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AMPLE OPPURTUNITY TO BE HEARD

A hearing means that a party should be given a chance to adduce his evidence to support his side of
the case and that the evidence should be taken into account in the adjudication of the
controversy.23 "To be heard" does not mean verbal argumentation alone inasmuch as one may be
heard just as effectively through written explanations, submissions or pleadings.24 Therefore, while
the phrase "ample opportunity to be heard" may in fact include an actual hearing, it is not limited to a
formal hearing only. In other words, the existence of an actual, formal "trial-type" hearing, although
preferred, is not absolutely necessary to satisfy the employee’s right to be heard.

This Court has consistently ruled that the due process requirement in cases of termination of
employment does not require an actual or formal hearing. Thus, we categorically declared
in Skipper’s United Pacific, Inc. v. Maguad:25

The Labor Code does not, of course, require a formal or trial type proceeding before an erring
employee may be dismissed. (emphasis supplied)

In Autobus Workers’ Union v. NLRC,26 we ruled:

The twin requirements of notice and hearing constitute the essential elements of due process. Due
process of law simply means giving opportunity to be heard before judgment is rendered. In
fact, there is no violation of due process even if no hearing was conducted, where the party
was given a chance to explain his side of the controversy. What is frowned upon is the denial of
the opportunity to be heard.

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A formal trial-type hearing is not even essential to due process. It is enough that the parties
are given a fair and reasonable opportunity to explain their respective sides of the
controversy and to present supporting evidence on which a fair decision can be based. This
type of hearing is not even mandatory in cases of complaints lodged before the Labor Arbiter.
(emphasis supplied)

In Solid Development Corporation Workers Association v. Solid Development Corporation,27 we had


the occasion to state:

[W]ell-settled is the dictum that the twin requirements of notice and hearing constitute the essential
elements of due process in the dismissal of employees. It is a cardinal rule in our jurisdiction that the
employer must furnish the employee with two written notices before the termination of employment
can be effected: (1) the first apprises the employee of the particular acts or omissions for which his
dismissal is sought; and (2) the second informs the employee of the employer’s decision to dismiss
him. The requirement of a hearing, on the other hand, is complied with as long as there was
an opportunity to be heard, and not necessarily that an actual hearing was conducted.

In separate infraction reports, petitioners were both apprised of the particular acts or omissions
constituting the charges against them. They were also required to submit their written explanation
within 12 hours from receipt of the reports. Yet, neither of them complied. Had they found the 12-
hour period too short, they should have requested for an extension of time. Further, notices of
termination were also sent to them informing them of the basis of their dismissal. In fine, petitioners
were given due process before they were dismissed. Even if no hearing was conducted, the
requirement of due process had been met since they were accorded a chance to explain their
side of the controversy. (emphasis supplied)

Our holding in National Semiconductor HK Distribution, Ltd. v. NLRC28 is of similar import:

That the investigations conducted by petitioner may not be


considered formal or recorded hearings or investigations is immaterial. A formal or trial type
hearing is not at all times and in all instances essential to due process, the requirements of
which are satisfied where the parties are afforded fair and reasonable opportunity to explain their
side of the controversy. It is deemed sufficient for the employer to follow the natural sequence of
notice, hearing and judgment.

On the issue of due process

It is hornbook in employee dismissal cases that [t]he essence of due process is an


opportunity to be heard, or as applied to administrative proceedings, an opportunity to
explain ones side x x x.[15] A formal or trial type hearing is not at all times and in all
instances essential to due process, the requirements of which are satisfied where the parties
are afforded fair and reasonable opportunity to explain their side of the
controversy.[16] Neither is it necessary that the witnesses be cross-examined by counsel for
the adverse party.[17]

In the instant case, a confrontation proceeding between respondent Honrado and the therein
complainant Mrs. Pete A. Mueda (Mrs. Mueda) was conducted at petitioners QCD office
on January 19, 2000.[18

In other words, the POEA is not, among other things, strictly bound by the technical rules of
evidence.

In the instant case, the POEA resolved the petitioners' complaint on the basis of the documentary
evidence submitted by the parties which, insofar as the petitioners are concerned, included the
assailed letter of Marilyn and the affidavit of Imelda Enciong. The procedure it adopted strictly
conformed with its Rules and Regulations. Thus, it was not necessary for the affiants to appear and
testify and to be cross-examined by the counsel for the adverse party. To require otherwise would be
to negate the rationale and purpose of the summary nature of the administrative proceedings
mandated by the Rules and to make mandatory the application of the technical rules of evidence.
The challenge then against the use of affidavits without the presentation of the affiants for cross-
examination is futile. In Rabago vs. National Labor Relations Commission,18 which also involved a
challenge on a similar proceeding, this Court stated that: