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LABOR LAW REVIEW

First Semester, SY 2017 - 2018

ATTY. VON LOVEL D. BEDONA


Professor

CLASS DISCUSSION JULY 6, 2017 (First Part)

The Labor Provisions of the 1987 Constitution

One of the very significant parts of our study of labor law review, is
identification and recognition of the fundamental and basic principles
specifically provided in our 1987 Constitution. These are:
Section 10, Article II that provides:
The State shall promote social justice in all phases of national
development.
It is commonly believed that social justice is intended for the
protection of the poor and underprivileged as they are considered as having
less in life and therefore they should have more in law. It may not be amiss
to stress that laws which have for their object the preservation and
maintenance of social justice are not only meant to favor the poor and
underprivileged. They apply with equal force to those who, notwithstanding
their more comfortable position in life, are equally deserving of protection
from the courts. Social justice is not a license to trample on the rights of the
rich in the guise of defending the poor, where no act of injustice or abuse is
being committed against them. For in the eyes of the Constitution and the
statutes, equal justice under the law remains the bedrock principle by which
our Republic abides. (Emerson B. Bagongahasa et al. v. Johanna L.
Romuladez, G.R. No. 179844, March 23, 2011)
Social justice or any justice for that matter is for the deserving,
whether he be a millionaire in his mansion or a pauper in his hovel. It is true
that, in case of reasonable doubt, the Court is called upon to tilt the balance
in favor of the poor to whom the Constitution fittingly extends its sympathy
and compassion. But never is it justified to give preference to the poor
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simply because they are poor, or to reject the rich simply because they are
rich, for justice must always be served for poor and rich alike, according to
the mandate of the law. Vigilance over the rights of the employers is equally
important because social justice cannot be invoked to trample on the rights
of employers owners, who under our Constitution and laws are also entitled
to protection. (Buklod Nang Magbubukid Sa Lupang Ramos v. E. M. Ramos
and Sons, Inc., G.R. No. 131481, March 16, 2011).
An employee who is clearly guilty of conduct violative of Article 282
(now Article 296) of the Labor Code should not be protected by the social
justice clause of the Constitution. Social justice, as the term suggests, should
be used only to correct an injustice. As the eminent Justice Jose P. Laurel
observed, social justice must be founded on the recognition of the necessity
of interdependence among diverse units of a society and of the protection
that should be equally and evenly extended to all groups as a combined force
in our social and economic life, consistent with the fundamental and
paramount objective of the state of promoting the health, comfort, and quiet
of all persons, and of bringing about "the greatest good to the greatest
number."
Section 18, Article II provides:
The state affirms labor as a primary social economic force. It shall
protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare.

Section 1, Article III provides:

No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due


process of law, nor shall any person be denied of the equal
protection of laws.
A workers employment is property in constitutional sense he
cannot be deprived of his work without due process. (Asuncion v. NLRC,
362 SCRA 56)
Security of tenure of workers is not only statutorily protected.
It is also a constitutionally guaranteed right. Thus, any
deprivation of this right must be attended by due process of
law. This means that any disciplinary action that affects
employment must pass due process scrutiny in both its
substantive and procedural aspects.
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The constitutional protection for workers elevates their work to


the status of a vested right. It is a vested right protected not
only against state action but against the arbitrary acts of the
employers as well. The Supreme Court in Philippine Movie
Pictures Workers' Association v. Premier Productions, Inc.
categorically stated that the right of a person to his labor is
deemed to be property within the meaning of constitutional
guarantees. Moreover, it is of that species of vested
constitutional right that also affects an employee's liberty and
quality of life. Work not only contributes to defining the
individual, it also assists in determining one's purpose. Work
provides for the material basis of human dignity.
Suspension from work is prima facie a deprivation of this
right. Thus, termination and suspension from work must be
reasonable to meet the constitutional requirement of due
process of law. It will be reasonable if it is based on just or
authorized causes enumerated in the Labor Code.
The procedure can be summarized in this manner. First, the
employer must furnish the employee with a written notice
containing the cause for termination. Second, the employer
must give the employee an opportunity to be heard. This could
be done either through a position paper or through a
clarificatory hearing. The employee may also be assisted by a
representative or counsel. Finally, the employer must give
another written notice apprising the employee of its findings
and the penalty to be imposed against the employee, if any. In
labor cases, these requisites meet the constitutional
requirement of procedural due process, which "contemplates
notice and opportunity to be heard before judgment is
rendered, affecting one's person or property." (Nancy S.
Montinola v. Philippine Airlines, G.R. No. 198656, September
8, 2014)
Due process is not a matter of strict or rigid formulaic process. The
essence of due process is simply the opportunity to be heard, or as applied to
administrative proceedings, an opportunity to explain one's side or an
opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of.
A formal or trial type hearing is not at all times and in all instances
essential, as the due process requirements are satisfied where the parties are
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afforded fair and reasonable opportunity to explain their side of the


controversy at hand. (Planters Products, Inc. v. National Labor Relations
Commission, G.R. No. 78524, January 20, 1989; Primo E. Caong v.
Alexander J. Tresquio et al., G.R. No. 179428, January 26, 2011)
Section 8, Article III provides:
The right of the people, including those employed in the public and
private sectors, to form unions, associations or societies for purpose
not contrary to law shall not be abridged.
Section 3, Article XIII provides:
The state shall afford protection to labor, local and overseas,
organized and unorganized and promote full employment and
equality of employment opportunities for all.
It shall guarantee the rights of all workers to self-organization,
collective bargaining and negotiation, and peaceful and concerted
activities, including the right to strike in accordance with law. They
shall be entitled to security of tenure, humane conditions of work and
a living wage. They shall also participate in policy and decision-
making processes affecting their rights and benefits as maybe
provided by law.
The state shall promote the shared responsibility between workers
and employers and the preferential use of voluntary modes of settling
disputes, including conciliation, and shall enforce their mutual
compliance therewith to foster industrial peace.
The state shall regulate the relations between workers and
employers, recognizing the right of labor to its just share in the fruits
of production and the right of enterprises to reasonable returns on
investments, and to expansion and growth.
The Constitution acknowledges the reality that capital and labor often
do not deal on equal grounds, requiring the state to protect labor from abuse.
To level the playing field, the framers of the Constitution incorporated
provisions therein to safeguard the employee's right to security of tenure and
enhance protection to employees' rights and welfare.
In the hierarchy of rights of employees, the right to security of tenure
is high, if not the highest. Its paramount value is recognized and guaranteed
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under our new Constitution. Consequently, the first paragraph of Article


XIII, Section 3 of the 1987 Constitution, extends the protective mantle of the
Constitution to all of labor including the promotion of full employment. The
second paragraph specifies the guaranteed right to security of tenure. All
other rights, e.g., the right to collective bargaining and negotiations, the right
to peaceful concerted activities, the right to strike and form unions, and the
right to due process, merely complement the right to job security. All these
complementary rights are meaningless to an unemployed worker. Thus, the
Supreme Court held in Rance v. National Labor Relations Commission, "it is
the policy of the State to assure the right of workers to 'security of tenure.'
The guarantee is an act of social justice. When a person has no property, his
job may possibly be his only possession or means of livelihood. Therefore
he should be protected against any arbitrary deprivation of his job."
The law protects both the welfare of employees and the prerogatives
of management. Courts will not interfere with prerogatives of management
on the discipline of employees, as long as they do not violate labor laws,
collective bargaining agreements if any, and general principles of fairness
and justice. (The University of the Immaculate Conception vs. NLRC, G.R.
No. 181146, January 26, 2011)
The law, in protecting the rights of the laborers, authorizes neither
oppression nor self-destruction of the employer. While the Constitution is
committed to the policy of social justice and the protection of the working
class, it should not be supposed that every labor dispute be automatically
decided in favor of labor. The management also has its own rights, as such,
are entitled to respect and enforcement in the interest of simple fair play. Out
of its concern for those with less privilege in life, the Supreme Court has
inclined more often than not toward the worker and upheld his cause in his
conflicts with the employer. Such favoritism, however, has not blinded the
Court to the rule that justice is in every case for the deserving, to be
dispensed in the light of the established facts and applicable law and
doctrine. (Solidbank Corporation vs. NLRC, G.R. No. 165951, March 30,
2010)

GOOD LUCK!!!