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Fontana Development Corp. (FDC) v.

Sascha Vukasinovic

Facts: Respondent Vukasinovic was hired by FDC as its Director for Business Development for one
year. His employment was renewed for another year at the end of his first contract. He allegedly
received a text message from one Jenny Mallari informing him that Nestor Dischoso and Chief Hotel
Engineer Jaime Villareal, both officers of petitioner FDC, were receiving commissions from company
transactions. Thereafter, respondent met with Mallari and offered her money in exchange for
evidence that will support her allegations. Mallari handed over to respondent a photocopy of a check
issued to Engr. Villareal, as proof of receiving commission. The check, however, had an alteration so
respondent asked Mallari to execute an affidavit and provide more proof. Respondent then paid
Mallari the total amount of P14,000 on different occasions.

Respondent recommended to FDC's General Manager to conduct further investigations on the


alleged corruptions of Engr. Villareal. Thereafter, Engr. Villareal and Mallari were brought to the NBI
for questioning. There, Mallari denied that Engr. Villareal asked for commissions from her and
revealed that she merely fabricated the story against Engr. Villareal so that she can ask money from
respondent Vukasinovic.

Following this turn of events, petitioner FDC received a complaint from Engr. Villareal claiming that
respondent paid Mallari a substantial amount of money to
concoct a story depicting Engr. Villareal as a corrupt employee.

Respondent received a Show Cause/Preventive Suspension Order from petitioner FDC, informing him
of the complaint filed by Engr. Villareal and directing him to explain why no disciplinary action should
be taken against him for violating the provisions of the Company Code of Conduct on Dishonesty.
Respondent did not deny the allegations and, instead, admitted that he gave money to Mallari
because "it is a common practice in Fontana to give money to informants for vital information."

FDC approved the recommendation of the Investigating Panel and terminated respondent's
employment after finding him guilty of acts of dishonesty in the form of "bribery in any form or
manner" under Rule 1, Section 4 of petitioner FDC's Code of Conduct, which carries the maximum
penalty of dismissal. The Decision and the Notice of Termination were served on November 2, 2010.
Respondent, however, refused to acknowledge its receipt and, instead, filed a complaint for illegal
dismissal, illegal suspension, regularization, non-payment of salaries, service incentive leave, 13th
month pay, actual, moral and exemplary damages, attorney's fees and demands for his
reinstatement with full backwages against petitioner FDC and its officers.

LA ruled that respondent’s dismissal was valid since it was for a just cause. The NLRC affirmed the LA
and noted that respondent previously filed another complaint before the same NLRC with the same
facts, issues and prayers and that it was dismissed on the ground of forum shopping. CA affirmed the
NLRC, however, CA ordered the award of unpaid salaries to respondent.

Issue: WON CA gravely erred in not dismissing the petition for deliberate forum shopping

Ruling: Petition is meritorious. Respondent is guilty of forum shopping. There is forum shopping when
a party repetitively avails of several judicial remedies in different courts, simultaneously or
successively, all substantially founded on the same transactions and the same essential facts and
circumstances, and all raising substantially the same issues either pending in or already resolved
adversely by some other court. Forum shopping is an act of malpractice that is prohibited and
condemned because it trifles with the courts and abuses their processes.

The test for determining the existence of forum shopping is whether a final judgment in one case
amounts to res judicata in another or whether the following elements of litis pendentia are present:
(a) identity of parties, or at least such parties as representing the same interests in both actions; (b)
identity of rights asserted and reliefs prayed for, the relief being founded on the same facts; and (c)
the identity of the two preceding particulars, such that any judgment rendered in the other action
will, regardless of which party is successful, amount to res judicata in the action under consideration.
Said requisites are also constitutive of the requisites for lis pendens.

In the instant case, there is no doubt that all the elements of litis pendentia have already been
established, as this was already settled with finality. Yet, respondent still repeatedly claimed that
there was no forum shopping and petitioners are misleading this Court, making it appear that forum
shopping exists when there is none at all.

Respondent’s position is without basis. It is well-settled that once there is a finding of forum
shopping, the penalty is summary dismissal not only of the petition pending before this Court, but
also of the other case that is pending in a lower court. This is so because twin dismissal is the punitive
measure to those who trifle with the orderly administration of justice.

Consequently, the CA should have dismissed the case outright without rendering a decision on the
merits of the case. Respondent should be penalized for willfully and deliberately trifling with court
processes. The purpose of the law will be defeated if respondent will be granted the relief prayed for
despite his act of deliberately committing forum shopping.

Manila Doctors College (MDC) v. Emmanuel Olores

Facts: Respondent was a faculty member of MDC assigned at College of Arts and Sciences. He was
dismissed for Grave Misconduct, Gross Inefficiency, and Incompetence, after due investigation finding
him guilty of employing a grading system that was not in accordance with the guidelines set by MDC.
Respondent filed case for illegal dismissal, money claims, regularization, damages, and attorney's fees
against petitioners MDC and Teresita Turla (MDC President), claiming that there was no just cause for
his dismissal, and that he should be accorded a permanent appointment after having served as an
instructor on a full-time basis for 5 consecutive years.

Labor Arbiter Amansec (LA Amansec) declared respondent to have been illegally dismissed, saying
that liberally implementing the guidelines in arriving at his students' final grades did not constitute
serious misconduct, as he was not inspired by malice, bad faith, personal gain or outright
malevolence; and that his 5-year continuous service as faculty member without any derogatory
record belies the charge of inefficiency and incompetence against him.

LA Amansec ordered the reinstatement of respondent as faculty member, without loss of seniority
rights, but denied payment of backwages on the grounds that (1) no malice or bad faith attended
respondent's dismissal, (2) respondent had showed disrespect to his superior by writing a letter
containing disrespectful remarks, and (3) respondent failed to inform or discuss with said superior his
decision to depart from the guidelines in giving grades. Furthermore, the LA also said that instead of
being reinstated, respondent is hereby given the option to receive a separation pay equivalent to his
full month's pay for every year of service, a fraction of at least six months to be considered a full year
or the amount of P100,000.

NLRC granted the appeal and reversed the LA Amansec decision and dismissed the complaint for lack
of merit. He found respondent guilty of serious misconduct when he defied the prescribed grading
system and arbitrarily adjusted the grades of his students.

CA reversed the NLRC, saying that the LA’s order of reinstatement is immediately executory; thus, the
employer has to either re-admit the employee to work; and even if such order of reinstatement is
reversed on appeal, the employer is still obliged to reinstate and pay the wages of the employee
during the period of appeal until reversal by a higher court.

Issue: WON the CA correctly reversed the NLRC ruling


Ruling: CA is correct. Under Art. 229 of the Labor Code, “the decision of the LA reinstating a dismissed
or separated employee, insofar as the reinstatement aspect is concerned, shall immediately be
executory, even pending appeal. The employee shall either be admitted back to work under the same
terms and conditions prevailing prior to his dismissal or separation or, at the option of the employer,
merely reinstated in the payroll. The posting of a bond by the employer shall not stay the execution
for reinstatement." Verily, the employer is duty-bound to reinstate the employee, failing which, the
employer is liable instead to pay the dismissed employee's salary.”

In this case, petitioners contend that that they should not be faulted for failing to enforce the
Decision of LA Amansec — which had given respondent the option to receive separation pay in lieu of
reinstatement — for the reason that it was respondent who failed to choose either relief. However,
as above-discussed, the reinstatement aspect of the LA's Decision is immediately executory and,
hence, the active duty to reinstate the employee — either actually or in payroll — devolves upon no
other than the employer, even pending appeal. Thus, while herein respondent may have been given an
alternative option to instead receive separation pay in lieu of reinstatement, there is no denying that,
based on the provisions of the Labor Code and as attributed in jurisprudence, it is his employer who
should have first discharged its duty to reinstate him.