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G.R. No. 178837
01 September 2014

Petition for review on certiorari of a CA decision & resolution

J. Peralta
F: o Respondent was hired by petitioner as a teacher in the elementary department. Controversy between
the parties arose when several parents of students under respondent’s class went to the Principal
Office to lodge a complaint against respondent –alleging that the student who landed in the top of
the Honor Roll seemed not to be the best in class.
o Petitioner’s investigation revealed that certain discrepancies in the entries of grades in respondent’s
Dirty Record Book against her Clean Record Book. It was further discovered that there were erasures
on certain grades in the Clean Record Book.
o Petitioner then sent a letter to respondent detailing the parents’ complaints & the aforementioned
discrepancies. Respondent was given 72 hours from receipt thereof to explain why she should not be
charged with tampering with school records. However, respondent refused to receive said letter,
prompting petitioner to send the same by registered mail & LBC Express.
o Thus, Fr. Edwin Lao arranged for a conference with respondent during which the former explained to
her why she should give her side in writing, otherwise she would be terminated without further
investigation as her refusal will be taken as a waiver of her right to be heard. Respondent still refused
to give her side.
o The matter was forwarded to the Head of Human Resource Division Ms. Maduli who attempted to
serve the letter of termination to respondent. However, respondent relentlessly refused to receive &
affix her signature. Instead, she asked that she not be required to receive the termination letter since
she is considering filing a resignation letter the next day. However, respondent failed to return &
stopped reporting to the school.
o Respondent filed a complaint for illegal dismissal & damages before the LA claiming that she was
dismissed without cause & in violation of her right to due process.
o LA: Found respondent’s dismissal as valid & legal.
o NLRC: Modified the decision – awarded respondent separation benefits at the rate of 1 month salary
for every year of service.
o On reconsideration, the NLRC reconsidered its previous decision & found that respondent had not
perfected her appeal due to lack of certification of non-forum shopping. Thus, it affirmed the LA
o CA: Reversed NLRC decision & found that respondent was illegally dismissed.
o With their motion for reconsideration having been denied, petitioner filed the instant petition.
I: (1) Whether or not the failure to attach a certification of non-forum shopping to a Memorandum of
Appeal is a ground for dismissal.
(2) Whether or not the case at bar warrants a liberal application of the NLRC Rules of Procedure.
H: (1) Yes.
(2) No. Petition granted. NLRC decision reinstated.
R: Respondent filed the appeal before the NLRC without attaching a certification of non-forum shopping to
her notice of appeal, despite the categorical requirement provided by Sec. 4, Rule VI of the NLRC Rules
of Procedure. Her explanations (1) that she assumed that the certification was not so much required due
to the well-established rule that the cases before the DOLE should be decided on the merits & not on mere
technicalities; and (2) that her counsel was not aware that it is required, is simply unacceptable. Such is in
fact an affront to the administration of justice, & cannot be considered as a special circumstance or
compelling reason that would justify tempering the hard consequence of the procedural requirement on
non-forum shopping.
The merit of respondent’s case does not warrant the liberal application of the NLRC Rules of Procedure. It
must be emphasized that procedural rules should not be belittled or dismissed simply because their non-
observance might result in prejudice to a party’s substantial rights. Like all rules, they are required to be
followed except only for the most persuasive reasons.