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GR 206612 TOYOTA ALABANG VS.

GAMES with the rule, because there must first be an


accompanying assignment of the employer's bank
deposit.

On the merits, the NLRC dismissed the case on the


Remaining at bench is the Motion for
basis of the rule that no appeal may be taken from an
Reconsideration1 of petitioner Toyota Alabang, Inc. We
order of execution of a final judgment. 8 For the NLRC,
had unanimously denied2 its Petition for Review on
petitioner's failure to appeal the LA Decision already
Certiorari with Urgent Prayer for Injunctive
made the ruling final and executory.
Relief,3which sought the nullity of the Court of Appeals
(CA) Decision and Resolution. 4 The CA affirmed the
Petitioner elevated the case to the CA via a Petition for
Resolutions5 of the National Labor Relations
Certiorari, but the action was dismissed. Firstly, the CA
Commission (NLRC) dismissing petitioner's appeal for
ruled that the NLRC did not gravely abuse its discretion
non-perfection and for lack of merit. In effect, the
in denying the appeal, given that petitioner had failed
NLRC sustained the ruling 6 of the labor arbiter (LA)
to comply faithfully with the bond requirement.
finding that petitioner had illegally dismissed
Secondly, it echoed the ruling of the NLRC that a final
respondent Edwin Games (Games).
judgment is no longer appealable. Thirdly, the CA
found that petitioner's own negligence had caused it to
In gist, the antecedent facts are as
lose its right to appeal.
follows:LawlibraryofCRAlaw
Aggrieved, petitioner filed a Petition for Review on
Games, who worked as a foreman for petitioner,
Certiorari with Urgent Prayer for Injunctive Relief
allegedly stole its vehicle lubricants. Subsequently, it
before this Court. It disputed the finding that it did not
charged him with qualified theft before the trial court.
show proof of its security deposit for the appeal bond.
Two years thereafter, or on 24 August 2007, Games
It also insisted that its counsel's gross negligence
filed a Complainant for illegal dismissal, nonpayment of
justified the reopening of the proceedings below.
benefits, and damages against petitioner. The latter,
through counsel, failed to file its Position Paper on the
By way of a minute Resolution, this Court denied the
date set on 15 November 2007.
petition considering that the allegations, issues and
arguments raised by petitioner failed to sufficiently
Several resettings of the hearings ensued. During the
show that the CA had committed any reversible error
21 December 2007 hearing, petitioner manifested that
in the challenged decision and resolution as to warrant
it had failed to file its Position Paper because its
the exercise of this Court's discretionary appellate
handling lawyer was no longer connected with the
jurisdiction. Hence, the instant Motion for
company. Then, in the hearing of 11 January 2008,
Reconsideration.
petitioner failed to appear and even reneged on
submitting its pleading. Accordingly, on 25 January
The determinative issues in this case remain the same.
2008, the case was declared submitted for decision.
This Court is tasked to review, on reconsideration,
whether or not the CA committed a reversible error in
On 5 February 2008, the LA ruled against petitioner
refusing to reopen the proceedings below.
and ordered the latter to pay Games P535,553.07 for
his separation pay, back wages, service incentive leave
RULING OF THE COURT
pay and attorney's fees resulting from his illegal
dismissal. Petitioner no longer filed a motion for
To recall, the LA's decision finding that petitioner
reconsideration. As a result, the LA's ruling became
illegally dismissed respondent was already final and
final and executory.
executory because of petitioner's failure to file a timely
appeal. Therefore, the labor dispute between the
The LA issued a Writ of Execution, which petitioner
parties should have been considered a closed case by
sought to quash. It prayed that the proceedings be
then, and no longer subject to appeal. At that point,
reopened, explaining that it had failed to present
Games should have already reaped the benefits of a
evidence because of its counsel's negligence in filing
favorable judgment. Still, petitioner sought the
the appropriate pleadings. The LA denied the claims of
reopening of the case, which the tribunals a
petitioner. Aggrieved, the latter appealed before the
quo denied.
NLRC.
This Court maintains that the CA correctly refused to
The appeal of petitioner was denied due course
reopen the proceedings below. The reopening of a case
because it had failed to show proof of its security
is an extraordinary remedy,9 which, if abused, can
deposit for the appeal bond under Section 6, Rule VI of
make a complete farce of a duly promulgated decision
the 2005 NLRC Rules of Procedure. According to the
that has long become final and executory. Hence, there
NLRC, the bonding company's mere declaration in the
must be good cause on the movant's part before it can
Certification of Security Deposit that the bond was fully
be granted.
secured7 was not tantamount to a faithful compliance

1
In this case, petitioner itself was negligent in merits of the case was correct. In other words, we
advancing its case. As found by the appellate court, have to be keenly aware that the CA undertook a Rule
petitioner was present during the mandatory 65 review, not a review on appeal, of the NLRC
conference hearing in which the latter was informed by decision challenged before it. (Emphasis supplied)
the LA of the need to file a Position Paper on 15
November 2007. However, petitioner not only reneged Based on the foregoing, the task at hand involves a
on the submission of its Position Paper, but even failed determination of whether or not the CA gravely erred
to move for the filing of the pleading at any point in finding that the NLRC did not exceed its jurisdiction
before the LA resolved the case on 5 February 2008. in refusing to grant petitioner's entreaty to reopen the
case. In other words, as long as the exercise of
Moreover, petitioner had failed to exhibit diligence discretion below is based on well founded factual and
when it did not attend the hearing on 11 January legal bases,12 no abuse of discretion amounting to
2008, or any of the proceedings thereafter, despite its lack or excess of jurisdiction can be imputed, and we
manifestation that it no longer had any legal are then justified to deny due course both to the Rule
representative. Given the instances of negligence by 45 petition and the concomitant Motion for
petitioner itself, the Court finds that the CA justly Reconsideration.
refused to reopen the case in the former's favor.
Definitely, petitioner cannot now be allowed to claim The tribunals below gave overwhelming justifications
denial of due process when it was petitioner who was for their rulings. In contrast, the first point espoused in
less than vigilant of its rights.10redarclaw the dissenting opinion has no basis. The paraphrased
proposition that "an appeal bond is not required in
At this stage of appellate review, Justice Lucas P. appeals from decisions of the LA denying a motion to
Bersamin dissents and votes to remand the case to the quash a writ of execution" lacks any citation sourced
LA for the reception of petitioner's evidence. He posits from a statute or case law. Article 223 of the Labor
three reasons as follows:LawlibraryofCRAlaw Code and Section 6, Rule VI of the 2011 NLRC Rules of
Procedure, uniformly state thus:LawlibraryofCRAlaw
First, he states that the NLRC gravely abused its
discretion in requiring petitioner to post an appeal
bond, because this requirement does not cover an In case the decision of the Labor Arbiter or the
appeal from a decision of the LA denying a motion to Regional Director involves a monetary award, an
quash a writ of execution. appeal by the employer may be perfected only upon
the posting of a bond, which shall either be in the form
Second, he writes that in any event, the NLRC erred in of cash deposit or surety bond equivalent in amount to
requiring petitioner to accompany the appeal bond with the monetary award, exclusive of damages and
proof of a security deposit or collateral securing the attorney's fees. (Emphasis supplied)
bond. He bases this point on the fact that the bonding
company has already issued a Certificate of Security Evidently, the above rules do not limit the appeal bond
Deposit declaring that the appeal bond was fully requirement only to certain kinds of rulings of the LA.
secured by a security deposit equivalent to the Rather, these rules generally state that in case the
judgment award. ruling of the LA involves a monetary award, an
employer's appeal may be perfected only upon the
Third, he advances the opinion that there may be merit posting of a bond. Therefore, absent any qualifying
in the Rule 45 petition filed by petitioner. He cites that terms,13 so long as the decision of the LA involves a
it had a just cause to dismiss respondent after he had monetary award, as in this case,14 that ruling can only
allegedly stolen its vehicle lubricants. be appealed after the employer posts a bond.

Before discussing these points, it is apropos to Clearly, this construction is but proper considering the
elucidate that this Court must be faithful to the avowed purpose of appeal bonds demanded by the law
framework of resolving labor cases on appellate review from employers in labor cases. This matter was
before this Court. Universal Robina Sugar Milling discussed by the Court in Computer Innovations
Corporation v. Acibo aptly explains:11redarclaw Center v. NLRC,15 to wit:LawlibraryofCRAlaw

This Court's power of review in a Rule 45 pet1t1on is As earlier stated, the underlying purpose of the appeal
limited to resolving matters pertaining to any bond is to ensure that the employee has
perceived legal errors, which the CA may have properties on which he or she can execute upon
committed in issuing the assailed decision. In in the event of a final, providential award. The
reviewing the legal correctness of the CA's Rule 65 non payment or woefully insufficient payment of the
decision in a labor case, we examine the CA appeal bond by the employer frustrates these ends.
decision in the context that it determined, i.e., Respondent Cario alleges in his Comment before this
the presence or absence of grave abuse of Court that petitioner Quilos and his wife have since
discretion in the NLRC decision before it and not gone abroad, and wonders aloud whether he still would
on the basis of whether the NLRC decision on the be able to collect his monetary award considering the
2
circumstances. Petitioners, in
their Reply and Memorandum, do not aver otherwise. In this case, petitioner elevated to the NLRC an already
Indeed, such eventuality appears plausible considering final and executory decision of the LA. To recall, after
that Quilos himself did not personally verify the petitioner learned of its former counsel's negligence in
petition, and had in fact executed a Special Power of filing a Position Paper before the LA, it nonetheless
Attorney in favor of his counsel, Atty. Bernabe B. failed to file a motion reconsideration to question the
Alabastro, authorizing the filing of cases in his name. ft ruling of the LA that it illegally dismissed Games. At
does not necessarily follow that the absence of Quilos that point, the Decision was already final and
from this country precludes the execution of the award executory, so the LA dutifully issued a Writ of
due Cario. However, if the absence of Quilos from this Execution. Petitioner sought the quashal of the writ of
country proves to render impossible the execution of execution and the reopening of its case only at that
judgment in favor of Cario, then the latter's victory stage; and only after it was rebuffed by the LA did
may sadly be rendered pyrrhic. The appeal bond petitioner appeal before the NLRC. Based on the
requirement precisely aims to prevent empty or timeline, therefore, the LA's adverse Decision had
inconsequential victories by the laborer, and it is hoped become final and executory even prior to petitioner's
that herein petitioners' refusal to post the appropriate appeal before the NLRC contesting the denial of the
legal appeal bond does not frustrate the ends of justice Motion to Quash the Writ of Execution. Consequently,
in this case. (Emphasis supplied) the NLRC dismissed the appeal based on its clear
prohibition under Section 5, Rule V of the 2011 NLRC
If we are to construe otherwise, then an aggrieved Rules of Procedure.19redarclaw
party may simply seek the quashal of a writ of
execution, instead of going through the normal modes The NLRC's reasoning that no appeal may be taken
of appeal, to altogether avoid paying for an appeal from an order of execution of a final and executory
bond. This ruse will then circumvent the requirement judgment is also rooted in case law. Jurisprudence
of both labor rules and jurisprudence16to post an dictates that a final and executory decision of the LA
appeal bond before contesting the LA's grant of can no longer be reversed or modified.20 After all, just
monetary award. Hence, the first point is not only as a losing party has the right to file an appeal within
incorrect, but also dangerous. the prescribed period, so does the winning party have
the correlative right to enjoy the finality of the
The second point likewise fails to justify the grant of resolution of the case.21 On this basis, theCA did not
petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration. This point grievously err when it concluded that the ruling of the
refers to the proper construction of Section 6, Rule VI NLRC denying petitioner's appeal was not baseless,
of the 2011 NLRC Rules of Procedure, which demands arbitrary, whimsical, or despotic.22redarclaw
that an appeal bond must be accompanied by a "proof
of security deposit or collateral securing the bond." Finally, as regards the third point pertaining to the
advancement of the merits23 of the case, it may no
According to the NLRC and the CA, the bonding longer be properly considered by this Court. To
company's mere declaration in the Certification of adjudicate on the merits of the instant appeal would
Security Deposit that the bond is fully secured17 is not require the reopening of the whole case, a step that all
tantamount to a faithful compliance with the rule, the tribunals below - the LA, the NLRC, and the CA-
because there must first be an accompanying have already refused to take.
assignment of the employer's bank deposit. On the
other hand, the dissent sees this declaration as an act As correctly ruled by the CA, the reopening of a case
that satisfies Section 6, Rule VI of the 2011 NLRC is, by default, not allowed merely on the ground that
Rules of Procedure. For this reason, he opines that the the counsel has been negligent in taking the required
NLRC should have entertained the appeal of petitioner. steps to protect the interest of the client, such as
timely filing a pleading, appearing during hearings, and
Notwithstanding this issue, the NLRC has given a well- perfecting appeals.24 An exception arises only when
founded reason for refusing to entertain petitioner's there is good cause and excusable negligence on the
appeal, namely, no appeal may be taken from an client's part.25redarclaw
order of execution of a final and executory
judgment. Both the explanation of the CA and the records
undeniably show no good cause or excusable
An appeal is not a matter of right, but is a mere negligence on the part of the client - petitioner Toyota
statutory privilege. It may be availed of only in the Alabang, Inc. given the totality of the instances of the
manner provided by law and the rules.18 Thus, a party latter's own negligence in these proceedings, viz: (1)
who seeks to elevate an action must comply with the despite being informed, during the mandatory
requirements of the 2011 NLRC Rules of Procedure as conference hearing, of the necessity to file a Position
regards the period, grounds, venue, fees, bonds, and Paper, petitioner reneged on its duty to timely submit
other requisites for a proper appeal before the NLRC; its Position Paper to the LA on 15 November 2007; (2)
and in Section 6, Rule VI, the aforesaid rules prohibit after manifesting that it no longer had a counsel,
appeals from final and executory decisions of the Labor petitioner was still absent on 11 January 2008, the
Arbiter. date when it could still have submitted its belated
3
Position Paper; (3) thereafter, it altogether absented before this Court, we rule for the denial of petitioner's
itself from all the proceedings before the LA; (4) at no Motion for Reconsideration.
point before the LA's resolution of the case on 5
February 2008 did petitioner file a Position Paper; and
WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review with Urgent
(5) after allowing the LA Decision to attain finality as a
Prayer for Injunctive Relief filed by Toyota Alabang,
result of its non-submission of an appeal or a motion
for reconsideration, petitioner belatedly sought the Inc. is DENIED with FINALITY. No further pleadings
quasha1 of the execution of the LA Decision granting shall be entertained in this case. Let an Entry of
compensation to respondent. Judgment be issued in due course.

Despite the overwhelming lapses mentioned above, the SO ORDERED.cralawlawlibrary


dissent maintains that petitioner cannot be considered
negligent by any measure. According to the dissent,
petitioner could not be faulted for failing to file a Leonardo-De Castro, Perez, and Perlas-Bernabe, JJ.,
position paper because the filing of pleadings has been concur.
entrusted to its counsel. For the dissent, "given the Bersamin, J., I dissent.
nature and extent of its business and operations, the
petitioner could not be expected to supervise and
monitor all the cases it had entrusted to its lawyer."
But, this stance is baseless as can be seen by the lack METROGUARDS SECURITY AGENCY
of legal citation in the dissent. CORPORATION (FORMERLY KNOWN AS
BEEGUARDS CORPORATION) AND MS. MILAGROS
More importantly, this Court cannot give special T. CHAN, Petitioners, v. ALBERTO N.
treatment to petitioner. In our past cases, this Court HILONGO, Respondent.
already held that the failure of the counsel to file the
required position papers before the LA is not a ground
to declare that petitioner had been deprived of due RESOLUTION
process; and is not a cause to conclude that the
proceedings a quo had been null and void.26 In Building VILLARAMA, JR., J.:
Care Corporation v. Macaraeg,27 this Court thoroughly
explained that:LawlibraryofCRAlaw Before us is a petition for review of the Decision1 dated
July 22, 2014 and Resolution2 dated November 18,
2014 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No.
It is, however, an oft-repeated ruling that the 134501.
negligence and mistakes of counsel bind the client. A
departure from this rule would bring about never- The facts follow:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
ending suits, so long as lawyers could allege their own
fault or negligence to support the client's case and In his Decision3 dated April 30, 2010 in NLRC NCR-10-
obtain remedies and reliefs already lost by the 14411-09, entitled Alberto Hilongo v. Bee Guards
operation of law. The only exception would be, where Corp./Milagros Chan, the Labor Arbiter ruled that
the lawyer's gross negligence would result in the grave herein respondent Alberto N. Hilongo was illegally
injustice of depriving his client of the due process of dismissed, to wit:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
law. In this case, there was no such deprivation of due WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is
process. Respondent was able to fully present and rendered finding the dismissal of complainant
argue her case before the Labor Arbiter. She was [Hilongo] as illegal and ordering the respondents
accorded the opportunity to be heard. [herein petitioners] to pay complainant [Hilongo] his
backwages from the date of dismissal to the date of
We have consistently held that the requirements of due this decision and separation pay of one month pay per
process are satisfied when the parties are given the year of service, plus 10% thereof as attorneys fees as
opportunity to submit position papers wherein they are all hereunder computed:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
I. Backwages:
supposed to attach all the documents that would prove
their claim in case it be decided that no hearing should A. Basic Salary
be conducted or was necessary.28 Here, petitioner,
despite being given several chances to pass its position 9/5/09 4/30/09
paper, did not at all comply. Worse, petitioner also had (sic) = 7.83
other instances of negligence. Consequently, this Court P382 x 26 x 7.83 P77,767.56
cannot redo the whole proceedings of the Labor Arbiter
B. 13th Month Pay
who had already afforded due process to the former.
P77,767.56/12 6,480.63
Given the foregoing reasons, juxtaposed with the high
threshold for resolving appellate reviews in labor cases C. Service Incentive Leave 1,246.27 P85,494.46
4
The illegal dismissal ruling stands; only the
II. Separation Pay computation of monetary consequences of this
dismissal is affected and this is not a violation of the
10/25/01 4/30/10 principle of immutability of final judgments.16
P 69,524.00
= 7 yrs. After the corresponding entry of judgment was issued
P382 x 26 x 7 years P155,018.46 on June 11, 2013, the case was remanded to the Labor
Arbiter. On July 9, 2013, respondent Hilongo filed a
III. 10% Attorneys fees 15,501.85 motion for issuance of writ of execution alleging that
P170,520.31 the June 11, 2013 CA Resolution had confirmed that
SO ORDERED.4 the amount of P170,520.31 awarded by the Labor
On appeal, the National Labor Relations Commission Arbiter is not sufficient, and that there is a need to
(NLRC) reversed the ruling of the Labor Arbiter in its compute additional monetary awards reckoned from
Decision5 dated September 30, 2010 and Resolution May 1, 2010 up to April 26, 2013 or the date Hilongo
dated November 23, 2010.6chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary presumed as the date of finality of the
decision.17chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Aggrieved, Hilongo filed a petition for certiorari before
the CA, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 117891.7In its In an Order18 dated October 29, 2013, the Labor
Decision8 dated September 7, 2012, the CA reversed Arbiter directed the issuance of a writ of execution and
the NLRC decision and reinstated the Labor Arbiters ruled that the award of P170,520.31 as stated in the
Decision dated April 30, 2010.9 Petitioners motion for Labor Arbiters Decision dated April 30, 2010 prevails.
reconsideration was denied by the CA in its
Resolution10 dated March 26, 2013. Petitioners no Hilongo filed a petition for extraordinary remedy before
longer appealed to this the NLRC which dismissed the petition in its
Court.11chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary Decision19 dated November 29, 2013. The NLRC also
denied Hilongos motion for reconsideration in its
Hilongo then filed a motion for entry of judgment and Resolution20 dated January 16, 2014.
a motion for clarification of Decision/Resolution praying
that the CAs March 26, 2013 Resolution be clarified Hence, Hilongo filed a petition for certiorari before the
and interpreted to include the amount of the award as CA.
stated in the Labor Arbiters Decision dated April 30,
2010 and additional award computed from May 1, In the assailed Decision dated July 22, 2014, the CA
2010 to March 26, 2013, or the date the CA denied granted Hilongos petition and set aside the NLRC
petitioners motion for Decision dated November 29, 2013 and Resolution
reconsideration.12chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary dated January 16, 2014. The CA ordered the Labor
Arbiter to re-compute Hilongos monetary awards, to
In its Resolution13 dated June 11, 2013, the CA granted wit:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
the motion for entry of judgment and noted Hilongos WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition
motion for clarification of Decision/Resolution. The CA is GRANTED. The Decision dated November 29, 2013
held that when an appellate court affirms the Labor and Resolution dated January 16, 2014 of public
Arbiters ruling, it is understood that awards due to the respondent National Labor Relations Commission,
illegally dismissed employee shall be recomputed in Second Division, in NLRC LER N[o]. 11-322-13/NLRC
order to account for the period of time that has lapsed LAC N[o]. 07-001-485-10 (NLRC NCR-10-14411-09)
from the rendition of the Labor Arbiters decision up to are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
its finality. The CA quoted this Courts ruling in Session
Delights Ice Cream and Fast Foods v. Court of The case is hereby REMANDED to the Labor Arbiter
Appeals,14 and Gonzales v. Solid Cement for the RE-COMPUTATION of the total monetary
Corporation15:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary benefits due to petitioner [Hilongo]. The Labor Arbiter
Consistent with what we discussed above, we hold that is further DIRECTED to incorporate the following in
under the terms of the decision under execution, no the re-computation:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
essential change is made by a re-computation as this
step is a necessary consequence that flows from the (1) Additional backwages and separation pay from May
nature of the illegality of dismissal declared in that 1, 2010 to June 11, 2013, or the date when the April
decision. A re-computation (or an original computation, 30, 2010 Decision of Labor Arbiter Macam became final
if no previous computation has been made) is a part of and executory;chanrobleslaw
the law specifically, Article 279 of the Labor Code
and the established jurisprudence on this provision (2) Interest of twelve percent (12%) per annum of the
that is read into the decision. By the nature of an total monetary awards, computed from June 11, 2013
illegal dismissal case, the reliefs continue to add on to June 30, 2013 and six percent x x x (6%) per
until full satisfaction, as expressed under Article 279 of annum from July 1, 2013 until their full satisfaction.
the Labor Code. The re-computation of the
consequences of illegal dismissal upon execution of the SO ORDERED.21
decision does not constitute an alteration or The CA held that it is already settled that the
amendment of the final decision being implemented. computation of the monetary awards due to the
5
illegally dismissed employee must continue to run until Likewise without merit is petitioners contention that
the final termination of the case on appeal. The CA [i]t may very well be argued that the NLRCs final
ruled that the Labor Arbiter should have been guided decision reversing the Labor Arbiter is in fact the final
by the CA Resolution dated June 11, 2013 which had decision that effectively declared the employment
clarified that a re-computation of Hilongos award is relationship between Hilongo and [petitioners] as
necessary.22 The CA also ruled that the re-computation ended on which date the computation of the separation
of the monetary awards is a necessary consequence pay and backwages awarded by the Labor Arbiter
that flows from the nature of the illegality of Hilongos ultimately ceased.26 We note that the CA, in its
dismissal. The CA further noted that since the Labor Decision dated September 7, 2012, had reversed the
Arbiters Decision dated April 30, 2010 had ordered the NLRC Decision dated September 30, 2010 and
payment of separation pay, in lieu of reinstatement, Resolution dated November 23, 2010, and reinstated
the finality of said decision on June 11, 2013 the Labor Arbiters Decision dated April 30, 2010.
effectively declares that Hilongos employment Thus, petitioners cannot claim that the NLRC decision
relationship with petitioners has ended on said date. which was set aside with finality is the NLRCs final
Hence, separation pay and back wages must be decision and the final decision that effectively
computed up to that point to account for the time the declared the employment relationship between the
illegally dismissed employee should have been paid his parties as ended.
salary and benefit
entitlements.23chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary Said CA Decision dated September 7, 2012 became
final and executory on April 26, 2013.27 Thus, the
Hence, this petition. April 30, 2010 Decision of the Labor Arbiter which
ordered the payment of separation pay in lieu of
The issue for our consideration is whether the CA erred reinstatement, effectively ended the employment
in ordering the re-computation of Hilongos monetary relationship of the parties on April 26, 2013, the date
awards. the CA decision became final. Since the Labor Arbiters
computation of Hilongos monetary award was up to
We rule in the negative. the date of his April 30, 2010 Decision only, the CA
properly decreed the computation of additional back
The issue is not novel. In Nacar v. Gallery wages and separation pay.
Frames,24 we have held
that:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary However, the CA incorrectly concluded that the April
x x x no essential change is made by a recomputation 30, 2010 Decision of the Labor Arbiter became final on
as this step is a necessary consequence that flows June 11, 2013,28 contrary to its own finding that it
from the nature of the illegality of dismissal declared became final and executory on April 26, 2013.29 This
by the Labor Arbiter in that decision. A recomputation led to its erroneous computation of the additional back
(or an original computation, if no previous computation wages and separation pay of Hilongo, as well as
has been made) is a part of the law specifically, reckoning the date of the 12% legal interest. Following
Article 279 of the Labor Code and the established the teaching of Nacar v. Gallery Frames30 that the
jurisprudence on this provision that is read into the computation of the monetary consequences (back
decision. By the nature of an illegal dismissal case, the wages and separation pay) of the illegal dismissal
reliefs continue to add up until full satisfaction, as decision should be reckoned from its finality, the
expressed under Article 279 of the Labor Code. The additional back wages and separation pay of Hilongo
recomputation of the consequences of illegal dismissal should be computed from May 1, 2010 to April 26,
upon execution of the decision does not constitute an 2013. Further, the payment of legal interest of 12%
alteration or amendment of the final decision being per annum should also be from April 26, 2013 up to
implemented. The illegal dismissal ruling stands; only June 30, 2013. Thereafter, in accordance with Bangko
the computation of monetary consequences of this Sentral ng Pilipinas Monetary Boards Circular No.
dismissal is affected, and this is not a violation of the 799,31 series of 2013, the legal interest computed from
principle of immutability of final judgments.cralawred July 1, 2013 until the monetary awards were fully
Nacar reiterated the Courts ruling in the earlier cases satisfied will be 6% per annum.
of Session Delights and Gonzales.
WHEREFORE, we DENY the instant petition
We thus cannot agree with petitioners contention that and AFFIRM with MODIFICATION the Decision
a decision that has acquired finality becomes dated July 22, 2014 and Resolution dated November
immutable and unalterable.25 The re-computation of 18, 2014 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No.
the consequences of illegal dismissal upon execution of 134501. The dispositive portion of the Decision dated
the decision does not constitute an alteration or July 22, 2014 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP
amendment of the final decision being implemented. No. 134501 shall read as
The illegal dismissal ruling stands; only the follows:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
computation of monetary consequences of this WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition
dismissal is affected, and this is not a violation of the is GRANTED. The Decision dated November 29, 2013
principle of immutability of final judgments. and Resolution dated January 16, 2014 of public
respondent National Labor Relations Commission,
6
Second Division, in NLRC LER N[o]. 11-322-13/NLRC benefits.3cralawred
LAC N[o]. 07-001-485-10 (NLRC NCR-10-14411-09)
are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. On September 24, 2010, Picar experienced high fever,
chilling, lumbar back pain, and difficulty in urinating
The case is hereby REMANDED to the Labor Arbiter accompanied with blood. He was referred for medical
for the RE-COMPUTATION of the total monetary treatment to the Maritime Medical Center PTE, Ltd in
benefits due to petitioner [Hilongo]. The Labor Arbiter Singapore (MMC). He was diagnosed with Urinary
is further DIRECTED to incorporate the following in Tract Infection (UTI) and Renal Calculus. After his
the re-computation:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary check-up, he was required to go back to the vessel and
take a rest. On September 28, 2010, he was brought
(1) Additional backwages and separation pay from May back to MMC where he was confined until October 1,
1, 2010 to April 26, 2013, or the date when the April 2010. On October 2, 2010, he was
30, 2010 Decision of Labor Arbiter Macam became final repatriated.4cralawred
and executory;chanrobleslaw
Upon his arrival in Manila, Picar was referred to Dr.
(2) Interest of twelve percent (12%) per annum of the Natalio G. Alegre (Dr. Alegre) at St. Lukes Medical
total monetary awards, computed from April 26, Center (SLMC). On October 21, 2010, he underwent
2013 to June 30, 2013 and six percent x x x (6%) per sonography of his kidneys and urinary bladder, which
annum from July 1, 2013 until their full satisfaction. showed renal cyst on his right kidney; calyceal
lithiasis, right; and normal urinary bladder; slightly
enlarged prostate gland was noted. Dr. Alegre
So ordered. repeatedly recommended that he undergo
extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy for the dissolution
of his right kidney stone.5cralawred

On February 23, 2011, Picar consulted Dr. Efren R.


Vicaldo (Dr. Vicaldo) who also diagnosed him to be
suffering from Right Renal Calculus, Essential
G.R. No. 209383, March 11, 2015
Hypertension. Dr. Vicaldo considered his illness as
work aggravated/related and declared him unfit to
SEACREST MARITIME MANAGEMENT, INC., resume work as a seafarer in any capacity.6cralawred
ROLANDO B. MAGCALE, AND SEALION SHIPPING
LIMITED UNITED Picar then filed a complaint for permanent disability
KINGDOM, Petitioners, v. MAURICIO G. PICAR, compensation, balance of sick wages, reimbursement
JR., Respondent. of medical expenses, moral and exemplary damages,
and attorneys fees.
DECISION
On June 22, 2011, the Labor Arbiter (LA) rendered
MENDOZA, J.: judgment7 in favor of Picar. The LA found that his
illness was work-related and that the nature of his
work as a chief cook contributed to the aggravation of
This is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules his condition. The dispositive portion of the decision
of Court assailing the May 2, 2013 Decision1and the reads:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
September 9, 2013 Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals
(CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 124763, which dismissed, for
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby
being moot and academic, the petition
rendered ordering respondents to pay jointly and
for certiorari filed under Rule 65 questioning the
severally the complainant his permanent disability
decision of the National Labor Relations Commission
compensation in the sum of US$60,000.00, balance of
(NLRC), in a case for disability
sick wages in the sum of US$1,890.00, moral damages
benefits.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
in the sum of P200,000.00, exemplary damages in the
sum of P200,000.00, and ten percent (10%) of the
The Antecedents judgment award as attorneys fees.
Respondent Mauricio Picar, Jr. (Picar) was employed by All other claims are dismissed for lack of merit.
petitioner Sealion Shipping Limited United Kingdom
through its local manning agent Seacrest Maritime SO ORDERED.8cralawred
Management, Inc. (petitioners), as Chief Cook cralawlawlibrary
continuously for several contracts from April 2005 until
his last employment contract in 2010, on board the On appeal, the NLRC affirmed in toto the decision of
vessel, MV Toisa Paladin. The last contract was for a the LA.9 The NLRC ruled that Picars disability was
fixed duration of three (3) months which commenced permanent as he was totally unable to perform his job
on September 5, 2010 with a basic salary of for more than 120 days from his repatriation. In
US$630.00 exclusive of overtime pay and other support of its ruling, it cited the case of Remigio v.
7
NLRC10 where it was held that if an employee was indication that petitioners believed on the merits and
unable to perform his customary job for more than 120 judiciousness of the award for disability compensation.
days and did not come within the coverage of Rule X of
the Amended Rules on Employees Compensability Petitioners fault the CA for dismissing outright the
(which, in more detailed manner, describes what petition for being moot and academic instead of
constitutes temporary total disability), then the said resolving the same on its merits.
employee undoubtedly suffered from permanent total
disability regardless of whether or not he lost the use The Courts Ruling
of any part of his body.
As correctly argued by petitioners, the petition
Aggrieved, petitioners elevated the matter to the CA. for certiorari before the CA was not rendered moot and
academic by their satisfaction of the judgment award
In the meantime, Picar moved for the execution of the in compliance with the writ of execution issued by the
LA decision. On July 3, 2012, the LA issued a Writ of LA The CA cited Career Philippines, but it finds no
Execution for the enforcement and full satisfaction of application here. Career Philippines was resolved on
its decision. Consequently, petitioners paid the equitable considerations. In the said case, while
judgment award as evidenced by the Satisfaction of petitioner employer had the luxury of having other
Judgment pursuant to a Writ of Execution with remedies available to it such as its petition
Acknowledgment Receipt executed by the NLRC-NCR for certiorari pending before the CA and an eventual
Sheriff on August 13, 2012.11cralawred appeal to this Court, respondent seafarer could no
longer pursue other claims, including for interests that
In its assailed Decision, dated May 2, 2013, the CA may accrue during the pendency of the case. Thus, it
dismissed the petition. Citing the case of Career was held that the LA and the CA could not be faulted
Philippines Ship Management, Inc. v. Madjus,12 the CA for interpreting petitioners "conditional settlement" to
ruled that the payment by petitioners of the judgment be tantamount to an amicable settlement of the case
award constituted an amicable settlement that had resulting in the mootness of the petition for certiorari.
rendered the petition moot and academic. The
dispositive portion of the decision In this case, no such document was executed between
reads:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary the parties. The payment of the judgment award
without prejudice by petitioners required no obligations
WHEREFORE, in light of the foregoing considerations, whatsoever on the part of Picar.
the instant petition is DISMISSED for having become
MOOT AND ACADEMIC.13cralawlawlibrary The case of Leonis Navigation v. Villamater(Leonis
Navigation)15 is more in point, where the Court
Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration of the explained:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
said decision, but it was denied in the CA Resolution,
dated September 9, 2013. Petitioners never moved for a reconsideration of this
Order regarding the voluntariness of their payment to
Hence, this petition.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary Sonia, as well as the dismissal with prejudice and the
concomitant termination of the case.
Issues and Arguments
However, petitioners argued that the finality of the
For resolution is the sole issue of whether the CA case did not render the petition
committed reversible error in dismissing the petition for certiorari before the CA moot and academic.
for having become moot and academic. On this point, we agree with petitioners.

Petitioners contend that the settlement of the In the landmark case of St. Martin Funeral Home v.
judgment award was by virtue of a writ of execution NLRC,16 we ruled that judicial review of decisions of the
duly issued and was effected specifically without NLRC is sought via a petition for certiorari under Rule
prejudice to further recourse before the CA. There was 65 of the Rules of Court, and the petition should be
nothing voluntary about the satisfaction of the filed before the CA, following the strict observance of
judgment award made in strict and compulsory the hierarchy of courts. Under Rule 65, Section
compliance with Rule XI, Section 8 of the 2011 NLRC 4,17 petitioners are allowed sixty (60) days from notice
Rules of Procedure. The terms of the settlement were of the assailed order or resolution within which to file
fair to both the employer and the employee. Hence, the petition. Thus, although the petition was not filed
the ruling in Career Philippines, relied upon by the CA, within the 10-day period, petitioners seasonably filed
was inapplicable. their petition for certiorari before the CA within the 60-
day reglementary period under Rule 65.
On April 14, 2014, Picar filed his Comment14 wherein
he stresses that the CA committed no error in Further, a petition for certiorari does not normally
dismissing the petition. He asserts that the voluntary include an inquiry into the correctness of its evaluation
satisfaction by petitioners of the full judgment award of the evidence. Errors of judgment, as distinguished
rendered the said petition moot and was a clear from errors of jurisdiction, are not within the province
8
of a special civil action for certiorari, which is merely it had filed an appeal bond to ensure payment to the
confined to issues of jurisdiction or grave abuse of employee.
discretion. It is, thus, incumbent upon petitioners to
satisfactorily establish that the NLRC acted capriciously Stated differently, the Court ruled against the
and whimsically in order that the extraordinary writ employer because the conditional satisfaction of
of certiorari will lie. By grave abuse of discretion is judgment signed by the parties was highly prejudicial
meant such capricious and whimsical exercise of to the employee. The agreement stated that the
judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction, and it payment of the monetary award was without prejudice
must be shown that the discretion was exercised to the right of the employer to file a petition
arbitrarily or despotically.18 (Emphasis supplied) for certiorari and appeal, while the employee agreed
cralawlawlibrary that she would no longer file any complaint or
prosecute any suit of action against the employer after
Adhering to the pronouncement in Leonis Navigation, receiving the payment.chanrobleslaw
the Court, in Philippine Transmarine Carriers, Inc. v.
Legaspi (Transmarine),19 held that the satisfaction of xxxx
the monetary award by the employer did not render
the petition for certiorari moot before the CA. In the present case, the Receipt of the Judgment
In Transmarine, pursuant to a writ of execution issued, Award with Undertaking was fair to both the employer
the employer ship-owner/manning agency and the and the employee. As in Leonis Navigation, the said
complaining seafarer agreed to a settlement of the agreement stipulated that respondent should return
judgment award. It was, however, stipulated that the the amount to petitioner if the petition
settlement shall be without prejudice to the pending for certiorari would be granted but without prejudice to
petition for certiorari filed by the employer before the respondents right to appeal. The agreement, thus,
CA. It was further agreed that, in the event that the provided available remedies to both parties.
petition would be granted and the judgment award
would be eventually reversed, whether in full or It is clear that petitioner paid respondent subject to
partially, the seafarer shall return all amounts in the terms and conditions stated in the Receipt of the
excess of what he would be entitled to and the Judgment Award with Undertaking. Both parties signed
employer shall be allowed to file the necessary motion the agreement. Respondent neither refuted the
for the return or restitution of the amount unjustly agreement nor claimed that he was forced to sign it
paid. The parties covenants, as well as the against his will. Therefore, the petition
acknowledgment by the seafarer of receipt in full of for certiorari was not rendered moot despite
the judgment award, were embodied in a receipt of the petitioners satisfaction of the judgment award, as the
judgment award with undertaking. The CA, upon respondent had obliged himself to return the payment
being informed of the settlement, dismissed the if the petition would be granted.20cralawred
petition for certiorari for being moot and academic. In cralawlawlibrary
support of the dismissal, the CA also relied on Career
Philippines. In reversing and setting aside the order of Verily in this case, petitioners satisfied the judgment
dismissal issued by the CA, the Court award in strict compliance with a duly issued writ of
in Transmarine wrote:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary execution and pursuant to terms fair to both parties.
Thus, the equitable ruling in Career Philippines would
In Career Philippines, believing that the execution of certainly be unfair to petitioners in this case as they
the LA Decision was imminent after its petition for still have a remedy under the rules. The CA, therefore,
injunctive relief was denied, the employer filed before was in error in dismissing the petition for being moot
the LA a pleading embodying a conditional satisfaction and academic.
of judgment before the CA and, accordingly, paid the
employee the monetary award in the LA decision. In WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The May 2,
the said pleading, the employer stated that the 2013 Decision and the September 9, 2013 Resolution
conditional satisfaction of the judgment award was of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 124763
without prejudice to its pending appeal before the CA are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The case is
and that it was being made only to prevent the ordered REMANDED to the Court of Appeals for
imminent execution. decision on the merits.

The CA later dismissed the employers petition for SO ORDERED.cralawlawlibrary


being moot and academic, noting that the decision of
the LA had attained finality with the satisfaction of the Carpio, (Chairperson), Brion, Del Castillo, and Leonen,
judgment award. This Court affirmed the ruling of the JJ., concur.
CA, interpreting the "conditional settlement" to be
tantamount to an amicable settlement of the case
resulting in the mootness of the petition for certiorari,
considering (i) that the employee could no longer
pursue other claims, and (ii) that the employer could
not have been compelled to immediately pay because
9
SMART COMMUNICATIONS, INC., NAPOLEON L. WHEREFORE, premises all considered, judgment is hereby
NAZARENO, and RICARDO P. ISLA,* Petitioners, rendered in favor of complainant and against respondents, as
vs. follows:
JOSE LENI Z. SOLIDUM, Respondent.
1. Declaring the 20-day extended preventive
DECISION suspension of complainant from October 22, 2005 to
November 10, 2005 illegal and tantamount to
CARPIO, J.: constructive dismissal, and ordering respondents to
jointly and severally pay complainant his
The Case corresponding salaries, benefits, privileges,
allowances and other incentives/bonuses during the
period from October 22 to November 10, 2005, in the
This is a petition1 for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the
amount of P236,061.94;
Rules of Court. Petitioners Smart Communications, Inc.
(Smart), Napoleon L. Nazareno and Ricardo P. Isla (Isla)
challenge the Court of Appeals' 3 July 2012 Amended 2. Ordering respondents to jointly and severally pay
Decision2 and 23 November 2012 Resolution3 in CA-G.R. SP the complainants unpaid salaries, benefits, privileges,
No. 115794, affirming the National Labor Relations allowances, and other benefits/bonuses during the
Commission's (NLRC) 30 July 2010 Resolution.4 30-day preventive suspension, in the amount
of P365,896.00;

The Facts
3. Declaring the dismissal of complainant effective
November 11, 2005 as illegal, and ordering
On 26 April 2004, Smart hired respondent Jose Leni Z.
respondents to reinstate the complainant to his former
Solidum (Solidum) as Department Head for Smart Buddy
position, immediately upon receipt of this decision,
Activation. Smart Buddy Activation is under the Product
either physically or in the payroll, at the option of the
Marketing Group which is headed by Isla. On 21 September
former, and failure to exercise their option within ten
2005, Islagave Solidum a memorandum5 informing him of
(10) days hereof, shall place the complainant on
alleged acts of dishonesty, directing him to explain why his
payroll reinstatement, with payment of accrued
employment should not be terminated, and placing him under
salaries, allowances, benefits/incentives and
preventive suspension without pay for 30 days. On 28
bonuses;
September 2005, Solidum submitted his written explanation6 in
response to the 21 September 2005 notice.
4. Ordering respondents to jointly and severally pay
complainant his full backwages, inclusive of all
On 22 October 2005, Isla gave Solidum a memorandum7 dated
benefits bonuses, privileges, incentives, allowances
21 October 2005 informing him of a modified set of alleged
or their money equivalents, from date of dismissal on
acts of dishonesty, directing him to explain why his
November 11, 2005 until actual reinstatement,
employment should not be terminated, extending his
partially computed as follows:
preventive suspension by 10 days, and inviting him to the
administrative investigation scheduled on 26 October 2005.
a. Backwages and benefits - P2,903,561.79

On 11 November 2005, Isla gave Solidum a


memorandum8 dated 9 November 2005 terminating his b. Quarterly performance bonus
employment "for fraud or willful breach of trust, falsification, - P935,640.00
misrepresentation, conflict of interest, serious misconduct and
dishonesty-related offenses."9 c. Monthly Gas allowance - P90,693.00

Solidum filed against Smart a complaint10 for illegal dismissal, d. Monthly Rice allowance - P9,000.00
illegal suspension, non-payment of salaries, actual, moral and
exemplary damages, and attorneys fees. e. Monthly drivers allowance - P68,175.00

In his 3 July 2006 Decision,11 the Labor Arbiter found that f. 13th month pay (pro-rata) - P265,569.68
Solidums preventive suspension and dismissal were illegal
and that he was entitled to full back wages, moral and g. Unpaid accumulated leaves 2004 & 2005
exemplary damages, and attorneys fees. The dispositive - P472,123.87
portion of the Decision stated:
h. Smart incentive entitlement
- P7,370,250.00[;]
10
5. Ordering respondents to jointly and severally pay Verily, the recent decision of the NLRC reversing the Decision
complainant for the foregone opportunity of pursuing of this Office prevents any future issuance of any writ of
studies in the United Kingdom under the British execution on the reinstatement aspect in line with Gracia, et al.
Chevening Scholarship Award, in the sum of vs. Philippine Airlines, Inc. and International Container Terminal
20,189.00 British pounds or Peso 1,982,727.37[; and] Services vs. NLRC.18

6. Ordering respondents to jointly and severally pay Solidum appealed to the NLRC.
complainant moral damages in the amount of P2
million, exemplary damages in the amount of P2 The NLRCs Ruling
million, and attorneys fees equivalent to 10% of the
judgment award. In its 31 May 2010 Decision,19 the NLRC reversed the Labor
Arbiters 29 July 2009 Order. The NLRC held that:
SO ORDERED.12
In the case at bar, records show that respondents appealed
On 25 July 2006, Smart appealed to the NLRC. On 13 from the Labor Arbiters Decision to the Commission on July
November 2006, the Labor Arbiter issued a writ of execution 25, 2006. The Commission resolved respondents appeal on
ordering the sheriff to collect from petitioners P1,440,667.93, January 26, 2009, reversing the Decision of the Labor Arbiter
representing Solidums accrued salaries, allowances, benefits, dated July 3, 2006. Notably, there is no showing in the records
incentives and bonuses from 21 July to 20 October 2006. On that respondents reinstated complainant to his former position.
15 August and 25 October 2007, 11 February, 28 April, 23 July Hence, pursuant to Article 223 of the Labor Code, as
and 11 November2008, and 22 January 2009, the Labor amended, relative to the reinstatement aspect of the Labor
Arbiter issued seven other alias writs of execution ordering the Arbiters Decision, respondents are obligated to pay
sheriff to collect from petitioners Solidums accrued salaries, complainants salaries and benefits, computed from July 13,
allowances, benefits, incentives and bonuses. 2006, when respondents received a copy of the Labor Arbiters
Decision which, among others, ordered the reinstatement of
In its 26 January 2009 Resolution,13 the NLRC reversed the complainant, up to the date of finality of the Commissions
Labor Arbiters 3 July 2006 Decision and dismissed for lack of resolution reversing the Labor Arbiters Decision, which, for this
merit Solidums complaint. Solidum filed a motion14 for purpose, is reckoned on May 29, 2009, when the Commission
reconsideration dated 9 February 2009. denied complainants Motion for Reconsideration.

On 4 May 2009, Solidum filed with the Labor Arbiter an ex- Indeed, common sense dictates that complainants entitlement
parte Motion15 praying that an alias writ of execution be issued to reinstatement salaries/wages and benefits, emanating from
directing the sheriff to collect from petitioners P1,440,667.93, the Labor Arbiters order of reinstatement, presupposes that
representing Solidums accrued salaries, allowances, benefits, said order of reinstatement is still enforceable. Here, the Labor
incentives and bonuses from 21 January to 20 April 2009. Arbiters order of reinstatement dated July 3, 2006 was no
longer enforceable as of May 29, 2009 when the Commissions
In its 29 May 2009 Decision,16 the NLRC denied for lack of resolution reversing the Labor Arbiters order of reinstatement
merit Solidums 9 February 2009 motion for reconsideration. is deemed to have become final as hereinabove discussed.
Patently then, complainant is no longer entitled to
The Labor Arbiters Ruling reinstatement salaries/wages and benefits after May 29, 2009.

In his 29 July 2009 Order,17 the Labor Arbiter denied for lack of Significantly, the Order of the Labor Arbiter being appealed
merit Solidums ex-parte motion praying that an alias writ of from by complainant, denied the latters motion for issuance of
execution be issued directing the sheriff to collect from alias writ of execution for the collection of his reinstatement
petitioners P1,440,667.93, representing Solidums accrued salaries and benefits for the period covering January 21, 2009
salaries, allowances, benefits, incentives and bonuses from 21 to April 20, 2009. The Labor Arbiter thus committed serious
January to 20April 2009. The Labor Arbiter held that: error in denying complainants motion with respect to his
reinstatement salaries and benefits as he is entitled to the
same for the period starting July 13, 2006 to May 29, 2009.20
In the instant case, the NLRC promulgated its Decision dated
January 26, 2009 reversing this Offices Decision dated July
03, 2006. Also, the NLRC in its Decision dated May 29, 2009 Solidum filed a motion21 for partial reconsideration. Petitioners
denied the complainants motion for reconsideration of its filed a motion22 for reconsideration. In its 30July 2010
Decision dated January 26, 2009. This Office is mindful of the Resolution, the NLRC granted Solidums motion for partial
fact that the NLRC is tasked with the review of decisions reconsideration and denied for lack of merit petitioners motion
promulgated by this Office, as such, it is a higher tribunal as for reconsideration. The NLRC held that:
contemplated by law.

11
Our Entry of Judgment dated June 01, 2010 clearly states that June 1, 2010. Indeed, an Entry of Judgment was accordingly
the Decision promulgated by this Commission on May 29, made. Clearly, Private Respondent can neither pray nor cause
2009 had become final and executory on August 10, 2009. this Court to grant his Ex-parte Motion for Issuance of Writ of
Thus, We so hold that the date of finality of Our Decision Execution to reinstate him since his dismissal by Petitioners
reversing the Labor Arbiters Decision dated July 3, 2006 is was finally ruled to be legal; hence, the denial of his complaint
August 10, 2009, and the computation of complainants for lack of merit. Ruling on Private Respondents Ex-parte
reinstatement or accrued salaries/wages and other benefits motion shall also have an effect of reviewing a final judgment
should be up to August 10, 2009. which the law and the court abhor. It bears to stress that when
a final judgment becomes executory, it thereby becomes
Anent respondents Motion for Reconsideration, We find the immutable and unalterable.26
same unmeritorious.23
Solidum filed a motion27 for reconsideration.
Petitoners appealed to the Court of Appeals.
In his alias writ28 of execution dated 18 May 2011, the Labor
In his alias writ24 of execution dated 22 October 2010, the Arbiter ordered the sheriff to collect from
Labor Arbiter ordered the sheriff to collect from petitioners P1,440,667.93, representing Solidums accrued
petitioners P1,440,667.93, representing Solidums accrued salaries, allowances, benefits, incentives and bonuses from 21
salaries, allowances, benefits, incentives and bonuses from 21 April to 20 July 2009. Petitioners filed with the Court of Appeals
January to 20 April 2009. a motion29 to order Solidum to return P2,881,335.86,
representing the total amount under the 22 October 2010 and
The Court of Appeals Ruling 18 May 2011 alias writs of execution.

In its 25 January 2011 Decision,25 the Court of Appeals granted In its 3 July 2012 Amended Decision, the Court of Appeals
petitioners petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus partly granted Solidums motion for reconsideration and denied
with prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction petitioners motion to order the return of P2,881,335.86. The
and/or temporary restraining order and set aside the NLRCs Court of Appeals held that:
31 May 2010 Decision and 30 July 2010 Resolution. The Court
of Appeals held that: [T]here was a wrong appreciation of fact relative to the date of
finality of judgment. The true date when the May 29, 2009
The order of the Labor Arbiter denying Private Respondents NLRC decision became final and executory was on August10,
ex-parte motion for issuance of Alias Writ of Execution is not a 2009 and not on June 1, 2010. (Rollo, page 1895)
final order as there was something else to be done, namely, Conformably with the foregoing, the involved portion of our
the resolution of his Complaint for Illegal Dismissal against ruling which is the subject of the discussion at hand is hereby
Petitioners on the merits. The subject Order of the Labor modified by changing the stated date therein from June 1,
Arbiter did not put an end to the issues of illegal suspension 2010 to August 10, 2009.
and illegal dismissal, and, thus, partakes the nature of an
interlocutory order. It is jurisprudential that an interlocutory xxxx
order is not appealable until after the rendition of the judgment
on the merits for a contrary rule would delay the administration On the last issue for consideration refund of monetary
of justice and unduly burden the courts. Being interlocutory in award, We find necessary to quote the following
nature, the subject Order could not have been validly pronouncement of the High Court:
appealed.
xxxx
Moreover, as correctly argued by the Petitioners, an appeal
from an interlocutory order is a prohibited pleading under The Court reaffirms the prevailing principle that even if the
Section 4 of the 2005 Revised Rules of Procedure of the order of reinstatement of the Labor Arbiter is reversed on
NLRC. Consequently, the Labor Arbiters order being appeal, it is obligatory on the part of the employer to reinstate
interlocutory and unappealable, Public Respondent NLRC has and pay the wages of the dismissed employee during the
no jurisdiction to rule on the appeal except to dismiss the period of appeal until reversal by the higher court. (Juanito A.
same. The assailed Decision and the Resolution, rendered in Garcia vs. Philippine Airlines, Inc., G.R. No. 164856, January
excess of the Public Respondent NLRCs jurisdiction, are 20, 2009)
therefore null.
In view thereof, no refund will thus be permitted by this Court.30
Besides and more importantly, records show that the Decision,
dated May 29, 2009, of the NLRC in the Illegal Dismissal Case
which effectively denied Private Respondents Complaint for
Illegal Dismissal against Petitioners already attained finality on
12
Petitioners filed a motion31 for partial reconsideration with SO ORDERED."
motion to order the return of P2,881,335.86. In its 23
November 2012 Resolution, the Court of Appeals held that: and that the same has pursuant to the Rules of the
Commission, become final and executory on Aug. 10, 2009and
The move to reconsider the January 26, 2009 decision of the is hereby recorded in the Book of Entries of Judgments.
NLRC was denied on May 29, 2009. Thereafter, an Entry of
Judgment was issued which provides in particular the Quezon City, Philippines, June 01, 2010.34 (Boldfacing
following: "this is to certify that on May 29, 2009, a DECISION supplied)
was rendered x x x and that the same has, pursuant to Rules
of the Commission, became [sic] final and executory on Aug. Moreover, the certification35 issued by the NLRC states that the
10, 2009". (Rollo, p. 1895) It appears therefore that the NLRCs 29 May 2009 Decision becamefinal and executory on
situation contemplated in the last paragraph of the Section 14 10 August 2009:
had been the case here. In view of this, We find no cogent
reason to reverse our earlier ruling that August 10, 2009 is the
This is to certify that the Decision in NLRC Case No. 00-11-
true date of finality of subject decision.
09564-05/NLRC CA No. 049875-06, entitled: Jose Leni Z.
Solidum vs. Smart Communications, Inc., Napoleon
xxxx L.Nazareno, and/or Ricky P. Isla, was promulgated on 29 May
2009; the same was mailed on 11 June 2009 and in the
In the light, however, of our earlier discussion on the true date absence of return cards, the decision had become final and
of finality of judgment, we cannot order the return of the executory on 10 August 2009, (after sixty (60) calendar days
amounts released by way of the 8th and 9th Alias Writ of from the date of mailing), and had been recorded in the Book
Execution. The wages, allowances, incentives/benefits and of Entries of Judgment, pursuant to Rule VII Section 14 of the
bonuses received through the said writs covered the period 2005 Revised Rules of Procedure of the NLRC which provides:
from January21, 2009 to July 20, 2009, thus, the latter is not "The Executive Clerk or Deputy Executive Clerk shall consider
required to reimburse the same due to the fact that one is the decision, resolution or order as final and executory after
entitled to such amounts until the day that the reinstatement sixty (60) calendar days from date of mailing in the absence of
order was reversed with finality (which in this case falls on return cards, certifications from the post office, or other proof of
August 10, 2009). (See Juanito A. Garcia vs. Philippine service to parties.36 (Boldfacing supplied)
Airlines, Inc. G.R. No. 164856, January 20, 2009)32
Since the NLRCs 29 May 2009 Decision became final and
Hence, the present petition. executory on 10 August 2009, Solidum is entitled
to P2,881,335.86, representing his accrued salaries,
The Issues allowances, benefits, incentives and bonuses for the period 21
January to 20 July 2009.
Petitioners raised as issues that the Court of Appeals erred in
ruling that (1) the NLRCs 29 May 2009 Decision became final In Bago v. NLRC,37 the Court held that employees are entitled
and executory on 10 August 2009, and (2) Solidum was to their accrued salaries, allowances, benefits, incentives and
entitled to P2,881,335.86, representing the total amount under bonuses until the NLRCs reversal of the labor arbiters order of
the 22 October 2010 and 18 May 2011 alias writs of execution. reinstatement becomes final and executory, as shown on the
entry of judgment. The Court held that:
The Courts Ruling
Finally, on Arlyns claim that respondents "unilaterally withheld
The petition is unmeritorious. her payroll reinstatement" after the NLRC reversed on
September 27, 2004 the Labor Arbiters decision, Article 223,
The NLRCs 29 May 2009 Decision became final and paragraph 6 of the Labor Code provides that the decision of
executory on 10 August 2009 as shown on the entry of the NLRC on appeals from decisions of the Labor Arbiter "shall
judgment.33 The entry of judgment states: become final and executory after ten (10) calendar days from
receipt thereof by the parties." The 2002 New Rules of
Procedure of the NLRC provided:
This is to certify that on May 29, 2009, a DECISION was
rendered in the above-entitled case, the dispositive portion of
which reads as follows: RULE VII

"WHERFORE, premises considered, complainants motion for xxxx


reconsideration, as well as respondents motion for injunction
are hereby both DENIED for lack of merit. Accordingly, Our SECTION 14. FINALITY OF DECISION OF THE
January 26,2009 Resolution is hereby REITERATED. COMMISSION AND ENTRY OF JUDGMENT. (a) Finality of

13
the Decisions, Resolutions or Orders of the Commission. In the case at bar, Arlyn received the September 27, 2004
Except as provided in Rule XI, Section 9, the decisions, NLRC decision on October 25, 2004, and the January 31, 2005
resolutions or orders of the Commission/Division shall become NLRC Resolution denying her Motion for Reconsideration on
executory after ten (10) calendar days from receipt of the February 23, 2005. There is no showing that the Court of
same. Appeals issued a temporary restraining order to enjoin the
execution of the NLRC decision, as affirmed by its Resolution
(b) Entry of Judgment. Upon the expiration of the of January 31, 2005. If above-quoted paragraph (a) of Section
ten (10) calendar day period provided in paragraph 14 of Rule VII of the 2002 NLRC New Rules of Procedure were
(a) of this section, the decision/resolution/order shall, followed, the decision of the NLRC would have become final
as far as practicable, be entered in a book of entries and executory on March 7, 2005, ten (10) calendar days from
of judgment. February 25, 2005. The NLRC, however, issued on June 16,
2005 a Notice of Entry of Judgment stating that the NLRC
(c) Allowance for Delay of Mail in the Issuance of Resolution of January 31, 2005 became final and executory on
Entries of Judgment. In issuing entries of April 16, 2005, apparently following the above-quoted last
judgment, the Executive Clerk of Court or the Deputy paragraph of Section 14 of Rule VII. No objection having been
Executive Clerk, in the absence of a return card or raised by any of the parties to the declaration in the Notice of
certification from the post office concerned, shall Entry of Judgment of the date of finality of the NLRC January
determine the finality of the decision by making 31, 2005 Resolution, Arlyn's payroll reinstatement ended on
allowance for delay of mail, computed sixty (60) April 16, 2005. x x x
calendar days from the date of mailing of the decision,
resolution or order. WHEREFORE, the petition is, in light of the foregoing
discussions, DENIED and the questioned decision of the court
That the Court of Appeals may take cognizance of and resolve a quo is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in that respondent
a petition for certiorari for the nullification of the decisions of Standard Insurance, Co., Inc. is ordered to pay the salaries
the NLRC on jurisdictional and due process considerations due petitioner, Arlyn Bago, from the time her payroll
does not affect the statutory finality of the NLRC Decision. The reinstatement was withheld after the promulgation on
2002 New Rules of Procedure of the NLRC so provided: September 27, 2004 of the decision of the National Labor
Relations Commission until April 16, 2005 when it became final
and executory.38 (Boldfacing supplied)
RULE VIII

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Court of Appeals' 3


xxxx
July 2012 Amended Decision and 23 November 2012
Resolution in CAG.R. SP No. 115794 are AFFIRMED.
SECTION 6. EFFECT OF FILING OF PETITION FOR
CERTIORARI ON EXECUTION. - A petition for certiorari with
SO ORDERED.
the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court shall not stay the
execution of the assailed decision unless a temporary
restraining order is issued by the Court of Appeals or the
Supreme Court.
G.R. No. 205575, July 22, 2015

VISAYAN ELECTRIC COMPANY EMPLOYEES


UNION-ALU-TUCP AND CASMERO
MAHILUM, Petitioners, v. VISAYAN ELECTRIC
COMPANY, INC. (VECO), Respondent.

DECISION

PERLAS-BERNABE, J.:

Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari1 are the


Resolutions dated September 25, 20122 and December
19, 20123 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-GR. SP
No. 06329, which dismissed the certiorari petition filed
by petitioners Visayan Electric Company Employees
Union-ALU-TUCP (the Union) and Casmero Mahilum
(Mahilum; collectively petitioners) against the
Decision4 dated June 30, 2011 of the National Labor
Relations Commission (NLRC) in NLRC CC(V)-12-
14
000003-10 (NCMB-RBVII-NS-10-12-10) for failure of grievance machinery procedure, as provided in the
their new counsel to show cause why CBA.20 However, upon the agreement to proceed with
their certiorari petition should not be dismissed for the investigation of the Union Vice President, Renato
having been filed beyond the reglementary period. Gregorio M. Gimenez (Gimenez), through his own
counsel, Mahilum and the other union officers likewise
The Facts agreed to proceed with the aforesaid investigation,
with Gimenez's counsel representing the
Respondent Visayan Electric Company, Inc. (VECO) is a Union.21redarclaw
corporation engaged in the supply and distribution of
electricity in Cebu City and its neighboring cities, Prior to the said investigation, the Union filed on May
municipalities, and barangays.5 The Union is the 18, 2009, a Notice of Strike22 with the National
exclusive bargaining agent of VECO's rank-and-file Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) against
employees, and Mahilum was the Union's president VECO, which facilitated a series of conferences that
from October 2007 until his termination from yielded a Memorandum of Agreement23 (MOA) signed
employment on October 28, 2010.6redarclaw by the parties on August 7, 2009.24 The parties
likewise put to rest the critical issue of electricity
It was claimed that, before Mahilum was elected as privilege and agreed before the NCMB on a conversion
union officer, he was transferred from VECO's Public rate of said privilege to basic pay. Moreover, the
Relations Section to its Administrative Services Section administrative investigation on the alleged libelous
without any specific work. When he was elected as publication was deferred until after the CBA
union secretary, he was transferred to the Line renegotiation.25redarclaw
Services Department as its Customer Service
Representative.7 At the time of his election as union However, even before the conclusion of the CBA
president, VECO management allegedly: (a) renegotiation26 on June 28, 2010, several complaints
terminated active union members without going for libel were filed against Mahilum and the other union
through the grievance machinery procedure prescribed officers by VECO's Executive Vice President and Chief
under the Collective Bargaining Agreement8 (CBA); (b) Operating Officer Jaime Jose Y. Aboitiz.27 The
refused to implement the profit-sharing scheme administrative hearing on the charges against Mahilum
provided under the same CBA9; (c) took back the resumed with due notice to the latter, but he protested
motorbikes issued to active union members; and (d) the same, referring to it as "moro-moro" or "kangaroo"
revised the electricity privilege10 granted to VECO's and insisting that the investigation should follow the
employees.11redarclaw grievance machinery procedure under the
CBA.28 Nonetheless, VECO's management carried on
Thus, on May 1, 2009, union members marched on the with its investigation and, on the basis of the findings
streets of Cebu City to protest VECO's refusal to thereof, issued a notice29 terminating Mahilum from
comply with the political and economic provisions of employment on October 28, 2010.30redarclaw
the CBA. Mahilum and other union officers were
interviewed by the media, and they handed out a On even date, the Union filed another Notice of
document12 containing their grievances against VECO, Strike31 with the NCMB against VECO on the grounds of
the gist of which came out in local unfair labor practice, specifically union busting for the
newspapers.13 Following said incident, Mahilum was dismissal and/or suspension of its union president and
allegedly demoted as warehouse staff to isolate him officers, refusal to bargain collectively, as well as non-
and restrict his movements. Other union officers were observance of the grievance procedure in their
transferred to positions that will keep them away from CBA.32 To avert any work stoppage that will prejudice
the general union membership.14redarclaw VECO's power distribution activity, the Secretary of
Labor intervened and issued an Order33 dated
On May 8, 2009, Mahilum was issued a Notice to November 10, 2010 certifying the labor dispute to the
Explain15 why he should not be terminated from service NLRC for compulsory arbitration.34 Consequently, the
due to loss of trust and confidence, as well as in strike was enjoined; Mahilum was ordered reinstated in
violating the Company Code of Discipline, for causing the payroll; and the parties were directed to refrain
the publication of what VECO deemed as a libelous from committing any act that would exacerbate the
article. The other union officers likewise received situation.35redarclaw
similar notices16 for them to explain their actions,
which they justified17 as merely an expression of their The NLRC Ruling
collective sentiments against the treatment of VECO's
management towards them.18redarclaw After submission of the respective position papers 36 of
both parties, the NLRC Seventh Division rendered
On May 20, 2009, the union officers were notified19 of Decision37 on June 30, 2011 dismissing the charge of
the administrative investigation to be conducted unfair labor practice against VECO for lack of merit,
relative to the charges against them. During the and declaring Mahilum's dismissal from employment as
scheduled investigation, the Union's counsel initially legal.
raised its objection to the proceedings and insisted
that the investigation should be conducted through the The NLRC found VECO to have acted within the bounds
15
of law when it administratively investigated the period."48redarclaw
suspended or terminated employees and union
officers/members, instead of subjecting their On March 13, 2012, Atty. Jonas V. Asis (Atty. Asis)
respective cases to the grievance machinery procedure from the Seno Mendoza & Associates Law Offices filed
provided in the CBA.38 In resolving apparently in behalf of petitioners a
conflicting provisions in the CBA, the NLRC applied Manifestation/Explanation49 claiming that "there was
the specific provision found in Section 13 of Article unintended error/mistake in the computation of the
XIV that disciplinary actions shall be governed by the period,"50 and that there was no prejudice caused to
rules and regulations promulgated by the company. VECO by the "unintended one-day late filing of the
Since the administrative investigations conducted by petition."51redarclaw
VECO were found to have complied with procedural
due process requirements, there was no unfair labor The CA Ruling
practice to speak of.39redarclaw
On September 25, 2012, the CA issued the assailed
On the matter of Mahilum's dismissal and the filing of September 25, 2012 Resolution52 pointing out that on
criminal cases against the union officers, the NLRC March 7, 2012, petitioners had filed a
found no substantial evidence to prove the imputation Manifestation53 that they had terminated the services
of union busting. Similarly unsubstantiated were the of Atty. Asis and the Seno Mendoza & Associates as
allegations of fraud and deceit in hiring and contracting their counsel in this case, and have contracted the
out services for functions performed by union services of Atty. Remigio D. Saladero, Jr. (Atty.
members, and declaring certain positions confidential Saladero) as their new counsel. Consequently, the CA
and transferring union members to other positions deemed as not filed the Manifestation/Explanation filed
without prior discussions, thereby allegedly interfering by Atty. Asis, and dismissed the certiorari petition for
with their right to self-organization and reducing union failure of Atty. Saladero to comply with the Resolution
membership.40redarclaw dated February 29, 2012.

The issue on VECO's alleged modification of the The motion for reconsideration54 filed by Atty. Saladero
electricity privilege, which the Union claimed as imploring the CA to consider the
violative of the CBA, was declared mooted by the MOA Manifestation/Explanation filed by Atty. Asis despite
entered into between the parties, with the assistance the fact that he was no longer petitioners' counsel of
of the NCMB, providing for, inter alia, electricity record was denied in a Resolution55 dated December
privilege conversion to basic pay. This was 19, 2012 for lack of merit.
subsequently incorporated in the Renegotiated CBA
dated June 28, 2010.41redarclaw The Issue

Finally, the NLRC ruled that Mahilum was terminated Undeterred, petitioners are now before the Court
for a just and valid cause under Article 282 (c) of the maintaining that the CA erred in dismissing
Labor Code, i.e., fraud or willful breach of trust by the the certiorari petition on account of the one-day delay
employee of the trust reposed in him by his employer in its filing despite the serious errors committed by the
or duly authorized representative, when he, together NLRC in absolving VECO from the charge of unfair
with some other union officers, caused the publication labor practice and illegal dismissal of Mahilum.
of a document which was deemed to have dishonored
and blackened the memory of former corporate officer The Court's Ruling
Luis Alfonso Y. Aboitiz, besmirched VECO's name and
reputation, and exposed the latter to public hatred, The petition is not impressed with merit.
9ontempt, and ridicule.42redarclaw
Under Section 4, Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Aggrieved, petitioners filed a motion for Procedure, certiorari should be filed "not later than
reconsideration43 from the foregoing NLRC Decision, sixty (60) days from notice of the judgment, order or
which was denied in a Resolution44 dated July 29, resolution" sought to be assailed. The provisions on
2011. They received said Resolution on August 18, reglementary periods are strictly applied, indispensable
2011.45redarclaw as they are to the prevention of needless delays, and
are necessary to the orderly and speedy discharge of
On October 18, 2011, petitioners elevated their case to judicial business. The timeliness of filing a pleading is a
the CA on certiorari petition,46 docketed as CA-G.R. SP jurisdictional caveat that even this Court cannot trifle
No. 06329, imputing grave abuse of discretion with.56redarclaw
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part
of the NLRC. The Union admittedly57 received on August 18, 2011
the NLRC's July 29, 2011 Resolution, which denied
On February 29, 2012, the CA issued a their motion for reconsideration of the NLRC's June 30,
Resolution47 directing petitioners to show cause why 2011 Decision. Therefore, the 60-day period within
the certiorari petition should not be dismissed for which to file a petition for certiorari ended on October
having been filed "one day behind the reglementary 17, 2011. But the certiorari petition was filed one day
16
after, or on October 18, 2011. Thus, petitioners' failure in this case, when general and specific provisions of
to file said petition within the required 60-day period the CBA are inconsistent, the specific provision shall
rendered the NLRC's Decision and Resolution be paramount to and govern the general
impervious to any attack through a Rule 65 petition provision.64redarclaw
for certiorari, and no court can exercise jurisdiction to
review the same.58redarclaw Section 4, Article XVII of the CBA states that "(a)ny
difference of opinion, controversy, dispute problem or
Petitioners adamantly insist, however, that the "one- complaint arising from CompanyUnion or Company-
day delay occasioned by an honest mistake in the Worker relations concerning the interpretation or
computation of dates should have been overlooked by application of this Agreement or regarding any matter
the CA in favor of substantial justice."59Their former affecting Company Union or Company-Worker relations
counsel, Atty. Asis, allegedly thought in good faith that shall be considered a grievance."65 On the other hand,
the month of August has thirty (30) days, and that under Section 13, Article XIV, "(t)he Company agrees
sixty (60) days from August 18, 2011 is October 18, that henceforth there shall be a fair and uniform
2011.60redarclaw application of its rules and regulations. It is understood
that disciplinary actions imposed on employee or
The Court is not convinced. laborer shall be governed by the rules and regulations
promulgated by the Company as well as those
First. The fact that the delay in the filing of the petition provided for by existing laws on the
for certiorari was only one day is not a legal matter."66redarclaw
justification for non-compliance with the rule requiring
that it be filed not later than sixty (60) days from The Court is in accord with the ratiocination of the
notice of the assailed judgment, order or resolution. NLRC that the sweeping statement "any matter
The Court cannot subscribe to the theory that the ends affecting Company-Union or Company Worker relations
of justice would be better subserved by allowing a shall be considered a grievance" under Section 4,
petition for certiorari filed only one-day late. When the Article XVII is general, as opposed to Section 13,
law fixes sixty (60) days, it cannot be taken to mean Article XIV of the CBA, which is specific, as it precisely
also sixty-one (61) days, as the Court had previously refers to "what governs employee disciplinary
declared in this wise:LawlibraryofCRAlaw actions."67 Thus, the NLRC correctly ruled that VECO
ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary acted within the bounds of law when it proceeded with
[W]hen the law fixes thirty days [or sixty days as in its administrative investigation of the charges against
the present case], we cannot take it to mean also other union officers and members.
thirty-one days. If that deadline could be stretched to
thirty-one days in one case, what would prevent its This is consistent with jurisprudential rulings
being further stretched to thirty-two days in another supporting an employer's free reign and "wide latitude
case, and so on, step by step, until the original line is of discretion to regulate all aspects of employment,
forgotten or buried in the growing confusion resulting including the prerogative to instill discipline in its
from the alterations? That is intolerable. We cannot fix employees and to impose penalties, including
a period with the solemnity of a statute and disregard dismissal, upon erring employees. This is
it like a joke. If law is founded on reason, whim and management prerogative, where the free will of
fancy should play no part in its application.61 management to conduct its own affairs to achieve its
Second. While it is always in the power of the Court to purpose takes form. The only criterion to guide the
suspend its own rules, or to except a particular case exercise of its management prerogative is that the
from its operation,62 the liberality with which equity policies, rules[,] and regulations on work-related
jurisdiction is exercised must always be anchored on activities of the employees must always be fair and
the basic consideration that the same must be reasonable[,] and the corresponding penalties, when
warranted by the circumstances obtaining in the prescribed, are commensurate to the offense involved
case.63 However, there is no showing herein of any and to the degree of the infraction."68 The Labor Code
exceptional circumstance that may rationalize a does not excuse employees from complying with valid
digression from the rule on timeliness of petitions. company policies and reasonable regulations for their
governance and guidance.69redarclaw
Moreover, petitioners failed to satisfactorily show that
the refusal of VECO to follow the grievance machinery Delving now into the merits of Mahilum's dismissal, the
procedure under Section 4, Article XVII of the CBA in Court holds that the two requisites for a valid dismissal
the suspension and termination from employment of from employment have been met, namely: (1) it must
the other union officers and members constituted be for a just or authorized cause; and (2) the
unfair labor practice. employee must be afforded due process.70redarclaw

True, it is a fundamental doctrine in labor law that the VECO anchored its termination of Mahilum on Article
CBA is the law between the parties and they are 282 (c) of the Labor Code and Articles 5.1 and 4.4 71 of
obliged to comply with its provisions. If the provisions VECO's Company Code of Discipline, which read as
of the CBA seem clear and unambiguous, the literal follows:LawlibraryofCRAlaw
meaning of their stipulations shall control. However, as
17
Article 282 (c) of tile Labor Code:LawlibraryofCRAlaw
ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary x x x x73
Art. 282. Termination By Employer. - An employer may The Court has consistently held that "x x x loss of trust
terminate an employment for any of the following and confidence must be based on willful breach of the
causes:LawlibraryofCRAlaw trust reposed in the employee by his employer. Such
breach is willful if it is done intentionally, knowingly,
xxxx and purposely, without justifiable excuse, as
distinguished from an act done carelessly,
(c) fraud or willful breach of trust by the employee of thoughtlessly, heedlessly or inadvertently. Moreover, it
the trust reposed in him by his employer or duly must be based on substantial evidence and not on the
authorized representative; employer's whims or caprices or suspicions[,]
Company Code of Discipline:LawlibraryofCRAlaw otherwise, the employee would eternally remain at the
ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary mercy of the employer. x x x. And, in order to
Art. 5.1 Every employee shall uphold company trust constitute a just cause for dismissal, the act
and confidence as well as the trust relationship complained of must be work-related and show that the
between the company and its customers/suppliers. employee concerned is unfit to continue working for
the employer. In addition, loss of confidence x x x is
Art. 4.4 Every employee shall willfully respect the premised on the fact that the employee concerned
honor or person of his immediate superior and/or holds a position of responsibility, trust, and confidence
department head or company officers. or that the employee concerned is entrusted with
VECO found the following "Press Release",72 which confidence with respect to delicate matters, such as
Mahilum, together with other union officers, caused to handling or care and protection of the property and
be published, as libelous for dishonoring and assets of the employer. The betrayal of this trust is the
blackening the memory of then corporate officer Luis essence of the offense for which an employee is
Alfonso Y. Aboitiz, as well as for maliciously impeaching penalized."74redarclaw
and besmirching the company's name and
reputation:LawlibraryofCRAlaw Mahilum's attempt to rationalize his act as part of his
ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary "moral, legal or social duty x x x to make known his
VECEU-ALU President, Casmero A. Mahilum, said that legitimate perception"75 against VECO does not, in any
since 2004 up to present the new VECO Management way, detract from the indubitable fact that he
under the administration of the Aboitizes unceasingly intentionally, knowingly, and purposely caused the
attack the local Union by continuously limit (sic) its aforequoted "disparaging publication." Neither can he
membership and diminish (sic) and/or abolish (sic) hide behind the claim that the press release was
worker's benefits and privileges stipulated in the CBA. simply "an expression of a valid grievance."76 As the
x x x. Through clever use of psychological warfare, NLRC aptly pointed out, "(i)nstead of him and the rest
intimidation, deception, divide and rule tactic and of the union officers bringing their sentiments and/or
taking great advantage of the weakness of the Union grievances against the management to the proper
especially of the leadership during that time, the [new] forum, they intentionally, knowingly and purposefully
Management under the late Alfonso Y. Aboitiz was able breached their employer's trust, by issuing x x x
to secure a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed derogatory statements and causing their publication,
by the Union and Management representatives and apparently, to incite public condemnation against the
ratified by the General Membership that gave latter."77 It bears noting that, while petitioners harp on
Management more flexibility in dealing with labor. x x the refusal of VECO to follow the grievance machinery
x. procedure under the CBA, they conveniently forgot
that they themselves shunned the very procedure to
xxxx which they now hang by a thread.

The [l]ocal Union wrote a letter to Mr. Aboitiz Moreover, the Court is unmoved by Mahilum's
expressing full support of his campaign for energy insistence that there was nothing in his position which
conservation x x x. But Mr. Aboitiz was too hard and called for management's trust and confidence in
too arrogant to deal with. x x x. him.78 The NLRC, whose findings of facts and
conclusions are generally accorded not only great
x x x. We, therefore, ask the general public to weight and respect but even with finality, correctly held
understand our plight and support our actions. We also that, as Customer Service Representative, Mahilum
urge everyone to oppose any electricity rate increase occupied a position of responsibility especially in
filed by VECO and NAPOCOR at the Energy Regulatory dealing with VECO's clients.79 His duties and
Commission (ERC). Any rate increase in the electricity responsibilities included: (1) accepting pertinent
will only worsen the already burdened public and documents and processing electrical service
further increase profits for the Aboitizes. The entire applications; (2) verifying authenticity of documents
Union membership are one with you in condemning submitted; (3) interviewing customer-applicant on
such increase and brazen connivance of VECO and applications, complaints, and requests; (4) preparing
NAPOCOR to justify increases in electricity rate. job assignment of service inspectors; (5) filing all
service orders of inspectors; (6) assessing and
18
accepting bill deposits; (7) preparing and facilitating interests of the employer. A company has the right to
signing of Metered Service Contract; (8) issuing dismiss its employee if only as a measure of self-
service order for meter-related activities; (9) verifying protection.82redarclaw
existing account of customer-applicant and approving
account clearances; (10) accepting payment of bills Thus, Mahilum was terminated for a just and valid
from customer-applicant for account clearances; and cause. Moreover, as declared by the NLRC, VECO
(11) processing payment arrangements of complied with the procedural due process
customers.80 His performance was measured according requirements of furnishing Mahilum with two written
to how he: (1) handled customers' transactions; (2) notices before the termination of employment can be
made decisions in processing customers' applications effected. On May 8, 2009,83 Mahilum was apprised of
and payment arrangements; and (3) maintained the particular acts for which his termination was
posture at all times in handling customers' transactions sought; and, after due investigation, he was given a
even wi.th angry customers.81redarclaw Notice of Decision84 on October 28, 2010 informing him
of his dismissal from service.
It is clear from the foregoing that Mahilum was not an
ordinary rank and-file employee. His job entailed the The fact that Mahilum served the company for a
observance of proper company procedures relating to considerable period of time will not help his cause. It is
processing and determination of electrical service well to emphasize that the longer an employee stays in
applications culminating in the signing of service the service of the company, the greater is his
contracts, which constitutes the very lifeblood of responsibility for knowledge and compliance with the
VECO's existence. He was further entrusted with norms of conduct and the code of discipline in the
handling the accounts of customers and accepting company.85redarclaw
payments from them. Not only that, it was his duty to
address customer complaints and requests. Being a As a final word, while it is the state's responsibility to
frontliner of VECO, with the most consistent and direct afford protection to labor, this policy should not be
interaction with customers, Mahilum's job involved a used as an instrument to oppress management and
high degree of responsibility requiring a substantial capital. In resolving disputes between labor and
amount of trust and confidence on the part of his capital, fairness and justice should always prevail.
employer, i.e., VECO. Social justice does not mandate that every dispute
should be automatically decided in favor of labor.
However, with the derogatory statements issued by Justice is to be granted to the deserving and dispensed
Mahilum that were intended to incite, not just public in the light of the established facts and the applicable
condemnation of VECO, but antagonism and law and doctrine.86redarclaw
obstruction against rate increases in electricity that it
may be allowed, by law, to fix, there can be no dispute WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DENIED.
that VECO, indeed, had lost its trust and confidence in
Mahilum and his ability to perform his tasks with SO ORDERED.cralawlawlibrary
utmost efficiency and loyalty expected of an employee
entrusted to handle customers and funds. Settled is Peralta,* Bersamin,** (Acting Chairpers
the rule that an employer cannot be compelled to
retain an employee who is guilty of acts inimical to the

19