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37 Am-Phil Food Concepts v Padilla HELD/RATIO

Oct 1, 2014 | Leonen, J. Am-Phil's right to due process was not violated because the
motion was filed AFTER the LA promulgated the decision.
FACTS:  Am-Phil's motion for leave to file supplemental rejoinder dated
Padilla was hired as a Marketing Associate by Am-Phil Corp May 20, 2005 was filed on May 31, 2005, well after LA promulgated
engaged in the restaurant business. Am-Phil sent Padilla a letter his May 9, 2005 decision.
confirming his regular employment, but 2 years later, Padilla was  As the motion for leave to file supplemental rejoinder was filed
informed of the company's retrenchment program (because of after the rendition of the decision, the decision could not have
serious adverse business conditions) that would affect 3 employees, possibly taken into consideration the motion. Giving consideration
including him. to a motion filed after the promulgation of the decision is not only
unreasonable, it is impossible.
Padilla questioned the retrenchment claiming he was a regular
 But even ignoring that the motion was filed after the decision, a
employee with a good evaluation record, meanwhile, Am-Phil had 6 supplemental rejoinder is not a pleading which the LA is duty-
contractual employees and was still hiring new ones. Am-Phil's bound to accept. The NLRC Rules of Procedure only go so far as to
sales have not been lower relative to the previous year. recognize that a reply “may” be filed by the parties.
Am-Phil gave him 2 options:
 That Am-Phil had to file a motion seeking permission to file its
supplemental rejoinder (i.e., motion for leave to file) is proof of its
1. Be retrenched with severance pay
own recognition that the labor arbiter is under no compulsion to
2. Be transferred as a waiter in Am-Phil's restaurant
accept any such pleading and that the supplemental rejoinder’s
(demotion)
admission rests on the labor arbiter’s discretion.
Am-Phil eventually sent Padilla a memorandum notifying him of his  The requirements of due process in labor cases before a Labor
Arbiter is satisfied when the parties are given the opportunity to
retrenchment. He was paid separation worth P26,245.38. Padilla
also executed a quitclaim and release in favor of Am-Phil submit their position papers to which they are supposed to attach
all the supporting documents or documentary evidence.
Padilla filed a complaint for illegal dismissal  Am-Phil had no shortage of opportunities to plead its claims
and to adduce its evidence, after filing its position paper, its reply,
Am-Phil's defense: and its rejoinder.
 It was an exercise of management prerogative Rule V of the 2002 National Labor Relations Commission Rules of
 Padilla was part of an experimental marketing program\It Procedure:
suffered serious business losses
SECTION 4. SUBMISSION OF POSITION PAPERS / MEMORANDA.
 Padilal executed a quitclaim and release Without prejudice to the provisions of the last paragraph, SECTION 2
of this Rule, the Labor Arbiter shall direct both parties to submit
LA: Padilla Illegally dismissed simultaneously their position papers with supporting documents and
 Am-Phil failed to substantiate its losses and failed to comply affidavits within an inextendible period of ten (10) days from notice of
with procedural requirement for proper retrenchment termination of the mandatory conference.
 Quitclaim and release was contrary to law
These verified position papers to be submitted shall cover only
On appeal with NLRC, Am-Phil claimed that it was denied due those claims and causes of action raised in the complaint excluding
process when LA decided the case despite the pendency of its those that may have been amicably settled, and shall be
motion for leave to file supplemental rejoinder. accompanied by all supporting documents including the affidavits
 Through this supplemental rejoinder, Am-Phil of their respective witnesses which shall take the place of the latter’s
supposedly intended to submit its audited financial direct testimony. The parties shall thereafter not be allowed to
statements for the years 2001 to 2004 and, thereby, allege facts, or present evidence to prove facts, not referred to
prove that it had suffered business losses. and any cause or causes of action not included in the complaint
or position papers, affidavits and other documents.
NLRC: Affirmed LA
 A supplemental rejoinder was not a necessary pleading in Am-Phil failed to establish compliance with the requisites for a valid
proceedings before labor arbiters. retrenchment and Padilla’s quitclaim and release does not negate
 With the exception of the 2004 audited financial statements, his having been illegally dismissed
all of Am-Phil’s relevant audited financial statements were  There is no credible explanation was offered as to why the
already available at the time it submitted its position paper, 2001-2004 financial statements were not presented when
reply, and rejoinder, but that Am-Phil failed to annex them the evidence-in-chief was being considered by the labor
to these pleadings. arbiter. It follows that there is no clear and convincing
 Am-Phil was well in a position to attach them in its evidence to sustain the substantive ground on which the
memorandum of appeal but still failed to do so. supposed validity of Padilla’s retrenchment rests.
 Am-Phil did not serve a written notice to the DOLE 1 month
CA: Affirmed NLRC before the intended date of Padilla’s retrenchment
 As a rule, deeds of release or quitclaim cannot bar
ISSUES: employees from demanding benefits to which they are
1. W/N it was proper for the LA to have ruled that Padilla was legally entitled or from contesting the legality of their
illegally dismissed despite Am-Phil’s pending motion for dismissal.
leave to file supplemental rejoinder --YES, Am-Phil's right to
due process was not violated. WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is DENIED.
2. W/N PadilLa was dismissed through a valid retrenchment --
NO