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Case Digest G.R. Nos. 181913 & 182158, March 5, 2010 Daniel Javellana, Jr. vs Albino Belen

FACTS :

Petitioner Javellana hired respondent Albino Belen (Belen) on January 31, 1994 as a company driver. August 19, 1999 was a long day for Belen which ended the following day at 4:30 am where he travelled to geographically apart provinces of Quezon, Batangas, and Bulacan to perform all the tasks required of him, including the repair of the delivery truck.

He was summoned to the o ce at 8:20am of August 20, 1999 but since Javellana was gone, Belen went home and slept but was back at the o ce at 4:00pm. Javellana fired him right there and then. Belen asked for separation pay but he later refused Javellana’s o er of P5,000 only.

Belen filed a complaint of illegal dismissal on May 9, 2000.

On November 25, 2002, the Labor Arbiter adjudged that Belen was illegally dismissed as a company driver. The Labor Arbiter awarded him separation pay, backwages, 13th month pay, SILP, holiday pay, salary di erential and attorney’s fees.

Javellana appealed to the NLRC which held that Belen was a family driver and modified the award deleting the back wages and separation pay and granting Belen only 15 day salary as indemnity. NLRC denied the motion for reconsideration of Belen.

Belen appealed to the Court of Appeals which ruled that Belen was a company driver and that he was indeed illegally dismissed. It reverted to the decision of the labor arbiter but with modification due to error in computation of back wages and separation pay.

ISSUE : Whether or not the computation of the monetary award of the labor arbiter is accurate

RULING : Yes

Article 279 of the Labor Code, as amended, speaks of security of tenure. In case of regular employment, the employer shall not terminate the services of a regular employee without just cause or when authorized by this rule. An employee who is

unjustly dismissed from work shall be entitled to reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and other privileges and to his full backwages, inclusive of allowances, and to his other benefits or their monetary equivalent computed from the time his compensation was withheld from him up to the time of his actual reinstatement.

Since Belen opted for separation pay instead of reinstatement, the labor arbiter’s computation when it rendered its decision was time bound, which was from August 20, 1999 to November 25, 2002. Such computation then, was accurate.

The decision of the labor arbiter was not implemented but was challenged until the finding of illegal dismissal of the labor arbiter was a rmed by the Court of Appeals in its decision on September 22, 2008, but modified the awards.

Based on the petition for certiorari by Belen, the Supreme Court a rmed the decision of the Labor with modification on the awards which pertained to the periods as no payment has been made to petitioner yet. Backwages shall be computed from the time of his dismissal, August 20, 1999 up to the finality of the decision of the CA on illegal dismissal and the separation pay shall be computed from the date of his employment, January 31, 1999 to September 22, 2008.

Author :

Corazon S. Hernandez January 23, 2019