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FILIPINAS PORT SERVICES, INC. VS. NLRC 200 SCRA 773 PARAS, J.; FACTS 1.

In view of the government policy which ordained that cargo handling operations should be limited to only one cargo handling operator-contractor for every port, the different stevedoring and arrastre corporations operating in the Port of Davao were integrated into a single dock handlers corporation, known as the Davao Dockhandlers, Inc., which was registered with the SEC on July 13, 1976. 2.Due to the late receipt of its permit to operate, Davao Dock handlers, Inc., which was subsequently renamed Filport, actually started its operation on February 16, 1977. 3.As a result of the merger, Filports labor force was mostly taken from the integrating corporations, among them were the private respondents. 4.Private respondent Paterno Liboon and 18 others filed a complaint with the DOLE Regional Office in Davao City, alleging that they were employees of Filport since1955 through 1958 up to December 31, 1986 when they retired; that they were paid retirement benefits computed from February 16,1977 up to December 31, 1986 only; and that taking into consideration their continuous length of service, they are entitled to be paid retirement benefits differentials from the time they started working with the predecessors of Filport up to the time they were absorbed by the latter in 1977. 5.Finding Filport a mere alter ego of the different integrating corporations, the Labo rArbiter held Filport liable for retirement benefits due private respondents for services rendered prior to February 16, 1977. 6.Said decision was affirmed by the NLRC on appeal. Filport filed a petition for certiorari with the claiming that it is an entirely new corporation with a separate juridical personality from the integrating corporations; and that Filport is not a successor-employer, liable for the obligations of private respondents' previous employers. ISSUE Whether or not Filport is liable for the retirement benefits due private respondents for services rendered prior to Feb. 16, 1977. HELD Filport is liable for the retirement benefits due private respondents for the services rendered prior to Feb. 16, 1977 being a survivor entity as it merely absorbed the integrating workers units labor force. It was mandated that Filport shall absorb all labor force and necessary personnel complement of the merging operators, thus, clearly indicating the intention to continue the employer-employee relationships of the individual companies with its employees through Filport. Thus, Filport has the obligation not only to absorb the workers of the dissolved companies but also to include the length of service earned by the absorbed employees with their former employees as well. To rule otherwise would be manifestly less than fair, certainly, less than just and equitable. Finally, to deny the private respondents the fruits of their labor corresponding to the time they worked with their previous employers would render at naught the constitutional provisions on labor protection. In interpreting the protection to labor and social justice provisions of the Constitution and the labor laws, and rules and regulations implementing the constitutional mandate, the Supreme Court has always adopted the liberal approach which favors the exercise of labor rights. This Commission has so held under the principle of 'substitution' that the successor firm is liable to (sic) the obligations of the predecessor employer, notwithstanding the change in management or even personality, of the new contracting employer.

Grievance and Voluntary Arbitration Oceanic Bic vs Romero FACTS The facts of the case are not in dispute. Petitioner Pablito Ordanoso entered into a contract of temporary employment for the period of six (6) months beginning from October 3, 1973 to April 3, 1974 with the respondent corporation. Incorporated in the contract is a stipulation that "it is understood that the company has the right to separate you from its employ at anytime within the above period should your services not be satisfactory." A memorandum was issued by Ledesma to some workers, among them Ordanoso, warning them of their low average performance with the advice to perform on the average performance level. On October 3, 1974, Ledesma terminated Ordanoso's services in the company because of his below average performance rating. The Voluntary Arbitrator rendered a decision upholding the company decision to terminate Ordanoso.

ISSUE They contend that this Court does not have the power to review the voluntary arbitrator's award on the ground that: 1) Presidential Decree No. 442, (Labor Code) precludes this Court from reviewing voluntary arbitration awards save on special circumstances which are not present in the instant case; and 2) the nature of voluntary arbitration awards should be considered final.

HELD Inspite of statutory provisions making final the decisions of certain administrative agencies, we have taken cognizance of petitions questioning these decisions where want of jurisdiction, grave abuse of discretion, violation of due process, denial of substantial justice, or erroneous interpretation of the law were brought to our attention. Prior to 1995, the mode of appeal from the decision of a voluntary arbitrator was generally known to be the extraordinary Rule 65 petition for certiorari. But by virtue of the Supreme Court ruling in Luzon Development Bank v. Association of Luzon Development Bank Employees, the Court through Mme. Justice Romero ruled that the Court of Appeals had concurrent jurisdiction over an appeal from such a decision. Hence, a petition questioning a VA decision or award was ordered remanded to the Court of Appeals for proper disposition. Under the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, VA awards, judgments, final orders or resolutions of voluntary arbitrators authoriz ed by law are appealable to the Court of Appeals through a petition for review under Rule 43. While Section 2 of Rule 43 states that appeals under the rule shall not apply to judgments or final orders issued under the Labor Code of the Philippines, the Court through Mr. Justice Kapunan in Alcantara v. Court of Appeals relied on the Luzon Development Bank assertion that this exception clause applies when the legislative intent is to have decisions directly reviewed by the Supreme Court. A wrong mode of appeal (such as a Rule 65 petition for certiorari) may cause the VA decision or award to be final, thereby authorizing the VA to issue a writ of execution. In addition, Section 12 of Rule 43 states that the appeal shall not stay the award, judgment, final order or resolution sought to be reviewed unless the Court of Appeals shall direct otherwise upon such terms as it may deem just. Notwithstanding the reach of judicial review, decisions of VAs are afforded highest respect and as a general rule must be accorded a certain measure of finality, as long as they are supported by substantial evidence.

Blue Bar vs Minister FACTS Petitioner and Blue Bar Workers Union (BBWU), the exclusive bargaining agent of the workers in Blue Bar Coconut Philippines, entered into a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) which provided for, among others, a general wage increase of P 0.80 per day to said workers, effective 1 January 1974. The CBA had a three (3) year duration, from 1 January 1974 to 31 December 1976. On 4 January 1974, the President of the Philippines, Ferdinand E. Marcos, in a speech at the inauguration of the Central Bank Building, appealed to private employers to grant ECOLA (emergency cost of living allowance) to their employees. On 10 June 1974, petitioner granted its employees a P l.00 per day ECOLA. On 1 August 1974, P.D. 525 which provided for a mandatory payment to employees or workers of P 2.00 ECOLA per day, became effective. However, petitioner and BBWU already entered into an agreement to which the union acknowledged that the Company shall have fully complied with all laws and agreements involving wages and allowances prior to the passage of P.D. 525. Petitioner argues that its Agreement of April 1975 with the BBWU was entered into after both parties utilized the grievance and voluntary arbitration machinery in their CBA, which the law requires. Hence, the agreement of April 1975, like a voluntary arbitration decision or award, is final and un-appealable by express provision of law. According to petitioner, the legal effect of the April 1975 agreement was to render the matter of petitioner's compliance with P.D. 525 a closed and terminated issue. ISSUE W/N the agreement, entered into after both parties utilized the grievance and voluntary arbitration machinery in their CBA, is final and un-appealable by express provision of law. HELD It is petitioner's contention that its Agreement of April 1975 with the BBWU is, in effect, a voluntary arbitration award or decision; hence, it is, as between the parties, final, un-appealable and executory. Yet, it is evident that the Agreement works to the disadvantage of the workers and runs counter to the constitutional guarantee of protection to labor. More importantly, the Agreement violates the spirit and intent of LOI 174 and P.D. 525 which were purposely issued to alleviate the plight of low income employees who have suffered undue hardship caused by rising prices of prime commodities. The Court will not look with favor at agreements, schemes or devices that result in depriving laborers of the full benefits that the law provides for them. The respondent Minister of Labor was correct in disregarding said Agreement. Even if the Agreement of April 1975 were considered in the same class as a voluntary arbitration decision, still, decisions of voluntary arbitrators, while given the highest respect and, as a rule, accorded a certain measure of finality, especially where the arbitrators chosen by the parties enjoy first rate credentials do not preclude the exercise of judicial review over such decisions. Article 262 of the Labor Code making voluntary arbitration awards final, un-appealable and executory, except where the money claims exceed P l00,000. 00 or 40% of paid up capital of the employer or where there is abuse of discretion or gross incompetence, refers to appeals to the National Labor Relations Commission and not to judicial review.

LUZON DEVELOPMENT BANK, petitioner, vs. ASSOCIATION OF LUZON DEVELOPMENT BANK EMPLOYEES and ATTY. ESTER S. GARCIA in her capacity as VOLUNTARY ARBITRATOR, respondents Facts: From a submission agreement of the Luzon Development Bank (LDB) and the Association of Luzon Development Bank Employees (ALDBE) arose an arbitration case to resolve the following issue: whether or not the company has violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement provision and the Memorandum of Agreement dated April 1994, on promotion. At a conference, the parties agreed on the submission of their respective Position Papers on December 1-15, 1994. Atty. Ester S. Garcia, in her capacity as Voluntary Arbitrator, received ALDBE's Position Paper on January 18, 1995. LDB, on the other hand, failed to submit its Position Paper despite a letter from the Voluntary Arbitrator reminding them to do so. As of May 23, 1995 no Position Paper had been filed by LDB. On May 24, 1995, without LDB's Position Paper, the Voluntary Arbitrator rendered a decision disposing as follows: WHEREFORE, finding is hereby made that the Bank has not adhered to the Collective Bargaining Agreement provision nor the Memorandum of Agreement on promotion. Hence, this petition for certiorari and prohibition seeking to set aside the decision of the Voluntary Arbitrator and to prohibit her from enforcing the same. Issue: Which court has the jurisdiction for the appellate review of adjudications of all quasi-judicial entities Held: Section 9 of B.P. Blg. 129, as amended by Republic Act No. 7902, provides that the Court of Appeals shall exercise: (B) Exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all final judgments, decisions, resolutions, orders or awards of Regional Trial Courts and quasi-judicial agencies, instrumentalities, boards or commissions, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Employees Compensation Commission and the Civil Service Commission, except those falling within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in accordance with the Constitution, the Labor Code of the Philippines under Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended, the provisions of this Act, and of subparagraph (1) of the third paragraph and subparagraph (4) of the fourth paragraph of Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948. The voluntary arbitrator no less performs a state function pursuant to a governmental power delegated to him under the provisions therefor in the Labor Code and he falls, therefore, within the contemplation of the term "instrumentality" in the aforequoted Sec. 9 of B.P. 129. The fact that his functions and powers are provided for in the Labor Code does not place him within the exceptions to said Sec. 9 since he is a quasi-judicial instrumentality as contemplated therein A fortiori, the decision or award of the voluntary arbitrator or panel of arbitrators should likewise be appealable to the Court of Appeals, in line with the procedure outlined in Revised Administrative Circular No. 1-95, just like those of the quasi-judicial agencies, boards and commissions enumerated therein. This would be in furtherance of, and consistent with, the original purpose of Circular No. 1-91 to provide a uniform procedure for the appellate review of adjudications of all quasi-judicial entities not expressly excepted from the coverage of Sec. 9 of B.P. 129 by either the Constitution or another statute. In the same vein, it is worth mentioning that under Section 22 of Republic Act No. 876, also known as the Arbitration Law, arbitration is deemed a special proceeding of which the court specified in the contract or submission, or if none be specified, the Regional Trial Court for the province or city in which one of the parties resides or is doing business, or in which the arbitration is held, shall have jurisdiction. A party to the controversy may, at any time within one (1) month after an award is made, apply to the court having jurisdiction for an order confirming the award and the court must grant such order unless the award is vacated, modified or corrected. In effect, this equates the award or decision of the voluntary arbitrator with that of the regional trial court. Consequently, in a petition for certiorari from that award or decision, ACCORDINGLY, the Court resolved to REFER this case to the Court of Appeals.

San Jose vs NLRC HELD The jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters and Voluntary Arbitrator or Panel of Voluntary Arbitrators is clearly defined and specifically delineated in the Labor Code. The pertinent provisions of the Labor Code, read: A. Jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters Art. 217. Jurisdiction of Labor Arbiter and the Commission. (a) Except as otherwise provided under this Code the Labor Arbiter shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide, within thirty (30)

calendar days after the submission of the case by the parties for decision without extension, even in the absence of stenographic notes, the following cases involving all workers, whether agricultural or nonagricultural: 1. Unfair labor practice cases; 2. Termination disputes; 3. If accompanied with a claim for reinstatement, those cases that workers may file involving wages, rates of pay, hours of work and other terms and conditions of employment; 4. claims for actual, moral, exemplary and other forms of damages arising from the employer-employee relations; 5. Cases arising from any violation of Article 264 of this Code (Prohibited Activities), including questions involving the legality of strikes and lockouts; and, 6. Except claims for Employees Compensation, Social Security, Medicare and maternity benefits, all other claims, arising from employer-employee relations, including those of persons in domestic or household service, involving an amount exceeding five thousand pesos (P5,000) regardless of whether accompanied with a claim for reinstatement. xxx xxx xxx (c) Cases arising from the interpretation or implementation of collective bargaining agreement and those arising from the interpretation or enforcement of company procedure/policies shall be disposed of by the Labor Arbiter by referring the same to the grievance machinery and voluntary arbitrator so maybe provided in said agreement. B. Jurisdiction of Voluntary Arbitrator or Panel of Voluntary Arbitrators Art. 261. Jurisdiction of Voluntary Arbitrators or panel of Voluntary Arbitrators. The Voluntary Arbitrator or panel of Voluntary Arbitrators shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide all unresolved grievances arising from the interpretation or implementation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and those arising from the interpretation or enforcement of company personnel policies referred to in the immediately preceding article. Accordingly, violations of a Collective Bargaining Agreement, except those which are gross in character, shall no longer be treated as unfair labor practice and shall be resolved as grievances under the collective bargaining agreement. For purposes of this Article, gross violations of Collective Bargaining Agreement shall mean flagrant and/or malicious refusal to comply with the economic provisions of such agreement. The Commission, its Regional Offices and the Regional Directors of the Department of Labor and Employment shall not entertain disputes, grievances or matters under the exclusive and original jurisdiction of the Voluntary Arbitrator or panel of Voluntary Arbitrators and shall immediately dispose and refer the same to the Grievance Machinery or Voluntary Arbitration provided in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Art. 262. Jurisdiction over other labor disputes. The Voluntary Arbitrator or panel of Voluntary Arbitrators, upon agreement of the parties, shall also hear and decide all other labor disputes including unfair labor practices and bargaining deadlocks. The aforecited provisions of law cannot be read in isolation or separately. They must be read as a whole and each Article of the Code reconciled one with the other. An analysis of the provisions of Articles 217, 261, and 262 indicates, that: Vivero vs NLRC FACTS Petitioner Vivero, a licensed seaman, is a member of the Associated Marine Officers and Seamen's Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP). The Collective Bargaining Agreement entered into by AMOSUP and private respondents provides, among others the grievance procedure for any dispute in connection with the terms and provisions of the agreement. On 01 August 1994, complainant filed a complaint for illegal dismissal at Associated Marine Officers and Seamans Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP) of which complainant was a member. Pursuant to Article XII of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, grievance proceedings were conducted; however, parties failed to reach and settle the dispute amicably, thus, on 28 November 1994, complainant filed [a] complaint with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

While the case was pending before the POEA, private respondents filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground that the POEA had no jurisdiction over the case considering petitioner Vivero's failure to refer it to a Voluntary Arbitration Committee in accordance with the CBA between the parties. Upon the enactment of RA 8042, the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, the case was transferred to the Adjudication Branch of the National Labor Relations Commission. Labor Arbiter Jovencio Ll. Mayor Jr., on the basis of the pleadings and documents available on record, rendered a decision dismissing the Complaint for want of jurisdiction. According to the Labor Arbiter, since the CBA of the parties provided for the referral to a Voluntary Arbitration Committee should the Grievance Committee fail to settle the dispute, and considering the mandate of Art. 261 of the Labor Code on the original and exclusive jurisdiction of Voluntary Arbitrators, the Labor Arbiter clearly had no jurisdiction over the case. ISSUE The issue is whether the NLRC is deprived of jurisdiction over illegal dismissal cases whenever a CBA provides for grievance machinery and voluntary arbitration proceedings. HELD Art. 261. Jurisdiction of Voluntary Arbitrators or Panel of Voluntary Arbitrators. - The Voluntary Arbitrator or panel of Voluntary Arbitrators shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide all unresolved grievances arising from the interpretation or implementation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and those arising from the interpretation or enforcement of company personnel policies referred to in the immediately preceding article. Accordingly, violations of a Collective Bargaining Agreement, except those which are gross in character, shall no longer be treated as unfair labor practice and shall be resolved as grievances under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. For purposes of this article, gross violations of Collective Bargaining Agreement shall mean flagrant and/or malicious refusal to comply with the economic provisions of such agreement. The Commission, its Regional Offices and the Regional Directors of the Department of Labor and Employment shall not entertain disputes, grievances or matters under the exclusive and original jurisdiction of the Voluntary Arbitrator or panel of Voluntary Arbitrators and shall immediately dispose and refer the same to the Grievance Machinery or Voluntary Arbitration provided in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Art. 262. Jurisdiction Over Other Labor Disputes. - The Voluntary Arbitrator or panel of Voluntary Arbitrators, upon agreement of the parties, shall also hear and decide all other labor disputes including unfair labor practices and bargaining deadlocks (emphasis supplied). Private respondents attempt to justify the conferment of jurisdiction over the case on the Voluntary Arbitrator on the ground that the issue involves the proper interpretation and implementation of the Grievance Procedure found in the CBA. They point out that when petitioner sought the assistance of his Union to avail of the grievance machinery, he in effect submitted himself to the procedure set forth in the CBA regarding submission of unresolved grievances to a Voluntary Arbitrator. The argument is untenable. The case is primarily a termination dispute. It is clear from the claim/assistance request form submitted by petitioner to AMOSUP that he was challenging the legality of his dismissal for lack of cause and lack of due process. The issue of whether there was proper interpretation and implementation of the CBA provisions comes into play only because the grievance procedure provided for in the CBA was not observed after he sought his Unions assistance in contesting his termination. Thus, the question to be resolved necessarily springs from the primary issue of whether there was a valid termination; without this, then there would be no reason to invoke the need to interpret and implement the CBA provisions properly. It is not sufficient to merely say that parties to the CBA agree on the principle that " all disputes" should first be submitted to a Voluntary Arbitrator. There is a need for an express stipulation in the CBA that illegal termination disputes should be resolved by a Voluntary Arbitrator or Panel of Voluntary Arbitrators, since the same fall within a special class of disputes that are generally within the exclusive original jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters by express provision of law. Absent such express stipulation, the phrase "all disputes" should be construed as limited to the areas of conflict traditionally within the jurisdiction of Voluntary Arbitrators, i.e., disputes relating to contract-interpretation, contract-implementation, or interpretation or enforcement of company personnel policies. Illegal termination disputes - not falling within any of these categories - should then be considered as a special area of interest governed by a specific provision of law. Being a termination dispute, the case falls within the jurisdiction of the labor arbiter.

Union vs Damasco FACTS Nestle Philippines, Inc. (Nestle) adopted Policy No. HRM 1.8, otherwise known as the "Drug Abuse Policy." Pursuant to this policy, the management shall conduct simultaneous drug tests on all employees from different factories and plants. Thus, on August 17, 1999, drug testing commenced at the Lipa City factory, then followed by the other factories and plants. However, there was resistance to the policy in the Nestle Cagayan de Oro factory. Out of 496 employees, only 141 or 28.43% submitted themselves to drug testing. On August 20, 1999, the Union of Nestle Workers Cagayan de Oro Factory and its officers, petitioners, wrote Nestle challenging the implementation of the policy and branding it as a mere subterfuge to defeat the

employees constitutional rights. Nestle claimed that the policy is in keeping with the governments thrust to eradicate the proliferation of drug abuse, explaining that the company has the right: (a) to ensure that its employees are of sound physical and mental health and (b) to terminate the services of an employee who refuses to undergo the drug test. Petitioners filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 40, Cagayan de Oro City, a complaint for injunction with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order against Nestle. The RTC issued a temporary restraining order enjoining respondents from proceeding with the drug test. Forthwith, they filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground that the RTC has no jurisdiction over the case as it involves a labor dispute or enforcement of a company personnel policy cognizable by the Voluntary Arbitrator or Panel of Voluntary Arbitrators. Petitioners filed their opposition, contending that the RTC has jurisdiction since the complaint raises purely constitutional and legal issues. The Appellate Court rendered its Decision dismissing the petition. ISSUE W/C has jurisdiction over the case, the RTC or the Voluntary Arbitrator. HELD We hold that petitioners insistence that the RTC has jurisdiction over their complaint since it raises constitutional and leg al issues is sorely misplaced. The fact that the complaint was denominated as one for injunction does not necessarily mean that the RTC has jurisdiction. Well-settled is the rule that jurisdiction is determined by the allegations in the complaint. It is indubitable from the foregoing allegations that petitioners are not per se questioning "whether or not the person will undergo the drug test" or the constitutionality or legality of the Drug Abuse Policy. They are assailing the manner by which respondents are implementing the policy. According to them, it is "arbitrary in character" because: (1) the employees were not consulted prior to its implementation; (2) the policy is punitive inasmuch as an employee who refuses to abide with the policy may be dismissed from the service; and (3) such implementation is subject to limitations provided by law which were disregarded by the management. Considering that the Drug Abuse Policy is a company personnel policy, it is the Voluntary Arbitrators or Panel of Voluntary Arbitrators, not the RTC, which exercises jurisdiction over this case. Article 261 of the Labor Code, as amended, pertinently provides: Art. 261. Jurisdiction of Voluntary Arbitrators or Panel of Voluntary Arbitrators. The Voluntary Arbitrator or panel of Voluntary Arbitrators shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide all unresolved grievances arising from the interpretation or implementation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and those arising from the interpretation or enforcement of company personnel policies x x x." (Emphasis supplied)

Navarro vs Damasco FACTS Petitioner was employed as typist of private respondent at its plant in Quezon, Bukidnon. He was dismissed based on immoral conduct when he grabbed the hand of the lady he was courting, forced her onto the floor, went on top of her and kissed her. The President of the Mindanao Sugar Workers Union, for and in behalf of petitioner, and Jaime J. Javier, Personnel Officer of private respondent, agreed to submit the case of petitioner to voluntary arbitration. Petitioner, represented by his counsel, agreed to limit the issues to be submitted to the Voluntary Arbitrator to the following: 1. Whether or not the grievance procedure in the CBA for bringing a case before the Voluntary Arbitrator had been followed; 2. Whether petitioner's dismissal was legal; and 3. Who was the complainant insofar as the grievance procedure under the CBA was concerned. The parties also agreed to submit the case for decision based on their position papers. On August 16, 1991, a decision was rendered by the Voluntary Arbitrator dismissing petitioner from his employment and holding that private respondent did not violate the provisions of the grievance procedure under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Not satisfied with the decision, petitioner filed the instant petition. ISSUE Petitioner contends that the grievance procedure provided for in the Collective Bargaining Agreement was not followed; hence, the Voluntary Arbitrator exceeded his authority when he took cognizance of the labor case. HELD Section 2, Article X of the Collective Bargaining Agreement specifies the instances when the grievance machinery may be availed of, thus: Any protest or misunderstanding concerning any ruling, practice or working conditions in the Company, or any dispute arising as to the meaning, application or claim of violation of any provision of this Agreement or any complaint that any employee may have against the COMPANY shall constitute a grievance.

The instant case is not a grievance that must be submitted to the grievance machinery. What are subject of the grievance procedure for adjustment and resolution are grievances arising from the interpretation or implementation of the collective bargaining agreement (Labor Code of the Philippines, as amended by R.A. No. 6715, Art. 260). The acts of petitioner involved a violation of the Code of Employee Discipline, particularly the provision penalizing the immoral conduct of employees. Consequently, there was no justification for petitioner to invoke the grievance machinery provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The case of petitioner was submitted to voluntary arbitration by agreement of the president of the labor union to which petitioner belongs, and his employer, through its personnel officer. Petitioner himself voluntarily submitted to the jurisdiction of the Voluntary Arbitrator when he, through his counsel, filed his position paper with the Voluntary Arbitrator and even submitted additional documentary evidence. In addition thereto, during the initial conference on March 27, 1991, the parties manifested that they were not questioning the authority of the Voluntary Arbitrator. It is the policy of the State to promote voluntary arbitration as a mode of settling labor disputes (Manguiat, Mechanisms of Voluntary Arbitration in Labor Disputes 2-6 [1978]).