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AVELINO S. ALILIN et al. vs PETRON CORP


G.R. NO. 177592, 2014-06-09

FACTS: Petron is a domestic corporation engaged in the oil business. In 1968, Romualdo D.
Gindang Contractor, owned and operated by Romualdo D. Gindang, started recruiting laborers for
fielding to Petrons Mandaue Bulk Plant. When Romualdo died in 1989, his son Romeo, through
Romeo D. Gindang Services (RDG), took over and continued to provide manpower services to
Petron.

Petron and RDG entered into a Contract for Services from June 1, 2000 to May 31, 2002, to provide
Petron with janitorial, maintenance, tanker receiving, packaging and other utility services. This was
extended until Sept 30, 2002. Upon expiration, no renewal was done and workers were dismissed.
Petitioners filed an illegal dismissal complaint against Petron alleging that they were barred from
continuing their services on Oct 16, 2002. Petitioners claim that although it was RDG who hired
them and paid their salaries, RDG is a labor-only contractor, acting as an agent of Petron, their true
employer. Claiming to be regular employees, petitioners asserted that their dismissal allegedly in
view of the expiration of the service contract between Petron and RDG is illegal.

RDG denied liability over petitioners claim of illegal dismissal while also corroborating petitioners
claim that they are regular employees of Petron. Petron, on the other hand, maintained that RDG
is an independent contractor and the real employer of the petitioners. It was RDG, which hired and
selected petitioners, paid their salaries and wages, and directly supervised their work.

Both Labor Arbiter and NLRC ruled that petitioners are Petrons regular employees. CA however
ruled otherwise stating that there is no employer-employee relationship, and that RDG is in fact an
independent labor contractor with sufficient capitalization and investment. The Motion for
Reconsideration by Petitioners was dismissed, hence this petition.

ISSUE: (1) Whether RDG is a a labor-only contractor
(2) Whether Petron is liable for petitioners dismissal

RULING: (1) YES. The contractor is always presumed to be a labor-only contractor, unless such
contractor overcomes the burden of proving otherwise. However, where the principal is the one
claiming that the contractor is legitimate, said principal (Petron) has the burden of proving so. In
this case, the presumption that RDG is a labor-only contractor stands, due to the failure of Petron
to discharge the burden of proving otherwise. The Court also found that the works performed
were directly related to Petrons business negating further Petrons claim that RDG is
independent.

(2) YES. [A] finding that a contractor is a labor- only contractor is equivalent to declaring that there
is an employer-employee relationship between the principal and the employees of the supposed
contractor. In this case, the employer-employee relationship becomes all the more apparent due
to the presence of the power of control on the part of Petron over RDG. Petron therefore, being
the principal employer and RDG, being the labor-only contractor, are solidarily liable for
petitioners illegal dismissal and monetary claims.