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Cruz, Jr. vs.

Court of Appeals
G.R.No.148544.July12,2006.*
FELIXM.CRUZ,JR.,petitioner,vs.COURTOFAPPEALS,NATIONALLABORRELATIONSCOMMISSIONAND
CITYTRUSTBANKINGCORPORATION,respondents.

CivilProcedure;Appeals;Certiorari;Theremedytoobtainreversalormodificationofjudgmentonthemeritsis
appeal;Certiorariisnotasubstituteforlostappeal;Appealandcertiorariaremutuallyexclusiveandnotalternative
orsuccessive.Itiswellsettledthattheremedytoobtainreversalormodificationofjudgmentonthemeritsis
appeal.Thisistrueeveniftheerror,oroneoftheerrors,ascribedtothecourtrenderingthejudgmentisitslackof
jurisdictionoverthesubjectmatter,ortheexerciseofpowerinexcessthereof,orgraveabuseofdiscretioninthe
findingsoffactsoroflawsetoutinthedecision.Inthepresentcase,theCAdisposedofCAG.R.SPNo.52373on
themerits.PetitionerclaimsthathereceivedtheDecisionoftheCAonMay17,2001.Consequently,hehad15days
fromsaiddateofreceiptofassailedjudgment,oruntilJune1,2001,withinwhichtofileapetitionforreview
oncertiorari,thereglementaryperiodprescribedbyRule45oftheRulesofCourttoavailofsaidaction.OnJuly9,
2001closetotwomonthsaftersaidreceipt,petitionerfiledthepresentpetition.Evidently,petitionerhaslosthis
remedyofappeal.Thefilingoftheinstantpetitionforcertioraricannotbeusedasameansofrecoveringhisappeal
asitissettledthatcertiorariisnotasubstituteforlostappeal.Theremediesofappealandcertiorariaremutually
exclusiveandnotalternativeorsuccessive.

Certiorari;Inorderforapersontoavailofthespecialcivilactionofcertiorari,hemustbeleftwithnoappeal
noranyplain,speedy,andadequateremedyintheordinarycourseoflaw;Generally,amotionforreconsiderationis
indispensablebeforeresorttothespecialcivilactionforcertioraritoaffordthecourtortribunaltheopportunityto
correctitserror,ifany;Exceptions.Assumingforthesakeofargumentthatthepresentpetitionforcertiorariisthe
appropriateremedy,therecordsoftheinstantcaseshowthatpetitionerfailedtofileamotionforreconsiderationof
thedecisionoftheappellatecourt,thus,deprivingtheCAoftheopportunitytocorrectonreconsiderationsuch
errorsasitmayhavecommitted.ThefirstparagraphofSection1,Rule65oftheRulesofCourtclearlystatesthat
inorderforapersontoavailofthespecialcivilactionofcertiorari,hemustbeleftwithnoappeal,noranyplain,
speedy,andadequateremedyintheordinarycourseoflaw.Amotionforreconsiderationofanassaileddecisionis
deemed a plain and adequate remedy expressly available under the law. The general rule is that a motion for
reconsiderationisindispensablebeforeresorttothespecialcivilactionforcertioraritoaffordthecourtortribunal
theopportunitytocorrectitserror,ifany.Thisruleissubjecttocertainrecognizedexceptions,towit:(a)wherethe
orderisapatentnullity,aswherethecourtaquohasnojurisdiction;(b)wherethequestionsraisedinthecertiorari
proceedingshavebeendulyraisedandpasseduponbythelowercourt,orarethesameasthoseraisedandpassed
uponinthelowercourt;(c)wherethereisanurgentnecessityfortheresolutionofthequestionandanyfurther
delaywouldprejudicetheinterestsoftheGovernmentorofthepetitionerorthesubjectmatteroftheactionis
perishable;(d)where,underthecircumstances,amotionforreconsiderationwouldbeuseless;(e)wherepetitioner
wasdeprivedofdueprocessandthereisextremeurgencyforrelief;(f)where,inacriminalcase,relieffromanorder
ofarrestisurgentandthegrantingofsuchreliefbythetrialcourtisimprobable;(g)wheretheproceedingsinthe
lowercourtareanullityforlackofdueprocess;(h)wheretheproceedingwasexparteorinwhichthepetitionerhad
noopportunitytoobject;and(i)wheretheissueraisedisonepurelyoflaworwherepublicinterestisinvolved.

Labor Law;Dismissals;Loss of Trust and Confidence; Loss of trust and confidence as a valid ground for
dismissalmustbesubstantiatedbyevidence.Petitionerwasdismissedfromemploymentontheground,among
others, of loss of trust and confidence. Loss of trust and confidence, as a valid ground for dismissal, must be
substantiatedbyevidence.Jurisprudencehasdistinguishedthetreatmentofmanagerialemployeesoremployees
occupyingpositionsoftrustandconfidencefromthatofrankandfilepersonnel,insofarastheapplicationofthe
doctrineoftrustandconfidenceisconcerned.

Same;Same;Same;Lossoftrustandconfidencemustbebasedonwillfulbreachofthetrustreposedinthe
employeebyhisemployer;Lossofconfidencemustnotbeindiscriminatelyusedasashieldbytheemployeragainsta
claimthatthedismissalofanemployeewasarbitrary.ThelanguageofArticle282(c)oftheLaborCodestatesthat
thelossoftrustandconfidencemustbebasedonwillfulbreachofthetrustreposedintheemployeebyhisemployer.
Such breach is willful if it is done intentionally, knowingly, and purposely, without justifiable excuse, as
distinguishedfromanactdonecarelessly,thoughtlessly,heedlesslyorinadvertently.Moreover,itmustbebasedon
substantial evidence and not on the employers whims or caprices or suspicions otherwise, the employee would
eternallyremainatthemercyoftheemployer.Lossofconfidencemustnotbeindiscriminatelyusedasashieldby
theemployeragainstaclaimthatthedismissalofanemployeewasarbitrary.And,inordertoconstituteajust
causefordismissal,theactcomplainedofmustbeworkrelatedandshowsthattheemployeeconcernedisunfitto
continueworkingfortheemployer.Inaddition,lossofconfidenceasajustcauseforterminationofemploymentis
premisedonthefactthattheemployeeconcernedholdsapositionofresponsibility,trustandconfidenceorthatthe
employeeconcernedisentrustedwithconfidencewithrespecttodelicatematters,suchasthehandlingorcareand
protectionofthepropertyandassetsoftheemployer.Thebetrayalofthistrustistheessenceoftheoffensefor
whichanemployeeispenalized.

Same;Same;A company has the right to dismiss its employees if only as a measure of selfprotection.
PetitionersacceptanceofcommissionsandrebatesfromMECO,withouttheknowledgeandconsentofCitytrust

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Cruz, Jr. vs. Court of Appeals
andwithoutsaidrebatesandcommissionsbeingreportedandturnedovertothelatter,areactswhichcanclearlybe
consideredasawillfulbreachofthetrustandconfidencereposedbyCitytrustuponhim.Settledistherulethatan
employercannotbecompelledtoretainanemployeewhoisguiltyofactsinimicaltotheinterestsoftheemployer.A
companyhastherighttodismissitsemployeesifonlyasameasureofselfprotection.Thisisallthemoretruein
thecaseofsupervisorsorpersonneloccupyingpositionsofresponsibility.Inthepresentcase,theCourtfindsthat
theCAdidnotcommitgraveabuseofdiscretionwhenitruledthatCitytrustisjustifiedindismissingpetitioner
fromhisemploymentforlossoftrustandconfidence.

DueProcess;Itiswellsettledthatthebasicrequirementofnoticeandhearinginterminationcasesisforthe
employertoinformtheemployeeofthespecificchargesagainsthimandtohearhissideanddefenses;Thisdoesnot
meanafulladversarialproceeding.Petitionercontendsthathewasdeniedhisrighttodueprocessbecausethe
investigation conducted by Citytrust was doneex parteand he was not given the opportunity to confront the
witnessesagainsthim.Petitionersconceptoftheopportunitytobeheardisthechancetoventilateonessideina
formalhearingwherehecanhaveafacetofaceconfrontationwithhisaccusers.Itiswellsettledthatthebasic
requirementofnoticeandhearinginterminationcasesisfortheemployertoinformtheemployeeofthespecific
chargesagainsthimandtohearhissideanddefenses.Thisdoesnot,however,meanafulladversarialproceeding.
Thepartiesmaybeheardthroughpleadings,writtenexplanations,positionpapers,memorandumororalargument.
In all of these instances, the employer plays an active role by providing the employee with the opportunity to
presenthissideandanswerthechargesinsubstantialcompliancewithdueprocess.

SPECIALCIVILACTIONintheSupremeCourt.Certiorari.

ThefactsarestatedintheopinionoftheCourt.

EmersonC.Tumanonforpetitioner.

AlfonsoB.VerzosaforBPI.

AUSTRIAMARTINEZ,J.:

BeforetheCourtisaspecialcivilactionforcertiorariunderRule65oftheRulesofCourtseekingtoannultheApril
27, 2001Decision1ofthe CourtofAppeals (CA)inCAG.R. SPNo. 52373whichaffirmedtheJanuary 27, 1998
DecisionoftheNationalLaborRelationsCommission(NLRC)anditsResolution,datedMay14,1998inNLRCNCR
CA01108796(NLRCNCR00100644893A).

Thefactualandproceduralantecedentsofthecase,assummarizedbytheCA,areasfollows:

Cruz[hereinpetitionerFelixM.Cruz,Jr.]wasanemployeeofprivaterespondentCitytrustBankingCorporation
(orCitytrust)fromOctober8,1979.HeheldtheconfidentialpositionofMicroTechnicalSupportOfficer,withthe
followingdutiesandresponsibilities:(a)Evaluateandrecommendfromvariousdepartments/unitsrequestforMicro
Computers received by the Bidding Committee. (b) Further evaluate and accept the bids submitted including
recommendation therof, which were done by the Technical Committee of the Bank (Petitioners Affidavit, p.
102,Rollo).ThegoodperformanceofCruzdidnotremainunnoticedforonseveraloccasionshewasrecognizedwith
awards and citations, given salary increases (Exhs. A to H, JK, pp. 4550, 5253, Rollo) and promoted to
AuthorizedSigneronMay1,1991.(Exh.I,p.51,Rollo)

But after all his years of reputed fealty and good service with the company, something unexpected and
besmirching was uncovered. There were feedbacks and informations that certain irregularities were being
committedinthebiddingprocessandpurchaseofcomputers,anareawithinthepowersandresponsibilitiesofCruz.
Toclarifymatters,aspecialinvestigationwasconductedbytheCitytrustInternalAuditGroupanditwasfoundout
thatindeedtherewereunauthorizedandunreportedcommissionsandrebatesgivenoutbyoneofitscomputer
suppliers,MECOEnterprises,Inc.(MECO),forpurchasesmadebyCitytrust.Thiswascorroboratedbytheletter
datedAugust5,1992(Exh.1,p.148,Rollo)ofthePresidentandController[sic]ofMECOcertifyingthatCruzhas
receivedcommissionsandrebatesamountingtoP105,192.00justfortheperiodofSeptember1992toMarch1993.

With this damaging result of the investigation, Citytrust sent a showcause memorandum (Exh. 13, p.
161,Rollo)toCruzonAugust6,1993placinghimundera30daypreventivesuspensionanddirectinghimtoappear
in an administrative hearing by the Ad Hoc Committee. Cruz submitted the said memorandum, the Ad Hoc
Committeeheard the matter, andfound Cruzguiltyof fraud, serious misconduct, gross dishonesty andserious
violationofBankpolicies,regulationsandprocedure.Fortheresultantlossofconfidence,CitytrustterminatedCruz
fromemploymenteffectiveOctober6,1993(Exh.15,pp.164165,Rollo).

Aggrievedbythis,CruzfiledbeforetheLaborArbiteranactionforIllegalDismissalandDamagesclaimingthat
Citytrustdeniedhimdueprocessandhastilydismissedhimfromservice.Afterthesubmissionofpositionpapers
andpresentationofwitnesses,theLaborArbiterrendereddecisioninfavorofCruzdisposingthat:

WHEREFORE,premisesconsidered,judgmentisherebyrendered,orderingrespondenttoreinstatecomplainantto
hisformerpositionwithoutlossofseniorityrightswithfullbackwageswhichuptothepromulgationofthisDecision
amountedtoTHREEHUNDREDEIGHTYSEVENTHOUSANDSEVENHUNDREDNINETY(P387,790.00)Pesos,

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Cruz, Jr. vs. Court of Appeals
subjecttoadjustmentuponactualreinstatement;topaycomplainanthis13thmonthpayinthesumofTHIRTY
TWO THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED FIFTEEN & 83/100 (P32,315.83) Pesos; and to pay the sum of FIFTY
THOUSAND (P50,000.00) Pesos as and for damages, plus attorneys fees in the sum of FORTY SEVEN
THOUSAND TEN & 58/100 (P47,010.58) Pesos representing ten percent (10%) of the monetary award due
complainant,subjectalsotoadjustment.

SOORDERED.(p.26,Rollo)

FromthisdecisionCitytrustappealedtotheNLRC,whichthroughitsSecondDivisionrenderedtheDecision
datedJanuary27,1998whereintherulingoftheLaborArbiterwassetasideandwentondismissingthecasefor
lackofmerit.(p.37,Rollo)

Cruzfiledamotionforitsreconsiderationbutthiswasdeniedforlackofmerit.... 2

CruzthenfiledapetitionforcertiorariwiththisCourt.InaResolutiondatedFebruary15,1999, 3theCourtreferred
the petition to the CA for appropriate action and disposition, pursuant to the ruling in the case of St. Martin
FuneralHomev.NationalLaborRelationsCommission.4

OnApril27,2001,theCArenderedthepresentlyassailedDecisiondenyingduecoursetoanddismissingthe
petition.SustainingtheNLRC,theCAheldthatwhileitistruethatthesignatureofpetitionerdoesnotappearin
thecheckvouchers,otherpiecesofevidenceprovethathebenefitedfromtheproceedsofthechecksissued;that
thereissubstantialevidencetoholdpetitionerliableforsolicitingandreceivingmonetaryconsiderationsfroma
supplier; that his act constituted a willful breach of his employers trust and confidence which justifies his
termination from employment; that petitioners dismissal from employment was the result of a thorough
investigationandhearingwherehewasgiventheopportunitytoexplainhisside.

Instead of a motion for reconsideration, petitioner filed the present petition forcertioraripredicated on the
followinggrounds:

THATPUBLICRESPONDENTCOURTOFAPPEALSGRAVELYABUSE(D)ITSDISCRETIONAMOUNTINGTO
LACKOFJURISDICTIONORINEXCESSOFJURISDICTIONINSETTINGASIDETHEDECISIONOFTHE
LABORARBITERAQUO.

THATHONORABLECOURTOFAPPEALSABUSEDITSDISCRETIONINCONCLUDINGTHATEXHIBITS2
TO 10 [IN] WHICH PETITIONERS SIGNATURE DOES NOT APPEAR, THE FACTS REMAIN THAT HE
BENEFITED FROM THE ALLEGED ANOMALOUS TRANSACTIONS, ONE MA. CRESENCIA MANGUERRA
ENCASHEDTHECHECKUSINGTHEBANKACCOUNTOFPETITIONERALLEGINGTHATTHELATTERIS
PETITIONER[S]PARAMOUR.5

PetitionerclaimsthatwhilehisnameappearsinthecheckvouchersissuedbyMECO,markedasExhibits2to
10,the incontrovertiblefact remainsthat hissignaturedoesnotappearinany ofsaidvouchers. Notbeing a
signatoryofanyofthesaidcheckvouchers,petitionercontendsthattherecanbenobasisinconcludingthatheever
receivedanycommission,specialdiscountorrebatefromMECO.Petitioneralsoassertsthathewasdenieddue
processbecausehewasnotgiventheopportunitytorefutethechargesimputedagainsthim.Whileitistruethat
privaterespondentconductedaninvestigation,petitionerclaimsthatthesamewasdonewithouthisparticipation. 6

InitsComment,privaterespondentcontendsthatthepresentpetitionforcertiorariisnottheproperremedyto
assailthesubjectdecisionoftheCA.PrivaterespondentassertsthatapetitionforcertiorariunderRule65ofthe
RulesofCourtmaybeavailedofonlywhenapartyhasnoadequateremedyintheordinarycourseoflaw.Petitioner
arguesthatwhatpetitionershouldhavedonewastofileapetitionforreviewoncertiorariunderRule45ofthe
RulesofCourt,andthatpetitionersfailuretofileapetitionforreviewcannotberemediedbythefilingofaspecial
civilactionforcertiorari.Evenassumingthatpetitionerisallowedtoinstitutethepresentpetitionforcertiorari,
privaterespondentcontendsthatthesamemuststillbedismissedbecausewhatisbeingassailedarethefactual
findingsoftheCAandtheNLRCandsettledistherulethatincertiorariproceedingsunderRule65oftheRulesof
Court,judicialreviewdoesnotgoasfarastoevaluatethesufficiencyofevidenceuponwhichtheNLRCbasedits
determinations,theinquirybeinglimitedessentiallytowhetherornotsaidtribunalhasactedwithoutorinexcess
ofitsjurisdictionorwithgraveabuseofdiscretion.Inanycase,privaterespondentfurthercontendsthatpetitioner
failedtoprovethattheCAcommittedgraveabuseofdiscretionbecausepiecesofdocumentaryandoralevidence
bearoutthefactthatpetitionerindeedreceivedvariousamountsfromMECOeitherascommission,specialdiscount
orrebatewithoutprivaterespondentsknowledgeandapproval.7

TheCourtdoesnotfindmeritinthepresentpetitionforthefollowingreasons:

First, it is well settled that the remedy to obtain reversal or modification of judgment on the merits is
appeal.8Thisistrueeveniftheerror,oroneoftheerrors,ascribedtothecourtrenderingthejudgmentisitslackof
jurisdictionoverthesubjectmatter,ortheexerciseofpowerinexcessthereof,orgraveabuseofdiscretioninthe
findingsoffactsoroflawsetoutinthedecision. 9Inthepresentcase,theCAdisposedofCAG.R.SPNo.52373on
themerits.PetitionerclaimsthathereceivedtheDecisionoftheCAonMay17,2001.Consequently,hehad15days
fromsaiddateofreceiptofassailedjudgment,oruntilJune1,2001,withinwhichtofileapetitionforreview

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Cruz, Jr. vs. Court of Appeals
oncertiorari,thereglementaryperiodprescribedbyRule45oftheRulesofCourttoavailofsaidaction.OnJuly9,
2001closetotwomonthsaftersaidreceipt,petitionerfiledthepresentpetition.Evidently,petitionerhaslosthis
remedyofappeal.Thefilingoftheinstantpetitionforcertioraricannotbeusedasameansofrecoveringhisappeal
asitissettledthatcertiorariisnotasubstituteforlostappeal. 10Theremediesofappealandcertiorariaremutually
exclusiveandnotalternativeorsuccessive.11

Second,assumingforthesakeofargumentthatthepresentpetitionforcertiorariistheappropriateremedy,the
recordsoftheinstantcaseshowthatpetitionerfailedtofileamotionforreconsiderationofthedecisionofthe
appellatecourt,thus,deprivingtheCAoftheopportunitytocorrectonreconsiderationsucherrorsasitmayhave
committed.ThefirstparagraphofSection1,Rule65oftheRulesofCourtclearlystatesthatinorderforapersonto
availofthespecialcivilactionofcertiorari,hemustbeleftwithnoappeal,noranyplain,speedy,andadequate
remedyintheordinarycourseoflaw,towit:

SECTION 1.Petition for Certiorari.When any tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasijudicial
functionshasactedwithoutorinexcessofitsorhisjurisdiction,orwithgraveabuseofdiscretionamountingtolack
orexcessofjurisdiction,andthereisnoappeal,noranyplain,speedy,andadequateremedyintheordinarycourseof
law,apersonaggrievedtherebymayfileaverifiedpetitioninthepropercourt,allegingthefactswithcertaintyand
prayingthatjudgmentberenderedannullingormodifyingtheproceedingsofsuchtribunal,boardofofficer,and
grantingsuchincidentalreliefsaslawandjusticemayrequire.(Italicssupplied)

Amotionforreconsiderationofanassaileddecisionisdeemedaplainandadequateremedyexpresslyavailable
underthelaw.12Thegeneralruleisthatamotionforreconsiderationisindispensablebeforeresorttothespecial
civilactionforcertioraritoaffordthecourtortribunaltheopportunitytocorrect itserror, ifany. 13Thisruleis
subjecttocertainrecognizedexceptions,towit:

1. (a)wheretheorderisapatentnullity,aswherethecourtaquohasnojurisdiction;

2. (b)wherethequestionsraisedinthecertiorariproceedingshavebeendulyraisedandpasseduponbythe
lowercourt,orarethesameasthoseraisedandpasseduponinthelowercourt;

3. (c)wherethereisanurgentnecessityfortheresolutionofthequestionandanyfurtherdelaywouldprejudice
theinterestsoftheGovernmentorofthepetitionerorthesubjectmatteroftheactionisperishable;

4. (d)where,underthecircumstances,amotionforreconsiderationwouldbeuseless;

5. (e)wherepetitionerwasdeprivedofdueprocessandthereisextremeurgencyforrelief;

6. (f)where,inacriminalcase,relieffromanorderofarrestisurgentandthegrantingofsuchreliefbythe
trialcourtisimprobable;

7. (g)wheretheproceedingsinthelowercourtareanullityforlackofdueprocess;

8. (h)wheretheproceedingwasexparteorinwhichthepetitionerhadnoopportunitytoobject;and

9. (i)wheretheissueraisedisonepurelyoflaworwherepublicinterestisinvolved. 14

Noneoftheseexceptionsarepresentintheinstantcase.Hence,petitionersunjustifiedfailuretofileamotionfor
reconsiderationofthedecisionoftheCAbeforerecoursetothisspecialcivilactionwasmadecallsfortheoutright
dismissalofthiscase.

Third,goingintothemeritsofthecase,theCourtfindsthatthedismissaloftheinstantpetitioniswarrantedfor
failureofpetitionertoshowgraveabuseofdiscretionamountingtolackorexcessofjurisdictiononthepartofthe
CA.

Petitionerwasdismissedfromemploymentontheground,amongothers,oflossoftrustandconfidence.Lossof
trust and confidence, as a valid ground for dismissal, must be substantiated by evidence. Jurisprudence has
distinguishedthetreatmentofmanagerialemployeesoremployeesoccupyingpositionsoftrustandconfidencefrom
that of rankandfile personnel, insofar as the application of the doctrine of trust and confidence is concerned.
InCaoilev.NationalLaborRelationsCommission,theCourthadoccasiontoexplainasfollows:

Thus,withrespecttorankandfilepersonnel,lossoftrustandconfidenceasgroundforvaliddismissalrequires
proofofinvolvementintheallegedeventsinquestion,andthatmereuncorroboratedassertionsandaccusationsby
theemployerwillnotbesufficient.Butasregardsamanagerialemployee,themereexistenceofabasisfor
believingthatsuchemployeehasbreachedthetrustofhisemployerwouldsufficeforhisdismissal.
Hence,inthecaseofmanagerialemployees,proofbeyondreasonabledoubtisnotrequired,itbeing
sufficient that there is some basis for such loss of confidence, such as when the employer has
reasonablegroundtobelievethattheemployeeconcernedisresponsibleforthepurportedmisconduct,
and the nature of his participation therein renders him unworthy of the trust and confidence
demandedbyhisposition.15(Emphasissupplied)

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Cruz, Jr. vs. Court of Appeals
Inaddition,thelanguageofArticle282(c)oftheLaborCodestatesthatthelossoftrustandconfidencemustbe
basedonwillfulbreachofthetrustreposedintheemployeebyhisemployer.Suchbreachiswillfulifitisdone
intentionally,knowingly,andpurposely,withoutjustifiableexcuse,asdistinguishedfromanactdonecarelessly,
thoughtlessly, heedlessly or inadvertently.16Moreover, it must be based on substantial evidence and not on the
employerswhimsorcapricesorsuspicionsotherwise,theemployeewouldeternallyremainatthemercyofthe
employer.17Lossofconfidencemustnotbeindiscriminatelyusedasashieldbytheemployeragainstaclaimthat
the dismissal of an employee was arbitrary.18And, in order to constitute a just cause for dismissal, the act
complainedofmustbeworkrelatedandshowsthattheemployeeconcernedisunfittocontinueworkingforthe
employer.19Inaddition,lossofconfidenceasajustcauseforterminationofemploymentispremisedonthefactthat
theemployeeconcernedholdsapositionofresponsibility,trustandconfidence 20orthattheemployeeconcernedis
entrusted with confidence with respect to delicate matters, such as the handling or care and protection of the
propertyandassetsoftheemployer.21Thebetrayalofthistrustistheessenceoftheoffenseforwhichanemployeeis
penalized.22

Thereisnodisputethatpetitionerisaconfidentialemployee.Duringhiscrossexamination,hetestifiedthat
asidefromevaluatingandrecommendingthepurchaseofMicroComputers,healsosupervisesthemaintenanceof
computerhardwareincludingtheinstallationofcomputersforCitytrustinallofitsbranchesnationwide. 23Itis
clearfromtheforegoingthatpetitionerisnotanordinaryrankandfileemployee.Hisjobentailstheobservanceof
proper company procedures relating to the acquisition, installation and maintenance of computers which,
undeniably,arevitaltotheoperationsofhisemployer.Moreover,hisfunctionsarenotlimitedtoaspecificunitof
Citytrust but extend to all branches of his employer nationwide. Thus, his job involves a high degree of
responsibilityrequiringasubstantialamountoftrustandconfidenceonthepartofhisemployer.

Thequestionthatremainstheniswhetherthereissubstantialevidencetoprovethatpetitionerisguiltyofthe
chargesimputedagainsthimastojustifyCitytrustindismissinghimfromemploymentonthegroundoflossof
trustandconfidence.

PetitionercontendsthatwithouthissignaturesappearinginthecheckvouchersissuedbyMECO,therecanbe
nobasisincomingupwiththeconclusionthathereceivedandappropriatedcommissionsandrebateswithoutthe
knowledgeandauthorityofCitytrust.

TheCourtisnotpersuaded.

PetitionersrelianceonthecaseofAtlasConsolidatedMining&DevelopmentCorp.v.NationalLaborRelations
Commission24ismisplaced.Inthesaidcase,theprivaterespondent,whoisanemployeeofpetitionercorporation,
waschargedwiththeunauthorizedwithdrawalandmisappropriationof192litersofgasolinefromcompanystocks
andfor knowingly allowing company personnel towork oncompany time inthe assembly of aprivatelyowned
vehicle. To prove the first charge, the petitioner company presented in evidence entries in a logbook showing
gasolinewithdrawalsallegedlymadebyprivaterespondent.Inrulingagainstthepetitionercompany,theCourt
heldthatsincerespondentssignaturedoesnotappearinthelogbook,thereisnoproofthatheactuallywithdrew
andreceivedthegasoline.Infact,theCourtruledthatthelogbookcannotbereliedupontoestablishthealleged
dishonestyofprivaterespondent.NeitherdidtheCourtgivecredencetothetestimoniesofthewitnessesagainst
him. In sum, no competent evidence was presented to prove the private respondents liability. This is not the
situationinthepresentcase.

Itistruethatthecheckvouchersalonearenotsufficienttoprovehisguiltowingtothefactthathissignatures
donotappearinanyofthesevouchers.However,asidefromtheabovementionedcheckvouchers,thereareother
piecesofevidencepresented byCitytrustwhichpetitionerfailedtorefuteandwhichpoints tothefactthat he
received commissions or rebates from MECO. The evidence consists of the following: (1) admission made by
petitionerinhisletter,datedAugust3,1993,thathereceivedmaterialconsiderationsfromMECOsince1992; 25(2)
certification issued by MECO categorically stating that he was paid commissions totaling P105,192.00; 26(3)
testimoniesofLeoncioAraullo,VicePresidentofCitytrust;andMa.LourdesForonda,AssistantVicePresidentfor
StaffServicesDivisionoftheHumanResourcesDepartmentofCitytrust,thatpetitioneradmittedhavingreceived
theamountsofP1,000.00andP500.00fromArtCordero,anofficerofMECO,claimingthattheseamountsarefor
the boys; (4) statements in the affidavit of Florante del Mundo, auditor at the Internal Audit Department of
CitytrustthattwoofthechecksissuedbyMECOinfavorofpetitionerwereeitherencashedbythelatterscommon
lawwifeordepositedinhisaccount. 27Inaddition,theCourtagreeswiththeCAthatannotationsappearinginthe
checkvouchersissuedbyMECOsuchasPaymentfortheRebateGiventoBoyCruzofCitytrust 28andPayment
fortheSalesRebateGiventoBoyCruzofCitytrust 29areconfirmationsofthefactthatthecheckswereissuedand
givenspecificallybyMECOtopetitionerinconsiderationofhisofficeandservices.Thesepiecesofevidence,when
takentogether,wouldconstitutesubstantialevidencetoprovepetitionersguilt;andhisfailuretosatisfactorily
explainorrebutthemonlystrengthensCitytrustscaseagainsthim.

Thus,petitionersacceptanceofcommissionsandrebatesfromMECO,withouttheknowledgeandconsentof
Citytrustandwithoutsaidrebatesandcommissionsbeingreportedandturnedovertothelatter,areactswhichcan
clearlybeconsideredasawillfulbreachofthetrustandconfidencereposedbyCitytrustuponhim.Settledisthe
rulethatanemployercannotbecompelledtoretainanemployeewhoisguiltyofactsinimicaltotheinterestsofthe
employer.30Acompanyhastherighttodismissitsemployeesifonlyasameasureofselfprotection. 31Thisisallthe
moretrueinthecaseofsupervisorsorpersonneloccupyingpositionsofresponsibility. 32Inthepresentcase,the

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Cruz, Jr. vs. Court of Appeals
Court finds that the CA did not commit grave abuse of discretion when it ruled that Citytrust is justified in
dismissingpetitionerfromhisemploymentforlossoftrustandconfidence.

PetitionercontendsthathewasdeniedhisrighttodueprocessbecausetheinvestigationconductedbyCitytrust
wasdoneexparteandhewasnotgiventheopportunitytoconfrontthewitnessesagainsthim.Petitionersconcept
oftheopportunitytobeheardisthechancetoventilateonessideinaformalhearingwherehecanhaveafaceto
face confrontation with his accusers. It is well settled that the basic requirement of notice and hearing in
terminationcasesisfortheemployertoinformtheemployeeofthespecificchargesagainsthimandtohearhisside
and defenses.33This does not,however,meanafull adversarialproceeding. 34Thepartiesmaybe heard through
pleadings, writtenexplanations,positionpapers, memorandumororalargument. 35Inalloftheseinstances, the
employerplaysanactiverolebyprovidingtheemployeewiththeopportunitytopresenthissideandanswerthe
charges in substantial compliance with due process. 36In the present case, petitioner cannot claim that he was
denieddueprocessbecausehewasabletorespondtotheletterofCitytrustdatedAugust6,1993. 37Moreover,he
admittedinhiscrossexaminationbeforethelaborarbiterthathewasabletoattendtheinvestigationofthe ad
hoccommittee formed by Citytrust where he was shown the check vouchers issued by MECO, informed of the
chargesagainsthimandwasgivenfurtheropportunitytoexplainhisside. 38Hence,thefactalonethathewasnot
abletoconfrontthewitnessesagainsthimduringtheinvestigationconductedbyCitytrustdoesnotmeanthathe
wasdeniedhisrighttodueprocess.Whatisfrowneduponistheabsolutelackofnoticeandhearing. 39

Astotherequirementofnotice,theLaborCodeprovidesthatbeforeanemployeecanbevalidlydismissed,the
employer is required to furnish the employee with two (2) written notices: (a) a written notice containing a
statementofthecauseforterminationtoaffordtheemployeeampleopportunitytobeheardanddefendhimself
withtheassistanceofhisrepresentative,ifhesodesires;and,(b)iftheemployerdecidestoterminatetheservicesof
theemployee,theemployermustnotifyhiminwritingofthedecisiontodismisshim,statingclearlythereasons
therefor.40Citytrustcompliedwiththefirstrequirementofnoticewhenitinformedpetitionerthroughaletter,dated
August6,1993,ofthechargesagainsthim,directinghimtoexplaininwritingwhyhisemploymentshouldnotbe
terminatedand,thereafter,toappearinahearingtobeconductedbythecompanytogivehimfurtheropportunity
toexplainhisside.41Citytrustalsocompliedwiththesecondrequirementofnoticewhenitsentamemorandum
datedSeptember28,1993,topetitionerinforminghimofhisdismissalfromemploymentandthereasonstherefor. 42

WHEREFORE,theinstantpetitionisDISMISSEDforlackofmerit.

SOORDERED.

Panganiban(C.J.,Chairperson),YnaresSantiago,Callejo,Sr.andChicoNazario,JJ.,concur.

Petitiondismissed.

Note.Theemployermaynotbecompelledtocontinuetoemploysuchpersonswhosecontinuanceintheservice
willpatentlybeinimicaltohisinterests.(Agabonvs.NationalLaborRelationsCommission,442SCRA573[2004])

o0o

*
FIRSTDIVISION
1
PennedbyJusticeRobertoA.BarriosandconcurredinbyJusticesRamonMabutas,Jr.(retired)andEdgardo
P.Cruz.
2
CARollo,pp.198200.
3
Id.,atp.71.
4
356Phil.811;295SCRA494(1998).
5
Rollo,p.10.
6
Id.,atpp.1013.
7
Id.,atpp.121130.
8
Manacop,etal.v.EquitablePCIBank,etal.,G.R.Nos.16281417,August25,2005,468SCRA256,271.
9
Id.
10
Delgadov.CourtofAppeals,etal.,G.R.No.137881,December21,2004,447SCRA402,412.
11
Rosetev.CourtofAppeals,393Phil.593,600;339SCRA193,199(2000).
12
MadrigalTransportInc.v.LapandayHoldingsCorporation,G.R.No.156067,August11,2004,436SCRA123,
136.
13
MetroTransitOrganization,Inc.v.CourtofAppeals,440Phil.743,751;392SCRA229,235(2002).
14
Id.
15
359Phil.399,406;299SCRA76,8283(1998).
16
P.J.Lhuillier,Inc.v.NationalLaborRelationsCommission,G.R.No.158758,April29,2005,457SCRA784,
798.
17
Id.,atpp.798799.
18
FujitsuComputerProductsCorporationofthePhilippinesv.CourtofAppeals,G.R.No.158232,March31,
2005,454SCRA737,760.

Page 6 of 7
Cruz, Jr. vs. Court of Appeals
19
Id.
20
PhilippineNationalConstructionCorporationv.Matias,G.R.No.156283,May6,2005,458SCRA148,161.
21
Caingatv.NationalLaborRelationsCommission,G.R.No.154308,March10,2005,453SCRA142,152.
22
Id.
23
TSN,April19,1994,p.5.
24
352Phil.1088;290SCRA479(1998).
25
ExhibitN/14,Records,p.68.
26
ExhibitQ,Records,p.73.
27
Exhibit15,Records,p.172.
28
Exhibit10,Id.,atp.33.
29
Exhibit11,Id.,atp.34.
30
MGGMarineServices,Inc.v.NationalLaborRelationsCommission,328Phil.1046,1067;259SCRA664,676
(1996).
31
Id.
32
Id.
33
Homeowners Savings and Loan Association, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission,330 Phil. 979,
1001;262SCRA406,422(1996).
34
Id.
35
Id.
36
Id.
37
SeeExhibitN/14,supra.
38
TSN,April19,1994,pp.2527.
39
Sunrise Manning Agency Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission,G.R. No. 146703, November 18,
2004,443SCRA35,43citingPaatv.CourtofAppeals,334Phil.146;266SCRA167,179(1997).
40
Arboledav.NationalLaborRelationsCommission,362Phil.383,389;303SCRA38,45(1999).
41
ExhibitM/13,Records,p.67.
42
ExhibitO/15,Records,p.70.

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