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Bacolod-Talisay Realty and Development Corporation v his employment is being terminated.

The letter dated June

Romeo Dela Cruz 3, 1997 sent to respondent was a letter of suspension. It
G.R. no. 179563 | April 30, 2009 did not comply with the required first notice, the purpose of
which is to apprise the employee of the cause for
Facts: termination and to give him reasonable opportunity to
1. Dela Cruz was employed at Hacienda Gloria, a explain his side.
farm owned by Bacolod-Talisay Realty, but was
dismissed on charges of payroll padding, selling The confrontation before the barangay council did not
canepoints without the consent of management constitute the first notice to give the employee ample
and misappropriating the proceeds. opportunity to be heard with the assistance of counsel.
2. He filed a complaint for illegal dismissal before Hearings before the barangay council do not afford the
NLRC, alleging that he received a June 3, 1997 employee ample opportunity to be represented by counsel
letter informing him that he was being suspended if he so desires because Section 415 of the Local
for the next 30 days due to the said charges and Government Code (KATARUNGANG PAMBARANGAY)
30 days after, his wife received a letter stating that mandates that the “parties must appear in person without
he was terminated. the assistance of counsel or his representatives, except for
3. As a result of said investigation on his questioned minors and incompetents who may be assisted by their
acts, it was discovered by Bacolod-Talisay that next-of-kin who are not lawyers”.
there were farm workers whose names were
entered in the payroll even if they did not render While the dismissal of respondent was for a just cause, the
services and while Dela Cruz said he would return procedure in effecting the same was not observed. Thus,
the money intended for wages of those who Bacolod should pay Dela Cruz nominal damages
rendered no services, he did not. (P30,000).
4. LA  dismissed the complaint for illegal dismissal
5. NLRC  dismissed Dela Cruz’ appeal
6. CA  Bacolod Talisay did not comply with Documentary Evidence:
guidelines for dismissal of employees; Dela Cruz 1. Excerpt from the official log book of the barangay council
is entitled to reinstatement and payment of of Barangay Concepcion, Talisay, Negros Occidental
backwages dated May 30, 1997 documenting the statements of
Federico Serie and Jonathan Quilla during a
Issue: W/N Dela Cruz’ dismissal was not justified thus confrontation before the barangay counsel;
2. Petitioner Lacson's affidavit;
entitling him to reinstatement -- NO
3. Joint Affidavit of petitioner Mario Gonzaga and the vice-
president and secretary of BTRD;
Held: Bacolod Talisay was able to establish with substantial 4. Joint affidavit of Federico Serie, Jr. (Serie), Jonathan
evidence that just cause existed for the termination of Quilla (Quilla), Eddie Sausa (Sausa), and Roberto
employment. The documentary evidence submitted Tortogo (Tortogo) claiming that they refused to sign the
establishes that Dela Cruz committed payroll padding, sold payroll which respondent prepared because it indicated
canepoints without the knowledge and consent of that they received P256 although they received
management and misappropriated the proceeds thereof, only P71;
5. Copies of payrolls for June 3-8, 1996 and June 10-15,
and rented tractor to another farm and misappropriated the
1996, with respondent's signature beside the name of
rental payments therefor. These acts constitute willful Federico Serie who refused to sign;
breach by the employee of the trust reposed in him by his 6. Affidavit of John Trasmonte (Transmonte), in charge of
employer ─ a ground for termination of employment. keeping the payroll records and cash disbursement of
workers' wages for June 1996, claiming that he prepared
In his appeal, Dela Cruz noted that affiants Sausa and the payroll based on respondent's report and that he did
Tortogo challenged the Joint Affidavit, claiming that they did not receive any return of excess wages for the cash
not understand its contents as they were not translated to disbursement from the said payroll;
7. Affidavit of Jose Racel Magbanua (Magbanua) stating
the dialect they understand.2 To respondent, this should
that he saw respondent allowing the use of the
have placed the LA on notice that there was something hacienda's tractor in another farm and receiving rent
irregular that should have called for him to order, but he did therefrom;
not, the conduct of clarificatory hearings. However, ausa's 8. Affidavit of Rodolfo Cañeso (Cañeso) stating that he
and Tortogo's challenge to their Joint Affidavit does not saw respondent selling pieces of patdan and drammy;
affect the totality of Bacolod’s evidence as Serie and Quilla 9. Affidavit of Ma. Leonisa Gonzaga claiming shortfalls in
attested to the same matter-subject of Sausa and Tortogo's the proceeds of the sale of drammy and patdan as
questioned Joint Affidavit. Besides, as reflected above, reported and remitted by respondent.
other affidavits and pieces of documentary evidence in
support of petitioners' position were presented. Dela Cruz
was also given the opportunity to file a counter-position
paper but he did not.

CA correctly held, however, that Bacolod Talisay did not

comply with the proper procedure in dismissing
respondent. In other words, petitioners failed to afford
respondent due process by failing to comply with the twin
notice requirement in dismissing him, viz: 1) a first notice to
apprise him of his fault, and 2) a second notice to him that