspension from September 8, 2000 to October 10, 2000.
Notices of Investigation were sent to respondent. Eventually, on September 29, 2000,
respondent was informed of his dismissal.
On October 27, 2000, respondent filed a Complaint for illegal dismissal, illegal
suspension, non-payment of salary and 13th month pay with prayer for damages and
attorney's fees against AMA and the rest of the petitioners. Trial on the merits ensued.
Issue: Whether or not respondent was illegally dismissed by AMA and what is the
nature of respondent's employment?
Held: No, the petitioner was not illegally dismissed as his employment contract is an
employment with a fixed term. Article 280 of the Labor Code does not proscribe or
prohibit an employment contract with a fixed period. Even if the duties of the
employee
consist
of
activities
necessary
or
desirable
in
the
usual
business of the employer, the parties are free to agree on a fixed period of time for the
performance of such activities.
In numerous cases decided by this Court, by way of practice and tradition, the
position of dean is normally an employment for a fixed term. The fact that respondent
did not sign the letter of appointment is of no moment. The fact that respondent
voluntarily accepted the employment, assumed the position, and performed the
functions of dean is clear indication that he knowingly and voluntarily consented to the
terms and conditions of the appointment, including the fixed period of his deanship.
It is axiomatic that a contract of employment for a definite period terminates on
its own force at the end of such period. The lack of notice of termination is of no
consequence because when the contract specifies the length of its duration, it comes
to an end upon the expiration of such period.
Thus, the unanimous finding of the Labor Arbiter, the NLRC and the CA that
respondent adequately refuted all the charges against him assumes relevance only
insofar as respondents dismissal from the service was effected by petitioners before
expiration of the fixed period of employment. True, petitioners erred in dismissing the
respondent, acting on the mistaken belief that respondent was liable for the charges
leveled against him. But respondent also cannot claim entitlement to any benefit
flowing from such employment after September 17, 2000, because the employment,
which is the source of the benefits, had, by then, already ceased to exist.

6. G.R. No. 106654 December 16, 1994


PANTRANCO
NORTH
EXPRESS,
INC.,
and/or
ABELARDO
LEON, petitioner, vs. NLRC and RODOLFO PERONILA, respondents.

Issue: Whether or not the employment contract which stipulates that there is no
employer-employee relationship between petitioner and Peronila is valid.
DE

Facts: Sometime in 1971, private respondent Peronila was employed as a driver of


Pantranco North Express, Inc., a domestic corporation engaged in the public
transportation business as a common carrier, and of which its co-petitioner Abelardo
de Leon is a manager.
In 1973, Peronila was administratively investigated by the corporation for his
absence from work of more than two and a half months without leave. According to an
investigation report of petitioners' area manager, Peronila claimed that he went on
absence without leave from his work from November 1, 1972 up to February 16, 1973
which was date of the investigation, or 107 calendar days continuously, because "he
went to Cotabato, Mindanao to visit his dead grandfather during the period of his
unofficial absence."
Finding the belated explanation of Peronila insufficient, the petitioner declared
that private respondent had "grossly violated the provisions of its existing company
policies" and it consequently "dismissed the respondent from service upon receipt of
the approved clearance from the NLRC."
Fifteen years after such termination of his employment, Peronila reappeared in
1988 and implored petitioner to reconsider his dismissal, which plea was initially
denied by petitioner. However, due to insistent appeals by Peronila, petitioner
eventually acceded and hired him as a driver, but on a contractual basis for a fixed
period of one month. The terms and conditions of that new employment on a
contractual basis are contained in a letter signed by the general manager of the
company and voluntarily conformed to by Peronila.
Barely 15 days from such employment as a contractual driver, private
respondent was involved in a vehicular mishap in Nueva Vizcaya wherein the bus he
was driving hit another vehicle. After an administrative investigation conducted by
petitioner corporation, Peronila was found guilty thereof, hence his employment
contract was terminated and was no longer renewed thereafter.
On January 18, 1989, private respondent filed a case for illegal dismissal against
petitioner in the arbitration branch of the NLRC-NCR wherein he argued that he was
refused assignment after May 5, 1988, which refusal was tantamount to constructive
dismissal. Accordingly, he sought his reinstatement and the payment of his back
wages.

Held: Yes. Although the Court have ruled in a number of cases applying Article 280 of
the Labor Code that when the activities performed by the employee are usually
necessary or desirable in the usual trade of the employer, the employment is deemed
regular notwithstanding a contrary agreement, there are exceptions to this rule
especially if circumstances peculiar to the case warrant a departure therefrom.
The petitioner had validly dismissed Peronila long before he entered into the
contested employment contract. It was Peronila who earnestly pleaded with petitioner
to give him a second chance. The re-hiring of private respondent was out of
compassion and not because the petitioner was impressed with the credentials of
Peronila. Peronila's previous violations of company rules explains the reluctant attitude
to the petitioner in re-hiring him. When the bus driven by Peronila figured in a road
mishap, that incident finally prompted petitioner to sever any further relationship with
said private respondent.
The Court have recently held in Philippine Village Hotel vs. NLRC, et al. that the
fact that the private respondents therein were required to render services necessary or
desirable in the operation of the petitioner's business for a duration of the one month
dry-run operation period did not in any way impair the validity of the contractual
nature of private respondents' contracts of employment which specifically stipulated
that their employment was only for one month.
In upholding the validity of a contract of employment with fixed or specific
period in a number of cases, the Court explained therein that "the decisive
determinant in term employment should not be the activities that the employee is
called upon to perform, but the day certain agreed upon the parties for the
commencement and termination of their employment relationship, a day certain being
understood to be that which must necessarily come, although it may not be known
when. . . . This ruling is only in consonance with Article 280 of the Labor Code."
As to whether or not the principle of security of tenure provided in Article 280 of
the Labor Code has been violated, we have made the following pronouncements by
way of guidelines:
In Brent School, Inc., et al. vs. Ronaldo Zamora, etc., et al., the Court had
occasion to examine in detail the question of whether employment for a fixed term has
been outlawed under the above quoted provisions of the Labor Code. After an
extensive examination of the history and development of Articles 280 and 281, the
Court reached the conclusion that the contract providing for employment with a fixed
period was not necessarily unlawful.
In the case of Philippine National Oil Company-Energy Development Corporation
vs. National Labor Relations Commission, et al., the Court set down two criteria under

which fixed contracts of employments cannot be said to be in circumvention of


security of tenure, to wit:
1. The Fixed period of employment was knowingly and voluntarily agreed upon
by the parties, without any force, duress or improper pressure being brought to bear
upon the employee and absent any other circumstances vitiating his consent; or
2. It satisfactorily appears that the employer and employee dealt with each
other on more or less equal terms with no moral dominance whatever being exercised
by the former on the latter.
In the present dispute, the services of respondent Peronila had been validly
terminated by petitioner, when the latter absented himself without official leave,
fifteen years before he was re-hired as a contractual driver for just one month.
Definitely, his re-hiring cannot be construed to mean that Peronila reacquired his
former permanent status.
Petition is GRANTED.

7. G.R. No. 155505

NLRC,

February 15, 2007

EMILIO M. CAPAROSO and JOEVE P. QUINDIPAN, Petitioners, vs. CA,


COMPOSITE ENTERPRISES, INC AND EDITH TAN, Respondents

Facts: Composite Enterprises, Incorporated is engaged in the distribution and supply


of confectioneries to various retail establishments within the Philippines. Emilio M.
Caparoso and Joeve P. Quindipan were Composites deliverymen. Caparoso alleged
that he was hired on 8 November 1998 while Quindipan alleged that he was hired on
intermittent basis since 1997. Quindipan further alleged that he had been working
continuously with Composite since August 1998.
On 8 October 1999, petitioners Caparoso and Quindipan were dismissed from
the service. They filed a consolidated position paper before the Labor Arbiter charging
Composite and its personnel manager Edith Tan with illegal dismissal.

2. Whether respondents are guilty of illegal dismissal.

Held: 1. Petitioners are not regular employees. Even if an employee is engaged to


perform activities that are necessary or desirable in the usual trade or business of the
employer, it does not preclude the fixing of employment for a definite period. In this
case, the fixed period of employment was knowingly and voluntarily agreed upon by
the parties. Further, there was no proof that respondents were regularly engaged in
hiring workers for work for a minimum period of five months to prevent the
regularization of their employees. Petitioners employment is akin to probationary
employment as defined in Art. 281 of the Labor Code.
Petitioners were hired on 11 May 1999, initially for three months. After the
expiration of their contracts, petitioners were hired on a month-to-month basis. Their
contracts of employment ended on 8 October 1999. Hence, they were employed for a
total of five months. Their employment did not even exceed six months to entitle them
to become regular employees.
The Court does not accept petitioners bare allegations that Caparoso was hired
on 8 November 1998 while Quindipan was hired on intermittent basis since 1997.
Petitioners failed to substantiate their allegations. The payslips submitted by
petitioners to prove their prior employment with respondents are handwritten and
indicate only the date and amount of pay. They do not even indicate the name of the
employer. The printed payslips during the period of the contracts indicate not only the
name of the employer but also the breakdown of petitioners net pay.

2.Petitioners were not illegally dismissed from employment. Petitioners terms


of employment are governed by their fixed-term contracts. Petitioners fixed-term
employment contracts had expired. They were not illegally dismissed from
employment. The Court has ruled that "if from the circumstances it is apparent that
periods have been imposed to preclude acquisition of tenurial security by the
employee, they should be disregarded for being contrary to public policy." In this case,
it was not established that respondents intended to deny petitioners their right to
security of tenure. Besides, petitioners employment did not exceed six months. Thus,
the Court of Appeals did not err in sustaining petitioners dismissal from employment.
Petition denied.

Respondents Composite and Tan alleged that petitioners were both hired on 11
May 1999 as deliverymen, initially for three months and then on a month-to-month
basis. Respondents alleged that petitioners termination from employment resulted
from the expiration of their contracts of employment on 8 October 1999.
PURE FOODS CORPORATON, petitioner, vs. NLRC, RODOLFO CORDOVA,
VIOLETA CRUSIS, ET AL., respondents.
Issues: 1. Whether petitioners are regular employees of respondents; and

Facts: Private respondents (numbering 906) were hired by petitioner Pure Foods
Corporation to work for a fixed period of five months at its tuna cannery plant in
Tambler, General Santos City. After the expiration of their respective contracts of
employment in June and July 1991, their services were terminated. They forthwith
executed a Release and Quitclaim stating that they had no claim whatsoever against
the petitioner.
On 29 July 1991, private respondents filed before the NLRC a complaint for
illegal dismissal against the petitioner and its plant manager, Marciano Aganon.
The petitioner submits that the private respondents are now estopped from
questioning their separation from petitioners employ in view of their express
conformity with the five-month duration of their employment contracts. Besides, they
fell within the exception provided in Article 280 of the Labor Code which reads:
[E]xcept where the employment has been fixed for a specific project or undertaking
the completion or termination of which has been determined at the time of the
engagement of the employee.
The private respondents, on the other hand, argue that contracts with a specific
period of employment may be given legal effect provided, however, that they are not
intended to circumvent the constitutional guarantee on security of tenure. They submit
that the practice of the petitioner in hiring workers to work for a fixed duration of five
months only to replace them with other workers of the same employment duration was
apparently to prevent the regularization of these so-called casuals, which is a clear
circumvention of the law on security of tenure.

Issue: Whether employees hired for a definite period and whose services are
necessary and desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer are regular
employees.

Held: Yes. Private respondents were performing activities which were necessary and
desirable in petitioners business or trade. They could not be regarded as having been
hired for a specific project or undertaking. The term specific project or undertaking
under Article 280 of the Labor Code contemplates an activity which is not commonly or
habitually performed or such type of work which is not done on a daily basis but only
for a specific duration of time or until completion; the services employed are then
necessary and desirable in the employers usual business only for the period of time it
takes to complete the project. The fact that the petitioner repeatedly and continuously
hired workers to do the same kind of work as that performed by those whose contracts
had expired negates petitioners contention that those workers were hired for a specific
project or undertaking only.
Now on the validity of private respondents' five-month contracts of
employment. In the leading case of Brent School, Inc. v. Zamora, which was reaffirmed
in numerous subsequent cases, this Court has upheld the legality of fixed-term

employment. It ruled that the decisive determinant in term employment should not be
the activities that the employee is called upon to perform but the day certain
agreed upon by the parties for the commencement and termination of their
employment relationship. But, this Court went on to say that where from the
circumstances it is apparent that the periods have been imposed to preclude
acquisition of tenurial security by the employee, they should be struck down or
disregarded as contrary to public policy and morals.
Brent also laid down the criteria under which term employment cannot be said
to be in circumvention of the law on security of tenure:
1) The fixed period of employment was knowingly and voluntarily agreed upon
by the parties without any force, duress, or improper pressure being brought to bear
upon the employee and absent any other circumstances vitiating his consent; or
2) It satisfactorily appears that the employer and the employee dealt with each
other on more or less equal terms with no moral dominance exercised by the former or
the latter. None of these criteria had been met in the present case. As pointed out by
the private respondents:
It could not be supposed that private respondents and all other so-called casual
workers of the petitioner KNOWINGLY and VOLUNTARILY agreed to the 5-month
employment contract. Cannery workers are never on equal terms with their
employers. Almost always, they agree to any terms of an employment contract just to
get employed considering that it is difficult to find work given their ordinary
qualifications. Their freedom to contract is empty and hollow because theirs is the
freedom to starve if they refuse to work as casual or contractual workers. Indeed, to
the unemployed, security of tenure has no value. It could not then be said that
petitioner and private respondents "dealt with each other on more or less equal terms
with no moral dominance whatever being exercised by the former over the latter.
The petitioner does not deny or rebut private respondents' averments (1) that
the main bulk of its workforce consisted of its so-called casual employees; (2) that as
of July 1991, casual workers numbered 1,835; and regular employees, 263; (3) that the
company hired casual every month for the duration of five months, after which their
services were terminated and they were replaced by other casual employees on the
same five-month duration; and (4) that these casual employees were actually doing
work that were necessary and desirable in petitioners usual business.
As a matter of fact, the petitioner even stated in its position paper submitted to
the Labor Arbiter that, according to its records, the previous employees of the
company hired on a five-month basis numbered about 10,000 as of July 1990. This
confirms private respondents allegation that it was really the practice of the company
to hire workers on a uniformly fixed contract basis and replace them upon the
expiration of their contracts with other workers on the same employment duration.
This scheme of the petitioner was apparently designed to prevent the private
respondents and the other casual employees from attaining the status of a regular
employee. It was a clear circumvention of the employees right to security of tenure

and to other benefits like minimum wage, cost-of-living allowance, sick leave, holiday
pay, and 13th month pay. Indeed, the petitioner succeeded in evading the application
of labor laws. Also, it saved itself from the trouble or burden of establishing a just
cause for terminating employees by the simple expedient of refusing to renew the
employment contracts.
The five-month period specified in private respondents employment contracts
having been imposed precisely to circumvent the constitutional guarantee on security
of tenure should, therefore, be struck down or disregarded as contrary to public policy
or morals.
The execution by the private respondents of a Release and Quitclaim did not
preclude them from questioning the termination of their services. Generally, quitclaims
by laborers are frowned upon as contrary to public policy and are held to be ineffective
to bar recovery for the full measure of the workers rights. The reason for the rule is
that the employer and the employee do not stand on the same footing.
Notably, the private respondents lost no time in filing a complaint for illegal
dismissal. This act is hardly expected from employees who voluntarily and freely
consented to their dismissal.
The NLRC was, thus, correct in finding that the private respondents were regular
employees and that they were illegally dismissed from their jobs. Under Article 279 of
the Labor Code and the recent jurisprudence, the legal consequence of illegal
dismissal is reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and other privileges, with full
back wages computed from the time of dismissal up to the time of actual
reinstatement, without deducting the earnings derived elsewhere pending the
resolution of the case.
Petition dismissed.

9. G.R. No. 108405

April 4, 2003

VIERNES v NLRC (THIRD DIVISION),


COOPERATIVE, INC. (BENECO) respondents.

and

BENGUET

ELECTRIC

Facts: Complainants services as meter readers were contracted for hardly a months
duration, or from October 8 to 31, 1990. The term of the contract notwithstanding, the
complainants were allowed to work beyond October 31, 1990, or until January 2, 1991.
On January 3, 1991, they were each served their identical notices of termination dated
December 29, 1990. On the same date, the complainants filed separate complaints for
illegal dismissal. It is the contention of the complainants that they were not
apprentices but regular employees whose services were illegally and unjustly
terminated in a manner that was whimsical and capricious. On the other hand, the

respondent invokes Article 283 of the Labor Code in defense of the questioned
dismissal.

Issue: 1. Whether the petitioners should be reinstated to their former position as


probationary or regular employees

Held: The petitioners should be reinstated to their former position as meter readers,
not on a probationary status, but as regular employees. Reinstatement means
restoration to a state or condition from which one had been removed or separated. In
case of probationary employment, Article 281 of the Labor Code requires the employer
to make known to his employee at the time of the latters engagement of the
reasonable standards under which he may qualify as a regular employee.
Records show that petitioners have never been probationary employees. There
is nothing in the letter of appointment, to indicate that their employment as meter
readers was on a probationary basis. It was not shown that petitioners were informed
by the private respondent, at the time of the latters employment, of the reasonable
standards under which they could qualify as regular employees. Instead, petitioners
were initially engaged to perform their job for a limited duration, their employment
being fixed for a definite period, from October 8 to 31, 1990.
The respondents reliance in the Brent case is misplaced. Brent applies only
with respect to fixed term employments. While it is true that petitioners were initially
employed on a fixed term basis as their employment contracts were only for October 8
to 31, 1990, after October 31, 1990, they were allowed to continue working in the
same capacity as meter readers without the benefit of a new contract or agreement or
without the term of their employment being fixed anew. After October 31, 1990, the
employment of petitioners is no longer on a fixed term basis. The complexion of the
employment relationship of petitioners and private respondent is thereby totally
changed. Petitioners have attained the status of regular employees.
The primary standard, therefore, of determining regular employment is the
reasonable connection between the particular activity performed by the employee in
relation to the usual trade or business of the employer. Clearly therefrom, there are
two separate instances whereby it can be determined that an employment is regular:
(1) The particular activity performed by the employee is necessary or desirable in the
usual business or trade of the employer; or (2) if the employee has been performing
the job for at least a year.
Herein petitioners fall under the first category. They were engaged to perform
activities that are necessary to the usual business of private respondent. We agree
with the labor arbiters pronouncement that the job of a meter reader is necessary to
the business of private respondent because unless a meter reader records the electric
consumption of the subscribing public, there could not be a valid basis for billing the
customers of private respondent. The fact that the petitioners were allowed to

continue working after the expiration of their employment contract is evidence of the
necessity and desirability of their service to private respondents business. The fact
alone that petitioners have rendered service for a period of less than six months does
not make their employment status as probationary.

10. [G.R. No. 109224. June 19, 1997]


MEGASCOPE GENERAL SERVICES, petitioner, vs. NLRC

Facts: Petitioner Megascope General Services is a sole proprietorship engaged in


contracting out general services. In 1977, it entered into a landscaping contract with
the System and Structures, Inc. (SSI) which subcontracted the construction of
the National Power Corporation Housing Village in Bagac, Bataan. In hiring laborers,
petitioner would give them work from five (5) to ten (10) days as the need arose and
there were periodical gaps in the hiring of employees.
Between February 15, 1977 and January 1, 1989, it contracted the services of
the herein 19 private respondents as gardeners, helpers and maintenance
workers. They were deployed at the National Power Corporation (NPC) in Bagac,
Bataan. Except for Gener J. del Rosario whose employment ended on April 30, 1989,
the work of the other workers ceased on January 31, 1991.At the time, private
respondents Nestor Seril and Gener J. del Rosario were receiving P65.00 a day; private
respondent Reynaldo Magtanong, P56.00 a day, and the rest of the private
respondents, P54.00 a day.
Consequently,
private
respondents
filed
before
Regional
Arbitration Branch No. III in San Fernando, Pampanga, a complaint for illegal dismissal,
underpayment of salaries, nonpayment of five-day service incentive leave credits and
holiday pay against petitioner and Andres M. David.
Petitioner and David countered that private respondents were hired for a
definite period of employment, the commencement and termination of which were
already known to them; that the two-year period stipulated in the private respondents'
contract with NPC had expired; that it was the NPC which requested petitioner and
David for an extension on a monthly basis of the employment of some of the private
respondents; and that the reason for the termination of private respondents'
employment was the termination itself of petitioner's contract with NPC.

Issue: Whether or not there exist an employer-employee relationship between


petitioner and private respondents

Held: Yes. The Court have reiterated time and again that the yardstick in the
determination of the existence of an employer-employee relationship consists of these
four (4) elements: (1) the selection and engagement of the employee; (2) the payment
of wages; (3) the power of dismissal, and (4) the power to control the employee's
conduct. All these elements are present in this case.
Private respondents were selected and hired by petitioner which assigned them
to the NPC housing village in Bagac and in Km. 168, Morong, Bataan. They drew their
salaries from petitioner which eventually dismissed them. Petitioner's control over
private respondents was manifest in its power to assign and pull them out of clients at
its own discretion. Power of control refers merely to the existence of the power and not
to the actual exercise thereof. It is not essential for the employer to actually supervise
the performance of duties of the employee. It is enough that the former has the right
to wield the power.
Petitioner's admission in a sworn pleading before the Labor Arbiter suffices to
support the private respondents' allegations regarding their employment.
Undeniably, private respondents had been performing activities which were
necessary or desirable in the usual trade or business of petitioner. Their services as
gardeners, helpers and maintenance workers were continuously availed of by
petitioner in the conduct of its business as supplier of such services to clients. Thus,
even if there were a contrary agreement between the parties, if the worker has worked
for more than a year and there is a reasonable connection between the particular
activity performed by the employee in relation to the usual business or trade of the
employer, an employer-employee relationship is deemed to exist between the parties.
Granting arguendo that private respondents were initially contractual
employees, by the sheer length of service they had rendered for petitioner, they had
been converted into regular employees by virtue of the aforequoted proviso in the
second paragraph of Art. 280 since they all served petitioner's client for more than a
year. The cessation of the NPC operations in Bagac and Morong did not in any way
affect the employer-employee relationship between petitioner and private
respondents. While this might have severed the contractual relationship between
petitioner and the NPC, as regards the supply of services, it did not and will not, under
the law, affect the employer-employee relationship between petitioner and private
respondents.
Petitioner asserts that private respondents were not prejudiced because all
along they knew that they were employed for the specific NPC "project" and therefore
when the NPC ceased operations in Bagac and Morong, private respondents knew that
their employment perforce ceased. It should be noted, however, that considering the
nature of its business, petitioner may not be presumed to have hired private
respondents solely for the purpose of supplying maintenance workers for the NPC. It
had hired workers starting with its contract with System Structures, Inc. (SSI) even
before it entered into a contract with NPC. Petitioner's assertion would have been

tenable if it were successfully established that private respondents were indeed


project employees.
Petitioner failed to submit in evidence employment contracts or records showing
the dates of hiring and termination of employment in relation to the particular project
or phases in which they were employed. It must be noted that Policy Instruction No. 20
invoked by Labor Arbiter is inapplicable in instant case as the same applies to the
construction industry while petitioner is engaged in the contracting out of general
services.

11. Agusan del Norte electric Coop. Inc. vs. Cagampang and Garzon GR
no. 167627 Oct. 10, 2008
Facts: Respondents Joel Cagampang and Glenn Garzon started working as linemen for
petitioner Agusan del Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ANECO) on October 1, 1990,
under an employment contract which was for a period not exceeding three
months. They were both allegedly required to work eight hours a day and sometimes
on Sundays, getting a daily salary of P122.00. When the contract expired, the two
were laid-off for one to five days and then ordered to report back to work but on the
basis of job orders.
After several renewals of their job contracts in the form of job orders for similar
employment periods of about three months each, the said contracts eventually expired
on April 31, 1998 and July 30, 1999. Respondents contracts were no longer renewed,
resulting in their loss of employment. Thus, on January 11, 2001, respondents filed an
illegal dismissal case against petitioners before the Honorable Labor Arbiter Alim D.
Pangandaman, Regional Arbitration Branch No. XIII, Butuan City. They prayed for
payment of backwages, salary differential, allowances, premium for alleged work during
holidays and rest days, service incentive leave, and separation pay.
Petitioners claim that the respondents were individually hired only
as emergency workers on a contractual basis and for a fixed or definite term/period of
employment. Said contracts were never intended to circumvent the law on security of
tenure, and that the contractual employment with a fixed period or term that existed
between ANECO and respondents should have been considered rightly falling within
the
legally
recognized
and
accepted
concept
of management
prerogative. Respondents, for their part, counter that there is no legal basis for an
inference that they were not dismissed and that their employment contract merely
expired.
Issue: Whether the respondents were illegally dismissed.
Held: Yes. There is no dispute that the respondents work as linemen was necessary or
desirable in the usual business of ANECO. Additionally, the respondents have been
performing the job for at least one year. The law deems the repeated and continuing
need for its performance as sufficient evidence of the necessity, if not indispensability,
of that activity to the business. As held in Integrated Contractor and Plumbing Works,
Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission:
The test to determine whether employment is regular or not is
the reasonable connection between the particular activity performed
by the employee in relation to the usual business or trade of the
employer. Also, if the employee has been performing the job for at
least one year, even if the performance is not continuous or merely
intermittent, the law deems the repeated and continuing need for its
performance as sufficient evidence of the necessity, if not
indispensability of that activity to the business. Thus, we held that
where the employment of project employees is extended long after

the supposed project has been finished, the employees are removed
from the scope of project employees and are considered regular
employees.
While length of time may not be the controlling test for project
employment, it is vital in determining if the employee was hired for a specific
undertaking or tasked to perform functions vital, necessary and indispensable
to the usual business or trade of the employer. Here, private respondent had
been a project employee several times over. His employment ceased to be
coterminous with specific projects when he was repeatedly re-hired due to the
demands of petitioners business. Where from the circumstances it is apparent
that periods have been imposed to preclude the acquisition of tenurial security
by the employee, they should be struck down as contrary to public policy,
morals, good customs or public order.
Respondents in the present case being regular employees, ANECO as the employer
had the burden of proof to show that the respondents termination was for a just
cause. Unfortunately, however, what petitioners did was merely to refuse, without
justifiable reason, to renew respondents work contracts for the performance of what would
otherwise be regular jobs in relation to the trade or business of the former. Such conduct
dismally falls short of the requirements of our labor laws regarding dismissals. No twin
notices of termination were issued to the employees, hence the employer did not observe
due process in dismissing them from their employment. Their dismissals were patently
illegal.
Petition is denied.

12. [G.R. No. 141717. April 14, 2004]


PHILIPS SEMICONDUCTORS
FADRIQUELA, respondent.

(PHILS.),

INC., petitioner,

vs.

ELOISA

Facts: Petitioner Philips Semiconductors (Phils.), Inc. is a domestic corporation


engaged in the production and assembly of semiconductors such as power devices, RF
modules, CATV modules, RF and metal transistors and glass diods. It caters to
domestic and foreign corporations that manufacture computers, telecommunications
equipment and cars. Aside from contractual employees, the petitioner employed 1,029
regular workers. The employees were subjected to periodic performance appraisal
based on output, quality, attendance and work attitude. One was required to obtain a
performance rating of at least 3.0 for the period covered by the performance appraisal
to maintain good standing as an employee.
On May 8, 1992, respondent Eloisa Fadriquela executed a Contract of
Employment with the petitioner in which she was hired as a production operator with a
daily salary of P118. Her initial contract was for a period of 3 months up to August 8,
1992, but was extended for 2 months when she garnered a performance rating of
3.15. Her contract was again renewed for 2 months or up to December 16, 1992, when
she received a performance rating of 3.8. After the expiration of her third contract, it
was extended anew, for 3 months (total of 10 mos.), that is, from January 4, 1993 to
April 4, 1993.

After garnering a performance rating of 3.4, the respondents contract was


extended for another 3 months, that is, from April 5, 1993 to June 4, 1993. She,
however, incurred five absences in the month of April, three absences in the month of
May and four absences in the month of June. Line supervisor Shirley F. Velayo asked
the respondent why she incurred the said absences, but the latter failed to explain her
side. The respondent was warned that if she offered no valid justification for her
absences, Velayo would have no other recourse but to recommend the non-renewal of
her contract. The respondent still failed to respond, as a consequence of which her
performance rating declined to 2.8. Velayo recommended to the petitioner that the
respondents employment be terminated due to habitual absenteeism, in accordance
with the Company Rules and Regulations. Thus, the respondents contract of
employment was no longer renewed.
The respondent filed a complaint before the NLRC-NCR for illegal dismissal
against the petitioner. She alleged, inter alia, that she was illegally dismissed, as there
was no valid cause for the termination of her employment. She was not notified of any
infractions she allegedly committed; neither was she accorded a chance to be
heard. According to the respondent, the petitioner did not conduct any formal
investigation before her employment was terminated. Furthermore, considering that
she had rendered more than six months of service to the petitioner, she was already a
regular employee and could not be terminated without any justifiable cause. Moreover,
her absences were covered by the proper authorizations.
On the other hand, the petitioner contended that the respondent had not been
dismissed, but that her contract of employment for the period of April 4, 1993 to June
4, 1993 merely expired and was no longer renewed because of her low performance
rating. Hence, there was no need for a notice or investigation. Furthermore, the
respondent had already accumulated five unauthorized absences which led to the
deterioration of her performance, and ultimately caused the non-renewal of her
contract.

Issue: Whether or not the respondent was still a contractual employee of the
petitioner or has attained the regular status of employment

Held: Petitioner is already a regular employee. As held by the Court of Appeals, the
fact that the petitioner had rendered more than one year of service at the time of her
dismissal only shows that she is performing an activity which is usually necessary and
desirable in private respondents business or trade. The work of petitioner is hardly
specific or seasonal. The petitioner is, therefore, a regular employee of private
respondent, the provisions of their contract of employment notwithstanding. The
private respondents prepared employment contracts placed petitioner at the mercy of
those who crafted the said contract.
The two kinds of regular employees under the law are (1) those engaged to
perform activities which are necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of

the employer; and (2) those casual employees who have rendered at least one year of
service, whether continuous or broken, with respect to the activities in which they are
employed. The primary standard to determine a regular employment is the reasonable
connection between the particular activity performed by the employee in relation to
the business or trade of the employer. The test is whether the former is usually
necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer. If the employee
has been performing the job for at least one year, even if the performance is not
continuous or merely intermittent, the law deems the repeated and continuing need
for its performance as sufficient evidence of the necessity, if not indispensability of
that activity to the business of the employer. Hence, the employment is also
considered regular, but only with respect to such activity and while such activity
exists. The law does not provide the qualification that the employee must first be
issued a regular appointment or must be declared as such before he can acquire a
regular employee status.
In this case, the respondent was employed by the petitioner on May 8, 1992 as
production operator. She was assigned to wirebuilding at the transistor division. There
is no dispute that the work of the respondent was necessary or desirable in the
business or trade of the petitioner. She remained under the employ of the petitioner
without any interruption since May 8, 1992 to June 4, 1993 or for one (1) year and
twenty-eight (28) days. The original contract of employment had been extended or
renewed for four times, to the same position, with the same chores. Such a continuing
need for the services of the respondent is sufficient evidence of the necessity and
indispensability of her services to the petitioners business. By operation of law, then,
the respondent had attained the regular status of her employment with the petitioner,
and is thus entitled to security of tenure as provided for in Article 279 of the Labor
Code
The respondents re-employment under contracts ranging from two to three
months over a period of one year and twenty-eight days, with an express statement
that she may be reassigned at the discretion of the petitioner and that her
employment may be terminated at any time upon notice, was but a catch-all excuse to
prevent her regularization.
Even then, the petitioners reliance on the CBA is misplaced. For, as ratiocinated
by the appellate court in its assailed decision:
Obviously, it is the express mandate of the CBA not to include contractual
employees within its coverage. Such being the case, we see no reason why an
agreement between the representative union and private respondent, delaying the
regularization of contractual employees, should bind petitioner as well as other
contractual employees. Indeed, nothing could be more unjust than to exclude
contractual employees from the benefits of the CBA on the premise that the same
contains an exclusionary clause while at the same time invoke a collateral agreement
entered into between the parties to the CBA to prevent a contractual employee from
attaining the status of a regular employee.
Petition denied.