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222 Bago vs.

NLRC the basis of these same grounds requires a higher proof of involvement in
G.R. No. 17000, April 4, 2007 the events in question; mere uncorroborated assertions and accusations by
the employer will not suffice.
FACTS:
Even assuming that Bago may be considered a rank and file employee,
Bago and 5 other employees were dismissed by Celia P. Abordo (Abordo), sufficient evidence of her involvement in the dishonest scheme of SICI’s
head of the Tuguegarao Branch of Standard Insurance Company accountant and cashier who were also charged and found guilty exists. Not
Incorporated (SICI) for manipulating the company funds and spreading only was her participation established by the internal audit conducted; the
damaging rumors. Bago, the auditor of the company, and the five other cashier identified her as part of the scheme, and she herself admitted her
employees apologized for spreading the rumors. Abordo issued a memo to involvement. Her claim that she merely received money from the cashier
the employees requiring an explanation for the charges. Thinking that and the accountant without knowledge of its illegal source is contradicted
Abordo had already forgiven them, the employees did not respond to the by her subsequent statement of January 7, 2003 submitted to the HRDD
memo. Not receiving any reply, the Human Resource Department of SICI owning up to having participated in the scheme.
proceeded with their investigation and found all the employees guilty and
dismissed them for loss of confidence and serious misconduct. Bago filed a But even assuming further that Bago may not be dismissed for loss of
complaint for illegal dismissal. She contended that there was no due process confidence, she can, on the ground of fraud or betrayal of trust, following
in the investigation and that dismissal is a severe penalty for the offenses Article 282 of the Labor Code which provides that:
charged. An employer may terminate an employee for any of the following causes:
(c) Fraud or willful breach by the employee of the trust reposed in him by
The Labor Arbiter found that Bago was illegally dismissed but the NLRC his employer or duly authorized representative;
reversed the Labor Arbiter's decision and declared valid the termination of (e) Other causes analogous to the foregoing.
Bago’s services on the grounds of loss of trust and confidence and
dishonesty. Bago further claims that she is an ordinary rank-and-file Whether or not the respondent was financially prejudiced is immaterial.
employee, hence, she cannot be dismissed for loss of trust and confidence. Also, what matters is not the amount involved, be it paltry or gargantuan;
The CA found, however, that her work is of such nature as to require a rather the fraudulent scheme in which the petitioner was involved, which
substantial amount of trust and confidence on the part of her employer. constitutes a clear betrayal of trust and confidence. Although the length of
service is taken into consideration in imposing the penalty to be meted an
ISSUE: Whether the penalty of dismissal was valid despite the fact that the erring employee, the case involves dishonesty and pilferage by petitioner
actual amount of money allegedly misappropriated was never established? which resulted in respondent’s loss of confidence in him. Unlike other just
causes for dismissal, trust in an employee, once lost is difficult, if not
HELD: Yes. As a general rule, employers are allowed a wide latitude of impossible, to regain. Flores v. NLRC provides that: The fact that petitioner
discretion in terminating the employment of managerial personnel or those worked for private respondent for twenty-one (21) years, if it is to be
who, while not of similar rank, perform functions which by their nature considered at all, should be taken against him. The infraction that he
require the employer’s full trust and confidence. Proof beyond reasonable committed, vis-à-vis his long years of service with the company, reflects a
doubt is not required. It is sufficient that there is some basis for loss of regrettable lack of loyalty. Loyalty that he should have strengthened instead
confidence, such as when the employer has reasonable ground to believe of betrayed. If an employee’s length of service is to be regarded as a
that the employee concerned is responsible for the purported misconduct, justifying circumstance in moderating the penalty of dismissal, it will
and the nature of his participation therein renders him unworthy of the actually become a prize for disloyalty, perverting the meaning of social
trust and confidence demanded by his position. This must be distinguished justice and undermining the efforts of labor to cleanse its ranks of all
from the case of ordinary rank-and-file employees, whose termination on undesirables. PETITION DENIED.