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San Miguel Corporation vs. NLRC


Facts: Ibias (respondent) was employed by petitioner SMC on 24 December 1978
initially as a CRO operator in its Metal Closure and Lithography Plant. Respondent
continuously worked therein until he advanced as Zamatic operator. He was also an
active and militant member of a labor organization called Ilaw Buklod Manggagawa
(IBM)-SMC Chapter.
According to SMCs Policy on Employee Conduct, absences without permission or
AWOPs, which are absences not covered either by a certification of the plant doctor
that the employee was absent due to sickness or by a duly approved application for
leave of absence filed at least 6 days prior to the intended leave, are subject to
disciplinary action characterized by progressively increasing weight. The same
Policy on Employee Conduct also punishes falsification of company records or
documents with discharge or termination for the first offense if the offender himself
or somebody else benefits from falsification or would have benefited if falsification
is not found on time.
It appears that per company records, respondent was AWOP on the following dates
in 1997: 2, 4 and 11 January; 26, 28 and 29 April; and 5, 7, 8, 13, 21, 22, 28 and 29
May. For his absences on 2, 4 and 11 January and 28 and 29 April, he was given a
written warning dated 9 May 1997 that he had already incurred five (5) AWOPs and
that further absences would be subject to disciplinary action. For his absences on 28
and 29 April and 7 and 8 May, respondent was alleged to have falsified his medical
consultation card by stating therein that he was granted sick leave by the plant
clinic on said dates when in truth he was not.
After the completion of the investigation, SMC concluded that respondent
committed the offenses of excessive AWOPs and falsification of company records or
documents, and accordingly dismissed him.
On 30 March 1998, respondent filed a complaint for illegal dismissal against SMC.
The labor arbiter believed that respondent had committed the absences pointed out
by SMC but found the imposition of termination of employment based on his AWOPs
to be disproportionate since SMC failed to show by clear and convincing evidence
that it had strictly implemented its company policy on absences. It also noted that
termination based on the alleged falsification of company records was unwarranted
in view of SMCs failure to establish respondents guilt.
The appellate court also held that respondents AWOPs did not warrant his dismissal
in view of SMCs inconsistent implementation of its company policies. It could not
understand why respondent was given a mere warning for his absences on 28 and
29 April which constituted his 5th and 6th AWOPs, respectively, when these should
have merited suspension under SMCs policy. According to the appellate court, since
respondent was merely warned, logically said absences were deemed committed for
the first time; thus, it follows that the subject AWOPs did not justify his dismissal

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because under SMCs policy, the 4th to 9th AWOPs are meted the corresponding
penalty only when committed for the second time.
Issue: WON the Court of Appeals erred in sustaining the findings of the labor arbiter
and the NLRC and in dismissing SMCs claims that respondent was terminated from
service with just cause.
Held: Proof beyond reasonable doubt is not required as a basis for judgment on the
legality of an employers dismissal of an employee, nor even preponderance of
evidence for that matter, substantial evidence being sufficient. In the instant case,
while there may be no denying that respondents medical card had falsified entries
in it, SMC was unable to prove, by substantial evidence, that it was respondent who
made the unauthorized entries. Besides, SMCs (Your) Guide on Employee Conduct
punishes the act of falsification of company records or documents; it does not
punish mere possession of a falsified document.
Respondent cannot feign surprise nor ignorance of the earlier AWOPs he had
incurred. He was given a warning for his 2, 4, and 11 January and 26, 28, and 29
April 1997 AWOPs. In the same warning, he was informed that he already had six
AWOPs for 1997. He admitted that he was absent on 7 and 8 May 1997. He was also
given notices to explain his AWOPs for the period 26 May to 2 June 1997, which he
received but refused to acknowledge. It does not take a genius to figure out that as
early as June 1997, he had more than nine AWOPs.
In any case, when SMC imposed the penalty of dismissal for the 12th and 13th
AWOPs, it was acting well within its rights as an employer. An employer has the
prerogative to prescribe reasonable rules and regulations necessary for the proper
conduct of its business, to provide certain disciplinary measures in order to
implement said rules and to assure that the same would be complied with. An
employer enjoys a wide latitude of discretion in the promulgation of policies, rules
and regulations on work-related activities of the employees.
It is axiomatic that appropriate disciplinary sanction is within the purview of
management imposition. Thus, in the implementation of its rules and policies, the
employer has the choice to do so strictly or not, since this is inherent in its right to
control and manage its business effectively. Consequently, management has the
prerogative to impose sanctions lighter than those specifically prescribed by its
rules, or to condone completely the violations of its erring employees. Of course,
this prerogative must be exercised free of grave abuse of discretion, bearing in mind
the requirements of justice and fair play.
All told, we find that SMC acted well within its rights when it dismissed respondent
for his numerous absences. Respondent was afforded due process and was validly
dismissed for cause.
Petition granted

PNB v. Cabansag
Florence Cabansag was hired by the PNB Branch in Singapore and was terminated
(even if her good work was commended) allegedly due to cost cutting then because
of the need for a Chinese speaking employee. She was not properly notified by her
boss and she was not given a chance to be heard. There was no due process.
PNB should have 1) apprised her of her particular act or omission 2) inform her of
their decision to dismiss her. 282, 283, 284 valid grounds of dismissal. She did not
commit any offenses or omissions under 282, the business was not closing (illegally
dismissed. contract of employment is imbued with public interest and cannot
insinuate themselves from impact of labor laws
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK, petitioner, vs. FLORENCE O. CABANSAG, respondent.
FACTS In late 1998, [herein Respondent Florence Cabansag] arrived in Singapore as
a tourist. She applied for employment, with the Singapore Branch of the Philippine
National Bank. At the time, the Singapore PNB Branch was under the helm of Ruben
C. Tobias, a lawyer, as General Manager, with the rank of Vice-President of the Bank.
She applied for employment as Branch Credit Officer, at a total monthly package of
$SG4,500.00, effective upon assumption of duties after approval.
Ruben C. Tobias found her eminently qualified and wrote on October 26, 1998, a
letter to the President of the Bank in Manila, recommending the appointment of
Florence O. Cabansag, for the position. On December 7, 1998, Ruben C. Tobias
wrote a letter to Florence O. Cabansag offering her a temporary appointment, as
Credit Officer, at a basic salary of Singapore Dollars 4,500.00, a month and, upon
her successful completion of her probation to be determined solely, by the Bank,
she may be extended at the discretion of the Bank, a permanent appointment and
that her temporary appointment was subject to certain terms and conditions.
Cabansag accepted the position and assumed office. In the meantime, the
Philippine Embassy in Singapore processed the employment contract of Florence O.
Cabansag and, on March 8, 1999, she was issued by the Philippine Overseas
Employment Administration, an Overseas Employment Certificate, certifying that
she was a bona fide contract worker for Singapore.
Barely three (3) months in office Tobias told Cabansag that her resignation was
imperative as a cost-cutting measure of the Bank. Tobias, likewise, told Cabansag
that the PNB Singapore Branch will be sold or transformed into a remittance office
and that, in either way, she had to resign from her employment. She then asked
Ruben C. Tobias that she be furnished with a Formal Advice from the PNB Head
Office in Manila. However, Ruben C. Tobias flatly refused.
Florence O. Cabansag did not submit any letter of resignation. On April 16, 1999,
Ruben C. Tobias again summoned Florence O. Cabansag to his office and demanded
that she submit her letter of resignation, with the pretext that he needed a Chinesespeaking Credit Officer to penetrate the local market, with the information that a
Chinese-speaking Credit Officer had already been hired and will be reporting for

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work soon. She was warned that, unless she submitted her letter of resignation, her
employment record will be blemished with the notation DISMISSED spread thereon.
Without giving any definitive answer, Florence O. Cabansag asked Ruben C. Tobias
that she be given sufficient time to look for another job. Ruben C. Tobias told her
that she should be out of her employment by May 15, 1999.
However, on April 19, 1999, Ruben C. Tobias again summoned Florence O. Cabansag
and adamantly ordered her to submit her letter of resignation. She refused. On April
20, 1999, she received a letter from Ruben C. Tobias terminating her employment
with the Bank.
On January 18, 2000, the Labor Arbiter rendered judgment in favor of the
Complainant and against the Respondents. PNB appealed the labor arbiters
Decision to the NLRC. In a Resolution dated June 29, 2001, the Commission affirmed
that Decision.
Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals which rendered a decision in favor of
Florence Cabansag.
ISSUE Whether or not the arbitration branch of the NLRC in the National Capital
Region has jurisdiction over the instant controversy.
HELD
The jurisdiction of labor arbiters and the NLRC is specified in Article 217 of the Labor
Code and more specifically, Section 10 of RA 8042 reads in part: SECTION 10.
Money Claims. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the Labor
Arbiters of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC)
shall have the original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide, within ninety
(90) calendar days after the filing of the complaint, the claims arising out of an
employer-employee relationship or by virtue of any law or contract involving Filipino
workers for overseas deployment including claims for actual, moral, exemplary and
other forms of damages.
Based on the foregoing provisions, labor arbiters clearly have original and exclusive
jurisdiction over claims arising from employer-employee relations, including
termination disputes involving all workers, among whom are overseas Filipino
workers (OFW). We are not unmindful of the fact that respondent was directly hired,
while on a tourist status in Singapore, by the PNB branch in that city state. Prior to
employing respondent, petitioner had to obtain an employment pass for her from
the Singapore Ministry of Manpower.
Securing the pass was a regulatory requirement pursuant to the immigration
regulations of that country.
Noteworthy is the fact that respondent likewise applied for and secured an Overseas
Employment Certificate from the POEA through the Philippine Embassy in
Singapore. The Certificate, issued on March 8, 1999, declared her a bona fide
contract worker for Singapore. Under Philippine law, this document authorized her
working status in a foreign country and entitled her to all benefits and processes
under our statutes. Thus, even assuming arguendo that she was considered at the

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start of her employment as a direct hire governed by and subject to the laws,
common practices and customs prevailing in Singapore she subsequently became a
contract worker or an OFW who was covered by Philippine labor laws and policies
upon certification by the POEA. At the time her employment was illegally
terminated, she already possessed the POEA employment Certificate.
Whether employed locally or overseas, all Filipino workers enjoy the protective
mantle of Philippine labor and social legislation, contract stipulations to the contrary
notwithstanding. For purposes of venue, workplace shall be understood as the place
or locality where the employee is regularly assigned when the cause of action arose.
It shall include the place where the employee is supposed to report back after a
temporary detail, assignment or travel. In the case of field employees, as well as
ambulant or itinerant workers, their workplace is where they are regularly assigned,
or where they are supposed to regularly receive their salaries/wages or work
instructions from, and report the results of their assignment to their employers.
Under the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 (RA 8042), a
migrant worker refers to a person who is to be engaged, is engaged or has been
engaged in a remunerated activity in a state of which he or she is not a legal
resident; to be used interchangeably with overseas Filipino worker.[21]
Undeniably, respondent was employed by petitioner in its branch office in
Singapore. Admittedly, she is a Filipino and not a legal resident of that state. She
thus falls within the category of migrant worker or overseas Filipino worker.

YUSEN AIR AND SEA SERVICE PHILIPPINES INC. vs


VILLAMOR
FACTS
Petitioner hired respondent Villamor as branch manager in its Cebu Office. Later,
petitioner reclassified respondents position to that of Division Manager, which position
respondent held until his resignation on February 1, 2002. Immediately after his
resignation, respondent started working for Aspac International, a corporation engaged
in the same line of business as that of petitioner.
Thereafter, petitioner Yusen Air filed against respondent a complaint for injunction and
damages with prayer for a temporary restraining order in the RTC of Paraaque City, on
the ground that respondent violated the provision in his contract that he should not
affiliate himself with competitors for a period of two years from his resignation or
separation from petitioner company.
Respondent also filed against petitioner a case for illegal dismissal before the NLRC.
Instead of filing an answer to the case in the RTC, respondent moved for the dismissal of
said case, arguing that the RTC has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of said case
because an employer-employee relationship is involved.
Petitioner contends that its cause of action did not arise from employer-employee
relations even if the claim therein is based on a provision in its handbook.

ISSUE
Whether or not the RTC has jurisdiction over the present controversy.
HELD
The SC held that the RTC has jurisdiction over the case.
Jurisprudence has evolved the rule that claims for damages under paragraph 4 of Article
217, to be cognizable by the Labor Arbiter, must have a reasonable causal connection
with any of the claims provided for in that article. Only if there is such a connection with
the other claims can a claim for damages be considered as arising from employeremployee relations.
Article 217, as amended by Section 9 of RA 6715, provides:
Art. 217. Jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters and the Commission. (a) Except as otherwise
provided under this Code, the Labor Arbiters shall have original and exclusive
jurisdiction to hear and decide, within thirty (30) calendar days after the submission of
the case by the parties for decision without extension, even in the absence of
stenographic notes, the following cases involving all workers, whether agricultural or
non-agricultural:
xxx
xxx
xxx
4.
Claims for actual, moral, exemplary and other forms of damages arising from
the employer-employee relations;"
While paragraph 3 above refers to all money claims of workers, it is not necessary to
suppose that the entire universe of money claims that might be asserted by workers
against their employers has been absorbed into the original and exclusive jurisdiction of
Labor Arbiters. In the first place, paragraph 3 should be read not in isolation from but
rather within the context formed by paragraph 1 (relating to unfair labor practices),
paragraph 2 (relating to claims concerning terms and conditions of employment),
paragraph 4 (claims relating to household services, a particular species of employeremployee relations), and paragraph 5 (relating to certain activities prohibited to
employees or employers).
It is evident that there is a unifying element which runs through paragraph 1 to 5 and
that is, that they all refer to cases or disputes arising out of or in connection with an
employer-employee relationship. This is, in other words, a situation where the rule of
noscitur a sociis may be usefully invoked in clarifying the scope of paragraph 3, and any
other paragraph of Article 217 of the Labor Code, as amended.
We reach the above conclusion from an examination of the terms themselves of Article
217, as last amended by B.P. Blg 227, and even though earlier versions of Article 217 of
the Labor Code expressly brought within the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiters and the
NLRC cases arising from employer-employee relations, which clause was not expressly
carried over, in printers ink, in Article 217 as it exists today. For it cannot be presumed
that money claims of workers which do not arise out of or in connection with their
employer-employee relationship, and which would therefore fall within the general
jurisdiction of regular courts of justice, were intended by the legislative authority to be
taken away from the jurisdiction of the courts and lodged with Labor Arbiters on an
exclusive basis. The Court, therefore, believes and so holds that the money claims of

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workers referred to in paragraph 3 of Article 217 embraces money claims which arise
out of or in connection with the employer-employee relationship, or some aspect or
incident of such relationship. Put a little differently, that money claims of workers which
now fall within the original and exclusive jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters are those money
claims which have some reasonable causal connection with the employer-employee
relationship.
When, as here, the cause of action is based on a quasi-delict or tort, which has no
reasonable causal connection with any of the claims provided for in Article 217,
jurisdiction over the action is with the regular courts.
As it is, petitioner does not ask for any relief under the Labor Code. It merely seeks to
recover damages based on the parties contract of employment as redress for
respondent's breach thereof. Such cause of action is within the realm of Civil Law, and
jurisdiction over the controversy belongs to the regular courts. More so must this be in
the present case, what with the reality that the stipulation refers to the postemployment relations of the parties.
For sure, a plain and cursory reading of the complaint will readily reveal that the subject
matter is one of claim for damages arising from a breach of contract, which is within the
ambit of the regular courts jurisdiction.
It is basic that jurisdiction over the subject matter is determined upon the allegations
made in the complaint, irrespective of whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to recover
upon the claim asserted therein, which is a matter resolved only after and as a result of
a trial. Neither can jurisdiction of a court be made to depend upon the defenses made
by a defendant in his answer or motion to dismiss. If such were the rule, the question of
jurisdiction would depend almost entirely upon the defendant.
The orders of the lower courts are set aside.

Vinoya v. NLRC [G.R. No. 126596, February 2, 2000]


FACTS: Petitioner Vinoya was hired by RFC as sales representative. He avers that he
was transferred by RFC to PMCI, an agency which provides RFC with additional
contractual workers. In PMCI, he was reassigned to RFC as sales representative and
then later informed by the personnel manager of RFC that his services were
terminated. RFC maintains that no employer-employee relationship existed between
petitioner and itself. Petitioner filed complaint for illegal dismissal. RFC alleges that
PMCI is an independent contractor as the latter is a highly capitalized venture.
ISSUE: Whether or not petitioner was an employee of RFC and thereby, illegally
dismissed.
HELD: Yes. PMCI was a labor-only contractor. Although the Neri doctrine stated that
it was enough that a contractor had substantial capital to show it was an
independent contractor, the case of Fuji Xerox clarified the doctrine stating that an
independent business must undertake the performance of the contract according to
its own manner and method free from the control of the principal. In this case, PMCI
did not even have substantial capitalization as only a small amount of its authorized
capital stock was actually paid-in. Also, PMCI did not carry on an independent

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business or undertake the performance of its contract according to its own manner
and method. Furthermore, PMCI was not engaged to perform a specific and special
job or service, which is one of the strong indicators that is an independent
contractor. Lastly, in labor-only contracting, the employees supplied by the
contractor perform activities, which are directly related to the main business of its
principal. It is clear that in this case, the work of petitioner as sales representative
was directly related to the business of RFC. Since due to petitioners length of
service, he attained the status of regular employee thus cannot be terminated
without just or valid cause. RFC failed to prove that his dismissal was for cause and
that he was afforded procedural due process. Petitioner is thus entitled to
reinstatement plus full backwages from his dismissal up to actual reinstatement.

Neri vs NLRC (1993) 224 SCRA 717


FACTS: Petitioners instituted complaints against FEBTC and BCC to compel the bank
to accept them as regular employees and for it to pay the differential between the
wages being paid them by BCC and those received by FEBTC employees with similar
length of service. They contended that BCC in engaged in labor-only contracting
because it failed to adduce evidence purporting to show that it invested in the form
of tools, equipment, machineries, work premises and other materials which are
necessary in the conduct of its business. Moreover, petitioners argue that they
perform duties which are directly related to the principal business or operation of
FEBTC.
ISSUE: Whether or not BCC was engaged in labor-only contracting.
HELD: It is well-settled that there is labor-only contracting where: (a) the person
supplying workers to an employer does not have substantial capital or investment in
the form of tools, equipment, machineries, work premises, among others; and, (b)
the workers recruited and placed by such person are performing activities which are
directly related to the principal business of the employer.
BCC need not prove that it made investments in the form of tools, equipment,
machineries, work premises, among others, because it has established that it has
sufficient capitalization. This fact was both determined by the Labor Arbiter and the
NLRC as BCC had a capital stock of P1 million fully subscribed and paid for. BCC is
therefore a highly capitalized venture and cannot be deemed engaged in labor-only
contracting.
While there may be no evidence that it has investment in the form of tools,
equipment, machineries, work premises, among others, it is enough that it has
substantial capital, as was established before the Labor Arbiter as well as the NLRC.
The law does not require both substantial capital and investment in the form of
tools, equipment, machineries, etc. This is clear from the use of the conjunction "or"
instead of and. Having established that it has substantial capital, it was no longer
necessary for BCC to further adduce evidence to prove that it does not fall within
the purview of "labor-only" contracting. There is even no need for it to refute

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petitioners' contention that the activities they perform are directly related to the
principal business of respondent bank.
On the other hand, the Court has already taken judicial notice of the general
practice adopted in several government and private institutions and industries of
hiring independent contractors to perform special services. These services range
from janitorial, security and even technical or other specific services such as those
performed by petitioners Neri and Cabelin. While these services may be considered
directly related to the principal business of the employer, nevertheless, they are not
necessary in the conduct of the principal business of the employer.

San Miguel vs Maerc Integrated Services


FACTS: In a decision by the court, it Decision petitioner jointly and severally liable with MAERC for the payment of
separation benefits and wage differential of 291 complainants. Petitioner reiterated that no employer- employee
relationship exists between it and the complainants. And that MAERC is an independent contractor hence petitioner
should not be Decision solidarily liable with it. It disputes this courts finding that MAERC solely engaged the
services of complainants and exercised control over the complainants conduct; that no intervention or influence could
have been extended by it in the selection or hiring of complainants or the majority of them had worked to the
petitioner before it signed a contract with MAERC.
ISSUE: WON employer- employee relationship exists between the parties.
HELD: Petitioners contention must be rejected. While the continuity of service rendered by the workers to petitioner
by itself does not signify an employer- employee relationship, it was Decision to be so considering the other
circumstances present. More so, since the workers continued to work for petitioner without break from their former
employer and then as employees of MAERC even before the latter was incorporated. The record adequately supports
the fact that MAERC admitted recruiting workers for petitioner before its incorporation.
Most importantly, petitioner refutes this Courts conclusion that petitioner exercised control over the workplace. It
stresses that checkers assigned to the workplace did not stay there continuously to merit the conclusion that they
maintained constant presence as Decision by the court.
We disagree. While petitioners checkers may not have stayed the full eight hours in the workplace because they had
to leave for their office to make their reports, their attendance need not be continuous to be considered constant and
therefore an indication of control. We find in fact that they maintained sufficient presence at the workplace to be able
to pinpoint the workers whose performance was not at par and to report who they are.