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G.R. No. 109002 April 12, 2000 DELA SALLE UNIVERSITY vs.

DLSUEA and BUENAVENTURA MAGSALIN

G.R. No. 110072 April 12, 2000 DELA SALLE UNIVERSITY EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION-NATIONAL FEDERATION OF TEACHERS AND EMPLOYEES UNION (DLSUEA-NAFTEU), petitioner, vs. DELA SALLE UNIVERSITY & BUENAVENTURA MAGSALIN, respondents. BUENA, J.: NATURE: Two petitions for certiorari- the first petition with preliminary injunction and/or TRO; the second assailing the decision of voluntary arbitrator Buenaventura Magsalin. These two petitions have been consolidated. FACTS: DLSU and DLSU Employees Association-National Federation of Teachers and Employees Union (DLSUEA-NAFTEU), which is composed of regular non-academic rank and file employees, (hereinafter referred to as UNION) entered into a CBA with a life span of 3 years.- During the freedom period, or 60 days before the expiration of the said CBA, the Union initiated negotiations with the University for a new CBA which, however, turned out to be unsuccessful, hence, the Union filed a Notice of Strike with the National Conciliation and Mediation Board.- After several conciliation-mediation meetings, 5 out of the 11 issues raised in the Notice of Strike were resolved by the parties. A partial CBA was thereafter executed by the parties.- the parties entered into a Submission Agreement, identifying theremaining 6 unresolved issues for arbitration, namely: "(1) scope of the bargaining unit, (2) union security clause, (3) security of tenure, (4) salary increases for the second and third years of the CBA, (5) indefinite union leave, reduction of the union president's workload, special leave, and (6)duration of the agreement."- The parties appointed Magsalin as voluntary arbitrator. He rendered the assailed decision. In the said decision, the voluntary arbitrator, on the First issue ruled that ". . . the Computer Operators assigned at the CSC[Computer Services Center], just like any other Computer Operators in other units, should be included as members of the bargaining unit," after finding that "evidently, the Computer Operators are presently doing clerical and routinary work and had nothing to do with setting of management policies for the University. They may have access to vitalinformation regarding the University's operations but they are notnecessarily confidential." Regarding the discipline officers, the voluntary arbitrator ". . . believes that this type of employees belongs to the rank-and-file on the basis of the nature of their job." With respect to the employees of the College of St. Benilde, the voluntary arbitrator found that the CSB has a personality separate and distinct from the University and thus, held ". . . that the employees therein are outside the bargaining unit of the University's rank-and-file employees."On the second issue, arbitrator opined that a union shop clause ". . . is not a restriction on the employee's right to freedom of association but rather a valid form of union security while the CBA is in force and in accordance with the Constitutional policy to promote unionism and collective bargaining and negotiations. The parties therefore should incorporate such union shop clause in their CBA."On the third issue, the arbitrator upheld the ". . . elementary right and prerogative of the management of the University to select and/or choose its employees, a right equally recognized by the Constitution and the law. The employer, in the exercise of this right, can adopt valid and equitable grounds as basis for lay-off or separation, like performance, qualifications, competence, etc. Similarly, the right to transfer or reassign an employee is an employer's exclusive right and prerogative."On the fourth issue, the arbitrator opined that the ". . .proposed budget of the University for SY 1992-93 could not sufficiently cope up with the demand for increases by the Union... he ruled that the University can no longer be required to grant a second round of increase for the school years under consideration and charge the same to the incremental proceeds."On the fifth issue, the voluntary arbitrator ruled that unionism ". . . is no valid reason for the reduction of the workload of its President," and that there is ". . . no sufficient justification to grant an indefinite leave." M. D. Antonio

Finding that the Union and the Faculty Association are not similarly situated, technically and professionally, and that "while professional growth is highly encouraged on the part of the rank-and-file employees, this educational advancement would not serve in the same degree as demanded of the faculty members," the voluntary arbitrator denied the Union's demand for special leave benefits. On the last issue, the voluntary arbitrator ruled that ". . . when the parties forged their CBA and signed it, where a provision on duration was explicitly included, the same became a binding agreement between them. Notwithstanding the Submission Agreement, thereby reopening this issue for resolution, this Voluntary Arbitrator is constrained to respect the original intention of the parties.Subsequently, both parties filed their respective motions for reconsideration which, however, were not ent ertained by thevoluntary arbitrator - University filed with this Court, a petition for certiorari with TRO and/or preliminary injunction assailing the decision of the voluntary arbitrator - the Union also filed a petition for certiorari.- the Solicitor General agreed with the voluntary arbitrator's assailed decision on all points except that involving the employees of the College of St. Benilde. ISSUES: 1. WON the computer operators assigned at the University'sComputer Services Center and the University's discipline officersmay be considered as confidential employees and should therefore be excluded from the bargaining unit which is composed of rank and file employees of the University. 2. WON the employees of the College of St. Benilde should also be included in the same bargaining unit. 3. WON a union shop clause should be included in the parties' CBA, in addition to the existing maintenance of membership clause. HELD :1. NO. The express exclusion of the computer operators and discipline officers from the bargaining unit of rank-and-file employees in the 1986 CBA does not bar any re-negotiation for the future inclusion of the said employees in the bargaining unit. During the freedom period, the parties may not only renew the existing CBA but may also propose and discuss modifications or amendments thereto. With regard to the alleged confidential nature of the said employees' functions, the said computer operators and discipline officers are not confidential employees. The service record of a computer operator reveals that his duties are basically clerical and non-confidential innature. As to the discipline officers, we agree with the voluntary arbitrator that based on the nature of their duties, they are not confidential employees and should therefore be included in the bargaining unit of rank-and-file employees. 2. NO. The employees of the College of St. Benilde should be excluded from the bargaining unit of the rankand-file employees of DLSU because the two educational institutions have their own separate juridical personality and no sufficient evidence was shown to justify the piercing of the veil of corporate fiction. 3. YES. The right to refrain from joining labor organizations recognized by Section 3 of the Industrial Peace Act is limited. The legal protection granted to such right to refrain from joining is withdrawn by operation of law, where a labor union and an employer have agreed on a closed shop, by virtue of which the employer may employ only members of the collective bargaining union, and the employees must continue to be members of the union for the duration of the contract in order to keep their jobs. Disposition The assailed decision is hereby AFFIRMED with the modification that the issue on salary increases for the second and third years of the CBA be REMANDED to the voluntary arbitrator for definite resolution on the basis of the externally audited financial statements of the University already submitted by the Union before the voluntary arbitrator and forming part of the records

M. D. Antonio

G.R. No. 80609 August 23, 1988 PLDT COMPANY, petitioner, vs. NLRC and MARILYN ABUCAY, respondents. EN BANC CRUZ, J.: FACTS: Marilyn Abucay, a traffic operator of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, was accused by two complainants of having demanded and received from them the total amount of P3,800.00 inconsideration of her promise to facilitate approval of their applications for telephone installation. Investigated and heard, she was found guilty as charged and accordingly separated from the service. She went to the Ministry of Labor and Employment claiming she had been illegally removed. After consideration of the evidence and arguments of the parties, the company was sustained and the complaint was dismissed for lack of merit. Both the petitioner and the private respondent appealed to the National Labor Relations Board, which upheld the said decision in toto and dismissed the appeals. The private respondent took no further action, thereby impliedly accepting the validity of her dismissal. The petitioner, however, is now before us to question the affirmance of the above- quoted award as having been made with grave abuse of discretion. The position of the petitioner is simply stated: It is conceded that an employee illegally dismissed is entitled to reinstatement and backwages as required by the labor laws. However, an employee dismissed for cause is entitled to neither reinstatement nor backwages and is not allowed any relief at all because his dismissal is in accordance with law. In the case of the private respondent, she has been awarded financial assistance equivalent to ten months pay corresponding to her 10 year service in the company despite her removal for cause. She is, therefore, in effect rewarded rather than punished for her dishonesty, and without any legal authorization or justification. The award is made on the ground of equity and compassion, which cannot be a substitute for law. Moreover, such award puts a premium on dishonesty and encourages instead of deterringcorruption.For its part, the public respondent claims that the employee is sufficiently punished with her dismissal. The grant of financial assistance is not intended as a reward for her offense but merely to help her for the loss of her employment after working faithfully with the company for ten years. ISSUE: WON it is legal to award financial assistance to an employee who had been dismissed for cause HELD: The Court notes, however, that where the exception has been applied, the decisions have not been consistent as to the justification for the grant of separation pay and the amount or rate of such award. Thus, the employees dismissed for theft in the Firestone case and for animosities with fellow workers in the Engineering Equipment case were both awarded separation pay not withstanding that the first cause was certainly more serious than the second. No less curiously, the employee in the Soco case was allowed only one-half month pay for every year of his 18 years of service, but in Filipro the award was two months separation pay for 2 years service. In Firestone, the employee was allowed full separation pay corresponding to his 11 years of service, but in Metro, the employee was granted only one-half month separation pay for every year of her 15year service. It would seem then that length of service is not necessarily a criterion for the grant of separation pay and neither apparently is the reason for the dismissal. The Court feels that distinctions are in order. We note that heretofore the separation pay, when it was considered warranted, was required regardless of the nature or degree of the ground proved, be it mere inefficiency or something graver like immorality or dishonesty. The benediction of compassion was made to cover a multitude of sins, as it were, and to justify the helping hand to the validly dismissed employee whatever the reason for his dismissal. This policy should be re-examined. It is time we rationalized the exception, to make it fair to both labor and management, especially to labor. There should be no question that where it comes to such valid but not iniquitous causes as failure to comply with work standards, the grant of separation pay to the dismissed employee may be both just and compassionate, particularly if he has worked for some time with the company. For example, a subordinate who has irreconcilable policy or personal differences with his employer may be validly dismissed for demonstrated loss of confidence, which is an allowable ground. A working mother who has to be frequently absent because she has also to take care of her child may also be removed because of her poor attendance, this being another authorized ground. It is not the employee's fault if he does not have the necessary aptitude for his work but on the other hand the company cannot be required to maintain him just the same at the expense of the efficiency of its operations. He too may be validly replaced. Under these and similar circumstances, however, the award to the employee of

separation pay would be sustainable under the social justice policy even if the separation is for cause. But where the cause of the separation is more serious than mere inefficiency, the generosity of the law must be more discerning. There is no doubt it is compassionate to give separation pay to a salesman if he is M. D. Antonio

dismissed for his inability to fill his quota but surely he does not deserve such generosity if his offense is misappropriation of the receipts of hiss ales. This is no longer mere incompetence but clear dishonesty. A security guard found sleeping on the job is doubtless subject to dismissal but maybe allowed separation pay since his conduct, while inept, is not depraved. But if he was in fact not really sleeping but sleeping with a prostitute during his tour of duty and in the company premises, the situation is changed completely. This is not only inefficiency but immorality and the grant of separation pay would be entirely unjustified. We hold that henceforth separation pay shall be allowed as a measure of social justice only in those instances where the employee is validly dismissed for causes other than serious misconduct or those reflecting on his moral character. Where the reason for the valid dismissal is, for example, habitual intoxication or an offense involving moral turpitude, like theft or illicit sexual relations with a fellow worker, the employer may not be required to give the dismissed employee separation pay, or financial assistance, or whatever other name it is called, on the ground of social justice. We hold that the grant of separation pay in the case at bar is unjustified. The private respondent has been dismissed for dishonesty, as found by the labor arbiter and affirmed by the NLRC and as she herself has impliedly admitted. The fact that she has worked with the PLDT for more than a decade, if it is to be considered at all, should be taken against her as it reflects a regrettable lack of loyalty that she should have strengthened instead of betraying during all of her 10 years of service with the company. If regarded as a justification for moderating the penalty of dismissal, it will actually become a prize for disloyalty, perverting the meaning of social justice and undermining the efforts of labor to cleanse its ranks of all undesirables. The Court also rules that the separation pay, if found due under the circumstances of each case, should be computed at the rate of one month salary for every year of service, assuming the length of such service is deemed material. This is without prejudice to the application of special agreements between the employer and the employee stipulating a higher rate of computation and providing for more benefits to the discharged employee. The petition is GRANTED. The challenged resolution of September 22,1987, is AFFIRMED in toto except for the grant
of separation pay in the form of financial assistance, which is hereby DISALLOWED. The temporary restraining order dated March 23, 1988, is LIFTED. It is so ordered. While it would be compassionate to give separation pay to a salesman if he were dismissed for his inability to fill his quota, surely, however, he does not deserve such generosity if his offense is the misappropriation of the receipts of his sales.

M. D. Antonio

G.R. No. 168985 July 23, 2008 ACCESSORIES SPECIALIST INC., a.k.a. ARTS 21 CORPORATION, and TADAHIKO HASHIMOTO, Petitioners, vs. ERLINDA B. ALABANZA, for and in behalf of her deceased husband, JONES B. ALABANZA, Respondent. NACHURA, J.: Promissory estoppel may arise from the making of a promise, even though without consideration, if it was intended that the promise should be relied upon, as in fact it was relied upon, and if a refusal to enforce it would virtually sanction the perpetration of fraud or would result in other injustice. The principle of promissory estoppel is a recognized exception to the threeyear prescriptive period enunciated in Article 291 of the Labor Code. Labor Law. The posting of a bond is indispensable to the perfection of an appeal in cases involving monetary awards from the decision of the Labor Arbiter. The filing of the bond is not only mandatory but also a jurisdictional requirement that must be complied with in order to confer jurisdiction upon the NLRC. Facts: On September 27, 2002, respondent Alabanza filed a complaint against petitioners Arts 21 and Hashimoto for and in behalf th of her husband for non-payment of salaries, separation pay and 13 month pay. Respondents husband was the Vice-President, Manager and Director of Arts21 and had been with the company from 1975 to 1997. He was compelled by the owner, Hashimoto, to file his involuntary resignation on October 17, 1997 on the ground that Arts 21 allegedly suffered losses. Respondents husband demanded payment of his money claims upon resignation but was told that rank and file employees will be paid first and thus waited for his turn. Respondents husband made several demands but Arts 21 just kept on assuring him that he will be paid his money claims. Respondents husband died on August 5, 2002 with his claims still unpaid. Petitioners invoke Art. 291 of the Labor Code and contend that respondents husband voluntarily resigned in October, 1997, thus the cause of action has already prescribed since the case was filed in 2002 only, beyond the three-year-period within which money claims should be filed. The Labor Arbiter rendered a decision ordering petitioner to pay respondent over P4M. Petitioners filed an appeal along with a motion to reduce bond, attaching receipts for cash bond amounting to P290K and appeal fee for P170.00. The motion was denied and petitioners were given 10 days within which to file the required bond. Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration which the NLRC denied ordering the dismissal of the appeal for non-perfection thereof due to non-compliance with the bond requirement. The resolution became final and executory and a writ of execution was issued by the Labor Arbiter upon motion by respondent. Petitioners filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals praying for the issuance of a TRO and a writ of preliminary injunction. The petition was dismissed. Issue No. 1:WON the cause of action of respondent has already prescribed Held: NO. Ratio: Based on the findings of facts of the Labor Arbiter, it was petitioner Arts 21which was responsible for the delay in the institution of the complaint. When petitioners husband filed his resignation he immediately asked for the payment of his money claims. However, the management of Arts 21 promised him that he would be paid immediately after the claim of the rankand-file employees had been paid. Jones relied on this representation. Promissory estoppel may arise from the making of a promise, even though without consideration, if it was intended that the promise should be relied upon, as in fact it was relied upon, and if a refusal to enforce it would virtually sanction the perpetration of fraud or would result in other injustice. The principle of promissory estoppel is a recognized exception to the three-year prescriptive period enunciated in Article 291 of the Labor Code. In order to make out a claim of promissory estoppel, a party bears the burden of establishing the following elements: (1) a promise was reasonably expected to induce action or forbearance; (2) such promise did, in fact, induce such action or forbearance; and (3) the party suffered detriment as a result. All the requisites are present in this case. The Court, therefore, finds ample justification not to follow the prescriptive period imposed under Art. 291 of the Labor Code. Great injustice will be committed if respondents claims will be brushed aside on a mere technicality, especially when it was petitioners own action that prevented respondent from interposing the claims within the required period. Issue No. 2:WON the posting of the complete amount of the bond in an appeal from the decision of the Labor Arbiter to the NLRC is an indispensable requirement for the perfection of the appeal despite the filing of a motion to reduce the amount of the appeal bond. Held: YES. Ratio: Article 223 of the Labor Code mandates that in case of a judgment of the Labor Arbiter involving a monetary award, an appeal by the employer to the NLRC 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. The posting of a bond is indispensable to the perfection of an appeal in cases involving monetary awards from the decision of the Labor Arbiter. The filing of the bond is not only mandatory but also a jurisdictional requirement that must be complied with in order to confer jurisdiction upon the NLRC. Non-compliance therewith renders the decision of the Labor Arbiter final and executory. This requirement is intended to assure the workers that if they prevail in the case, they will receive the money judgment in their favor upon the dismissal of the employers appeal. It is intended to discourage employers from using an appeal to delay or evade their obligation to satisfy their employees just and lawful claims. The failure of petitioners to comply with the requirement of posting a bond equivalent in amount to the monetary award is fatal to their appeal. Section 6 of the New Rules of Procedure of the NLRC mandates, among others, that no motion to reduce bond shall be entertained except on meritorious grounds and upon the posting of a bond in a reasonable amount in relation to the monetary award. The NLRC has full discretion to grant or deny their motion to reduce the amount of the appeal bond. The finding of the NLRC that petitioners did not present sufficient justification for the reduction thereof is generally conclusive upon the Court absent a showing that the denial was tainted with bad faith. Furthermore, appeal is not a constitutional right, but a mere statutory privilege. Parties who seek to avail themselves of it must comply with the statutes or rules allowing it. Petition DENIED

M. D. Antonio

G.R. No. 70705 August 21, 1989 MOISES DE LEON, petitioner, vs. NLRC and LA TONDE;A INC., respondents. FERNAN, C.J.: Petition for certiorari seeking to annul and set aside: (1) majority decision of the NLRC, which reversed the Order of Labor Arbiter Hernandez; and, (2) the Resolution denyingpetitioner's MFR FACTS : DE LEON was employed by LA TONDENA (business of manufacture and distillery of wines and liquors) on Dec 11,1981, at the Maintenance Section of its Engineering Dept in Tondo.- His work consisted mainly of painting company building and equipment, and other odd jobs relating to maintenance. He was paid on a daily basis through petty cash vouchers.- After service of more than 1 year, DE LEON requested that he be included in the payroll of regular workers. LA TONDENA responded by dismissing him from work.- Weeks after this, he was re-hired indirectly through the Vitas-Magsaysay Village Livelihood Council, a labor agency of respondent, and was made to perform tasks he used to do.- Having been refused reinstatement despite repeated demands, petitioner filed a complaint before the Office of the Labor Arbiter.- LA TONDENA claimed he was a casual worker hired only to paint a certain bldg in the company premises, and such work terminated upon completion of the painting job.- Labor Arbiter Hernandez ordered reinstatement and payment of backwages to petitioner. Complainant's being hired on casual basis did not dissuade from the cold fact that such jobs he performed related to maintenance as a maintenance man is necessary and desirable to the better operation of the business company. - On appeal, NLRC reversed such decision because his job cannot be considered necessary in the usual trade of employer: "Painting the business or factory building is not a part of the respondent's manufacturing or distilling process of wines and liquors. ISSUE: WON petitioner is a regular employee HELD: YES Ratio: An employment shall be deemed to be casual if it is not covered by Art.281 of Labor Code: provided, That any employee who has rendered at least one year of service,whether such service is continuous or broken, shall beconsidered a regular employee with respect to the activity in which he is employed and his employment shall continue while such actually exists. Reasoning- During petitioner's period of employment, the records reveal that the tasks assigned to him included not only painting of company buildings, equipment and tools but also cleaning and oiling machines, even operating a drilling machine, and other odd jobs assigned to him when he had no painting job.- It is not the will and word of the employer that determines whether a certain employment is regular or casual, to which the desperate worker often accedes, but the nature of the activitiesperformed in relation to the particular business or tradeconsidering all circumstances, and in some cases the length of time of its performance and its continued existence. Disposition Petition is GRANTED. Art. 281. Regular and casual employment. The provisions of a written agreement to the contrary notwithstanding and regardless of the oral agreements of the parties, an employment shall be deemed to be regular where the employee has been engaged to perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer, except where the employment has been fixed for a specific project or undertaking the completion or termination of which has been determined at the time of the engagement of the employee or where the work or services to be performed is seasonal in nature and the employment is for the duration of the season.

M. D. Antonio

G.R. No. 149440 January 28, 2003 HACIENDA FATIMA and/or PATRICIO VILLEGAS, ALFONSO VILLEGAS and CRISTINE SEGURA, petitioners, vs.
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF SUGARCANE WORKERS-FOOD AND GENERAL TRADE, respondents. PANGANIBAN, J.: NATURE Before the Court is a Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, seeking to set aside CA Decision denying petition for certiorari the Decision of NLRC. NLRC set aside and vacated the Labor Arbiters finding that there was no illegal dismissal. FACTS - According to the Labor arbiter, the respondents refused to work and/or were choosy in the kind of jobs they wanted to perform. NLRC found that the record is replete with the workers persistence and determination of going back to work.- When the union was certified as the collective bargaining representative in the certification elections, Hacienda Fatima under the pretext that the result was on appeal, refused to sit down with the union for the purpose of entering into a CBA. Moreover, the workers were not given work for more than one month. In protest, the Union staged a strike which was however settled upon the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement.- When Company again reneged on its commitment, Union filed the complaint. For all their persistence, the risk they had to undergo in conducting a strike, complainants now findthemselves being accused of refusing to work and being choosy in the kind of work they have to perform The CA affirmed that while the work of respondents was seasonal in nature, they were considered to be merely on leave during the off-season and were therefore still employed by petitioners. Moreover, the workers enjoyed security of tenure. Any infringement upon this right was deemed by the CA to be tantamount to illegal dismissal. Hence this Petition. ISSUES 1. WON CA erred in holding that respondents, admittedly seasonal workers, were regular employees, contrary to the clear provisions of Article 280 of the Labor Code, which categorically state that seasonal employees are not covered by the definition of regular employees under paragraph 1, nor covered under paragraph 2 which refers exclusively to casual employees who have served for at least one year2. WON CA committed grave abuse of discretion in upholding the NLRCs conclusion that private respondents were illegally dismissed, that petitioner[s were] guilty of unfair labor practice, and that the union be awarded moral and exemplary damages. HELD 1. NO, the CA did not err when it held that respondents were regular employees.- The fact that respondents do not work continuously for one whole year but only for the duration of the season does not detract from considering them in regular employment since in a litany of cases this Court has already settled that seasonal workers who are called to work from time to time and are temporarily laid off during off-season are not separated from service in said period, but merely considered on leave until re-employed.For respondents to be excluded from those classified asregular employees, it is not enough that they perform work or services that are seasonal in nature. They must have also been employed only for the duration of one season. The evidenceproves the existence of the first, but not of the second, condition. The fact that respondents -- with the exception of Luisa Rombo, Ramona Rombo, Bobong Abriga and Boboy Silva-- repeatedly worked as sugarcane workers for petitioners for several years is not denied by the latter. Evidently, petitioners employed respondents for more than one season. Therefore, the general rule of regular employment is applicable.- The test of WON an employee is a regular employee has been laid down in De Leon v. NLRC, in which this Court held:- The primary standard of determining regular employment isthe reasonable connection between the particular activityperformed by the employee in relation to the usual trade or business of the employer. The test is whether the former is usually necessary or desirable in the usual trade or business of the employer. The connection can be determined by considering the nature of the work performed and its relation to the scheme of the particular business or trade in its entirety. Also if the employee has been performing the job for at least a year, even if the performance is not continuous and merely intermittent, the law deems repeated and continuing need for its performance as sufficient evidence of the necessity if not indispensability of that activity to the business. Hence, the employment is considered regular, but only with respect to such activity and while such activity exists. (Abasolo v. National Labor Relations Commission) Art. 280. Regular and Casual Employment. - The provisions of written agreement to the contrary notwithstanding and regardless of the oral agreement of the parties, an employment shall be deemed to be regular where the employee has been engaged to perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer, except where the employment has been fixed for a specific project or undertaking the completion or termination of which has been determined at the time of the engagement of the employee or where the work or services to be performed is seasonal in nature and the employment is for the duration of the season. An employment shall be deemed to be casual if it is not covered by the preceding paragraph: Provided, That, any employee who has rendered at least one year of service, whether such service is continuous or broken, shall be considered a regular employee with respect to the activity in which he is employed and his employment shall continue while such activity exist. - The sudden changes in work assignments reeked of bad faith. These changes were implemented immediately afterrespondents had organized themselves into a union and starteddemanding collective bargaining. Those who were unionmembers were effectively deprived of their jobs. Petitionersmove actually amounted to unjustified dismissal of respondents, in violation of the Labor Code.2. NO- Factual findings of labor officials, who are deemed to haveacquired expertise in matters within their respective jurisdictions, are generally accorded not only respect but even finality. Their findings are binding on the Supreme Court. Verily, their conclusions are accorded great weight upon appeal,especially when supported by substantial evidence.Consequently, the Court is not duty-bound to delve into the accuracy of their factual findings, in the absence of a clear showing that these were arbitrary and bereft of any rationalbasis.The NLRC found herein petitioners guilty of unfair laborpractice. It ruled that from respondents refusal to bargain, to their acts of economic inducements resulting in the promotion of those who withdrew from the union, the use of armed guards to prevent the organizers to come in, and the dismissal of unionofficials and members, one cannot but conclude thatrespondents did not want a union in their haciendaa clear interference in the right of the workers to self-organization. Disposition Petition is hereby DENIED and the assailed Decision AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners

M. D. Antonio

G.R. No. 141717 April 14, 2004 PHILIPS SEMICONDUCTORS (PHILS.), INC., petitioner, vs. ELOISA FADRIQUELA, respondent.
CALLEJO, SR., J.:

Facts: On May 8, 1992, respondent Eloisa Fadriquela executed a Contract of Employment with the petitioner in which she was hired as a production operator with a daily salary of P118. Her initial contract was for a period of three months up to August 8, 1992, but was extended for two months when she garnered a performance rating of 3.15. Her contract was again renewed for two months or up to December 16, 1992, when she received a performance rating of 3.8. After the expiration of her third contract, it was extended anew, for three months, that is, from January 4, 1993 to April 4, 1993. After garnering a performance rating of 3.4, the respondent?s contract was extended for another three months, that is, from April 5, 1993 to June 4, 1993. She, however, incurred five absences in the month of April, three absences in the month of May and four absences in the month of June. Line supervisor Shirley F. Velayo asked the respondent why she incurred the said absences, but the latter failed to explain her side. The respondent was warned that if she offered no valid justification for her absences, Velayo would have no other recourse but to recommend the non-renewal of her contract. The respondent still failed to respond, as a consequence of which her performance rating declined to 2.8. Velayo recommended to the petitioner that the respondent?s employment be terminated due to habitual absenteeism, in accordance with the Company Rules and Regulations. Thus, the respondents contract of employment was no longer renewed. LA: dismissed complaint for lack of merit NLRC: affirmed LA decision and holding that the respondent was a contractual employee whose period of employment was fixed in the successive contracts of employment she had executed with the petitioner. Thus, upon the expiration of her contract, the respondents employment automatically ceased. The respondents employment was not terminated; neither was she dismissed. CA: reversed LA and NLRC decision Issue/s: (1) Whether or not the respondent was still a contractual employee of the petitioner as of June 4, 1993; (2) Whether or not the petitioner dismissed the respondent from her employment; (3) If so, whether or not she was accorded the requisite notice and investigation prior to her dismissal; and (4) Whether or not the respondent is entitled to reinstatement and full payment of backwages as well as attorneys fees. Held: (1) NO. In this case, the respondent was employed by the petitioner on May 8, 1992 as production operator. She was assigned to wirebuilding at the transistor division. There is no dispute that the work of the respondent was necessary or desirable in the businessor trade of the petitioner. She remained under the employ of the petitioner without any interruption since May 8, 1992 to June 4, 1993 or for one (1) year and twenty-eight (28) days. The original contract of employment had been extended or renewed for four times, to the same position, with the same chores. Such a continuing need for the services of the respondent is sufficient evidence of the necessity and indispensability of her services to the petitioners business. By operation of law, then, the respondent had attained the regular status of her employment with the petitioner, and is thus entitled to security of tenure as provided for in Article 279 of the Labor Code. (2) YES. The SC agreed with the appellate court that Fadriquela was dismissed by the petitioner without the requisite notice and without any formal investigation. Given the factual milieu in this case, the respondent?s dismissal from employment for incurring five (5) absences in April 1993, three (3) absences in May 1993 and four (4) absences in June 1993, even if true, is too harsh a penalty. (3) NO. The dismissal is illegal because, first, she was dismissed in the absence of a just cause, and second, she was not afforded procedural due process (4) YES. In pursuance of Article 279 of the Labor Code, it is proper to order the reinstatement of petitioner to her former job and the payment of her full backwages. Also, having been compelled to come to court to protect her rights, petitioners prayer for attorneys fees is granted. Doctrine: The primary standard to determine a regular employment is the reasonable connection between the particular activity performed by the employee in relation to the business or trade of the employer. The test is whether the former is usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer. If the employee has been performing the job for at least one year, even if the performance is not continuous or merely intermittent, the law deems the repeated and continuing need for its performance as sufficient evidence of the necessity, if not indispensability of that activity to the business of the employer. Hence, the employment is also considered regular, but only with respect to such activity and while such activity exists. The law does not provide the qualification that the employee must first be issued a regular appointment or must be declared as such before he can acquire a regular employee status.

M. D. Antonio

G.R. No. L-48494 February 5, 1990 BRENT SCHOOL, INC., and REV. GABRIEL DIMACHE, petitioners, vs. RONALDO ZAMORA, the

Presidential Assistant for Legal Affairs, Office of the President, and DOROTEO R. ALEGRE, respondents. En Banc
FACTS: Private respondent Doroteo R. Alegre was engaged as athletic director by petitioner Brent School, Inc. at a yearly compensation of P20,000.00. The contract fixed a specific term for its existence, five (5) years, i.e., from July 18, 1971, the date of execution of the agreement, to July 17, 1976. Subsequent subsidiary agreements dated March 15, 1973, August 28, 1973, and September 14, 1974 reiterated the same terms and conditions, including the expiry date, as those contained in the original contract of July 18, 1971. On April 20,1976, Alegre was given a copy of the report filed by Brent School with the Department of Labor advising of the termination of his services effective on July 16, 1976. The stated ground for the termination was "completion of contract, expiration of the definite period of employment." Although protesting the announced termination stating that his services were necessary and desirable in the usual business of his employer, and his employment lasted for 5 years - therefore he had acquired the status of regular employee - Alegre accepted the amount of P3,177.71, and signed a receipt therefor containing the phrase, "in full payment of services for the period May 16, to July 17, 1976 as full payment of contract." The Regional Director considered Brent School's report as an application for clearance to terminate employment (not a report of termination), and accepting the recommendation of the Labor Conciliator, refused to give such clearance and instead required the reinstatement of Alegre, as a "permanent employee," to his former position without loss of seniority rights and with full back wages. ISSUE: Whether or not the provisions of the Labor Code, as amended, have anathematized "fixed period employment" or employment for a term. RULING: Respondent Alegre's contract of employment with Brent School having lawfully terminated with and by reason of the expiration of the agreed term of period thereof, he is declared not entitled to reinstatement. The employment contract between Brent School and Alegre was executed on July 18, 1971, at a time when the Labor Code of the Philippines (P.D. 442) had not yet been promulgated. At that time, the validity of term employment was impliedly recognized by the Termination Pay Law, R.A. 1052, as amended by R.A. 1787. Prior, thereto, it was the Code of Commerce (Article 302) which governed employment without a fixed period, and also implicitly acknowledged the propriety of employment with a fixed period. The Civil Code of the Philippines, which was approved on June 18, 1949 and became effective on August 30,1950, itself deals with obligations with a period. No prohibition against term-or fixed-period employment is contained in any of its articles or is otherwise deducible therefrom. It is plain then that when the employment contract was signed between Brent School and Alegre, it was perfectly legitimate for them to include in it a stipulation fixing the duration thereof Stipulations for a term were explicitly recognized as valid by this Court. The status of legitimacy continued to be enjoyed by fixed-period employment contracts under the Labor Code (PD 442), which went into effect on November 1, 1974. The Code contained explicit references to fixed period employment, or employment with a fixed or definite period. Nevertheless, obscuration of the principle of licitness of term employment began to take place at about this time. Article 320 originally stated that the "termination of employment of probationary employees and those employed WITH A FIXED PERIOD shall be subject to such regulations as the Secretary of Labor may prescribe." Article 321 prescribed the just causes for which an employer could terminate "an employment without a definite period." And Article 319 undertook to define "employment without a fixed period" in the following manner: where the employee has been engaged to perform activities which are usually M. D. Antonio

necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer, except where the employment has been fixed for a specific project or undertaking the completion or termination of which has been determined at the time of the engagement of the employee or where the work or service to be performed is seasonal in nature and the employment is for the duration of the season. Subsequently, the foregoing articles regarding employment with "a definite period" and "regular" employment were amended by Presidential Decree No. 850, effective December 16, 1975. Article 320, dealing with "Probationary and fixed period employment," was altered by eliminating the reference to persons "employed with a fixed period," and was renumbered (becoming Article 271). As it is evident that Article 280 of the Labor Code, under a narrow and literal interpretation, not only fails to exhaust the gamut of employment contracts to which the lack of a fixed period would be an anomaly, but would also appear to restrict, without reasonable distinctions, the right of an employee to freely stipulate with his employer the duration of his engagement, it logically follows that such a literal interpretation should be eschewed or avoided. The law must be given a reasonable interpretation, to preclude absurdity in its application. Outlawing the whole concept of term employment and subverting to boot the principle of freedom of contract to remedy the evil of employer's using it as a means to prevent their employees from obtaining security of tenure is like cutting off the nose to spite the face or, more relevantly, curing a headache by lopping off the head. Such interpretation puts the seal on Bibiso upon the effect of the expiry of an agreed period of employment as still good rulea rule reaffirmed in the recent case of Escudero vs. Office of the President (G.R. No. 57822, April 26, 1989) where, in the fairly analogous case of a teacher being served by her school a notice of termination following the expiration of the last of three successive fixed-term employment contracts, the Court held: Reyes (the teacher's) argument is not persuasive. It loses sight of the fact that her employment was probationary, contractual in nature, and one with a definitive period. At the expiration of the period stipulated in the contract, her appointment was deemed terminated and the letter informing her of the non-renewal of her contract is not a condition sine qua non before Reyes may be deemed to have ceased in the employ of petitioner UST. The notice is a mere reminder that Reyes' contract of employment was due to expire and that the contract would no longer be renewed. It is not a letter of termination. Paraphrasing Escudero, respondent Alegre's employment was terminated upon the expiration of his last contract with Brent School on July 16, 1976 without the necessity of any notice. The advance written advice given the Department of Labor with copy to said petitioner was a mere reminder of the impending expiration of his contract, not a letter of termination, nor an application for clearance to terminate which needed the approval of the Department of Labor to make the termination of his services effective. In any case, such clearance should properly have been given, not denied.

M. D. Antonio

G.R. No. 110524 July 29, 2002 DOUGLAS MILLARES and ROGELIO LAGDA, petitioners, vs. NLRC, TRANS-GLOBAL MARITIME AGENCY, INC.

and ESSO INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING CO., LTD. respondents. KAPUNAN, J.: CASE: The Courts decision in the above-entitled case, ruled in favor of the petitioners. In a minute resolution the SC also denied the MR filed by the petitioners. Subsequently, the Filipino Association for Mariners Employment, Inc. (FAME) filed a Motion for Leave to Intervene and to Admit a Motion for Reconsideration in Intervention. Private respondents, meanwhile, also filed a Motion for Leave to File a Second Motion for Reconsideration of our decision. Antecedent Facts: 1. Douglas Millares was employed by ESSO International Shipping Company LTD. through its local manning agency, Trans-Global Maritime Agency, Inc. on November 16, 1968 as a machinist. In 1975, he was promoted as Chief Engineer until he opted to retire in 1989. He was then receiving a monthly salary of US $1,939.00. Petitioner filed for a leave of absence. 2. Millares informed Esso of his intention to avail of the optional retirement plan under the Consecutive Enlistment Incentive Plan (CEIP) considering that he had already rendered more than twenty (20) years of continuous service. Esso International denied Millares' request for optional retirement on the following grounds, to wit: (1) he was employed on a contractual basis; (2) his contract of enlistment (COE) did not provide for retirement before the age of sixty (60) years; and (3) he did not comply with the requirement for claiming benefits under the CEIP. 3. Petitioner filed for an extension of his leave of absence, but ESSO informed him that his previous leave of absence and due to the need of personnel ESSO terminated his services and considered him to have abandoned his work; 4. Petitioner Lagda was employed by private respondent Esso International as wiper/oiler in June 1969. He was promoted as Chief Engineer in 1980, a position he continued to occupy until his last COE expired on April 10, 1989. He was then receiving a monthly salary of US$1,939.00. 5. Respondent Trans-global denied petitioner Lagda's request for availment of the optional early retirement scheme on the same grounds upon which petitioner Millares request was denied. 6. Esso International advised petitioner Lagda that in view of his "unavailability for contractual sea service," he had been dropped from the roster of crew members. 7. Petitioners filed for illegal dismissal case and non-payment of the retirement benefits with POEA. The POEA rendered a decision dismissing the complaint for lack of merit. Upon appeal the NLRC affirmed the decision of POEA; ISSUE: I. Are petitioners regular or contractual employees whose employments are terminated everytime their contracts of employment expire? ii. Does the provision of the POEA standard contract for seafarers on board foreign vessels (sec. C., duration of contract) preclude the attainment by seamen of the status of regular employees? iii. Does the decision of the court in g.r. No. 110524 contravene international maritime law, allegedly part of the law of the land under section 2, article ii of the constitution? iv. Does the same decision of the court constitute a departure from its ruling in Coyoca vs.NLRC (G.R. No. 113658, march 31, 1995)? HELD/RULING: Considering all the arguments presented by the private respondents, the Intervenor FAME and the OSG, we agree that there is a need to reconsider our position with respect to the status of seafarers which we considered as regular employees under Article 280 of the Labor Code. We, therefore, partially grant the second motion for reconsideration. As it is evident from even only the three examples already given that Article 280 of the Labor Code, under a narrow and literal interpretation, not only fails to exhaust the gamut of employment contracts to which the lack of a fixed period would be an anomaly, but would also appear to restrict, without reasonable distinctions, the right of an employee to freely stipulate within his employer the duration of his engagement, it logically follows that such a literal interpretation should be eschewed or avoided. The law M. D. Antonio

must be given a reasonable interpretation, to preclude absurdity in its application. Outlawing the whole concept of term employment and subverting to boot the principle of freedom of contract to remedy the evil of employer's using it as a means to prevent their employees from obtaining security of tenure is like cutting off the nose to spite the face or, more relevantly, curing a headache by lopping of the head. Accordingly, and since the entire purpose behind the development of legislation culminating in the present Article 280 of the Labor code clearly appears to have been, as already observed, to prevent circumvention of the employee's right to be secure in his tenure, the clause in said article indiscriminately and completely ruling out all written or oral agreements conflicting with the concept of regular employment as defined therein should be construed to refer to the substantive evil that the Code itself has singled out; agreements entered into precisely to circumvent security of tenure. It should have no application to instances where a fixed period of employment was agreed upon knowingly and voluntarily by the parties, without any force, duress or improper pressure being brought to bear upon the employee and absent any other circumstances vitiating his consent, or where it satisfactorily appears that the employer and employee dealt with each other on more or less equal terms with no moral dominance whatever being exercised by the former over the latter. Unless thus limited in its purview, the law would be made to apply to purposes other than those explicitly stated by its framers; it thus becomes pointless and arbitrary, unjust in its effects and apt to lead to absurd and unintended consequences. In Pablo Coyoca v. NLRC, the Court held that a seafarer is not a regular employee and is not entitled to separation pay. His employment is governed by the POEA Standard Employment Contract for Filipino Seamen. In Worth Shipping Service, Inc., et al. v. NLRC, et al., It held that the crew members of the shipping company had attained regular status and thus, were entitled to separation pay. However, the facts of said case differ from the present. In Worth, we held that the principal and agent had "operational control and management" over the MV Orient Carrier and thus, were the actual employers of their crew members. From the foregoing cases, it is clear that seafarers are considered contractual employees. Overseas workers including seafarers fall under this type of employment which are governed by the mutual agreements of the parties. Petitioners make much of the fact that they have been continually re-hired or their contracts renewed before the contracts expired (which has admittedly been going on for twenty (20) years). By such circumstance they claim to have acquired regular status with all the rights and benefits appurtenant to it. Such contention is untenable. Undeniably, this circumstance of continuous re-hiring was dictated by practical considerations that experienced crew members are more preferred. Petitioners were only given priority or preference because of their experience and qualifications but this does not detract the fact that herein petitioners are contractual employees. With respect to the benefits under the Consecutive Enlistment Incentive Plan (CEIP), we hold that the petitioners are still entitled to receive 100% of the total amount credited to him under the CEIP. Considering that we have declared that petitioners are contractual employees, their compensation and benefits are covered by the contracts they signed and the CEIP is part and parcel of the contract. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the Court Resolved to Partially GRANT Private Respondent's Second Motion for Reconsideration and Intervenor FAMES' Motion for Reconsideration in Intervention. The Decision of the National Labor Relations Commission dated June 1, 1993 is hereby REINSTATED with MODIFICATION. The Private Respondents, Trans-Global Maritime Agency, Inc. and Esso International Shipping Co., Ltd. are hereby jointly and severally ORDERED to pay petitioners One Hundred Percent (100%) of their total credited contributions as provided under the Consecutive Enlistment Incentive Plan(CEIP).

M. D. Antonio

G.R. No. L-63316 July 31, 1984 ILUMINADA VER BUISER, MA.CECILIA RILLOACUA and MA. MERCEDES P. INTENGAN, petitioners, vs. HON. VICENTE LEOGARDO, JR., in his capacity as Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Labor & Employment, and GENERAL TELEPHONE DIRECTORY, CO., respondents. GUERRERO, J.: CASE: This is a petition for certiorari seeking to set aside the Order of the Deputy Minister of Labor and Employment, affirming the Order of the Regional Director, National Capital Regionwhich dismissed the petitioners' complainant for alleged illegal dismissal and unpaid commission. Ante4cedent Facts: 1. Petitioners were employed by the private respondent GENERAL TELEPHONE DIRECTORY COMPANY as sales representatives and charged with the duty of soliciting advertisements for inclusion in a telephone directory. 2. Private respondent, a corporation engaged in the business of publication and circulation of the directory of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company. 3. The records show that petitioners entered into an "Employment Contract on Probationary Status", with a proviso that states that the Employee may be terminated at the pleasure of the company w/o the necessity of giving notice of termination or the payment of termination pay. 4. Corollary to this, the private respondent prescribed sales quotas to be accomplished or met by the petitioners. Failing to meet their respective sales quotas, the petitioners were dismissed from the service by the private respondent. 5. Petitioners filed with the National Capital Region, Ministry of Labor and Employment, a complaint for illegal dismissal with claims for backwages, earned commissions and other benefits; 6.The RD dismissed the said complaint. An MR, however, was treated as an appeal to the Minister of Labor. PETITIONERS CONTENTION: It is petitioners' submission that probationary employment cannot exceed six (6) months, the only exception being apprenticeship and learnership agreements as provided in the Labor Code; that the Policy Instruction of the Minister of Labor and Employment nor any agreement of the parties could prevail over this mandatory requirement of the law; that this six months prescription of the Labor Code was mandated to give further efficacy to the constitutionally-guaranteed security of tenure of workers; and that the law does not allow any discretion on the part of the Minister of Labor and Employment to extend the probationary period for a longer period except in the aforecited instances. Finally, petitioners maintain that since they are regular employees, they can only be removed or dismissed for any of the just and valid causes enumerated under Article 283 of the Labor Code. RULING/HELD: We reject petitioners' contentions. They have no basis in law. Generally, the probationary period of employment is limited to six (6) months. The exception to this general rule is When the parties to an employment contract may agree otherwise, such as when the same is established by company policy or when the same is required by the nature of work to be performed by the employee. In the latter case, there is recognition of the exercise of managerial prerogatives in requiring a longer period of probationary employment, such as in the present case where the probationary period was set for eighteen (18) months, i.e. from May, 1980 to October, 1981 inclusive, especially where the employee must learn a particular kind of work such as selling, or when the job requires certain qualifications, skills, experience or training. Policy Instruction No. 11 of the Minister of Labor and Employment has clarified any and all doubts on the period of probationary employment. It states as follows: Probationary Employment has been the subject of misunderstanding in some quarter. Some people believe six (6) months is the probationary period in all cases. On the other hand employs who have already served the probationary period are sometimes required to serve again on probation. Under the Labor Code, six (6) months is the general probationary period ' but the probationary period is actually the period needed to determine fitness for the job. This period, for lack of a better measurement is deemed to be the period needed to learn the job. The purpose of this policy is to protect the worker at the same time enable the employer to make a meaningful employee selection. This purpose should be kept in mind in enforcing this provision of the Code. This issuance shall take effect immediately. In the case at bar, it is shown that private respondent Company needs at least eighteen (18) months to determine the character and selling capabilities of the petitioners as sales representatives. The Company is engaged in advertisement and publication in the Yellow Pages of the PLDT Telephone Directories. Publication of solicited ads are only made a year after the sale has been made and only then win the company be able to evaluate the efficiency, conduct, and selling ability of its sales representatives, the evaluation being based on the published ads. Moreover, an eighteen month probationary period is recognized by the Labor Union in the private respondent company. And as indicated earlier, the very contracts of employment signed and acquiesced to by the petitioners specifically indicate that "the company hereby employs the employee as telephone sales representative on a probationary status for a period of eighteen (18) months, i.e. from May 1980 to October 1981, inclusive. This stipulation is not contrary to law, morals and public policy. We, therefore, hold and rule that the probationary employment of petitioners set to eighteen (18) months is legal and valid and that the Regional Director and the Deputy Minister of Labor and Employment committed no abuse of discretion in ruling accordingly. The practice of a company in laying off workers because they failed to make the work quota has been recognized in this jurisdiction. (Philippine American Embroideries vs. Embroidery and Garment Workers, 26 SCRA 634, 639). In the case at bar, the petitioners' failure to meet the sales quota assigned to each of them constitute a just cause of their dismissal, regardless of the permanent or probationary status of their employment. Failure to observe prescribed standards of work, or to fulfill reasonable work assignments due to inefficiency may constitute just cause for dismissal. Such inefficiency is understood to mean failure to attain work goals or work quotas, either by failing to complete the same within the alloted reasonable period, or by producing unsatisfactory results. This management prerogative of requiring standards availed of so long as they are exercised in good faith for the advancement of the employer's interest. WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit.

M. D. Antonio

G.R. No. L-53552 October 18, 1988 PLDT CO., petitioner, vs. NLRC and EDUARDO PANGAN, respondents. CORTES, J.: CASE: Petitioner assails the decision of NLRC ordering the reinstatement of private respondent notwithstanding his having committed theft and misappropriation of company properties. Antecedent facts: Private respondent Eduardo Pangan was employed by PLDT as lineman helper with rank of Grade I in 1970. At his dismissal he was occupying the position of lineman II. His job entails the ff. duties and responsibilities: repairing of telephone lines, canvassing telephone numbers afford by Estimates, Job Orders and Routine Orders, and handling cable facilities for various cable troubles. In early 1977, it was discovered that Pangan with 3 other PLDT employees committed pilferages of company properties. When asked to explain why he returned unserviceable materials, Pangan admitted having sold two (2) new leather belts and one (1) handset all costing Pl,609.00. He pleaded as an excuse his dire need for money to help defray his expenses incurred in his goiter operation plus the cost of medicines he had to purchase.When informed of his eventual dismissal Pangan interposed no opposition. On May 31, 1977 PLDT filed an application for clearance to terminate his services with preventive suspension, on the ground of theft and misappropriation of company properties. On September 27, 1977 the Department of Labor granted the same. Thereafter, Pangan filed a letter-complaint with the Department of Labor in opposition to the company's application for clearance to terminate his services. The complaint was certified for compulsory arbitration. LA dismissed the complaint for lack of merit. Upon appeal the NLRC reversed the decision, contending that A)ThatPangan sold the item valued at Pl,600 for only Pl 00. This could only mean that he was in dire need of money as in fact he needed it for an operation of his goiter B) Since the time Pangan had been placed under preventive suspension and up to the writing of the NLRC decision, considerable time had already elapsed as to constitute his punishment. PLDT files for a TRO which the SC granted. ISSUE: RESPONDENT NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION COMMITTED A GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION WHEN IT ORDERED THE REINSTATEMENT OF RESPONDENT EDUARDO PANGAN TO HIS FORMER POSITION NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT HE COMMITTED A SERIOUS ACT OF MISCONDUCT WHICH CONSTITUTES A JUST AND VALID CAUSE FOR HIS DISMISSAL. HELD/RULING: The aforestated mitigating circumstances notwithstanding this Court finds that petitioner had valid ground to terminate private respondent and NLRC acted with grave abuse of discretion in ordering his reinstatement. There is no gainsaying that theft committed by an employee constitutes a valid reason for his dismissal by the employer. Although as a rule this Court leans over backwards to help workers and employees continue with their employment or to mitigate the penalties imposed on them, acts of dishonesty in the handling of company property are a different matter. An employer cannot legally be compelled to continue with the employment of a person who admittedly was guilty of misfeasance or malfeasance towards his employer, and whose continuance in the service of the latter is patently inimical to his interests. The law, in protecting the rights of the laborer, authorizes neither oppression nor self-destruction of the employer. In the case at bar private respondent is admittedly guilty not only of violating the law but also the company rules and regulations as well imposing the penalty of dismissal on first offense of an employee found guilty of selling or disposing of company property without proper authority This Court is not unmindful of the plight of the workers throughout the country nor of the Constitutional provisions, laws and statutes protecting them. However, the Court must likewise balance these with the rights given to management particularly when there is just cause for dismissing an erring employee. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The NLRC decision is SET ASIDE and the TRO issued is to be made permanent.

M. D. Antonio

G.R. No. 148532 April 14, 2004 EMCO PLYWOOD CORPORATION and JIMMY LIM vs. PERFERIO ABELGAS, et al. PANGANIBAN, J.: CASE: Before us is a Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, challenging the decision and resolution of the CA declaring the order of the NLRC null and void and granting the petition for certiorari filed by the private respondents. Antecedent Facts: 1. "EMCO is a domestic corporation engaged in the business of wood processing, operating through its sawmill and plymill sections where [respondents] used to be assigned as regular workers. 2. EMCO, represented by Lim, informed the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) of its intention to retrench some of its workers. The intended retrenchment was grounded on purported financial difficulties occasioned by alleged lack of raw materials, frequent machinery breakdown, low market demand and expiration of permit to operate its sawmill department. 3. A memorandum was thereafter issued by EMCO, addressed to all its foremen, section heads, supervisors and department heads, with the following instructions: 1) Retrench some of your workers based on the following guidelines: a) Old Age (58 years and above except positions that are really skilled); b) Performance (Attitude, Attendance, Quality/ Quantity of Work[)]; 2) Schedule the unspent VL/SL of your men without necessary replacements. x xx 4. EMCOs notice to the DOLE, one hundred four (104) workers were proposed for inclusion in its retrenchment program. As it turned out, though, EMCO terminated two hundred fifty (250) workers. Among them were herein [respondents]. 5. Upon receipt of their separation pay, [respondents] were made to sign quitclaims; 6. About two (2) years later, [respondents], through their labor union, lodged a compliant against EMCO for illegal dismissal, damages and attorneys fees. 7. Herein private respondents challenged the validity of the retrenchment, but EMCO interposing the defense that signing the quitclaims herein private respondents waived whatever claims they have with EMCO; 8. LA dismissed the complaint, and upon appeal the NLRC affirmed the decision of the LA. ISSUE: WON there is compliance to the mandate of Law in retrenchment made by the company. HELD/RULING: Not every loss incurred or expected to be incurred by employers can justify retrenchment. They must prove,among others, that the losses are substantial and that the retrenchment is reasonably necessary to avert those losses. The employer bears the burden of proving the existence or the imminence of substantial losses with clear and satisfactory evidence that there are legitimate business reasons justifying a retrenchment. Should the employer fail to do so, the dismissal shall be deemed unjustified. The "loss" referred to in this provision cannot be of just any kind or amount; otherwise, a company could easily feign excuses to suit its whims and prejudices or to rid itself of unwanted employees. Presentation of the companys financial statements for a particular year was inadequate to overcome the stringent requirement of the law. The only less drastic measure that EMCO undertook was the rotation work scheme: the three-day-work per employee per week schedule. It did not try other measures, such as cost reduction, lesser investment on raw materials, adjustment of the work routine to avoid the scheduled power failure, reduction of the bonuses and salaries of both management and rank-and-file, improvement of manufacturing efficiency, trimming of marketing and advertising costs, and so on. The fact that petitioners did not resort to other such measures seriously belies their claim that retrenchment was done in good faith to avoid losses. Defective Notice The Notice sent to DOLE was defective, because it stated that EMCO would terminate the services of 104 of its workers. The corporation, however, actually dismissed 250. Petitioners aver that the 146 employees not listed in the Notice sent to DOLE voluntarily resigned; hence, the latter were not retrenched. This assertion does not deserve any consideration. Propriety of Separation Benefits The obligation to pay attorneys fees belongs to the union and cannot be shunted to the individual workers as their direct responsibility. The law has made clear that any agreement to the contrary shall be null and void ab initio. Thus, petitioners deduction of attorneys fees from respondents separation pay has no basis in law. Validity of the Quitclaims the retrenchment was illegal and of no effect, the Quitclaims were therefore not voluntarily entered into by respondents. Their consent was similarly vitiated by mistake or fraud. The law looks with disfavor upon quitclaims and releases by employees pressured into signing by unscrupulous employers minded to evade legal responsibilities. The Office of Certiorari Petitioners aver that in a special civil action for certiorari, the appellate court is limited to reviewing only questions related to jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion. As in the present case, however, the lower tribunals factual findings will not be upheld where there is a showing that such findings were totally devoid of support, or that the judgment was based on a misapprehension of facts.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED, and the assailed Decision and Resolution AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners.

M. D. Antonio

G.R. No. 144786 April 15, 2004 PHIL. EMPLOY SERVICES and RESOURCES, INC., vs. JOSEPH PARAMIO, RONALD NAVARRA, ROMEL SARMIENTO, RECTO GUILLERMO, FERDINAND BAUTISTA and APOLINARIO CURAMENG, JR. CALLEJO, SR., J.: CASE: Petition for review of the Decision of the CA & its Resolution denying the petitioners motion for reconsideration therefrom. FACTS: 1. On different dates, respondents Joseph Paramio, Ronald Navarra, Romel Sarmiento, Recto Guillermo, Ferdinand Bautista and ApolinarioCurameng, Jr. applied for employment in Taiwan with petitioner, Phil. Employ Services and Resources, Inc. (PSRI for brevity), a domestic corporation engaged in the recruitment and deployment of Filipino Workers Overseas. 2. Their applications were processed along with the requisite papers and documents in support thereof, and they paid P19,000 each as placement fee. 3. Thereafter, they executed in the Philippines separate one-year contracts of employment with their employer in Taiwan, Kuan Yuan Fiber Co., Ltd. Hsei-Chang. The respondents were deployed in Taiwan as operators on different dates and each of them had a monthly salary of NT$15,360 (New Taiwan Dollars), with free food and accommodation. 4. However, upon arrival in Taiwan, the terms and conditions of employment was totally different from the things discussed in their orientation. 5. The poor facilities in the place of employment as well as the hazards of the job were experience by them. 6. The same was related to the management of Petitioner based in Taiwan, and the latter made a visit to inspect the facilities therein, but he did not made any action and instead advised the private respondent to deal with the condition of the employment; 7. Disappointed, the respondents, along with their co-workers, contacted the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in Taiwan and sought the latters assistance, only to be frustrated when their requests were not favorably acted upon. 8. Each of the private respondent was repatriated by the company, and together with the repatriation, some of the employees were made to sign a deed of quit-claim. Paramio injured his thumb while working and still was made to work and as a result of his failure to comply he was also repatriated; 9. Respondents Sarmiento, Guillermo, Bautista and Curameng, Jr. could no longer bear the worsening working conditions. 10. Respondents filed separate complaints before the NLRC Arbitration Branch against BayaniFontanilla for illegal dismissal, nonpayment of overtime pay, refund of placement fee, tax refund, refund of plane fares, attorneys fees and litigation expenses. LA ruled in favor of respondents and awarded damages as well as reimbursement for their placement fees and other necessary award; Upon appeal the NLRC reversed and set aside the decision of the LA; when the private respondent appealed the case with the CA, it reinstated the decision of the LA; ISSUE: (a) whether or not the respondents were illegally dismissed; and (b) whether or not the deed of release and quitclaim executed by respondent Navarra was valid. HELD: We rule that the respondents dismissal was not based on just, valid and legal grounds. As such, the rulelex loci contractus (the law of the place where the contract is made) governs. Therefore, the Labor Code, its implementing rules and regulations, and other laws affecting labor, apply in this case. Applying the law and the rule, the employer is burdened to prove that the employee was suffering from a disease which prevented his continued employment, or that the employees wound prevented his continued employment. Section 8, Rule 1, Book VI of the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code requires a certification from competent public authority that the employee was heavily wounded and had lost the ability to work. In the case at bar, the petitioner did not adduce in evidence a certification from a public authority to the effect that respondent Paramio had been heavily wounded. It also failed to show that by reason of his thumb injury, he lost the ability to work. Respondent Paramio was not, for a time, able to perform the backbreaking tasks required by his manager. However, despite his injury, he managed to perform the other tasks assigned to him, including carrying of 30-kilogram containers with the exception of the work in the Lupo Department. The fact that respondent Paramio was assigned to perform the second hardest and heaviest task in the company shows the heartlessness of the companys manager. Despite his wound, the respondent tried to accomplish the work assigned to him. The least the manager should have done was to assign the respondent to a lighter task, until such time that the latters wound had completely healed. It must be stressed where there is no showing of a clear, valid and legal cause for the termination of employment, the law considers the matter a case of illegal dismissal. We thus rule that the respondents were constructively dismissed from their employment. There is constructive dismissal if an act of clear discrimination, insensibility, or disdain by an employer becomes so unbearable on the part of the employee that it would foreclose any choice by him except to forego his continued employment. It exists where there is cessation of work because "continued employment is rendered impossible, unreasonable or unlikely, as an offer involving a demotion in rank and a diminution in pay." We rule that the deed of release executed by respondent Navarra did not completely release the petitioner from its liability on the latters claim. The records reveal that respondent Navarra executed a deed of release and waiver for and in consideration of only P49,000. There is no evidence that he was informed that he was entitled to much more than the said amount, including a refund for the placement fee he paid to the petitioner. Respondent Navarra started working on November 7, 1996. His employment contract was for a period of one year. He was repatriated on May 10, 1997, or after a little over six months. The unexpired portion of his contract is, thus, five months and 27 days. IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is DENIED.

M. D. Antonio

G.R. No. 189366 December 8, 2010 PLDT vs. EUSEBIO M. HONRADO


DEL CASTILLO, J.: CASE: Petition for Review on certiorari of petitioner PLDT which seeks to reverse the Court of Appeals (CAs) Decision. Antecedent Facts: Private respondent EusebioHonrado (Honrado) was an employee of petitioner PLDT assigned at North Paraaque Exchange. He was hired on 1981, held the position of a senior lineman with a monthly salary of P21,600.00 prior to the termination of his employment on February 15, 2001. Spouses Pete A. Mueda & Rodrigo H. Mueda went to PLDTs Quality Control Division (QCD) to verify their application for telephone because according to them, a person named Rony Hipolito (Hipolito) who introduced himself as a PLDT employee went to their house. Sps. Mueda paid Hipolito P1,500.00 as partial payment for the installation of their new telephone line; that Hipolito even signed a receipt stating that he received P1,500.00 down payment on the same day, and that he also gave a contact number of 822-2828 in case they have any query or follow-up. Yap, QCD Investigator together with Mrs. Mueda, conducted a stake out operation at the PLDT North Paraaque Exchange to [determine] the identity of Rony Hipolito. Through an inter-office memorandum, Mr. Torrenueva asked private respondent to explain, in writing[,] within 72 hours from receipt of the memo, why he should not be dismissed for serious misconduct and if he so desire, he may ask for a hearing. In reply, private respondent vehemently denied all the allegations imputed against him and requested for a formal hearing with the assistance of his counsel and Union official. The formal hearing took place. In the said hearing, private respondent again denied the accusation against him. Then, his counsel asked the presiding officer to show them the alleged receipt issued by private respondent. But the said PLDT officer, Mr. Yap, refused to show it to them and told them that the hearing is only for the airing of private respondents explanation and defenses. His counsel also persistently requested Mr. Yap to give them at least a single opportunity to cross-examine the accusers of his client to determine the truth because what was at stake was the means of livelihood of his client but his plea was heard by deaf ears. After the trial and through an inter-office memo he was found liable to the charge and was dismissed from service. LA dismissed the illegal dismissal filed by the private respondent. But on appeal the decision of the LA was reversed by the NLRC. ISSUE: 1) WON the CA misapplied the quantum of proof required in holding that there is no sufficient basis to support the cause for the respondents termination. (2) WON the CA committed serious error in finding that respondent Honrado was denied due process of law. HELD/Ruling: The petition has merit. The requisites for a valid dismissal are: (a) the employee must be afforded due process, i.e., he must be given an opportunity to be heard and defend himself; and (b) the dismissal must be for a valid cause as provided in Article 282 of the Labor Code or for any of the authorized causes under Articles 283 and 284 of the same Code. On the issue of due process In the instant case, a confrontation proceeding between respondent Honrado and the therein complainant Mrs. Pete A. Mueda (Mrs. Mueda) was conducted at petitioners QCD office. this Court agrees with the finding of the CA that petitioner technically followed all the procedures laid down in Book VI, Rule I, Section 2(d) of the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code in the sense that: (1) private respondent was served with written notice specifying the ground for his termination; (2) a formal hearing was conducted with the assistance of his counsel; (3) and he was served with written notice of termination indicating the grounds to justify it. In this case, in addition to the actual confrontation proceeding with Mrs. Mueda, Honrado asked for and was given a formal hearing where he together with his counsel and his union representative had ample opportunity to rebut the accusation lodged against him. However, despite said opportunity, other than his general denial, he did not present his counter-statement in the company proceedings. Clearly, Honrado was afforded ample opportunity to air his side and defend himself. Hence, there was no denial of his right to due process. On the issue of just cause In this case, petitioner has sufficiently established that respondent Honrado solicited, collected and received the P1,500.00downpayment from the spouses Mueda. First, on January 18, 2000, the PLDT QCD Investigator together with Mrs. Mueda conducted a stake-out operation to expose the identity of the person who asked for the downpayment. Honrado was identified by Mrs. Mueda when he handed his Trip Authorization Pass to the guard on duty at the PLDT North Paraaque Exchange gate. Second, Mrs. Mueda categorically affirmed, during the January 19, 2000 confrontation proceeding, that it was indeed Honrado who solicited and received the P1,500.00downpayment for the installation of her new telephone line. Third, corroborating evidence in the form of the affidavits of the spouses Mueda were submitted by the petitioner, together with the receipt issued for the downpayment. Taken together, the petitioner has dispensed with the burden of establishing the serious misconduct committed by respondent Honrado. Such misconduct makes him unworthy of the trust and confidence demanded by his position. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals are set aside. The Decision of the Labor Arbiter dated October 19, 2001 dismissing the complaint for lack of merit is hereby REINSTATED and AFFIRMED. Dismissal; due process; trial-type hearing is not essential. In dismissal cases, the essence of due process is a fair and reasonable opportunity to be heard, or as applied to administrative proceedings, an opportunity to explain ones side. A formal or trial type hearing is not at all times and in all instances essential. Neither is it necessary that the witnesses be cross-examined. In the instant case, there was a proceeding where the respondent was apprised of the charges against him as well as of his rights. Thereafter, he was notified of the formal charges against him and was required to explain in writing why he should not be dismissed for serious misconduct. A formal hearing was conducted and subsequently, respondent received a Notice of Termination informing him that after a careful evaluation, he was found liable as charged and dismissed from the service due to gross misconduct. Clearly, respondent was afforded ample opportunity to air his side and defend himself. Hence, there was due process.

M. D. Antonio

[G.R. No. 139013. September 17, 2002] ZEL T. ZAFRA & EDWIN B. ECARMA vs. CA, PLDT CO., INC., AUGUSTO COTELO, & ERIBERTO MELLIZA QUISUMBING, J.: CASE: For review on certiorari is the decision of the Court of Appeals, reversing that of the voluntary arbitrator which ordered respondent Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) to reinstate petitioners. Antecedent Facts: Zafra was hired by PLDTas Operations Analyst II with a monthly salary of P14,382. Co-petitioner, Edwin B. Ecarma was hired as Junior Operations Analyst I at a monthly rate of P12,032. Both were regular rank-and-file employees assigned at the Regional Operations and Maintenance Control Center (ROMCC) of PLDTs Cebu Provincial Division. They were tasked to maintain the operations and maintenance of the telephone exchanges in the Visayas and Mindanao areas. Petitioners were chosen for the OMC Specialist and System Software Acceptance Training Program in Germany in preparation for ALCATEL 1000 S12, a World Bank-financed PLDT project in line with its Zero Backlog Program. ALCATEL, the foreign supplier, shouldered the cost of their training and travel expenses. While petitioners were in Germany, a certain Mr. R. Relucio, SwitchNet Division Manager, requested advice, through an inter-office memorandum, from the Cebu and Davao Provincial Managers if any of the training participants were interested to transfer to the Sampaloc ROMCC to address the operational requirements therein. Upon petitioners return from Germany, a certain Mr. W.P. Acantillado, Senior Manager of the PLDT Cebu Plant, informed them about the memorandum. They balked at the idea, but PLDT, through an inter-office memorandum proceeded to transfer petitioners to the Sampaloc ROMCC. Petitioners left Cebu for Manilato air their grievance to PLDT and to seek assistance from their union head office in Mandaluyong. PLDT ordered petitioners to report for work on January 16, 1996, but they asked for a deferment to February 1, 1996. Petitioners again appealed to PLDT to no avail. And, because all their appeals fell on deaf ears, petitioners, while in Manila, tendered their resignation letters. The expenses for their training in Germany were deducted from petitioners final pay. The petitioners filed for constructive dismissal with the NLRC but the same was referred to the NCMB for voluntary arbitration. The hearing ensued But on those dates PLDT did not appear. Nor did it file any notice of postponement or motion to cancel the hearings. PLDT was declared to have waived its right to present evidence on account of its unjustified failure to appear in the November 10 to 11 hearings. The voluntary arbitrator basing only with the evidence of the petitioner ruled in favor of them. PLDT filed for special civil action with the CA, and it was treated as a motion for review, and the CA ruled in favor of PLDT. ISSUE: (1) WON the CA erred in treating the special civil action for certiorari filed by respondent as a petition for review (2) WON the CA erred in its appreciation of facts and the decision it rendered.

HELD/Ruling: A perusal of the petition before the CA shows that the mode chosen by PLDT was a petition for review under Rule 43 and not a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65. While it was captioned as a petition for certiorari, it is not the caption of the pleading but the allegations therein that determine the nature of the action.The appellate court was not precluded from granting relief as warranted by PLDTs allegations in the petition and the evidence it had presented to support the petition. First, under the heading Nature of the Action, the PLDT averred it was a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision dated December 1, 1997 and Order dated July 10, 1998 of Voluntary Arbitrator Atty. Rolando M. Lim.Second, while the assigned errors alleged that the voluntary arbitrator acted with grave abuse of discretion, nevertheless, the issue set forth was whether or not there existed sufficient evidence to show that complainants [herein petitioners] were constructively dismissed, and whether they were entitled to reinstatement, back wages and other monetary awards.Clearly, the issue was factual and not limited to questions of jurisdiction and grave abuse of discretion. Third, the petition was filed within the 15-day period to perfect an appeal and did not implead the voluntary arbitrator as a respondent. All of these indicate that the petition below was indeed one for review. Coming now to the substantive merits of the petition before us. Considering that the CAs findings of fact clash with those of the voluntary arbitrator, with contradictory results, this Court is compelled to go over the records of the case as well as the submissions of the parties. Having done so carefully, we are not convinced that the voluntary arbitrator erred in his factual conclusions so as to justify reversal thereof by the appellate court. We are persuaded to rule in favor of the complaining workers, herein petitioners, following the wellestablished doctrine in labor-management relations that in case of doubt, labor should prevail. The appellate courts justification that petitioners transfer was a management prerogative did not quite square with the preceding evidence on record, which are not disputed. To say that petitioners were not constructively dismissed inasmuch as the transfer was effected without demotion in rank or diminution of salary benefits is, to our mind, inaccurate. It is well to remember that constructive dismissal does not always involve forthright dismissal or diminution in rank, compensation, benefits, and privileges. For an act of clear discrimination, insensibility, or disdain by an employer may become so unbearable on the part of the employee that it could foreclose any choice by him except to forego his continued employment. The insensibility of private respondents is at once deducible from the foregoing circumstances. PLDT officials neglected to disclose this vital piece of information to petitioners before they acceded to be trained abroad. On arriving home, they did not give complaining workers any other option but placed them in an either/or straightjacket, that appeared too oppressive for those concerned. We are not unaware that the transfer of an employee ordinarily lies within the ambit of management prerogatives. However, a transfer amounts to constructive dismissal when the transfer is unreasonable, inconvenient, or prejudicial to the employee, and involves a demotion in rank or diminution of salaries, benefits, and other privileges. the present case, petitioners were unceremoniously transferred, necessitating their families relocation from Cebu to Manila. It is no exaggeration to say that their forced transfer is not only unreasonable, inconvenient, and prejudicial, but to our mind, also in defiance of basic due process and fair play in employment relations. WHEREFORE, this petition for review is GRANTED.

M. D. Antonio