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Statutory Construction Case Digest

14. Globe-Mackay Cable and Radio Corporation

G.R. no. 82511, March 3, 1992

Respondent Imelda Salazar allegedly violated company regulations: (1) She signed as a
witness to the articles of partnership between Richard Yambao and Delfin Saldivar; and (2)
appeared that she had full knowledge of the loss and whereabouts of the Fedders air
conditioner, which had been used for Saldivar’s personal use and were only recovered through
an action of replevin against him wherein such incident Salazar failed to inform her employer.
Salazar was placed for preventive suspension for one month but instead of explaining her side,
she filed a complaint against petitioner GMCR for illegal dismissal, vacation and sick leave
benefits, 13th month pay and damages.

Is Salazar illegally dismissed thus causing her to be reinstated and be entitled of the
benefits and damages claimed?

Yes. Although the preventive suspension was rightly imposed, the Court held that her
eventual separation from employment was not for a cause. There was no evidence to show an
authorized, much less a legal cause for her dismissal. She is therefore entitled to reinstatement
and full backwages.
The law intended to prescribe the twin remedies of reinstatement and payment of
backwages; to restore the dismissed employee to her status before she lost her job, for the
dictionary meaning of the word "reinstate" is "to restore to a state from which one had been
removed"; and to give her back the income lost during the period of unemployment.
In the case at bar, the wording of Section 3 (Reinstatement) in the Implementing Rules
and Regulations of the Labor Code is clear and unambiguous. The principles of statutory
construction dictates that if a statute is clears plain and free from ambiguity, it must be given its
literal meaning and applied without attempted interpretation. This plain-meaning rule or verba
legis derived from the maxim index animi sermo est (speech is the index of intention) rests on
the valid presumption that the words employed by, the legislature in a statute correctly express
its intent or will and preclude the court from construing it differently.