Labor Cases - Jul 2015-Feb 2016 (Compiled)
Labor Cases - Jul 2015-Feb 2016 (Compiled)...
Contents July 2015 [G.R. No. 207639. July 1, 2015.] BAHIA SHIPPING SERVICES, INC. and/or V-SHIP NORWAY and/or CYNTHIA C. MENDOZA, petitioners, vs. CARLOS L. FLORES, JR., * respondent.........................................................................4 [G.R. No. 189262. July 6, 2015.] GBMLT MANPOWER SERVICES, INC., petitioner, vs. MA. VICTORIA H. MALINAO, respondent.........5 [G.R. No. 183735. July 6, 2015.] SEGIFREDO T. VILCHEZ, petitioner, vs. FREE PORT SERVICE CORPORATION and ATTY. ROEL JOHN T. KABIGTING, President, respondents........................................................................................8 [G.R. No. 187491. July 8, 2015.] FAR EAST BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, petitioner, vs. LILIA S. CHUA, respondent........................10 [G.R. No. 199660. July 13, 2015.] U-BIX CORPORATION and EDILBERTO B. BRAVO, petitioners, vs. VALERIE ANNE H. HOLLERO, respondent............................................................................................................................................ 12 [G.R. No. 212049. July 15, 2015.] MAGSAYSAY MARITIME CORPORATION, PRINCESS CRUISE LINES, MARLON R. ROÑO and "STAR PRINCESS," petitioners, vs. ROMEO V. PANOGALINOG, respondent.....................................14 [G.R. No. 205575. July 22, 2015.] VISAYAN ELECTRIC COMPANY EMPLOYEES UNION-ALU-TUCP and CASMERO MAHILUM, petitioners, vs. VISAYAN ELECTRIC COMPANY, INC. (VECO), respondent........................................15 [ G.R. No. 188464. July 29, 2015. ] ALBERTO J. RAZA, petitioner, vs. DAIKOKU ELECTRONICS PHILS., INC. and MAMORU ONO, respondents.......................................................................................................................................... 18 [G.R. No. 211882. July 29, 2015.] ELBURG SHIPMANAGEMENT PHILS., INC., ENTERPRISE SHIPPING AGENCY SRL AND/OR EVANGELINE RACHO, petitioners, vs. ERNESTO S. QUIOGUE, JR., respondent..............................19 [G.R. No. 215555. July 29, 2015.] CENTRAL AZUCARERA DE BAIS, INC. and ANTONIO STEVEN L. CHAN, petitioners, vs. JANET T. SIASON, respondent............................................................................................................................. 21 August 2015 [G.R. No. 206612. August 17, 2015.] TOYOTA ALABANG, INC., petitioner, vs. EDWIN GAMES, respondent................................................22 [G.R. No. 190984. August 19, 2015.] ACOMARIT PHILS., and/or ACOMARIT HONGKONG LIMITED, petitioners, vs. GOMER L. DOTIMAS, respondent............................................................................................................................................ 23 September 2015 [G.R. No. 202090. September 9, 2015.] ICT MARKETING SERVICES, INC. (now known as SYKES MARKETING SERVICES, INC.), petitioner, vs. MARIPHIL L. SALES, respondent....................................................................................................24 [G.R. No. 201536. September 9, 2015.] GRACE MARINE SHIPPING CORPORATION and/or CAPT. JIMMY BOADO, petitioners, vs. ARON S. ALARCON, respondent......................................................................................................................... 27 October 2015 [ G.R. No. 201535, October 05, 2015 ] NEC SYSTEM INTEGRATED CONSTRUCTION (NESIC) PHILS., INC., petitioner, vs. RALPH T. CRISOLOGO, respondent..................................................................................................................... 29 [ G.R. No. 186114, October 07, 2015 ] CHEVRON (PHILS.), INC., petitioner, vs. VITALIANO C GALIT, SJS AND SONS CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION AND MR. REYNALDO SALOMON, respondents.......................................................30
[ G.R. No. 194969, October 07, 2015 ] CONVOY MARKETING CORPORATION AND/OR ARNOLD LAAB, petitioners, vs. OLIVER B. ALBIA,* respondent............................................................................................................................................ 31 [ G.R. No. 211638, October 07, 2015 ] MARK ANTHONY SASO, petitioner, vs. 88 ACES MARITIME SERVICE, INC. AND/OR CARMENCITA A. SARREAL AND LIN WEN YU, respondents......................................................................................32 [ G.R. No. 193990, October 14, 2015 ] EASTERN SHIPPING LINES, INC., AND/OR CONGRESSMAN ERWIN L. CHIONGBIAN, petitioners, vs. JULIO C. CANJA, respondent..........................................................................................................34 [ G.R. No. 194410, October 14, 2015 ] OCEAN EAST AGENCY, CORPORATION, ENGR. ARTURO D. CARMEN, AND CAPT. NICOLAS SKINITIS, petitioners, vs. ALLAN I. LOPEZ, respondent.......................................................................35 [ G.R. No. 211145, October 14, 2015 ] SAMAHAN NG MANGGAGAWA SA HANJIN SHIPYARD REP. BY ITS PRESIDENT, ALFIE ALIPIO, petitioner, vs. BUREAU OF LABOR RELATIONS, HANJIN HEAVY INDUSTRIES AND CONSTRUCTION CO., LTD. (HHIC-PHIL.), respondents.....................................................................37 [ G.R. No. 212096, October 14, 2015 ] NIGHTOWL WATCHMAN & SECURITY AGENCY, INC., petitioner, vs. NESTOR LUMAHAN, respondent...................................................................................39 [ G.R. No. 197852, October 19, 2015 ] PASIG AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT AND INDUSTRIAL SUPPLY CORPORATION AND CELESTINO E. DAMIAN, petitioners, vs. WILSON NIEVAREZ, ALBERTO HALINA, GLORY VIC NUEVO, RICKY TORRES AND CORNELIO BALLE, respondents........................................................41 [ G.R. No. 196597, October 21, 2015 ] MODESTO W. RIVERA, petitioner, vs. ALLIED BANKING CORPORATION, CORA D. CORPUS AND ANTONIO H. SANTOS, respondents....................................................................................................43 [ G.R. No. 215313, October 21, 2015 ] OLIMPIO O. OLIDANA, petitioner, vs. JEBSENS MARITIME, INC., respondent...................................44 November 2015 [ G.R. No. 192955, November 09, 2015 ] EDILBERTO P. ETOM, JR., petitioner, vs. AROMA LODGING HOUSE THROUGH EDUARDO G. LEM, PROPRIETOR AND GENERAL MANAGER, respondent.....47 [ G.R. No. 185058, November 09, 2015 ] JOVITA S. MANALO, petitioner, vs. ATENEO DE NAGA UNIVERSITY, FR. JOEL TABORA AND MR. EDWIN BERNAL, respondent.........................................49 [ G.R. No. 174115, November 09, 2015 ] PUNONGBAYAN AND ARAULLO, et al., petitioners, vs. ROBERTO PONCE LEPON, respondent......51 [ G.R. No. 202859, November 11, 2015 ] NEW FILIPINO MARITIME AGENCIES, INC., et al., petitioners, vs. VINCENT H. D ATAYAN -HEIR OF SIMON VINCENT H. DATAYAN III, respondent.....................................................................................54 [ G.R. No. 215471, November 23, 2015 ] MARLOW NAVIGATION PHILIPPINES INC., et al., petitioners, vs. BRAULIO A. OSIAS, respondent...................................................................................56 [ G.R. No. 189229, November 23, 2015 ] REYNALDO NOBLADO, ET AL., petitioners, VS. PRTNCESITA K. ALFONSO, respondent..............................................................................................57 [ G.R. No. 195654, November 25, 2015 ] REYNALDO INUTAN, et al., petitioners, vs. NAPAR CONTRACTING & ALLIED SERVICES, et al., respondents..................................................................58 December 2015 [ G.R. No. 203115, December 07, 2015 ] ISLAND OVERSEAS TRANSPORT CORPORATION, petitioner vs. ARMANDO M. BEJA, respondent....................................................................................59 [ G.R. No. 199314 [Formerly UDK No. 14553], December 07, 2015 ] TAMBLOT SECURITY & GENERAL SERVICES, INC., petitioner, vs. FLORENCIO ITEM, LEONARDO PALM A, et al., respondents.......................................................................................................................................... 61 [ G.R. No. 209559, December 09, 2015 ] ENCHANTED KINGDOM, INC., petitioner, vs. MIGUEL J. VERZO, respondent.............................................................................................................................. 62 [ G.R. No. 204275, December 09, 2015 ] LILIOSA C. LISONDRA, petitioner, vs. MEGACRAFT INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION AND SPOUSES MELECIO AND ROSEMARIE OAMIL, respondents.......................................................................................................................................... 64
[ G.R. No. 213696, December 09, 2015 ] QUANTUM FOODS, INC., petitioner, vs. MARCELINO ESLOYO AND GLEN MAGSILA, respondents......................................................................................66 [ G.R. No. 202215, December 09, 2015 ] VICMAR DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, et al., petitioners, vs. CAMILO ELARCOSA, MARLON BANDA, DANTE L. BALAMAD, et al., respondents.....................68 [ G.R. No. 209418, December 07, 2015 ] W.M. MANUFACTURING, INC., petitioner, vs. RICHARD R. DALAG AND GOLDEN ROCK MANPOWER SERVICES, respondents................................................70 January 2016 [ G.R. No. 203882, January 11, 2016 ] LORELEI O. ILADAN, petitioner, vs. LA SUERTE INTERNATIONAL MANPOWER AGENCY, INC., and DEBBIE LAO, Respondents..........72 [ G.R. No.214092, January 11, 2016 ] ENRIQUEZ, LEONORA K. BENEDICTO vs. OBRERO FILIPINOECHO 2000 CHAPTER......................................................................................................................... 74 [ G.R. No. 178510, January 11, 2016 ] NILO S. RODRIGUEZ, et al., petitioners, vs. PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, INC., AND NLRC, respondents...........................................................................................76 [ G.R. No. 187691, January 13, 2016] OLYMPIA HOUSING, INC. vs. ALLAN LAPASTORA AND IRENE UBALUBAO....................................79 [ G.R. No. 209921 January 13, 2016 ] QUIRO-QUIRO vs. BALAGTAS CREDIT COOPERATIVE & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, INC......80 February 2016 [ G.R. No. 199683, February 10, 2016 ] ARLENE T. SAMONTE, et al., petitioners, vs. LSGH, BRO. BERNARD S. OCA, respondents.............81 [ G.R. No. 208986 January 13, 2016 ] HIJO RESOURCES CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. EPIFANIO P. MEJARES, et al., respondents.........................................................................................82 [ G.R. No. 202885, January 20, 2016 ] WALLEM MARITIME SERVICES, INC., et al., petitioners, vs. EDWINITO V. QUILLAO, respondent....83 [ GR No. 212070, January 27, 2016 ] CEBU PEOPLE'S MULTI-PURPOSE COOPERATIVE, petitioner, vs. NICERATO E. CARBONILLA, JR., respondent....................................85 [ G.R. No. 203642, January 27, 2016 ] THOMASITES CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDIES vs. RODRIGUEZ, PADRIGON AND RILLERA............................................................................................................................................... 87 [ G.R. No. 194134, February 1, 2016 ] JOSE ROMULO L. FRANCISCO vs. LOYOLA PLANS CONSOLIDATED, INC., ET AL........................88 [ G.R. No. 212878, February 01, 2016 ] MARLOW NAVIGATION PHILS., INC. et al., petitioners, vs. WILFREDO L. CABATAY, respondent...................................................................................................90 [ G.R. No. 208451, February 3, 2016 ] MANILA MEMORIAL PARK CEMETERY, INC., petitioner, vs. EZARD D. LLUZ, et al., respondents.. . .91 [ G.R. No. 201073, February 10, 2016 ] PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, INC. vs. PAL EMPLOYEES SAVINGS & LOAN ASSOCIATION, INC.............92 [ G.R. No. 206256, February 24, 2016 ] GILBERT C. AUSTRIA, petitioner, vs. CRYSTAL SHIPPING INC, respondent......................................93
[G.R. No. 207639. July 1, 2015.] BAHIA SHIPPING SERVICES, INC. and/or V-SHIP NORWAY and/or CYNTHIA C. MENDOZA, petitioners, vs. CARLOS L. FLORES, JR., * respondent. FACTS: In January 2009, petitioner hired respondent to work as a "Fitter" on a vessel owned by V-Ship Norway, for nine (9) months. This was covered by an employment contract and a CBA between the Associated Marine Officers' and Seamen's Union of the Philippines and petitioners. While on board overhauling the relief valve of the vessel, a spring valve flew and hit the left side of respondent's face, causing severe injuries to his teeth and face. Singaporean doctors diagnosed him to be suffering from "blunt injuries to the left side of face" and declared him unfit to return to ship. After undergoing an operation to treat his injury, respondent was repatriated to the Philippines for further treatment. Upon repatriation and series of treatments, the company-designated physician gave respondent an interim disability rating of Grade 7 (moderate residual or disorder). Respondent sought a second opinion from an independent physician who diagnosed him and certified that because of his condition, he cannot work as a seafarer in any capacity. Respondent filed a complaint before the NLRC against petitioners for disability benefits, among others. The Labor Arbiter ruled in favor of the respondent and found to be suffering from a permanent total disability because there was no declaration from either the company-designated or the independent physicians that respondent was fit to work. LA ordered petitioners to pay him the permanent total disability benefits in accordance with the CBA and proper damages and attorney’s fees. On appeal, the NLRC affirmed the LA’s ruling with modification deleting the awards for moral and exemplary damages. The CA affirmed the NLRC ruling. ISSUE: Whether or not the CA correctly affirmed the NLRC ruling holding respondent to be entitled to permanent total disability benefits. RULING: YES The CA is nevertheless correct in holding that respondent is deemed to be suffering from a permanent total disability. A temporary total disability only becomes permanent when so declared by the company physician within the periods he is allowed to do so, or upon the expiration of the maximum 240-day medical treatment period without a declaration of either fitness to work or the existence of a permanent disability. In the present case, while the initial 120-day treatment or temporary total disability period was exceeded, the companydesignated doctor duly made a declaration well within the extended 240-day period that the petitioner was fit to work. Be that as it may, Records reveal that after respondent was repatriated on April 18, 2009, he underwent continuous medical care from the company-designated physician. He was even given an interim disability rating of Grade 7 (moderate residual or disorder) on July 17, 2009,27 and thereafter, went through further tests and procedures. However, after October 12, 2009, respondent's treatment stopped without him recovering from his ailment. Notably, the company-designated physician neither issued to respondent a fit-to-work certification nor a final disability rating on or before December 14, 2009, the 240th day since respondent's repatriation. Case law instructs that, if after the lapse of the 240-day period, the seafarer is still incapacitated to perform his usual sea duties and the company-designated physician had not yet declared him fit to work or permanently disabled, whether total or permanent, the conclusive presumption that the seafarer is totally and permanently disabled arises. Perforce, it is but proper to hold that respondent was permanently and totally disabled, and hence, entitled to the corresponding benefits stated under the CBA.
[G.R. No. 189262. July 6, 2015.] GBMLT MANPOWER SERVICES, INC., petitioner, vs. MA. VICTORIA H. MALINAO, respondent. NATURE: Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the CA Decision. The CA found grave abuse of discretion on the part of NLRC when the latter reversed the decision of the LA, which granted respondent's money claims under her complaint for illegal dismissal against petitioner. The CA Resolution denied petitioner's MR. FACTS:
In May 2005, respondent applied to petitioner for a job as teacher for deployment abroad. She was interviewed by an Ethiopian university president and endorsed for the post of accounting lecturer with a monthly salary of USD 900. Respondent paid petitioner the required fees, signed a POEA-approved Contract of Employment for Foreign Academic Personnel covering a period of two academic years. Upon arrival in Ethiopia in December 2005, she was informed that her credentials have to be re-evaluated because it appeared that she did not have a master's degree. Respondent was given a new contract which she refused to sign at first but upon reading it as a duplicate of the original contract signed the same. Respondent was assigned to teach at the Alemaya University but she decided on January 10, 2006 to discontinue teaching the cooperative accounting course assigned to her saying that auditing, not accounting, was her specialization. Another lecturer took over the course and she spent the rest of the semester without a teaching load. Alemaya University VP Alamirew circulated a memo on the Ministry of Education requirement to evaluate the credentials of the Filipino teaching staff and suggest an academic rank for them pursuant to the national norm. Another memo was issued lowering the ranks of most of the Filipino teaching staff and asking them to sign a new contract reflecting a change in rank and salary. Respondent's designation was lowered from lecturer to assistant lecturer with a USD 600 monthly salary. Respondent refused to sign a new contract and together with affected Filipino colleagues, she went to the Ministry of Education to protest the re-ranking. She later requested in a letter to the VP to issue a notice of termination to her "in order not to prolong [her] agony" after a misunderstanding with the VP during a meeting following the protest. Respondent was again replaced by another instructor in Auditing II and left idle due to a students' petition. Dean Kassa of the University questioned her qualification alluding to her bachelor's degree. Respondent was offended insisted she was a CPA and law graduate. Her response stated that in the Philippines, a person with a law degree and who passed the bar examinations has a degree more than a master's, but less than a doctorate. She recognized the university’s right to terminate her at any time, but insisted there was no need to discredit her. On 6 April 2006, VP Alamirew issued the notice of termination to respondent. The notice alluded to the two instances when the Department of Accounting had to replace respondent in her course assignments. She was said to be incompetent and have insulted students, the staff and the management in particular and Ethiopians in general in the class. She was given three months advance notice as regards the contract termination. Respondent replied with a letter stating that the last sentence on the notice of termination is provocative, malicious and defamatory. While waiting for the three-month period to expire, respondent was offered a post at the Internal Audit Department by the University President which she accepted the job through a letter. However, she changed her mind and through a letter dated 27 April 2006 addressed to the President, respondent rejected the offer stating that she was treated rudely and assigned to work under the acting head, a mere diploma holder making her feel insulted. Respondent was repatriated on 27 June 2006. She later signed a Quitclaim and Release dated 5 July 2006 in favor of petitioner. On 18 July 2006, respondent filed a complaint before the LA against petitioner as local agency and Alemaya University as foreign principal seeking full payment of the unexpired portion of the two-year contract, moral and exemplary damages, and attorney's fees.
Ruling of the Labor Arbiter The LA found respondent to have been unduly repatriated in breach of the employment contract. Petitioner and Alemaya University were ordered to pay her in solidum the amounts of USD 4,500 as unrealized income - from
which the amount paid to her under the Quitclaim and Release had already been deducted - Php 30,000 as moral damages, Php 20,000 as exemplary damages, plus costs. Respondent did not hide that she had no master's degree because she was a holder of a bachelor of laws degree. Alemaya University should have allowed respondent to finish her two-year employment contract instead of forcing her to sign a new contract with lower pay, just because she did not have a master's degree. The labor arbiter found that respondent had been constructively dismissed. She was supposedly forced to quit because continued employment became unbearable, not only due to demotion in rank and diminution in pay, but also due to the discrimination and disdain on the part of her employer. No procedural due process was accorded to respondent because no panel of her peers was ever formed to review her performance. The only basis for the charge of unsatisfactory teaching was the alleged students' petition, which was found to be questionable. Ruling of the NLRC The NLRC issued a Decision dated 30 July 2008 dismissing respondent's complaint, because her claims had been the subject of a valid release, waiver and quitclaim. The NLRC ruled that respondent could no longer question the termination of her contract of employment after her acceptance of the new offer of President Kassa to work at the Internal Audit Department. When respondent later wrote to President Kassa that she did not want the new post after all and requested to be repatriated, it was she who terminated the contract. Contrary to the LA’s ruling, respondent was not constructively dismissed. The NLRC also sustained the validity of the Quitclaim and Release. It held that respondent was a certified public accountant and bachelor of laws graduate who could hardly be "duped into signing any document that would be detrimental to her cause, if she was not willing [to agree] to the terms and conditions [provided in] what she was signing [or] entering into." After her MR was denied, respondent filed a petition before the CA ascribing grave abuse of discretion on the part of the NLRC. Ruling of the CA The CA reinstated the LA’s Decision with modifications. The appellate court ordered petitioner and Alemaya University to reimburse respondent for the full amount of the placement fee she had paid, with interest at the rate of 12% per annum, as well as her airfare from Dire Dawa to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. The awards of moral and exemplary damages were both increased to Php 50,000, plus attorney's fees equivalent to 10% of the monetary award. The appellate court observed that while respondent accepted the offer of President Kassa to work at the Internal Audit Department, such arrangement was in the purview of a new contract of employment. A new contract was invalid without the approval of the POEA. After its MR was denied, petitioner filed the instant petition. ISSUES: 1. Whether respondent was illegally dismissed 2. Whether the Quitclaim and Release was valid RULING: 1. NO. Respondent was not illegally dismissed. Under Section 10 of R.A. 8042, workers who are illegally terminated are entitled to their salaries for the unexpired portion of their employment contracts or for three months for every year of the unexpired term, whichever is less, in addition to the reimbursement of their placement fee with interest at the rate of 12% per annum. This applies only to an illegally dismissed overseas contract worker or a worker dismissed from overseas employment without just, valid or authorized cause as defined by law or contract. Respondent was not illegally dismissed.
Article X of the POEA-approved Contract of Employment, as well as the second contract given to respondent for signing upon her arrival in Ethiopia, provides: “This contract may be terminated by either party, at any time and for no cause by giving three months notice to the other party. In such an event[,] the Employee shall be entitled to his/her salary and allowances only up to the date of termination specified in the said notice of termination. However, the employee shall be fully engaged in his/her duty in the period notified and up to the last date of termination.” Based on the provision, the Contract of Employment may be terminated by either party for cause or at any time for no cause, as long as a three-month notice is given to the other party. Stipulations providing that either party may terminate a contract even without cause are legitimate if exercised in good faith. The misunderstanding on respondent’s master’s degree was not the result of bad faith on the part of either party. The demotion did not materialize, and respondent maintained her salary and benefits until she was repatriated. The Court did not impute bad faith on the part of Alemaya University in the exercise of its right to terminate the Contract of Employment at will. It is well to note that the right to terminate the Contract of Employment at will was also available to respondent, who exercised that right when she signified her change of mind and rejected the job at the Internal Audit Department. The NLRC was correct in finding that the logical conclusion is that the parties had agreed to let her employment continue in the university under the Contract of Employment in a different capacity. When respondent later decided that she did not want the new job for personal reasons, she exercised her right to terminate the Contract of Employment. 2. YES. The Quitclaim and Release is valid. Where a person executing a waiver or quitclaim has done so voluntarily with a full understanding of its terms and conditions, coupled with the other person's payment of credible and reasonable consideration, the transaction is valid and binding. Respondent admits that she had a full understanding of the terms and conditions of the Quitclaim and Release and voluntarily signed it. The bone of contention is the reasonableness of the amount of USD 900 as consideration for the waiver of all other purported claims against petitioner. Since respondent was not illegally dismissed, she is not entitled to salaries in excess of the amount given. CA decision and resolution were revered and set aside. NLRC decision reinstated.
[G.R. No. 183735. July 6, 2015.] SEGIFREDO T. VILCHEZ, petitioner, vs. FREE PORT SERVICE CORPORATION and ATTY. ROEL JOHN T. KABIGTING, President, respondents. FACTS: The respondent Free Port is a subsidiary corporation of the SBMA and engaged in the business of providing security services over the properties of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. The complainant Vilches is the Physical Security Department of Free Port. The complainant Vilches informed Free Port of the need for the procurement of PNP clearances for its security personnel. As such, he volunteered to procure the same for about 120 security personnel. He was then issued a disbursement voucher for the amount of Php 125,000 for the procurement of said licenses; the voucher was made payable to a certain Col. Gerangco. Immediately thereafter, the Commission on Audit issued a stop payment order against the said disbursement, finding that Col. Gerangco is not a designated disbursing officer. By virtue of the COA order, Free Port initiated an administrative investigation against Vilches in relation to the procurement of the licenses and eventually found that such licenses were never procured and that the complainant failed to show that the said amount was actually paid for the procurement thereof. As such, he was terminated from service by reason of loss of trust and confidence. Vilches filed an action for illegal dismissal against Free Port with the LA. The LA, after careful deliberation, held in favor of Vilches, holding that the latter was illegally dismissed. Upon appeal with the NLRC, the commission reversed the LA decision and dismissed the complaint. The CA, upon appeal of Vilches, ruled to affirm the commission’s decision, hence the recourse with the SC. He contended that he was dismissed on the ground of serious misconduct resulting to loss of trust and confidence, but the basis of which was the act or omission of another person. He claims that the money intended for the payment of the security guards' licenses was not given to him but the check was made payable to Col. Gerangco who received and encashed the same; and that he had sent a letter to Gerangco asking him to liquidate the remaining security licenses; and, that he should not be held accountable for the non-compliance of Gerangco to complete the licenses. ISSUE: WON the dismissal by reason of loss of trust and confidence is lawful RULING: (1.) YES. Vilches was lawfully terminated. Loss of trust and confidence will validate an employee's dismissal only upon compliance with certain requirements, namely: (1) the employee concerned must be holding a position of trust and confidence; and (2) there must be an act that would justify the loss of trust and confidence. In order to constitute a just cause for dismissal, the act complained of must be work-related such as would show employee concerned to be unfit to continue working for the employer. In the present case, there is no doubt that Vilches held a position of trust and confidence as respondents' Physical Security Department Manager responsible for the department's operation and administration and with about 800 people under his charge. Secondly, his failure to produce the licenses of the 100 security personnel for two years and to account for the money received is definitely an important aspect of his work as Free Port’s Department Manager. He failed to perform what he had represented or what was expected of him, thus, respondents had a valid reason in losing confidence in him which justified his termination. Further, failed to account and produce the licenses of the FSC Security personnel after two (2) years from the date of issuance of the check. This act alone by Vilches constitutes gross misconduct and disobedience which is already a sufficient ground for his dismissal. (2.) He could not just place the blame on Col. Gerangco when it was him who had the obligation to secure the licenses as represented. Moreover, there was no showing that Vilches had exerted efforts for the immediate release of the licenses. Although he sent demand letters to Col. Gerangco for the return of the amount, it was sent only when he knew of the administrative investigation against him instead of acting on the matter upon having knowledge of the stop payment order of COA. Such belated action showed his lack of fidelity to his duty and his breach of the trust and confidence reposed on him by Free Port.
[G.R. No. 187491. July 8, 2015.] FAR EAST BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, petitioner, vs. LILIA S. CHUA, respondent. FACTS:
Respondent Chua was employed by Far East Bank rising from the ranks to AVP until her termination of employment. Dismissal was due to a finding that she engaged in multiple kiting transactions which was a serious violation of Far East Bank's Code of Conduct. This involved drawing of money from a bank account that does not have sufficient funds in order to cover a check. Chua filed a complaint for illegal dismissal and monetary claims before the Regional Arbitration Branc XII in Cotabato City. Parties were ordered to submit respective Position Papers but despite the extension, Far East Bank failed to timely filed its Position Paper. The Bank filed Motion to Admit its Position Paper which was denied. The Labor Arbiter ruled that there was illegal dismissal. LA held that Chua is entitled to reinstatement and full back wages inclusive of allowances and other benefits in the amount of P1.81M. Far East Bank directly filed its Notice of Appeal and Memorandum of Appeal before the NLRC. NLRC reversed the decision of the LA holding that the few days delay in filing of its Position Paper was excusable considering its counsels were based in different cities and that Chua committed irregular acts as AVP. Chua filed an MR which was denied by the NLRC. Chua filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 before the CA. The CA reversed NLRC's ruling stating that Far East Bank's appeal before the NLRC was not perfected. Petitioner filed MR that was denied by the CA, hence, this appeal.
ISSUE: Whether the LA’s Decision has attained finality in light of petitioner’s direct filing of its appeal before the NLRC instead of the Regional Arbitration Branch XII in Cotabato City. RULING: YES.
Art. 218 on the Powers of the Commission provides that it shall “promulgate rules and regulations governing the hearing and disposition of cases before it and its regional branches, as well as those pertaining to its internal functions and such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of the Code.” Rule VI, Section 3 of the 1999 Rules of Procedure of the NLRC that were in effect when petitioner appealed from LA’s Decision provides for the requisites that must be satisfied for an appeal from the LA’s decision may be perfected: (a) The appeal shall be filed within the reglementary period; under oath with proof of payment of the required appeal fee and the posting of a cash or surety bond; accompanied by a memorandum of appeal which shall state the grounds relied upon and the arguments in support thereof; the relief prayed for; and a statement of the date when the appellant received the appealed decision, order or award and proof of service on the other party of such appeal. (b) The appellee may file with the Regional Arbitration Branch, Regional Office or in the POEA where the appeal was filed, his answer or reply to appellant's memorandum of appeal, not later than 10 calendar days from receipt thereof. Failure on the part of the appellee who was properly furnished with a copy of the appeal to file his answer or reply within the said period may be construed as a waiver on his part to file the same. (c) Subject to the provisions of Article 218, once the appeal is perfected in accordance with these rules, the Commission may limit itself to reviewing and deciding specific issues that were elevated on appeal. Rule VI, Section 4 of the same rules stipulates that appeal shall be filed with the respective Regional Arbitration Branch, the Regional Office, or the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration where the case was heard and decided. The CA was correct in saying that “the memorandum on appeal must be filed with the Regional Arbitration Branch which rendered the decision sought to be appealed." Thus, "no appeal before NLRC could have been perfected." The logical consequence is that the LA’s Decision "has attained finality." While the Court held that petitioner violated the rule on venue for filing an appeal, a mere procedural lapse in the venue where petitioner filed its Memorandum of Appeal is not fatal to its cause. Since respondent is estopped for failing to raise the issue of jurisdiction while petitioner's appeal was pending before the NLRC, respondent is bound by her inaction and cannot belatedly invoke the issue of jurisdiction on certiorari before the Court of Appeals.
The Court has held that "[a]lthough the issue of jurisdiction may be raised at any stage of the proceedings as the same is conferred by law, it is nonetheless settled that a party may be barred from raising it on ground of laches or estoppel." A party cannot invoke the jurisdiction of a court to secure affirmative relief against his opponent and, after obtaining or failing to obtain such relief, repudiate or question that same jurisdiction. After voluntarily submitting a cause and encountering an adverse decision on the merits, it is too late for the loser to question the jurisdiction or power of the court. Also, the error of petitioner pertains to the place for filing appeals and not the requisites for perfecting an appeal which Rule VI, Section 3 enumerates as: (1) Filing within the applicable reglementary period as provided by Section 1; (2) That the appeal was under oath; (3) That the appeal fee must have been paid; (4) That the appeal bond must have been posted; (5) A memorandum of appeal which states: a. the grounds relied upon and the arguments in support of the appeal; b. the relief sought; and c. a statement of the date when the assailed decision was received; and (6) Proof of service of the appeal on the adverse party. The same rules allow for the liberal application of procedural rules. In Rule VII, Section 10: “The rules of procedure and evidence prevailing in courts of law and equity shall not be controlling and the Commission shall use every and all reasonable means to ascertain the facts in each case speedily and objectively, without regard to technicalities of law procedure, all in the interest of due process.” As the agency statutorily vested with jurisdiction over petitioner's appeal, petitioner could very easily have mistaken that the filing of its Memorandum of Appeal was rightly made before the NLRC. The NLRC could have very easily advised petitioner if there was anything irregular with its direct filing of a Memorandum of Appeal. The matter of the propriety of the NLRC's assumption of jurisdiction was never raised by respondent before the Commission. Even after petitioner's appeal had been initially decided against her and she filed her MR, respondent totally overlooked this matter. Respondent cannot profit from her own inaction. She actively participated in the proceedings before the NLRC without the slightest indication that she found anything objectionable to the conduct of those proceedings. NLRC’s findings that the requisites of substantive and procedural due process were satisfied in terminating respondent's employment now stand undisturbed. Petition is granted, CA decision was reversed and set aside and NLRC decision was reinstated.
[G.R. No. 199660. July 13, 2015.] U-BIX CORPORATION and EDILBERTO B. BRAVO, petitioners, vs. VALERIE ANNE H. HOLLERO, respondent. FACTS: On one hand, petitioner filed a complaint against Respondent for reimbursement of training costs, interests, etc. On the other hand, Respondent filed against Petitioners a complaint for illegal dismissal. The Labor Arbiter decided that the dismissal was valid and ordered Respondent to reimburse Petitioners. On appeal, the NLRC reversed the LA decision finding Respondent to be illegally dismissed and ordered Petitioners to pay back wages and separation pay due to strained relations. This was raised to the Supreme Court, which then affirmed the CA decision. This decision eventually became final and executory. The Respondent then filed for Motion for Issuance of Writ of Execution. The LA obliged and computed the monetary award to Php 3.3 Million+. Respondents asked for re-computations, which eventually arrived at the amount of Php 3,270,512.82. The LA issued a Writ with this amount dated April 20, 2010. Respondents filed before the NLRC a Notice and Memorandum of Appeal. At the same time, they posted a corresponding supersedeas bond issued by Mapfre Insular Insurance Corporation. Subsequently, Petitioners also filed an Omnibus Motion to Quash Writ of Execution. NLRC denied this Motion to Quash for lack of merit. With respect to the appeal, NLRC held that the bond posted by Petitioners has no force and effect as the authority by Mapfre from the Office of the Court Administrator only relates to Civil/Special Proceedings cases only. The Petitioners elevated this to the CA citing the NLRC in grave abuse of its discretion. CA dismissed the petition and held that there was no grave abuse and that the bond filed was indeed irregular. ISSUES: 1. Whether MAPFRE is a bonding company accredited by both the NLRC and the Supreme Court- YES 2. Whether Petitioner Bravo’s signature in the indemnity agreement constitutes his personal guarantee of the bond- NO RULING: Petition is DENIED. Respondent is entitled to backwages computed from the time she was illegally dismissed up to the date of the finality of the Court's October 31, 2008 Decision in the illegal dismissal case on March 12, 2009. The Court, thus, finds the subject recomputation of money award to be in order. 1. Petitioners argue that the CA erred in concluding that the supersedeas bond they posted was irregular and therefore has no force and effect based on the OCA certification that Mapfre's authority to transact business as a bonding company refers only to civil and special cases. They call attention to the Memorandum39 dated June 8, 2010 issued by the NLRC's Legal and Enforcement Division for the information and guidance of all Presiding/Commissioners and Executive/Labor Arbiters regarding the list of bonding companies accredited by this Court with respect to criminal and civil cases, which include Mapfre. Petitioners assert that the NLRC's endorsement of the said list to all Presiding Commissioners and Executive/Labor Arbiters could only mean that the bonding companies therein listed can also well be considered for labor cases. The Court agrees with petitioners. 2. Nevertheless, the Court still finds that petitioners failed to comply with the bond requirement in perfecting their appeal. Article 223 of the Labor Code provides in part: Article 223. Appeal. Decisions, awards, or orders of the Labor Arbiter are final and executory unless appealed to the Commission by any or both parties within ten (10) calendar days from receipt of such decisions, awards, or orders. x x x xxxx In case of a judgment involving a monetary award, an appeal by the employer may be perfected only upon the posting of a cash or surety bond issued by a reputable bonding company duly accredited by the Commission in the amount equivalent to the monetary award in the judgment appealed from. Here, petitioners did not submit any proof of security deposit or collateral securing the bond. They themselves
admit this in their Petition by stating that they no longer attached a separate document of security deposit or collateral securing the bond because Mapfre did not find it necessary to require them to give a security deposit and/or collateral. According to them, Mapfre “finds it sufficient that the Indemnity Agreement attached to the Memorandum of Appeal was signed by petitioner Bravo, the president of petitioner U-Bix, in his personal capacity.” Petitioners are clutching at straws in impressing upon this Court that petitioner Bravo, in signing the Indemnity Agreement in his personal capacity, has already bound himself to be jointly and severally liable with Mapfre for the monetary award and this has the effect of securing the bond. Suffice it to say that "[t]he obvious purpose of an appeal bond is to ensure, during the period of appeal, against any occurrence that would defeat or diminish recovery by the aggrieved employees under the judgment if subsequently affirmed." To the Court's mind, the intention in requiring a security deposit or collateral to secure the bond, apart from the indemnity agreement between the employer-appellant and the bonding company, is to further ensure recovery by the employee of the judgment award should the same be affirmed, in any and all eventualities. This is also in keeping with the purpose of the bond requirement, which is to "discourage employers from using the appeal to delay, or even evade, their obligation to satisfy their employee's possible just and lawful claims.
[G.R. No. 212049. July 15, 2015.] MAGSAYSAY MARITIME CORPORATION, PRINCESS CRUISE LINES, MARLON R. ROÑO and "STAR PRINCESS," petitioners, vs. ROMEO V. PANOGALINOG, respondent. FACTS: Respondent, Romeo Panoglinog was employed by petitioner Magsaysay Maritime Corporation (MMC) for its foreign principal, Princess Cruise Lines, Ltd. (PCL) as Mechanical Fitter on board the vessel "Star Princess" under a ten (10) month contract. Respondent suffered injuries when he hit his right elbow and forearm on a sewage pipe during a maintenance work conducted on board the vessel. He was immediately provided medical treatment at the ship's clinic and was diagnosed by the ship doctor with "Lateral Epicondylitis, Right". However, despite treatment, his condition did not improve. Hence, he was medically repatriated. After the company-designated physicians declared him fit to work, respondent sought the services of an independent physician, Dr. Manuel C. Jacinto, Jr. (Dr. Jacinto), who, on the other hand, found him "physically unfit to go back to work”. Respondent filed a complaint for the payment of permanent total disability compensation in accordance with the parties' CBA, medical expenses, moral and exemplary damages, and other benefits provided by law and the CBA against MMC. The LA held that since the treatment of respondent's work related injury and declaration of fitness to work exceeded the 120-day period under the POEA Standard Employment Contract (POEA-SEC), and considering further that he was not anymore rehired, respondent was entitled to permanent total disability benefits in accordance with the CBA. Moral and exemplary damages were equally awarded for petitioners' refusal to pay respondent's just claim, which constitutes evident bad faith. The NLRC reversed and set aside the appealed LA decision and instead, dismissed respondent's complaint. In reversing the NLRC, the CA ruled that respondent was entitled to full permanent total disability benefits, considering that a period of more than 120 days had elapsed before the company-designated physicians made their findings, and that respondent was no longer redeployed by petitioners despite the finding of fitness to work by the company-designated physicians. In this relation, it further observed that the award of said benefits was not based on the findings of respondent's physician but rather on the number of days that he has been unfit to work. ISSUE: Whether or not the CA committed grave error in awarding Romeo Panoglinog permanent total disability benefits. RULING: YES. It is doctrinal that the entitlement of seamen on overseas work to disability benefits is a matter governed not only by medical findings but by law and by contract. Since respondent's injury on board the vessel "Star Princess" that caused his eventual repatriation was sustained during the effectivity of the CBA, his claim for the payment of permanent total disability compensation shall be governed by Article 12 (2) of the CBA. A seafarer shall be entitled to the payment of the full amount of disability compensation only if his injury, regardless of the degree of disability, results in loss of profession, i.e., his physical condition prevents a return to sea service. Based on the submissions of the parties, this contractual attribution refers to permanent total disability compensation as known in labor law. Temporary total disability only becomes permanent when so declared by the company-designated physician within the periods he is allowed to do so, or upon the expiration of the maximum 240-day medical treatment period without a declaration of either fitness to work or the existence of a permanent disability. While respondent has the right to seek the opinion of other doctors under Section 20 (B) of the POEA-SEC and the CBA, it bears stressing that the employer is liable for a seafarer's disability, arising from a work-related injury or illness, only after the degree of disability has been established by the company-designated physician and, if the seafarer consulted with a physician of his choice whose assessment disagrees with that of the company designated physician, the disagreement must be referred to a third doctor for a final assessment. Petition Granted.
[G.R. No. 205575. July 22, 2015.] VISAYAN ELECTRIC COMPANY EMPLOYEES UNION-ALU-TUCP and CASMERO MAHILUM, petitioners, vs. VISAYAN ELECTRIC COMPANY, INC. (VECO), respondent. FACTS: 1. Respondent Visayan Electric Company, Inc. (VECO) is a corporation engaged in the supply and distribution of electricity in Cebu City and its neighboring cities, municipalities, and barangays. 5 2. The Union is the exclusive bargaining agent of VECO's rank-and-file employees, and Mahilum was the Union's president from October 2007 until his termination from employment on October 28, 2010. 6 3. Before Mahilum was elected as union officer, he was transferred from VECO's Public Relations Section to its Administrative Services Section without any specific work. When he was elected as union secretary, he was transferred to the Line Services Department as its Customer Service Representative. 7 At the time of his election as union president, VECO management allegedly: (a) terminated active union members without going through the grievance machinery procedure prescribed under the Collective Bargaining Agreement 8 (CBA); (b) refused to implement the profit-sharing scheme provided under the same CBA 9; (c) took back the motorbikes issued to active union members; and (d) revised the electricity privilege10 granted to VECO's employees 4. On May 1, 2009, union members marched on the streets of Cebu City to protest VECO's refusal to comply with the political and economic provisions of the CBA. 5. Mahilum and other union officers were interviewed by the media, and handed out a document 12 containing their grievances against VECO. 6. Mahilum was allegedly demoted as warehouse staff to isolate him and restrict his movements. Other union officers were transferred to positions that will keep them away from the general union membership. 14 7. On May 8, 2009, Mahilum was issued a Notice to Explain 15 why he should not be terminated from service due to loss of trust and confidence, as well as in violating the Company Code of Discipline, for causing the publication of what VECO deemed as a libelous article. 8. Union officers received similar notices 16 for them to explain their actions, which they justified 17 as merely an expression of their collective sentiments against the treatment of VECO's management towards them. 9. On May 20, 2009, the union officers were notified 19 of the administrative investigation to be conducted relative to the charges against them. 10. Union filed on May 18, 2009, a Notice of Strike 22 with the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) against VECO, which facilitated a series of conferences that yielded a Memorandum of Agreement 23 (MOA) signed by the parties on August 7, 2009.24 11. Before the conclusion of the CBA renegotiation 26 on June 28, 2010, several complaints for libel were filed against Mahilum and the other union officers by VECO's Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime Jose Y. Aboitiz.27 12. The administrative hearing against Mahilum resumed with due notice to the latter, but he protested the same, referring to it as "moro-moro" or "kangaroo" and insisting that the investigation should follow the grievance machinery procedure under the CBA.28 13. Nonetheless, VECO's management carried on with its investigation and, on the basis of the findings thereof, issued a notice29 terminating Mahilum from employment on October 28, 2010. 14. Union filed another Notice of Strike 31 with the NCMB against VECO on the grounds of unfair labor practice, specifically union busting for the dismissal and/or suspension of its union president and officers, refusal to bargain collectively, as well as non-observance of the grievance procedure in their CBA. 32 15. To avert any work stoppage that will prejudice VECO's power distribution activity, the Secretary of Labor intervened and issued an Order33 dated November 10, 2010 certifying the labor dispute to the NLRC for
compulsory arbitration.34 Consequently, the strike was enjoined; Mahilum was ordered reinstated in the payroll; and the parties were directed to refrain from committing any act that would exacerbate the situation. NLRC : NLRC found VECO to have acted within the bounds of law when it administratively investigated the suspended or terminated employees and union officers/members, instead of subjecting their respective cases to the grievance machinery procedure provided in the CBA. The administrative investigations conducted by VECO were found to have complied with procedural due process requirements, there was no unfair labor practice to speak of. Mahilum's dismissal and the filing of criminal cases against the union officers, the NLRC found no substantial evidence to prove the imputation of union busting. VECO's alleged modification of the electricity privilege, which the Union claimed as violative of the CBA, was declared mooted by the MOA entered into between the parties, with the assistance of the NCMB, providing for, inter alia, electricity privilege conversion to basic pay. NLRC ruled that Mahilum was terminated for a just and valid cause under Article 282 (c) of the Labor Code,when he, together with some other union officers, caused the publication of a document which was deemed to have dishonored and blackened the memory of former corporate officer Luis Alfonso Y. Aboitiz, besmirched VECO's name and reputation, and exposed the latter to public hatred, contempt, and ridicule. CA: deemed as not filed the Manifestation/Explanation filed by Atty. Asis, and dismissed the certiorari petition for failure of Atty. Saladero to comply with the Resolution dated February 29, 2012. ISSUE/S: 1. 2.
WHETHER THE FILING OF THE PETITION MAY BE ALLOWED DESPITE ONE-DAY DELAY? WHETHER NLRC COMMITTED A SERIOUS ERROR IN ABSOLVING VECO FROM THE CHARGE OF UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICE AND ILLEGAL DISMISSAL OF MAHILUM?
RULING Section 4, Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, certiorari should be filed "not later than sixty (60) days from notice of the judgment, order or resolution" sought to be assailed. The Union admittedly57 received on August 18, 2011 the NLRC's July 29, 2011 Resolution, which denied their motion for reconsideration of the NLRC's June 30, 2011 Decision. Therefore, the 60-day period within which to file a petition for certiorari ended on October 17, 2011. But the certiorari petition was filed one day after, or on October 18, 2011. The Court cannot subscribe to the theory that the ends of justice would be better subserved by allowing a petition for certiorari filed only one-day late. When the law fixes sixty (60) days, it cannot be taken to mean also sixty-one (61) days, as the Court had previously declared. Petitioners failed to satisfactorily show that the refusal of VECO to follow the grievance machinery procedure under Section 4, Article XVII of the CBA in the suspension and termination from employment of the other union officers and members constituted unfair labor practice. Fundamental doctrine in labor law that the CBA is the law between the parties and they are obliged to comply with its provisions. As in this case, when general and specific provisions of the CBA are inconsistent, the specific provision shall be paramount to and govern the general provision. Section 4, Article XVII of the CBA states that "(a)ny difference of opinion, controversy, dispute problem or complaint arising from CompanyUnion or Company-Worker relations concerning the interpretation or application of this Agreement or regarding any matter affecting Company Union or CompanyWorker relations shall be considered a grievance." 65 On the other hand, under Section 13, Article XIV, "(t)he Company agrees that henceforth there shall be a fair and uniform application of its rules and regulations. It is understood that disciplinary actions imposed on employee or laborer shall be
governed by the rules and regulations promulgated by the Company as well as those provided for by existing laws on the matter." Thus, the NLRC correctly ruled that VECO acted within the bounds of law when it proceeded with its administrative investigation of the charges against other union officers and members. Consistent with jurisprudential rulings supporting an employer's free reign and "wide latitude of discretion to regulate all aspects of employment, including the prerogative to instill discipline in its employees and to impose penalties, including dismissal, upon erring employees. Delving now into the merits of Mahilum's dismissal, the Court holds that the two requisites for a valid dismissal from employment have been met, namely: (1) it must be for a just or authorized cause; and (2) the employee must be afforded due process. VECEU-ALU President, Casmero A. Mahilum, said that since 2004 up to present the new VECO Management under the administration of the Aboitizes unceasingly attack the local Union by continuously limit (sic) its membership and diminish (sic) and/or abolish (sic) worker's benefits and privileges stipulated in the CBA It is clear from the foregoing that Mahilum was not an ordinary rank and-file employee. His job entailed the observance of proper company procedures relating to processing and determination of electrical service applications culminating in the signing of service contracts, which constitutes the very lifeblood of VECO's existence. Mahilum's job involved a high degree of responsibility requiring a substantial amount of trust and confidence on the part of his employer. The derogatory statements issued by Mahilum that were intended to incite, not just public condemnation of VECO, there can be no dispute that VECO, indeed, had lost its trust and confidence in Mahilum and his ability to perform his tasks with utmost efficiency and loyalty expected of an employee entrusted to handle customers and funds. Settled is the rule that an employer cannot be compelled to retain an employee who is guilty of acts inimical to the interests of the employer. A company has the right to dismiss its employee if only as a measure of self-protection. Mahilum was terminated for a just and valid cause. VECO complied with the procedural due process requirements of furnishing Mahilum with two written notices before the termination of employment can be effected. On May 8, 2009,83 Mahilum was apprised of the particular acts for which his termination was sought; and, after due investigation, he was given a Notice of Decision 84 on October 28, 2010 informing him of his dismissal from service. The fact that Mahilum served the company for a considerable period of time will not help his cause. The longer an employee stays in the service of the company, the greater is his responsibility for knowledge and compliance with the norms of conduct and the code of discipline in the company. The state's responsibility to afford protection to labor, this policy should not be used as an instrument to oppress management and capital. In resolving disputes between labor and capital, fairness and justice should always prevail. Social justice does not mandate that every dispute should be automatically decided in favor of labor. Justice is to be granted to the deserving and dispensed in the light of the established facts and the applicable law and doctrine.
[ G.R. No. 188464. July 29, 2015. ] ALBERTO J. RAZA, petitioner, vs. DAIKOKU ELECTRONICS PHILS., INC. and MAMORU ONO, respondents. FACTS: Raza was hired as driver of Daikoku Electronics and was eventually assign to its President, Mamoru Ono. After dropping off Ono at his residence one evening, Raza brought the company vehicle home and parked it there instead of the assigned slot in Ono’s condo building. When confronted the following morning, Raza lied that the car was parked in the building but in the wrong slot. He was served with a notice of violation three days thereafter. In his written answer he admitted bringing home the car and lying about it. He apologized but also indicated that he was told by Ono that he could use the car if he needed to. At the Investigation Committee hearing, he admitted the same but reiterated that there were previous occasions that Ono authorized him to bring the car home. The committee then recommende his suspension for 12 days without pay but the General Affairs Manager Gaytano sent him a termination letter instead for dishonesty. The respondents explained the harsher punishment because Ono denied permitting Raza to such use and presented a report from the condo building security office that Raza did not park the company car at the building thirty one times, all unauthorized. Thus, Raza filed his Complaint for illegal dismissal with claims for damages and attorney's fees. ISSUE: Whether petitioner Raza's numerous acts of taking the company car home overnight and lying about one of the incidents to the company president legally deserve the supreme penalty of dismissal from the company. RULING YES. Raza's acts amounted to serious misconduct which falls under the valid grounds for termination of the services of an employee as provided for in the Labor Code, specifically Article 282 (a) thereof, to wit: ART. 282. Termination by employer. — An employer may terminate an employment for any of the following causes: (a) Serious misconduct or willful disobedience by the employee of the lawful orders of his employer or representative in connection with his work; . . . . Misconduct is improper or wrongful conduct. It is the transgression of some established and definite rule of action, a forbidden act, a dereliction of duty, willful in character, and implies wrongful intent and not mere error of judgment. For misconduct to justify dismissal under the law, (a) it must be serious, (b) must relate to the performance of the employee's duties; and (c) must show that the employee has become unfit to continue working for the employer. In the case at bar, Raza was terminated not for the singular act of taking home the company car but that the incident was preceded by 31 other instances of unauthorized use of the car. By taking the vehicle out and driving it to his home, the driver exposes such company property to the risk of damage or loss due to collisions, theft or even untoward incidents such as a fire or civil disturbance. There is also a risk of company liability to third persons arising from such use. In addition, such use is not free of costs, since the extra journey entails fuel use, wear and tear, and other allied expenses. The infractions of Raza were numerous enough that they already amount to an unlawful taking of company resources and that they may be subsumed under the charge of serious misconduct leveled against him.
[G.R. No. 211882. July 29, 2015.] ELBURG SHIPMANAGEMENT PHILS., INC., ENTERPRISE SHIPPING AGENCY SRL AND/OR EVANGELINE RACHO, petitioners, vs. ERNESTO S. QUIOGUE, JR., respondent. FACTS: 1. Respondent Ernesto S. Quiogue Jr. (Quiogue) was hired by Elburg Shipmanagement Philippines, Inc., for and on behalf of its principal Enterprise Shipping Agency SRL (petitioners), to work as Able Bodied Seaman on board the vessel MT Filicudi M with a basic salary of US$363.00. 2. The employment contract was governed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Standard Employment Contract (POEA-SEC) and the International Transport Workers Federation Total Crew Cost Collective Bargaining Agreement (ITF TCC CBA), providing for higher benefits in the event of disability or death of a worker. 3. While Quiogue was on duty transferring the fire wire, his co-worker accidentally dropped it on his left foot. He was immediately given first aid and thereafter sent to a hospital in Tarragona, Spain. The x-ray examination on his injured foot showed that one of his metatarsal bones was fractured. 4. On November 19, 2010, as his injury prevented him from performing his duties on board, he was repatriated and immediately referred to the Metropolitan Medical Center where he was diagnosed to have sustained "nondisplaced Fracture of the Cuneiform Bone, Left Foot." 5. Quiogue underwent treatment and therapy with the company-designated physician from November 2010 to April 2011. 6. On April 13, 2011, he was certified as "fit to work" by the company-designated physician. 7. Notwithstanding the treatment procedures, Quiogue continued to feel pain and discomfort. Consequently, he sought a second opinion from Dr. Nicanor Escutin (Dr. Escutin), an orthopedic surgeon. After a battery of tests, the latter concluded that the extent of his injury rendered him permanently and totally incapable to perform his work as a seafarer. 8. Quiogue sought compensation based on total permanent disability from petitioners, but the latter refused, insisting that he was not entitled to total permanent disability benefits because he was declared as fit to work by the company-designated physician LABOR ARBITER: Ruled in Quiogue's favor on the ground that his left foot injury affected his dexterity and flexibility in walking and enduring weights. NLRC affirmed in toto the above decision and later denied petitioners' motion for reconsideration. CA affirmed the ruling of the NLRC that Quiogue was entitled to permanent and total disability benefits but deleted the award of attorney's fees. ISSUE/S: WHETHER QUIOGUE IS ENTITLED TO PERMANENT AND TOTAL DIS ABILITY BENFITS AND OTHER CLAIMS FOR DAMAGES? RULING: It is a well-settled rule that if the medical treatment or evaluation exceeds 240 days, the seafarer is entitled to permanent and total disability benefits. The doctrine recognizes that, in awarding disability benefits to the seaman, disability should not be understood more on its medical significance but on the loss of earning capacity. The records show that Quiogue still experienced recurring pains in his injured left foot. The company-designated physician, however, even with the recurring pains, declared him as fit to work. Thus, Quiogue sought the opinion of his own physician, Dr. Escutin, who after the necessary tests and examination declared him unfit for sea duty in whatever capacity as a seaman. The right of a seafarer to consult a physician of his choice can only be sensible when his findings are duly evaluated by the labor tribunals in awarding disability claims. 40 The credibility of the findings of Quiogue's private doctor was properly evaluated by the NLRC when it found that the findings of Dr. Escutin who gave Grade 1 disability rating was more appropriate and applicable to the injury suffered by Quiogue. With these medical findings and the fact that Quiogue failed to be re-deployed by petitioners despite the fit to work assessment, Dr. Escutin's assessment should be upheld. Even in the absence of an official finding by Dr. Escutin, Quiogue is deemed to have suffered permanent total disability.
The fact that Quiogue was declared "fit to work" by the company-designated physician (with whom he underwent treatment and therapy from November 2010 to April 2011) on April 13, 2011 does not matter because the certification was issued beyond the authorized 120-day period. As aptly ruled by the CA, the assessment of fitness to return to work by the company-designated physician notwithstanding, his disability was considered permanent and total as the said certification was issued after the lapse of more than 120 days from the time of his repatriation. There is no merit in petitioners' argument that Quiogue's entitlement to permanent total disability benefits was merely based on his inability to return to work for 120 days. He was entitled to permanent and total disability benefits not solely because of his incapacity to work for more than 120 days, but also because the companydesignated physician belatedly gave his definite assessment on Quiogue medical condition, without any justifiable reason therefor. Significantly, as aptly found by the NLRC, he remained unemployed even after the time he filed the complaint to recover permanent total disability compensation. In the aforecited case of Carcedo, it was stated that should the company-designated physician fail to give his proper medical assessment and the seafarer's medical condition remains unresolved, the seafarer shall be deemed totally and permanently disabled.43 The Court likewise finds no basis for petitioners' contention that Quiogue's previous award of permanent disability benefits bar his present claim for disability benefits against petitioners. The CA was also correct when it deleted the award for attorney's fees for failure of the LA to explain Quiogue's entitlement thereto. It must be stressed, as correctly observed by the CA, that there must always be a factual basis for the award of attorney's fees. In fine, the factual, legal or equitable justification for the award must be set forth in the text of the decision. The matter of attorney's fees cannot be touched once and only in the fallo of the decision or else, the award should be thrown out for being speculative and conjectural. In the absence of a stipulation, the attorney's fees are ordinarily not recoverable; otherwise a premium shall be placed on the right to litigate.
[G.R. No. 215555. July 29, 2015.] CENTRAL AZUCARERA DE BAIS, INC. and ANTONIO STEVEN L. CHAN, petitioners, vs. JANET T. SIASON, respondent. FACTS: Chan sonfronted Siason on the propriety of the delivery of a machine part via air freight in lieu f the previously approved sea freight. She responded by explaining that such benefited the company, but it was considered a big infraction of company policy. Later that day, she received a letter signed by Chan informing her that she had been committing various purchasing policy violations over the past 12 months which are unfavorable to the company. She was asked to tender her resignation immediately. Siason filed a complaint against petitioners alleging she was forced to resign. Petitioners claim that Siason was not constructively dismissed since she voluntarily resigned. They explained that the accounting department audited the purchases she had made and discovered irregularities. Because of her long tenure, she was given the option of resigning instead of facing administrative investigation which would eventually result in her termination. The LA dismissed the complaint for lack of merit but awarded her separation pay. The NLRC reversed and ruled that petitioner was constructively dismissed. The CA affirmed the NLRC's ruling. ISSUE: Whether there has been constructive dismissal. RULING: No. A judicious review of the records reveals that CABI's accounting department indeed made an audit of the purchases made by the company through its Purchasing Officer, Siason. This resulted in the discovery of a number of questionable discrepancies in several purchasing transactions undertaken by Siason, consisting in different price quotations for identical items contained in various purchase documents prepared by Siason herself. Taking into consideration Siason's long tenure at CABI, as well as her close relationship with Chan, the latter sent her the letter asking her to resign "rather than [to] force [his] hand" - which should be construed as Chan telling Siason to resign or be faced with an administrative complaint. Atty. Ner-Tiangco sent Siason another letter, essentially confirming if the latter was going to resign or if she is subjecting herself to an administrative investigation. Ultimately, Siason chose to tender her resignation to save herself from the trouble of besmirching her employment record. The foregoing facts belie Siason's argument that petitioners constructively dismissed her. These circumstances show that she was given the option to voluntarily resign from CABI, instead of dealing with an investigation which might result in her dismissal. Verily, Chan's decision to give Siason a graceful exit rather than to file an action for redress is perfectly within the discretion of the former; as it is not uncommon that an employee is permitted to resign to avoid the humiliation and embarrassment of being terminated for just cause after the exposure of her malfeasance. It is settled that there is nothing reprehensible or illegal when the employer grants the employee a chance to resign and save face rather than smear the latter's employment record, as in this case. In sum, petitioners did not constructively dismiss Siason; but rather, the latter voluntarily resigned from her job in order to avoid a full-blown administrative trial regarding her misdeeds which could potentially result in her termination for just cause. While it may be said that she did not tender her resignation wholeheartedly, circumstances of her own making did not give her any other option but to voluntarily do so. Therefore, in view of her voluntary resignation from CABI, she is not entitled to any separation pay in the absence of any agreement with petitioners providing for such.
[G.R. No. 206612. August 17, 2015.] TOYOTA ALABANG, INC., petitioner, vs. EDWIN GAMES, respondent. FACTS: Games worked as a foreman for Toyota Alabang. He was dismissed by the petitioner for allegedly stealing vehicle lubricants and charged him with Qualified theft before the trial Court. Two years later, Games filed a Complainant for illegal dismissal, nonpayment of benefits, and damages against petitioner. Petitioner failed to file its position paper and they alleged that the failure was due to the fact that their lawyer is no longer connected with the company. Despite repeated rescheduling of the hearings, Toyota still failed to appear hence the case was submitted for decision. The Labor Arbiter ruled in favor of Games and Toyota did not file an MR so it became final and executory. LA issued a writ of execution so Toyota filed a Motion to Quash and petitioned for the re-opening of the case. Toyota alleged that their failure to file the pleading was due to the negligence of their lawyer. These were denied by the LA hence they appealed the case to the NLRC. NLRC dismissed the case citing that the LA decision is now final and executor. Toyota filed an appeal to the CA but was dismissed due to their failure to comply with the bond requirements and that the decision is no longer appealable. Toyota then filed for Certiorari with the SC but was denied in an SC Resolution. They then filed this MR. ISSUE: WON posting a bond is required to perfect the appeal in this case. RULING: The decision that petitioner illegally dismissed respondent was already final and executory because of petitioner's failure to file a timely appeal. Petitioner itself was negligent in advancing its case and failed to exhibit diligence when it did not attend the hearings. the Court finds that the CA justly refused to reopen the case in the former's favor. Definitely, petitioner cannot now be allowed to claim denial of due process when it was petitioner who was less than vigilant of its rights. No appeal may be taken from an order of execution of a final and executory judgment. After all, just as a losing party has the right to file an appeal within the prescribed period, so does the winning party have the correlative right to enjoy the finality of the resolution of the case. An appeal is not a matter of right, but is a mere statutory privilege. The bond is required to perfect an appeal. Article223 of the Labor Code and Section 6, Rule VI of the 2011 NLRC Rules of Procedure, uniformly state that “In case the decision of the Labor Arbiter or the Regional Director involves a monetary award, an appeal by the employer may be perfected only upon the posting of a bond, which shall either be in the form of cash deposit or surety bond equivalent in amount to the monetary award, exclusive of damages and attorney's fees.” These rules generally state that in case the ruling of the LA involves a monetary award, an employer's appeal may be perfected only upon the posting of a bond. Therefore, absent any qualifying terms,13 so long as the decision of the LA involves a monetary award, as in this case, 14 that ruling can only be appealed after the employer posts a bond. The purpose of the bond is to ensure that the employee has properties on which he or she can execute upon in the event of a final, providential award. PETITION DENIED.
[G.R. No. 190984. August 19, 2015.] ACOMARIT PHILS., and/or ACOMARIT HONGKONG LIMITED, petitioners, vs. GOMER L. DOTIMAS, respondent. FACTS: Under a Contract of Employment dated October 27, 1999, respondent Gomer L. Dotimas was employed by ACOMARIT Phils. for its principal and ACOMARIT Hongkong, Limited as Able Seaman on board the vessel “M/V SAUDI RIYADH” for 10 months. Respondent was issued a clean bill of health prior to being deployed after he underwent a medical examination required by the POEA and existing laws. On April 26, 2000, while on board and discharging his duties, respondent met an accident which injured his left leg. Thereafter he repatriated to the Philippines. Petitioners referred respondent to its designated physician who recommended that his knee should be operated on. After the surgery the respondent was evaluated and the attending physician, issued a final evaluation certificate wherein she categorically cleared respondent from his injury and allowed him to resume his work even with implants, which can be removed after a year and a half. Respondent, through counsel, wrote petitioners, claiming for full disability benefits amounting to US$60,000.00. He claimed that the injury suffered while working for petitioners “will not permit him to work again” as a Seaman which rendered him totally and permanently disabled. After his demand went unheeded, respondent filed on July 6, 2001 a Complaint for Disability Benefits and for Moral and Exemplary Damages plus attorney’s fees. Respondent averred that under the provision of the Labor Code and Supreme Court doctrines, he is entitled to full disability benefits because his injury occurred during his 10-month contract and he is no longer fit for sea services as certified by an independent doctor, and has, as a result lost his earning capacity. He argued that the POEA Contract does not exclude or prohibit an independent physician from giving a disability grading and that the Labor Code concept of disability (loss or diminution of earning power) is not excluded in the interpretation of the provisions of the POEA Contract. Furthermore, respondent alleged that although he was pronounced fit to work, he can never be considered fit for employment if he still has implants on his leg since he can no longer carry heavy objects while on board a vessel. He claimed that the declaration of fit to work by the company designated physician was made out of bias. The RTC ruled in favor of the Petitioner Co. The CA reversed the RTC’s judgment. ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent is entitled to permanent disability benefits? RULING: No, the respondent is not entitled to the permanent disability benefits. When respondent was declared fit to work 144 days from the date of his medical repatriation, he cannot be considered under the state of permanent total disability. Hence, he cannot be said to have acquired a cause of action for total and permanent disability benefits. To stress, the rule is that a temporary total disability only becomes permanent when the company-designated physician, within the 240-day period, declares it to be so, or when after the lapse of the same, he fails to make such declaration. In this case, he was declared fit to work 144 days from the date of his medical repatriation or before the lapse of 240 days. From May 2000 to September 21, 2001, 144 days had lapsed before respondent was declared fit to work. Concededly, said periods have already exceeded the 120-day period under Section 20(B) of the POEA-SEC and Article 192 of the Labor Code. However, records show that respondent underwent a series of evaluations which implied requirement of further medical treatment, thus, justifying the extension of the 120-day period. The company-designated doctor had a period of 240 days within which to make a finding on his fitness for further sea duties or degree of disability.
[G.R. No. 202090. September 9, 2015.] ICT MARKETING SERVICES, INC. (now known as SYKES MARKETING SERVICES, INC.), petitioner, vs. MARIPHIL L. SALES, respondent. FACTS: Petitioner hired respondent Mariphil L. Sales as its Customer Service Resource. She was assigned to the Washington Mutual account, where she was awarded with a certificate for being the "Top Converter/Seller (Second Place)" for the month of April 2007. She wrote to Glen Odom (Odom) - petitioner's Vice President - complaining about supposed irregularities in the handling of funds entrusted to petitioner by Washington Mutual which were intended for distribution to outstanding Washington Mutual CSRs and TSRs as prizes and incentives. However, no action appears to have been taken on her complaint. Respondent was then transferred to the Bank of America account on July 30, 2007. Without prior notice to respondent, petitioner scheduled her for training from July 30 to August 6, 2007 on the very same day of her transfer. On the third day of training (August 1), respondent was unable to attend. When she reported for training the next day, respondent was informed that she could not be certified to handle calls for Bank of America due to her failure to complete the training. From then on, respondent was placed on "floating status" and was not given any work assignment. In a September 28, 2007 letter to petitioner's Human Resource (HR) Manager, respondent tendered her resignation from work, effective upon receipt of the letter saying that she was forced to resign due to the reason that her employment was made on "floating status" effective August 4, 2007 and up to present (almost two months). On October 2, 2007, respondent filed a complaint for constructive dismissal against petitioner and Odom before the NLRC NCR, Quezon City. Petitioner, on the other hand, prayed for the dismissal of the complaint, arguing that respondent was transferred from the Washington Mutual account as an exercise of management initiative or prerogative, and due to infractions committed by her, as well as attendance and punctuality issues that arose. It claimed that respondent could not be certified for the Bank of America account for failing to complete the training. It maintained that respondent was placed on standby status only, and not suspended or constructively dismissed. In fact, she was directed to report to its HR department, but she did not do so. It also insisted that respondent resigned voluntarily. It denied committing any act of discrimination or any other act which rendered respondent's employment impossible, unreasonable or unlikely. Finally, it claimed that prior notice of her transfer to the Bank of America account was made through an electronic mail message sent to her; and that respondent has no cause of action since she resigned voluntarily, and thus could not have been illegally dismissed. The Labor Arbiter found the complainant to have been constructively dismissed and awarded her separation pay, moral and exemplary damages, and attorney's fees to respondent. Petitioner appealed before the NLRC and the latter reversed the decision of the Labor Arbiter. Respondent filed Petition for Certiorari filed with the CA and found it meritorious. Hence, the present Petition RULING: Concerning the transfer of employees, these are the following jurisprudential guidelines: (a) a transfer is a movement from one position to another of equivalent rank, level or salary without break in the service or a lateral movement from one position to another of equivalent rank or salary; (b) the employer has the inherent right to transfer or reassign an employee for legitimate business purposes; (c) a transfer becomes unlawful where it is motivated by discrimination or bad faith or is effected as a form of punishment or is a demotion without sufficient cause; (d) the employer must be able to show that the transfer is not unreasonable, inconvenient, or prejudicial to the employee.
While the prerogative to transfer respondent to another account belonged to petitioner, it wielded the same unfairly. The evidence suggests that at the time respondent was transferred from the Washington Mutual account to the Bank of America program, petitioner was hiring additional CSRs/TSRs. This simply means that if it was then hiring new CSRs/TSRs, then there should be no need to transfer respondent to the Bank of America program; it could simply train new hires for that program. Transferring respondent - an experienced employee who was already familiar with the Washington Mutual account, and who even proved to be outstanding in handling the same - to another account means additional expenses for petitioner: it would have to train respondent for the Bank of America account, and train a new hire to take her place in the Washington Mutual account. This does not make sense; quite the contrary, it is impractical and entails more expense on petitioner's part. If respondent already knew her work at the Washington Mutual account very well, then it is contrary to experience and logic to transfer her to another account which she is not familiar with, there to start from scratch; this could have been properly relegated to a new hire. There can be no truth to petitioner's claim either that respondent's transfer was made upon request of the client. If she was performing outstanding work and bringing in good business for the client, there is no reason - indeed it is beyond experience and logic - to conclude that the client would seek her transfer. Such a claim could only be fabricated. Moreover, as the appellate court correctly observed, even if respondent had attendance and punctuality issues, her overall performance as a CSR/TSR was certainly far from mediocre; on the contrary, she proved to be a top performer. And if it were true that respondent suddenly became lax by way of attendance in July 2007, it is not entirely her fault. This may be attributed to petitioner's failure to properly address her grievances relative to the supposed irregularities in the handling of funds entrusted to petitioner by Washington Mutual which were intended for distribution to outstanding Washington Mutual CSRs and TSRs as prizes and incentives. She wrote petitioner about her complaint on July 3, 2007; however, no explanation was forthcoming from petitioner, and it was only during these proceedings - or after a case had already been filed - that petitioner belatedly and for no other useful purpose attempted to address her concerns. This may have caused a bit of disillusionment on the part of respondent, which led her to miss work for a few days in July 2007. Her grievance should have been addressed by petitioner; after all, they were serious accusations, and have a bearing on the CSRs/TSRs' overall performance in the Washington Mutual account. The managerial prerogative to transfer personnel must be exercised without grave abuse of discretion, bearing in mind the basic elements of justice and fair play. Having the right should not be confused with the manner in which that right is exercised. Thus, it cannot be used as a subterfuge by the employer to rid himself of an undesirable worker. In particular, the employer must be able to show that the transfer is not unreasonable, inconvenient or prejudicial to the employee; nor does it involve a demotion in rank or a diminution of his salaries, privileges and other benefits. Should the employer fail to overcome this burden of proof, the employee's transfer shall be tantamount to constructive dismissal, which has been defined as a quitting because continued employment is rendered impossible, unreasonable or unlikely; as an offer involving a demotion in rank and diminution in pay. Likewise, constructive dismissal exists when an act of clear discrimination, insensibility or disdain by an employer has become so unbearable to the employee leaving him with no option but to forego with his continued employment. In placing respondent on "floating status," petitioner further acted arbitrarily and unfairly, making life unbearable for her. In so doing, it treated respondent as if she were a new hire; it improperly disregarded her experience, status, performance, and achievements in the company; and most importantly, respondent was illegally deprived of her salary and other emoluments. For her single absence during training for the Bank of America account, she was refused certification, and as a result, she was placed on floating status and her salary was withheld. Clearly, this was an act of discrimination and unfairness considering that she was not an inexperienced new hire, but a promising and award-winning employee who was more than eager to succeed within the company. This conclusion is not totally baseless, and is rooted in her outstanding performance at the Washington Mutual account and her complaint regarding the incentives, which only proves her zeal, positive work attitude, and drive to achieve financial success through hard work. But instead of rewarding her, petitioner unduly punished her; instead of inspiring her, petitioner dashed her hopes and dreams; in return for her industry, idealism, positive outlook and fervor, petitioner left her with a legacy of, and awful examples in, office politicking, intrigue, and internecine schemes. With the foregoing pronouncements, an award of indemnity in favor of respondent should be forthcoming. In case of constructive dismissal, the employee is entitled to full backwages, inclusive of allowances, and other benefits or their monetary equivalent, as well as separation pay in lieu of reinstatement. The readily determinable amounts, as computed by the Labor Arbiter and correspondingly reviewed and corrected by the appellate court, should be
accorded finality and deemed binding on this Court. Settled is the rule that that an employee who is unjustly dismissed from work shall be entitled to reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and other privileges, and to his full backwages, inclusive of allowances and to his other benefits or their monetary equivalent computed from the time his compensation was withheld up to the time of actual reinstatement. If reinstatement is not possible, however, the award of separation pay is proper.
[G.R. No. 201536. September 9, 2015.] GRACE MARINE SHIPPING CORPORATION and/or CAPT. JIMMY BOADO, petitioners, vs. ARON S. ALARCON, respondent. FACTS: In 2006, respondent Aron S. Alarcon was hired by petitioner Grace Marine Shipping Corporation (Grace Marine Shipping) for its foreign principal, Universal Marine Corporation. He was assigned as Messman onboard the vessel "M/V Sunny Napier II." His nine-month Employment Contract4 dated November 28, 2006 stated among others 1hat he was to receive a monthly salary of US$403. After undergoing the mandatory pre-employment medical examination, respondent was declared fit to work and, on January 11, 2007, he boarded “M/V Sunny Napier II.” As Messman, respondent maintained messroom sanitation, washed clothes and dishes, cleaned the area on board and was in charge of general cabin sanitation. He used cleaning agents such as surfactants, alkalines, phosphates, acids, complexing and bleaching agents, enzymes and other strong chemical substances. While aboard “M/V Sunny Napier II,” respondent developed a skin condition. He was examined by a physician in New Zealand, and was diagnosed as having “infected fungal dermatitis.” Thereafter, respondent was diagnosed by another doctor as having “eczema squamosum” and declared unfit for duty. Respondent was repatriated on August 29, 2007 and was immediately referred to the company-designated physician, Dr. Nicomedes G. Cruz (Dr. Cruz). On August 30, 2007, respondent was diagnosed with “nummular eczema” on his arms, body, legs and scalp by the company-designated dermatopathologist, Dr. Eileen AbesamisCubillan (Dr. Abesamis-Cubillan). Dr. Cruz declared respondent’s condition as a Grade 12 disability – “slight residuals or disorder of the skin.” On January 31, 2008, respondent was declared fit to work, although it was noted that he still had “minimal and resolving” skin lesions. In April 2008, respondent consulted an independent physician, Dr. Glenda A. Fugoso (Dr. Fugoso), who declared that he was unfit to work and was suffering from subacute to chronic spongiotic dermatitis which may require lifetime treatment. Petitioners offered to compensate respondent in the amount of US$5,225.00 based on a Grade 12 disability rating, but respondent claimed entitlement to Grade 5 disability benefits with a higher indemnity. Petitioners insisted on their offer. Respondent filed a complaint against petitioners for the recovery of US$60,000.00 permanent total disability benefits; 100,000.00 moral and exemplary damages; and 10% attorney’s fees before the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB). Respondent stated that his illness entitles him to permanent and total disability benefits and other claims. He argued that such illness is work-related, dermatitis being an occupational disease under Section 32-A of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration- Standard Employment Contract (POEA-SEC); that his illness was caused by his handling of and exposure to chemical agents at work; and that said chemicals are skin irritants and sensitizers which triggered his condition. He averred that prior to his employment, he was not suffering from skin disease as shown by the results of his pre-employment medical examination which declared him as fit to work for petitioners. The RTC and CA ruled in favor of respondent. ISSUE: Whether or not Respondent is entitled to permanent disability benefits? RULING: Yes, he is entitled to permanent disability benefits. The court held the following: The Court finds that respondent’s psoriasis and nummular eczema, which have not been cured, are workconnected and thus compensable. He is unfit to continue his duties as messman, as his illness prevents him from performing his functions as such. Up to this point, it does not appear that petitioners took him back to work for their principal, or that a declaration of fitness to work or that his condition has been resolved or cured has been
issued. “[A]n employee’s disability becomes permanent and total when so declared by the company-designated physician, or, in case of absence of such a declaration either of fitness or permanent total disability, upon the lapse of the 120 or 240-day treatment period under Article 192 (c) (1) of the Labor Code and Rule X, Section 2 of the Amended Rules on Employees’ Compensation Commission, while the employee’s disability continues and he is unable to engage in gainful employment during such period, and the company-designated physician fails to arrive at a definite assessment of the employee’s fitness or disability. This is true regardless of whether the employee loses the use of any part of his body or if the injury or disability is classified as Grade 1 under the POEA-SEC.” The evidence further suggests that before respondent was employed by petitioners, he did not suffer from psoriasis and nummular eczema; if he had been afflicted with these ailments prior to employment, surely he would not have been taken in. He was given a clean bill of health through the standard pre-employment physical examination. Besides, in any of their pleadings, petitioners did not contest this fact; nor did they claim that respondent had these conditions prior to his employment.
[ G.R. No. 201535, October 05, 2015 ] NEC SYSTEM INTEGRATED CONSTRUCTION (NESIC) PHILS., INC., petitioner, vs. RALPH T. CRISOLOGO, respondent. SECOND DIVISION - DEL CASTILLO, J p: FACTS: Crisologo was already occupying the rank of vice president when we accepted a demotion to senior general manager. This was upon request for him to train another employee who will be assigned to NESIC Japan, while he keeps salary and benefits. The company appointed a new president and cost-cutting measures were implemented. After a net loss reported by the company, NESIC filed a retrenchment plan which was also approved by the DOLE. Crisologo was among the retrenched employees. He accepted the separation pay and executed a quit claim and waiver. However, later he argued that the retrenchment had no valid basis as the company even hired new employees. The Labor Arbiter and NLRC held in favor of Crisology. In reversing the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC, the CA essentially declared that while petitioner complied with four of the five requirements for a valid retrenchment — substantial losses, actual and imminent, were being suffered; written notices were duly sent to the employees and to the DOLE and for the required period; good faith attended the retrenchment; and respondent had been paid the corresponding separation pay and other benefits for retrenched employees — the last requirement, viz., that fair and reasonable criteria were used in ascertaining who would be dismissed and who would be retained, had not been observed. The CA held, nonetheless, that reinstatement could not be done, as respondent's position no longer existed after the restructuring; hence, the CA ordered that respondent be paid backwages and separation pay, and attorney’s fees. Petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration was denied. ISSUE: Whether or not Crisology may dispute his retrenchment RULING: NO. Crisologo has declared and manifested thru the quitclaim and waiver that he executed the same in his "own free will and for valuable consideration." This signifies his acceptance of the benefits thereunder. Thus, it can hardly be doubted that from its end petitioner had dealt at arms length with respondent in the matter of duly compensating the latter for the services he had rendered the petitioner during the 11 years or so that he had been under its employ. The records of the case yield no evidence that respondent had ever been tricked or hoodwinked into affixing his signature upon the said deed of waiver-quitclaim cum separation pay. His impressive credentials are of course ample proof of authentic high level academic achievement, indicative of a by-no-means middling or common place intellectual power. The combination of all these circumstances thus repels the suggestion that respondent might not have fully or thoroughly grasped or understood the plain meaning, intendment and significance of the deed/document to which he affixed his signature, and from the obvious and inevitable effects of which he now seeks to rid or extricate himself. That by his free and voluntary act and deed he chose or opted to deed away his patrimonial rights he has only himself to blame. The decision of the NLRC was reinstated.
[ G.R. No. 186114, October 07, 2015 ] CHEVRON (PHILS.), INC., petitioner, vs. VITALIANO C GALIT, SJS AND SONS CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION AND MR. REYNALDO SALOMON, respondents. FACTS: The complainant Galit filed an illegal dismissal suit against Chevron and SJS Construction Corp. for illegal dismissal and for payment of other labor standard benefits. He alleged that he is a regular and permanent employee of Chevron, having been assigned at the company's Pandacan depot; he is an "all-around employee" whose job consists of cleaning the premises of the depot, changing malfunctioning oil gaskets, transferring oil from containers and other tasks that management would assign to him; in the performance of his duties, he was directly under the control and supervision of Chevron supervisors. Subsequently, he was verbally informed that his employment is terminated but was promised that he will be reinstated soon; for several months, he followed up his reinstatement, bit to no avail. SJS claimed that Galit was hired by SJS as a project employee and was assigned to Chevron, as a janitor, based on a contract between the two companies; that the manpower contract between SJS and Chevron eventually ended which resulted in the severance of Galit's employment; SJS finally closed its business operations; that Galit was paid separation pay. Chevron argued that it availed of the manpower services of SJS for the maintenance of its oil depot in its Pandacan site; Galit, who was employed by SJS, was assigned to the depot as a janitor; his wages and all employment benefits were paid by SJS; he was subject to the supervision, discipline and control of SJS; that Galit is not its employee but that of SJS. The LA ruled to dismiss the complaint of Galit, holding that SJS is a legitimate contractor and that it was Galit's employer and that the termination of his services was lawful on account that the project for which he was employed has already been accomplished; that the LA doesn’t have jurisdiction over the complaint against Chevron as there existed no employer – employee relationship between the company and the complainant. Upon appeal with the NLRC, the commission affirmed the LA decision with modification. It held that Galit is a regular employee of SJS, and not just a mere project employee of the company whose action dismissing Galit was with lawful due to its closure. The CA, upon appeal of Chevron, ruled to affirm the NLRC decision, hence the recourse of the latter with the SC. ISSUE: WON there exists an employer – employee relationship between Galit and SJS RULING: (1.) Galit is a regular employee of SJS. Upon cursory reading of the employment contract between SJS and Galit, it is readily seen that SJS has the power of dismissal and control. Galit admitted in his complaint that it was SJS which detailed him in the Pandacan oil depot. Galit also did not present any evidence to prove that it was Chevron which pays his wages and that SJS is a mere conduit of the latter. He was dismissed therefrom because Chevron no longer renewed its contract with SJS and that the latter subsequently ceased to operate. (2.) The work performed by Galit, which is the "scooping of slop of oil water separator," has no direct relation to Chevron’s business, which is the importation, refining and manufacture of petroleum products. The job performed by Galit, which essentially consists of janitorial services, may be incidental or desirable to petitioner's main activity but it is not necessary and directly related to it.
[ G.R. No. 194969, October 07, 2015 ] CONVOY MARKETING CORPORATION AND/OR ARNOLD LAAB, petitioners, vs. OLIVER B. ALBIA,* respondent. FACTS: Oliver Alvia started working as a common laborer for the respondent Convoy Marketing, a distributor of bottled wines, liquor and bottled water, in 2001. He was assigned the job of a pahinante, or one who loads and unloads cargoes transported to customers by the delivery vehicles of the company. A year later, he was promoted to delivery van driver. On July 22, 2004, he did something that cost him his job. He smelled of liquor upon his arrival from the delivery route. He gave the explanation that after completing the delivery, he and his two pahinantes decided to rest a little in a store outside the company compound. They drank several bottles of beer before going back to the compound to start loading for the next morning's delivery. It was, however, reported to the logistics manager, the respondent Arnold Laab, that he was under the influence of liquor. As a result, he received his marching orders. In a memo on July 23, the next day, he was told - we regret to inform that management decided to terminate your delivery agency agreement with Convoy Marketing Corporation. The petitioner did not delay in protesting his dismissal, filing a complaint for illegal dismissal and non- payment of wage benefits. The Labor Arbiter (LA) pointed out and emphasized that the record shows that herein complainant signed a Quitclaim and Release in favor of the respondent corporation. That during one of the settings herein (on 17 August 2004), complainant manifested in open proceedings that his claims for unpaid salaries and cash bond had already been settled. The NLRC affirmed the LA’s decision. The CA, in turn reversed the decision of the NLRC. ISSUE: Whether or not Albia was not a regular employee of Convoy, but merely a contractual one whose services ended upon the expiration of the period agreed upon. RULING: NO. 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 facts clearly show otherwise. The employment status of a person is defined and prescribed by law and not by what the parties say it should be. Contrary to petitioners' claim, the fact that Convoy has fifteen (15)regular drivers only underscores that indeed, having been hired as a driver, Albia was engaged to perform an activity which is necessary or desirable in the usual company business of marketing and distribution of bottled wines, liquor and bottled water. No less than Convoy's daily trip summary breakdowns contradict petitioner’s allegation that Albia is only an on-call driver who does not have to report for work daily. Albia has become a regular employee is evident from the Delivery Agency Agreements (For Driver) — which indicate that he had rendered at least one year of broken service with respect to the same activity in which he was employed from the time he was hired as a driver on November 22, 2002 until he was terminated on July 23, 2004. The test of independent contractorship is whether one claiming to be an independent contractor has contracted to do the work according to his own methods and without being subject to the control of the employer, except only as to the results of the work. Albia cannot be considered as in independent contractor. There is no dispute that it was Convoy who engaged the services of Albia as a driver without the intervention of a third party, paid his wages on a per trip basis, and abruptly terminated his services the next day after admitting to have consumed three bottles of beer after finishing his deliveries on July 22, 2004. There is, likewise, no question that Convoy controls or has reserved its right to control Albia's conduct, not only as to the result of his work but also as to the means and methods by which such result is to be accomplished. Petition Denied.
[ G.R. No. 211638, October 07, 2015 ] MARK ANTHONY SASO, petitioner, vs. 88 ACES MARITIME SERVICE, INC. AND/OR CARMENCITA A. SARREAL AND LIN WEN YU, respondents. FACTS: Petitioner Saso was engaged by Respondent 88 Aces on behalf of principal respondent Lin Wen Yu as a fisherman on board their vessel in Taiwan. His contract was for 24 months with a salary of NT $17,280 per month. He was declared fit to work/fit for sea service on February 3, 2010 and subsequently went to work. An accident hit Saso on March 12, 2010 when a hanging fishing net knocked him down and the loaded net and its rope crushed his right thigh. This fracture was operated twice in Taiwan. Saso was eventually repatriated, while still on crutches, on April 20, 2010. On April 23, he went to Respondent’s for post-employment medical examination. Respondents advised him to shoulder his own medical expenses subject to reimbursement. Saso presented himself to examination by the company-designated physician, Dr. Recto on July 1. Subsequent, or on August 3, 2010, Saso filed the said Complaint against Respondents to compensate him for his expenses. Saso again saw Dr. Recto on September 3. Due to the fact that Saso’s right leg has not been restored to its normal condition and also that Dr. Recto failed to use an assessment of his disability, Saso consulted another physician, Dr. Magtira, who issued a Medical Report, dated September 8, 2010, stating: …Mr. Saso remains incapacitated. Despite his previous surgeries, he [continues to experience] pain on his right lower extremities. He walks with limitation. He [cannot] walk [without] the aid of x x x crutches. He has lost his pre[-]injury capacity and is UNFIT to work back at his previous occupation due to the said impairment. As he has lost his pre[-]injury capacity [,] he is partially and permanently disable with Grade 10 impediment based on [the] POEA contract. Saso filed before the Labor Arbiter for disability benefits and reimbursement of medical expenses against Respondents. LA ordered respondents to pay jointly and solidarily the amount for permanent total disability benefits and allowances. On appeal, NLRC reversed the LA’s decision finding Saso failed to submit himself to post-employment examination within three days after repatriation as per Sec 20B of POEA-SEC. The NLRC also subscribed to respondents' observation that the Complaint was prematurely filed considering that the 120-day presumptive disability period, reckoned from Saso's arrival in the country on April 20, 2010, was yet to lapse on August 19, 2010 or after the Complaint was filed on August 3, 2010. The CA affirmed the NLRC decision. ISSUES: 1. Whether or not Saso complied with the post-employment examination within three days- NO, however, absence of post-employment exam does not defeat Saso’s right to claim for compensation and benefits. 2. Whether or not Saso is entitled to total and permanent disability benefits- NO. Complaint is premature. 3. Whether or not Saso is entitled to OTHER benefits- YES, but his claim for reimbursement of medical expenses must all be supported by receipts. Some of his claims are not evidenced by receipts. RULING: 1. The Court lends more credence to Saso's allegation that he reported to 88 Aces on April 23, 2010 or within three days from his repatriation in compliance with the mandatory reporting requirement and, that it is actually respondents who failed to fulfill their part of the obligation when they did not provide him with a timely postemployment medical examination. As held, the absence of a post- employment medical examination cannot be used to defeat a seafarer's claim when the failure to subject him to such requirement was not due to his fault but to the inadvertence or deliberate refusal of the employer. 2. The Court declared in C.F. Sharp Crew Management, Inc. v. Taok that the 120-day or 240-day period and the obligation of the law imposed on the employer are determinative of when a seafarer's cause of action for total and permanent disability may be considered to have arisen. The instances when a seafarer may pursue an action for total and permanent disability benefits were then enumerated therein as follows: "(a) when the company-designated physician failed to issue a declaration as to his fitness to engage in sea duty or disability x x x after the lapse of the 120- day period and there is no indication that further medical
treatment would address his temporary total disability [even if the period is extended] to 240 days; (b) 240 days had lapsed without any certification being issued by the company-designated physician; (c) the company-designated physician declared that he is fit for sea duty within the 120-day or 240-day period, as the case may be, but his physician of choice and the doctor chosen under Section 20-B(3) of the POEA-SEC are of a contrary opinion; (d) the company-designated physician acknowledged that he is partially permanently disabled but other doctors x x x he consulted, on his own and jointly with his employer, believed that his disability is not only permanent but total as well; (e) the company-designated physician recognized that he is totally and permanently disabled but there is a dispute on the disability grading; (f) the company-designated physician determined that his medical condition is not compensable or workrelated under the POEA-SEC but his doctor-of-choice and the third doctor selected under Section 20-B(3) of the POEA-SEC found otherwise and declared him unfit to work; (g) the company-designated physician declared him totally and permanently disabled but the employer refuses to pay him the corresponding benefits; and (h) the company-designated physician declared him partially and permanently disabled within the 120-day or 240-day period he remains incapacitated to perform his usual sea duties after the lapse of the said periods." Unfortunately for Saso, none of the above instances justifies his claim for total and permanent disability benefits. As may be recalled, he filed his Complaint on August 3, 2010 or after a mere 105 days from his repatriation on April 20, 2010. Clearly, the 120-day period had not yet lapsed at that time. Moreover, the company-designated physician had not yet issued any declaration as to his fitness or disability. This is considering that at the time of such filing, Saso was still under the care of Dr. Recto as shown by the fact that he was subsequently seen by the said doctor on September 3, 2010. Indeed, a seafarer has the right to seek the opinion of other doctors under Sec. 20-B(3) of the POEA-SEC but this is on the presumption that the company-designated physician had already issued a certification as to his fitness or disability and he finds this disagreeable. Under the same provision, it is the company-designated physician who is entrusted with the task of assessing a seafarer's disability and there is a procedure to contest his findings 3. The Court earlier declared that the absence of post-employment medical examination does not bar Saso from claiming the benefits that are rightfully due him. Nevertheless, his claim for reimbursement of medical expenses in the amount of P25,857.00 must be disallowed for being not supported by receipts. At any rate, the records show that respondents already reimbursed him the amount of P3,849.50 for his medical expenses. With respect to sickness allowance, Saso admitted in his Reply with the LA that he already received the amount of NT$51,200.00 which is equivalent to his salary for three months. Reckoned from his arrival in the Philippines on April 23, 2010, the said amount covers his compensation for only until July 23, 2010. Therefore, Saso is still entitled to receive from respondents sickness allowance covering the period July 24, 2010 to September 23, 2010 when the company-designated physician issued an assessment of his disability, or equivalent to his two months' salary amounting to NT$34,560.00. Finally, while it is true that Saso's claim for total and permanent disability benefit is premature, the fact remains that he sustained a work-connected injury that did not only impair his physical appearance but also his earning capacity which, thus, needs to be compensated. Even respondents acknowledged this in their Position Paper with the LA when they asserted that Saso is entitled to disability compensation commensurate to Impediment Grade 13 under Section 32 of the POEA-SEC. On this score, the Court deems it proper to award Saso partial disability benefit in accordance with the findings of the company-designated physician. Under Section 32 of the POEA-SEC, the disability allowance for Impediment Grade 13 is US$50,000.00 multiplied by the degree of impediment which is 6.72%. Saso is thus entitled to US$3,360.00, to be paid in Philippine Currency equivalent to the exchange rate prevailing at the time of payment. Attorney's fees cannot, however, be granted since in the light of the factual milieu of this case, respondents were well within their rights to deny Saso's claim for total and permanent disability benefit.
[ G.R. No. 193990, October 14, 2015 ] EASTERN SHIPPING LINES, INC., AND/OR CONGRESSMAN ERWIN L. CHIONGBIAN, petitioners, vs. JULIO C. CANJA, respondent. FACTS: Canja was hired by Eastern Shipping as Maintenance worker in its office however during his employment, he was also made to work as mason, painter, carpenter etc. in the residence of Chiongbian. He was then advised by Chiongbian not to report for work because Chiongbian will go abroad for a 1 month vacation. When he came back, Canja was again called to resume his work. A week later, Chiongbian then allegedly informed him to stop reporting because since there is no available job. He then filed a complaint for illegal dismissal. Petitioners denied the allegations of Canja. They alleged that it was Canja who refused to report back for work. They even sent another worker to fetch Canja but the latter refused to go back. The Labor Arbiter ruled in favor of Canja and Eastern Shipping and Chiongbian appealed to the NLRC. The NLRC affirmed the decision and the petitioner’s MR was denied. Petitioners then filed a Petition for certiorari praying for the issuance of TOR. The same was denied. In the meantime, the NLRC decision became final and executory and a Entry of Judgment was made. CA then MODIFIED its previous ruling despite the fact that the NLRC decision has become final and executory and that an entry of judgment has been made. Hence, Eastern Shipping and Chiongbian file this petition for review. ISSUE: WON the act of the CA modifying the NLRC decision is proper despite it being final and executory and that an entry of judgment has been made. RULING: YES In Philippine Transmarine Carriers, Inc. v. Legaspi, 16 the Court has the occasion to rule that a petition for certiorari is not rendered moot by the mere fact that there was already an executed NLRC decision. The judicial review of decisions of the NLRC may be sought via a petition for certiorari before the CA under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court; and under Section 4 thereof, petitioners are allowed sixty (60) days from notice of the assailed order or resolution within which to file the petition. Hence, in cases where a petition for certiorari is filed after the expiration of the JO-day period under the 2011 NLRC Rules of Procedure but within the 60-day period under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, the CA can grant the petition and modify, nullify and reverse a decision or resolution of the NLRC. In this case, under the NLRC Rules of Procedure, petitioners have sixty (60) days from receipt of the denial of the motion for reconsideration within which to file the petition for certiorari under Section 4 of Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. The petition for certiorari filed on February 16, 2010 was then timely. Consequently, the appellate court can still grant the petition and modify, nullify and reverse a decision or resolution of the NLRC. In this case, considering that the petition was filed within the reglementary period to file a petition for certiorari, the decision had not attained finality yet. It bears stressing that a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 must be filed not later than 60 days from notice of the judgment, order or resolution sought to be annulled. Indubitably, the issuance of an entry of judgment by the NLRC cannot render a petition for certiorari as moot and academic. Hence, Petition denied.
[ G.R. No. 194410, October 14, 2015 ] OCEAN EAST AGENCY, CORPORATION, ENGR. ARTURO D. CARMEN, AND CAPT. NICOLAS SKINITIS, petitioners, vs. ALLAN I. LOPEZ, respondent. FACTS: On March 7, 1988, respondent Allan I. Lopez was employed as Documentation Officer assigned to Ocean East's Operations Department. Prior to his employment, Ocean East had already engaged the services of one Grace Reynolds as Documentation Clerk. Sometime in 1996, it hired one Ma. Corazon P. Hing also as Documentation Clerk. The Documentation Clerks and Officer were tasked to perform the following functions: prepare the line-up of request crew by various principals in close coordination with the Port Captain; assist in attending to various operational expenses and disbursements; coordinate closely with deserving former crew members for pooling and/or immediate employment, if so required; and supervise the preparation of the crew documents, such as travel documents and clearances. In a letter dated February 5, 2001, Ocean East served notice to Lopez that effective thirty (30) days later, or on March 6, 2001, his services will be terminated on the ground of redundancy, as his position as Documentation Officer is but a duplication of those occupied by its two (2) other personnel who were also exercising similar duties and functions. On February 7, 2001, Lopez received his separation pay of P202,282.00 and was issued a Certificate of Service. Lopez filed a complaint for illegal dismissal. Petitioners, on the other hand, maintain that there was duplication of duties and responsibilities and that they complied with the four requisites of a valid implementation of a redundancy program. ISSUE: Whether the redundancy program was legally implemented. RULING: NO. Redundancy exists when the service capability of the workforce is in excess of what is reasonably needed to meet the demands of the enterprise. A redundant position is one rendered superfluous by any number of factors, such as over hiring of workers, decreased volume of business, dropping of a particular product line previously manufactured by the company, or phasing-out of a service activity previously undertaken by the business. Under these factors, the employer has no legal obligation to keep in its payroll more employees than are necessary for the operation of its business. Even if a business is doing well, an employer can still validly dismiss an employee from the service due to redundancy if that employee's position has already become in excess of what the employer's enterprise requires. As an authorized cause for termination of employment, redundancy may be implemented subject only to strict requirements spelled out in Article 283 of the Labor Code. For the implementation of a redundancy program to be valid, the employer must comply with these requisites: (1) written notice served on both the employee and the Department of Labor and Employment at least one month prior to the intended date of retrenchment; (2) payment of separation pay equivalent to at least one month pay or at least one month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher; (3) good faith in abolishing the redundant positions; and (4) fair and reasonable criteria in ascertaining what positions are to be declared redundant and accordingly abolished. The Court finds that petitioners failed to establish compliance with the first, third and fourth requisites for a valid implementation of a redundancy program, thereby making Ocean East liable for illegal dismissal. Ocean East claims that the notice to DOLE may already be dispensed with since there was no more useful purpose for it, and Lopez was already adequately compensated as required by law. But to dispense with such notice would not only disregard a clear labor law provision that affords protection to an employee, and also defeats its very purpose which is to give the DOLE the opportunity to ascertain the veracity of the
alleged authorized cause of termination. In fact, the Court has considered as a fatal error the employer's failure to give a written notice to the DOLE as required under Article 283 of the Labor Code. While it is true that the characterization of an employee's services as superfluous or no longer necessary and, therefore, properly terminable, is an exercise of business judgment on the part of the employer, the exercise of such judgment must not violate the law, and must not be arbitrary or malicious. An employer cannot simply declare that it has become overmanned and dismiss its employees without adequate proof to sustain its claim of redundancy. To dispel any suspicion of bad faith on the part of the employer, it must present adequate proof of the redundancy, as well as the criteria in the selection of the employees affected. The following evidence may be proffered to substantiate redundancy, to wit: the new staffing pattern, feasibility studies/proposal on the viability of the newly-created positions, job description and the approval by the management of the restructuring. In this case, petitioners were able to establish through Ocean East's Quality Procedures Manual that Lopez' position as a Documentation Officer was redundant because its duties and functions were similar to those of the Documentation Clerks in its operations department. However, they failed to prove by substantial evidence their observance of the fair and reasonable criteria of seniority and efficiency in ascertaining the redundancy of the position of Documentation Officer, as well as good faith on their part in abolishing such position. Petitioners were unable to justify why it was more efficient to terminate Lopez rather than its two other Documentation Clerks, Reynolds and Hing. Also, while Reynolds was supposedly retained for being more senior than Lopez, petitioners were silent on why they chose to retain Hing who was hired in 1996, instead of Lopez who was hired about eight (8) years earlier in 1988.
[ G.R. No. 211145, October 14, 2015 ] SAMAHAN NG MANGGAGAWA SA HANJIN SHIPYARD REP. BY ITS PRESIDENT, ALFIE ALIPIO, petitioner, vs. BUREAU OF LABOR RELATIONS, HANJIN HEAVY INDUSTRIES AND CONSTRUCTION CO., LTD. (HHIC-PHIL.), respondents. FACTS: Samahan filed and application for registration of its name with the DOLE. Attached was a list of names of its officers and members, signatures, copies of the Constitution and By-laws. They were issued a certificate of recognition. Hanjin filed a petition praying for cancellation of registration of Samahan's association on the ground that its members did not fall under any types of workers enumerated in Art 243 (now 249). The opine that only ambulant, intermittent, iterant, rural workers, self-employed, and thosue without definite employer may form a work association. Futher, only 1/3 of the members of the association had definite employers and the continued existence and registration of the association would prejudice the company's goodwill. The DOLE Regional Director ruled in favor of Hanjin, finding that the preamble of the Constitution was an admission on its part that all of its members were employees of Hanjin. The BLR granted Samahan's appeal and reversed the Director's ruling. It stated that the law clearly afforded the right to self-organization to all workers including those without definite employers. As an expression of self-organization workers could form a workers association, but the subject be limited to mutual aid and protection. IN a resolution, the BLR afirmed its decision but directed Samahan to remove Hanjin Shipyard from its name in the interest of equity. Samahan filed a petition for certiorari with the CA. The CA ruled that the registration as a legitimate worker's association was contrary to the provisions of Art. 243 of the LC. It stressed that only 57 out of the 120 members were actually working at Hanjin while the phrase in the Constitution created and impression that all its members were employees. It was an unqualified manifestation used in the application, and clear proof of misrepresentation which warrants the cancellation of registration. ISSUES: Whether Samahan should have formed a union and whether they may carry the Hanjin name. RULING: As Article 246 (now 252) of the Labor Code provides, the right to self-organization includes the right to form, join or assist labor organizations for the purpose of collective bargaining through representatives of their own choosing and to engage in lawful concerted activities for the same purpose for their mutual aid and protection. This is in line with the policy of the State to foster the free and voluntary organization of a strong and united labor movement as well as to make sure that workers participate in policy and decision-making processes affecting their rights, duties and welfare. The right to form a union or association or to self-organization comprehends two notions, to wit: (a) the liberty or freedom, that is, the absence of restraint which guarantees that the employee may act for himself without being prevented by law; and (b) the power, by virtue of which an employee may, as he pleases, join or refrain from joining an association. In view of the revered right of every worker to self-organization, the law expressly allows and even encourages the formation of labor organizations. A labor organization is defined as "any union or association of employees which exists in whole or in part for the purpose of collective bargaining or of dealing with employers concerning terms and conditions of employment." A labor organization has two broad rights: (1) to bargain collectively and (2) to deal with the employer concerning terms and conditions of employment. To bargain collectively is a right given to a union once it registers itself with the DOLE. Dealing with the employer, on the other hand, is a generic description of interaction between employer and employees concerning grievances, wages, work hours and other terms and conditions of employment, even if the employees' group is not registered with the DOLE. In the case at bench, the Court cannot sanction the opinion of the CA that Samahan should have formed a union for purposes of collective bargaining instead of a workers' association because the choice belonged to it. The right to form or join a labor organization necessarily includes the right to refuse or refrain from exercising the said right. It is self-evident that just as no one should be denied the exercise of a right granted by law, so also, no one should be compelled to exercise such a conferred right. Also inherent in the right to self-organization is the right to
choose whether to form a union for purposes of collective bargaining or a workers' association for purposes of providing mutual aid and protection. In this case, Samahan's registration was cancelled not because its members were prohibited from forming a workers' association but because they allegedly committed misrepresentation for using the phrase, "KAMI, ang mga Manggagawa sa HAN JIN Shipyard." Misrepresentation, as a ground for the cancellation of registration of a labor organization, is committed "in connection with the adoption, or ratification of the constitution and by-laws or amendments thereto, the minutes of ratification, the list of members who took part in the ratification of the constitution and by-laws or amendments thereto, and those in connection with the election of officers, minutes of the election of officers, and the list of voters. The Court concludes that misrepresentation, to be a ground for the cancellation of the certificate of registration, must be done maliciously and deliberately. Further, the mistakes appearing in the application or attachments must be grave or refer to significant matters. The details as to how the alleged fraud was committed must also be indubitably shown. The records of this case reveal no deliberate or malicious intent to commit misrepresentation on the part of Samahan. The use of such words "KAMI, ang mga Manggagawa sa HANJIN Shipyard" in the preamble of the constitution and by-laws did not constitute misrepresentation so as to warrant the cancellation of Samahan's certificate of registration. Hanjin failed to indicate how this phrase constitutes a malicious and deliberate misrepresentation. Neither was there any showing that the alleged misrepresentation was serious in character. Misrepresentation is a devious charge that cannot simply be entertained by mere surmises and conjectures. Even granting arguendo that Samahan's members misrepresented themselves as employees or workers of Hanjin, said misrepresentation does not relate to the adoption or ratification of its constitution and by-laws or to the election of its officers. Nevertheless, the Court agrees with the BLR that "Hanjin Shipyard" must be removed in the name of the association. A legitimate workers' association refers to an association of workers organized for mutual aid and protection of its members or for any legitimate purpose other than collective bargaining registered with the DOLE. Having been granted a certificate of registration, Samahan's association is now recognized by law as a legitimate workers' association. According to Samahan, inherent in the workers' right to self-organization is its right to name its own organization. It seems to equate the dropping of words "Hanjin Shipyard" from its name as a restraint in its exercise of the right to self-organization. Hanjin, on the other hand, invokes that "Hanjin Shipyard" is a registered trade name and, thus, it is within their right to prohibit its use. As there is no provision under our labor laws which speak of the use of name by a workers' association, the Court refers to the Corporation Code, which governs the names of juridical persons. Section 18 thereof provides: No corporate name may be allowed by the Securities and Exchange Commission if the proposed name is identical or deceptively or confusingly similar to that of any existing corporation or to any other name already protected by law or is patently deceptive, confusing or contrary to existing laws. When a change in the corporate name is approved, the Commission shall issue an amended certificate of incorporation under the amended name. [Emphases Supplied] The policy underlying the prohibition in Section 18 against the registration of a corporate name which is "identical or deceptively or confusingly similar" to that of any existing corporation or which is "patently deceptive" or "patently confusing" or "contrary to existing laws," is the avoidance of fraud upon the public which would have occasion to deal with the entity concerned, the evasion of legal obligations and duties, and the reduction of difficulties of administration and supervision over corporations. For the same reason, it would be misleading for the members of Samahan to use "Hanjin Shipyard" in its name as it could give the wrong impression that all of its members are employed by Hanjin. .
[ G.R. No. 212096, October 14, 2015 ] NIGHTOWL WATCHMAN & SECURITY AGENCY, INC., petitioner, vs. NESTOR LUMAHAN, respondent. FACTS: Sometime in December 1996, Nightowl hired Nestor P. Lumahan (Lumahan) as a security guard. Lumahan's last assignment was at the Steelworld Manufacturing Corporation (Steelworld). Lumahan filed before the labor arbiter a complaint for illegal dismissal; underpayment of wages; nonpayment of overtime pay, premium pay for holiday and rest day, holiday pay, and service incentive leave; separation pay; damages and attorney's fees against Nightowl and/or Engr. Raymundo Lopez. Then, he filed an amended complaint to include nonpayment of 13th month pay and illegal suspension. He also corrected his date of employment and the date of his dismissal from May 1999 to June 9, 1999. Lumahan admitted in his pleadings that he did not report for work from May 16, 1999 to June 8, 1999, but claimed in defense that he had to go to Iloilo to attend to his dying grandfather. He alleged that when he asked for permission to go on leave, Nightowl refused to give its consent. Steelworld, however, gave him permission to leave for Iloilo. When he reported back to work on June 9, 1999, Nightowl did not allow him to return to duty. Nightowl, on the other hand, claimed that on April 22, 1999, Lumahan left his post at Steelworld and failed to report back to work since then. It argued that it never dismissed Lumahan and that he only resurfaced when he filed the present complaint. LA Espiritu dismissed the complaint for illegal dismissal, separation pay, and damages, but ordered Nightowl and/or Engr. Raymundo Lopez to jointly and solidarity pay Lumahan wage differentials, 13th month pay differentials, service incentive leave, holiday pay, premium pay for holiday and rest day differentials, and overtime pay. Parties filed their appeal before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). The NLRC remanded the case to the labor arbiter. LA Demaisip declared that Lumahan had been illegally dismissed, and ordered Nightowl to pay backwages and separation pay in lieu of reinstatement. LA Demaisip dismissed Lumahan's other money claims for lack of merit. Nightowl appealed LA Demaisip decision to the NLRC. NLRC granted Nightowl's appeal; set aside and reversed LA Demaisip decision; dismissed the complaint for illegal dismissal; deleted the award of backwages and separation pay in lieu of reinstatement; and affirmed the dismissal of the money claims. Lumahan elevated the case to the CA via a petition for certiorari. The CA granted Lumahan's certiorari petition after finding grave abuse of discretion in the NLRC's.The CA ruled that Nightowl failed to discharge its burden of proving that Lumahan unjustly refused to return to work. The fact that Lumahan did not receive any notice whatsoever sufficiently shows that Nightowl had no valid cause to terminate Lumahan's employment; hence, Lumahan was illegally dismissed. ISSUE: Whether or not Lumahan was illegally dismissed. RULING: NO. The SC find that the CA erred in disregarding the NLRC's conclusion that there had been no dismissal, and in immediately proceeding to tackle Nightowl's defense that Lumahan abandoned his work. In every employee dismissal case, the employer bears the burden of proving the validity of the employee's dismissal, i.e., the existence of just or authorized cause for the dismissal and the observance of the due process requirements. The employer's burden of proof, however, presupposes that the employee had in fact been dismissed, with the burden to prove the fact of dismissal resting on the employee. Without any dismissal action on the part of the employer, valid or otherwise, no burden to prove just or authorized cause arises. As no dismissal was carried out in this case, any consideration of abandonment - as a defense raised by an employer in dismissal situations -was clearly misplaced. To our mind, the CA again committed a reversible error in considering that Nightowl raised abandonment as a defense. Abandonment, as understood under our labor laws, refers to the deliberate and unjustified refusal of an employee to resume his employment. It is a form of neglect of duty that constitutes just cause for the employer to dismiss the employee.
Under this construct, abandonment is a defense available against the employee who alleges a dismissal. Thus, for the employer "to successfully invoke abandonment, whether as a ground for dismissing an employee or as a defense, the employer bears the burden of proving the employee's unjustified refusal to resume his employment." This burden, of course, proceeds from the general rule that places the burden on the employer to prove the validity of the dismissal. In cases where no dismissal took place, the proper award is reinstatement, without backwages, not as a relief for any illegal dismissal but on equitable grounds. When, however, reinstatement of the employee is rendered impossible, as when the employee had been out for a long period of time, the award of separation pay is proper.
[ G.R. No. 197852, October 19, 2015 ] PASIG AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT AND INDUSTRIAL SUPPLY CORPORATION AND CELESTINO E. DAMIAN, petitioners, vs. WILSON NIEVAREZ, ALBERTO HALINA, GLORY VIC NUEVO, RICKY TORRES AND CORNELIO BALLE, respondents. FACTS: Herein respondents are regular employees of PADISCOR. They were hired as machinist, tool keeper/timer, helper, welder, and maintenance worker with a daily wage of P350.00. On June 17, 2006, PADISCOR sent notices to Nievarez, Torres and Nuevo informing them that they were temporarily laid off from employment for a period of six months and cited that it can no longer pay their wages and other benefits due to financial losses and lack of capital and due to other factors such as unauthorized absences, habitual tardiness, negligence, dishonesty and others. In a Memorandum dated June 24, 2006, PADISCOR required Nievarez to submit a written explanation why a disciplinary action should not be imposed against him for his unjustified refusal to perform assigned tasks. Nievarez submitted his explanation expounding on his need to receive a memorandum before he be assigned to a task as protection from unfounded accusations, and demanded an additional wage. PADISCOR dismissed the explanations and demands of Nievarez for being ridiculous and baseless and suspended him from work for fifteen (15) days for insubordination. On September 5, 2006, Balle and Halina received notices similar from the other respondents informing them of their temporary lay-off from employment for six months. Respondents filed complaints for illegal suspension, illegal lay-off, non-payment of service incentive leave and paternity leave, damages and attorney's fees against PADISCOR and Damian. Petitioners asserted that the suspension of Nievarez was valid since he was guilty of insubordination and misconduct, which was a repetition of a previous offense and further alleged that Nievarez made ridiculous conditions such as written memorandum defining his duties, and a promotion or a raise in wage before he completes his assigned task. PADISCOR maintained that the six months temporary lay-off of respondents was valid due to economic reasons and that it gave one-month prior notice to respondents regarding the temporary retrenchment and filed Establishment Termination Reports with DOLE. It averred that there was no dismissal since the lay-off was merely temporary, thus, respondents are not entitled to separation pay. The Labor Arbiter dismissed the complaint for illegal lay-off and illegal suspension for lack of merit but awarded the payment of service incentive leave in favor of respondents and held that the power to instill discipline in the workplace is part of petitioner’s management prerogative. The NLRC agreed with the findings of the LA that the temporary lay-off of respondents was valid. However, by petition for certiorari, the CA ruled that the LA and the NLRC committed grave abuse of discretion in sustaining respondents' temporary suspension from work and remanded to the Labor Arbiter for the computation of backwages due to said temporary lay-off of service. ISSUE: Whether or not the CA erred in holding that petitioners’ exercise of its management prerogative to temporarily lay-off employees is illegal in view of its failure to present financial statements to evidence its financial losses. RULING: The Court finds the petition without merit. Jurisprudence, in both a permanent and a temporary lay-off, dictates that the one-month notice rule to both the DOLE and the employee under Article 283 (now Article 298) is mandatory. Also, in both cases, the layoff, as an exercise of the employer's management prerogative, must be exercised in good faith - that is, one which is intended for the advancement of employers' interest and not for the purpose of defeating or circumventing the rights of the employees under special laws or under valid agreements. In light of the well-entrenched rule that the burden to prove the validity and legality of the termination of employment falls on the employer and the requisites provided by Article 286 (now Article 301) of the Labor Code, PADISCOR should have established the bona fide suspension of its business operations or undertaking that would have resulted in the temporary lay-off of the respondents for a period not exceeding six (6) months in accordance with the Labor Code. In the present case, PADISCOR failed to prove its compliance with the said requisites. In invoking such article in the Labor Code, the paramount consideration should be the dire exigency of the business of the employer that compels it to put some of its employees temporarily out of work.45 This means that the employer should be able to prove that it is faced with a clear and compelling economic reason which reasonably forces it to temporarily
shut down its business operations or a particular undertaking, incidentally resulting to the temporary lay-off of its employees.
[ G.R. No. 196597, October 21, 2015 ] MODESTO W. RIVERA, petitioner, vs. ALLIED BANKING CORPORATION, CORA D. CORPUS AND ANTONIO H. SANTOS, respondents. THIRD DIVISION - VILLARAMA, JR., J p: FACTS: Rivera was a manager of respondent’s branch in La Trinidad, Benguet. He was dismissed from work after a complaint of Ms. Sta. Cruz for not being able to collect the proceeds of rediscounted checks and subsequent complaint and incidents of fraudulent second-endorsed checks. Rivera claims that as manager, he was allowed to accommodate certain clients and in good faith, conducted a KYC on the business of Ms. Sta. Cruz. The Labor Arbiter held in favor of Rivera and awarded him separation pay, backwages, contributions to employment savings and mutual savings plans, accumulated leave benefits, exemplary and moral damages, and attorney’s fees. The NLRC reversed the ruling and awarded only the leave benefits, and contributions to employment savings and mutual savings plans. The CA dropped off the award of leave benefits. ISSUE: Whether or not Rivera was illegally dismissed from work RULING: NO. Under Article 282 (c) of the Labor Code, as amended, an employer may dismiss the employee either for (1) fraud; or (2) willful breach by the employee of the trust reposed in him by his employer or duly authorized representative. There is no question that petitioner's position as Branch Head requires a high degree of trust and confidence. Given the sensitive functions of his office, he is thus expected to strictly observe and comply with the Bank's standard operating procedures. Contrary to petitioner's asseveration, respondents did not just rely on the allegations of Ms. Sta. Cruz, whose complaint merely triggered the full investigation conducted by the Bank on the return of several foreign currency checks. Subsequently, the audit on petitioner's branch revealed that several US Dollar denominated currency checks were returned due to forged or unauthorized endorsements. The practice of accepting for deposit second-endorsed US Dollar denominated checks is strictly prohibited under the Bank's established policies, and may be allowed only in certain exceptional cases. The Bank's investigation on the transactions involving foreign currency checks during petitioner's tenure as Branch Head disclosed that petitioner deliberately disregarded the foregoing rules when he accepted for deposit several US Dollar denominated checks from Ms. Sta. Cruz. Thus, the Bank is justified in imposing the supreme penalty of dismissal.
[ G.R. No. 215313, October 21, 2015 ] OLIMPIO O. OLIDANA, petitioner, vs. JEBSENS MARITIME, INC., respondent. FACTS: Petitioner Olimpio O. Olidana (Olidana) was employed by respondents Jebsens Maritime, Inc. (Jebsens) as chief cook since 2007 under different employment contracts. Sometime in September 2011, while he was cooking in the ship's kitchen, he accidentally bumped a kettle full of hot water injuring his left hand. He reported the matter to the vessel's master, who simply advised him to buy an ointment. On October 8, 2011, while the vessel was docked at Ensanada, British Columbia, Olidana's medical condition manifested when he felt an acute pain and swelling on his left hand. He was brought to the clinic for a checkup. There, he was diagnosed to be suffering from Tendinitis on his left hand, but he was allowed to go back to duty. His condition, however, worsened as his left hand became swollen with numbness of the fingers. When the vessel docked at Yokohama, Japan, Olidana was brought to the nearest hospital for treatment where abscess of the left palm with infection of the whole hand was noted. Incision and drainage of abscess under local anesthesia was done at the emergency room. He was then admitted to the hospital. He was discharged after a week and then repatriated to the Philippines on November 18, 2011. Within three (3) working days from his arrival, Olidanareported to Jebsens and he was immediately referred to Shiphealth, Inc. for medical treatment. Olidana was placed under the care of Dr. Anna Pamella Lagrosa-Elbo (Dr. Elbo) and Dr. Maria Gracia K. Gutay (Dr. Gutay), the company-designated physicians. On March 27, 2012, the company-designated physicians issued two separate reports. One report, titled "DISABILITY GRADING"4 (disability report), stated that Mr. Olidana is a diagnosed case of Central Space Abscess, Palmar Aspect of Left Hand s/p Incision and Drainage (October 27, 2011, Japan) s/p 30 session of Physical Therapy. Based on POEA Contract of the HANDS, Section 32 No. 4, the closest classification that answers the condition of Mr. OlimpioOlidana is Loss of grasping power for small objects between the fold of the finger of one hand which is a GRADE 10. Conversely, the other report, titled "11th and FINAL SUMMARY MEDICAL REPORT"5 (final medical report), recapped Olidana's medical history, the clinical course undertaken, and provided the following diagnosis and recommendations: • Central Space Abscess, Palmar Aspect of Left Hand s/p Incision and Drainage (October 27, 2011, Japan) • s/p 12 sessions of Physical Therapy • s/p 10 sessions of Physical Therapy • s/p 8 sessions of Physical Therapy Recommendations: • NOT FIT FOR DUTY • CASE CLOSURE Olidana asked Jebsens for his disability benefits, but the latter only offered him US $10,000.00 based on the POEA Standard Employment Contract (POEA-SEC). Olidana sought a second medical opinion from Dr. Renato P. Runas (Dr. Runas), the doctor of his choice. In a Medical Evaluation Report,6 dated August 14, 2012, Dr. Runas opined that Olidana had a permanent disability. The parties failed to settle their dispute in accordance with the arbitration clause in their CBA. Consequently, Olidana filed a complaint with the VA. For its part, Jebsens asserted that, on March 21, 2011, Olidanaunderwent the mandatory pre-employment medical examination (PEME) before boarding M/V Seoul Express. It claimed that Olidana did not disclose that he was suffering from Diabetes Mellitus. On October 27, 2011, Olidana was admitted to the Honmuko Hospital in Japan because of the pain he felt on his left hand. His wound, however, healed very slowly because of his Diabetes Mellitus and he was not taking any maintenance medication. Jebsens argued that Diabetes Mellitus was a major risk factor in the development of Olidana's skin abscesses and was not work-related. Jebsens, nonetheless, shouldered Olidana's medical treatment out of pure humanitarian reasons, despite the concealment of his disease.
In an award, dated May 28, 2013, the VA ruled that Olidanawas entitled to permanent total disability benefits under the loss of profession clause in their CBA. The VA opined that it was unlikely that Olidana could have concealed his Diabetes Mellitus because he had been working for Jebsens for five (5) years with constant medical examinations. Even assuming that Olidana concealed his Diabetes Mellitus, he was still entitled to disability benefits because such disease was not connected with Tendinitis. The VA continued that Olidana suffered from a permanent total disability because he had not been employed since his medical repatriation on November 18, 2011. Also, the test of whether an employee suffered from a permanent total disability depended on the capacity of the employee to continue performing his work notwithstanding the disability incurred. Thus, if by reason of injury or illness, the employee was unable to perform his customary job for more than 120 days, then the said employee undoubtedly suffered from total permanent disability regardless of whether he loses the use of any part of his body. Jebsens filed a petition for review before the Court of Appeals. In its assailed decision, dated September 3, 2014, the CA modified the award of the VA by reducing Olidana's disability benefits. At the outset, the CA agreed with the VA that Olidana'sDiabetes Mellitus did not negate his claim for disability benefits. Notably, the said disease was never indicated in the company-designated physicians' diagnosis. What was specified in their medical reports was that Olidana suffered from Central Space Abscess, Palmar Aspect of Left Hand. Yet, the CA held that Olidana's disease did not merit the award of total permanent disability benefits because he only suffered a Grade 10 impediment based on the company-designated physicians' disability report. The CA relied on Splash Philippines, Inc., v. Ruizo stating that the seafarer should be compensated in accordance with the schedule of benefits and governed by the rates and rules of compensation applicable at the time the illness or disease was contracted. Hence, this petition. RULING: Permanent disability is the inability of a worker to perform his job for more than 120 days, regardless of whether he loses the use of any part of his body. Total disability, on the other hand, means the disablement of an employee to earn wages in the same kind of work of similar nature that he was trained for, or accustomed to perform, or any kind of work which a person of his mentality and attainments could do. Accordingly, permanent total disability does not mean a state of absolute helplessness but the inability to do substantially all material acts necessary to the prosecution of a gainful occupation without serious discomfort or pain and without material injury or danger to life. In disability compensation, it is not the injury per se which is compensated but the incapacity to work. To determine whether a seafarer is entitled to permanent and total disability benefits, the Court takes into account both the law and the contract which govern his overseas employment. Recently, amendments were placed in the POEA-SEC which is the primary contract that regulates a seafarer's employment. Section 20 (A) (6) of the 2010 POEA-SEC now provides that "[t]he disability shall be based solely on the disability gradings provided under Section 32 of this Contract, and shall not be measured or determined by the number of days a seafarer is under treatment or the number of days in which sickness allowance is paid. The Court, nevertheless, is of the view that before the disability gradings under Section 32 should be considered, these disability ratings should be properly established and contained in a valid and timely medical report of a company-designated physician. Thus, the foremost consideration of the courts should be to determine whether the medical assessment or report of the company-designated physician was complete and appropriately issued; otherwise, the medical report shall be set aside and the disability grading contained therein cannot be seriously appreciated. The company-designated physicians issued two medical reports, both dated March 27, 2012. The disability report, on one hand, stated that Olidana only suffered loss of grasping power for small objects between the fold of the finger of one hand, which was a Grade 10 disability or a partial disability rating. The company-designated physicians' final medical report, on the other hand, recommended that Olidana was unfit for duty. Glaringly, these two medical reports contradicted each other. Interestingly, the final medical report, which stated that Olidana was unfit for duty, concurred with Dr. Runas' medical evaluation report. The latter report stated that Olidana was physically unfit to continue with his job as a seaman or cook, or in whatever capacity, due to his permanent disability.
In the recent case of Elburg Shipmanagement Phils., Inc. v. Quiogue, Jr., the Court summarized the rules regarding the company-designated physician's duty to issue a final medical assessment on the seafarer's disability grading, as follows: 1. The company-designated physician must issue a final medical assessment on the seafarer's disability grading within a period of 120 days from the time the seafarer reported to him; 2. If the company-designated physician fails to give his assessment within the period of 120 days, without any justifiable reason, then the seafarer's disability becomes permanent and total; 3. If the company-designated physician fails to give his assessment within the period of 120 days with a sufficient justification (e.g. seafarer required further medical treatment or seafarer was uncooperative), then the period of diagnosis and treatment shall be extended to 240 days. The employer has the burden to prove that the companydesignated physician has sufficient justification to extend the period; and 4. If the company-designated physician still fails to give his assessment within the extended period of 240 days, then the seafarer's disability becomes permanent and total, regardless of any justification. Here, Olidana was repatriated on November 18, 2011. Within three (3) days, he was referred to the companydesignated physicians. It was only on March 27, 2012, or after a period of 130 days, that the company-designated physicians issued the questionable disability report beyond the 120-day period. Although Section 20 (A) (6) of the 2010 POEA-SEC instructs that disability shall not be measured or determined by the number of days a seafarer is under treatment, equally significant is our pronouncement in Carcedo v. Maine Marine Phils., Inc., that while "the determination of the fitness of a seafarer for sea duty is the province of the company-designated physician, it is still subject to the periods prescribed by law.” Even assuming that Jebsens properly raised the extended 240-day period due to prolonged physical therapy sessions, Olidana still has a valid claim against his employer. In the present case, it has been established that, in spite the lapse of the extended 240-day period, Olidana was still incapacitated to perform his sea duties. Due to the injury he sustained, he could no longer perform his usual tasks as chief cook in any vessel. Thus, it resulted to his unemployment until this very day. As correctly held by the VA, this clearly indicate Olidana's permanent disability. In addition, it must be reiterated that the company-designated physicians' disability report should be set aside for being contradictory. Necessarily, it cannot be said that the company-designated physicians issued a valid and final medical assessment within the 120-day or 240-day period. The Court in Kestrel Shipping Co., Inc. v. Munar held that the declaration by the company-designated physician is an obligation, the abdication of which transforms the temporary total disability to permanent total disability, regardless of the disability grade In fine, it cannot be said with certainty whether Olidana could resume his seafaring profession in the future. He must accept the inevitable that his distressing injury had practically ruined his career and he must carry its burden for the rest of his life. Nevertheless, at present, it is clear is that Olidana suffered from a permanent total disability resulting in a loss of earning capacity, which should be compensated accordingly.
[ G.R. No. 192955, November 09, 2015 ] EDILBERTO P. ETOM, JR., petitioner, vs. AROMA LODGING HOUSE THROUGH EDUARDO G. LEM, PROPRIETOR AND GENERAL MANAGER, respondent. FACTS: A complaint was filed by petitioner Edilberto P. Etom Jr. against Aroma Lodging House (respondent) for illegal dismissal and money claims. Petitioner alleged that respondent, a business engaged in providing affordable lodging, employed him as roomboy with a monthly salary of P2,500.00. He averred that his working hours were from 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. from Monday to Saturday, including holidays. His tasks included cleaning the lodging house and washing towels and bedsheets. Petitioner claimed that respondent refused to allow him to report for work. Petitioner argued that respondent did not inform him of any violation that would warrant his dismissal. He also claimed that he was not given an opportunity to explain and answer any imputation against him by his employer. On the other hand, respondent asserted that he was paid salary above the required minimum wage, holiday pay, 13th month pay and overtime pay. Respondent also stated that it provided petitioner with free meals, allowed him to receive "tips" from customers, and sell bottles left by customers in the lodge. It also gave him commission on certain occasions. Respondent averred that despite its beneficence, petitioner still showed an adverse attitude in work. In particular, he created trouble within the workplace, stole items from customers and was even charged with rape in 2003. Petitioner also figured in a fistfight with another roomboy, Baccus, whom he tried to stab with a knife in 2006. He likewise had an altercation with Sansona, a checker in the lodge, who reprimanded him for watching television during working hours. He also had a quarrel with another co-worker, Abuca. On separate occasions, while purportedly armed with a knife, petitioner chased Sansona and Abuca. Respondent averred that it served upon petitioner a memorandum requiring him to explain why he chased a coemployee with a knife. However, respondent refused to receive said memorandum. Taking into consideration the safety of its employees and customers, it terminated petitioner for serious misconduct. The LA rendered a Decision finding petitioner to have been legally dismissed. The LA, however, ordered respondent to pay petitioner punitive damages for non-compliance with the termination notice requirement, salary differential, holiday pay and 13 th month pay. Respondent appealed to the NLRC arguing that petitioner was not underpaid. The NLRC affirmed the ruling of the LA but deleted the award of punitive damages. The NLRC concurred with the LA ruling that petitioner was underpaid. Undaunted, respondent filed with the CA a Petition for Certiorari insisting that petitioner was not entitled to salary differential, 13th month pay and holiday pay because he admitted in an affidavit that he had been receiving wages and other benefits in accordance with law. It also asseverated that it was exempt from Minimum Wage Law since it had no more than 10 employees. The CA rendered the assailed Decision granting the Petition for Certiorari. The CA explained that for having executed an earlier notarized affidavit stating that he received wages above the required minimum salary, petitioner could not subsequently claim that he was underpaid by respondent. It also declared that there is no factual basis to support the grant of 13th month pay and holiday pay in favor of petitioner. ISSUE: Whether or not the CA erred in ascribing grave abuse of discretion on the part of the NLRC in awarding salary differential, 13th month pay and holiday pay in favor of petitioner. RULING: YES. The power of the Court to review a CA Decision in labor cases is limited. Specifically, in a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, the Court has to resolve whether the CA properly determined the presence of grave abuse of discretion on the part of the NLRC in rendering its Decision, and not whether the NLRC Decision on the merits was correct. However, while the strict inquiry on the correctness of evaluation of evidence is not required in a certiorari proceeding, it is still necessary to determine that the conclusions of labor tribunals were supported by substantial evidence. This is because a decision unsupported by substantial evidence is a judgment rendered with grave abuse of discretion.
In addition, as a rule, once the employee has asserted with particularity in his position paper that his employer failed to pay his benefits, it becomes incumbent upon the employer to prove payment of the employee's money claims. In fine, the burden is on the employer to prove payment, rather than on the employee to establish nonpayment. While a notarized document is presumed to be regular such presumption is not absolute and may be overcome by clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. The fact that a document is notarized is not a guarantee of the validity of its contents. Petitioner is an unlettered employee who may not have understood the full import of his statements in the affidavit. Notably, petitioner, along with a co-worker did not state the specific amount of what they referred as salary above the minimum required by law. As found by the LA, respondent did not present substantial evidence that it paid the required minimum wage, 13th month pay and holiday pay in favor of petitioner. Respondent's mere reliance on the foregoing affidavit is misplaced because the requirement of established jurisprudence is for the employer to prove payment, and not merely deny the employee's accusation of non-payment on the basis of the latter's own declaration.
[ G.R. No. 185058, November 09, 2015 ] JOVITA S. MANALO, petitioner, vs. ATENEO DE NAGA UNIVERSITY, FR. JOEL TABORA AND MR. EDWIN BERNAL, respondent. LEONEN, J: FACTS: Petitioner filed before the Labor Arbiter a case against respondent for Constructive Dismissal with a prayer of reinstatement. Manalo (petitioner) was a regular and permanent full-time faculty member of the Accountancy Department of Ateneo de Naga University (respondent) College of Commerce. Aside from teaching Accounting subjects she taught in Economics subjects as well, albeit according to her she did not had the aptitude and competence. Manalo was also a part-time manager of the Ateneo de Nage Multipurpose Cooperative (Cooperative). In her position paper, she recounted that during her stint as the manager of the Cooperative she had a conflict with Bernal, Dean of respondent's College of Commerce. She was supposedly charged by the latter with various offenses regarding the management of the Cooperative before the Cooperative's Board of Directors. She was initially dismissed by later on recalled by the Cooperative's General Assembly. Thereafter, Bernal wrote to Fr. Taborda, respondent's president, recommending her termination on the grounds of serious business malpractice, palpable dishonesty, and questionable integrity. Fr. Taborda constituted a Grievance Committee, the said committee later found Manalo guilty and recommended her dismissal. However, Fr. Taborda instead transferred her to teach Economics in the Social Sciences of respondent's College of Arts and Sciences. Manalo alleges that this transfer was in the form of constructive dismissal. Labor Arbiter ruled in favor of Manalo, that the transfer was a constructive dismissal, this was affirmed by NLRC. However, CA reversed the rulings and held that the transfer was not a constructive dismissal and that the employer had the management prerogatives to transfer its employees provided that it is ISSUES: 1. Manalo raises the issue of the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals to review the decisions of the NLRC and that the facts found by LA and NLRC are binding upon the CA. 2. Another issue raised was the validity of the transfer, WON it is a form of Constructive Dismissal. RULINGS: 1. Court of Appeals can review the decisions of NLRC and the facts found by LA and NLRC are not binding upon it. Supreme Court reiterated that as clarified in the case of St. Martin Funeral Homes v. NLRC, a judicial review of decisions of NLRC is permitted. However, the review is through a petition for certiorari under Rule 65, rather than an appeal. This petition is filed before the CA rather than directly to the Supreme Court in view of the principle of the hierarchy of courts. SC also found error on the petitioner's stance that CA was bound by the facts found by LA and NLRC, the fact that under rule Rule 65, determination of jurisdiction and grave abuse of discretion, CA should not be faulted for examining the records of the case to have a proper analysis whether LA or NLRC properly performed their duties and functions in disposing of the case. Had it found no error, then the CA could just dismiss the Rule 65 petition. 2. There was no constructive dismissal. Constructive dismissal arises "when continued employment is rendered impossible, unreasonable or unlikely; when there is a demotion in rank and/or diminution in pay; or when a clear discrimination, insensibility or disdain by an employer becomes unbearable to the employee. " It can happen in any number of ways. At its core is the gratuitous, unjustified, or unwarranted nature of employer's action.
However, not every inconvenience, disruption, difficulty, or disadvantage that an employee must endure results in a finding of constructive dismissal. Jurisprudence has long recognized that a transfer of employee done fairly and in good faith is a valid exercise of management prerogative. In this case, petitioner was transferred by Fr. Taborda instead of dismissing her for being found guilty of the charges was a valid exercise of management prerogative. Petitioner should be reminded that even if the charges against her was outside of her capacity as a faculty member of the Accounting Department, the fact that she violated the ethical standards of her profession made her unfit to teach Accounting.
[ G.R. No. 174115, November 09, 2015 ] PUNONGBAYAN AND ARAULLO, et al., petitioners, vs. ROBERTO PONCE LEPON, respondent. JARDELEZA, J.: FACTS:
Petitioner is a professional partnership engaged in public accounting practice. Benjamin R. Punongbayan, Jose G. Araullo, Gregorio S. Navarro, Alfredo V. Damian and Jessie S. Carpio, are partners of P&A. P&A hired Respondent as Staff Auditor 1. After years of service, he became the Manager-in-Charge of the Cebu operations and the Director of the Visayas-Mindanao operations of P&A. In April 2002, accounting firm SGV commenced negotiations with P&A for a possible merger of their Philippine operations. During negotiations, P&A's employees (including respondent) expressed fears on their fate in case of a merger. Later, P&A sent a Memorandum to its clients informing them about its combination with SGV expected to be effective on 7/1/2002. On April 26, 2002, through an email-letter to Punongbayan, respondent pleaded against the merger. Subsequently, P&A learned that respondent (1) met with P&A's clients and invited them to engage the services of Laya Mananghaya-KPMG (LM-KPMG) (a competitor) and (2) attempted to pirate the entire staff of P&A's Cebu City Office and Davao City Office. On 5/30/2002, petitioner Damian sent respondent a letter asking him to explain the alleged disloyal and inimical acts he committed against P&A. Respondent was also suspended without pay form 6/1/2002 until 6/15/2002. In his reply, respondent reiterated his worries about the merger, and denied the allegations against him. Damian served upon respondent a termination notice informing him that his employment is terminated effective 6/16/2002 due to loss of trust and confidence. Respondent filed a complaint for illegal suspension and illegal dismissal, and for payment of 13 th month pay, service incentive leave, allowances, separation pay, retirement benefits, moral damages, and exemplary damages against P&A and its partners. The parties failed to amicably settle the case. The LA dismissed the complaint for lack of merit and the NLRC affirmed the LA’s decision. Respondent filed a petition for certiorari before the CA. The CA set aside the NLRC Decision and directed petitioners to pay jointly and severally respondent full backwages.
ISSUES 1. Whether the factual findings of both the NLRC and the LA were supported by substantial evidence – YES 2. Whether respondent was validly dismissed – YES 3. Whether respondent was deprived of his right to due process – NO RULING: The factual findings of the NLRC and the Labor Arbiter were supported by substantial evidence
Affidavits may be sufficient to establish substantial evidence. Substantial evidence means "that amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion." In Capitol Medical Center, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission, the respondents failed to adduce substantial evidence that the said affiants were coerced into executing the said affidavits. The bare fact that some portions of the said affidavits are similarly worded does not constitute substantial evidence that the petitioner forced, intimidated or coerced the affiants to execute the same. In INC Shipmanagement, Inc., et al. v. Moradas, the corroborating affidavits and statements of the vessel's officers and crew members must be taken as a whole and cannot just be perfunctorily dismissed as selfserving absent any showing that they were lying when they made the statements therein. CAB: Respondent did not adduce evidence to show that the affiants, including Nanola, Ganhinhin, Verdida, and Diano, all of whom were employed by P&A, were coerced to execute an affidavit prejudicial to respondent. Respondent never questioned the evidentiary value of the affidavits at any stage of the proceedings. There was no single evidence submitted showing that petitioners have exerted undue pressure on the affiants. The affidavits constitute substantial evidence to prove that respondent committed acts breaching the trust and confidence reposed on him by P&A. The colleagues and subordinates of respondent executed the affidavits
based on their personal knowledge, and without any proof of coercion. Their statements, as discussed below, corroborate each other and leave no room for doubt as to the acts committed by respondent. The affidavits of his co-employees are sufficient basis for P&A's loss of trust and confidence.
An employer may terminate an employee for willful breach by the employee of trust reposed in him by his employer or duly authorized representative [Art. 297(c), Labor Code]. While the right of an employer to freely select or discharge his employees is subject to regulation by the State in the exercise of its paramount police power, there is also an equally established principle that an employer cannot be compelled to continue in employment an employee guilty of acts inimical to the interest of the employer and justifying loss of confidence in him. The following requisites must be satisfied to justify a valid dismissal based on loss of trust and confidence, to wit: (1) The employee concerned must be one holding a position of trust and confidence; and (2) There must be an act that would justify the loss of trust and confidence. The two requisites are present in this case. Respondent was a managerial employee. At the time of his termination, he was the Manager-in-Charge of the Cebu operations and Director of the Visayas-Mindanao operations of P&A. Respondent failed to dispute that his position, as the highest ranking officer of P&A's Visayas-Mindanao operations, demanded utmost trust and confidence. P&A's loss of trust and confidence is based on a willful breach of trust, and is founded on clearly established facts. Degree of Proof Required: In Mendoza v. HMS Credit Corporation, the Court distinguished the degree of proof required in proving loss of trust and confidence in a managerial employee and a rank and file employee – With respect to RANK-AND-FILE PERSONNEL, loss of trust and confidence as ground for valid dismissal requires proof of involvement in the alleged events in question, and that mere uncorroborated assertions and accusations by the employer will not be sufficient. But as regards a MANAGERIAL EMPLOYEE, the mere existence of a basis for believing that such employee has breached the trust of his employer would suffice for his dismissal. Hence, in the case of managerial employees, proof beyond reasonable doubt is not required, it being sufficient that there is some basis for such loss of confidence, such as when the employer has reasonable ground to believe that the employee concerned is responsible for the purported misconduct, and the nature of his participation therein renders him unworthy of the trust and confidence demanded by his position. CAB: Respondent breached the trust reposed in him by committing the following acts: (1) negotiating to transfer to a competing firm while still employed with P&A; (2) enjoining a number of P&A's clients to transfer their audit business to a competing firm; (3) inviting P&A's staff to join him in his transfer to a competing firm; and (4) enjoining P&A's staff to engage in a sympathy strike during his preventive suspension. The affidavits of Nanola, Ganhinhin, Verdida, and Diane show respondent's commission of these acts which are all in breach of the trust and confidence reposed in him by P&A.
Respondent was validly dismissed on the ground of loss of trust and confidence
In Elizalde International (Philippines) Inc. v. CA: One who asserts an interest, or performs acts adverse or disloyal lo one's employer commits a breach of an implied condition of the contract of employment which may warrant discharge, e.g., where one secretly engages in a business which renders him a competitor and rival of his employer. An employer has the right to expect loyalty from his employees as long as the employment relationship continues. When an employee deliberately acquires an interest adverse to his employer, he is disloyal, and his discharge is justified. In Molina v. Pacific Plans, Inc.: An employer has a protectable interest in the customer relationships of its former employee established and/or nurtured while employed by the employer, and is entitled to protect itself from the risk that a former employee might appropriate customers by taking unfair advantage of the contract developed while working for the employer. While acting as an agent of his employer, an employee owes the duty of fidelity and loyalty. Being a fiduciary, he cannot act inconsistently with his agency or trust. He cannot solicit his employer's customers or co-employees for himself or for a business competitor of his employer. CAB: While respondent may have the liberty to express his views of the proposed merger, he was not justified when he told clients of P&A that the latter's reputation as provider of quality service is expected to deteriorate due to the merger and further induced them to patronize the rival firm he intended to join. As the Director of P&A's Visayas-Mindanao operations, owed duties of loyalty to P&A, his employer, to inform its clients about P&A's business decision to merge, for as long as he was still employed by P&A.
Respondent's act of inviting P&A's staff to conduct a sympathy strike is inconsistent with respondent's duty of fidelity and loyalty to P&A. In doing so, respondent urged his colleagues and subordinates to disregard their responsibilities as employees of P&A and sought to disrupt the latter's operations. Thus, P&A merely acted within its right as employer when it dismissed respondent. The acts he committed are sufficient basis for the loss of trust and confidence of P&A. Respondent was not deprived of due process; “Ample Opportunity to be Heard”
Article 292(b) of the Labor Code, in relation to the then applicable Section 2(d), Rule I of the Implementing Rules of Book VI, as amended by DO No. 10, s. of 1997, requires the employer to give the employee two written notices prior to his termination for just cause. First notice must contain a statement of the causes for termination and shall afford the employee ample opportunity to be heard and to defend himself with the assistance of a representative if he so desires. Second notice (notice of termination) must indicate that upon due consideration of all the circumstances, grounds have been established to justify the employee's termination. P&A complied with the two-notice rule. In Perez v. Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Company, the Court explained the meaning of "ample opportunity to be heard" under Article 292: To be heard "does not mean verbal argumentation alone inasmuch as one may be heard just as effectively through written explanations, submissions or pleadings . While the phrase "ample opportunity to be heard" may in fact include an actual hearing, it is not limited to a formal hearing only. The existence of an actual, formal "trial-type" hearing is not absolutely necessary to satisfy the employee's right to be heard. (a) "ample opportunity to be heard" means any meaningful opportunity (verbal or written) given to the employee to answer the charges against him and submit evidence in support of his defense, whether in a hearing, conference or some other fair, just and reasonable way. (b) A formal hearing or conference becomes mandatory only when requested by the employee in writing or substantial evidentiary disputes exist or a company rule or practice requires it, or when similar circumstances justify it. (c) The "ample opportunity to be heard" standard in the Labor Code prevails over the "hearing or conference" requirement in the implementing rules and regulations. Despite the lack of formal hearing or investigation, respondent was given ample opportunity to be heard. He was given the opportunity to refute the charges against him. In fact, his reply thoroughly discussed his justifications and defenses to the accusations imputed on him. In view of the foregoing, respondent's dismissal from employment is valid. Thus, respondent's monetary claims against P&A and petitioners have no legal and factual basis. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby GRANTED and the decision of the Court of Appeals dated February 15, 2006 is hereby REVERSED.
[ G.R. No. 202859, November 11, 2015 ] NEW FILIPINO MARITIME AGENCIES, INC., et al., petitioners, vs. VINCENT H. D ATAYAN -HEIR OF SIMON VINCENT H. DATAYAN III, respondent. DEL CASTILLO, J.: DOCTRINE: The death of a seafarer during the term of his employment makes his employer liable for death benefits. However, the employer may be exempt from liability if it can successfully establish that the seafarer's death was due to a cause attributable to his own willful act. FACTS:
New Filipino Maritime Agencies, Inc. (NFMA), for and on behalf of St. Paul Maritime Corp., employed Simon Vincent Datayan II (Simon) as deck cadet on board the vessel Corona Infinity. Simon was declared fit for sea duties and on 8/17/2007, he boarded the vessel. On 12/30/2007, the crew were in the mess hall for a birthday celebration. Simon was invited by the Master to join the party but he refused. At 12:40 a.m., the Master ordered the conduct of a fire and emergency drill. After, a crew meeting was held where Simon was reprimanded by the Master for poor performance. Simon left even before the meeting was concluded. The Master ordered the crew to search for him. At about 1:25 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., Raymond Ocleasa saw Simon jump overboard. A futile search-and-rescue operation ensued. After a few weeks, Simon was declared missing and was presumed dead. Simon's father (respondent) went to NFMA to claim death benefits but his claim was unheeded. He filed a complaint against Petitioners. He averred that – Simon died during the term of his employment, thus the provisions of the CBA among All Japan Seamen's Union, Associated Marine Officers' and Seamen's Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP), and the International Mariners Management Association of Japan, must be applied in the grant of death benefits and burial assistance in his favor, being the heir of Simon. Petitioners were presumed to be at fault or had acted negligently, unless they could prove that Simon's death was due to causes not legally compensable. There was no evidence that Simon committed suicide and maintained that his death was a result of negligence and reckless instruction of the Master. Petitioners argued that Simon's death was a result of Simon's deliberate act. Based on the POEA Standard Employment Contract (SEC) and CBA, a complainant is not entitled to death benefits when the cause of the seaman's death was the latter's willful act. Evidence Presented: The Master's Report, Statement of Facts, Marine Note of Protest and Investigation Report conclusively proved that Simon committed suicide, bolstered by the suicide note found on the vessel, signed by Simon. The LA dismissed the complaint and the NLRC affirmed the LA Decision. Both of the tribunals gave weight to the suicide note, the Master's Report, along with other pieces of documentary evidence adduced, to establish that Simon committed suicide. On Petition for Certiorari, the CA found for respondent. Ruling that petitioners' evidence failed to prove suicide; and that the Master who executed and signed the Master's Report, Marine Note of Protest and Statement of Facts failed to give positive testimony ascertaining Simon's actual suicide. It further pointed out that the crew members who signed the Investigation. Report had no personal knowledge of Simon's suicide. It added that Ocleasa, the alleged witness of the incident, did not sign the report or issue a sworn statement on the matter.
ISSUE: Is the CA correct in finding that the NLRC committed grave abuse of discretion in denying respondent's claim for death benefits? – NO RULING:
As claimant for death benefits, respondent has the burden to prove by substantial evidence that his son's death is work-related and that it transpired during the term of his employment contract.
In this respect, respondent has discharged his burden. Simon died during the term of his contract. The next question is whether Simon's death was due to his deliberate act. That Simon's death was a result of his willful act is a matter of defense. Petitioners have the burden to prove this circumstance by substantial evidence. The Court finds that petitioners discharged their burden to prove that Simon committed suicide. In Unicol Management Services, Inc. v. Malipot, the Court considered the Master's Report and the Investigation Report, among others, in ruling that the seaman's beneficiaries were not entitled to death benefits. It noted that these documents completely detailed the events that transpired prior to and the circumstances leading to the discovery of his death by suicide. CAB: The Master's Report and the Statement of Facts described the events that occurred prior to, during and after the incident when Simon went overboard. In particular, Simon declined the Master's invitation for him to join the party; thereafter, the Master reprimanded him because he performed poorly in the drill; Simon left the meeting and was later seen to jump overboard by Ocleasa. Added to this narration is the statement of the crew in the Investigation Report that Simon was a "very sensitive" person. The Investigation Report addressed the question on why Ocleasa did not sign said report. As stated therein, he already disembarked from the vessel when the report was executed and was investigated at the (local) office, where he stated that he saw Simon jump overboard. More importantly, the fact that Simon committed suicide is bolstered by the suicide note that he executed. As such, to refute petitioners' position that Simon committed suicide, the burden of evidence shifts to respondent. In this regard, respondent failed to discharge his burden and only relied on the alleged negligence of the Master in ordering the conduct of the drill. Respondent argues that Simon could not have written a suicide note because of the proximity of the time when the drill was conducted and the time when Simon jumped overboard. No proof was presented indicating that said suicide note was fabricated, as no specimen of Simon's handwriting was submitted to prove that it was not written by him. On the contrary, the signature in the suicide note and the signature of Simon in his employment contract appear to be the same. Hence, by substantial evidence, there are adequate reasons and proof that Simon committed suicide. Under Section 20(D) of the POEA SEC, no compensation or benefits shall arise in case of death of a seafarer resulting from his willful act, provided that the employer could prove that such death is attributable to the seafarer. Although Simon died during the term of his contract with petitioners, still, respondent is not entitled to receive benefits arising from his death. As clearly established, Simon died by his willful act of committing suicide and death under that circumstance is not compensable under the POEA SEC. WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED. The February 22, 2012 Decision and July 24, 2012 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 119775 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
[ G.R. No. 215471, November 23, 2015 ] MARLOW NAVIGATION PHILIPPINES INC., et al., petitioners, vs. BRAULIO A. OSIAS, respondent. FACTS: On September 23, 2009, Osias (respondent) entered in a contract of employment with Marlow Navigation (petitioner). He was to work as a chief cook on board M/V OOCL MUMBAI for a period of 9 months. On February 12, 2010, while working in the gallery and preparing breakfast, Osias fainted and hit his head and shoulder on the garbage bin. When the ship arrived in Virginia, USA, he was treated by Dr. Kevin Murray and was advised to return home. Osias was medically repatriated. He arrived in the Philippines on February 15, 2010, and immediately reported to Marlow Navigation. He was referred to the company-designated physician, Dr. Michael Arago (Dr. Arago). After examinations, Osias was advised by Dr. Arago to undergo 10 sessions of physical therapy. On March 31, 2010, Dr. Arago issued a medical report and Osias was required to undergo 10 more physical therapy sessions every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, starting April 5, 2010. After 4 sessions, Osias suddenly failed to comply with his treatment without any previous notice. On May 14, 2010, or more than a month after he last reported to the company-designated physician, Osias appeared for consultation of his physical therapy. On even date, Dr. Arago issued another medical report noting the prolonged absence of Osias. On July 14, 2010, Dr. Arago issued a final medical report stating that Osias was already fit to return effective July 13, 2010. Osias sought the medical opinion of Dr. Orencia. In her medical certificate, dated September 14, 2010, she opined that the osteoarthritis of Osias prevent him from returning to his former work as chief cook. Osias then filed a complaint for permanent and total disability benefits, moral and exemplary damages, and attorney's fees against petitioner and its officers. Osias asserted that his incapacity to work for more than 120 days entitled him to permanent and total disability benefits. Petitioner's countered that Osias was not entitled to the benefits because the company designated physician found and certified that he was fit to return to work and moreover he himself caused the delay in his treatment. LA ruled that Osias was not entitled to the benefits, this was affirmed by the NLRC, it both gave weight to the findings of the company physician because the latter had the authority to proclaim whether a seafarer suffered from a permanent and total disability based on an extensive medical treatment. CA reversed the ruling. ISSUE: WON Osias is entitled to the permanent and total disability given that the 120 days prescribed by law has already lapsed. RULING: NO. There are two periods that should be reckoned with 120 days and 240 days. Jurisprudence and law both recognizes that there are certain disabilities that will be deemed total and permanent if it lasted for more than 120 days under the Labor Code, however in the implement rules it was stated "except if such disability still requires medical attendance for more than 120 days but not more than 240 days." These 2 statutes must be read in consonance with each other. In this case, Osias' medical condition cannot be considered as permanent and total disability since he was declared fit to return to work after 147 days. It must be noted also that the delay was caused respondent himself and the fact that the medical certificate certifying the unfitness or declaring the permanent and total disability must be done by the company designated physician; since under the law it is an indispensible requirement.
[ G.R. No. 189229, November 23, 2015 ] REYNALDO NOBLADO, ET AL., petitioners, VS. PRTNCESITA K. ALFONSO, respondent.
FACTS: Respondent is an independent contractor engaged in landscaping and the operation and maintenance of a plant nursery under the business name "Cherry Alfonso Plant Nursery." Petitioners were employees of respondent having been hired on various landscaper/designer, leadman, laborer, and driver. They filed a complaint against the employer for illegal dismissal wherein they alleged that they were not paid their salaries, overtime pay, holiday pay, premium pay for holiday and rest day, 13th month pay and service incentive leave pay and that there was termination of employment without valid cause. ISSUE: w/n the employees are entitled to reinstatement with full backwages RULING: YES RATIO: There was no habitual neglicence on their part. In termination cases, the employer bears the burden of proving that the dismissal of the employee is for a just or an authorized case. Failure to dispose of the burden would imply that the dismissal is not lawful and that the employee is entitled to reinstatement, backwages and accruing benefits.
[ G.R. No. 195654, November 25, 2015 ] REYNALDO INUTAN, et al., petitioners, vs. NAPAR CONTRACTING & ALLIED SERVICES, et al., respondents.
FACTS: Petitioners were employees of Napar, a recruitment agency owned and managed by respondent Lacsamana. Napar assigned petitioners at respondent Jonas, a corporation engaged in the manufacture of various food products with respondent Young as its President to work as factory workers, machine operator, quality control inspector, mixer, and warehouseman. The employees filed before the Arbitration Branch of the NLRC a complaint for wage differentials. The agency and the employees entered into a compromise agreement wherein the employees were to submit bio data and several documents for job application requirements. However, there was a failure on Napar's part to comply with the agreement which is to reinstate them work in consonance with the terms of the Joint Compromise Agreement. Thus, such action constitutes illegal constructive dismissal. They prayed for backwages plus separation pay in lieu of reinstatement. ISSUE: whether they are entitled to backwages due to the illegal constructive dismissal RULING: YES RATIO: Petitioners, as regular employees, are deemed to have been constructively and illegally dismissed by respondents. Being on floating status and off-detailed for more than six months, not having been reinstated and reassigned by respondents, petitioners are considered to have been constructively dismissed. Settled is the rule that an employee who is unjustly dismissed from work shall be entitled to reinstatement, or separation pay if reinstatement is no longer viable, and to his full backwages.
[ G.R. No. 203115, December 07, 2015 ] ISLAND OVERSEAS TRANSPORT CORPORATION, petitioner vs. ARMANDO M. BEJA, respondent. FACTS: Armando Beja entered into a contract of employment with Island Overseas Transport for 9 months as Second Assistant Manager for the vessel M/V Atsuta. o Beja underwent a medical examination where he was declared to be fit for work. o On 8th month of employment, Beja experienced pain and swelling on his right knee. He was later diagnose to have Athrosynovitis. o He underwent arthrocentesis of the right knee and was advised to take a rest. Later, while they were in Spain, the pain on his right knee recurred and persisted. o Bejawas advised to be medically repatriated. o Upon arrival in Manila, the petitioners referred respondent to Dr. Cruz for evaluation. Beja underwent physical therapy and had another operation. He was sent to St. Luke’s thereafter for rehabilitation., under the supervision of Dr. Matias Beja, while undergoing rehabilitation, filed a complaint against petitioners for permanent total disability benefits, medical expenses, sickness allowance, moral and exemplary damages and attorney’s fees. o Beja alleged that his right knee injury resulted from an accident he sustained while on board the vessel when a drainage pipe fell on his knee. o That upon his repatriation, his knee has not recovered and it rendered him incapable of returning to his customary work as a seafarer. o According to Beja, what happened to him clearly entitles him to permanent disability benefits pursuant to Article 28.1 of their CBA: “A seafarer who suffers permanent disability as a result of an accident whilst in the employment of the Company regardless of fault, including, accidents occurring while travelling to or from the ship, and whose ability to work as a seafarer is reduced as a result thereof, but excluding permanent disability due to willful acts, shall in addition to sick pay, be entitled to compensation, according to the provisions of this Agreement.” o Beja claimed the amount of US$137,500.00, in accordance with the degree of disability and rate of compensation indicated in the CBA. o Beja consulted Dr. Escutin, who examined and certified him to be unfit for sea duty in whatever capacity due to pain and difficulty of the use of his right knee. o Petitioners assert that Beja cannot be declared as permanent and totally disables by the mere lapse of 120 days without any assessment or certification of fit to work being issued; Beja’s complaint was prematurely filed and lacked cause of action because of lack of second opinion at the time of filing of the complaint; and, Beja is not entitled to compensation under the CBA because it is only confined to injuries arising from accident. Labor Arbiter ruled in favor of Beja. NLRC affirmed the Labor Arbiter, however reduced the award from US$137,500.00 to US$110,00.00 as Beja was only a Second Engineer and not a Senior Officer. Court of Appeals affirmed. ISSUE: Whether Beja is entitled to compensation? RULING: Petition is partly meritorious. The CBA is inapplicable. Beja has not presented any proof of his allegation that he met an accident on board the vessel. No accident report existed nor any medical report issued indicating he met an accident while on board. It was all based on pure allegation. Evidence submitted by petitioners disputed Beja’s allegations. Certifications by the Master of the vessel and Chief Engineer affirmed that Beja never met an accident on board nor was he injured while in the performance of his duties under their command. Beha is entitled to a total and permanent disability compensation of US$60,000.00 under the POEA-SEC Provision should be read in harmony with each other, thus: (a) the 120 days provided under Section 20 B(3) of the POEA-SEC is the period given to the employer to determine fitness to work and when the seafarer is deemed to be in a state of total and temporary disability; (b) the 120 days of total and temporary disability may be extended up to a maximum of 240 days should the seafarer require further medical treatment; and (c) a total and temporary disability becomes permanent when so declared by the company-designated physician within 120 or 250 days, as
the case may be, or upon the expiration of the said periods without a declaration of either fitness to work or disability assessment and the seafarer is still unable to resume his regular seafaring duties. Beja was repatriated on November 21, 2007. Roughly a month after his right knee operation, Dr. Cruz rendered a Grade 10 and 13 partial disability grading of his medical condition. Although he was given grades 10 and 13 combined disability rating by Dr. Cruz, this assessment may only be considered as tentative because he still continued his physical therapy session, which went beyond 240 days. There was no assessment that Beja was found fit to resume sea duties before the end of the 240 day period. Beja’s allegation that he has not been able to perform his usual activities has not been contradicted by petitioner or by contrary documentary evidence. In fact, in his medical report, Dr. Matias opined that there was still difficulty in Beja’s knee movements. Beja should be deemed to be suffering permanent total disability. In the case at bar, Beja filed the complaint on May 15, 2008. Dr. Cruz issued his assessment only on May 26, 2008 or 187 days from Beja’s repatriation. Due to Dr. Cruz’s failure to issue a disability rating within 120-days period, a conclusive presumption that Beja is totally and permanently disabled arose. There was no need for Beja to secure an opinion from his own doctor or resort to a third doctor as prescribed under Section 20 B (3) of the POEA-SEC. The CA is correct in affirming the NLRC’s award of permanent total disability benefit to Beha. It erred in pertaining to the CBA in granting the award relative to the amount due.
[ G.R. No. 199314 [Formerly UDK No. 14553], December 07, 2015 ] TAMBLOT SECURITY & GENERAL SERVICES, INC., petitioner, vs. FLORENCIO ITEM, LEONARDO PALM A, et al., respondents. FACTS: Respondent were employed by petitioner as security guards and were deployed at Marcela Mall. Respondent Florencio Item had a misunderstanding with the security officer at Marcela Mall, thus, he was recalled and relieved from duty by the petitioner. Florencio consulted a lawyer who told him that he was also underpaid. He shared this information to his co respondent which prompted the rest of them to file a letter commplaint to the DOLE. During the meeting for the said case, petitioner representatives tried to convince them to withdrew their complaint but they refused. As a result of their refusal they were also relieved of their duty at Marcela Mall. Respondent filed a complaint for illegal dismissal before the NLRC. Petitioner contends that they did not dismissed the employees and that they are the one who did not report for work. ISSUE: Whether or not the employees were illegally dismissed. RULING: Respondents were illegally dismissed. Petitioner utterly failed to establish the requisite for abandonment of work 1) that the employees has failed to report for work or must be absent without valid or justifiable reasons 2) that there must have been a clear intention to severe th employee-employer relationship by some overt acts In this case there were no showing of any overt act of the respondents that would point of an intention to abandon their work.
[ G.R. No. 209559, December 09, 2015 ] ENCHANTED KINGDOM, INC., petitioner, vs. MIGUEL J. VERZO, respondent.
FACTS: On August 19, 2009, Verzo was hired by Enchanted to work as Section Head – Mechanical & Instrumentation Maintenance (SH-MIM) for its theme park, for a period of six (6) months on probationary status. He was tasked to conduct “mechanical and structural system assessments,” as well as to inspect and evaluate the “conditions, operations and maintenance requirements of rides, facilities and buildings to ensure compliance with applicable codes, regulations and standards.” He was also provided with a detailed list of responsibilities that he should fulfill. During the probationary period, Enchanted assessed Verzo’s performance as not up to par. On February 3, 2010, Enchanted furnished Verzo a copy of the Cast Member Performance Appraisal for Regularization which reported that he only obtained a score of 70 out of 100. Aside from indicating the numerical score, Enchanted’s evaluation of his performance contained the following notations under Supervisor’s Over-All Assessment: - Lacking in supervisory skill; - Incompetent technically; - Lacking in initiative/sense of responsibility. On February 15, 2010, Enchanted formally informed Verzo that he did not qualify for regularization because his work performance for the past five (5) months “did not meet the requirements of the position of Section Head for Mechanical and Instrumentation Maintenance. Verzo filed a complaint for illegal dismissal, damages and attorney’s fees before the LA. In his complaint, Verzo claimed that it was only after he was formally hired by Enchanted that he was informed of his probationary status. And even after despite being placed on a probationary status, he was not advised as to the standards required for his regularization. LA dismissed the complaint for lack of merit. The LA explained that his status being probationary, his employment was only temporary and, thus, could be terminated at any time. The LA stated that as long as the termination was made before the end of the six-month probationary period, Enchanted was well within its rights to sever the employer-employee relationship with Verzo. The NLRC issued a resolution denying Verzo’s appeal for lack of merit. The NLRC opined that Verzo’s position as SH-MIM was not highly technical as to require that his contract with Enchanted specify the reasonable standards for regularization. Assuming that it was required, the NLRC considered the fact that he signed his employment contract detailing the standards expected of him. The NLRC stated that as a licensed engineer, Verzo had a better comprehension of things compared to an average worker. Thus, the NLRC found it incredible that he was unaware of what was professionally expected of him for his regularization.
In concluding that Verzo was rightfully severed from his employment, the NLRC took into consideration the Cast Member Performance Appraisal for Regularization which showed that he failed to meet the qualifications or requirements set by Enchanted. The NLRC concluded that Enchanted acted within its rights when it dismissed him, considering that his inability to perform his job concerned the very safety and security of Enchanted’s patrons. CA reversed the decision of La and NLRC. The probationary contract between the parties failed to set the standards that would gauge Verzo’s fitness and qualification for regular employment. The NLRC’s supposition that Verzo may not be apprised of the standard for regularization – on the assumption that given his itinerary and education, he has wider comprehension of what is expected of him professionally – is misplaced. For said reason, the CA opined that he should be considered a regular employee of Enchanted.
ISSUE: Whether the dismissal was legal? Whether Verzo was properly apprised of the standards for his regularization? RULING: The Court finds that Enchanted had basis when it decided not to continue with the services of Verzo as SH-MIM. First, while the CA leaned heavily on the fact that the performance evaluation given by Enchanted did not specify the instances of Verzo’s unfitness, it should be pointed out that Verzo himself admitted that the performance evaluation he received on February 3, 2010 was accompanied by the respective reports of Schoefield, Montemayor and Velesrubio. As earlier stated, these reports detailed the reasons why Verzo failed to meet the standards set by Enchanted and compromised the safety of its patrons. Second, granting that Verzo was not informed of his specific duties and responsibilities, nonetheless, his dismissal was valid because he failed to adhere to the dictates of common sense which required that he act in accordance with the necessary work ethics and basic skills required by his position as SH-MIM and by his profession as licensed engineer. Third, while the CA considered the fact that Velesrubio advised Verzo to resign because he was not going to be regularized even before his performance appraisal, the Court finds that such should not be taken as an indication of bad faith on the part of Enchanted. For this Court, the same could only be Velesrubio’s own opinion of Verzo, because he was the one supervising his performance. Whether Enchanted had decided to discontinue Verzo’s employment cannot, at that point, be said to have been a foregone conclusion. Suffice it to state that Enchanted was able to substantially comply with the requirement of the law in apprising him of the standards for his regularization. Verily, the purpose of the law in requiring that an employee be notified of the standards for his regularization during his probationary employment is to
simply afford him due process, so that the employee will be aware that he will be under close observation and his performance of his assigned duties and functions would be under continuous scrutiny by his superiors. Moreover, while it may be argued that ideally employers should immediately inform a probationary employee of the standards for his regularization from day one, strict compliance thereof is not required. The true test of compliance with the requirements of the law is, of course, one of reasonableness. As long as the probationary employee is given a reasonable time and opportunity to be made fully aware of what is expected of him during the early phases of the probationary period, the requirement of the law has been satisfied.
[ G.R. No. 204275, December 09, 2015 ] LILIOSA C. LISONDRA, petitioner, vs. MEGACRAFT INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION AND SPOUSES MELECIO AND ROSEMARIE OAMIL, respondents. FACTS:
Petitioner filed a case for illegal dismissal against respondents before the NLRC.
Labor Arbiter ruled that there was a constructive dismissal. o o
Respondents appealed to the NLRC which was initially denied but was subsequently reversed upon a timely MR. Petitioner appealed the case to the CA via Rule 65
The CA dismissed the petition on the ground that it suffered from the following “congenital infirmities”: o o o o o
There was no proper proof of service of summons. Post office receipt is not the required proof of service by registered mail. Petition failed to incorporate in the petition a written explanation why preferred personal mode of service to the agency was not availed of Petitioner’s counsel failed to indicate his Roll of Attorney’s Number The Notarial Certificate in the Verification and Certification of Non-Forum Shopping did not contain the province or city where the notary public was commissioned There was failure to implead the NLRC as public respondent as required under section 5, Rule 65.
ISSUE: W/N the CA erred in dismissing the petitioner RULING: YES. Before going to the issues of the case, the court noted that the petitioner failed to attach copies of the decision of the LA and the NLRC in this petition. That alone would have been a ground to dismiss the case outright. However since what is at stake is petitioners livelihood itself, leniency should be applied in order to serve the ends of justice Proof of Service
Essentially, the purpose of this service is to apprise such party of the pendency of an action in the CA. Thus, if such party had already been notified of the same and had even participated in the proceedings, such purpose would have already been served. o
In this case, respondents were informed and even filed their Comment to the petition. Thus, the purpose of the rule had been achieved. It would have been "more prudent for the Court [of Appeals] to excuse a technical lapse and afford the parties a substantive review of the case in order to attain the ends of justice than to dismiss the same on mere technicalities."
The Court of Appeals dismissed the petition on account of petitioner's failure to incorporate a written explanation on why the NLRC's copy was not personally served to the agency. o
Petitioner explained in her Motion for Reconsideration that her former counsel had died, which gave her little time to find and engage the services of her present counsel before the lapse of the period for filing the petition. That day that the pleadings were sent via registered mail was already the last day of filing, and with heavy rains at that time, her counsel had anticipated that they would not be able to beat the deadline in filing the petition before the Court of Appeals, prompting her counsel to resort to registered mail.
Other grounds for dismissal
As to the supposed failure to implead the NLRC, the Court finds that the NLRC was, in fact, impleaded in the case, based on the body of the petition. Under the section on Parties, the NLRC was named as one of the parties to the case.Clearly, the failure to include public respondent's name in the title was mere inadvertence.
The other ground cited by the Court of Appeals, i.e., counsel's failure to indicate his roll number and the place of the notary public's commission, does not affect the merits of the petition. The appellate court could have simply asked petitioner's counsel to submit the information instead of dismissing the case outright. Likewise, we deem that petitioner should not be penalized for the omissions of her counsel and deserves to have her case properly ventilated at the appellate court.
A last word
Counsel's actions are binding on his client. Petitioner in this case would have had her entire case thrown out, with all hope for proper review and determination lost, through no fault of her own but merely because of her counsel's carelessness in preparing and filing the pleadings. It is only the Court's discretion that petitioner's cause needs a chance to be properly reviewed and reevaluated that has kept this case alive. Counsel is therefore reminded of his duty to "serve his client with competence and diligence" and ensure that the pleadings he files comply with all the requirements under the pertinent rules.
[ G.R. No. 213696, December 09, 2015 ] QUANTUM FOODS, INC., petitioner, vs. MARCELINO ESLOYO AND GLEN MAGSILA, respondents. FACTS: Petitioner Quantum Foods, Inc. is a domestic corporation engaged in the distribution and selling of food products nationwide. It hired Esloyo as Major Accounts Representative and later on promoted to the position of Regional Sales Manager for Visayas and Mindanao. On the other hand, it hired Magsila as Key Accounts Representative for the Panay Area. Quantum decided to reorganize its sales force nationwide following a drastic drop in its net income, and Magsila was among those retrenched. However, Magsila’s final pay and other benefits were not release due to alleged discovery of unauthorized/undocumented deductions, which he purportedly failed to explain. Esloyo was terminated from work on the ground of loss of trust and confidence due to his numerous violations of the company rules and regulations. Aggrieved, Esloyo and Magsila filed separate complaints for illegal dismissal with money claims against Quantum. They also impleaded Dole Philippines, Inc. as party to the case, claiming that said company required them to perform additional tasks that were necessary and desirable for its operations, and that Dole, as well as its Executive personnel had created and organized Quantum, and thus, should be held jointly and solidarily liable with Quantum for respondent’s claims. Quantum maintained that respondents’ dismissal were valid, hence, it is not liable for their money claims. On the other hand, Dole deined any employer-employee relationship with respondents. The Labor Arbiter found respondents to have been illegally dismissed and ordered Quantum to pay respondents a total monetary judgment of P1,817,856.71 but DOLE was deleted as party to the case, upon a finding that it has no employer-employee relationship with respondents. Dissatisfied, Quantum filed its Notice of Appeal and Memorandum of Appeal before the NLRC accompanied by a Motion to Reduce Bond and a cash bond in the amount of P400,000 (partial bond). Before the NLRC could act on the Motion to Reduce Bond, Quantum posted a surety bond from an accredited insurance company fully covering the monetary judgment. The NLRC gave due course to Quantum’s appeal holding that there was substantial compliance with the bond requirement and held that respondents were not illegally dismissed. The Court of Appeals reversed and set aside the NLRC’s ruling and reinstated the LA’s Decision. It ruled that Quantum’s failure to post the required bond in an amount equivalent to the monetary judgment impeded the perfection of its appeal, and rendered the LA’s Decision final and executory. Thus, the NLRC was bereft of jurisdiction and abused its discretion in entertaining the appeal. ISSUE: Whether the appeal bond posted accompanied by a motion to reduce bond is reasonable in order to suspend the period to perfect an appeal. RULING: YES. While it has been settled that the posting of a cash or surety bond is indispensable to the perfection of an appeal in cases involving monetary awards from the decision of the LA, in several cases, the Court has relaxed this stringent requirement whenever justified. Thus, the Rules – specifically Section 6, Rule VI – thereof, allow the reduction of the appeal bond upon a showing of: (a) the existence of a meritorious ground for reduction, and (b) the posting of a bond in a reasonable amount in relation to the monetary award. In Nicol vs. Footjoy Industrial Corp., the Court summarized the guidelines under which the NLRC must exercise its discretion in considering an appellant’s motion for reduction of bond in this wise: “The bond requirement on appeals involving monetary awards has been and may be relaxed in meritorious cases. These cases include instances in which (1) there was substantial compliance with the Rules, (2) surrounding facts and circumstances constitute meritorious grounds to reduce the bond, (3) a liberal interpretation of the requirement of an appeal bond would serve the desired objective of resolving
controversies on the merits, or (4) the appellants, at the very least, exhibited their willingness and/or good faith by posting a partial bond during the reglementary period. Here, Quantum posted a partial bond in the amount of P400,000, or more than twenty percent (20%) of the monetary judgment, within the reglementary period to appeal, together with the Motion to Reduce Bond anchored on its averred difficulty in raising the amount of the bond and searching for an insurance company that can cover said amount within the short period of time to perfect its appeal. Before the NLRC could even act on the Motion to Reduce Bond, Quantum posted a surety bond from an accredited insurance company covering fully the judgment award. As to what constitutes “a reasonable amount of bond” that must accompany the motion to reduce bond in order to suspend the period to perfect an appeal, the Court, in McBurnei vs. Ganzon, pronounce: To reduce that the provisions of Section 6, Rule VI of the NLRC Rules of Procedure that give parties the chance to seek a reduction of the appeal bond are effectively carried out, without however defeating the benefits of the bond requirement in favor of a winning litigant, all motions to reduce bond that are to be filed with the NLRC shall be accompanied by the posting of a cash or surety bond equivalent to 10% of the monetary award that is subject of the appeal, which shall provisionally be deemed the reasonable amount of the bond in the meantime that an appellant’s motion is pending resolution by the Commission. .. Hence, the posting of a P400,000 cash bond equivalent to more than 20% of the monetary judgment, together with Motion to Reduce Bond within the reglementary period was sufficient to suspend the period to perfect the appeal. The posting of the said partial bond coupled with the subsequent posting of a surety bond in an amount equivalent to the monetary judgment also signified Quantum’s good faith and willingness to recognize the final outcome of its appeal. It should be emphasized that the NLRC has full discretion to grant or deny the motion to reduce bond, and its ruling will not be disturbed unless tainted with grave abuse of discretion. Verily, an act of a court of tribunal can only be considered to be tainted with grave abuse of discretion when such act is done in a capricious or whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction, which clearly is not extant with respect to the NLRC’s cognizance of Quantum’s appeal. Far from having gravely abused its discretion, the NLRC correctly preferred substantial justice over the rigid and stringent application of procedural rules.
[ G.R. No. 202215, December 09, 2015 ] VICMAR DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, et al., petitioners, vs. CAMILO ELARCOSA, MARLON BANDA, DANTE L. BALAMAD, et al., respondents. FACTS: This case stemmed from a Complaint for illegal dismissal and money claims filed by Ruben Panes, Ruel Cabanday and Jonard Abugho (respondents) against Vicmar Development Corporation (Vicmar) and/or Robert Kua (Kua), its owner and Juanito Pagcaliwagan (Pagcaliwagan), its manager and consolidated Complaints for illegal dismissal and money claims filed by the respondents. Respondents alleged that Vicmar, a domestic corporation engaged in manufacturing of plywood for export and for local sale, employed them in various capacities. According to respondents, Vicmar employed some of them as early as 1990 and since their engagement they had been performing the heaviest and dirtiest tasks in the plant operations. They claimed that they were supposedly employed as "extra" workers; however, their assignments were necessary and desirable in the business of Vicmar. Sometime in 2004, Vicmar allegedly informed respondents that they would be handled by contractors.22 Respondents stated that these contractors were former employees of Vicmar and had no equipment and facilities of their own. Respondents averred that as a result thereof, the wages of a number of them who were receiving P276.00 as daily wage, were reduced to P200.00 or P180.00, despite overtime work; and the wages of those who were receiving P200.00 and P180.00 were reduced to P145.00 or P131.00. Respondents protested said wage decrease but to no avail. Thus, they filed a Complaint with the DOLE 24 for violations of labor standards for which appropriate compliance orders were issued against Vicmar.25 On September 13, 2004, 28 of them were no longer scheduled for work and that the remaining respondents, including their sons and brothers, were subsequently not given any work schedule. They maintained that they were regular employees of Vicmar and were dismissed from service without cause or due process that prompted the filing of this illegal dismissal case.28 Respondents claimed that they were illegally dismissed after "vicmar learned that they instituted the subject Complaint through the simple expedience of not being scheduled for work. Even those persons associated with them were dismissed. They also asserted that Vicmar did not comply with the twin notice requirement in dismissing employees. The Petitioners on the other hand claim that assuming that the Respondnets were "extra" workers, and the costsaving measure is part of the management prerogative. The Executive Labor Arbiters dismissed the complaint on the ground that respondents were seasonal employees of Vicmar, whose work was "co-terminus or dependent upon the extraordinary demands for plywood products and also on the availability of logs or timber to be processed into plywood. They noted that Vicmar could adopt costsaving measures as part of its management prerogative, including engagement of legitimate independent contractors. On appeal, the NLRC affirmed the Decisions of ELAs. The CA on a Petition for Certiorari reverse and set aside the decision of the NLRC. ISSUES: 1. Whether or not the respondents were considered as regular employees, 2. Whether or not there was a valid independent contracting. RULING The SC affirmed the decision of the CA and ruled that the Respondents were regular employees. Section 280 of the Labor Code defines a regular employee as one who is 1) engaged to perform tasks usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer, unless the employment is one for a specific project or undertaking or where the work is seasonal and for the duration of a season; or 2) has rendered at least 1 year of
service, whether such service is continuous or broken, with respect to the activity for which he is employed and his employment continues as long as such activity exists. 66 The test to determine whether an employee is regular is the reasonable connection between the activity he performs and its relation to the employer's business or trade, as in the case of respondents assigned to the boiler section. Nonetheless, the continuous re-engagement of all respondents to perform the same kind of tasks proved the necessity and desirability of their services in the business of Vicmar. 72 Likewise, considering that respondents appeared to have been performing their duties for at least one year is sufficient proof of the necessity, if not the indispensability of their activities in Vicmar's business.73 On the second issue, to determine the existence of independent contractorship, it is necessary to establish that the contractor carries a distinct and independent business, and undertakes to perform work on its own account and under its responsibility and pursuant to its own manner and method, without the control of the principal, except as to the result; that the contractor has substantial capital or investment; and, that the agreement between the principal and the contractor assures the contractual employees to all labor and occupational safety and health standards, to right to self-organization, security of tenure and other benefits. Other than their respective Certificates there was no showing that the contractors have substantial capital or investment, tools and the like. Neither was it established that they owned equipment and machineries for the purported contracted job. Also, the allegation that they had clients other than Vicmar remained to be bare assertion without corresponding proof. More importantly, there was no evidence presented that these contractors undertook the performance of their service contracts with Vicmar pursuant to their own manner and method, without the control and supervision of Vicmar.
[ G.R. No. 209418, December 07, 2015 ] W.M. MANUFACTURING, INC., petitioner, vs. RICHARD R. DALAG AND GOLDEN ROCK MANPOWER SERVICES, respondents. FACTS: W.M. Manufacturing, Inc. (WMMI), as client, and Golden Rock manpower Services (GRMS), as contractor, executed a contract denominated as “Service Agreement” which provides that GRMS shall employ the necessary number of workers as WMMI may need and that there shall be no employer-employee relationship between WMMI and the persons assigned by GRMS. In relation to the Service Agreemnt, GRMS engaged the services of Richard Dalag as a factory worker to be assigned at WMMI’s factory for a period of five months. Nothwithstanding the five-month duration stipulated in the contract, Dalag filed a complaint for illegal dismissal. He alleged: that On August 7, 2010, one of WMMI’s security guard prevented him from going to his work station; that he has been terminated without either notice or cause; that being a side machine operator, he is a regular employee entitled to benefits; and that WMMI and GRMS engaged in illegal act of labor-only contracting. On the other hand, WMMI and GRMS argued that Dalag was not dismissed and that it was him who abandoned his work. The LA dismissed Dalag’s complaint. But the NLRC favored Dalag, which was then sustained by the CA. ISSUES: (1) Whether or not WMMI and GRMS engaged in labor-only contracting (2) Whether or not Dalag was illegally dismiised RULING: (1) Yes. WMMI and GRMS engaged in labor-only contracting. First, GRMS lacked the substantial capital. It may be that the DOLE Regional Director for the National Capital Region was satisfied by GRMS' capitalization as reflected on its financial documents, but the basis for determining the substantiality of a company's "capital" rests not· only thereon but also on the tools and equipment it owns in relation to the job, work, or service it provides. DO 18- 02 defines "substantial capital or investment" in the context of labor-only contracting as referring not only to a contractor's financial capability, but also encompasses the tools, equipment, implements, machineries and work premises, actually and directly used by the contractor or subcontractor in the performance or completion of the job, work or service contracted out. Here, the Certificate of Registration may have prevented the presumption of labor-only contracting from arising, but the evidence Dalag adduced was sufficient to overcome the disputable presumption that GRMS is an independent contractor. To be sure, in performing his tasks, Dalag made use of the raw materials and equipment that WMMI supplied. He also operated the side-seal machine in the workplace of WMMI, not of GRMS. With these attendant circumstances, the Court rules that the first confirmatory element indubitably exists. Second, WMMI exercised control over the employees supplied by GRMS. The second confirmatory element under DO 18-02 does not require the application of the economic test and, even more so, the four-fold test to determine whether or not the relation between the parties is one of labor only contracting. All it requires is that the contractor does not exercise control over the employees it supplies, making the control test of paramount consideration. The fact that Golden Rock pays for Dalag's wages and salaries then has no bearing in resolving the issue. Here, notwithstanding the contract stipulation leaving Golden Rock the exclusive right to conirol the working warm bodies it provides WM MFG, evidence irresistibly suggests that it was WM MFG who actually exercised supervision over Dalag's work performance. As culled from the records, Dalag was supervised by WM MFG's employees. Having ascertained that the essential element and at least one confirmatory element obtain in the extant case, there is then no other result than for the Court to rule that WM MFG and Golden Rock engaged in laboronly contracting. As such, they are, by legal fiction, considered principal and agent, respectively, jointly and severally liable to their illegally dismissed employees, in accordance with Art. 109 of the Labor Code66 and Sec. 19 of DO 18-02. (2) No. WMMI dismissed Dalag for just cause, but did not comply with the procedural requirements. To constitute just cause for an· employee's dismissal, the neglect of duties must not only be gross but also habitual. Gross neglect means an absence of that diligence that an ordinarily prudent man would use in his own affairs. Meanwhile, to be considered habitual, the negligence must not be a single or isolated act. Here, WM MFG duly established that Dalag was terminated for just cause on the second ground. The litany of Dalag's infractions, as detailed in memos 20 l 0-13 up to 2010-18 demonstrated how Dalag repeatedly failed to report to his supervisor the problems he encountered with the side-seal machine assigned to him for operation. This failure resulted in
repeated machine breakdowns that caused production and delivery delays, and lost business opportunities for the company. Petition granted.
[ G.R. No. 203882, January 11, 2016 ] LORELEI O. ILADAN, petitioner, vs. LA SUERTE INTERNATIONAL MANPOWER AGENCY, INC., and DEBBIE LAO, Respondents. FACTS:
La Suerte is a recruitment agency authorized by the POEA o It hired Iladan to work as a domestic helper in HK for 2 years o Barely 8 days into her job, Iladan executed a handwritten resignation letter and thereafter signed an affidavit of release, waiver and quitclaim. o On the same day, Iladan accepted the 35k financial assistance offered by Domestic Services on the agreement that it would constitute as a final settlement of her contractual claims and waiver of any cause of action against the latter and the respondent. Iladan, in violation of their agreement, filed a complaint for illegal dismissal, among others o She alleged that she was forced to resign by her employer and was constrained to accept the financial assistance as she needed the money to defray expenses going to back to the PH. o She presented evidence that would prove that she incurred debts for the placement fee amounting to 90k Respondents claimed that Iladan voluntarily resigned as shown by the affidavit of Release, Waiver and Quitclaim which was executed before PH Consulate officials in HK and that it denied collecting placement fee considering the prohibition of the POEA Labor Arbiter: Iladan was illegally dismissed o Respondent’s allegation that Iladan voluntarily resigned is highly improbable considering what she had gone through to get employment abroad. o The Affidavit of Release, Waiver and Quitclaim cannot be considered because she was not assisted by counsel and Quitclaims are looked upon with disfavor. o LA struck down the allegation that they did not charge placement fee considering that they are engaged in recruitment for profit. NLRC dismissed the appeal of the petitioner and affirmed the decision of the LA CA reversed the LA and NLRC decision. Hence, this case. o Voluntary resignation was substantially proven by her resignation letter, affidavit of release, quitclaim and her acceptance of 35k. o Counsel was not necessary since she was accompanied by the Labor Attache and a Conciliator-Mediator
ISSUE: 1. W/N Iladan’s resignation was voluntary 2. W/N placement fee was paid RULING: Iladan's resignation was voluntary; there was no illegal dismissal In illegal dismissal cases, the employer has the burden of proving that the employee's dismissal was legal. However, to discharge this burden, the employee must first prove, by substantial evidence, that he had been dismissed from employment. Iladan did not adduce any competent evidence to prove that respondents used force and threat.
In the instant case, Iladan executed a resignation letter in her own handwriting.
She also accepted the amount of P35,000.00 as financial assistance and executed an Affidavit of Release, Waiver and Quitclaim and an Agreement, as settlement and waiver of any cause of action against respondents. o
The affidavit of waiver and the settlement were acknowledged/subscribed before Labor Attache Romulo on August 6, 2009, and duly authenticated by the Philippine Consulate. An affidavit of waiver duly acknowledged before a notary public is a public document which cannot be impugned by mere self-serving allegations. Proof of an irregularity in its execution is absolutely essential. The Agreement
likewise bears the signature of Conciliator-Mediator Diaz. Thus, the signatures of these officials sufficiently prove that Iladan was duly assisted when she signed the waiver and settlement. No placement fee was paid.
Court finds no sufficient evidence that payment had been made. o
Iladan and her mother's affidavit attesting to its payment are self-serving evidence and deserve no weight at all. Neither did the mortgage loan and deed of transfer executed in favor of third persons as well as the letter from Nippon prove that placement fee was paid to respondents. These documents merely show that Iladan is indebted to certain persons and to Nippon; however, they do not prove that these indebtedness were incurred in connection with the placement fee she purportedly paid to respondents. As aptly ruled by the CA, Iladan has the burden of proving, with clear and convincing evidence, the fact of payment.
[ G.R. No.214092, January 11, 2016 ] ENRIQUEZ, LEONORA K. BENEDICTO vs. OBRERO FILIPINO-ECHO 2000 CHAPTER FACTS:
King 8, Echo’s predecessor, employed Cortes and Somido. Echo therafter absorbed the respondents as employees. Somido was a Warehouse Checker, while Cortes, a forklift operator. o Respondents and their co-workers formed Obrero Pilipino-Echo 2000 Commercial Chapter (Union). o Cortes was elected as Vice President while Somido became an active member. Echo received information about shortages in peso value arising from the movement of products to and from its warehouse. o Echo suspected there was a conspiracy and, in the exercise of its management prerogative, decided to re-assign the staff. Respondents were affected. o Enriquez issued a memo informing respondents of their transfer to the Delivery Section. It would entail no change in ranks, status and salaries. o Somido and Cortes wrote a letter to Echo indicating their refusal to be promoted and that they are not ready for a sensitive position which requires more expertise and training. o Echo alleged that the respondents did not perform the new duties assigned to them and demanded an explanation in writing regarding their failure to abide. Echo clarified that respondent are not supervisors but are Delivery Coordinators. o Because of respondents continuous refusal to acknowledge the receipt and compliance with the memo, they were suspended for 5 days without pay, then later informed about their termination, by reason of their repeated refusal to acknowledge receipt of Echo’s memoranda and flagrant defiance to assume the duties of Delivery Coordinators. Respondents filed in the NLRC a complaint for unfair labor practice, illegal dismissal, illegal suspension, illegal deductions and payment of money claims, damages and attorney’s fees against Echo. o Respondents claimed that they were offered promotions as a ploy to remove them as rank-andfile employess, and oust them as Union members. o Petitioners asserted that they were not promoted, but merely transferred. Furthermore, respondents arrogantly refused to comply with the directives and their insubordination constituted just cause to terminate them. o Labor Arbiter dismissed the complaint. o NLRC reversed the LA. o CA affirmed in toto.
ISSUE: Whether there was lawful termination? RULING: The offer or transfer is, in legal contemplation, a promotion, which the respondents validly refused. Such refusal cannot be the basis for the respondents’ dismissal. For promotion to occur, there must be an advancement from one position to another or an upward vertical movement of the employee’s rank. An employee is not bound to accept a promotion, which is in the nature of a gift or reward. Refusal to be promoted is a valid exercise of a right. Such exercise cannot be considered in law as insubordination, or willful disobedience of a lawful order of the employer, hence, it cannot be the basis of an employee’s dismissal from service. In the case at bar, a Warehouse Checker and a Forklift Operator are rank and file employees. The job of Delivery Coordinators requires the exercise of discretion and judgment from time to time. Hence, they are not the same weight as those of Warehouse Checker or Forklift Operator. Despite the fact that no salary increases were effected, the assumption of the post of a Delivery Coordinator should be considered a promotion. The respondents’ refusal to accept the same was valid. A dismissal may be contrary to law but by itself alone, it does not establish bad faith to entitle the dismissed employee to moral damages. Damages cannot be justified solely upon the premise that the employer dismissed his employee without just or authorized cause. In the case at bar, the right not to accept an offered promotion pertained to each of the respondents. However, they exhibited disrespectful behavior by their repeated refusal to receive the memoranda. Although the court finds the dismissal unwarranted, there is no basis for the moral and
exemplary damages in their favor. Echo merely imposed disciplinary penalties upon the respondents intransigence. The court further ruled that there was no Unfair Labor Practice in this case. Unfair labor practices violate the constitutional right of workers and employees to self-organization. The respondents allege that their transfer/promotion was intended to deprive the Union of leadership and membership. However it lack substantiation. Unfair labor practice is a serious charge, and the respondents failed to show that the petitioners conclusively interfered with, restrained, or coerced employees in the exercise of their right to self-organization.
[ G.R. No. 178510, January 11, 2016 ] NILO S. RODRIGUEZ, et al., petitioners, vs. PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, INC., AND NLRC, respondents.
FACTS: The Rodriguez et al. are former pilots of Philippine Airlines Inc. (PAL) which were deemed to have lost their employment status for taking part in the illegal strike in June 1998. 1st ALPAP Case: On December 9, 1997, the Airline Pilots Association of the Philippines (ALPAP) filed with the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) a Notice of Strike, on the grounds of unfair labor practice and union-busting by PAL. By virtue of the authority vested upon him under Article 263(g) of the Labor Code, the Secretary of Labor assumed jurisdiction over the Strike Case, and issued an Order on December 23, 1997 prohibiting all actual and impending strikes and lockouts. On May 25, 1998, the DOLE Secretary issued another Order reiterating the prohibition against strikes and lockouts. Despite the abovementioned Orders of the DOLE Secretary, ALPAP filed a second Notice of Strike on June 5, 1998 and staged a strike on the same day at around 5:30 in the afternoon. The DOLE Secretary immediately called PAL and ALPAP for conciliation conferences on June 6 and 7, 1998 to amicably settle the dispute between them. After his efforts failed, the DOLE Secretary issued a Returnto-Work Order on June 7, 1998. On June 26, 1998, the members of ALPAP reported for work but PAL did not accept them on the ground that the 24-hour period for the strikers to return set by the DOLE Secretary in his Return-toWork Order had already lapsed, resulting in the forfeiture of their employment. Consequently, ALPAP filed with the NLRC on June 29, 1998 a Complaint for illegal lockout against PAL. ALPAP averred that after its counsel received the Return-to-Work Order on June 25, 1998, its members reported back to work on June 26, 1998 in compliance with the 24-hour period set in the said Order. ALPAP prayed that PAL be ordered to unconditionally accept its members back to work and pay the salaries and other benefits due them. On August 21, 1998, the Acting Executive Labor Arbiter ordered the consolidation of the Illegal Lockout Case with the Strike Case pending before the DOLE Secretary. The DOLE Secretary issues a resolution declaring the strike conducted by ALPAP on June 5, 1998 and thereafter illegal for being procedurally infirm and in open defiance of the return-to-work order of June 7, 1998 and consequently, the strikers are deemed to have lost their employment status and also dismissed the complaint for illegal lockout for lack of merit. ALPAP assailed the foregoing Resolutions of the DOLE Secretary in the consolidated Strike and Illegal Lockout Cases in a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 before the CA. The appellate court dismissed said Petition. ALPAP elevated the case to this Court by filing a Petition for Certiorari. However, he Court dismissed the Petition of ALPAP in a minute Resolution for failure of ALPAP to show grave abuse of
discretion on the part of the appellate court. Said Resolution dismissing the 1st ALPAP case became final and executory on August 29, 2002. The 2nd ALPAP Case: Thereafter, 32 ALPAP members with varying ranks of captain, first officer, and second officer – filed with the NLRC on June 7, 1999 a Complaint for illegal dismissal against PAL (Illegal Dismissal Case). The 32 ALPAP members alleged that they were not participants of the June 5, 1998 strike of ALPAP and that they had no obligation to comply with the Return-to-Work Order of the DOLE Secretary. PAL terminated complainants from employment together with the strikers who disobeyed the Return-toWork Order, even though complainants had valid reasons for not reporting for work. They further asserted that PAL did not observe the twin requirements of notice and hearing in effecting their termination; that PAL refused to admit them when they reported for work on June 26, 1998; and that PAL, which long planned to reduce its fleet and manpower, took advantage of the strike by dismissing its pilots en masse. Complainants thus prayed for reinstatement to their former positions without loss of seniority rights; backwages and other monetary claims; and moral and exemplary damages, and attorney’s fees. PAL averred that the Complaint for illegal dismissal is an offshoot of the Strike and Illegal Lockout Cases wherein the DOLE Secretary already adjudged with finality that the striking pilots lost their employment for participating in an illegal strike and/or disobeying the Return-to-Work Order. Hence, PAL argued that the Complaint was already barred by res judicata. LA found the dismissal of the 32 ALPAP members illegal and ordered PAL to reinstate complainants to their former positions without loss of seniority rights, privileges and benefits and to pay complainants their full backwages from June 9, 1998 up to date of reinstatement. The NLRC reversed the LA’s decision on November 6, 2001. According to the NLRC, the strike was not a one-day affair. It started on June 5, 1998 and lasted until the later part of June 1998. Complainants’ assertion that they were not strikers was controverted by the photographs submitted as evidence by PAL showing that several complainants were at the strike area on June 9, 1998, some even holding a streamer saying: “WE ARE ON STRIKE.” The NLRC gave weight to the finding of the DOLE Secretary, affirmed by the Court of Appeals that ALPAP was served a copy of the Return-to-Work Order on June 8, 1998, thus, the ALPAP strikers had 24 hours, or until June 9, 1998, to comply with said Order. However, based on the logbook, the complainants only reported back to work on June 26, 1998. As a result of their defiance of the DOLE Secretary’s Return-to-Work Order, complainants lost their employment status as of June 9, 1998. Even if complainants were supposedly on official leave or offduty during the strike, records revealed that their official leave or off-duty status had expired at least two weeks before June 26, 1998. The logbook establishing that complainants reported for work only on June 26, 1998 must prevail over the complainants’ unsupported allegations that they called PAL offices upon the expiration of their respective leaves or days off to verify the status of their flights. CA reversed the NLRC’s decision and upheld the LA’s decision that the ALPAP members were dismissed illegally.
In the meantime, during the pendency of the instant Petitions, the Court decided on June 6, 2011 [Airline Pilots Association of the Philippines v. Philippine Airlines, Inc,.] (2nd ALPAP case). The 2nd ALPAP case arose from events that took place following the finality on August 29, 2002 of the Resolution dated April 10, 2002 which dismissed the 1st ALPAP case. ISSUE: Whether the Decision in the 1st case constitutes res judicata to the present case [2nd case]? RULING: The Court, in the 2nd ALPAP case, acknowledged the illegal dismissal cases instituted by the individual ALPAP members before the NLRC following their termination for the strike in June 1998 (which were apart from the Strike and Illegal Lockout Cases of ALPAP before the DOLE Secretary) and affirmed the jurisdiction of the NLRC over said illegal dismissal cases. The Court, though, also expressly pronounced in the 2nd ALPAP case that “the pendency of the foregoing cases should not and could not affect the character of our disposition over the instant case. Rather, these cases should be resolved in a manner consistent and in accord with our present disposition for effective enforcement and execution of a final judgment.” The Petitions at bar began with the Illegal Dismissal Case of Rodriguez, et al. and eight other former pilots of PAL before the NLRC. Among the Decisions rendered by Labor Arbiter Robles, the NLRC, and the Court of Appeals herein, it is the one by the NLRC which is consistent and in accord with the disposition for effective enforcement and execution of the final judgments in the 1st and 2nd ALPAP cases. The 1st and 2nd ALPAP cases which became final and executory on August 29, 2002 and September 9, 2011, respectively, constitute res judicata on the issue of who participated in the illegal strike in June 1998 and whose services were validly terminated. The elements for res judicata in the second concept, i.e., conclusiveness of judgment, are extant in these cases. There is identity of parties in the 1st and 2nd ALPAP cases, on one hand, and the Petitions at bar. While the 1st and 2nd ALPAP cases concerned ALPAP and the present Petitions involved several individual members of ALPAP, the union acted in the 1st and 2nd ALPAP cases in representation of its members. In fact, in the 2nd ALPAP case, the Court explicitly recognized that the complaint for illegal lockout was filed by ALPAP on behalf of all its members who were returning to work. Also in the said case, ALPAP raised, albeit belatedly, exactly the same arguments as Rodriguez, et al. herein. Granting that there is no absolute identity of parties, what is required, however, for the application of the principle of res judicata is not absolute, but only substantial identity of parties. ALPAP and Rodriguez, et al. share an identity of interest from which flowed an identity of relief sought, namely, the reinstatement of the terminated ALPAP members to their former positions. Such identity of interest is sufficient to make them privy-in-law, one to the other, and meets the requisite of substantial identity of parties. There is likewise an identity of issues between the 1st and 2nd ALPAP cases and these cases. Rodriguez, et al., insist that they did not participate in the June 1998 strike, being on official leave or
scheduled off-duty. Nonetheless, on the matter of determining the identities of the ALPAP members who lost their employment status because of their participation in the illegal strike in June 1998, the Court is now conclusively bound by its factual and legal findings in the 1st and 2nd ALPAP cases. In the 1st ALPAP case, the Court upheld the DOLE Secretary’s Resolution dated June 1, 1999 declaring that the strike of June 5, 1998 was illegal and all ALPAP officers and members who participated therein had lost their employment status. The Court in the 2nd ALPAP case ruled that even though the dispositive portion of the DOLE Secretary’s Resolution did not specifically enumerate the names of those who actually participated in the illegal strike, such omission cannot prevent the effective execution of the decision in the 1st ALPAP case. The Court referred to the records of the Strike and Illegal Lockout Cases, particularly, the logbook, which it unequivocally pronounced as a “crucial and vital piece of evidence.” In the words of the Court in the 2nd ALPAP case, “[t]he logbook with the heading ‘Return-To-Work Compliance/Returnees’ bears their individual signature signifying their conformity that they were among those workers who returned to work only on June 26, 1998 or after the deadline imposed by DOLE. x x x In fine, only those returning pilots, irrespective of whether they comprise the entire membership of ALPAP, are bound by the June 1, 1999 DOLE Resolution.”
[ G.R. No. 187691, January 13, 2016] OLYMPIA HOUSING, INC. vs. ALLAN LAPASTORA AND IRENE UBALUBAO FACTS: Respondents Lapostora and Ubalubao alleged that they were employees of petitioner as they were directly hired by the latter and received salaries directly from its operations clerk, control over them were exercised in the form of time cards and disciplinary reports. Petitioner contended that the respondents were not their employees, but of Fast Manpower, to which it had a contract of services and who deployed respondents. Ubalubao later on withdrew her complaint. ISSUE: Whether or not there is an employer – employee relationship between Petitioner and Respondents RULING: Lapastora was a regular employee of OHI. His uninterrupted employment from March 3, 1995 until he was placed on floating status on February 2000 manifests the continuing need and desirability of his services, which characterize regular employment By the nature of its business of managing condominium units, it is imperative that OHI maintains a pool of housekeeping staff. It is no wonder why Lapastora, among several others, was continuously employed by OHI precisely because of the indispensability of their services to its business. The fact alone that Lapastora was allowed to work for an unbroken period of almost five years is all the same a reason to consider him a regular employee. The attainment of a regular status of employment guarantees the employee's security of tenure that he cannot be unceremoniously terminated from employment. "To justify fully the dismissal of an employee, the employer must, as a rule, prove that the dismissal was for a just cause and that the employee was afforded due process prior to dismissal. As a complementary principle, the employer has the onus of proving with clear, accurate, consistent, and convincing evidence the validity of the dismissal.
[ G.R. No. 209921 January 13, 2016 ] QUIRO-QUIRO vs. BALAGTAS CREDIT COOPERATIVE & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, INC. FACTS: Balagtas Credit Cooperative and Community Development, Inc. (BCCCDI) initially hired Emma H. Quiro-quiro as accountant/bookkeeper in 1989. However, sometime in April 2010, BCCCDI terminated the employment of Quiroquiro, who then held the concurrent posts of General Manager and Accountant, on the grounds of gross negligence/violation of company rules and gross dishonesty. Aggrieved, Quiro-quiro filed a complaint for illegal dismissal and damages claiming that her dismissal did not satisfy the requirements of due process, as she was not given “ample opportunity,” nor the “natural sequence of notice of charges, hearing and notice of judgment. On the other hand, BCCCDI and its officers averred that the termination of Quiro-quiro’s employment based on the charges against her were “official acts” of the cooperative BCCCDI. It alleged that Quiro-quiro sent a letter of apology admitting her “shortcomings and wrongdoings”. The board and officers convened with Quiro-quiro in attendance. There, she explained her side and answered questions from the board. Thereafter, the board put the matter to a vote and unanimously decided to terminate Quiro-quiro’s services. The decision to terminate Quiroquiro’s employment was communicated to her through a Notice to Terminate. The LA ruled in favor of BCCCDI, but the NLRC reversed. On appeal, the CA ruled in favor of BCCCDI. ISSUE: Whether or not Quiro-quiro’s dismissal was valid and complied with due process requirements. RULING: Yes. Quiro-quiro was validly dismissed. BCCCDI was able to prove by substantial evidence that Quiro-quiro’s dismissal is lawful. BCCCI presented documents and affidavits establishing Quiro-quiro’s gross negligence and her breach of respondent’s trust and confidence in her. We agree with the finding of the CA that Quiro-quiro’s “inability to stop during her watch an over withdrawal by one member, amounting to P250,000.00,” and followed by a series of monthly withdrawals, “constitutes gross and habitual neglect of duty that is a just cause for her dismissal.” Clearly, Quiro-quiro’s act of allowing the over withdrawal of P250,000 on the time deposit placement of a member and her subsequent inaction and non-rectification of such misconduct breached respondent’s trust and confidence in her, warranting the penalty of dismissal. While Quiro-quiro's dismissal is lawful, we sustain the award of P30,000 nominal damages in favor of Quiro-quiro for BCCCDI's nonobservance of the due process requirements in dismissing her. Furthermore, the 48 hours given to Quiro-quiro to explain her side was insufficient time to consult the union official or lawyer, gather data and evidence and decide on her defenses. Quiro-quiro should have been given at least five calendar days from receipt of the notice to prepare for her defense. Notwithstanding, the lack of statutory due process does not nullify the dismissal or render it illegal or ineffectual when the dismissal was for just cause, but it will merit the grant of nominal damages as indemnification. Petition denied.
[ G.R. No. 199683, February 10, 2016 ] ARLENE T. SAMONTE, et al., petitioners, vs. LSGH, BRO. BERNARD S. OCA, respondents.
FACTS: From 1989, La Salle Greenhills, Inc. (LSGI) contracted the· services of medical professionals, specifically pediatricians, dentists and a physician, to comprise its Health Service Team (HST). Petitioners, along with other members of ·the HST signed uniform one-page Contracts of Retainer for the period of a specific academic cal~ndar beginning in June of a certain year (1989 and the succeeding 15 years) and terminating in March of the following year when the school year ends. After fifteen consecutive years of renewal each academic year, where the last Contract of Retainer was for the school year of 2003-2004, LSGI Head Administrator, on that last day of the school year, informed the Medical Service Team, including herein petitioners, that their contracts will no longer be renewed for the following school year by reason of LSGI's decision to hire two (2) full-time doctors and dentists. When petitioners', along with their medical colleagues', requests for payment of their separation pay were denied, they filed a complaint for illegal dismissal with prayer for separation pay, damages and attorney's fees before the NLRC. They alleged that they were regular employees who could only be dismissed for just and authorized causes LSGI denied that complainants were regular employees, asserting: that complainants were independent contractors who were retained by LSGI by reason of their medical skills and expertise to provide ancillary medical and dental services; that LSGI had no power to impose disciplinary measures upon complainants including dismissal from employment; and that LSGI had no power of control over how complainants actually performed their professional services. The LA dismissied petitioners’ complaint, but the NLRC reversed. On appeal, the CA ruled against petitioners. ISSUE: Whether or not the CA correctly ruled that the NLRC did not commit grave abuse of discretion in ruling that petitioners were not regular employees who may only be dismissed for just and authorized causes. RULING: NO. In the case at bar, the CA disregarded the repeated renewals of the Contracts of Retainer of petitioners spanning a decade and a half. While vague in its sparseness, the Contract of Retainer very clearly spelled out that LSGI had the power of control over petitioners. It is enough that the employer has the right to wield that power. In all, given the following: ( 1) repeated renewal of petitioners' contract for fifteen years, interrupted only by the close of the school year; (2) the necessity of the work performed by petitioners as school physicians ~and dentists; and (3) the existence of LSGI's power of control over the means and method pursued by petitioners in the performance of their job, we rule that petitioners attained regular employment, entitled to security of tenure who could only be dismissed for just and authorized causes. Consequently, petitioners were illegally dismissed and are entitled to the twin remedies of payment of separation pay and full back wages. We order separation pay in lieu of reinstatement given the time that has lapsed, twelve years, in the litigation of this case. Petition granted.
[ G.R. No. 208986 January 13, 2016 ] HIJO RESOURCES CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. EPIFANIO P. MEJARES, et al., respondents. FACTS: Respondents alleged that petitioner Hijo Resources Corporation (HRC), formerly known as Hijo Plantation Incorporated (HPI), is the owner of agricultural lands in Madum, Tagum, Davao del Norte, which were planted primarily with Cavendish bananas. Respondents claimed that they were employed by Hijo Resources Corporation (HPI) as farm workers in HPI's plantations occupying various positions as area harvesters, packing house workers, loaders, or labelers. They were absorbed by HRC, but they were working under the contractor-growers: Buenaventura Tano (Bit Farm); Djerame Pausa (Djevon Farm); and Ramon Q. Laurente (Raquilla Farm). Respondents formed their union NAMABDJERA-HRC. When HRC learned that respondents formed a union, the three contractor-growers filed with the DOLE a notice of cessation of business operations. Respondents were terminated from their employment on the ground of cessation of business operations by the contractor-growers of HRC. Then, respondents, represented by NAMABDJERA-HRC, filed a case for unfair labor practices, illegal dismissal, and illegal deductions with prayer for moral and exemplary damages and attorney's fees before the NLRC. DOLE Med-Arbiter Lito A. Jasa issued an Order, dismissing NAMABDJERA-HRC's petition for certification election on the ground that there was no employer-employee relationship between Respondents (members of NAMABDJERA-HRC) and HRC. Respondents did not appeal the Order of Med-Arbiter Jasa but pursued the illegal dismissal case they filed. HRC filed a motion to dismiss the complaint for illegal dismissal. The motion to dismiss was anchored on the following arguments: (1) Lack of jurisdiction under the principle of res judicata; and (2) The Order of the MedArbiter finding that complainants were not employees of HRC, which Respondents did not appeal, had become final and executory. The Labor Arbiter ruled that the decision of the Med-Arbiter in a certification election case, by the nature of that proceedings, does not foreclose further dispute between the parties as to the existence or non-existence of employer-employee relationship between them. Thus, the finding of Med-Arbiter Jasa that no employment relationship exists between HRC and Respondents does not bar the Labor Arbiter from making his own independent finding on the same issue. The NLRC held that the Med-Arbiter order dismissing the certification election case on the ground of lack of employer-employee relationship between HRC and Respondents (members of NAMABDJERA-HRC) constitutes res judicata under the concept of conclusiveness of judgment, and thus, warrants the dismissal of the case. The NLRC ruled that the Med-Arbiter exercises quasi-judicial power and the Med-Arbiter's decisions and orders have, upon their finality, the force and effect of a final judgment within the purview of the doctrine of res judicata. The Court of Appeals reversed and set aside the NLRC decision and concluded that the decision in a certification election case does not foreclose further dispute as to the existence or non-existence of an employer-employee relationship between HRC and the Respondents. ISSUE: Whether a decision in a certification election does foreclose further dispute as to the existence or nonexistence of an employer-employee relationship. RULING: NO. The Med-Arbiter's order in this case dismissing the petition for certification election on the basis of non-existence of employer-employee relationship was issued after the members of the respondent union were dismissed from their employment. The purpose of a petition for certification election is to determine which organization will represent the employees in their collective bargaining with the employer.The respondent union, without its member-employees, was thus stripped of its personality to challenge the Med-Arbiter's decision in the certification election case. Thus, the members of the respondent union were left with no option but to pursue their illegal dismissal case filed before the Labor Arbiter. To dismiss the illegal dismissal case filed before the Labor Arbiter on the basis of the pronouncement of the Med-Arbiter in the certification election case that there was no employer-employee relationship between the parties, which the respondent union could not even appeal to the DOLE Secretary because of the dismissal of its members, would be tantamount to denying due process to the complainants in the illegal dismissal case. This, Supreme Court cannot allow.
[ G.R. No. 202885, January 20, 2016 ] WALLEM MARITIME SERVICES, INC., et al., petitioners, vs. EDWINITO V. QUILLAO, respondent.
FACTS: WMS is a local manning agency, with Reginaldo A. Oben (Oben) as its President and Manager. 4 On September 30, 2008, WMS, for and in behalf of its foreign principal, WSL, hired respondent as fitter aboard the vessel Crown Garnet for a period of nine months with a monthly salary of US$698.00.Respondent’s employment was covered by a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the Associated Marine, Officers' and Seamen's Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP) and WSL - Hong Kong, represented by WMS. Respondent averred that in January 2009, he started experiencing neck and lower back pain. In April 2009, he purportedly noticed numbness and weakness of his left hand. Respondent stated that towards the end of his contract, the Chief Engineer tried to convince him to extend his contract but he declined. The Chief Engineer then told him that he would report to their Superintendent respondent's ailment. 8 Respondent further stated that he signed off from the vessel on July 13, 2009. Upon arrival in the Philippines on July 15, 2009, he was referred to the company-designated physicianand was diagnosed of cervical radiculopathy, thoracic and lumbar spondylosis, as well as carpal tunnel syndrome of the left, and trigger finger, third digit of his right hand. He underwent carpal tunnel surgery on his left hand, and physical therapy (PT) sessions for his cervical and lumbar condition.10 On September 9, 2009, Dr. Estrada reported that respondent's carpal tunnel surgery was healing well. Respondent followed up with his physiatrist, for his shoulder pain. 11 As of November 12, 2009, respondent had completed 24 PT sessions for his shoulder, upper back and cervical pain. However, the company-designated doctor declared that respondent was complaining of pain in these areas with poor response to therapy and medications. And because of complaint for low back pain, he advised respondent to defer PT sessions and seek the opinion of an orthopedic specialist.12 However, on November 23, 2009, the Legal Affairs Department of AMOSUP informed WMS of respondent's claim for disability benefits13 and the clarificatory conference scheduled on November 27, 2009. On November 24, 2009, respondent requested from the company-designated doctor the final assessment of his health condition but to no avail. On January 9, 2010, the company-designated doctor opined that respondent's chance of being declared fit to work was "quite good" provided he completes his remaining physical therapy sessions for about 4-6 weeks for his left hand pain and back pain. He also reported that respondent failed to return for his consultation since November 12, 2009. After final evaluation, On March 12, 2010, the company-designated doctor gave respondent a final disability rating of Grade 10, and made the following pronouncements: Disability Grade 10 will be applicable to his present physical status under the POEA guidelines, x x x.19 On August 2, 2011, respondent consulted Dr. Renato P. Runas (Dr. Runas), an independent orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Runas diagnosed him of being afflicted with cervical and lumbar spondylosis with nerve root compression.20 On August 15, 2011, Dr. Runas opined that respondent "is not fit for further sea duty permanently in whatever capacity with a status equivalent to Grade 8" Impediment - moderate rigidity or 2/3 loss of trunk motion or lifting power. Respondent posited that he was entitled to permanent and total disability benefits because: he was declared fit to work prior to his last contract with petitioners; he sustained his illness in the course of and by reason of his work; despite surgery and PT, his condition did not improve; the company-designated physician did not assess the degree of his disability; his chosen physician declared him permanently unfit for sea duty; and, since repatriation, he had never been employed and his earning capacity had since then been impaired. 22
Petitioners stressed that when respondent filed a complaint before the AMOSUP on November 23, 2009, he was still undergoing treatment; and during which the company-designated physician had not yet given him a final disability assessment.24 They insisted that the company-designated doctor failed to give an assessment within 120 days because respondent failed to appear for his consultations with the company-designated doctors. 25 They explained that although no assessment was issued within the 120-day period, respondent was given a final assessment on March 12, 2010, or within the 240-day maximum period for treatment. The PVA rendered its Decision for respondent ordering the respondents Wallem Maritime Services[J Inc. and/or Wallem Shipmanagement Ltd., to jointly and severally pay complainant Edwinito V. Quillao, the amount of Eighty Nine Thousands [sic] One Hundred US Dollars (US$89,100.00) as disability benefits, plus ten percent thereof as attorney's fees, or a total of Ninety Eight Thousands [sic] One Hundred Ten US Dollars (US$98,110.00) or its peso equivalent converted at the time of payment. Petitioners filed a Petition for Review with the CA but the CA affirmed the decision of the Voluntary Arbitrators.
ISSUE: Is respondent entitled to permanent and total disability benefits? RULING: The respondent has no cause of action because the company-designated physician has not yet issued an assessment on respondent's medical condition; moreover the 240-day maximum period for treatment has not yet lapsed. The records clearly show that respondent was still undergoing treatment when he filed the complaint. On November 12, 2009, the physiatrist even advised respondent to seek the opinion of an orthopedic specialist42 Respondent, however, did not heed the advice, instead, he proceeded to file a Complaint on November 23, 2009 for disability benefits. And, it was only a day after its filing (or on November 24, 2009) that respondent requested from the company-designated doctor the latter's assessment on his medical condition. Stated differently, respondent filed the Complaint within the 240-day period while he was still under the care of the company-designated doctor. Significantly, we note that respondent has not even consulted his doctor-of-choice before instituting his Complaint for disability benefits. Clearly, the Complaint was premature. Respondent has no cause of action yet at the time of its filing as the company-designated doctor has no opportunity to definitely assess his condition because he was still undergoing treatment; and the 240-day period had not lapsed. 43 Moreover, he has no basis for claiming permanent and total disability benefits because he has not yet consulted his doctor-of-choice. Section 20(D) of the POEA-SEC "[n]o compensation and benefits shall be payable in respect of any injury, incapacity, disability or death of the seafarer resulting from his willful or criminal act or intentional breach of his duties, provided however, that the employer can prove that such injury, incapacity, disability or death is directly attributable to the seafarer." Moreover, on April 20, 2010, the company-designated physician reported that had respondent "been cooperative with his treatment and shown interest in improving his medical condition, it is possible to declare him fit to work on board as a fitter and in any capacity. For this reason, [he advised] that the permanent unfitness clause does not apply in his case. Respondent was well aware of the need for him to undergo and continue his PT sessions. He even admitted during the grievance proceedings on his disability claim that he was advised to continue his PT until March 15, 2010. Indeed, respondent did not comply with the terms of the POEA-SEC. The failure of the company-designated doctor to issue an assessment was not of his doing but resulted from respondent's refusal to cooperate and undergo further treatment. Such failure to abide with the procedure under the POEA-SEC results in his nonentitlement to disability benefits.
[ GR No. 212070, January 27, 2016 ] CEBU PEOPLE'S MULTI-PURPOSE COOPERATIVE, petitioner, vs. NICERATO E. CARBONILLA, JR., respondent.
FACTS: On November 14, 2005, CPMPC hired Carbonilla, Jr. as a Credit and Collection Manager and, as such, was tasked with the handling of the credit collection activities of the cooperative, which included recommending approvals, formulating and implementing credit and collection policies and conducting trainings. Sometime in 2007, CPMPC underwent a reorganization whereby Carbonilla, Jr. was also assigned to perform the duties of Human Resources Department (HRD) Manager, i.e., assisting in the personnel hiring, firing, and handling of labor disputes. In 2008, he was appointed as Legal Officer and subsequently, held the position of Legal and Collection Manager. However, beginning February 2008, CPMPC, through its HRD Manager, Ma. Theresa R. Marquez (HRD Manager Marquez), sent various memoranda to Carbonilla, Jr. seeking explanation on the various infractions he allegedly committed. Unconvinced by Carbonilla, Jr.'s explanations, CPMPC scheduled several clarificatory hearings, but the former failed to attend despite due notice. Later, CPMPC conducted a formal investigation where it ultimately found Carbonilla, Jr. to have committed acts prejudicial to CPMPC's interests. As such, CPMPC, CEO Quevedo, sent Carbonilla, Jr. a Notice of Dismissal dated August 5, 2008 informing the latter of his termination on the grounds of: (a) loss of trust and confidence; (b) gross disrespect; (c) serious misconduct; (d) gross negligence; (e) commission of a crime of falsification/inducing Aguipo to violate the law or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code; and (f) committing acts highly prejudicial to the interest of the cooperative. Consequently, Carbonilla, Jr. filed the instant case for illegal dismissal, non-payment salaries, 13th month pay, as well as damages and backawages, against CPMPC, before the NLRC. In support o f his claims, Carbonilla, Jr. denied the administrative charges against him, asserting that the Management and Board of Directors of CPMPC merely orchestrated means to unjustly dismiss him from employment. CPMPC maintained that the totality of Carbonilla, Jr.'s infractions was sufficient to warrant his dismissal, and that it had complied with the procedural due process in terminating him. The La dismissed the complaint for lack of merit. The LA found that Carbonilla, Jr. committed a litany of infractions, the totality of which constituted just cause for the termination of his employment. Likewise, it was determined that CPMPC afforded Carbonilla, Jr. procedural due process prior to his termination, as evinced by the former's issuance of a series of memoranda, as well as its conduct of investigation with notices to the latter.
The NLRC affirmed the LA ruling. It found CPMPC to have substantially proven the existence of just causes in dismissing Carbonilla, Jr., i.e., abuse of authority; disrespect to his colleagues and superiors; being remiss in his duties; and commission of acts of misrepresentations. The CA reversed and set aside the NLRC ruling. CPMPC failed to discharge the burden of proving that Carbonilla, Jr.'s dismissal was for just causes. ISSUE: Whether or not the CA correctly ascribed grave abuse of discretion on the part of the NLRC in ruling that Carbonilla, Jr.'s dismissal was valid. RULING: In labor disputes, grave abuse of discretion may be ascribed to the NLRC when, inter alia, its findings and conclusions are not supported by substantial evidence, or that amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion. Guided by the foregoing considerations, the Court finds that the CA committed reversible error in granting Carbonilla, Jr.'s certiorari petition since the NLRC did not gravely abuse its discretion in ruling that he was validly dismissed from employment as CPMPC was able to prove, through substantial evidence, the existence of just causes warranting the same. Basic is the rule that an employer may validly terminate the services of an employee for any of the just causes enumerated under Article 296 (formerly Article 282) of the Labor Code. As may be gathered from the tenor of CPMPC's Notice of Dismissal, it is apparent that Carbonilla, Jr.'s employment was terminated on the grounds of, among others, serious misconduct and loss of trust and confidence. On the first ground, case law characterizes misconduct as a transgression of some established and definite rule of action, a forbidden act, a dereliction of duty, willful in character and implies wrongful intent and not mere error in judgment. For misconduct to be considered as a just cause for termination, the following requisites must concur: (a) the misconduct must be serious; (b) it must relate to the performance of the employee's duties showing that the employee has become unfit to continue working for the employer; and (c) it must have been performed with wrongful intent. All of the foregoing requisites have been duly established in this case. Records reveal that Carbonilla, Jr.'s serious misconduct consisted of him frequently exhibiting disrespectful and belligerent behavior, not only to his colleagues, but also to his superiors. He even used his stature as a law graduate to insist that he is "above" them, often using misguided legalese to weasel his way out of the charges against him, as well as to strong-arm his colleagues and superiors into succumbing to his arrogance. Indisputably, Carbonilla, Jr.'s demeanor towards his colleagues and superiors is serious in nature as it is not only reflective of defiance but also breeds of antagonism in the work environment. Surely, within the bounds of law, management has the rightful prerogative to take away dissidents and undesirables from the workplace. It should not be forced to deal with difficult personnel, especially one who occupies
a position of trust and confidence, as will be later discussed, else it be compelled to act against the best interest of its business. For another, Carbonilla, Jr.'s dismissal was also justified on the ground of loss of trust and confidence. According to jurisprudence, loss of trust and confidence will validate an employee's dismissal when it is shown that: (a) the employee concerned holds a position of trust and confidence; and (b) he performs an act that would justify such loss of trust and confidence.93 There are two (2) classes of positions of trust: first, managerial employees whose primary duty consists of the management of the establishment in which they are employed or of a department or a subdivision thereof, and to other officers or members of the managerial staff; and second, fiduciary rank-and-file employees, such as cashiers, auditors, property custodians, or those who, in the normal exercise of their functions, regularly handle significant amounts of money or property. These employees, though rank-and-file, are routinely charged with the care and custody of the employer's money or property, and are thus classified as occupying positions of trust and confidence.
[ G.R. No. 203642, January 27, 2016 ] THOMASITES CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDIES vs. RODRIGUEZ, PADRIGON AND RILLERA FACTS: Respondents were graduates of UP and holders of teaching licenses from the PRC. o Dr. Park and Dr. Cho, Korean nationals and President and Academic Dean of the Thomasites Center for International Studies (TCIS), hired them. o Respondents were to develop academic programs for the school, design their curricula, create materials for the school website, recruit American and Filipino staff, draft documents etc. o There was no written contracts but the resondents were promised a monthly salary of Php 25,000.00 plus shares of stock. After classes opened, respondents had a disagreement with the American teachers regarding salaries. o The American teachers threatened to resign unless the respondents were terminated. o On that same day, respondents were served with their letters of termination. Respondents filed a case in the NLRC for illegal dismissal and money claims. o Labor Arbiter ruled in favor of the respondents and ordered reinstatement with full backwages. TCIS filed a petition for relief. o It claimed that the LA did not acquire jurisdiction over it since the summons and notices were addressed to Dr. Cho, who did not represent TCIS. o TCIS did not receive any notice of the proceedings; and, that although the NLRC is not bound by technical rules of procedure, TCIS’s right to due process was violated since it was deprived of the right to file its position paper. o NLRC denied the petition. CA dismissed their appeal. ISSUE: Whether there was violation of TCIS’s right to due process? RULING: Section 3, Rule 38 of the Rules of Court states that, a party filing a petition for relief from judgment must strictly comply with 2 reglementary periods: The petition must be filed within 60 days from knowledge of the judgment, order or other proceeding to be set aside; within a fixed period of 6 months from entry of such judgment, order or other proceeding. NLRC pointed out that TCIS’s petition for relief was filed beyond the period provided. The earliest it could have learned of the LA’s judgment was one June 21, 2006 when Dr. Cho received a copy and the latest was during the pre-execution conference. The Court agrees with the CA that no fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable negligence prevented TCIS from filing an appeal from the decision of the LA, even as the NLRC also noted that the petition also lacked the requisite affidavit showing the fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence, and the facts constituting its good and substantial cause of action. TCIS was afforded every opportunity to be heard.
[ G.R. No. 194134, February 1, 2016 ] JOSE ROMULO L. FRANCISCO vs. LOYOLA PLANS CONSOLIDATED, INC., ET AL. FACTS: Respondent hired Peitioner as National Training Officer on probationary basis. 6 months later he became a regular employee and was promoted as a Marketing Manager. Petitioner filed a complaint for illegal dismissal o He alleged that respondent’s VP for Marketing and sales, Mr. Monzon, falsified a resignation letter purportedly signed by petitioner. o (A criminal case for falsification of private document was filed against Monzon. This was prior to the illegal dismissal case.) Loyola, on the otherhand, claimed that Petitioner voluntary resigned. LA: The resolution of the illegal dismissal case should wait the outcome of the criminal case filed against Monzon. NLRC: on appeal, the NLRC affirmed the decision of the LA and held that the determination whether petitioner was illegally dismissed is dependent upon the resolution of the criminal case involving the forgery of the resignation letter. MeTC: Monzon is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Falsification. RTC and CA: affirmed Back to LA: Final conviction of Monzon simultaneously made the illegal termination of petitioner with finality invoking res judicata. NLRC: Modified the decision of the LA and deleted award for damages. Petitioner filed an appeal before the CA o Respondent’s counsel filed a motion and manifestation denying any legal relations with Monzon. It averred that Monzon has ceased to be in the employ of Loyola and had not made any communication with Loyola. In due course, CA denied the case with respect to Monzon on the ground that the CA did not acquire Jurisdiction since the resolution mailed to Monzon was returned unclaimed. Hence, this case. ISSUE: W/N the dismissal of the petition by the CA was proper RULING: NO. It is stressed that the petition for certiorari elevated to the CA is, by nature, an original and independent action. Therefore, the same is not considered as part of the trial that had resulted in the rendition of the judgment or order complained of. Being an original action, there is a need for the CA to acquire jurisdiction over the person of the parties to the case before it can be resolved on its merits. In petitions for certiorari filed before the CA, the latter acquires jurisdiction over the person of the respondent upon 1. the service of the order or resolution indicating the CA’s initial action on the petition to the respondent; or 2. the voluntary submission of the respondent to the CA’s jurisdiction. Records disclose that the CA served its Resolution dated September 17, 2008 indicating its initial action on the petition before it, directing petitioner to file certified copies of the parties’ position papers, among others. The said order was sent to Monzon through Atty. Josabeth Alonso, his counsel of record. Case law instructs that when a client is represented by counsel, notice to counsel is notice to client. In the absence of a notice of withdrawal or substitution of counsel, the court will rightly assume that the counsel of record continues to represent his client. In the case at bar, the counsel of respondents denied its representation of Monzon in a Motion and Manifestation dated October 28, 2008. It was only on May 8, 2009 that the counsel of respondents formally filed an Ex Parte Motion to Withdraw as Counsel of Monzon. Hence, prior to such notice of withdrawal as counsel, the CA aptly held in its Resolution that without notice of withdrawal of counsel filed by Monzon or his counsel, the CA rightly assumed that counsel of record continues to represent Monzon. Considering that the CA had issued a Resolution dated September 17, 2008 directing petitioner to file the necessary attachments, the resolution indicating the initial action taken by the CA, it cannot be denied that respondents were already aware of the certiorari proceedings before the CA and that jurisdiction had been acquired over their person. Thus, the CA had already acquired jurisdiction over both parties. Therefore, the CA erred in dismissing the case with respect to Monzon on the ground that it did not acquire jurisdiction over his person. The CA acquired jurisdiction over the person of Monzon upon the service of the resolution indicating its initial action to his counsel of record.
We will not rule upon the other issues raised by petitioner as this Court is not the proper venue to address the same in view of the pending petition for certiorari filed by the petitioner before the CA.
[ G.R. No. 212878, February 01, 2016 ] MARLOW NAVIGATION PHILS., INC. et al., petitioners, vs. WILFREDO L. CABATAY, respondent. FACTS: Wilfredo Cabatay was hired as able seaman by Petitioners Marlow Navigation, Philippines, Inc., and its principal Marlow Navigation Co., Ltd. The contract was supplemented by a collective bargaining agreement or the Total Crew Cost Fleet Agreement (TCC-FA). While on duty Cabatay had an accident and he was declared unfit to work for 25 days and was medically repatriated. He was immediately referred to the company doctor, Dr. Dolores Tay ( Dr. Tay), for examination and treatment, upon arriving in Manila. He went through an intensive treatment under the care of Dr. Tay for six months or for 180 days. At the conclusion of his treatment and therapy program,Dr. Tay issued a combined 36% disability assessment for Cabatay based on the compensation scale under the TCC-FA. Cabatay did not dispute Dr Tay's findings but asserted in his complaint that he was was entitled to permanent total disability benefits since he had lost his employment profession due to his injury which, he claimed, is compensated under the TCC-FA. CA held that Cabatay's disability had become permanent total, considering that while he was injured on December 30, 2009, he was still being given medical attention on June 3, 2010, a period of more than 120 days, or a total of 155 days ISSUE: Whether or not Cabatay is entitled to permanent total disability compensation RULING: For the duration of the treatment but in no case to exceed 120 days, the seaman is on temporary total disability as he is totally unable to work. If the 120 days initial period is exceeded and no such declaration is made because the seafarer requires further medical attention, then the temporary total disability period may be extended up to a maximum of 240 days, subject to the right of the employer to declare within this period that a permanent partial or total disability already exists. The seaman may of course also be declared fit to work at any time such declaration is justified by medical condition. It is established that Cabatay went through an intensive treatment, including special medical procedures and therapy sessions, under the care and management of Dr. Tay for six months or for 180 days within the 240-day extended period allowed under the rules implementing the employees compensation law. Since Dr. Tay had timely and duly made a disability assessment for Cabatay, the CA erred in ruling that he is entitled to permanent total disability benefits because he had lost his employment/profession. Neither can Cabatay's submission that he had lost his profession in contemplation of the TCC-FA prevail over Dr. Tay's assessment, not only because he did not dispute the assessment, but also because he did not go through the procedure under the agreement on how a disability is determined, permanent total or otherwise. Moreover, a seafarer cannot claim full disability benefits on his mere say-so in complete disregard of the POEASEC and the CBA, which are, to reiterate, the law between the parties and which they are duty bound to observe. And so it must be in Cabatay's case, especially when he refused the petitioners' offer that his medical condition be referred to a mutually appointed doctor under the TCC-FA, to determine whether, despite Dr. Tay's combined 36% disability assessment under the agreement, he is permanently unfit for further sea service.
[ G.R. No. 208451, February 3, 2016 ] MANILA MEMORIAL PARK CEMETERY, INC., petitioner, vs. EZARD D. LLUZ, et al., respondents. FACTS: Petitioner Manila Memorial Park Cemetery, Inc. entered into a Contract of Services with respondent Ward Trading and Services. The Contract of Services provided that Ward Trading, as an independent contractor, will render interment and exhumation services and other related work to Manila Memorial in order to supplement operations at Manila Memorial Park, Parañaque City. Among those assigned by Ward Trading to perform services at the Manila Memorial Park were the respondents. Respondent’s filed a complaint for regularization and Collective Bargaining Agreement benefits against Manila Memorial. They alleged that they asked Manila Memorial to consider them as regular workers within the appropriate bargaining unit established in the collective bargaining agreement by Manila Memorial and its union, the Manila Memorial Park Free Workers Union (MMP Union). But Manila Memorial refused the request since respondents were employed by Ward Trading, an independent labor contractor. Thereafter, respondents joined the MMP Union. Subsequently, respondents were dismissed by Manila Memorial. Thus, respondents amended the complaint to include the prayer for their reinstatement and payment of back wages. Meanwhile, Manila Memorial sought the dismissal of the complaint for lack of jurisdiction since there was no employer-employee relationship. Manila Memorial argued that respondents were employees of Ward Trading. The Labor Arbiter dismissed the complaint for failing to prove the existence of an employer-employee relationship. Respondent’s appealed to the NLRC but it reversed the Labor Arbiter’s findings. It ruled that Ward Trading was a labor-only contractor and an agent of Manila Memorial. Thereafter, Manila Memorial filed an appeal with the CA. The CA affirmed the ruling of the NLRC. It found the existence of an employer-employee relationship between Manila Memorial and respondents. ISSUE: Whether or not an employer-employee relationship exists between Manila Memorial and respondents for the latter to be entitled to their claim for wages and other benefits. RULING: YES. Labor-only contracting exists when the contractor or subcontractor merely recruits, supplies or places workers to perform a job, work or service for a principal and any of the following elements are present: 1) The contractor or subcontractor does not have substantial capital or investment which relates to the job, work or service to be performed and the employees recruited, supplied or placed by such contractor or subcontractor are performing activities which are directly related to the main business of the principal; or 2) The contractor does not exercise the right to control the performance of the work of the contractual employee. A closer look at the Contract of Service reveals that Ward Trading does not have substantial capital or investment in the form of tools, equipment, machinery, work premises and other materials since it is Manila Memorial which owns the equipment used in the performance of work needed for interment and exhumation services. Further, the records show that Manila Memorial and Enrique B. Lagdameo admitted that respondents performed various interment services at its Sucat, Parañaque branch which were directly related to Manila Memorial’s business of developing, selling and maintaining memorial parks and interment functions. Manila Memorial even retained the right to control the performance of the work of the employees concerned. The NLRC also found that Ward Trading’s business documents fell short of sound business practices. For failing to register as a contractor, a presumption arises that one is engaged in labor-only contracting unless the contractor overcomes the burden of proving that it has substantial capital, investment, tools and the like.
[ G.R. No. 201073, February 10, 2016 ] PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, INC. vs. PAL EMPLOYEES SAVINGS & LOAN ASSOCIATION, INC. FACTS: Respondent Philippine Airlines (PAL) Employees Savings and Loan Association, Inc. (PESALA) is a private nonstock corporation, the principal purposes of which are "to promote and cultivate the habit of thrift and saving among its members; and to that end, to receive moneys on deposits from said members; to loan said deposits to members when in need. The controversy began on July 11, 1997, when PESALA received from Atty. Jose C. Blanco (Blanco), then PAL Labor Affairs Officer-in-Charge, a Letter informing it that PAL shall implement a maximum 40% salary deduction on all its Philippine-based employees effective August 1, 1997. The Letter stated that, as all present Philippinebased collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) contain this maximum 40% salary deduction provision and to prevent "zero net pay" situations, PAL was going to strictly enforce said provision The respondent was able to obtain an injunction relief from the RTC enjoining PAL, Blanco, and all other persons or officials acting under them from implementing the maximum 40% limitation on salary deductions, and ordering PAL to strictly enforce the payroll deductions in favor of PESALA until further orders from the court. PAL failed to comply with the RTC orders. In the Decision dated November 6, 2002, the RTC made the writ of preliminary injunction earlier issued as permanent, the RTC also declared Blanco, Zapanta, and Huang guilty of indirect contempt and ordered them to remit or turn-over to PESALA the amount of P44,488,716.41 within three days from receipt of the Decision. PAL is essentially contesting the order directing it to pay PESALA the amount of P44,488,716.41, representing the balance between the deduction advice and the actual deducted amount. ISSUE: Whether or not the decision was contrary to Article 2055 of the Civil Code when it effectively declared a contract of guaranty between PAL and the members-debtors of PESALA. RULING: Contrary to PAL's erroneous argument, however, it is liable, not because it is being made a guarantor of the debts of PESALA's members, but because of its failure to comply with the RTC's directives. Indeed the amount of P44,488,716.41 has not yet been deducted from the salaries of the PESALA members and, precisely, the reason why such amount has not been deducted is because PAL contravened the RTC's TRO and WPI. PAL is therefore liable, not because it is being made a guarantor of the debts of PESALA's members, but because its own actions brought forth the loss in the case at bar.
[ G.R. No. 206256, February 24, 2016 ] GILBERT C. AUSTRIA, petitioner, vs. CRYSTAL SHIPPING INC, respondent. FACTS: Respondent Crystal Shipping, Inc., is a foreign corporation engaged in maritime business. It is represented in the Philippines by its manning agent, and co-respondent herein, Larvik Shipping A/S. Petitioner was hired by Crystal Shipping thru its manning agent, as Chief Cook. Under his contract, petitioner was covered by the Norwegian International Ship Register (NIS) - CBA. Prior to the execution of the contract, petitioner underwent a thorough Pre-Employment Medical Examination (PEME) and after compliance therewith, he was certified as "fit to work" by the company designated physician. On 27 August 2008, petitioner commenced his work as Chief Cook on board M/V Yara Gas. Sometime in the last week of September 2008, petitioner, while on board the vessel, started suffering from chronic cough with excessive phlegm and experienced difficulty breathing. He was found that he was suffering from "Bronchial Catarrh/Bronchitis; Pharnx Irritation. After giving him proper medication, the examining physician declared him ''fit for duty" and so he resumed his work in the vessel. In January 2009, petitioner again complained of similar symptoms, excessive cough with phlegm and difficulty breathing, and, was again referred for further medical examination in the Netherlands. This time he was confined at ZorgSaam Hospital from 20 January 2009 to 12 February 2009 where he was diagnosed with "Dilated Cardiomyopathy secondary to Viral Myocarditis, "a condition which would require further medical treatment and management. Considering the seriousness of his ailment, petitioner's repatriation back to the Philippines was recommended by doctors. Escorted by a physician, petitioner arrived in the Philippines on 14 February 2009 and was immediately confined at the Metropolitan Medical Center. After a series of tests, it was found that petitioner was suffering from "Dilated Cardiomyopathy, Bicuspid Aortic Stenosis, " Rendering him unfit for any sea duty. Claiming that his illness that rendered him totally unfit for any sea duty is work-related, petitioner sought for the payment of permanent disability benefits but respondents failed or refused to acknowledge that they are liable under the CBA. The Petitioner filed an action for recovery of permanent disability benefits under the CBA. The Respondent disallowed the recovery on the ground that the disease was congenital in nature and is not caused or aggravated by his work. The case was filed with the Labor Arbiter rendering a decision in favor of the Petitioner. On appeal, the NLRC affirmed the ruling of the Labor Arbiter. The decision was appealed to the CA, reversing the prior decision of the NLRC. ISSUE: Whether or not the petitioner shall be liable for the disability benefits vis-a-vis the disease was work-related, the under the CBA. RULING: The SC reversed the decision of the CA and ruled in favor of the Petitioner. Accordingly, entitlement of seamen on overseas work to disability benefits is a matter governed, not only by medical findings, but by law and by contract. The material statutory provisions are Articles 191 to 193 under Chapter VI (Disability Benefits) of the Labor Code, in relation with Rule X of the Rules and Regulations Implementing Book IV of the Labor Code. By contract, the POEA-SEC, as provided under Department Order No. 4, series of 2000 of the Department of Labor and Employment, and the parties' CBA bind the seaman and his employer to each other. Section 20 (B) of the 2000 POEA-SEC, two elements must concur: (1) the injury or illness must be work-related; and (2) the work-related injury or illness must have existed during the term of the seafarer's employment contract.
Pre-existence of an illness does not irrevocably bar compensability because disability laws still grant the same provided seafarer's working conditions bear causal connection with his illness. The petitioner was employed by respondent as Chief Cook which constantly exposes him to heat while preparing the food for the entire crew all throughout the day while he was under employ. The steady and prolonged exposure to heat naturally causes exhaustion which could unduly burden his heart and interfere with the normal functioning of his cardio-vascular system. His illness was aggravated by his work thus it is compensable.