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36. DHL Philippines Corp. v.

Buklod ng Manggagawa ng DHL AUTHOR: Gojar


Philippines Corp.,
G.R. No. 152094, July 22, 2004
Topic: Duty/ies of med-arbiter/election officer
CASE LAW/ DOCTRINE:
 The election officer’s authority to certify the results of the election is limited to situations in which there has been no
protest filed; or if there has been any, it has not been perfected or formalized within five days from the close of the
election proceedings.
 When a protest has been perfected, only the med-arbiter can proclaim and certify the winner. Clearly, this rule is based
on the election officer’s function, which is merely to conduct and supervise certification elections.
 It is the med-arbiter who is authorized to hear and decide representation cases. Consequently, the decision whether to
certify the results of an election or to set them aside due to incidents occurring during the campaign is within the med-
arbiter’s discretion.
 Relating to this case: When the MED-ARBITER admitted and gave due course to respondent BUKLOD’s petitioner for
nullification of the election proceedings, the ELECTION OFFICER should have deferred issuing the certification of the
results thereof.

ER: Nov 25, 1997 - a certification election was conducted. The choices were petitioner and no union.
Dec. 19, 1997 - respondent BUKLOD filed a petition for the nullification of the certification election charging the officers of
petitioner w/ committing fraud & deceit in the election proceedings by misrepresenting to the voter-EEs that it was independent
union when it fact it was affiliated with the Federation of Free Workers (FFW). And because of that misrepresentative, the members
of petitioners withdrew their membership from it and formed themselves into an independent union which is respondent BUKLOD
and was issued a Certificate of Registration by DOLE only on Dec. 23 1997 or 4 days after filing the petition for nullification or
protest. May 18, 1998 - The Med-Arbiter nullified the Nov. 25 certification election and ordered the holding of another one. This
time, with petitioner, respondent and no choice as the choices. Jan. 19, 1998 - despite such filing of the petition by BUKLOD, the
election officer certified petitioner as the sole & exclusive bargaining agent. Upon appeal to DOLE Undersec, it held that the issue
of representation had already been settled and no petitions for certification election can be entertained within 1 yr from the time
the election officer had issued the certification order. CA: The withdrawal of 704 out of 894 members of petitioner due to the
discovery of misrepresentation is a compelling reason to conduct a new certification election. The issue of representation was NOT
PUT TO REST BY THE MERE ISSUANCE OF THE CERTIFICATION ORDER by the ELECTION officer. The election officer’s issuance of a
certification order on Jan 19 was precipitate because, prior thereto, respondent had filed with the med-arbiter a Petition for
nullification of the election.

SC:
Duty/ies of med-arbiter/election officer
 The election officer’s authority to certify the results of the election is limited to situations in which there has been no
protest filed; or if there has been any, it has not been perfected or formalized within five days from the close of the
election proceedings.
 When a protest has been perfected, only the med-arbiter can proclaim and certify the winner. Clearly, this rule is based
on the election officer’s function, which is merely to conduct and supervise certification elections.
 It is the med-arbiter who is authorized to hear and decide representation cases. Consequently, the decision whether to
certify the results of an election or to set them aside due to incidents occurring during the campaign is within the med-
arbiter’s discretion.

In this case, petitioner was arguing that CA was wrong because no protest was formalized within 5 days or raised during the election
proceedings and entered in the minutes of it. BUT SC disagreed. SC held that WHEN THE MED-ARBITER ADMITTED AND GAVE DUE
COURSE to respondent BUKLOD’s petition for nullification of the election proceedings, the election officer SHOULD HAVE
DEFERRED issuing the certification of the results thereof.

It was clear that respondent members were lured by petitioner’s officers into believing that petitioner was independent union.
Having been misled, a majority of them eventually disaffiliated themselves from it and formed an independent union, respondent
herein, which thereafter protested the conduct of the election. Having been formed just after such exercise by the defrauded
employees who were former members of petitioner, respondent could not have reasonably filed its protest within five days from
the close of the election proceedings. In this case, the EEs didn’t sleep didn’t sleep on their rights. Hence, their failure to follow
strictly the procedural technicalities regarding the period for filing their protest should not be taken against them. Mere
technicalities should not be allowed to prevail over the welfare of the workers. What is essential is that they be accorded an
opportunity to determine freely and intelligently which labor organization shall act on their behalf.