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OFFICERS OF MWEU Petitioner was a member of the Manila Water

GR NO. 201595 | JANUARY 25, 2016 Employees Union (MWEU), a Department of Labor
Del Castillo, J. and Employment (DOLE)-registered labor
eamtrinidad | Group 5 organization
Respondents were MWEU officers
RESPONDENTS/DEFENDANTS: OFFICERS OF MANILA o Quebral First vice-president and Treasurer
WATER EMPLOYEES UNION (MWEU), namely, EDUARDO o Cometa - Secretary
B. BORELA, BUENAVENTURA QUEBRAL, ELIZABETH MWEU thru Cometa wrote petitioner a letter
COMETA, ALEJANDRO TORRES, AMORSOLO TIERRA, informing him that the union couldnt deduct the
SOLEDAD YEBAN, LUIS RENDON, VIRGINIA APILADO, P200 increased union dues from his salary because
TERESITA BOLO, ROGELIO BARBERO, JOSE CASAAS, there he lacked the required December 2006 check-off
VENTURA, ALMENIO CANCINO, ADELA IMANA, MARIO o He was told that if he didnt pay union dues,
MANLAP AZ, EFREN MONTEMAYOR, NELSON o Boreal referred it to the Grievance
PAGULAYAN, CARLOS VILLA, RIC BRIONES, and CHITO Committee for investigation
BERNARDO A hearing was conducted, which petitioner attended.
The Committee recommended he be suspended for 30
TOPIC: days, which the MWEU Executive Board approved.
Independent Civil Actions Petitioner and his co-respondents said thru letter that
they wanted to appeal the decision to the General
CASE SUMMARY: Petitioner was a member of MWEU (union Membership Assembly
of MWC employees) but he failed to pay union fees multiple o DENIED by Borela, said period for appeal
times. Thus he was expelled from the union. He appealed, but expired
his appeals werent acted upon. He joined another union, Petitioner and co-respondents sent another letter
WATER-AFWC. Other MWEU wanted to transfer to WATER- reiterating it but the letter wasnt acted upon
AFWC, but the MWEU director, during negotiations of CBA LATER, petitioner was again charged with non-
between MWEU and MWC, submitted provisions that in event payment of union dues, and again penalized with a
of retrenchment, non-MWEU members would be the first to be 30-day suspension
removed. Petitioner then filed against respondents for unfair Tried to appeal again to the General Membership
labor practices, et cetera, before NLRC. LA, NLRC, and CA all Assembly but it wasnt acted upon
dismissed the complaints because it was allegedly an intra- Eventually, MWEU scheduled an election of officers
union dispute and thus jurisdiction should be with the BLR. SC o Petitioner filed certificate of candidacy for
held that although some of petitioners causes of action were VP but he was DQd because not being a
indeed with the BLR, his allegations of unfair labor practices member in good standing because he was
were within the jurisdiction of the NLRC. Also, Article 247 of suspended
the same Code provides that "the civil aspects of all cases AGAIN, he was charged for non-payment of union
involving unfair labor practices, which may include claims for dues (3rd time na bes). He didnt attend the hearing, so
actual, moral, exemplary and other forms of damages, he was given the penalty of expulsion from the union
attorneys fees and other affirmative relief, shall be under the o Tried to appeal again but no action
jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiters. A year later, during negotiations for a new collective
bargaining agreement (CBA) with MWC, petitioner
PRECEDENTS: joined another union called the Workers Association
People vs. Carmen: The court ruled that defendant for Transparency, Empowerment and Reform, All-
should be guilty. Filipino Workers Confederation (WATER-AFWC)
People vs. Juan: The court reversed People vs. o He was elected union President
Carmen. o Other MWEU members wanted to transfer to
WATER-AFWC, but MWEU director Torres
FACTS: threatened they wouldnt get benefits from
the new CBA
MWEU submitted proposed CBA that contained cognizable by the BLR under Article 226 of
provisions to the effect that in the event of the Labor Code.
retrenchment, non-MWEU members shall be removed o An intra-union dispute refers to any conflict
first, and that upon the signing of the CBA, only between and among union members,
MWEU members shall receive a signing bonus including grievances arising from any
Petitioner filed a complaint against respondents for violation of the rights and conditions of
unfair labor practices, damages, and attys fees before membership, violation of or disagreement
the NLRC over any provision of the unions
o Petitioner accused the respondents of illegal constitution and by-laws, or disputes arising
termination from MWEU in connection with from chartering or disaffiliation of the union.
the events relative to his non-payment of Sections 1 and 2, Rule XI of Department
union dues; unlawful interference, coercion, Order No. 40-03, Series of 2003 of the DOLE
and violation of the rights of MWC enumerate the following circumstances as
employees to self-organization in inter/intra-union disputes x x x.
connection with the proposed CBA Re: unfair labor practices
submitted by MWEU leadership, which o Petitioners charge of unfair labor practices
petitioner claims contained provisions that falls within the original and exclusive
discriminated against non-MWEU members. jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiters, pursuant
Respondents claimed that LA had no jurisdiction over to Article 217 of the Labor Code.
the dispute which is intra-union in nature; that the o In addition, Article 247 of the same Code
Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR) was the proper provides that "the civil aspects of all cases
venue, in accordance with Article 226 of the Labor involving unfair labor practices, which may
Code and Section 1, Rule XI of Department Order 40- include claims for actual, moral, exemplary
03, series of 2003, of the DOLE;26 and that they were and other forms of damages, attorneys fees
not guilty of unfair labor practices, discrimination, and other affirmative relief, shall be under
coercion or restraint. the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiters.
LA: The filing of the complaint is premature, referred o Unfair labor practices may be committed
the case back to Union level for the General Assembly both by the employer under Art 248 and by
to act on Mendozas appeal labor organizations under Art 249 of the
NLRC: Dismissed the complaint, no jurisdiction. Case Labor Code. (see provisions)
does not fall within Art 217 of the Labor Code. Falls o Only the officers, members of governing
under DOLE D.O. 40-03 boards, representatives or agents or
o Falls within jurisdiction of Bureau of Labor members of labor associations or
Relations organizations who have actually participated
o Denied petitioners MR in, authorized or ratified unfair labor
CA: No merit in petition. Intra-union dispute, hence practices shall be held criminally liable. (As
cognizable by the BLR, not NLRC amended by Batas Pambansa Bilang 130,
August 21, 1981).
ISSUES: o Petitioner claims that he was suspended and
WONthe NLRC had jurisdiction over petitioners expelled from MWEU illegally as a result of
causes of action the denial of his right to appeal his case to
o Insofar as the intra-union cases NO the general membership assembly in
o Insofar as the charge of unfair labor practices accordance with the unions constitution and
YES by-laws.
o On the other hand, respondents counter that
RULING: (Doctrine in bold letters) such charge is intra-union in nature, and that
1st issue: Partially granted. petitioner lost his right to appeal when he
Re: intra-union dispute failed to petition to convene the general
o It is true that some of petitioners causes of assembly through the required signature of
action constitute intra-union cases 30% of the union membership in good
standing pursuant to Article VI, Section 2(a)
of MWEUs Constitution and By-Laws or by failure to respond to plain and well
a petition of the majority of the general understood obligation."54 This warrants an
membership in good standing under Article award of moral damages in the amount of
VI, Section 3. P100,000.00. Moreover, the Civil Code
In regard to suspension of a union provides:
member, MWEUs Constitution and Art. 32. Any public officer or
By-Laws provides under Article X, employee, or any private
Section 4 thereof that "[a]ny individual, who directly or
suspended member shall have the indirectly obstructs, defeats,
right to appeal within three (3) violates or in any manner impedes
working days from the date of or impairs any of the following
notice of said suspension. In case of rights and liberties of another
an appeal a simple majority of vote person shall be liable to the latter
of the Executive Board shall be for damages:
necessary to nullify the o (12) The right to become a member of
suspension." associations or societies for purposes not
Thus, when an MWEU member is contrary to law;
suspended, he is given the right to Entitled to moral damages.
appeal such suspension within Also deserves exemplary damages. Under Article
three working days from the date of 2229 of the Civil Code, [e]xemplary or corrective
notice of said suspension, which damages are imposed, by way of example or
correction for the public good, in addition to the
appeal the MWEU Executive Board
moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory
is obligated to act upon by a simple
damages. As this court has stated in the past:
majority vote. When the penalty Exemplary damages are designed by our civil law to
imposed is expulsion, the expelled permit the courts to reshape behaviour that is socially
member is given seven days from deleterious in its consequence by creating negative
notice of said dismissal and/or incentives or deterrents against such behaviour.
expulsion to appeal to the Executive
Board, which is required to act by a DISPOSITIVE: WHEREFORE, the Petition is PARTIALLY
GRANTED. The assailed April 24, 2012 Decision of the Court
simple majority vote of its
of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 115639 is hereby MODIFIED, in
members. The Boards decision that all of the respondents - except for Carlos Villa, Ric Briones,
shall then be approved/ and Chito Bernardo - are declared guilty of unfair labor
disapproved by a majority vote of practices and ORDERED TO INDEMNIFY petitioner Allan M.
the general membership assembly Mendoza the amounts of Pl00,000.00 as and by way of moral
in a meeting duly called for the damages, PS0,000.00 as exemplary damages, and attorney's
fees equivalent to 10 per cent (10%) of the total award.
o As members of the governing board of
MWEU, respondents are presumed to know,
observe, and apply the unions constitution PROVISIONS:
and by-laws. Thus, their repeated violations ART. 217. Jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiters and the
thereof and their disregard of petitioners Commission.
rights as a union member their inaction on (a) Except as otherwise provided under this Code, the
his two appeals which resulted in his Labor Arbiters shall have original and exclusive
suspension, disqualification from running as jurisdiction to hear and decide, within thirty (30)
MWEU officer, and subsequent expulsion calendar days after the submission of the case by the
without being accorded the full benefits of parties for decision without extension, even in the
due process connote willfulness and bad absence of stenographic notes, the following cases
faith, a gross disregard of his rights thus involving all workers, whether agricultural or non-
causing untold suffering, oppression and, agricultural:
ultimately, ostracism from MWEU. "Bad 1. Unfair labor practice cases;
faith implies breach of faith and willful 2. Termination disputes;
3. If accompanied with a claim for reinstatement,
those cases that workers may file involving wages,
rates of pay, hours of work and other terms and
conditions of employment;
4. Claims for actual, moral, exemplary and other
forms of damages arising from the employer-
employee relations;
5. Cases arising from any violation of Article 264 of
this Code, including questions involving the legality
of strikes and lockouts; and
6. Except claims for Employees Compensation, Social
Security, Medicare and maternity benefits, all other
claims arising from employer-employee relations,
including those of persons in domestic or household
service, involving an amount exceeding five thousand
pesos (P5,000.00) regardless of whether accompanied
with a claim for reinstatement.
(b) The Commission shall have exclusive appellate
jurisdiction over all cases decided by Labor Arbiters.
(c) Cases arising from the interpretation or
implementation of collective bargaining agreements
and those arising from the interpretation or
enforcement of company personnel policies shall be
disposed of by the Labor Arbiter by referring the
same to the grievance machinery and voluntary
arbitration as may be provided in said agreements.
ART. 249. Unfair labor practices of labor
organizations. - It shall be unfair labor practice for a
labor organization, its officers, agents or
(a) To restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of
their right to self-organization. However, a labor
organization shall have the right to prescribe its own
rules with respect to the acquisition or retention of
(b) x x x x
ART. 226. Bureau of Labor Relations. - The Bureau of
Labor Relations and the Labor Relations Divisions in
the regional offices of the Department of Labor, shall
have original and exclusive authority to act, at their
own initiative or upon request of either or both
parties, on all inter-union and intra-union conflicts,
and all disputes, grievances or problems arising from
or affecting labor-management relations in all
workplaces, whether agricultural or non-agricultural,
except those arising from the implementation or
interpretation of collective bargaining agreements
which shall be the subject of grievance procedure
and/or voluntary arbitration.
The Bureau shall have fifteen (15) working days to act
on labor cases before it, subject to extension by
agreement of the parties. (Art. 226 and other specific
provisions of the Labor Code have since been
renumbered as a result of the passage of Republic Act
No. 10151 [2011])