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53. Omni Hauling Services, Inc., et.al. v. Bernardo Bon, et.al., G.R. No.

199388, September 3, 2014

Facts: Petitioner Omni Hauling Services, Inc. (Omni), a company owned by petitioners L and A. Franco,
was awarded a one (1) year service contract6 by the local government of Quezon City to provide
garbage hauling services for the period July 1, 2002 to June 30, 2003. For this purpose, Omni hired
respondents as garbage truck drivers and paleros who were then paid on a per trip basis.
When the service contract was renewed for another year, or for the period July 1, 2003 to June 30,
2004, petitioners required each of the respondents to sign employment contracts which provided that
they will be re-hired only for the duration of the same period. However, respondents refused to sign
the employment contracts, claiming that they were regular employees since they were engaged to
perform activities which were necessary and desirable to Omnis usual business or trade. For this
reason, Omni terminated the employment of respondents which, in turn, resulted in the filing of
cases10 for illegal dismissal, nonpayment of Emergency Cost of Living Allowance (ECOLA) and 13th
month pay, and actual, moral, and exemplary damages. During the mandatory conference before the
Labor Arbiter (LA), Omni offered to re-employ respondents on the condition that they sign the
employment contracts but respondents refused such offer.

*LA ruling:In a Decision12 dated December 29, 2004, the LA ruled in favor of petitioners, finding that
respondents were not illegally dismissed.

*NLRC ruling: dated May 18, 2009, the NLRC affirmed the LAs ruling in toto. It sustained the LAs finding
that respondents were only project employees whose employment was co-terminus with Omnis service
contract with the Quezon City government. Thus, when respondents refused to sign the employment
contracts for the subsequent period, there was no dismissal to speak of, but rather, a mere expiration of
respondents previous contracts.

*Ca ruling: In a Decision dated May 27, 2011, the CA reversed and set aside the NLRCs earlier
pronouncements.

Issue: 1. Whether or not the CA erred in granting respondents petition for certiorari, thereby setting
aside the NLRCs Decision holding that respondents were project employees? Yes
2. Whether the respondents are regular or project employees? Regular

Ruling: The Court finds that the CA correctly granted respondents certiorari petition since the NLRC
gravely abused its discretion when it held that respondents were project employees despite petitioners
failure to establish their project employment status through substantial evidence.
A project employee is assigned to a project which begins and ends at determined or determinable
times.Unlike regular employees who may only be dismissed for just and/or authorized causes under the
Labor Code, the services of employees who are hired as project employees may be lawfully
terminated at the completion of the project.
54. Jeanette Manalo, et.al. v. TNS Philippines Inc., and Gary Ocampo, G.R. No. 208567, November 26,
2014

Petitioners Jeanette V. Manalo, et. al were hired by TNS as field personnel on various dates starting
1996 for several projects. They were made to sign a project-to-project employment contract. Thereafter,
TNS would file the corresponding termination report with the Department of Labor and Employment
Regional Office (DOLE-RO). Petitioners were likewise assigned office-based tasks for which they were
required to be in the office from 9:00 oclock in the morning to 6:00 oclock in the evening, but most of
the time, they worked beyond 6:00 oclock without receiving the corresponding overtime pay. These
office based tasks were not on a per project basis and petitioners did not sign any contract for these
jobs. These assignments were not reported to the DOLE either.

On October 20, 2008, petitioners and TNS were required to file their respective position papers. On
October 21, 2008, petitioners were advised by TNS not to report for work anymore because they were
being pulled out from their current assignments and that they were not being lined up for any
continuing or incoming projects becauseit no longer needed their services. They were also asked to
surrender their company IDs.Petitioners, thereafter, filed a complaint for illegal dismissal, overtime pay,
damages, and attorneys fees against TNS. Later, the labor cases for regularization and illegal dismissal
were consolidated.

*La ruling: On May 29, 2009, the LA rendered a decision,dismissing the complaint on the ground that
petitioners were found to be project employees who knew the nature of their positions as such at the
time of their employment and who agreed with full understanding that the contracts would lapse upon
completion of the project stated in their respective contracts. They were not illegally dismissed.

*NLRC ruling:The NLRC ruled that, being regular employees, petitioners were illegally dismissed because
TNS, who had the burden of proving legality in dismissal cases, failed to show how and why the
employment of petitioners was terminated on October 21, 2008. Thus, the NLRC set aside the LA
decision and held TNS liable for illegal dismissal, ordering the latter to pay petitioners their respective
backwages and separation pay.

*CA ruling: CA ruled in favor of TNS and opined that the projects assigned to petitioners were distinct
and separate from the other undertakings of TNS; that they wererequired to sign project-to-project
employment contracts; and that a corresponding termination report was made to DOLE for every
accomplished project.

Issue: I.Whether the COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE PETITIONERS ARE NOT REGULAR
EMPLOYEES OF THE RESPONDENT COMPANY? Yes, they are regular employees
II. Whether the COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THE HONORABLE NLRC COMMITTED GRAVE
ABUSE OF DISCRETION ? Yes

Ruling: NLRC's decision reinstated. The NLRC ruled that, being regular employees, petitioners were
illegally dismissed because TNS, who had the burden of proving legality in dismissal cases, failed to show
how and why the employment of petitioners was terminated on October 21, 2008. Thus, the NLRC set
aside the LA decision and held TNS liable for illegal dismissal, ordering the latter to pay petitioners their
respective backwages and separation pay.
55. Dionarto Noblejas v. Italian Maritime Academy Phils., Inc., et.al., G.R. No. 207888, June 9, 2014

Facts: Petitioner D. Noblejas filed a complaint for illegal dismissal, tax refund, moral and exemplary
damages, non-payment of 13th month pay, food, gasoline and schooling allowances, health insurance,
monetized leave, and attorney's fees, against Italian Maritime Academy Phils., Inc. (IMAPI), (Capt.
Terrei), (Ferrez), and (Mendoza).
IMAPI was a training center for seamen and an assessment center for determination of the
qualifications and competency of seamen and officers for possible promotion. Capt. Terrei was the
Managing Director of IMAPI while Ferrez was his secretary. Mendoza was the companys Administrative
Manager.
Record shows that Terrei, IMAPI President, wrote a Letter to Noblejas informing him that he had
been appointed as training instructor/assessor of the company on a contractual basis for a period of
three (3) months effective May 20,2009, with a monthly salary of 75,000.00 inclusive of tax. After the
expiration of the 3-month period, IMAPI hired Noblejas anew as training instructor/assessor with the
same salary rate, but no written contract was drawn for his rehiring.
Noblejas averred that the company did not act on his letter-request, so he sought an audience with
Capt. Terrei on March 16, 2010. During the meeting, an altercation between them ensued. He claimed
that after that incident, Capt. Terrei instructed Ferrez to dismiss him from employment. He claimed that
when he asked from Ferrez for a copy of his old contract, she allegedly replied, "No, you better pack up
all your things now and go, you are now dismissed and you are no longer part in this office clearly, you
are terminated from this day on."

Noblejas filed a petition for certiorari before the CA ascribing grave abuse of discretion on the
part of the NLRC for ruling that he was a contractual employee and that he was not illegally
dismissed.On February 22, 2013, the CA rendered the challenged decision finding the petition for
certiorari to be devoid of merit.

CA upheld the findings of the NLRC that Noblejas was a contractual employee of IMAPI and that there
was no evidence to prove that he was dismissed from employment.

Issues: A. Whether THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FINDING THAT PETITIONER IS A CONTRACTUAL
EMPLOYEE. No
B. Whether THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN DECLARING THAT PETITIONER WAS NOT ILLEGALLY
DISMISSED. No

Ruling: CA upheld the findings of the NLRC that Noblejas was a contractual employee of IMAPI and that
there was no evidence to prove that he was dismissed from employment.

The assailed February 22, 2013 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 124146 is AFFIRMED
with MODIFICATION. Accordingly, respondent Italian Maritime Academy Philippines, Inc. is ordered to
pay petitioner Dionarto Q.Noblejas his proportionate 13th month pay in the amount of 15,625.00; and
to reinstate him to his former position.
56. Fuji Television Network v. Arlene Espiritu, G.R. No. 204944-45, December 3, 2014

Facts: In 2005, Arlene S. Espiritu was engaged by Fuji Television Network, Inc. ("Fuji") as a news
correspondent/producer "tasked to report Philippine news to Fuji through its Manila Bureau field
office." Arlenes employment contract initially provided for a term of one (1) year but was successively
renewed on a yearly basis with salary adjustment upon every renewal. Sometime in January 2009,
Arlene was diagnosed with lung cancer. She informed Fuji about her condition. In turn, the Chief of
News Agency of Fuji, Yoshiki Aoki, informed Arlene "that the company will have a problem renewing her
contract" since it would be difficult for her to perform her job. She "insisted that she was still fit to work
as certified by her attending physician."
After several verbal and written communications, Arlene and Fuji signed a non-renewal contract
on May 5, 2009 where it was stipulated that her contract would no longer be renewed after its
expiration on May 31, 2009. The contract also provided that the parties release each other from
liabilities and responsibilities under the employment contract.
In consideration of the non-renewal contract, Arlene "acknowledged receipt of the total amount of
US$18,050.00 representing her monthly salary from March 2009 to May 2009, year-end bonus, mid-year
bonus, and separation pay."However, Arlene affixed her signature on the nonrenewal contract with the
initials "U.P." for "under protest."

NLRC held that Arlene was a regular employee with respect to the activities for which she was
employed since she continuously rendered services that were deemed necessary and desirable to Fujis
business.The National Labor Relations Commission ordered Fuji to pay Arlene backwages, computed
from the date of her illegal dismissal

Issues: 1) Whether or not Espirituis a regular employee or a fixed-term contractual employee? Regular
employee 2) Whether or not Espiritu was illegally dismissed? yes

Ruling: The Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling of the National Labor Relations Commission finding that
Arlene was a regular employee. Arlene was hired by Fuji as a news producer, but there was no showing
that she was hired because of unique skills that would distinguish her from ordinary employees. Neither
was there any showing that she had a celebrity status. Her monthly salary amounting to US$1,900.00
appears to be a substantial sum, especially if compared to her salary when she was still connected with
GMA. Indeed, wages may indicate whether one is an independent contractor. Wages may also indicate
that an employee is able to bargain with the employer for better pay. However, wages should not be the
conclusive factor in determining whether one is an employee or an independent contractor.
Apart from Arlenes illegal dismissal, the manner of her dismissal was effected in an oppressive
approach with her salary and other benefits being withheld until May 5,2009, when she had no choice
but to sign the non-renewal contract.
The assailed Court of Appeals decision dated June 25, 2012 is AFFIRMED with the modification
that backwages shall be computed from June 2009. Legal interest shall be computed at the rate of 6%
per annum of the total monetary award from date of finality of this decision until full satisfaction.