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G.R. No. 101761. March 24, 1993. NATIONAL SUGAR REFINERIES CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and NBSR SUPERVISORY UNION, (PACIWU) TUCP, respondents. Jose Mario C. Bunag for petitioner. The Solicitor General and the Chief Legal Officer, NLRC, for public respondent. Zoilo V. de la Cruz for private respondent. DECISION REGALADO, J p: The main issue presented for resolution in this original petition for certiorari is whether supervisory employees, as defined in Article 212 (m), Book V of the Labor Code, should be considered as officers or members of the managerial staff under Article 82, Book III of the same Code, and hence are not entitled to overtime rest day and holiday pay. Petitioner National Sugar Refineries Corporation (NASUREFCO), a corporation which is fully owned and controlled by the Government, operates three (3) sugar refineries located at Bukidnon, Iloilo and Batangas. The Batangas refinery was privatized on April 11, 1992 pursuant to Proclamation No. 50. 1 Private respondent union represents the former supervisors of the NASUREFCO Batangas Sugar Refinery, namely, the Technical Assistant to the Refinery Operations Manager, Shift Sugar Warehouse Supervisor, Senior Financial/Budget Analyst, General Accountant, Cost Accountant, Sugar Accountant, Junior Financial/Budget Analyst, Shift Boiler Supervisor,, Shift Operations Chemist, Shift Electrical Supervisor, General Services Supervisor, Instrumentation Supervisor, Community Development Officer, Employment and Training Supervisor, Assistant Safety and Security Officer, Head and Personnel Services, Head Nurse, Property Warehouse Supervisor, Head of Inventory Control Section, Shift Process Supervisor, Day Maintenance Supervisor and Motorpool Supervisor. On June 1, 1988, petitioner implemented a Job Evaluation (JE) Program affecting all employees, from rank-and-file to department heads. The JE Program was designed to rationalized the duties and functions of all positions, reestablish levels of responsibility, and recognize both wage and operational structures. Jobs were ranked according to effort, responsibility, training and working conditions and relative worth of the job. As a result, all positions were re-evaluated, and all employees including the members of respondent union were granted salary adjustments and increases in benefits commensurate to their actual duties and functions. We glean from the records that for about ten years prior to the JE Program, the members of respondent union were treated in the same manner as rank-and file employees. As such, they used to be paid overtime, rest day and holiday pay pursuant to the provisions of Articles 87, 93 and 94 of the Labor Code as amended. With the implementation of the JE Program, the following adjustments were made: (1) the members of respondent union were re-classified under levels S-5 to S-8 which are considered managerial staff for purposes of compensation and benefits; (2) there was an increase in basic pay of the average of 50% of their basic pay prior to the JE Program, with the union members now enjoying a wide gap (P1,269.00 per month) in basic pay compared to the
highest paid rank-and-file employee; (3) longevity pay was increased on top of alignment adjustments; (4) they were entitled to increased company COLA of P225.00 per month; (5) there was a grant of P100.00 allowance for rest day/holiday work. On May 11, 1990, petitioner NASUREFCO recognized herein respondent union, which was organized pursuant to Republic Act NO. 6715 allowing supervisory employees to form their own unions, as the bargaining representative of all the supervisory employees at the NASUREFCO Batangas Sugar Refinery. Two years after the implementation of the JE Program, specifically on June 20, 1990, the members of herein respondent union filed a complainant with the executive labor arbiter for non-payment of overtime, rest day and holiday pay allegedly in violation of Article 100 of the Labor Code. On January 7, 1991, Executive Labor Arbiter Antonio C. Pido rendered a decision 2 disposing as follows: "WHEREFORE, premises considered, respondent National Sugar refineries Corporation is hereby directed to ² 1. pay the individual members of complainant union the usual overtime pay, rest day pay and holiday pay enjoyed by them instead of the P100.00 special allowance which was implemented on June 11, 1988; and 2. pay the individual members of complainant union the difference in money value between the P100.00 special allowance and the overtime pay, rest day pay and holiday pay that they ought to have received from June 1, 1988. All other claims are hereby dismissed for lack of merit. SO ORDERED." In finding for the members therein respondent union, the labor ruled that the along span of time during which the benefits were being paid to the supervisors has accused the payment thereof to ripen into contractual obligation; at the complainants cannot be estopped from questioning the validity of the new compensation package despite the fact that they have been receiving the benefits therefrom, considering that respondent union was formed only a year after the implementation of the Job Evaluation Program, hence there was no way for the individual supervisors to express their collective response thereto prior to the formation of the union; and the comparative computations presented by the private respondent union showed that the P100.00 special allowance given NASUREFCO fell short of what the supervisors ought to receive had the overtime pay rest day pay and holiday pay not been discontinued, which arrangement, therefore, amounted to a diminution of benefits. On appeal, in a decision promulgated on July 19, 1991 by its Third Division, respondent National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) affirmed the decision of the labor arbiter on the ground that the members of respondent union are not managerial employees, as defined under Article 212 (m) of the Labor Code and, therefore, they are entitled to overtime, rest day and holiday pay. Respondent NLRC declared that these supervisory employees are merely exercising recommendatory powers subject to the evaluation, review and final action by their department heads; their responsibilities do not require the exercise of discretion and independent judgment; they do not participate in the formulation of management policies nor in the hiring or firing of employees; and their main function is
to carry out the ready policies and plans of the corporation. 3 Reconsideration of said decision was denied in a resolution of public respondent dated August 30, 1991. 4 Hence this petition for certiorari, with petitioner NASUREFCO asseverating that public respondent commission committed a grave abuse of discretion in refusing to recognized the fact that the members of respondent union are members of the managerial staff who are not entitled to overtime, rest day and holiday pay; and in making petitioner assume the "double burden" of giving the benefits due to rank-and-file employees together with those due to supervisors under the JE Program. We find creditable merit in the petition and that the extraordinary writ of certiorari shall accordingly issue. The primordial issue to be resolved herein is whether the members of respondent union are entitled to overtime, rest day and holiday pay. Before this can be resolved, however it must of necessity be ascertained first whether or not the union members, as supervisory employees, are to be considered as officers or members of the managerial staff who are exempt from the coverage of Article 82 of the Labor Code. It is not disputed that the members of respondent union are supervisory employees, as defined employees, as defined under Article 212(m), Book V of the Labor Code on Labor Relations, which reads: "(m) 'Managerial employee' is one who is vested with powers or prerogatives to lay down and execute management policies and/or to hire, transfer, suspend, lay-off, recall, discharged, assign or discipline employees. Supervisory employees are those who, in the interest of the employer effectively recommend such managerial actions if the exercise of such authority is not merely routinary or clerical in nature but requires the use of independent judgment. All employees not falling within any of those above definitions are considered rank-and-file employees of this Book." Respondent NLRC, in holding that the union members are entitled to overtime, rest day and holiday pay, and in ruling that the latter are not managerial employees, adopted the definition stated in the aforequoted statutory provision. Petitioner, however, avers that for purposes of determining whether or not the members of respondent union are entitled to overtime, rest day and holiday pay, said employees should be considered as "officers or members of the managerial staff" as defined under Article 82, Book III of the Labor Code on "Working Conditions and Rest Periods" and amplified in Section 2, Rule I, Book III of the Rules to Implement the Labor Code, to wit: "Art. 82 Coverage. ² The provisions of this title shall apply to employees in all establishments and undertakings whether for profit or not, but not to government employees, managerial employees, field personnel, members of the family of the employer who are dependent on him for support, domestic helpers, persons in the personal service of another, and workers who are paid by results as determined by the Secretary of Labor in Appropriate regulations. "As used herein, 'managerial employees' refer to those whose primary duty consists of the management of the establishment in which they are employed or of a department or subdivision thereof, and to other officers or members of the managerial staff." (Emphasis supplied.) xxx xxx xxx
however. the union members are supervisory employees.'Sec." It is the submission of petitioner that while the members of respondent union. may not be occupying managerial positions. however. they are clearly officers or members of the managerial staff because they meet all the conditions prescribed by law and. experience. In other words. In terms of working conditions and rest periods and entitlement to the questioned benefits. while the right of said employees to the questioned benefits should be considered in the light of the meaning of a managerial employee and of the officers or members of the managerial staff. they are officers or members of the managerial staff. hence they are not entitled thereto. Exemption. if they meet all of the following conditions. Out of its concern for those with less privileges in life. certification elections. Such favoritism. Rule I Book III of the implementing rules. as contemplated under Article 82 of the Code and Section 2. and so forth. (2). rest day and supervisory employees under Article 212 (m) should be made to apply only to the provisions on Labor Relations. for purposes of forming and joining unions. and (4) Who do not devote more 20 percent of their hours worked in a work-week to activities which are not directly and closely related to the performance of the work described in paragraphs (1). and above. While the Constitution is committed to the policy of social justice and the protection of the working class. as supervisors. or knowledge. or (iii) execute under general supervision special assignments and tasks. collective bargaining. Management also has its own rights which. ² The provisions of this rule shall not apply to the following persons if they qualify for exemption under the condition set forth herein: xxx xxx xxx (b) Managerial employees. or their suggestions and recommendations as to the hiring and firing and as to the promotion or any other change of status of other employees are given particular weight. are entitled to respect and enforcement in the interest of simple fair play. (2) Customarily and regularly exercise discretion and independent judgment. (3) (i) Regularly and directly assist a proprietor or a managerial employee whose primary duty consists of the management of the establishment in which he is employed or subdivision thereof. has not blinded us to the rule that justice is in every case for . hence. as such. namely: (1) Their primary duty consists of the management of the establishment in which they are employed or of a department or subdivision thereof: (2) They customarily and regularly direct the work of two or more employees therein: (3) They have the authority to hire or fire other employees of lower rank. (c) Officers or members of a managerial staff if they perform the following duties and responsibilities: (1) The primary duty consists of the performance of work directly related to management policies of their employer. it should not be supposed that every labor dispute will be automatically decided in favor of labor. 2. or (ii) execute under general supervision work along specialized or technical lines requiring special training. this Court has inclined more often than not toward the worker and upheld his cause in his conflicts with the employer. they are not entitled to overtime.
2) observes. organizing. 5) represents the superintendent or the department when appointed and authorized by the former. follows and implements company policies at all times and recommends disciplinary action on erring subordinates. controlling communicating and in making decisions in attaining the company's set goals and objectives. 6) coordinates and communicates with other inter and intra department supervisors when necessary. while generally this Court is not supposed to review the factual findings of respondent commission. among others. More specifically. 5 This is one such case where we are inclined to tip the scales of justice in favor of the employer. the criterion is the character of the work performed. The question whether a given employee is exempt from the benefits of the law is a factual one dependent on the circumstances of the particular case. staffing. their duties and functions include. A cursory perusal of the Job Value Contribution Statements 7 of the union members will readily show that these supervisory employees are under the direct supervision of their respective department superintendents and that generally they assist the latter in planning. which includes employee shifting scheduled and manning complement. 6 Consequently. 3) trains and guides subordinates on how to assume responsibilities and become more productive. the following operations whereby the employee: 1) assists the department superintendent in the following: a) planning of systems and procedures relative to department activities. 4) conducts semi-annual performance evaluation of his subordinates and recommends necessary action for their development/advancement. rather than the title of the employee's position. directing. to be dispensed in the light of the established facts and the applicable law and doctrine. d) attaining the company's set goals and objectives by giving his full support. c) decision making by providing relevant information data and other inputs. e) selecting the appropriate man to handle the job in the department. .the deserving. and f) preparing annual departmental budget. substantial justice and the peculiar circumstances obtaining herein mandate a deviation from the rule. b) organizing and scheduling of work activities of the department. 7) recommends disciplinary actions/promotions. In determining whether an employee is within the terms of the statutes. These supervisory employees are likewise responsible for the effective and efficient operation of their respective departments.
or knowledge. 1991. and 11) performs other related tasks as may be assigned by his immediate superior. The distinction. as defined in Section 2. under general supervision. 9) sees to it that safety rules and regulations and procedure and are implemented and followed by all NASUREFCO employees.: (1) their primary duty consists of the performance of work directly related to management policies of their employer. aside from the fact that their specific functions and duties then as supervisors had not been properly defined and delineated from those of the rank-and-file. The controversy actually involved here seeks a determination of whether or not these supervisory employees ought to be considered as officers or members of the managerial staff. (3) they regularly and directly assist the managerial employee whose primary duty consist of the management of a department of the establishment in which they are employed (4) they execute. special assignments and tasks. is misplaced and inappropriate. rest day and holiday pay. The distinction made by respondent NLRC on the basis of whether or not the union members are managerial employees. Hence. (5) they execute. therefore. Under the facts obtaining in this case. the union members. Rule I Book III of the aforestated Rules to Implement the Labor Code. as defined either under Articles 82 or 212 (m) of the Labor Code. Perforce. work along specialized or technical lines requiring special training. is puerile and in efficacious. they are not entitled to overtime. A. it is apparent that the members of respondent union discharge duties and responsibilities which ineluctably qualify them as officers or members of the managerial staff. quality of service and working conditions. CA No. we are constrained to agree with petitioner that the union members should be considered as officers and members of the managerial staff and are. recommends revisions or modifications to said rules when deemed necessary. and (6) they do not devote more than 20% of their hours worked in a work-week to activities which are not directly and clearly related to the performance of their work hereinbefore described. From the foregoing. II. it lucidly explained: . therefore. to determine the latter's entitlement to the questioned benefits. 10) supervises the activities of all personnel under him and goes to it that instructions to subordinates are properly implemented. We likewise no not subscribe to the finding of the labor arbiter that the payment of the questioned benefits to the union members has ripened into a contractual obligation. wherein. Such fact is apparent from the clarification made by petitioner in its motion for reconsideration 8 filed with respondent commission in NLRC Case No. received benefits similar to the rank-and-file employees such as overtime. and initiates and prepares reports for any observed abnormality within the refinery. to distinguish them from a managerial employee. rest day and holiday. Prior to the JE Program. experience. while being supervisors.8) recommends measures to improve work methods. simply because they were treated in the same manner as rank-and-file employees. under general supervision. I-000058. equipment performance. (2) they customarily and regularly exercise discretion and independent judgment. It is admitted that these union members are supervisory employees and this is one instance where the nomenclatures or titles of their jobs conform with the nature of their functions. viz. exempt from the coverage of Article 82. should have been made along that line and its corresponding conceptual criteria. and their basic pay was nearly on the same level as those of the latter. dated August 16.
B. private respondent union has miserably failed to convince this Court that the petitioner acted implementing the JE Program. and that their basic pay was increased by an average of 50% of their basic salary prior to the JE Program. they could not. get the best of both worlds at the expense of NASUREFCO." 9 It bears mention that this positional submission was never refuted nor controverted by respondent union in any of its pleadings filed before herein public respondent or with this Court. they are no longer entitled to the benefits which attach and pertain exclusively to their positions. ergo. after the JE program. This in essence is a promotion which is defined as the advancement from one position to another with an increase in duties and responsibilities as authorized by law. those whose duties confirmed them to be supervisory. Their assumption of these positions removed them from the coverage of the law. they could not be categorically classified as members or officers of the managerial staff considering that they were then treated merely on the same level as rank-and-file. they occupied positions which no longer met the requirements imposed by law. provided it is done in good faith. they cannot have their cake and eat it too or. Promotion of its employees is one of the jurisprudentially-recognized exclusive prerogatives of management. their exemption therefrom. there was nothing to prevent them from refusing to accept their promotions and their corresponding benefits. if the union members really wanted to continue receiving the benefits which attach to their former positions. were re-evaluated. As correctly pointed out by petitioner. . it can be safely concluded therefrom that the members of respondent union were paid the questioned benefits for the reason that. as petitioner suggests. As the sating goes by. with the promotion of the union members. as a simple matter of law and fairness. 10 The test or rationale of this rule on long practice requires an indubitable showing that the employer agreed to continue giving the benefits knowingly fully well that said employees are not covered by the law requiring payment thereof. As to them. the members of private respondent union were re-classified under levels S-5 S-8 which were considered under the program as managerial staff purposes of compensation and benefits. 12 Quintessentially. they were rightfully entitled thereto. In the case at bar. which cannot be now be unilaterally withdrawn by petitioner. Hence. Consequently."But. rank and salary. Those positions formerly classified as 'supervisory' and found after the JE Program to be rank-and-file were classified correctly and continue to receive overtime. It remains undisputed that the implementation of the JE Program. holiday and restday pay. the practice subsists. In other words. With the promotion of the members of respondent union. "However. the payment thereof could not be construed as constitutive of voluntary employer practice. and usually accompanied by an increase in salary. 11 In the case at bar. at that time. Prior to the JE Program. There is no showing that the JE Program was intended to circumvent the law and deprive the members of respondent union of the benefits they used to receive. that they occupied re-evaluated positions. it should have been practiced over a long period of time. Entitlement to the benefits provided for by law requires prior compliance with the conditions set forth therein. Thus. complainants cannot be said to occupy the same positions. To be considered as such. and must be shown to have been consistent and deliberate. their duties redefined and in most cases their organizational positions re-designated to confirm their superior rank and duties. respondent union failed to sufficiently establish that petitioner has been motivated or is wont to give these benefits out of pure generosity. after the JE Program there was an ascent in position. complainants no longer occupy the same positions they held before the JE Program.
. THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION. it is the prerogative of the management to regulate.Not so long ago. petitioner. Rollo) in NLRC Case No. 1987 (p. Concepcion. harsh. J. No. Complainant. . all aspects of employment. Signo. Such management prerogative may be availed of without fear of any liability so long as it is exercised in good faith for the advancement of the employer's interest and not for the purpose of defeating on circumventing the rights of employees under special laws or valid agreement and are not exercised in a malicious. entitled. vs. . Respondents". 28.R. to his former position without backwages. and the basic complaint of private respondent union is DISMISSED. NCR-8-3808-83. The antecedent facts are as follows: Private respondent Signo was employed in petitioner company as supervisor-leadman since January 1963 up to the time when his services were terminated on May 18. 1991 and August 30. Abello. 78763 July 12. 1991. This flows from the established rule that labor law does not authorize the substitution of the judgment of the employer in the conduct of its business. MEDIALDEA. are hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE for having been rendered and adopted with grave abuse of discretion. oppressive. 1983. Regala & Cruz for petitioner. and APOLINARIO M.1989 MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY. "Apolinario M.: This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court seeking the annulment of the resolution of the respondent National Labor Relations Commission dated March 12. SIGNO. the impugned decision and resolution of respondent National Labor Relations Commission promulgated on July 19. Angara. according to its discretion and judgment. ON LIBERAL INTERPRETATION G. respectively. on this particular score. affirming the decision of the Labor Arbiter which ordered the reinstatement of private respondent herein. Dominador Maglalang for private respondent. Apolinario Signo." 13 WHEREFORE. we had the occasion to hold that: ". vindictive or wanton manner or out of malice or spite. respondents. versus Manila Electric Company.
and adherence to compassionate society. in reality is not owned by the latter. Likewise. It was established that the area where the residence of de Lara was located is not yet within the serviceable point of Meralco. some of which were inferior quality. In consideration thereof. made it appear in the application that the sari-sari store at the corner of Marcos Highway." . respondent Meralco is hereby directed to reinstate complainant Apolinario M. . 1983. he cannot do away with company's Code on Employee Discipline. We shall also consider his records of uninterrupted twenty (20) years of service coupled with two (2) commendations for honesty. par. an entrance to the subdivision. more particularly Section 7. We shall take note that subject offense is his first. 1985. On August 10 1983. A penalty short of dismissal is more in keeping with justice. including respondent Signo. par. while considering that complainant indeed committed the above-cited infractions of company Code of Employee Discipline. to impose the extreme penalty of dismissal is certainly too drastic. due to the fault of the Power Sales Division of petitioner company.. the infraction of the above cited Code is punishable by reprimand to dismissal. .. And in this case. private respondent received from Fernando de Lara the amount of P7. unpaid wages. inter alia: Verily. de Lara's residence prejudiced the respondent. and therefore. which turned out to be illegal. is applicant de Lara's establishment. respondent Signo filed a complaint for illegal dismissal. He is . In order to expedite the electrical connections at de Lara's residence. However. because the place was beyond the 30-meter distance from the nearest existing Meralco facilities. Signo thereafter filed the application for electric services with the Power Sales Division of the company.000. 24 thereof However. although not directly.00. and therefore. While complainant may deny the violation. Rizal. Antipolo. WHEREFORE. not to mention that some of the materials used therein belongs to Meralco. the services of the latter were terminated on May 18. and separation pay. Petitioner company conducted an investigation of the matter and found respondent Signo responsible for the said irregularities in the installation. Rizal. Private respondent Signo facilitated the processing of the said application as well as the required documentation for said application at the Municipality of Antipolo. Marcos Highway. complainant himself had indeed became a participant in the transactions. the electrical connections to de Lara's residence were installed and made possible.In 1981. which stated. the Labor Arbiter rendered a decision (p. After the parties had submitted their position papers. Signo to his former position as Supervisor Leadman without backwages. which. As a result of this scheme. as admitted by the respondent. Thus. certain employees of the company. . . considering that he is not at all faultless. Fernando de Lara was not billed for more than a year. 79. complainant's act of inducing the Meralco employees to effectuate the installation on Engr. a certain Fernando de Lara filed an application with the petitioner company for electrical services at his residence at Peñafrancia Subdivision. Rollo) on April 29. 8 and Section 6.
Par. 1987. the instant petition was filed with the petitioner contending that the respondent Commission committed grave abuse of discretion in affirming the decision of the Labor Arbiter. 1987. Both parties appealed from the decision to the respondent Commission. No. Phil. 24²Encouraging. that in view thereof. 8²Soliciting or receiving money. The issue to resolve in the instant case is whether or not respondent Signo should be dismissed from petitioner company on grounds of serious misconduct and loss of trust and confidence. There is no question that herein respondent Signo is guilty of breach of trust and violation of company rules. Inc. Par. NLRC. that commission of similar offense in the future. can dismiss or lay-off an employee for just and authorized causes enumerated under Articles 282 and 283 of the Labor Code. G. the dismissal of private respondent Signo is proper considering the circumstances of the case. personally or through the mediation of another. Penalty²Reprimand to dismissal. as earlier stated. inducing or threatening another employee to perform an act constituting a violation of this Code or of company work. the right of an employer to freely discharge his employees is subject to regulation by the State. A temporary restraining order was issued by this Court on August 3. An employer. However. share. more vital than the preservation of corporate profits (Euro-Linea. depending upon the gravity of the offense. This is so because the preservation of the lives of the citizens is a basic duty of the State. 1987.R. (pp. induced or influenced to commit such offense. Section 7. the respondent Commission dismissed both appeals for lack of merit and affirmed in toto the decision of the Labor Arbiter. However. 1987. to perform an act prejudicial to the Company. Penalty²Dismissal. shall be dealt with more severely. enjoining the respondents from enforcing the questioned resolution of the respondent Commission. The power to dismiss is the normal prerogative of the employer. gift. rules or an offense in connection with the official duties of the latter. v. On March 12.however. Petitioner contends that respondent Signo violated Sections 6 and 7 of the company's Code on Employee Discipline. here warned. SO ORDERED. Rollo) Petitioner further argues that the acts of private respondent constituted breach of trust and caused the petitioner company economic losses resulting from the unbilled electric consumption of de Lara. generally. December 1. On June 23. the respondent Commission and the Labor Arbiter found that dismissal should not be meted to respondent Signo considering his twenty (20) years of service in . or allowing himself to be persuaded.156 SCRA 78). the penalty for which ranges from reprimand to dismissal depending on the gravity of the offense. percentage or benefits from any person. which provide: Section 6. 75782. basically in the exercise of its paramount police power. 13-14.
June 19. Philippine Airlines. Nos.Suyoc Mines. No. v. in addition to the fact that petitioner company had awarded him in the past. . October 30.. two (2) commendations for honesty..R. 1974. We are of the considered view that his dismissal is a drastic punishment.117 SCRA 523. L-24626. International Ceramics Manufacturing Co. this was found to be the fault of petitioner's Power Sales Division. et al. (Itogon. 100 SCRA 691.R. an employer cannot legally be compelled to continue with the employment of a person who admittedly was guilty of breach of trust towards his employer and whose continuance in the service of the latter is patently inimical to its interest.122 SCRA 557).R. Nos. Inc. nevertheless. July 30..R. G. NLRC. Judicial review by this Court on labor cases does not go so far as to evaluate the sufficiency of the evidence upon which the proper labor officer or office based his or its determination but is limited to issues of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion (Special Events and Central Shipping Office Workers Union v. such as breach of trust by an employee. If ever the petitioner suffered losses resulting from the unlisted electric consumption of de Lara. the workingman's 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 New Labor Code which states that "all doubts in the implementation and interpretation of the provisions of the Labor Code including its implementing rules and . 92 SCRA 412. taking into account private respondent's 'twenty-three (23) years of service which undisputedly is unblemished by any previous derogatory record' as found by the respondent Commission itself.R. 11 7 SCRA 528) Further. No. We find no reason to disturb these findings. authorized neither oppression nor self. NLRC. Meracap v. this Court ruled: As repeatedly been held by this Court. v. et al. without any previous derogatory record.. Sampang v.1979.. San Miguel Corporation. De Leon v. G. Inc. et al. Inc. G.1985. that notwithstanding the existence of a valid cause for dismissal. However. L-48235-36. This Court has held time and again. 50992. 57 SCRA 489).the employ of petitioner. . dismissal should not be imposed. Inc. v. in carrying out and interpreting the Labor Code's provisions and its implementing regulations. G. L-51002-06. No.1983. in a number of decisions. NLRC. June 28. (Itogon-Suyoc Mines. L54280. May 30. The law in protecting the rights of the laborers. G.1982.destruction of the employer.. PALEA..1980. G. xxx xxx xxx The ends of social and compassionate justice would therefore be served if private respondent is reinstated but without backwages in view of petitioner's obvious good faith. Inciong. and since he has been under preventive suspension during the pendency of this case.R. L-52056. as it is too severe a penalty if the latter has been employed for a considerable length of time in the service of his employer. No.137 SCRA 56. September 30. in the absence of a showing that the continued employment of private respondent would result in petitioner's oppression or self-destruction. In a similar case. Well-established is the principle that findings of administrative agencies which have acquired expertise because their jurisdiction is confined to specific matters are generally accorded not only respect but even finality.
premises considered. respondents. G. However. No. considering the good faith of the employer in dismissing the respondent. Emelita Nicario. Fifth Division. vs. Mancao Supermarket Inc. Antonio Mancao jointly and severally liable with the respondent company for thirteenth month pay. service incentive leave pay. The temporary restraining order issued on August 3. private respondent terminated her services on February 7. is not entitled to overtime pay.R. and rest day pay. Emelita Nicario. No. Petitioner. on June 6. 1998] EMELITA NICARIO. wage differential. Nor is private respondent. J. 1989. but without the award of backwages. 1995 in NLRC CA No. 1987 is AFFIRMED. September 17. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION. 1986 as a salesgirl and was later on promoted as sales supervisor. NLRC. ACCORDINGLY.R. Sub-Regional Arbitration Branch X in Butuan City. Petitioner appealed to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).: For resolution before this Court is a special civil action for certiorari under Ruled 65 of the Rules of Court which seeks to set aside the resolution of the National Labor Relations Commission (Fifth Division. In view of the foregoing. Solamo dismissed the complaint for lack of merit.. 71812. A complaint for illegal dismissal with prayer for backwages. Labor Arbiter Amado M. AND/OR MANAGER.1987. overtime pay. was employed with respondent company Mancao Supermarket. 125340. .regulations shall be resolved in favor of labor" (Abella v. July 30. Cagayan de Oro City) dated December 21. 1987 is lifted.152 SCRA 140). petitioner. [G. 1989. DECISION ROMERO. ANTONIO MANCAO. service incentive leave pay. MANCAO SUPERMARKET INC. M-002047-94 entitled ³Emelita Nicario v. the petition is hereby DISMISSED and the assailed decision of the National Labor Relations Commission dated March 12. 13th month pay and unpaid wages was filed by petitioner before the National Labor Relations Commission. and/or Manager´ which ruled that petitioner. SO ORDERED. reinstatement of respondent Signo is proper in the instant case. On July 25.
The dispositive portion of the decision read as follows: ³WHEREFORE. and in a resolution dated August 16. The petition is partly impressed with merit.. 1989. but dismissed her claims for holiday premium pay and unpaid salaries from February 3 to 5.m. the Commission ordered the case remanded to the arbitration branch for appropriate proceedings. she worked twelve (12) hours a day from 7:30 a. petitioner alleged that during her period of employment. Petitioner now comes before this Court alleging grave abuse of discretion on the part of the public respondent NLRC in ruling that (a) she is not entitled to overtime pay and (b) private respondent. The Solicitor General.m. in her decision dated . 1995. overtime pay. the Commission affirmed in toto Labor Arbiter MacaraigGuillen¶s decision. In her claim for payment of overtime pay. SO ORDERED. Antonio Mancao cannot be held jointly and severally liable with respondent supermarket as to the monetary award. thus rendering overtime work for four hours each day. and/or Mr.´ Not satisfied with the decision.15) representing unpaid services incentive leave pay. to 7:30 p. public respondent NLRC modified its earlier resolution by deleting the award for overtime pay and ruling that private respondent Antonio Mancao is not jointly and severally liable with Mancao Supermarket to pay petitioner the monetary award adjudged. Inc. Labor Arbiter Macaraig-Guillen awarded petitioner¶s claims for unpaid service incentive leave pay. 1995 resolution to be affirmed with finality. in view of the foregoing. and its August 16. judgment is rendered directing respondent Mancao Supermarket. as submitted in evidence by the private respondent but ordered a formal hearing on the issue. filed its own comment praying for the dismissal of the petition and for the December 21. In a resolution dated July 25. Labor Arbiter Macaraig-Guillen.Cagayan de Oro City. It ruled that since petitioner assailed her supposed signatures appearing on the payrolls presented by the company as a forgery. on the other hand. overtime pay and rest day pay for the entire period of her employment. Thus.393. Private respondent then filed a motion for reconsideration. Public respondent NLRC. 1989. the labor arbiter should not have merely depended on the xerox copies of the payrolls. All other claims are dismissed for lack of merit. 1995 resolution be reinstated.. and rest day for the entire period of employment. 1995 resolution be set aside. the NLRC set aside the labor arbiter¶s decision for lack of due process. thirteenth month pay. 13th month pay. in a manifestation and motion in lieu of comment stated that public respondent NLRC acted with grave abuse of discretion in modifying its earlier resolution (dated August 16. Antonio Mancao to pay complainant Emelita Nicario the sum of forty thousand three hundred ninety pesos and fifteen centavos (P40. The case was assigned to Labor Arbiter Marissa Macaraig-Guillen. 1994. In a decision dated May 23. 1995) and thus recommends that the December 21. In a resolution dated December 21. private respondent appealed to the NLRC. 1995.
 . the NLRC modified its earlier ruling and deleted the award for overtime pay.m. all entries are suspiciously consistent. likewise she never went home earlier or later than 8:00 pm.m. worked only for eight hours a day from 9:00 a. to 7:00 p. so it is believable that employees rendered 4-1/2 hours of overtime everyday. evidence wilfully suppressed would be adverse if produced (Sec. 1994. Section 2 of the Rules of Court which provides that ³a court may take judicial notice of matters which are of public knowledge.m. findings of facts of quasi-judicial agencies like the NLRC are accorded great respect and at times even finality if supported by substantial evidence. However in cases where there is a conflict between the factual findings of the NLRC and the labor arbiter. and did not render work on her rest days. in taking judicial cognizance of the fact that private respondent company opens twelve (12) hours a day.May 23. Public respondent NLRC instead gave credence to the daily time records (DTRs) presented by respondent corporation showing that petitioner throughout her employment from June 6.´ In awarding overtime pay to petitioner. Rule 131. Upon appeal. applied Rule 129. 1986 to February 1989. 1995. awarded overtime pay to petitioner by taking judicial notice of the fact that all Mancao establishments open at 8:00 a. Public respondent¶s reliance on the daily time records submitted by private respondent is misplaced.. Rules of Court) xxx xxx xxx e) they would make it appear that petitioner has a two-hour rest period from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. petitioner never reported earlier or later than 9:00 a. the DTR¶s presented by respondent company are unreliable based on the following observations: ³a) the originals thereof were not presented in evidence.´ f) Labor Arbiter Macaraig-Guillen.m.m. petitioner¶s allegation of forgery should have prompted respondent to submit the same for inspection. or are capable of unquestionable demonstration. However.m. when private respondent filed a motion for reconsideration from the resolution dated August 16.³Substantial evidence´ is such amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion. a review of such factual findings is necessitated..m. it is of judicial notice that all Mancao establishments open at eight a. the labor arbiter ruled: ³However.m. As aptly stated by the Solicitor General in lieu of comment.m. with no noon break. 3(e).. and close at 8:00 p. the same number of hours worked by petitioner everyday. to 12:00 p. and 2:00 p.. this is highly unusual for a store establishment because employees should attend to customers almost every minute as well as contrary to the judicial notice that no noon break is observed. or ought to be known because of their judicial functions. this particular finding was affirmed by the Commission. and close at eight p. 7 days a week.´ Generally.
¶ The observations made by the Solicitor General regarding the unreliability of the daily time records would therefore seem more convincing. The general rule is that officers of a corporation are not personally liable for their official acts unless it is shown that they have exceeded their authority. the circumvention of statutes. Emelita Nicario her overtime pay and relieving private respondent. respondent company failed to present substantial evidence. other than the disputed DTRs. has ruled that ³such unvarying recording of a daily time record is improbable and contrary to human experience. The policy is to extend the doctrine to a greater number of employees who can avail of the benefits under the law. This rule should be applied in the case at bar. we uphold the finding that petitioner rendered overtime work. the scales of justice must be tilted in favor of the latter. or to confuse legitimate issues. . Antonio Mancao. M-002047-94 is hereby MODIFIED by awarding petitioner. It is a timehonored rule that in controversies between a laborer and his master. petitioner contends that as manager of Mancao establishment. there is no showing that Antonio Mancao. No costs. the resolution of the NLRC dated December 21. On the other hand. day in day out. that if doubts exist between the evidence presented by the employer and the employee. he should be jointly and severally liable with respondent corporation as to the monetary award adjudged. deliberately and maliciously evaded the respondent's company financial obligation to the petitioner. The uniformity and regularity of the entries are µbadges of untruthfulness and as such indices of dubiety. entitling her to overtime pay. 1995 in NLRC NCR CA No. especially since the evidence presented by the private respondent company is not convincing. Accordingly. in previously evaluating the evidentiary value of daily time records. of any liability as manager of Mancao Supermarket and further holding Mancao Supermarket solely liable. WHEREFORE. in view of the foregoing.m. SO ORDERED. there appearing to be no evidence on record that Antonio Mancao acted maliciously or deliberately in the non-payment of benefits to petitioner. as manager of respondent company. including the establishment where petitioner worked. to prove that petitioner indeed worked for only eight hours a day.m. opening at 8:00 a. It is a well-settled doctrine. the instant petition is hereby PARTIALLY GRANTED. However. or in the interpretation of agreements and writing should be resolved in the former¶s favor.While private respondent company submitted the daily time records of the petitioner to show that she rendered work for only eight (8) hours a day. Accordingly. This Court. the legal fiction that a corporation has a personality separate and distinct from stockholders and members may be disregarded if it is used as a means to perpetuate fraud or an illegal act or as a vehicle for the evasion of an existing obligation. doubts reasonably arising from the evidence. It is impossible for an employee to arrive at the workplace and leave at exactly the same time. Hence. it did not refute nor seek to disprove the judicial notice taken by Labor Arbiter Macaraig-Guillen that Mancao establishments. In this case. opens twelve hours a day. he cannot be held jointly and severally liable with Mancao supermarket. especially those which show uniform entries with regard to the hours of work rendered by an employee. As to the liability of private respondent Antonio Mancao. and closing at 8:00 p. which is in consonance with the avowed policy of the State to give maximum aid and protection of labor.
2003. 2009 MAGIS YOUNG ACHIEVERS' LEARNING CENTER and MRS.00. . National Labor Relations Commission. 2002. directress of petitioner. MANALO. 2007 and of the Resolution dated June 29. Respondent. ADELAIDA P. Sincerely yours. DECISION NACHURA. CARIÑO.THIRD DIVISION G. Manalo. 2003 due to personal and family reasons. The pertinent facts are as follows: On April 18. and Adelaida P. Manalo was hired as a teacher and acting principal of petitioner Magis Young Achievers¶ Learning Center with a monthly salary of P15.: Dear Mrs. Part of that scheme is a systematic reorganization which will entail streamlining of human resources. 93917 entitled Magis Young Achievers¶ Learning Center and Violeta T. respondent Adelaida P. God bless and more power to you. wrote a letter of resignation addressed to Violeta T.000. Quezon City. SP No. particularly that of Magis Young Achievers¶ Learning Center convened. 2003. deliberated and came up with a Board Resolution that will strictly impose all means possible to come up with a cost-cutting scheme. respondent received a letter of termination from petitioner.: This is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision dated January 31. Cariño v. 2007 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. which reads: Dear Madame: I am tendering my irrevocable resignation effective April 1. Manalo: Greetings of Peace! The Board of Trustees of the Cariño Group of Companies. It appears on record that respondent. Cariño. ADELAIDA P. on March 29. Petitioners. I would like to express my thanks and gratitude for the opportunity.R. MANALO1 On March 31.R. trust and confidence given to me as an Acting Principal in your prestigious school. vs. No. (Signed) Mrs. J. VIOLETA T. viz. 178835 February 13. 3rd Division.
851. The function of the said position shall be delegated to other staff members in the organization. for lack of merit. with a prayer for reinstatement. in the absence . she resigned. Severo Cariño President2 On April 4. Cariño School Directress Noted by: (Signed) Mr. 2002 to March 3. and the payment of her separation pay were not complied with.4 respondent claimed that her termination violated the provisions of her employment contract. 2003. dela Cruz rendered a Decision8 dismissing the complaint for illegal dismissal. paragraph 75 of which provides that: (75) Full-time teachers who have rendered three years of satisfactory service shall be considered permanent. Hoping for your understanding on this matter and we pray for your future endeavors. Therefore. and that the alleged abolition of the position of Principal was not among the grounds for termination by an employer under Article 2825 of the Labor Code. The LA ratiocinated in this wise: It is our considered opinion [that] complainant was not dismissed. as the required 30-day notice to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and to her as the employee.7 countered that respondent was legally terminated because the oneyear probationary period. had already lapsed and she failed to meet the criteria set by the school pursuant to the Manual of Regulation for Private Schools. illegally. Very truly yours. In her position paper. we regret to inform you that we can no longer renew your contract.As agreed upon by the Board of Directors. Thus. 2003. thank you for the input you have given to Magis during your term of office as Acting Principal. except that it ordered the payment of her 13th month pay in the amount of P3. On December 3. but that her contract did not provide for a fixed term or period. Labor Arbiter (LA) Renell Joseph R. She likewise prayed for the payment of her 13th month pay under Presidential Decree (PD) No.750. award of full backwages and moral and exemplary damages. adopted by the then Department of Education. 2003. which will expire on March 31. On the contrary.00. Culture and Sports (DECS). 2003. Violeta T. (Signed) Mrs. from April 1. She also claimed that she was terminated from service for the alleged expiration of her employment. It is hard for us to imagine complainant would accede to sign a resignation letter as a precondition to her hiring considering her educational background. the position of PRINCIPAL will be abolished next school year. respondent instituted against petitioner a Complaint3 for illegal dismissal and nonpayment of 13th month pay. much less. Petitioner. in its position paper. including the other claims of respondent. She further asserted that petitioner infringed Article 2836 of the Labor Code. Thus.
reversed the Arbiter¶s judgment. the word probationary. on the other hand. The parties could have not thought otherwise. Third Division.12 Before going to the core issues of the controversy. and to ascertain whether he will become an efficient and productive employee. Petitioner was ordered to reinstate respondent as a teacher.13 Indeed. 2005. II. Petitioner¶s motion for reconsideration was denied in the NLRC¶s Resolution11 dated January 31.00 and P325. specifically. The probationary employment is intended to afford the employer an opportunity to observe the fitness of a probationary employee while at work. It likewise denied petitioner¶s motion for reconsideration in the Resolution dated June 29. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT RULED THAT THE CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT BETWEEN PETITIONER AND RESPONDENT DID NOT STIPULATE A PERIOD. this petition anchored on the following grounds² I. The notification requirement in the contract in case of "termination before the expiration of the period" confirms it.000. the employer has the right. propriety and efficiency of a probationer to ascertain whether he is qualified for permanent employment. Thus. to choose who will be hired and who will be declined. who shall be credited with one-year service of probationary employment. seeks to prove to the employer that he has the qualifications to meet the reasonable standards for permanent employment. during which the latter determines whether or not he is qualified for permanent employment. the probationer. in its Decision dated January 31. on October 28. Annex µ1¶ to Respondent¶s Position Paper). 2006. While the employer observes the fitness.9 in its Decision10 dated October 28. As a component of this right to select his employees. respectively.750. it is a standard contract which by its very terms and conditions speaks of a definite period of employment. affirmed the NLRC decision and dismissed the petition. 2007. A probationary employee or probationer is one who is on trial for an employer. III. x x x x x x The agreement (Annex "1" to Respondent¶s [petitioner¶s] Position Paper. the employer may set or fix a probationary period within which the latter may test and observe the conduct of the former before hiring him permanently. implies the purpose of the term or period. and to pay her the amounts of P3. Read in its entirety. as used to describe the period of employment. Hence. Annex "A" to Complainant¶s Position Paper) by its very nature and terms is a contract of employment with a period (from 01 April 2002 to 31 March 2003.00 representing her 13th month pay and backwages. Complainant¶s observation that the space reserved for the duration and effectivity of the contract was left blank (Annex µA¶ to Complainant¶s [respondent¶s] Position Paper) to our mind is plain oversight. we would like to restate basic legal principles governing employment of secondary school teachers in private schools. The CA. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT CONCLUDED THAT THE RESIGNATION OF RESPONDENT MANALO DID NOT BECOME EFFECTIVE DUE TO ALLEGED LACK OF ACCEPTANCE. not its length.of any circumstance tending to show she was probably coerced her resignation must be upheld. Imputing grave abuse of discretion on the part of the NLRC. 2005. the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).14 . on the matter of probationary employment. or is at liberty. x x x On appeal. petitioner went up to the CA via a petition for certiorari. 2007. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT RULED THAT RESPONDENT MANALO IS A PERMANENT EMPLOYEE.
While there is no statutory cap on the minimum term of probation. For private school teachers. the six-month probationary period prescribed by the Secretary of Labor is merely the general rule."18 Then. ± Subject in all instances to compliance with the Department and school requirements. does not apply to all classes of occupations. unless it is covered by an apprenticeship agreement stipulating a longer period. 1 dated February 7. The general rule on the maximum allowable period of probationary employment is found in Article 281 of the Labor Code. An employee who is allowed to work after a probationary period shall be considered a regular employee. 281." and not "calendar years. either on full-time or part-time basis. as well as those who possess certain prescribed academic functions directly supportive of teaching. Probationary Period.But the law regulates the exercise of this prerogative to fix the period of probationary employment. according to the requirements of the particular job.21 . which states: Art. Office of the President of the Philippines. ± Probationary employment shall not exceed six (6) months from the date the employee started working. clear that the Labor Code authorizes different probationary periods. six (6) consecutive regular semesters of satisfactory service for those in the tertiary level. the law sets a maximum "trial period" during which the employer may test the fitness and efficiency of the employee. Probationary Employment. thus. probationary employment is governed by Section 92 of the 1992 Manual of Regulations for Private Schools15 (Manual).zw+ This upper limit on the term of probationary employment. the period of probation is governed by the 1970 Manual of Regulations for Private Schools x x x.20 where the Court declared: However. guidance counselors.m(4)[c] of the Manual delineates the coverage of Section 92. such as registrars. 1avvphi1.19 The reason for this disparate treatment was explained many years ago in Escudero v. researchers. and other similar persons. librarians. 1996. which provides that the probationary period for academic personnel shall not be more than three (3) consecutive school years of satisfactory service for those in the elementary and secondary levels.16 This was supplemented by DOLE-DECS-CHED-TESDA Order No. it is made clear that the period of probation for academic personnel shall be counted in terms of "school years. by defining the term "academic personnel" to include: (A)ll school personnel who are formally engaged in actual teaching service or in research assignments.17 By this supplement. and may include other school officials. however. They include school officials responsible for academic matters. and nine (9) consecutive trimesters of satisfactory service for those in the tertiary level where collegiate courses are offered on a trimester basis. x x x It is. For "academic personnel" in private schools. The services of an employee who has been engaged on a probationary basis may be terminated for a just cause or when he fails to qualify as a regular employee in accordance with reasonable standards made known by the employer at the time of his engagement. Section 4. which reads: Section 92. colleges and universities. the probationary period for academic personnel shall not be more than three (3) consecutive years of satisfactory service for those in the elementary and secondary levels.
this second renewal of the contract for another school year would then be the last year ± since it would be the third school year ± of probationary employment. This necessarily implies that a regular or permanent employment status may. voluntarily extends a permanent appointment even before the three-year period ends.23 The common practice is for the employer and the teacher to enter into a contract. The failure to stipulate its precise duration could lead to the inference that the contract is binding for the full three-year probationary period. whether or not one has indeed attained permanent status in one¶s employment. primarily on the basis of the employee having met the reasonable standards of competence and efficiency set by the employer. for academic personnel in private elementary and secondary schools. is a matter of proof. being simply on probation. effective for one school year. Full-time teachers who have satisfactorily completed their probationary period shall be considered regular or permanent. even with the enactment of a new Labor Code and the revision of the Manual. the employer has the option not to renew the contract. particularly considering the teacher¶s performance. he cannot automatically claim security of tenure and compel the employer to renew his employment contract. under certain conditions. Section 93 of the Manual pertinently provides: Sec. By and large. Over the years. the employment relationship terminates. the mere rendition of service for three consecutive years does not automatically ripen into a permanent appointment. and the teacher then is entitled to regular or permanent employment status. at the end of that period. however. if the purpose sought by the . The period of probation may be reduced if the employer. be attained in less than three (3) years. no vested right to a permanent appointment shall accrue until the employee has completed the prerequisite three-year period necessary for the acquisition of a permanent status. the employer may now decide whether to extend a permanent appointment to the employee. in fact. and that the services he rendered are satisfactory. it is only after one has satisfactorily completed the probationary period of three (3) school years and is rehired that he acquires full tenure as a regular or permanent employee. Thus. usually for another school year. At the end of this third year.Those who have served the probationary period shall be made regular or permanent. If the contract is not renewed. Regular or Permanent Status. If renewed. convinced of the fitness and efficiency of a probationary employee. the rule has not changed. In this regard. so to speak.25 All this does not mean that academic personnel cannot acquire permanent employment status earlier than after the lapse of three years. Accordingly.22 viz. of probationary employment allowed in the case of private school teachers. 93.: The three (3)-year period of service mentioned in paragraph 75 (of the Manual of Regulations for Private Schools) is of course the maximum period or upper limit. If the contract is renewed. Upon the expiration of his contract of employment. It is also necessary that the employee be a fulltime teacher. Conversely.24 It is when the yearly contract is renewed for the third time that Section 93 of the Manual becomes operative. the parties may opt to renew or not to renew the contract. before the passage of three (3) years. the probationary employment continues. Again. the teacher remains under probation. Alejandro. as held in Escudero. confirmed earlier in Labajo v. For the entire duration of this three-year period. It is important that the contract of probationary employment specify the period or term of its effectivity. At the end of the school year. Of course.The probationary period of three years for private school teachers was. .
The ruling in Biboso simply signifies that probationary employees enjoy security of tenure during the term of their probationary employment. or where it satisfactorily appears that the employer and employee dealt with each other on more or less equal terms with no moral dominance whatever being exercised by the former over the latter. Once that period expires. by no means. claim permanent status. x x x During such period. Victorias Milling Co. by right. In Biboso v. lawphil. 2003. She has not completed the requisite three-year period of probationary employment. to assert that the security of tenure protection of the Constitution does not apply to probationary employees. 2002 is probationary in character.30 It does not necessarily follow that where the duties of the employees consist of activities usually necessary or desirable in the usual business of the employer. Inc. his employment can be terminated any time at the pleasure of the appointing power without need to .. the three-year probationary term governs. or one that is good until another appointment is made to take its place. teachers on probationary employment enjoy security of tenure. binding and must be respected. But this guarantee of security of tenure applies only during the period of probation. not being contrary to law. they could remain in their positions and any circumvention of their rights. in accordance with the statutory scheme. as provided in the Manual. is valid. Theresa¶s School of Novaliches Foundation v. 2002 until March 31..32 we held that a contractual stipulation providing for a fixed term of nine (9) months. In light of our disquisition above. The undisturbed unanimity of cases shows that one who holds a temporary appointment has no fixed tenure of office. the employee does not meet the reasonable standards set by the employer at the time of engagement. to the issues in the case at bench. consistent with standard practice in private schools. as teacher. is subject to inquiry and thereafter correction by the Department of Labor.28 we made the following pronouncement: This is.33 An "acting" appointment is essentially a temporary appointment. morals. in petitioner school on April 18. She had rendered service as such only from April 18. in St. revocable at will.29 All these principles notwithstanding. the law does not preclude the employer from terminating the probationary employment on justifiable ground. duress or improper pressure being brought to bear upon the employee and absent any other circumstances vitiating his consent. or if at the end of every yearly contract during the three-year period. we cannot subscribe to the proposition that the respondent has acquired regular or permanent tenure as teacher. we do not discount the validity of fixed-term employment where ± the fixed period of employment was agreed upon knowingly and voluntarily by the parties. As such. a shorter probationary period may be incorporated in a collective bargaining agreement.employer is neither attained nor attainable within the said period. without any force. Be that as it may. public order and public policy. She cannot. There should be no question that the employment of the respondent. good customs. the constitutional protection can no longer be invoked. as it is the contract of employment that governs the relationship of the parties.31 Thus.26 or. the parties are forbidden from agreeing on a period of time for the performance of such activities. NLRC. Now.27 But absent any circumstances which unmistakably show that an abbreviated probationary period has been agreed upon. they cannot be removed except for cause as provided by law.net There should also be no doubt that respondent¶s appointment as Acting Principal is merely temporary.
the period of effectivity of the agreement remained blank. In this case. Ironically. such that she cannot be said to have voluntarily resigned from her job. surprisingly from April 1.show that it is for cause.44 Thus. there must be a clear intention to relinquish the position. the resignation must be unconditional. following Article 1702 of the Civil Code that all doubts regarding labor contracts should be construed in favor of labor. with the intent to operate as such. in case of doubt. accompanied by the act of abandonment. 2002 to March 31.42 The CA resolved the impassé in this wise: Under this circumstance. not only because there was no express acceptance thereof by the employer. We are also inclined to agree with the CA that the resignation of the respondent36 is not valid. inasmuch as the parties presented different versions of the employment agreement. respondent actively pursued her illegal dismissal case against petitioner. too. As articulated by the CA: In plain language.34 Further. What is noticeable even more is that the handwriting indicating the one-year period in petitioner¶s copy is different from the handwriting that filled up the other needed information in the same agreement. Then. petitioner¶s copy provided for a one-year period. In respondent¶s copy. What is truly contentious is whether the probationary appointment of the respondent on April 18. be read against their contention. We are confronted with two (2) copies of an agreement. none among the parties offered corroborative evidence as to which of the two (2) discrepancies is the correct one that must be given effect. there truly existed a doubt as to which version of the employment agreement should be given weight. On the other hand. then it should be respondent¶s copy which did not provide for an express period which should be upheld. therefore.g. especially when there are circumstances that render the version of petitioner suspect.. such that the . the drafter of the contract is herein petitioners and must. all labor contracts shall be construed in favor of the laborer. well-entrenched is the rule that resignation is inconsistent with the filing of a complaint for illegal dismissal. NLRC. even though the pleadings submitted by both parties indicated that respondent was hired on April 18.39 Furthermore.41 In this case.37 Voluntary resignation is made with the intention of relinquishing an office.40 To be valid. 2002 was for a fixed period of one (1) year. 2003. We can only apply Article 1702 of the Civil Code which provides that.43 We agree with the CA. without the employee so appointed attaining security of tenure with respect to these positions. e.38 It is the acceptance of an employee¶s resignation that renders it operative. but because there is a cloud of doubt as to the voluntariness of respondent¶s resignation. in La Salette of Santiago v. 2002. one with a negative period and one provided for a one (1) year period for its effectivity. settled is the rule that any ambiguity in a contract whose terms are susceptible of different interpretations must be read against the party who drafted it. x x x. among employees. or without a fixed term. and that he has no other choice but to dissociate himself from employment. This is in line with the State policy of affording protection to labor.35 we acknowledged the customary arrangement in private schools to rotate administrative positions. Dean or Principal. In the case at bar. Resignation is the voluntary act of an employee who finds himself in a situation where he believes that personal reasons cannot be sacrificed in favor of the exigency of the service.
The assailed Decision dated January 31. 2003. divided by 12 months in a year. the doubt as to the period of employment must be construed in her favor. the NLRC was correct in awarding respondent the amount of P325. computed as yearly salary.47 Finally. As above discussed. in light of our ruling of Espiritu Santo Parochial School v. the contract shall be construed against the party who drafted the same. is entitled to decide whether to extend respondent a permanent status by renewing her contract beyond the three-year period.00 x 10 months x 2). was illegally dismissed. WHEREFORE.750.00. using as proof its own copy of the agreement. 2007 and the Resolution dated June 29. we rule on the propriety of the monetary awards.000. respondent was hired as a probationary teacher and. Given the acrimony between the parties which must have been generated by this controversy. corresponding to the school years 2003-2004 and 2004-2005. it can be said unequivocally that petitioner had opted not to extend respondent¶s employment beyond this period. even as a probationary employee. the three-year probationary period provided by the Manual of Regulations for Private Schools must apply likewise to the case of respondent. This requirement. Nowhere in that letter was respondent informed that her performance as a school teacher was less than satisfactory.48 Moreover. inclusive of 13th month pay for the school years 2003-2004 and 2004-2005. While contracts of adhesion are valid and binding. in this case. in the absence of an express period of probation for private school teachers. Thus. absent any concrete and competent proof that her performance as a teacher was unsatisfactory from her hiring on April 18. the award of backwages as a consequence of the finding of illegal dismissal in favor of respondent should be confined to the three-year probationary period. or if at the end of the probationary period. must look up to the law to place him on equal footing with his employer.000.45 In addition. 2007 of the Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED.00 as backwages. In other words.00 for the next two school years (P15. 2002 to March 31. respondent is also entitled to receive her 13th month pay correspondent to the said two school years. as a cost-cutting measure. We rule in the affirmative. NLRC46 that. petitioner failed to discharge. the employment agreement may be likened into a contract of adhesion considering that it is petitioner who insists that there existed an express period of one year from April 1. Computing her monthly salary of P15. The other issue to resolve is whether respondent. 2003. Hence. Therefore.000. the employee failed to meet the reasonable standards set by the employer at the time of the employee¶s engagement.000. Undeniably. where the very employment of respondent is at stake. such that from March 31. she is entitled to a total amount of P300.00 as pro-rated 13th month pay. respondent is entitled to continue her three-year period of probationary period. her probationary employment is deemed renewed for the following two school years. 2002 up to March 31.00. Thus. that the position of "Principal" was to be abolished. who is usually at the mercy of the employer.00 / 12 months x 2 =P25. respondent already having received her full salaries for the year 2002-2003. or P150. probationary employees enjoy security of tenure during the term of their probationary employment such that they may only be terminated for cause as provided for by law. 2003.000. as employer. Petitioner. in cases of doubt which will cause a great imbalance of rights against one of the parties. the petition is DENIED. the termination of respondent was effected by that letter stating that she was being relieved from employment because the school authorities allegedly decided. multiplied by 2. To note. SO ORDERED . as such.lowly laborer. it was incumbent upon petitioner to show by competent evidence that she did not meet the standards set by the school.000. and the amount of P3.
dismissing the complaint for illegal dismissal filed by herein petitioner Pedro Chavez. and Mr. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION. from Mariveles. at the time of his alleged dismissal. SUPREME PACKAGING. is in the business of manufacturing cartons and other packaging materials for export and distribution. and returning thereto in the afternoon two or three days after. DECISION CALLEJO. his (the petitioner¶s) desire to avail himself of the benefits that the regular employees were receiving such as overtime pay. SR. affirming that of the Labor Arbiter. 2005] PEDRO CHAVEZ. respondent company¶s plant manager.ON EMPLOYER-EMPLOYEE RELATIONSHIP [G. It engaged the services of the petitioner. nightshift differential pay. 1998 of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). the petitioner was tasked to deliver the respondent company¶s products from its factory in Mariveles. 2000 of the Court of Appeals (CA) reversing its Decision dated April 28.. Sometime in 1992. January 17. to its various customers. Although he promised to extend these benefits to the petitioner. as truck driver on October 25. . the petitioner was paid the sum of P350. and 13th month pay. mostly in Metro Manila. The deliveries were made in accordance with the routing slips issued by respondent company indicating the order. 146530.m.: Before the Court is the petition for review on certiorari of the Resolution dated December 15.R. INC. Inc. As such. Initially. J. and ALVIN LEE. petitioner. 1984. the petitioner expressed to respondent Alvin Lee. 1998 which. Most of the petitioner¶s delivery trips were made at nighttime. vs. 2000 in CA-G.00 per trip.. Pedro Chavez. the petitioner was receiving P900. Bataan. Inc. 52485. Alvin Lee. time and urgency of delivery. Supreme Packaging. The said NLRC decision similarly reversed its earlier Decision dated January 27. among others. No. ruled that the petitioner had been illegally dismissed by respondents Supreme Packaging. commencing at 6:00 p. Plant Manager.00 per trip and. respondent Lee failed to actually do so. The assailed resolution reinstated the Decision dated July 10. respondents. SP No. This was later adjusted to P480. The case stemmed from the following facts: The respondent company.R. The respondent company furnished the petitioner with a truck.00 per trip.
5. the Social Security System Act. That for the amount involved. by these presents. The Contractor shall exercise direct control and shall be responsible to the Principal for the cost of any damage to. following the same route mentioned. including damages incurred in connection therewith. Otherwise. by nature of their specialized line or service jobs. Before the case could be heard. on May 25. the Employees Compensation Act. shall only cover travel route from Mariveles to Metro Manila. 2.]. The respondents.00) Pesos and Effective December 15. or due to reckless [sic] of its men utilized for the purpose above mentioned. finished products or the like. for their part. The said contract provided as follows: That the Principal [referring to Supreme Packaging. or any other such law or decree that may hereafter be enacted. RAB-III-02-6181-95. accepts the services to be rendered to the Principal. the payment on a per trip basis. are not employees who will be indemnified by the Principal for any such claim. 13th month pay. among others. under the following terms and covenants heretofore mentioned: 1. to wit: a) If the hauling or delivery service shall require a truck of six wheeler. That the payment to be made by the Principal for any hauling or delivery transport services fully rendered by the Contractor shall be on a per trip basis depending on the size or classification of the truck being used in the transport service. The case was docketed as NLRC Case No. Consequently.On February 20. They averred that the petitioner was an independent contractor as evidenced by the contract of service which he and the respondent company entered into. it being clearly understood that any truck drivers. Pampanga. 1995. If the hauling or delivery service require a truck of ten wheeler. cargoes.00) and EFFECTIVE December 15. That the Contractor shall have absolute control and disciplinary power over its men working for him subject to this agreement. 1995. That the inland transport delivery/hauling activities to be performed by the contractor to the principal. Inc. 1984. shall be THREE HUNDRED FIFTY (P350. and that the Contractor shall hold the Principal free and harmless from any liability or claim that may arise by virtue of the Contractor¶s non-compliance to the existing provisions of the Minimum Wage Law. respondent company terminated the services of the petitioner. 4. while the same are in transit. nightshift differential pay. III of the NLRC in San Fernando. agrees to hire and the Contractor [referring to Pedro Chavez]. . the payment on a per trip basis from Mariveles to Metro Manila shall be THREE HUNDRED PESOS (P300. the petitioner filed a complaint for regularization with the Regional Arbitration Branch No. unfair labor practice and non-payment of overtime pay. 1984. the Contractor will be to [sic] provide for [sic] at least two (2) helpers. loss of any goods. helpers or men working with and for the Contractor. the petitioner filed an amended complaint against the respondents for illegal dismissal. any change to this travel route shall be subject to further agreement by the parties concerned. denied the existence of an employer-employee relationship between the respondent company and the petitioner. b) 3.
his backwages shall continue to run. P140. After the parties had filed their respective pleadings. Except for the rates to be paid to the petitioner. The respondents. and/or MR. the terms of the contracts were substantially the same. 1997. with business address at BEPZ. Also to pay complainant his 13th month pay.««P 10. P248..800. it was noted that the petitioner had discharged his duties as truck driver for the respondent company for a continuous and uninterrupted period of more than ten years. ordering said respondent to pay complainant his separation pay equivalent to one (1) month pay per year of service based on the average monthly pay of P10. Bataan guilty of illegal dismissal.. maintained that they did not dismiss the petitioner. 1984. Hence.800. Mariveles. night shift differential pay and service incentive leave pay hereunder computed as follows: a) b) c) Backwages «««««««.400. The dispositive portion of the Labor Arbiter¶s decision states: WHEREFORE. on July 10. for lack of a valid and just cause therefor and for their failure to observe the due process requirements. INC..6. The respondents insisted that the petitioner had the sole control over the means and methods by which his work was accomplished. The contract of service invoked by the respondents was declared null and void as it constituted a circumvention of the constitutional provision affording full protection to labor and security of tenure. As such. The Labor Arbiter found that the petitioner¶s dismissal was anchored on his insistent demand to be regularized. 1989 and September 28. the severance of his contractual relation with the respondent company was due to his violation of the terms and conditions of their contract. The relationship of the respondent company and the petitioner was allegedly governed by this contract of service. The Labor Arbiter declared that the petitioner was a regular employee of the respondent company as he was performing a service that was necessary and desirable to the latter¶s business. judgment is hereby rendered declaring respondent SUPREME PACKAGING. This contract of service was dated December 12. finding the respondents guilty of illegal dismissal. 1995 up to January 31. subject to renewal on a year-to-year basis. Moreover. He paid the wages of his helpers and exercised control over them.00 .«.00 Separation Pay ««««. in the light of the foregoing. It was subsequently renewed twice. 1992.400.00 13th month pay ««««. This contract shall take effect immediately upon the signing by the parties. otherwise. the petitioner was not entitled to regularization because he was not an employee of the respondent company. thereby exposing respondent company to unnecessary significant expenses of overhauling the said truck. the respondents were found guilty of illegal dismissal. 1997 (cut-off date) until compliance. The petitioner allegedly failed to observe the minimum degree of diligence in the proper maintenance of the truck he was using. likewise. the Labor Arbiter rendered the Decision dated February 3.00 in lieu of reinstatement as his reinstatement back to work will not do any good between the parties as the employment relationship has already become strained and full backwages from the time his compensation was withheld on February 23. Rather. Plant Manager. ALVIN LEE.
the NLRC stated that the respondents did not exercise control over the means and methods by which the petitioner accomplished his delivery services. 1998 Decision of the NLRC. The respondents sought reconsideration of the January 27. Said contract. he performed a service that was indispensable to the latter¶s business. as it affirmed in toto the decision of the Labor Arbiter. The appellate court rendered the Decision dated April 28. the truck that he drove belonged to the respondent company. Zamora. The NLRC. Acting thereon.00 Respondent is also ordered to pay ten (10%) of the amount due the complainant as attorney¶s fees. 1998. not an employee of the respondent company. 1998. he had been the respondent company¶s truck driver for ten continuous years. 1998 Decision but it was denied by the NLRC in its Resolution dated September 7. the NLRC rendered another Decision dated July 10. The NLRC ruled that the contract of service was not intended to circumvent Article 280 of the Labor Code on the regularization of employees. reversing its earlier decision and. The petitioner sought reconsideration of the July 10. The respondents seasonably interposed an appeal with the NLRC. dismissed the petitioner¶s complaint for illegal dismissal. However. Inc. having been knowingly and voluntarily entered into by the parties thereto was declared valid citing Brent School. 1998 Decision of the NLRC and reinstating the decision of the Labor Arbiter. It upheld the validity of the contract of service as it pointed out that said contract was silent as to the time by which the petitioner was to make the deliveries and that the petitioner could hire his own helpers whose wages would be paid from his own account. 1998. The CA also reasoned that the petitioner could not be considered an independent contractor since he had no substantial capital in the form of tools and machinery. The routing slips indicated the . thus.d) Service Incentive Leave Pay . In fact. 2000. wanted to evade the effects and implications of his becoming a regularized employee. In the said decision.00 TOTAL P401. taking advantage of the petitioner¶s unfamiliarity with the English language and/or legal niceties. These factors indicated that the petitioner was an independent contractor. The CA also observed that the routing slips that the respondent company issued to the petitioner showed that it exercised control over the latter. In reconsidering its earlier decision. including the fixed period of employment contained therein. reversing the July 10. which was referred to the CA following the ruling in St. holding that no employer-employee relationship existed between the respondent company and the petitioner. Martin Funeral Home v.640. the NLRC characterized the contract of service between the respondent company and the petitioner as a ³scheme´ that was resorted to by the respondents who.. In the said decision. He then filed with this Court a petition for certiorari. NLRC. the appeal was dismissed by the NLRC in its Decision dated January 27. this time.040. the CA ruled that the petitioner was a regular employee of the respondent company because as its truck driver. Further. v. SO ORDERED. 2.
Where from the circumstances it is apparent that a contract has been entered into to preclude acquisition of tenurial security by the employee. according to the CA. The CA cited the following circumstances: (1) the respondents had no say on how the goods were to be delivered to the customers. we rule that with the proliferation of contracts seeking to prevent workers from attaining the status of regular employment. the urgency of certain deliveries and the time when the goods were to be delivered to the customers. In reconsidering its decision. In its April 28. The fact that the petitioner had been with the respondent company for more than ten years was. the recourse to this Court by the petitioner. should be given the force and effect of law as between the respondent company and the petitioner. However. This contract. 1998 Decision of the NLRC dismissing the petitioner¶s complaint for illegal dismissal. the ³contract of service´ is just another attempt to exploit the unwitting employee and deprive him of the protection of the Labor Code by making it appear that the stipulations of the parties were governed by the Civil Code as in ordinary transactions. likewise. (2) the petitioner had the right to employ workers who would be under his direct control. the CA explained that the extent of control exercised by the respondents over the petitioner was only with respect to the result but not to the means and methods used by him. Hence. The CA. and (3) the petitioner had no working time. 2000 Resolution of the appellate court alleging that: (A) THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN GIVING MORE CONSIDERATION TO THE ³CONTRACT OF SERVICE´ ENTERED INTO BY PETITIONER AND PRIVATE RESPONDENT THAN ARTICLE 280 OF THE LABOR CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES WHICH CATEGORICALLY DEFINES A . the CA reinstated the July 10. not being contrary to morals. of no moment because his status was determined not by the length of service but by the contract of service. This actuation of the petitioner negated the respondents¶ allegation that he abandoned his job. the respondents were declared guilty of illegal dismissal and the decision of the Labor Arbiter was reinstated. it is but necessary for the courts to scrutinize with extreme caution their legality and justness. Consequently. 2000 Decision. disbelieved the respondents¶ claim that the petitioner abandoned his job noting that he just filed a complaint for regularization. public order or public policy. The CA held that the respondents failed to discharge their burden to show that the petitioner¶s dismissal was for a valid and just cause.chronological order and priority of delivery. He assails the December 15. on motion for reconsideration by the respondents. the CA made a complete turn around as it rendered the assailed Resolution dated December 15. the CA denounced the contract of service between the respondent company and the petitioner in this wise: In summation. 2000 upholding the contract of service between the petitioner and the respondent company. good customs. they should be struck down and disregarded as contrary to public policy and morals. In this case. Accordingly.
 The most important element is the employer¶s control of the employee¶s conduct. or other method of calculating the same. and may or may not acquire an employment status. Second. Third. the respondents did not present the payroll to support their claim that the petitioner was not their employee. One may be paid on the basis of results or time expended on the work. it was the respondents who engaged the services of the petitioner without the intervention of a third party. deductions made. but also as to the means and methods to accomplish it. every employer is required to pay his employees by means of payroll. task. Undeniably. capable of being expressed in terms of money.´ That the petitioner was paid on a per trip basis is not significant. which is payable by an employer to an employee under a written or unwritten contract of employment for work done or to be done. however designated. among other things. Moreover. Wages are defined as ³remuneration or earnings. (3) the power of dismissal. raising speculations whether this omission proves that its presentation would be adverse to their case. Interestingly. it cannot be gainsaid that the petitioner received compensation from the respondent company for the services that he rendered to the latter. depending on whether the elements of an employer-employee relationship are present or not. (2) the payment of wages. (B) THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN REVERSING ITS OWN FINDINGS THAT PETITIONER IS A REGULAR EMPLOYEE AND IN HOLDING THAT THERE EXISTED NO EMPLOYER-EMPLOYEE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PRIVATE RESPONDENT AND PETITIONER IN AS MUCH AS THE ³CONTROL TEST´ WHICH IS CONSIDERED THE MOST ESSENTIAL CRITERION IN DETERMINING THE EXISTENCE OF SAID RELATIONSHIP IS NOT PRESENT. The payroll should show. the employee¶s rate of pay. The threshold issue that needs to be resolved is whether there existed an employeremployee relationship between the respondent company and the petitioner. or for service rendered or to be rendered. whether fixed or ascertained on a time. We rule in the affirmative. The elements to determine the existence of an employment relationship are: (1) the selection and engagement of the employee. This is merely a method of computing compensation and not a basis for determining the existence or absence of employer-employee relationship. not only as to the result of the work to be done. The respondents¶ power to dismiss the petitioner was inherent in the fact that they engaged the services of the petitioner as truck driver. piece or commission basis. and the amount actually paid to the employee. All the four elements are present in this case. under the Rules Implementing the Labor Code. and (4) the employer¶s power to control the employee¶s conduct.REGULAR EMPLOYMENT NOTWITHSTANDING ANY WRITTEN AGREEMENT TO THE CONTRARY AND REGARDLESS OF THE ORAL AGREEMENT OF THE PARTIES. First. In this case. They exercised this power .
These circumstances. 2nd drop. an employee is subject to the employer¶s power to control the means and methods by which the employee¶s work is to be performed and accomplished. Bataan. This meant that the petitioner had to deliver the same according to the order of priority indicated therein. 2776. On the other hand. showed whether the goods were to be delivered urgently or not by the word RUSH printed thereon. to wit: at its office in Metro Manila at 2320 Osmeña Street. work. the words ³tomorrow morning´ was written on slip no.  3. Compared to an employee. 2. The routing slips also indicated the exact time as to when the goods were to be delivered to the customers as. b. 3rd drop. the petitioner performed the delivery services exclusively for the respondent company for a continuous and uninterrupted period of ten years. Moreover. the chronological order and priority of delivery such as 1st drop. likewise.  a. Fourth. Although the respondents denied that they exercised control over the manner and methods by which the petitioner accomplished his work. where and when the petitioner would perform his task by issuing to him gate passes and routing slips. for example. The routing slips.by terminating the petitioner¶s services albeit in the guise of ³severance of contractual relation´ due allegedly to the latter¶s breach of his contractual obligation. of the four elements of the employer-employee relationship. while an independent contractor enjoys independence and freedom from the control and supervision of his principal. Makati City or at BEPZ. Hence. a careful review of the records shows that the latter performed his work as truck driver under the respondents¶ supervision and control. The routing slips indicated on the column REMARKS. an independent contractor is one who carries on a distinct and independent business and undertakes to perform the job. to park the truck in either of two specific places only. to the Court¶s mind. or service on its own account and under its own responsibility according to its own manner and method. etc. c. free from the control and direction of the principal in all matters connected with the performance of the work except as to the results thereof. Mariveles. he did not possess substantial capitalization or investment in the form of tools. Respondents directed the petitioner. prove that the respondents exercised control over the means and methods by which the petitioner accomplished his work as truck driver of the respondent company. As earlier opined. after completion of each delivery. machinery and work premises. Their right of control was manifested by the following attendant circumstances: 1. The truck driven by the petitioner belonged to respondent company. There was an express instruction from the respondents that the truck shall be used exclusively to deliver respondent company¶s goods. Evidently. and 4. the ³control test´ is the most important. the Court is hard put to believe the respondents¶ allegation that the petitioner was an independent contractor engaged in providing delivery or hauling services when he did not even own the truck used for such services. Respondents determined how. .
 Thus. these two factors must concur: (1) the failure to report for work or absence without valid or justifiable reason. Having established that there existed an employer-employee relationship between the respondent company and the petitioner. To constitute abandonment. an employee who is unjustly dismissed is entitled to reinstatement. the employment status of a person is defined and prescribed by law and not by what the parties say it should be. the respondents failed to prove any such cause for the petitioner¶s dismissal. as in this case. his violation of the terms and conditions of the contract.The contract of service to the contrary notwithstanding. without loss of seniority rights and other . the petitioner did not intend to sever his relationship with the respondent company for at the time that he allegedly abandoned his job. and (2) a clear intention to sever employer-employee relationship. we are very much inclined to believe complainant¶s story that his dismissal from the service was anchored on his insistent demand that he be considered a regular employee. They insinuated that the petitioner abandoned his job.e. more so when it includes a prayer for reinstatement. the petitioner just filed a complaint for regularization. which was forthwith amended to one for illegal dismissal. the facts clearly show otherwise. the employer bears the burden to prove that the dismissal was for a valid and just cause. Indeed. Neither can the respondents¶ claim that the petitioner was guilty of gross negligence in the proper maintenance of the truck constitute a valid and just cause for his dismissal. the lack of a valid and just cause in terminating the services of the petitioner renders his dismissal illegal. Obviously. As a rule. It bears stressing that the existence of an employer-employee relationship cannot be negated by expressly repudiating it in a contract and providing therein that the employee is an independent contractor when.. The Court agrees with the following findings and conclusion of the Labor Arbiter: « As against the gratuitous allegation of the respondent that complainant was not dismissed from the service but due to complainant¶s breach of their contractual relation. It evinces a thoughtless disregard of consequences without exerting any effort to avoid them. The single and isolated act of the petitioner¶s negligence in the proper maintenance of the truck alleged by the respondents does not amount to ³gross and habitual neglect´ warranting his dismissal. to warrant removal from service. 1995. Because complainant in his right senses will not just abandon for that reason alone his work especially so that it is only his job where he depends chiefly his existence and support for his family if he was not aggrieved by the respondent when he was told that his services as driver will be terminated on February 23. the factual circumstances earlier discussed indubitably establish the existence of an employer-employee relationship between the respondent company and the petitioner. i. The negligence. or the entire absence of care. the Court shall now determine whether the respondents validly dismissed the petitioner. A charge of abandonment is totally inconsistent with the immediate filing of a complaint for illegal dismissal. In this case. Gross negligence implies a want or absence of or failure to exercise slight care or diligence. Under Article 279 of the Labor Code. should not merely be gross but also habitual.
. as held by the Labor Arbiter.: . TEOFILO B. JR. GENARO OLIVES. BOBIAS. and to the payment of full backwages. JUANITO NAVARRO. 2000 of the Court of Appeals reversing its Decision dated April 28. PATRICIO SERRANO. the circumstances obtaining in this case do not warrant the petitioner¶s reinstatement. RAB-III-02-6181-5. computed from the time his compensation was withheld from him up to the time of his actual reinstatement. Montecillo and Ongsiako Law Office for private respondents. ANTONIO BOCALING and GODOFREDO CUETO. VIRGILIO ECHAS. respondents. FEDERICO OÑATE. LAMBERTO RONQUILLO. DANILO B. RONALDO B. ENRIQUE CAMAHORT.R. PROSPERO TABLADA. allowances and other benefits. No. 1997 of the Labor Arbiter in NLRC Case No. vs. CACATIAN. ERNESTO VILLANUEVA. the instant petition is GRANTED.. 1987 "BROTHERHOOD" LABOR UNITY MOVEMENT OF THE PHILIPPINES. Siguion Reyna. DOMINGO PARINAS. J.privileges. PRESIDENTIAL ASSISTANT FOR LEGAL AFFAIRS. petitioners. ANTONIO B. ET AL. HON. INCIONG. NESTORIO MARCELLANA. inclusive of allowances. ANGELITO AMANCIO. GUTIERREZ. CARLOS SUMOYAN. NORBERTO GALANG. SO ORDERED. ANTONIO CASBADILLO. as found by the Labor Arbiter. ERNESTO BENGSON. is REINSTATED. ZAMORA. EGUIA. would be an award of separation pay equivalent to one month for every year of service from the time of his illegal dismissal up to the finality of this judgment in addition to his full backwages. SECOND DIVISION G. UNDERSECRETARY OF LABOR. 2000 in CA-G. HON. MATIAR. L-48645 January 7. RUFO L. Ampil for petitioners. 52485 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Armando V. AMADO G. SP No. A more equitable disposition. WHEREFORE. finding the respondents guilty of illegally terminating the employment of petitioner Pedro Chavez.R. SAN MIGUEL CORPORATION. The Resolution dated December 15. and other benefits or their monetary equivalent. However. The Decision dated February 3. OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT.
contains a brief summary of the facts involved: 1. Lim found for complainants which was concurred in by the NLRC in a decision dated June 28. The amount of backwages awarded. Labor Arbiter Nestor C. 1976. . The disputed decision of public respondent Ronaldo Zamora. The petitioners strongly argue that there exists an employer-employee relationship between them and the respondent company and that they were dismissed for unionism. however. 1977. The dispute was taken over by the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) with the decreed abolition of the CIR and the hearing of the case intransferably commenced on September 8. and the following officers: Enrique Camahort. They worked as "cargadores" or "pahinante" at the SMC Plant loading. stressing the absence of an employer-mployee relationship as borne out by the records of the case. 875 and of Legal dismissal." Unrebutted evidence and testimony on record establish that the petitioners are workers who have been employed at the San Miguel Parola Glass Factory since 1961. averaging about seven (7) years of service at the time of their termination. equipment and paraphernalia used in the loading. BLUM filed a complaint with the now defunct Court of Industrial Relations. The petitioners first reported for work to Superintendent-in-Charge Camahort.. and that management dismissed the individual complainants when they insisted on their union membership. unloading. they accompanied the company trucks on their delivery routes. unloading. Federico Ofiate Feliciano Arceo.The elemental question in labor law of whether or not an employer-employee relationship exists between petitioners-members of the "Brotherhood Labor Unit Movement of the Philippines" (BLUM) and respondent San Miguel Corporation.. Presidential Assistant for legal Affairs. On appeal. They were issued gate passes signed by Camahort and were provided by the respondent company with the tools. 1976. set aside the NLRC ruling. It was alleged that respondents ordered the individual complainants to disaffiliate from the complainant union. Melencio Eugenia Jr. charging San Miguel Corporation. is the main issue in this petition. piling or palleting empty bottles and woosen shells to and from company trucks and warehouses. an act constituting unfair labor practice "for which respondents must be made to answer. respondents moved for the dismissal of the complaint on the grounds that the complainants are not and have never been employees of respondent company but employees of the independent contractor. On their part. While pending with the Court of Industrial Relations CIR pleadings and testimonial and documentary evidences were duly presented. sub-sections (1) and (4) of Republic Act No. On February 9. that respondent company has never had control over the means and methods followed by the independent contractor who enjoyed full authority to hire and control said employees. Antonio Bocaling and Godofredo Cueto of unfair labor practice as set forth in Section 4 (a). was reduced by NLRC to the equivalent of one (1) year salary. piling and hauling operation. The records disclose that on July 11. and that the individual complainants are barred by estoppel from asserting that they are employees of respondent company. the Secretary in a decision dated June 1. 1975. At times. although the actual hearing was delayed by several postponements. . Ernesto Villanueva. 1969..
depending wholly on the volume of bottles manufactured to be loaded and unloaded. inhuman treatment. work. the petitioners pressed management. the assistant informs the warehousemen and checkers regarding the same. and payment to the petitioners in accordance with payrolls prepared by said leaders. Believing themselves entitled to overtime and holiday pay. denied entrance to respondent company's glass factory despite their regularly reporting for work. 1969. as well as the business activity of the company. the complainant union through its officers headed by National President Artemio Portugal Sr. Work in the glass factory was neither regular nor continuous. The petitioners worked exclusive at the SMC plant. unload. This is then made the basis of a report or statement which is compared with the notes of the checker and warehousemen as to whether or not they tally. On February 12. thereafter. For this. San Miguel refused to bargain with the petitioner union alleging that the workers are not their employees. according to the number of cartons and wooden shells they were able to load. their gripes and grievances were not heeded by the respondents. 1969. . relays said orders to the capatazes or group leaders who then give orders to the workers as to where. the petitioner workers ² numbering one hundred and forty (140) organized and affiliated themselves with the petitioner union and engaged in union activities. distribution. coerced by withholding their salaries. pallet or clean.at times. Sometime in January. when and what to load. The latter. Petitioners were paid every ten (10) days on a piece rate basis. Final approval of report is by officer-in-charge Camahort. the petitioners would return to work at the glass plant. On February 6. However. making a shutdown necessary. 1969. the group leader gets a participation or share of ten (10%) percent plus an additional amount from the earnings of each individual. they were neither paid overtime nor compensation for work on Sundays and holidays.Job orders emanated from Camahort.. unload. 1969. However. never having been assigned to other companies or departments of SMC plant. all the petitioners were dismissed from their jobs and. presented a letter to the respondent company containing proposals and/or labor demands together with a request for recognition and collective bargaining. pile. At the scheduled conference on February 19. the petitioner union filed a notice of strike with the Bureau of Labor Relations in connection with the dismissal of some of its members who were allegedly castigated for their union membership and warned that should they persist in continuing with their union activities they would be dismissed from their jobs. union member Rogelio Dipad was dismissed from work. being forced to borrow at usurious rates of interest and to buy raffle tickets. or pile. that is. Thereafter. thereafter. On February 20. When any of the glass furnaces suffered a breakdown. The group leader notes down the number or volume of work that each individual worker has accomplished. The pay check is given to the group leaders for encashment. In turn. From the total earnings of the group. Several conciliation conferences were scheduled in order to thresh out their differences. airing other grievances such as being paid below the minimum wage law. and salary deductions made without their consent. 1969. The orders are then transmitted to an assistant-officer-incharge. exceeded the eight (8) hour day and necessitated work on Sundays and holidays. The case reaches us now with the same issues to be resolved as when it had begun. A complaint for illegal dismissal and unfair labor practice was filed by the petitioners. the petitioners work was temporarily suspended. Work did not necessarily mean a full eight (8) hour day for the petitioners. even when the volume of work was at its minimum.
Jur. Mafinco Trading Corp. The existence of an independent contractor relationship is generally established by the following criteria: "whether or not the contractor is carrying on an independent business. 5. See also 27 AM. supra. The facts and evidence on record negate respondent SMC's claim. therefore regular employees (Phil. each of the petitioners had worked continuously and exclusively for the respondent company's shipping and warehousing department. Despite respondent company's allegations not an iota of evidence was offered to prove the same or its particulars. materials and labor. the term and duration of the relationship. Ople. of the Phils. Fishing Boat Officers and Engineers Union v. National Labor Relations Commission. the duty to supply the premises tools. medicare. 131 SCRA 72). the control and supervision of the work to another. social security. As we have found in RJL Martinez Fishing Corporation v. The records fail to show that a large commercial outfit. Such failure makes respondent SMC's stand subject to serious doubts. In determining the existence of an employer-employee relationship. Sec. Applying the above criteria. and unionism. Independent Contractor. 70 SCRA 139). minimum wage. v. the elements that are generally considered are the following: (a) the selection and engagement of the employee. The Social Security System. Considering the length of time that the petitioners have worked with the respondent company. Court of Industrial Relations. National Labor Relations Commission (supra): . (b) the payment of wages. the nature and extent of the work and the term and duration of the relationship. (Mafinco Trading Corporation v. v. the nature and extent of the work. and the petitioners are. such as the San Miguel Corporation. Some businessmen try to avoid the bringing about of an employer-employee relationship in their enterprises because that judicial relation spawns obligations connected with workmen's compensation. 127 SCRA 454).The question of whether an employer-employee relationship exists in a certain situation continues to bedevil the courts. 3(2). (c) the power of dismissal. Uncontroverted is the fact that for an average of seven (7) years. entered into mere oral agreements of employment or labor contracting where the same would involve considerable expenses and dealings with a large number of workers over a long period of time. Sec. the employer's power with respect to the hiring. Highly unusual and suspect is the absence of a written contract to specify the performance of a specified piece of work. is the called "control test" that is the most important element (Investment Planning Corp. Ople. the right to assign the performance of a specified piece of work. the skill required. the control of the premises. firing and payment of the contractor's workers. termination pay. and the mode. appliances. It. 485 and Annex 75 ALR 7260727) None of the above criteria exists in the case at bar. 21 SCRA 924. an independent labor contracting firm. and (d) the employer's power to control the employee with respect to the means and methods by which the work is to be accomplished. the evidence strongly indicates the existence of an employer-employee relationship between petitioner workers and respondent San Miguel Corporation. there is justification to conclude that they were engaged to perform activities necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the respondent. 46. The respondent asserts that the petitioners are employees of the Guaranteed Labor Contractor. Ople. 112 SCRA 159 and RJL Martinez Fishing Corporation v. Inc. v.and Rosario Brothers. manner and terms of payment" (56 CJS Master and Servant.
The premises. the petitioners. equipment and paraphernalia used by the petitioners in their jobs are admittedly all supplied by respondent company. The continuity and habituality of petitioners' work bolsters their claim of employee status vis-a-vis respondent company. and (2) The contractor has substantial capital or investment in the form of tools. machineries. unloading the catch of tuna fish from respondents' vessels and then loading the same to refrigerated vans. [T]he employer-employee relationship between the parties herein is not coterminous with each loading and unloading job. So that the activities performed by herein complainants.. tools. respondents' activity of catching fish is a continuous process and could hardly be considered as seasonal in nature. nevertheless. The payment of the workers' wages is a critical factor in determining the actuality of an employeremployee relationship whether between respondent company and petitioners or between the alleged independent contractor and petitioners. in the sense that it does not depend on any specific project or seasonable activity.e. suggesting the existence of a "labor only" contracting scheme prohibited by law (Article 106. Section 8. This circumstance makes the employment of complainants a regular one. or assigned elsewhere until the present controversy arose. Rollo). equipment. In fact. Under this situation. which consists of a space at respondent company's warehouse. in the maintenance thereof or in the payment of its workers' salaries. It is important to emphasize that in a truly independent contractor-contractee relationship. Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Labor Code). free from the control and direction of his employer or principal in all matters connected with the performance of the work except as to the results thereof. fail. work premises. 109 of the Labor Code.. p. chair. respondent's case will. are necessary or desirable in the business of respondents. are provided for by respondent SMC. promptly returned to their jobs. typewriter and cabinet. table. Book III of the Implementing Rules of the Labor Code provides: Job contracting. and other materials which are necessary in the conduct of his business. As earlier shown. (NLRC Decision. i. Rule VIII. 94. For this purpose. even the alleged contractor's office.. It is therefore clear that the alleged contractors have no capital outlay involved in the conduct of its business. We find that Guaranteed and Reliable Labor contractors have neither substantial capital nor investment to qualify as an independent contractor under the law. Even under the assumption that a contract of employment had indeed been executed between respondent SMC and the alleged labor contractor. lwphl@ itç so as it with petitioners in the case at bar. ² There is job contracting permissible under the Code if the following conditions are met: (1) The contractor carries on an independent business and undertakes the contract work on his own account under his own responsibility according to his own manner and method. In fact. despite past shutdowns of the glass plant for repairs. The term of the petitioners' employment appears indefinite. Book III. the fees are paid directly to the manpower agency in lump sum without indicating or implying that the basis of such lump sum is the salary per worker multiplied by . they have a fleet of fishing vessels. Rule VIII. Section 9(b). respondents are engaged in the business of fishing. never having been replaced. It is only the manpower or labor force which the alleged contractors supply. thereafter.
635). arrived at by adding the salaries of each worker which depend on the volume of work they. wooden shells and bottles each worker was able to load. to be applied whenever agreed upon. Units of time . how many ways are there to load and unload bottles and wooden shells? The mere concern of both respondent SMC and the alleged contractor is that the job of having the bottles and wooden shells brought to and from the warehouse be done. is the strongest indication of respondent company's right of control over the petitioners as direct employer. Court of Appeals (39 SCRA 629. These are based on payrolls. Firmly establishing respondent SMC's role as employer is the control exercised by it over the petitioners that is. to wit: . Documentary evidence presented by the petitioners establish respondent SMC's right to impose disciplinary measures for violations or infractions of its rules and regulations as well as its right to recommend transfers and dismissals of the piece workers. This is the rule inSocial Security System v." Article 106 of the Labor Code provides the legal effect of a labor only contracting scheme. There is no evidence to show that the alleged labor contractor had such right of control or much less had been there to supervise or deal with the petitioners. warehousemen and checkers. . accounts for the petitioners' charge of unauthorized deductions from their salaries by the respondents. had accomplished individually. Because of the nature of the petitioners' work as cargadores or pahinantes. and units of work are in establishments like respondent (sic) just yardsticks whereby to determine rate of compensation. . we merely have to cite our rulings in Dy Keh Beng v. Anent the argument that the petitioners are not employees as they worked on piece basis.. which. unload. even as to Abner Bungay who is alleged by SMC to be a representative of the alleged labor contractor. Nor is the profit or gain of the alleged contractor in the conduct of its business provided for as an amount over and above the workers' wages. International Labor and Marine Union of the Philippines (90 SCRA 161). the alleged contractor receives a percentage from the total earnings of all the workers plus an additional amount corresponding to a percentage of the earnings of each individual worker. pile or pallet and see whether they tally. The amount paid by respondent company to the alleged independent contractor considers no business expenses or capital outlay of the latter. The alleged independent contractors in the case at bar were paid a lump sum representing only the salaries the workers were entitled to. The inter-office memoranda submitted in evidence prove the company's control over the petitioners. More evident and pronounced is respondent company's right to control in the discipline of petitioners.. For. reports or statements prepared by the workers' group leader. the person or intermediary shall be considered merely as an agent of the employer who shall be responsible to the workers in the same manner and extent as if the latter were directly employed by him. perhaps. as follows: "[C]ircumstances must be construed to determine indeed if payment by the piece is just a method of compensation and does not define the essence of the relation. as well as in disciplinary measures imposed by it. where they note down the number of cartons. supervision as to the means and manner of performing the same is practically nil. We cannot construe payment by the piece where work is done in such an establishment so as to put the worker completely at liberty to turn him out and take in another at pleasure. That respondent SMC has the power to recommend penalties or dismissal of the piece workers. .the number of workers assigned to the company. Instead. control in the means and methods/manner by which petitioners are to go about their work.
The petitioners were dismissed allegedly because of the shutdown of the glass manufacturing plant. Concepcion. 106231 November 16. it is clear that the respondent company had an existing collective bargaining agreement with the IBM union which is the recognized collective bargaining representative at the respondent's glass plant. GULMATICO. The Labor Code provides the proper procedure for the recognition of unions as sole bargaining representatives. Regional Arbitration Branch No. the respondent SMC is ordered to pay the petitioners separation pay equivalent to one (1) month pay for every year of service. The respondent's shutdown was merely temporary. WHEREFORE. who were then agitating the respondent company for benefits. As to the charge of unfair labor practice because of SMC's refusal to bargain with the petitioners. However.R. New workers manned their positions. There is no showing that petitioners had been remiss in their obligations and inefficient in their jobs to warrant their separation. This must be followed. No. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING. where reinstatement is no longer possible. It is apparent that the closure of respondent's warehouse was merely a ploy to get rid of the petitioners. Regala & Cruz for petitioner. 1994 HAWAIIAN-PHILIPPINE COMPANY. the petition is GRANTED. Operations continued after such repairs. the petitioners cannot merely form a union and demand bargaining. but the petitioners had already been refused entry to the premises and dismissed from respondent's service. respondents. one of its furnaces needing repair. SO ORDERED G. REYNALDO J. Respondent company would have us believe that this was a case of retrenchment due to the closure or cessation of operations of the establishment or undertaking. . Labor Arbiter. VI. Manlapao. Angara. reforms and collective bargaining as a union. petitioner. vs. But such is not the case here. Ymballa and Chaves for private respondent. AND NATIONAL FEDERATION OF SUGAR WORKERS-FOOD AND GENERAL TRADES representing all the sugar farm workers of the HAWAIIAN PHILIPPINE MILLING DISTRICT. with three (3) years backwages. Abella. There being a recognized bargaining representative of all employees at the company's glass plant. The San Miguel Corporation is hereby ordered to REINSTATE petitioners.
in part: WHEREFORE.A 809. respondent union filed an "Opposition to Motion to Dismiss. J.) On July 31. Respondent union claimed that the sugar farm workers within petitioner's milling district have never availed of the benefits due them under the law. 1992 issued by public respondent Labor Arbiter Reynaldo J. Gulmatico denying petitioner's motion for "Claims on R. are hereby DENIED. the dispositive portion of which reads. Petitioner contended that public respondent Labor Arbiter has no jurisdiction to entertain and resolve the case. 9. 1990. the National Federation of Sugar Workers-Food and General Trades (NFSW-FGT) filed RAB VI Case No.A. the motion to dismiss dated July 31. Sixty per centum of the increase participation for the laborers and forty per centum for the planters. it is provided." On October 3. 1989. 06-07-10256-89 against herein petitioner HawaiianPhilippine Company for claims under Republic Act 809 (The Sugar Act of 1952).1989. 59) The antecedent facts are as follows: On July 4. 1989. 1989 and the supplement thereto dated September 19. otherwise known as the Sugar Act of 1952. 1989. In addition to the benefits granted by the Minimum Wage Law. The distribution of the share corresponding to the laborers shall be made under the supervision of the Department of Labor. to wit: Sec. petitioner filed a "Motion to Dismiss. xxx xxx xxx (Rollo. p. petitioner applied a "Reply to Opposition" followed by a "Citation of Authorities in Support of Motion to Dismiss.BIDIN." .: This petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction seeks to annul the Order dated June 29. and that respondent union has no cause of action against petitioner. On August 23. respectively. 1989 filed by respondent company together with the motion to dismiss filed by respondent Ramon Jison dated August 27. the proceeds of any increase in participation granted to planters under this Act and above their present share shall be divided between the planter and his laborers in the following proportions. Under Section 9 of R. xxx xxx xxx (Emphasis supplied. 06-07-10256-89. 1989. premises considered." followed by a "Supplemental Motion to Dismiss" on September 19. respondent union. 809" in RAB VI Case No. 1990 and Francisco Jison dated September 20.
and the Associate Planters of Silay-Saravia. as amended. Alberto Amacio. Cases arising from any violation of Article 264 of this Code. within thirty (30) calendar days after the submission of the case by the parties for decision without extension. ² (a) Except as otherwise provided under this Code. 1989. 1990. Jose Maria Regalado. whether public respondent Labor Arbiter has jurisdiction to hear and decide the case against petitioner. If accompanied with a claim for reinstatement. On June 29. 5. Rodolfo Gamboa. 3. respondent union filed an amended complaint additionally impleading as complainants Efren Elaco. moral. 2. Petitioner reasserts the two lesson earlier raised in its Motion to Dismiss which public respondent unfavorably resolved in the assailed Order. and the second. Ramon Jison. Jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters and the Commission. public respondent promulgated the assailed Order denying petitioner's Motion to Dismiss and Supplemental Motion to Dismiss. including questions involving the legality of strikes and lockouts. Bienvenido Gulmatico. Termination disputes. considering that no employer-employee relationship exists between petitioner milling company and the farm workers represented by respondent union. 217. the following cases involving all workers. Ramon Jison. rates of pay. Petitioner contends that the complaint filed against it cannot be categorized under any of the cases falling within the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter as enumerated in Article 217 of the Labor Code. Article 217 of the Labor Code provides: Art. Francisco Jison and all other sugar planters milling their canes with petitioner from 1979 up to the present. whether agricultural or non-agricultural: 1. exemplary and other forms of damages arising from employer-employee relations. Unfair labor practice cases. Claims for actual. those cases that workers may file involving wages. even in the absence of stenographic notes. and . 4. Hence. one of the respondents impleaded in the amended complaint. whether respondent union and/or the farm workers represented by it have a cause of action against petitioner. These two issues are first. the Labor Arbiters shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide. Inc." praying for the inclusion as corespondents of the Asociacion de Hacenderos de Silan-Saravia. and as respondents. Inc. Mario Casociano and all the other farm workers of the sugar planters milling with petitioner from 1979 up to the present. hours of work and other terms and conditions of employment. Narciso Vasquez. this petition filed by Hawaiian-Philippine Company. 1992. Rolly Hernaez. filed a "Motion to Dismiss and/or to Include Necessary Parties. On August 27.On December 20.
the laborers and the Department of Labor.00). .000.6. all other claims arising from employer-employee relations. 1. the matter of paying the plantation laborers of the respective planters becomes exclusively the concern of the planters. this Court held that: . 854 dated May 1. to wit: . the latter cites the ruling in San Miguel Corporation vs. supra. under Letter of Instruction No. or some aspect or incident of such relationship. . . Likewise. Section 1 thereof states: Sec. Payment subject to supervision. 1979. 107 SCRA 411 . . Except claims for employees' compensation. petitioner contends that it is not a proper party and has no involvement in the case filed by respondent union as it is not the employer of the respondent sugar workers. . 1952. . Under no principle of law or equity can we impose on the Central ² here VICTORIAS any liability to the respective plantation . petitioner cites the Rules and Regulations Implementing RA 809 issued by the then Wage Administration Service pursuant to the Administrative Order of the Labor Secretary dated October 1. Nowhere in Republic Act 809 (the Sugar Act of 1952) can we find anything that creates any relationship between the laborers of the planters and the centrals. . wherein it was held that a single unifying element runs through the cases and disputes falling under the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter and that is that all the enumerated cases and disputes arise out of or are in connection with an employer-employee relationship. From the beginning of the sugar industry. . . (Emphasis supplies) In support of the contention that the Labor Arbiter has no jurisdiction to hear and decide the case against petitioner. 161 SCRA 719 . the centrals have never had any privity with the plantation laborers. whether or not accompanied with a claim for reinstatement. to bolster its contention. in Federation of Free Farmers vs. . 809 was categorically ruled upon in the Federation of Free Farmers case. (Emphasis supplied) In addition. The workers' share shall be paid directly by the planter concerned to the workers or claimants entitled thereto subject to the supervision of the Minister of Labor or his duly designated representative. (Emphasis supplied) On the strength of the aforecited authorities. social security.A. Under no principle of law or equity can we impose on the central . involving an amount exceeding Five Thousand Pesos (P5. since they had their own laborers to take care of. The responsibility for the payment of the sugar workers' benefits under R. NLRC.. medicare from maternity benefits. Furthermore. The payment of the proceeds derived from the sixty per centum of any increase in the participation due the laborers shall be directly paid to the individual laborer concerned at the end of each milling season by his respective planter under the Supervision of the Secretary of Labor or his duly authorized representative by means of payrolls prepared by said planter. . . including those of persons in domestic or household service. . it is provided: 1. . Court of Appeals. . . . . . any liability to the plantation laborers.
laborers, should any of their respective planters-employers fail to pay their legal share. After all, since under the law it is the Department of Labor which is the office directly called upon to supervise such payment, it is but reasonable to maintain that if any blame is to be fixed for the unfortunate situation of the unpaid laborers, the same should principally be laid on the planters and secondarily on the Department of Labor, but surely never on the central. Whatever liability there exists between favor of the plantation laborers should be pinned on the PLANTERS, their respective employers. (Emphasis supplied) On the other hand, public respondent and respondent union maintain the position that privity exists between petitioner and the sugar workers. Actually, public respondent, in resolving petitioner's Motion to Dismiss, skirted the issue of whether an employer-employee relationship indeed exists between petitioner milling company and the sugar workers. He did not categorically rule thereon but instead relied on the observation that when petitioner delivered to its planters the quedans representing its share, petitioner did not first ascertain whether the shares of all workers or claimants were fully paid/covered pursuant to LOI No. 854, and that petitioner did not have the necessary certification from the Department of Labor attesting to such fact of delivery. In view of these observations, public respondent subscribed to the possibility that petitioner may still have a liability vis-a-vis the workers' share. Consequently, in order that the workers would not have to litigate their claim separately, which would be tantamount to tolerating the splitting of a cause of action, public respondent held that petitioner should still be included in this case as an indispensable party without which a full determination of this case would not be obtained. We find for petitioner. The Solicitor General, in its adverse Comment, correctly agreed with petitioner's contention that while the jurisdiction over controversies involving agricultural workers has been transferred from the Court of Agrarian Relations to the Labor Arbiters under the Labor Code as amended, the said transferred jurisdiction is however, not without limitations. The dispute or controversy must still fall under one of the cases enumerated under Article 217 of the Labor Code, which cases, as ruled in San Miguel, supra., arise out of or are in connection with an employer-employee relationship. In the case at bar, it is clear that there is no employer-employee relationship between petitioner milling company and respondent union and/or its members-workers, a fact which, the Solicitor General notes, public respondent did not dispute or was silent about. Absent the jurisdictional requisite of an employer-employee relationship between petitioner and private respondent, the inevitable conclusion is that public respondent is without jurisdiction to hear and decide the case with respect to petitioner. Anent the issue of whether respondent union and/or its members-workers have a cause of action against petitioner, the same must be resolved in the negative. To have a cause of action, the claimant must show that he has a legal right and the respondent a correlative duty in respect thereof, which the latter violated by some wrongful act or omission (Marquez vs. Varela, 92 Phil. 373 ). In the instant case, a simple reading of Section 9 of R.A. 809 and Section 1 of LOI 845 as aforequoted, would show that the payment of the workers' share is a liability of the plantersemployers, and not of the milling company/sugar central. We thus reiterate Our ruling on this matter, as enunciated in Federation of Free Farmers, supra., to wit:
. . . . Nowhere in Republic Act No. 809 can we find anything that creates any relationship between the laborers of the planters and the centrals. Under the terms of said Act, the old practice of the centrals issuing the quedans to the respective PLANTERS for their share of the proceeds of milled sugar per their milling contracts has not been altered or modified. In other words, the language of the Act does not in any manner make the central the insurer on behalf of the plantation laborers that the latter's respective employersplanters would pay them their share. . . . . . . . Accordingly, the only obligation of the centrals (under Section 9 of the Act), like VICTORIAS, is to give to the respective planters, like PLANTERS herein, the planters' share in the proportion stipulated in the milling contract which would necessarily include the portion of 60% pertaining to the laborers. Once this has been done, the central is already out of the picture. . . . (Emphasis supplied) In the case at bar, it is disputed that petitioner milling company has already distributed to its planters their respective shares. Consequently, petitioner has fulfilled its part and has nothing more to do with the subsequent distribution by the planters of the workers' share. Public respondent's contention that petitioner is an indispensable party is not supported by the applicable provisions of the Rules of Court. Under Section 7, Rule 3 thereof, indispensable parties are "parties in interest" without whom no final determination of the action can be obtained. In this case, petitioner cannot be deemed as a party in interest since there is no privity or legal obligation linking it to respondent union and/or its members-workers. In order to further justify petitioner's compulsory joinder as a party to this case, public respondent relies on petitioners' lack of certification from the Department of Labor of its delivery of the planters' shares as evidence of an alleged "conspicuous display of concerted conspiracy between the respondent sugar central (petitioner) and its adherent planters to deprive the workers or claimants of their shares in the increase in participation of the adherent planters." (Rollo, p. 56) The assertion is based on factual conclusions which have yet to be proved. And even assuming for the sake of argument that public respondent's conclusions are true, respondent union's and/or its workers' recourse lies with the Secretary of Labor, upon whom authority is vested under RA 809 to supervise the payment of the workers' shares. Any act or omission involving the legal right of the workers to said shares may be acted upon by the Labor Secretary either motu proprio or at the instance of the workers. In this case however, no such action has been brought by the subject workers, thereby raising the presumption that no actionable violation has been committed. Public respondent is concerned that the respondent planters may easily put up the defense that the workers' share is with petitioner milling company, giving rise to multiplicity of suits. The Solicitor General correctly postulates that the planters cannot legally set up the said defense since the payment of the workers' share is a direct obligation of the planters to their workers that cannot be shifted to the miller/central. Furthermore, the Solicitor General notes that there is nothing in RA 809 which suggests directly or indirectly that the obligation of the planter to pay the workers' share is dependent upon his receipt from the miller of his own share. If indeed the planter did not receive his just and due share from the miller, he is not without legal remedies to enforce his rights. The proper recourse against a reneging miller or central is for the planter to implead the former not as an indispensable party but as a third party defendant under Section 12, Rule 6 of the Rules of Court. In such case, herein petitioner milling company would be a proper third party dependent because it is directly liable to the planters (the original defendants) for all or part of the workers' claim. However,
the planters involved in this controversy have not filed any complaint of such a nature against petitioner, thereby lending credence to the conclusion that petitioner has fulfilled its part vis-a-vis its obligation under RA 809. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is GRANTED. Public respondent Reynaldo J. Gulmatico is hereby ORDERED to DISMISS RAB VI Case No. 06-07-10256-89 with respect to herein petitioner Hawaiian-Philippine Company and to PROCEED WITH DISPATCH in resolving the said case. SO ORDERED.
[G.R. No. 159890. May 28, 2004]
EMPERMACO B. ABANTE, JR., petitioner, vs. LAMADRID BEARING & PARTS CORP. and JOSE LAMADRID, President, respondents. DECISION
This is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure assailing the Decision dated March 7, 2003 of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. SP No. 73102 which affirmed the Resolution dated April 2, 2002 of the National Labor Relations Commission. Petitioner was employed by respondent company Lamadrid Bearing and Parts Corporation sometime in June 1985 as a salesman earning a commission of 3% of the total paid-up sales covering the whole area of Mindanao. His average monthly income was more or less P16,000.00, but later was increased to approximately P20,269.50. Aside from selling the merchandise of respondent corporation, he was also tasked to collect payments from his various customers. Respondent corporation had complete control over his work because its President, respondent Jose Lamadrid, frequently directed him to report to a particular area for his sales and collection activities, and occasionally required him to go toManila to attend conferences regarding product competition, prices, and other market strategies. Sometime in 1998, petitioner encountered five customers/clients with bad accounts, namely:
petitioner sent a letter addressed to Atty. When he brought the matter of his SSS coverage to his employer.39 as shown in the hereto attached Summary of Sales as of February 28. the latter berated and hurled invectives at him and.60) and as of . Not contented with the issuance of the foregoing checks as security for the bad accounts.431. as their corresponding values would be offset from petitioner¶s sales commissions.412. Despite serious misgivings.76 191. May I respectfully request for a consideration as to the payment of the amount covered by the said checks.18 56. Due to financial difficulties. as follows: 1. counsel for respondent corporation sent a letter to petitioner demanding that he make good the dishonored checks or pay their cash equivalent. Meneses. 210.´ On March 22.62 Petitioner was confronted by respondent Lamadrid over the bad accounts and warned that if he does not issue his own checks to cover the said bad accounts.16 P 687. which he later discovered to be a Promissory Note and a Deed of Real Estate Mortgage. his commissions will not be released and he will lose his job. petitioner inquired about his membership with the Social Security System in order to apply for a salary loan.Customers/Clients 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) A&B Engineering Services Emmanuel Engineering Services Panabo Empire Marketing Southern Fortune Marketing Alreg Marketing Less Returns: 691. contrary to their agreement. respondents ³tricked´ petitioner into signing two documents. 2001.208. 2001 which I received on March 30.50 226.458.00 56.20 126.02 Total Bad Accounts Amount P 86. In response. Pursuant to the parties¶ agreement that the checks would not be deposited. 2001 (P22. which reads: This has reference to your demand letter dated March 22. deposited the remaining checks which were dishonored by the drawee bank due to ³Account Closed. he issued his personal checks in favor of respondent corporation on condition that the same shall not be deposited for clearing and that they shall be offset against his periodic commissions. 901. he learned that he was not covered by the SSS and therefore was not entitled to any benefit.858.166. counsel for respondent corporation. 2001. To his dismay. respondents returned the same to petitioner as evidenced by the undeposited checks and respondent Lamadrid¶s computations of petitioner¶s commissions.748. I have an earned commission in the amount of P33. relative to the checks I issued to my employer LAMADRID BEARING PARTS CORPORATION.
On April 2.000. which I offer to be charged or deducted as partial payment thereof.000. Thank you very much.664.000. I hereby commit One Hundred Percent (100%) of all my commission to be directly charged or deducted as payment. If I am not wrong your company did not exactly declare the correct amount of P90. having served the Company for the last sixteen (16) years.000. until such time that payment will be completed. from date onward. Sirs. to wit: Dear Mr. Sir. 2001 (P10. This is to inform your good office that if you pursue the case against me. 2001. I¶m sincerely appealing to my employer. Sir. as is shown by my willingness to continue working as Commission Salesman. petitioner sent another letter to respondent Lamadrid. I wonder why your company forcibly instructed me to secure checking account to pay and issue check payment of . Jesus Dureza to solicit proper legal advice. I have not signed any contract with your company stating that all uncollected accounts including bounced checks from Lamadrid Bearing & Parts Corp. to settle these accountabilities which all resulted from the checks issued by my customers which bounced and later charged to my account. I may also file counter charges against your company of (sic) unfair labor practice and unfair compensation of 3% commission to my sales and commissions of more or less 90.000. Paul Dominguez and Atty. 2. will be charged to me. in the manner afore-cited.March 31.00 more or less representing my sales and collections (all collected and covered with cleared check payments to the Bureau of Internal Revenue [BIR] for tax declaration purposes). kindly convey my good faith to your client and my employer. In short your company profited large amount of money to (sic) the above-mentioned sales and collections of P90. I remember that upon my employment with your company last 1985 up to the present year 2001 as commission basis salesman. I may refer this problem to Mr. through you.000. May this request merit your kindest consideration. Lamadrid.79).00 more or less for 16 years working with your company.00 (all collected and covered with cleared check payments) for 16 years working with your company up to the present year 2001.
Davao City.000. (5) neither has the respondent withheld his taxes nor was he enrolled as an employee of the respondent under the Social Security System and Philhealth. (2) he does not have a monthly salary nor has he received any benefits accruing to regular employment. before the NLRC Regional Arbitration Branch No. Recalling your visit here at my Davao City residence..00 for my 16 years employment with your company as commission basis salesman. . petitioner received a subpoena from the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila for violations of Batas Pambansa Blg. In the interim. Petitioner thus filed a complaint for illegal dismissal with money claims against respondent company and its president. XI. San Vicente Buhangin Davao City. way back 1998. customers. Lamadrid never furnished me a copy.P15. Very truly yours. San Vicente. Jose C. (3) he was not required to report for work on a daily basis but would occasionally drop by the Manila office when he went to Manila for some other purpose. you even forced me to sign mortgage contract of my house and lot located at Zone 1 2nd Avenue. (4) he was not given the usual pay-slip to show his monthly gross compensation. consignment and installment basis and selling the same to his customers for profit and commission of 3% out of his total paid-up sales. While doing his usual rounds as commission salesman. located at Zone 1 2nd Avenue. Jr. Jose Lamadrid. Abante. By way of defense. Jose Lamadrid this mortgage contract of my house and lot will serve as guarantee to the uncollected and bounced checks from Lamadrid Bearing and Parts Corp.00 per month to cover your company¶s bad accounts in which this amount is too heavy on my part paying a total bad accounts of more than P650. I have asked 1 copy of the mortgage contract I have signed but Mr. according to Mr. petitioner was handed by his customers a letter from the respondent company warning them not to deal with petitioner since it no longer recognized him as a commission salesman. 22 filed by respondent Lamadrid. communications with the respondents that his relationship with the latter was strictly commission basis salesman. Davao City. procuring and purchasing auto parts and supplies from the latter on credit. letters. respondents countered that petitioner was not its employee but a freelance salesman on commission basis.000. (Sgd) Empermaco B. Buhangin. Respondents cite the following as indicators of the absence of an employeremployee relationship between them: (1) petitioner constantly admitted in all his acts.
as shown by certifications issued by the said companies. SO ORDERED. ABANTE. Upon denial of his motion for reconsideration. a new judgment is entered dismissing the instant case for lack of cause of action. SO ORDERED. premises considered. which are engaged in the same line of business as that of respondent. the National Labor Relations Commission reversed the decision of the Labor Arbiter in a Resolution dated April 5. petition is hereby DENIED. the decretal portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. Let the supersedeas bond dated 09 January 2002. the sum of PESOS ONE MILLION THREE HUNDRED THIRTY SIX THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED TWENTY NINE AND 62/100 ONLY (P1. On appeal. SO ORDERED. issued the Philippine Charter Insurance Corporation be cancelled and released. the appealed decision is Set Aside and Vacated. damages and attorney¶s fees. refund of deductions.(6) he was in fact working as commission salesman of five other companies.. the Appeal is GRANTED. which rendered the assailed judgment on March 7. he should not have executed the Promissory Note and the Deed of Real Estate Mortgage. premises considered judgment is hereby rendered DECLARING respondents LAMADRID BEARING & PARTS CORPORATION AND JOSE LAMADRID to pay jointly and severally complainant EMPERMACO B. the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. Finding no necessity for further hearing the case after the parties submitted their respective position papers. 2003.729. 2001. In lieu thereof. petitioner filed the instant appeal based on the following grounds: I . Accordingly. 2002. JR. the Labor Arbiter rendered a decision dated November 29. back wages (partial) unpaid commissions. (7) if respondent owed petitioner his alleged commissions.336. Petitioner challenged the decision of the NLRC before the Court of Appeals.62) representing his awarded separation pay.
´ IS WANTING IN THIS CASE. III THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS IS AT WAR WITH THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED IN THIS CASE AS WELL AS WITH THE APPLICABLE LAW AND ESTABLISHED RULINGS OF THIS HONORABLE COURT. which is the most decisive element to determine such relationship. Petitioner likewise disputes the finding of the appellate court that no employeremployee relationship exists between him and respondent corporation since the power of control. WHICH IS THE ³CONTROL TEST. and sometimes he . was tasked to sell private respondent¶s merchandise in the Mindanao area and to collect payments of his sales from the customers. who was contracted a 3% of the total gross sales as his commission. is wanting. Initially. 10-97 Amending the Rules Implementing Books III and VI of the Labor Code. which suggests contracting or subcontracting under Department Order No. he must be a regular employee pursuant to Article 280 of the Labor Code because an employment shall be deemed to be regular where the employee has been engaged to perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer.THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS IN GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION ³MODIFIED´ THE IMPORT OF THE ³RELEVANT ANTECEDENTS´ AS ITS PREMISE IN ITS QUESTIONED DECISION CAUSING IT TO ARRIVE AT ERRONEOUS CONCLUSIONS OF FACT AND LAW. He argues that the following circumstances show that he was in truth an employee of the respondent corporation: (1) As salesman of the private respondents. he was bringing with him Provisional Receipts. Thus. samples of which are attached to his Position Paper filed with the Labor Arbiter. Not being an independent contractor. petitioner was also the one collecting payment of his sales from various customers. (2) Private respondents had complete control over the work of the petitioner. From time to time.´ He argues that this statement. is erroneous because the circumstances to warrant such conclusion do not exist. petitioner challenged the statement by the appellate court that ³petitioner. respondent JOSE LAMADRID was directing him to report to a particular area in Mindanao for his sales and collection activities. II THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN APPRECIATING THE TRUE FACTS OF THIS CASE THEREBY IT MADE A WRONG CONCLUSION BY STATING THAT THE FOURTH ELEMENT FOR DETERMINING EMPLOYER-EMPLOYEE RELATIONSHIP.
such that a dismal performance or even a dead result will not result in any sanction or provide a ground for dismissal. an employer-employee relationship is notably absent in this case. Although he had the whole of Mindanao as his base of operation. there is a need to reexamine the records to determine with certainty which of the propositions espoused by the contending parties is supported by substantial evidence. Considering the conflicting findings of fact by the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC as well as the Court of Appeals. The so-called ³control test´ is commonly regarded as the most crucial and determinative indicator of the presence or absence of an employer-employee relationship. The decisive factor in such finality is the presence of substantial evidence to support said finding. he was not designated by respondent to conduct his sales activities at any particular or specific place. Under the control test. is an employee of respondent corporation. Respondent company did not prescribe the manner of selling the merchandise. but also the manner and means to be used in reaching that end. Well-entrenched is the doctrine that the existence of an employer-employee relationship is ultimately a question of fact and that the findings thereon by the Labor Arbiter and the National Labor Relations Commission shall be accorded not only respect but even finality when supported by substantial evidence. He reasons that being a field personnel. an employer-employee relationship exists where the person for whom the services are performed reserves the right to control not only the end achieved. respondent JOSE LAMADRID was closely monitoring the sales and collection activities of the petitioner. as a commission salesman. such factual findings cannot be accorded finality by this Court. special offer (if competitors gave special offer or discounts). Yet no quota was imposed on him by the respondent. Of these four. (3) the presence or absence of the power of dismissal. who is covering the Mindanao area. In other words. he was left alone to adopt any style or strategy to entice his . It is undisputed that petitioner Abante was a commission salesman who received 3% commission of his gross sales. it would be impractical for him to report to the respondents¶ office in Manila in order to keep tab of his actual working hours. and (4) the presence or absence of the power of control. new prices (if any). the power of control is absent. namely: (1) the manner of selection and engagement. and other selling/marketing strategy.was required to go to Manila for a conference regarding competitions. He was not required to report to the office at any time or submit any periodic written report on his sales performance and activities. To ascertain the existence of an employer-employee relationship. jurisprudence has invariably applied the four-fold test. (2) the payment of wages. We are called upon to resolve the issue of whether or not petitioner. He pursued his selling activities without interference or supervision from respondent company and relied on his own resources to perform his functions. Petitioner further contends that it was illogical for the appellate court to conclude that since he was not required to report for work on a daily basis. as defined under Article 82 of the Labor Code. Applying the aforementioned test. the last one is the most important. otherwise.
or to security of tenure. it was intended not to control the manner and means to be used in reaching the desired end. He who asserts must prove. collection.e. i. After all. While in that case the term ³commission´ under Article 96 of the Labor Code was construed as being included in the definition of the term ³wage´ available to employees. it is difficult to imagine that petitioner. This lends credence to the respondent¶s assertion that petitioner procured the goods from the said company on credit. A fortiori. having directly contracted with the respondent company. regular employees and casual employees.customers. reports on sales. no relationship of employer-employee exists. and in turn is compensated according to the result of his efforts and not the amount thereof. we reiterated the rule that there could be no employer-employee relationship where the element of control is absent. NLRC. v. It merely distinguishes between two kinds of employees. a salesman of long standing. for purposes of determining their rights to certain benefits. Article 280 does not apply where the existence of an employment relationship is in dispute. NLRC. market strategies. there is no categorical pronouncement that the payment of compensation on commission basis is conclusive proof of the existence of an employer-employee relationship. petitioner was free to offer his services to other companies engaged in similar or related marketing activities as evidenced by the certifications issued by various customers. consignment or installment basis and then sold the same to various customers. price listings and new offers relayed by petitioner during his conferences to Manila do not indicate that he was under the control of respondent. may be availed of by both an employee or a non-employee. Moreover. would accede without raising a protest to the patently capricious and oppressive demand by respondent of requiring him to assume bad accounts which. as he contended. it may equally be true that petitioner did so in recognition of a valid financial obligation. While it is true that he occasionally reported to the Manila office to attend conferences on marketing strategies. becomes . Where a person who works for another does so more or less at his own pleasure and is not subject to definite hours or conditions of work.. In Encyclopedia Britannica (Philippines). commission. he had not incurred. but to serve as a guide and to upgrade his skills for a more efficient marketing performance. It is therefore incumbent upon petitioner to overcome the disputable presumption that private transactions have been prosecuted fairly and regularly. Inc. and that there is sufficient consideration for every contract. such as to join or form a union. petitioner. We do not agree with petitioner¶s contention that Article 280 is a crucial factor in determining the existence of an employment relationship. Neither can we subscribe to petitioner¶s misplaced reliance on the case of Songco v. While petitioner may have been coerced into executing force to issue the said documents. He who claims that force or intimidation was employed upon him lies the onus probandi. Petitioner decried the alleged intimidation and trickery employed by respondents to obtain from him a Promissory Note and to issue forty-seven checks as security for the bad accounts incurred by five customers. as a form of remuneration. As correctly observed by the appellate court. In the scheme of things. competitors.
MELENCIO-HERRERA.: . 73102. petitioner. is AFFIRMED in toto.responsible for the amount of merchandise he took from the respondent. Ranchez for petitioner. find no cogent reason to overturn the same. WHEREFORE. LARON. SP No. respondents.. the customer/s would be liable for their respective accounts to the seller. SO ORDERED ON LABOR DISPUTES FIRST DIVISION G. No.. Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Pangasinan. vs. All told. Branch XLIV and PEDRO GEMENIANO.e. HON. INC. with whom they contracted the sale.R. Nuelino B. Abante. CRISPIN C. Santos Areola for private respondent. L-65377 May 28.R. J. in view of the foregoing. 2003 in CA-G. the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated March 7. i. 1984 MOLAVE MOTOR SALES. which denied the petition of Empermaco B. we sustain the factual and legal findings of the appellate court and accordingly. and in turn. the petitioner.
Vouchers. hereto attached and marked as Annexes "A". or is. "E". Whether or not there was still a relationship of employer and employee between the parties when the complaint was filed is an unsettled question which need not be resolved in this instance. and he subsequently moved for dismissal. "H". repair jobs of his personal cars and cash advances. the DEFENDANT in the case below.38 excluding interests. "B". "D". "M". Debits Memos Deed of Absolute Sale.. to wit: (Emphasis supplied) DEFENDANT further alleged in a counterclaim that he should still be considered an employee of PLAINTIFF inasmuch as there has been no application for clearance in regards to his separation. presiding Branch XLIV of the Regional Trial Court in Dagupan City. Charge Invoices. Promissory Notes. that he incurred any unpaid unauthorized accounts with the plaintiff in the total sum of P33. Repair Orders. Private respondent. "I". Acknowledgement Letter and Statement of Account.Respondent Judge. "L". . At the pre-trial conference. was. (Emphasis supplied) In his Answer. It was then when respondent Judge dismissed the case finding that the sum of money and damages sued upon arose from employer-employee relationship and that jurisdiction belonged to the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC. faithful reproductions of the Vehicle Invoice. Vouchers. is a corporation engaged in the sale and repair of motor vehicles in Dagupan City.38 excluding interests therefor. Alleging that DEFENDANT was a former employee. Debit Memos. "J". the sales manager of PLAINTIFF. specifically denies under oath that the annexed Vehicle Invoice. Deed of Absolute Sale. and "N" respectively and the contents of which being herein additionally pleaded and made integral parts hereof. DEFENDANT denied . "C".890. and. Charge Invoices. the DEFENDANT raised the question of jurisdiction of the Court stating that PLAINTIFF's complaint arose out of employer-employee relationship. Repair Orders. "F". "G". Promissory Notes. PLAINTIFF in the case below. 1983. arising from the purchases of vehicles and parts. Acknowledgement Letter and Statement of Account have remained unpaid as in fact the truth of the matter is as follows. on March 22. Petitioner. for payment of accounts pleaded as follows: That during his incumbency as such the defendant caused and without authority from the plaintiff incurred accounts with the remaining balances in the total sum of P33. had dismissed the case below for lack of jurisdiction and had denied reconsideration for lack of merit. PLAINTIFF had sued him. "K"..890.
116 SCRA 597. although a controversy is between an employer and an employee. social security. and for the purchase price of vehicles and parts sold to him. unless expressly excluded by this Code. although the parties were an employer and two employees. ² (a) The Labor Arbiters shall have the original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide within thirty (30) working days after submission of the case by the parties for decision. in negating jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter. The primary relief sought is for liquidated damages for breach of a contractual obligation. Justice Abad Santos stated: The pivotal question to Our mind is whether or not the Labor Code has any relevance to the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs. separation pay and other benefits provided by law or appropriate agreement. not the Labor Arbiters and the NLRC. 1982. overtime compensation. including those based on non-payment or underpayment of wages. the following was said: Stated differently. the principle followed by this Court was that. Unfair labor practice cases. Such being the case. All money claims of workers. Hence. Theirs is a simple action for damages for tortious acts allegedly committed by the defendants. under paragraph 5 of Article 217 of the Labor Code had jurisdiction over "all other cases arising from employer-employee relation. Those that ( involve) WORKERS MAY FILE INVOLVING wages. petitioner seeks protection under the civil laws and claims no benefits under the Labor Code. 122 SCRA 671. Castro-Bartolome. such as payment of wages. intrinsically a civil dispute. 2. 227 on June 1. hours of work and other terms and conditions of employment." Even then. and maternity benefits. whether agricultural or non-agricultural: 1. The items claimed are the natural consequences flowing from breach of an obligation. Mr. For if the Labor Code has no relevance.Before the enactment of BP Blg. 604. except claims for employees compensation. The other items demanded are not labor benefits demanded by workers generally taken cognizance of in labor disputes. 3. Jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters and the Commission. the Labor Arbiters have no jurisdiction if the Labor Code is not involved. 217. 227 has amended Article 217 of the Labor Code to read as follows: ART. . the following cases involving all workers. overtime compensation or separation pay. It results that the orders under review are based on a wrong premise. and it does not breach any provision of the Labor Code or the contract of employment of DEFENDANT. And in Singapore Airlines Limited vs. 677. It is obvious from the complaint that the plaintiffs have not alleged any unfair labor practice. Labor Arbiters. the governing statute is the Civil Code and not the Labor Code. The cause of action was one under the civil laws. Paño. any discussion concerning the statutes amending it and whether or not they have retroactive effect is unnecessary. the civil courts. PLAINTIFF had sued for monies loaned to DEFENDANT. should have jurisdiction. In the case below. the cost of repair jobs made on his personal cars. In Medina vs. BP Blg. Those accounts have no relevance to the Labor Code.
while the amendments introduced are capitalized). unless expressly excluded by this Code]. The dismissal of the case below on the ground that the sum of money and damages sued upon arose from employer-employee relationship was erroneous.: . All other claims arising from employer-employee relations. No costs. WHEREFORE. No. and 5. Cases involving household services. 80774 May 31. because the latter has not sought clearance for his separation from the service. (Italics and bracketed portions indicate the deletions. CASES ARISING FROM ANY VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 265 OF THIS CODE. 1988 SAN MIGUEL CORPORATION.4. SO ORDERED THIRD DIVISION G. Siguion Reyna. FELICIANO. will not affect the jurisdiction of respondent Judge to resolve the complaint of PLAINTIFF. petitioner. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and RUSTICO VEGA. 6.R. The claim of DEFENDANT that he should still be considered an employee of PLAINTIFF. Montecillo & Ongsiako Law Offices for petitioner. The Solicitor General for public respondent. DEFENDANT could still be liable to PLAINTIFF for payment of the accounts sued for even if he remains an employee of PLAINTIFF. INCLUDING QUESTIONS INVOLVING THE LEGALITY OF STRIKES AND LOCKOUTS. and respondent Judge is hereby ordered to take cognizance of the case below and to render judgment therein accordingly. the Petition is granted. There is no difficulty on our part in stating that those in the case below should not be faulted for not being aware of the last amendment to the frequently changing Labor Code. respondents. vs. Claims arising from employer-employee relations are now limited to those mentioned in paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 217. J.
. Mr.. . These effects are usually caused by underpasteurization time and the pasteurzation units for beer grande were almost similar to those of the steinie. except [ED-HO staff. RAB-VII-0170-83) was filed against petitioner Corporation with Regional Arbitration Branch No. a Complaint 2 (docketed as Case No. Proposed lnnovation (Attach necessary information) In order to minimize if not elienate underpasteurization of beer grande." and was supposed to eliminate certain alleged defects in the quality and taste of the product "San Miguel Beer Grande:" Title of Proposal Modified Grande Pasteurization Process Present Condition or Procedure At the early stage of beer grande production." and that the same "ultimately and finally solved the problem of the Corporation in the production of Beer Grande. The RBF's were found to have sediments and their contents were hazy. the self-life (sic) of beer grande will also be increased. Vega having improperly bypassed the grievance machinery procedure prescribed under a then existing collective bargaining agreement between management and employees. increasing the pasteurization time and the pasteurization acts for grande beer. VII (Cebu City) of the then. Ministry of Labor and Employment. however. 3 petitioner Corporation alleged that private respondent had no cause of action. Frivate respondent Vega alleged there that his proposal "[had] been accepted by the methods analyst and implemented by the Corporation [in] October 1980.". and litigation expenses closed out petitioner's pleading. Vega's subsequent demands for a cash award under the Innovation Program. On 22 February 1983. attorney's fees.00 (the maximum award per proposal offered under the Innovation Program) and attorney's fees. In an Answer With Counterclaim and Position Paper. Mandaue City.000. Among other things. A counterclaim for moral and exemplary damages.. reduce the speed of the beer grande pasteurizer thereby. private respondent Rustico Vega submitted on 23 September 1980 an innovation proposal. It denied ever having approved or adopted Mr. Vega's proposal was entitled "Modified Grande Pasteurization Process." "SMC") and under which management undertook to grant cash awards to "all SMC employees ." Private respondent thus claimed entitlement to a cash prize of P60." Petitioner further alleged that the Labor Arbiter had no jurisdiction. and available administrative remedies provided under the rules of the Innovation Program. Mr. Vega's proposal as part of the Corporation's brewing procedure in the production of San Miguel Beer Grande. Petitioner Corporation. did not find the aforequoted proposal acceptable and consequently refused Mr. 1 Mr. Vega's proposal was tumed down by the company "for lack of originality" and that the same. "even if implemented [could not] achieve the desired result. Division Managers and higher-ranked personnel" who submit to the Corporation Ideas and suggestions found to be beneficial to the Corporation. petitioner stated that Mr. Vega at that time had been in the employ of petitioner Corporation for thirteen (1 3) years and was then holding the position of "mechanic in the Bottling Department of the SMC Plant Brewery situated in Tipolo. In this way.In line with an Innovation Program sponsored by petitioner San Miguel Corporation ("Corporation. several cases of beer grande full goods were received by MB as returned beer fulls (RBF).
However.000. the Labor Arbiter. 3. except claims for employees' compensation. Acting on the appeals. Unfair labor practice cases. hours of work and other terms and conditions of employment. seeks to annul the Decision of public respondent Commission in Case No. the appealed Order is hereby set aside and another udgment entered. Cases arising from any violation of Article 265 of this. overtime compensation. 2. .In an Order 4 dated 30 April 1986. including questions involving the legality of strikes and lockouts. social security. invoking Article 217 of the Labor Code. RAB-VII-01 70-83 upon the ground that the Labor Arbiter and the Commission have no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case. Vega the sum of P2.00 as explained above. All money claims of workers. noting that the money claim of complainant Vega in this case is "not a necessary incident of his employment" and that said claim is not among those mentioned in Article 217 of the Labor Code. order the respondent to pay the complainant the amount of P60." the Labor Arbiter also directed petitioner to pay Mr. SO ORDERED. In the present Petition for certiorari filed on 4 December 1987. and 5. 217. Jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters and the commission. Vega. the following cases involving are workers. private respondent Vega assailing the dismissal of his complaint for lack of jurisdiction and petitioner Corporation questioning the propriety of the award of "financial assistance" to Mr. on 4 September 1987. whether agricultural or non-agricultural: 1. including those based on nonpayment or underpayment of wages. petitioner Corporation." The Labor Arbiter's order was subsequently appealed by both parties. 4. dismissed the complaint for lack of jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters and the National Labor Relations Commission is outlined in Article 217 of the Labor Code. the public respondent National Labor Relations Commission. 5 the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. Cases involving household services. rendered a Decision. (a) The Labor Arbiters shall have the original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide within thirty (30) working days after submission of the case by the parties for decision.00 as "financial assistance. Code. in a gesture of "compassion and to show the government's concern for the workingman. 227 which took effect on 1 June 1982: ART.000. Those that workers may file involving wages. medicare and maternity benefits. as last amended by Batas Pambansa Blg. separation pay and other benefits provided by law or appropriate agreement.
fell within the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC. paragraph 2 (relating to claims concerning terms and conditions of employment). that they all refer to cases or disputes arising out of or in connection with an employeremployee relationship. were intended by the legislative authority to be taken away from the jurisdiction of the courts and lodged with Labor Arbiters on an exclusive basis. and even though earlier versions of Article 217 of the Labor Code expressly brought within the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiters and the NLRC "cases arising from employer employee relations. At the pre-trial in the lower court.(b) The Commission shall have exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all cases decided by Labor Arbiters. holding that the sum of money and damages sued for by the employer arose from the employer-employee relationship and. In Molave Motor Sales. <äre||anº1àw> Applying the foregoing reading to the present case. v. and which would therefore fall within the general jurisdiction of the regular courts of justice. in Article 217 as it exists today. For it cannot be presumed that money claims of workers which do not arise out of or in connection with their employer-employee relationship. paragraph 4 (claims relating to household services. Petitioner had sued private respondent for non-payment of accounts which had arisen from private respondent's own purchases of vehicles and parts. (Emphasis supplied) While paragraph 3 above refers to "all money claims of workers. private respondent raised the question of lack of jurisdiction of the court. or some aspect or incident of such relationship. Vega of his proposal concerning beer grande. a particular species of employeremployee relations). arose out of or in connection with his employment relationship with petitioner. in other words. while private respondent was the sales Manager of petitioner. therefore. The Court. Put a little differently. 227. The money claim of private respondent Vega in this case." it is not necessary to suppose that the entire universe of money claims that might be asserted by workers against their employers has been absorbed into the original and exclusive jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters. stating that because petitioner's complaint arose out of the employer-employee relationship. private respondent Vega's suit against petitioner Corporation would never have arisen. there would have been no occasion to consider the petitioner's Innovation Program or the submission by Mr. Blg. Inc. It is evident that there is a unifying element which runs through paragraphs 1 to 5 and that is. and any other paragraph of Article 217 of the Labor Code.P. as last amended by B. We reach the above conclusion from an examination of the terms themselves of Article 217. The next issue that must logically be confronted is whether the fact that the money claim of private respondent Vega arose out of or in connection with his employment relation" with petitioner Corporation. Laron. This is. Respondent Judge did dismiss the case. hence. repair jobs on cars personally owned by him. 7 the petitioner was a corporation engaged in the sale and repair of motor vehicles. that money claims of workers which now fall within the original and exclusive jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters are those money claims which have some reasonable causal connection with the employer-employee relationship. a situation where the rule of noscitur a sociis may be usefully invoked in clarifying the scope of paragraph 3. and cash advances from the corporation. as amended. Without the existing employer-employee relationship between the parties here. we note that petitioner's Innovation Program is an employee incentive scheme offered and open only to employees of petitioner Corporation. and paragraph 5 (relating to certain activities prohibited to employees or to employers). without that relationship. paragraph 3 should be read not in isolation from but rather within the context formed by paragraph 1 related to unfair labor practices)." 6 which clause was not expressly carried over. in printer's ink. In reversing the order of dismissal and . believes and so holds that the money claims of workers" referred to in paragraph 3 of Article 217 embraces money claims which arise out of or in connection with the employer-employee relationship. therefore. In the first place. it fell outside the jurisdiction of the court and consequently should be dismissed. is enough to bring such money claim within the original and exclusive jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters. more specifically to employees below the rank of manager.
any discussion concerning the statutes amending it and whether or not they have retroactive effect is unnecessary. Castro-Bartolome. although a controversy is between an employer and an employee. said: Before the enactment of BP Blg. unless. It is obvious from the complaint that the plaintiffs have not alleged any unfair labor practice. involved a claim for damages by two (2) employees against the employer company and the General Manager thereof. The primary relief sought is for liquidated damages for breach of a contractual obligation. the following was said: Stated differently. Theirs is a simple action for damages for tortious acts allegedly committed by the defendants. and for the purchase price of vehicles and parts sold to him. 604. in negating jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter. the Labor Arbiters have no jurisdiction if the Labor Code is not involved. The cause of action was one under the civil laws." Even then. 227 on June 1. Justice Melencio-Herrera. Those accounts have no relevance to the Labor Code. Castro-Bartolome. In Medina vs. not the Labor Arbiters and the NLRC should have jurisdiction. and it does not breach any provision of the Labor Code or the contract of employment of DEFENDANT. referred to in the above excerpt. Paño. Labor Arbiters. The other items demanded are not labor benefits demanded by workers generally taken cognizance of in labor disputes. 122 SCRA 671. 11 SCRA 597. In the case below. speaking through Mme. Such being the case. Mr. It results that the orders under review are based on a wrong premise. For if the Labor Code has no relevance. 8 It seems worth noting that Medina v. this Court. arising from the use of slanderous language on the occasion when the General Manager fired the two (2) employees (the Plant General Manager and the Plant Comptroller). petitioner seeks protection under the civil laws and claims no benefits under the Labor Code. 1982. Justice Abad Santos stated: The pivotal question to Our mind is whether or not the Labor Code has any relevance to the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs. although the parties were an employer and two employees. expressly excluded by this Code. the cost of repair jobs made on his personal cars. the principle followed by this Court was that. Hence the civil courts. And in Singapore Airlines Limited v. such as payment of wages. The items claimed are the natural consequences flowing from breach of an obligation. The Court treated the claim for damages as "a simple action for damages for tortious acts" allegedly committed . the governing statute is the Civil Code and not the Labor Code. overtime compensation or separation pay. intrinsically a civil dispute. 677. under paragraph 5 of Article 217 of the Labor Code had jurisdiction over" all other cases arising from employer-employee relation.requiring respondent Judge to take cognizance of the case below. PLAINTIFF had sued for monies loaned to DEFENDANT.
& Associates for petitioner. A.by private respondents. Singapore Airlines Limited v. whether or not it had been breached. involved a claim for liquidated damages not by a worker but by the employer company. but rather having recourse to our law on contracts. Applying the foregoing to the instant case. 109272 August 10. questions not to be resolved by referring to labor legislation and having nothing to do with wages or other terms and conditions of employment. LUCIA VIOLAGO ISNANI. and if so. whether or not an enforceable contract. such claims fall outside the area of competence or expertise ordinarily ascribed to Labor Arbiters and the NLRC and the rationale for granting jurisdiction over such claims to these agencies disappears. . therefore. SO ORDERED. respondents. resolution of the dispute requires expertise. WEREFORE. clearly if impliedly suggesting that the claim for damages did not necessarily arise out of or in connection with the employer-employee relationship. 1994 GEORG GROTJAHN GMBH & CO. though unilateral in origin. Sison. not in labor management relations nor in wage structures and other terms and conditions of employment. had arisen between petitioner Corporation and private respondent Vega in the circumstances of this case. Presiding Judge. the jurisdiction over the dispute belongs to the regular courts of justice and not to the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC. The important principle that runs through these three (3) cases is that where the claim to the principal relief sought 9 is to be resolved not by reference to the Labor Code or other labor relations statute or a collective bargaining agreement but by the general civil law. and that petitioner Corporation undertook to grant cash awards to employees who accept such invitation and whose innovation suggestions. 59.. and TEOFILO A. albeit implied arid innominate. Makati. No pronouncement as to costs. unlike Medina. but rather in the application of the general civil law.R. LANCHINEBRE. In such situations. Clearly. Regional Trial Court. vs. the Court notes that the SMC Innovation Program was essentially an invitation from petitioner Corporation to its employees to submit innovation proposals. RAB-VII-0170-83 is hereby DISMISSED. HON. Such undertaking. G. in the judgment of the Corporation's officials. satisfied the standards and requirements of the Innovation Program 10 and which. Br. The decision dated 4 September 1987 of public respondent National Labor Relations Commission is SET ASIDE and the complaint in Case No. No. are preeminently legal questions. LANCHINEBRE. also cited in Molave. the Petition for certiorari is GRANTED. Jr. without prejudice to the right of private respondent Vega to file a suit before the proper court. Paño. petitioner. could nonetheless ripen into an enforceable contractual (facio ut des) 11 obligation on the part of petitioner Corporation under certain circumstances. ROMANA R.M. if he so desires. Thus. could be translated into some substantial benefit to the Corporation.
the SEC issued a Certificate of Registration and License to petitioner. respondent judge issued the first impugned Order. On August 18. private respondent Romana failed to settle her obligation with petitioner.00) also with the NLRC Arbitration Branch (Manila).00). granting the motion to dismiss. 3 The two cases were consolidated. on September 20.000. exemplary and other forms of damages arising from an employer-employee relations.: Petitioner impugns the dismissal of its Complaint for a sum of money by the respondent judge for lack of jurisdiction and lack of capacity to sue. Lanchinebre was a sales representative of petitioner from 1983 to mid-1992. Laso for private respondents.00) from petitioner. Under Article 217 of the Labor Code of the Philippines. dated July 2. whether agricultural or non-agricultural: (4) claims for actual. 1992. 1983. Despite demand. On December 21. The records show that petitioner is a multinational company organized and existing under the laws of the Federal Republic of Germany. dismissal and non-payment of commissions against petitioner. The application was approved by the Board of Investments (BOI) on September 6. This was opposed by petitioner. 1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for the establishment of a regional or area headquarters in the Philippines. Of the total amount. 1983. PUNO. xxx xxx xxx . J. the Labor Arbiters shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide. moral. On July 6. On March 12. 2 Private respondent Romana R. petitioner filed an application. a Complaint for illegal suspension. Consequently. 1992.170.37) remained unpaid. Instead of filing their Answer. pursuant to Presidential Decree No.000. On September 2. the following cases involving all workers. 1983. within thirty (30) calendar days after the submission of the case by the parties for decision. On July 22.000. 1992. 92-2486 and raffled to the sala of respondent judge. 1983. private respondents moved to dismiss the Complaint. she made additional cash advances in the sum of ten thousand pesos (P10. On March 26 and June 10. 1992. petitioner in turn filed against private respondent a Complaint for damages amounting to one hundred twenty thousand pesos (P120. 218. viz: Jurisdiction over the subject matter or nature of the action is conferred by law and not subject to the whims and caprices of the parties.Pedro L. private respondent Romana Lanchinebre filed with the Arbitration Branch of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) in Manila. petitioner filed another Complaint for collection of sum of money against private respondents spouses Romana and Teofilo Lanchinebre which was docketed as Civil Case No. 1992. 1992. She held. twelve thousand one hundred seventy pesos and thirty-seven centavos (P12. she secured a loan of twenty-five thousand pesos (P25.
1993.000. Rule 8 of the Revised Rules of Court. Again. There is no averment in the complaint regarding (petitioner's) capacity to sue or be sued. There is no allegation in the complaint moreover that (petitioner) is suing under an isolated transaction. facts showing the capacity of a party to sue or be sued or the authority of a party to sue or be sued in a representative capacity or the legal existence of an organized association of persons that is made a party must be averred. social security. (petitioner's) claim being clearly incidental to the occupation or exercise of (respondent) Romana Lanchinebre's profession. pursuant to Presidential Decree No.00) regardless of whether or not accompanied with a claim for reinstatement. Finally. within the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Commission. involving an amount exceeding five thousand pesos (P5. II THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT PETITIONER HAS NO CAPACITY TO SUE AND BE SUED IN THE PHILIPPINES DESPITE THE FACT THAT PETITIONER IS DULY LICENSED BY THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION TO SET UP AND OPERATE A REGIONAL OR AREA HEADQUARTERS IN THE COUNTRY AND THAT IT HAS CONTINUOUSLY OPERATED AS SUCH FOR THE LAST NINE (9) YEARS. medicare and maternity benefits. It must be considered that under Section 4. Obviously the said cash advances were made pursuant to the employer-employee relationship between the (petitioner) and the said (private respondent) and as such. (respondent) husband should not be joined as party defendant. 4 On March 8. all other claims arising from employer-employee relations. 218 and its implementing rules and regulations. Petitioner now raises the following assignments of errors: I THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE REGULAR COURTS HAVE NO JURISDICTION OVER DISPUTES BETWEEN AN EMPLOYER AND AN EMPLOYEE INVOLVING THE APPLICATION PURELY OF THE GENERAL CIVIL LAW. the plaintiff (petitioner herein) seeks to recover alleged cash advances made by defendant (private respondent herein) Romana Lanchinebre while the latter was in the employ of the former. it is not disputed that the Certificate of Registration and License issued to the (petitioner) by the Securities and Exchange Commission was merely "for the establishment of a regional or area headquarters in the Philippines. In its complaint." It does not include a license to do business in the Philippines. including those of persons in domestic or household service.(6) Except claims for employees compensation. III . the respondent judge issued a minute Order denying petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration.
The jurisdiction of labor arbiters and the NLRC under Article 217 of the Labor Code is limited to disputes arising from an employer-employee relationship which can only be resolved by reference to the Labor Code. 122 SCRA 671. The items claimed are the natural consequences flowing from breach of an obligation. 604 in negating jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter. under paragraph 5 of Article 217 of the Labor Code had jurisdiction over "all other cases arising from employer-employee relation. petitioner seeks protection under the civil laws and claims no benefits under the Labor Code. overtime compensation or separation pay. It is true that the loan and cash advances sought to be recovered by petitioner were contracted by private respondent Romana Lanchinebre while she was still in the employ of petitioner. IV THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE HUSBAND IS NOT REQUIRED BY THE RULES TO BE JOINED AS A DEFENDANT IN A COMPLAINT AGAINST THE WIFE. the Labor Arbiters have no jurisdiction if the Labor Code is not involved. vs. The other items demanded are not labor benefits demanded by workers generally taken cognizance of in labor disputes. the following was said: Stated differently. Not every dispute between an employer and employee involves matters that only labor arbiters and the NLRC can resolve in the exercise of their adjudicatory or quasi-judicial powers. Castro-Bartolome. There is merit to the petition.THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE ERRONEOUS INCLUSION OF THE HUSBAND IN A COMPLAINT IS A FATAL DEFECT THAT SHALL RESULT IN THE OUTRIGHT DISMISSAL OF THE COMPLAINT. viz: Before the enactment of BP Blg. In this regard. other labor statutes. For if the Labor Code has no relevance. In Medina vs." Even then. 129 SCRA 485 (1984). such as payment of wages. 92-2486. Labor Arbiters. Firstly. Nonetheless. the principal followed by this Court was that. 1982. 677. 116 SCRA 597. intrinsically a civil dispute. Inc. any discussion concerning the statutes amending it and whether or not they have retroactive effect is unnecessary. or their collective bargaining agreement. The primary relief sought is for liquidated damages for breach of a contractual obligation. . it does not follow that Article 217 of the Labor Code covers their relationship. Mr. although the parties were an employer and two employees. Justice Abad Santos stated: The pivotal question to Our mind is whether or not the Labor Code has any relevance to the reliefs sought by plaintiffs. Laron. we held in the earlier case of Molave Motor Sales. xxx xxx xxx And in Singapore Airlines Limited vs. the trial court should not have held itself without jurisdiction over Civil Case No. although a controversy is between an employer and an employee. unless expressly excluded by this Code. 227 on June 1. Paño.
appointing representatives or distributors who are domiciled in the Philippines or who in any calendar year stay in the Philippines for a period or periods totalling one hundred eighty (180) days or more. Singapore Airlines. such claims fall outside the area of competence or expertise ordinarily ascribed to Labor Arbiters and the NLRC and the rationale for granting jurisdiction over such claims to these agencies disappears. and in progressive prosecution of. Secondly.D. Moreover.xxx xxx xxx In San Miguel Corporation vs. but rather in the application of the general civil law. NLRC. and in the process has named its local agent and has employed Philippine nationals like private respondent Romana Lanchinebre. we crystallized the doctrines set forth in the Medina. or the exercise of some of the functions normally incident to. it has been continuously. shall include soliciting orders. From this uninterrupted performance by petitioner of acts pursuant to its primary purposes and functions as a regional/area headquarters for its home office. vs. . 211 SCRA 824. So we held inMerrill Lynch Futures. 218. private respondents are estopped from assailing the personality of petitioner. opening offices. 6 In the case at bench. purchases. as debtor. not in labor management relations nor in wage structures and other terms and conditions of employment. Court of Appeals. Said law defines "doing business. Inc. participating in the management. Petitioner is covered by the Omnibus Investment Code of 1987. against private respondent Romana Lanchinebre. as creditor. It is clear that petitioner is a foreign corporation doing business in the Philippines. supervision or control of any domestic business firm. The fact that they were employer and employee at the time of the transaction does not negate the civil jurisdiction of the trial court. entity or corporation in the Philippines. the jurisdiction over the dispute belongs to the regular courts of justice and not to the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC. 5 There is no general rule or governing principle as to what constitutes "doing" or "engaging in" or "transacting" business in the Philippines. . . the trial court erred in holding that petitioner does not have capacity to sue in the Philippines. it is clear that petitioner is doing business in the country. The case does not involve adjudication of a labor dispute but recovery of a sum of money based on our civil laws on obligation and contract. and any other act or acts that imply a continuity of commercial dealings or arrangements and contemplate to that extent the performance of acts or works. whether called "liaison" offices or branches. acting as a supervision. since 1983. commercial gain or of the purpose and object of the business organization. petitioner does not engage in commercial dealings or activities in the country because it is precluded from doing so by P. 7 Nonetheless. The important principle that runs through these three (3) cases is that where the claim to the principal relief sought is to be resolved not by reference to the Labor Code or other labor relations statute or a collective bargaining agreement but by the general civil law. thus: . In such situations. under which it was established. Each case must be judged in the light of its peculiar circumstances. 161 SCRA 719 (1988). and Molave Motors cases. No. communications and coordination center for its home office's affiliates in Singapore. And the "doctrine . Clearly. . resolutions of the dispute requires expertise. 92-2486 is a simple collection of a sum of money brought by petitioner. 837 (1992): The rule is that a party is estopped to challenge the personality of a corporation after having acknowledged the same by entering into a contract with it. service contracts. Civil Case No." as follows: .
if the litigation is incidental to the profession. which provides: A married woman may not . No. 59. . the instant Petition is GRANTED. SO ORDERED FIRST DIVISION G. 92-2486 on what it found to be the misjoinder of private respondent Teofilo Lanchinebre as party defendant. IN VIEW WHEREOF. No costs. ELEAZAR LIMBAB. Whether or not the subject loan was incurred by private respondent as an incident to her profession. In the absence of relevant evidence. Nicolasora co-counsel for petitioners. vs." 8 Moreover. Santo for private respondents." The principle "will be applied to prevent a person contracting with a foreign corporation from later taking advantage of its noncompliance with the statutes chiefly in cases where such person has received the benefits of the contract. 89621 September 24. Rule 3 of the Revised Rules of Court. Mario P. SIAN. the trial court erred when it dismissed Civil Case No." "one who has dealth with a corporation of foreign origin as a corporate entity is estopped to deny its corporate existence and capacity. Br. Aurelio D. 1993. the issue cannot be resolved in a motion to dismiss. occupation or business is a question of fact.. . . be sued alone without joining her husband. the Order of the trial court is based on Section 4(h). GAL-LANG. occupation or business in which she is engaged. Menzon for petitioners. 1992 and March 8. INC. is hereby ordered to hear the reinstated case on its merits. in Civil Case No. 1991 PEPSI COLA DISTRIBUTORS OF THE PHILIPPINES. .R. 92-2486 are REVERSED AND SET ASIDE. SALVADOR NOVILLA. The Orders. HON. IRENEO BALTAZAR & JORGE HERAYA. . WILFREDO CABAÑAS & FULGENCIO LEGO. The RTC of Makati. petitioners. dated December 21. ALEJANDRO OLIVA. . Papiano L. LOLITA O. represented by its Plant General Manager ANTHONY B.of estoppel to deny corporate existence applies to foreign as well as to domestic corporations. except .) Finally. . respondents. (Citations omitted. . It is a basic rule that "(m)isjoinder or parties is not ground for dismissal of an action.
the complaint was dismissed.CRUZ. Meantime. the claim arose from employee-employer relations and so came under Article 217 of the Labor Code which then provided as follows: ART. 1987. 1989. a separate civil complaint against the petitioners for damages arising from what they claimed to be their malicious prosecution. 1987. 1 where it was held that a court of first instance had no jurisdiction over the complaint filed by a dismissed employee "for unpaid salary and other employment benefits. Court of Appeals. the following cases involving all workers. termination pay and moral and exemplary damages.:p The question now before us has been categorically resolved in earlier decisions of the Court that a little more diligent research would have disclosed to the petitioners. reinstated the complaint. Those that workers may file involving wages. the petitioners filed a criminal complaint for theft against them but this was later withdrawn and substituted with a criminal complaint for falsification of private documents. the private respondents were dismissed by the petitioner company on November 23. Leyte. The petitioners invoke Article 217 of the Labor Code and a number of decisions of this Court to support their position that the private respondents civil complaint for damages falls under the jurisdiction of the labor arbiter. on April 4. 1987. after a preliminary investigation conducted by the Municipal Trial Court of Tanauan. The dismissal was affirmed on April 8. They particularly cite the case of Getz Corporation v. however. As a result. 1988. J. On November 26." We hold at the outset that the case is not in point because what was involved there was a claim arising from the alleged illegal dismissal of an employee. On July 6. the respondent judge. whether agricultural or non-agricultural: 1." The petitioners then came to this Court for relief. and decisions manded reinstatement with damages. 1988. they lodged a complaint for illegal dismissal with the Regional Arbitration Branch of the NLRC in Tacloban City on December 1. the petition must be denied. by the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor. The private respondents were employees of the petitioner who were suspected of complicity in the irregular disposition of empty Pepsi Cola bottles. 1987. On the basis of those cases and the facts now before us. In addition. On July 16. who chose to complain to the regular court and not to the labor arbiter. hours of work and other terms and conditions of employment. 217. allegedly after an administrative investigation. Jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters and the Commission. saying it was "distinct from the labor case for damages now pending before the labor courts. 2. Obviously. . they instituted in the Regional Trial Court of Leyte. Unfair labor practice cases. 1989. The motion was granted on February 6. ² (a) The Labor Arbiters shall have the original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide within thirty (30) working days after submission of the case by the parties for decision. acting on the motion for reconsideration. The petitioners moved to dismiss the civil complaint on the ground that the trial court had no jurisdiction over the case because it involved employee-employer relations that were exclusively cognizable by the labor arbiter.
because "although a controversy is between an employer and an employee. citing the earlier case of Quisaba v. v. such as payment of wages. Such being the case." the jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance of Rizal over the case was questioned. petitioner seeks protection under the civil laws and claims no benefits under the Labor Code. Inc. Cases involving household services. repairs of such vehicles. 3 two employees filed in the Court of First Instance of Rizal a civil complaint for damages against their employer for slanderous remarks made against them by the company president. Theirs is a simple action for damages for tortious acts allegedly committed by the defendants.3. Castro-Bartolome. the governing statute is the Civil Code and not the Labor Code. Justice Vicente Abad Santos said for the Court: It is obvious from the complaint that the plaintiffs have not alleged any unfair labor practice. 4. The primary relief sought is for liquidated damages for breach of a contractual obligation. All money claims of workers. Absent such a link. Sta. 5 declared through Justice Herrera: Stated differently." . and cash advances from the corporation was properly cognizable by the Regional Trial Court of Dagupan City and not the labor arbiter. intrinsically a civil dispute. the complaint will be cognizable by the regular courts of justice in the exercise of their civil and criminal jurisdiction. except claims for employees' compensation. The Court. 4 where the plaintiff was suing for damages for alleged violation by the defendant of an "Agreement for a Course of Conversion Training at the Expense of Singapore Airlines Limited. medicare and maternity benefits. and 5. In Singapore Airlines Ltd. Inc. Cases arising from any violation of Article 265 of this Code. 2 It must be stressed that not every controversy involving workers and their employers can be resolved only by the labor arbiters. including those based on non-payment or underpayment of wages. Laron. Paño. social security. The other items demanded are not labor benefits demanded by workers generally taken cognizance of in labor disputes. Ines Melale Veneer and Plywood. (b) The Commission shall have exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all cases decided by labor Arbiters. It results that the orders under review are based on a wrong premise. In Molave Sales. the Labor Arbiters have nojurisdiction if the Labor Code is not involved. This will be so only if there is a "reasonable causal connection" between the claim asserted and employee-employer relations to put the case under the provisions of Article 217. including questions involving the legality of strikes and lockouts.. v. In Medina v. 6 the same Justice held for the Court that the claim of the plaintiff against its sales manager for payment of certain accounts pertaining to his purchase of vehicles and automotive parts. separation pay and other benefits provided by law or appropriate agreement. The items claimed are the natural consequences flowing from breach of an obligation. overtime compensation or separation pay. On the order dismissing the case because it came under the jurisdiction of the labor arbiters. overtime compensation.
who dismissed it for lack of jurisdiction but was reversed by the NLRC on appeal.The latest ruling on this issue is found in San Miguel Corporation v. believes and so holds that the 'money claims of workers" referred to in paragraph 3 of Article 217 embraces money claims which arise out of or in connection with the employer. 7 where the above cases are cited and the changes in Article 217 are recounted." it is not necessary to suppose that the entire universe of money claims that might be asserted by workers against their employers has been absorbed into the original and exclusive jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters. that money claims of workers which now fall within the original and exclusive jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters are those money claims which have some reasonable causal connection with the employer-employee relationship (Ibid. or some aspect or incident of such relationship. the jurisdiction over the dispute belongs to the regular courts of justice and not to the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC. therefore. The claim was filed with the labor arbiter. That case involved a claim of an employee for a P60. the case should fall within the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC.000. xxx xxx xxx Where the claim to the principal relief sought is to be resolved not by reference to the Labor Code or other labor relations statute or a collective bargaining agreement but by the general civil law. not in labor management relations nor in wage structures and other terms and conditions of employment. xxx xxx xxx For it cannot be presumed that money claims of workers which do not arise out of or in connection with their employer-employee relationship. in this connection. such claims fall outside the area of competence or expertise ordinarily ascribed to Labor Arbiters and the NLRC and the rationale for granting jurisdiction over such claims to these agencies disappears. were intended by the legislative authority to be taken away from the jurisdiction of the courts and lodged with Labor Arbiters on an exclusive basis. Clearly. In setting aside the appealed decision and dismissing the complaint. even though a claim for damages might be asserted as an incident to such claim. NLRC.). the Court observed through Justice Feliciano: It is the character of the principal relief sought that appears essential. and which would therefore fall within the general jurisdiction of the regular courts of justice. resolution of the dispute requires expertise. The Court.00 prize for a proposal made by him which he alleged had been accepted and implemented by the defendant corporation in the processing of one of its beer products. The case now before the Court involves a complaint for damages for malicious prosecution which was filed with the Regional Trial Court of Leyte by the employees of the defendant company. but rather in the application of the general civil law.employee relationship. xxx xxx xxx While paragraph 3 above refers to "all money claims of workers. Put a little differently. In such situations. Where such principal relief is to be granted under labor legislation or a collective bargaining agreement. It does not appear that there is a "reasonable causal connection" between the complaint and the relations of .
all is well and wisely put. MELVYN P.: This is a petition for review under Rule 45 assailing the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. ALAMIS and UST FACULTY UNION. . The facts of the case are as follows: Sometime in May 1986. petitioners. 2005] EDUARDO J. the UST Faculty Union (USTFU) entered into an initial collective bargaining agreement with the University of Santo Tomas (UST) wherein UST undertook to provide USTFU with a free office space at Room 302 of its Health Center Building. SO ORDERED.the parties as employer and employees. 43701. JR. GIL GAMILLA. respondents. MA. January 31. is AFFIRMED and the petition DENIED. with costs against the petitioner. vs. No such relationship or any unfair labor practice is asserted. DUPONT ASERON and JUSTINO CARDENAS..R. "Talents differ. the order dated July 6. 8 So it must be in the case we here decide. SP No. No. 1989. setting aside the order and the writ of preliminary mandatory injunction issued by the lower court. 132400. What the employees are alleging is that the petitioners acted with bad faith when they filed the criminal complaint which the Municipal Trial Court said was intended "to harass the poor employees" and the dismissal of which was affirmed by the Provincial Prosecutor "for lack of evidence to establish even a slightest probability that all the respondents herein have committed the crime imputed against them. MARIÑO. J." This is a matter which the labor arbiter has no competence to resolve as the applicable law is not the Labor Code but the Revised Penal Code. DECISION TINGA." so observed the philosopher-poet.R. WHEREFORE. [G. The complaint did not arise from such relations and in fact could have arisen independently of an employment relationship between the parties.
denying the TRO they themselves sought. In another front. Secretary General of the UST. seeking to invalidate the election held on 4 October 1996. the scheduled election for 5 October 1996 did not push through by virtue of the TRO. Regents. respondents Gamilla. with some other persons. Gamilla and company padlocked the door leading to the union¶s office. Respondents brought the . On the other hand. only the office messenger was in the office at the time. NCR-OD-M-9610-001. After coercing the office messenger to step out of the office. respondent Gamilla and some faculty members filed a Petition with the MedArbitration Unit of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) seeking to stop the holding of the USTFU election. on 4 December 1996. Two months later. petitioners filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila a Complaint for injunction and damages with a prayer for preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order over the use of the USTFU office. injunction. enjoining the holding of the election of the USTFU officers and directors..On 21 September 1996. enjoining Gamilla and his fellow officers to ³cease and desist from performing any and all acts pertaining to the duties and functions of the officers and directors´ of USTFU. petitioners filed with the DOLE a petition for prohibition. Fr. Principals and Heads of Departments regarding the holding of a faculty convocation on 4 October 1996.P. On 4 October 1996. at around eleven in the morning (11:00 a. However. entered into a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) for a period of five (5) years from 1 June 1996 up to 31 May 2001. with prayer for preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order. on 11 October 1996. on 2 October 1996. The decision was appealed to the Bureau of Labor Relations which affirmed the same. Med-Arbiter Falconitin rendered a decision. Rev.). The CBA was ratified on 12 December 1996. On 5 February 1997. However. UST²the Office of USTFU. Gamilla and some of the faculty members present in the 4 October 1996 faculty convocation proceeded with the election of the USTFU officers. At the 11 February 1997 hearing on the application for TRO before the trial court. O. respondents through a consolidated motion to dismiss sought the dismissal of the complaint on the ground of forum-shopping and prayed that the trial court suspend the application for injunctive relief until it shall have resolved the motion to dismiss. demanding that the latter vacate the premises located at Room 302. issued a Memorandum to the Deans. Rodel Aligan. served a letter of even date on petitioners Mariño and Alamis. However. Med-Arbiter Tomas Falconitin issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) in Case No. Health Center Building. On the same date. UST and USTFU. Meanwhile. the officers and directors of USTFU scheduled a general membership meeting on 5 October 1996 for the election of the union officers. Cardenas and Aseron. the Med-Arbiter issued a TRO dated 11 December 1996.m. declaring the 4 October 1996 election and its results null and void ab initio. represented by Gamilla and his co-officers. In the succeeding week. On 27 January 1997.
Health Center Bldg.00. 1997) SET ASIDE²and the respondent judge ordered to DISMISS Civil Case No. The dispositive portion of the decision reads: WHEREFORE. the RTC issued the assailed order. after petitioners as plaintiffs therein had posted the requisite bond. defendants are hereby ordered to submit their answer to the complaint within fifteen (15) days from receipt hereof. the RTC issued a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction. Hence. On 5 March 1997. It added that it would have been more appropriate for the RTC to determine whether it had jurisdiction over the subject case before issuing the assailed orders. The appellate court held that Civil Case No. The Court of Appeals stated that the basic issue of the case was whether the RTC of Manila had jurisdiction over the subject matter of Civil Case No.) Petitioners¶ Motion for Reconsideration was denied. as the determination of the legality and propriety of padlocking the doors of the USTFU office and preventing the free and unhampered ingress to and egress from the said . 97-81928. 1997) and the writ of preliminary mandatory injunction (dated March 5. 97-81928. dismissing the petition on 16 November 1999. It also cited the prohibition against the issuance of injunction in any case involving or growing out of a labor dispute. premises considered. Petitioners assert that the RTC has jurisdiction to decide Civil Case No. It agreed with respondents¶ disquisition that petitioners¶ cause of action in the complaint before the trial court is inextricably linked and intertwined with the issue of who are the legitimate officers of the USTFU. NCR-ODM-9610-016 appear to be the same. (Emphasis in the original. In the meantime. respondents filed a Petition for Certiorari before the Court of Appeals. España. SO ORDERED. the petition is hereby GRANTED²and the assailed order (dated March 3. with the observation that the civil case merely ³grew out´ from the labor case. UST. this petition. On 3 March 1997. upon plaintiff¶s filing a bond in the amount of P50. unless otherwise provided by law. which issue was then being litigated before the DOLE. 97-81928 and Case No. The Court promulgated its decision.000. 97-81928. claiming that the orders dated 3 and 5 March 1997 were void ab initio for lack of jurisdiction and on the ground that they were issued in violation of due process of law.matter to this Court via a special civil action for certiorari. let a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction issue requiring defendants their representatives and agents or other persons acting in their behalf to remove the padlocks on the door of the UST Faculty Union office located at Room 302. Manila and to refrain from preventing/disturbing in any manner whatsoever the plaintiffs in entering the said premises. to wit: WHEREFORE. On 19 March 1997..
they claim that the civil case was premised on causes of action belonging to the USTFU which are to be resolved not by reference to the Labor Code or other labor relations statutes. invaded and trampled upon´ by respondents through the acts complained of. Anent the ruling of the Court of Appeals on the writ of injunction issued by the trial court. Cardenas was the chief of the security force in the university and not a faculty member. as alleged in the complaint.´ which however. They add that in the instant case. set aside the orders issued by the trial court. Petitioners claim that respondents were not denied their day in court when the trial court did not resolve the issue of jurisdiction before proceeding with the hearing on the application for injunctive order. and ordered the dismissal of the civil case. petitioners claim that USTFU was improperly included as petitioner in the petition before the Court of Appeals. to wit: Gamilla¶s claim to the USTFU presidency was declared non-existent by the labor tribunals. Lastly. Thus. the pendency of the labor case should not militate against the civil case they filed since the criminal and civil aspects of a violation of Article 241 of the Labor Codecan be litigated separately and independently from the administrative aspect of a breach of the rights and conditions of membership. It granted the petition for certiorari in CA-G. SP No. II. It ruled that Civil Case No. 97-81928 is a labor dispute cognizable by the DOLE. Petitioners add that not all controversies involving members of the same union are to be decided by the labor tribunal. respondents were given the chance to present their evidence in support of their opposition to the injunction and TRO.R. They stress that the causes of action involve a tortious act and the corresponding claim for damages that are both governed by the civil law and fall under the jurisdiction of regular courts. 254 of the Labor Codeon prohibition against injunctions is not applicable to the instant case since the controversy cannot be categorized as a labor dispute. According to them. ³were violated. 43701. 97-81928. are matters incapable of pecuniary estimation. and. Cardenas and Aseron had no right to act for and in behalf of the USTFU for the following reasons. Accordingly. they add that respondents Gamilla. They argue that the injunction was called for considering that they ³have rights to be protected and preserved. . petitioners state that Art.premises. Aseron was a Barangay Chairman and not a member of the UST faculty. but respondents chose not to avail of this opportunity. Moreover. III. petitioners assert that the Court of Appeals erred and gravely abused its discretion when: I. It ruled that the regional trial court had no jurisdiction over Civil Case No.
97-81928. 254 of the Labor Code is applicable to the matters involved in Civil Case No. SP No. respondents insist that the trial court violated their right to due process when it refused to determine the issue of jurisdiction before issuing its assailed orders. with the plaintiff therein (respondent herein) seeking to enjoin them (petitioners herein) from claiming and acting as such (elected officers of the union) and to have the election proceedings of October 4. and It ruled that the Motion for Reconsideration filed in CA-G. and that ³the use of the union office is a mere incident of the labor dispute.²No temporary or permanent injunction or restraining order in any case involving or growing out of labor disputes shall be issued by any . Civil Case No. 97-81928. Jurisdiction over a subject matter is conferred by law and determined by the allegations in the complaint and the character of the relief sought. Another reason that militates against the trial court¶s assumption of jurisdiction over the case is Article 254 of the Labor Code that states: Art. irrespective of whether the plaintiff is entitled to all or some of the claims asserted therein. 1996 invalidated and declared null and void. respondents maintain that the regional trial court had no jurisdiction over the issue as to who has the right to use the union office because the same is inextricably linked and intertwined with the issue as to who are the legitimate and duly elected officers of the USTFU. On the other hand. . which was then the subject of another case before the DOLE. 97-81928 and Case No. It ruled that respondents were denied their day in court. 97-81928 is ³inextricably linked and intertwined with the issue as to who are the lawful officers of the USTFU. Respondents submit that the only issue in the instant petition is whether the RTC has jurisdiction over Civil Case No.The two cases (Civil Case No. It ruled that Art. Central to the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals is its adoption of respondents¶ argument that the issue in Civil Case No. While ostensibly. Taking note of plaintiffs¶ (private respondents¶) previous moves before the Department of Labor. V. . 254. .´ which is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Secretary of Labor. VI. Injunction prohibited. There is merit in the petition but only in part. the Court of Appeals held: .IV. the action challenged the legitimacy of petitioners¶ election as officers of the UST Faculty Union. Furthermore. 43701 was pro-forma.R. said case clearly falls outside of the competence of the trial court. NCR-OD-M-9610-016) appear the same.´  Specifically. 9781928 appear (sic) to have grown out therefrom²hence. the complaint filed with the trial court was branded µinjunction and damages¶.
changing or arranging the terms and conditions of employment. Gil Gamilla. Mariño. et al. Gil Gamilla. The complaint essentially bears the following allegations: that despite an outstanding temporary restraining order prohibiting the holding of an election of officers. it includes all other conflicts which legitimate labor organizations may have against each other based on any violations of their rights as labor organizations. the civil case a quo seeks two reliefsone is for the removal of the padlocks on the office door and restraining respondents from blocking petitioners¶ . jurisdiction over intra-union and inter-union disputes does not pertain to the regular courts. is a simple case for damages. and ultimately precluding the union from serving its members. documents and records needed in the on-going cases both in the DOLE and in the complaint a quo. the Court of Appeals erroneously categorized the instant matter as a labor dispute.. an inter-union dispute refers to any conflict between and among legitimate labor organizations involving questions of representation for purposes of collective bargaining. NCR-OD-M-9610-016 entitled ³Eduardo J. that respondent Gamilla with two other persons (later learned to be respondents Aseron and Cardenas) compelled the office messenger to vacate the premises of the USTFU office. including claims for actual. It is vested in the Bureau of Labor Relations Divisions in the regional offices of the Department of Labor. Case No. moral. thereby denying them access to personal effects. not excepting cases arising from chartering or affiliation of labor organizations or from any violation of the rights and conditions of union membership provided for in the Labor Code. Like labor disputes. and had prevented them from entering the office premises. an intra-union dispute refers to any conflict between and among union members. In contrast. Jurisdiction over labor disputes. that there was a case pending before the DOLE questioning the validity of the supposed election. fixing. Civil Case No. respondent Gamilla and others proceeded to hold a purported election. v. v. Jr. Such labor dispute includes any controversy or matter concerning terms or conditions of employment or the association or representation of persons in negotiating. It is clearly an intraunion dispute. regardless of whether the disputants stand in the proximate relation of employer and employee.court or other entity. maintaining. et al. exemplary and other forms of damages arising from the employeremployee relations is vested in Labor Arbiters and the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). with an accompanying application for injunction. The case before the trial court. As pointed out by petitioners. Jr. on the other hand.´ before the BLR is neither a labor nor an inter-union dispute. It encompasses all disputes or grievances arising from any violation of or disagreement over any provision of the constitution and by-laws of a union. and thereafter padlocked the room. Fundamentally. Mariño. On the other hand. 97-81928 entitled Eduardo J. et al. and. except as otherwise provided in Articles 218 and 264 of this Code. et al.. Petitioners alleged respondents¶ act of padlocking the office was without lawful basis.
et al. once acquired. 226 of the Labor Code provides.. suffice it to say that the right to use the union¶s name as well as to represent it has been settled by our decision in UST Faculty Union. thus: . It is a settled rule that jurisdiction. as the rightful officers of the USTFU. it is clear that the RTC should not have exercised jurisdiction over the provisional reliefs prayed for in the complaint. At this juncture. Jr.. while the other is for the recovery of moral and exemplary damages.et al. the trial court has no jurisdiction over the case insofar as the prayer for the removal of the padlocks and the issuance of an injunctive writ is concerned. Bitonio. when the petitioners filed their complaint a quo. As to the alleged inclusion of the USTFU as petitioner in the petition before the Court of Appeals. it continued the hearing on the application for injunction and eventually issued the assailed orders. Let us go back to the claim for damages before the lower court. v. The propriety of padlocking the union¶s office.access to the premises.Still. In observance of the principle of adherence of jurisdiction. Bitonio. Nevertheless. the complaint a quo could not have validly proceeded at the time of its filing of the said case due to petitioners¶ lack of cause of action. v. it was ruled that the 04 October 1996 election was void for having been conducted in violation of the union¶s constitution and by-laws. The trial court was also aware of the decision of the Med-Arbiter dated 11 February 1997. they prayed that respondents be enjoined from claiming to be the duly elected officers of the union and from performing acts for and in behalf of the union. declaring the supposed union officers¶ election void ab initio and ordering respondents to cease and desist from discharging the duties and functions of the legitimate officers of the USTFU. the Court notes that a key question in this case has already been settled by the Court in its decision in UST Faculty Union. The petition with the Med-Arbiter was filed ahead of the complaint in the civil case before the RTC. Specifically. Jr. injunction with a prayer for preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order against herein respondents for the latter¶s assumption of office as elected USTFU officers. which was then pending before the Med-Arbiter. Petitioners. Art. the relief sought by the petitioner in the civil case. have the right to represent USTFU in the proceedings. jurisdiction over the injunction and restraining order prayed for had already been lodged with the Med-Arbiter. et al. is interwoven with the issue of legitimacy of the assumption of office by the respondents in light of the violation of the union¶s constitution and by-laws. petitioners filed before the Med-Arbitration Unit of the DOLE-NCR a petition for prohibition. continues until the case is finally terminated. therefore. The removal of padlocks and the access to the office premises is necessarily included in petitioners¶ prayer to enjoin respondents from performing acts pertaining to union officers and on behalf of the union. The trial court even obtained a copy of the said decision two (2) days after its promulgation. As such. In that case. Necessarily. et al. and not respondents. A review of the complaint shows that petitioners disclosed the existence of the petition pending before the Med-Arbiter and even attached a copy thereof. Prior to the institution of the civil case.
to ensure a more knowledgeable solution of the problems submitted to them. other labor statutes. petitioners do not seek any relief under the Labor Code but the payment of a sum of money as damages on account of respondents¶ alleged tortuous conduct. can exercise only those powers which are specifically granted to them by their enabling statutes. Administrative agencies are tribunals of limited jurisdiction and as such. unlike the NLRC which is explicitly vested with the jurisdiction over claims for actual. The case is REMANDED to the trial court for further proceedings in accordance with this Decision. the Petition is hereby GRANTED IN PART. The action is within the realm of civil law and. grievances or problems arising from or affecting labor-management relations in all workplaces whether agricultural or nonagricultural. on all inter-union and intra-union conflicts. The Court has consistently held that where no employer-employee exists between the parties and no issue is involved which may be resolved by reference to the Labor Code. . Thus. it is the regional trial court that has jurisdiction. In fact.the BLR is not specifically empowered to adjudicate claims of such nature arising from intra-union or inter-union disputes. 241 of the Labor Code ordains the separate institution before the regular courts of criminal and civil liabilities arising from violations of the rights and conditions of union membership. this should not deprive the courts of justice their power to decide ordinary cases in accordance with the general laws that do not require any particular expertise or training to interpret and apply. Consequently. except those arising from the implementation or interpretation of collective bargaining agreements which shall be the subject of grievance procedure and/or voluntary arbitration. matters over which they are not granted authority are beyond their competence. moral. or any collective bargaining agreement. While the trend is towards vesting administrative bodies with the power to adjudicate matters coming under their particular specialization. SO ORDERED. at their own initiative or upon request of either or both parties. In their complaint in the civil case. WHEREFORE. exemplary and other forms of damages. hence. The Decision of the Court of Appeals setting aside the Order dated 3 March 1997 and the writ of preliminary mandatory injunction dated 5 March 1997 is hereby AFFIRMED. Art. jurisdiction over the case belongs to the regular courts. No costs.The Bureau of Labor Relations and the Labor Relations Divisions in the regional offices of the Department of Labor shall have original and exclusive authority to act. and all disputes.
1 On January 21. (4) Ramona Salado y Alvarez. 442) as amended by Section 1(b) of Presidential Decree No. (5) Dionisio Masaya y de Guzman. LOMA GOCE y OLALIA.LABOR STANDARDS ON RECRUITMENT AND PLACEMENT G. plaintiff-appellee. in the City of Manila. (2) Ernesto Alvarez y Lubangco. 1987. did then and there willfully and unlawfully. 1995 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. was filed against spouses Dan and Loma Goce and herein accused-appellant Nelly Agustin in the Regional Trial Court of Manila. 1988. conspiring and confederating together and helping one another. a warrant of arrest was issued against the three accused but not one of them was arrested. Philippines. AGUSTIN. enlist and transport Filipino workers for employment abroad. on February 2. (3) Rogelio Salado y Savillo. 1989. accused-appellant. vs. without first having secured the required license or authority from the Department of Labor. Branch 5. both dates inclusive.R. (7) Lorenzo Alvarez y Velayo. for a fee. representing themselves to have the capacity to contract. alleging ² That in or about and during the period comprised between May 1986 and June 25.: On January 12. No. J. 2 Hence. and (8) Nelson Trinidad y Santos. 3 . REGALADO. to (1) Rolando Dalida y Piernas. accused. NELLY D. DAN GOCE and NELLY D. recruit and promise employment/job placement abroad. punishable under Articles 38 and 39 of the Labor Code (Presidential Decree No. 113161 August 29. (6) Dave Rivera y de Leon. AGUSTIN. an information for illegal recruitment committed by a syndicate and in large scale. the trial court ordered the case archived but it issued a standing warrant of arrest against the accused. 1987. the said accused. 2018.
00. went to the office of the placement agency at Nakpil Street. Agustin showed him a job order as proof that he could readily be deployed for overseas employment. owners of the agency. 12 Much later. he and his wife failed to leave for abroad.00. and the Goce spouses.000. 13 Complainant Dionisio Masaya. accompanied by five other applicants who were his relatives.00.00 which each of them actually paid. He submitted several pertinent documents. Although surprised at the new and higher sum. the trial court reinstated the case and set the arraignment for May 3. Four of the complainants testified for the prosecution. to Nelly Agustin in the latter's residence at Factor. Later. Rogelio Salado. 1987. 1986. and in September of that same year. They discovered that said agency was not duly licensed to recruit job applicants. There. about Nelly Agustin. Ermita. Rogelio Salado was the first to take the witness stand and he declared that sometime in March or April. Several months passed but Salado failed to leave for the promised overseas employment.00 as payment for his and his wife's passports. 1987. Masaya gave Dan Goce P1. in October. instead of the original amount of P5. Lorenzo Alvarez. accompanied by his brother-in-law. 1993. or March. the agency's former office address. 1987. 9 Also in April or May. 11 Ramona Salado. upon learning that Agustin had been arrested. at around midday of February 26. such as his bio-data and school credentials. around February.000.00 for the placement fee.00 as processing fee. He was issued the corresponding receipt. applied for a job in Oman with the Clover Placement Agency at Parañaque. Despite follow-up of their papers twice a week from February to June. Rogelio gave P2. requested on March 17. Accompanied by her husband. the wife of Rogelio Salado. He was issued receipts for .000. Rogelio. on April 15. Dan and Loma.00. one of the offended parties. a receipt was issued in the name of the Clover Placement Agency showing that Salado and his aforesaid co-applicants each paid P2. 1987. Aquiles Ortega. 10 Thereafter. Hence. the Salado couple received a telegram from the placement agency requiring them to report to its office because the "NOC" (visa) had allegedly arrived.00. who introduced herself as the manager of the agency. 1993.900. Salado learned that he had to pay P5. he was introduced by Lorenzo Alvarez. 1987. He submitted his bio-data and learned from Loma Goce that he had to give P12. his brother-in-law and a co-applicant. Masaya met Nelly Agustin. on learning of the whereabouts of the accused. her counsel filed a motion to revive the case and requested that it be set for hearing "for purposes of due process and for the accused to immediately have her day in court" 6 Thus.000. 7 on which date of Agustin pleaded not guilty 8 and the case subsequently went to trial. but Agustin could only give him P500.000.000. Manila where he saw Agustin and met the spouses Dan and Loma Goce. 4 Eventually. 1993.00 for each of them as placement fee. Dongalo. Metro Manila.000. 1993. came to know through her brother.00 as an initial downpayment for the placement fee. Ramona went to see Agustin at the latter's residence. or the total sum of P4.000. Salado.Thereafter. she instructed her husband to give Agustin P2. he decided to go to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to verify the real status of Clover Placement Agency. which amount he gave sometime in April or May of the same year. along with the other recruits. 14 In May. instead of the P5.000. he gave an additional P10. 1989 for a copy of the warrant of arrest. they subsequently agreed as long as there was an assurance that they could leave for abroad. as well as the latter's daughter. Again. Encouraged by Agustin's promise that she and her husband could live together while working in Oman. Representing herself as the manager of the Clover Placement Agency. Nelly Agustin was apprehended by the Parañaque police. Agustin persuaded her to apply as a cutter/sewer in Oman so that she could join her husband. Salado decided to see her and to demand the return of the money he had paid. 5 On March 8. Parañaque.
said amounts and was advised to go to the placement office once in a while to follow up his application, which he faithfully did. Much to his dismay and chagrin, he failed to leave for abroad as promised. Accordingly, he was forced to demand that his money be refunded but Loma Goce could give him back only P4,000.00 in installments. 15 As the prosecution's fourth and last witness, Ernesto Alvarez took the witness stand on June 7, 1993. He testified that in February, 1987, he met appellant Agustin through his cousin, Larry Alvarez, at her residence in Parañaque. She informed him that "madalas siyang nagpapalakad sa Oman" and offered him a job as an ambulance driver at the Royal Hospital in Oman with a monthly salary of about $600.00 to $700.00. 16 On March 10, 1987, Alvarez gave an initial amount of P3,000.00 as processing fee to Agustin at the latter's residence. In the same month, he gave another P3,000.00, this time in the office of the placement agency. Agustin assured him that he could leave for abroad before the end of 1987. He returned several times to the placement agency's office to follow up his application but to no avail. Frustrated, he demanded the return of the money he had paid, but Agustin could only give back P500.00. Thereafter, he looked for Agustin about eight times, but he could no longer find her. 17 Only herein appellant Agustin testified for the defense. She asserted that Dan and Loma Goce were her neighbors at Tambo, Parañaque and that they were licensed recruiters and owners of the Clover Placement Agency. Previously, the Goce couple was able to send her son, Reynaldo Agustin, to Saudi Arabia. Agustin met the aforementioned complainants through Lorenzo Alvarez who requested her to introduce them to the Goce couple, to which request she acceded. 18 Denying any participation in the illegal recruitment and maintaining that the recruitment was perpetrated only by the Goce couple, Agustin denied any knowledge of the receipts presented by the prosecution. She insisted that the complainants included her in the complaint thinking that this would compel her to reveal the whereabouts of the Goce spouses. She failed to do so because in truth, so she claims, she does not know the present address of the couple. All she knew was that they had left their residence in 1987. 19 Although she admitted having given P500.00 each to Rogelio Salado and Alvarez, she explained that it was entirely for different reasons. Salado had supposedly asked for a loan, while Alvarez needed money because he was sick at that time. 20 On November 19, 1993, the trial court rendered judgment finding herein appellant guilty as a principal in the crime of illegal recruitment in large scale, and sentencing her to serve the penalty of life imprisonment, as well as to pay a fine of P100,000.00. 21 In her present appeal, appellant Agustin raises the following arguments: (1) her act of introducing complainants to the Goce couple does not fall within the meaning of illegal recruitment and placement under Article 13(b) in relation to Article 34 of the Labor Code; (2) there is no proof of conspiracy to commit illegal recruitment among appellant and the Goce spouses; and (3) there is no proof that appellant offered or promised overseas employment to the complainants. 22 These three arguments being interrelated, they will be discussed together. Herein appellant is accused of violating Articles 38 and 39 of the Labor Code. Article 38 of the Labor Code, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 2018, provides that any recruitment activity, including the prohibited practices enumerated in Article 34 of said Code, undertaken by non-licensees or nonholders of authority shall be deemed illegal and punishable under Article 39 thereof. The same article further provides that illegal recruitment shall be considered an offense involving economic sabotage if any of these qualifying circumstances exist, namely, (a) when illegal recruitment is
committed by a syndicate, i.e., if it is carried out by a group of three or more persons conspiring and/or confederating with one another; or (b) when illegal recruitment is committed in large scale, i.e., if it is committed against three or more persons individually or as a group. At the outset, it should be made clear that all the accused in this case were not authorized to engage in any recruitment activity, as evidenced by a certification issued by Cecilia E. Curso, Chief of the Licensing and Regulation Office of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, on November 10, 1987. Said certification states that Dan and Loma Goce and Nelly Agustin are neither licensed nor authorized to recruit workers for overseas employment. 23 Appellant does not dispute this. As a matter of fact her counsel agreed to stipulate that she was neither licensed nor authorized to recruit applicants for overseas employment. Appellant, however, denies that she was in any way guilty of illegal recruitment. 24 It is appellant's defensive theory that all she did was to introduce complainants to the Goce spouses. Being a neighbor of said couple, and owing to the fact that her son's overseas job application was processed and facilitated by them, the complainants asked her to introduce them to said spouses. Allegedly out of the goodness of her heart, she complied with their request. Such an act, appellant argues, does not fall within the meaning of "referral" under the Labor Code to make her liable for illegal recruitment. Under said Code, recruitment and placement refers to any act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring or procuring workers, and includes referrals, contract services, promising or advertising for employment, locally or abroad, whether for profit or not; provided, that any person or entity which, in any manner, offers or promises for a fee employment to two or more persons shall be deemed engaged in recruitment and placement. 25 On the other hand, referral is the act of passing along or forwarding of an applicant for employment after an initial interview of a selected applicant for employment to a selected employer, placement officer or bureau. 26 Hence, the inevitable query is whether or not appellant Agustin merely introduced complainants to the Goce couple or her actions went beyond that. The testimonial evidence hereon show that she indeed further committed acts constitutive of illegal recruitment. All four prosecution witnesses testified that it was Agustin whom they initially approached regarding their plans of working overseas. It was from her that they learned about the fees they had to pay, as well as the papers that they had to submit. It was after they had talked to her that they met the accused spouses who owned the placement agency. As correctly held by the trial court, being an employee of the Goces, it was therefore logical for appellant to introduce the applicants to said spouses, they being the owners of the agency. As such, appellant was actually making referrals to the agency of which she was a part. She was therefore engaging in recruitment activity. 27 Despite Agustin's pretensions that she was but a neighbor of the Goce couple, the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses paint a different picture. Rogelio Salado and Dionisio Masaya testified that appellant represented herself as the manager of the Clover Placement Agency. Ramona Salado was offered a job as a cutter/sewer by Agustin the first time they met, while Ernesto Alvarez remembered that when he first met Agustin, the latter represented herself as "nagpapaalis papunta sa Oman." 28 Indeed, Agustin played a pivotal role in the operations of the recruitment agency, working together with the Goce couple. There is illegal recruitment when one gives the impression of having the ability to send a worker abroad." 29 It is undisputed that appellant gave complainants the distinct impression that she had the
power or ability to send people abroad for work such that the latter were convinced to give her the money she demanded in order to be so employed. 30 It cannot be denied that Agustin received from complainants various sums for purpose of their applications. Her act of collecting from each of the complainants payment for their respective passports, training fees, placement fees, medical tests and other sundry expenses unquestionably constitutes an act of recruitment within the meaning of the law. In fact, appellant demanded and received from complainants amounts beyond the allowable limit of P5,000.00 under government regulations. It is true that the mere act of a cashier in receiving money far exceeding the amount allowed by law was not considered per se as "recruitment and placement" in contemplation of law, but that was because the recipient had no other participation in the transactions and did not conspire with her co-accused in defrauding the victims. 31 That is not the case here. Appellant further argues that "there is no evidence of receipts of collections/payments from complainants to appellant." On the contrary, xerox copies of said receipts/vouchers were presented by the prosecution. For instance, a cash voucher marked as Exhibit D, 32 showing the receipt of P10,000.00 for placement fee and duly signed by appellant, was presented by the prosecution. Another receipt, identified as Exhibit E, 33 was issued and signed by appellant on February 5, 1987 to acknowledge receipt of P4,000.00 from Rogelio and Ramona Salado for "processing of documents for Oman." Still another receipt dated March 10, 1987 and presented in evidence as Exhibit F, shows that appellant received from Ernesto Alvarez P2,000.00 for "processing of documents for Oman." 34 Apparently, the original copies of said receipts/vouchers were lost, hence only xerox copies thereof were presented and which, under the circumstances, were admissible in evidence. When the original writing has been lost or destroyed or cannot be produced in court, upon proof of its execution and loss or destruction, or unavailability, its contents may be proved by a copy or a recital of its contents in some authentic document, or by the recollection of witnesses. 35 Even assuming arguendo that the xerox copies presented by the prosecution as secondary evidence are not allowable in court, still the absence thereof does not warrant the acquittal of appellant. In People vs. Comia, 36 where this particular issue was involved, the Court held that the complainants' failure to ask for receipts for the fees they paid to the accused therein, as well as their consequent failure to present receipts before the trial court as proof of the said payments, is not fatal to their case. The complainants duly proved by their respective testimonies that said accused was involved in the entire recruitment process. Their testimonies in this regard, being clear and positive, were declared sufficient to establish that factum probandum. Indeed, the trial court was justified and correct in accepting the version of the prosecution witnesses, their statements being positive and affirmative in nature. This is more worthy of credit than the mere uncorroborated and self-serving denials of appellant. The lame defense consisting of such bare denials by appellant cannot overcome the evidence presented by the prosecution proving her guilt beyond reasonable doubt. 37 The presence of documentary evidence notwithstanding, this case essentially involves the credibility of witnesses which is best left to the judgment of the trial court, in the absence of abuse of discretion therein. The findings of fact of a trial court, arrived at only after a hearing and evaluation of what can usually be expected to be conflicting testimonies of witnesses, certainly deserve respect by an appellate court. 38 Generally, the findings of fact of the trial court on the matter of credibility of witnesses will not be disturbed on appeal. 39 In a last-ditch effort to exculpate herself from conviction, appellant argues that there is no proof of conspiracy between her and the Goce couple as to make her liable for illegal recruitment. We do not
agree. The evidence presented by the prosecution clearly establish that appellant confabulated with the Goces in their plan to deceive the complainants. Although said accused couple have not been tried and convicted, nonetheless there is sufficient basis for appellant's conviction as discussed above. In People vs. Sendon, 40 we held that the non-prosecution of another suspect therein provided no ground for the appellant concerned to fault the decision of the trial court convicting her. The prosecution of other persons, equally or more culpable than herein appellant, may come later after their true identities and addresses shall have been ascertained and said malefactors duly taken into custody. We see no reason why the same doctrinal rule and course of procedure should not apply in this case. WHEREFORE, the appealed judgment of the court a quo is hereby AFFIRMED in toto, with costs against accused-appellant Nelly D. Agustin. SO ORDERED.
[G.R. No. 127195. August 25, 1999]
MARSAMAN MANNING AGENCY, INC. and DIAMANTIDES MARITIME, INC., petitioners, vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and WILFREDO T. CAJERAS, respondents. DECISION
MARSAMAN MANNING AGENCY, INC. (MARSAMAN) and its foreign principal DIAMANTIDES MARITIME, INC. (DIAMANTIDES) assail the Decision of public respondent National Labor Relations Commission dated 16 September 1996 as well as its Resolution dated 12 November 1996 affirming the Labor Arbiter's decision finding them guilty of illegal dismissal and ordering them to pay respondent Wilfredo T. Cajeras salaries corresponding to the unexpired portion of his employment contract, plus attorney's fees. Private respondent Wilfredo T. Cajeras was hired by petitioner MARSAMAN, the local manning agent of petitioner DIAMANTIDES, as Chief Cook Steward on the MV Prigipos, owned and operated by DIAMANTIDES, for a contract period of ten (10) months with a monthly salary of US$600.00, evidenced by a contract between the parties dated 15 June 1995. Cajeras started work on 8 August 1995 but less than two (2) months later, or on 28 September 1995, he was repatriated to the Philippines allegedly by ³mutual consent.´
On 17 November 1995 private respondent Cajeras filed a complaint for illegal dismissal against petitioners with the NLRC National Capital Region Arbitration Branch alleging that he was dismissed illegally, denying that his repatriation was by mutual consent, and asking for his unpaid wages, overtime pay, damages, and attorney¶s fees. i  Cajeras alleged that he was assigned not only as Chief Cook Steward but also as assistant cook and messman in addition to performing various inventory and requisition jobs. Because of his additional assignments he began to feel sick just a little over a month on the job constraining him to request for medical attention. He was refused at first by Capt. Kouvakas Alekos, master of the MV Prigipos, who just ordered him to continue working. However a day after the ship¶s arrival at the port of Rotterdam, Holland, on 26 September 1995 Capt. Alekos relented and had him examined at the Medical Center for Seamen. However, the examining physician, Dr. Wden Hoed, neither apprised private respondent about the diagnosis nor issued the requested medical certificate allegedly because he himself would forward the results to private respondent¶s superiors. Upon returning to the vessel, private respondent was unceremoniously ordered to prepare for immediate repatriation the following day as he was said to be suffering from a disease of unknown origin. On 28 September 1995 he was handed his Seaman's Service Record Book with the following entry: "Cause of discharge - Mutual Consent." ii  Private respondent promptly objected to the entry but was not able to do anything more as he was immediately ushered to a waiting taxi which transported him to the Amsterdam Airport for the return flight to Manila. After his arrival in Manila on 29 September 1995 Cajeras complained to MARSAMAN but to no avail.iii MARSAMAN and DIAMANTIDES, on the other hand, denied the imputation of illegal dismissal. They alleged that Cajeras approached Capt. Alekos on 26 September 1995 and informed the latter that he could not sleep at night because he felt something crawling over his body. Furthermore, Cajeras reportedly declared that he could no longer perform his duties and requested for repatriation. The following paragraph in the vessel's Deck Log was allegedly entered by Capt. Alekos, to wit:
Cajeras approached me and he told me that he cannot sleep at night and that he feels something crawling on his body and he declared that he can no longer perform his duties and he must be repatriated.iv
Private respondent was then sent to the Medical Center for Seamen at Rotterdam where he was examined by Dr. Wden Hoed whose diagnosis appeared in a Medical Report as ³paranoia´ and ³other mental problems.´ v  Consequently, upon Dr. Hoed¶s recommendation, Cajeras was repatriated to the Philippines on 28 September 1995. On 29 January 1996 Labor Arbiter Ernesto S. Dinopol resolved the dispute in favor of private respondent Cajeras ruling that the latter's discharge from the MV Prigipos allegedly by ³mutual consent´ was not proved by convincing evidence. The entry made by Capt. Alekos in the Deck Log was dismissed as of little probative value because it was a mere unilateral act unsupported by any document showing mutual consent of Capt. Alekos, as master of the MV Prigipos, and Cajeras to the premature termination of the overseas employment contract as required by Sec. H of the Standard Employment Contract Governing the Employment of all Filipino Seamen on Board Ocean-Going Vessels. Dr. Hoed¶s diagnosis that private respondent was suffering from ³paranoia´ and ³other mental problems´ was likewise dismissed as being of
Cajeras as illegal and ordering respondents Marsaman Manning Agency. Similarly. We deny the petition. since no evidence was presented to show that bad faith characterized the dismissal. the employment of a Filipino seaman may be terminated prior to the expiration of the stipulated period provided that the master and the seaman (a) mutually consent thereto and (b) reduce their consent in writing. 1995).100. v.ix Hence. Alekos in the vessel¶s Deck Log conformably with the rulings in Haverton Shipping Ltd. Thus. The entry made by Capt. on the contrary. was even rated ³Very Good´ in respondent's Service Record Book. in writing. The claims for damages are likewise dismissed for lack of merit. Inc. and. (d) in ordering a monetary award beyond the maximum of three (3) months¶ salary for every year of service set by RA 8042. and how it affected respondent's functions as Chief Cook Steward which. the Medical Report issued by Dr. The claims for nonpayment of wages and overtime pay are dismissed for having been withdrawn (Minutes. Wden Hoed as conclusive evidence that respondent Cajeras was suffering from paranoia and other mental problems. to jointly and severally pay complainant the sum of USD 5. NLRC. under the foregoing. especially after noting that private respondent did not actually sign his Seaman¶s Service Record Book to signify his assent to the repatriation as alleged by petitioners.00 as 10% attorney¶s fees it appearing that complainant had to engage the service of counsel to protect his interest in the prosecution of this case. petitioners do not deny the fact that they have fallen short of the requirement. In the Contract of Employment xii  entered into with private respondent. the Labor Arbiter disposed of the case as follows: WHEREFORE. agree to an early termination x x x x (underscoring ours).00 or its peso equivalent at the time of payment plus USD 510. Inc.xi (b) in not appreciating the Medical Report issued by Dr. Alekos in the Deck Log was not considered reliable proof that private respondent agreed to his repatriation because no opportunity was given the latter to contest the entry which was against his interest. petitioners convenanted strict and faithful compliance with the terms and conditions of the Standard Employment Contract approved by the POEA/DOLExiii which provides: 1. in what stage it was. v. by mutual consent. (c) in affirming the award of attorney¶s fees despite the fact that Cajeras' claim for exemplary damages was denied for lack of merit. Petitioners' motion for reconsideration was denied by the NLRC in its Resolution dated 12 November 1996. No document exists whereby Capt.little evidentiary value because it was not supported by evidence on how the paranoia was contracted. judgment is hereby rendered declaring the repatriation and dismissal of complaint Wilfredo T. In the instant case. December 18. NLRCx and Wallem Maritime Services.viii The NLRC subscribed to the view that Cajeras¶ repatriation by alleged mutual consent was not proved by petitioners. vii  On 16 September 1996 the NLRC affirmed the appealed findings and conclusions of the Labor Arbiter. Alekos and private respondent reduced to . this petition contending that the NLRC committed grave abuse of discretion: (a) in not according full faith and credit to the official entry by Capt. Inc. Hoed of Holland was dismissed as being of dubious value since it contained only a sweeping statement of the supposed ailment of Cajeras without any elaboration on the factual basis thereof. Clearly.vi Petitioners appealed to the NLRC. The employment of the seaman shall cease upon expiration of the contract period indicated in the Crew Contract unless the Master and the Seaman. and Diamantides Maritime.
neither did petitioners prove that private respondent was incompetent or continuously incapacitated for the duties for which he was employed by reason of his alleged mental state.xviii The Court reasoned that since the log book was the only piece of evidence presented to prove just cause for the termination of respondent therein. the log book had to be duly identified and authenticated lest an injustice would result from a blind adoption of its contents which were but prima facie evidence of the incidents stated therein. it is a unilateral act which is vehemently denied by private respondent. Hence. the NLRC correctly dismissed its evidentiary value. the findings of doctors who are not proven experts are not binding on this Court. Hoed be considered corroborative and conclusive evidence that private respondent was suffering from ³paranoia´ and ³other mental problems. Secondly. v. In the instant case. However. and/or its political subdivisions. For one thing. xx  which Dr. absolutely no evidence. petitioners presented the vessel's Deck Log wherein an entry unilaterally made by Capt. Inc.´ supposedly just causes for his repatriation. In Wallem Maritime Services. was offered to enlighten the NLRC or this Court as to Dr. If Dr. v. the NLRC found the allegation to be actually untrue since no signature of private respondent appeared in the Record Book. Hoed indeed competently examined private respondent then he would have been able to discuss at length the circumstances and precedents of his diagnosis. Although petitioners claim that Cajeras signed his Seaman¶s Service Record Book to signify his conformity to the repatriation. Hoed's qualifications to diagnose mental illnesses. the entry in no way satisfies the requirement of a bilateral documentation to prove early termination of an overseas employment contract by mutual consent required by the Standard Employment Contract. Wden Hoed was not shown to be. Neither could the ³Medical Report´ prepared by Dr. On the contrary his . Hoed contained only a general statement that private respondent was suffering from ³paranoia´ and ³other mental problems´ without providing the details on how the diagnosis was arrived at or in what stage the illness was. since the latter sets the minimum terms and conditions of employment for the protection of Filipino seamen subject only to the adoption of better terms and conditions over and above the minimum standards. offices. Furthermore. the Medical Report prepared by Dr. NLRC. It is a matter of judicial notice that there are various specializations in medical science and that a general practitioner is not competent to diagnose any and all kinds of illnesses and diseases. Instead. However. Haverton says that a vessel¶s log book is prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein as they are official entries made by a person in the performance of a duty required by law. departments. not even an allegation. Inc. this jurisprudential principle does not apply to win the case for petitioners. However petitioners contend that the entry should be considered prima facie evidence that respondent himself requested his repatriation conformably with the rulings in Haverton Shipping Ltd. NLRCxvii the Haverton ruling was not given unqualified application because the log book presented therein was a mere typewritten collation of excerpts from what could be the log book.xix Secondly. Alekos purported to show that private respondent himself asked for his repatriation. Hence.xvi Indeed. Firstly. v. NLRCxv and Abacast Shipping and Management Agency. Petitioners cannot rely on the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties to make the Medical Report acceptable because the presumption applies only to public officers from the highest to the lowest in the service of the Government.writing their alleged ³mutual consent´ to the termination of their employment contract.xiv the NLRC could not be accused of grave abuse of discretion in not accepting anything less. the disputed entry in the Deck Log was neither authenticated nor supported by credible evidence. bureaus.
xxx However. Sec. RA 8042 is applicable because although private respondent¶s contract of employment was entered into before the law became effective his alleged cause of action. occurred when the law was already in effect.xxvii However on 15 July 1995. i.6 months. the rule has always been that an illegally dismissed worker whose employment is for a fixed period is entitled to payment of his salaries corresponding to the unexpired portion of his employment. 8. 7. for 8. In case of termination of overseas employment without just.e. the worker shall be entitled to the full reimbursement of his placement fee with interest at twelve percent (12%) per annum. valid or authorized cause. But petitioners now insist that Sec. a maximum award of ten percent (10%) of the monetary award by way of attorney¶s fees is legally and morally justifiable under Art. simply awarded private respondent his salaries corresponding to the unexpired portion of his employment contract.. applies in the case of private respondent and to all overseas contract workers dismissed on or after its effectivity on 15 July 1995 in the same way that Sec. arbitrary or despotic manner. The Labor Arbiter. Rule VIII. was rated ³Very Good´ in his Seaman¶s Service Record Book as correctly observed by public respondent. i. Grave abuse of discretion is committed only when the judgment is rendered in a capricious.xxv The case of Albenson Enterprises Corporation v. salaries for three (3) months only pursuant to the last portion of Sec. .xxviii RA 6715.xxii Sec. i.. Art. Petitioners' purpose in so arguing is to invoke the law in justifying a lesser monetary award to private respondent. valid or authorized cause as defined by law or contract. his repatriation on 28 September 1995 without just. 2208 of the Civil Code. 10.xxix is made applicable to locally employed workers dismissed on or after 21 March 1989.e. whimsical. being a civil action for damages which deals with only one of the eleven (11) instances when attorney¶s fees could be recovered under Art. Lastly. 10 of which provides: Sec. up to the very moment of his repatriation. we cannot subscribe to the view that private respondent is entitled to three (3) months¶ salary only. rationalizing that the aforesaid law did not apply since it became effective only one (1) month after respondent's overseas employment contract was entered into on 15 June 1995. A plain reading of Sec.. Considering all the foregoing we cannot ascribe grave abuse of discretion on the part of the NLRC in ruling that petitioners failed to prove just cause for the termination of private respondent's overseas employment. RA 8042 otherwise known as the ³Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995´ took effect. 10. RA 8042. i. We agree with petitioners that Sec. 111 of the Labor Code. which is not true in the present case. 10 as opposed to the salaries for 8. 2208xxiv of the Civil Code. 10.ability as Chief Cook Steward. 10 clearly reveals that the choice of which amount to award an illegally dismissed overseas contract worker.xxi With respect to attorney¶s fees. Book III of its Implementing Rules.6 months awarded by the Labor Arbiter and affirmed by the NLRC. plus his salaries for the unexpired portion of the employment contract or for three (3) months for every year of the unexpired term whichever is less (underscoring ours).. 34. The NLRC affirmed the award and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) fully agreed. suffice it to say that in actions for recovery of wages or where an employee was forced to litigate and thus incurred expenses to protect his rights and interests.e.xxiii and par.e. Court of Appeals xxvi  cited by petitioners in arguing against the award of attorney¶s fees is clearly not applicable. on the amount of salaries due private respondent.
dated June 29. November 21.: This is a petition for review of the decision of the Court of Appeals. respectively. as well as attorney's fees of ten percent (10%) of the total monetary award. Costs against petitioners.xxxiii WHEREFORE. and THE COURT OF APPEALS. 144314*. 2000. and SKIPPERS MARITIME SERVICES. CAJERAS his salaries for the unexpired portion of his employment contract or USD$5. MIRA (DECEASED). [G..whether his salaries for the unexpired portion of his employment contract or three (3) months¶ salary for every year of the unexpired term. SP No. 2002] SKIPPERS PACIFIC. INC. MIRA and ANNE MARIE F. to pay private respondent WILFREDO T. 53079. petitioners. in CA-G. MIRA. which affirmed the resolution of the National Labor . 10 of RA 8042. the questioned Decision and Resolution dated 16 September 1996 and 12 November 1996. vs. J. MANUEL V. and DIAMANTIDES MARITIME. This is contrary to the well-established rule in legal hermeneutics that in interpreting a statute. ** DECISION QUISUMBING. jointly and severally. care should be taken that every part or word thereof be given effectxxxi since the law-making body is presumed to know the meaning of the words employed in the statue and to have used them advisedly. LTD. respondents. INC. are ordered. comes into play only when the employment contract concerned has a term of at least one (1) year or more. INC. Petitioners MARSAMAN MANNING AGENCY.R.100. whichever is less.00. reimburse the latter's placement fee with twelve percent (12%) interest per annum conformably with Sec. substituted by DELFA F. of public respondent National Labor Relations Commission are AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED..xxxii Ut res magis valeat quam pereat.R.. This is evident from the words ³for every year of the unexpired term´ which follows the words ³salaries x x x for three months.´ To follow petitioners¶ thinking that private respondent is entitled to three (3) months salary only simply because it is the lesser amount is to completely disregard and overlook some words used in the statute while giving effect to some. No..
Private respondent Manuel V. we granted the motion to substitute the deceased private respondent with his surviving spouse. on July 25. 1997. promulgated on March 15. Anne Marie F. Petitioner Skippers Maritime Services Ltd. series of 1996. 1997. The facts of this case are not in dispute: On March 20. private respondent filed a complaint for illegal dismissal and non-payment of the salaries and allowances owing on the unexpired portion of his contract. in NLRC CA No. 1997. (SMS) is a foreign corporation based in Athens. During said period of employment. docketed as NLRC NCR Case No. private respondent was hired by SUPI for and on behalf of its principal.00. he inquired from SUPI about the details of his transfer to another vessel. which denied petitioners¶ motion for reconsideration for lack of merit. During the pendency of this case. he was to receive a basic salary of US$1. 016616-98 (NLRC OCW Case No. Petitioners countered that private respondent was dismissed for cause in accordance with Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Memorandum Circular No. Mira. 1997.900. (SUPI) is the local crewing/manning agent of SMS for said vessel. On August 15. Greece and is the owner of the ship M/V Rita V. Filippo Karabatsis. 1998. 1999.. Also assailed is the appellate court¶s resolution of August 3. 1997. Private respondent then formally wrote Karabatsis and Gloria Almodiel. Petitioner Skippers United Pacific. and sole child. M-97-08-4057. private respondent took command of the M/V Rita V in Singapore. private respondent died of cardiovascular disease. about his transfer to another ship. and advising him that he would be transferred to another vessel on June 10. they received a letter-petition from several crewmembers of M/V Rita V stating that: (1) private . 1997 and again on July 28.262 gross registered tons. In our resolution of June 18. assured him that he would be redeployed on June 10. 1997. private respondent averred that he was dismissed without just cause nor due process. Delfa F. SUPI General Manager. Achilles Puaben. 1997. he was just told to sit tight and wait. 55. 1997 and May 16. Capt. the M/V Rita V. Mira was the captain of M/V Rita V. all on a monthly basis. a Panama-registered vessel of 5. he received two telex messages dated May 14. Petitioners averred that on April 27.00. 2000. 1997 came and went. M-97-084057). to serve as Master of the latter¶s vessel. The NLRC affirmed the decision of the Labor Arbiter holding that private respondent¶s dismissal from employment was illegal.Relations Commission (NLRC). 1997. SUPI and the SMS representative in the Philippines. Every time he would follow up his transfer. Mira. Shortly thereafter. Barely in his second month of service. but nothing resulted. Inc.00 and vacation leave with pay of US$158. June 10. Private respondent¶s contract was for a period of six (6) months. 2001. private respondent was repatriated back to the Philippines. ordering him to turn over command of the ship to its former Master. but private respondent remained without assignment. On May 22. On March 22. an owner¶s bonus of US$200. In his sworn complaint. overseas allowance of US$442. SMS.00.
00 by way of 10% attorney¶s fees since compelled to litigate.. consistent with the foregoing. the Third Division of the NLRC dismissed petitioners¶ appeal. the Labor Arbiter decided NLRC NCR Case No. On March 15. in the amount of US$5. complainant had to engage the services of counsel. All other claims are dismissed for lack of merit.respondent had been causing discontent among the crew. Inc. 1999. contending that the NLRC acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to want or excess of jurisdiction in affirming the judgment of the Labor Arbiter.00 but then shortly afterwards sent money to his wife in the Philippines.000. On July 30. SO ORDERED. (2) he altered official receipts by increasing the amounts indicated therein so he could collect from SMS the excess of the real cost of the goods brought for the vessel¶s provisions.A.  Petitioners moved for reconsideration on the ground that the NLRC failed to appreciate loss of trust and confidence as a basis for terminating the services of the private respondent. .900 x 3) plus the sum of US$570. saying it was the first time he had heard of it. we order respondent Skippers United Pacific. 8042. 1998. both in its personal capacity and as agent of the foreign principal to pay complainant his salary for the unexpired portion of his contract but limited to three months pursuant to Section 10 of R. and (4) he planned to repatriate several members of the engine crew to the Philippines. the instant appeal is dismissed for lack of merit and the assailed decision affirmed en toto.00 (US$1. 016616-98.700. Petitioners failed to present the original of the letter-petition in question before the Labor Arbiter. M-97-08-4057 in this wise: WHEREFORE. SO ORDERED. as we sustain the illegality of complainant¶s dismissal. 53079. docketed as CA-GR SP No. thus: WHEREFORE. Petitioners then filed a special civil action for certiorari with the Court of Appeals. (3) he declared as lost the ship¶s funds amounting to US$4. Petitioners alleged that private respondent was dismissed due to these charges. payments to be made in their peso equivalent at the rate of payment. 1999.  Petitioners appealed the Labor Arbiter¶s decision on the ground that it was devoid of factual and legal bases. Private respondent denied any knowledge of said letter-petition. the NLRC denied petitioners¶ motion for reconsideration for want of merit. The appeal was docketed as NLRC CA No. On May 12.
and Court of Appeals ± petitioners could not produce an original copy of the alleged letter-petition. and hearsay. private respondent points out that at all three levels below ± Labor Arbiter. We find that there is no just cause for private respondent¶s termination. NLRC. the instant petition for certiorari is hereby DENIED DUE COURSE and accordingly DISMISSED for lack of merit. petitioners insist that the acts of dishonesty and embezzlement of company funds complained of warrant the penalty of dismissal. For his part. The letter petition is itself . premises considered. the appellate court decided CA-G. Petitioners¶ formulation may be reduced to one issue: Did the Court of Appeals err in affirming the NLRC¶s decision that private respondent was illegally dismissed? Petitioners contend that the Court of Appeals erred in ruling that there was no just cause for private respondent¶s dismissal. Clearly. nonetheless private respondent¶s actions created divisiveness among the crew. especially as it only came out after private respondent had filed a complaint for illegal dismissal. Citing the letter-petition allegedly signed by certain officers and crewmembers of M/V Rita V. conjectures.R. and this more than justified the termination of private respondent¶s employment. 1999 is AFFIRMED and REITERATED. 53079 as follows: WHEREFORE. Needless to state.On June 29. SP No. WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THERE WAS NO JUST CAUSE IN TERMINATING THE SERVICES OF THE PRIVATE RESPONDENT. b. WHETHER OF NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT SECTION 17 OR THE STANDARD FORMAT IS INAPPLICABLE IN THIS CASE. said letter must be deemed spurious or fabricated. The assailed Resolution of public respondent National Labor Relations Commission dated May 12. assuming that these acts of dishonesty were not substantiated. Hence. said the petitioners. the allegations contained in the letterpetition do not at all amount to substantial evidence. Moreover. the instant petition for review anchored on the following issues: a. the prayer of petitioners for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order is DENIED for lack of factual and legal bases. that private respondent was illegally dismissed: As for the legality of the act of dismissal. SO ORDERED. The court a quo made the following observations when it sustained the NLRC¶s findings. 2000. The acts mentioned therein are based purely on speculations.  Hence. Private respondent further points out that petitioners fail to raise any question of law whatsoever in their petition for review.
petitioners could have required him to dock the vessel at the nearest port where petitioner principal has a representative or at least where the proper authorities could be notified of any contingency without first informing him of the reason therefore. There are no positive indications that he would compromise the safety of his crew or the seaworthiness of the vessel just so he could get his way. being at the time the vessel¶s Master. Then the proper notices and investigation to thresh out the truth regarding the allegations against private respondent could have been effected. the Court of Appeals opined: The safety of the crew or the vessel would not be imperiled by the sole act of informing him of the charges against him. Private respondent is not a dangerous or menacing individual. Petitioners aver that giving notice to private respondent would have been disastrous to both crew and vessel. private respondent sent an undisclosed amount to his wife in Manila. The signatories thereto merely attributed their statements to information they learned through the grapevine or from conclusions reached without adequate basis. it may be effected under Section 17 (D) of what is called the Standard Format in cases where giving a notice will prejudice the safety of the crew and vessel. which are amply supported by the evidence. petitioners assail the finding of the Court of Appeals that the manner of effecting petitioners¶ dismissal was illegal. It clearly shows that petitioners relied on sheer surmises and hearsay in . they put one (1) and one (1) together to arrive at a clearly speculative conclusion. Not even the chief cook could attest to the truthfulness of such act since he did not see private respondent do such alteration of official receipts to reflect a much higher cost of goods bought nor was he ever told personally of such misdeed«  On the second assigned error. It was thereon alleged that private respondent lost the said amount and even tried to put the blame on the crewmembers. the statement concerning the alleged padding of official receipts was not supported by any other evidence except their allegation that somebody leaked said information to those on board M/V Rita V. Besides. We see no reason to disturb the appellate court¶s findings. This is pure hearsay. the allegation regarding the missing US$4. petitioners¶ arguments are baseless and unfounded. as private respondent. Thus. For example. As to this matter.000.00. Not long after though. Petitioners insist that even without furnishing the seafarer with notice of dismissal. In short. could sabotage its operations and sow divisiveness among the crewmembers. Furthermore. Private respondent submits that Section 17 (D) is inapplicable since the new Master who replaced him failed to comply with its requirements. The signatories thereto are insinuating that private respondent misappropriated the money allegedly lost by sending the same to his wife.  The appellate court concluded that private respondent had been illegally dismissed based on evidence adduced before the Labor Arbiter and later the NLRC.clear on this matter.
or any other officer of M/V Rita V or of petitioners. and (2) the subsequent notice of the employer¶s decision to dismiss him. It is only in the exceptional case of clear and existing danger to the safety of the crew or vessel that the required notices are dispensed with. In the present case. The employer has the burden of proving that the dismissal was for a valid and just cause. Further. illegal. the ³two . A condemnation of dishonesty and disloyalty cannot arise from suspicions spawned by speculative inferences. submitted ³a complete report to the manning agency substantiated by witnesses. Note that under Section 17 of what is termed the Standard Format. is quite belated. and illegal.notice rule´ is indicated. then a written notice of penalty and the reasons for it shall be furnished the erring seafarer. who replaced private respondent. but just the same. Nothing on record supports petitioners¶ allegations that the giving of a notice to private respondent posed a clear and present danger to crew and vessel. and without said basis cannot be successfully invoked as a ground for dismissal. The employer is required to furnish the concerned employee with two written notices before his dismissal: (1) the notice which apprises the employee of the particular acts or omissions for which his dismissal is sought.dismissing private respondent. For dismissal to be valid. which must be supported by clear and convincing evidence. the evidence must be substantial and not arbitrary and must be founded on clearly established facts. Failure to discharge this burden of proof substantially means that the dismissal was not justified and therefore. nothing on record shows that the Master. loss of trust or breach of confidence must have some basis. This means that the requirements of due process must be observed. and any other documents´ supporting a finding of clear and existing danger to the ship and the . Otherwise put. Petitioners¶ submission. that private respondent was dismissed because of loss of trust and confidence. Should sanctions be imposed. An employer can terminate the services of an employee only for valid and just causes. petitioners utterly failed to establish by convincing evidence private respondent¶s culpability. He who invokes an exemption from a rule must by convincing and credible evidence show why the exemption should apply to him. Moreover. No original of the letter-petition allegedly submitted to them by crewmembers of the vessel was ever produced by petitioners. This issue could not be raised for the first time on appeal. the manner of his dismissal must be in accordance with governing rules and regulations. petitioners failed to adduce pertinent evidence. An erring seaman is given a written notice of the charge against him and is afforded an opportunity to explain or defend himself. testimonies. otherwise the order of dismissal is void. supported by substantial evidence of the findings. Otherwise the termination itself would be grossly defective. The acts allegedly complained of therein were not substantiated at all. Not only must the reasons for dismissing an employee be substantiated. a complete report should be sent to the manning agency. On this score. there must be some breach of duty on the part of the employee and the same must be supported by substantial evidence. This procedure is mandatory.
vs. according to private respondent. Hence. as pointed out by private respondent.. The errors assigned by petitioners concern findings of the appellate court that sustain the conclusion of the labor tribunal. Private respondent submits that said ruling of the appellate court is contrary to prevailing jurisprudence. This is contrary to the well-established rule in legal hermeneutics that in interpreting a statute. in view of the dictum that findings of fact of the NLRC are accorded great respect and even finality by this Court. A plain reading of Sec. i. in a petition for review. we are constrained to agree that the manner of dismissal by petitioners of private respondent was devoid of due process. This is evident from the words ³for every year of the unexpired term´ which follows the words ³salaries x x x for three months. Inc. There is a question of fact when the doubt or difference arises as to the truth or the falsehood of the alleged facts. we held: [W]e cannot subscribe to the view that private respondent is entitled to three (3) months salary only. the present petition raises no question of law. involving Section 10 of Republic Act No. Third. The transfer did not materialize for reasons known only to the petitioners. The Supreme Court is not a trier of facts. However. Private respondent argues that his contract of employment was for six (6) months. more so in labor cases. 10 clearly reveals that the choice of which amount to award an illegally dismissed overseas contract worker. i. which must be distinctly set forth in the petition. that the award of claims for unpaid salaries should cover the entire unexpired portion of the employment contract. Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.´ To follow petitioners¶ thinking that private respondent is entitled to three (3) months salary only simply because it is the lesser amount is to completely disregard and overlook some words used in the statute while giving effect to some. it is not the function of the Supreme Court to weigh all over again the evidence already considered in proceedings below. 8042. A question of law exists when there is doubt or controversy as to what the law is on a certain state of facts. provides that only questions of law shall be raised. In brief. As a general rule. whichever is less. care should be taken that every part or word thereof be given effect since the lawmaking body is presumed to know the . 8042 applies to him. whether his salaries for the unexpired portion of his employment contract or three (3) months salary for every year of the unexpired term.e.company. Hence. 8042 as applicable to him. NLRC. which is four months. Section 1. for his part.. avers that the Court of Appeals erred in citing Section 10 of Republic Act No. what petitioners raise are questions of fact. the Court of Appeals erred when it sustained the ruling of the NLRC affirming the judgment of the Labor Arbiter that Section 10 of Republic Act No. he was able to work for only two (2) months because he was recalled by petitioners for transfer to another vessel.e. Private respondent. In Marsaman Manning Agency. A question of law does not involve any examination of the probative value of the evidence submitted by the parties. and not just three months. hence illegal. comes into play only when the employment contract concerned has a term of at least one (1) year or more.
8042. their interpretation is sometimes anti-poor. WHEREFORE. Costs against petitioners. ROGELIO T. CENTRUM PROMOTIONS PLACEMENT CORPORATION. JOSE A. Hence. representing the unexpired portion of his employment contract. PUNO. at the rate US$1. EDNA BONTO-PEREZ..00 monthly at its peso equivalent at the time of actual payment. denying petitioners motion for reconsideration. we see no reason to disregard the ruling in Marsaman that private respondent should be paid his salaries for the unexpired portion of his employment contract. and TIMES SURETY & INSURANCE COMPANY. respondents. and Skippers Maritime Services. JOSE N. HON. Ut res magis valeat quam pereat. Petitioners Skippers United Pacific. No. are AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION.S. and their child. INC. HON. G. as well as (3) attorney¶s fees of ten percent (10%) of the total monetary award. HON. ZAPANTA. Mira.  It is not disputed that private respondent¶s employment contract in the instant case was for six (6) months. 109808 March 1.R. 1995 ESALYN CHAVEZ.: One of the anguished cries in our society today is that while our laws appear to protect the poor. and the resolution of the appellate court dated August 3. Dollars (US$1. 53079. Anne Marie F. J. 2000 in CA-G. petitioner.meaning of the words employed in the statute and to have used them advisedly. Mira ± namely his surviving spouse. Inc. The assailed decision of the Court of Appeals dated June 29. Ltd. 2000. SARMIENTO. a poor. JR.. vs. are hereby ORDERED (1) to pay jointly and severally the heirs of deceased private respondent Manuel V.R. AZUCENA. RAYALA.500) but later had to sign an immoral side . HON. DOMINGO H. SP No. uncounselled entertainment dancer signed a contract with her Japanese employer calling for a monthly salary of One Thousand Five Hundred U.. SO ORDERED. In the case at bench. the instant petition is DENIED.900. Mira ± his salaries for four (4) months. and (2) reimburse to said heirs the private respondent¶s placement fee with twelve percent (12%) interest per annum conformably with Section 10 of Republic Act No. Delfa F. petitioner.
where she worked for six (6) months. Charged in the case were private respondent Centrum Promotions and Placement Corporation. until June 10. 1992. On December 1. The facts are undisputed. 1991. 1988. representing the unpaid portion of her basic salary for six months. Ltd. the Philippine representative of Planning Japan. petitioner left for Osaka. dated February 17.000. Mr. DANCER.00). Dollars (US$6. petitioner.agreement reducing her salary below the minimum standard set by the POEA. entered into a standard employment contract for overseas Filipino artists and entertainers with Planning Japan Co. and Jaz Talents Promotion. Jose A.5000.. 1988 SUBJECT: Salary Deduction MANAGERIAL COMMISSION DATE OF DEPARTURE: _________________ ATTENTION: MR. There is no greater disappointment to the poor like petitioner than to discover the ugly reality behind the beautiful rhetoric of laws. .00). which affirmed the Decision of public respondent Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) Administrator Jose N. its insurer.00). Petitioner instituted the case at bench for underpayment of wages with the POEA on February 21. but incredibly found public respondent straining the seams of our law to disfavor her. 1 dated December 29. Sarmiento. We will not allow this travesty..S. 1988. IWATA I.. by petitioner) 3 On December 16. Subsequently.. my monthly salary (net) is FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS ($500). On December 5. Japan. That.. Co. Petitioner invoked the law to collect her salary differentials. She came back to the Philippines on June 14. Inc. 10. This is a petition for certiorari to review the Decision of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). private respondent Centrum Placement & Promotions Corporation. She prayed for the payment of Six Thousand U. petitioner executed the following side agreement with her Japanese employer through her local manager. and petitioner was to be paid a monthly compensation of One Thousand Five Hundred Dollars (US$1. do hereby with my own free will and voluntarily have the honor to authorize your good office to please deduct the amount of TWO HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS ($250) from my contracted monthly salary of SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS ($750) as monthly commission for my Manager. ESALYN CHAVEZ. an entertainment dancer. 1992. dismissing petitioner's complaint for unpaid salaries amounting to Six Thousand Dollars (US$6. Jaz Talents Promotion: Date: Dec.000. The contract had a duration of two (2) to six (6) months. 1989. Inc. (sgd. Times Surety and Insurance Co. 1989. the POEA approved the contract. 1888. Jr.. 2 through its Philippine representative. Azucena.
the NLRC upheld the Decision. her self-imposed silence for a long period of time worked to her own disadvantage as she allowed laches to prevail which barred respondent from doing something at the outset. . Moreover. if any. thus. This resulted in placing the negligent party in estoppel to assert or enforce his right. xxx xxx xxx (Citations omitted. 1991. Complainant (petitioner) cannot now demand from respondent agency to pay her the salary based (on) the processed Employment Contract for she is now considered in bad faith and hence. . 1988. (it) not being a licensed private agency but a promotion which trains entertainers for abroad. He ratiocinated. to put it bluntly. she/he would immediately react to protect her/his rights which is not true in the case at bar. complainant (referring to petitioner herein) was satisfied and did not have any complaint (about) anything regarding her employment in Japan until after almost two (2) years (when) she filed the instant complaint on February 21. Jaz Talents Promotion consenting to a monthly salary of US$750. 1992. The term laches has been defined as one's negligence or failure to assert his right in due time or within reasonable time from the accrual of his cause of action. the Supreme Court in one case held that not only is inaction within reasonable time to enforce a right the basic premise that underlies a valid defense of laches but such inaction evinces implied consent or acquiescence to the violation of the right . . estopped from claiming thereto thru her own act of consenting and agreeing to receive a salary not in accordance with her contract of employment. if a person's right (is) violated. . Respondent agency had no knowledge nor participation in the said agreement such that it could not be faulted for violation of the Standard Employment Contract regarding the stipulated salary. 1991. thus: We fail to see any conspiracy that the complainant (petitioner herein) imputes to the respondents.) On appeal. We cannot take cognizance of such violation when one of the principal party (sic) thereto opted to receive a salary different from what has been stipulated in their contract. Normally.00 which she affirmed during the conference of May 21.The complaint was dismissed by public respondent POEA Administrator on February 17. it is outside the regulatory powers of the Administration to rule on the liability of respondent Jaz Talents Promotions. not established and/or laid the basis for Us to arrive at a conclusion that the respondents have been and should be held liable for her claims. . . especially so if the contracting party did not consent/participate in such arrangement. Likewise. The records show that after signing the Standard Employment Contract on December 1. . Under the prevailing circumstances of this case. She has. Apparently and from all indications. . she entered into a side agreement with the Japanese employer thru her local manager. leading another party to believe that there is nothing wrong with his own claim. inter alia: .
The following shall be considered the minimum requirements for contracts of employment: a. 4 Dissatisfied with the NLRC's Decision. Ltd. Book VI of the 1991 Rules and Regulations Governing Overseas Employment. Employment Standards.The way We see it. Hence. 2. that she entered into a side contract on December 10. and private respondents are not solidarily liable to her for Six Thousand US Dollars (US$6. Any alterations or changes made in any part of this contract without prior approval by the POEA shall be null and void. 1988 approved by the POEA with the following stipulation appended thereto: It is understood that the terms and conditions stated in this Employment Contract are in conformance with the Standard Employment Contract for Entertainers prescribed by the POEA under Memorandum Circular No. Guaranteed wages for regular working hours and overtime pay for services rendered beyond regular working hours in accordance with the standards established by the Administration. 2. Book V and Section 2(f). 1. morals and public policy. alleging that public respondents committed grave abuse of discretion in finding: that she is guilty of laches.. Sec. Rule II Sec. nullified and invalidated the standard employment contract she entered into on December 1. The administration shall undertake development and/or periodic review of region. and that Planning Japan Co. Standard Employment Contract. We affirmed. Firstly. Rule I.) The stipulation is in line with the provisions of Rule II. 1988 for the reduction of her basic salary to Seven Hundred Fifty U.00) which superseded. 1988. The Administration shall determine. xxx xxx xxx Sec.00) from her monthly basic salary is void because it is against our existing laws.00) in unpaid wages. 3. therefore. thus: Book V. 5 The petition is meritorious. Series of 1986.000. Dollars (US$750.S. Dollars (US$250.S. no merit in the appeal. petitioner instituted the present petition. country and skills specific . Minimum Provisions for Contract. 6 (Emphasis supplied. There is. It cannot supersede the standard employment contract of December 1. we hold that the managerial commission agreement executed by petitioner to authorize her Japanese Employer to deduct Two Hundred Fifty U. the records do not at all indicate any connection between respondents Centrum Promotion & Placement Corporation and Jaz Talents Promotion. formulate and review employment standards in accordance with the market development and welfare objectives of the overseas employment program and the prevailing market conditions.
These contracts shall provide for minimum employment standards herein enumerated under Section 2. Dollars (US$1. 9 The doctrine of laches is based upon grounds of public policy which requires. the discouragement of stale claims. (Emphasis supplied. 7 thus giving rise to a presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has abandoned or declined to assert it. could or should have been done earlier.S. and for not having been approved by the POEA. Grounds for suspension/cancellation of license. Laches has been defined as the failure or neglect for an unreasonable and unexplained length time to do that which. is insufficient to constitute laches. 10 There is no absolute rule as to what constitutes laches. of this Rule and shall recognize the prevailing labor and social legislations at the site of employment and international conventions. Secondly. by exercising due diligence. Thus. The question of laches is addressed to the sound discretion of the court. and since it is an equitable doctrine.500. xxx xxx xxx f. for the peace of society. 8 It is not concerned with mere lapse of time. the basic salary of One Thousand Five Hundred U. xxx xxx xxx (Emphasis supplied.) Clearly. The doctrine of laches or "stale demands"' cannot be applied to petitioner. this side agreement is a scheme all too frequently resorted to by unscrupulous employers against our helpless overseas workers who are compelled to agree to satisfy their basic economic needs. the side agreement which reduced petitioner's basic wage to Seven Hundred Fifty U. 2. The SEC shall set the minimum terms and conditions of employment. the fact of delay. Indeed. All employers and principals shall adopt the SEC in connection with the hiring of workers without prejudice to their adoption of other terms and conditions of employment over and above the minimum standards of the Administration. 11 .00) guaranteed to petitioner under the parties' standard employment contract is in accordance with the minimum employment standards with respect to wages set by the POEA. and is principally a question of the inequity or unfairness of permitting a right or claim to be enforced or asserted. its application is controlled by equitable considerations.) and BOOK VI. It cannot be worked to defeat justice or to perpetrate fraud and injustice. standing alone. Substituting or altering employment contracts and other documents approved and verified by the Administration from the time of actual signing thereof by the parties up to and including the period of expiration of the same without the Administration's approval.employment contracts for landbased workers and conduct regular review of standard employment contracts (SEC) for seafarers.S.00) is null and void for violating the POEA's minimum employment standards. each case is to be determined according to its particular circumstances. RULE I Sec. Dollars (US$750.
7 of the parties' standard employment contract which provides: 13. . Ltd. 12 For this reason. where the claim was filed within the three-year statutory period. recovery therefore cannot be barred by laches. . which has been aptly described as a "justice outside legality. that it is a long standing principle that equity follows the law. Courts exercising equity jurisdiction are bound by rules of law and have no arbitrary discretion to disregard them. Our courts are basically courts of law not courts of equity. Court of Appeals . as in this case. Such formal appointment or recruitment agreement shall contain the following provisions. . We have ruled in Arsenal v. Thus. Book I of the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code. NLRC. thus: Sec. petitioner filed her claim well within the three-year prescriptive period for the filing of money claims set forth in Article 291 of the Labor Code.) This solidary liability also arises from the provisions of Section 10(a)(2). as amended. private respondents Centrum and Times as well as Planning Japan Co. .. ² Before recruiting any worker. Requirement before recruitment. Laches is a doctrine in equity while prescription is based on law. The Employer (in this case.7. In Zabat. .. . . laches cannot be invoked to resist the enforcement of an existing legal right.In the case at bench. among others: . and never against. . we hold the doctrine of laches inapplicable to petitioner. . Thus. statutory law or. We said therein: As for equity.) Thirdly. Jr. ² the agency's foreign principal ² are solidarily liable to petitioner for her unpaid wages. this Court was more emphatic upholding the rules of procedure. judicial rules of procedure. Intermediate Appellate Court . This is in accordance with stipulation 13. v. Citations omitted. ) and its locally (sic) agent/promoter/representative (private respondent Centrum Promotions & Placement Corporation) shall be jointly and severally responsible for the proper implementation of the terms and conditions in this Contract. 200 SCRA 178 (1991): . Courts should never apply the doctrine of laches earlier than the expiration of time limited for the commencement of actions at law. they should preempt and prevail over all abstract arguments based only on equity. Aequetas nunguam contravenit legis. 13 (Emphasis supplied. Planning Japan Co. Ltd. As we ruled in Imperial Victory Shipping Agency v.. Rule V. The pertinent positive rules being present here." this applied only in the absence of. 10. the private employment agency shall submit to the Bureau the following documents: a) A formal appointment or agency contract executed by a foreign-based employer in favor of the license holder to recruit and hire personnel for the former . xxx xxx xxx (Emphasis supplied.
) Our overseas workers constitute an exploited class. are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. endure slave treatment in foreign lands just to survive. 91-02-199 (ER). Their profile shows they live in suffocating slums. they will work under sub-human conditions and accept salaries below the minimum. The Decisions of respondent POEA Administrator and NLRC Commissioners in POEA Case No. Adj. Costs against private respondents. ON WAGES .xxx xxx xxx 2. respondent public officials who should sympathize with the working class appear to have a different orientation. trapped in an environment of crime. and the Resolution of the NLRC. the petition is GRANTED. The least we can do is to protect them with our laws in our land. 1992. Private respondents are held jointly and severally liable to petitioner for the payment of SIX THOUSAND US DOLLARS (US$6. SO ORDERED. Most of them come from the poorest sector of our society. Hardly literate and in ill health. 1993. their only hope lies in jobs they can hardly find in our country.000. Power of the agency to sue and be sued jointly and solidarily with the principal or foreign based employer for any of the violations of the recruitment agreement and the contracts of employment. They are thoroughly disadvantaged. respectively dated February 17 and December 29.00) in unpaid wages. Out of despondence. Regretfully. cross the seas. xxx xxx xxx (Emphasis supplied. dated March 23. IN VIEW WHEREOF. Their unfortunate circumstance makes them easy prey to avaricious employers. They will climb mountains.
he being allegedly a project employee. ROVII-03. instead of P121. and the second containing only his name and signature. Respondent Undaloc Construction. He further alleged that he was made to sign two payroll sheets. underpayment of wages and nonpayment of statutory benefits. Petitioner asserted he was a regular employee having been engaged to perform works which are "usually necessary or desirable" in respondents¶ business. To buttress this allegation.648. He also averred that his salary from 18 to 30 May 1998 was withheld by respondents. and 12 January to 31 May 1998. respectively. appellee. respondent presented the payroll sheets from 2 September to 8 December 1996. He claimed that from 1 May to 31 August 1995 and from 1 September to 31 December 1995.6 Refuting the claim of underpayment. a single proprietorship owned by Cirilo Undaloc.00.R. his daily rate was P105.5 For its part. 155034 May 22.87 as mandated by Wage Order No.00.00. 2008 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. No. in the [sic] light of the foregoing. 66449 deleting the award of salary differential and attorney¶s fees to petitioner Virgilio Sapio.7 On 12 July 1999.489. as well as the Resolution4 denying his motion for reconsideration.45 and 13th month pay of P2. From 1 March 1996 to 30 May 1998. The controversy started with a complaint filed by petitioner against Undaloc Construction and/or Engineer Cirilo Undaloc for illegal dismissal. DECISION TINGA. Petitioner had been employed as watchman from 1 May 1995 to 30 May 1998 when he was terminated on the ground that the project he was assigned to was already finished. petitioner presented the payroll sheet covering the period from 4 to 10 December 1995 in which the entries were written in pencil. J. However. the first bearing the actual amount he received wherein his signature was affixed to the last column opposite his name. judgment is rendered finding complainant to be a project employee and his termination was for an authorized cause.00 and P90. respondent Cirilo Undaloc maintained that petitioner was hired as a project employee on 1 May 1995 and was assigned as watchman from one project to another until the termination of the project on 30 May 1998. Respondent is also found liable to pay complainant¶s salary differential in the . the Labor Arbiter8 rendered a decision the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. his daily wage rate was only P80. respondent is found liable to pay complainant¶s salary of P2. vs. appellant.: Assailed in this Petition for Review1 is the Decision2 of the Court of Appeals3 in CA-G.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G. FRANCISCO BLANCAFLOR.R. is engaged in road construction business in Cebu City. SP No. 26 May to 15 June 1997.
13 That petitioner was a project employee became a non-issue beginning with the decision of the Labor Arbiter.87 P121.00 P141. petitioner contends that the appellate court erred in failing to dismiss respondent¶s petition for certiorari brought before it on the ground that respondents failed to attach certified true copies of the NLRC¶s decision and resolution denying the motion for reconsideration. More fundamentally.amount of P24. OT P105.00 P141. Contested still is his entitlement to salary differential.00 P136. OT P105.11 In his Comment on the Petition for Certiorari with Prayer for Temporary Restraining and/or Preliminary Injunction12 filed with the Court of Appeals on 22 November 2001. apart from attorney¶s fees. which he presented as follows: Actual Daily Wage Received (for 8 hours worked) Minimum Daily Wage Provided by Law (for 8 hours worked) P121. the NLRC sustained the findings of the Labor Arbiter.88.87 P131. OT P90.00 plus 3 hrs.00 P131.902. Neither did he do so when he moved for reconsideration of the 8 May 2002 Decision of the Court of Appeals.00 is also awarded. OT P105.00 plus 3 hrs. Cuenco-Imus Road Link P90. This belated submission spells doom for petitioner.00 plus 3 hrs. Attorney¶s fee of P3. OT P105. Petitioner avers that he was paid a daily salary way below the minimum wage provided for by law. petitioner did not raise this procedural issue.14 His claim of salary differential represents the difference between the daily wage he actually received and the statutory minimum wage.00 5-1-95 to 8-31-95 Place of Assignment: 9-1-95 to 12-31-95 Place of Assignment: 1-1-96 to 2-28-96 Place of Assignment: 3-1-96 to 6-30-96 Place of Assignment: 7-1-96 to 9-30-96 Place of Assignment: 10-1-96 to 3-14-97 Place of Assignment: 3-15-97 to 6-30-97 Place of Assignment: P80.9 Respondents appealed the award of salary differential to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). Petitioner raises two grounds.00 plus 3 hrs.00 plus 3 hrs. OT M.J. All other claims are dismissed for lack of merit. It is only now before this Court that petitioner proffered the same. In a Decision10 dated 28 August 2000.00 plus 3 hrs. On the procedural aspect.00 plus 3 hrs. OT .000. Thus. an examination of the Court of Appeals rollo belies petitioner as it confirms that the alleged missing documents were in fact attached to the petition. Respondents elevated the case to the Court of Appeals which deleted the award of salary differential and attorney¶s fees. this petition for review. one procedural and the other substantive.
and yellow.00. petitioner appears to have received P90. where only his name appears thereon with his signature also affixed in the last column opposite his name.00 P150. respondents submitted typewritten and signed payroll sheets from 2 September to 8 December 1996. cannot be given weight.00 plus 3 hrs. In turn. was required to sign two sets of payroll sheets in different colors: white. The probative value of the payrolls submitted by the respondent becomes questionable. the Labor Arbiter proceeded to grant petitioner¶s salary differential to the tune of P24. and from 12 January to 31 May 1998.7-1-97 to 9-30-97 Place of Assignment: 10-1-97 to 3-31-98 Place of Assignment: 4-1-98 to 5-17-98 Place of Assignment: 5-18-98 to 5-30-98 Place of Assignment: P105.00 plus 3 hrs. which bears the actual amount he received with his signature affixed in the last column opposite his name. Banking on the fact that the December 1995 payroll sheet was written in pencil. The appellate court pointed out that allegations of fraud in the preparation of payroll sheets must be substantiated by evidence and not by mere suspicions or conjectures. x x x18 Thereupon. OT P105.88.15 These payroll sheets clearly indicate that petitioner did receive a daily salary of P141. petitioner presented the December 1995 payroll sheet written in pencil16 in tandem with the assertion that he. OT P105. OT P105. Complainant is therefore entitled to salary differential as complainant¶s salary was only P105. together with his co-employees.00 To counter petitioner¶s assertions.17 In the December 1995 payroll sheet.00 plus 3 hrs. the first page bears the actual amount he received when he affixed his signature in the last column and the original with entries written in pencil is admitted by the respondent that it did so. the Labor Arbiter concluded that the entries were susceptible to change or erasure and that that susceptibility in turn rendered the other payroll sheets though typewritten less credible. viz: As a general rule. When payrolls are prepared in pencil. OT P150. from 26 May to 15 June 1997.00 plus 3 hrs. is not acceptable.00 P160.00 only as his daily salary but he did not sign the same. The explanation given by the respondent through the affidavit of Jessica Labang that the payrolls were first written in pencil because of the numerous employees to be paid each Saturday. it is so easy for the employer to alter the amounts actually paid to the workers and make it appear that the amounts paid to the workers are in accord with law. When respondent had his payrolls prepared in pencil. Obviously. The Court of Appeals did not subscribe to the common findings of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC. the tendency is that the entries therein will be erased and changed them so that it would appear that the salaries of the workers are in conformity with the law. the purpose is to circumvent the law. It is most likely that the entries in the payrolls are no longer the same entries when complainant signed them. thus. The efforts done in preparing the payroll in pencil is practically the same if it was done in ballpen or through typewriters.00.00 P155. Thus: x x x Complainant¶s allegation that he was made to sign two (2) payrolls. factual findings and conclusions drawn by the National Labor Relations .902.
The claim that the December 1995 payroll sheet was written in pencil and was thus rendered it prone to alterations or erasures is clearly non sequitur. He fixed the daily wage rate actually received by petitioner at P105. Substantial evidence is more than a mere scintilla. Albeit the petitioner admitted that the payrolls were initially made in pencil. We find nothing in the proceedings. good faith must be presumed in this case. while as a general rule.22 The Labor Arbiter erred in his computation. the burden of evidence shifts to the employee and it is incumbent upon him to adduce clear and convincing evidence in support of his claim.20 when fraud is alleged in the preparation of the payroll. it must be confined only to it and cannot be applied to the typewritten payroll sheets. Persons are presumed to have taken care of their business. as well as in the pleadings submitted.902.88. Furthermore. we cannot however subscribe to the total deletion of the award of salary differential and attorney¶s fees. the same does not. Indeed. the most minute examination will not reveal any tampering. enjoy the presumption of regularity under Rule 130. Moreover. While we adhere to the position of the appellate court that the "tendency" to alter the entries in the payrolls was not substantiated.0023 without taking into consideration the P141. the Labor Arbiter misapplied the wage orders24 when he wrongly categorized respondent as falling within the first category. The Labor Arbiter merely surmised and presumed that petitioners had the tendency to alter the entries in the payroll.21Unfortunately. Section 43 of the Rules of Court. neither the Labor Arbiter nor the NLRC found any alteration or erasure or traces thereat. absent any evidence to the contrary. It means such relevant evidence that a reasonable mind would accept as sufficient to support a conclusion. Based on the stipulated number of employees and audited financial statements. To avoid further delay in the disposition of this case which is not in consonance with the objective of . Hence. the burden of proving payment of monetary claims rests on the employer. being entries in the course of business.00 rate indicated in the typewritten payroll sheets submitted by respondents.19 The conclusion of the Labor Arbiter that entries in the December 1995 payroll sheet could have been altered is utterly baseless. since it is presumed that a person takes ordinary care of his concerns and private transactions have been fair and regular.Commission are accorded great weight and respect upon appeal. and must not be presumed as groundwork for alteration. Entries in the payroll. if there is any adverse conclusion as regards the December 1995 payroll sheet. The same is true with respect to the typewritten payroll sheets. as it so ruled. In fact.25 respondents should have been covered by the second category. A suspicion or belief no matter how sincerely felt cannot be a substitute for factual findings carefully established through an orderly procedure. as long as they are supported by substantial evidence. Moreover. we cannot uphold the findings of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC. whether on the pencil-written or typewritten payroll sheets. It is elementary in this jurisdiction that whoever alleges fraud or mistake affecting a transaction must substantiate his allegation. even finality. to sustain the Labor Arbiter¶s findings of the alleged "tendency" to alter the entries. petitioner¶s bare assertions of fraud do not suffice to overcome the disputable presumption of regularity. The Labor Arbiter granted a salary differential of P24. Absent any indication sufficient enough to support a conclusion.
0034 P154.00 P105.00 and respondents are directed to pay the same. After all. the president. but not limited to. 6727.37 The fees may be deducted from the total amount due the winning party. The total salary differential that petitioner is lawfully entitled to amounts to P6. (Emphasis supplied) The award of attorney¶s fees is warranted under the circumstances of this case. we have to adjudge the rightful computation of the salary differential based on the applicable wage orders.00 P141. 8188.00/day or P676. pursuant to Section 12 of Republic Act (R.0028 P130. corporation. as well as ten .00 P141. trust or firm. No. including. Section 12.00/day or P234.156. as amended by R.000.00. association or any other entity.00 However.00 P105.0032 P144. the petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. P13. he is entitled to a salary differential.578.speedy justice. partnership.15 March 1997 16 March ± 30 June 1997 1 July ± 30 September 1997 (78 days) 1 October 1997. For the periods from 30 May to 31 December 1995 and 2 September 1996 to 30 June 1997.0035 Differential 30 May ± 31 December. petitioner had received a wage less than the minimum mandated by law. Any person. The employer concerned shall be ordered to pay an amount equivalent to double the unpaid benefits owing to the employees: Provided.A.00 P141. the supporting records are complete.00 P141. partnership. petitioner had received the correct wages. To illustrate: Wage actually received P105. bringing their total liability to P13. That payment of indemnity shall not absolve the employer from the criminal liability imposable under this Act.00 P141.31 March 1998 (156 days) 1 April ± 31 May 1998 (52 days) 0 P20.00/day or P1300 0 0 0 P3.00/day or P1248. Therefore.00) or imprisonment of not less than two (2) years nor more than four (4) years. trust. the penalty of imprisonment shall be imposed upon the entity¶s responsible officers. or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court: Provided. association or entity which refuses or fails to pay any of the prescribed increases or adjustments in the wage rates made in accordance with this Act shall be punished by a fine not less than Twenty-five thousand pesos (P25. attorney's fees can be recovered in actions for the recovery of wages of laborers and actions for indemnity under employer's liability laws 36 but shall not exceed 10% of the amount awarded. firm.00 Statutory Minimum wage P99. chief executive officer.000.) No. That any person convicted under this Act shall not be entitled to the benefits provided for under the Probation Law. 1995 1 January ± 30 June 1996 (156 days) 1 July ± 30 August 1996 (52 days) 2 ± 30 September 1996 1 October 1996.0031 P139. general manager.0030 P135. Respondents are required to pay double the amount owed to petitioner. managing director or partner.0029 P141. vice president. This Court finds that from 1 January to 30 August 1996 and 1 July 1997 to 31 May 1998.A.0026 P125. WHEREFORE.00) nor more than One hundred thousand pesos (P100. Petitioner is awarded the salary differential in the reduced amount of P13.00/day or P3120 P25. If the violation is committed by a corporation.0027 P130.0 P8.156.0033 P149. Under Article 2208 of the New Civil Code.
THE HON. Corazon R. NELEN SEVERINO.R. 82805.R. OREZ. ALFREDO DE LEON. 82805 June 29. Manala & Associates for respondents in G. THE HON. petitioner. CAMUS ENGINEERING CORPORATION. TANNY JANOLO and EDGAR A. ROLANDO CASIMERO. No. ROGELIO MAGHUYOR. SO ORDERED ON VISITORIAL POWER OF REGL DIRECTOR G. 82805. ANITO DE JESUS. UNDERSECRETARY DIONISIO C. VICTORIANO ATIENZA. * respondents. G. WILLIAM BALDADO.. vs. WINNIE ORTOSIT.R. RUDY PALASUGLO. REYNALDO PAREÑO.percent (10%) of the award as attorney's fees. . Lar. respondents. HONORABLE DIONISIO DELA SERNA. DANILO CENTINO. JULIAN GOSONA. TRADE UNIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES AND ALLIED SERVICES (TUPAS)-WFTU LOCAL CHAPTER NO. 83225 June 29. R01-005. vs. 1989 BRIAD AGRO DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. IN HIS CAPACITY AS UNDERSECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT. ALICIO SEBIAO. ET AL. JOSNERI DIOCARES.R. VICTORIANO MACHANG.. Paulino for petitioner in G. ROLANDO ALDANESE. petitioner. CARLINTO PAQUERO.R. Raoul B. ALFRED DELA CRUZ. DELA SERNA. SECRETARY OF LABOR. No. ROMEO DELOS SANTOS. No. BEN ABDANI. ARMANDO SALAZAR. JR. No. RUBEN LARA. Agrava & Associates for petitioner in G. No. MARLON RESONABLE. Comia. 83225.M. PAQUITO PITULAN. ROMEO LABIGAN. FRANCISCO DELGADO. 1989 L.
xxx xxx xxx Respondent's repeated failure to appear during the scheduled conferences despite due notices. 1987 to recover unpaid wages and wage supplements filed with Regional Director Filomeno Balbin of the Labor Department's Regional Office No. 82805.: Submitted for decision are these two consolidated cases.R. overtime pay. 13th month pay and service incentive leave pay. Virgilio Villa-Real to present the said records for verification at our Dagupan Labor Office. and disposed as follows: . service incentive leave pay and 13th month pay from January 1984 to April 1987. ROI-005. night shift differential pay. The claims for non-payment of overtime pay and night shift differential pay have not been clearly shown and proven. a routine inspection was conducted on subject establishment by Labor Standards and Welfare Officer Dalo T. to date and despite the fact that respondent has been duly notified to present the same. 83225. No. Based on the records on hand. Likewise. I. Acting on this complaint and pursuant to a corresponding authority issued. J. hence. The facts appear in his order: This case arose out of a complaint filed by TRADE UNION OF THE PHILIPPINES AND ALLIED SERVICES (TUPAS) WFTU Local Chapter No. legal holiday pay. 2 Director Balbin then held against Briad Agro Development Corporation. 1987. but the same did not materialize since no records were presented for examination. ECOLA. the workers/members of the complaining Union have been found to be underpaid of their wages and unpaid of their ECOLA. Basa on May 20.Jesus Balicanta for respondents in G. This case originated from a complaint filed on February 21. for alleged underpayment/nonpayment of minimum wage. no records were presented for verification. I sitting in San Fernando. No. SARMIENTO. both in the nature of challenges to the jurisdiction of the various Regional Directors of the Department of Labor and Employment to act on money claims. La Union. against respondent agricultural firm. is construed as a waiver of its right to adduce evidence to controvert the above-noted claims. Mr. are not included in the computed deficiencies. its failure to present the required employment records is presumed to mean that the presentation of the same will be against the interest of the respondent and said records will prove the claims of herein complainants. LSWO Basa advised the firm's Officer-in-Charge. G. Nevertheless. 1 ANTECEDENT FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS. as the same are allegedly all being kept at the firm's Manila Office. However.R. holiday pay.
an inspection was conducted in respondent's premises but both the project manager and the project engineer were out of town. are hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. 1982. Minister of Labor. copy of which was received by respondent on November 1982. Briad Agro Development reiterates its jurisdictional challenge. was granted originally in favor of seventy-four employees of L. Regional Office No. 4 in which we held that money claims are the exclusive domain of the labor arbiters. Zamboanga City on August 25. Camus Engineering following an inspection by Regional Director David Kong of the Department of Labor's Regional Office No. IX. No. SO ORDERED. however. PREMISES CONSIDERED. in which jurisdiction to so act on monetary claims was supposedly granted to regional directors. The National Labor Relations Commission dismissed the appeal on the strength of Executive Order No.181.m. and thirteenth-month and holiday pays. respondent failed to submit the required pertinent records. plus another subpoena addressed to respondent's project manager. as and for unpaid emergency cost of living allowances. and to submit proof of payment within the same period. addressed to the Manager of respondent company ordering the latter to submit the pertinent employment records before the Field Service Division. II. respondent is hereby ordered to satisfy the a and pay the total amount of FIVE MILLION THREE HUNDRED SIXTY NINE THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED NINE PESOS and 30/100 (P5. Consequently. Director Kong condemned the corporation to pay a total of P146.M. 1982 the Regional Director issued the Order in dispute. The money award in this case. Inc. 5 amending Article 128(b) of the Labor Code. . Notwithstanding receipt of such subpoena duces tecum and the follow-up letter to the said Manager of respondent. later dropped from the case following an amicable settlement with the petitioner. G.30) in the manner abovestated. 111.WHEREFORE. Let the parties be notified accordingly. The claims for nonpayment of overtime pay and night shift differential pay. 1982 at 9:30 a. Otherwise.20. within fifteen (15) days from receipt hereof. Consequently. 83225.909. The facts are as follows: Records disclosed that on the basis of the complaint filed by the herein complainants. and considering further that said deficiencies form part of the legal remuneration of herein employees.369. IX. Zamboanga City. following this Court's ruling in Zambales Base Metals. that the internal auditor promised to inform the project manager and the project engineer about the required employment records but no information was received since then. a Writ of Execution win be issued to the proper sheriffs to enforce this Order. issued on May 16. Forty-seven employees were. In its petition to this Court. except the internal auditor who informed the Labor Regulations Officer (now known as Labor Standards and Welfare Officer) that he had no authority to produce the employment records needed. a subpoena duces tecum was issued by the Regional Director on August 20. 3 In its appeal to the National Labor Relations Commission. v. Briad Agro Development contended that the Regional Director has no authority to entertain pecuniary claims of workers. on October 25. In his order.R. 1983.
1982. respondent filed a Motion to Set Aside and/or Reconsider the Order dated 25 October 1982 on the following grounds namely: 1. that of the 74 complainants only three. the Regional Director issued an Order denying respondent's motion. 2. filed a motion for extension of time to file his motion to set aside and/or reconsider Order dated 25 October 1982. 1982. On November 24. thru counsel. that during the hearing of respondent's motion on November 25. . That the Order dated 25 October 1982 was issued without notice and hearing. as modified. Undersecretary Dionisio de la Serna affirmed Director Kong's award. Complainants. namely: Julian Gajana. Aside Order dated 25 October 1982. that complainants were either its employees or that of its subcontractor Carlos Balinagay. 1983. thru the Regional Director as his duly authorized representative. Respondent argues that the awards are void because the composition of each award was not indicated. That the questioned Order is not supported by the facts and the law of the case." Respondent likewise moved for the reconsideration of the May 16. respondent or its representative was directed time and again by the Regional Director to submit the pertinent employment records of complainants but respondent chose to ignore the said directives. On May 16. Nicolito L. They maintain that the Order in question was issued in the valid exercise of the visitorial and enforcement power of the Minister (now Secretary) of Labor and Employment. Atty. filed their opposition to the aforesaid Motion to Set. On behalf of the Secretary. 1982 each complainant testified that no quitclaim was ever executed by them. 1983. 6 The petitioner then appealed to the Office of the Secretary of Labor. that before the said Order was issued. 1983Order on the ground that the Regional Office never had any jurisdiction over the nature of the dispute.On November 18. On May 27. counsel for respondent. Jose Casimora and Jose Roxas failed to execute quitclaims. Bustos. an appeal that did not prosper. although they remembered having signed a certain document which respondent thru its representative made them believe to be simply an evidence of payment of salary and not a quitclaim. a Motion to Dismiss was filed alleging that "the parties have agreed to settle amicably the individual claims of the various complainants who are listed in the order of 25 October 1982. and that for these reasons the disputed Order may be validly set aside and/or reconsidered.
amending. medicare and maternity benefits. overtime compensation. (b) The Commission shall have exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all cases decided by Labor Arbiters. social security. in this petition. 4. 7 The Solicitor General. Cases arising from any violation of Article 265 of this Code. Those that workers may file involving wages. and 5. after due notice and hearing. the question of jurisdiction. Undersecretary Dionisio dela Serna denied reconsideration and sustained the Regional Director's jurisdiction. relies on the provisions of Executive Order No. the following cases involving all workers. paragraph (b). 111. Cases involving household services. 217. The petitioner. primarily questions Regional Directors' jurisdiction to pass upon money claims. and to issue writs of execution to the appropriate authority for the enforcement of their orders except in case where the employer contests the findings of the labor regulation officer and raises issues which cannot be resolved without . including questions involving the legality of strikes and lockouts. by force of Article 217 of the Labor Code: ART. All money claims of workers. 2. of the Labor Code: (b) The provisions of Article 217 of this Code to the contrary notwithstanding and in cases where the relationship of employer-employee still exists the Minister of Labor and Employment or his duly authorized representatives shall have the power to order and administer. 3. Jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters and the Commission. The cases before the Court. The petitioners in these two consolidated cases submit that the jurisdiction over money claims is exclusive on the Labor Arbiters of the National Labor Relations Commission. among other things. separation pay and other benefits provided by law or appropriate agreement. Unfair labor practice cases. Article 128.The petitioner moved for reconsideration. hours of work and other terms and conditions of employment. compliance with the labor standards provisions of this Code and other labor legislation based on the findings of labor regulation officers or industrial safety engineers made in the course of inspection. III.payment or underpayment of wages. on the other hand. except claims for employees' compensation. (a) The Labor Arbiters shall have the original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide within thirty (30) working days after submission of the case by the parties for decision. impugning the authority of the Regional Director. whether agricultural or non-agricultural: 1. including those based on non.
such as industrial safety and similar concerns. No. the Executive Order vests in Regional Directors jurisdiction. This is clear from the proviso: "The provisions of Article 217 of this Code to the contrary notwithstanding . "[t]he provisions of Article 217 of this Code to the contrary . that is to say. For one. As we said. . 9 ) IV. as a consequence.considering evidentiary matters that are not verifiable in the normal course of inspection. in the exercise of her lawmaking powers under the Freedom Constitution) had attached to the provision subject of the amendment. 83225. The Court's decision. it is obvious. however. as if existing laws have been complied with. 8 He further submits that. among the other cases mentioned by Article 217 of the Labor Code. Zambales Base Metals v. Their purpose is to give validity to acts done that would have been invalid under existing laws. 111. They are. the Minister of Labor and Employment or his duly authorized representatives shall have the power to order and administer. Executive Order No. is to ensure compliance with labor standards. Zambales Base Metals. the amendment was meant to make both the Secretary of Labor (or the various Regional Directors) and the Labor Arbiters share jurisdiction. make the jurisdiction to pass upon money claims. in view of the amendment under Executive Order No. We quote. The language of the provision is indeed broad enough to encompass cases over which Labor Arbiters had hitherto exercised exclusive jurisdiction. concurrent between the Secretary of Labor (or Regional Directors) and the Labor Arbiters is clear from its perambulatory clauses. WHEREAS. in view of the promulgation of Executive Order No. they must not be against the Constitution and for another. In Zambales Base Metals. 11 Executive Order No. to wit: WHEREAS." Plainly. 12 We can no longer accept the contention that the Regional Directors' singular concern. under the said provision..R. Curative statutes have long been considered valid in this jurisdiction. 111 intended to. 111. it is necessary to amend or repeal provisions of laws that repress the rights of workers and of their trade unions. it was our reading of Section 128(b) of the Code that the aforesaid labor officials' authority stopped there.. That Executive Order No. after due notice and hearing. Minister of Labor is no longer good law. subject to exceptions. Minister of Labor is no longer controlling (although in his comment in G. v. they cannot impair vested rights or the obligation of contracts. in part: . 111 is in the character of a curative law. he maintains that it is still in force and effect. since taken a second look. it was intended to remedy a defect that. 10 It has not been shown in this case that these exceptions apply. in the opinion of the legislature (the incumbent Chief Executive in this case. 111. was enacted to widen workers' access to the Government for redress of grievances. The Court rules that. ... Inc. 13 but we have. the welfare of the workers is a primary concern of the government. compliance with the labor standards provisions of this Code and other labor legislation .
the complaint was filed on February 21. 82805. these petitions are DISMISSED. Bidin. Fernan. it is the Court's considered opinion that the petitioner is estopped from assailing Director Kong's jurisdiction.R. Griño-Aquino. JJ. on August 20. although they might have come pending further proceedings. No costs. SO ORDERED. Separate Opinions . It is fundamental that a statute is to be read in a manner that would breathe life into it. the Executive Order in question has retrospective effect. 83225 is concerned. No. 111. in connection with the inspections that prefaced the complaint. Be that as it may. No. Gancayco Padilla. In Garcia v. these cases should be decided in the light of the presidential issuance in question.R. the records show that G. Gutierrez. 1987. rather than defeat it." 17 Hence.R. the intent of the legislator to grant Regional Directors the jurisdiction now impugned cannot any more be clearer. concur. 83225). 83225. 14 If this is so. the material dates do not appear in the records but the order decreeing the money award was issued on October 25. 111 is comprehensive enough to extend to the resolution of employer-employee controversies covered by Article 217. 18 ) With respect to G. No. it would have rendered such a proviso-and the amendment itself-useless to say that they (Regional Directors) retained the self-same restricted powers. It is interesting to note that the Government itself (through the Solicitor General) considers Zambales Base Metals v. Paras. the Executive Order squarely applies. JJ. C. to Camus Engineering's petition (G. 11l's very raison d'etre.R. we give it a retroactive operation. Melencio-Herrera. 15 we held that legislation "which is in the nature of a curative statute" 16 has "retrospective application to a pending proceeding. No. Feliciano. 1982 and a subpoena duces tecum appears to have been issued. With respect moreover. No. 1982. The petitioner must. and as we have observed.J. therefore. while insofar as G. the language of Executive Order No. No.. Jr. we sustain the jurisdiction of the respondents Regional Directors. The rule is that a party may not attack a tribunal's jurisdiction and at the same time ask for affirmative relief 19 The records disclose that the petitioner had entered into an amicable settlement with a total of fortyseven employees and had it approved by Director Kong. Medialdea and Regalado. (In G. therefore.notwithstanding".R. 82805 had come about during the effectivity of Executive Order No. and Cruz. Minister of Labor as Executive Order No. At any rate. in G. Cortes. Accordingly. 82805. concur. WHEREFORE. be said to have accepted Director Kong's jurisdiction. It cannot now assail it.. Being a curative statute. despite such an amendment. Martinez.R.
hours of work and other terms and conditions of employment . 111 worked any substantive change in the law previous thereto as far as concerns the extent and character of the authority vested in the Secretary of Labor and Employment or his representatives in labor standards disputes.g. that workers may file involving wages. ² Prior to the effectivity of EO 111.. I hope. 4 conferred on the "Secretary of Labor or his duly authorized representatives . J. ² Article 128 of the Labor Code. for the reasons hereinafter stated. the Regional Director. separation pay... 5 (3) Rules and Regulations Implementing the Labor Code. Power Granted to Secretary of Labor or Representative. those concerning wages. but if the employment relation no longer existed.. compliance with the labor standards provisions of . and (d) the complaint was barred by prior judgment. separation pay. make the point clearer. However... hours of work. (c) the complaint patently partook (of) the nature of harassment.." (2) Labor Standards Provisions. maternity or service incentive leave. 850..... and other terms and conditions of employment [e. The denial of the certification could however be subject of appeal by the Bureau of Labor Standards.NARVASA. some power over the same subject matter (over wages [e." 2 b. and take such other action as may be necessary in accordance with Article 128 of the Code. the Regional Director could deny certification of the case to the Labor Arbiter if: (a) the complaint patently lacked cause of action. A survey of the state of the law prior to and after the issuance of said Executive Order will." and (2) "all money claims of workers involving non-payment or underpayment of wages. (the) Code based on the findings of labor regulation officers or industrial safety engineers made in the course of inspection. the Labor Arbiters had "original and exclusive jurisdiction (inter alia) to hear and decide" (1) "cases .. Concurring Opinion: While.. ² The "abor standards provisions" referred to are. maternity and other leaves. except claims for employee's compensation. overtime or premium compensation. the case would be assigned to a Conciliator for determination of the issues and effecting of an amicable settlement.. the case would be certified to the Appropriate Labor Arbiter. separation pay and other money claims arising from employer-employee relations. 1.g. 1 a. (1) Article 128 of the Labor Code.. etc. Exclusive 0riginal Jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters. after due notice and hearing. maternity and other leave benefits]) was in measure also vested in the Secretary of Labor or his duly authorized representative. the power to order and administer.²The Rules and Regulations implementing the Labor Code promulgated on February 16..g. among other things. social security and medicare benefits and as otherwise provided in Article 127 of (the Labor) Code . industrial or occupational safety. No. I cannot quite bring myself to agree with its express or clearly implied postulate that Executive Order No. hours of work [e. 1976 provided.D. ² Notwithstanding that the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiters above mentioned was pronounced to be original and exclusive. of course. and if no settlement was reached. i. and to issue writs of execution to the appropriate authority for the enforcement of their order.e. I concur in the result reached in the main opinion. 3 as amended by P. overtime or premium compensation]. . 6 that the Regional Director had power to cause investigation of complaints filed by aggrieved parties if employer-employee relationship still existed between the parties. medical and dental treatment. The Law Prior to EO 111. (b) the causes of action had already prescribed. non-payment or under-payment].
² Further refinement of the power of the Regional Directors over Labor Standards Cases was effected by Policy Instructions No. provided that "cases. 37. Allocation of Jurisdiction. whichever is lower. ² Placed within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the CONCILIATION SECTION were labor standards cases "where employer-employee relations no longer exist. or (4) where there is no more employer-employee relationship p. (3) where evidentiary matters not disclosed or verified in the normal course of inspection are required. 7 declared that a Regional Director could exercise jurisdiction over labor standards controversies except in those cases ² (1) where questions of law are involved as determined by the Regional Director. Later Rules.(4) Policy Instructions No. 11 (2) where the amount involved exceeds P100." effective April 23. recognized the jurisdiction of the Regional Director to conduct a summary investigation of applications for clearance to dismiss employees and decide whether or not to deny the application. ² Presidential Decree No. "Distribution of Jurisdiction over Labor Cases. 12 e. on the subject..e." it was thought necessary to define more precisely the competence of the different officials on the matter." 8 (2) The Conciliation Section. 1367 confirmed the jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters over "cases arising from employer-employee relations duly indorsed (or "certified") by the Regional Directors. 14. 1976. ² Placed within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the REGIONAL DIRECTOR were labor standards cases "arising from violations of labor standard laws discovered in the course of inspection or complaints where employer-employee relations still exist. 6 issued by the Ministry of Labor and Employment on April 23." or (b) "claims involving an amount exceeding P100. 37." (1) The Regional Director. whichever is lower. i. ² Policy Instructions No.²Considering that apart from the Regional Director (in representation of the Secretary of Labor) and the Labor Arbiter. This was done in Policy Instructions No. who also had some power relative to "labor standards cases. 1978 in connection with PD 1391." 13 (2) Policy Instructions No. 14. there were other officers. 7. the Conciliators in the Bureau of Labor Relations." 9 (3) The Labor Arbiters." 10 d. issued on October 7. but "if he does not deny the application. or (c) evidentiary matters not disclosed or verified in the normal course of inspection. he shall immediately certify the case to the Executive Arbiter for hearing and decision on the merits. 1976. dealing explicitly with the subject.000 or over 40% of the equity of the employer. Policy Instructions No. ² Policy Instructions No.000 or 40% of the paid-up capital of the employer." 7 c. involving violation of labor standards laws where employeremployee relationship still exists shall be assigned to the Labor Arbiters where: (a) intricate . ² Declared as "CERTIFIABLE" to the Labor Arbiters were cases which were "not settled by the Conciliation Section of the Regional Office" "where employer-employee relations no longer exist" or those concerning (a) "questions of law. "Termination Cases. Additional Prescriptions. ² (1) PD 1367.
and apply the law to the facts thus deemed established. ² PD 1691 Further amended Article 127 (renumbered 128) by the addition of a proviso relative to the situation referred to in Policy Instructions Numbered 7 and 37. that a controversy existed. in fine. as clashes of opposing views). to receive evidence adduced by parties involved in a labor standards controversy. that the so-called "conciliable cases" theretofore under the jurisdiction of the defunct Conciliation Section for purposes of conciliation or amicable settlement. but if it should appear." vested in a judge. Restatement of Power of Secretary of Laboror Representative Prior to EO 111. He had visitorial power. (1) No adjudicatory power. compliance with the labor standard provisions of this code based on the findings of labor regulation officers or industrial safety engineers made in the course of inspection. and the pronouncement in Policy Instructions No. i. as representative of the Minister or Secretary of Labor. He did not have the power to resolve controversies (understood in the popular sense.. determine on the basis thereof the factual issues. . where the employment relationship still existed.: 16 xxx xxx xxx (b) The Minister of Labor or his duly authorized representative shall have the power to order and administer. where the employer contests the findings of labor regulations officers. f.. no adjudicative power as that possessed by Labor Arbiters was ever reposed in the Regional Director.. 15 (3) PD 1691." the fact of the matter is that the power of Regional Directors over labor standards cases prior to EO 111 consisted merely of the enforcement of UNCONTESTED MONEY CLAIMS OF PERSONS STILL EMPLOYED.e. to cause inspection of establishments to ascertain observance of labor standards provisions. i. became immediately assignable to the Arbitration Branch for joint conciliation and compulsory arbitration. i. supra. in order that the controversy or litigation might be authoritatively resolved.e. to require compliance therewith if the employer admitted the infractions.questions of law are involved. money claims of persons arising from violations of labor standards provisions of the Labor Code (or other statute) discovered by labor regulations officers in the course of normal inspection. after due notice and hearing. at the hearing required to be held after discovery of the infractions. ² Indeed.e. except in cases where the employer contests the findings of the labor regulation officer and raises issues which cannot be resolved without considering evidentiary matters that are not verifiable in the normal course of inspection. 7 that labor standards cases had been taken from the arbitration system and placed under the enforcement system to the end that "the worker need not litigate to get what legally belongs to him.. too. and in the event of discovered violations thereof. ² In light of the laws and rules just cited. no sharing by the Regional Director of the original and exclusive jurisdiction reposed by law in Labor Arbiters even with respect to money claims arising from alleged breach of labor standards provisions of the Labor Code. in the sense of trying and deciding (or hearing and determining) legal controversies or justiciable causes involving labor standards laws.e. for instance. or that no employment relationship existed any longer. the Regional Director himself could not try and decide the case but had to refer or certify it to the appropriate Labor Arbiter for hearing and judgment. and to issue writs of execution to the appropriate authority for the enforcement of their order. viz. or (b) evidentiary matters not disclosed or verified in the normal course of inspection by labor regulations officers are required for their proper disposition. i. or the employer did not contest or otherwise raise any issue respecting the findings of said labor regulations officers." 14 It declared. There was. or a labor arbiter. the employer was not accepting but was on the contrary contesting said officers' findings. The Regional Director actually did not have the power or faculty known as "jurisdiction. He merely had functions that can only be described as ministerial.
except in cases where the employer contests the findings of the labor regulations officer and raises issues which cannot be resolved without considering evidentiary matters that are not verifiable in the normal course of inspection. 111 which took effect. (and) that the visitorial and enforcement powers of the public respondent under Art. 20 paragraph (b) Article 128 now reads: (b) The provisions of Article 217 of this Code to the contrary notwithstanding and in cases where the relationship of employer-employee still exists. ² Another amendment of paragraph (b) of Article 128 of the Labor Code was made by Executive Order No. 14. concerning money claims 17 arising from alleged violations of labor standards provisions not discovered in the course of normal inspection. in which the employer inter alia disputed the adequacy of the evidentiary foundation (employees' affidavits) of the findings of the labor standards inspectors. v. among others. 26. .1986). 127 of the same Code. involving.3. ² It was in this sense ² of the regional Director's lack of adjudicatory authority. and to issue writs of execution to the appropriate authority for the enforcement of their orders. on March 3. in light of the prior state of the law. as observed in Ong v. as amended . 5. Noteworthy is that. Relevant Jurisprudence... 1987). 156 SCRA 768 (Dec. Oreshoot Mining Co. the Minister of Labor and Employment or his duly authorized representatives shall have the power to order and administer. Arellano. the Solicitor General had taken the position (as late as January. supra.00 pursuant to MOLE Policy Instruction No. "where the relationship of employer-employee still exists. to wit: (a) "The provisions of article 217 of this code to the contrary notwithstanding and in cases where the relationship of employer-employee still exists. Parel. said Minister (Secretary) or his representatives had no such power was quite unnecessary for in Policy Instructions Numbered 6. Minister of Labor. the phrase did not affect the subject of jurisdiction of Regional Directors. 111 was promulgated precisely to revise the law as pronounced and applied in the Zambales Base Metals decision. The inclusion of the phrase. The insertion of the clause." and (b) "and other labor legislation. 21 If this be so the formulation of the executive order falls short of the purpose. 21. after due notice and hearing. 128 of the Labor Code are limited to awards not exceeding P100. 1987). compliance with the labor standards provisions of this Code and other labor Legislation based on the findings of labor regulations officers or industry safety engineers made in the course of inspection.000. as aforestated. 7. Parel. 7 and 37. 146 SCRA 50 (Nov. Actual Effect of EO 111. Executive Order No." was also unnecessary for it is obvious that labor standards provisions may be found in the Labor Code as well as in other statutes. The amendment consisted merely in the intercalation of two (2) clauses." 19 4. employees whose employment had been terminated. In any event." to qualify the power of the Minister (now Secretary) of Labor and Employment or his duly authorized representatives-the necessary implication being that where the employment relation no longer existed. 1987) that the respondent Regional Director was "not empowered to adjudicate money claims because such authority is reposed in the Labor Arbiter and the National Labor Relations Commission as provided under Art." As thus amended. 1987. or the power of compulsory arbitration ² that the law was applied in Zambales Base Metals v. 156 SCRA 500 (Dec. 18 and Ong v. and is.² According to the Solicitor General. it was explicity acknowledged that these officials really had no jurisdiction over cases where the relationship of employer and employee no longer existed. inefficacious to bring about the intended revision. "and other labor legislation. Amendments Under EO 111.
"the provisions of Article 217 of this Code to the contrary notwithstanding. provided that: 1) the alleged violations of the employer involve persons who are still his employees.. separation pay and other money claims arising from employer-employee relations. under EO 111. i. and order compliance therewith. as amended ² have power to hear cases involving violations of labor standards provisions of the Labor Code or other legislation discovered in the course of normal inspection. hours of employment and other terms of employment. except claims for employee's compensation. .e.. and to issue writs of execution to the appropriate authority for the enforcement of their order. therefore. notwithstanding the exclusive original jurisdiction conferred on Labor Arbiters.Neither does the intercalation of the phrase... "the provisions of Article 217 of this Code to the contrary notwithstanding. in view of the retention of the provisos requiring (1) the existence of the employment relationship and (2) the absence of a contest or issue raised by the employer anent the findings of the labor regulations officers. to order and administer.. To recapitulate. even without the qualifying phrase.. maternity or service incentive leave." the Secretary of Labor or his duly authorized representatives already "shared" in some measure the jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters to order observance of labor laws ² denominated exclusive and original in said Article 217 ² in that in UNCONTESTED MONEY CLAIMS OF PERSONS STILL EMPLOYED. found to have been violated in the normal course of inspection. i. (and all) money claims of workers involving non-payment or underpayment of wages." The principle has not been changed. the Secretary of Labor or his representatives could... In other words. Whether under EO 111 or the prior law." work a change in the existing law. Even under EO 111 no other aspect of the Labor Arbiter's jurisdiction may be deemed to be shared by the Secretary or his representatives. in representation of the Secretary of Labor ² and notwithstanding the grant of exclusive original jurisdiction to Labor Arbiters by Article 217 of the Labor Code. compliance with the labor standards provisions . order compliance with the legal provisions governing wages. except in cases where the employer contests the findings of the labor regulation officer and raises issues which cannot be resolved without considering evidentiary matters that are not verifiable in the normal course of inspection. social security and medicare benefits-the Minister (Secretary) of Labor or his duly authorized representatives already had the power (albeit not truly adjudicative)-where the employeremployee relationship still existed ² .. not dismissed: and 2) the employer does not contest the findings of the labor regulations officer or raise issues which cannot be resolved without considering evidentiary matters that are not verifiable in the normal course of inspection. Regional Directors had power to "order and administer . For even before the effectivity of EO 111 ² and notwithstanding that under said Article 217 Labor Arbiters had exclusive original jurisdiction over cases . after due notice and hearing.e. the employer did not contest or raise any issue relative to the findings of the labor standards officers. provided that (1) the employment relationship still existed and (2) the case was uncontested.. overtime or premium compensation. compliance with the labor standards provisions of this code based on the findings of labor regulation officers or industrial safety engineers made in the course of inspection. and to issue writs of execution to the appropriate authority for the enforcement of their order. the Regional Directors.
has retrospective application to a pending proceeding. despite several requests therefor by the Regional Office. In any event. Application of the Law to Cases at Bar. which neither enlarged nor otherwise altered the authority of the Secretary of Labor and the Regional Directors as .: Section 1. b) The employer shall raise such objections during the hearing of the case or at any time after receipt of the notice of inspection results. the Regional Director had the power. even without the sanction of Executive Order 111. In the affirmative case. the employer similarly refused to produce its relevant records. 83255 (L. 82805 (Briad Agro Development Corporation v. In G. it was within the authority of the Regional Director to order compliance with the labor standards statutes.R. Contested Cases. otherwise. Camus Engineering Corporation v." 22 I suggest that in both cases. The issue of whether or not the case shall be endorsed to the NLRC shall be resolved by the Regional Director in the final disposition of the case. 6. which is applicable since the violations of labor standards took place after its effectivity. No. the (LSWOSs) who participated in the investigation shall make themselves available as witnesses in the proceedings before the Labor Arbiter concerned. the employer refused to present its records for inspection by the Regional Office.R. and to issue a writ of execution to the appropriate authority to enforce his order.These propositions relative to uncontested cases are reflected in Rule III of the Rules Implementing Executive Order 111 governing the "Endorsement of Cases to the National Labor Relations Commission. No.. as a "curative statute . in cases where the employment relationship still existed. It may finally be observed that the hearing to be conducted by the Regional Director is limited to a determination of whether or not (1) the employment relationship still exists. the Regional Director may properly order compliance with the legal provisions violated and issue writs of execution to the appropriate authority for the enforcement of this order. and/or (2) the employer accepts the findings of the (LSWOSs) and raises no issues which cannot be resolved without considering evidentiary matters that are not verifiable in the normal course of inspection." viz. Labor Standards and Welfare Officers (LSWOSs) as witnesses² In cases that have been endorsed to the NLRC. ² a) In cases where the employer contests the findings of the Labor Standards and Welfare Officers and the issues cannot be resolved without considering evidentiary matters that are not verifiable in the normal course of inspection. the Regional Director shall endorse such case to the appropriate Arbitration Branch of the National Labor Relations Commission. de la Serna). the Regional Director ceases to have competence to take cognizance of and decide the case but must refer or certify it to the Labor Arbiter for hearing and judgment. Secretary of Labor).M. ² In G. including the fact that the employer had impliedly acknowledged the imputed infractions of labor standards when it made payments on account thereof to several of its employees by way of amicable settlement. Under the law prior to Executive Order 111. to order compliance with labor standards and issue a writ of execution to the appropriate authorities for the enforcement of his awards. Its refusal may be regarded as a waiver of the right to contest the Director's findings made on the basis of the records and evidence available. said Executive Order. This may be deemed a waiver of the right to contest the conclusions of the Labor Inspectors drawn from the evidence and records at hand. Under Executive Order 111. Section 2..
the dismissal of both petitions is entirely in order. 7. those cases that workers may file involving wages. receive evidence on and determine legal controversies brought before them. the power take cognizance of.² Upon complaint of any interested party..-Except as otherwise provided under this code. Provided. That the aggregate money claims of each employee or househelper do not exceed five thousand pesos (P5. including legal interest. owing to an employee or person employed in domestic or household service or househelper under this code. through summary proceeding and after due notice. whichever comes earlier. to read as follows: ART. (3) If accompanied with a claim of reinstatement. 6715. 6715. signed into law on March 2.²RA 6715 amended Article 129 of the Labor Code to read as follows: ART. even in the absence of stenographic notes. Any decision or resolution of the Regional Director or hearing officer pursuant to this provision may be appealed on the same grounds provided in Article 223 of this Code. i. is Republic Act No. Jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters and the Commission. (2) Termination disputes. within five (5) calendar days from receipt of a copy of said decision or resolution. too. whether agricultural or non-agricultural: (1) Unfair labor practice cases. the assailed actions of said officials may be sustained as properly within the powers vested in them by the law in force before the effectivity of said enactment. the following cases involving all workers. the Labor Arbiters shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide. was Article 217 of the same Code.. the Regional Director of the Department of Labor and Employment or any of the duly authorized hearing officers of the Department is empowered. Republic Act No. to hear and decide any matter involving the recovery of wages and other monetary claims and benefits. 1988 and effective "fifteen (15) days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in at least two (2) national newspapers of general circulation.. Amendment of Article 217. ² Amended by RA 6715.00). further. Upon this proposition. xxx xxx xxx b. . to the National Labor Relations Commission which shall resolve the appeal within ten (10) calendar days from the submission of the last pleading required or allowed under its rules. Recovery of wages. rates of pay.000.²What in fact conferred upon Regional Directors adjudicative power in the true sense of the term. . The Regional Director or hearing officer shall decide or resolve the complaint within thirty (30) calendar days from the date of the filing of the same. Amendment of Article 129. 129.regards labor standards cases. 217." a. That such complaint does not include a claim for reinstatement: Provided. arising from employer-employee relations. within thirty (30) calendar days after the submission of the case by the parties for decision without extension. hours of work and other terms and conditions of employment. simple money claims and other benefits.e.
all other claims arising from employer-employee relations. medicare and maternity benefits. xxx xxx xxx c. including questions involving the legality of strikes and lockouts. 1. Requisites for Exercise of Jurisdiction by Regional Director. they may try and decide. Concurring Opinion: While. 2) the claimant. I hope. and (6) Except claims for employees compensation. whether or not accompanied with a claim for reinstatement.²Quite clearly.00). exemplary and other forms of damages arising from the employer-employee relation. under the provisions of said Act. 111 worked any substantive change in the law previous thereto as far as concerns the extent and character of the authority vested in the Secretary of Labor and Employment or his representatives in labor standards disputes. including those of persons in domestic or household service. to wit: 1) the claim is presented by an employee or person employed in domestic or household service.00). make the point clearer.000. social security. (5) Cases arising from any violation of Article 264 of this Code. for the reasons hereinafter stated. A survey of the state of the law prior to and after the issuance of said Executive Order will. or hear and determine-any claim brought before them for recovery of wages and other monetary claims and benefits. the Labor Arbiters have exclusive original jurisdiction over all claims arising from employer-employee relations. no longer being employed. medicare and maternity benefits. involving an amount exceeding five thousand pesos (P5. does not seek reinstatement.e. if the following requisites concur. The Law Prior to EO 111. moral. social security.000. J.. or househelper under the Code. Separate Opinions NARVASA.. and 3) the aggregate money claim of the employee or househelper does not exceed five thousand pesos (P5. d. etc. I concur in the result reached in the main opinion. When Labor Arbiter has exclusive jurisdiction. 1 . I cannot quite bring myself to agree with its express or clearly implied postulate that Executive Order No.(4) Claims for actual. ² Where these three (3) requisites do not co-exist. including legal interest. Regional Directors and other hearing officers of the Department of Labor (aside from the Labor Arbiters) have real jurisdiction-i. other than those for employees' compensation.
among other things. i.e. and other terms and conditions of employment [e. "Distribution of Jurisdiction over Labor Cases..." (2) Labor Standards Provisions. maternity and other leave benefits]) was in measure also vested in the Secretary of Labor or his duly authorized representative." . maternity or service incentive leave. on the subject. 1976. 1976 provided.e. the Regional Director could deny certification of the case to the Labor Arbiter if: (a) the complaint patently lacked cause of action.D. and to issue writs of execution to the appropriate authority for the enforcement of their order. compliance with the labor standards provisions of .g. (the) Code based on the findings of labor regulation officers or industrial safety engineers made in the course of inspection.. etc. social security and medicare benefits and as otherwise provided in Article 127 of (the Labor) Code .. 1976. the Regional Director. non-payment or under-payment]. ² Article 128 of the Labor Code. ² Prior to the effectivity of EO 111. after due notice and hearing. Allocation of Jurisdiction.. hours of work and other terms and conditions of employment . i.a. ² The "abor standards provisions" referred to are. Power Granted to Secretary of Labor or Representative. Exclusive 0riginal Jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters.g. recognized the jurisdiction of the Regional Director to conduct a summary investigation of applications for clearance to dismiss employees and decide whether or not to deny the application.." 2 b." it was thought necessary to define more precisely the competence of the different officials on the matter. maternity and other leaves. except claims for employee's compensation. the case would be assigned to a Conciliator for determination of the issues and effecting of an amicable settlement.²The Rules and Regulations implementing the Labor Code promulgated on February 16. who also had some power relative to "labor standards cases. (4) Policy Instructions No.. but if the employment relation no longer existed. 14. that workers may file involving wages. the power to order and administer. of course. 14. those concerning wages. (1) Article 128 of the Labor Code. overtime or premium compensation]." 7 c. 3 as amended by P. and if no settlement was reached. ² Notwithstanding that the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiters above mentioned was pronounced to be original and exclusive. but "if he does not deny the application.. the Labor Arbiters had "original and exclusive jurisdiction (inter alia) to hear and decide" (1) "cases . separation pay and other money claims arising from employer-employee relations. the Conciliators in the Bureau of Labor Relations... there were other officers. This was done in Policy Instructions No. hours of work [e. 4 conferred on the "Secretary of Labor or his duly authorized representatives .. No. The denial of the certification could however be subject of appeal by the Bureau of Labor Standards.." effective April 23." and (2) "all money claims of workers involving non-payment or underpayment of wages. some power over the same subject matter (over wages [e. However.²Considering that apart from the Regional Director (in representation of the Secretary of Labor) and the Labor Arbiter. and take such other action as may be necessary in accordance with Article 128 of the Code.. 6 that the Regional Director had power to cause investigation of complaints filed by aggrieved parties if employer-employee relationship still existed between the parties.. 5 (3) Rules and Regulations Implementing the Labor Code. separation pay.. medical and dental treatment.g. the case would be certified to the Appropriate Labor Arbiter. dealing explicitly with the subject. industrial or occupational safety. hours of work. (b) the causes of action had already prescribed. he shall immediately certify the case to the Executive Arbiter for hearing and decision on the merits. and (d) the complaint was barred by prior judgment. ² Policy Instructions No. 6 issued by the Ministry of Labor and Employment on April 23. (c) the complaint patently partook (of) the nature of harassment. separation pay.. 850. "Termination Cases. overtime or premium compensation.
e. Later Rules.000 or 40% of the paid-up capital of the employer." 8 (2) The Conciliation Section. ² Further refinement of the power of the Regional Directors over Labor Standards Cases was effected by Policy Instructions No.(1) The Regional Director. became immediately assignable to the Arbitration Branch for joint conciliation and compulsory arbitration. whichever is lower.: 16 xxx xxx xxx . or (4) where there is no more employer-employee relationship p. 11 (2) where the amount involved exceeds P100.000 or over 40% of the equity of the employer. ² Policy Instructions No. 1367 confirmed the jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters over "cases arising from employer-employee relations duly indorsed (or "certified") by the Regional Directors. that the so-called "conciliable cases" theretofore under the jurisdiction of the defunct Conciliation Section for purposes of conciliation or amicable settlement. whichever is lower. where the employer contests the findings of labor regulations officers." 13 (2) Policy Instructions No. ² (1) PD 1367. 15 (3) PD 1691. provided that "cases." or (b) "claims involving an amount exceeding P100. ² Placed within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the CONCILIATION SECTION were labor standards cases "where employer-employee relations no longer exist." 9 (3) The Labor Arbiters. too. i. issued on October 7. 1978 in connection with PD 1391. 7 declared that a Regional Director could exercise jurisdiction over labor standards controversies except in those cases ² (1) where questions of law are involved as determined by the Regional Director. ² Placed within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the REGIONAL DIRECTOR were labor standards cases "arising from violations of labor standard laws discovered in the course of inspection or complaints where employer-employee relations still exist. 37. ² Presidential Decree No. 12 e. ² PD 1691 Further amended Article 127 (renumbered 128) by the addition of a proviso relative to the situation referred to in Policy Instructions Numbered 7 and 37. 7." 14 It declared. ² Declared as "CERTIFIABLE" to the Labor Arbiters were cases which were "not settled by the Conciliation Section of the Regional Office" "where employer-employee relations no longer exist" or those concerning (a) "questions of law. Policy Instructions No. or (b) evidentiary matters not disclosed or verified in the normal course of inspection by labor regulations officers are required for their proper disposition.. Additional Prescriptions." 10 d. or (c) evidentiary matters not disclosed or verified in the normal course of inspection. (3) where evidentiary matters not disclosed or verified in the normal course of inspection are required. supra. viz. involving violation of labor standards laws where employeremployee relationship still exists shall be assigned to the Labor Arbiters where: (a) intricate questions of law are involved. 37.
" 19 . 156 SCRA 768 (Dec. Restatement of Power of Secretary of Laboror Representative Prior to EO 111. to cause inspection of establishments to ascertain observance of labor standards provisions. compliance with the labor standard provisions of this code based on the findings of labor regulation officers or industrial safety engineers made in the course of inspection." vested in a judge. to require compliance therewith if the employer admitted the infractions. The Regional Director actually did not have the power or faculty known as "jurisdiction. He had visitorial power. or the employer did not contest or otherwise raise any issue respecting the findings of said labor regulations officers. Arellano. the Solicitor General had taken the position (as late as January. and to issue writs of execution to the appropriate authority for the enforcement of their order. to receive evidence adduced by parties involved in a labor standards controversy. at the hearing required to be held after discovery of the infractions. among others. i. as amended . 1987).e.. in fine. f. the employer was not accepting but was on the contrary contesting said officers' findings. Parel. i. ² In light of the laws and rules just cited. except in cases where the employer contests the findings of the labor regulation officer and raises issues which cannot be resolved without considering evidentiary matters that are not verifiable in the normal course of inspection. 7 that labor standards cases had been taken from the arbitration system and placed under the enforcement system to the end that "the worker need not litigate to get what legally belongs to him. He merely had functions that can only be described as ministerial. for instance. v. that a controversy existed. but if it should appear. He did not have the power to resolve controversies (understood in the popular sense. Noteworthy is that. 18 and Ong v. (and) that the visitorial and enforcement powers of the public respondent under Art. Oreshoot Mining Co.000. in order that the controversy or litigation might be authoritatively resolved.. ² It was in this sense ² of the regional Director's lack of adjudicatory authority. no adjudicative power as that possessed by Labor Arbiters was ever reposed in the Regional Director. employees whose employment had been terminated.. Minister of Labor. 156 SCRA 500 (Dec. no sharing by the Regional Director of the original and exclusive jurisdiction reposed by law in Labor Arbiters even with respect to money claims arising from alleged breach of labor standards provisions of the Labor Code. 146 SCRA 50 (Nov. and the pronouncement in Policy Instructions No. There was. Parel. as clashes of opposing views).1986). 127 of the same Code. or that no employment relationship existed any longer. (1) No adjudicatory power. and in the event of discovered violations thereof.. in the sense of trying and deciding (or hearing and determining) legal controversies or justiciable causes involving labor standards laws. or a labor arbiter.e. the Regional Director himself could not try and decide the case but had to refer or certify it to the appropriate Labor Arbiter for hearing and judgment.00 pursuant to MOLE Policy Instruction No. and apply the law to the facts thus deemed established. 3. money claims of persons arising from violations of labor standards provisions of the Labor Code (or other statute) discovered by labor regulations officers in the course of normal inspection. 1987) that the respondent Regional Director was "not empowered to adjudicate money claims because such authority is reposed in the Labor Arbiter and the National Labor Relations Commission as provided under Art." the fact of the matter is that the power of Regional Directors over labor standards cases prior to EO 111 consisted merely of the enforcement of UNCONTESTED MONEY CLAIMS OF PERSONS STILL EMPLOYED. 21. or the power of compulsory arbitration ² that the law was applied in Zambales Base Metals v. Relevant Jurisprudence. where the employment relationship still existed. concerning money claims 17 arising from alleged violations of labor standards provisions not discovered in the course of normal inspection. after due notice and hearing. 14.. 26. 1987). determine on the basis thereof the factual issues. i. in which the employer inter alia disputed the adequacy of the evidentiary foundation (employees' affidavits) of the findings of the labor standards inspectors. 128 of the Labor Code are limited to awards not exceeding P100.e. as representative of the Minister or Secretary of Labor. ² Indeed.(b) The Minister of Labor or his duly authorized representative shall have the power to order and administer. 7. as observed in Ong v. involving.
maternity or service incentive leave. separation pay and other money claims arising from employer-employee relations. social security and medicare benefits-the Minister (Secretary) of Labor or his duly authorized representatives already had the power (albeit not truly adjudicative)-where the employeremployee relationship still existed ² . to wit: (a) "The provisions of article 217 of this code to the contrary notwithstanding and in cases where the relationship of employer-employee still exists. 20 paragraph (b) Article 128 now reads: (b) The provisions of Article 217 of this Code to the contrary notwithstanding and in cases where the relationship of employer-employee still exists. it was explicity acknowledged that these officials really had no jurisdiction over cases where the relationship of employer and employee no longer existed. 111 was promulgated precisely to revise the law as pronounced and applied in the Zambales Base Metals decision. Amendments Under EO 111. the phrase did not affect the subject of jurisdiction of Regional Directors." was also unnecessary for it is obvious that labor standards provisions may be found in the Labor Code as well as in other statutes. "where the relationship of employer-employee still exists. as aforestated. The insertion of the clause. 7 and 37. and is. (and all) money claims of workers involving non-payment or underpayment of wages. overtime or premium compensation. supra. For even before the effectivity of EO 111 ² and notwithstanding that under said Article 217 Labor Arbiters had exclusive original jurisdiction over cases .² According to the Solicitor General.. Executive Order No.. "the provisions of Article 217 of this Code to the contrary notwithstanding. and to issue writs of execution to the appropriate authority for the enforcement of their order.4.." to qualify the power of the Minister (now Secretary) of Labor and Employment or his duly authorized representatives-the necessary implication being that where the employment relation no longer existed.." As thus amended. compliance with the labor standards provisions of this code based on the findings of labor regulation officers or industrial safety engineers made in the course of inspection." work a change in the existing law. ² Another amendment of paragraph (b) of Article 128 of the Labor Code was made by Executive Order No. except claims for employee's compensation. compliance with the labor standards provisions of this Code and other labor Legislation based on the findings of labor regulations officers or industry safety engineers made in the course of inspection. Actual Effect of EO 111. 111 which took effect. on March 3. inefficacious to bring about the intended revision. after due notice and hearing. in light of the prior state of the law. 21 If this be so the formulation of the executive order falls short of the purpose. "and other labor legislation. 1987. said Minister (Secretary) or his representatives had no such power was quite unnecessary for in Policy Instructions Numbered 6." and (b) "and other labor legislation. and to issue writs of execution to the appropriate authority for the enforcement of their orders. after due notice and hearing. the Minister of Labor and Employment or his duly authorized representatives shall have the power to order and administer. except in cases where the employer contests the findings of the labor regulations officer and raises issues which cannot be resolved without considering evidentiary matters that are not verifiable in the normal course of inspection. to order and administer. The inclusion of the phrase. 5. In any event. except in cases where the employer contests the . Neither does the intercalation of the phrase. The amendment consisted merely in the intercalation of two (2) clauses.
the Regional Director shall endorse such case to the appropriate Arbitration Branch of the National Labor Relations Commission. provided that (1) the employment relationship still existed and (2) the case was uncontested. hours of employment and other terms of employment. b) The employer shall raise such objections during the hearing of the case or at any time after receipt of the notice of inspection results.. under EO 111." the Secretary of Labor or his duly authorized representatives already "shared" in some measure the jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters to order observance of labor laws ² denominated exclusive and original in said Article 217 ² in that in UNCONTESTED MONEY CLAIMS OF PERSONS STILL EMPLOYED. notwithstanding the exclusive original jurisdiction conferred on Labor Arbiters. Regional Directors had power to "order and administer .: Section 1. ² a) In cases where the employer contests the findings of the Labor Standards and Welfare Officers and the issues cannot be resolved without considering evidentiary matters that are not verifiable in the normal course of inspection. . even without the qualifying phrase. The issue of whether or not the case shall be endorsed to the NLRC shall be resolved by the Regional Director in the final disposition of the case." viz..e. and order compliance therewith. and to issue writs of execution to the appropriate authority for the enforcement of their order.. To recapitulate. Contested Cases. Even under EO 111 no other aspect of the Labor Arbiter's jurisdiction may be deemed to be shared by the Secretary or his representatives. the employer did not contest or raise any issue relative to the findings of the labor standards officers. i.. therefore. in view of the retention of the provisos requiring (1) the existence of the employment relationship and (2) the absence of a contest or issue raised by the employer anent the findings of the labor regulations officers. the Regional Directors. provided that: 1) the alleged violations of the employer involve persons who are still his employees.. These propositions relative to uncontested cases are reflected in Rule III of the Rules Implementing Executive Order 111 governing the "Endorsement of Cases to the National Labor Relations Commission. "the provisions of Article 217 of this Code to the contrary notwithstanding. In other words. Whether under EO 111 or the prior law. as amended ² have power to hear cases involving violations of labor standards provisions of the Labor Code or other legislation discovered in the course of normal inspection.. compliance with the labor standards provisions .e. found to have been violated in the normal course of inspection.findings of the labor regulation officer and raises issues which cannot be resolved without considering evidentiary matters that are not verifiable in the normal course of inspection. order compliance with the legal provisions governing wages. in representation of the Secretary of Labor ² and notwithstanding the grant of exclusive original jurisdiction to Labor Arbiters by Article 217 of the Labor Code." The principle has not been changed. not dismissed: and 2) the employer does not contest the findings of the labor regulations officer or raise issues which cannot be resolved without considering evidentiary matters that are not verifiable in the normal course of inspection. the Secretary of Labor or his representatives could. i.
is Republic Act No. said Executive Order. in cases where the employment relationship still existed. otherwise. it was within the authority of the Regional Director to order compliance with the labor standards statutes.R.M. through summary proceeding and after due notice. the power take cognizance of. and/or (2) the employer accepts the findings of the (LSWOSs) and raises no issues which cannot be resolved without considering evidentiary matters that are not verifiable in the normal course of inspection. No. Republic Act No. ² In G. the Regional Director may properly order compliance with the legal provisions violated and issue writs of execution to the appropriate authority for the enforcement of this order. the Regional Director ceases to have competence to take cognizance of and decide the case but must refer or certify it to the Labor Arbiter for hearing and judgment. 129. the employer refused to present its records for inspection by the Regional Office..e. whichever comes earlier.²What in fact conferred upon Regional Directors adjudicative power in the true sense of the term. the (LSWOSs) who participated in the investigation shall make themselves available as witnesses in the proceedings before the Labor Arbiter concerned. to hear and decide any matter involving the recovery of . even without the sanction of Executive Order 111. i.²RA 6715 amended Article 129 of the Labor Code to read as follows: ART. the Regional Director of the Department of Labor and Employment or any of the duly authorized hearing officers of the Department is empowered. as a "curative statute . In any event. Secretary of Labor). 6715.. 82805 (Briad Agro Development Corporation v. In the affirmative case. including the fact that the employer had impliedly acknowledged the imputed infractions of labor standards when it made payments on account thereof to several of its employees by way of amicable settlement. 83255 (L. de la Serna)." a. This may be deemed a waiver of the right to contest the conclusions of the Labor Inspectors drawn from the evidence and records at hand. It may finally be observed that the hearing to be conducted by the Regional Director is limited to a determination of whether or not (1) the employment relationship still exists. Amendment of Article 129. Camus Engineering Corporation v. receive evidence on and determine legal controversies brought before them. Labor Standards and Welfare Officers (LSWOSs) as witnesses² In cases that have been endorsed to the NLRC. Recovery of wages. Under the law prior to Executive Order 111. Its refusal may be regarded as a waiver of the right to contest the Director's findings made on the basis of the records and evidence available..² Upon complaint of any interested party. and to issue a writ of execution to the appropriate authority to enforce his order. which neither enlarged nor otherwise altered the authority of the Secretary of Labor and the Regional Directors as regards labor standards cases. to order compliance with labor standards and issue a writ of execution to the appropriate authorities for the enforcement of his awards. despite several requests therefor by the Regional Office. 7." 22 I suggest that in both cases. 6715. No. the employer similarly refused to produce its relevant records. In G. 1988 and effective "fifteen (15) days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in at least two (2) national newspapers of general circulation. Under Executive Order 111. simple money claims and other benefits.R. the assailed actions of said officials may be sustained as properly within the powers vested in them by the law in force before the effectivity of said enactment. 6. the dismissal of both petitions is entirely in order. has retrospective application to a pending proceeding. Upon this proposition. the Regional Director had the power. Application of the Law to Cases at Bar. which is applicable since the violations of labor standards took place after its effectivity. signed into law on March 2.Section 2.
(4) Claims for actual. to read as follows: ART. the following cases involving all workers.00). was Article 217 of the same Code. hours of work and other terms and conditions of employment. too. medicare and maternity benefits. 217. including those of persons in domestic or household service. and (6) Except claims for employees compensation. That the aggregate money claims of each employee or househelper do not exceed five thousand pesos (P5. involving an amount exceeding five thousand pesos (P5. whether agricultural or non-agricultural: (1) Unfair labor practice cases. rates of pay. to the National Labor Relations Commission which shall resolve the appeal within ten (10) calendar days from the submission of the last pleading required or allowed under its rules. Jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters and the Commission. those cases that workers may file involving wages. . xxx xxx xxx .. including questions involving the legality of strikes and lockouts. even in the absence of stenographic notes. further. (5) Cases arising from any violation of Article 264 of this Code. whether or not accompanied with a claim for reinstatement. (2) Termination disputes. moral.-Except as otherwise provided under this code. ² Amended by RA 6715.000. Provided. That such complaint does not include a claim for reinstatement: Provided. social security. The Regional Director or hearing officer shall decide or resolve the complaint within thirty (30) calendar days from the date of the filing of the same. Amendment of Article 217.wages and other monetary claims and benefits. (3) If accompanied with a claim of reinstatement. xxx xxx xxx b.00). including legal interest. Any decision or resolution of the Regional Director or hearing officer pursuant to this provision may be appealed on the same grounds provided in Article 223 of this Code. all other claims arising from employer-employee relations. exemplary and other forms of damages arising from the employer-employee relation. within thirty (30) calendar days after the submission of the case by the parties for decision without extension. within five (5) calendar days from receipt of a copy of said decision or resolution. the Labor Arbiters shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide. arising from employer-employee relations.000.. owing to an employee or person employed in domestic or household service or househelper under this code.
under the provisions of said Act. INC. ² Where these three (3) requisites do not co-exist. other than those for employees' compensation. or hear and determine-any claim brought before them for recovery of wages and other monetary claims and benefits. JR.000. Regional Directors and other hearing officers of the Department of Labor (aside from the Labor Arbiters) have real jurisdiction-i. and VICENTE REYES. including legal interest.R. the Labor Arbiters have exclusive original jurisdiction over all claims arising from employer-employee relations. petitioners. no longer being employed. FELICIANO MERCADO.²Quite clearly. and 3) the aggregate money claim of the employee or househelper does not exceed five thousand pesos (P5. January 26. respondents. if the following requisites concur. 114316. THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION (First Division). DECISION . does not seek reinstatement. No. 2) the claimant. etc.. or househelper under the Code. social security. Requisites for Exercise of Jurisdiction by Regional Director.c.00). vs. EDGAR SOMOSOT and DANTE OLIVER and the COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS.e. d. medicare and maternity benefits. When Labor Arbiter has exclusive jurisdiction. they may try and decide. ON CONTRACTOR AND JOB CONTRACTING [G.. to wit: 1) the claim is presented by an employee or person employed in domestic or household service. 2001] SECURITY AND CREDIT INVESTIGATION.
Mercado and Somosot filed a complaint for illegal dismissal and underpayment of wages. and Dante Oliver (Oliver) without backwages and ordering third-party respondent Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to reimburse petitioner in the amount of Twenty Eight Thousand Five Hundred Pesos (P28. Inc. 1993. When he called petitioner¶s office on the afternoon of the same day to inquire about his work assignment. Somosot and Oliver. The next day. Reynaldo Dino. 00-03-01886-90. J. he was informed verbally that his employment was already terminated. 00-03-01791-90. The case was docketed as NLRC-NCR Case No. 1990 he went to petitioner¶s office to reiterate his money claims and was forced by Mr. First Division. Subsequently. When he attempted to report for work the next day. to sign a Release and Quitclaim.00). He was thus surprised to receive on March 29. 1990 a telegram from petitioner requiring him to explain his absence from work without leave from March 27.500. Rogelio Vecido. service incentive leave benefits and night differential against petitioner. petitioner¶s officer-in-charge. March 23. Edgar Somosot (Somosot).KAPUNAN. . 1990. filed a complaint for money claims against petitioner. petitioner¶s shiftin-charge at the CHR. Mr. 13th month pay. Upon motion of petitioner. Somosot and Oliver. Sometime in February 1990. 00-03-0179190 and 00-03-01886-90 which affirmed with modification the Decision. 1990. upon petitioner¶s request that the security guards withdraw the complaint. Like Mercado and Somosot. legal holiday pay. denied that it dismissed Mercado. petitioner¶s operations manager. 1990. The facts of the case are as follows: Private respondents Mercado. overtime pay. Petitioner. Somosot learned that he had been suspended from work. on the other hand. he was not given any new assignment by petitioner. in NLRC Case Nos. Somosot and Oliver were employed as security guards by petitioner and assigned to the CHR which was petitioner¶s client. informed him that he was not assigned anywhere because he was suspended from work. Mercado averred that he was being pressured by petitioner to sign a Release and Quitclaim. However. about eighteen (18) of petitioner¶s security guards detailed at the CHR. including Mercado. Igmedio Tomenio. 1994. That afternoon. signed a Release and Quitclaim in favor of petitioner. Somosot and Oliver and alleged that the latter abandoned their employment. 1990. Because of his refusal to sign the same. De Vera ordering petitioner Security and Credit Investigation. respondent Oliver asseverated that on March 27.: This is a petition for certiorari assailing the Decision of respondent National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). Oliver filed a complaint for illegal dismissal and underpayment of backwages against petitioner. so he went on leave from work on March 22. tried to pressure him to sign a Release and Quitclaim but he refused. except for Mercado. of Labor Arbiter Jose G. the two cases were consolidated. dated January 24. dated November 18. premium pay for holiday and rest day. (petitioner) to reinstate private respondents Feliciano Mercado (Mercado). Somosot likewise claimed that on March 22. each of the complainants. which case was docketed as NLRC-NCR Case No.
1990 was due only to humanitarian reasons. P4. judgment is hereby rendered ordering the respondent company to reinstate the complainants without backwages and to pay said complainants as follows: 1.423. because it had already been paying the respondent security guards more than P100. The CHR approved payment of increased wage rates only from April 16. All other claims of the complainants are denied for lack of merit. 1989.18 as wage differential inclusive of holiday pay and premium pay. P652.00 as differential for service incentive leave pay. In his Decision dated November 18. The dispositive portion thereof stated: WHEREFORE. and 4. was due to the failure of the CHR to promptly pay the increases in the wage rates of said guards pursuant to Section 6 of Republic Act No. And on the third-party complaint.500. all the foregoing premises being considered.500. the CHR was ordered to reimburse petitioner an amount of Twenty Eight Thousand Five Hundred Pesos (P28. the Labor Arbiter found that there was neither dismissal by petitioner of the respondent security guards nor abandonment of employment by the latter. 6727 is not applicable to it. SO ORDERED. Of this amount. petitioner filed a third-party complaint against the CHR. on February 18.505. claiming that its failure to effect the increase in the minimum wage of respondent security guards from July 1. 1989 to March 31.00).82 as aggregate 13th month pay differential. 6727). The CHR denied that it was obliged to pay the increase in the wage rates of the respondent guards. however. All parties filed their respective appeals with the National Labor Relations Commission. and that the controversy resulted from miscommunication and misapprehension of facts by the parties. P4. Its decision to increase the salaries of respondent guards effective August 16. holiday pay.18).Meanwhile.18 as total overtime pay differential. the third-party respondent is hereby ordered to reimburse the third-party complainant the sum of P28. .A. Petitioner claimed that under R. 6727 (R. ruled that there was underpayment of respondent guards¶ salaries.A. 1991. It averred that R. 6727.00 based on the above disposition. the CHR was mandated to pay increased wages to the security guards commencing from July 1.054. P33. 1990. 1990. 13th month pay and service incentive leave benefits in the total amount of Forty Two Thousand Six Hundred Thirty Five Pesos and Eighteen Centavos (P42.A. 1991. premium pay for holidays and rest days. The Labor Arbiter.00 a day even before the effectivity of said law. 2.635. 3. overtime pay.
ACCORDING TO ITS OWN DECLARATION. the NLRC rendered its Decision. the dispositive portion of which states: WHEREFORE. De Vera on the third-party complaint that the third-party respondent reimburses (sic) the third-party complainants the amount of Twenty-Eight Thousand Five Hundred (P28. DE VERA REQUIRING THE CHR TO REIMBURSE PETITIONER. this petition.A. 1989 DURING WHICH. in view thereof. THE HONORABLE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION (FIRST DIVISION) COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT RULED THAT PRIVATE RESPONDENTS DID NOT ABANDON THEIR POSTS. 6727 does not apply to it. 13TH MONTH DIFFERENTIAL AND THE DIFFERENTIAL FOR THE SERVICE INCENTIVE LEAVE PAY WITHOUT EXCLUDING THE PERIOD FOR SEPTEMBER 1.In their partial appeal. SO ORDERED. . Petitioner raises the following arguments: A. Petitioner. 1990. THERE WAS NO UNDERPAYMENT. 1988 UP TO JUNE 30. 1989 up to April 15. B. and in failing to appreciate the CHR¶s Letter dated April 16. Hence.00) Pesos representing their salaries from July 1. The order of Labor Arbiter Jose G. respondents Mercado and Somosot argued that the Labor Arbiter erred in not finding that they were illegally dismissed and in not awarding backwages in their favor. 1990 is SET ASIDE. 1990 which stated that it was increasing the wage rates of the security guards beginning April 16. The CHR for its part contended that the Labor Arbiter erred in not finding that R. on the other hand. C. claimed that the Labor Arbiter erred in not finding that respondent security guards abandoned their employment. On January 24. 1994. the decision appealed from is hereby affirmed with modification.500. and that it is the CHR which should be held liable for the monetary award given to respondent security guards. THE HONORABLE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION (FIRST DIVISION) COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT SET ASIDE THE ORDER OF LABOR ARBITER JOSE G. THE HONORABLE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION (FIRST DIVISION) COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT COMPUTED THE OVERTIME DIFFERENTIAL.
petitioner denied the allegation that it terminated respondent security guards¶ employment without just cause and even alleged that respondent guards abandoned their employment. which held that private respondent was not illegally dismissed. The rule is that for abandonment to exist. two elements must concur: first. there is no basis for an award of backwages in their favor. NLRC. though mistaken. the Court. absent any showing of an overt or positive act proving that petitioner had dismissed Mercado. the employee must have failed to report for work or must have been absent without justifiable reason. Mercado based his claim of illegal dismissal only on the statement of officer-in-charge Mr. 13th month pay and service incentive leave benefits to respondent security guards by the Labor Arbiter. Similarly. such failure resulted from their belief. and that the latter did not abandon their employment. Private respondent should have been more vigilant of his rights as an employee because at stake was not only his position but also his means of livelihood. Both the NLRC and the Labor Arbiter found no clear proof that petitioner had in fact dismissed respondent security guards. there must be unjust or illegal dismissal from work. Oliver¶s belief that he had been illegally dismissed was founded on the telegram from petitioner requiring him to explain his absence without leave which he received on March 29. Gaviola¶s instruction. Somosot and Oliver abandoned their employment. there must have been a clear intention to sever the employer-employee relationship manifested by some overt acts. On the other hand. It is axiomatic that before backwages may be granted. Rather. None of them exerted efforts to confirm from petitioner¶s office whether they had in fact been dismissed. which in turn . 1990. that they had been suspended or terminated from work. The filing by Mercado. Thus. Somosot and Oliver of their complaints for illegal dismissal negates the existence of any intention on their part to abandon their employment. The records reveal that their failure to report for duty was not caused by a willful and deliberate intent to abandon their employment. x x x Furthermore. Neither did the NLRC find evidence to support petitioner¶s allegation that Mercado. Somosot relied merely on the verbal information relayed to him that he had been terminated. and not simply relied on the bare statement of the company guard. where private respondent filed a complaint for illegal dismissal against his employer after he was prevented by the company guard from entering the company premises on the ground that he had resigned. Vecido that he had not been assigned to any post. stated: xxx The present case.The Court finds that the NLRC committed no grave abuse of discretion in affirming the finding that petitioner did not dismiss respondent security guards. In the case of Indophil Acrylic Manufacturing Corporation vs. which has lasted for almost four (4) years. There being no finding that respondent security guards were illegally dismissed. could have been avoided had private respondent made previous inquiry regarding the veracity of Mr. and second. there is merit in petitioner¶s argument that there was an error in the computation of the amounts constituting underpayment of overtime pay. their claim of illegal dismissal cannot be sustained. Somosot and Oliver.
1989. 6727.56 daily for the year 1989.A. The CHR argues that since the security guards were receiving P103. The CHR further asserts that its approved increase in the security guards¶ wages from April 16. 6727 which mandated a Twenty Five Peso (P25.00 per day increase under R. The period from September 1. In its reply letter dated April 16. 1988 to June 30. The CHR. 6727 and what were actually received by respondent security guards from July 1. 13th month and service incentive leave benefits for the period July 1. The rule is that the factual findings of the Labor Arbiter.was affirmed by the NLRC. 1988 and July 1. On the basis of this finding. Accordingly. 1989 to April 15.00 increase required under said law. However. 1990 was due only to humanitarian reasons and was not an admission of any obligation to increase the same under R. the CHR stated that it had approved the increase in the wages effective April 16. 1990. thus: . 1989 should thus be excluded in the computation of the underpayments for overtime. 1990. The Court also finds merit in petitioner¶s argument that the NLRC should not have reversed the Labor Arbiter¶s finding that the CHR is liable for the payment of P28. The Labor Arbiter found that Mercado. he noted that there were no underpayments in their wages for the period September 1. 1990. however. 6727.500. 1989.00) increase in the daily wage rate in a Letter dated August 7. when affirmed by the NLRC are accorded to great weight and respect when supported by substantial evidence. 1989. It must be noted that both the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC found that there were discrepancies in the minimum wage prescribed under R. maintains that it is not liable to pay increased wages to the security guards and claims that there is a proviso in Section 4 of R.A. Somosot and Oliver were not paid the minimum wage from January 1. Section 6 of R. 13th month and service incentive leave benefits. 1989. it was not required to pay them the P25.A. 1990. However. 13th month and service incentive leave benefits.A.00 representing the differentials of respondent security guards¶ wage. 1989 to March 22. 1988 to March 22. he determined that respondent security guards incurred underpayments in their wages for the periods January 1. in computing the underpayment for overtime. 1988 to June 30. 1988 to June 30. 1988 to August 31.A. 13th month and service incentive leave benefits of respondent security guards. 1989 in spite of his finding that there was no underpayment in wages during said period. 13th month and service incentive leave benefits in conformity with the evidence presented. 6727 imposes the liability for payment of the increase in wages on the principal which in this case is the CHR.00 daily from receiving the P25. The record shows that petitioner informed the CHR regarding the increase in the wages of the security guards effective July 1. and devoid of any unfairness and arbitrariness. pursuant to R. The discrepancy between the minimum wage prevailing for the periods concerned and the wages and other benefits received by the security guards also served as the basis for the Labor Arbiter¶s computation of underpayments for overtime. the Labor Arbiter erroneously included the period from September 1.A. there is a need to recompute the underpaid amounts due to the respondent security guards with respect to their overtime. overtime. 6727which exempts employees already receiving more than P100. 1990.
NLRC. uniforms and other equipments [sic].In case of contracts for construction projects and for security. and Spartan Security and Detective Agency vs. janitorial and similar services. 1988. is held solidarily liable for the payment of wages. EAGLE is tasked. In the event however. No. Inciong. firearms with ammunitions. As an employer. EAGLE. the ultimate liability for the payment of the increases rests with the principal (Emphasis supplied. with the payment of their wages [See Article VII. 52824. EAGLE. is the amendment of the contract as to the consideration to cover the service contractor¶s payment of the increase mandated. In the end therefore. On the other hand.) It is thus clear that the CHR is the party liable for payment of the wage increase due to respondent security guards. also cited in Rabago vs. What the Wage Orders require. the Wage Orders made specific provision to amend existing contracts for security services by allowing the adjustment of the consideration paid by the principal to the security agency concerned. and Bautista vs. would directly pay the security guards the wage and allowance increases because there is no privity of contract between them. This payment covers the wages for the security guards and also expenses for their supervision and training. the security agency collects from its client payment for its security services. NLRC. ³To be borne´. the prescribed increases in the wage rates of the workers shall be borne by the principals or clients of the construction/service contractors and the contract shall be deemed amended accordingly. materials and supplies necessary for the maintenance of a security force. therefore. tools. the construction/service contractor shall be jointly and severally liable with his principal or client. (Emphasis supplied. However. . The Court in Eagle Security Agency. accessories. The security guards¶ contractual relationship is with their immediate employer. there existed a contractual agreement between PTSI and EAGLE wherein the former availed of the security services provided by the latter.R. ruled on this issue as follows: The Wage Orders are explicit that payment of the increase are ³to be borne´ by the principal or client. including wage increases. as prescribed under the Labor Code. that the principal or client fails to pay the prescribed wage rates. In return. vs. 3 of the Contract for Security Services. March 16. NLRC. Premises considered. Sec.). Inc. G. 158 SCRA 665]. does not mean that the principal. however. in order for the security agency to comply with the new wage and allowance rates it has to pay the security guards. the security guards¶ immediate recourse for the payment of the increases is with their direct employer. as the contractor. While petitioner. the obligation ultimately belongs to the CHR as principal. Supra. among others. the guards¶ bonds. PTSI in this case.
13th month and service incentive leave benefits for the period September 1.500. 1989 as determined by the Labor Arbiter be recomputed. 1989 addressed to the CHR regarding the increase in wage rates of its security guards pursuant to R. it can only be held liable for wage increases from that date instead of from July 1. 1990 due to respondents Mercado.500. WHEREFORE. SO ORDERED . 1989 to April 15. 1989 to April 15. because the wage increase referred to therein is one mandated by law. 1990.A. and as R. the assailed decision of the NLRC in NLRC Case Nos. 6727 expressly provides in Section 6 thereof existing contracts for security services between the service contractor and the principal are deemed amended by said law.A. therefore. 1989. 00-03-01791-90 and 00-03-01886-90 is hereby affirmed with the MODIFICATION that the amounts corresponding to the underpayment of overtime. Somosot and Oliver is hereby REINSTATED. and the ruling of the Labor Arbiter that the CHR is liable to reimburse petitioner in the amount of Twenty Eight Thousand Five Hundred Pesos (P28. There is.00) representing the unpaid wage increases from July 1. 1990. Petitioner¶s Letter dated August 7.The Labor Arbiter was therefore correct in requiring the CHR to reimburse petitioner the amount of P28. 6727 cannot be interpreted as a mere proposal for wage increases for its employees. 1988 to June 30.00 representing the unpaid wage increases of respondent security guards for the period July 1. no merit in the NLRC¶s assertion that since the CHR agreed to increase the wages of respondent security guards only from April 16.
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