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LAPANDAY AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT CORP. V. CA FACTS: Plaintiff Commando Security Service Agency, Inc.

, and defendant Lapanday Agricultural Development Corporation entered into a Guard Service Contract. Plaintiff provided security guards in defendant's banana plantation. Wage Orders increasing the minimum wage in 1983 were complied with by the defendant. On June 1984, Wage Order No. 5 was promulgated directing an increase of P3.00 per day on the minimum wage of workers in the private sector and a P5.00 increase on the ECOLA. This was followed by Wage Order No. 6 which further increased said minimum wage by P3.00 on the ECOLA. Both Wage Orders contain the following provision: In the case of contract for construction projects and for security, janitorial and similar services, the increase in the minimum wage and allowances rates of the workers shall be borne by the principal or client of the construction/service contractor and the contracts shall be deemed amended accordingly, subject to the provisions of Sec. 3 (b) of this order" (Sec. 6 and Sec. 9, Wage Orders No. 5 and 6, respectively). Plaintiff demanded that its Guard Service Contract with defendant be upgraded in compliance with Wage Order Nos. 5 and 6. Defendant refused. Their Contract expired without the rate adjustment called for Wage Order Nos. 5 and 6 being implemented. By the time of the filing of plaintiff's Complaint, the rate adjustment payable by defendant amounted to P462,346.25. TC: In order for the security agency to pay the security guards, the Wage Orders made specific provisions to amend existing contracts for security services by allowing the adjustment of the consideration paid by the principal to the security agency concerned. However, in the case at bar, the contract for security services had earlier been terminated without the corresponding amendment. Plaintiff now demands adjustment in the contract price as the same was deemed amended by Wage Order Nos. 5 and 6. Before the plaintiff could pay the minimum wage as mandated by law, adjustments must be paid by the principal to the security agency concerned. Eagle Security Agency vs. NLRC: Given these circumstances, if PTS pays the security guards, it cannot claim reimbursements from Eagle. But if its Eagle that pays them, the latter can claim reimbursement from PTS in lieu of an adjustment, considering that the contract had expired and had not been renewed. The Court has rejected the impairment of contract argument in sustaining the validity and constitutionality of labor and social legislation like the Blue Sunday Law, compulsory coverage of private sector employees in the Social Security System, and the abolition of share tenancy enacted pursuant to the police power of the state. MR denied. 1. WON RTC has jurisdiction over the subject matter of the present case. YES. It is well settled in law and jurisprudence that where no employer-employee relationship exists between the parties and no issue is involved which may be resolved by reference to the Labor Code, other labor statutes or any collective bargaining agreement, it is the Regional Trial Court that has jurisdiction. In its complaint, private respondent is not seeking any relief under the Labor Code but seeks payment of a sum of money and damages on account of petitioner's alleged breach of its obligation under their Guard Service Contract. The action is within the realm of civil law hence jurisdiction over the case belongs to the regular courts. While the resolution of the issue involves the application of labor laws, reference to the labor code was only for the determination of the solidary liability of the petitioner to the respondent where no employer-employee relation exists. Article 217 of the Labor Code as amended vests upon the labor arbiters exclusive original jurisdiction only over the following: 1. Unfair labor practices; 2. Termination disputes; 3. If accompanied with a claim for reinstatement, those cases that workers may file involving wages, rates of pay, hours of work and other terms and conditions of employment; 4. Claims for actual, moral exemplary and other form of damages arising from employer-employee relations; 5. Cases arising from any violation of Article 264 of this Code, including questions involving legality of strikes and lockouts; and 6. Except claims for Employees Compensation, Social Security, Medicare and maternity benefits, all other claims, arising from employer-employee relations, including those of persons in domestic or household service, involving an amount exceeding five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) regardless of whether accompanied with a claim for reinstatement. In all these cases, an employer-employee relationship is an indispensable jurisdictional requisite; and there is none in this case. 2. WON petitioner is liable to the private respondent for the wage adjustments provided under Wage Order Nos. 5 and 6 and for attorney's fees. Private respondent admits that there is no employer-employee relationship between it and the petitioner. The private respondent is an independent/job contractor who assigned security guards at the petitioner's premises for a stipulated amount per guard per month. The Contract of Security Services expressly stipulated that the security guards are employees of the Agency and not of the petitioner. Articles 106 and 107 of the Labor Code provides the rule governing the payment of wages of employees in the event that the contractor fails to pay such wages as follows:

Art. 106. Contractor or sub contractor. Whenever an employer enters into a contract with another person for the performance of the former's work, the employees of the contractor and of the latter's subcontractor, if any, shall be paid in accordance with the provisions of this Code. In the event that the contractor or subcontractor fails to pay the wages of his employees in accordance with this Code, the employer shall be jointly and severally liable with his contractor or subcontractor to such employees to the extent of the work performed under the contract, in the same manner and extent that he is liable to employees directly employed by him. Art. 107. Indirect employer. The provisions of the immediately preceding Article shall likewise apply to any person, partnership, association or corporation which, not being an employer, contracts with an independent contractor for the performance of any work, task, job or project. It will be seen from the above provisions that the principal (petitioner) and the contractor (respondent) are jointly and severally liable to the employees for their wages. The joint and several liability of the contractor and the principal is mandated by the Labor Code to assure compliance with the provisions therein including the minimum wage. The contractor is made liable by virtue of his status as direct employer. The principal, on the other hand, is made the indirect employer of the contractor's employees to secure payment of their wages should the contractor be unable to pay them. Even in the absence of an employer-employee relationship, the law itself establishes one between the principal and the employees of the agency for a limited purpose i.e. in order to ensure that the employees are paid the wages due them. In the above-mentioned cases, the solidary liability of the principal and contractor was held to apply to the aforementioned Wage Order Nos. 5 and 6. In ruling that under the Wage Orders, existing security guard services contracts are amended to allow adjustment of the consideration in order to cover payment of mandated increases, and that the principal is ultimately liable for the said increases, this Court stated: The Wage Orders are explicit that payment of the increases are "to be borne" by the principal or client. "To be borne", however, does not mean that the principal, PTSI in this case, would directly pay the security guards the wage and allowance increases because there is no privity of contract between them. The security guards' contractual relationship is with their immediate employer, EAGLE. As an employer, EAGLE is tasked, among others, with the payment of their wages. On the other hand, there existed a contractual agreement between PTSI and EAGLE wherein the former availed of the security services provided by the latter. In return, the security agency collects from its client payment for its security services. This payment covers the wages for the security guards and also expenses for their supervision and training, the guards bonds, firearms with ammunitions, uniforms and other equipments, accessories, tools, materials and supplies necessary for the maintenance of a security force. The security guards' immediate recourse for the payment of the increases is with their direct employer, EAGLE. However, in order for the security agency to comply with the new wage and allowance rates it has to pay the security guards, 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. What the Wage Orders require, therefore, is the amendment of the contracts as to the consideration to cover the service contractors' payment of the increases mandated. In the end, therefore, ultimate liability for the payment of the increases rests with the principal. It is clear also from the foregoing that it is only when contractor pays the increases mandated that it can claim an adjustment from the principal to cover the increases payable to the security guards. The conclusion that the right of the contractor (as principal debtor) to recover from the principal as solidary co-debtor) arises only if he has paid the amounts for which both of them are jointly and severally liable is in line with Article 1217 of the Civil Code: Art. 1217. Payment made by one of the solidary debtors extinguishes the obligation. If two or more solidary debtors offer to pay, the creditor may choose which offer to accept. He who made payment may claim from his codebtors only the share which corresponds to each, with interest for the payment already made. If the payment is made before the debt is due, no interest for the intervening period may be demanded. Pursuant to the above provision, the right of reimbursement from a co-debtor is recognized in favor of the one who paid. It will be seen that the liability of the petitioner to reimburse the respondent only arises if and when respondent actually pays its employees the increases granted by Wage Order Nos. 5 and 6. Payment, which means not only the delivery of money but also the performance, in any other manner, of the obligation, is the operative fact which will entitle either of the solidary debtors to seek reimbursement for the share which corresponds to each of the debtors. Private respondent has not actually paid the security guards the wage increases granted under the Wage Orders in question. Neither is it alleged that there is an extant claim for such wage adjustments from the security guards concerned, whose services have already been terminated by the contractor. Accordingly, private respondent has no cause of action against petitioner to recover the wage increases.

ABBOTT LABORATORIES PHILIPPINES, V. ABBOTT LABORATORIES EMPLOYEES UNION FACTS: ABBOTT is a corporation engaged in the manufacture and distribution of pharmaceutical drugs. Abbott Laboratories Employees Union (hereafter ALEU) filed an application for union registration in the Department of Labor and Employment. ALEU's application was approved and it became a legitimate labor organization. ABBOTT filed a petition for cancellation of the Certificate of Registration since ALEU's application was not signed by at least 20% of the total 286 rank-and-file employees of the entire employer unit; and that it omitted to submit copies of its books of account. Regional Director: Cancelled. Adopted the findings and recommendations of the Med-Arbiter. It ruled that the union has failed to show that the rank-and-file employees in the manufacturing unit of ABBOTT were bound by a common interest to justify the formation of a bargaining unit separate from those belonging to the sales and office staff units. There was, therefore, sufficient reason to assume that the entire membership of the rankand-file consisting of 286 employees or the "employer unit" make up the appropriate bargaining unit. However, it was clear on the record that the union's application for registration was supported by 30 signatures of its members or barely constituting 10% of the entire rank-and-file employees of ABBOTT. Office of the Secretary of Labor and Employment referred the case to the Director of the Bureau of Labor Relations: Reversed. (1) Article 234 of the Labor Code does not require an applicant union to show proof of the "desirability of more than one "bargaining unit within an employer unit"; (2) the issue pertaining to the appropriateness of a bargaining unit cannot be raised in a cancellation proceeding but may be threshed out in the exclusion-inclusion process during a certification election; and (3) the "one-bargaining unit, one-employer unit policy" must not be interpreted in a manner that shall derogate the right of the employees to self-organization and freedom of association as guaranteed by Article III, Section 8 of the 1987 Constitution and Article II of the International Labor Organization's Convention No.87. SoL: refused to act on ABBOTT's appeal on the ground that it has no jurisdiction to review the decision of the Bureau of Labor Relations on appeals in cancellation cases emanating from the Regional Offices. The decision of the Bureau of Labor Relations therein is final and executory under Section 4, Rule III, Book V of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Labor Code, as amended by Department Order No. 09, s. of 1997. Finally, the Secretary stated: It has always been the policy of this Office that pleadings denominated as appeal thereto over decisions of the BLR in cancellation cases coming from the Regional Offices are referred back to the BLR, so that the same may be treated as motions for reconsideration and disposed of accordingly. However, since your office has already filed a motion for reconsideration with the BLR which has been denied, your recourse should have been a special civil action for certiorari with the Supreme Court. 1. WON SoL has jurisdiction to review the decisions of the Bureau of Labor Relations rendered in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction over decisions of the Regional Director in cases involving cancellations of certificates of registration of labor unions. NONE. SoL's refusal to take cognizance of ALEU's appeal from the decision of the Bureau of Labor Relations is in accordance with the provisions of Rule VIII, Book V of the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code as amended by Department Order No. 09. The rule governing petitions for cancellation of registration of any legitimate labor organization or worker association, as it now stands, provides: SECTION 1. Venue of Action --If the respondent to the petition is a local/chapter, affiliate, or a workers' association with operations limited to one region, the petition shall be filed with the Regional Office having jurisdiction over the place where the respondent principally operates. Petitions filed against federations, national or industry unions, trade union centers, or workers' associations operating in more than one regional jurisdiction, shall be filed with the Bureau. SECTION 3. Cancellation of registration;. nature and grounds. -- Subject to the requirements of notice and due process, the registration of any legitimate labor organization or worker's association may be cancelled by the Bureau or the Regional Office upon the filing of an independent petition for cancellation based on any of the following grounds: (a) Failure to comply with any of the requirements prescribed under Articles 234, 237 and 238 of the Code; (b) Violation of any of the provisions of Article 239 of the Code; (b) Commission of any of the acts enumerated under Article 241 of the Code; provided, that no petition for cancellation based on this ground may be granted unless supported by at least thirty percent (30%) of all the members of the respondent labor organization or workers' association. Section 4. Action on the petition; appeals -- The Regional or Bureau Director, as the case may be, shall have thirty (30) days from submission of the case for resolution within which to resolve the petition. The decision of the Regional or Bureau Director may be appealed to the Bureau or the Secretary, as the case may be, within ten (10) days from receipt thereof by the aggrieved party on the ground of grave abuse of discretion or any violation of these Rules. The Bureau or the Secretary shall have fifteen ( 15) days from receipt of the records of the case within which to decide the appeal. The decision of the Bureau or the Secretary shall be final and executory.

Clearly, the Secretary of Labor and Employment has no jurisdiction to entertain the appeal of ABBOTT. The appellate jurisdiction of the Secretary .of Labor and Employment is limited only to a review of cancellation proceedings decided by the Bureau of Labor Relations in the exercise of its exclusive and original jurisdiction. The Secretary of Labor and Employment has no jurisdiction over decisions of the Bureau of Labor Relations rendered in the exercise of its appellate power to review the decision of the Regional Director in a petition to cancel the union's certificate of registration, said decisions being final and inappealable. Sections 7 to 91[17] (of the Implementing Rules of the Labor Code) thus provide for two situations: (1) The first situation involves a petition for cancellation of union registration which is filed with a Regional Office. A decision of a Regional Office cancelling a union's certificate of registration may be appealed to the BLR whose decision on the matter shall be final and inappealable. (2) The second situation involves a petition for cancellation of certificate of union registration which is filed directly with the BLR. A decision of the BLR cancelling a union's certificate of registration may be appealed to the Secretary of Labor whose decision on the matter shall be final and inappealable. Under Sections 3 and 4, Rule VIII of Book V of the Rules and Regulations implementing the Labor Code, as amended by Department Order No. 09, petitions for cancellation of union registration may be filed with a Regional office, or directly, with the Bureau of Labor Relations. Appeals from the decision of a Regional Director may be filed with the BLR Director whose decision shall be final and executory. On the other hand, appeals from the decisions of the BLR may be filed with the Secretary of Labor whose decision shall be final and executory. Thus, under Sections 7 to 9 of the Omnibus Rules and under Sections 3 and 4 of the Implementing Rules (as amended by Department Order No. 09), the finality of the BLR decision is dependent on whether or not the petition for cancellation was filed with the BLR directly. Under said Rules, if the petition for cancellation is directly filed with the BLR, its decision cancelling union registration is not yet final and executory as it may still be appealed to the Office of the Secretary. However, if the petition for cancellation was filed with the Regional Office, the decision of the BLR resolving an appeal of the decision of said Regional Office is final and executory. The remedy of the aggrieved party is to seasonably avail of the special civil action of certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. Even if we relaxed the rule and consider the present petition as a petition for certiorari not only of the letter of the Secretary of Labor and Employment but also of the decision of the Bureau of the Labor Relations which overruled the order of cancellation of ALEU's certificate of registration, the same would still be dismissable for being timebarred. Under Sec. 4 of Rule 65 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Court the special civil action for certiorari should be instituted within a period of sixty (60) days from notice of the judgment, order or resolution sought to be assailed.

DELTAVENTURES V. CABATO Facts: In Alejandro Bernardino, et al. vs. Green Mountain Farm, Roberto Ongpin and Almus Alabe, decision was rendered by Executive Labor Arbiter declaring the respondents guilty of Illegal Dismissal and Unfair Labor Practice and ordering them to pay the complainants. Complainants in the abovementioned labor case filed a motion for the issuance of a writ of execution. Issued. Sheriff Ventura, finding that said judgment debtors do not have sufficient personal properties, proceeded to levy upon a real property, registered in the name of Roberto Ongpin, one of the respondents in the labor case. A month before the scheduled auction sale, herein petitioner filed before the Commission a third-party claim asserting ownership over the property levied upon. Labor Arbiter thus issued an order directing the suspension of the auction sale until the merits of petitioner's claim has been resolved. However, petitioner filed with the Regional Trial Court a complaint for injunction and damages, with a prayer for the issuance of a TRO against Sheriff Ventura, reiterating the same allegations it raised in the third party claim it filed with the Commission. Issued. Further, petitioner, filed with the Commission a manifestation questioning the latter's authority to hear the case, the matter being within the jurisdiction of the regular courts. Dismissed. Meanwhile, private respondent-laborers, moved for the dismissal of the civil case on the ground of the court's lack of jurisdiction. Dismissed: First, this Court is equal rank with the NLRC, hence, has no jurisdiction to issue an injunction against the execution of the NLRC decision. Second, the NLRC retains authority over all proceedings anent the execution of its decision. This power carries with it the right to determine every question which may be involved in the execution of its decision. Issue/Held/Ratio: Whether or not the trial court may take cognizance of the complaint filed by petitioner and consequently provide the injunction relief sought. Such cognizance in turn, would depend on whether the acts complained of are related to, connected or interwoven with the cases falling under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Labor arbiter or the NLRC; NO Petitioner filed the third-party claim before the court a quo by reason of a writ of execution issued by the NLRCCAR Sheriff against a property to which it claims ownership. The writ was issued to enforce and execute the commission's decision in (Illegal Dismissal and Unfair Labor Practice) against Green Mountain Farm, Roberto Ongpin and Almus Alabe. Ostensibly the complaint before the trial court was for the recovery of possession and injunction, but in essence it was an action challenging the legality or propriety of the levy vis-a-vis the alias writ of execution, including the acts performed by the Labor Arbiter and the Deputy Sheriff implementing the writ. The complainant was in effect a motion to quash the writ of execution of a decision rendered on a case properly within the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter, to wit: Illegal Dismissal and Unfair Labor Practice. Considering the factual setting, it is then logical to conclude that the subject matter of the third party claim is but an incident of the labor case, a matter beyond the jurisdiction of regional trial courts. Precedents abound confirming the rule that said courts have no labor jurisdiction to act on labor cases or various incidents arising therefrom, including the execution of decisions, awards or orders. Jurisdiction to try and adjudicate such cases pertains exclusively to the proper labor official concerned under the Department of Labor and Employment. To hold otherwise is to sanction split jurisdiction which is obnoxious to the orderly administration of justice. Petitioner failed to realize that by filing its third-party claim with the deputy sheriff, it submitted itself to the jurisdiction of the Commission acting through the Labor Arbiter. It failed to perceive the fact that what it is really controverting is the decision of the Labor arbiter and not the act of the deputy sheriff in executing said order issued as a consequence of said decision rendered. Moreover, it must be noted that the Labor Code in Article 254 explicitly prohibits issuance of a temporary or permanent injunction or restraining order in any case involving or growing out of labor disputes by any court or other entity (except as otherwise provided in Arts. 218 and 264). As correctly observed by court a quo, the main issue and the subject of the amended complaint for injunction are questions interwoven with the execution of the Commission's decision. No doubt the aforecited prohibition in Article 254 is applicable. Petitioner should have filed its third-party claim before the Labor Arbiter, from whom the writ of execution originated, before instituting said civil case. The NLRC's Manual on Execution of Judgment, issued pursuant to Article 218 of the Labor Code, provides the mechanism for a third-party claimant to assert his claim over a property levied upon by the sheriff pursuant to an order or decision of the Commission or of the Labor Arbiter. The power of the Labor Arbiter to issue a writ of execution carries with it the power to inquire into the correctness of the execution of his decision and to consider whatever supervening events might transpire during such execution.

BAEZ V. ORO MARKETING, INC. FACTS: Petitioner was the sales operations manager of private respondent in its branch in Iligan City. Private respondent "indefinitely suspended" petitioner and the latter filed a complaint for illegal dismissal with the NLRC in Iligan City. LA: illegally dismissed and ordered the payment of separation pay in lieu of reinstatement, and of backwages and attorney's fees. NLRC: dismissed appeal the same for having been filed out of time. Elevated by petition for certiorari before this Court, the case was dismissed on technical grounds; however, the Court also pointed out that even if all the procedural requirements for the filing of the petition were met, it would still be dismissed for failure to show grave abuse of discretion on the part of the NLRC. Private respondent filed a complaint for damages before the RTC of Misamis Oriental. Petitioner filed a motion to dismiss, claiming that the action for damages, having arisen from an employer-employee relationship, was squarely under the exclusive original jurisdiction of the NLRC. RTC assumed jurisdiction and ruled: Defendant allegedly canvassed customers personally or through salesmen of plaintiff which were hired or recruited by him. If said customer decided to buy items from plaintiff on installment basis, defendant, without the knowledge of said customer and plaintiff, would buy the items on cash basis at ex-factory price, a privilege not given to customers, and thereafter required the customer to sign promissory notes and other documents using the name and property of plaintiff, purporting that said customer purchased the items from plaintiff on installment basis. Thereafter, defendant collected the installment payments either personally or through Venus Lozano, a Group Sales Manager of plaintiff but also utilized by him as secretary in his own business for collecting and receiving of installments, purportedly for the plaintiff but in reality on his own account or business. The collection and receipt of payments were made inside the Iligan City branch using plaintiff's facilities, property and manpower. That accordingly plaintiff's sales decreased and reduced to a considerable extent the profits which it would have earned. On jurisdiction, RTC said: A perusal of the complaint which is for damages does not ask for any relief under the Labor Code of the Philippines. It seeks to recover damages as redress for defendant's breach of his contractual obligation to plaintiff who was damaged and prejudiced. The Court believes such cause of action is within the realm of civil law, and jurisdiction over the controversy belongs to the regular courts. The Court believes that there was a breach of a contractual obligation, which is intrinsically a civil dispute. HISTORY: Art. 217. Jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters and the Commission. (a) Except as otherwise provided under this Code the Labor Arbiters shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide, within thirty (30) calendar days after the submission of the case by the parties for decision without extension, even in the absence of stenographic notes, the following cases involving all workers, whether agricultural or non-agricultural: xxx 4. Claims for actual, moral, exemplary and other forms of damages arising from the employer-employee relations; xxx The above provisions are a result of the amendment by Section 9 of Republic Act ("R.A.") No. 6715, which took effect on March 21, 1989, and which put to rest the earlier confusion as to who between Labor Arbiters and regular courts had jurisdiction over claims for damages as between employers and employees. It will be recalled that years prior to R.A. 6715, jurisdiction over all money claims of workers, including claims for damages, was originally lodged with the Labor Arbiters and the NLRC by Article 217 of the Labor Code. On May 1, 1979, however, Presidential Decree ("P.D.") No. 1367 amended said Article 217 to the effect that "Regional Directors shall not indorse and Labor Arbiters shall not entertain claims for moral or other forms of damages." This limitation in jurisdiction, however, lasted only briefly since on May 1, 1980, P.D. No. 1691 nullified P.D. No. 1367 and restored Article 217 of the Labor Code almost to its original form. Presently, and as amended by R.A. 6715, the jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters and the NLRC in Article 217 is comprehensive enough to include claims for all forms of damages "arising from the employer-employee relations" 1. Who has jurisdiction in this case? LA/NLRC. Whereas this Court in a number of occasions had applied the jurisdictional provisions of Article 217 to claims for damages filed by employees, we hold that by the designating clause "arising from the employer-employee relations" Article 217 should apply with equal force to the claim of an employer for actual damages against its dismissed employee, where the basis for the claim arises from or is necessarily connected with the fact of termination, and should be entered as a counterclaim in the illegal dismissal case. Even under Republic Act No. 875 (the "Industrial Peace Act", now completely superseded by the Labor Code), jurisprudence was settled that where the plaintiff's cause of action for damages arose out of, or was necessarily intertwined with, an alleged unfair labor practice committed by the union, the jurisdiction is exclusively with the (now defunct) Court of Industrial Relations, and the

assumption of jurisdiction of regular courts over the same is a nullity. To allow otherwise would be "to sanction split jurisdiction, which is prejudicial to the orderly administration of justice." Thus, even after the enactment of the Labor Code, where the damages separately claimed by the employer were allegedly incurred as a consequence of strike or picketing of the union, such complaint for damages is deeply rooted from the labor dispute between the parties, and should be dismissed by ordinary courts for lack of jurisdiction. There is no mistaking the fact that in the case before us, private respondent's claim against petitioner for actual damages arose from a prior employeremployee relationship. In the first place, private respondent would not have taken issue with petitioner's "doing business of his own" had the latter not been concurrently its employee. Thus, the damages alleged in the complaint below are: first, those amounting to lost profits and earnings due to petitioner's abandonment or neglect of his duties as sales manager, having been otherwise preoccupied by his unauthorized installment sale scheme; and second, those equivalent to the value of private respondent's property and supplies which petitioner used in conducting his "business ." Second, and more importantly, to allow respondent court to proceed with the instant action for damages would be to open anew the factual issue of whether petitioner's installment sale scheme resulted in business losses and the dissipation of private respondent's property. This issue has been duly raised and ruled upon in the illegal dismissal case, where private respondent brought up as a defense the same allegations now embodied in his complaint, and presented evidence in support thereof. The Labor Arbiter, however, found to the contrary that no business losses may be attributed to petitioner as in fact, it was by reason of petitioner's installment plan that the sales of the Iligan branch of private respondent (where petitioner was employed) reached its highest record level to the extent that petitioner was awarded the 1989 Field Sales Achievement Award in recognition of his exceptional sales performance, and that the installment scheme was in fact with the knowledge of the management of the Iligan branch of private respondent. In other words, the issue of actual damages has been settled in the labor case, which is now final and executory. Still on the prospect of re-opening factual issues already resolved by the labor court, it may help to refer to that period from 1979 to 1980 when jurisdiction over employment-predicated actions for damages vacillated from labor tribunals to regular courts, and back to labor tribunals. In Ebon vs. de Guzman: The lawmakers in divesting the Labor Arbiters and the NLRC of jurisdiction to award moral and other forms of damages in labor cases could have assumed that the Labor Arbiters' position-paper procedure of ascertaining the facts in dispute might not be an adequate tool for arriving at a just and accurate assessment of damages, as distinguished from backwages and separation pay, and that the trial procedure in the Court of First Instance would be a more effective means of determining such damages. Evidently, the lawmaking authority had second thoughts about depriving the Labor Arbiters and the NLRC of the jurisdiction to award damages in labor cases because that setup would mean duplicity of suits, splitting the cause of action and possible conflicting findings and conclusions by two tribunals on one and the same claim. So, on May 1, 1980, Presidential Decree No. 1691 (which substantially reenacted Article 217 in its original form) nullified Presidential Decree No. 1367 and restored to the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC their jurisdiction to award all kinds of damages in cases arising from employer-employee relations. This is, of course, to distinguish from cases of actions for damages where the employer-employee relationship is merely incidental and the cause of action proceeds from a different source of obligation. Thus, the jurisdiction of regular courts was upheld where the damages, claimed for were based on tort, malicious prosecution, or breach of contract, as when the claimant seeks to recover a debt from a former employee or seeks liquidated damages in enforcement of a prior employment contract. Neither can we uphold the reasoning of respondent court that because the resolution of the issues presented by the complaint does not entail application of the Labor Code or other labor laws, the dispute is intrinsically civil. Article 217(a) of the Labor Code, as amended, clearly bestows upon the Labor Arbiter original and exclusive jurisdiction over claims for damages arising from employer-employee relations in other words, the Labor Arbiter has jurisdiction to award not only the reliefs provided by labor laws, but also damages governed by the Civil Code. Thus, it is obvious that private respondent's remedy is not in the filing of this separate action for damages, but in properly perfecting an appeal from the Labor Arbiter's decision. Having lost the right to appeal on grounds of untimeliness, the decision in the labor case stands as a final judgment on the merits, and the instant action for damages cannot take the place of such lost appeal.

NDC-GUTHRIE PLANTATIONS, INC. V. NLRC FACTS: Petitioner companies are both government-controlled corporations, 60% of their stocks being owned by the National Development Corporation. They were incorporated in the early 1980s to develop, operate and maintain integrated palm projects in Agusan del Sur. Pursuant to their purpose clause, NGPI and NGEI hired hundreds of farm workers to establish and maintain their respective plantations as well as several supervisors to oversee and superintend their workers. Petitioner Kumar Das was the designated general manager of petitioner companies at the time of the supposed illegal dismissal. NGPI discovered that it was sustaining tremendous losses which threatened to further upset its precarious financial condition. In a desperate attempt to reverse its fortune and prevent its coffers from further depletion, NGPI terminated the services of seventy- two (72) field workers. Still, the company was confronted with an audit report prepared by the Commission on Audit reflecting losses of P64,315,144.000 and P143,939,893.00 for 1989 and 1990, respectively. Faced with mounting losses, NGPI further terminated the employment of forty-nine (49) field workers, followed by another one hundred fifty-eight (158) farm hands in September of that year. NGEI was not spared from a similar fate as it likewise fell into dire straits during the same period. Thus, it was compelled to take the same course of action undertaken by NGPI and retrenched or laid off eighty-eight (88) farm workers, seven (7) field workers and fifty-eight (58) farm helpers. With this as backdrop, several employees of petitioner companies bonded together and formed the NDC-GUTHRIE Staff Workers Union hereinafter called the Union. Union sent notice to NGPI and NGEI requesting that it be recognized as the sole and exclusive bargaining agent of all its member-employees. Since the documents submitted did not constitute proof of majority representation, petitioner companies denied recognition of the Union. Consequently, the Union filed a petition for a certification election among all employees covered by the proposed bargaining unit. Meanwhile, on January 16, 1991, petitioner companies notified the DOLE of their financial condition and their decision to retrench employees. Employees, believing that their dismissal was resorted to because of their union activities and hence, in violation of their rights to self-organization and to collective bargaining, the said seventeen (17) employees who were laid off filed a complaint for illegal dismissal and unfair labor practice against petitioner companies and petitioner Kumar Das. LA: reinstatement on the ground that petitioner companies failed to substantiate their supposed losses incurred from 1987 to 1990 which led to the retrenchment of employees. Pending appeal to NLRC, several complainants entered into an amicable settlement with petitioner companies thereby extinguishing whatever claim they had against the latter. NLRC: affirmed LA. In the meantime, by authority of the Securities and Exchange Commission, petitioner companies were merged, with NGPI as the surviving corporation. Accordingly, the entire assets and liabilities of NGEI were transferred to and absorbed by NGPI. 1. WON the financial losses are valid. YES. It is more logical to conclude from the evidence on record that petitioner companies had indeed been deeply troubled by a continuing downtrend in their financial resources and had been struggling to keep their businesses afloat. Proof was also presented supporting petitioners claim that even prior to the dismissal of private respondents, hundreds of farm workers of petitioner companies had already been retrenched to save on much needed capital. In the context of the submitted financial statements prepared by the Commission on Audit itemizing and explaining the losses suffered by petitioner companies, the Court is unable to understand the rationale behind the NLRCs challenged judgment. These financial documents duly audited by the Commission on Audit constitute the normal and reliable method of proof of the profit and loss performance of a government-controlled corporation. As the retrenchment programs undertaken by petitioner companies were purely business decisions properly within the reasonable exercise of management prerogative, the NLRC has been denied the authority to delve into their wisdom and soundness. Indeed, management cannot be denied recourses to retrenchment if it can successfully prove the existence of the following factors: (a) substantial losses which are not merely de minimis in extent; (b) imminence of such substantial losses; (c) retrenchment would effectively prevent the expected additional losses; and, (d) alleged losses and expected losses must be proven by sufficient and convincing evidence. As these guidelines were faithfully observed. However, notwithstanding the propriety of the retrenchment programs, petitioner companies are not excused from complying with the required written notice to the affected employees and the Department of Labor and Employment at least one month before the intended date of termination. In this case, it is undisputed that petitioner companies informed both the retrenched employees and DOLE of the impending retrenchment. The requirement of law mandating the giving of notices was intended not only to enable the employees to look for other employment and therefore ease the impact of the loss of their jobs and the corresponding income, but, more importantly, to give the DOLE the opportunity to ascertain the verity of the alleged authorized cause of termination. Accordingly, inasmuch as private respondents separation from service was both substantively and procedurally just,

petitioner companies should only be held liable for separation pay at the rate of one month for every year of service and the proportionate 13th month pay. 2. On the 9 July 1991 Order issued by Labor Arbiter. Abuse of discretion. The facts surrounding the issuance of the said order are as follows: It appears that by reason of the nature of their work, each of the private respondents was allowed to avail of petitioner companies loan policy intended exclusively for the purchase of motorcycles. Under that policy, the company would advance the purchase price of the motorcycle to be paid back by the employee through monthly deductions from his salary with the company retaining the ownership of the motorcycle until it was fully paid for. All the private respondents availed of petitioner companies motorcycle loan policy. After they had been dismissed from their employment private respondents, fearing that their motorcycles would be taken, sought a temporary restraining order from the Labor Arbiter to stop petitioner companies from seizing their motorcycles pending the final resolution of their complaints for illegal dismissal. Labor Arbiter Petilla responded favorably and immediately issued a restraining order forbidding petitioners from disturbing private respondents in their possession of the said motorcycles. MR denied. The 1990 Rules of Procedure of the National Labor Relations Commission grant labor arbiters with the power to issue preliminary injunction or restraining order as an incident to cases pending before them in order to preserve the rights of the parties during the pendency of the cases but excluding labor disputes involving strike or lock-out." The said Rules, however, limit the exercise of the power over labor disputes only, which as defined, refer to any controversy or matter concerning terms and conditions of employment or the association or representation of persons in negotiating, fixing, maintaining, changing, arranging the terms and conditions of employment, regardless of whether the disputants stand in the proximate relation of employer and employee. In the present case, petitioners supposed attempt to seize the said motorcycles from the private respondents is not a labor, but a civil, dispute. The issue, inasmuch as it relates directly to the enforcement of the loan agreement, between petitioners and private respondents, involves debtor-creditor relations founded on a contract and does not in any way concern employer-employee relations. As such, it should be enforced through a separate civil action in the regular courts and not before the Labor Arbiter. Since the seizure of the motorcycles is unrelated to any labor dispute under which an injunction may be issued by a labor arbiter, it was plain grave abuse of discretion for Labor Arbiter to have issued a writ of injunction restraining the petitioner companies from seizing the motorcycles subject of the loan agreement between petitioner companies and private respondents.

NOVA V. JUDGE SANCHO DAMES II FACTS: In 1995, complainant Gregorio S. Nova filed with the NLRC Regional Arbitration a complaint for illegal dismissal, underpayment of wages, non-payment of holiday pay, rest day, overtime pay, 13th month pay and other allowances, backwages, separation pay and damages against the R.A. Broadcasting Corporation/Station DZRM, represented by its Vice President for Operations Vilma J. Barcelona and Station Manager. LA: ordered DZRM, VP, and station manager to solidarily pay the complainant the total sum of P111,669.60. NLRC: dismissed the appeal. MR denied for being filed out of time. Petition for certiorari. Dismissed. MR denied. The decision having become final, the NLRC issued an alias writ of execution. Pursuant thereto, Labor Sheriff levied on real property belonging to Sps. Cesar and Vilma Barcelona and scheduled the auction sale. Vilma J. Barcelona and her husband Cesar Barcelona filed with the Regional Trial Court, Camarines Norte, Daet a civil action for damages with temporary restraining order due to the wrongful attachment of their property. RTC Judge: finding that there was extreme urgency and that irreparable injury would result to the plaintiff before the matter can be heard on notice, issued a temporary restraining order, restraining the NLRC Sheriff from conducting the scheduled public auction.Hence, complainant filed this administrative charge against Judge Sancho Dames II, alleging that the issuance of the temporary restraining order constituted a violation of Article 254 of the Labor Code which prohibited the issuance of temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction in a case arising from a labor dispute. He further submitted that the regular courts had no jurisdiction to hear and decide questions which arose and were incidental to the decisions, orders or awards rendered in labor cases. Respondent judge claimed that he issued the temporary restraining order to maintain the subject of controversy in status quo until the hearing of the application for permanent injunction.CA Associate Justice Remedios A. Salazar-Fernando: In her report and recommendation, Justice Fernando found that respondent Judge was guilty of gross ignorance of the law because the regular courts in that level had no jurisdiction or authority to issue injunction or temporary restraining order in labor cases. She recommended that respondent Judge be fined P10,000.00, with a stern warning that repetition of the same or similar acts in the future would be dealt with more severely. 1. WON RTC Judge has jurisdiction. NONE. Regular courts have no jurisdiction to hear and decide questions which arise and are incidental to the enforcement of decisions, orders or awards rendered in labor cases by appropriate officers and tribunals of the Department of Labor and Employment. Corollarily, any controversy in the execution of the judgment shall be referred to the tribunal which issued the writ of execution since it has the inherent power to control its own processes in order to enforce its judgments and orders. True, an action for damages lies within the jurisdiction of a regional trial court. However, the regional trial court has no jurisdiction to issue a temporary restraining order in labor cases. Indeed, the respondent Judge restrained the execution of a final decision of the labor arbiter, which he can not lawfully do. Justice Malcolm aptly described ideal judges as men who have a mastery of the principles of law, who discharge their duties in accordance with law, who are permitted to perform the duties of the office undeterred by outside influence, and who are independent and self-respecting human units in a judicial system equal and coordinate to the other two departments of government. Those who wield the judicial gavel have the duty to study the laws and their latest wrinkles. They owe it to the public to be legally knowledgeable with basic laws and principles, for ignorance of the law is the bane of injustice.