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Calalang Vs Williams

Doctrine: Social Justice


LAUREL, J.:
Facts:

The National Traffic Commission, in its resolution of July 17, 1940, resolved to recommend to the Director of the
Public Works and to the Secretary of Public Works and Communications that animal-drawn vehicles be prohibited
from passing along the following for a period of one year from the date of the opening of the Colgante Bridge to
traffic:
1) Rosario Street extending from Plaza Calderon de la Barca to Dasmariñas
Street from 7:30Am to 12:30 pm and from 1:30 pm to 530 pm; and
2) along Rizal Avenue extending from the railroad crossing at Antipolo Street to
Echague Street from 7 am to 11pm
The Chairman of the National Traffic Commission on July 18, 1940 recommended to the Director of Public Works
with the approval of the Secretary of Public Works the adoption of
thethemeasure proposed in the resolution aforementioned in pursuance of the provisions of theCommonwealth Act
No. 548 which authorizes said Director with the approval from the
Secretary of the Public Works and Communication to promulgate rules and regulations to regulate and control the
use of and traffic on national roads.
On August 2, 1940, the Director recommended to the Secretary the approval of the recommendations made by the
Chairman of the National Traffic Commission with modifications. The Secretary of Public Works approved the
recommendations on August 10,1940. The Mayor of Manila and the Acting Chief of Police of Manila have enforced
and caused to be enforced the rules and regulation. As a consequence, all animal-drawn vehicles are not allowed to
pass and pick up passengers in the places above mentioned to the detriment not only of their owners but of the riding
public as well.
Issues:
1) Whether the rules and regulations promulgated by the respondents pursuant to the provisions of Commonwealth
Act NO. 548 constitute an unlawful inference with legitimate business or trade and abridged the right to personal
liberty and freedom of locomotion?
2) Whether the rules and regulations complained of infringe upon the constitutional precept regarding the promotion
of social justice to insure the well-being and economic security of all the people?
Held:
1) No. The promulgation of the Act aims to promote safe transit upon and avoid obstructions on national roads in the
interest and convenience of the public. In enacting said law, the National Assembly was prompted by considerations
of public convenience and welfare. It was inspired by the desire to relieve congestion of traffic, which is a menace to
the public safety. Public welfare lies at the bottom of the promulgation of the said law and the state in order to
promote the general welfare may interfere with personal liberty, with property, and with business and occupations.
Persons and property may be subject to all kinds of restraints and burdens in order to secure the general comfort,
health, and prosperity of the State. To this fundamental aims of the government, the rights of the individual are
subordinated. Liberty is a blessing which should not be made to prevail over authority because society will fall into
anarchy. Neither should authority be made to prevail over liberty because then the individual will fall into slavery.
The paradox lies in the fact that the apparent curtailment of liberty is precisely the very means of insuring its
preserving.
2) No. Social justice is “neither communism, nor despotism, nor atomism, nor anarchy,” but the humanization of
laws and the equalization of social and economic forces by the State so that justice in its rational and objectively
secular conception may at least be approximated. Social justice means the promotion of the welfare of all the
people, the adoption by the Government of measures calculated to insure economic stability of all the competent
elements of society, through the maintenance of a proper economic and social equilibrium in the interrelations of the
members of the community, constitutionally, through the adoption of measures legally justifiable, or extra-
constitutionally, through the exercise of powers underlying the existence of all governments on the time-honored
principles of salus populi estsuprema lex.
Social justice must be founded on the recognition of the necessity of interdependence among divers and diverse
units of a society and of the protection that should be equally and evenly extended to all groups as a combined force
in our social and economic life, consistent with the fundamental and paramount objective of the state of promoting
health, comfort and quiet of all persons, and of bringing about “the greatest good to the greatest number.”
PHILIPPINE LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE COMPANY, petitioner, vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION
and LETTIE P. CORPUZ, respondents.

FACTS: respondent Lettie Corpuz was employed as traffic operator at the Manila International Traffic
Division (MITD) by the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) for ten years and nine months,
from. Her primary task was to facilitate requests for incoming and outgoing international calls through the use of a
digital switchboard.
Sometime in December 1987, PLDTs rank-and-file employees and telephone operators went on strike,
prompting the supervisors of the MITD to discharge the formers duties to prevent a total shutdown of its business
operations. While in the course of their emergency assignments, two supervisors almost simultaneously received
two different requests for overseas calls bound for different Middle East countries and both callers reported the
same calling number (98-68-16). []The tone verifications having yielded negative results, the callers were advised to
hang up their telephones to enable the supervisors to effect an alternative verification system by calling the same
number again. As in the first instance, the number remained unverified. Investigating the seemingly anomalous
incident, the matter was reported to the Quality Control Inspection Department (QCID) which revealed that the
subject number was temporarily disconnected on June 10, 1987, and permanently on September 24, 1987. It also
showed that 439 overseas calls were made through the same number between May and November 1987.
On account of such disclosure, the microfiches containing the completed calls through telephone number 98-
68-16 were ordered to be re-run. It yielded the following results: (1) 235 telephone operators handled the 439 calls
placed through the supposedly disconnected number; (2) respondent handled 56 or 12.8% of the total calls, while
the other operators had an average of only 1.8% calls each; (3) respondent completed one call on May 23, 1987
and effected 34 calls after the disconnection, 24 of which were completed through tone verification while the
other 10 calls were done without the requisite tone verification or call-back procedure, and 21 other calls were
cancelled; (4) of the 21 cancelled calls handled by respondent, one bared a BU report (party unavailable) but
fetched a long OCD (operator call duration) of 13 minutes and 21 seconds while another call registered a BB report
(called party, busy) but with an OCD of 22 minutes and 34 seconds, both considered unusually protracted by
respondent for holding a connection; and (5) respondent made several personal calls to telephone numbers 96-50-
72, 99-92-82 and 97-25-68, the latter being her home phone number. Premised on the above findings, on July 26,
1988, MITD Manager ErlindaKabigting directed respondent to explain her alleged infraction, that is, facilitating 34
calls using the disconnected number.
Instead of tendering the required explanation, respondent requested a formal investigation to allow her to
confront the witnesses and rebut the proofs that may be brought against her.On grounds of serious misconduct
and breach of trust, the Legal Department recommended her dismissal. In a letter dated June 16, 1989,
respondent was terminated from employment effective the following day.
Issue: whether or not Curpoz should be reinstated.
HELD: Yes.
This Court agrees with the labor arbiter when he stated that the more frequent handling by the respondent
of overseas calls from the same calling number than other operators does not give rise to the conclusion that,
indeed, respondent was a party to such anomalous transaction.
As regards petitioners claim that no call can be filed through a disconnected line, a certain Ms. Bautista
averred getting the same subject number after going through the standard verification procedures. She added that
this complexity extends even to other disconnected telephone lines. Equally important is the fact that on February
7, 1989, or about two years after it was permanently disconnected, telephone number 98-68-16 was used in calling
an international number, 561-6800, that lasted for 46 minutes. Telephone operator number 448 seems to have
been spared from any administrative sanction considering that this lapse has aggravated the persistent problem
concerning telephone number 98-68-16.
Thus, Labor Arbiter de Vera correctly ruled:
It need not be emphasized here that there were lapses in certain operational aspects of the respondent
company which made the irregularity possible, for indeed there exists a mystery about the serviceability
of the subject telephone line. That there were personnel of the respondent company involved who could
have restored what was earlier disconnected permanently appears certain.Nonetheless, exacting the
ultimate blame upon the respondent (complainant) in the absence of concrete inculpatory proofs of her
complexity (sic) to an anomaly if there be one, cannot be justified.
This Court will not sanction a dismissal premised on mere conjectures and suspicions. To be a valid ground for
respondents dismissal, the evidence must be substantial and not arbitrary and must be founded on clearly
established facts sufficient to warrant his separation from work. ]
It should be borne in mind that in termination cases, the employer bears the burden of proving that the
dismissal is for just cause failing which would mean that the dismissal is not justified and the employee is entitled
to reinstatement.[8] The essence of due process in administrative proceedings is the opportunity to explain ones
side or a chance to seek reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. ] The twin requirements of notice
and hearing constitute the essential elements of due process. This simply means that the employer shall afford the
worker ample opportunity to be heard and to defend himself with the assistance of his representative, if he so
desires. Ample opportunity connotes every kind of assistance that management must accord the employee to
enable him to prepare adequately for his defense including legal representation. ] In the instant case, the petitioner
failed to convincingly establish valid bases on the alleged serious misconduct and loss of trust and confidence.
In carrying out and interpreting the Labor Codes provisions and its implementing regulations, the
workingmans welfare should be the primordial and paramount consideration. This kind of interpretation gives
meaning and substance to the liberal and compassionate spirit of the law as provided for in Article 4 of the Labor
Code, as amended, which states that all doubts in the implementation and interpretation of the provisions of the
Labor Code including its implementing rules and regulations shall be resolved in favor of labor, [11] as well as the
Constitutional mandate that the State shall afford full protection to labor and promote full employment
opportunities for all. Likewise, it shall guarantee the rights of all workers to security of tenure. Such constitutional
right should not be denied on mere speculation of any unclear and nebulous basis.
PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, INC., petitioner,
vs.
ALBERTO SANTOS, JR., HOUDIEL MAGADIA, GILBERT ANTONIO, REGINO DURAN, PHILIPPINE AIRLINES
EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION, and THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, respondents.

FACTS: Individual respondents are all Port Stewards of Catering Sub-Department, Passenger Services Department
of petitioner. Their duties and responsibilities, among others, are: Prepares meal orders and checklists, setting up
standard equipment in accordance with the requirements of the type of service for each flight; skiing, binning, and
inventorying of Commissary supplies and equipment. On various occasions, several deductions were made from
their salary. The deductions represented losses of inventoried items charged to them for mishandling of company
properties , which respondents resented. Such that on August 21, 1984, individual respondents, represented by
the union, made a formal notice regarding the deductions to petitioner thru Mr. Reynaldo Abad, Manager for
Catering. As there was no action taken on said representation, private respondents filed a formal grievance on
pursuant to the grievance machinery Step 1 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between petitioner and the
union. The topics which the union wanted to be discussed in the said grievance were the illegal/questionable
salary deductions and inventory of bonded goods and merchandise being done by catering service personnel
which they believed should not be their duty.
The said grievance was submitted on November 21, 1984 to the office of Mr. Reynaldo Abad, Manager for
Catering, who at the time was on vacation leave. Subsequently, the grievants (individual respondents) thru the
shop steward wrote a letter on December 5, 1984 addressed to the office of Mr. Abad, who was still on leave at
the time, that inasmuch as no reply was made to their grievance which "was duly received by your secretary" and
considering that petitioner had only five days to resolve the grievance as provided for in the CBA, said grievance as
believed by them (private respondents) was deemed resolved in their favor. . . . Upon Mr. Abad's return on
December 7, 1984, he immediately informed the grievants and scheduled a meeting on December 12, 1984.
Thereafter, the individual respondents refused to conduct inventory works. Alberto Santos, Jr. did not conduct
ramp inventory on December 7, 10 and 12. Gilbert Antonio did not conduct ramp inventory on December 10. In
like manner, Regino Duran and HoudielMagadia did not conduct the same on December 10 and 12.
At the grievance meeting which was attended by some union representatives, Mr. Abad resolved the grievance by
denying the petition of individual respondents and adopted the position that inventory of bonded goods is part of
their duty as catering service personnel, and as for the salary deductions for losses, he rationalized:
It was only proper that employees are charged for the amount due to mishandling of company property which
resulted to losses. However, loss may be cost price 1/10 selling price.
As there was no ramp inventory conducted on the mentioned dates, Mr. Abad, on January 3, 1985 wrote by an
inter-office memorandum addressed to the grievants, individual respondents herein, for them to explain on (sic)
why no disciplinary action should be taken against them for not conducting ramp inventory. . . .
The directive was complied with . . . . The reason for not conducting ramp inventory was put forth as:
Since the grievance step 1 was not decided and no action was done by your office within 5 days from November
21, 1984, per provision of the PAL-PALEA CBA, Art. IV, Sec. 2, the grievance is deemed resolved in PALEA's favor.
Going over the explanation, Mr. Abad found the same unsatisfactory. Thus, a penalty of suspension ranging from 7
days to 30 days were (sic) imposed depending on the number of infractions committed. After the penalty of
suspension was meted down, PALEA filed another grievance asking for lifting of, or at least, holding in abeyance
the execution of said penalty. The said grievance was forthwith denied but the penalty of suspension with respect
to respondent Ramos was modified, such that his suspension which was originally from January 15, 1985 to April 5,
1985 was shortened by one month and was lifted on March 5, 1985. The union, however, made a demand for the
reimbursement of the salaries of individual respondents during the period of their suspension. Petitioner stood
pat (o)n the validity of the suspensions. Hence, a complaint for illegal suspension was filed before the
Arbitration Branch of the Commission, . . . Labor Arbiter Ceferina J. Diosana, on March 17, 1986, ruled in favor of
petitioner by dismissing the complaint.
ISSUE: Whether the Court is accordingly called upon to resolve the issue of whether or not public respondent NLRC
acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in rendering the aforementioned decision.
HELD: No, It is a fact that the sympathy of the Court is on the side of the laboring classes, not only because the
Constitution imposes such sympathy, but because of the one-sided relation between labor and capital.9 The
constitutional mandate for the promotion of labor is as explicit as it is demanding. The purpose is to place the
workingman on an equal plane with management — with all its power and influence — in negotiating for the
advancement of his interests and the defense of his rights. 10 Under the policy of social justice, the law bends over
backward to accommodate the interests of the working class on the humane justification that those with less
privileges in life should have more privileges in law. 11
It is clear that the grievance was filed with Mr. Abad's secretary during his absence. 12 Under Section 2 of the CBA
aforequoted, the division head shall act on the grievance within five (5) days from the date of presentation
thereof, otherwise "the grievance must be resolved in favor of the aggrieved party." It is not disputed that the
grievants knew that division head Reynaldo Abad was then "on leave" when they filed their grievance which was
received by Abad's secretary.13 This knowledge, however, should not prevent the application of the CBA.
On this score, respondent NLRC aptly ruled:
. . . Based on the facts heretofore narrated, division head Reynaldo Abad had to act on the
grievance of complainants within five days from 21 November 1984. Therefore, when Reynaldo
Abad, failed to act within the reglementary period, complainants, believing in good faith that the
effect of the CBA had already set in, cannot be blamed if they did not conduct ramp inventory for
the days thereafter. In this regard, respondent PAL argued that Reynaldo Abad was on leave at
the time the grievance was presented. This, however, is of no moment, for it is hard to believe
that everything under Abad's authority would have to stand still during his absence from office.
To be sure, it is to be expected that someone has to be left to attend to Abad's duties. Of course,
this may be a product of inadvertence on the part of PAL management, but certainly,
complainants should not be made to suffer the consequences. 14
Contrary to petitioner's submission,15 the grievance of employees is not a matter which requires the personal act
of Mr. Abad and thus could not be delegated. Petitioner could at least have assigned an officer-in-charge to look
into the grievance and possibly make his recommendation to Mr. Abad. It is of no moment that Mr. Abad
immediately looked into the grievance upon returning to work, for it must be remembered that the grievants are
workingmen who suffered salary deductions and who rely so much on their meager income for their daily
subsistence and survival. Besides, it is noteworthy that when these employees first presented their complaint on
August 21, 1984, petitioner failed to act on it. It was only after a formal grievance was filed and after Mr. Abad
returned to work on December 7, 1984 that petitioner decided to turn an ear to their plaints.
As respondent NLRC has pointed out, Abad's failure to act on the matter may have been due to petitioner's
inadvertence,16 but it is clearly too much of an injustice if the employees be made to bear the dire effects thereof.
Much as the latter were willing to discuss their grievance with their employer, the latter closed the door to this
possibility by not assigning someone else to look into the matter during Abad's absence. Thus, private respondents
should not be faulted for believing that the effects of the CBA in their favor had already stepped into the
controversy.
If the Court were to follow petitioner's line of reasoning, it would be easy for management to delay the resolution
of labor problems, the complaints of the workers in particular, and hide under the cloak of its officers being "on
leave" to avoid being caught by the 5-day deadline under the CBA. If this should be allowed, the workingmen will
suffer great injustice for they will necessarily be at the mercy of their employer. That could not have been the
intendment of the pertinent provision of the CBA, much less the benevolent policy underlying our labor laws.
ST.LUKES Vs. NLRC

FACTS: . Maribel S. Santos was an X-Ray Technician in St. Luke’s Medical Center, Inc. (SLMC) during the
time RA No 7431 or “Radiologic Technology Act of 1992” was passed and enacted. The said law requires
that no person shall practice or offer to practice as a radiology or x-ray technologist in the Philippines
without having the proper certificate of registrtion from the Board of Radiologic Technolgy. Pursuant to the
said statute, SLMC issued a final notice to all practitioners of Radiologic Technology, including Santos, to
comply with the requirements. Unlicensed employees will be trasnfered in an area which does not require
a license to practice if a slot is available. Several notices were sent to Santos requiring her to comply with
the law; otherwise she will be compelled to retire should there be no other position available where she
may be employed. They advised her to submit her PRC registration form/examination permit since only a
license can assure her of her continued employment. Santos disregarded these letters and refused to
accept the offer for early retirement. She was also not qualified for any other present vacant positions in
the hospital. Later on, she took but failed the board examination. As a result, SLMC issued a “notice of
separation from the company” to Santos. Santos filed for illegal dismissal, non-payment of salaries,
allowances, and other monetary benefits. She also prayed for award of moral and exemplary damages
plus attorney’s fees. Labor Arbiter decided in favor of Santos and ordered SLMC to pay her P115,500
representing her separation pay. Dissatisfied, Santos filed for an appeal with NLRC. NLRC affirmed the
decision of the Labor Arbiter. It also denied the petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration. Petitioners, then,
filed a petition for certiorary with CA, which affirmed NLRC’s decision.
ISSUE: Whether or not Santos Should be retained as employee

HELD: No. It

While the right of workers to security of tenure is guaranteed by the Constitution, its exercise may be
reasonably regulated pursuant to the police power of the State to safeguard health, morals, peace, education,
order, safety, and the general welfare of the people. Consequently, persons who desire to engage in the learned
professions requiring scientific or technical knowledge may be required to take an examination as a prerequisite to
engaging in their chosen careers.] The most concrete example of this would be in the field of medicine, the practice
of which in all its branches has been closely regulated by the State. It has long been recognized that the regulation
of this field is a reasonable method of protecting the health and safety of the public to protect the public from the
potentially deadly effects of incompetence and ignorance among those who would practice medicine. [10] The same
rationale applies in the regulation of the practice of radiologic and x-ray technology.

In this regard, the Court quotes with approval the disquisition of public respondent NLRC in its decision
dated August 23, 2002:

without any derogatory record to make her qualify as an x-ray technician in the absence
of a proper certificate of Registration from the Board of Radiologic Technology which can only be
obtained by passing the required examination. The law is clear that the Certificate of Registration
cannot be substituted by any other requirement to allow a person to practice as a Radiologic
Technologist and/or X-ray Technologist (Technician).]

No malice or ill-will can be imputed upon private respondent as the separation of petitioner Santos was
undertaken by it conformably to an existing statute. It is undeniable that her continued employment without the
required Board certification exposed the hospital to possible sanctions and even to a revocation of its license to
operate. Certainly, private respondent could not be expected to retain petitioner Santos despite the inimical threat
posed by the latter to its business. This notwithstanding, the records bear out the fact that petitioner Santos was
given ample opportunity to qualify for the position and was sufficiently warned that her failure to do so would
result in her separation from work in the event there were no other vacant positions to which she could be
transferred. Despite these warnings, petitioner Santos was still unable to comply and pass the required exam. To
reiterate, the requirement for Board certification was set by statute. Justice, fairness and due process demand that
an employer should not be penalized for situations where it had no participation or control. [13]

It would be unreasonable to compel private respondent to wait until its license is cancelled and it is
materially injured before removing the cause of the impending evil. Neither can the courts step in to force private
respondent to reassign or transfer petitioner Santos under these circumstances. Petitioner Santos is not in the
position to demand that she be given a different work assignment when what necessitated her transfer in the first
place was her own fault or failing. The prerogative to determine the place or station where an employee is best
qualified to serve the interests of the company on the basis of the his or her qualifications, training and
performance belongs solely to the employer.[14] The Labor Code and its implementing Rules do not vest in the
Labor Arbiters nor in the different Divisions of the NLRC (nor in the courts) managerial authority. [15]

While our laws endeavor to give life to the constitutional policy on social justice and the protection of
labor, it does not mean that every labor dispute will be decided in favor of the workers. The law also recognizes
that management has rights which are also entitled to respect and enforcement in the interest of fair
play.[16] Labor laws, to be sure, do not authorize interference with the employer's judgment in the conduct of the
latters business. Private respondent is free to determine, using its own discretion and business judgment, all
elements of employment, "from hiring to firing" except in cases of unlawful discrimination or those which may be
provided by law. None of these exceptions is present in the instant case.

The fact that another employee, who likewise failed to pass the required exam, was allowed by private
respondent to apply for and transfer to another position with the hospital does not constitute unlawful
discrimination. This was a valid exercise of management prerogative, petitioners not having alleged nor proven
that the reassigned employee did not qualify for the position where she was transferred. In the past, the Court has
ruled that an objection founded on the ground that one has better credentials over the appointee is frowned upon
so long as the latter possesses the minimum qualifications for the position. [17] Furthermore, the records show that
Ms. Santos did not even seriously apply for another position in the company.

MANUEL SOSITO, petitioner,


vs.
AGUINALDO DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, respondent
FACTS: Petitioner Manuel Sosito was employed in 1964 by the private respondent, a logging company, and was in
charge of logging importation, with a monthly salary of P675.00, 1 when he went on indefinite leave with the
consent of the company on January 16, 1976. 2 On July 20, 1976, the private respondent, through its president,
announced a retrenchment program and offered separation pay to employees in the active service as of June 30,
1976, who would tender their resignations not later than July 31, 1976. The petitioner decided to accept this offer
and so submitted his resignation on July 29, 1976, "to avail himself of the gratuity benefits" promised. 3 However,
his resignation was not acted upon and he was never given the separation pay he expected. The petitioner
complained to the Department of Labor, where he was sustained by the labor arbiter. 4 The company was ordered
to pay Sosito the sum of P 4,387.50, representing his salary for six and a half months. On appeal to the National
Labor Relations Commission, this decision was reversed and it was held that the petitioner was not covered by the
retrenchment program. The petitioner then came to us.
ISSUE: Whether or not Petitioner should be granted of the benefits.
Held: No.
petitioner was not eligible for the promised gratuity as he was not actually working with the company as of the
said date. Being on indefinite leave, he was not in the active service of the private respondent although, if one
were to be technical, he was still in its employ. Even so, during the period of indefinite leave, he was not entitled to
receive any salary or to enjoy any other benefits available to those in the active service.
It seems to us that the petitioner wants to enjoy the best of two worlds at the expense of the private respondent.
He has insulated himself from the insecurities of the floundering firm but at the same time would demand the
benefits it offers. Being on indefinite leave from the company, he could seek and try other employment and
remain there if he should find it acceptable; but if not, he could go back to his former work and argue that he still
had the right to return as he was only on leave.
There is no claim that the petitioner was temporarily laid off or forced to go on leave; on the contrary, the record
shows that he voluntarily sought the indefinite leave which the private respondent granted. It is strange that the
company should agree to such an open-ended arrangement, which is obviously one-sided. The company would not
be free to replace the petitioner but the petitioner would have a right to resume his work as and when he saw fit.
We note that under the law then in force the private respondent could have validly reduced its work force because
of its financial reverses without the obligation to grant separation pay. This was permitted under the original
Article 272(a), of the Labor Code, 7 which was in force at the time. To its credit, however, the company voluntarily
offered gratuities to those who would agree to be phased out pursuant to the terms and conditions of its
retrenchment program, in recognition of their loyalty and to tide them over their own financial difficulties. The
Court feels that such compassionate measure deserves commendation and support but at the same time rules that
it should be available only to those who are qualified therefore. We hold that the petitioner is not one of them.
While the Constitution is committed to the policy of social justice and the protection of the working class, it should
not be supposed that every labor dispute will be automatically decided in favor of labor. Management also has its
own rights which, as such, are entitled to respect and enforcement in the interest of simple fair play. Out of its
concern for those with less privileges in life, this Court has inclined more often than not toward the worker and
upheld his cause in his conflicts with the employer. Such favoritism, however, has not blinded us to the rule that
justice is in every case for the deserving, to be dispensed in the light of the established facts and the applicable law
and doctrine.
COLGATE PALMOLIVE PHILIPPINES, Inc., petitioners,
vs.
HON. BLAS F. OPLE, COLGATE PALMOLIVE SALES UNION, respondents.
FACTS: On March 1, 1985, the respondent Union filed a Notice of Strike with the Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR)
on ground of unfair labor practice consisting of alleged refusal to bargain, dismissal of union officers/members;
and coercing employees to retract their membership with the union and restraining non-union members from
joining the union.
After efforts at amicable settlement proved unavailing, the Office of the MOLE, upon petition of petitioner
assumed jurisdiction over the dispute pursuant to Article 264 (g) of the Labor Code, Thereafter the case was
captioned AJML-3-142-85, BLR-3-86-85 "In Re: Assumption of Jurisdiction over the Labor Dispute at Colgate
Palmolive Philippines, Inc." In its position paper, petitioner pointed out that —
(a) There is no legal basis for the charge that the company refused to bargain collectively with the union
considering that the alleged union is not the certified agent of the company salesmen;
(b) The union's status as a legitimate labor organization is still under question because on 6 March 1985, a certain
Monchito Rosales informed the BLR that an overwhelming majority of the salesmen are not in favor of the Notice
of Strike allegedly filed by the Union
(c) Upon verification of the records of the Ministry of Labor and Employment, it appeared that a petition for
cancellation of the registration of the alleged union was filed by Monchito Rosales on behalf of certain salesmen of
the company who are obviously against the formation of the Colgate Palmolive Sales Labor Union which is
supposed to represent them;
(d) The preventive suspensions of salesmen Peregrino Sayson, Salvador Reynante and Cornelio Mejia, and their
eventual dismissal from the employ of the company were carried out pursuant to the inherent right and
prerogative of management to discipline erring employees; that based on the preliminary investigation conducted
by the company, there appeared substantial grounds to believe that Sayson, Reynante and Mejia violated company
rules and regulations necessitating their suspension pending further investigation of their respective cases;
(e) It was also ascertained that the company sustained damages resulting from the infractions committed by the
three salesmen, and that the final results of the investigation fully convinced the company of the existence of just
causes for the dismissal of the three salesmen;
(f) The formation of the union and the membership therein of Sayson, Reynante and Mejia were not in any manner
connected with the company's decision to dismiss the three; that the fact that their dismissal came at a time when
the alleged union was being formed was purely coincidental;
(g) The union's charge therefore, that the membership in the union and refusal to retract precipitated their
dismissal was totally false and amounted to a malicious imputation of union busting;
(h) The company never coerced or attempted to coerce employees, much less interferred in the exercise of their
right to self-organization; the company never thwarted nor tried to defeat or frustrate the employees' right to
form their union in pursuit of their collective interest, as long as that right is exercised within the limits prescribed
by law; in fact, there are at present two unions representing the rank and file employees of the company-the
factory workers who are covered by a CBA which expired on 31 October 1985 (which was renewed on May 31,
1985) and are represented by Colgate Palmolive Employees Union (PAFLU); whereas, the salaried employees are
covered by a CBA which will expire on 31 May 1986 represented by Philippine Association of Free Labor Union
(PAFLU)-CPPI Office Chapter. (pp. 4-6, Rollo)
The respondent Union, on the other hand, in its position paper, reiterated the issue in its Notice to Strike, alleging
that it was duly registered with the Bureau of Labor Relations under Registry No. 10312-LC with a total
membership of 87 regular salesmen (nationwide) out of 117 regular salesmen presently employed by the company
as of November 30, 1985 and that since the registration of the Union up to the present, more than 2/3 of the total
salesmen employed are already members of the Union, leaving no doubt that the true sentiment of the salesmen
was to form and organize the Colgate-Palmolive Salesmen Union. The Union further alleged that the company is
unreasonably delaying the recognition of the union because when it was informed of the organization of the
union, and when presented with a set of proposals for a collective bargaining agreement, the company took an
adversarial stance by secretly distributing a "survey sheet on union membership" to newly hired salesmen from
the Visayas, Mindanao and Metro Manila areas, purposely avoiding regular salesmen who are now members of the
union; that in the accomplishment of the form, District Sales Managers, and Sales Supervisors coerced salesmen
from the Visayas and Mindanao by requiring them to fill up and/or accomplish said form by checking answers
which were adverse to the union; that with a handful of the survey sheets secured by management through
coercion, it now would like to claim that all salesmen are not in favor of the organization of the union, which acts
are clear manifestations of unfair labor practices.
Petitioner concedes that respondent Minister has the power to decide a labor dispute in a case assumed by him
under Art. 264 (g) of the Labor Code but this power was exceeded when he certified respondent Union as the
exclusive bargaining agent of the company's salesmen since this is not a representation proceeding as described
under the Labor Code. Moreover the Union did not pray for certification but merely for a finding of unfair labor
practice imputed to petitioner-company.
HELD: The petition merits our consideration. The procedure for a representation case is outlined in Arts. 257-260
of the Labor Code, in relation to the provisions on cancellation of a Union registration under Arts. 239-240 thereof,
the main purpose of which is to aid in ascertaining majority representation. The requirements under the law,
specifically Secs. 2, 5, and 6 of Rule V, Book V, of the Rules Implementing the Labor Code are all calculated to
ensure that the certified bargaining representative is the true choice of the employees against all contenders. The
Constitutional mandate that the State shall "assure the rights of the workers to self-organization, collective
bargaining, security of tenure and just and humane conditions of work," should be achieved under a system of law
such as the aforementioned provisions of the pertinent statutes. When an overzealous official by-passes the law
on the pretext of retaining a laudable objective, the intendment or purpose of the law will lose its meaning as the
law itself is disregarded. When respondent Minister directly certified the Union, he in fact disregarded this
procedure and its legal requirements. There was therefore failure to determine with legal certainty whether the
Union indeed enjoyed majority representation. Contrary to the respondent Minister's observation, the holding of a
certification election at the proper time is not necessarily a mere formality as there was a compelling legal reason
not to directly and unilaterally certify a union whose legitimacy is precisely the object of litigation in a pending
cancellation case filed by certain "concerned salesmen," who also claim majority status. Even in a case where a
union has filed a petition for certification elections, the mere fact that no opposition is made does not warrant a
direct certification. More so as in the case at bar, when the records of the suit show that the required proof was
not presented in an appropriate proceeding and that the basis of the direct certification was the Union's mere
allegation in its position paper that it has 87 out of 117 regular salesmen. In other words, respondent Minister
merely relied on the self-serving assertion of the respondent Union that it enjoyed the support of the majority of
the salesmen, without subjecting such assertion to the test of competing claims. As pointed out by petitioner in its
petition, what the respondent Minister achieved in rendering the assailed orders was to make a mockery of the
procedure provided under the law for representation cases because:
(a) He has created havoc by impliedly establishing a procedural short-cut to obtaining a direct
certification-by merely filing a notice of strike.
(b) By creating such a short-cut, he has officially encouraged disrespect for the law.
(c) By directly certifying a Union without sufficient proof of majority representation, he has in
effect arrogated unto himself the right, vested naturally in the employees, to choose their
collective bargaining representative.
(d) He has in effect imposed upon the petitioner the obligation to negotiate with a union whose
majority representation is under serious question. This is highly irregular because while the
Union enjoys the blessing of the Minister, it does not enjoy the blessing of the employees.
Petitioner is therefore under threat of being held liable for refusing to negotiate with a union
whose right to bargaining status has not been legally established. (pp. 9-10, Rollo)
The order of the respondent Minister to reinstate the employees despite a clear finding of guilt on their part is not
in conformity with law. Reinstatement is simply incompatible with a finding of guilt. Where the totality of the
evidence was sufficient to warrant the dismissal of the employees the law warrants their dismissal without making
any distinction between a first offender and a habitual delinquent. Under the law, respondent Minister is duly
mandated to equally protect and respect not only the labor or workers' side but also the management and/or
employers' side. The law, in protecting the rights of the laborer, authorizes neither oppression nor self-destruction
of the employer. To order the reinstatement of the erring employees namely, Mejia, Sayson and Reynante would
in effect encourage unequal protection of the laws as a managerial employee of petitioner company involved in
the same incident was already dismissed and was not ordered to be reinstated. As stated by Us in the case of San
Miguel Brewery vs. National Labor Union, 2 "an employer cannot legally be compelled to continue with the
employment of a person who admittedly was guilty of misfeasance or malfeasance towards his employer, and
whose continuance in the service of the latter is patently inimical to his interest."
In the subject order, respondent Minister cited a cases 3 implying that "the proximity of the dismissal of the
employees to the assumption order created a doubt as to whether their dismissal was really for just cause or due
to their activities." 4

ELMER M. MENDOZA, petitioner, vs. RURAL BANK OF LUCBAN, respondent.

FACTS: On April 25, 1999, the Board of Directors of the Rural Bank of Lucban, Inc., issued Board Resolution which
entailed that a random reshuffling shall be conducted in pursuance to further strengthen the existing internal
control system of the bank. a letter to Alejo B. Daya, the banks board chairman, directed Briccio V. Cada, the
manager of the banks Tayabas branch, to implement the reshuffle, The new assignments were to be effective on
May 1, 1999 without changes in salary, allowances, and other benefits received by the aforementioned employees.
in an undated letter addressed to Daya, Petitioner Elmer Mendoza expressed his opinion on the reshuffle stating
that such reshuffling is a blatant harassment on the part of the bank as a prelude to his termination in due time
and This will constitute an unfair labor practice. The management replied by saying “Anent your undated letter
expressing your resentment/comments on the recent managements decision to reshuffle the duties of bank
employees, please be informed that it was never the intention (of management) to downgrade your position in the
bank considering that your due compensation as Bank Appraiser is maintained and no future reduction was
intended. Aside from giving bank employees a wider experience in various banking operations, the reshuffle will
also afford management an effective tool in providing the bank a sound internal control system/check and balance
and a basis in evaluating the performance of each employee. A continuing bankwide reshuffle of employees shall
be made at the discretion of management which may include bank officers, if necessary as expressed in Board
Resolution No. 99-53, dated April 25, 1999. Management merely shifted the duties of employees, their position
title [may be] retained if requested formally. Being a standard procedure in maintaining an effective internal
control system recommended by the Bangko Sentralng Pilipinas, we believe that the conduct of reshuffle is also a
prerogative of bank management.[9]
On June 7, 1999, petitioner submitted to the banks Tayabas branch manager a letter in which he applied for a
leave of absence from work:
On June 21, 1999, petitioner again submitted a letter asking for another leave of absence for twenty days effective
on the same date.[11]
On June 24, 1999, while on his second leave of absence, petitioner filed a Complaint before Arbitration Branch No.
IV of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). The Complaint -- for illegal dismissal, underpayment,
separation pay and damages -- was filed against the Rural Bank of Lucban and/or its president, Alejo B. Daya; and
its Tayabas branch manager, Briccio V. Cada. The case was docketed as NLRC Case SRAB-IV-6-5862-99-Q.

Issue: Whether or not reshuffling constitute as unfair labor practice.


HELD: No, The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals which states that The so-called
harassment which Mendoza allegedly experienced in the aftermath of the reshuffling of employees at the bank is
but a figment of his imagination as there is no evidence extant on record which substantiates the same. His alleged
demotion, the cold shoulder stance, the things about his chair and table, and the alleged reason for the
harassment are but allegations bereft of proof and are perforce inadmissible as self-serving statements and can
never be considered repositories of truth nor serve as foundations of court decisions anent the resolution of the
litigants rights.
When Mendoza was reshuffled to the position of clerk at the bank, he was not demoted as there was no
[diminution] of his salary benefits and rank. He could even retain his position title, had he only requested for it
pursuant to the reply of the Chairman of the banks board of directors to Mendozas letter protesting the
reshuffle. There is, therefore, no cause to doubt the reasons which the bank propounded in support of its move to
reshuffle its employees, viz:

Constructive dismissal is defined as an involuntary resignation resorted to when continued employment is


rendered impossible, unreasonable or unlikely; when there is a demotion in rank or a diminution of pay; or when a
clear discrimination, insensibility or disdain by an employer becomes unbearable to the employee. [21] Petitioner
argues that he was compelled to file an action for constructive dismissal, because he had been demoted from
appraiser to clerk and not given any work to do, while his table had been placed near the toilet and eventually
removed.[22] He adds that the reshuffling of employees was done in bad faith, because it was designed primarily to
force him to resign.[23]
Management Prerogative
to Transfer Employees
Jurisprudence recognizes the exercise of management prerogatives. For this reason, courts often decline to
interfere in legitimate business decisions of employers.[]Indeed, labor laws discourage interference in employers
judgments concerning the conduct of their business.[25] The law must protect not only the welfare of employees,
but also the right of employers.
In the pursuit of its legitimate business interest, management has the prerogative to transfer or assign
employees from one office or area of operation to another -- provided there is no demotion in rank or diminution
of salary, benefits, and other privileges; and the action is not motivated by discrimination, made in bad faith, or
effected as a form of punishment or demotion without sufficient cause. [26] This privilege is inherent in the right of
employers to control and manage their enterprise effectively.[27] The right of employees to security of tenure does
not give them vested rights to their positions to the extent of depriving management of its prerogative to change
their assignments or to transfer them.]
Managerial prerogatives, however, are subject to limitations provided by law, collective bargaining
agreements, and general principles of fair play and justice. ] The test for determining the validity of the transfer of
employees was explained in Blue Dairy Corporation v. NLRC] as follows:
[L]ike other rights, there are limits thereto. The managerial prerogative to transfer personnel must be exercised
without grave abuse of discretion, bearing in mind the basic elements of justice and fair play.Having the right
should not be confused with the manner in which that right is exercised. Thus, it cannot be used as a subterfuge by
the employer to rid himself of an undesirable worker. In particular, the employer must be able to show that the
transfer is not unreasonable, inconvenient or prejudicial to the employee; nor does it involve a demotion in rank or
a diminution of his salaries, privileges and other benefits. Should the employer fail to overcome this burden of
proof, the employees transfer shall be tantamount to constructive dismissal, which has been defined as a quitting
because continued employment is rendered impossible, unreasonable or unlikely; as an offer involving a demotion
in rank and diminution in pay. Likewise, constructive dismissal exists when an act of clear discrimination,
insensibility or disdain by an employer has become so unbearable to the employee leaving him with no option but
to forego with his continued employment.
Petitioners Transfer Lawful
The employer bears the burden of proving that the transfer of the employee has complied with the foregoing
test. In the instant case, we find no reason to disturb the conclusion of the NLRC and the CA that there was no
constructive dismissal. Their finding is supported by substantial evidence -- that amount of relevant evidence that
a reasonable mind might accept as justification for a conclusion.
Petitioners transfer was made in pursuit of respondents policy to familiarize bank employees with the various
phases of bank operations and further strengthen the existing internal control system ] of all officers and
employees. We have previously held that employees may be transferred -- based on their qualifications, aptitudes
and competencies -- to positions in which they can function with maximum benefit to the company. ] There appears
no justification for denying an employer the right to transfer employees to expand their competence and maximize
their full potential for the advancement of the establishment. Petitioner was not singled out; other employees
were also reassigned without their express consent.
Neither was there any demotion in the rank of petitioner; or any diminution of his salary, privileges and other
benefits. This fact is clear in respondents Board Resolutions, the April 30, 1999 letter of Bank President Daya to
Branch Manager Cada, and the May 10, 1999 letter of Daya to petitioner.
On the other hand, petitioner has offered no sufficient proof to support his allegations. Given no credence by
both lower tribunals was his bare and self-serving statement that he had been positioned near the comfort room,
made to work without a table, and given no work assignment. [35] Purely conjectural is his claim that the reshuffle of
personnel was a harassment in retaliation for an alleged falsification case filed by his relatives against a public
official.[36] While the rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law are not controlling in proceedings before the
NLRC,[37] parties must nonetheless submit evidence to support their contentions.