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G.R. Nos. 169295-96 November 20, 2006 according to Remington, is that Erlinda did not have to punch
any time card in the way that other employees of Remington
REMINGTON INDUSTRIAL SALES did; she was free to roam around the company premises, read
CORPORATION, Petitioner, magazines, and to even nap when not doing her assigned
vs. chores. Remington averred that the illegal dismissal complaint
ERLINDA CASTANEDA, Respondent. lacked factual and legal bases. Allegedly, it was Erlinda who
refused to report for work when Remington moved to a new
location in Caloocan City.
DECISION
In a Decision4 dated January 19, 1999, the labor arbiter
PUNO, J.: dismissed the complaint and ruled that the respondent was a
domestic helper under the personal service of Antonio Tan,
Before this Court is the Petition for Review on Certiorari 1 filed finding that her work as a cook was not usually necessary and
by Remington Industrial Sales Corporation to reverse and set desirable in the ordinary course of trade and business of the
aside the Decision2 of the Fourth Division of the Court of petitioner corporation, which operated as a trading company,
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP Nos. 64577 and 68477, dated January and that the latter did not exercise control over her functions.
31, 2005, which dismissed petitioner’s consolidated petitions On the issue of illegal dismissal, the labor arbiter found that it
for certiorari, and its subsequent Resolution,3 dated August 11, was the respondent who refused to go with the family of
2005, which denied petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. Antonio Tan when the corporation transferred office and that,
therefore, respondent could not have been illegally dismissed.
The antecedent facts of the case, as narrated by the Court of
Appeals, are as follows: Upon appeal, the National Labor Relations Commission
(NLRC) rendered a Decision,5 dated November 23, 2000,
The present controversy began when private respondent, reversing the labor arbiter, ruling, viz:
Erlinda Castaneda ("Erlinda") instituted on March 2, 1998 a
complaint for illegal dismissal, underpayment of wages, non- We are not inclined to uphold the declaration below that
payment of overtime services, non-payment of service complainant is a domestic helper of the family of Antonio Tan.
incentive leave pay and non-payment of 13th month pay There was no allegation by respondent that complainant had
against Remington before the NLRC, National Capital Region, ever worked in the residence of Mr. Tan. What is clear from the
Quezon City. The complaint impleaded Mr. Antonio Tan in his facts narrated by the parties is that complainant continuously
capacity as the Managing Director of Remington. did her job as a cook in the office of respondent serving the
needed food for lunch and merienda of the employees. Thus,
Erlinda alleged that she started working in August 1983 as her work as cook inured not for the benefit of the family
company cook with a salary of Php 4,000.00 for Remington, a members of Mr. Tan but solely for the individual employees of
corporation engaged in the trading business; that she worked respondent.
for six (6) days a week, starting as early as 6:00 a.m. because
she had to do the marketing and would end at around 5:30 Complainant as an employee of respondent company is even
p.m., or even later, after most of the employees, if not all, had bolstered by no less than the certification dated May 23, 1997
left the company premises; that she continuously worked with issued by the corporate secretary of the company certifying
Remington until she was unceremoniously prevented from that complainant is their bonafide employee. This is a solid
reporting for work when Remington transferred to a new site in evidence which the Labor Arbiter simply brushed aside. But,
Edsa, Caloocan City. She averred that she reported for work at such error would not be committed here as it would be at the
the new site in Caloocan City on January 15, 1998, only to be height of injustice if we are to declare that complainant is a
informed that Remington no longer needed her services. domestic helper.
Erlinda believed that her dismissal was illegal because she
was not given the notices required by law; hence, she filed her Complainant’s work schedule and being paid a monthly salary
complaint for reinstatement without loss of seniority rights, of ₱4,000.00 are clear indication that she is a company
salary differentials, service incentive leave pay, 13th month pay employee who had been employed to cater to the food needed
and 10% attorney’s fees. by the employees which were being provided by respondent to
form part of the benefit granted them.
Remington denied that it dismissed Erlinda illegally. It posited
that Erlinda was a domestic helper, not a regular employee; With regard to the issue of illegal dismissal, we believe that
Erlinda worked as a cook and this job had nothing to do with there is more reason to believe that complainant was not
Remington’s business of trading in construction or hardware dismissed because allegedly she was the one who refused to
materials, steel plates and wire rope products. It also work in the new office of respondent. However, complainant’s
contended that contrary to Erlinda’s allegations that the (sic) refusal to join the workforce due to poor eyesight could not be
she worked for eight (8) hours a day, Erlinda’s duty was merely considered abandonment of work or voluntary resignation from
to cook lunch and "merienda", after which her time was hers to employment.
spend as she pleased. Remington also maintained that it did
not exercise any degree of control and/or supervision over
Erlinda’s work as her only concern was to ensure that the Under the Labor Code as amended, an employee who reaches
employees’ lunch and "merienda" were available and served at the age of sixty years old (60 years) has the option to retire or
the designated time. Remington likewise belied Erlinda’s to separate from the service with payment of separation
assertion that her work extended beyond 5:00 p.m. as she pay/retirement benefit.
could only leave after all the employees had gone. The truth,

it behooves that she should be paid her salary Petitioner challenged the second decision of the NLRC.2 In this case.00 3. respondent’s motion for reconsideration. 2. and (2) assuming it still had jurisdiction to issue the second decision notwithstanding the pendency of the first petition for certiorari with the Court of 1. that its second decision has no basis in law since Pay .₱51. SP No. Whether the second NLRC decision promulgated 29.650.R.075. and (2) awarding in favor of respondent salary differential.12 2. and While the petition was pending with the Court of Appeals. premises considered. through a second Petition for Certiorari8 filed with the Court of Appeals.88. is MODIFIED by increasing the award of pay or retirement benefit and some money claims. 64577. It summarized the principal issues raised jurisdiction on the part of the NLRC in (1) reversing in toto the in the consolidated petitions as follows: decision of the labor arbiter. she of discretion on the part of the NLRC in issuing the assailed mailed her Manifestation and Motion for Reconsideration decisions. On May 17. and 50/100 (₱62. service incentive leave pay. 2001. consolidation of the two (2) petitions. a determination of its workforce. separation/retirement. Petitioner moved to reconsider this decision but the NLRC denied the motion. through a certain Roland Hernandez. How and why another decision was rendered is during the pendency of the first petition for certiorari explained in that decision as follows: has basis in law. 2000. which was made the Separation Pay/retirement benefit . 2001.2. Rule VI10 and Section 15. complainant filed a Manifestation praying for On January 31. in order. retirement pay due the complainant in the total amount of SIXTY TWO THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED THIRTY-SEVEN Based on Article 287 of the Labor Code as amended.50). Salary differential . Rule VII9 of the New Rules of Total . Whether respondent was illegally dismissed.1. docketed as CA-G. 188844. Rule VII11 of the aforementioned rules. the NLRC found respondent’s motion for On the issue of illegal dismissal.747. par. 2000. and a new one is hereby entered ordering jurisdiction due to the pendency of the first petition for certiorari respondents to pay complainant the following: with the Court of Appeals. employee relationship between them. particularly the Motion for Reconsideration within the reglementary period nature and situs of her work in relation to the petitioner’s having been sufficiently established. the assailed decision is NLRC in (1) issuing the second decision despite losing its hereby. 2002. docketed as CA-G. of ₱51.36.₱12. the decision dated old at the time she filed the complaint praying for separation November 23. The amount of separation pay would be based on the prescribed minimum wage at the time of dismissal since she SO ORDERED. in support consolidated petitions for lack of merit. the Court of Appeals dismissed the a resolution of her Motion for Reconsideration and. on December 26. Certifications to this effect On the first issue. 2005. and that the said mail was received by the NLRC. Rule 3 of the Revised Rules of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of the Court of Appeals. 2000. decided on time as also required by Section 10. Whether respondent is petitioner’s regular month pay differential and separation benefits in the total sum employee or a domestic helper. 2001. Mesa Post Office respondent was a regular employee of the petitioner since the bearing the date May 11. 2001 (Annexes A and B. thereby establishing the existence of an employer- merits is thus.747. was then underpaid. on January 24. 13th 1. 68477 and dated xxx xxx xxx January 8. differential for the last three years prior to including the resolution denying its motion for reconsideration. sometime December 18. In as much as complainant is underpaid of her wages. this time imputing grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the WHEREFORE. SP No. service. SET ASIDE. former worked at the company premises and catered not only Complainant’s Manifestation). registered as Registered Certificate No. On the merits. on May 4. All other monetary relief so adjudged complainant is entitled to be paid her separation pay/retirement therein are maintained and likewise made payable to the benefit equivalent to one-half (1/2) month for every year of complainant. Service Incentive Leave Appeals. it ruled that respondent has reconsideration meritorious leading to the issuance of its attained the status of a regular employee in her service with second decision with the following dispositive portion: .R. finding no grave abuse thereof. we notice that complainant was already 60 years WHEREFORE.00 basis of the second decision.437. was not filed under oath in violation of Section 14. it upheld the ruling of the NLRC that was issued by the Postmaster of the Sta. imputing pursuant to Section 7. the Court of Appeals ordered the to file a Petition for Certiorari6 with the Court of Appeals. This denial of its motion prompted petitioner Upon petitioner’s motion. b(3). alleges that. 2002.001. It agreed that petitioner enjoys the prerogative to control respondent’s Evidence in support of complainant’s having actually filed a conduct in undertaking her assigned work.021. to the personal comfort and enjoyment of Mr.88 Procedure of the NLRC and that it contained no certification as to why respondent’s motion for reconsideration was not SO ORDERED.76 4. Tan and his family. premises considered. 13th Month Pay differential . but also to that of the employees of the latter. the NLRC rendered another Decision7 in the same case on August 3.

2005. 2000. NLRC decision. It noted that the NLRC found that no less than The petitioner contends that the respondent’s motion for the company’s corporate secretary certified that respondent is reconsideration.17 Their that they do not constitute grave abuse of discretion amounting strict and rigid application. buying and cooking food served to company also raises for the first time the contention that respondent’s employees at lunch and merienda. was not under oath and did not contain a certification as schedule and routine of work and was paid a monthly salary of to why it was not decided on time as required under the New ₱4.14 since the latter received a petitioner. requirements under the law. the petitioner asserts that the respondent Appeals erred in affirming the NLRC’s ruling that the received a copy of the NLRC’s first decision on December 6. right to due process of the opposing party. and constitutionally guaranteed right to security of tenure and that respondent filed her motion only on December 18. The petition must fail.20 proceeding with the case. which the Court of Appeals denied based. was filed out of time.16 Rules of procedure are but mere assume primacy over the substantive merits of the case and tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice. Rule 65 of the court may order the correction of the pleading if verification is Revised Rules of Court.13 Furthermore. 2000. We do not agree.15 Labor cases must be within the prescribed period. and (3) the Court of calendar day period requirement under the New Rules of Appeals erred when it held that the issuance of the second Procedure of the NLRC and should not be allowed. 2000. 2005.3 the company.00. speculation. petitioner failed to discharge the burden of proving that her according to petitioner. NLRC shall be final and executory after ten (10) calendar days from the receipt thereof by the parties.e. the present petition for review.21 NLRC decision is proper. non- on the first petition for certiorari that it filed. Thus. on petitioner’s other arguments relating to the alleged irregularity of the second NLRC decision. on which the NLRC’s second decision was on February 22. (2) the Court of Appeals erred in holding that December 18. upon which the second NLRC decision was a bonafide company employee and that she had a fixed based. i. This contention must fail. and not jurisdictional. the decision of the illegal dismissal. 1998 was for a just or authorized reconsideration was a mere scrap of paper and the second cause and that the manner of dismissal complied with the NLRC decision has no basis in law. for the first time in the instant petition where no new issues may be raised by a party in his pleadings without offending the Hence. and that the pleading is filed in good faith.12the filing of a petition for certiorari lacking or act on the pleading although it is not verified. Such requirement is received the order indicating the Court of Appeals’ initial action merely a condition affecting the form of the pleading. if the does not interrupt the course of the principal case unless a attending circumstances are such that strict compliance with temporary restraining order or a writ of preliminary injunction the rules may be dispensed with in order that the ends of has been issued against the public respondent from further justice may thereby be served. that she served with petitioner for 15 years starting Rules of Procedure of the NLRC. Anent the argument that respondent’s motion for From this decision.. petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration reconsideration.000. it held that under Section 7. which would result in technicalities to lack or excess of jurisdiction that would nullify the second that tend to frustrate rather than promote substantial justice. the former in 1983. It ruled that the compliance with which does not necessarily render it fatally NLRC’s action of issuing a decision in installments was not defective. must always be avoided. The petitioner raises the following errors of law: (1) the Court of Nonetheless. or two (2) days beyond the ten (10)- petitioner was guilty of illegal dismissal. we shall first resolve the propriety of the issuance While it is an established rule that the perfection of an appeal of the second NLRC decision.18 The Court of Appeals denied petitioner’s contention that the This Court has consistently held that the requirement of NLRC lost its jurisdiction to issue the second decision when it verification is formal. Verification is simply intended to secure an prohibited by its own rules and that the need for a second assurance that the allegations in the pleading are true and decision was justified by the fact that respondent’s own motion correct and not the product of the imagination or a matter of for reconsideration remained unresolved in the first decision. she enjoys the copy of the first NLRC decision on December 6. the respondent’s motion for dismissal on January 15. respondent was petitioner’s regular employee and not a 2000. in the manner and within the period prescribed by law is not only mandatory but jurisdictional. and failure to perfect an appeal has the effect of rendering the judgment final and . It held that as a regular employee. We affirm that respondent was a regular employee of the petitioner and that the latter was guilty of Under Article 22322 of the Labor Code. such issue was only brought up through a resolution dated August 11. it held that such violations relate decided according to justice and equity and the substantial to procedural and non-jurisdictional matters that cannot merits of the controversy. particularly in labor cases. Before going into the substantive merits of the present controversy. and the motion for reconsideration was filed only on domestic helper. Finally. the fact that It is well-settled that the application of technical rules of respondent’s motion for reconsideration was not under oath procedure may be relaxed to serve the demands of substantial and had no certification explaining why it was not resolved justice. and that this work was motion was filed beyond the ten (10)-calendar day period usually necessary and desirable in the regular business of the required under the same Rules. 19 The Furthermore.

as where the tardy appeal is from a amended. within ten (10) working days". the petition shall industry or any other agricultural or similar pursuit. NLRC. In the case at bar. we shall now delve in connection with its business. does not interrupt the course of the latter if there is no writ of injunction. Such definition covers family drivers. could not of Mr. there was no grave Petitioner contends that it is only when the househelper or abuse of discretion on the part of the NLRC in issuing its domestic servant is assigned to certain aspects of the business second decision which modified the first. Book 3 of the Labor Code. through a meticulous and The criteria is the personal comfort and enjoyment of the family comprehensive evaluation of the merits of a case. as amended.24 (b) fundamental consideration of substantial justice. Section 1(b). they are has been issued against the public respondent from further employees of the company or employer in the business proceeding with the case. the mere pendency of a concerned entitled to the privileges of a regular employee. Thus. v. Clearly. this doctrine apply to respondent’s filing of the motion for domestic servants. employees. The Court finds no when it issued its first decision. The foregoing definition clearly contemplates such househelper the appeal shall be made on the next working day. Indeed. especially since it of the employer that such househelper or domestic servant failed to consider the respondent’s motion for reconsideration may be considered as such an employee. in connection with a pending case in a lower court.25 (c) prevention of miscarriage of justice or Under Rule XIII. Notably.26 and (d) special circumstances of the case combined with its legal merits27 or the amount and the "The term ‘househelper’ as used herein is synonymous to the issue involved. the terms "househelper" or "domestic servant" are decision granting separation pay which was already granted in defined as follows: an earlier final decision.32 this Court held that a acceptable reasons recognized by this Court are (a) counsel's househelper in the staff houses of an industrial company was a reliance on the footnote of the notice of the decision of the regular employee of the said firm. conclusion that such househelper or domestic servant is and and whether the latter is guilty of illegal dismissal. whether male or female. more importantly. In a number of cases. impressed with merit. The mere fact that the househelper or domestic servant is working within the premises of the business of the employer and in relation to or Having resolved the procedural matters. We ratiocinated that: Labor Arbiter that "the aggrieved party may appeal. respondent’s last day for ministers exclusively to the personal comfort and enjoyment of filing her motion for reconsideration fell on December 16. Tan has a separate and distinct personality from the petitioner. it is equally settled that the NLRC may disregard the This contention fails to impress. in employer’s home and which services are usually necessary or accordance with substantial justice. as of unjust enrichment. merit in making any such distinction." which was a Saturday. procedural lapse where there is an acceptable reason to excuse tardiness in the taking of the appeal. as to petitioner’s argument that the NLRC had already staffhouse may be similar in nature. as in its staffhouses for its into the merits of the petition to determine whether respondent guest or even for its officers and employees. the difference in their lost its jurisdiction to decide the case when it filed its petition for circumstances is that in the former instance they are actually certiorari with the Court of Appeals upon the denial of its serving the family while in the latter case. 2000. whether it is a motion for reconsideration. and the application of this rule. In such instance. . domestic servant or laundrywoman in a home or in a company Finally. of the employer in the home of said employer. With all the more reason should of the employer’s family.29 we have ruled that if the tenth day for perfecting an appeal fell on a Saturday.23 Among the In Apex Mining Company.31 Clearly. the situs. as well as the nature of respondent’s work as a cook. Inc.4 executory. Section 1(b).28 term ‘domestic servant’ and shall refer to any person. . should be considered as a regular employee of the employer and not as a mere family househelper or domestic servant as Petitioner relies heavily on the affidavit of a certain Mr. Book 3 of the Labor Tan and contends that respondent is the latter’s domestic Code. While it may be true that the nature of the work of a househelper. and therefore and merienda. which was not usually necessary respondent’s work as a cook. and that it operates as a trading company and her duty was to cook and prepare its employees’ lunch does not engage in the restaurant business. laundry women. who caters not only to the needs or desirable to its usual line of business or trade. yayas. which the NLRC itself found to be houseboys and similar househelps. Antonio contemplated in Rule XIII. suffice it to state that under Section corporation or a single proprietorship engaged in business or 7 of Rule 6530 of the Revised Rules of Court. technicality should not be permitted to stand in the way of equitably and completely xxx xxx xxx resolving the rights and obligations of the parties for the ends of justice are reached not only through the speedy disposal of cases but. service is not interrupt the course of the principal case unless a being rendered in the staffhouses or within the premises of the temporary restraining order or a writ of preliminary injunction business of the employer. Tan and his family but also to that of the petitioner’s make her its regular employee. reconsideration of her cause. special civil action for certiorari. warrants the is a domestic helper or a regular employee of the petitioner. makes her fall squarely within the definition of a regular employee under the doctrine enunciated in the Apex . gardeners. helper and not a regular employee of the company since Mr. the petitioner itself admits in its position It maintains that it did not exercise control and supervision over paper33 that respondent worked at the company premises and her functions. who renders services in and about the We hold that the particular circumstances in the case at bar. call for a liberalization of desirable for the maintenance and enjoyment thereof. the office of the NLRC and to minister exclusively to the personal comfort and enjoyment certain post offices are closed. the employer’s family. The reason or domestic servant who is employed in the employer’s home for this ruling is that on Saturdays.

the scales of justice must be tilted in favor of the latter.44This. 2005. employer. we now proceed to ascertain the legality of her IN VIEW WHEREOF. On the other hand. the petitioner failed to do in to hold that despite the fact that respondent was made to cook the case at bar.42 For a valid finding of abandonment. The assailed Decision dated January 31. is reflective of the existence of the duty. hence. Tan. she was merely a domestic worker of the family of who quit her employment and refused to return to work.R. as well as the NLRC. she was told that her services were no longer needed. otherwise the dismissal becomes illegal and the employee becomes entitled to reinstatement and full backwages computed from the time compensation was withheld up to the time of actual reinstatement. the Court of Appeals.34 Indeed. lunch and merienda for the petitioner’s employees.47 If doubt exists between the evidence respondent is a regular employee of the petitioner. which work ultimately redounded to the benefit of the petitioner Alongside the petitioner’s contention that it was the respondent corporation. stock may be taken of the respondent’s immediate filing of her complaint with the NLRC. she was no longer called for duty and that when she tried to report for work. Thus. these two factors should be present: (1) the failure to report for work or Moreover.1âwphi1 presented by the employer and the employee. 64577 and 68477 are AFFIRMED. greater Mr. the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. hence rendering the dismissal illegal.5 Mining case.000. regardless of the nature of the activities employment must be shown by clear proof that it was involved. it would be the height of injustice if we were deliberate and unjustified. of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. negating the employer’s charge of abandonment.48 Having determined that the respondent is petitioner’s regular employee.37 cause. and (2) a clear related to the employer's business. travel a problem. That she works within company premises.35 she had a fixed schedule and routine of work and for reinstatement is proof enough of her desire to return to was paid a monthly salary of ₱4. affirmed by the Court of time in protesting her layoff cannot by any reasoning be said to Appeals. the respondent claims that when the petitioner relocated. failure to do so would necessarily mean that the dismissal was illegal. She contends that the petitioner dismissed her without a just or authorized cause and that she was not given prior notice. Indeed. In termination cases. claiming that her poor eyesight would make long distance SO ORDERED. on the strength of its evidence and not on the weakness of the correctly held that based on the given circumstances.36 she served with the work. it cannot be held guilty of illegal dismissal. the employee’s defense. for it is well-settled that the filing of has certified that respondent is a bonafide company an employee of a complaint for illegal dismissal with a prayer employee. As a regular employee. We rule for the respondent. an employee who loses no We note the findings of the NLRC.45 company for 15 years starting in 1983. that no less than the company’s corporate secretary have abandoned her work. 2005. and the Resolution dated August 11.43The intent to discontinue the case. buying and cooking food served to company employees at lunch and merienda. which primary indicator of the existence of an employer-employee enumerates the just causes for termination by the relationship.46 The employer’s case succeeds or fails Indubitably. SP Nos. Costs Petitioner contends that there was abandonment on against petitioner. it is wrong to say that if the work is not directly absence without valid or justifiable reason. which is the employer under Article 282 of the Labor Code. then the person performing intention to sever employer-employee relationship. second as the more determinative factor which is manifested The determination of the existence of an employer-employee by overt acts from which it may be deduced that the employee relationship is defined by law according to the facts of each has no more intention to work. with the such work could not be considered an employee of the latter. the burden of proof rests upon the and that this service was a regular feature of employment with employer to show that the dismissal is for a just and valid the company. . Tan and his family. thus. dismissal from employment. respondent enjoys the right to security of tenure under Article 27938 of the Labor Code and may only be dismissed for a just39 or authorized40 cause. and Abandonment is the deliberate and unjustified refusal of an that she does not cater exclusively to the personal comfort of employee to resume his employment.00.41 It is a form of neglect of Mr. respondent’s part when she refused to report for work when the corporation transferred to a new location in Caloocan City. a just cause for termination of employment by the petitioner’s right of control over her functions.