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Acesite Corporation v.

NLRC
26 January 2005 | Carpio-Morales, J. |
Termination of Employment > Cumulative relief/remedies in illegal dismissal > In General > Backwages > Fringe Benefits
Digested by: Precious Gan

G.R. No. 152308


PETITIONERS: Acesite Corporation; Holiday Inn; Johann Angerbauer; Phil Kennedy
RESPONDENTS: NLRC (Second Division); Leo A. Gonzales

G.R. No. 152321


PETITIONER: Leo A. Gonzales
RESPONDENTS: Acesite (Philippines) Hotel Corporation; Holiday Inn Manila; Johann Angerbauer; Phil Kennedy

SUMMARY: Leo, Chief of Security of Holiday Inn Manila, exceeded his allowed leaves for 1998 and was thus terminated without
due process. He was awarded separation pay and backwages. Acesite contends that he was validly dismissed, whereas Leo contests
the computation of the backwages he is entitled to, claiming that the fringe benefits he used to received should also be included in
the computation.

DOCTRINE: Fringe benefits are included in the enumeration of LC 294(279) that provides for the inclusion of other benefits or
their monetary equivalent in the computation of backwages.

FACTS: absences. He sent such email on 5:33 PM of the


1. Octoner 1993: Leo Gonzales was hired as Chief of Security same day.
of Manila Pavilion Hotel. c. In the evening, Leo left for Abra.
d. At 7:55 PM, the security staff received an interoffice
2. January 1995: Acesite Corporation took over the memo for Gonzales reminding him to submit an
operations of Manila Pav and renamed it Holiday Inn explanation for his past unauthorized absences and his
Manila. Leo was retained as Chief of Security. reporting late for work on the same day.
i. Leo clams to have personally received the memo
3. Leo took the following leaves on the following dates: only on 8 May 1998.
4-day sick leave 25 March 1998
Emergency leave 30 March 1998 8. 5 May 1998: Not having reported for work, Johann sent a
12-day vacation leave 16-29 April 1998 telegram to Leos provincial address reiterating that the
Thereby using up all the leaves he was entitled for the year. latter report to work immediately due to very urgent
matters involving [the] security departments concerns
4. 23 April 1998: Leo filed an application for emergency which (sic) imperatively require [his] personal attention.
leave for 10 days (30 April 13 May 1998), but the a. Leo claims to have received the telegram only on 7
application was disapproved in a telegram from Acesite. May 1998, and he immediately went back to Manila
the following day.
5. 30 April 1998: Leo did not report for work. Acesite sent
him another telegram requiring that he report for work and 9. 7 May 1998: Johann issued Leo a Notice of Termination
provide an explanation for his unauthorized leave. through an inter-office memo.

6. 2 May 1998: Leos father sent a telegram to Acesite stating 10. 8 May 1998: Upon Leos arrival at the hotel, he was
that he was still recovering from severe stomach disorder humiliatingly and ignominiously barred by the guard xxx
and would report back for work on 4 May 1998. from entering the premises.

7. 4 May 1998: Leo reported back to work at around 11. 27 May 1998: Leo filed a complaint against respondents
lunchtime. for illegal dismissal with prayer for reinstatement and
a. He brought a medical certificate issued by a Dr. payment of full backwages, SIL, 13th month pay, moral and
Laureano C. Gonzales, Jr. exemplary damages and attorneys fees, but he failed to
b. He presented himself to Johann Angerbauer, the appear in 2 consecutive hearings, prompting dismissal of
Resident Manager. his complaint.
i. Acesite version: Leo explained that he was absent
despite orders to return because it was necessary 12. 13 July 1999: Leo refiled his complaint.
for him to go home to his province in Abra.
ii. Leos version: He requested for leave without pay 13. LA: Dismissal was for just cause.
for the period of 4-9 May 1998 that was
provisionally approved on the condition that he 14. NLRC: Illegally dismissed. Ordered Acesite to:
would email his explanation regarding his a. Reinstate Leo to his former position without loss of
seniority rights.
b. Pay Leos backwages, until he is actually reinstated,
inclusive of all his other fringe benefits or their
monetary equivalent.
c. Pay moral damages, exemplary damages, and
attorneys fees.

15. CA: Affirmed NLRC deision and ordered Acesite to:


a. Reinstate or, where no longer feasible, pay separation
pay equivalent to month pay for every year of
service.
b. Pay full backwages.
c. Pay moral and exemplary damages (reduced) and
attorneys fees.

16. Both parties appealed to the Supreme Court.


a. Acesite argues that there was just cause for
termination.
b. Leo argues that the CA:
i. Absent any reason, modified the NLRC Decision
by deleting or eliminating the other fringe
benefits or their monetary equivalent;
ii. Should not have given Acesite the option to
reinstate or not, and that even if reinstatement is
no longer possible, the severance pay of month
per year of service is not in accordance with law
and jurisprudence; and
iii. Erroneously reduced the moral and exemplary
damages awarded.

ISSUE (RELEVANT): WON fringe benefits are included in


the grant of backwages.

RULING: NLRC Decision modified, ordering payment of:


1. Full backwages, inclusive of allowances, and other benefits
or their monetary equivalent;
2. Separation pay equivalent to 1 month salary for every year
of service; and
3. Attorneys fees.

RATIO:
1. The deletion of the fringe benefits or their monetary
equivalent is not in accord with law and jurisprudence.
a. LC 279. Security of Tenure. In cases of regular
employment, the employer shall not terminate the
services of an employee except for just cause or when
authorized by this Title. An employee who is unjustly
dismissed from work shall be entitled to reinstatement
without loss of seniority rights and other privileges
and to his full backwages, inclusive of allowances, and
to his other benefits or their monetary equivalent,
computed from the time his compensation was
withheld from him up to the time of his actual
reinstatement.