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DULAY, represented by his wife the appropriate branches of the NLRC to entertain
MERRIDY JANE P. DULAY, v. ABOITIZ JEBSEN disputes regarding the interpretation of a collective
MARITIME, INC. and GENERAL CHARTERERS, INC. bargaining agreement involving migrant or overseas
13 June 2012 | J. Peralta Filipino workers; while Article 217 (c) of the Labor
Code which, in turn, confers jurisdiction upon
FACTS: Nelson Dulay was employed by R General Charters voluntary arbitrators over interpretation or
Inc. (subsidiary of P Aboitiz Jebsen Maritime Inc) since 1986, implementation of collective bargaining agreements
intially as an ordinary seaman and later as bosun on a and interpretation or enforcement of company
contractual basis. He was detailed in P's vessel, MV Kickapoo personnel policies.
Belle, from 3 Sept 1999 to 19 July 2000. Respondents: Article 217, paragraph (c) as well as
13 August 2000: 25 days after the completion of his Article 261 of the Labor Code remain to be the
employment contract, Nelson died due to acute renal governing provisions of law with respect to
failure secondary to septicemia. At the time of his unresolved grievances arising from the interpretation
death, Nelson was a bona fide member of the and implementation of collective bargaining
Associated Marine Officers and Seamans Union of agreements. Under these provisions of law,
the Philippines (AMOSUP), GCIs collective bargaining jurisdiction remains with voluntary arbitrators.
agent. Nelsons widow, Merridy Jane, thereafter
claimed for death benefits through the grievance RATIO:
procedure of the Collective Bargaining Agreement A careful reading of RA8042 would show that there is no
(CBA) between AMOSUP and GCI. However, the specific provision which provides for jurisdiction over disputes
grievance procedure was declared deadlocked as or unresolved grievances regarding the interpretation or
petitioners refused to grant the benefits sought by implementation of a CBA. Section 10 simply speaks, in
the widow. general, of claims arising out of an employer-employee
5 March 2001: Merridy Jane filed a complaint with relationship or by virtue of any law or contract involving
the NLRC Sub-Regional Arbitration Board in General Filipino workers for overseas deployment including claims for
Santos City against GCI for death and medical actual, moral, exemplary and other forms of damages.
benefits and damages. On the other hand, Articles 217(c) and 261 of the Labor Code
8 March 2001: Joven Mar, Nelsons brother, received are very specific in stating that voluntary arbitrators have
P20,000.00 from R pursuant to article 20(A)2 of the jurisdiction over cases arising from the interpretation or
CBA and signed a Certification acknowledging implementation of collective bargaining agreements.
receipt of the amount and releasing AMOSUP from In the present case, the basic issue raised by Merridy Jane in
further liability. Merridy Jane contended that she is her complaint filed with the NLRC is: which provision of the
entitled to the aggregate sum of Ninety Thousand subject CBA applies insofar as death benefits due to the heirs
Dollars ($90,000) pursuant to Article 20 (A)1 of the of Nelson are concerned. The Court agrees with the CA in
CBA. Merridy Jane averred that the P20,000 already holding that this issue clearly involves the interpretation
received by Joven Mar should be considered advance or implementation of the said CBA. Thus, the specific or
payment of the total claim of US$90,000. special provisions of the Labor Code govern.

LA took cognizance of the case by virtue of LC 217(a), par. 6 Article 13.1 of the CBA between GCI and AMOSUP provides:
and the existence of a reasonable causal connection between "The Company and the Union agree that in case of
the er-ee relationship & claim asserted. It ordered payment of dispute or conflict in the interpretation or application of
P4,621,3000 (equivalent of $90,000 less P20,000) at the time any of the provisions of this Agreement, or
of judgment. It also ruled that proximate cause of Nelson's enforcement of Company policies, the same shall be
death was not work-related. settled through negotiation, conciliation or voluntary
arbitration. The Company and the Union further agree that
NLRC affirmed LA's grant of death benefits under the CBA, they will use their best endeavor to ensure that any dispute
but reversed the ruling re: proximate cause of Nelson's death. will be discussed, resolved and settled amicably by the parties
hereof within ninety (90) days from the date of filing of the
Special civil action for certiorari with CA, contending that dispute or conflict and in case of failure to settle thereof any
NLRC committed GAD in affirming jurisdiction its jurisdiction of the parties retain their freedom to take appropriate action."
over the case; ruling that a diff. provision of the CBA covers From the foregoing, it is clear that the parties, in the first
the death claim; reversing LA findings that cause of work is place, really intended to bring to conciliation or voluntary
not work-related; setting aside the release & quitclaim arbitration any dispute or conflict in the interpretation or
executed by the attorney-in-fact; and not considering the application of the provisions of their CBA. It is settled that
P20,000 already received by Merridy Jane through her when the parties have validly agreed on a procedure for
attorney-in-fact. resolving grievances and to submit a dispute to voluntary
CA: granted petition and referred case to the NCMB for the arbitration then that procedure should be strictly observed.
designation of the Voluntary Arbitrator or constitution of a Also, the above-quoted provisions of the CBA are in
panel of Voluntary Arbitrators for the appropriate resolution of consonance with Rule VII, Section 7 of the present Omnibus
the issue on the matter of the applicable CBA provision. It Rules and Regulations Implementing the Migrant Workers and
ruled that while the suit filed by Merridy Jane is a money Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, as amended by Republic Act
claim, the same basically involves the interpretation and No. 10022, which states that [f]or OFWs with collective
application of the provisions in the subject CBA. As such, bargaining agreements, the case shall be submitted for
jurisdiction belongs to the voluntary arbitrator and not the voluntary arbitration in accordance with Articles 261 and 262
labor arbiter; MR denied of the Labor Code.

ISSUE: W/N LA had jurisdiction over the case Section 29 of the prevailing Standard Terms and Conditions
Governing the Employment of Filipino Seafarers on Board
HELD: No. Ocean Going Vessels, promulgated by the Philippine Overseas
Employment Administration (POEA), provides as follows:
Arguments Section 29. Dispute Settlement Procedures. In
Petitioner: Sec. 10 of RA 8042 (Migrant Workers & cases of claims and disputes arising from this
Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995) vests jurisdiction on employment, the parties covered by a collective
bargaining agreement shall submit the claim or jurisdiction to hear and decide disciplinary action on
dispute to the original and exclusive cases, which are administrative in character,
jurisdiction of the voluntary arbitrator or panel involving or arising out of violations of recruitment
of arbitrators. If the parties are not covered by a laws, rules and regulations involving employers,
collective bargaining agreement, the parties may at principals, contracting partners and Filipino
their option submit the claim or dispute to either the seafarers.
original and exclusive jurisdiction of the National
Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), pursuant to With respect to disputes involving claims of Filipino
Republic Act (RA) 8042, otherwise known as the seafarers wherein the parties are covered by a
Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 collective bargaining agreement, the dispute or claim
or to the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the should be submitted to the jurisdiction of a voluntary
voluntary arbitrator or panel of arbitrators. If there is arbitrator or panel of arbitrators. It is only in the
no provision as to the voluntary arbitrators to be absence of a collective bargaining agreement that
appointed by the parties, the same shall be parties may opt to submit the dispute to either the
appointed from the accredited voluntary arbitrators NLRC or to voluntary arbitration.
of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board of
the Department of Labor and Employment. The above interpretation of the DOLE, DFA and POEA is also
in consonance with the policy of the state to promote
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration voluntary arbitration as a mode of settling labor disputes
(POEA) shall exercise original and exclusive (Section 3, Article XIII and LC 211).