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SECOND DIVISION Mandilag (Mandilag), Rolando Manlapaz (Manlapaz), Efren Montemayor

(Montemayor), Nelson Pagulayan, Carlos Villa, Ric Briones, and Chito Bernardo – were
January 25, 2016
MWEU officers during the period material to this Petition, with Borela as President
G.R. No. 201595 and Chairman of the MWEU Executive Board, Quebral as First Vice-President and
Treasurer, and Cometa as Secretary.4
ALLAN M. MENDOZA, Petitioner,
vs. In an April 11, 2007 letter,5 MWEU through Cometa informed petitioner that the
OFFICERS OF MANILA WATER EMPLOYEES UNION (MWEU), namely, EDUARDO B. union was unable to fully deduct the increased P200.00 union dues from his salary
BORELA, BUENAVENTURA QUEBRAL, ELIZABETH COMETA, ALEJANDRO TORRES, due to lack of the required December 2006 check-off authorization from him.
AMORSOLO TIERRA, SOLEDAD YEBAN, LUIS RENDON, VIRGINIA APILADO, Petitioner was warned that his failure to pay the union dues would result in sanctions
TERESITA BOLO, ROGELIO BARBERO, JOSE CASAÑAS, ALFREDO MAGA, EMILIO upon him. Quebral informed Borela, through a May 2, 2007 letter,6 that for such
FERNANDEZ, ROSITA BUENA VENTURA, ALMENIO CANCINO, ADELA IMANA, failure to pay the union dues, petitioner and several others violated Section 1(g),
MARIO MANCENIDO, WILFREDO MANDILAG, ROLANDO MANLAP AZ, EFREN Article IX of the MWEU’s Constitution and By-Laws.7 In turn, Borela referred the
MONTEMAYOR, NELSON PAGULAYAN, CARLOS VILLA, RIC BRIONES, and CHITO charge to the MWEU grievance committee for investigation.
BERNARDO, Respondents.
On May 21, 2007, a notice of hearing was sent to petitioner, who attended the
DECISION scheduled hearing. On June 6, 2007, the MWEU grievance committee recommended
that petitioner be suspended for 30 days.
DEL CASTILLO, J.:
In a June 20, 2007 letter,8 Borela informed petitioner and his corespondents of the
This Petition for Review on Certiorari1 assails the April 24, 2012 Decision2 of the Court MWEU Executive Board’s "unanimous approval"9 of the grievance committee’s
of Appeals (CA) which dismissed the Petition for Certiorari3 in CA-G.R. SP No. 115639. recommendation and imposition upon them of a penalty of 30 days suspension,
Factual Antecedents effective June 25, 2007.

Petitioner was a member of the Manila Water Employees Union (MWEU), a In a June 26, 2007 letter10 to Borela, petitioner and his co-respondents took exception
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)-registered labor organization to the imposition and indicated their intention to appeal the same to the General
consisting of rank-and-file employees within Manila Water Company (MWC). The Membership Assembly in accordance with Section 2(g), Article V of the union’s
respondents herein named – Eduardo B. Borela (Borela), Buenaventura Quebral Constitution and By-Laws,11 which grants them the right to appeal any arbitrary
(Quebral), Elizabeth Cometa (Cometa), Alejandro Torres (Torres), Amorsolo Tierra resolution, policy and rule promulgated by the Executive Board to the General
(Tierra), Soledad Yeban (Yeban), Luis Rendon (Rendon), Virginia Apilado (Apilado), Membership Assembly. In a June 28, 2007 reply,12 Borela denied petitioner’s appeal,
Teresita Bolo (Bolo), Rogelio Barbero (Barbero), Jose Casañas (Casañas), Alfredo Maga stating that the prescribed period for appeal had expired.
(Maga), Emilio Fernandez (Fernandez), Rosita Buenaventura (Buenaventura),
Almenio Cancino (Cancino), Adela Imana, Mario Mancenido (Mancenido), Wilfredo
Petitioner and his co-respondents sent another letter13 on July 4, 2007, reiterating Ruling of the Labor Arbiter
their arguments and demanding that the General Membership Assembly be
On October 13, 2008, petitioner filed a Complaint22 against respondents for unfair
convened in order that their appeal could be taken up. The letter was not acted upon.
labor practices, damages, and attorney’s fees before the National Labor Relations
Petitioner was once more charged with non-payment of union dues, and was required Commission (NLRC), Quezon City, docketed as NLRC Case No. NCR-10-14255-08. In
to attend an August 3, 2007 hearing.14 Thereafter, petitioner was again penalized with his Position Paper and other written submissions,23 petitioner accused the
a 30-day suspension through an August 21, 2007 letter15by Borela informing respondents of illegal termination from MWEU in connection with the events relative
petitioner of the Executive Board’s "unanimous approval"16 of the grievance to his non-payment of union dues; unlawful interference, coercion, and violation of
committee recommendation to suspend him effective August 24, 2007, to which he the rights of MWC employees to self-organization – in connection with the proposed
submitted a written reply,17 invoking his right to appeal through the convening of the CBA submitted by MWEU leadership, which petitioner claims contained provisions
General Membership Assembly. However, the respondents did not act on petitioner’s that discriminated against non-MWEU members. Petitioner prayed in his
plea. Supplemental Position Paper that respondents be held guilty of unfair labor practices
and ordered to indemnify him moral damages in the amount of P100,000.00,
Meanwhile, MWEU scheduled an election of officers on September 14, 2007.
exemplary damages amounting to P50,000.00, and 10% attorney’s fees.
Petitioner filed his certificate of candidacy for Vice-President, but he was disqualified
for not being a member in good standing on account of his suspension. In their joint Position Paper and other pleadings,24 respondents claimed that the
Labor Arbiter had no jurisdiction over the dispute, which is intra-union in nature; that
On October 2, 2007, petitioner was charged with non-payment of union dues for the
the Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR) was the proper venue, in accordance with Article
third time. He did not attend the scheduled hearing. This time, he was meted the
226 of the Labor Code25 and Section 1, Rule XI of Department Order 40-03, series of
penalty of expulsion from the union, per "unanimous approval"18 of the members of
2003, of the DOLE;26 and that they were not guilty of unfair labor practices,
the Executive Board. His pleas for an appeal to the General Membership Assembly
discrimination, coercion or restraint.
were once more unheeded.19
On May 29, 2009, Labor Arbiter Virginia T. Luyas-Azarraga issued her Decision27 which
In 2008, during the freedom period and negotiations for a new collective bargaining
decreed as follows:
agreement (CBA) with MWC, petitioner joined another union, the Workers
Association for Transparency, Empowerment and Reform, All-Filipino Workers Indeed the filing of the instant case is still premature. Section 5, Article X-Investigation
Confederation (WATER-AFWC). He was elected union President. Other MWEU Procedures and Appeal Process of the Union Constitution and By-Laws provides that:
members were inclined to join WATER-AFWC, but MWEU director Torres threatened
Section 5. Any dismissed and/or expelled member shall have the rights to appeal to
that they would not get benefits from the new CBA.20
the Executive Board within seven (7) days from the date of notice of the said dismissal
The MWEU leadership submitted a proposed CBA which contained provisions to the and/or expulsion, which in [turn] shall be referred to the General Membership
effect that in the event of retrenchment, non-MWEU members shall be removed first, Assembly. In case of an appeal, a simple majority of the decision of the Executive
and that upon the signing of the CBA, only MWEU members shall receive a signing Board is imperative. The same shall be approved/disapproved by a majority vote of
bonus.21 the general membership assembly in a meeting duly called for the purpose.
On the basis of the foregoing, the parties shall exhaust first all the administrative Pertinent to the issue then on hand, the Labor Arbiter ordered that the case be
remedies before resorting to compulsory arbitration. Thus, instant case is referred referred back to the Union level for the General Assembly to act on complainant’s
back to the Union for the General Assembly to act or deliberate complainant’s appeal appeal. Hence, these appeals.
on the decision of the Executive Board.
After a careful look at all the documents submitted and a meticulous review of the
WHEREFORE PREMISES CONSIDERED, instant case is referred back to the Union level facts, We find that this Commission lacks the jurisdictional competence to act on this
for the General Assembly to act on complainant’s appeal. case.

SO ORDERED.28 Article 217 of the Labor Code,32 as amended, specifically enumerates the cases over
which the Labor Arbiters and the Commission have original and exclusive jurisdiction.
Ruling of the National Labor Relations Commission
A perusal of the record reveals that the causes of action invoked by complainant do
Petitioner appealed before the NLRC, where the case was docketed as NLRC LAC No. not fall under any of the enumerations therein. Clearly, We have no jurisdiction over
07-001913-09. On March 15, 2010, the NLRC issued its Decision,29 declaring as the same.
follows:
Moreover, pursuant to Section 1, Rule XI, as amended, DOLE Department Order No.
30
Complainant imputes serious error to the Labor Arbiter when she decided as 40-03 in particular, Item A, paragraphs (h) and (j) and Item B, paragraph (a)(3),
follows: respectively, provide:

a. Referring back the subject case to the Union level for the General Assembly to act "A. Inter-Intra-Union disputes shall include:
on his appeal.
"(h) violation of or disagreements over any provision of the Constitution and By-Laws
b. Not ruling that respondents are guilty of ULP as charged. of a Union or workers’ association.

c. Not granting to complainant moral and exemplary damages and attorney’s fees. "(j) violation of the rights and conditions of membership in a Union or workers’
association.
Complainant, in support of his charges, claims that respondents restrained or coerced
him in the exercise of his right as a union member in violation of paragraph "a", Article "B. Other Labor Relations disputes, not otherwise covered by Article 217 of the Labor
249 of the Labor Code,31particularly, in denying him the explanation as to whether Code, shall include –
there was observance of the proper procedure in the increase of the membership
"3. a labor union and an individual who is not a member of said union."
dues from P100.00 to P200.00 per month. Further, complainant avers that he was
denied the right to appeal his suspension and expulsion in accordance with the Clearly, the above-mentioned disputes and conflict fall under the jurisdiction of the
provisions of the Union’s Constitution and By-Laws. In addition, complainant claims Bureau of Labor Relations, as these are inter/intra-union disputes.
that respondents attempted to cause the management to discriminate against the
members of WATER-AFWC thru the proposed CBA.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Labor Arbiter a quo dated May 29, 2009 is hereby Order (D.O.) No. 40-03, Series of 2003, of the Department of Labor and Employment
declared NULL and VOID for being rendered without jurisdiction and the instant enumerates instances of inter/intra-union disputes, viz:
complaint is DISMISSED.
Section 1. Coverage. – Inter/intra-union disputes shall include:
33
SO ORDERED.
xxxx
34 35
Petitioner moved for reconsideration, but in a June 16, 2010 Resolution, the
(b) conduct of election of union and workers’ association officers/nullification of
motion was denied and the NLRC sustained its Decision.
election of union and workers’ association officers;
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
(c) audit/accounts examination of union or workers’ association funds;
In a Petition for Certiorari36 filed with the CA and docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 115639,
xxxx
petitioner sought to reverse the NLRC Decision and be awarded his claim for damages
and attorney’s fees on account of respondents’ unfair labor practices, arguing among (g) validity/invalidity of impeachment/ expulsion of union and workers’ association
others that his charge of unfair labor practices is cognizable by the Labor Arbiter; that officers and members;
the fact that the dispute is inter- or intra-union in nature cannot erase the fact that
respondents were guilty of unfair labor practices in interfering and restraining him in xxxx
the exercise of his right to self-organization as member of both MWEU and WATER- (j) violations of or disagreements over any provision in a union or workers’ association
AFWC, and in discriminating against him and other members through the provisions constitution and by-laws;
of the proposed 2008 CBA which they drafted; that his failure to pay the increased
union dues was proper since the approval of said increase was arrived at without xxxx
observing the prescribed voting procedure laid down in the Labor Code; that he is (l) violations of the rights and conditions of union or workers’ association
entitled to an award of damages and attorney’s fees as a result of respondents’ illegal membership;
acts in discriminating against him; and that in ruling the way it did, the NLRC
committed grave abuse of discretion. xxxx

On April 24, 2012, the CA issued the assailed Decision containing the following (n) such other disputes or conflicts involving the rights to self-organization, union
pronouncement: membership and collective bargaining –

The petition lacks merit. (1) between and among legitimate labor organizations;

Petitioner’s causes of action against MWEU are inter/intra-union disputes cognizable (2) between and among members of a union or workers’ association.
by the BLR whose functions and jurisdiction are largely confined to union matters,
In brief, "Inter-Union Dispute" refers to any conflict between and among legitimate
collective bargaining registry, and labor education. Section 1, Rule XI of Department
labor unions involving representation questions for purposes of collective bargaining
or to any other conflict or dispute between legitimate labor unions. "Intra-Union
Dispute" refers to any conflict between and among union members, including organization.38 Consequently, a determination of validity or illegality of the alleged
grievances arising from any violation of the rights and conditions of membership, acts necessarily touches on union matters, not ULPs, and are outside the scope of the
violation of or disagreement over any provision of the union’s constitution and by- labor arbiter’s jurisdiction.
laws, or disputes arising from chartering or affiliation of union. On the other hand,
As regards petitioner’s other accusations, i.e., discrimination in terms of meting out
the circumstances of unfair labor practices (ULP) of a labor organization are stated in
the penalty of expulsion against him alone, and attempt to cause the employer, MWC,
Article 249 of the Labor Code, to wit:
to discriminate against non-MWEU members in terms of retrenchment or reduction
Article 249. Unfair labor practices of labor organizations. It shall be unlawful for labor of personnel, and signing bonus, while We may consider them as falling within the
organization, its officers, agents, or representatives to commit any of the following concept of ULP under Article 249(a) and (b), still, petitioner’s complaint cannot
unfair labor practices: prosper for lack of substantial evidence. Other than his bare allegation, petitioner
offered no proof that MWEU did not penalize some union members who failed to pay
(a) To restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of their right to self-organization;
the increased dues. On the proposed discriminatory CBA provisions, petitioner merely
Provided, That the labor organization shall have the right to prescribe its own rules
attached the pages containing the questioned provisions without bothering to reveal
with respect to the acquisition or retention of membership;
the MWEU representatives responsible for the said proposal. Article 249 mandates
(b) To cause or attempt to cause an employer to discriminate against an employee, that "x x x only the officers, members of the governing boards, representatives or
including discrimination against an employee with respect to whom membership in agents or members of labor associations or organizations who have actually
such organization has been denied or terminated on any ground other than the usual participated in, authorized or ratified unfair labor practices shall be held criminally
terms and conditions under which membership or continuation of membership is liable." Plain accusations against all MWEU officers, without specifying their actual
made available to other members; participation, do not suffice. Thus, the ULP charges must necessarily fail.

xxxx In administrative and quasi-judicial proceedings, only substantial evidence is


necessary to establish the case for or against a party. Substantial evidence is that
Applying the aforementioned rules, We find that the issues arising from petitioner’s amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to
right to information on the increased membership dues, right to appeal his justify a conclusion. Petitioner failed to discharge the burden of proving, by
suspension and expulsion according to CBL provisions, and right to vote and be voted substantial evidence, the allegations of ULP in his complaint. The NLRC, therefore,
on are essentially intra-union disputes; these involve violations of rights and properly dismissed the case.
conditions of union membership. But his claim that a director of MWEU warned that
non-MWEU members would not receive CBA benefits is an inter-union dispute. It is FOR THESE REASONS, the petition is DISMISSED.
more of an "interference" by a rival union to ensure the loyalty of its members and to
SO ORDERED.39
persuade non-members to join their union. This is not an actionable wrong because
interfering in the exercise of the right to organize is itself a function of self- Thus, the instant Petition.
organizing.37 As long as it does not amount to restraint or coercion, a labor
Issue
organization may interfere in the employees’ right to self-
In an August 28, 2013 Resolution,40 this Court resolved to give due course to the proper procedure in the imposition of the increased monthly union dues, and in
Petition, which claims that the CA erred: unduly imposing the penalties of suspension and expulsion against him; that under
the union’s constitution and by-laws, he is given the right to appeal his suspension
A. IN DECLARING THAT THE PRESENCE OF INTER/INTRA-UNION CONFLICTS NEGATES
and expulsion to the general membership assembly; that in denying him his rights as
THE COMPLAINT FOR UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES AGAINST A LABOR ORGANIZATION
a union member and expelling him, respondents are guilty of malice and evident bad
AND ITS OFFICERS, AND IN AFFIRMING THAT THE NLRC PROPERLY DISMISSED THE
faith; that respondents are equally guilty for violating and curtailing his rights to vote
CASE FOR ALLEGED LACK OF JURISDICTION.
and be voted to a position within the union, and for discriminating against non-MWEU
B. IN NOT RULING THAT RESPONDENTS ARE GUILTY OF UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES members; and that the totality of respondents’ conduct shows that they are guilty of
UNDER ARTICLE 249(a) AND (b) OF THE LABOR CODE. unfair labor practices.

C. IN DECLARING THAT THE THREATS MADE BY A UNION OFFICER AGAINST MEMBERS Respondent’s Arguments
OF A RIVAL UNION IS (sic) MERELY AN "INTERFERENCE" AND DO NOT AMOUNT TO
In their joint Comment,43 respondents maintain that petitioner raises issues of fact
"RESTRAINT" OR "COERCION".
which are beyond the purview of a petition for review on certiorari; that the findings
D. IN DECLARING THAT PETITIONER FAILED TO PRESENT SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE IN of fact of the CA are final and conclusive; that the Labor Arbiter, NLRC, and CA are
PROVING RESPONDENTS’ SPECIFIC ACTS OF UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES. one in declaring that there is no unfair labor practices committed against petitioner;
that petitioner’s other allegations fall within the jurisdiction of the BLR, as they refer
E. IN NOT RULING THAT RESPONDENTS ARE SOLIDARILY LIABLE TO PETITIONER FOR to intra- or inter-union disputes between the parties; that the issues arising from
MORAL AND EXEMPLARY DAMAGES, AND ATTORNEY’S FEES.41 petitioner’s right to information on the increased dues, right to appeal his suspension
Petitioner’s Arguments and expulsion, and right to vote and be voted upon are essentially intra-union in
nature; that his allegations regarding supposed coercion and restraint relative to
Praying that the assailed CA dispositions be set aside and that respondents be benefits in the proposed CBA do not constitute an actionable wrong; that all of the
declared guilty of unfair labor practices under Article 249(a) and (b) and adjudged acts questioned by petitioner are covered by Section 1, Rule XI of Department Order
liable for damages and attorney’s fees as prayed for in his complaint, petitioner 40-03, series of 2003 as intra-/inter-union disputes which do not fall within the
maintains in his Petition and Reply42 that respondents are guilty of unfair labor jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter; that in not paying his union dues, petitioner is guilty
practices which he clearly enumerated and laid out in his pleadings below; that these of insubordination and deserved the penalty of expulsion; that petitioner failed to
unfair labor practices committed by respondents fall within the jurisdiction of the petition to convene the general assembly through the required signature of 30% of
Labor Arbiter; that the Labor Arbiter, the NLRC, and the CA failed to rule on his the union membership in good standing pursuant to Article VI, Section 2(a) of
accusation of unfair labor practices and simply dismissed his complaint on the ground MWEU’s Constitution and By-Laws or by a petition of the majority of the general
that his causes of action are intra- or inter-union in nature; that admittedly, some of membership in good standing under Article VI, Section 3; and that for his failure to
his causes of action involved intra- or inter-union disputes, but other acts of resort to said remedies, petitioner can no longer question his suspension or expulsion
respondents constitute unfair labor practices; that he presented substantial evidence and avail of his right to appeal.
to prove that respondents are guilty of unfair labor practices by failing to observe the
Our Ruling (a) To restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of their right to self-organization.
However, a labor organization shall have the right to prescribe its own rules with
The Court partly grants the Petition.
respect to the acquisition or retention of membership;
In labor cases, issues of fact are for the labor tribunals and the CA to resolve, as this
(b) To cause or attempt to cause an employer to discriminate against an employee,
Court is not a trier of facts. However, when the conclusion arrived at by them is
including discrimination against an employee with respect to whom membership in
erroneous in certain respects, and would result in injustice as to the parties, this Court
such organization has been denied or to terminate an employee on any ground other
must intervene to correct the error. While the Labor Arbiter, NLRC, and CA are one in
than the usual terms and conditions under which membership or continuation of
their conclusion in this case, they erred in failing to resolve petitioner’s charge of
membership is made available to other members;
unfair labor practices against respondents.
(c) To violate the duty, or refuse to bargain collectively with the employer, provided
It is true that some of petitioner’s causes of action constitute intra-union cases
it is the representative of the employees;
cognizable by the BLR under Article 226 of the Labor Code.
(d) To cause or attempt to cause an employer to pay or deliver or agree to pay or
An intra-union dispute refers to any conflict between and among union members,
deliver any money or other things of value, in the nature of an exaction, for services
including grievances arising from any violation of the rights and conditions of
which are not performed or not to be performed, including the demand for fee for
membership, violation of or disagreement over any provision of the union’s
union negotiations;
constitution and by-laws, or disputes arising from chartering or disaffiliation of the
union. Sections 1 and 2, Rule XI of Department Order No. 40-03, Series of 2003 of the (e) To ask for or accept negotiation or attorney’s fees from employers as part of the
DOLE enumerate the following circumstances as inter/intra-union disputes x x x.44 settlement of any issue in collective bargaining or any other dispute; or

However, petitioner’s charge of unfair labor practices falls within (f) To violate a collective bargaining agreement.
the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiters, pursuant to Article 217 of
The provisions of the preceding paragraph notwithstanding, only the officers,
the Labor Code. In addition, Article 247 of the same Code provides that "the civil
members of governing boards, representatives or agents or members of labor
aspects of all cases involving unfair labor practices, which may include claims for
associations or organizations who have actually participated in, authorized or ratified
actual, moral, exemplary and other forms of damages, attorney’s fees and other
unfair labor practices shall be held criminally liable. (As amended by Batas Pambansa
affirmative relief, shall be under the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiters."
Bilang 130, August 21, 1981).
Unfair labor practices may be committed both by the employer under Article 248 and
Petitioner contends that respondents committed acts constituting unfair labor
by labor organizations under Article 249 of the Labor Code,45 which provides as
practices – which charge was particularly laid out in his pleadings, but that the Labor
follows:
Arbiter, the NLRC, and the CA ignored it and simply dismissed his complaint on the
ART. 249. Unfair labor practices of labor organizations. - It shall be unfair labor ground that his causes of action were intra- or inter-union in nature. Specifically,
practice for a labor organization, its officers, agents or representatives: petitioner claims that he was suspended and expelled from MWEU illegally as a result
of the denial of his right to appeal his case to the general membership assembly in
accordance with the union’s constitution and by-laws. On the other hand, vote. When the penalty imposed is expulsion, the expelled member is given seven
respondents counter that such charge is intra-union in nature, and that petitioner lost days from notice of said dismissal and/or expulsion to appeal to the Executive Board,
his right to appeal when he failed to petition to convene the general assembly which is required to act by a simple majority vote of its members. The Board’s decision
through the required signature of 30% of the union membership in good standing shall then be approved/ disapproved by a majority vote of the general membership
pursuant to Article VI, Section 2(a) of MWEU’s Constitution and By-Laws or by a assembly in a meeting duly called for the purpose.1avvphi1
petition of the majority of the general membership in good standing under Article VI,
The documentary evidence is clear that when petitioner received Borela’s August 21,
Section 3.
2007 letter informing him of the Executive Board’s unanimous approval of the
Under Article VI, Section 2(a) of MWEU’s Constitution and By-Laws, the general grievance committee recommendation to suspend him for the second time effective
membership assembly has the power to "review revise modify affirm or repeal [sic] August 24, 2007, he immediately and timely filed a written appeal. However, the
resolution and decision of the Executive Board and/or committees upon petition of Executive Board – then consisting of respondents Borela, Tierra, Bolo, Casañas,
thirty percent (30%) of the Union in good standing,"46 and under Section 2(d), to Fernandez, Rendon, Montemayor, Torres, Quebral, Pagulayan, Cancino, Maga,
"revise, modify, affirm or reverse all expulsion cases."47 Under Section 3 of the same Cometa, Mancenido, and two others who are not respondents herein – did not act
Article, "[t]he decision of the Executive Board may be appealed to the General thereon. Then again, when petitioner was charged for the third time and meted the
Membership which by a simple majority vote reverse the decision of said body. If the penalty of expulsion from MWEU by the unanimous vote of the Executive Board, his
general Assembly is not in session the decision of the Executive Board may be timely appeal was again not acted upon by said board – this time consisting of
reversed by a petition of the majority of the general membership in good respondents Borela, Quebral, Tierra, Imana, Rendon, Yeban, Cancino, Torres,
standing."48 And, in Article X, Section 5, "[a]ny dismissed and/or expelled member Montemayor, Mancenido, Mandilag, Fernandez, Buenaventura, Apilado, Maga,
shall have the right to appeal to the Executive Board within seven days from notice of Barbero, Cometa, Bolo, and Manlapaz.
said dismissal and/or expulsion which, in [turn] shall be referred to the General
Thus, contrary to respondents’ argument that petitioner lost his right to appeal when
membership assembly. In case of an appeal, a simple majority of the decision of the
he failed to petition to convene the general assembly through the required signature
Executive Board is imperative. The same shall be approved/disapproved by a majority
of 30% of the union membership in good standing pursuant to Article VI, Section 2(a)
vote of the general membership assembly in a meeting duly called for the purpose."49
of MWEU’s Constitution and By-Laws or by a petition of the majority of the general
In regard to suspension of a union member, MWEU’s Constitution and By-Laws membership in good standing under Article VI, Section 3, this Court finds that
provides under Article X, Section 4 thereof that "[a]ny suspended member shall have petitioner was illegally suspended for the second time and thereafter unlawfully
the right to appeal within three (3) working days from the date of notice of said expelled from MWEU due to respondents’ failure to act on his written appeals. The
suspension. In case of an appeal a simple majority of vote of the Executive Board shall required petition to convene the general assembly through the required signature of
be necessary to nullify the suspension." 30% (under Article VI, Section 2[a]) or majority (under Article VI, Section 3) of the
union membership does not apply in petitioner’s case; the Executive Board must first
Thus, when an MWEU member is suspended, he is given the right to appeal such
act on his two appeals before the matter could properly be referred to the general
suspension within three working days from the date of notice of said suspension,
membership. Because respondents did not act on his two appeals, petitioner was
which appeal the MWEU Executive Board is obligated to act upon by a simple majority
unceremoniously suspended, disqualified and deprived of his right to run for the
position of MWEU Vice-President in the September 14, 2007 election of officers, of their own choosing for purposes or collective bargaining. Ambulant, intermittent
expelled from MWEU, and forced to join another union, WATER-AFWC. For these, and itinerant workers, self-employed people, rural workers and those without any
respondents are guilty of unfair labor practices under Article 249 (a) and (b) – that is, definite employers may form labor organizations for their mutual aid and protection.
violation of petitioner’s right to self-organization, unlawful discrimination, and illegal
Article 248 (a) declares it to be an unfair labor practice for an employer, among
termination of his union membership – which case falls within the original and
others, to ‘interfere with, restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of their right
exclusive jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiters, in accordance with Article 217 of the Labor
to self-organization.’ Similarly, Article 249 (a) makes it an unfair labor practice for a
Code.
labor organization to ‘restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of their rights to
The primary concept of unfair labor practices is stated in Article 247 of the Labor self-organization . . .’
Code, which states:
xxxx
Article 247. Concept of unfair labor practice and procedure for prosecution thereof.
The right of self-organization includes the right to organize or affiliate with a labor
–– Unfair labor practices violate the constitutional right of workers and employees to
union or determine which of two or more unions in an establishment to join, and to
self-organization, are inimical to the legitimate interests of both labor and
engage in concerted activities with co-workers for purposes of collective bargaining
management, including their right to bargain collectively and otherwise deal with
through representatives of their own choosing, or for their mutual aid and
each other in an atmosphere of freedom and mutual respect, disrupt industrial peace
protection, i.e., the protection, promotion, or enhancement of their rights and
and hinder the promotion of healthy and stable labor-management relations.
interests.53
"In essence, [unfair labor practice] relates to the commission of acts that transgress
As members of the governing board of MWEU, respondents are presumed to know,
the workers’ right to organize."50"[A]ll the prohibited acts constituting unfair labor
observe, and apply the union’s constitution and by-laws. Thus, their repeated
practice in essence relate to the workers’ right to self-organization."51 "[T]he term
violations thereof and their disregard of petitioner’s rights as a union member – their
unfair labor practice refers to that gamut of offenses defined in the Labor Code which,
inaction on his two appeals which resulted in his suspension, disqualification from
at their core, violates the constitutional right of workers and employees to self-
running as MWEU officer, and subsequent expulsion without being accorded the full
organization."52
benefits of due process – connote willfulness and bad faith, a gross disregard of his
Guaranteed to all employees or workers is the ‘right to self-organization and to form, rights thus causing untold suffering, oppression and, ultimately, ostracism from
join, or assist labor organizations of their own choosing for purposes of collective MWEU. "Bad faith implies breach of faith and willful failure to respond to plain and
bargaining.’ This is made plain by no less than three provisions of the Labor Code of well understood obligation."54This warrants an award of moral damages in the
the Philippines. Article 243 of the Code provides as follows: amount of P100,000.00. Moreover, the Civil Code provides:

ART. 243. Coverage and employees’ right to self-organization. — All persons Art. 32. Any public officer or employee, or any private individual, who directly or
employed in commercial, industrial and agricultural enterprises and in religious, indirectly obstructs, defeats, violates or in any manner impedes or impairs any of the
charitable, medical, or educational institutions whether operating for profit or not, following rights and liberties of another person shall be liable to the latter for
shall have the right to self-organization and to form, join, or assist labor organizations damages:
xxxx WHEREFORE, the Petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. The assailed April 24, 2012
Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 115639 is hereby MODIFIED, in
(12) The right to become a member of associations or societies for purposes not
that all of the respondents - except for Carlos Villa, Ric Briones, and Chito Bernardo -
contrary to law;
are declared guilty of unfair labor practices and ORDERED TO INDEMNIFY petitioner
In Vital-Gozon v. Court of Appeals,55 this Court declared, as follows: Allan M. Mendoza the amounts of Pl00,000.00 as and by way of moral damages,
PS0,000.00 as exemplary damages, and attorney's fees equivalent to 10 per
Moral damages include physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, cent (10%) of the total award.
besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and
similar injury. They may be recovered if they are the proximate result of the SO ORDERED.
defendant’s wrongful act or omission. The instances when moral damages may be
recovered are, inter alia, ‘acts and actions referred to in Articles 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30,
32, 34 and 35 of the Civil Code,’ which, in turn, are found in the Chapter on Human
Relations of the Preliminary Title of the Civil Code. x x x

Under the circumstances, an award of exemplary damages in the amount of


P50,000.00, as prayed for, is likewise proper. "Exemplary damages are designed to
permit the courts to mould behavior that has socially deleterious consequences, and
their imposition is required by public policy to suppress the wanton acts of the
offender."56 This should prevent respondents from repeating their mistakes, which
proved costly for petitioner.1âwphi1

Under Article 2229 of the Civil Code, ‘[e]xemplary or corrective damages are imposed,
by way of example or correction for the public good, in addition to the moral,
temperate, liquidated or compensatory damages.’ As this court has stated in the past:
‘Exemplary damages are designed by our civil law to permit the courts to reshape
behaviour that is socially deleterious in its consequence by creating negative
incentives or deterrents against such behaviour.’57

Finally, petitioner is also entitled to attorney’s fees equivalent to 10 per cent (10%) of
the total award. The unjustified acts of respondents clearly compelled him to institute
an action primarily to vindicate his rights and protect his interest. Indeed, when an
employee is forced to litigate and incur expenses to protect his rights and interest, he
is entitled to an award of attorney’s fees.58
FIRST DIVISION complaint was filed on March 4, 1975, this time by the petitioners, who apparently
were already veering away from PLAC.3
G.R. No. 58768-70 December 29, 1989
On March 20, 1975, petitioners Evaristo and Biascan, after organizing a union caged
LIBERTY FLOUR MILLS EMPLOYEES, ANTONIO EVARISTO and POLICARPIO
the Federation of National Democratic Labor Unions, filed with the Bureau of Labor
BIASCAN, petitioners,
Relations a petition for certification election among the rank-and-file employees of
vs.
the respondent company 4 PLAC then expelled the two for disloyalty and demanded
LIBERTY FLOUR MILLS, INC. PHILIPPINE LABOR ALLIANCE COUNCIL (PLAC) and
their dismissal by the respondent company, which complied on May 20, 1975.5
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, (NLRC), respondents.
The objection of Evaristo and Biascan to their termination were certified for
Julius A. Magno for petitioners.
compulsory arbitration and assigned to Labor Arbiter Apolinario N. Lomabao, Jr.
De Leon, Diokno & Associates for respondent Liberty Flour Mills, Inc. Meanwhile, the claims for emergency allowance were referred for voluntary
arbitration to Edmundo Cabal, who eventually dismissed the same on the ground that
the allowances were already absorbed by the wage increases. This latter case was
CRUZ, J.: ultimately also certified for compulsory arbitration and consolidated with the
termination case being heard by Lomabao. His decision was, on appeal, dealt with by
In this petition for certiorari, the resolution of the public respondent dated August 3, the NLRC as above stated, 6 and the motion for reconsideration was denied on August
1978, is faulted for: (a) affirming the decision of the labor arbiter dismissing the 26, 1981.7
employees' claim for emergency allowance for lack of jurisdiction; and (b) modifying
the said decision by disallowing the award of back wages to petitioners Policarpio At the outset, we note that the petitioners are taking an ambivalent position
Biascan and Antonio Evaristo. concerning the CBA concluded in 1974. While claiming that this was entered into in
bad faith and to forestall the payment of the emergency allowances expected to be
The basic facts are as follows: decreed, they nonetheless invoke the same agreement to support their contention
On February 6, 1974, respondent Philippine Labor Alliance Council (PLAC) and that their complaint for emergency allowances was invalidly referred to voluntary
respondent Liberty Flour Mills, Inc. entered into a three-year collective bargaining arbitrator Cabal rather than Froilan M. Bacungan.
agreement effective January 1, 1974, providing for a daily wage increase of P2.00 for We find there was no such violation as the choice of the voluntary arbitrator was not
1974, Pl.00 for 1975 and another Pl.00 for 1976. The agreement contained a limited to Bacungan although he was probably the first preference. Moreover, the
compliance clause, which will be explained later in this opinion. Additionally, the petitioners are estopped from raising this objection now because they did not
parties agreed to establish a union shop by imposing "membership in good standing seasonably interpose it and instead willingly submitted to Cabal's jurisdiction when
for the duration of the CBA as a condition for continued employment" of workers. 1 he undertook to hear their complaint.
On October 18, 1974, PLAC filed a complaint against the respondent company for In sustaining Labor Arbiter Lomabao, the NLRC agreed that the decision of voluntary
non-payment of the emergency cost of living allowance under P.D. No. 525. 2 A similar Arbiter Cabal was final and unappealable under Article 262-A of the Labor Code and
so could no longer be reviewed by it. True enough. However, it is equally true that payment of such required statutory increase as far as it will go and under no
the same decision is not binding on this Court, as we held in Oceanic Bic Division (FFW) circumstances will it be cumulative nor duplication to the differential amount
v. Romero 8 and reiterated in Mantrade/FMMC Division Employees and Workers involved consequent to such statutory wage increase.
Union v. Bacungan. 9 The rule as announced in these cases is reflected in the following
The Court holds that such allowances are indeed absorbed by the wage increases
statements:
required under the agreement. This is because Section 6 of the Interpretative Bulletin
In spite of statutory provisions making "final" the decision of certain administrative on LOI No. 174 specifically provides:
agencies, we have taken cognizance of petitions questioning these decisions where
Sec. 6. Allowances under LOI. — -All allowances, bonuses, wage adjustments and
want of jurisdiction, grave abuse of discretion, violation of due process, denial of
other benefits given by employers to their employees shall be treated by the
substantial justice, or erroneous interpretation of the law were brought to our
Department of Labor as in substantial compliance with the minimum standards set
attention.
forth in LOI No. 174 if:
xxx xxx xxx
(a) they conform with at least the minimum allowances scales specified in the
A voluntary arbitrator by the nature of her functions acts in a quasi-judicial capacity. immediately preceding Section; and
There is no reason why her decisions involving interpretation of law should be beyond
(b) they are given in response to the appeal of the President in his speech on 4 January
this Court's review. Administrative officials are presumed to act in accordance with
1974, or to countervail the quantum jump in the cost of living as a result of the energy
law and yet we do not hesitate to pass upon their work where a question of law is
crisis starting in November 1973, or pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 390;
involved or where a showing of abuse of authority or discretion in their official acts is
Provided, That the payment is retroactive to 18 February 1974 or earlier.
properly raised in petitions for certiorari.
The allowances and other benefits may be granted unilaterally by the employer or
Accordingly, the validity of the voluntary arbiter's finding that the emergency
through collective bargaining, and may be paid at the same time as the regular wages
allowance sought by the petitioners are already absorbed in the stipulated wage
of the employees.
increases will now be examined by the Court itself.
Allowances and other benefits which are not given in substantial compliance with the
The position of the company is that the emergency allowance required by P.D. No.
LOI as interpreted herein shall not be treated by the Department of Labor as
525 is already covered by the wage increases prescribed in the said CBA. Furthermore,
emergency allowances in the contemplation of the LOI unless otherwise shown by
pursuant to its Article VIII, such allowances also include all other statutory minimum
sufficient proof. Thus, without such proof, escalation clauses in collective bargaining
wage increases that might be decreed during the lifetime of the said agreement.
agreements concluded before the appeal of the President providing for automatic or
That agreement provided in Section 2 thereof as follows: periodic wage increases shall not be considered allowances for purposes of the LOI.
(Emphasis supplied.)
Section 2. The wage increase in the amounts and during the period above set forth
shall, in the event of any statutory increase of the minimum wage, either as allowance The "immediately preceding section" referred to above states:
or as basic wage, during the life of this Agreement, be considered compliance and
SEC. 5. Determination of Amount of Allowances. — In determining the amount of Nothing herein shall prevent the employer and his employees, from entering into any
allowances that should be given by employers to meet the recommended minimum agreement with terms more favorable to the employees than those provided herein,
standards, the LOI has classified employers into three general categories. As an or be construed to sanction the diminution of any benefits granted to the employees
implementation policy, the Department of Labor shall consider as sufficient under existing laws, agreements, and voluntary practice.
compliance with the scales of allowances recommended by the LOI if the following
Obviously, this section should not be read in isolation but must be related to the other
monthly allowances are given by employers:
sections above-quoted, to give effect to the intent and spirit of the decree. The
(a) P50.00 or higher where the authorized capital stock of the corporation, or the total meaning of the section simply is that any benefit over and above the prescribed
assets in the case of other undertakings, exceeds P 1 million; allowances may still be agreed upon by the employees and the employer or, if already
granted, may no longer be withdrawn or diminished.
(b) P 30.00 or higher where the authorized capital stock of the corporation, or the
total assets in the case of other undertakings, is not less than P100,000.00 but not The petitioners also maintain that the above-quoted Section 2 of CBA is invalid
more than P1million; and because it constitutes a waiver by the laborers of future benefits that may be granted
them by law. They contend this cannot be done because it is contrary to public policy.
(c) P15.00 or higher where the authorized capital stock or total assets, as the case
may be, is less than P100,000.00. While the principle is correct, the application is not, for there are no benefits being
waived under the provision. The benefits are already included in the wage increases.
It is not denied that the company falls under paragraph (a), as it has a capitalization
It is the law itself that considers these increases, under the conditions prescribed in
of more than P l million, 10 and so must pay a minimum allowance of P50.00 a month.
LOI No. 174, as equivalent to, or in lieu of, the emergency allowance granted by P.D.
This amount is clearly covered by the increases prescribed in the CBA, which required
No. 525.
a monthly increase (on the basis of 30 days) of P60.00 for 1974, to be increased by
P30.00 in 1975 (to P90.00) and another P 30.00 in 1976 (to P120.00). The first increase In fact, the company agreed to grant the emergency allowance even before the
in 1974 was already above the minimum allowance of P50.00, which was exceeded obligation was imposed by the government. What the petitioners claim they are being
even more with the increases of Pl.00 for each of the next two years. made to waive is the additional P50.00 allowance but the truth is that they are not
entitled to this because they are already enjoying the stipulated increases. There is
Even if the basis used were 26 days a month (excluding Sundays), the conclusion
no waiver of these increases.
would remain unchanged as the raise in wage would be P52.00 for 1974, which
amount was increased to P78.00 in 1975 and to P104.00 in 1976. Moreover, Section 2 provides that the wage increase shall be considered payment of
any statutory increase of the minimum wage "as far as it will go," which means that
But the petitioners contend that the wage increases were the result of negotiation
any amount not covered by such wage increase will have to be made good by the
undertaken long before the promulgation of P.D. No. 525 and so should not be
company. In short, the difference between the stipulated wage increase and the
considered part of the emergency allowance decreed. In support of this contention,
statutory minimum wage will have to be paid by the company notwithstanding and,
they cite Section 15 of the Rules implementing P.D. No. 525, providing as follows:
indeed, pursuant to the said article. There is no waiver as to this.
Curiously, Article 2 was produced verbatim in the collective bargaining agreement I cannot however subscribe to the majority view that the 'dismissal of complainants
concluded by the petitioners with the company in 1977 after PLAC had been replaced Biascan and Evaristo, ... was, to say the least, a premature action on the part of the
by the new labor union formed by petitioners Evaristo and Biascan. 11 It is difficult to respondents because at the time they were expelled by PLAC the contract containing
understand the petitioners' position when they blow hot and cold like this. the union security clause upon which the action was based was yet to be certified and
the representation status of the contracting union was still in question.
Coming now to the second issue, we find that it must also be resolved against the
petitioners. Evidence on record show that after the cancellation of the registration certificate of
the Federation of Democratic Labor Unions, no other union contested the exclusive
Evaristo and Biascan claim they were illegally dismissed for organizing another labor
representation of the Philippine Labor Alliance Council (PLAC), consequently, there
union opposed to PLAC, which they describe as a company union. Arguing that they
was no more legal impediment that stood on the way as to the validity and
were only exercising the right to self organization as guaranteed by the Constitution,
enforceability of the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement entered into
they insist they are entitled to the back wages which the NLRC disallowed while
by and between respondent corporation and respondent union. The certification of
affirming their reinstatement.
the collective bargaining agreement by the Bureau of Labor Relations is not required
In its challenged decision, the public respondent held that in demanding the dismissal to put a stamp of validity to such contract. Once it is duly entered into and signed by
of Evaristo and Biascan, PLAC had acted prematurely because the 1974 CBA providing the parties, a collective bargaining agreement becomes effective as between the
for union shop and pursuant to which the two petitioners were dismissed had not yet parties regardless of whether or not the same has been certified by the BLR.
been certified. 12 The implication is that it was not yet in effect and so could not be
To be fair, it must be mentioned that in the certification election held at the Liberty
the basis of the action taken against the two petitioners. This conclusion is erroneous.
Flour Mills, Inc. on December 27, 1976, the Ilaw at Buklod ng Manggagawa, with
It disregards the ruling of this Court in Tanduay Distillery Labor Union v. NLRC, 13 were
which the union organized by Biascan and Evaristo was affiliated, won
we held:
overwhelmingly with 441 votes as against the 5 votes cast for PLAC. 15 However, this
The fact, therefore, that the Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR) failed to certify or act on does not excuse the fact that the two disaffiliated from PLAC as early as March 1975
TDLU's request for certification of the CBA in question is of no moment to the and thus rendered themselves subject to dismissal under the union shop clause in the
resolution of the issues presented in this case. The BLR itself found in its order of July CBA.
8, 1982, that the (un)certified CBA was duly filed and submitted on October 29, 1980,
The petitioners say that the reinstatement issue of Evaristo and Biascan has become
to last until June 30, 1982 is certifiable for having complied with all the requirements
academic because the former has been readmitted and the latter has chosen to await
for certification. (Emphasis supplied.)
the resolution of this case. However, they still insist on the payment of their back
The CBA concluded in 1974 was certifiable and was in fact certified on April 11, 1975, wages on the ground that their dismissal was illegal. This claim must be denied for
It bears stressing that Evaristo and Biascan were dismissed only on May 20, 1975, the reasons already given. The union shop clause was validly enforced against them
more than a month after the said certification. and justified the termination of their services.

The correct view is that expressed by Commissioner Cecilio P. Seno in his concurring It is the policy of the State to promote unionism to enable the workers to negotiate
and dissenting opinion, 14 viz.: with management on the same level and with more persuasiveness than if they were
to individually and independently bargain for the improvement of their respective
conditions. To this end, the Constitution guarantees to them the rights "to self-
organization, collective bargaining and negotiations and peaceful concerted actions
including the right to strike in accordance with law." There is no question that these
purposes could be thwarted if every worker were to choose to go his own separate
way instead of joining his co-employees in planning collective action and presenting
a united front when they sit down to bargain with their employers. It is for this reason
that the law has sanctioned stipulations for the union shop and the closed shop as a
means of encouraging the workers to join and support the labor union of their own
choice as their representative in the negotiation of their demands and the protection
of their interest vis-a-vis the employer.

The Court would have preferred to resolve this case in favor of the petitioners, but
the law and the facts are against them. For all the concern of the State, for the well-
being of the worker, we must at all times conform to the requirements of the law as
long as such law has not been shown to be violative of the Constitution. No such
violation has been shown here.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED, without any pronouncement as to costs. It is


so ordered.

Narvasa, Gancayco, Griño-Aquino Medialdea, JJ., concur.


FIRST DIVISION CABANTOG, VIRGINIA CABRERA, MEDI GRACE
CACHO, CLARA CANDELARIA, NELIA CHIU,
ANTONIA CHOZAS, IGNACIO CHUA, RUTH
CUARTERO, AMELITA DECICATORIA, VICTORINO
DELOS SANTOS, YOLANDA DEL ROSARIO, JOSE
FAR EASTERN UNIVERSITY - DR. NICANOR REYES G.R. No. 168362 ANTHONY DEL ROSARIO, FE DIZON, RENATO
MEDICAL FOUNDATION (FEU-NRMF) and LILIA P. DUAO, ANTONIO DUARTE, GERTRUDES DUNGO,
LUNA. M.D., DEOGRACIAS ESPAO, GREGORIO ESPINOSA,
Petitioners, ELEANOR M. FAJARDO, EMILIA FAJARDO,
Present: EDUARDO FRAMIL, DITCHER GARCIA, HILDA
GARLITOS, JUSTINA GOOT, JOSEFINA GRIMALDO,
- versus - GERARDO GUTIERREZ, PRECILA IMPERIAL,
MELLYN INSERTO, MICHELLE IRAELA, DIVINE
PANGANIBAN, C.J.
GRACE JEREZO, RAMERO JUSPICIO, LORENA
Chairperson, GRACE LAO, DEXTER LA TORRE, RONALD LANUZA,
FEU-NRMF EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION-ALLIANCE
OFELIO LAZARO, CARMELITA LIPANA, JESUS
OF FILIPINO WORKERS (FEU-NRMFEA-AFW), union YNARES-SANTIAGO,
LIBERES, ZAIL BENNET LIM, MERLIE LIWANAG,
officers DANTE F. SUCGANG, VIRGILIO P. BLANCO,
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, ROSENDO LOBERIANO, DELIO LOTERTE,
FERNANDO S.P. VILLAPANDO, LORNA M.
MA. SHEILA LOTERTE, FELIX LUBAO, DENNIS LUCE,
MELECIO, FLORENCIA O. REYES, MERCEDITA P. CALLEJO, SR., and ANASTACIO LUZON, ARACELI MAGLANTAY, NELIA
MENDOZA, LEONOR B. VIAJAR, union members
CHICO-NAZARIO, JJ. MAGSINO, MA. TERESA MALALUAN, REMUS
DORIS ABOLENCIA, SUSAN ADRIANO, AVELINO
MAPULA, MYRNA MARCENA, ROSEMARIE
AGUILAR, REYNALDO AGUSTIN, SERGIO ALINGOD,
MANGONON, PANCHO MANUCOM, GENARO
MARSHA EILEEN ALMAZAN, ELOISA ALONZO,
MARASIGAN, MARIO MARCOS, WILDA MARTINEZ,
LILIAN AMBITO, FERDINAND ANGELES, PABLOITO
DONALYN MENDOZA, TERESITA MENDOZA,
ARGUIL, RAYMUNDO ATAYDE, RANULFO
VIVIAN MENDOZA, FELIZA MERCADO, TOMAS
AUSTRIA, JOHNNY BALABBO, DELIA BALINGIT,
MERCADO, ROSITA MESINA, ADORA MEJICA,
DAISY BANGUIS, CRISPIN BARANGAN, EVELYN
CRISANTO MONIS, HUBERTO NIEVA, JOHN
BARCENAS, JONATHAN BASILIO, ROMULO
NORCIO, HERMAN OBRERO, JR., CRISTINA ONG,
BLANCO, ALFREDO CABALLES, NOLAN
FLORDELIZA ORBIEN, LUCILA PAGLINAWAN,
FERNANDEZ, VICENTE FERRER, ALLAN FLORES,
ROMEO PAPIO, ROSARIO PACIAL, ALFREDO
MANUEL GALANG, ESTELA CABANA, WILFREDO
PARREAS, CHRISTINE PEREZ, RODOLFO PEREZ,
FRANCISCO PIDLAOAN, EDUARDO PUSING,
FELIMON QUITALEG, BERNADETH RADOC,
HERMES RAQUEO, JASMIN RAZON, ELISA REYES,
AGNES RIEGO, GLENDA RIVERA, JONEL ROMERO,
RODEL ROPEREZ, ELENITA RUAN, MARISA RUIZ,
MARIO SANTOS, ARSENIA SAOI, ROSIE SARAOSOS,
DESIRE SARGADE, EDGAR SIM, LOLITA SISON,
GERTRUDES TALLADOR, ZENAIDA TAN,
EVANGELINE TRINIDAD, VILMA TULABOT, MARIE
TULLA, MARY ANN VILLAFANIA, RODOLFO
VILLEGAS, GLENDA VALLANO, DELSA WARQUEZ,
the ALLIANCE OF FILIPINO WORKERS (AFW),
federation officers GREGORIO C. DEL PRADO and
JOSE UMALI,

Respondents.
Promulgated:

October 12, 2006

x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x

DECISION

CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
Before Us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of On 8 May 1996, petitioner FEU-NRMF sent a letter-reply[5] flatly rejecting respondent
Court, as amended, assailing the 22 March 2005 Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals in unions demands and proposed to maintain the same provisions of the old
CA-G.R. SP No. 86690 and its 22 June 2005 Resolution[2] denying the Motion for CBA. Petitioner FEU-NRMF reasoned that due to financial constraints, it cannot afford
Reconsideration of petitioner Far Eastern University - Dr. Nicanor Reyes Medical to accede to a number of their demands for educational and death benefits,
Foundations (FEU-NRMF) Motion for Reconsideration. The challenged Decision uniforms, longetivity pay, meal allowance and special pay, but nevertheless gave an
disposed thus: assurance that it will seriously consider their proposal on salary increase.

WHEREFORE, finding grave abuse of discretion, committed by public respondent In an effort to arrive at a compromise, subsequent conciliation proceedings were
NLRC, the instant petition is GRANTED. The assailed Resolution, dated 23 September conducted before the National Conciliation and Mediation Board - National Capital
2002, and Order, dated 30 June 2004, are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE in so far Region (NCMB-NCR) but because of the unyielding stance of both parties, the
as the illegality of the strike and loss of employment status of individual petitioners negotiation failed.
are concerned. All other respects are AFFIRMED. No costs at this instance.[3]

On 6 August 1996, respondent union filed a Notice of Strike before NCMB-NCR on the
ground of bargaining deadlock. A strike vote was conducted on 23 August 1996 and
the result thereof was submitted to NCMB-NCR on 26 August 1996. After the
Petitioner FEU-NRMF is a medical institution duly organized and existing under the
expiration of the thirty-day cooling off period and the seven-day strike ban,
Philippine laws. On the other hand, respondent union is a legitimate labor
respondent union, on 6 September 1996, staged a strike.[6]
organization and is the duly recognized representative of the rank and file employees
of petitioner FEU-NRMF.

Before the strike was conducted, respondent union, on 4 September 1996, offered a
skeletal force of nursing and health personnel who will man the hospitals operation
In 1994, petitioner FEU-NRMF and respondent union entered into a Collective
for the duration of the strike. For reasons unknown to respondent union, however,
Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that will expire on 30 April 1996.
petitioner FEU-NRMF failed or refused to accept the offer.

In view of the forthcoming expiry, respondent union, on 21 March 1996, sent a letter-
For its part, petitioner FEU-NRMF, on 29 August 1996, filed a Petition for the
proposal[4] to petitioner FEU-NRMF stating therein their economic and non-economic
Assumption of Jurisdiction or for Certification of Labor Dispute with the National
proposals for the negotiation of the new CBA.
Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), underscoring the fact that it is a medical
institution engaged in the business of providing health care for its patients.[7]
Acting on the petition, the Secretary of Labor, on 5 September 1996, granted the NRMF specifically alleged that the striking employees effectively barricaded the
petition and thus issued an Order[8] assuming jurisdiction over the labor dispute, ingress and egress of the hospital, thus, preventing trucks carrying the supplies of
thereby prohibiting any strike or lockout whether actual or impending, and enjoining medicines and food for the patients from entering the hospitals premises. In one
the parties from committing any acts which may exacerbate the situation. instance, an ambulance carrying a patient in critical condition was likewise prevented
from passing through the blockade. Finally, respondent union also prevented patients
from seeking medical assistance by blocking their way into the hospital. In order to
On 6 September 1996, Francisco Escuadra, the NLRC process server, certified that, on redress the wrongful and illegal acts of the respondent union, petitioner FEU-NRMF
5 September 1996 at around 4:00 P.M., he attempted to serve a copy of the prayed for the declaration that the strike is illegal and, resultantly, for the dismissal
Assumption of Jurisdiction Order to the union officers but since no one was around of the striking employees and decertification of the respondent union, plus damages.
at the strike area, he just posted copies of the said Order at several conspicuous
places within the premises of the hospital.
In contrast, respondent union avers that petitioner FEU-NRMF refused to bargain
Claiming that they had no knowledge that the Secretary of Labor already assumed
collectively despite hefty financial gains and, thus, guilty of surface bargaining. Before
jurisdiction over the pending labor dispute as they were not able to receive a copy of
staging a strike, respondent union complied with the procedural requirements by
the Assumption of Jurisdiction Order, striking employees continued holding a strike
filing a notice of strike and strike vote with the NCMB-NCR. The thirty-day cooling off
until 12 September 1996.
period and the seven-day strike ban was also fully observed. Respondent union also
offered a skeletal work force but it was refused by petitioner FEU-NRMF. The strike
was conducted in a peaceful and orderly manner where striking employees merely
On 12 September 1996, the Secretary of Labor issued another Order[9] directing all sat down outside the hospitals premises with their placards airing their
the striking employees to return to work and the petitioner FEU-NRMF to accept them grievances. Petitioner FEU-NRMFs allegation of sabotage, therefore, was merely
under the same terms and conditions prevailing before the strike. Accordingly, on 13 concocted. Finally, respondent maintained that they did not defy any order of the
September 1996, a Return to Work Agreement was executed by the disputing parties, Secretary of Labor because neither its officers nor its members were able to receive
whereby striking employees agreed to return to their work and the petitioner FEU- a copy of the same.
NRMF undertook to accept them under status pro ante. On the same day, the striking
employees returned to their respective stations.
On 27 May 1998, the Labor Arbiter rendered a Decision[10] declaring the strike illegal
and dismissing the union officers for conducting the strike in defiance of the
Subsequently, petitioner FEU-NRMF filed a case before the NLRC, contending that Assumption of Jurisdiction Order. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:
respondent union staged the strike in defiance of the Assumption of Jurisdiction
Order; hence, it was illegal. Further, the said strike was conducted in a deleterious
and prejudicial manner, endangering the lives of the patients confined at the
WHEREFORE, a decision is hereby rendered cast in favor of complainants and against
hospital. In its complaint docketed as NLRC-NCR No. 10-11-0733-96, petitioner FEU-
the respondents declaring the strike conducted by the latter last September 5-14,
[1996] illegal and the following individual respondents officers of union employed by present positive averment that the Resolution[16] dated 11 October 2002 contains
complainant hospital to have lost their employment status, Dante palpable or patent errors as required by the NLRC Revised Rules of Procedure.
F. Sugcang, Virgilio P. Blanco, Fernando S.P. Villapando, Lorna
Consequently, the respondent union brought a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65
M. Melecio, Florencia O. Reyes, Mercedita P. Mendoza and Leonor P. Vajar.
before the Court of Appeals seeking to annul the NLRC Resolution dated 23
September 2002, affirming the Decision of the Labor Arbiter dated 27 May 1998 and
the Resolution dated 30 June 2004, denying its Motion for Reconsideration. In its
The prayer for decertification is hereby denied for lack of jurisdiction and the prayer
Petition[17] docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 86690, FEU-NRMF Employees Association-
for damages is likewise denied for lack of sufficient evidence.
Alliance of Filipino Workers (FEU-NRMFEA-AFW), Dante Sugcang, Virgilio Blanco,
Norma Melencio and Florencia Reyes v. National Labor Relations Commission, and
Far Eastern University Dr. Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation (FEU-
NRMF), respondent union alleged that the public respondents committed grave
Aggrieved, the respondent union filed a Partial Appeal[11] before the NLRC asserting abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in rendering the
that the Labor Arbiter gravely abused its discretion in denying a formal trial and in aforesaid judgments which are contrary to law and established jurisprudence.
holding that the Assumption of Jurisdiction Order dated 5 September 1996 was
properly served. In its Partial Appeal Memorandum[12] filed on 29 July 1998,
respondent union claimed that the Labor Arbiter erred in declaring the strike illegal On 22 March 2005, the Court of Appeals rendered a Decision granting the Petition
and in adjudging that the union officers have lost their employment status. and reversing the assailed Resolution dated 23 September 2002, and Order dated 30
June 2004, as they were made with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction. The appellate court found that no personal service was validly
On 23 September 2002, the NLRC handed down a Resolution[13] affirming in toto the effected by the process server that could bind the striking employees.
Decision of the Labor Arbiter dated 27 May 1998 and, thus, upheld the illegality of
the strike and loss of employment status of the union officers. The NLRC found that
during the conciliation proceedings before the NCMB-NCR, the union officers Similarly ill-fated was petitioner FEU-NRMFs motion for reconsideration which was
admitted that they were aware that the Secretary of Labor issued an Assumption of denied through the Court of Appeals Resolution promulgated on 22 June 2005.[18]
Jurisdiction Order which enjoined the strike they were conducting. There was,
therefore, an utter defiance of the said Order, making the strike illegal. The union
officers dismissal is thus warranted. Petitioners are now before this Court assailing the aforementioned decision and
resolution of the Court of Appeals on the ground that the appellate court erred in
reversing both the decisions of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC.[19]
Undaunted, the respondent union filed a Motion for Reconsideration[14] which was
likewise denied by the NLRC in its Resolution[15] dated 30 June 2004, for failure to
For our resolution are the following issues:

I. CERTIFICATION/PROOF OF SERVICE

WHETHER OR NOT SERVICE OF THE ASSUMPTION OF JURISDICTION ORDER WAS This is to certify that on September 5, 1996 at around 4:00 P.M., I attempted to serve
VALIDLY EFFECTED. a copy of the Order of Assumption of Jurisdiction issued by the Secretary of Labor and
Employment, to the officials of the FEU-NRMF Employees Association-AFL.

II.
Since none of the officials of the said union was available to receive a copy of the said
Order, I posted copies of the same at several conspicuous places within the premises
WHETHER OR NOT THE STRIKE CONDUCTED BY THE RESPONDENT UNION WAS of Far Eastern University Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation (FEU-NRMF).
ILLEGAL.

The copies of the Order were posted on September 5, 1996 at around 4:30 PM.
III.

Manila, Philippines, 6 September 1996.[20]


WHETHER OR NOT THE DISMISSAL OF THE UNION OFFICERS WAS VALID.

It can be inferred from the foregoing that the process server resorted to posting the
The crucial question for the determination of this Court, however, is whether the Order when personal service was rendered impossible since the striking employees
service of the Assumption of Jurisdiction Order was validly effected by the process were not present at the strike area.This mode of service, however, is not sanctioned
server so as to bind the respondent union and hold them liable for the acts committed by either the NLRC Revised Rules of Procedure or the Revised Rules of Court.
subsequent to the issuance of the said Order.

The pertinent provisions of the NLRC Revised Rules of Procedure[21] read:


The certification/proof of service of the process server, Francisco A. Escuadra, dated
6 September 1996, reads:
Section 6. Service of Notices and Resolutions.
warranted under the circumstances. Accordingly, in this case, personal service is the
proper mode of serving the Assumption of Jurisdiction Order.
(a) Notices or summons and copies of orders, shall be served on the parties to the
case personally by the Bailiff or duly authorized public officer within three (3) days It is also provided under the same rules that in special circumstances, service of
from receipt thereof or by registered mail;Provided that in special circumstances, summons may be effected in accordance with the pertinent provisions of the Rules
service of summons may be effected in accordance with the pertinent provisions of of Court.[23]
the Rules of Court; Provided further, that in cases of decisions and final awards,
copies thereof shall be served on both parties and their counsel or representative
by registered mail; Provided further, that in cases where a party to a case or his Parenthetically, the manner upon which personal service may be made is prescribed
counsel on record personally seeks service of the decision upon inquiry thereon, by the following provisions of the Revised Rules of Court:
service to said party shall be deemed effected upon actual receipt thereof; Provided
finally, that where parties are so numerous, service shall be made on counsel and
upon such number of complainants, as may be practicable, which shall be considered Rule 13. Filing and Service of Pleadings, Judgments And Other Papers.
substantial compliance with Article 224(a) of the Labor Code, as amended. (Emphasis
supplied.)
Section 6. Personal service. Service of the papers may be made by delivering
personally a copy to the party or his counsel, or by leaving it in his office with his clerk
or with a person having charge thereof. if no person is found in his office, or his office
An Order issued by the Secretary of Labor assuming jurisdiction over the labor dispute is not known, or he has no office, then by leaving a copy, between the hours of eight
is not a final judgment for it does not dispose of the labor dispute with in the morning and six in the evening, at the partys or counsels residence, if known,
finality. [22] Consequently, the rule on service of summons and orders, and not the with a person of sufficient age and discretion then residing therein.
proviso on service of decisions and final awards, governs the service of the
Assumption of Jurisdiction Order.

Let it be recalled that the process server merely posted copies of the Assumption of
Under the NLRC Revised Rules of Procedure, service of copies of orders should be Jurisdiction Order in conspicuous places in the hospital. Such posting is not prescribed
made by the process server either personally or through registered mail. However, by the rules, nor is it even referred to when the said rules enumerated the different
due to the urgent nature of the Assumption of Jurisdiction Order and the public policy modes of effecting substituted service, in case personal service is impossible by the
underlying the injunction carried by the issuance of the said Order, service of copies absence of the party concerned.
of the same should be made in the most expeditious and effective manner, without
any delay, ensuring its immediate receipt by the intended parties as may be
Clearly, personal service effectively ensures that the notice desired under the been faithfully complied with. Merely posting copies of the Assumption of Jurisdiction
constitutional requirement of due process is accomplished. If, however, efforts to Order does not satisfy the rigid requirement for proper service outlined by the above
find the party concerned personally would make prompt service impossible, service stated rules. Needless to say, the manner of service made by the process server was
may be completed by substituted service, that is, by leaving a copy, between the invalid and irregular. Respondent union could not therefore be adjudged to have
hours of eight in the morning and six in the evening, at the partys or counsels defied the said Order since it was not properly apprised thereof. Accordingly, the
residence, if known, with a person of sufficient age and discretion then residing strike conducted by the respondent union was valid under the circumstances.
therein.

For a strike to be valid, the following requisites must concur: (1) the thirty-day notice
Substituted service derogates the regular method of personal service. It is therefore or the fifteen-day notice, in case of unfair labor practices; (2) the two-thirds (2/3)
required that statutory restrictions for effecting substituted service must be strictly, required vote to strike done by secret ballot; and (3) the submission of the strike vote
faithfully and fully observed. Failure to comply with this rule renders absolutely void to the Department of Labor and Employment at least seven days prior to the
the substituted service along with the proceedings taken thereafter.[24] The strike.[28] In addition, in case of strikes in hospitals, clinics and medical institutions, it
underlying principle of this rigid requirement is that the person, to whom the orders, shall be the duty of the striking employees to provide and maintain an effective and
notices or summons are addressed, is made to answer for the consequences of the skeletal workforce of medical and other health personnel in order to insure the
suit even though notice of such action is made, not upon the party concerned, but proper and adequate protection of the life and health of its patients.[29] These
upon another whom the law could only presume would notify such party of the procedural requirements, along with the mandatory cooling off and strike ban periods
pending proceedings.[25] had been fully observed by the respondent union.

Applying this principle in the case at bar, presumption of receipt of the copies of the It is true that the strike may still be declared invalid where the means employed are
Assumption of Jurisdiction Order could not be lightly inferred from the circumstances illegal even if the procedural requisites before staging a strike were
considering the adverse effect in case the parties failed to heed to the injunction satisfied.[30]However, in the absence of evidence to support the allegations that the
directed by such Order. Worthy to note that in a number of cases, we have ruled that respondent union did not commit illegal acts during the strike, we are constrained to
defiance of the assumption and return-to-work orders of the Secretary of Labor after dismiss the allegations and uphold the strike as a valid exercise of the workers
he has assumed jurisdiction is a valid ground for the loss of employment status of any constitutional right to self-organization and collective bargaining.
striking union officer or member.[26] Employment is a property right of which one
The affidavits presented by the petitioner FEU-NRMF and relied upon by the Labor
cannot be deprived of without due process.[27] Due process here would demand that
Arbiter and the NLRC, in arriving at the conclusion that the respondent union
the respondent union be properly notified of the Assumption of Jurisdiction Order of
committed illegal acts during the strike, could not be given probative value by this
the Secretary of Labor enjoining the strike and requiring its members to return to
Court as the adverse party was not given a chance to cross-examine the affiants. In a
work. Thus, there must be a clear and unmistakable proof that the requirements
catena of labor cases, this Court has consistently held that where the adverse party is
prescribed by the Rules in the manner of effecting personal or substituted service had
deprived of the opportunity to cross-examine the affiants, affidavits are generally
rejected for being hearsay, unless the affiants themselves are placed on the witness
MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO
stand to testify thereon.[31] Neither can this Court rely on the photographs supporting
these allegations without verifying its authenticity. Associate Justice

Verily, this Court is not bound to uphold the erroneous findings of the administrative
bodies. While it is well-settled that findings of facts of the Labor Arbiter, when
affirmed by the NLRC, are entitled to great respect and are generally binding on this
Court, it is equally settled that this Court will not uphold erroneous conclusions of the WE CONCUR:
said bodies as when we find insufficient or insubstantial evidence on record to
support these factual findings. The same holds true when it is perceived that far too
much is concluded, inferred or deduced from the bare allegations or insufficient
evidence appearing on the record.

Prescinding from the above, as the strike conducted by the respondent union is valid
and legal, there is therefore no cogent reason to dismiss the union officers.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition is DENIED. Costs against the
petitioner.

SO ORDERED.
SECOND DIVISION The ballots provided for three (3) choices. They provided for votes to be cast, of
course, for either of the two (2) contending labor organizations, (a) TUPAS and (b)
TUEU-OLALIA; and, conformably with established rule and practice, 1 for (c) a third
G.R. No. 84433 June 2, 1992 choice: "NO UNION."

ALEXANDER REYES, ALBERTO M. NERA, EDGARDO M. GECA, and 138 The final tally of the votes showed the following results:
others, petitioners,
TUPAS 1
vs.
CRESENCIANO B. TRAJANO, as Officer-in-Charge, Bureau of Labor Relations, Med. TUEU-OLALIA 95
Arbiter PATERNO ADAP, and TRI-UNION EMPLOYEES UNION, et al., respondent.
NO UNION 1

SPOILED 1
NARVASA, C.J.:
CHALLENGED 141
The officer-in-charge of the Bureau of Labor Relations (Hon. Cresenciano Trajano)
The challenged votes were those cast by the 141 INK members. They were segregated
sustained the denial by the Med Arbiter of the right to vote of one hundred forty-one
and excluded from the final count in virtue of an agreement between the competing
(141) members of the "Iglesia ni Kristo" (INK), all employed in the same company, at
unions, reached at the pre-election conference, that the INK members should not be
a certification election at which two (2) labor organizations were contesting the right
allowed to vote "because they are not members of any union and refused to
to be the exclusive representative of the employees in the bargaining unit. That denial
participate in the previous certification elections."
is assailed as having been done with grave abuse of discretion in the special civil
action of certiorari at bar, commenced by the INK members adversely affected The INK employees promptly made known their protest to the exclusion of their
thereby. votes. They filed f a petition to cancel the election alleging that it "was not fair" and
the result thereof did "not reflect the true sentiments of the majority of the
The certification election was authorized to be conducted by the Bureau of Labor
employees." TUEU-OLALIA opposed the petition. It contended that the petitioners
Relations among the employees of Tri-Union Industries Corporation on October 20,
"do not have legal personality to protest the results of the election," because "they
1987. The competing unions were Tri-Union Employees Union-Organized Labor
are not members of either contending unit, but . . . of the INK" which prohibits its
Association in Line Industries and Agriculture (TUEU-OLALIA), and Trade Union of the
followers, on religious grounds, from joining or forming any labor organization . . . ."
Philippines and Allied Services (TUPAS). Of the 348 workers initially deemed to be
qualified voters, only 240 actually took part in the election, conducted under the The Med-Arbiter saw no merit in the INK employees 1 petition. By Order dated
provision of the Bureau of Labor Relations. Among the 240 employees who cast their December 21, 1987, he certified the TUEU-OLALIA as the sole and exclusive
votes were 141 members of the INK. bargaining agent of the rank-and-file employees. In that Order he decided the fact
that "religious belief was (being) utilized to render meaningless the rights of the non-
members of the Iglesia ni Kristo to exercise the rights to be represented by a labor
organization as the bargaining agent," and declared the petitioners as "not possessed ART. 243. Coverage and employees right to self-organization. — All persons employed
of any legal personality to institute this present cause of action" since they were not in commercial, industrial and agricultural enterprises and in religious, charitable,
parties to the petition for certification election. medical, or educational institutions whether operating for profit or not, shall
have the right to self-organization and to form, join, or assist labor organizations of
The petitioners brought the matter up on appeal to the Bureau of Labor Relations.
their own choosing for purposes or collective bargaining. Ambulant, intermittent and
There they argued that the Med-Arbiter had "practically disenfranchised petitioners
itinerant workers, self-employed people, rural workers and those without any
who had an overwhelming majority," and "the TUEU-OLALIA certified union cannot
definite employers may form labor organizations for their mutual aid and protection.
be legally said to have been the result of a valid election where at least fifty-one
percent of all eligible voters in the appropriate bargaining unit shall have cast their Article 248 (a) declares it to be an unfair labor practice for an employer, among
votes." Assistant Labor Secretary Cresenciano B. Trajano, then Officer-in-Charge of others, to "interfere with, restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of their right
the Bureau of Labor Relations, denied the appeal in his Decision of July 22, 1988. He to self-organization." Similarly, Article 249 (a) makes it an unfair labor practice for a
opined that the petitioners are "bereft of legal personality to protest their alleged labor organization to "restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of their rights to
disenfrachisement" since they "are not constituted into a duly organized labor union, self-organization . . . "
hence, not one of the unions which vied for certification as sole and exclusive
The same legal proposition is set out in the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor
bargaining representative." He also pointed out that the petitioners "did not
Code, as amended, as might be expected Section 1, Rule II (Registration of Unions),
participate in previous certification elections in the company for the reason that their
Book V (Labor Relations) of the Omnibus Rules provides as follows; 4
religious beliefs do not allow them to form, join or assist labor organizations."
Sec. 1. Who may join unions; exception. — All persons employed in commercial,
It is this Decision of July 22, 1988 that the petitioners would have this Court annul and
industrial and agricultural enterprises, including employees of government
set aside in the present special civil action of certiorari.
corporations established under the Corporation Code as well as employees of
The Solicitor General having expressed concurrence with the position taken by the religious, medical or educational institutions, whether operating for profit or not,
petitioners, public respondent NLRC was consequently required to file, and did except managerial employees, shall have the right to self-organization and to form,
thereafter file, its own comment on the petition. In that comment it insists that "if join or assist labor organizations for purposes of collective bargaining. Ambulant,
the workers who are members of the Iglesia ni Kristo in the exercise of their religious intermittent and without any definite employers people, rural workers and those
belief opted not to join any labor organization as a consequence of which they without any definite employers may form labor organizations for their mutual aid and
themselves can not have a bargaining representative, then the right to be protection.
representative by a bargaining agent should not be denied to other members of the
xxx xxx xxx
bargaining unit."
The right of self-organization includes the right to organize or affiliate with a labor
Guaranteed to all employees or workers is the "right to self-organization and to form,
union or determine which of two or more unions in an establishment to join, and to
join, or assist labor organizations of their own choosing for purposes of collective
engage in concerted activities with co-workers for purposes of collective bargaining
bargaining." This is made plain by no less than three provisions of the Labor Code of
through representatives of their own choosing, or for their mutual aid and
the Philippines. 2 Article 243 of the Code provides as follows: 3
protection, i.e., the protection, promotion, or enhancement of their rights and say that the law also imposes, in the same breath, upon the employee the duty to join
interests. 5 associations. The law does not enjoin an employee to sign up with any association.

Logically, the right NOT to join, affiliate with, or assist any union, and to disaffiliate or The right to refuse to join or be represented by any labor organization is recognized
resign from a labor organization, is subsumed in the right to join, affiliate with, or not only by law but also in the rules drawn up for implementation thereof. The
assist any union, and to maintain membership therein. The right to form or join a original Rules on Certification promulgated by the defunct Court of Industrial
labor organization necessarily includes the right to refuse or refrain from exercising Relations required that the ballots to be used at a certification election to determine
said right. It is self-evident that just as no one should be denied the exercise of a right which of two or more competing labor unions would represent the employees in the
granted by law, so also, no one should be compelled to exercise such a conferred appropriate bargaining unit should contain, aside from the names of each union, an
right. The fact that a person has opted to acquire membership in a labor union does alternative choice of the employee voting, to the effect that he desires not to which
not preclude his subsequently opting to renounce such membership. 6 of two or more competing labor unions would represent the employees in the
appropriate bargaining unit should contain, aside from the names of each union, an
As early as 1974 this Court had occasion to expatiate on these self-evident
alternative choice of the employee voting, to the effect that he desires not to be
propositions in Victoriano v. Elizalde Rope Workers' Union, et al., 7 viz.:
represented by any union. 8 And where only one union was involved, the ballots were
. . .What the Constitution and Industrial Peace Act recognize and guarantee is the required to state the question — "Do you desire to be represented by said union?" —
"right" to form or join associations. Notwithstanding the different theories as regards which the employees voting would mark an appropriate square, one
propounded by the different schools of jurisprudence regarding the nature and indicating the answer, "Yes" the other, "No."
contents of a "right," it can be safely said that whatever theory one subscribes to, a
To be sure, the present implementing rules no longer explicitly impose the
right comprehends at least two broad notions, namely: first, liberty or freedom, i.e.,
requirement that the ballots at a certification election include a choice for "NO
the absence of legal restraint, whereby an employee may act for himself being
UNION" Section 8 (rule VI, Book V of the Omnibus Rules) entitled "Marketing and
prevented by law; second, power, whereby an employee may, as he pleases, join or
canvassing of votes," pertinently provides that:
refrain from joining an association. It is therefore the employee who should decide
for himself whether he should join or not an association; and should he choose to . . . (a) The voter must write a cross (X) or a check (/) in the square opposite the union
join; and even after he has joined, he still retains the liberty and the power to leave of his choice. If only one union is involved, the voter shall make his cross or check in
and cancel his membership with said organization at any time (Pagkakaisa Samahang the square indicating "YES" or "NO."
Manggagawa ng San Miguel Brewery vs. Enriquez, et al., 108 Phil. 1010, 1019). It is
xxx xxx xxx
clear, therefore, that the right to join a union includes the right to abstain from joining
any union (Abo, et al. vs. PHILAME [KG] Employees Union, et al., L-19912, January 20, Withal, neither the quoted provision nor any other in the Omnibus Implementing
1965, 13 SCRA 120, 123, quoting Rothenberg, Labor Relations). Inasmuch as what Rules expressly bars the inclusion of the choice of "NO UNION" in the ballots. Indeed
both the Constitution and the Industrial Peace Act have recognized, the guaranteed it is doubtful if the employee's alternative right NOT to form, join or assist any labor
to the employee, is the "right" to join associations of his choice, it would be absurd to organization or withdraw or resign from one may be validly eliminated and he be
consequently coerced to vote for one or another of the competing unions and be
represented by one of them. Besides, the statement in the quoted provision that "(i)f The respondents' argument that the petitioners are disqualified to vote because they
only one union is involved, the voter shall make his cross or check in the square "are not constituted into a duly organized labor union" — "but members of the INK
indicating "YES" or "NO," is quite clear acknowledgment of the alternative possibility which prohibits its followers, on religious grounds, from joining or forming any labor
that the "NO" votes may outnumber the "YES" votes — indicating that the majority organization" — and "hence, not one of the unions which vied for certification as sole
of the employees in the company do not wish to be represented by any union — in and exclusive bargaining representative," is specious. Neither law, administrative rule
which case, no union can represent the employees in collective bargaining. And nor jurisprudence requires that only employees affiliated with any labor organization
whether the prevailing "NO" votes are inspired by considerations of religious belief may take part in a certification election. On the contrary, the plainly discernible
or discipline or not is beside the point, and may not be inquired into at all. intendment of the law is to grant the right to vote to all bona fide employees in the
bargaining unit, whether they are members of a labor organization or not. As held
The purpose of a certification election is precisely the ascertainment of the wishes of
in Airtime Specialists, Inc. v. Ferrer-Calleja: 9
the majority of the employees in the appropriate bargaining unit: to be or not to be
represented by a labor organization, and in the affirmative case, by which particular In a certification election all rank-and-file employees in the appropriate bargaining
labor organization. If the results of the election should disclose that the majority of unit are entitled to vote. This principle is clearly stated in Art. 255 of the Labor Code
the workers do not wish to be represented by any union, then their wishes must be which states that the "labor organization designated or selected by the majority of
respected, and no union may properly be certified as the exclusive representative of the employees in an appropriate bargaining unit shall be the exclusive representative
the workers in the bargaining unit in dealing with the employer regarding wages, of the employees in such unit for the purpose of collective bargaining." Collective
hours and other terms and conditions of employment. The minority employees — bargaining covers all aspects of the employment relation and the resultant CBA
who wish to have a union represent them in collective bargaining — can do nothing negotiated by the certified union binds all employees in the bargaining unit. Hence,
but wait for another suitable occasion to petition for a certification election and hope all rank-and-file employees, probationary or permanent, have a substantial interest
that the results will be different. They may not and should not be permitted, however, in the selection of the bargaining representative. The Code makes no distinction as to
to impose their will on the majority — who do not desire to have a union certified as their employment for certification election. The law refers to "all" the employees in
the exclusive workers' benefit in the bargaining unit — upon the plea that they, the the bargaining unit. All they need to be eligible to support the petition is to belong to
minority workers, are being denied the right of self-organization and collective the "bargaining unit".
bargaining. As repeatedly stated, the right of self-organization embraces not only the
Neither does the contention that petitioners should be denied the right to vote
right to form, join or assist labor organizations, but the concomitant, converse
because they "did not participate in previous certification elections in the company
right NOT to form, join or assist any labor union.
for the reason that their religious beliefs do not allow them to form, join or assist
That the INK employees, as employees in the same bargaining unit in the true sense labor organizations," persuade acceptance. No law, administrative rule or precedent
of the term, do have the right of self-organization, is also in truth beyond question, prescribes forfeiture of the right to vote by reason of neglect to exercise the right in
as well as the fact that when they voted that the employees in their bargaining unit past certification elections. In denying the petitioners' right to vote upon these
should be represented by "NO UNION," they were simply exercising that right of self- egregiously fallacious grounds, the public respondents exercised their discretion
organization, albeit in its negative aspect. whimsically, capriciously and oppressively and gravely abused the same.
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is GRANTED; the Decision of the then Officer-
in-Charge of the Bureau of Labor Relations dated December 21, 1987 (affirming the
Order of the Med-Arbiter dated July 22, 1988) is ANNULLED and SET ASIDE; and the
petitioners are DECLARED to have legally exercised their right to vote, and their
ballots should be canvassed and, if validly and properly made out, counted and tallied
for the choices written therein. Costs against private respondents.

SO ORDERED.
THIRD DIVISION The Petition for Certiorari before us assails the August 15, 1997 Resolution[2] of
Director Benedicto Ernesto R. Bitonio Jr. of the Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR) in BLR
[G.R. No. 131235. November 16, 1999]
Case No. A-8-49-97, which affirmed the February 11, 1997 Decision of Med-Arbiter
UST FACULTY UNION (USTFU), GIL Y. GAMILLA, CORAZON QUI, NORMA CALAGUAS, Tomas F. Falconitin. The med-arbiters Decision disposed as follows:
IRMA POTENCIANO, LUZ DE GUZMAN, REMEDIOS GARCIA, RENE ARNEJO, EDITHA
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered declaring the
OCAMPO, CESAR REYES, CELSO NIERRA, GLICERIA BALDRES, MA. LOURDES MEDINA,
election of USTFU officers conducted on October 4, 1996 and its election results as
HIDELITA GABO, MAFEL YSRAEL, LAURA ABARA, NATIVIDAD SANTOS, FERDINAND
null and void ab initio.
LIMOS, CARMELITA ESPINA, ZENAIDA FAMORCA, PHILIP AGUINALDO, BENEDICTA
ALAVA and LEONCIO CASAL, petitioners vs. Dir. BENEDICTO ERNESTO R. BITONIO JR. Accordingly, respondents Gil Gamilla, et al are hereby ordered to cease and desist
of the Bureau of Labor Relations, Med-Arbiter TOMAS F. FALCONITIN of The from acting and performing the duties and functions of the legitimate officers of [the]
National Capital Region, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), EDUARDO University of Santo Tomas Faculty Union (USTFU) pursuant to [the] unions
J. MARIO JR., MA. MELVYN ALAMIS, NORMA COLLANTES, URBANO ALABAGIA, constitution and by-laws (CBL).
RONALDO ASUNCION, ZENAIDA BURGOS, ANTHONY CURA, FULVIO M. GUERRERO,
The Temporary Restraining Order (TRO ) issued by this Office on December 11, 1996
MYRNA HILARIO, TERESITA MEER, FERNANDO PEDROSA, NILDA REDOBLADO, RENE
in connection with the instant petition, is hereby made and declared permanent.[3]
SISON, EVELYN TIROL and ROSIE ALCANTARA, respondents.
Likewise challenged is the October 30, 1997 Resolution[4]of Director Bitonio, which
DECISION
denied petitioners Motion for Reconsideration.
PANGANIBAN, J.: The Facts

There is a right way to do the right thing at the right time for the right reasons,[1] and
The factual antecedents of the case are summarized in the assailed Resolution as
in the present case, in the right forum by the right parties. While grievances against
follows:
union leaders constitute legitimate complaints deserving appropriate redress, action
thereon should be made in the proper forum at the proper time and after observance Petitioners-appellees [herein Private Respondents] Marino, et. al. (appellees) are duly
of proper procedures. Similarly, the election of union officers should be conducted in elected officers of the UST Faculty Union (USTFU). The union has a subsisting five-year
accordance with the provisions of the unions constitution and bylaws, as well as the Collective Bargaining Agreement with its employer, the University of Santo Tomas
Philippine Constitution and the Labor Code. Specifically, while all legitimate faculty (UST). The CBA was registered with the Industrial Relations Division, DOLE-NCR, on 20
members of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) belonging to a collective bargaining February 1995. It is set to expire on 31 May 1998.
unit may take part in a duly convened certification election, only bona fide members
of the UST Faculty Union (USTFU) may participate and vote in a legally called election On 21 September 1996, appellee Collantes, in her capacity as Secretary General of
for union officers. Mob hysteria, however well-intentioned, is not a substitute for the USTFU, posted a notice addressed to all USTFU members announcing a general
rule of law. assembly to be held on 05 October 1996. Among others, the general assembly was
called to elect USTFUs next set of officers. Through the notice, the members were
The Case
also informed of the constitution of a Committee on Elections (COMELEC) to oversee On 11 October 1996, appellees filed the instant petition seeking injunctive reliefs and
the elections. (Annex B, petition) the nullification of the results of the 04 October 1996 election. Appellees alleged that
the holding of the same violated the temporary restraining order issued in Case No.
On 01 October 1996, some of herein appellants filed a separate petition with the
NCR-OD-M-9610-001. Accusing appellants of usurpation, appellees characterized the
Med-Arbiter, DOLE-NCR, directed against herein appellees and the members of the
election as spurious for being violative of USTFUs CBL, specifically because the general
COMELEC. Docketed as Case No. NCR-OD-M-9610-001, the petition alleged that the
assembly resulting in the election of appellants was not called by the Board of Officers
COMELEC was not constituted in accordance with USTFUs constitution and by-laws
of the USTFU; there was no compliance with the ten-day notice rule required by
(CBL) and that no rules had been issued to govern the conduct of the 05 October 1996
Section 1, Article VIII of the CBL; the supposed elections were conducted without a
election.
COMELEC being constituted by the Board of Officers in accordance with Section 1,
On 02 October 1996, the secretary general of UST, upon the request of the various Article IX of the CBL; the elections were not by secret balloting as required by Section
UST faculty club presidents (See paragraph VI, Respondents Comment and Motion to 1, Article V and Section 6, Article IX of the CBL, and, the general assembly was
Dismiss), issued notices allowing all faculty members to hold a convocation on 04 convened by faculty members some of whom were not members of USTFU, so much
October 1996 (See Annex C Petition; Annexes 4 to 10, Appeal). Denominated as [a] so that non-USTFU members were allowed to vote in violation of Section 1, Article V
general faculty assembly, the convocation was supposed to discuss the state of the of the CBL.
unratified UST-USTFU CBA and status and election of USTFU officers (Annex 11,
On 24 October 1996, appellees filed another urgent ex-parte motion for a temporary
Appeal)
restraining order, this time alleging that appellants had served the former a notice to
On 04 October 1996, the med-arbiter in Case No. NCR-OD-M-9610-001 issued a vacate the union office. For their part, appellants moved to dismiss the original
temporary restraining order against herein appellees enjoining them from conducting petition and the subsequent motion on jurisdictional grounds. Both the petition and
the election scheduled on 05 October 1996. the motion were captioned to be for Prohibition, Injunction with Prayer for
Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order. According to the appellants,
Also on 04 October 1996, and as earlier announced by the UST secretary general, the the med-arbiter has no jurisdiction over petitions for prohibition, 'including the
general faculty assembly was held as scheduled. The general assembly was attended ancillary remedies of restraining order and/or preliminary injunction, which are
by members of the USTFU and, as admitted by the appellants, also by 'non-USTFU merely incidental to the main petition for PROHIBITION' (Paragraph XVIII3,
members [who] are members in good standing of the UST Academic Community Respondents Comment and Motion to Dismiss). Appellants also averred that they
Collective Bargaining Unit' (See paragraph XI, Respondents Comment and Motion to now constituted the new set of union officers having been elected in accordance with
Dismiss). On this occasion, appellants were elected as USTFUs new set of officers by law after the term of office of appellees had expired. They further maintained that
acclamation and clapping of hands (See paragraphs 40 to 50, Annex '12', Appeal). appellees scheduling of the 5 October 1996 elections was illegal because no rules and
The election of the appellants came about upon a motion of one Atty. Lopez, regulations governing the elections were promulgated as required by USTFUs CBL and
admittedly not a member of USTFU, that the USTFU CBL and 'the rules of the election that one of the members of the COMELEC was not a registered member of
be suspended and that the election be held [on] that day' (See --paragraph 39, Idem.) USTFU. Appellants likewise noted that the elections called by the appellees should
have been postponed to allow the promulgation of rules and regulations and to
'insure a free, clean, honest and orderly elections and to afford at the same time the Agreeing with the med-arbiter that the USTFU officers purported election held on
greater majority of the general membership to participate' (See paragraph V, October 4, 1994 was void for having been conducted in violation of the unions
Idem). Finally, appellants contended that the holding of the general faculty assembly Constitution and Bylaws (CBL), Public Respondent Bitonio rejected petitioners
on 04 October 1996 was under the control of the Council of College/Faculty Club contention that it was a legitimate exercise of their right to self-organization. He ruled
Presidents in cooperation with the USTFU Reformist Alliance and that they received that the CBL, which constituted the covenant between the union and its members,
the Temporary Restraining Order issued in Case No. NCR-OD-M-9610-001 only on 07 could not be suspended during the October 4, 1996 general assembly of all faculty
October 1996 and were not aware of the same on 04 October 1996. members, since that assembly had not been convened or authorized by the USTFU.

On 03 December 1996, appellants and UST allegedly entered into another CBA Director Bitonio likewise held that the October 4, 1996 election could not be
covering the period from 01 June 1996 to 31 May 2001 (Annex 11, appellants legitimized by the recognition of the newly elected set of officers by UST or by the
Rejoinder to the Reply and Opposition). alleged ratification of the new CBA by the general membership of the USTFU.Ruled
Respondent Bitonio:
Consequently, appellees again moved for the issuance of a temporary restraining
order to prevent appellants from making further representations that [they] had "This submission is flawed. The issue at hand is not collective bargaining
entered into a new agreement with UST. Appellees also reiterated their earlier stand representation but union leadership, a matter that should concern only the members
that appellants were usurping the formers duties and functions and should be of USTFU. As pointed out by the appellees, the privilege of determining who the union
stopped from continuing such acts. officers will be belongs exclusively to the members of the union. Said privilege is
exercised in an election proceeding in accordance with the union's CBL and applicable
On 11 December 1996, over appellants insistence that the issue of jurisdiction should
law.
first be resolved, the med-arbiter issued a temporary restraining order directing the
respondents to cease and desist from performing any and all acts pertaining to the To accept appellants' claim to legitimacy on the foregoing grounds is to invest in
duties and functions of the officers and directors of USTFU. appellants the position, duties, responsibilities, rights and privileges of USTFU officers
without the benefit of a lawful electoral exercise as defined in USTFU's CBL and Article
In the meantime, appellants claimed that the new CBA was purportedly ratified by an
241(c) of the Labor Code. Not to mention the fact that labor laws prohibit the
overwhelming majority of USTs academic community on 12 December 1996 (Annexes
employer from interfering with the employees in the latter' exercise of their right to
1 to 10, Idem). For this reason, appellants moved for the dismissal of what it
self-organization. To allow appellants to become USTFU officers on the strength of
denominated as appellees petition for prohibition on the ground that this had
management's recognition of them is to concede to the employer the power of
become moot and academic.[5]
determining who should be USTFU's leaders. This is a clear case of interference in the
Petitioners appealed the med-arbiters Decision to the labor secretary,[6] who exercise by USTFU members of their right to self-organization.[8]
transmitted the records of the case to the Bureau of Labor Relations which, under
Hence, this Petition.[9]
Department Order No. 9, was authorized to resolve appeals of intra-union cases,
consistent with the last paragraph of Article 241 of the Labor Code.[7] The Issues

The Assailed Ruling


The main issue in this case is whether the public respondent committed grave abuse filed prior to the promulgation and finality of our Decision in NFL, we deem it proper
of discretion in refusing to recognize the officers elected during the October 4, 1996 to resolve the present controversy directly, instead of remanding it to the Court of
general assembly. Specifically, petitioners in their Memorandum urge the Court to Appeals. Having disposed of the foregoing procedural matter, we now tackle the
resolve the following questions:[10] issues in the present case seriatim.

(1) Whether the Collective Bargaining Unit of all the faculty members in that General Self-organization is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Philippine Constitution
Faculty Assembly had the right in that General Faculty Assembly to suspend the and the Labor Code. Employees have the right to form, join or assist labor
provisions of the Constitution and By-Laws of the USTFU regarding the elections of organizations for the purpose of collective bargaining or for their mutual aid and
officers of the union[.] protection.[12] Whether employed for a definite period or not, any employee shall be
considered as such, beginning on his first day of service, for purposes of membership
(2) Whether the suspension of the provisions of the Constitution and By-Laws of the
in a labor union.[13]
USTFU in that General Faculty Assembly is valid pursuant to the constitutional right
of the Collective Bargaining Unit to engage in peaceful concerted activities for the Corollary to this right is the prerogative not to join, affiliate with or assist a labor
purpose of ousting the corrupt regime of the private respondents[.] union.[14] Therefore, to become a union member, an employee must, as a rule, not
only signify the intent to become one, but also take some positive steps to realize that
(3) Whether the overwhelming ratification of the Collective Bargaining Agreement
intent. The procedure for union membership is usually embodied in the unions
executed by the petitioners in behalf of the USTFU with the University of Santo Tomas
constitution and bylaws.[15] An employee who becomes a union member acquires the
has rendered moot and academic the issue as to the validity of the suspension of the
rights and the concomitant obligations that go with this new status and becomes
Constitution and By-Laws and the elections of October 4, 1996 in the General Faculty
bound by the unions rules and regulations.
Assembly[.]
The Courts Ruling
When a man joins a labor union (or almost any other democratically controlled
group), necessarily a portion of his individual freedom is surrendered for the benefit
The petition is not meritorious. Petitioners fail to convince this Court that Director of all members. He accepts the will of the majority of the members in order that he
Bitonio gravely abused his discretion in affirming the med-arbiter and in refusing to may derive the advantages to be gained from the concerted action of all. Just as the
recognize the binding effect of the October 4, 1996 general assembly called by the enactments of the legislature bind all of us, to the constitution and by-laws of the
UST administration. union (unless contrary to good morals or public policy, or otherwise illegal), which are
duly enacted through democratic processes, bind all of the members. If a member of
First Issue: Right to Self-Organization and Union Membership
a union dislikes the provisions of the by-laws, he may seek to have them amended or
At the outset, the Court stresses that National Federation of Labor (NFL) v. may withdraw from the union; otherwise, he must abide by them. It is not the
Laguesma[11] has held that challenges against rulings of the labor secretary and those function of courts to decide the wisdom or propriety of legitimate by-laws of a trade
acting on his behalf, like the director of labor relations, shall be acted upon by the union.
Court of Appeals, which has concurrent jurisdiction with this Court over petitions On joining a labor union, the constitution and by-laws become a part of the members
for certiorari. However, inasmuch as the memoranda in the instant case have been contract of membership under which he agrees to become bound by the constitution
and governing rules of the union so far as it is not inconsistent with controlling A union election is held pursuant to the unions constitution and bylaws, and the right
principles of law. The constitution and by-laws of an unincorporated trade union to vote in it is enjoyed only by union members. A union election should be
express the terms of a contract, which define the privileges and rights secured to, and distinguished from a certification election, which is the process of determining,
duties assumed by, those who have become members. The agreement of a member through secret ballot, the sole and exclusive bargaining agent of the employees in the
on joining a union to abide by its laws and comply with the will of the lawfully appropriate bargaining unit, for purposes of collective bargaining.[18] Specifically, the
constituted majority does not require a member to submit to the determination of purpose of a certification election is to ascertain whether or not a majority of the
the union any question involving his personal rights.[16] employees wish to be represented by a labor organization and, in the affirmative
case, by which particular labor organization.[19]
Petitioners claim that the numerous anomalies allegedly committed by the private
respondents during the latters incumbency impelled the October 4, 1996 election of In a certification election, all employees belonging to the appropriate bargaining unit
the new set of USTFU officers. They assert that such exercise was pursuant to their can vote.[20] Therefore, a union member who likewise belongs to the appropriate
right to self-organization. bargaining unit is entitled to vote in said election. However, the reverse is not always
true; an employee belonging to the appropriate bargaining unit but who is not a
Petitioners frustration over the performance of private respondents, as well as their
member of the union cannot vote in the union election, unless otherwise authorized
fears of a fraudulent election to be held under the latters supervision, could not justify
by the constitution and bylaws of the union. Verily, union affairs and elections cannot
the method they chose to impose their will on the union. Director Bitonio aptly
be decided in a non-union activity.
elucidated:[17]
In both elections, there are procedures to be followed. Thus, the October 4, 1996
The constitutional right to self-organization is better understood in the context of ILO
election cannot properly be called a union election, because the procedure laid down
Convention No. 87 (Freedom of Association and Protection of Right to Organize), to
in the USTFUs CBL for the election of officers was not followed. It could not have been
which the Philippines is signatory. Article 3 of the Convention provides that workers
a certification election either, because representation was not the issue, and the
organizations shall have the right to draw up their constitution and rules and to elect
proper procedure for such election was not followed. The participation of non-union
their representatives in full freedom, free from any interference from public
members in the election aggravated its irregularity.
authorities. The freedom conferred by the provision is expansive; the responsibility
Second Issue: USTFUs Constitution and ByLaws Violated
imposed on union members to respect the constitution and rules they themselves
draw up equally so. The point to be stressed is that the unions CBL is the fundamental
The importance of a unions constitution and bylaws cannot be overemphasized. They
law that governs the relationship between and among the members of the union. It
embody a covenant between a union and its members and constitute the
is where the rights, duties and obligations, powers, functions and authority of the
fundamental law governing the members rights and obligations.[21] As such, the
officers as well as the members are defined. It is the organic law that determines the
unions constitution and bylaws should be upheld, as long as they are not contrary to
validity of acts done by any officer or member of the union. Without respect for the
law, good morals or public policy.
CBL, a union as a democratic institution degenerates into nothing more than a group
of individuals governed by mob rule.
Union Election vs. Certification Election
We agree with the finding of Director Bitonio and Med-Arbiter Falconitin that the c) Rule on any question or protest regarding the conduct of the election subject to
October 4, 1996 election was tainted with irregularities because of the following the procedure that may be promulgated by the Board of Officers; and
reasons.
d) Proclaim duly elected officers.
First, the October 4, 1996 assembly was not called by the USTFU. It was merely a
Section 2. The COMELEC shall be composed of a chairman and two members all of
convocation of faculty clubs, as indicated in the memorandum sent to all faculty
whom shall be appointed by the Board of Officers.
members by Fr. Rodel Aligan, OP, the secretary general of the University of Santo
Tomas.[22] It was not convened in accordance with the provision on general xxx xxx xxx[24]
membership meetings as found in the USTFUs CBL, which reads:
Third, the purported election was not done by secret balloting, in violation of Section
ARTICLE VIII-MEETINGS OF THE UNION 6, Article IX of the USTFUs CBL, as well as Article 241 (c) of the Labor Code.
Section 1. The Union shall hold regular general membership meetings at least once The foregoing infirmities considered, we cannot attribute grave abuse of discretion
every three (3) months. Notices of the meeting shall be sent out by the Secretary- to Director Bitonios finding and conclusion. In Rodriguez v. Director, Bureau of Labor
General at least ten (10) days prior to such meetings by posting in conspicuous places, Relations,[25] we invalidated the local union elections held at the wrong date without
preferably inside Company premises, said notices. The date, time and place for the prior notice to members and conducted without regard for duly prescribed ground
meetings shall be determined by the Board of Officers.[23] rules. We held that the proceedings were rendered void by the lack of due process --
undue haste, lack of adequate safeguards to ensure integrity of the voting, and the
Unquestionably, the assembly was not a union meeting. It was in fact a gathering that
absence of the notice of the dates of balloting.
was called and participated in by management and non-union members. By no legal
fiat was such assembly transformed into a union activity by the participation of some Third Issue: Suspension of USTFUs CBL

union members.
Petitioners contend that the October 4, 1996 assembly suspended the unions
Second, there was no commission on elections to oversee the election, as mandated CBL. They aver that the suspension and the election that followed were in accordance
by Sections 1 and 2 of Article IX of the USTFUs CBL, which provide: with their constituent and residual powers as members of the collective bargaining
unit to choose their representatives for purposes of collective bargaining. Again they
ARTICLE IX - UNION ELECTION
cite the numerous anomalies allegedly committed by the private respondents as
Section 1. There shall be a Committee on Election (COMELEC) to be created by the USTFU officers. This argument does not persuade.
Board of Officers at least thirty (30) days before any regular or special election. The
First, as has been discussed, the general faculty assembly was not the proper forum
functions of the COMELEC include the following:
to conduct the election of USTFU officers. Not all who attended the assembly were
a) Adopt and promulgate rules and regulations that will ensure a free, clean, honest members of the union; some, apparently, were even disqualified from becoming
and orderly election, whether regular or special; union members, since they represented management. Thus, Director Bitonio
correctly observed:
b) Pass upon qualifications of candidates;
Further, appellants cannot be heard to say that the CBL was effectively suspended Second, the grievances of the petitioners could have been brought up and resolved in
during the 04 October 1996 general assembly. A union CBL is a covenant between the accordance with the procedure laid down by the unions CBL[27]and by the Labor
union and its members and among members (Johnson and Johnson Labor Union-FFW, Code.[28] They contend that their sense of desperation and helplessness led to the
et al. v. Director of Labor Relations, 170 SCRA 469). Where ILO Convention No. 87 October 4, 1996 election. However, we cannot agree with the method they used to
speaks of a unions full freedom to draw up its constitution and rules, it includes rectify years of inaction on their part and thereby ease bottled-up frustrations, as
freedom from interference by persons who are not members of the union. The such method was in total disregard of the USTFUs CBL and of due process. The end
democratic principle that governance is a matter for the governed to decide upon never justifies the means.
applies to the labor movement which, by law and constitutional mandate, must be
We agree with the solicitor generals observation that the act of suspending the
assiduously insulated against intrusions coming from both the employer and
constitution when the questioned election was held is an implied admission that the
complete strangers if the 'protection to labor clause' of the constitution is to be
election held on that date [October 4, 1996] could not be considered valid under the
guaranteed. By appellants own evidence, the general faculty assembly of 04 October
existing USTFU constitution xxx.[29]
1996 was not a meeting of USTFU. It was attended by members and non-members
alike, and therefore was not a forum appropriate for transacting union matters. The The ratification of the new CBA executed between the petitioners and the University
person who moved for the suspension of USTFUs CBL was not a member of of Santo Tomas management did not validate the void October 4, 1996
USTFU. Allowing a non-union member to initiate the suspension of a unions CBL, and election. Ratified were the terms of the new CBA, not the issue of union leadership--
non-union members to participate in a union election on the premise that the unions a matter that should be decided only by union members in the proper forum at the
CBL had been suspended in the meantime, is incompatible with the freedom of proper time and after observance of proper procedures.
association and protection of the right to organize.
Epilogue

If there are members of the so-called academic community collective bargaining unit
who are not USTFU members but who would nevertheless want to have a hand in In dismissing this Petition, we are not passing upon the merits of the mismanagement
USTFUs affairs, the appropriate procedure would have been for them to become allegations imputed by the petitioners to the private respondents; these are not at
members of USTFU first. The procedure for membership is very clearly spelled out in issue in the present case. Petitioners can bring their grievances and resolve their
Article IV of USTFUs CBL. Having become members, they could then draw guidance differences with private respondents in timely and appropriate proceedings. Courts
from Ang Malayang Manggagawa Ng Ang Tibay v. Ang Tibay, 103 Phil. 669. Therein will not tolerate the unfair treatment of union members by their own leaders. When
the Supreme Court held that if a member of the union dislikes the provisions of the the latter abuse and violate the rights of the former, they shall be dealt with
by-laws he may seek to have them amended or may withdraw from the union; accordingly in the proper forum after the observance of due process.
otherwise he must abide by them. Under Article XVII of USTFUs CBL, there is also a WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby DISMISSED and the assailed
specific provision for constitutional amendments. What is clear therefore is that Resolutions AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners.
USTFUs CBL provides for orderly procedures and remedies which appellants could
have easily availed [themselves] of instead of resorting to an exercise of their so- SO ORDERED.
called residual power'.[26]