You are on page 1of 15

reminded about the companys policy of not accepting

married women for employment.[4]

In her reply letter dated January 17, 1992, private
[G.R. No. 118978. May 23, 1997] PHILIPPINE
respondent stated that she was not aware of PT&Ts
policy regarding married women at the time, and that all
COMPANY,* petitioner, vs. NATIONAL LABOR
along she had not deliberately hidden her true civil
status.[5] Petitioner nonetheless remained unconvinced
GUZMAN, respondents.
by her explanations. Private respondent was dismissed
from the company effective January 29, 1992,[6] which
she readily contested by initiating a complaint for illegal
dismissal, coupled with a claim for non-payment of cost
DECISION of living allowances (COLA), before the Regional
REGALADO, J.: Arbitration Branch of the National Labor Relations
Commission in Baguio City.
Seeking relief through the extraordinary writ At the preliminary conference conducted in
of certiorari, petitioner Philippine Telegraph and connection therewith, private respondent volunteered the
Telephone Company (hereafter, PT&T) invokes the information, and this was incorporated in the stipulation
alleged concealment of civil status and defalcation of of facts between the parties, that she had failed to remit
company funds as grounds to terminate the services of the amount of P2,380.75 of her collections. She then
an employee. That employee, herein private respondent executed a promissory note for that amount in favor of
Grace de Guzman, contrarily argues that what really petitioner.[7] All of these took place in a formal
motivated PT&T to terminate her services was her proceeding and with the agreement of the parties and/or
having contracted marriage during her employment, their counsel.
which is prohibited by petitioner in its company
policies. She thus claims that she was discriminated On November 23, 1993, Labor Arbiter Irenarco R.
against in gross violation of law, such a proscription by Rimando handed down a decision declaring that private
an employer being outlawed by Article 136 of the Labor respondent, who had already gained the status of a
Code. regular employee, was illegally dismissed by
petitioner. Her reinstatement, plus payment of the
Grace de Guzman was initially hired by petitioner corresponding back wages and COLA, was
as a reliever, specifically as a Supernumerary Project correspondingly ordered, the labor arbiter being of the
Worker, for a fixed period from November 21, 1990 until firmly expressed view that the ground relied upon by
April 20, 1991 vice one C.F. Tenorio who went on petitioner in dismissing private respondent was clearly
maternity leave.[1] Under the Reliever Agreement which insufficient, and that it was apparent that she had been
she signed with petitioner company, her employment discriminated against on account of her having
was to be immediately terminated upon expiration of the contracted marriage in violation of company rules.
agreed period. Thereafter, from June 10, 1991 to July 1,
1991, and from July 19, 1991 to August 8, 1991, private On appeal to the National Labor Relations
respondents services as reliever were again engaged by Commission (NLRC), said public respondent upheld the
petitioner, this time in replacement of one Erlinda F. labor arbiter and, in its decision dated April 29, 1994, it
Dizon who went on leave during both periods.[2] After ruled that private respondent had indeed been the
August 8, 1991, and pursuant to their Reliever subject of an unjust and unlawful discrimination by her
Agreement, her services were terminated. employer, PT&T. However, the decision of the labor
arbiter was modified with the qualification that Grace de
On September 2, 1991, private respondent was Guzman deserved to be suspended for three months in
once more asked to join petitioner company as a view of the dishonest nature of her acts which should not
probationary employee, the probationary period to cover be condoned. In all other respects, the NLRC affirmed
150 days. In the job application form that was furnished the decision of the labor arbiter, including the order for
her to be filled up for the purpose, she indicated in the the reinstatement of private respondent in her
portion for civil status therein that she was single employment with PT&T.
although she had contracted marriage a few months
earlier, that is, on May 26, 1991.[3] The subsequent motion for reconsideration filed by
petitioner was rebuffed by respondent NLRC in its
It now appears that private respondent had made resolution of November 9, 1994, hence this special civil
the same representation in the two successive reliever action assailing the aforestated decisions of the labor
agreements which she signed on June 10, 1991 and arbiter and respondent NLRC, as well as the denial
July 8, 1991. When petitioner supposedly learned about resolution of the latter.
the same later, its branch supervisor in Baguio City,
Delia M. Oficial, sent to private respondent a 1. Decreed in the Bible itself is the universal norm
memorandum dated January 15, 1992 requiring her to that women should be regarded with love and respect
explain the discrepancy. In that memorandum, she was but, through the ages, men have responded to that
injunction with indifference, on the hubristic conceit that
women constitute the inferior sex. Nowhere has that that in the Family Code,[18] womens rights in the field of
prejudice against womankind been so pervasive as in civil law have been greatly enhanced and expanded.
the field of labor, especially on the matter of equal
employment opportunities and standards. In the In the Labor Code, provisions governing the rights
Philippine setting, women have traditionally been of women workers are found in Articles 130 to 138
considered as falling within the vulnerable groups or thereof. Article 130 involves the right against particular
types of workers who must be safeguarded with kinds of night work while Article 132 ensures the right of
preventive and remedial social legislation against women to be provided with facilities and standards which
discriminatory and exploitative practices in hiring, the Secretary of Labor may establish to ensure their
training, benefits, promotion and retention. health and safety. For purposes of labor and social
legislation, a woman working in a nightclub, cocktail
The Constitution, cognizant of the disparity in rights lounge, massage clinic, bar or other similar
between men and women in almost all phases of social establishments shall be considered as an employee
and political life, provides a gamut of protective under Article 138. Article 135, on the other hand,
provisions. To cite a few of the primordial ones, Section recognizes a womans right against discrimination with
14, Article II[8] on the Declaration of Principles and State respect to terms and conditions of employment on
Policies, expressly recognizes the role of women in account simply of sex. Finally, and this brings us to the
nation-building and commands the State to ensure, at all issue at hand, Article 136 explicitly prohibits
times, the fundamental equality before the law of women discrimination merely by reason of the marriage of a
and men. Corollary thereto, Section 3 of Article female employee.
XIII[9] (the progenitor whereof dates back to both the
1935 and 1973 Constitution) pointedly requires the State 3. Acknowledged as paramount in the due process
to afford full protection to labor and to promote full scheme is the constitutional guarantee of protection to
employment and equality of employment opportunities labor and security of tenure. Thus, an employer is
for all, including an assurance of entitlement to tenurial required, as a condition sine qua non prior to severance
security of all workers. Similarly, Section 14 of Article of the employment ties of an individual under his employ,
XIII[10] mandates that the State shall protect working to convincingly establish, through substantial evidence,
women through provisions for opportunities that would the existence of a valid and just cause in dispensing with
enable them to reach their full potential. the services of such employee, ones labor being
regarded as constitutionally protected property.
2. Corrective labor and social laws on gender
inequality have emerged with more frequency in the On the other hand, it is recognized that regulation of
years since the Labor Code was enacted on May 1, manpower by the company falls within the so-called
1974 as Presidential Decree No. 442, largely due to our management prerogatives, which prescriptions
countrys commitment as a signatory to the United encompass the matter of hiring, supervision of workers,
Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of work assignments, working methods and assignments,
Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).[11] as well as regulations on the transfer of employees, lay-
off of workers, and the discipline, dismissal, and recall of
Principal among these laws are Republic Act No. employees.[19] As put in a case, an employer is free to
6727[12] which explicitly prohibits discrimination against regulate, according to his discretion and best business
women with respect to terms and conditions of judgment, all aspects of employment, from hiring to
employment, promotion, and training opportunities; firing, except in cases of unlawful discrimination or those
Republic Act No. 6955[13] which bans the mail-order- which may be provided by law.[20]
bride practice for a fee and the export of female labor to
countries that cannot guarantee protection to the rights In the case at bar, petitioners policy of not
of women workers; Republic Act No. 7192,[14] also accepting or considering as disqualified from work any
known as the Women in Development and Nation woman worker who contracts marriage runs afoul of the
Building Act, which affords women equal opportunities test of, and the right against, discrimination, afforded all
with men to act and to enter into contracts, and for women workers by our labor laws and by no less than
appointment, admission, training, graduation, and the Constitution. Contrary to petitioners assertion that it
commissioning in all military or similar schools of the dismissed private respondent from employment on
Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine account of her dishonesty, the record discloses clearly
National Police; Republic Act No. 7322[15] increasing the that her ties with the company were dissolved principally
maternity benefits granted to women in the private because of the companys policy that married women are
sector; Republic Act No. 7877[16] which outlaws and not qualified for employment in PT&T, and not merely
punishes sexual harassment in the workplace and in the because of her supposed acts of dishonesty.
education and training environment; and Republic Act That it was so can easily be seen from the
No. 8042,[17] or the Migrant Workers and Overseas memorandum sent to private respondent by Delia M.
Filipinos Act of 1995, which prescribes as a matter of Oficial, the branch supervisor of the company, with the
policy, inter alia, the deployment of migrant workers, with reminder, in the words of the latter, that youre fully
emphasis on women, only in countries where their rights aware that the company is not accepting married women
are secure. Likewise, it would not be amiss to point out employee (sic), as it was verbally instructed to
you.[21] Again, in the termination notice sent to her by the
same branch supervisor, private respondent was made glosses over the fact that it was its unlawful policy
to understand that her severance from the service was against married women, both on the aspects of
not only by reason of her concealment of her married qualification and retention, which compelled private
status but, over and on top of that, was her violation of respondent to conceal her supervenient marriage. It
the companys policy against marriage (and even told was, however, that very policy alone which was the
you that married women employees are not applicable cause of private respondents secretive conduct now
[sic] or accepted in our company.)[22] Parenthetically, this complained of. It is then apropos to recall the familiar
seems to be the curious reason why it was made to saying that he who is the cause of the cause is the
appear in the initiatory pleadings that petitioner was cause of the evil caused.
represented in this case only by its said supervisor and
not by its highest ranking officers who would otherwise Finally, petitioners collateral insistence on the
be solidarily liable with the corporation.[23] admission of private respondent that she supposedly
misappropriated company funds, as an additional ground
Verily, private respondents act of concealing the to dismiss her from employment, is somewhat insincere
true nature of her status from PT&T could not be and self-serving. Concededly, private respondent
properly characterized as willful or in bad faith as she admitted in the course of the proceedings that she failed
was moved to act the way she did mainly because she to remit some of her collections, but that is an altogether
wanted to retain a permanent job in a stable company. In different story. The fact is that she was dismissed solely
other words, she was practically forced by that very because of her concealment of her marital status, and
same illegal company policy into misrepresenting her not on the basis of that supposed defalcation of
civil status for fear of being disqualified from work. While company funds.That the labor arbiter would thus
loss of confidence is a just cause for termination of consider petitioners submissions on this supposed
employment, it should not be simulated.[24] It must rest dishonesty as a mere afterthought, just to bolster its
on an actual breach of duty committed by the employee case for dismissal, is a perceptive conclusion born of
and not on the employers caprices.[25] Furthermore, it experience in labor cases. For, there was no showing
should never be used as a subterfuge for causes which that private respondent deliberately misappropriated the
are improper, illegal, or unjustified.[26] amount or whether her failure to remit the same was
through negligence and, if so, whether the negligence
In the present controversy, petitioners was in nature simple or grave. In fact, it was merely
expostulations that it dismissed private respondent, not agreed that private respondent execute a promissory
because the latter got married but because she note to refund the same, which she did, and the matter
concealed that fact, does have a hollow ring. Her was deemed settled as a peripheral issue in the labor
concealment, so it is claimed, bespeaks dishonesty case.
hence the consequent loss of confidence in her which
justified her dismissal. Petitioner would asseverate, Private respondent, it must be observed, had
therefore, that while it has nothing against marriage, it gained regular status at the time of her dismissal. When
nonetheless takes umbrage over the concealment of that she was served her walking papers on January 29,
fact. This improbable reasoning, with interstitial 1992, she was about to complete the probationary
distinctions, perturbs the Court since private respondent period of 150 days as she was contracted as a
may well be minded to claim that the imputation of probationary employee on September 2, 1991. That her
dishonesty should be the other way around. dismissal would be effected just when her probationary
period was winding down clearly raises the plausible
Petitioner would have the Court believe that conclusion that it was done in order to prevent her from
although private respondent defied its policy against its earning security of tenure.[27] On the other hand, her
female employees contracting marriage, what could be earlier stints with the company as reliever were
an act of insubordination was inconsequential. What it undoubtedly those of a regular employee, even if the
submits as unforgivable is her concealment of that same were for fixed periods, as she performed activities
marriage yet, at the same time, declaring that marriage which were essential or necessary in the usual trade and
as a trivial matter to which it supposedly has no business of PT&T.[28] The primary standard of
objection. In other words, PT&T says it gives its determining regular employment is the reasonable
blessings to its female employees contracting marriage, connection between the activity performed by the
despite the maternity leaves and other benefits it would employee in relation to the business or trade of the
consequently respond for and which obviously it would employer.[29]
have wanted to avoid. If that employee confesses such
fact of marriage, there will be no sanction; but if such As an employee who had therefore gained regular
employee conceals the same instead of proceeding to status, and as she had been dismissed without just
the confessional, she will be dismissed. This line of cause, she is entitled to reinstatement without loss of
reasoning does not impress us as reflecting its true seniority rights and other privileges and to full back
management policy or that we are being regaled with wages, inclusive of allowances and other benefits or
responsible advocacy. their monetary equivalent.[30] However, as she had
undeniably committed an act of dishonesty in concealing
This Court should be spared the ennui of strained her status, albeit under the compulsion of an unlawful
reasoning and the tedium of propositions which confuse imposition of petitioner, the three-month suspension
through less than candid arguments. Indeed, petitioner
imposed by respondent NLRC must be upheld to obviate Presidential Decree No. 148, otherwise known as the Women
the impression or inference that such act should be and Child Labor Law, was promulgated. But for the timidity
condoned. It would be unfair to the employer if she were of those affected or their labor unions in challenging the
to return to its fold without any sanction whatsoever for validity of the policy, the same was able to obtain a
her act which was not totally justified.Thus, her momentary reprieve. A close look at Section 8 of said decree,
entitlement to back wages, which shall be computed which amended paragraph (c) of Section 12 of Republic Act
from the time her compensation was withheld up to the No. 679, reveals that it is exactly the same provision
time of her actual reinstatement, shall be reduced by reproduced verbatim in Article 136 of the Labor Code, which
deducting therefrom the amount corresponding to her was promulgated on May 1, 1974 to take effect six (6) months
three months suspension. later, or on November 1, 1974.
4. The government, to repeat, abhors any
stipulation or policy in the nature of that adopted by It cannot be gainsaid that, with the reiteration of the same
petitioner PT&T. The Labor Code states, in no uncertain provision in the new Labor Code, all policies and acts against
terms, as follows: it are deemed illegal and therefore abrogated. True, Article
132 enjoins the Secretary of Labor to establish standards that
will ensure the safety and health of women employees and in
ART. 136. Stipulation against marriage. - It shall be unlawful appropriate cases shall by regulation require employers to
for an employer to require as a condition of employment or determine appropriate minimum standards for termination in
continuation of employment that a woman shall not get special occupations, such as those of flight attendants, but that
married, or to stipulate expressly or tacitly that upon getting is precisely the factor that militates against the policy of
married, a woman employee shall be deemed resigned or respondent. The standards have not yet been established as set
separated, or to actually dismiss, discharge, discriminate or forth in the first paragraph, nor has the Secretary of Labor
otherwise prejudice a woman employee merely by reason of issued any regulation affecting flight attendants.
It is logical to presume that, in the absence of said standards or
This provision had a studied history for its origin can regulations which are as yet to be established, the policy of
be traced to Section 8 of Presidential Decree No. respondent against marriage is patently illegal. This finds
148,[31] better known as the Women and Child Labor support in Section 9 of the New Constitution, which provides:
Law, which amended paragraph (c), Section 12 of
Republic Act No. 679,[32] entitled An Act to Regulate the
Sec. 9. The State shall afford protection to labor, promote full
Employment of Women and Children, to Provide
Penalties for Violations Thereof, and for Other employment and equality in employment, ensure equal work
Purposes. The forerunner to Republic Act No. 679, on opportunities regardless of sex, race, or creed, and regulate the
the other hand, was Act No. 3071 which became law on relations between workers and employees. The State shall
March 16, 1923 and which regulated the employment of assure the rights of workers to self-organization, collective
women and children in shops, factories, industrial, bargaining, security of tenure, and just and humane conditions
of work x x x.
agricultural, and mercantile establishments and other
places of labor in the then Philippine Islands.
Moreover, we cannot agree to the respondents proposition that
It would be worthwhile to reflect upon and adopt termination from employment of flight attendants on account
here the rationalization in Zialcita, et al. vs. Philippine Air of marriage is a fair and reasonable standard designed for their
Lines,[33] a decision that emanated from the Office of the own health, safety, protection and welfare, as no basis has
President. There, a policy of Philippine Air Lines been laid therefor. Actually, respondent claims that its concern
requiring that prospective flight attendants must be is not so much against the continued employment of the flight
single and that they will be automatically separated from attendant merely by reason of marriage as observed by
the service once they marry was declared void, it being the Secretary of Labor, but rather on the consequence of
violative of the clear mandate in Article 136 of the Labor marriage-pregnancy. Respondent discussed at length in the
Code with regard to discrimination against married instant appeal the supposed ill effects of pregnancy on flight
women. Thus: attendants in the course of their employment. We feel that this
needs no further discussion as it had been adequately
Of first impression is the incompatibility of the respondents explained by the Secretary of Labor in his decision of May 2,
policy or regulation with the codal provision of 1976.
law. Respondent is resolute in its contention that Article 136
of the Labor Code applies only to women employed in In a vain attempt to give meaning to its position, respondent
ordinary occupations and that the prohibition against marriage went as far as invoking the provisions of Articles 52 and 216
of women engaged in extraordinary occupations, like flight of the New Civil Code on the preservation of marriage as an
attendants, is fair and reasonable, considering the pecularities inviolable social institution and the family as a basic social
of their chosen profession. institution, respectively, as bases for its policy of non-
marriage. In both instances, respondent predicates absence of
We cannot subscribe to the line of reasoning pursued by a flight attendant from her home for long periods of time as
respondent. All along, it knew that the controverted policy has contributory to an unhappy married life. This is pure
already met its doom as early as March 13, 1973 when conjecture not based on actual conditions, considering that, in
this modern world, sophisticated technology has narrowed the attendants, was regarded as unlawful since the
distance from one place to another. Moreover, respondent restriction was not related to the job performance of the
overlooked the fact that married flight attendants can program flight attendants.[37]
their lives to adapt to prevailing circumstances and events.
5. Petitioners policy is not only in derogation of the
provisions of Article 136 of the Labor Code on the right
Article 136 is not intended to apply only to women employed of a woman to be free from any kind of stipulation
in ordinary occupations, or it should have categorically against marriage in connection with her employment, but
expressed so. The sweeping intendment of the law, be it on it likewise assaults good morals and public policy,
special or ordinary occupations, is reflected in the whole text
tending as it does to deprive a woman of the freedom to
and supported by Article 135 that speaks of non- choose her status, a privilege that by all accounts
discrimination on the employment of women. inheres in the individual as an intangible and inalienable
right.[38] Hence, while it is true that the parties to a
The judgment of the Court of Appeals in Gualberto, contract may establish any agreements, terms, and
et al. vs. Marinduque Mining & Industrial conditions that they may deem convenient, the same
Corporation[34] considered as void a policy of the same should not be contrary to law, morals, good customs,
nature. In said case, respondent, in dismissing from the public order, or public policy.[39] Carried to its logical
service the complainant, invoked a policy of the firm to consequences, it may even be said that petitioners
consider female employees in the project it was policy against legitimate marital bonds would encourage
undertaking as separated the moment they get married illicit or common-law relations and subvert the sacrament
due to lack of facilities for married women. Respondent of marriage.
further claimed that complainant was employed in the
project with an oral understanding that her services Parenthetically, the Civil Code provisions on the
would be terminated when she gets married. Branding contract of labor state that the relations between the
the policy of the employer as an example of parties, that is, of capital and labor, are not merely
discriminatory chauvinism tantamount to denying equal contractual, impressed as they are with so much public
employment opportunities to women simply on account interest that the same should yield to the common
of their sex, the appellate court struck down said good.[40] It goes on to intone that neither capital nor labor
employer policy as unlawful in view of its repugnance to should visit acts of oppression against the other, nor
the Civil Code, Presidential Decree No. 148 and the impair the interest or convenience of the public.[41] In the
Constitution. final reckoning, the danger of just such a policy against
marriage followed by petitioner PT&T is that it strikes at
Under American jurisprudence, job requirements the very essence, ideals and purpose of marriage as an
which establish employer preference or conditions inviolable social institution and, ultimately, of the family
relating to the marital status of an employee are as the foundation of the nation.[42] That it must be
categorized as a sex-plus discrimination where it is effectively interdicted here in all its indirect, disguised or
imposed on one sex and not on the other. Further, the dissembled forms as discriminatory conduct derogatory
same should be evenly applied and must not inflict of the laws of the land is not only in order but
adverse effects on a racial or sexual group which is imperatively required.
protected by federal job discrimination
laws. Employment rules that forbid or restrict the ON THE FOREGOING PREMISES, the petition of
employment of married women, but do not apply to Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Company is hereby
married men, have been held to violate Title VII of the DISMISSED for lack of merit, with double costs against
United States Civil Rights Act of 1964, the main federal petitioner.
statute prohibiting job discrimination against employees
and applicants on the basis of, among other things,
Further, it is not relevant that the rule is not directed
against all women but just against married women. And,
where the employer discriminates against married
women, but not against married men, the variable is sex
and the discrimination is unlawful.[36] Upon the other
hand, a requirement that a woman employee must
remain unmarried could be justified as a bona fide
occupational qualification, or BFOQ, where the particular
requirements of the job would justify the same, but not
on the ground of a general principle, such as the
desirability of spreading work in the workplace. A
requirement of that nature would be valid provided it
reflects an inherent quality reasonably necessary for
satisfactory job performance. Thus, in one case, a no-
marriage rule applicable to both male and female flight
G.R. No. 94951 April 22, 1991 Allowance –– 12,430.00

APEX MINING COMPANY, INC., petitioner, 3. 13th Month Pay

4. Separation Pay
Bernabe B. Alabastro for petitioner.
Angel Fernandez for private respondent.
(One-month for

every year of

service [1973-19881) –– 25,119.30

or in the total of FIFTY FIVE THOUSAND ONE
Is the househelper in the staff houses of an industrial HUNDRED SIXTY ONE PESOS AND 42/100
company a domestic helper or a regular employee of the
said firm? This is the novel issue raised in this petition.
Private respondent Sinclita Candida was employed by
petitioner Apex Mining Company, Inc. on May 18, 1973
to perform laundry services at its staff house located at Not satisfied therewith, petitioner appealed to the public
Masara, Maco, Davao del Norte. In the beginning, she respondent National Labor Relations Commission
was paid on a piece rate basis. However, on January 17, (NLRC), wherein in due course a decision was rendered
1982, she was paid on a monthly basis at P250.00 a by the Fifth Division thereof on July 20, 1989 dismissing
month which was ultimately increased to P575.00 a the appeal for lack of merit and affirming the appealed
month. decision. A motion for reconsideration thereof was
denied in a resolution of the NLRC dated June 29, 1990.
On December 18, 1987, while she was attending to her
assigned task and she was hanging her laundry, she Hence, the herein petition for review by certiorari, which
accidentally slipped and hit her back on a stone. She appopriately should be a special civil action for certiorari,
reported the accident to her immediate supervisor Mila and which in the interest of justice, is hereby treated as
de la Rosa and to the personnel officer, Florendo D. such.2 The main thrust of the petition is that private
Asirit. As a result of the accident she was not able to respondent should be treated as a mere househelper or
continue with her work. She was permitted to go on domestic servant and not as a regular employee of
leave for medication. De la Rosa offered her the amount petitioner.
of P 2,000.00 which was eventually increased to
P5,000.00 to persuade her to quit her job, but she The petition is devoid of merit.
refused the offer and preferred to return to work.
Petitioner did not allow her to return to work and Under Rule XIII, Section l(b), Book 3 of the Labor Code,
dismissed her on February 4, 1988. as amended, the terms "househelper" or "domestic
servant" are defined as follows:
On March 11, 1988, private respondent filed a request
for assistance with the Department of Labor and The term "househelper" as used herein is
Employment. After the parties submitted their position synonymous to the term "domestic servant" and
papers as required by the labor arbiter assigned to the shall refer to any person, whether male or
case on August 24, 1988 the latter rendered a decision, female, who renders services in and about the
the dispositive part of which reads as follows: employer's home and which services are usually
necessary or desirable for the maintenance and
WHEREFORE, Conformably With The enjoyment thereof, and ministers exclusively to
Foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered the personal comfort and enjoyment of the
ordering the respondent, Apex Mining Company, employer's family.3
Inc., Masara, Davao del Norte, to pay the
complainant, to wit: The foregoing definition clearly contemplates such
househelper or domestic servant who is employed in the
1 Salary employer's home to minister exclusively to the personal
comfort and enjoyment of the employer's family. Such
Differential –– P16,289.20 definition covers family drivers, domestic servants,
laundry women, yayas, gardeners, houseboys and other
similar househelps.
2. Emergency Living
The definition cannot be interpreted to include househelp SO ORDERED.
or laundrywomen working in staffhouses of a company,
like petitioner who attends to the needs of the company's
guest and other persons availing of said facilities. By the
same token, it cannot be considered to extend to then
driver, houseboy, or gardener exclusively working in the
company, the staffhouses and its premises. They may
not be considered as within the meaning of a
"househelper" or "domestic servant" as above-defined
by law.

The criteria is the personal comfort and enjoyment of the

family of the employer in the home of said employer.
While it may be true that the nature of the work of a
househelper, domestic servant or laundrywoman in a
home or in a company staffhouse may be similar in
nature, the difference in their circumstances is that in the
former instance they are actually serving the family while
in the latter case, whether it is a corporation or a single
proprietorship engaged in business or industry or any
other agricultural or similar pursuit, service is being
rendered in the staffhouses or within the premises of the
business of the employer. In such instance, they are
employees of the company or employer in the business
concerned entitled to the privileges of a regular

Petitioner contends that it is only when the househelper

or domestic servant is assigned to certain aspects of the
business of the employer that such househelper or
domestic servant may be considered as such as
employee. The Court finds no merit in making any such
distinction. The mere fact that the househelper or
domestic servant is working within the premises of the
business of the employer and in relation to or in
connection with its business, as in its staffhouses for its
guest or even for its officers and employees, warrants
the conclusion that such househelper or domestic
servant is and should be considered as a regular
employee of the employer and not as a mere family
househelper or domestic servant as contemplated in
Rule XIII, Section l(b), Book 3 of the Labor Code, as

Petitioner denies having illegally dismissed private

respondent and maintains that respondent abandoned
her work.1âwphi1This argument notwithstanding, there
is enough evidence to show that because of an accident
which took place while private respondent was
performing her laundry services, she was not able to
work and was ultimately separated from the service. She
is, therefore, entitled to appropriate relief as a regular
employee of petitioner. Inasmuch as private respondent
appears not to be interested in returning to her work for
valid reasons, the payment of separation pay to her is in

WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED and the

appealed decision and resolution of public respondent
NLRC are hereby AFFIRMED. No pronouncement as to
FIRST DIVISION short) was elected Head Buddhist Priest. Thereafter,
Chua and Dee discontinued payment of her monthly
G.R. No. 87210 July 16, 1990 allowance and the additional P500.00 effective 1983. In
addition, petitioner and her son were evicted forcibly
FILOMENA BARCENAS, petitioner, from their quarters in the temple by six police officers.
She was brought first to the Police precinct in Tondo and
THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION then brought to Aloha Hotel where she was compelled to
(NLRC), Rev. SIM DEE the present Head Monk of the sign a written undertaking not to return to the Buddhist
Manila Buddha Temple, MANUEL CHUA, in his temple in consideration of the sum of P10,000.00.
capacity as the President and Chairman of the Board Petitioner refused and Chua shouted threats against her
of Directors of the Poh Toh Buddhist Association of and her son. Her personal belongings including assorted
the Philippines, Inc., and in his private jewelries were never returned by respondent Chua.
capacity, respondents.
Chua and DEE on the other hand, claimed that petitioner
L.B. Camins for petitioner. was never an employee of the Poh Toh Temple but a
servant who confined herself to the temple and to the
personal needs of the late Chua Se Su and thus, her
Lino M. Patajo and Jose J. Torrefranca for private position is coterminous with that of her master.
On February 10, 1988, the Labor Arbiter rendered a
decision, the dispositive portion of which states:

MEDIALDEA, J.: WHEREFORE, premises considered,

judgment is hereby rendered in favor of
This petition for review on certiorari (which We treat as a the complainant Filomena Barcenas,
special civil action for certiorari) seeks to annul the and the respondent corporation is
decision of the National Labor Relations Commission hereby ordered to pay her the following:
dated November 29, 1988, which reversed the decision
of the Labor Arbiter dated February 10, 1988 in NLRC 1. P26,575.00 backwages from August
NCR Case No. 12-4861-86 (Filomena Barcenas v. Rev. 9, 1986 up to date hereof.,
Sim See, etc., et al.) on the ground that no employer-
employee relationship exists between the parties.
2. P14,650.00 as separation pay;
Petitioner alleged in her position paper the following
3. P18,000.00 as unpaid wages from
August, 1983 up to August 8, 1986; and
In 1978, Chua Se Su (Su for short) in his capacity as the
Head Monk of the Buddhist Temple of Manila and 4. P10,000.00 moral damages.
Baguio City and as President and Chairman of the Board
of Directors of the Poh Toh Buddhist Association of the Complainant's charge of unfair labor
Phils. Inc. hired the petitioner who speaks the Chinese practice is hereby dismissed for lack of
language as secretary and interpreter. Petitioner's merit.
position required her to receive and assist Chinese
visitors to the temple, act as tourist guide for foreign SO ORDERED. 1
Chinese visitors, attend to the callers of the Head Monk
as well as to the food for the temple visitors, run errands Respondents appealed to the National Labor Relations
for the Head Monk such as paying the Meralco, PLDT, Commission which, as earlier stated, reversed the above
MWSS bills and act as liaison in some government decision of the Labor Arbiter. Hence, this instant petition.
offices. Aside from her pay and allowances under the
law, she received an amount of P500.00 per month plus
A painstaking review of the records compels Us to
free board and lodging in the temple. In December,
dismiss the petition.
1979, Su assumed the responsibility of paying for the
education of petitioner's nephew. In 1981, Su and
petitioner had amorous relations. In May, 1982, of five At the outset, however, We agree with the petitioner's
months before giving birth to the alleged son of Su on claim that she was a regular employee of the Manila
October 12, 1982, petitioner was sent home to Bicol. Buddhist Temple as secretary and interpreter of its Head
Upon the death of Su in July, 1983, complainant Monk, Su As Head Monk, President and Chairman of the
remained and continued in her job. In 1985, respondent Board of Directors of the Poh Toh Buddhist Association
Manuel Chua (Chua, for short) was elected President of the Philippines, Su was empowered to hire the
and Chairman of the Board of the Poh Toh Buddhist petitioner under Article V of the By-laws of the
Association of the Philippines, Inc. and Rev. Sim Dee for Association which states:
. . . (T)he President or in his absence, temples as their inheritance from their
the Vice President shall represent the father Chua Se Su. 4
Association in all its dealings with the
public, subject to the Board, shall have Thus, her return to the temple was no longer as an
the power to enter into any contract or employee but rather as Su's mistress who is bent on
agreement in the name of the protecting the proprietary and hereditary rights of her
Association, shall manage the active son and nephew. In her pleadings, the petitioner claims
business operation of the Association, that they were forcefully evicted from the temple,
shall deal with the bank or banks . . . 2 harassed and threatened by respondents and that the
Poh Toh Buddhist Association is a trustee corporation
Respondent NLRC represented by its Legal with the children as cestui que trust. These claims are
Offices 3 argues that since petitioner was hired without not proper in this labor case. They should be
the approval of the Board of Directors of the Poh Toh appropriately threshed out in the complaints already filed
Buddhist Association of the Philippines, Inc., she was by the petitioner before the civil courts. Due to these
not an employee of respondents. This argument is claims, We view the respondents' offer of P10,000.00 as
specious. The required Board approval would appear to indicative more of their desire to evict the petitioner and
relate to the acts of the President in representing the her son from the temple rather than an admission of an
association "in all its dealings with the public." And, even employer-employee relations.
granting that prior Board approval is required to confirm
the hiring of the petitioner, the same was already Anent the petitioner's claim for unpaid wages since May,
granted, albeit, tacitly. It must be noted that petitioner 1982 which she filed only in 1986, We hold that the
was hired in 1978 and no whimper of protest was raised same has already prescribed. Under Article 292 of the
until this present controversy. Labor Code, all money claims arising from employer-
employee relations must be filed within three years from
Moreover, the work that petitioner performed in the the time the cause of action accrued, otherwise they
temple could not be categorized as mere domestic work. shall forever be barred.
Thus, We find that petitioner, being proficient in the
Chinese language, attended to the visitors, mostly Finally, while petitioner contends that she continued to
Chinese, who came to pray or seek advice before work in the temple after Su died, there is, however, no
Buddha for personal or business problems; arranged proof that she was re-hired by the new Head Monk. In
meetings between these visitors and Su and supervised fact, she herself manifested that respondents made it
the preparation of the food for the temple visitors; acted clear to her in no uncertain terms that her services as
as tourist guide of foreign visitors; acted as liaison with well as her presence and that of her son were no longer
some goverment offices; and made the payment for the needed. 5 However, she persisted and continued to work
temple's Meralco, MWSS and PLDT bills. Indeed, these in the temple without receiving her salary because she
tasks may not be deemed activities of a household expected Chua and Dee to relent and permit the studies
helper. They were essential and important to the of the two boys. 6 Consequently, under these
operation and religious functions of the temple. circumstances, no employer-employee relationship could
have arisen.
In spite of this finding, her status as a regular employee
ended upon her return to Bicol in May, 1982 to await the ACCORDINGLY, the decision of the National Labor
birth of her love-child allegedly by Su The records do not Relations Commission dated November 29, 1988 is
show that petitioner filed any leave from work or that a hereby AFFIRMED for the reasons aforestated. No
leave was granted her. Neither did she return to work costs.
after the birth of her child on October 12, 1982, whom
she named Robert Chua alias Chua Sim Tiong. The
NLRC found that it was only in July, 1983 after Su died
that she went back to the Manila Buddhist Temple.
Petitioner's pleadings failed to rebut this finding. Clearly,
her return could not be deemed as a resumption of her
old position which she had already abandoned.
Petitioner herself supplied the reason for her return. She

. . . (I)t was the death-bed instruction to

her by Chua Se Su to stay at the temple
and to take care of the two boys and to
see to it that they finish their studies to
become monks and when they are
monks to eventually take over the two
G.R. Nos. 169295-96 November 20, 2006 Erlinda’s allegations that the (sic) she worked for eight
(8) hours a day, Erlinda’s duty was merely to cook lunch
REMINGTON INDUSTRIAL SALES and "merienda", after which her time was hers to spend
CORPORATION, Petitioner, as she pleased. Remington also maintained that it did
vs. not exercise any degree of control and/or supervision
ERLINDA CASTANEDA, Respondent. over Erlinda’s work as her only concern was to ensure
that the employees’ lunch and "merienda" were available
DECISION and served at the designated time. Remington likewise
belied Erlinda’s assertion that her work extended beyond
5:00 p.m. as she could only leave after all the employees
PUNO, J.: had gone. The truth, according to Remington, is that
Erlinda did not have to punch any time card in the way
Before this Court is the Petition for Review on that other employees of Remington did; she was free to
Certiorari1 filed by Remington Industrial Sales roam around the company premises, read magazines,
Corporation to reverse and set aside the Decision2 of the and to even nap when not doing her assigned chores.
Fourth Division of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP Remington averred that the illegal dismissal complaint
Nos. 64577 and 68477, dated January 31, 2005, which lacked factual and legal bases. Allegedly, it was Erlinda
dismissed petitioner’s consolidated petitions for who refused to report for work when Remington moved
certiorari, and its subsequent Resolution,3 dated August to a new location in Caloocan City.
11, 2005, which denied petitioner’s motion for
reconsideration. In a Decision4 dated January 19, 1999, the labor arbiter
dismissed the complaint and ruled that the respondent
The antecedent facts of the case, as narrated by the was a domestic helper under the personal service of
Court of Appeals, are as follows: Antonio Tan, finding that her work as a cook was not
usually necessary and desirable in the ordinary course
The present controversy began when private of trade and business of the petitioner corporation, which
respondent, Erlinda Castaneda ("Erlinda") instituted on operated as a trading company, and that the latter did
March 2, 1998 a complaint for illegal dismissal, not exercise control over her functions. On the issue of
underpayment of wages, non-payment of overtime illegal dismissal, the labor arbiter found that it was the
services, non-payment of service incentive leave pay respondent who refused to go with the family of Antonio
and non-payment of 13th month pay against Remington Tan when the corporation transferred office and that,
before the NLRC, National Capital Region, Quezon City. therefore, respondent could not have been illegally
The complaint impleaded Mr. Antonio Tan in his capacity dismissed.
as the Managing Director of Remington.
Upon appeal, the National Labor Relations Commission
Erlinda alleged that she started working in August 1983 (NLRC) rendered a Decision,5 dated November 23,
as company cook with a salary of Php 4,000.00 for 2000, reversing the labor arbiter, ruling, viz:
Remington, a corporation engaged in the trading
business; that she worked for six (6) days a week, We are not inclined to uphold the declaration below that
starting as early as 6:00 a.m. because she had to do the complainant is a domestic helper of the family of Antonio
marketing and would end at around 5:30 p.m., or even Tan. There was no allegation by respondent that
later, after most of the employees, if not all, had left the complainant had ever worked in the residence of Mr.
company premises; that she continuously worked with Tan. What is clear from the facts narrated by the parties
Remington until she was unceremoniously prevented is that complainant continuously did her job as a cook in
from reporting for work when Remington transferred to a the office of respondent serving the needed food for
new site in Edsa, Caloocan City. She averred that she lunch and merienda of the employees. Thus, her work as
reported for work at the new site in Caloocan City on cook inured not for the benefit of the family members of
January 15, 1998, only to be informed that Remington Mr. Tan but solely for the individual employees of
no longer needed her services. Erlinda believed that her respondent.
dismissal was illegal because she was not given the
notices required by law; hence, she filed her complaint Complainant as an employee of respondent company is
for reinstatement without loss of seniority rights, salary even bolstered by no less than the certification dated
differentials, service incentive leave pay, 13th month pay May 23, 1997 issued by the corporate secretary of the
and 10% attorney’s fees. company certifying that complainant is their bonafide
employee. This is a solid evidence which the Labor
Remington denied that it dismissed Erlinda illegally. It Arbiter simply brushed aside. But, such error would not
posited that Erlinda was a domestic helper, not a regular be committed here as it would be at the height of
employee; Erlinda worked as a cook and this job had injustice if we are to declare that complainant is a
nothing to do with Remington’s business of trading in domestic helper.
construction or hardware materials, steel plates and wire
rope products. It also contended that contrary to
Complainant’s work schedule and being paid a monthly pay, 13th month pay differential and separation benefits
salary of ₱4,000.00 are clear indication that she is a in the total sum of ₱51,747.88.
company employee who had been employed to cater to
the food needed by the employees which were being While the petition was pending with the Court of
provided by respondent to form part of the benefit Appeals, the NLRC rendered another Decision7 in the
granted them. same case on August 29, 2001. How and why another
decision was rendered is explained in that decision as
With regard to the issue of illegal dismissal, we believe follows:
that there is more reason to believe that complainant
was not dismissed because allegedly she was the one On May 17, 2001, complainant filed a Manifestation
who refused to work in the new office of respondent. praying for a resolution of her Motion for
However, complainant’s refusal to join the workforce due Reconsideration and, in support thereof, alleges that,
to poor eyesight could not be considered abandonment sometime December 18, 2000, she mailed her
of work or voluntary resignation from employment. Manifestation and Motion for Reconsideration registered
as Registered Certificate No. 188844; and that the said
Under the Labor Code as amended, an employee who mail was received by the NLRC, through a certain
reaches the age of sixty years old (60 years) has the Roland Hernandez, on December 26, 2000.
option to retire or to separate from the service with Certifications to this effect was issued by the Postmaster
payment of separation pay/retirement benefit. of the Sta. Mesa Post Office bearing the date May 11,
2001 (Annexes A and B, Complainant’s Manifestation).
In this case, we notice that complainant was already 60
years old at the time she filed the complaint praying for Evidence in support of complainant’s having actually
separation pay or retirement benefit and some money filed a Motion for Reconsideration within the
claims. reglementary period having been sufficiently established,
a determination of its merits is thus, in order.
Based on Article 287 of the Labor Code as amended,
complainant is entitled to be paid her separation On the merits, the NLRC found respondent’s motion for
pay/retirement benefit equivalent to one-half (1/2) month reconsideration meritorious leading to the issuance of its
for every year of service. The amount of separation pay second decision with the following dispositive portion:
would be based on the prescribed minimum wage at the
time of dismissal since she was then underpaid. In as WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision dated
much as complainant is underpaid of her wages, it November 23, 2000, is MODIFIED by increasing the
behooves that she should be paid her salary differential award of retirement pay due the complainant in the total
for the last three years prior to separation/retirement. amount of SIXTY TWO THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED
THIRTY-SEVEN and 50/100 (₱62,437.50). All other
xxx xxx xxx monetary relief so adjudged therein are maintained and
likewise made payable to the complainant.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the assailed
decision is hereby, SET ASIDE, and a new one is SO ORDERED.
hereby entered ordering respondents to pay complainant
the following: Petitioner challenged the second decision of the NLRC,
including the resolution denying its motion for
1. Salary differential - ₱12,021.12 2. Service Incentive reconsideration, through a second Petition for
Leave Pay - 2,650.00 3. 13th Month Pay differential - Certiorari8 filed with the Court of Appeals, docketed as
1,001.76 4. Separation Pay/retirement benefit - CA-G.R. SP No. 68477 and dated January 8, 2002, this
36,075.00 time imputing grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack of or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the NLRC
Total - ₱51,747.88 in (1) issuing the second decision despite losing its
jurisdiction due to the pendency of the first petition for
certiorari with the Court of Appeals, and (2) assuming it
still had jurisdiction to issue the second decision
notwithstanding the pendency of the first petition for
Petitioner moved to reconsider this decision but the certiorari with the Court of Appeals, that its second
NLRC denied the motion. This denial of its motion decision has no basis in law since respondent’s motion
prompted petitioner to file a Petition for Certiorari6 with for reconsideration, which was made the basis of the
the Court of Appeals, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. second decision, was not filed under oath in violation of
64577, on May 4, 2001, imputing grave abuse of Section 14, Rule VII9 of the New Rules of Procedure of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the NLRC and that it contained no certification as to why
the part of the NLRC in (1) reversing in toto the decision respondent’s motion for reconsideration was not decided
of the labor arbiter, and (2) awarding in favor of on time as also required by Section 10, Rule VI10 and
respondent salary differential, service incentive leave Section 15, Rule VII11 of the aforementioned rules.
Upon petitioner’s motion, the Court of Appeals ordered excess of jurisdiction that would nullify the second NLRC
the consolidation of the two (2) petitions, on January 24, decision.
2002, pursuant to Section 7, par. b(3), Rule 3 of the
Revised Rules of the Court of Appeals. It summarized The Court of Appeals denied petitioner’s contention that
the principal issues raised in the consolidated petitions the NLRC lost its jurisdiction to issue the second
as follows: decision when it received the order indicating the Court
of Appeals’ initial action on the first petition for certiorari
1. Whether respondent is petitioner’s regular that it filed. It ruled that the NLRC’s action of issuing a
employee or a domestic helper; decision in installments was not prohibited by its own
rules and that the need for a second decision was
2. Whether respondent was illegally dismissed; justified by the fact that respondent’s own motion for
and reconsideration remained unresolved in the first
decision. Furthermore, it held that under Section 7, Rule
3. Whether the second NLRC decision 65 of the Revised Rules of Court,12the filing of a petition
for certiorari does not interrupt the course of the principal
promulgated during the pendency of the first
case unless a temporary restraining order or a writ of
petition for certiorari has basis in law.
preliminary injunction has been issued against the public
respondent from further proceeding with the case.
On January 31, 2005, the Court of Appeals dismissed
the consolidated petitions for lack of merit, finding no
From this decision, petitioner filed a motion for
grave abuse of discretion on the part of the NLRC in
reconsideration on February 22, 2005, which the Court
issuing the assailed decisions.
of Appeals denied through a resolution dated August 11,
On the first issue, it upheld the ruling of the NLRC that
respondent was a regular employee of the petitioner
Hence, the present petition for review.
since the former worked at the company premises and
catered not only to the personal comfort and enjoyment
of Mr. Tan and his family, but also to that of the The petitioner raises the following errors of law: (1) the
employees of the latter. It agreed that petitioner enjoys Court of Appeals erred in affirming the NLRC’s ruling
the prerogative to control respondent’s conduct in that the respondent was petitioner’s regular employee
undertaking her assigned work, particularly the nature and not a domestic helper; (2) the Court of Appeals
and situs of her work in relation to the petitioner’s erred in holding that petitioner was guilty of illegal
workforce, thereby establishing the existence of an dismissal; and (3) the Court of Appeals erred when it
employer-employee relationship between them. held that the issuance of the second NLRC decision is
On the issue of illegal dismissal, it ruled that respondent
has attained the status of a regular employee in her The petition must fail. We affirm that respondent was a
service with the company. It noted that the NLRC found regular employee of the petitioner and that the latter was
that no less than the company’s corporate secretary guilty of illegal dismissal.
certified that respondent is a bonafide company
employee and that she had a fixed schedule and routine Before going into the substantive merits of the present
of work and was paid a monthly salary of ₱4,000.00; that controversy, we shall first resolve the propriety of the
she served with petitioner for 15 years starting in 1983, issuance of the second NLRC decision.
buying and cooking food served to company employees
at lunch and merienda; and that this work was usually The petitioner contends that the respondent’s motion for
necessary and desirable in the regular business of the reconsideration, upon which the second NLRC decision
petitioner. It held that as a regular employee, she enjoys was based, was not under oath and did not contain a
the constitutionally guaranteed right to security of tenure certification as to why it was not decided on time as
and that petitioner failed to discharge the burden of required under the New Rules of Procedure of the
proving that her dismissal on January 15, 1998 was for a NLRC.13 Furthermore, the former also raises for the first
just or authorized cause and that the manner of time the contention that respondent’s motion was filed
dismissal complied with the requirements under the law. beyond the ten (10)-calendar day period required under
the same Rules,14 since the latter received a copy of the
Finally, on petitioner’s other arguments relating to the first NLRC decision on December 6, 2000, and
alleged irregularity of the second NLRC decision, i.e., respondent filed her motion only on December 18, 2000.
the fact that respondent’s motion for reconsideration was Thus, according to petitioner, the respondent’s motion
not under oath and had no certification explaining why it for reconsideration was a mere scrap of paper and the
was not resolved within the prescribed period, it held that second NLRC decision has no basis in law.
such violations relate to procedural and non-jurisdictional
matters that cannot assume primacy over the We do not agree.
substantive merits of the case and that they do not
constitute grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
It is well-settled that the application of technical rules of justice or of unjust enrichment, as where the tardy
procedure may be relaxed to serve the demands of appeal is from a decision granting separation pay which
substantial justice, particularly in labor cases.15 Labor was already granted in an earlier final decision;26 and (d)
cases must be decided according to justice and equity special circumstances of the case combined with its
and the substantial merits of the controversy.16 Rules of legal merits27 or the amount and the issue involved.28
procedure are but mere tools designed to facilitate the
attainment of justice.17 Their strict and rigid application, We hold that the particular circumstances in the case at
which would result in technicalities that tend to frustrate bar, in accordance with substantial justice, call for a
rather than promote substantial justice, must always be liberalization of the application of this rule. Notably,
avoided.18 respondent’s last day for filing her motion for
reconsideration fell on December 16, 2000, which was a
This Court has consistently held that the requirement of Saturday. In a number of cases,29 we have ruled that if
verification is formal, and not jurisdictional. Such the tenth day for perfecting an appeal fell on a Saturday,
requirement is merely a condition affecting the form of the appeal shall be made on the next working day. The
the pleading, non-compliance with which does not reason for this ruling is that on Saturdays, the office of
necessarily render it fatally defective. Verification is the NLRC and certain post offices are closed. With all
simply intended to secure an assurance that the the more reason should this doctrine apply to
allegations in the pleading are true and correct and not respondent’s filing of the motion for reconsideration of
the product of the imagination or a matter of speculation, her cause, which the NLRC itself found to be impressed
and that the pleading is filed in good faith.19 The court with merit. Indeed, technicality should not be permitted
may order the correction of the pleading if verification is to stand in the way of equitably and completely resolving
lacking or act on the pleading although it is not verified, if the rights and obligations of the parties for the ends of
the attending circumstances are such that strict justice are reached not only through the speedy disposal
compliance with the rules may be dispensed with in of cases but, more importantly, through a meticulous and
order that the ends of justice may thereby be served. 20 comprehensive evaluation of the merits of a case.

Anent the argument that respondent’s motion for Finally, as to petitioner’s argument that the NLRC had
reconsideration, on which the NLRC’s second decision already lost its jurisdiction to decide the case when it
was based, was filed out of time, such issue was only filed its petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals
brought up for the first time in the instant petition where upon the denial of its motion for reconsideration, suffice
no new issues may be raised by a party in his pleadings it to state that under Section 7 of Rule 6530 of the
without offending the right to due process of the Revised Rules of Court, the petition shall not interrupt
opposing party. the course of the principal case unless a temporary
restraining order or a writ of preliminary injunction has
Nonetheless, the petitioner asserts that the respondent been issued against the public respondent from further
received a copy of the NLRC’s first decision on proceeding with the case. Thus, the mere pendency of a
December 6, 2000, and the motion for reconsideration special civil action for certiorari, in connection with a
was filed only on December 18, 2000, or two (2) days pending case in a lower court, does not interrupt the
beyond the ten (10)-calendar day period requirement course of the latter if there is no writ of
under the New Rules of Procedure of the NLRC and injunction.31 Clearly, there was no grave abuse of
should not be allowed.21 discretion on the part of the NLRC in issuing its second
decision which modified the first, especially since it failed
to consider the respondent’s motion for reconsideration
This contention must fail.
when it issued its first decision.
Under Article 22322 of the Labor Code, the decision of
the NLRC shall be final and executory after ten (10) Having resolved the procedural matters, we shall now
delve into the merits of the petition to determine whether
calendar days from the receipt thereof by the parties.
respondent is a domestic helper or a regular employee
of the petitioner, and whether the latter is guilty of illegal
While it is an established rule that the perfection of an dismissal.
appeal in the manner and within the period prescribed by
law is not only mandatory but jurisdictional, and failure to
Petitioner relies heavily on the affidavit of a certain Mr.
perfect an appeal has the effect of rendering the
Antonio Tan and contends that respondent is the latter’s
judgment final and executory, it is equally settled that the
domestic helper and not a regular employee of the
NLRC may disregard the procedural lapse where there
company since Mr. Tan has a separate and distinct
is an acceptable reason to excuse tardiness in the taking
of the appeal.23 Among the acceptable reasons personality from the petitioner. It maintains that it did not
recognized by this Court are (a) counsel's reliance on exercise control and supervision over her functions; and
that it operates as a trading company and does not
the footnote of the notice of the decision of the Labor
engage in the restaurant business, and therefore
Arbiter that "the aggrieved party may appeal. . . within
respondent’s work as a cook, which was not usually
ten (10) working days";24 (b) fundamental consideration
of substantial justice;25 (c) prevention of miscarriage of
necessary or desirable to its usual line of business or servant is and should be considered as a regular
trade, could not make her its regular employee. employee of the employer and not as a mere family
househelper or domestic servant as contemplated in
This contention fails to impress. Rule XIII, Section 1(b), Book 3 of the Labor Code, as
In Apex Mining Company, Inc. v. NLRC,32 this Court held
that a househelper in the staff houses of an industrial In the case at bar, the petitioner itself admits in its
company was a regular employee of the said firm. We position paper33 that respondent worked at the company
ratiocinated that: premises and her duty was to cook and prepare its
employees’ lunch and merienda. Clearly, the situs, as
well as the nature of respondent’s work as a cook, who
Under Rule XIII, Section 1(b), Book 3 of the Labor Code,
caters not only to the needs of Mr. Tan and his family but
as amended, the terms "househelper" or "domestic
servant" are defined as follows: also to that of the petitioner’s employees, makes her fall
squarely within the definition of a regular employee
under the doctrine enunciated in the Apex Mining case.
"The term ‘househelper’ as used herein is synonymous That she works within company premises, and that she
to the term ‘domestic servant’ and shall refer to any does not cater exclusively to the personal comfort of Mr.
person, whether male or female, who renders services in Tan and his family, is reflective of the existence of the
and about the employer’s home and which services are petitioner’s right of control over her functions, which is
usually necessary or desirable for the maintenance and the primary indicator of the existence of an employer-
enjoyment thereof, and ministers exclusively to the employee relationship.
personal comfort and enjoyment of the employer’s
Moreover, it is wrong to say that if the work is not directly
related to the employer's business, then the person
The foregoing definition clearly contemplates such performing such work could not be considered an
househelper or domestic servant who is employed in the employee of the latter. The determination of the
employer’s home to minister exclusively to the personal existence of an employer-employee relationship is
comfort and enjoyment of the employer’s family. Such defined by law according to the facts of each case,
definition covers family drivers, domestic servants, regardless of the nature of the activities
laundry women, yayas, gardeners, houseboys and involved.34 Indeed, it would be the height of injustice if
similar househelps. we were to hold that despite the fact that respondent
was made to cook lunch and merienda for the
xxx xxx xxx petitioner’s employees, which work ultimately redounded
to the benefit of the petitioner corporation, she was
The criteria is the personal comfort and enjoyment of the merely a domestic worker of the family of Mr. Tan.
family of the employer in the home of said employer.
While it may be true that the nature of the work of a We note the findings of the NLRC, affirmed by the Court
househelper, domestic servant or laundrywoman in a of Appeals, that no less than the company’s corporate
home or in a company staffhouse may be similar in secretary has certified that respondent is
nature, the difference in their circumstances is that in the a bonafide company employee;35 she had a fixed
former instance they are actually serving the family while schedule and routine of work and was paid a monthly
in the latter case, whether it is a corporation or a single salary of ₱4,000.00;36 she served with the company for
proprietorship engaged in business or industry or any 15 years starting in 1983, buying and cooking food
other agricultural or similar pursuit, service is being served to company employees at lunch and merienda,
rendered in the staffhouses or within the premises of the and that this service was a regular feature of
business of the employer. In such instance, they are employment with the company.37
employees of the company or employer in the business
concerned entitled to the privileges of a regular Indubitably, the Court of Appeals, as well as the NLRC,
employee. correctly held that based on the given circumstances,
the respondent is a regular employee of the
Petitioner contends that it is only when the househelper petitioner.1âwphi1
or domestic servant is assigned to certain aspects of the
business of the employer that such househelper or Having determined that the respondent is petitioner’s
domestic servant may be considered as such an regular employee, we now proceed to ascertain the
employee. The Court finds no merit in making any such legality of her dismissal from employment.
distinction. The mere fact that the househelper or
domestic servant is working within the premises of the
Petitioner contends that there was abandonment on
business of the employer and in relation to or in
respondent’s part when she refused to report for work
connection with its business, as in its staffhouses for its
when the corporation transferred to a new location in
guest or even for its officers and employees, warrants
the conclusion that such househelper or domestic Caloocan City, claiming that her poor eyesight would
make long distance travel a problem. Thus, it cannot be IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is DENIED for lack of
held guilty of illegal dismissal. merit. The assailed Decision dated January 31, 2005,
and the Resolution dated August 11, 2005, of the Court
On the other hand, the respondent claims that when the of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP Nos. 64577 and 68477 are
petitioner relocated, she was no longer called for duty AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
and that when she tried to report for work, she was told
that her services were no longer needed. She contends SO ORDERED.
that the petitioner dismissed her without a just or
authorized cause and that she was not given prior
notice, hence rendering the dismissal illegal.

We rule for the respondent.

As a regular employee, respondent enjoys the right to

security of tenure under Article 27938 of the Labor Code
and may only be dismissed for a just39 or
authorized40 cause, otherwise the dismissal becomes
illegal and the employee becomes entitled to
reinstatement and full backwages computed from the
time compensation was withheld up to the time of actual

Abandonment is the deliberate and unjustified refusal of

an employee to resume his employment.41 It is a form of
neglect of duty; hence, a just cause for termination of
employment by the employer under Article 282 of the
Labor Code, which enumerates the just causes for
termination by the employer.42 For a valid finding of
abandonment, these two factors should be present: (1)
the failure to report for work or absence without valid or
justifiable reason; and (2) a clear intention to sever
employer-employee relationship, with the second as the
more determinative factor which is manifested by overt
acts from which it may be deduced that the employee
has no more intention to work.43The intent to discontinue
the employment must be shown by clear proof that it
was deliberate and unjustified.44This, the petitioner failed
to do in the case at bar.

Alongside the petitioner’s contention that it was the

respondent who quit her employment and refused to
return to work, greater stock may be taken of the
respondent’s immediate filing of her complaint with the
NLRC. Indeed, an employee who loses no time in
protesting her layoff cannot by any reasoning be said to
have abandoned her work, for it is well-settled that the
filing of an employee of a complaint for illegal dismissal
with a prayer for reinstatement is proof enough of her
desire to return to work, thus, negating the employer’s
charge of abandonment.45

In termination cases, the burden of proof rests upon the

employer to show that the dismissal is for a just and
valid cause; failure to do so would necessarily mean that
the dismissal was illegal.46 The employer’s case
succeeds or fails on the strength of its evidence and not
on the weakness of the employee’s defense.47 If doubt
exists between the evidence presented by the employer
and the employee, the scales of justice must be tilted in
favor of the latter.48