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provide for an exclusive venue where the complaint against PPI

PACIFIC CONSULTANTS vs SCHONFELD for violation of the Philippine Labor Laws may be filed.

PETITIONERS: Pacific Consultants International • LA and NLRC DECISION:


Asia, Inc. and Jens Peter Henrichsen o Upheld the claims of Henrichsen.
RESPONDENTS: Klaus K. Schonfeld
DOCKET NO.: GR No. 166920
o Since the parties had agreed that any differences
regarding employer-employee relationship should be
DATE: February 19, 2007
PONENTE: CALLEJO, SR., J. submitted to the jurisdiction of the court of arbitration in
TOPIC: Assumption of Jurisdiction vs Forum Non- London, this agreement is controlling.
Conveniens
• CA DECISION:
FACTS: o Reversed. Under control test to determine employer and
• Respondent Schonfeld is a Canadian citizen and was a employee relationship, CA declared that respondent was
resident of Canada. an employee of PPI.
• Pacicon Philippines, Inc. (PPI) is a corporation duly o Venue in Sec. 12 is not exclusive, since there is no
established and incorporated in accordance with the laws of stipulation that the complaint cannot be filed in any other
the Philippines. The primary purpose of PPI was to engage in forum other than in the Philippines.
the business of providing specialty and technical services
both in and out of the Philippines. It is a subsidiary of Pacific ISSUE #1: W/N the respondent is an employee of PPI. (irrelevant
Consultants International of Japan (PCIJ). sa topic, baka lang itanong)
HELD: Yes.
• The president of PPI, Jens Peter Henrichsen, who was also
the director of PCIJ, was based in Tokyo, Japan. • Petitioner PPI applied for the issuance of an AEP to
respondent before the DOLE. In said application, PPI
• In 1997, PCIJ decided to engage in consultancy services for averred that respondent is its employee. Otherwise, DOLE
water and sanitation in the Philippines. Respondent was will not grant the issuance of said permit.
employed by PCIJ as consultant, through Henrichsen, as
Sector Manager of PPI in its Water and Sanitation
• DOLE may issue an alien employment permit based only on
the following:
Department. However, PCIJ assigned him as PPI sector (a) Compliance by the applicant and his employer with the
manager in the Philippines. His salary was to be paid partly requirements of Section 2 hereof;
by PPI and PCIJ. (b) Report of the Bureau Director as to the availability or non-
• Section 21 of the General Conditions of Employment availability of any person in the Philippines who is competent and
appended to the letter of employment provides that any willing to do the job for which the services of the applicant are
question of interpretation, understanding or fulfillment of desired;
the conditions of employment is to be finally settled by (c) His assessment as to whether or not the employment of the
the Court of Arbitration in London. applicant will redound to the national interest;
• Schonfeld arrived in the philippines and attained the status of (d) Admissibility of the alien as certified by the Commission on
a Resident Alien. PPI applied for an Alien Employment Immigration and Deportation;
Permit (Permit) for respondent before DOLE and such was (e) The recommendation of the Board of Investments or other
granted. appropriate government agencies if the applicant will be
• Schonfeld received a letter from Henrichsen informing him employed in preferred areas of investments or in accordance with
that his employment had been terminated effective August 4, the imperative of economic development.
1999 for the reason that PCIJ and PPI had not been • There was an employer-employee relationship between
successful in the water and sanitation sector in the petitioner PPI and respondent using the four-fold test.
Philippines. However, Henrichsen, by electronic mail,
requested respondent to stay put in his job. Respondent ISSUE #2: W/N the Labor Arbiter has Jurisdiction to try and
continued his work with PPI until the end of business hours decide on the merits of the case at bar.
on October 1, 1999. HELD: Yes.
• Respondent filed with PPI several money claims but later • The settled rule on stipulations regarding venue is that
refused to pay a portion. Respondent filed a Complaint for while they are considered valid and enforceable, venue
Illegal Dismissal against petitioners PPI and Henrichsen with stipulations in a contract do not, as a rule, supersede the
the Labor Arbiter general rule set forth in Rule 4 of the Revised Rules of Court
in the absence of qualifying or restrictive words.
PETITIONERS’ ANSWER: Petitioners filed a Motion to Dismiss • They should be considered merely as an agreement or
the complaint on the following grounds: additional forum, not as limiting venue to the specified place.
• the Labor Arbiter had no jurisdiction over the subject matter; They are not exclusive but, rather permissive. If the intention
• and venue was improperly laid. of the parties were to restrict venue, there must be
It averred that respondent was a Canadian citizen, a transient accompanying language clearly and categorically
expatriate who had left the Philippines. He was employed and expressing their purpose and design that actions between
dismissed by PCIJ, a foreign corporation with principal office in them be litigated only at the place named by them.
Tokyo, Japan. Since respondents cause of action was based on • In the instant case, no restrictive words like only, solely,
his letter of employment executed in Tokyo, Japan, the complaint exclusively in this court, in no other court save , particularly,
should have been filed in Tokyo, Japan. nowhere else but/except , or words of equal import were
Under Section 12 of General Conditions of Employment, stated in the contract. It cannot be said that the court of
complainant and PCIJ had agreed that any employment-related arbitration in London is an exclusive venue to bring forth any
dispute should be brought before the London Court of Arbitration. complaint arising out of the employment contract.
• Petitioners insistence on the application of the principle of
RESPONDENT’S CLAIMS: Respondent contends that he was forum non conveniens must be rejected. The bare fact that
employed by PPI to work in the Philippines under contract respondent is a Canadian citizen and was a repatriate does
separate from his contract of employment with PCIJ. He insisted not warrant the application of the principle for the following
that his employer was PPI, a Philippine-registered corporation; it reasons:
is inconsequential that PPI is a wholly-owned subsidiary of PCIJ First. The Labor Code of the Philippines does not include forum
because the two corporations have separate and distinct non conveniens as a ground for the dismissal of the complaint.
personalities; and he received orders and instructions from Second. The propriety of dismissing a case based on this
Henrichsen who was the president of PPI. He further insisted that principle requires a factual determination; hence, it is properly
the principles of forum non conveniens and lex loci contractus do considered as defense.
not apply, and that although he is a Canadian citizen, Philippine Third. Philippine Court may assume jurisdiction over the case if it
Labor Laws apply in this case. Also, Section 21 of the Arbitration chooses to do so; provided, that the following requisites are met:
Clause in the General Conditions of Employment does not (1) that the Philippine Court is one to which the parties may
conveniently resort to;
(2) that the Philippine Court is in a position to make an intelligent
decision as to the law and the facts; and
(3) that the Philippine Court has or is likely to have power to
enforce its decision.

Admittedly, all the foregoing requisites are present in this case.