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G.R. No.

L-58011 & L-58012 November 18, 1983 The Constitution guarantees State assurance of the rights of
VIR-JEN SHIPPING AND MARINE SERVICES, INC., petitioner, workers to security of tenure. (Sec. 9, Article II, Constitution).
vs. Presumptions and provisions of law, the evidence on record, and
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, et al fundamental State policy all dictate that the motions for
reconsideration should be granted.
2. No.
the Seamen entered into separate contracts of employment with
The form contracts approved by the National Seamen Board are
the Company, engaging them to work on board M/T' Jannu for a
designed to protect Filipino seamen not foreign shipowners who
period of twelve (12) months. After verification and approval of
can take care of themselves.
their contracts by the NSB, the Seamen boarded their vessel in
The standard forms embody' the basic minimums which must be
incorporated as parts of the employment contract. (Section 15,
ITF- is the acronym for the International Transport Workers Rule V, Rules and Regulations Implementing the Labor Code.)
Federation, a militant international labor organization with
affiliates in different ports of the world, which reputedly can tie They are not collective bargaining agreements or immutable
down a vessel in a port by preventing its loading or unloading, contracts which the parties cannot improve upon or modify in the
This is a sanction resorted to by ITF to enforce the payment of its course of the agreed period of time.
wages rates for seafarers the so-called ITF rates, if the wages of
the crew members of a vessel who have affiliated with it are To state, therefore, that the affected seamen cannot petition
below its prescribed rates.) their employer for higher salaries during the 12 months duration
of the contract runs counter to established principles of labor
Respondents: legislation.

The National Labor Relations Commission, as the appellate

THE seamen claimed that they were not contented with their tribunal from decisions of the National Seamen Board, correctly
present salaries 'based on the volume of works, type of ship with ruled that the seamen did not violate their contracts to warrant
hazardous cargo and registered in a world wide trade': that the their dismissal.
'officers and crew (were) not interested in ITF membership if not
actually paid with ITF rate that their 'demand is only 50% increase
based on present basic salary and that the proposed wage
increase is the 'best and only solution to solve ITF problem' since ADD FACTS:
the Company's salary rates 'especially in tankers (are) very far in
comparison with other shipping agencies in Manila ... The facts show that when the respondents boarded the M/T
Jannu there was no intention to send their ship to Australia. On
Petitioner: January 10, 1979, the petitioner sent a cable to respondent
the Company proposed a 25% increase in the basic pay of the shipmaster Bisula informing him of the procedure to be followed
complainant crew members." Seamen accepted the proposal with in the computation of special compensation of crewmembers
certain conditions. while in ITF controlled ports and expressed regrets for not having
earlier clarified the procedure as it thought that the vessel
Subsequently, the Company sought authority from the NSB to would trade in Carribean ports only.
cancel the contracts of employment of the Seamen, claiming that
its principals had terminated their manning agreement because
On March 22, 1979, the petitioner sent another cable informing
of the actuations of the Seamen.The request was granted by the
Bisula of the special compensation when the ship would call at
NSB Executive Director.
Kwinana Australia. The following day, shipmaster Bisula cabled
Vir-jen stating that the officers and crews were not interested in
There is no showing that the Seamen were given the opportunity
ITF membership if not paid ITF rates and that their only demand
to at least comment on the Company's request for the
was a 50 percent increase based on their then salaries. Bisula also
cancellation of their contracts, although they had served only
pointed out that Vir-jen rates were "very far in comparison with
three (3) out of the twelve (12) months' duration of their
other shipping agencies in Manila.
The private respondents filed a complaint for illegal dismissal and
non-payment of earned wages with the National Seamen Board.
The Vir-jen Shipping and Marine Services Inc. in turn filed a
complaint for breach of contract and recovery of excess salaries
G.R. No. 194885, January 26, 2015
and overtime pay against the private respondents.

NSB: declared seamen breached the contract when they C.F. SHARP CREW MANAGEMENT, INC. AND REEDEREI CLAUS
demanded and received from Vir-jen Shipping wages over and PETER OFFEN, Petitioners, v. CLEMENTE M. PEREZ, Respondent.
above their contracted rates.
NLRC: reversed the decision of the NSB

ILLEGAL Petitioners C.F. Sharp Crew Management hired respondent as
2. WON THE seamen violated their contracts of Oiler on board the vessel M/V P&O Nedlloyd Rio Grande.

HELD: The parties signed the 10-month employment contract3 on May

1. Yes. 22, 2000 and they agreed to comply with the 1996 Philippine
It is competence and reliability, not cheap labor that makes our Overseas Employment Administration Standard Employment
seamen so greatly in demand. Filipino seamen have never Contract (POEA-SEC).� Respondent�s employment is also
demanded the same high salaries as seamen from the United covered by a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
States, the United Kingdom, Japan and other developed nations.
But certainly they are entitled to government protection when While the Rio Grande was in Singapore on November 1, 2000,
they ask for fair and decent treatment by their employer.-, and respondent failed to report for duty.� But at 9:30 a.m., he
when they exercise the right to petition for improved terms of showed up at the crewmess confused.� The crew got scared of
employment, especially when they feel that these are sub- him.� The Master of the Rio Grande decided that respondent will
standard or are capable of improvement according to be a high risk for the safety of the ship and its crew and must be
internationally accepted rules repatriated.4� Respondent was diagnosed to have acute
We agree with the movants that there is no showing of any cause, psychosis at Gleneagles Maritime Medical Center and was
which under the Labor Code or any current applicable law, would declared unfit for sea duty.5chanRoblesvirtua
warrant the termination of the respondents' services before the
expiration of their contracts.
Respondent sued the petitioners for disability benefits, moral
and exemplary damages, and attorney�s fees . He claimed that
while he was told that he is already fit to work as seaman, the


doctor refused to issue a medical certificate on the ground that he LABOR AND SOCIAL LEGISLATION; WAGES; SIDE AGREEMENT TO
has yet to fully recover from his illness. When he sought re- REDUCE WAGES; NULLIFIED IN; CASE AT BAR. — The managerial
employment, petitioners rejected him because of his illness.� His commission agreement executed by petitioner to authorize her
claim for disability benefits under the CBA was also denied. Japanese employer to deduct Two Hundred Fifty U.S. Dollars
(US$250.00) from her monthly basic salary is void because it is
against our existing laws, morals and public policy. It cannot
petitioners Accordingly, respondent concealed that he was
supersede the standard employment contract of December 1,
previously repatriated in 1996 and 1997 for psychotic episodes.�
1988, approved by the POEA. The basic salary of One Thousand
They add that under Section 20(E) of the POEA-SEC respondent is
Five Hundred U.S. Dollars(US$1,500.00.) guaranteed to petitioner
disqualified from any compensation and benefit for wilfully and
under the parties’ standard employment contract is in accordance
deliberately concealing his pre-existing medical condition.�
with the minimum employment standards, with respect to wages
set by the POEA. Thus, the side agreement which reduced
Labor Arbiter: favor of respondent and ordered petitioners to pay petitioner’s basic wage to Seven Hundred Fifty U.S. Dollars
him disability benefits, sickness allowance and attorney�s fees (US$750.00) is null and void for violating the POEA’s minimum
The NLRC reversed the Labor Arbiter�s ruling but ordered employment standards, and for not having been approved by the
petitioners to pay respondent sickness allowance. respondent is POEA. Indeed, this side agreement is a scheme all too frequently
not entitled to disability benefits since he concealed his psychotic resorted to by unscrupulous employers against our helpless
features in his application form when he sought employment with overseas workers who are compelled to agree to satisfy their
petitioners. basic economic needs.

CA reversed NLRC. Reinstated LA. FACTS:

ISSUE: WON THE RESPONDENT IS ENTITLED TO disability benefits Uncounselled entertainment dancer signed a contract with her
Japanese employer calling for a monthly salary of One Thousand
Five Hundred U.S. Dollars (US$1,500) but later had to sign an
immoral side agreement reducing her salary below the minimum
standard set by the POEA ($750). Petitioner invoked the law to
Entitled to disability benefits but not CBA benefits. collect her salary differentials, but incredibly found public
respondents straining the seams of our law to disfavor her.

Petitioner instituted the case at bench for underpayment of

We have ruled that under the 1996 POEA-SEC, it is enough that wages with the POEA on February 21, 1991. She prayed for the
the seafarer proves that his or her injury or illness was acquired payment of Six Thousand U.S. Dollars (US$6,000.00), representing
during the term of employment to support a claim for disability the unpaid portion of her basic salary for six months. Charged in
benefits.17chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary the case were private respondent Centrum Promotions and
Placement Corporation, the Philippine representative of Planning
Japan, Co., its insurer, Times Surety and Insurance Co., Inc., and
Here, it is not disputed that respondent became ill when the Rio Jaz Talents Promotion.
Grande was in Singapore on November 1, 2000 or during the term
of his 10-month employment contract signed on May 22, 2000.�
The initial diagnosis at the Gleneagles Maritime Medical Center POEA: favored respondents
that respondent has acute psychosis confirmed the observation of
the Rio Grande�s Master that respondent was confused when he NLRC: upheld POEA decision
showed up at the crewmess on November 1, 2000.�
Respondent�s claim for disability benefits thus finds support ISSUE:
from established facts.� The Labor Arbiter was therefore correct
that respondent suffered a psychotic disorder during the term of
his employment contract. We also note that respondent was not WON respondent is entitled to the differential pay
ill when he was hired by petitioners, as he passed the pre-
employment medical examination. The CA also noted the Labor WON the manning agency is solidarily liable with the principal.
Arbiter�s finding that respondent passed another medical and
mental examination in Germany which proved that he was fit for
sea duty.

1. Yes
We disagree with petitioners that respondent is not entitled to
First, we hold that the managerial commission
disability benefits because he is guilty of fraud in concealing his
agreement executed by petitioner to authorize her
pre-existing medical condition. THE provision states: When
Japanese employer to deduct Two Hundred Fifty U.S.
requested, the seafarer shall be furnished a copy of all pertinent
Dollars (US$250.00) from her monthly basic salary IS
medical reports or records at no cost to the seafarer. The above-
VOID because it is against our existing laws, morals and
quoted provision does not mention unconcealment.� It only
public policy. It cannot supersede the standard
requires that the seafarer be furnished a copy of all pertinent
employment contract of December 1, 1988 approved
medical records upon request. On this point, the NLRC appears to
by the POEA. Indeed, this side agreement is a scheme
have been misled in ruling that respondent is guilty of
all too frequently resorted to by unscrupulous
employers against our helpless oversees workers who
are compelled to agree to satisfy their basic economic
As to CBA benefits: needs.c

We are unable to agree with the CA that respondent�s psychotic Secondly. The doctrine of laches or "stale demands"
disorder is an injury as a result of an accident from any cause cannot be applied to petitioner. Laches has been
whatsoever which would entitle respondent to disability benefits defined as the failure or neglect for an unreasonable
and unexplained length of time to do that which, by
amounting to US$125,000 under the CBA.� To stress, to be
exercising due diligence, could or should have been
entitled to the compensation under Section 21(a) of the CBA, a
done earlier, thus giving rise to a presumption that the
seafarer must suffer an injury as a result of an accident.� But
party entitled to assert it either has abandoned or
there is no proof that respondent met an accident and was
declined to assert it. It is not concerned with mere
injured, that he met an unintended and unforeseen injurious
lapse of time; the fact of delay, standing alone, is
occurrence while on board the Rio Grande
insufficient to constitute laches. . It cannot be worked
to defeat justice or to perpetrate fraud and injustice.

[G.R. No. 109808. March 1, 1995.] In the case at bench, petitioner filed her claim well
within the three-year prescriptive period for the filling
ESALYN CHAVEZ, Petitioner, v. HON. EDNA BONTO-PEREZ, HON. of money claims set forth in Article 291 of the Labor
ROGELIO T. RAYALA, HON. DOMINGO H. ZAPANTA, HON. JOSE Code. 12 For this reason, we hold the doctrine of
N. SARMIENTO, CENTRUM PROMOTIONS & PLACEMENT laches inapplicable to petitioner. Laches is a doctrine
CORPORATION, JOSE A. AZUCENA, JR., and TIMES SURETY & in equity while prescription is based on law. Our courts
INSURANCE COMPANY, INC., are basically courts of law not courts of equity. Thus


laches cannot be invoked to resist the enforcement of
an existing legal right.

Our overseas workers constitute an exploited class.

Most of them come from the poorest sector of our
society. They will climb mountains, cross the seas,
endure slave treatment in foreign lands just to

2. Yes.
Private respondents Centrum and Times as well as
Planning Japan Co., Ltd. — the agency’s foreign
principal — are solidarily liable to petitioner for her
unpaid wages.

The parties standard employment provides:

1. agent/promoter/representative (private respondent
Centrum Promotions & Placement Corporation) shall
be jointly and severally responsible for the proper
implementation of the terms and conditions in this
2. Power of the agency to sue and be sued jointly and
solidarily with the principal or foreign based employer
for any of the violations of the recruitment agreement
and the contracts of employment