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A cause of action is the delict or wrongful act or omission


G.R. No. 191825, October 05, 2016 committed by the defendant in violation of the primary right of
the plaintiff. A complaint before the NLRC does not contain
specific allegations of these wrongful acts or omissions which
DEE JAY'S INN AND CAFE AND/OR MELINDA constitute the cause of action. All that it contains is the term by
FERRARIS, Petitioners, v. MA. LORINA which such acts or omissions complained of are generally
RAÑESES, Respondent. known. It cannot therefore be considered as the final
Petitioners argue that the present case is governed by the determinant of the cause of action. (Citation omitted.)
2005 NLRC Rules of Procedure, which had already supplanted In the more recent Our Haus Realty Development Corporation
the 2002 NLRC Rules of Procedure. Under the 2005 NLRC v. Parian,24 which cited Samar-Med Distribution v. National
Rules of Procedure, only the causes of action that were Labor Relations Commission,25cralawred the Court further
pleaded in a complaint would be entertained. Petitioners, in expounded:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
addition, assert that respondent was not dismissed from A claim not raised in the pro forma complaint may still be
employment; instead, respondent did not report for work raised in the position paper.
anymore after petitioner Ferraris scolded respondent and
Moonyeen on February 4, 2005 regarding the P400.00 Our Haus questions the respondents' entitlement to SIL pay by
shortage in the earnings of petitioner DJIC for the day. pointing out that this claim was not included in the pro
Petitioners insist that they never used "abandonment" as a forma complaint filed with the NLRC. However, we agree with
defense in the termination of respondent's employment; and the CA that such omission does not bar the labor tribunals from
they merely alleged that respondent never returned to work touching upon this cause of action since this was raised and
anymore after the scolding incident. discussed in the respondents' position paper. In Samar-Med
Distribution v. National Labor Relations Commission, we
The Court first addresses the procedural issue raised by held:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
petitioners. Firstly, petitioner's contention that the validity of Gutang's
dismissal should not be determined because it had not been
The record shows that respondent filed her complaint included in his complaint before the NLRC is bereft of merit.
sometime in January 2005 and position paper on September 8, The complaint of Gutang was a mere checklist of possible
2005. During said period, the 2002 NLRC Rules of Procedure, causes of action that he might have against Roleda. Such
as amended by NLRC Resolution No. 01-02, was still in effect. manner of preparing the complaint was obviously designed to
The 2005 Revised Rules of Procedure of the NLRC only took facilitate the filing of complaints by employees and laborers
effect on January 7, 2006.22chanrobleslaw who are thereby enabled to expediently set forth their
grievances in a general manner. But the non-inclusion in the
Section 4, Rule V of the 2002 NLRC Rules of Procedure, as complaint of the issue on the dismissal did not necessarily
amended, provides:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary mean that the validity of the dismissal could not be an
Section 4. Submission of Position Papers/Memoranda. - issue. The rules of the NLRC require the submission of verified
Without prejudice to the provisions of the last paragraph, position papers by the parties should they fail to agree upon an
Section 2, of this Rule, the Labor Arbiter shall direct both amicable settlement, and bar the inclusion of any cause of
parties to submit simultaneously their position papers with action not mentioned in the complaint or position paper from
supporting documents and affidavits within an inextendible the time of their submission by the parties. In view of this,
period of ten (10) days from notice of termination of the Gutang's cause of action should be ascertained not from a
mandatory conference. reading of his complaint alone but also from
a consideration and evaluation of both his complaint and
These verified position papers to be submitted shall cover position paper. (Citations omitted.)
only those claims and causes of action raised in the complaint The Court observes herein that respondent could not have
excluding those that may have been amicably settled, and shall included the charge of illegal dismis al in her complaint
be accompanied by all supporting documents including the because she filed said complaint (which were for various
affidavits of their respective witnesses which shall take the money claims against petitioners) in January 2005, and
place of the latter's direct testimony. The parties shall petitioners purportedly dismissed her from employment only
thereafter not be allowed to allege facts, or present on February 5, 2005. However, since respondent
evidence to prove facts, not referred to and any cause or subsequently alleged and argued the matter of her illegal
causes of action not included in the complaint or position dismissal in her position paper filed on September 8, 2005,
papers, affidavits and other documents. (Emphases then the Labor Arbiter could still take cognizance of the same.
supplied.)
Stated differently, the parties could allege and present Nevertheless, on the substantive issue of whether or not
evidence to prove any cause or causes of action included, not respondent was illegally dismissed, the Court answers in the
only in the complaint, but in the position papers as well. As negative.
the Court explained in Tegimenta Chemical Phils. v.
Buensalida23:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary The Court of Appeals was correct in its observation that the
[T]he complaint is not the only document from which the Labor Arbiter's quote on the shifting of the burden of proof in
complainant's cause of action is determined in a labor case. dismissal cases, supposedly from De Paul, could not actually
Any aause of action that may not have been included in the be found in said case. Yet, it does not necessarily mean that
complaint or position paper, can no longer be alleged after the the Labor Arbiter's ruling on the matter was fallacious or
position paper is submitted by the parties. In other words, the entirely baseless.
filing of the position paper is the operative act which
forecloses the raising of other matters constitutive of the In Exodus International Construction Corporation v.
cause of action. This necessarily implies that the cause of Biscocho,26 the Court pronounced that "[i]n illegal dismissal
action is finally ascertained only after both the complaint cases, it is incumbent upon the employees to first establish the
and position paper are properly evaluated. fact of their dismiss before the burden is shifted to the
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employer to prove that the dismissal was legal." The Court alleged that Lumahan did not report for work anymore by a
then explained that:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary certain date but did not raise abandonment as a defense.
"[T]his Court is not unmindful of the rule that in cases of illegal Quoted extensively below are the relevant portions from the
dismissal, the employer bears the burden of proof to prove that ruling of the Court in Nightowl:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
the termination was for a valid or authorized cause." But The CA erred in finding grave abuse of discretion in the
"[b]efore the [petitioners] must bear the burden of proving that NLRC's factual conclusion that Lumahan was not
the dismissal was legal, [the respondents] must first establish dismissed from work.
by substantial evidence" that indeed they were dismissed. "[I]f
there is no dismissal, then there can be no question as to the In every employee dismissal case, the employer bears the
legality or illegality thereof."27 (Citations omitted.) burden of proving the validity of the employee's
The Court, in Cañedo v. Kampilan Security and Detective dismissal, i.e., the existence of just or authorized cause for
Agency, Inc.,28 expressly recognized the rule the dismissal and the observance of the due process
that:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary requirements. The employer's burden of proof, however;
In illegal dismissal cases, "[w]hile the employer bears the presupposes that the employee had in fact been
burden x x x to prove that the termination was for a valid or dismissed, with the burden to prove the fact of dismissal
authorized cause, the employee must first establish by resting on the employee. Without any dismissal action on
substantial evidence the fact of dismissal from service." The the part of the employer, valid or otherwise, no burden to
burden of proving the allegations rests upon the party alleging prove just or authorized cause arises.
and the proof must be clear, positive and convincing. Thus, in
this case, it is incumbent upon petitioner to prove his claim of We find that the CA erred in disregarding the NLRC's
dismissal. (Citations omitted.) conclusion that there had been no dismissal, and in
The Court reiterated in Brown Madonna Press, Inc. v. immediately proceeding to tackle Nightowl's defense that
Casas,29 that "[i]n illegal dismissal cases, the employer has the Lumahan abandoned his work.
burden of proving that the employee's dismissal was legal. The CA should have first considered whether there had been a
However, to discharge this burden, the employee must first dismissal in the first place. To our mind, the CA missed this
prove, by substantial evidence, that he had been dismissed crucial point as it presumed that Lumahan had actually been
from employment." dismissed. The CA's failure to properly appreciate this point -
which led to its erroneous conclusion - constitutes reversible
It bears to point out that in the case at bar, the Labor Arbiter, error that justifies the Court's exercise of its factual review
the NLRC, and even the Court of Appeals, all consistently power.
found that respondent was not able to present substantial We support the NLRC's approach of first evaluating whether
evidence of her dismissal. They all rejected the joint affidavit of the employee had been dismissed, and find that it committed
Mercy and Mea, submitted by respondent, for being partial and no grave abuse of discretion in factually concluding that
biased. It appears that Mercy and Mea executed said affidavits Lumahan had not been dismissed from work.
to return a favor as respondent testified for them in their own
cases against petitioners. The Court of Appeals only deviated It should be remembered that in cases before
from the findings of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC by also administrative and quasi-judicial agencies like the NLRC,
disregarding Eva's affidavit, submitted by petitioners to the degree of evidence required to be met is substantial
corroborate their allegations, for being insufficient to prove evidence, or such amount of relevant evidence that a
abandonment. The appellate court then applied the equipoise reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a
doctrine: with all things considered equal, all doubts must be conclusion. In a situation where the word of another party
resolved in favor of labor, that is, respondent. is taken against the other, as in this case, we must rely on
substantial evidence because a party alleging a critical
Given the jurisprudence cited in the preceding paragraphs, the fact must duly substantiate and support its allegation.
application by the Court of Appeals of the equipoise doctrine
and the rule that all doubts should be resolved in favor of labor We agree with the NLRC that Lumahan stopped reporting for
was misplaced. Without the joint affidavit of Mercy and Mea, work on April 22, 1999, and never returned, as Nightowl
there only remained the bare allegation of respondent that she sufficiently supported this position with documentary evidence.
was dismissed by petitioners on February 5, 2005, which
hardly constitute substantial evidence of her dismissal. As both In contrast, Lumahan failed to refute, with supporting evidence,
the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC held, since respondent was Nightowl's contention that he did not report for work on April
unable to establish with substantial evidence her dismissal 22, 1999, and failed as well to prove that he continued working
from employment, the burden of proof did not shift to from such date to May 15, 1999. What we can only gather from
petitioners to prove that her dismissal was for just or authorized his claim was that he did not work from May 16, 1999 to June
cause. 8, 1999; but this was after the substantially proven fact that he
had already stopped working on April 22, 1999.
As pointed out by petitioners, they never raised abandonment
as a defense as there was no dismissal in the first place. In addition, we find that Lumahan failed to substantiate his
Petitioners did not argue that respondent abandoned her work claim that he was constructively dismissed when Nightowl
which justified her dismissal from employment. Petitioners allegedly refused to accept him back when he allegedly
merely alleged the fact that respondent, after being scolded on reported for work from April 22, 1999 to June 9, 1999. In short,
February 4, 2005, no longer returned to work beginning Lumahan did not present any evidence to prove that he had, in
February 5, 2005, which was corroborated by one of fact, reported back to work.
petitioners' employees, Eva, in her affidavit.
x x x x
Similar to this case is the factual background in Nightowl
Watchman & Security Agency, Inc. v. Lumahan,30 in which In the case before us, the CA clearly ignored certain
Lumahan, the employee, asserted, but failed to prove, that he compelling facts and misread the evidence on record by relying
was constructively dismissed; while Nightowl, the employer, on LA Demaisip's erroneous appreciation of facts. Under the
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circumstances, the NLRC acted well within its jurisdiction in abandonment.


finding that Lumahan had not been dismissed. Otherwise
stated, by reversing the ruling that there was no dismissal to Besides, Nightowl did not say that Lumahan "abandoned his
speak of, the CA committed a reversible error in finding grave work"; rather, Nightowl stated that Lumahan "abandoned his
abuse of discretion on the part of the NLRC. post" at Steelwork. When read together with its arguments,
what this phrase simply means is that Lumahan abandoned his
Grave abuse of discretion implies a capricious and whimsical assignment at Steelwork; nonetheless, Nightowl still
exercise of judgment equivalent to lack of jurisdiction, or the considered him as its employee whose return they had been
exercise of power in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason waiting for.
of passion or personal hostility; or in a manner so patent and
gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty enjoined or to Finally, failure to send notices to Lumahan to report back to
act at all in contemplation of law. It is not sufficient that a work should not be taken against Nightowl despite the fact that
tribunal, or a quasi-judicial agency of the government, in the it would have been prudent, given the circumstance, had it
exercise of its power, abused its discretion; such abuse must done so. Report to work notices are required, as an aspect of
be grave. procedural due process, only in situations involving the
dismissal, or the possibility of dismissal, of the employee.
All told, we cannot agree with the CA in finding that the NLRC Verily, report-to-work notices could not be required when
committed grave abuse of discretion in evaluating the facts dismissal, or the possibility of dismissal, of the employee does
based on the records and in concluding therefrom that not exist. (Emphases supplied, citations omitted.)
Lumahan had not been dismissed. In a case where the employee was neither found to have been
dismissed nor to have abandoned his/her work, the general
The CA erred when it considered "abandonment of work" course of action is for the Court to dismiss the complaint, direct
generally understood in employee dismissal situations the employee to return to work, and order the employer to
despite the fact that Nightowl never raised it as a defense. accept the employee.31 However, the Court recognized
in Nightowlthat when a considerable length of time had already
As no dismissal was carried out in this case, any passed rendering it impossible for the employee to return to
consideration of abandonment - as a defense raised by an work, the award of separation pay is proper. Considering that
employer in dismissal situations - was clearly misplaced. more than ten (10) years had passed since respondent
To our mind, the CA again committed a reversible error in stopped reporting for work on February 5, 2005, up to the date
considering that Nightowl raised abandonment as a of this judgment, it is no longer possible and reasonable for the
defense. Court to direct respondent to return to work and order
petitioners to accept her. Under the circumstances, it is just
Abandonment, as understood under our labor laws, refers and equitable for the Court instead to award respondent
to the deliberate and unjustified refusal of an employee to separation pay in an amount equivalent to one (1) month salary
resume his employment. It is a form of neglect of duty that for every year of service, computed up to the time she stopped
constitutes just cause for the employer to dismiss the working, or until February 4, 2005.
employee.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition
Under this construct, abandonment is a defense available is GRANTED. The Decision dated April 29, 2009 and
against the employee who alleges a dismissal. Thus, for the Resolution dated February 8, 2010 of the Court of Appeals in
employer "to successfully invoke abandonment, whether as a CA-G.R. SP No. 01877-MIN is REVERSEDand SET ASIDE.
ground for dismissing an employee or as a defense, the The Resolution dated August 30, 2006 of the National Labor
employer bears the burden of proving the employee's Relations Commission in NLRC CA No. M-009173-06,
unjustified refusal to resume his employment." This burden, of affirming en toto the Decision dated February 21, 2006 of the
course, proceeds from the general rule that places the burden Labor Arbiter in RAB 12-01-00026-05,
on the employer to prove the validity of the dismissal. is REINSTATED with MODIFICATION that petitioners Dee
Jay's Inn and Cafe and Melinda Ferraris, for just and equitable
The CA, agreeing with LA Demaisip, concluded that Lumahan reasons extant in this case, are additionally ORDERED to
was illegally dismissed because Nightowl failed to prove the jointly and severally pay respondent Ma. Lorina P. Rañeses
existence of an overt act showing Lumahan's intention to sever separation pay equivalent to one (1) month salary for every
his employment. To the CA, the fact that Nightowl failed to year of service, computed up to the time she stopped working,
send Lumahan notices for him to report back to work all the or until February 4, 2005.
more showed no abandonment took place.
_____________________________________________
The critical point the CA missed, however, was the fact
that Nightowl never raised abandonment as a defense.
What Nightowl persistently argued was that Lumahan G.R. No. 217455, October 05, 2016
stopped reporting for work beginning April 22, 1999; and
that it had been waiting for Lumahan to show up so that it could
impose on him the necessary disciplinary action for OYSTER PLAZA HOTEL, ROLITO GO, AND JENNIFER
abandoning his post at Steelwork, only to learn that Lumahan AMPEL, Petitioners, v. ERROL O. MELIVO, Respondent.
had filed an illegal dismissal complaint. Nightowl did not at all The petitioners argue, first, that the service of summons was
argue that Lumahan had abandoned his work, thereby defective leaving the proceedings before the LA and the NLRC,
warranting the termination of his employment. and the decisions they rendered, void; that neither Miraña nor
Ampel was authorized to receive the summons for Oyster
Significantly, the CA construed these arguments as Plaza/MDC because they were not its president, manager,
abandonment of work under the labor law construct. We secretary, cashier, agent, director, corporate secretary, or in-
find it clear, however, that Nightowl did not dismiss house counsel; that Ampel did not receive any summons; that
Lumahan; hence, it never raised the defense of Go never received any summons in the New Bilibid Prisons in
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Muntinlupa City, where he was serving his sentence; that the part of the petitioners. In this case, the petitioners clearly
Oyster Plaza, being a mere name and business style, could not failed to discharge that burden.
be sued because it had no legal personality; and that the
summons and notices addressed to Oyster Plaza could not The Court concurs with the CA that the failure to implead MDC
bind MDC. in the proceedings before the LA and the NLRC was merely a
procedural error which did not divest the labor tribunals of their
Second, on the assumption that the summons was validly jurisdiction. In Pison-Arceo Agricultural Development Corp. vs.
served, the petitioners argue that Melivo was not illegally NLRC (Pison-Arceo),28 which involved the resolution of
dismissed because he was not a regular employee but merely substantially the same issue, the Court held
a fixed-term employee. Lastly, assuming that Oyster Plaza was that:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
liable, Go could not be made solidarity liable because he was X x x. There is no dispute that Hacienda Lanutan, which was
no longer connected with the hotel Neither could Ampel be owned SOLELY by petitioner, was impleaded and was heard. If
held solidarity liable as there was no proof that she acted in at all, the non-inclusion of the corporate name of
bad faith. petitioner in the case before the executive labor arbiter was a
mere procedural error which did not at all affect the jurisdiction
In his Comment,24 dated October 23, 2015, Melivo refuted the of the labor tribunals.29 [Emphasis supplied]
petitioners' arguments. He countered that in quasi-judicial chanrobleslaw
proceedings before the NLRC and its arbitration branch, By the petitioners' own admission, Oyster Plaza was owned
procedural rules governing service of summons were not and operated by MDC. This was further underscored in the
strictly construed; that the service of summons and notices petitioners' Verification/Certification,30 dated December 8,
substantially complied with the requirements of the 2005 2011, attached to their petition before the CA. It was stated
Revised NLRC Rules of Procedure; that the non-inclusion of therein that "Elsa Go is the authorized representative of
the corporate name of MDC was a mere procedural error which petitioner Oyster Plaza Hotel/Martyniuk Development
did not affect the jurisdiction of the labor tribunals; that Go and Corporation." Applying the pronouncement in Pison-Arceo, the
Ampel were responsible officers of Oyster Plaza; and that failure to include MDC's corporate name in the complaint did
Melivo's dismissal was done in bad faith because he was not necessarily result in the loss of the labor tribunals'
verbally and arbitrarily dismissed. jurisdiction over the former. The said failure was but a
procedural blunder which did not render the labor proceedings
In their Reply,25 dated March 23, 2016, the petitioners merely void, so long as the dictates of justice were substantially
reiterated the arguments they raised in their petition. complied with.
The Court's Ruling
Further, the essence of due process is simply an opportunity to
be heard or, as applied to administrative proceedings, an
The petition is partly meritorious. opportunity to explain one's side or to seek a reconsideration of
the action or ruling complained of. What the law prohibits is the
Petitioners were Not Deprived of their absolute absence of the opportunity to be heard; hence, a
Right to Due Process party cannot feign denial of due process where he had been
afforded the opportunity to present his side. 31
In quasi-judicial proceedings before the NLRC and its
arbitration branch, procedural rules governing service of The Court notes that even though the petitioners failed to
summons are not strictly construed. Substantial compliance participate in the proceedings before the LA, they were able to
thereof is sufficient. The constitutional requirement of due argue their case before the NLRC. The petitioners, through
process with respect to service of summons only exacts that their pleadings, were able to argue their position and submit
the service of summons be such as may reasonably be evidence in support of their position that they did not receive
expected to give the notice desired. Once the service provided the summons and notices from the LA; and that Melivo was not
by the rules reasonably accomplishes that end, the illegally dismissed.
requirement of justice is answered, the traditional notion of fair
play is satisfied, and due process is served. 26 Evidently, the petitioners' contention that they were denied due
process is devoid of any merit.
In Scenarios, Inc. vs. Vinluan,27 the Court considered as
substantial compliance the service of summons by registered Melivo was Illegally Dismissed
mail at the respondent's place of business. The Court
explained therein that technical rules of procedure were not Anent the issue of illegal dismissal, the CA correctly affirmed
strictly applied in quasi-judicial proceedings and only the ruling of the NLRC.
substantial compliance was required; and that the notation in
the registry receipt that "a registered article must not be Probation is the period during which the employer may
delivered to anyone but the addressee, or upon the determine if the employee is qualified for possible inclusion in
addressee's written order" creates the presumption that the the regular force.32 The employer has the right or is at liberty to
persons who received the summons and notice were choose who will be hired and who will be denied employment.
presumably able to present a written authorization to receive In that sense, it is within the exercise of the right to select his
them and, therefore, the notices were presumed to be duly employees that the employer may set or fix a probationary
received in the ordinary course of events. period within which the latter may test and observe the conduct
of the former before hiring him permanently. 33 An employee
Similarly, in this case, the summons and notices were served allowed to work beyond the probationary period is deemed a
by registered mail at the petitioners' place of business. Thus, regular employee.34
the person who received the same was presumed authorized
to do so. Consequently, the summons and notices were In Holiday Inn Manila vs. NLRC (Holiday Inn),35 the Court
presumed to be duly served. The burden of proving the considered therein complainant's 3-week on-the-job
irregularity in the service of summons and notices, if any, is on training (OJT) period as her probationary employment period.
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The Court explained that the complainant was certainly under which can justify Go and Ampel's solidary liability with Oyster
observation during her 3-week OJT such that if her services Plaza or MDC. As to Ampel, records reveal that her
proved unsatisfactory, she could have been dropped anytime participation in the illegal dismissal was her verbally informing
during said period. On the other hand, when her services were Melivo that his services were being terminated; and the said
continued after her training, the employer in effect recognized act could hardly be considered malicious enough to make
that she had passed probation and was qualified to be a Ampel solidarity liable with Oyster Plaza or MDC.
regular employee. Thus, the Court ruled that the complainant
therein attained regular employment status when she was With regard to Go, aside from the assertion that he was the
formally placed under probation after her OJT. owner of Oyster Plaza, no other act, relating to Melivo's illegal
dismissal, was ever averred against him. Besides, Go's relation
The present case involves substantially the same factual with Oyster Plaza or MDC was only based from the bare
considerations as that of Holiday Inn. In this case, Melivo was allegations of Melivo who failed to provide substantial evidence
first hired as a trainee in August 2008. His training lasted for to prove them. It is of no moment that Go failed to produce
three (3) months. As a room boy, his performance was evidence to show that he was no longer connected with MDC
certainly under observation. Thus, it can be reasonably or Oyster Plaza. Melivo should have relied on the strength of
deduced that Melivo's probationary employment actually his evidence and not on the weakness of the defense offered
started in August 2008, at the same time he started working as by the petitioners.39 Clearly, without any participation in the
a trainee. Therefore, when he was re-hired as room boy after illegal dismissal of Melivo, no malice or bad faith can be
his training period sometime in November 2008 he attained attributed to Go to justify his solidary liability with Oyster Plaza.
regular employment status. In fine, the petition must be partially granted to the effect that
only Oyster Plaza/MDC should be adjudged liable to Melivo.
Assuming arguendo that the 3-month training period could be
considered a probationary period, the conclusion would still be Finally, pursuant to Nacar v. Gallery Frames,40 this Court finds
the same. It should be remembered that Melivo was again that the award of the CA should be modified in that the total
employed as a room boy in November 2008 under monetary awards shall earn interest at the rate of 12% per
probationary status for five (5) months or until March 2009. annum from the date Melivo was terminated from work until
Records would show that Melivo had completed his June 30, 2013, and 6% per annum from July 1, 2013 until their
probationary employment. Thus, when Oyster Plaza re-hired full satisfaction.
him for the third time on April 7, 2009, he became its regular
employee thereof. WHEREFORE, the petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. The
April 30, 2014 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP
The petitioners' contention that Melivo was hired as a project No. 122767 is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in that only
employee is untenable. Under Article 280 of the Labor Code, Oyster Plaza Hotel/Martyniuk Development Corporation
as amended, a project employee is one whose employment is ORDERED to reinstate Melivo to his former position without
has been fixed for a specific project or undertaking, the loss of seniority rights; and to pay Melivo his backwages,
completion or termination of which has been determined at the proportionate 13th month pay, and attorney's fees equivalent to
time of the engagement of the employee. Here, the contract of 10% of the monetary awards.
employment failed to indicate the specific project or
undertaking for which Oyster Plaza sought Melivo's services. The total monetary awards shall earn interest at the rate of
Moreover, as correctly noted by the NLRC, the petitioners 12% per annum from the date that Melivo was illegally
failed to submit a report of Melivo's termination to the nearest terminated from work until June 30, 2013, and 6% per annum
public employment office, as required under Section 2 of D.O. from July 1, 2013 until their full satisfaction.
No. 19.
_______________________________________________
As a regular employee, Melivo could only be dismissed for just
or authorized causes after affording him the procedural G.R. No. 207156
requirement of notice and hearing. The petitioners failed to
adduce evidence that Melivo's dismissal was for a just or
authorized cause, or that he was sufficiently notified and given TURKS SHAWARMA COMPANY/GEM
opportunity to be heard why his employment should not be ZEÑAROSA, Petitioners,
terminated. Hence, Melivo's dismissal was illegal. vs.
FELICIANO Z. PAJARON and LARRY A.
Go and Ampel cannot be held Solidarity CARBONILLA, Respondents.
Liable with Oyster Plaza/MDC
Our Ruling
A corporation, being a juridical entity, may act only through its
directors, officers and employees. Obligations incurred by The Petition has no merit.
them, acting as such corporate agents, are not theirs but the
direct accountabilities of the corporation they
represent.36 Pursuant to this principle, a director, officer or The Court has time and again held that "[t]he right to appeal is
employee of a corporation is generally not held personally neither a natural right nor is it a component of due process. It is
liable for obligations incurred by the corporation; it is only in a mere statutory privilege, and may be exercised only in the
exceptional circumstances that solidary liability will attach to manner and in accordance with the provisions of the
them.37 Thus, in labor cases, corporate directors and officers law."19 "The party who seeks to avail of the same must comply
are held solidarity liable with the corporation for the employee's with the requirements of the rules. Failing to do so, the right to
termination only when the same is done with malice or in bad appeal is lost."20
faith.38
Article 223 of the Labor Code, which sets forth the rules on
In the present case, there is nothing substantial on record appeal from the Labor Arbiter's monetary award, provides:
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ART. 223. Appeal. --- Decisions, awards, or orders of the Labor without complying with the requisites in the preceding
Arbiter are final and executory unless appealed to the paragraphs shall not stop the running of the period to perfect
Commission by any or both parties within ten (10) calendar an appeal.
days from receipt of such decisions, awards, or orders. Such
appeal may be entertained only on any off the following "It is clear from both the Labor Code and the NLRC Rules of
grounds: Procedure that there is legislative and administrative intent to
strictly apply the appeal bond requirement, and the Court
(a) If there is prima facie evidence of abuse of discretion on the should give utmost regard to this intention."21 The posting of
part of the Labor Arbiter; cash or surety bond is therefore mandatory and jurisdictional;
failure to comply with this requirement renders the decision of
(b) If the decision, order or award was secured through fraud or the Labor Arbiter final and executory.22 This indispensable
coercion, including graft and corruption; requisite for the perfection of an appeal ''is to assure the
workers that if they finally prevail in the case[,] the monetary
award will be given to them upon the dismissal of the
(c) If made purely on questions of law; and employer's appeal [and] is further meant to discourage
employers from using the appeal to delay or evade payment of
(d) If serious errors in the finding of facts are raised which their obligations to the employees."23
would cause grave or irreparable damage or injury to the
appellant.1âwphi1 However, the Court, in special and justified circumstances, has
relaxed the requirement of posting a supersedeas bond for the
In case of a judgment involving a monetary award, an perfection of an appeal on technical considerations to give way
appeal by the employer may be perfected only upon the to equity and justice.24 Thus, under Section 6 of Rule VI of the
posting of a cash or surety bond issued by a reputable 2005 NLRC Revised Rules of Procedure, the reduction of the
bonding company duly accredited by the Commission in appeal bond is allowed, subject to the following conditions: (1)
the amount equivalent to the monetary award in the the motion to reduce the bond shall be based on meritorious
judgment appealed from. grounds; and (2) a reasonable amount in relation to the
monetary award is posted by the appellant. Compliance with
x x x x. (Emphasis supplied) these two conditions will stop the running of the period to
perfect an appeal.

Meanwhile, Sections 4 and 6 of Rule VI of the 2005 Revised


Rules of Procedure of the NLRC, which were in effect when In the case at bar, petitioners filed a Motion to Reduce Bond
petitioners filed their appeal, provide: together with their Notice of Appeal and posted a cash bond of
₱15,000.00 within the 10-day reglementary period to appeal.
The CA correctly found that the NLRC did not commit grave
Section 4. Requisites for perfection of appeal. - (a) The Appeal abuse of discretion in denying petitioners’ motion to reduce
shall be: 1) filed within the reglementary period as provided in bond as such motion was not predicated on meritorious and
Section 1 of this Rule; 2) verified by the appellant himself in reasonable grounds and the amount tendered is not
accordance with Section 4, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court, as reasonable in relation to the award. The NLRC correctly held
amended; 3) in the form of a memorandum of appeal which that the supposed ground cited in the motion is not well-taken
shall state the grounds relied upon and the arguments in for there was no evidence to prove Zeñarosa's claim that the
support thereof: the relief prayed for, and with a statement of payment of the full amount of the award would greatly affect his
the date the appellant received the appealed decision, business due to financial setbacks. Besides, "the law does not
resolution or order; 4) in three (3) legibly typewritten or printed require outright payment of the total monetary award; [the
copies; and 5) accompanied by i) proof of payment of the appellant has the option to post either a cash or surety bond. In
required appeal fee; ii) posting of a cash or surety bond as the latter case, appellant must pay only a] moderate and
provided in Section 6 of this Rule; iii) a certificate of non-forum reasonable sum for the premium to ensure that the award will
shopping; and iv) proof of service upon the other parties. be eventually paid should the appeal fail."25 Moreover, the
absence of counsel is not a valid excuse for non-compliance
b) A mere notice of appeal without complying with the other with the rules. As aptly observed by the CA, Zeñarosa cannot
requisites aforestated shall not stop the running of the period feign ignorance of the law considering that he was able to post
for perfecting an appeal. a partial bond and ask for a reduction of the appeal bond. At
any rate, petitioners did not advance any reason for the alleged
absence of counsel except that they were simply abandoned.
xxxx
Neither did petitioners explain why they failed to procure a new
counsel to properly assist them in filing the appeal. Moreover,
Section 6. Bond. - - - In case the decision of the Labor Arbiter the partial bond posted was not reasonable. In the case
or the Regional Director involves a monetary award, an appeal of McBurnie v. Ganzon, 26 the Court has set a provisional
by the employer may be perfected only upon the posting of a percentage of 10% of the monetary award (exclusive of
bond, which shall either be in the form of cash deposit or surety damages and attorney's fees) as reasonable amount of bond
bond equivalent in amount to the monetary award, exclusive of that an appellant should post pending resolution by the NLRC
damages and attorney's fees. of a motion for a bond's reduction. Only after the posting of this
required percentage shall an appellant's period to perfect an
xxxx appeal be suspended. Applying this parameter, the ₱15,000.00
partial bond posted by petitioners is not considered reasonable
in relation to the total monetary award of ₱197,936.27.
No motion to reduce bond shall be entertained except on
meritorious grounds, and upon the posting of a bond in a
reasonable amount. The mere filing of a motion to reduce bond Petitioners, nevertheless, rely on a number of cases wherein
the Court allowed the relaxation of the stringent requirement of
7

the rule. In Nicol v. Footjoy Industrial Corporation, 27 the Court the differential amount between the judgment award and the
reversed the NLRC's denial of the appellant's motion to reduce sum previously tendered by them. The Court held that the
bond upon finding adequate evidence to justify the reduction. appeal was filed timely on account of respondents' substantial
In Rada v. National Labor Relations compliance with the requirements on appeal bond. In
Commission28and Blancaflor v. National Labor Relations both Garcia and Mendoza, however, the NLRC took into
Commission, 29 the NLRC allowed the late payment of the consideration the substantial merits of the appealed cases in
bond because the appealed Decision of the Labor Arbiter did giving due course to the appeals. It, in fact, reversed the Labor
not state the exact amount to be awarded, hence there could Arbiters' rulings in both cases. In contrast, petitioners in the
be no basis for determining the amount of the bond to be filed. case at bench have no meritorious appeal as would convince
It was only after the amount of superseades bond was this Court to liberally apply the rule.
specified by the NLRC that the appellants filed the bond.
In YBL (Your Bus Line) v. National Labor Relations Stated otherwise, petitioners' case will still fail on its merits
Commission, 30 the Court was propelled to relax the even if we are to allow their appeal to be given due course.
requirements relating to appeal bonds as there were valid After scrupulously examining the contrasting positions and
issues raised in the appeal. In Dr. Postigo v. Philippine arguments of the parties, we find that the Labor Arbiter's
Tuberculosis Society, Inc., 31the respondent therein deferred Decision declaring Pajaron and Carbonilla illegally dismissed
the posting of the bond and instead filed a motion to reduce was supported by substantial evidence. While petitioners
bond on the ground that the Labor Arbiter's computation of the vehemently argue that Pajaron and Carbonilla abandoned their
award is erroneous which circumstance justified the relaxation work, the records are devoid of evidence to show that there
of the appeal bond requirement. In all of these cases, though, was intent on their part to forego their employment. In fact,
there were meritorious grounds that warranted the reduction of petitioners adamantly admitted that they refused to rehire
the appeal bond, which, as discussed, is lacking in the case at Pajaron and Carbonilla despite persistent requests to admit
bench. them to work. Hence, petitioners essentially admitted the fact
of dismissal. However, except for their empty and general
Petitioners, furthermore, claim that the NLRC's outright allegations that the dismissal was for just causes, petitioners
dismissal of their appeal was harsh and oppressive since they did not proffer any evidence to support their claim of
should still be given opportunity to complete the required bond misconduct or misbehavior on the part of Pajaron and
upon the filing of their motion for reconsideration. Thus, they Carbonilla. "In termination cases, the burden of proof rests on
insist that their immediate posting of the deficiency when they the employer to show that the dismissal is for a just
filed a motion for reconsideration constituted substantial cause."37 For lack of any clear, valid, and just cause in
compliance with the Rules. terminating Pajaron and Carbonilla's employment, petitioners
are indubitably guilty of illegal dismissal.
The contention is untenable.
All told, we find no error on the part of the CA in ruling that the
The NLRC exercises full discretion in resolving a motion for the NLRC did not gravely abused its discretion in dismissing
reduction of bond32 in accordance with the standards of petitioners' appeal for non-perfection due to non-compliance
meritorious grounds and reasonable amount. The "reduction of with the requisites of filing a motion to reduce bond.
the bond is not a matter of right on the part of the movant [but]
lies within the sound discretion of the NLRC x x x." 33 [T]he merit of [petitioners'] case does not warrant the liberal
application of the x x x rules x x x. While it is true that litigation
In order to give full effect to the provisions on motion to reduce is not a game of technicalities and that rules of procedure shall
bond, the appellant must be allowed to wait for the ruling of the not be strictly enforced at the cost of substantial justice, it must
NLRC on the motion even beyond the 10-day period to perfect be emphasized that procedural rules should not likewise he
an appeal. If the NLRC grants the motion and rules that there belittled or dismissed simply because their non-observance
is indeed meritorious ground and that the amount of the bond might result in prejudice to a party's substantial rights. Like all
posted is reasonable, then the appeal is perfected. If the NLRC rules, they are required to be followed, except only for the most
denies the motion, the appellant may still file a motion for persuasive of reasons.38
reconsideration as provided under Section 15, Rule VII of the
Rules. If the NLRC grants the motion for reconsideration and WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED. The May 8, 2013
rules that there is indeed meritorious ground and that the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 121956
amount of the bond posted is reasonable, then the appeal is is AFFIRMED.
perfected. If the NLRC denies the motion, then the decision of
the Labor Arbiter becomes final and executory.34
G.R. No. 221897, November 07, 2016

The rulings in Garcia v. KJ Commercial35and Mendoza v. HMS


Credit Corporation36cannot dissuade this Court from relaxing ISIDRO QUEBRAL, ALBERTO ESQUILLO, RENANTE
the rules. In Garcia, the NLRC initially denied the appeal of SALINSAN, JEROME MACANDOG, EDGARDO
respondent therein due to the absence of meritorious grounds GAYORGOR, JIM ROBERT PERFECTO, NOEL PERFECTO,
in its motion to reduce bond and unreasonable amount of DENNIS PAGAYON, AND HERCULANO
partial bond posted. However, upon the posting of the full MACANDOG Petitioners, v. ANGBUS CONSTRUCTION, INC.
amount of bond when respondent filed its motion for AND ANGELO BUSTAMANTE, Respondents.
reconsideration, the NLRC granted the motion for The Issue Before the Court
reconsideration on the ground of substantial compliance with
the rules after considering the merits of the appeal. Likewise, The core issue for the Court's resolution is whether the CA
in Mendoza, the NLRC initially denied respondents' Motion to erred in (a) holding that petitioners' appeal before the NLRC
Reduce Appeal Bond with a partial bond. Respondents was filed out of time and (b) declaring petitioners as project
thereafter promptly complied with the NLRC's directive to post employees of Angbus and consequently, holding their
dismissal to be valid.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
8

The Court's Ruling with the CA that the appeal was not timely filed.

The petition is meritorious. Section 3, Rule 13 of the Rules of Court provides that where
pleadings are filed by registered mail, the date of mailing as
Preliminarily, the Court stresses the distinct approach in shown by the post office stamp on the envelope or the registry
reviewing a CA's ruling in a labor case. In a Rule 45 review, the receipt shall be considered as the date of filing. Based on this
Court examines the correctness of the CA's Decision in provision, the date of filing is determinable from two sources:
contrast with the review of jurisdictional errors under Rule 65. (1) from the post office stamp on the envelope or (2) from the
Furthermore, Rule 45 limits the review to questions of law. In registry receipt, either of which may suffice to prove the
ruling for legal correctness, the Court views the CA Decision in timeliness of the filing of the pleadings.29
the same context that the petition for certiorariwas presented to
the CA. Hence, the Court has to examine the CA's Decision The Court previously ruled that if the date stamped on one is
from the prism of whether the CA correctly determined the earlier than the other, the former may be accepted as the date
presence or absence of grave abuse of discretion in the NLRC of filing.30 This presupposes, however, that the envelope or
decision.22 registry receipt and the dates appearing thereon are duly
authenticated before the tribunal where they are
Grave abuse of discretion connotes judgment exercised in a presented.31 When the photocopy of a registry receipt bears an
capricious and whimsical manner that is tantamount to lack of earlier date but is not authenticated, the Court held that the
jurisdiction. To be considered "grave," discretion must be later date stamped on the envelope shall be considered as the
exercised in a despotic manner by reason of passion or date of filing.32
personal hostility, and must be so patent and gross as to
amount to an evasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to In the present case, the petitioners submitted these pieces of
perform the duty enjoined by or to act at all in contemplation of evidence to show the timeliness of their appeal: (a) the registry
law.23 receipt; (b) a copy of the envelope that contained the
memorandum of appeal and appeal fee; and (c) Laureta's
In labor cases, grave abuse of discretion may be ascribed to certification. As the CA noted, all three documents indicate
the NLRC when its findings and conclusions are not supported May 20, 2013 as the date of mailing at the POEA Post Office in
by substantial evidence,24 which refers to that amount of Mandaluyong City. Considering that there is no variance in the
relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as dates stated on these documents, there is no reason for the
adequate to justify a conclusion.25 Thus, if the NLRC's ruling Court to mark another date as the date of mailing.
has basis in the evidence and the applicable law and
jurisprudence, then no grave abuse of discretion exists and the Laureta's certification corroborates the date of filing specified in
CA should so declare and, accordingly, dismiss the petition. 26 the registry receipt and on the envelope. The Court recognizes
that, ideally, the incumbent postmaster in the POEA Post
Viewed from these lenses, the Court finds that the NLRC's Office should be the one to certify the date of mailing based on
Decision in this case was supported by substantial evidence the post office records, considering that he or she is the person
and is consistent with law and jurisprudence as to the issues duly authorized to do so. Nevertheless, the Court finds that
raised in the petition. Hence, the CA incorrectly held that the Laureta's certification as the postmaster at the time of mailing,
NLRC gravely abused its discretion in giving due course to together with the pieces of evidence earlier mentioned,
petitioners' appeal filed before it and in declaring that the constitutes substantial compliance with the authentication
petitioners were regular employees of Angbus. Accordingly, the requirement.
NLRC's ruling must be reinstated.
On the substantive aspect, Article 29533 of the Labor
On the procedural aspect, the Court notes that the issue of the Code,34 as amended, distinguishes a project employee from a
timeliness of the filing of the appeal is a factual issue that regular employee, to wit:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
requires a review of the evidence presented on when the Art. 295 [280]. Regular and casual employment. - The
appeal was actually filed.27Thus, it is generally not covered by provisions of written agreement to the contrary notwithstanding
a Rule 45 review. In this case, however, the conflicting findings and regardless of the oral agreement of the parties, an
of the CA and the NLRC on this matter pave the way for the employment shall be deemed to be regular where the
Court to review this factual issue even in a Rule 45 review. 28 employee has been engaged to perform activities which are
usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of
In this case, the CA held that the NLRC should not have given the employer, except where the employment has been fixed
due course to petitioners' appeal for being filed out of time. for a specific projector undertaking the completion or
Although both the registry receipt and the date stamped on the termination of which has been determined at the time of
envelope showed that the date of posting was May 20, 2013 or the engagement of the employee or where the work or
the last day of the reglementary period, the CA was not services to be performed is seasonal in nature and the
convinced that the appeal was actually mailed on that date at employment is for the duration of the season.
the POEA Post Office. The CA held that petitioners should
have submitted, together with the registry receipt, an x x x x (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
authenticating affidavit of the person who mailed the A project-based employee is assigned to a project which
memorandum of appeal. It also refused to give credence to begins and ends at determined or determinable times.35 Unlike
Laureta's certification on the ground that it was issued without regular employees who may only be dismissed for just and/or
authority, having been issued only on February 17, 2014 when authorized causes under the Labor Code, the services of
Laureta was no longer assigned at the POEA Post Office. It employees who are hired as project-based employees may be
therefore concluded that the NLRC erred in considering the lawfully terminated at the completion of the project. 36
registry receipt as conclusive proof that May 20, 2013 is the
date of filing the appeal. To safeguard the rights of workers against the arbitrary use of
the word "project" to preclude them from attaining regular
After reviewing the evidence on record, the Court disagrees status, jurisprudence provides that employers claiming that
9

their workers are project-based employees have the burden to made clear to the employee at the time of hiring.
prove that these two requisites concur: (a) the employees were
assigned to carry out a specific project or undertaking; and (b) (c) The work/service performed by the employee is in
the duration and scope of which were specified at the time they connection with the particular project/undertaking for which he
were engaged for such project.37 is engaged.

In this case, Angbus failed to discharge this burden. Notably, (d) The employee, while not employed and awaiting
Angbus did not state the specific project or undertaking engagement, is free to offer his services to any other employer.
assigned to petitioners. As to the second requisite, not only
was Angbus unable to produce petitioners' employment (e) The termination of his employment in the particular
contracts, it also failed to present other evidence to show that it project/undertaking is reported to the Department of Labor and
informed petitioners of the duration and scope of their work. Employment (DOLE) Regional Office having jurisdiction over
the workplace within 30 days following the date of his
The Court previously ruled that although the absence of a separation from work, using the prescribed form on employees'
written contract does not by itself grant regular status to the terminations/dismissals/suspensions.
employees, it is evidence that they were informed of the
duration and scope of their work and their status as project (f) An undertaking in the employment contract by the employer
employees at the start of their engagement.38 When no other to pay completion bonus to the project employee as practiced
evidence is offered, the absence of employment contracts by most construction companies. (Emphases supplied)
raises a serious question of whether the employees were Based on the foregoing, it is clear that the submission of the
sufficiently apprised at the start of their employment of their termination report to the DOLE "may be considered" only as an
status as project employees.39 Absent such proof, it is indicator of project employment. By the provision's tenor, the
presumed that they are regular employees, thus, can only be submission of this report, by and of itself, is therefore not
dismissed for just or authorized causes upon compliance with conclusive to confirm the status of the terminated employees
procedural due process.40 as project employees, especially in this case where there is a
glaring absence of evidence to prove that petitioners were
The Court agrees with the NLRC that the Brgy. Rosario assigned to carry out a specific project or undertaking, and that
Certification cannot be given credence as it was issued by the they were informed of the duration and scope of their supposed
barangay captain in Rosario, Pasig City rather than in Quezon project engagement, which are, in fact, attendant to the first
City. two (2) indicators of project employment in the same DOLE
issuance above-cited.
Section 11, Rule X, Book III of the Omnibus Rules
Implementing the Labor Code41 (Rules) requires the employer All told, since Angbus failed to discharge its burden to prove
to keep all employment records in the main or branch office that petitioners were project employees, the NLRC correctly
where the employees are assigned. It also prohibits the ruled that they should be considered as regular employees.
keeping of employees' records elsewhere. In the present case, Thus, the termination of petitioners' employment should have
Angbus has consistently declared in its pleadings, in its been for a just or authorized cause, the lack of which, as in this
General Information Sheet, and the DOLE Reports that its case, amounts to illegal dismissal.
main office is located at 16 Pratt Street, Filinvest 2, Batasan
Hills, Quezon City. As aptly ruled by the NLRC, the extension As a final point, it may not be amiss to state that petitioners'
office in the project site in Brgy. Rosario, Pasig City is not a entitlement to their monetary claims, such as salary
branch office contemplated by the Rules where employees' differentials, thirteenth month pay, and holiday pay, 43 was not
records may be kept but merely a temporary office. Hence, the contested further by the parties. Neither did they question the
Brgy. Rosario Certification, stating that petitioners' employment NLRC's computation of the monetary awards due to
records were destroyed by flood, does not justify the non- petitioners. Hence, the Court finds no reason to disturb it.
presentation of the employment contracts. Besides, Angbus
could still have presented other evidence to prove project WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated
employment but it did not do so, relying on the convenient July 27, 2015 and the Resolution dated November 2, 2015 of
excuse that the documents were destroyed by flood. 42 the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 138885 are
hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Decision dated
The Court further observes that the CA placed unwarranted December 26, 2013 and the Resolution dated December 29,
emphasis on the DOLE Reports or termination reports 2014 of the National Labor Relations Commission in NLRC
submitted by Angbus as basis to rule that petitioners were Case Nos. 07-10288-12, 07-10636-12, 07-10708-12 and 07-
project employees. 10992-12 are REINSTATED.

Section 2.2 of Department Order No. 19, Series of 1993, __________________________


entitled "Guidelines Governing the Employment of Workers in
the Construction industry," issued by the DOLE, provides G.R. No. 196084
that:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
2.2 Indicators of project employment. - Either one or more of NUEVA ECIJA II ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC., AREA I,
the following circumstances, among others, may be Mr. REYNALDO VILLANUEVA, President, Board of
considered as indicators that an employee is a project Directors, and Mrs. EULALIA CASTRO, General
employee. Manager, Petitioners
vs.
(a) The duration of the specific/identified undertaking for which ELMER B. MAPAGU, Respondent
the worker is engaged is reasonably determinable.

(b) Such duration, as well as the specific work/service to be The issues raised are:
performed, is defined in an employment agreement and is
10

1. Whether the petition for review on certiorari was, filed before without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave
the CA within the reglementary period; and abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction,
and there is no appeal, or any plain, speedy, and adequate
2. Whether the CA erred in dismissing the petition remedy in the ordinary course of law, a person aggrieved
for certiorari for non-compliance with the Rules. thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court, alleging
the facts with certainty and praying that judgment be rendered
annulling or modifying the proceedings of such tribunal, board
II or officer, and granting such incidental reliefs as law and justice
may require.
We deny the petition.
The petition shall be accompanied by a certified true copy of
The facts and material dates are undisputed. Petitioners the judgment, order or resolution subject thereof, copies of all
received the September 2, 2010 Resolution of the CA on pleadings and documents relevant and pertinent thereto, and a
September 14, 2010. They filed a Motion for Reconsideration sworn certification of non-forum shopping as provided in the
and received the Resolution denying the same on March 17, third paragraph of section 3, Rule 46.
2011. Thereafter, they filed a Motion for Extension of Time to
File Petition for Review on Certiorari with Payment of Docket xxx
Fees.42 They sought an extension of 20 days from April 1,
2011 or until April 21, 2011 within which to file the appeal.
Sec. 4. When and where petition filed. - The petition shall be
filed not later than sixty (60) days from notice of the
On May 6, 2011, they filed this petition. They allege that they judgment, order or resolution.1âwphi1 In case a motion for
have 60 days to file the appeal and in fact, they claim that they reconsideration or new trial is timely filed, whether such
are filing it 11 days ahead of the reglementary deadline. motion is required or not, the sixty (60) day period shall be
Petitioners insist that following Republic v. Court of counted from notice of the denial of said motion.x x x
Appeals43 and Bello v. National Labor Relations (Emphasis supplied.)
Commission,44 petitions for review on certiorari can be filed
within 60 days from receipt of the order denying the motion for
reconsideration. Petitioners' reliance on Republic and Bello are misplaced. In
both cases, we are confronted with the issue of whether the
petitions for certiorari before the CA were filed out of time. No
Petitioners are gravely mistaken. The right to appeal is a mere other issue was raised in Republic and Bello. Further, it does
statutory privilege and must be exercised only in the manner not escape our attention that petitioners initially filed a motion
and in accordance with the provisions of the law. One who for extension of time to file a petition for review where they
seeks to avail of the right to appeal must strictly comply with recognized that they only have until April 1, 2011 (or 15 days
the requirement of the rules. Failure to do so leads to the loss from receipt of the denial of their Motion for Reconsideration) to
of the right to appeal.45 The case before us calls for the file the petition. Clearly, petitioners were fully aware of the
application of the requirements of appeal under Rule 45, to wit: correct period for filing an appeal under Rule 45. Yet, in their
actual petition, they maintain that they have 60 days to file the
Sec. 1. Filing of petition with Supreme Court. - A party desiring appeal. We cannot countenance petitioners' obvious legal
to appeal by certiorari from a judgment or final order or maneuvering.
resolution of the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan, the
Regional Trial Court or other courts whenever authorized by A party litigant wishing to file a petition for review
law, may file with the Supreme Court a verified petition for on certiorari must do so within 15 days from notice of the
review on certiorari. The petition shall raise only questions of judgment, final order or resolution sought to be appealed.
law which must be distinctly set forth. Here, petitioners received the Resolution of the CA denying
their Motion for Reconsideration on March 17, 2011. Under the
Sec. 2. Time for filing; extension. - The petition shall be filed Rules, they have until April 1, 2011 to file the petition.
within fifteen (15) days from notice of the judgment or final However; they filed the same only on May 6, 2011. This was
order or resolution appealed from, or of the denial of the 50 days beyond the 15-day period provided under Section 2,
petitioner's motion for new trial or reconsideration filed in Rule 45 and 30 days beyond the extension asked for. Even if
due time after notice of the judgment. On motion duly filed petitioners were given the maximum period of extension of 30
and served, with full payment of the docket and other days, their petition before us still cannot stand. The Rules allow
lawful fees and the deposit for costs before the expiration only for a maximum period of 45 days within which an
of the reglementary period, the Supreme Court may for aggrieved party may file a petition for review on certiorari. By
justifiable reasons grant an extension of thirty (30) days belatedly filing their petition with the CA, petitioners have
only within which to file the petition. (Emphasis supplied.) clearly lost their right to appeal.46

Petitioners failed to comply with the foregoing provisions. They There are instances when we have relaxed the rules governing
confuse petitions for review on certiorari under Rule 45 with the periods of appeal to serve substantial justice.47In Azores v.
petitions for certiorari under Rule 65. It is the latter which is Securities and Exchange Commission,48 we held:
required to be filed within a period of not later than 60 days
from notice of the judgment, order or resolution. If a motion for The failure of a party to perfect his appeal in the manner and
new trial or reconsideration is filed, the 60-day period shall be within the period fixed by law renders the decision sought to be
counted from notice of the denial of the motion. Sections 1 and appealed final, with the result that no court can exercise
4 of Rule 65 read: appellate jurisdiction to review the decision. For it is more
important that a case be settled than that it be settled right. It is
Sec. 1. Petition for certiorari. - When any tribunal, board or only in exceptional cases when we have allowed a
officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions has acted relaxation of the rules governing the periods of
11

appeals. As stated in Bank of America, NT & SA v. Gerochi, CA erred in denying CPI's petition for certiorari, thereby holding
Jr., typical of these cases are the following: it liable for the unpaid commissions of respondents.
The Court's Ruling
In Ramos vs. Bagasao, 96 SCRA 395, we excused the delay of
four days in the filing of a notice of appeal because the The petition is partly meritorious.
questioned decision of the trial court was served upon I.
appellant Ramos at a time when her counsel of record was
already dead. Her new counsel could only file the appeal four Article 1370 of the Civil Code provides that "[i]f the terms of a
days after the prescribed reglementary period was over. In contract are clear and leave no doubt upon the intention of the
Republic vs. Court of Appeals, 83 SCRA 453, we allowed the contracting parties, the literal meaning of its stipulations shall
perfection of an appeal by the Republic despite the delay of six control."51 In Norton Resources and Development Corporation
days to prevent a gross miscarriage of justice since the v. All Asia Bank Corporation,52 the Court had the opportunity to
Republic stood to lose hundreds of hectares of land already thoroughly discuss the said rule as
titled in its name and had since then been devoted for follows:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
educational purposes. In Olacao vs. National Labor Relations The rule is that where the language of a contract is plain
Commission, 177 SCRA 38, 41, we accepted a tardy appeal and unambiguous, its meaning should be determined
considering that the subject matter in issue had without reference to extrinsic facts or aids. The intention of
theretofore beenjudicially settled, with finality, in another the parties must be gathered from that language, and from that
case. The dismissal of the appeal would have had the effect of language alone. Stated differently, where the language of a
the appellant being ordered twice to make the same reparation written contract is clear and unambiguous, the contract
to the appellee.49 (Emphasis supplied, citation omitted. Italics must be taken to mean that which, on its face, it purports
in the original.) to mean, unless some good reason can be assigned to
show that the words should be understood in a different
sense. Courts cannot make for the parties better or more
None of the foregoing justifications are, however, present here. equitable agreements than they themselves have been
Petitioners remain adamant that they properly observed the satisfied to make, or rewrite contracts because they operate
Rules when clearly they failed to do so. They did not even harshly or inequitably as to one of the parties, or alter them for
attempt to allude to any exceptional circumstance that would the benefit of one party and to the detriment of the other, or by
move us to use our equity jurisdiction to allow a liberal construction, relieve one of the parties from the terms which he
application of the Rules. Hence, we are constrained to declare voluntarily consented to, or impose on him those which he did
that for petitioners' failure to file an appeal by certiorari within not.53 (Emphases and underscoring supplied)
the reglementary period, the assailed Resolutions of the CA Thus, in the interpretation of contracts, the Court must first
had already become final and executory. determine whether a provision or stipulation therein is
ambiguous. Absent any ambiguity, the provision on its face will
In the case of Gonzales v. Pe,50 we held that: be read as it is written and treated as the binding law of the
parties to the contract.54chanrobleslaw
While every litigant must be given the amplest opportunity for
the proper and just determination of his cause, free from the In the case at bar, CPI primarily invoked the "Confidentiality of
constraints of technicalities, the failure to perfect an appeal Documents and Non-Compete Clause" found in Babiano's
within the reglementary period is not a mere technicality. It employment contract55 to justify the forfeiture of his
raises a jurisdictional problem, as it deprives the appellate commissions, viz.:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
court of its jurisdiction over the appeal. After a decision is Confidentiality of Documents and Non-Compete Clause
declared final and executory, vested rights are acquired by the
winning party. Just as a losing party has the right to appeal All records and documents of the company and all information
within the prescribed period, the winning party has the pertaining to its business or affairs or that of its affiliated
correlative right to enjoy the finality of the decision on the companies are confidential and no unauthorized disclosure or
case.51 reproduction or the same will be made by you any time during
or after your employment.

All told, considering that we have lost jurisdiction to review the And in order to ensure strict compliance herewith, you
case in view of the finality of the CA Decision, we see no shall not work for whatsoever capacity, either as an
further reason to delve into the other issues raised by employee, agent or consultant with any person whose
petitioners. business is in direct competition with the company while
you are employed and for a period of one year from date of
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The September 2, resignation or termination from the company.
2010 and March 3, 2011 Resolutions of the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. SP No. 114690 are hereby AFFIRMED. In the event the undersigned breaches any term of this
contract, the undersigned agrees and acknowledges that
damages may not be an adequate remedy and that in addition
______________________________
to any other remedies available to the Company at law or in
equity, the Company is entitled to enforce its rights hereunder
G.R. No. 220978, July 05, 2016 by way of injunction, restraining order or other relief to enjoin
any breach or default of this contract.
CENTURY PROPERTIES, INC., Petitioner, v. EDWIN J.
BABIANO AND EMMA B. CONCEPCION, Respondents. The undersigned agrees to pay all costs, expenses and
The Issue Before the Court attorney's fees incurred by the Company in connection with the
enforcement of the obligations of the undersigned. The
The core issue for the Court's resolution is whether or not the undersigned also agrees to .pay the Company all profits,
revenues and income or benefits derived by or accruing to the
12

undersigned resulting from the undersigned's breach of the eventually accepted the said position with First Global, he was
obligations hereunder. This Agreement shall be binding upon still employed by CPI as he has not formally resigned at that
the undersigned, all employees, agents, officers, directors, time. Irrefragably, this is a glaring violation of the
shareholders, partners and representatives of the undersigned "Confidentiality of Documents and Non-Compete Clause" in his
and all heirs, successors and assigns of the foregoing. employment contract with CPI, thus, justifying the forfeiture of
his unpaid commissions.
Finally, if undersigned breaches any terms of this II.
contract, forms of compensation including commissions
and incentives will be forfeited.56 (Emphases and Anent the nature of Concepcion's engagement, based on case
underscoring supplied) law, the presence of the following elements evince the
Verily, the foregoing clause is not only clear and unambiguous existence of an employer-employee relationship: (a) the power
in stating that Babiano is barred to "work for whatsoever to hire, i.e., the selection and engagement of the employee; (b)
capacity x x x with any person whose business is in direct the payment of wages; (c) the power of dismissal; and (d) the
competition with [CPI] while [he is] employed and for a period employer's power to control the employee's conduct, or the so
of one year from date of [his] resignation or termination from called "control test." The control test is commonly regarded as
the company," it also expressly provided in no uncertain terms the most important indicator of the presence or absence of an
that should Babiano "[breach] any term of [the employment employer-employee relationship.62 Under this test, an
contract], forms of compensation including commissions and employer-employee relationship exists where the person for
incentives will be forfeited." Here, the contracting parties - whom the services are performed reserves the right to control
namely Babiano on one side, and CPI as represented by its not only the end achieved, but also the manner and means to
COO-Vertical, John Victor R. Antonio, and Director for be used in reaching that end.63chanrobleslaw
Planning and Controls, Jose Carlo R. Antonio, on the other -
indisputably wanted the said clause to be effective even during Guided by these parameters, the Court finds that Concepcion
the existence of the employer-employee relationship between was an employee of CPI considering that: (a) CPI continuously
Babiano and CPI, thereby indicating their intention to be bound hired and promoted Concepcion from October 2002 until her
by such clause by affixing their respective signatures to the resignation on February 23, 2009,64 thus, showing that CPI
employment contract. More significantly, as CPFs Vice exercised the power of selection and engagement over her
President for Sales, Babiano held a highly sensitive and person and that she performed functions that were necessary
confidential managerial position as he "was tasked, among and desirable to the business of CPI; (b) the monthly "subsidy"
others, to guarantee the achievement of agreed sales targets and cash incentives that Concepcion was receiving from CPI
for a project and to ensure that his team has a qualified and are actually remuneration in the concept of wages as it was
competent manpower resources by conducting recruitment regularly given to her on a monthly basis without any
activities, training sessions, sales rallies, motivational activities, qualification, save for the "complete submission of documents
and evaluation programs."57 Hence, to allow Babiano to freely on what is a sale policy";65 (c) CPI had the power to discipline
move to direct competitors during and soon after his or even dismiss Concepcion as her engagement contract with
employment with CPI would make the latter's trade secrets CPI expressly conferred upon the latter "the right to
vulnerable to exposure, especially in a highly competitive discontinue [her] service anytime during the period of
marketing environment. As such, it is only reasonable that CPI engagement should [she] fail to meet the performance
and Babiano agree on such stipulation in the latter's standards,"66 among others, and that CPI actually exercised
employment contract in order to afford a fair and reasonable such power to dismiss when it accepted and approved
protection to CPI.58 Indubitably, obligations arising from Concepcion's resignation letter; and most importantly, (d) as
contracts, including employment contracts, have the force of aptly pointed out by the CA, CPI possessed the power of
law between the contracting parties and should be complied control over Concepcion because in the performance of her
with in good faith.59 Corollary thereto, parties are bound by the duties as Project Director - particularly in the conduct of
stipulations, clauses, terms, and conditions they have agreed recruitment activities, training sessions, and skills development
to, provided that these stipulations, clauses, terms, and of Sales Directors - she did not exercise independent discretion
conditions are not contrary to law, morals, public order or thereon, but was still subject to the direct supervision of CPI,
public policy,60 as in this case. acting through Babiano.67chanrobleslaw

Therefore, the CA erred in limiting the "Confidentiality of Besides, while the employment agreement of Concepcion was
Documents and Non-Compete Clause" only to acts done after denominated as a "Contract of Agency for Project Director," it
the cessation of the employer-employee relationship or to the should be stressed that the existence of employer-employee
"post-employment" relations of the parties. As clearly relations could not be negated by the mere expedient of
stipulated, the parties wanted to apply said clause during the repudiating it in a contract. In the case of Insular Life
pendency of Babiano's employment, and CPI correctly invoked Assurance Co., Ltd. v. NLRC,68 it was ruled that one's
the same before the labor tribunals to resist the former's claim employment status is defined and prescribed by law, and not
for unpaid commissions on account of his breach of the said by what the parties say it should
clause while the employer-employee relationship between be, viz.:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
them still subsisted. Hence, there is now a need to determine It is axiomatic that the existence of an employer-employee
whether or not Babiano breached said clause while employed relationship cannot be negated by expressly repudiating it in
by CPI, which would then resolve the issue of his entitlement to the management contract and providing therein that the
his unpaid commissions. "employee" is an independent contractor when the terms of the
agreement clearly show otherwise. For, the employment
A judicious review of the records reveals that in his resignation status of a person is defined and prescribed by law and
letter61 dated February 25, 2009, Babiano categorically not by what the parties say it should be. In determining the
admitted to CPI Chairman Jose Antonio that on February 12, status of the management contract, the "four-fold test" on
2009, he sought employment from First Global, and five (5) employment earlier mentioned has to be applied.69 (Emphasis
days later, was admitted thereto as vice president. From the and underscoring supplied)
foregoing, it is evidently clear that when he sought and
13

Therefore, the CA correctly ruled that since there exists an The Court's Ruling
employer-employee relationship between Concepcion and CPI,
the labor tribunals correctly assumed jurisdiction over her
money claims. The Court finds no merit in the petition.
III.
To begin with, the petitioners failed to append the required
Finally, CPI contends that Concepcion's failure to assail the affidavit of service. The rule is, such affidavit is essential to due
NLRC ruling awarding her the amount of P470,754.62 process and the orderly administration of justice even if it is
representing unpaid commissions rendered the same final and used merely as proof that service has been made on the other
binding upon her. As such, the CA erred in increasing her party.16 The utter disregard of this requirement as held in a
monetary award to P591,953.05.70chanrobleslaw catena of cases cannot be justified by harking to substantial
justice and the policy of liberal construction of the Rules.
The contention lacks merit. Indeed, technical rules of procedure are not meant to frustrate
the ends of justice. Rather, they serve to effect the proper and
As a general rule, a party who has not appealed cannot obtain orderly disposition of cases and, thus, effectively prevent the
any affirmative relief other than the one granted in the clogging of court dockets.17 Thus, in Ferrer v. Villanueva,18 the
appealed decision. However, jurisprudence admits an Court held that petitioner's failure to append the proof of
exception to the said rule, such as when strict adherence service to his petition for certiorari was a fatal defect.
thereto shall result in the impairment of the substantive rights
of the parties concerned. In Global Resource for Outsourced Hence, the denial of this case is in order.
Workers, Inc. v. Velasco:71
Indeed, a party who has failed to appeal from a judgment is For the guidance of the bench and the bar, however, the Court
deemed to have acquiesced to it and can no longer obtain from opts to also delve into the merits of the case.
the appellate court any affirmative relief other than what was
already granted under said judgment. However, when strict As a precept, the Court's duty in a Rule 45 petition, assailing
adherence to such technical rule will impair a substantive the decision of the CA in a labor case elevated to it through a
right, such as that of an illegally dismissed employee to Rule 65 petition, is limited only to the determination of whether
monetary compensation as provided by law, then equity the CA committed an error in judgment in declaring the
dictates that the Court set aside the rule to pave the way absence or existence, as the case may be, of grave abuse of
for a full and just adjudication of the case.72 (Emphasis and discretion on the part of the NLRC.19
underscoring supplied)
As a consequence, the Court shall examine only whether the
In the present case, the CA aptly pointed out that the NLRC CA erred in not finding grave abuse of discretion when the
failed to account for all the unpaid commissions due to NLRC affirmed the LA's findings that the separation pay in lieu
Concepcion for the period of August 9, 2008 to August 8, of reinstatement as well as backwages due to respondent
2011.73 Indeed, Concepcion's right to her earned commissions should be recomputed until the finality of the Court's decision in
is a substantive right which cannot be impaired by an G.R. No. 200490, despite the fact that the delay in the
erroneous computation of what she really is entitled to. Hence, resolution of the said case was brought about by respondent
following the dictates of equity and in order to arrive at a herself.
complete and just resolution of the case, and avoid a
piecemeal dispensation of justice over the same, the CA On this point, the Court rules in the negative.
correctly recomputed Concepcion's unpaid commissions,
notwithstanding her failure to seek a review of the NLRC's Grave abuse of discretion, which has been defined as a
computation of the same. capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment so patent and
gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or a virtual
In sum, the Court thus holds that the commissions of Babiano refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, 20 requires proof that
were properly forfeited for violating the "Confidentiality of the CA committed errors such that its decision was not made in
Documents and Non-Compete Clause." On.the other hand, contemplation of law. The burden of proof rests upon the party
CPI remains liable for the unpaid commissions of Concepcion who asserts.21
in the sum of P591,953.05.
The petitioners, however, failed to carry out such burden.
WHEREFORE, the petition is PARTLY GRANTED. The
Decision dated April 8, 2015 and the Resolution dated October The decision of the CA is based on long standing jurisprudence
12, 2015 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. that in the event the aspect of reinstatement is disputed,
132953 are hereby MODIFIED in that the commissions of backwages, including separation pay, shall be computed from
respondent Edwin J. Babiano are deemed FORFEITED. The the time of dismissal until the finality of the decision ordering
rest of the CA Decision stands. the separation pay. In Gaco v. NLRC,22 it was ruled that with
respect to the payment of backwages and separation pay in
_________________________ lieu of reinstatement of an illegally dismissed employee, the
period shall be reckoned from the time compensation was
withheld up to the finality of this Court's decision. This was
G.R. No. 220506, January 18, 2017 reiterated in Surima v. NLRC 23 and Session Delights Ice
Cream and Fast Foods v. CA.24
C.I.C.M. MISSION SEMINARIES (MARYHURST, The reason for this was explained in Bani Rural Bank, Inc. v.
MARYHEIGHTS, MARYSHORE AND MARYHILL) SCHOOL De Guzman.25 When there is an order of separation pay (in
OF THEOLOGY, INC., FR. ROMEO NIMEZ, lieu of reinstatement or when the reinstatement aspect is
CICM, Petitioners, v. MARIA VERONICA C. waived or subsequently ordered in light of a supervening event
PEREZ, Respondent. making the award of reinstatement no longer possible), the
14

employment relationship is terminated only upon the finality of JOSE EMMANUEL P. GUILLERMO, Petitioner, v. CRISANTO
the decision ordering the separation pay. The finality of the P. USON, Respondent.
decision cuts-off the employment relationship and represents
the final settlement of the rights and obligations of the parties
against each other. Hence, backwages no longer accumulate Guillermo asserts that he was impleaded in the case only more
upon the finality of the decision ordering the payment of than a year after its Decision had become final and executory,
separation pay because the employee is no longer entitled to an act which he claims to be unsupported in law and
any compensation from the employer by reason of the jurisprudence.38 He contends that the decision had become
severance of his employment. One cannot, therefore, attribute final, immutable and unalterable and that any amendment
patent error on the part of the CA when it merely affirmed the thereto is null and void.39 Guillermo assails the so-called
NLRC's conclusion, which was clearly based on jurisprudence. "piercing the veil" of corporate fiction which allegedly
discriminated against him when he alone was belatedly
Plainly, it does not matter if the delay caused by an appeal was impleaded despite the existence of other directors and officers
brought about by the employer or by the employee. The rule is, in Royal Class Venture.40 He also claims that the Labor Arbiter
if the LA's decision, which granted separation pay in lieu of has no jurisdiction because the case is one of an intra-
reinstatement, is appealed by any party, the employer- corporate controversy, with the complainant Uson also claiming
employee relationship subsists and until such time when to be a stockholder and director of Royal Class Venture.41
decision becomes final and executory, the employee is entitled
to all the monetary awards awarded by the LA. In his Comment,42 Uson did not introduce any new arguments
but merely cited verbatim the disquisitions of the Court of
In this case, respondent remained an employee of the Appeals to counter Guillermo's assertions in his petition.
petitioners pending her partial appeal. Her employment was
only severed when this Court, in G.R. No. 200490, affirmed To resolve the case, the Court must confront the issue of
with finality the rulings of the CA and the labor tribunals whether an officer of a corporation may be included as
declaring her right to separation pay instead of actual judgment obligor in a labor case for the first time only after the
reinstatement. Accordingly, she is entitled to have her decision of the Labor Arbiter had become final and executory,
backwages and separation pay computed until October 4, and whether the twin doctrines of "piercing the veil of corporate
2012, the date when the judgment of this Court became final fiction" and personal liability of company officers in labor cases
and executory, as certified by the Clerk of Court, per the Entry apply.
of Judgment in G.R. No. 200490.
The petition is denied.
The Court would not have expected the CA and the NLRC to
rule contrary to the above pronouncements. If it were In the earlier labor cases of Claparols v. Court of Industrial
otherwise, all employees who are similarly situated will be Relations43 and A.C. Ransom Labor Union-CCLU v.
forced to relinquish early on their fight for reinstatement, a NLRC,44 persons who were not originally impleaded in the
remedy, which the law prefers over severance of employment case were, even during execution, held to be solidarity liable
relation. Furthermore, to favor the petitioners' position is with the employer corporation for the latter's unpaid obligations
nothing short of a derogation of the State's policy to protect the to complainant-employees. These included a newly-formed
rights of workers and their welfare under Article II, Section 8 of corporation which was considered a mere conduit or alter ego
the 1987 Constitution.26 of the originally impleaded corporation, and/or the officers or
stockholders of the latter corporation.45 Liability attached,
The petitioners, nonetheless, claim that it was not their fault especially to the responsible officers, even after final judgment
why the amounts due ballooned to the present level. They are and during execution, when there was a failure to collect from
mistaken. Suffice it to state that had they not illegally dismissed the employer corporation the judgment debt awarded to its
respondent, they will not be where they are today. They took workers.46 In Naguiat v. NLRC,47 the president of the
the risk and must suffer the consequences. corporation was found, for the first time on appeal, to be
solidarily liable to the dismissed employees. Then, in Reynoso
Finally, the Court disagrees with the petitioners' assertion that v. Court of Appeals,48 the veil of corporate fiction was pierced
a recomputation would violate the doctrine of immutability of at the stage of execution, against a corporation not previously
judgment. It has been settled that no essential change is made impleaded, when it was established that such corporation had
by a recomputation as this step is a necessary consequence dominant control of the original party corporation, which was a
that flows from the nature of the illegality of dismissal declared smaller company, in such a manner that the latter's closure
in that decision. By the nature of an illegal dismissal case, the was done by the former in order to defraud its creditors,
reliefs continue to add on until full satisfaction thereof. The including a former worker.
recomputation of the awards stemming from an illegal
dismissal case does not constitute an alteration or amendment The rulings of this Court in A.C. Ransom, Naguiat,
of the final decision being implemented. The illegal dismissal and Reynoso, however, have since been tempered, at least in
ruling stands; only the computation of the monetary the aspects of the lifting of the corporate veil and the
consequences of the dismissal is affected and this is not a assignment of personal liability to directors, trustees and
violation of the principle of immutability of final judgments.27 officers in labor cases. The subsequent cases of McLeod v.
NLRC,49Spouses Santos v. NLRC50 and Carag v.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Temporary NLRC,51 have all established, save for certain exceptions, the
Restraining Order issued by this Court on February 3, 2016 is primacy of Section 3152 of the Corporation Code in the matter
hereby LIFTED. of assigning such liability for a corporation's debts, including
judgment obligations in labor cases. According to these cases,
___________________________ a corporation is still an artificial being invested by law with a
personality separate and distinct from that of its stockholders
and from that of other corporations to which it may be
G.R. No. 198967, March 07, 2016 connected.53 It is not in every instance of inability to collect
15

from a corporation that the veil of corporate fiction is pierced, faith is a question of fact and is evidentiary, so that the records
and the responsible officials are made liable. Personal liability must first bear evidence of malice before a finding of such may
attaches only when, as enumerated by the said Section 31 of be made.
the Corporation Code, there is a wilfull and knowing assent to
patently unlawful acts of the corporation, there is gross It is our finding that such evidence exists in the record. Like
negligence or bad faith in directing the affairs of the the A. C. Ransom, and Naguiat cases, the case at bar involves
corporation, or there is a conflict of interest resulting in an apparent family corporation. As in those two cases, the
damages to the corporation.54 Further, in another labor records of the present case bear allegations and evidence that
case, Pantranco Employees Association (PEA-PTGWO), et al. Guillermo, the officer being held liable, is the person
v. NLRC, et al.,55 the doctrine of piercing the corporate veil is responsible in the actual running of the company and for the
held to apply only in three (3) basic areas, namely: ( 1) defeat malicious and illegal dismissal of the complainant; he, likewise,
of public convenience as when the corporate fiction is used as was shown to have a role in dissolving the original obligor
a vehicle for the evasion of an existing obligation; (2) fraud company in an obvious "scheme to avoid liability" which
cases or when the corporate entity is used to justify a wrong, jurisprudence has always looked upon with a suspicious eye in
protect fraud, or defend a crime; or (3) alter ego cases, where order to protect the rights of labor.64
a corporation is merely a farce since it is a mere alter ego or
business conduit of a person, or where the corporation is so Part of the evidence on record is the second page of the
organized and controlled and its affairs are so conducted as to verified Position Paper of complainant (herein respondent)
make it merely an instrumentality, agency, conduit or adjunct of Crisanto P. Uson, where it was clearly alleged that Uson was
another corporation. In the absence of malice, bad faith, or a "illegally dismissed by the President/General Manager of
specific provision of law making a corporate officer liable, such respondent corporation (herein petitioner) Jose Emmanuel P.
corporate officer cannot be made personally liable for Guillermo when Uson exposed the practice of the said
corporate liabilities.56 Indeed, in Reahs Corporation v. President/General Manager of dictating and undervaluing the
NLRC,57 the conferment of liability on officers for a shares of stock of the corporation."65 The statement is proof
corporation's obligations to labor is held to be an exception to that Guillermo was the responsible officer in charge of running
the general doctrine of separate personality of a corporation. the company as well as the one who dismissed Uson from
employment. As this sworn allegation is uncontroverted - as
It also bears emphasis that in cases where personal liability neither the company nor Guillermo appeared before the Labor
attaches, not even all officers are made accountable. Rather, Arbiter despite the service of summons and notices - such
only the "responsible officer," i.e., the person directly stands as a fact of the case, and now functions as clear
responsible for and who "acted in bad faith" in committing the evidence of Guillermo's bad faith in his dismissal of Uson from
illegal dismissal or any act violative of the Labor Code, is held employment, with the motive apparently being anger at the
solidarily liable, in cases wherein the corporate veil is latter's reporting of unlawful activities.
pierced.58 In other instances, such as cases of so-called
corporate tort of a close corporation, it is the person "actively Then, it is also clearly reflected in the records that it was
engaged" in the management of the corporation who is held Guillermo himself, as President and General Manager of the
liable.59 In the absence of a clearly identifiable officer(s) directly company, who received the summons to the case, and who
responsible for the legal infraction, the Court considers the also subsequently and without justifiable cause refused to
president of the corporation as such officer. 60 receive all notices and orders of the Labor Arbiter that
followed.66This makes Guillermo responsible for his and his
The common thread running among the aforementioned cases, company's failure to participate in the entire proceedings
however, is that the veil of corporate fiction can be pierced, and before the said office. The fact is clearly narrated in the
responsible corporate directors and officers or even a separate Decision and Orders of the Labor Arbiter, Uson's Motions for
but related corporation, may be impleaded and held the Issuance of Alias Writs of Execution, as well as in the
answerable solidarily in a labor case, even after final judgment Decision of the NLRC and the assailed Decision of the Court of
and on execution, so long as it is established that such persons Appeals,67 which Guillermo did not dispute in any of his belated
have deliberately used the corporate vehicle to unjustly evade motions or pleadings, including in his petition
the judgment obligation, or have resorted to fraud, bad faith or for certiorari before the Court of Appeals and even in the
malice in doing so. When the shield of a separate corporate petition currently before this Court.68 Thus, again, the same
identity is used to commit wrongdoing and opprobriously elude now stands as a finding of fact of the said lower tribunals which
responsibility, the courts and the legal authorities in a labor binds this Court and which it has no power to alter or
case have not hesitated to step in and shatter the said shield revisit.69 Guillermo's knowledge of the case's filing and
and deny the usual protections to the offending party, even existence and his unexplained refusal to participate in it as the
after final judgment. The key element is the presence of fraud, responsible official of his company, again is an indicia of his
malice or bad faith. Bad faith, in this instance, does not bad faith and malicious intent to evade the judgment of the
connote bad judgment or negligence but imports a dishonest labor tribunals.
purpose or some moral obliquity and conscious doing of wrong;
it means breach of a known duty through some motive or Finally, the records likewise bear that Guillermo dissolved
interest or ill will; it partakes of the nature of fraud. 61 Royal Class Venture and helped incorporate a new firm,
located in the same address as the former, wherein he is again
As the foregoing implies, there is no hard and fast rule on when a stockl1older. This is borne by the Sherif11s Return which
corporate fiction may be disregarded; instead, each case must reported: that at Royal Class Venture's business address at
be evaluated according to its peculiar circumstances.62 For the Minien East, Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan, there is a new
case at bar, applying the above criteria, a finding of personal establishment named "Joel and Sons Corporation," a family
and solidary liability against a corporate officer like Guillermo corporation owned by the Guillermos in which Jose Emmanuel
must be rooted on a satisfactory showing of fraud, bad F. Guillermo is again one of the stockholders; that Guillermo
received the writ of execution but used the nickname "Joey"
faith or malice, or the presence of any of the justifications for and denied being Jose Emmanuel F. Guillermo and, instead,
disregarding the corporate fiction. As stated in McLeod,63 bad pretended to be Jose's brother; that the guard on duty
16

confirmed that Jose and Joey are one and the same person; In addition, petitioners claim that there is no basis to pierce the
and that the respondent corporation Royal Class Venture had veil of corporate fiction because DMI had a separate and
been dissolved.70 Again, the facts contained in the Sheriffs distinct personality from the officers comprising it. They also
Return were not disputed nor controverted by Guillermo, either insist that there was no showing that the termination of
in the hearings of Uson's Motions for Issuance of Alias Writs of respondents was attended by bad faith.
Execution, in subsequent motions or pleadings, or even in the
petition before this Court. Essentially, then, the facts form part In fine, petitioners argue that despite the allegation that they
of the records and now stand as further proof of Guillermo's operated and managed the affairs of DMI, they cannot be held
bad faith and malicious intent to evade the judgment obligation. accountable for its liability in the absence of any showing of
bad faith on their part.
The foregoing clearly indicate a pattern or scheme to avoid the
obligations to Uson and frustrate the execution of the judgment Respondents, on their end, counter that petitioners were
award, which this Court, in the interest of justice, will not identified as the ones who owned and managed DMI and
countenance. therefore, they should be held liable to pay the judgment
awards. They also stress that petitioners were consistently
As for Guillermo's assertion that the case is an intra-corporate impleaded since the filing of the complaint and thus, they were
controversy, the Court sustains the finding of the appellate given the opportunity to be heard.
court that the nature of an action and the jurisdiction of a Issue
tribunal are determined by the allegations of the complaint at
the time of its filing, irrespective of whether or not the plaintiff is Whether petitioners are personally liable to pay the
entitled to recover upon all or some of the claims asserted judgment awards in favor of respondents
therein.71 Although Uson is also a stockholder and director of
Royal Class Venture, it is settled in jurisprudence that not all Our Ruling
conflicts between a stockholder and the corporation are intra-
corporate; an examination of the complaint must be made on The Court denies the Petition.
whether the complainant is involved in his capacity as a
stockholder or director, or as an employee.72 If the latter is To begin with, the Court is not a trier of facts and only
found and the dispute does not meet the test of what qualities questions of law may be raised in a petition under Rule 45 of
as an intra-corporate controversy, then the case is a labor case the Rules of Court. This rule, nevertheless, allows certain
cognizable by the NLRC and is not within the jurisdiction of any exceptions, which include such instance where the factual
other tribunal.73In the case at bar, Uson's allegation was that findings of the CA are contrary to those of the lower court or
he was maliciously and illegally dismissed as an Accounting tribunal. Considering the divergent factual findings of the CA
Supervisor by Guillermo, the Company President and General and the NLRC in this case, the Court deems it necessary to
Manager, an allegation that was not even disputed by the latter examine, review and evaluate anew the evidence on record. 30
nor by Royal Class Venture. It raised no intra-corporate
relationship issues between him and the corporation or Moreover, after a thorough review of the records, the Court
Guillermo; neither did it raise any issue regarding the finds that contrary to petitioners' claim, Valderrama v. National
regulation of the corporation. As correctly found by the Labor Relations Commission,31 and David v. Court of
appellate court, Uson's complaint and redress sought were Appeals32 are applicable here. In said cases, the Court held
centered alone on his dismissal as an employee, and not upon that the principle of immutability of judgment, or the rule that
any other relationship he had with the company or with once a judgment has become final and executory, the same
Guillermo. Thus, the matter is clearly a labor dispute can no longer be altered or modified and the court's duty is
cognizable by the labor tribunals.chanrobleslaw only to order its execution, is not absolute. One of its
exceptions is when there is a supervening event occurring after
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Court of Appeals the judgment becomes final and executory, which renders the
Decision dated June 8, 2011 and Resolution dated October 7, decision unenforceable.33
2011 in CA G.R. SP No. 115485 are AFFIRMED.
To note, a supervening event refers to facts that transpired
____________________ after a judgment has become final and executory, or to new
situation that developed after the same attained finality.
G.R. No. 210032, April 25, 2017 Supervening events include matters that the parties were
unaware of before or during trial as they were not yet existing
during that time.34
DUTCH MOVERS, INC. CESAR LEE AND YOLANDA
LEE, Petitioners, v. EDILBERTO1 LEQUIN, CHRISTOPHER In Valderrama, the supervening event was the closure of
R. SALVADOR, REYNALDO2 L. SINGSING, AND RAFFY B. Commodex, the company therein, after the decision became
MASCARDO, Respondents. final and executory, and without any showing that it filed any
Petitioners argue that the circumstances in Valderrama v. proceeding for bankruptcy. The Court held that therein
National Labor Relations Commission29 differ with those of the petitioner, the owner of Commodex, was personally liable for
instant case. They explain that in Valderrama, the LA therein the judgment awards because she controlled the company.
granted a motion for clarification. In this case, however, the LA
made petitioners liable through a mere manifestation and Similarly, supervening events transpired in this case after the
motion to implead filed by respondents. They further stated that NLRC Decision became final and executory, which rendered its
in Valderrama, the body of the decision pointed out the liability execution impossible and unjust. Like in Valderrama, during
of the individual respondents therein while here, there was no the execution stage, DMI ceased its operation, and the same
mention in the November 23, 2007 NLRC Decision regarding did not file any formal notice regarding it. Added to this, in their
petitioners' liability. As such they posit that they cannot be held Opposition to the Motion to Implead, spouses Smith revealed
liable under said NLRC Decision. that they only lent their names to petitioners, and they were
included as incorporators just to assist the latter in forming
17

DMI; after such undertaking, spouses Smith immediately [lent] their names as incorporators to facilitate the
transferred their rights in DMI to petitioners, which proved that [incorporation of DMI.] Respondent Edgard Smith was then
petitioners were the ones in control of DMI, and used the same counsel of Toyota Alabang and acts as its corporate secretary
in furthering their business interests. and as favor to his former client and employer, Respondent
Cesar Lee, agreed to help incorporate [DMI] and even asked
In considering the foregoing events, the Court is not unmindful his wife Respondent, Millicent Smith, to act as incorporator
of the basic tenet that a corporation has a separate and distinct also [to] complete the required 5 man incorporators. After the
personality from its stockholders, and from other corporations it incorporation they assigned and transferred all their purported
may be connected with. However, such personality may be participation in the company to the Respondents Spouses
disregarded, or the veil of corporate fiction may be pierced Cesar and Yolanda Lee, who acted as managers and are the
attaching personal liability against responsible person if the real owners of the corporation. Even at the time complainant[s
corporation's personality "is used to defeat public convenience, were] fired from [their] employment respondents Spouses
justify wrong, protect fraud or defend crime, or is used as a Smith had already given up their shares. The failure to an1end
device to defeat the labor laws x x x." 35 By responsible person, the Articles of Incorporation of [DMI], and to apply for closure is
we refer to an individual or entity responsible for, and who the fault of the new board, if any was constituted subsequently,
acted in bad faith in committing illegal dismissal or in violation and not of Respondents Smiths. Whatever fraud committed
of the Labor Code; or one who actively participated in the was not committed by the Respondents Smiths, hence they
management of the corporation. Also, piercing the veil of could not be made solidarily liable with Respondent
corporate fiction is allowed where a corporation is a mere alter Corporation or with the spouses Lee. If bad faith or fraud did
ego or a conduit of a person, or another corporation.36 attend the termination of complainant[s], respondents Smiths
would know nothing of it because they had ceased any
Here, the veil of corporate fiction must be pierced and connection with [DMI] even prior to such time. And they had at
accordingly, petitioners should be held personally liable for the inception of the corporation never exercised management
judgment awards because the peculiarity of the situation shows prerogatives in the selection, hiring, and firing of employees of
that they controlled DMI; they actively participated in its [DMI].43
operation such that DMI existed not as a separate entity but Spouses Smith categorically identified petitioners as the
only as business conduit of petitioners. As will be shown be owners and managers of DMI. In their Motion to Quash,
shown below, petitioners controlled DMI by making it appear to however, petitioners neither denied the allegation of spouses
have no mind of its own,37 and used DMI as shield in evading Smith nor adduced evidence to establish that they were not the
legal liabilities, including payment of the judgment awards in owners and managers of DMI. They simply insisted that they
favor of respondents.38 could not be held personally liable because of the immutability
of the final and executory NLRC Decision, and of the separate
First, petitioners and DMI jointly filed their Position and distinct personality of DMI.
Paper,39 Reply,40 and Rejoinder41 in contesting respondents'
illegal dismissal. Perplexingly, petitioners argued that they Furthermore, the assailed CA Decision heavily relied on the
were not part of DMI and were not privy to its dealings; 42 yet, declarations of spouses Smith but still petitioners did not
petitioners, along with DMI, collectively raised arguments on address the matters raised by spouses Smith in the instant
the illegal dismissal case against them. Petition with the Court.

Stated differently, petitioners denied having any participation in Indeed, despite sufficient opportunity to clarify matters and/or
the management and operation of DMI; however, they were to refute them, petitioners simply brushed aside the allegations
aware of and disclosed the circumstances surrounding of spouses Smith that petitioners owned and managed DMI.
respondents' employment, and propounded arguments refuting Petitioners just maintain that they did not act in bad faith; that
that respondents were illegally dismissed. the NLRC Decision is final and executory; and that DMI has a
distinct and separate personality. Hence, for failure to address,
To note, petitioners revealed the annual compensation of clarify, or deny the declarations of spouses Smith, the Court
respondents and their length of service; they also set up the finds respondents' position that petitioners owned, and
defense that respondents were merely project employees, and operated DMI with merit.
were not terminated but that DMI's contract with its client was
discontinued resulting in the absence of hauling projects for Third, piercing the veil of corporate fiction is allowed, and
respondents. responsible persons may be impleaded, and be held solidarily
liable even after final judgment and on execution, provided that
If only to prove that they were not part of DMI, petitioners could such persons deliberately used the corporate vehicle to
have revealed who operated it, and from whom they derived unjustly evade the judgment obligation, or resorted to fraud,
the information embodied in their pleadings. Such failure to bad faith, or malice in evading their obligation.44
reveal thus gives the Court reasons to give credence to
respondents' firm stand that petitioners are no strangers to In this case, petitioners were impleaded from the inception of
DMI, and that they were the ones who managed and operated this case. They had ample opportunity to debunk the claim that
it. they illegally dismissed respondents, and that they should be
held personally liable for having controlled DMI and actively
Second, the declarations made by spouses Smith further participated in its management, and for having used it to evade
bolster that petitioners and no other controlled DMI, to legal obligations to respondents.
wit:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Complainants [herein respondents] in their own motion admit While it is true that one's control does not by itself result in the
that they never saw [spouses Smith] at the office of [DMI], and disregard of corporate fiction; however, considering the
do not know them at all. This is because [spouses Smith's] irregularity in the incorporation of DMI, then there is sufficient
services as lawyers had long been dispensed by the Spouses basis to hold that such corporation was used for an illegal
Lee and had no hand whatsoever in the management of the purpose, including evasion of legal duties to its employees, and
company. The Smiths, as counsel of the spouses at [that] time, as such, the piercing of the corporate veil is warranted. The act
18

of hiding behind the cloak of corporate fiction will not be different reason than the supposed repeal of Rule IV, Section 2
allowed in such situation where it is used to evade one's of the 1993 NLRC Manual on Execution of Judgment (1993
obligations, which "equitable piercing doctrine was formulated Manual). Furthermore, the Court believes that Metrobank has
to address and prevent."45 failed to present sufficient evidence of the third-party claim.

Clearly, petitioners should be held liable for the judgment Third-party claims may be resolved even without a full-
awards as they resorted to such scheme to countermand labor blown hearing provided claimants are given an
laws by causing the incorporation of DMI but without any opportunity to be heard.
indication that they were part thereof. While such device to
defeat labor laws may be deemed ingenious and imaginative, Petitioner's main argument concerns the supposed failure of
the Court will not hesitate to draw the line, and protect the right the LA to conduct an evidentiary hearing before resolving the
of workers to security of tenure, including ensuring that they third-party claim. Petitioner insists that its right to due process
will receive the benefits they deserve when they fall victims of was violated, because such a hearing is required under Rule
illegal dismissal.46 IV, Section 2 of the 1993 Manual.42 In support of its assertion,
it cites Jang Lim v. CA, in which this Court supposedly applied
Finally, it appearing that respondents' reinstatement is no the 1993 Manual, instead of the contradictory provisions of the
longer feasible by reason of the closure of DMI, then 2002 NLRC Revised Rules of Procedure (2002 NLRC
separation pay should be awarded to respondents instead. 47 Rules).43chanrobleslaw

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED. The July 1, 2013 The CA, however, disagreed with petitioner's stance. It refused
Decision and November 13, 2013 Resolution of the Court of to apply the 1993 Manual because Section 9, Rule VIII of the
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP 113774 are AFFIRMED with 2002 NLRC Rules, had supposedly superseded the 1993
MODIFICATION that instead of reinstatement, Dutch Movers, Manual's provisions on third-party claims.44chanrobleslaw
Inc. and spouses Cesar Lee and Yolanda Lee are solidarily
liable to pay respondents' separation pay for every year of While this Court sustains the conclusion that the 1993 Manual
service. does not govern this dispute, it does not agree that the 1993
Manual was repealed by the 2002 NLRC Rules. Our view is
____________________________ that Rule VI of the 1993 Manual was superseded by a new
version of the same manual enacted by the NLRC in July
2002.45Section 1, Rule VI of this 2002 Manual on Execution of
G.R. No. 181387, September 05, 2016 Judgment, provides:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
SECTION 1. Proceedings. SHOULD A THIRD-PARTY CLAIM
BE FILED DURING EXECUTION OF THE JUDGMENT
CAMERON GRANVILLE 3 ASSET MANAGEMENT, AWARD, THE THIRD-PARTY CLAIMANT shall EXECUTE an
INC., Petitioner, v. UE MONTHLY ASSOCIATES, UEAMI affidavit STATING his title TO PROPERTY or possession
WORKERS UNION NFL AND ALFREDO BASI, Respondent. thereof WITH SUPPORTING EVIDENCE and shall file the
PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THIS COURT same with the sheriff and copies thereof served upon the
Commission or Labor Arbiter who issued the writ and upon the
Petitioner seeks the reversal of the assailed Decision and prevailing party. Upon receipt of the third-party claim, all
Resolution on the following grounds: (a) the failure of the CA to proceedings, with respect to the execution of the property
adhere to Jang Lim v. CA,39 in which this Court purportedly subject of the third-party claim, shall automatically be
applied the NLRC Sheriff's Manual on Execution, and not the suspended. The Commission or Labor Arbiter who issued the
NLRC Rules of Procedure, in resolving a third-party claim; and writ MAY REQUIRE THE THIRD-PARTY CLAIMANT TO
(b) the refusal of the CA to consider Metrobank's mortgage lien ADDUCE ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF HIS
as a specially preferred credit. THIRD-PARTY CLAIM AND TO POST A CASH OR SURETY
BOND EQUIVALENT TO THE AMOUNT OF HIS CLAIM AS
In a Resolution40 dated 16 April 2008, this Court required PROVIDED FOR IN SECTION 6, RULE VI, OF THE NLRC
respondents to comment on the Petition. However, the RULES OF PROCEDURE, WITHOUT PREJUDICE TO THE
repeated attempts to serve the Resolution on respondents POSTING BY THE PREVAILING PARTY OF A
failed. Accordingly, We resolved to consider the Resolution to SUPERSEDEAS BOND IN AN AMOUNT EQUIVALENT TO
have been served upon respondents, and the latter to have THAT POSTED BY THE THIRD-PARTY CLAIMANT. The
waived their right to comment on the Petition.41chanrobleslaw PROPRIETY of the THIRD-PARTY claim SHALL BE
ISSUES RESOLVED within ten (10) working days from SUBMISSION
OF THE CLAIM FOR RESOLUTION. The decision OF the
This case presents the following issues for resolution: Labor Arbiter is appealable to the Commission within ten (10)
working days from notice AND the Commission shall resolve
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary(1) Whether the CA erred in the appeal within the same period.
applying the Revised Rules of Procedure of the NLRC, which It is settled that revisions to procedural rules are applicable to
does not require the LA to conduct a hearing before deciding pending and unresolved disputes, so long as no injustice
Metrobank's third-party claim results from the retroactive application.46 In this case, the third-
party claim was still pending before the LA at the time the 2002
(2) Whether the CA erred in denying Metrobank's third-party Manual on Execution of Judgment took effect. Hence,
claim Metrobank was obliged to comply with the new requirement as
OUR RULING soon as it took effect. Notably, this fact distinguishes the
instant case from Jang Lim v. CA,47 which was cited by
We DENY the Petition. petitioner to prove the applicability of Rule VI of the 1993
Manual to this case. We note, however, that the third-party
This Court agrees with the CA that a hearing is not required claim in Jang Lim was filed in 1999 and decided by the LA in
before a third-party claim can be decided by the LA, albeit for a 200048 before the amendment of the 1993 Manual; hence, the
19

revised rules were not applied to that case. enumeration did not include any evidence of this particular
point. It merely submitted lists of the chattels supposedly
In the instant suit, Metrobank filed its third-party claim on 6 mortgaged to it without identifying which of these items were
September 2002,49 or 10 days before 16 September 2002 - actually levied upon and sold by the sheriff.
when the 2002 Manual took effect.50 This sequence of events
explains why no supporting evidence was attached to the Petitioner also had an opportunity to prove the third-party claim
bank's Affidavit of Third-Party Claim. We note, nevertheless, before this Court. It was aware that the CA had denied
that the 2002 Manual was already in effect when Metrobank Metrobank's Petition for Certiorari due to the absence of proof
filed its Reply to Comment to Third-party Claim with Motion to that the properties allegedly mortgaged to the bank were
Set Hearing51 on 3 October 2002. By then, it should have among those sold by the sheriff on execution. It would have
realized that it was already required to submit supporting been a simple matter to identify the properties sold by the
evidence of its claim under the revised rule, and that it no sheriff, as well as to prove that these items were included in
longer needed to await the grant of its request for a hearing. the list of properties mortgaged to Metrobank. Petitioner,
Furthermore, since the LA resolved the claim only on 5 however, still opted to attach only a machine copy of the Notice
December 2002, or three months after the 2002 Manual took of Levy/Sale on Execution of Personal Property, without
effect, Metrobank had more than enough time to submit the annexes,56 to its Petition for Review. For obvious reasons, this
required evidentiary support of its alleged right to the property. machine copy will not suffice as evidence.

It must be emphasized that the amended provision gave the LA It must be pointed out that third-party claimants in execution
the discretion to determine whether additional evidence proceedings have the burden of proving their right or title to the
needed to be presented before the third-party claim could be subject properties, if they want to defeat the judgment
resolved. Since the claimant was already required to submit lien.57 To do so, they must submit evidence not only of the
proof of his alleged title to the property, the LA was allowed to basis of their entitlement, but also of the fact that the properties
decide the claim based only on the evidence submitted. Here, they are claiming were indeed the subject of the execution.
the LA decided that no further hearing was necessary, given Failure to submit that evidence will justify the denial of the
the failure of Metrobank to submit proof of its claim to the third- party claim, as in this case.
properties. As will be further discussed, the Court finds no
reason to overturn this conclusion. In view of the foregoing, this Court no longer finds it necessary
to resolve the other issues raised by the parties. There was
We likewise find no merit in the assertion that petitioner was sufficient justification for the LA to deny the third-party claim,
denied due process. The decision of the LA not to conduct a and for the NLRC and the CA to affirm that ruling.
formal evidentiary hearing before resolving the case was
justified, as the conduct of those hearings is not mandatory in WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review is DENIED for lack of
all instances, particularly in administrative proceedings. 52 At its merit. The Court of Appeals Decision dated 1 October 2007
core, due process simply means giving both parties a fair and and Resolution dated 21 January 2008 are hereby AFFIRMED.
reasonable opportunity to be heard or to explain their side of
the controversy.53 Here, Metrobank was clearly granted this _______________________
opportunity through the written submissions it presented to the
LA. That these submissions supposedly failed to include all the G.R. No. 209098
pieces of evidence it intended to present is entirely its fault.

In any case, Metrobank was given additional opportunities to JUAN B. HERNANDEZ, Petitioner
argue its case and present its evidence before the NLRC and vs.
the CA. These subsequent proceedings were more than CROSSWORLD MARINE SERVICES, INC., MYKONOS
enough to rectify any alleged procedural flaw and satisfy the SIDPPING CO., LTD., and ELEAZAR DIAZ, Respondents
requirements of due process.54chanrobleslaw
Petitioner's Arguments
Metrobank and petitioner failed to prove their right to the
properties. Praying that the assailed CA pronouncements be set aside and
that the NLRC judgment be reinstated instead, petitioner
At any rate, this Court sustains the conclusion of the CA with contends in his Petition and Reply22 that contrary to the ruling
regard to the failure of Metrobank to establish the latter's third- of the CA, the doctrine in Career Phils. Ship Management, Inc.
party claim. Our examination of the records of this case reveals v. Madjus case applies to him as well, since he is likewise
that the bank failed to present a single piece of evidence in prohibited from pursuing further claims under the documents
support of a crucial point, i.e., that the properties subject of the he was made to sign; that all these documents - Conditional
chattel mortgage in its favor were among those levied upon Satisfaction of Judgment, Receipt of Payment, and Affidavit -
and sold by the NLRC sheriff. in Career Phils. Ship Management and in this case are
identical and were prepared by one and the same counsel, the
We cannot ignore the fact that Metrobank was repeatedly del Rosario and del Rosario Law Offices; that in signing these
made aware of its failure to present the required evidence and documents, he did so out of financial necessity and was left
given the opportunity to rectify the error. Throughout the with no other recourse; that nonetheless, even assuming that
proceedings before the LA, the NLRC and the CA, its claim the CA is correct in not applying Career Phils. Ship
was rejected because there was insufficient evidence that the Management, he is still entitled to disability benefits and other
properties, subject of the levy, had indeed been mortgaged to claims awarded by the NLRC, as his illness is work-connected
the bank. However, it never bothered to present proof of this and thus compensable; and that he has worked for
assertion in its various submissions before the agencies and respondents since 2005 - which shows that his hypertension
the CA. In fact, even when the bank identified and attached and diabetes developed and/or were aggravated while working
copies of the documents it allegedly intended to present in for respondents and having to contend with the perils of the
case an evidentiary hearing would be conducted, 55 its own
20

sea, harsh climate and weather conditions, and emotional available recourse since he agreed that he will not
strain of being away from his family. "prosecute any suit or action in the Philippines x xx against
the shipowners and/or the released parties herein after
Respondents' Arguments receiving the payment of US$66,000.00 or its peso
equivalent."26 "Any suit or action" literally includes a petition
before this Court to review the CA reversal - or the instant
In their joint Comment,23 respondents reiterate the CA petition. It also covers a claim for interest that may justly
pronouncement, adding that in paying petitioner conditionally, accrue in his favor during the pendency of the case.
they simply acted in good faith, complied with the execution
proceedings, and wanted to prevent garnishment of their
accounts; that petitioner's illness was not contracted during his In effect, while petitioner27 had the luxury of having other
employment with them; that diabetes is not a compensable remedies available to it such as its petition
occupational disease; that petitioner's failure to submit to a for certiorari pending before the appellate court, and an
post-employment medical test by a company-designated eventual appeal to this Court, respondent, 28 on the other hand,
physician foreclosed his right to claim disability benefits; and could no longer pursue other claims, including for interests that
that for the foregoing reasons, petitioner is not entitled to his may accrue during the pendency of the case.29
other claims.
That respondents did not invoke the prohibition in the Affidavit -
Our Ruling when the instant Petition was instituted - does not take away
the fact that petitioner has been unduly deprived of such
recourse through the documents he was made to sign.
The Court grants the Petition.
In Career Philippines, believing that the execution of the LA
Respondents profess that the Conditional Satisfaction of Decision was imminent after its petition for injunctive relief was
Judgment, Receipt of Payment, and Affidavit which petitioner denied, the employer filed before the LA a pleading embodying
was made to sign were prepared in good faith and simply to a conditional satisfaction of judgment before the CA and,
comply with the execution proceedings below and prevent accordingly, paid the employee the monetary award in the LA
garnishment of their accounts. However, this Court believes decision. In the said pleading, the employer stated that the
otherwise. Hidden behind these documents appears to be a conditional satisfaction of the judgment award was without
convenient ploy to deprive petitioner of all his rights to claim prejudice to its pending appeal before the CA and that it was
indemnity from respondents under all possible causes of action being made only to prevent the imminent execution.
and in all available fora, and effectively for nothing in return or
exchange - because in the event that the NLRC ruling is
reversed, then petitioner must return what he received, thus The CA later dismissed the employer's petition for being moot
leaving him with the proverbial empty bag. This is and academic, noting that the decision of the LA had attained
fundamentally unfair, and goes against public policy. finality with the satisfaction of the judgment award. This Court
affirmed the ruling of the CA, interpreting the 'conditional
settlement' to be tantamount to an amicable settlement of the
As was held before, human life is not more expendable than case resulting in the mootness of the petition
corporate capital.24 The survival of the petitioner and his family for certiorari, considering (i) that the employee could no longer
depends on the former's ability to find and perform work for pursue other claims, and (ii) that the employer could not have
wages they need to secure food, shelter, clothing, and the been compelled to immediately pay because it had filed an
education of his children. It may be that in this jurisdiction, appeal bond to ensure payment to the employee.
petitioner may ultimately be adjudged as not entitled to the
monetary claims he seeks, but in other fora - such as in
Panama, Japan, or any other country- he may be found to be Stated differently, the Court ruled against the employer
entitled thereto, and to other indemnities as well. Yet by affixing because the conditional satisfaction of judgment signed
his signature upon the Conditional Satisfaction of Judgment, by the parties was highly prejudicial to the employee. The
Receipt of Payment, and Affidavit, petitioner effectively agreement stated that the payment of the monetary award
surrendered all his rights and waived all his claims and causes was without prejudice to the right of the employer to me a
of action in all jurisdictions, and in exchange for nothing. petition for certiorari and appeal, while the employee
Indeed, in the Affidavit, petitioner even went so far as to certify agreed that she would no longer file any complaint or
and warrant that he will not file any other complaint or prosecute any suit of [sic] action against the employer
prosecute any suit or action here or in any other country after after receiving the payment.30 (Emphasis supplied)
receiving the settlement amount.
Within the context of the constitutional, legislative, and
6. That I have no further claims whatsoever in any theory of jurisprudential guarantees afforded to labor, the position
law against the Owners of MV "NIKOMARIN" because of the petitioner has been led into is unjust, unfair, and arbitrary.
payment made to me. That I certify and warrant that I will not
file any complaint or prosecute any suit or action in the In More Maritime Agencies, Inc. v. NLRC,31 the Court ruled
Philippines, Panama, Japan or any other country against the that:
shipowners and/or the released parties herein after receiving
the payment of US$66,000.00or its peso equivalent x The law does not consider as valid any agreement to receive
xx."25 (Emphasis in the original) less compensation than what a worker is entitled to recover nor
prevent him from demanding benefits to which he is entitled.
This waiver by petitioner in exchange for nothing has in fact Quitclaims executed by the employees are thus commonly
become a reality, since the CA reversed the NLRC ruling, frowned upon as contrary to public policy and ineffective to bar
which means that petitioner would now have to return what he claims for the full measure of the workers legal rights,
received from the respondents, and yet he is left with no considering the economic disadvantage of the employee and
21

the inevitable pressure upon him by financial necessity. same documents with disfavor in the Career Phils. Ship
(Citation omitted) Management case and in subsequent dispositions of the
Court,36 insofar as these and similar documents contain terms
Respondents could have simply paid the judgment award and conditions that are unfair to the employee.
without attaching conditions that have far-reaching
consequences other than those intended by a simple Having disposed of the case in the foregoing manner, there is
compliance with what was required under the circumstances - no need to pass upon the other issues raised by the parties.
that is, the mandatory execution proceedings following a
favorable judgment allowed under the Labor Code. But they did WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED. The November 29,
not; they had to find a way to tie petitioner's hands 2012 Decision and September 3, 2013 Resolution of the Court
permanently, dangling the check as bait, so to speak. To of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 124685 are REVISED and SET
borrow from a fairly recent ruling of the Court, ''[t]he execution ASIDE, and respondents’ Petition for Certiorari in said case is
[of the documents] cannot be tolerated as it amounts to a considered MOOT and ACADEMIC in view of the full
deceptive scheme to unconditionally absolve employers from settlement and complete satisfaction of petitioner’s claims.
every liability.32

x x x. As a rule, quitclaims and waivers or releases are looked G.R. No. 192369, November 09, 2016
upon with disfavor and frowned upon as contrary to public
policy.1âwphi1 They are thus ineffective to bar claims for the MARIA VICTORIA TOLENTINO-
full measure of a worker's legal rights, particularly when the PRIETO, Petitioner, v. ROBERT S. ELVAS, Respondent.
following conditions are applicable: 1) where there is clear
proof that the waiver was wangled from cm unsuspecting or G.R. No. 193685
gullible person, or (2) where the terms of settlement are
unconscionable on their face. To determine whether the ROBERT S. ELVAS, Petitioner, v. INNSBRUCK
Quitclaims signed by respondents are valid, one important INTERNATIONAL TRADING AND/OR MARIVIC TOLENTINO
factor that must be taken into account is the consideration (A.K.A. MARIA VICTORIA TOLENTINO-
accepted by respondents; the amount must constitute a PRIETO), Respondents.
reasonable settlement equivalent to the full measure of Our Ruling
their legal rights. In this case, the Quitclaims signed by the
respondents do not appear to have been made for valuable We deny the consolidated petitions.
consideration. x x x33 (Emphasis supplied)
Elvas' appeal was filed out of time.
For what they did, respondents are guilty of bad faith, and
should suffer the consequences of their actions.1âwphi1 One At the outset, we address the question of timeliness for both
is that their payment of petitioner's claim should properly be appeals. As borne by the records, Tolentino received a copy of
treated as a voluntary settlement of his claim in full satisfaction the Decision and Resolution of the CA on July 31, 2009 and
of the NLRC judgment - which thus rendered the Petition in May 28, 2010, respectively.51 Under Rule 45 of the Revised
CA-G.R. SP No. 124685 moot and academic. Rules of Court (the Rules), Tolentino had 15 days from receipt
of the resolution denying her motion for reconsideration or until
June 12, 2010 within which to file a petition for review.
For its part, the CA refused to apply the pronouncement Tolentino, however, asked tor additional period of 30 days or
in Career Phils. Shipmanagement, insinuating that the situation until July 12, 2010 to file her petition. We granted her request
of the parties in said case and in the present one are different in our Resolution dated July 2, 2010.52 On July 12, 2010,
in that, in the instant case, petitioner "still retains the right to Tolentino tiled her appeal. Clearly, her petition was tiled on
judicial recourse in the event"34 that the NLRC decision is time.
reversed, while in Career Phils. Shipmanagement, "the
Supreme Court opted to render the action therein moot and Elvas received a copy of the Resolution of the CA denying his
academic due to the fact that part of the condition is a partial motion for reconsideration on May 21, 2010. He had
prohibition on the part of the seafarer to pursue further until June 5, 2010 to tile a petition for review. He sought an
claims"35 as stated in the same Conditional Satisfaction of additional period of 30 days to file the same, which we granted
Judgment, Receipt of Payment, and Affidavit which he was in our Resolution53 dated July 21, 2010. However, on the
made to sign. The appellate court's position is flawed: 30thday, or on July 5, 2010, Elvas failed to file his petition.
petitioner's situation is no different from that of the seafarer in Instead, he filed it on July 6, 2010. Evidently, Elvas' petition
the Career Phils. Shipmanagement case. The CA's reasoning was filed out of time.
laid down in its pronouncement is a mere convenient play on
words. Just as in the Career Phils. Shipmanagement case, The right to appeal is neither a natural right nor is it a
petitioner is equally prohibited from pursuing further claims; it is component of due process. It is a mere statutory privilege, and
not simply that petitioner "still retains the right to judicial may be exercised only in the manner and in accordance with
recourse"; what is of significance is that he stands to gain the provisions of law.54 Elvas calls for our compassion to
nothing in the end, and yet is unduly prevented from pursuing overlook the one day delay in the filing of his petition; however,
further claims - all without the benefit of receiving, in return, we have ruled time and again that our kind consideration is not
valuable consideration or a reasonable settlement equivalent to for the undeserving. While it is within our power to relax the
the full measure of his legal rights. rule on timeliness of appeals, the circumstances obtaining in
this case do not warrant our liberality.
Respondents' counsel - the Del Rosario & Del Rosario Law
Offices - should have known better than to once more utilize Elvas attempted to justify the delay but we are not persuaded.
the Conditional Satisfaction of Judgment, Receipt of Payment, In his Reply in G.R. No. 193685, he claimed that he was able
and Affidavit, knowing that this Court looked upon these very to obtain funds for printing and photocopying of the petition and
22

its attachments only on the last day of filing the petition, or on


(2) verified by the appellant himself/herself in
July 5, 2010. By then, he mused that it was too late to
accordance with Section 4, Rule 7 of the Rules of
complete the photocopying and the collation of documents for
Court, as amended;
submission on the same dayas in fact, he was able to
personally deliver the completed petition before us only on the
following day.55Interestingly, however, Elvas in his (3) in the form of a memorandum of appeal which shall
Manifestation dated July 6, 2010 noted that he furnished state the grounds relied upon and the arguments in
Tolentino and the CA, copies of his petition for review on July support thereof, the relief prayed for, and with a
5, 2010.56 We find this detail inconsistent with the alibi that statement of the date the appellant received the
Elvas narrated in his Reply. Elvas claims that copies of the appealed decision, award or order;
petition became available only on July 6, 2010, yet he was able
to furnish Tolentino and the CA with copies of the same on July (4) in three (3) legibly typewritten or printed copies; and
5, 2010. The actuation of Elvas is suspect. It seems to us that
he intended to give his petition a semblance of being filed on (5) accompanied by:
time when in fact it was not. It is calculated to prevent Tolentino
from questioning the timeliness of Elvas' petition, an utter sign i) proof of payment of the required appeal fee and
of bad faith which we cannot countenance and does not legal research fee;
deserve our compassion.
ii) posting of a cash or surety bond as provided in
In addition, the fact that the delay in the filing of the petition Section 6 of this Rule; and
was only one day is not a legal justification for non-compliance
with the rule requiring that it be filed within the reglementary iii) proof of service upon the other parties.
period.57 Thus, in the recent case of Visayan Electric Company
Employees Union-ALU-TUCP v. Visayan Electric Cornpany,
Inc.,58 we affirmed the CA's denial of a petition (b) A mere notice of appeal without complying with the other
for certiorari filed 61 days instead of 60 days from notice of the requisites aforestated shall not stop the running of the period
judgment or resolution, viz:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary for perfecting an appeal.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
[W]hen the law fixes thirty days x x x, we cannot take it to xxx
mean also thirty-one days. If that deadline could be stretched
to thirty-one days in one case, what would prevent its being Sec. 5. Appeal Fee. - The appellant shall pay the prevailing
further stretched to thirty-two days in another case, and so on, appeal fee and legal research fee to the Regional Arbitration
step by step, until the original line is forgotten or buried in the Branch or Regional Office of origin, and the official receipt of
growing confusion resulting from the alterations? That is such payment shall form part of the records of the case.
intolerable. We cannot fix a period with the solemnity of a
statute and disregard it like a joke. If law is founded on reason, Sec. 6. Bond. - In case the decision of the Labor Arbiter or the
whim and fancy should play no part in its application. 59 Regional Director involves a monetary award, an appeal by the
Consequently, we deny Elvas' petition for being filed beyond employer may be perfected only upon the posting of a bond,
the reglementary period. In any case, his petition is also which shall either be in the form of cash deposit or surety bond
unmeritorious as we shall discuss shortly. equivalent in amount to the monetary award, exclusive of
damages and attorney's fees.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
The NLRC and CA did not err in allowing respondents' appeal. xxx

Article 229 of the Labor Code mandates that appeals from the The appellant shall furnish the appellee with a certified true
judgment of the LA which involve a monetary award may be copy of the said surety bond with all the abovementioned
perfected only upon posting of a cash or surety bond issued by supporting documents. The appellee shall verify the regularity
a reputable bonding company duly accredited by the NLRC in and genuineness thereof and immediately report any
the amount equivalent to the monetary award in the judgment irregularity to the Commission.
appealed from. Consequently, Sections 1, 4, 5 and 6, Rule VI
of the 2011 NLRC Rules of Procedure Upon verification by the Commission that the bond is irregular
state:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary or not genuine, the Commission shall cause the immediate
Sec. 1. Periods of Appeal. - Decisions, awards, or orders of the dismissal of the appeal, and censure the responsible parties
Labor Arbiter shall be final and executory unless appealed to and their counsels, or subject them to reasonable fine or
the Commission by any or both parties within ten (10) calendar penalty, and the bonding company may be
days from receipt thereof; and in case of decisions or blacklisted.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
resolutions of the Regional Director of the Department of Labor xxx
and Employment pursuant to Article 129 of the Labor Code, These statutory and regulatory provisions explicitly provide that
within five (5) calendar days from receipt thereof. If the 10th or an appeal from the LA to the NLRC must be perfected within
5th day, as the case may be, falls on a Saturday, Sunday or 10 calendar days from receipt of such decisions, awards or
holiday, the last day to perfect the appeal shall be the first orders of the LA. In a judgment involving a monetary award,
working day following such Saturday, Sunday or the appeal shall be perfected only upon (1) proof of payment of
holiday.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary the required appeal fee; (2) posting of a cash or surety bond
xxx issued by a reputable bonding company; and (3) filing of a
memorandum of appeal.60
Sec. 4. Requisites for Perfection of Appeal. - (a) The appeal
shall be:cralawlawlibrary The second requisite is the crux of the present controversy.
Respondents seasonably filed a memorandum of appeal and
(1) filed within the reglementary period provided in posted a surety bond in an amount equivalent to the monetary
Section 1 of this Rule; award of the LA, but the bond turned out to be spurious upon
verification of Elvas. Respondents immediately put up a new
23

and genuine bond to replace the old one. The NLRC and the Tolentino laments that she was denied due process when the
CA allowed the appeal. CA reviewed an unassigned error - the issue of Elvas' illegal
dismissal. She maintains that it is not closely related to, or
We find no cogent reason to disturb the ruling of the courts a dependent on, the issue of perfection of appeal. To support her
quo. While posting of an appeal bond is mandatory and argument, she harps on the applicability of Section 8, Rule 51
jurisdictional,61 we sanction the relaxation of the rule in certain of the Rules, which reads:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
meritorious cases. These cases include instances in which (1) Sec. 8. Questions that may be decided. - No error which does
there was substantial compliance with the Rules, (2) not affect the jurisdiction over the subject matter or the validity
surrounding facts and circumstances constitute meritorious of the judgment appealed from or the proceedings therein will
grounds to reduce the bond, (3) a liberal interpretation of the be considered unless stated in the assignment of errors. or
requirement of an appeal bond would serve the desired closely related to or dependent on an assigned error and
objective of resolving controversies on the merits, or (4) the properly argued in the brief, save as the court may pass upon
appellants, at the very least, exhibited their willingness and/or plain errors and clerical errors.
good faith by posting a partial bond during the reglementary Rightfully so, as borne by the record and as admitted by Elvas,
period.62 The first and second instances are present in this the only error raised in the CA is whether the NLRC committed
case. grave abuse of discretion in giving due course to respondents'
appeal. Elvas did not ask the CA to review the finding of the
As correctly found by the CA, respondents substantially NLRC that he was not illegally dismissed. Yet, the CA reversed
complied with the rules as shown by their lack of intention to that finding and declared that Elvas was illegally terminated
evade the requirement of appeal bond.63 Upon being informed from service. Conscious of the fact that it was not raised as an
of the spuriousness of the bond, they dismissed their counsel issue, the CA explained that ruling on the merits is necessary
of record who was allegedly responsible for its submission and for a complete and just resolution of the case.
hired another lawyer who submitted a genuine bond.64 Both the
NLRC and the CA found good faith on the part of respondents, We concur with the CA. Our rules recognize the broad
stating that the filing of the alleged fake bond was without their discretionary power of an appellate court to waive the lack of
knowledge and that they did not purposely post a spurious proper assignment of errors and to consider errors not
bond. We adhere to a strict application of Article 229 of the assigned.69 The CA has ample authority to review errors not
Labor Code when appellants do not post an appeal bond at raised in the following instances:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
all;65 but here an appeal bond was actually filed. Strict
application of the rules is therefore uncalled for. (a) When the question affects jurisdiction over the subject
matter;
Further, Article 227 of the same Code authorizes the NLRC to
"use every and all reasonable means to ascertain the facts in (b) Matters that are evidently plain or clerical errors within
each case speedily and objectively, without regard to contemplation of law;
technicalities of law or procedure." In the case before us, the
NLRC opined that it is in the best interest of justice that the (c) Matters whose consideration is necessary in arriving at a
appeal be allowed so that the case could be resolved on its just decision and complete resolution of the case or in
merits. In this regard, we cite Rada v. NLRC,66where we ruled serving the interests of justice or avoiding dispensing
that the NLRC did not commit grave abuse of discretion when it piecemeal justice;
entertained the employer's appeal despite the posting of the
surety bond beyond the reglementary period. We explained (d) Matters raised in the trial court and are of record having
that "[w]hile it is true that the payment of the supersedeas bond some bearing on the issue submitted that the parties
is an essential requirement in the perfection of an appeal, failed to raise or that the lower court ignored;
however, where the fee had been paid although payment was
delayed, the broader interests of justice and the desired (e) Matters closely related to an error assigned; and
objective of resolving controversies on the merits demands that
the appeal be given due course."67 (f) Matters upon which the determination of a question
properly assigned is dependent.70
In Manaban v. Sarphil Corporation/Apokon Fruits, Inc.,68 we
affirmed the NLRC's decision to give due course to the appeal Evidently, the exceptions obtain in this case. The CA effectively
of the landowner-employer, notwithstanding that the appeal avoided dispensing piecemeal justice when it did not confine
was perfected beyond the 10-day reglementary period and the itself to the resolution only of the procedural aspect of the case
posting of the appeal bond was four months delayed on the but ruled on the merits that is, the issue of illegal dismissal.
basis of fundamental consideration of substantial Since the LA and the NLRC had varying views of the merits, it
justice. Manaban involves the implementation of the would best serve the interest of justice that the CA lays the
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) which the issue to a definitive rest. Additionally, it cannot be gainsaid that
NLRC acknowledged to be more favorable to the landless an appeal throws the entire case open for review. 71
farmers or in this case to the laborers/workers of the land
subject of the CARP. In light of the government's policy to Finally, we reject Tolentino's contention that she was deprived
equally protect and respect not only the laborers' interest but of due process by the CA because she was not able to address
also that of the employer, the NLRC allowed the landowner- the issue of illegal dismissal in her submissions. Suffice it to
employer's appeal. state that no new issue of fact arose, and no new evidence
was presented before the CA in connection with the question of
All told, the NLRC and the CA did not err when they admitted illegal dismissal. Thus, it cannot be argued that Tolentino was
respondents' appeal. not given a chance to address them. The CA decided the
merits of the case based on the pleadings and evidence on
The CA may rule upon an unassigned error to arrive at a record. Tolentino cannot deny her active participation in the
complete and just resolution of the case. proceedings before the courts a quo. Thus, her cry of violation
of due process is misplaced.
24

Instead, in the petition for certiorari filed before the CA, Xlibris
In fine, the CA did not err in allowing respondents' appeal and only questioned the award of nominal damages for failure to
m ruling on the merits of the case. comply with procedural due process. Emphatically, neither
Xlibris nor Javines further questioned the CA' s award on this
WHEREFORE, the consolidated petitions are DENIED for lack point. As such, the issue as to whether the requirements of
of merit. The July 21, 2009 Decision and May 17, 2010 procedural due process to constitute a valid dismissal were
Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 107070 complied with has been resolved with finality. In any event,
are hereby AFFIRMED. such involves a question of fact which the Court does not allow
in a petition filed under Rule 45. 26 It has been consistently held
_________________ that the jurisdiction of the Court in cases brought before it from
the CA via Rule 45 is generally limited to reviewing errors of
law and does not extend to a re-evaluation of the sufficiency of
G.R. No. 214301 evidence upon which the courts a quo had based its
determination. 27 What is more, findings of fact of labor
tribunals when affirmed by the CA bind this Court. We find no
RAMON MANUEL T. JAVINES, Petitioner compelling reason in this case to depart from the foregoing
vs. settled rules.
XLIBRIS a.k.a. AUTHOR SOLUTIONS, INC., JOSEPH
STEINBACH, and STELLA MARS OUANO,, Respondents
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated
June 26, 2014 and Resolution dated August 28, 2014 of the
The Ruling of this Court Court of Appeals finding petitioner Ramon Manuel T. Javines
to have been dismissed for just cause and awarding nominal
The petition lacks merit. damages in the amount of PhPl,000 in his favor
are AFFIRMED in toto.
The Labor Arbiter and the NLRC uniformly held that Javines'
employment was terminated for just cause under Article 297
(formerly Article 282) of the Labor Code.1âwphi1 It is
undisputed that from this unanimous finding, Javines failed to
G.R. No. 190203, November 07, 2016
move for reconsideration nor challenged said.ruling before the
CA. Consequently, the NLRC decision finding Javines to have
been dismissed for just cause. became final. For failure to file POWERHOUSE STAFFBUILDERS INTERNATIONAL,
the requisite petition before the CA, the NLRC decision had INC., Petitioner, v. ROMELIA REY, LIZA CABAD,
attained finality and had been placed beyond the appellate EVANGELINE NICMIC, EVA LAMEYRA, ROSARIO
court's power of review. Although appeal is an essential part of ABORDAJE, LILYBETH MAGALANG, VENIA BUYAG,
judicial process, the right thereto is not a natural right or a part JAYNALYN NOLLEDO, IREN NICOLAS, AILEEN SAMALEA,
of due process but is merely a statutory privilege. Settled are SUSAN YBAÑEZ; CHERYL ANN ORIA, MA. LIZA SERASPI,
the rules that a decision becomes final as against a party who KATHERINE ORACION, AND JEJ INTERNATIONAL
does not appeal the same 22 and an appellee who has not MANPOWER SERVICES CORPORATION, Respondents.
himself appealed cannot obtain from the appellate court any The Court's Ruling
affirmative relief other than those granted in the decision of the
court below. 23 Hence, the finding that Javines was dismissed Before going into the substantive merits of the case, we shall
for just cause must be upheld. first resolve the procedural issues raised by respondents in
their respective Comments.
Javines' insistence that the petition for certiorari filed by Xlibris
In their Comment,33 respondent employees assert that
throws open the entire case for review such that the issue of
Powerhouse failed to show any justifiable reason why it should
whether or not he was dismissed for just cause ought to have
be excused from the operation of the rules. 34 Moreover, the CA
been addressed by the CA is entirely misplaced.
actually resolved the petition on the merits but Powerhouse
showed nothing to earn a favorable ruling. 35
While it is true that the appellate court is given broad
discretionary power to waive the lack of proper assignment of On the other hand, JEJ, in its Comment,36 avers that
errors and to consider errors not assigned 24 , it has authority to Powerhouse failed to raise as an issue the dismissal of
do so in the following instances: (a) when the question affects Powerhouse's petition due to its gross and blatant violations of
jurisdiction over the subject matter; (b) matters that are the requirements of Rule 65. Instead, Powerhouse made
evidently plain or clerical errors within contemplation of law; (c) assignments of errors, or what it called "novel questions of
matters whose consideration is necessary in arriving at a just law," which is just a ploy to seek the review of the factual
decision and complete resolution of the case, or in serving the findings of the CA and the NLRC.37
interests of justice or avoiding dispensing piecemeal justice; (d)
matters raised in the trial court and are of record having some The petition in the CA was timely filed.
bearing on the issue submitted that the parties failed to raise or
that the lower court ignored; (e) matters closely related to an Section 4, Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as
error assigned; and (f) matters upon which the determination of amended,38 provides:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
a question properly assigned is dependent. 25 Sec. 4. When and where petition filed. - The petition shall be
filed not later than sixty (60) days from notice of the judgment,
None of the aforesaid instances exists in the instant case. order or resolution. In case a motion for reconsideration or new
Thus, the CA. cannot be faulted for no longer discussing the trial is timely filed, whether such motion is required or not, the
issue of whether indeed there exists just cause for his sixty (60) day period shall be counted from notice of the denial
dismissal. of said motion.
25

xxx The well-entrenched rule, especially in labor cases, is that


In this case, Powerhouse received on June 21, 2007, a copy of findings of fact of quasi-judicial bodies, like the NLRC, are
the May 31, 2007 Order of the NLRC denying its motion for accorded with respect, even finality, if supported by substantial
reconsideration.39 Thus, it had 60 days, or until August 20, evidence. Particularly when passed upon and upheld by the
2007, to file a petition for certiorari before the CA. However, CA, they are binding and conclusive upon the Supreme Court
since August 20, 2007 was proclaimed by President Arroyo as and will not normally be disturbed.49
a special non-working day pursuant to Proclamation No. 1353,
series of 2007, Powerhouse had until the next working day, The Court finds no reason in this case to depart from such
August 21, 2007 to file its petition. The relevant portion of Rule doctrine.
22, Section 1 provides: "x x x If the last day of the period, as
thus computed, falls on a Saturday, a Sunday, or a legal The evidence on record supports the findings of the CA and
holiday in the place where the court sits, the time shall not run the NLRC.
until the next working day." Thus, the petition filed on August
21, 2007 was timely filed. Respondent employees were illegally dismissed.

Powerhouse substantially complied with the requirements The onus of proving that an employee was not dismissed or, if
of verification and certification against forum shopping. dismissed, his dismissal was not illegal, fully rests on the
employer, and the failure to discharge the onus would mean
In previous cases, we held that the following officials or that the dismissal was not justified and was illegal. The burden
employees of the company can sign the verification and of proving the allegations rests ufon the party alleging and the
certification without need of a board resolution: (1) the proof must be clear, positive, and convincing.50
Chairperson of the Board of Directors; (2) the President of a
corporation; (3) the General Manager or Acting General Here, there is no reason to overturn the factual findings of the
Manager; (4) Personnel Officer; and (5) an Employment Labor Arbiter, the NLRC and the CA, all of which have
Specialist in a labor case.40 The rationale applied in these unanimously declared that respondent employees were made
cases is to justify the authority of corporate officers or to resign against their will after the foreign principal, Catcher,
representatives of the corporation to sign the verification or stopped providing them food for their subsistence as early as
certificate against forum shopping, being "in a position to verify March 2, 2001, when they were informed that they would be
the truthfulness and correctness of the allegations in the repatriated, until they were repatriated on March 11, 2001.
petition."41cralawred
The filing of complaints for illegal dismissal immediately after
In this case, the verification and certification42 attached to the repatriation belies the claim that respondent employees
petition before the CA was signed by William C. Go, the voluntarily chose to be separated and repatriated. Voluntary
President and General Manager of Powerhouse, one of the repatriation, much like resignation, is inconsistent with the filing
officers enumerated in the foregoing recognized exception. of the complaints.51
While the petition was not accompanied by a Secretary's
Certificate, his authority was ratified by the Board in its Respondent employees are entitled to the payment of
Resolution adopted on October 24, 2007.43 Thus, even if he monetary claims.
was not authorized to execute the Verification and Certification
at the time of the filing of the Petition, the ratification by the We also agree that respondent employees are entitled to
board of directors retroactively confirms and affirms his money claims and full reimbursement of their respective
authority and gives us more reason to uphold that authority.44 placement fees. However, the award of the three-month
equivalent of respondent employees' salaries should be
Nevertheless, on the merits, the petition must fail. increased to the amount equivalent to the unexpired term of
the employment contract in accordance with our rulings
It bears stressing that in a petition for review on certiorari, the in Serrano v. Gallant Maritime Services, Inc.52 and Sameer
scope of the Supreme Court's judicial review of decisions of Overseas Placement Agency, Inc. v. Cabiles.53
the CA is generally confined only to errors of law. The
Supreme Court is not a trier of facts, and this doctrine applies In Serrano, we declared unconstitutional the clause in Section
with greater force in labor cases. Factual questions are for the 10 of R.A. No. 8042 limiting the wages that could be recovered
labor tribunals to resolve.45 by an illegally dismissed overseas worker to three months. We
held that the clause "or for three (3) months for every year of
Respondents maintain that the petition, in the guise of raising the unexpired term, whichever is less" (subject clause) is both
novel questions of law, is in reality seeking a review of the a violation of the due process and equal protection clauses of
factual findings of the CA and the NLRC.46 the Constitution.53 In 2010, upon promulgation of Republic Act
No. 10022,54 the subject clause was reinstated.55 Presented
We agree with the respondents. with the unique situation that the law passed incorporated the
exact clause already declared unconstitutional, without any
In this case, although the three issues raised in the petition perceived substantial change in the circumstances, in Sameer,
were stated in a manner in which they would appear to be we, once again, declared the reinstated clause
purely legal issues, they actually assume facts contrary to the unconstitutional, this time as provided in Section 7 of R.A. No.
factual findings of the LA, the NLRC, and the CA and thus call 10022.56
for a re-examination of the evidence, which this Court cannot
entertain.47Thus, the three issues presented by Powerhouse- We likewise affirm the refund to the respondent employees of
the liability of the transferee agency, the existence of illegal the unauthorized monthly deductions in the amount of
dismissal and the basis for the monetary awards-are factual NT$10,000.00. Contrary to Powerhouse's contention that the
issues which have all been ruled upon by the LA, the NLRC, claim for refund was based merely on allegations, respondent
and the CA. employees were able to present proof before the NLRC in the
form of the two (2) passbooks given to each of them by their
26

foreign employer. According to respondent employees, the Powerhouse is liable for the monetary claims.
"First Passbooks," where their salaries, including their overtime
pay were deposited, were in the custody of the employer, while We likewise agree with the CA and the NLRC that JEJ could
- the "Second Passbooks" where their allowances were not be held liable for the monetary claims of respondent
deposited, were in their custody. They were only able to make employees on account of the alleged transfer of accreditation
withdrawals from their Second Passbooks, however, their to it. Nothing in the two letters attached by Powerhouse in its
foreign employer made illegal deductions from their First motion for reconsideration before the NLRC proved that the
Passbooks.57 The pertinent pages of these First Passbooks alleged transfer pushed through with POEA's imprimatur. At
are pmt of the record of this case.58 Considering that best, these show that Catcher intended to appoint JEJ as its
Powerhouse failed to dispute this claim, the same is deemed new agent and Powerhouse had no objection to such
admitted.59 transfer.65

It must be remembered that the burden of proving monetary Even the Affidavit of Assumption of Responsibility submitted to
claims rests on the employer. The reason for this rule is that the CA cannot absolve Powerhouse of its liability.
the pertinent personnel files, payrolls, records, remittances and
other similar documents are not in the possession of the The terms of Section 10 of R.A. No. 8042 clearly states the
worker but in the custody and absolute control of the solidary liability of the principal and the recruitment agency to
employer.60 Thus, in failing to present evidence to prove that the employees and this liability shall not be affected by any
Catcher, with whom it shares joint and several liability with substitution, amendment or modification for the entire duration
under Section 10 of R.A. No. 8042, had paid all the monetary of the employment contract, to wit:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
claims of respondent employees, Powerhouse has, once Sec. 10. Monetary Claims. - Notwithstanding any provision of
again, failed to discharge the onus probandi; thus, the LA and law to the contrary, the Labor Arbiters of the National Labor
the NLRC properly awarded these claims to respondent Relations Commission (NLRC) shall have the original and
employees. exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide, within ninety (90)
calendar days after the filing of the complaint, the claims
Respondent employees are likewise entitled to the arising out of an employer-employee relationship or by virtue of
payment of interest over their monetary claims. any law or contract involving Filipino workers for overseas
deployment including claims for actual, moral, exemplary and
In the matter of the applicable interest rates over the monetary other forms of damages.
claims awarded to respondent employees, Section 10 of R.A.
No. 8042 provides that "[i]n case of termination of overseas The liability of the principal/employer and the
employment without just, valid or authorized cause as defined recruitment/placement agency for any and all claims under
by law or contract, the workers shall be entitled to the full this section shall be joint and several. This provision shall
reimbursement of his placement fee with interest of twelve be incorporated in the contract for overseas employment and
percent (12%) per annum." However, this provision does not shall be a condition precedent for its approval. The
provide a specific interest rate for the award of salary for the performance bond to be filed by the recruitment/placement
unexpired portion of the employment contract nor for the other agency, as provided by law, shall be answerable for all
money claims the respondent employees are entitled to. monetary claims or damages that may be awarded to the
workers. If the recruitment/placement agency is a juridical
In Sameer, we held that Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Circular being, the corporate officers and directors and partners as
No. 799 issued on June 21, 2013,61 which revised the interest the case may be, shall themselves be jointly and solidarity
rate for loan or forbearance of money from twelve percent liable with the corporation or partnership for the aforesaid
(12%) to six percent (6%) in the absence of stipulation, is not claims and damages.
applicable when there is a law that states otherwise. Thus,
Circular No. 799 does not have the effect of changing the Such liabilities shall continue during the entire period or
interest on awards for reimbursement of placement fees from duration of the employment contract and shall not be
twelve percent (12%), as provided in Section 10 of R.A. No. affected by any substitution, amendment or modification
8042, to six percent (6%). However, Circular No. 799 applies to made locally or in a foreign country of the said
the award of salary for the unexpired portion of the contract. (Emphasis supplied.)
employment contract and the other money claims of the xxx
employees since the law does not provide a specific interest In Skippers United Pacific, Inc. v. Maguad,65 we ruled that the
rate for these awards.62 provisions of the POEA Rules and Regulations are clear
enough that the manning agreement extends up to and until
Accordingly, the placement fees in the amount of P19,000.00 the expiration of the employment contracts of the employees
each which are to be reimbursed to respondents Magalang, recruited and employed pursuant to the said recruitment
Nicolas, Ybañez and Oria, and the placement fees in the agreement.66 In that case, we held that the Affidavits of
amount of P17,000.00 each which are to be reimbursed to Assumption of Responsibility, though valid as between
respondents Rey, Cabad, Nicmic, Lameyra, Abordaje, Buyag, petitioner Skippers United Pacific Inc. and the other two
Nolledo, Samalea, Seraspi and Oracion, shall earn interest at a manning agencies, were not enforceable against the
rate of twelve percent (12%) per annum from finality of this respondents (the employees) because the latter were not
decision until full payment thereof. parties to those agreements.67

On the other hand, the other monetary awards, specifically In this case, even if there was transfer of accreditation by
respondent employees' salaries for the unexpired term of their Catcher from Powerhouse to JEJ, Powerhouse's liability to
employment contract, the illegal deductions which are to be respondent employees remained intact because respondent
refunded to them, and the award of attorney's fees in their employees are not privy to such contract, and in their overseas
favor, shall earn interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per employment contract approved by POEA, Powerhouse is the
annum from finality of this decision until full payment thereof.64 recruitment agency of Catcher. To relieve Powerhouse from
liability arising from the approved overseas employment
27

contract is to change the contract without the consent from the


other contracting party, respondent employees in this case. Contrary to the petitioners' insistence, the doctrine of stare
decisis, by which the pronouncements
To rule otherwise and free Powerhouse of liability against in Villanueva and Servidad would control the resolution of this
respondent employees would go against the rationale of R.A. case, had no application herein.
No. 8042 to protect and safeguard the rights and interests of
overseas Filipinos and overseas Filipino workers, in particular, The doctrine of stare decisis enjoins adherence to judicial
and run contrary to this law's intention to an additional layer of precedents.33 When a court has laid down a principle of law as
protection to overseas workers.68 This ensures that overseas applicable to a certain state of facts, it will adhere to that
workers have recourse in law despite the circumstances of principle and apply it to all future cases in which the facts are
their employment. By providing that the liability of the foreign substantially the same; but when the facts are essentially
employer may be "enforced to the full extent" against the local different, stare decisis does not apply because a perfectly
agent, the overseas worker is assured of immediate and sound principle as applied to one set of facts might be entirely
sufficient payment of what is due them. Corollarily, the inappropriate when a factual variance is introduced.34
provision on joint and several liability in R.A. No. 8042 shifts
the burden of going after the foreign employer from the Servidad and Villanueva involved contracts that contained
overseas worker to the local employment agency. However, stipulations not found in the contracts entered by the
the local agency that is held to answer for the overseas petitioners. The cogent observations in this regard by the CA
worker's money claims is not left without remedy. The law does are worth reiterating:
not preclude it from going after the foreign employer for chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
reimbursement of whatever payment it has made to the A cursory examination of the facts would reveal that while all
employee to answer for the money claims against the foreign the cases abovementioned involved employment contracts with
employer.69 a fixed term, the employment contract subject of contention in
the Servidad and Villanueva cases provided for double
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated probation, meaning, that the employees concerned, by virtue of
March 24, 2009 of the Court of Appeals DISMISSING the a clause incorporated in their contracts, were made to remain
petition in CA-G.R. SP No. 100196 is hereby AFFIRMED with as probationary employees even if they continue to work
the MODIFICATIONthat each of the respondent employees beyond the six month probation period set by law. Indeed, such
are AWARDED their salaries for the entire unexpired portion of stipulation militates against Constitutional policy of
their respective employment contracts computed at the rate of guaranteeing the tenurial security of the workingman. To Our
NT$15,840.00 per month at an interest of six percent (6%) per mind, the provision alluded to is what prodded the Supreme
annum from the finality of this decision until full payment Court to disregard and nullify altogether the terms of the written
thereof. entente. Nonetheless, it does not appear to be the intendment
of the High Tribunal to sweepingly invalidate or declare as
Further, the award of placement fees in respondent employees' unlawful all employment contracts with a fixed period. To
favor shall earn interest at the rate of twelve percent (12%) per phrase it differently, the said agreements providing for a one
annum from finality of this decision until full payment thereof. year term would have been declared valid and, consequently,
the separation from work of the employees concerned would
Furthermore, the illegally deducted amounts which were have been sustained had their contracts not included any
ordered to be refunded to respondent employees, as well as unlawful and circumventive condition.
the attorney's fees awarded to respondent employees, shall
earn interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum from It ought to be underscored that unlike in
finality of this decision until full payment thereof. the Servidad and Villanueva cases, the written contracts
governing the relations of the respondent company and the
The temporary restraining order issued on March 3, 2010 is petitioners herein do not embody such illicit
hereby DISSOLVED. stipulation.35ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
We also disagree with the petitioners' manifestation 36 that the
_______________________ Court struck down in Innodata Philippines, Inc. v. Quejada-
Lopez37 a contract of employment that was similarly worded as
G.R. No. 159350, March 09, 2016 their contracts with Innodata. What the Court invalidated
in Innodata Philippines, Inc. v. Quejada-Lopez was the
purported fixed-term contract that provided for two periods - a
ALUMAMAY O. JAMIAS, JENNIFER C. MATUGUINAS AND fixed term of one year under paragraph 1 of the contract, and a
JENNIFER F. CRUZ,*Petitioners, v. NATIONAL LABOR three-month period under paragraph 7.4 of the contract - that in
RELATIONS COMMISSION (SECOND DIVISION), HON. reality placed the employees under probation. In contrast, the
COMMISSIONERS: RAUL T. AQUINO, VICTORIANO R. petitioners' contracts did not contain similar stipulations, but
CALAYCAY AND ANGELITA A. GACUTAN; HON. LABOR stipulations to the effect that their engagement was for the
ARBITER VICENTE R. LAYAWEN; INNODATA fixed period of 12 months, to wit:
PHILIPPINES, INC., INNODATA PROCESSING chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
CORPORATION, (INNODATA CORPORATION), AND TODD 1. The EMPLOYER shall employ the EMPLOYEE and the
SOLOMON, Respondents. EMPLOYEE shall serve the EMPLOYER in the EMPLOYER'S
Ruling of the Court business as a MANUAL EDITOR on a fixed term only and for a
fixed and definite period of twelve months, commencing on
We deny the petition for review on certiorari. August 7, 1995 and terminating on August 7, 1996, x x
I x.38ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
In other words, the terms of the petitioners' contracts did not
Stare decisis does not apply where the facts are subject them to a probationary period similar to that indicated
essentially different in the contracts struck down in Innodata,
Villanueva and Servidad.
28

II project; Cruz and Matuguinas to the TSET project). 45 There is


no indication that the petitioners were made to sign the
A fixed period in a contract of employment does not by contracts against their will. Neither did they refute Innodata's
itself signify an intention to circumvent Article 280 of assertion that it did not employ force, intimidate or fraudulently
the Labor Code manipulate the petitioners into signing their contracts, and that
the terms thereof had been explained and made known to
The petitioners argue that Innodata circumvented the security them.46 Hence, the petitioners knowingly agreed to the terms of
of tenure protected under Article 280 of the Labor Code by and voluntarily signed their respective contracts.
providing a fixed term; and that they were regular employees
because the work they performed were necessary and That Innodata drafted the contracts with its business interest as
desirable to the business of Innodata. the overriding consideration did not necessarily warrant the
holding that the contracts were prejudicial against the
The arguments of the petitioners lack merit and substance. petitioners.47 The fixing by Innodata of the period specified in
the contracts of employment did not also indicate its ill-motive
Article 280 of the Labor Code provides: to circumvent the petitioners' security of tenure. Indeed, the
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary petitioners could not presume that the fixing of the one-year
Art. 280. Regular and Casual Employment. - The provisions of term was intended to evade or avoid the protection to tenure
written agreement to the contrary notwithstanding and under Article 280 of the Labor Code in the absence of other
regardless of the oral agreements of the parties, an evidence establishing such intention. This presumption must
employment shall be deemed to be regular where the ordinarily be based on some aspect of the agreement other
employee has been engaged to perform activities which are than the mere specification of the fixed term of the employment
usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of agreement, or on evidence aliunde of the intent to evade. 48
the employer except where the employment has been fixed for
a specific project or undertaking the completion or termination Lastly, the petitioners posit that they should be accorded
of which has been determined at the time of the engagement of regular status because their work as editors and proofreaders
the employee or where the work or service to be performed is were usually necessary to Innodata's business of data
seasonal in nature and the employment is for the duration of processing.
the season.
We reject this position. For one, it would be unusual for a
An employment shall be deemed casual if it is not covered by company like Innodata to undertake a project that had no
the preceding paragraph: Provided, That, any employee who relationship to its usual business.49 Also, the necessity and
has rendered at least one year of service, whether such desirability of the work performed by the employees are not the
service is continuous or broken, shall be considered a regular determinants in term employment, but rather the "day certain"
employee with respect to the activity in which he is employed voluntarily agreed upon by the parties.50 As the CA cogently
and his employment shall continue while such actuallv exists. observed in this respect:
The provision contemplates three kinds of employees, namely: chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
(a) regular employees; (b) project employees; and (c) casuals There is proof to establish that Innodata's operations indeed
who are neither regular nor project employees. The nature of rests upon job orders or undertakings coming from its foreign
employment of a worker is determined by the factors provided clients. Apparently, its employees are assigned to projects -
in Article 280 of the Labor Code, regardless of any stipulation one batch may be given a fixed period of one year, others, a
in the contract to the contrary.39 Thus, in Brent School, Inc. v. slightly shorter duration, depending on the estimated time of
Zamora,40 we explained that the clause referring to written completion of the particular job or undertaking farmed out by
contracts should be construed to refer to agreements entered the client to the company.51ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
into for the purpose of circumventing the security of tenure. In fine, the employment of the petitioners who were engaged
Obviously, Article 280 does not preclude an agreement as project employees for a fixed term legally ended upon the
providing for a fixed term of employment knowingly and expiration of their contract. Their complaint for illegal dismissal
voluntarily executed by the parties.41 was plainly lacking in merit.chanrobleslaw

A fixed term agreement, to be valid, must strictly conform with WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition for review
the requirements and conditions provided in Article 280 of on certiorari; AFFIRM the decision promulgated on July 31,
the Labor Code. The test to determine whether a particular 2002; and ORDER the petitioners to pay the costs of suit
employee is engaged as a project or regular employee is
whether or not the employee is assigned to carry out a specific _______________________________
project or undertaking, the duration or scope of which was
specified at the time of his engagement. 42 There must be a
determination of, or a clear agreement on, the completion or G.R. No. 222424, September 21, 2016
termination of the project at the time the employee is
engaged.43 Otherwise put, the fixed period of employment
must be knowingly and voluntarily agreed upon by the parties, FONTANA DEVELOPMENT CORP., DENNIS PAK AS
without any force, duress or improper pressure being brought GENERAL MANAGER, PASTOR ISAAC AS DIRECTOR OF
to bear upon the employee and absent any other HUMAN RESOURCES, CHRIS CHENG* AS DEPUTY
circumstances vitiating his consent, or it must satisfactorily GROUP FINANCIAL CONTROLLER, JESUS CHUA,
appear that the employer and employee dealt with each other REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL FELICIANO, ALMA
on more or less equal terms with no moral dominance EREDIANO, LEILANI VALIENTE, MAN CHOI AS GROUP
whatsoever being exercised by the former on the latter. 44 FINANCIAL CONTROLLER, AND JAIME VILLAREAL AS
CHIEF ENGINEER, Petitioners, v. SASCHA
The contracts of the petitioners indicated the one-year duration VUKASINOVIC, Respondent.
of their engagement as well as their respective project The Court's Ruling
assignments (i.e., Jamias being assigned to the CD-ROM
29

rights asserted and reliefs prayed for, the relief being founded
The petition is meritorious. on the same facts; and (c) the identity of the two preceding
particulars, such that any judgment rendered in the other action
Respondent is guilty of forum shopping will, regardless of which party is successful, amount to res
judicata in the action under consideration. Said requisites are
There is forum shopping when a party repetitively avails of also constitutive of the requisites for auter action pendant or lis
several judicial remedies in different courts, simultaneously or pendens.16chanrobleslaw
successively, all substantially founded on the same
transactions and the same essential facts and circumstances, In the instant case, there is no doubt that all the elements
and all raising substantially the same issues either pending in of litis pendentia have already been established, as this was
or already resolved adversely by some other court. Forum already settled with finality in CA-G.R. SP No. 126225. Yet, in
shopping is an act of malpractice that is prohibited and his Comment, respondent repeatedly claimed that there was
condemned because it trifles with the courts and abuses their no forum shopping and petitioners are misleading this Court,
processes.13 It degrades the administration of justice and adds making it appear that forum shopping exists when there is
to the already congested court dockets.14chanrobleslaw none at all.

In Gloria S. Dy v. Mandy Commodities Co., Inc.,15 this Court Respondent's position is without basis.
had the occasion to explain the grave evil sought to be avoided
by forum shopping, to wit: It should be noted that in his Decision in NLRC Case No. RAB
III-09-18113-11, Labor Arbiter Abdon observed that there is an
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary identity of parties between NLRC Case No. RAB III-09-18113-
The grave evil sought to be avoided by the rule against forum 11 and NLRC Case No. RAB III-11-16967-10 which is the
shopping is the rendition by two competent tribunals of two complaint incipient in the present controversy. He pointed out
separate and contradictory decisions. Unscrupulous party that both complaints show that petitioners Chris Cheng and
litigants, taking advantage of a variety of competent tribunals, Man Choi are similarly impleaded in their capacities as officers
may repeatedly try their luck in several different fora until a of petitioner FDC and that there is also an identity of causes of
favorable result is reached. To avoid the resultant confusion, action and reliefs prayed for by respondent. 17 To reiterate,
this Court adheres strictly to the rules against forum shopping, Labor Arbiter Abdon's Decision was affirmed by the NLRC and
and any violation of these rules results in the dismissal of a the CA. In particular, in its Decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 126225
case. To stamp out this abominable practice, which seriously denying the petition for certiorari filed by respondent, the CA
impairs the efficient administration of justice, this Court observed, thus:
promulgated Administrative Circulars No. 28-91 and No. 04-94,
which are now embodied as Section 5, Rule 7 of the Rules of chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Court, which reads: What is truly important to consider in determining whether
Jorum shopping exists or not is the vexation caused the courts
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary and parties litigants by a party who asks different courts and/or
SEC. 5. Certification against forum shopping. The plaintiff or administrative agencies to rule on the same or related causes
principal party shall certify under oath in the complaint or other and/or grant the same or substantially the same reliefs, in the
initiatory pleading asserting a claim for relief, or in a sworn process creating the possibility of conflicting decisions being
certification annexed thereto and simultaneously filed rendered by the different for a upon the same issues.
therewith: (a) that he has not theretofore commenced any
action or filed any claim involving the same issues in any court, In this case, it is undisputed that respondent filed two
tribunal or quasi judicial agency and, to the best of his labor complaints: first, NLRC Case No. RAB III-11-16967-
knowledge, no such other action or claim is pending therein; 10-P entitled "Sascha Vukasinovic v. Fontana
(b) if there is such other pending action or claim, a complete Development Corporation, Dennis Pak, Pastor Isaac, Cllris
statement of the present status thereof; and (c) if he should Clleng, Jesus Chua, Michael Feliciano, Alma Erediano,
thereafter learn that the same or similar action or claim has Leilani Valiente, Man Clwi and Jaime Villareal'for illegal
been filed or is pending, he shall report that fact within five (5) dismissal, illegal suspension, regularization, non-payment
days therefrom to the court wherein his aforesaid complaint or of salaries, service incentive leave pay, 13th month pay, as
initiatory pleading has been filed. well as actual, moral and exemplary damages
and attorney's fees, with prayer for reinstatement and full
Failure to comply with the foregoing requirements shall not be back wages; and second, NLRC Case No. RAB III-09-
curable by mere amendment of the complaint or other initiatory 18113-11 entitled "Sascha Vukasinovic v. National Labor
pleading, but shall be a cause for the dismissal of the case Relations Commission, Labor Arbiter Reynaldo B. Abdon,
without prejudice, unless otherwise provided, upon motion and Jimei S. International, Ltd. (JSIL), Mr. Suk Man Choi in his
after hearing. The submission of a false certification of or non capacity as Group Financial Comptroller of JSIL, Chris
compliance with any of the undertakings therein shall constitute Cheng in his capacity as Deputy Group Financial
indirect contempt of court, without prejudice to the Comptroller of JSIL", for constructive (illegal) dismissal,
corresponding administrative and criminal actions. If the acts of regularization, non-payment of salaries, premium pay for
the party or his counsel clearly constitute willful and deliberate holiday and rest days, service incentive leave pay,
forum shopping, the same shall be a ground for summary 13th month pay, as well as damages and attorney's fees
dismissal with prejudice and shall constitute direct contempt, and other monetary claims including bonuses and travel
as well as a cause for administrative sanctions. expenses (repatriation expenses). It is also undisputed
that the causes of action (illegal dismissal and
The test for determining the existence of forum shopping is constructive dismissal) in the respective complaints in the
whether a final judgment in one case amounts to res judicata in two (2) cases stemmed from the adverse decision in the
another or whether the following elements of litis pendentia are administrative case filed against respondent that resulted
present: (a) identity of parties, or at least such parties as to his dismissal from employment.
representing the same interests in both actions; (b) identity of
30

In Jesse Yap v. Court of Appeals, it was held: contempt.24chanrobleslaw

chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary Furthermore, Rule 7, Section 5 of the Rules of Court mandates


x x x x that a willful and deliberate forum shopping shall be a ground
for summary dismissal of a case with prejudice, thus:
The requisites of litis pendentia are: (a) the identity of parties,
or at.least such as representing the same interests in both chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
actions; (b) the identity of rights asserted and relief prayed for, Section 5. Certification against forum shopping. —The plaintiff
the relief being founded on the same facts; and (c) the identity or principal party shall cetify under oath in the complaint or
of the two cases such that judgment in one, regardless of other initiatory pleading asserting a claim for relief, or in a
which party is successful, would amount to res judicata in the sworn certification annexed thereto and simultaneously filed
other. therewith: (a) that he has not theretofore commenced any
action or filed any claim involving the same issues in any court,
All the elements of litis pendencia are present in this tribunal or quasi-judicial agency and, to the best of his
case.18chanrobleslaw knowledge, no such other action or claim is pending therein;
(b) if there is such other pending action or claim, a complete
(Emphasis supplied) statement of the present status thereof and (c) if he should
thereafter learn that the same or similar action or claim has
Indeed, the existence of forum shopping has been duly proved been filed or is pending, he shall report that fact within five (5)
in this case. As a result, petitioners hinge this present appeal days therefrom to the court wherein his aforesaid complaint or
on the error committed by the CA in not dismissing outright the initiatory pleading has been filed.
appeal filed by respondent.
Failure to comply with the foregoing requirements shall not be
When there is forum shopping, all pending curable by mere amendment of the complaint or other initiatory
claims on the same claim must be dismissed pleading but shall be cause for the dismissal of the case
without prejudice, unless otherwise provided, upon motion and
It is well-settled that once there is a finding of forum shopping, after hearing. The submission of a false certification or non-
the penalty is summary dismissal not only of the petition compliance with any of the undertakings therein shall constitute
pending before this Court, but also of the other case that is indirect contempt of court, without prejudice to the
pending in a lower court. This is so because twin dismissal is corresponding administrative and criminal actions. If the acts
the punitive measure to those who trifle with the orderly of the party or his counsel clearly constitute willful and
administration of justice.19chanrobleslaw deliberate forum shopping, the same shall be ground for
summary dismissal with prejudice and shall constitute
The rule originated from the 1986 case of Buan v. Lopez, direct contempt, as well as a cause for administrative
Jr.20 In the said case, petitioners therein instituted before the sanctions. (Emphasis supplied)
Court a special civil action for prohibition and, almost a month
earlier, another special civil action for prohibition with Consequently, the CA should have dismissed the case outright
preliminary injunction before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) without rendering a decision on the merits of the case.
Manila. Finding petitioners guilty of forum shopping since all Respondent should be penalized for willfully and deliberately
the elements of litis pendentia were duly proved, the Court trifling with court processes. The purpose of the law will be
dismissed not only the action before it, but also the special civil defeated if respondent will be granted the relief prayed for
action still pending before the RTC, viz: despite his act of deliberately committing forum shopping.

chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary Respondent, per Manifestation of his counsel, Atty. Erick Nolan


Indeed, the petitioners in both actions x x x have incurred not G. Mosuela (Mosuela), died on July 19, 2016. Atty. Mosuela
only the sanction of dismissal of their case before this Court in manifested that he has no information as to the heirs of
accordance with Rule 16 of the Rules of Court, but respondent, hence, his inability to substitute them, if any, in the
also punitive measure of dismissal of both their actions, place of respondent.
that in this Court and that in Regional Trial Court as well.
The instant case involves an illegal dismissal which is an action
The rule essentially penalizes the forum shopper by dismissing that does not survive the death of the accused. The Court ruled
all pending actions on the same claim filed in any court. in Bonilla v. Barcena,25cralawred to wit:
Because of the severity of the penalty of the rule, an
examination must first be made on the purpose of the chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
rule.21 The purpose of the rule is to avoid multiplicity of suits The question as to whether an action survives or not depends
and to prevent a party from instituting two or more actions or on the nature of the action and the damage sued for. In the
proceeding involving the same parties for the same cause of causes of action which survive, the wrong complained [of]
action, either simultaneously or successively, on the affects primarily and principally property and property rights,
supposition that one or the other court would make a favorable the injuries to the person being merely incidental, while in the
disposition.22chanrobleslaw causes of action which do not survive, the injury complained of
is to the person, the property and rights of property affected
What is critical is the vexation brought upon the courts and the being incidental.
litigants by a party who asks different courts to rule on the
same or related causes and grant the same or substantially the Since the property and property rights of the respondent is only
same reliefs and in the process creates the possibility of incidental to his complaint for illegal dismissal, the same does
conflicting decisions being rendered by the different fora upon not survive his death. Nonetheless, considering the foregoing
the same issues.23 Willful and deliberate violation of the rule disposition dismissing respondent's petition before the CA and
against forum shopping is a ground for summary dismissal of ergo his complaint for illegal dismissal, the Court can proceed
the case; it may also constitute direct with the resolution of the petition even without the need for
31

substitution of the heirs of respondent. becomes a judgment that is subject to execution in


accordance with the Rules.12
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition
is GRANTED. The Decision dated April 28, 2015 in CA-G.R. In this respect, the law and the rules provide the mode and the
SP No. 125945 of the Court of Appeals is periods within which a party may enforce his right.
hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The petition for certiorari
filed by respondent Sascha Vukasinovic with the CA is The most relevant rule in the instant case is Section 8, Rule XI,
ordered DISMISSED on the ground of deliberate forum 2005 Revised Rules of Procedure of the NLRC which states
shopping. that:cralawlawlibrary
Section 8. Execution By Motion or By Independent Action. - A
___________________________ decision or order may be executed on motion within five (5)
years from the date it becomes final and executory. After the
lapse of such period, the judgment shall become dormant, and
G.R. No. 198675, September 23, 2015 may only be enforced by an independent action within a period
of ten (10) years from date of its finality.
chanrobleslaw
ILAW BUKLOD NG MANGGAGAWA (IBM) NESTLE
PHILIPPINES, INC. CHAPTER (ICE CREAM AND CHILLED In the same manner, pertinent portions of Sections 4 (a) and 6,
PRODUCTS DIVISION), ITS OFFICERS, MEMBERS, Rule III, of the NLRC Manual on Execution of Judgment,
BONIFACIO T. FLORENDO, EMILIANO B. PALANAS AND provide as follows:cralawlawlibrary
GENEROSO P. LAXAMANA, Petitioners, v. NESTLE Section 4. Issuance of a Writ: - Execution shall issue upon an
PHILIPPINES, INC., Respondent. order, resolution or decision that finally disposes of the actions
Reversible Error No. 1 or proceedings and after the counsel of record and the parties
have been duly furnished with the copies of the same in
The Court of Appeals erred in misappreciating the facts of the accordance with the NLRC Rules of Procedure,
case. provided:cralawlawlibrary
Reversible Error No. 2 a) The Commission or Labor Arbiter shall, motu proprio or
upon motion of any interested party, issue a writ of execution
The Court of Appeals erred in sustaining that the Petitioners' on a judgment only within five (5) years from the date it
demand to be paid has prescribed.5chanrobleslaw becomes final and executory, x x x
xxx xxx xxx
Like petitioners' petition for certiorari filed with the CA, the main Section 6. Execution by Independent Action. - A judgment after
issue raised in the present petition is whether petitioners' claim the lapse of five (5) years from the date it becomes final and
is already barred by prescription. executory and before it is barred by prescription, may only be
enforced by an independent action.chanrobleslaw
Petitioners' basic contention is that respondent cannot invoke
the defense of prescription because it is guilty of deliberately Similarly, Section 6, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, which can
causing delay in paying petitioners' claims and that petitioners, be applied in a suppletory manner, provides:cralawlawlibrary
on the other hand, are entitled to protection under the law Sec. 6. Execution by motion or by independent action. - A final
because they had been vigilant in exercising their right as and executory judgment or order may be executed on motion
provided for under the subject MOA. within five (5) years from the date of its entry. After the lapse of
such time, and before it is barred by the statute of limitations, a
The Court is not persuaded. judgment may be enforced by action. The revived judgment
may also be enforced by motion within five years from the date
There is no dispute that the compromise agreement between of its entry and, thereafter, by action before it is barred by the
herein petitioner union, representing its officers and members, statute of limitations.
and respondent company was executed on August 4, 1998 and chanrobleslaw
was subsequently approved via the NLRC Decision dated
October 12, 1998. However, considering petitioners' allegation Article 1144 of the Civil Code may, likewise be applied, as it
that the terms and conditions of the agreement have not been provides that an action upon a written contract must be brought
complied with by respondent, petitioners should have moved within ten years from the time the right of action accrues.
for the issuance of a writ of execution.
It is clear from the above law and rules that a judgment may be
It is wrong for petitioners' counsel to argue that since the NLRC executed on motion within five years from the date of its entry
Decision approving the parties' compromise agreement was or from the date it becomes final and executory. After the lapse
immediately executory, there was no need to file a motion for of such time, and before it is barred by the statute of
execution. It is settled that when a compromise agreement is limitations, a judgment may be enforced by action. If the
given judicial approval, it becomes more than a contract prevailing party fails to have the decision enforced by a mere
binding upon the parties.6 Having been sanctioned by the motion after the lapse of five years from the date of its entry (or
court, it is entered as a determination of a controversy and has from the date it becomes final and executory), the said
the force and effect of a judgment.7 It is immediately executory judgment is reduced to a mere right of action in favor of the
and not appealable, except for vices of consent or forgery. 8The person whom it favors and must be enforced, as are all
non-fulfillment of its terms and conditions justifies the ordinary actions, by the institution of a complaint in a regular
issuance of a writ of execution; in such an instance, form.13
execution becomes a ministerial duty of the court. 9 Stated
differently, a decision on a compromise agreement is final and In the present case, the five-and ten-year periods provided by
executory.10 Such agreement has the force of law and is law and the rules are more than sufficient to enable petitioners
conclusive between the parties.11 It transcends its identity as a to enforce their right under the subject MOA. In this case, it is
mere contract binding only upon the parties thereto, as it clear that the judgment of the NLRC, having been based on a
32

compromise embodied in a written contract, was immediately labor, it does not mean that every labor dispute will be decided
executory upon its issuance on October 12, 1998. Thus, it in favor of the workers.20 The law also recognizes that
could have been executed by motion within five (5) years. It management has rights which are also entitled to respect and
was not. Nonetheless, it could have been enforced by an enforcement in the interest of fair play.21Stated otherwise,
independent action within the next five (5) years, or within ten while the Court fully recognizes the special protection which
(10) years from the time the NLRC Decision was promulgated. the Constitution, labor laws, and social legislation accord the
It was not. Therefore, petitioners' right to have the NLRC workingman, the Court cannot, however, alter or amend the
judgment executed by mere motion as well as their right of law on prescription to relieve petitioners of the consequences
action to enforce the same judgment had prescribed by the of their inaction. Vigilantibus, non dormientibus, jura
time they filed their Motion for Writ of Execution on January 25, subveniunt - Laws come to the assistance of the vigilant, not of
2010. the sleeping.22chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

It is true that there are instances in which this Court allowed WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The Resolutions
execution by motion even after the lapse of five years upon of the Court of Appeals, dated June 30, 2011 and September
meritorious grounds. However, in instances when this Court 28, 2011, respectively, in CA-G.R. SP No. 118459,
allowed execution by motion even after the lapse of five years, are AFFIRMED.
there is, invariably, only one recognized exception, i.e., when
the delay is caused or occasioned by actions of the judgment SO ORDERED.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
debtor and/or is incurred for his benefit or advantage. 14 In the
present case, there is no indication that the delay in the
execution of the MOA, as claimed by petitioners, was caused
by respondent nor was it incurred at its instance or for its
benefit or advantage.

It is settled that the purpose of the law (or rule) in prescribing


time limitations for enforcing judgments or actions is to prevent
obligors from sleeping on their rights.15 In this regard,
petitioners insist that they are vigilant in exercising their right to
pursue payment of the monetary awards in their favor.
However, a careful review of the records at hand would show
that petitioners failed to prove their allegation. The only
evidence presented to show that petitioners ever demanded
payment was a letter dated May 22, 2008, signed by one Atty.
Calderon, representing herein individual petitioners, addressed
to respondent company and seeking proof that the company
has indeed complied with the provisions of the subject
MOA.16 Considering that the NLRC Decision approving the
MOA was issued as early as October 12, 1998, the letter from
petitioners' counsel, which was dated almost ten years after
the issuance of the NLRC Decision, can hardly be considered
as evidence of vigilance on the part of petitioners. No proof
was ever presented showing that petitioners did not sleep on
their rights. Despite their claims to the contrary, the records at
hand are bereft of any evidence to establish that petitioners
exerted any effort to enforce their rights under the subject
MOA, either individually, through their union or their counsel. It
is a basic rule in evidence that each party must prove his
affirmative allegation, that mere allegation is not
evidence.17Indeed, as allegation is not evidence, the rule has
always been to the effect that a party alleging a critical fact
must support his allegation with substantial evidence which has
been construed to mean such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind will accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.18 Unfortunately, petitioners failed in this respect.

Even granting, for the sake of argument, that the records of the
case were lost, as alleged by petitioners, leading to the delay in
the enforcement of petitioners' rights, such loss of the records
cannot be regarded as having interrupted the prescriptive
periods for filing a motion or an action to enforce the NLRC
Decision because such alleged loss could not have prevented
petitioners from attempting to reconstitute the records and,
thereafter, filing the required motion or action on time. 19

As a final note, it bears to reiterate that while the scales of


justice usually tilt in favor of labor, the present circumstances
prevent this Court from applying the same in the instant
petition. Even if our laws endeavor to give life to the
constitutional policy on social justice and on the protection of