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G.R. No. 152894. August 17, 2007.* Development Authority (TESDA).—Republic Act No.

7796 (RA 7796), which created
CENTURY CANNING CORPORATION, petitioner, vs.COURT OF APPEALS and GLORIA the TESDA, has transferred the authority over apprenticeship programs from the
C. PALAD, respondents. Bureau of Local Employment of the DOLE to the TESDA. RA 7796 emphasizes
TESDA’s approval of the apprenticeship program as a pre-requisite for the hiring
Labor Law; Apprenticeship; One of the objectives of Title II (Training and of apprentices. Such intent is clear under Section 4 of RA 7796: SEC. 4. Definition
Employment of Special Workers) of the Labor Code is to establish apprenticeship of Terms.—As used in this Act: x x x j) “Apprenticeship” training within
standards for the protection of apprentices; an apprenticeship program should first employment with compulsory related theoretical instructions involving a contract
be approved by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) before an between an apprentice and an employer on an approved apprenticeable
apprentice may be hired, otherwise the person hired will be considered a regular occupation;k)“Apprentice” is a person undergoing training for an approved
employee; An apprenticeship program should first be approved by the Department apprenticeable occupation during an established period assured by an
of Labor and Employment (DOLE) before an apprentice may be hired, otherwise apprenticeship agreement; l) “Apprentice Agreement” is a contract wherein a
the person hired will be considered a regular employee.—The Labor Code defines prospective employer binds himself to train the apprentice who in turn accepts
an apprentice as a worker who is covered by a written apprenticeship agreement the terms of training for a recognized apprentice-able occupation emphasizing
with an employer. One of the objectives of Title II (Training and Employment of the rights, duties and responsibilities of each party; m) “Apprenticeable
Special Workers) of the Labor Code is to establish apprenticeship standards for the Occupation” is an occupation officially endorsed by a tripartite body
protection of apprentices. In line with this objective, Articles 60 and 61 of the and approved for apprenticeship by the Authority [TESDA]; (Emphasis supplied)
Labor Code provide: ART. 60. Employment of apprentices.—Only employers in the Same; Same; Same; An apprenticeship agreement which lacks prior approval
highly technical industries may employ apprentices and only in apprenticeable from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) is void;
occupations approved by the Minister of Labor and Employment. (Emphasis Prior approval from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority
supplied) ART. 61. Contents of apprenticeship agree-ments.—Apprenticeship (TESDA) is necessary to ensure that only employers in the highly technical
agreements, including the wage rates of apprentices, shall conform to the rules industries may employ apprentices and only in apprenticeable occupations.—In
issued by the Minister of Labor and Employment. The period of apprenticeship this case, the apprenticeship agreement was entered into between the parties
shall not exceed six months. Apprenticeship agreements providing for wage rates before petitioner filed its apprenticeship program with the TESDA for approval.
below the legal minimum wage, which in no case shall start below 75 percent of Petitioner and Palad executed the apprenticeship agreement on 17 July 1997
the applicable minimum wage, may be entered into only in accordance with wherein it was stated that the training would start on 17 July 1997 and would end
apprenticeship programs duly approved by the Minister of Labor and approximately in December 1997. On 25 July 1997, petitioner submitted for
Employment. The Ministry shall develop standard model programs of approval its apprenticeship program, which the TESDA subsequently approved on
apprenticeship. (Emphasis supplied) In Nitto Enterprises v. National Labor 26 September 1997. Clearly, the apprenticeship agreement was enforced even
Relations Commission, 248 SCRA 654 (1995), the Court cited Article 61 of the Labor before the TESDA approved petitioner’s apprenticeship program. Thus, the
Code and held that an apprenticeship program should first be approved by the apprenticeship agreement is void because it lacked prior approval from the TESDA.
DOLE before an apprentice may be hired, otherwise the person hired will be The TESDA’s approval of the employer’s apprenticeship program is required
considered a regular employee. before the employer is allowed to hire apprentices. Prior approval from the TESDA
Same; Same; Technical Education and Skills Development Authority is necessary to ensure that only employers in the highly technical industries may
(TESDA); Republic Act No. 7796 (RA 7796), which created the Technical Education employ apprentices and only in apprentice-able occupations. Thus, under RA
and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), has transferred the authority over 7796, employers can only hire apprentices for apprenticeable occupations which
apprenticeship programs from the Bureau of Local Employment of the Department must be officially endorsed by a tripartite body and approved for apprenticeship
of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to the Technical Education and Skills

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the employer has numerous tardiness and absences. as in this case.75 daily. an employment is deemed Resolution dated 5 April 2002 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. 60379. Farol for petitioner.” Clearly. Same. As a consequence. payment of pro-rated 13th month pay for the year 1997. the worker is deemed a regular employee. the NLRC found that petitioner failed to prove the authenticity of then filed a complaint for illegal dismissal.75% based on a 100% performance employment is not clearly proven.4 causes for which the employer may terminate the apprenticeship agreement after According to petitioner. Palad Same. This is to ensure the protection of apprentices and to obviate PETITION for review on certiorari of the decision and resolution of the Court of possible abuses by prospective employers who may want to take advantage of the Appeals. Book II of the Implementing Rules of the Labor Code. termination notice5 dated 22 November 1997 to Palad. The Case the job of a “fish cleaner” is necessary in petitioner’s business as a tuna and This is a petition for review1 of the Decision2 dated 12 No-vember 2001 and the sardines factory. regular where the employee has been engaged to perform activities which are The Facts usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer. Absenteeism and Inefficiency. petitioner issued a the burden of proving that the termination was for a valid or authorized cause. Where a worker is not considered an apprentice because Bolisay and Partners Law Offices and Engelberto A. a performance evaluation was conducted on 15 the probationary period. Rule VI. Same. Same. Petitioner merely On 25 February 1999. where Palad received a performance rating of only 27. according to the performance evaluation. In fact.—In this case.—Since Palad is not considered an apprentice because the apprenticeship agreement was CARPIO. Development Authority (TESDA) of the Department of Labor and Employment Under Section 25. November 1997. the Labor Arbiter dismissed the complaint for lack of relies on the performance evaluation to prove Palad’s inefficiency. Same. the Labor Arbiter held that petitioner apprenticeship program for approval to the Technical Education and Skills terminated Palad for habitual absenteeism and poor efficiency of performance. the TESDA approved peti-tioner’s apprenticeship habitual absenteeism and poor efficiency of performance are among the valid program.R. judgment is hereby rendered declaring that is not clearly proven. When the alleged valid cause for the termination of improvement” since she scored only 27. in the above-entitled case should be. as in this case. or “needs Same. Martinez for private respondent. informing her of her Petitioner failed to substantiate its claim that Palad was terminated for valid termination effective at the close of business hours of 28 November 1997. Palad is deemed a regular employee performing the job of a “fish cleaner. J. Same. SP No. It was likewise merit but ordered petitioner to pay Palad her last salary and her pro-rated 13th not shown that petitioner ever apprised Palad of the performance standards set month pay. the law considers the matter a indicator. Century Canning Corporation (petitioner) hired Gloria C. The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court. Palad received an which the employer may terminate the apprenticeship agreement after the apprentice allowance of P138. under-payment of wages. On 25 July 1997. where petitioner gave Palad a rating of N. Habitual (Palad) as “fish cleaner” at petitioner’s tuna and sardines factory.75%. On 15 July 1997. lower wage rates for apprentices and circumvent the right of the employees to be secure in their employment. as it is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. petitioner submitted its probationary period. The dispositive portion of the Labor Arbiter’s decision reads: by the company.—Under Article 227 of the Labor Code. Palad reasons. Furthermore.I.: enforced before the TESDA’s approval of petitioner’s apprenticeship program. When the alleged valid cause for the termination of employment “WHEREFORE. premises considered. apprenticeship program. 2 . (DOLE). and non- the performance evaluation which petitioner claims to have conducted on Palad. the law considers the matter a case of illegal the complaint for illegal dismissal filed by the complainant against the respondents dismissal. Palad incurred case of illegal dismissal. Dismissals. the apprenticeship agreement was enforced before the TESDA’s approval of the Joel G. On 26 September 1997.by the TESDA. Same. Under Article 280 of the Labor Code. Palad signed on absenteeism and poor efficiency of performance are among the valid causes for 17 July 1997 an apprenticeship agreement3 with petitioner.

60.75 with the twin requirements of notice and hearing. The Court of Appeals likewise 1999 is hereby MODIFIED in that. 3. 2. The petition is without merit. in view of the foregoing. (Emphasis supplied) The Ruling of the Court of Appeals 3 .10 1. The modification the Labor Arbiter’s decision. (a)finding the dismissal of petitioner to be illegal. the dispositive portion of which reads: 2. objective. apprenticeship agreement with an employer.00). On appeal.”8 industries may employ apprentices and only in apprenticeable occupations approved by the Minister of Labor and Employment. and Appeals rendered a decision.176. the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) affirmed with The Court of Appeals also held that petitioner illegally dismissed Palad. Articles 60 and 61 of the Labor Code provide: “ART.9 where it was held All other issues are likewise dismissed. premises considered. in addition. (c)ordering private respondent to reinstate petitioner to her former Registration and Approval by the TESDA of Apprenticeship Program Required position without loss of seniority rights and to pay her full backwages Before Hiring of Apprentices computed from the time compensation was withheld from her up to the The Labor Code defines an apprentice as a worker who is covered by a written time of her reinstatement. On 12 November 2001. 1. the respondents are hereby ordered to pay the complainant the amount The Court of Appeals held that the apprenticeship agreement which Palad signed of ONE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED THIRTY-TWO PESOS (P1.”6 condition sine qua non before an apprenticeship agreement can be validly entered into. (b)ordering private respondent to pay petitioner her underpayment in The Ruling of the Court wages. the decision of the Arbiter dated 25 February apprised of the required standard of performance.—Only employers in the highly technical SO ORDERED. Employment of apprentices. National Labor Relations Commission. the questioned decision of the NLRC is HOLDING THAT PETITIONER HAD NOT ADEQUATELY PROVEN THE hereby SET ASIDE and a new one entered. that prior approval by the DOLE of the proposed apprenticeship program is a SO ORDERED. (e)ordering private respondent to pay the costs of the suit.WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR IN for certiorari with the Court of Appeals.632.228. and apprenticeship standards for the protection of apprentices. The Court of Appeals EIGHT (P7.”7 Upon denial of Palad’s motion for reconsideration.WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR IN “WHEREFORE. representing was not valid and binding because it was executed more than two months before her last salary and the amount of SEVEN THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED TWENTY the TESDA approved petitioner’s apprenticeship program.00) PESOS representing her prorated 13th month pay. Palad filed a special civil action 1. the Court of HOLDING THAT PRIVATE RESPONDENT WAS NOT AN APPRENTICE. thus: Court of Appeals ruled that petitioner failed to show that Palad was properly “WHEREFORE. x 26 x 2 mos.However. All other dispositions of the Arbiter as appearing in the dispositive The Issues portion of his decision are AFFIRMED.00 (P138. cited Nitto Enterprises v. respondents are ordered to pay held that Palad was not afforded due process because petitioner did not comply complainant’s backwages for two (2) months in the amount of P7.). Petitioner raises the following issues: SO ORDERED.11 One of the objectives of Title II 4.12 In line with this 5. 2. to wit: EXISTENCE OF A VALID CAUSE IN TERMINATING THE SERVICE OF PRIVATE RE-SPONDENT. (d)ordering private respondent to pay petitioner attorney’s fees (Training and Employment of Special Workers) of the Labor Code is to establish equivalent to ten (10%) percent of the monetary award herein.

It is mandated that apprenticeship agreements entered apprenticeable occupation during an established period assured by an into by the employer and apprentice shall be entered only in accordance with apprenticeship agreement. private respondent’s assertion that he was Employment. the apprenticeship agreement was entered into between the parties and government and non-government agencies” and “to establish apprenticeship before petitioner filed its apprenticeship program with the TESDA for approval. therefore. l)“Apprentice Agreement” is a contract wherein a prospective employer Employment. Notwithstanding the absence of approval by the 1. an “SEC. He should rightly be considered as a regular employee of petitioner as defined by Article 280 of the Labor Code x x x. has transferred the be approved by the DOLE before an apprentice may be hired. the apprenticeship agreement was filed only on June 7. The period of apprenticeship can be fully enforced. k)“Apprentice” is a person undergoing training for an approved requirements of the law. standards for the protection of apprentices. Such private respondent was executed on May 28. (Emphasis supplied) not instantaneously give rise to an employer-apprentice relationship. 4. the apprenticeship agreement was theoretical instructions involving a contract between an apprentice enforced the day it was signed.” To translate such objectives into Petitioner and Palad executed the apprenticeship agreement on 17 July 1997 wherein it was stated that the training would start on 17 July 1997 and would end 4 .” On the same date. otherwise the person authority over apprenticeship programs from the Bureau of Local Employment of hired will be considered a regular employee. below the legal minimum wage. The Ministry shall develop standard model programs of hired not as an apprentice but as a delivery boy (“kargador” or “pahinante”) apprenticeship. 1990 allegedly employing the latter intent is clear under Section 4 of RA 7796: as an apprentice in the trade of “care maker/molder. Definition of Terms. the apprenticeship program duly approved by the Minister of Labor and 3. and an employer on an approved apprenticeable occupation. duties and responsibilities of each party. petitioner did not comply with the 2. a condition sine qua non before of training for a recognized apprenticeable occupation emphasizing an apprenticeship agreement can be validly entered into. 779615 (RA 7796). (Emphasis supplied)”14 In Nitto Enterprises v. the rights. ART. Apprenticeship agreements providing for wage rates agreements cannot be debased. National Labor Relations Commission. m)“Apprenticeable Occupation” is an occupation officially endorsed by a The act of filing the proposed apprenticeship program with the Department of tripartite body and approved for apprenticeship by the Authority Labor and Employment is a preliminary step towards its final approval and does [TESDA]”. which in no case shall start below 75 percent of Hence. shall conform to the rules secured as a condition sine qua non before any such apprenticeship agreement issued by the Minister of Labor and Employment.” (Emphasis supplied) deserves credence.13 the Court cited Article 61 of the Labor Code and held that an apprenticeship program should first Republic Act No. since the apprenticeship agreement between petitioner and private the applicable minimum wage. 61.—Apprenticeship existence. including the wage rates of apprentices.16 RA 7796 emphasizes TESDA’s approval of the “In the case at bench. The Court held: the DOLE to the TESDA. prior approval of the DOLE to any apprenticeship program has to be agreements. 4. Contents of apprenticeship agreements. 1990. The role of the DOLE in apprenticeship programs and shall not exceed six months. Article 57 of the Labor Code provides that the State aims to “establish a national apprenticeship program through the participation of employers.—As used in this Act: apprenticeship program was prepared by petitioner and submitted to the xxx Department of Labor and Employment. which created the TESDA. Based on the evidence before us. the apprenticeship agreement between petitioner and apprenticeship program as a pre-requisite for the hiring of apprentices. j)“Apprenticeship” training within employment with compulsory related Department of Labor and Employment. However. may be entered into only in accordance with respondent has no force and effect in the absence of a valid apprenticeship apprenticeship programs duly approved by the Minister of Labor and program duly approved by the DOLE. workers In this case. Prior approval by the Department of Labor and Employment of the binds himself to train the apprentice who in turn accepts the terms proposed apprenticeship program is.

an employer may terminate the specifically. she can only be dismissed for cause. Evidence. Under Section 25. complainant already passed the probationary status of the apprenticeship The requisite TESDA approval of the apprenticeship program prior to the hiring agreement of 200 hours at the time she was terminated on 28 November 1997 of apprentices was further emphasized by the DOLE with the issuance of which was already the fourth month of the apprenticeship period of 1000 hours. Department Order No. the be afforded an opportunity to be heard and to defend himself. the employer must send the employee notified of the results. Under Article 280 21 of the Labor Code. Palad is deemed a regular employee performing the job respondents’ evidence in this respect consisted of an indecipherable or of a “fish cleaner. is a big question mark. Prior approval from the TESDA VI. Under Article 27922 of the Labor Code. The only conclusion We can infer is that this evaluation was made belatedly. What clearly appears is that secure in their employment. 68-04. to be admissible in administrative proceedings. for poor which provides the guidelines in the implementation of the Apprenticeship and efficiency of performance on the job or in the classroom for a prolonged period Employment Program of the government. Thus. In this case. and (2) the employee must before the TESDA approved petitioner’s apprenticeship program. As such. being not only employment is deemed regular where the employee has been engaged to perform incomplete in the sense that appearing thereon is a signature (not that of com- activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of plainant) side by side with a date indicated as “1/16/98. approval its apprenticeship program. the apprenticeship agreement was enforced even (1) the dismissal must be for a just or authorized cause. 19 Thus. habitual absenteeism and is necessary to ensure that only employers in the highly technical industries may poor efficiency of performance are among the valid causes for which the employer employ apprentices and only in apprenticeable occupations. employers can only hire apprentices for apprenticeable occupations which However. This is of doubtful authenticity and/or credibility.” apprenticeship program. suffice possible abuses by prospective employers who may want to take advantage of the to state that the findings of the Arbiter that complainant was dismissed due to lower wage rates for apprentices and circumvent the right of the employees to be failure to meet the standards is nebulous. This is to ensure the protection of apprentices and to obviate “As to the validity of complainant’s dismissal in her status as an apprentice. Rule before the employer is allowed to hire apprentices. Department Order No. 5 . Besides the absence of any written agreement was enforced before the TESDA’s approval of petitioner’s warnings given to complainant reminding her of “poor performance. as shown that nothing thereon indicate that complainant was under Article 277(b)25of the Labor Code. to constitute valid dismissal from employment. 26 apprenticeship agreement is void because it lacked prior approval from the TESDA.20 We noted that no clear and sufficient evidence exist to warrant her dismissal Since Palad is not considered an apprentice because the apprenticeship as an apprentice during the agreed period. two requisites must concur: 26 September 1997. Arbitral level. under RA may terminate the apprenticeship agreement after the probationary period. a written notice stating the causes for termination lacks any credibility. 7796.” From the looks of it. this signature is close to and appertains to the typewritten position of “Division/Department Head”. specifically states that no enterprise despite warnings duly given to the apprentice. Its authenticity therefor. an complainant. 68-04 on 18 August 2004.24 Furthermore.” Clearly.” We shall now resolve whether petitioner illegally dismissed Palad. after the filing of the case and during the progress thereof in the services of an employee for just causes23 or for authorized causes. shall be allowed to hire apprentices unless its apprenticeship program is registered and approved by TESDA. petitioner submitted for and must give the employee the opportunity to be heard and to defend himself. which is below the signature of complainant’s Illegal Termination of Palad immediate superior who made the evaluation indicated as “11-15-97.17 On 25 July 1997. which the TESDA subsequently approved on Thus. the NLRC reversed the finding of the Labor Arbiter on the issue of must be officially endorsed by a tripartite body and approved for apprenticeship the legality of Palad’s termination: by the TESDA. under the Code. the job of a “fish cleaner” is necessary in petitioner’s unauthenticated xerox of the performance evaluation allegedly conducted on business as a tuna and sardines factory. the Labor Arbiter held that petitioner terminated Palad for The TESDA’s approval of the employer’s apprenticeship program is required habitual absenteeism and poor efficiency of performance. and hence who is about to be terminated.18 Clearly. in this case. Book II of the Implementing Rules of the Labor Code. the employer.approximately in December 1997.

6 . This. In fact. Under Article 227 of the Labor Code. it appears that the Labor Arbiter’s conclusion that petitioner validly Maritime Services. Even if petitioner did conduct a performance evaluation on Palad. respondents failed to comply Judgment and resolution affirmed. 263 SCRA terminated Palad was based mainly on the performance evaluation allegedly 174 [1996]) conducted by petitioner. National Labor Relations Commission. Carpio-Morales.. The records are bereft of evidence to show that petitioner ever gave Palad the opportunity to explain and defend herself. concur. where Palad received a performance rating of only 27. (Nitto supplied) Enterprises vs.must at least have a modicum of authenticity. the two requisites for a valid dismissal are lacking in this case. with. When the alleged valid cause for the termination of employment is not clearly proven. It was likewise not shown that petitioner ever apprised Palad of the performance standards set by the company.—Where the apprenticeship agreement has no force and effect.29 Furthermore. SO ORDERED. v. Palad was not accorded due process. as in this case. Jr.75%. National Labor Relations Commission. WHEREFORE. However. complainant is entitled to the payment of her wages for the Notes.R. Palad alleges that she had no knowledge of the performance evaluation conducted and that she was not even informed of the result of the alleged performance evaluation. we AFFIRM the Decision dated 12 November 2001 and the Resolution dated 5 April 2002 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. the law considers the matter a case of illegal dismissal. Palad did not receive the termination notice because Palad allegedly stopped reporting for work after being informed of the result of the evaluation. According to petitioner. Tingaand Velasco. In fact.28 Petitioner failed to substantiate its claim that Palad was terminated for valid reasons.” 27 (Emphasis worker hired as apprentice should be considered as a regular employee. SP No. nor was she given the chance to explain. the employer has the burden of proving that the termination was for a valid or authorized cause.” (Wallem Indeed. JJ. Clearly. As such. 248 SCRA 654[1995]) An “apprentice officer” cannot be considered a “superior of-ficer. Palad denies any knowledge of the performance evaluation conducted and of the result thereof. Quisumbing (Chairperson). Petitioner likewise admits that Palad did not receive the notice of termination30 because Palad allegedly stopped reporting for work. 60379. petitioner failed to warn Palad of her alleged poor performance. the remaining two (2) months of her apprenticeship agreement.. Petitioner merely relies on the performance evaluation to prove Palad’s inefficiency. the NLRC found that petitioner failed to prove the authenticity of the performance evaluation which petitioner claims to have conducted on Palad. Inc. Palad also claims she did not receive a notice of dismissal.