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Victoria v.

Inciong (1988) the National Labor Relations Commission, the ad hoc


Petitioners: SATURNO A. VICTORIA National Labor Relations Commission took cognizance of the
Respondents: HON. AMADO G. INCIONG, DEPUTY MINISTER, strike through "FEBC Employees Association v. FEBC” and
AND FAR EAST BROADCASTING COMPANY, INC. (FEBC) “Generoso Serino v. FEBC,” both cases for reinstatement due
Ponente: Fernan to FEBC’s refusal to accept the union's offer to return to work
Topic: Work Enlightenment during the pendency of the case in the CFI.
FACTS:  On December 28, 1972, Arbitrator Flavio Aguas rendered a
 Victoria was employed on March 17, 1956 by FEBC as a joint decision in the two cases recognizing the jurisdiction of
radio transmitter operator. the CFI Bulacan. The dispositive portion stated: “This Order
 Sometime in July 1971, he and his co-workers organized shall, however, be without prejudice to whatever decision the
FEBC Employees Association. [CFI] Bulacan may promulgate in Civil Case No. 750-V and
 After registering their association with the then Department to the requirements the existing order may need of people
of Labor, they demanded recognition of said association by working with the mass media of communications.”
the company but the latter refused on the ground that being a  The decision of the arbitrator was successively appealed to
non-profit, non-stock, non-commercial and religious the ad hoc NLRC, the Secretary of Labor and the Office of
corporation, it is not covered by Republic Act 875, otherwise the President of the Philippines, and was affirmed in all
known as the Industrial Peace Act, the labor law enforced at instances.
that time.  On April 23, 1975, CFI Bulacan rendered judgment,
 In conciliation meetings at the Department of Labor, the “declaring that the strike admitted by the defendants to have
Director of Labor Relations Edmundo Cabal advised the been declared by them is illegal inasmuch as it was for the
union members that the company could not be forced to purpose of compelling the plaintiff-company to recognize
recognize them or to bargain collectively with them because it their labor union which could not be legally done because the
is a non-profit, non-commercial and religious organization. plaintiffs were not covered by Republic Act 875.”
 Notwithstanding such advice, the union members led by  On April 24, 1975, by virtue of the CFI decision, FEBC
Victoria as its president, declared a strike and picketed the notified Victoria that he is dismissed effective April 26, 1975.
company’s premises on September 6, 1972 for the purpose of  Thereupon, Victoria filed a case before the NLRC against
seeking recognition of the labor union. FEBC alleging violation of Article 267 of the Labor Code
 As a countermeasure, the company filed a case for damages which requires clearance from the Secretary of Labor for
with preliminary injunction against the strikers before the CFI every shutdown of business establishments or dismissal of
Bulacan. Said court issued an injunction enjoining the three- employees.
day-old strike staged against the company. The complaint was  On February 27, 1976, the Labor Arbiter decided in
later amended seeking to declare the strike illegal. Victoria’s favor declaring the dismissal to be illegal, thereby
 Upon the declaration of martial law on September 21, 1972 ordering reinstatement with full backwages.
and the promulgation of Presidential Decree No. 21 creating  On appeal, the arbiter’s decision was affirmed by the NLRC.
 On appeal to the Secretary of Labor, it was set aside. The  WoN a clearance from the Secretary of Labor is still
Secretary ruled: “We do not agree with the [NLRC ruling] necessary before Victoria can be dismissed
that an application for clearance to terminate [Victoria] is o NO. In Madrigal & Company, Inc. v. Zamora,
mandatory on the part of [FEBC] before terminating penned by Justice Abraham F. Sarmiento
[Victoria’s] services. We believe that what would have been promulgated on June 30, 1987, the Court ruled in
necessary was a report as provided for under Section 11 [f], agreement with the findings of then Presidential
Rule XIV, Book V of the Rules and Regulations Assistant for Legal Affairs Ronaldo Zamora that the
Implementing the Labor Code. Moreover, even if an purpose in requiring a prior clearance from the
application for clearance was filed, this Office would have Secretary of Labor in cases of shutdown or dismissal
treated the same as a report. Otherwise, it would render of employees is to afford the Secretary ample
nugatory the Decision of the Arbitrator dated December 28, opportunity to examine and determine the
1972 in Case Nos. 0021 and 0285 which was affirmed by the reasonableness of the request.
Commission, the Secretary of Labor and the Office of the o We agree with the Solicitor General. Technically
President of the Philippines, ordering his temporary speaking, no clearance was obtained by Victoria from
reinstatement, subject to whatever Decision the CFI Bulacan the then Secretary of Labor, the last step towards full
may promulgate in Civil Case No. 750-V. It could be clearly compliance with the requirements of law on the
inferred from said [NLRC] Decisions that if the strike is matter of dismissal of employees. However, the
declared illegal, the strikers will be considered to have lost rationale behind the clearance requirement was fully
their employment status under the then existing laws and met. The Secretary of Labor was apprised of FEBC’s
jurisprudence, otherwise strikers could stage illegal strike intention to terminate Victoria’s services. This in
with impunity. Since the strike was declared illegal, [FEBC] effect is an application for clearance to dismiss
acted in good faith when it dispensed with the services of Victoria from employment. The affirmance of the
[Victoria]. For failure of [FEBC] to file the necessary report restrictive condition in the dispositive portion of the
and based on equitable considerations, [Victoria] should be labor arbiter's decision (in the earlier two cases) by
granted separation pay equivalent to one-half month salary the Secretary of Labor and the Office of the President
for every year of service.” of the Philippines signifies a grant of authority to
 Victoria insists that Article 267(b) (Note: repealed) of the dismiss Victoria in case the strike is declared illegal
Labor Code is very clear. It does not make any distinction as by CFI Bulacan. Consequently and as correctly stated
to the ground for dismissal. Whether or not the dismissal by the Solicitor General, FEBC acted in good faith
sought by the employer company is for cause, it is imperative when it terminated the employment of Victoria upon
that the company must apply for a clearance from the a declaration, of illegality of the strike by CFI
Secretary of Labor. Bulacan. Moreover, the then Secretary of Labor
ISSUES: manifested his conformity to the dismissal, not once,
but twice. In this regard, the mandatory rule on
clearance need not be applied.
o The strike staged by the union in 1972 was a futile the risks attendant upon their choice. If they succeed
move. The law then enforced, Republic Act 875 and the employer succumbs, the law will not stand in
specifically excluded FEBC from its coverage. Even their way in the enjoyment of the lawful fruits of their
if the parties had gone to court to compel recognition, victory. But if they fail, they cannot thereafter invoke
no positive relief could have been obtained since the the protection of the law for the consequences of their
same was not sanctioned by law. Because of this, conduct unless the right they wished vindicated is one
there was no necessity on the part of FEBC to show which the law will, by all means, protect and enforce.
specific acts of Victoria during the strike to justify his o We further agree with the Acting Secretary of Labor
dismissal. that what was required in the case of petitioner's
o This is a matter of responsibility and of dismissal was only a report as provided under
answerability. Victoria as a union leader, must see Section II [f] of Rule XIV of the Rules and
to it that the policies and activities of the union in Regulations implementing the Labor Code which
the conduct of labor relations are within the provides:
precepts of law and any deviation from the legal  “Every employer shall submit a report to the
boundaries shall be imputable to the leader. He Regional Office in accordance with the form
bears the responsibility of guiding the union along presented by the Department on the following
the path of law and to cause the union to demand instances of termination of employment,
what is not legally demandable, would foment suspension, lay-off or shutdown which may
anarchy which is a prelude to chaos. be effected by the employer without prior
o Victoria should have known and it was his duty to clearance within five [5] days thereafter:
impart this imputed knowledge to the members of  x x x x x
the union that employees and laborers in non- x xxx
profit organizations are not covered by the  [f] All other terminations of employment,
provisions of the Industrial Peace Act and the suspension, lay-offs or shutdowns, not
Court of Industrial Relations [in the case at bar, otherwise specified in this and in the
the CFI] has no jurisdiction to entertain petitions immediately preceding sections."
of labor unions or organizations of said non-profit o To hold otherwise would render nugatory the
organizations for certification as the exclusive conditions set forth in the decision of Labor Arbiter
bargaining representatives of said employees and Aguas on the basis of which Victoria was temporarily
laborers. reinstated.
o As a strike is an economic weapon at war with the
policy of the Constitution and the law at that time, a
resort thereto by laborers shall be deemed to be a
choice of remedy peculiarly their own, and outside of
the statute, and as such, the strikers must accept all
ESTATE OF NELSON R. DULAY, represented by his wife LA took cognizance of the case by virtue of LC 217(a), par. 6 and the
MERRIDY JANE P. DULAY, v. ABOITIZ JEBSEN existence of a reasonable causal connection between the er-ee
MARITIME, INC. and GENERAL CHARTERERS, INC. relationship & claim asserted. It ordered payment of P4,621,3000
13 June 2012 | J. Peralta (equivalent of $90,000 less P20,000) at the time of judgment. It also
ruled that proximate cause of Nelson's death was not work-related.
FACTS: Nelson Dulay was employed by R General Charters Inc.
(subsidiary of P Aboitiz Jebsen Maritime Inc) since 1986, intially as NLRC affirmed LA's grant of death benefits under the CBA, but
an ordinary seaman and later as bosun on a contractual basis. He was reversed the ruling re: proximate cause of Nelson's death.
detailed in P's vessel, MV Kickapoo Belle, from 3 Sept 1999 to 19
July 2000. Special civil action for certiorari with CA, contending that NLRC
 13 August 2000: 25 days after the completion of his committed GAD in affirming jurisdiction its jurisdiction over the
employment contract, Nelson died due to acute renal failure case; ruling that a diff. provision of the CBA covers the death claim;
secondary to septicemia. At the time of his death, Nelson was reversing LA findings that cause of work is not work-related; setting
a bona fide member of the Associated Marine Officers and aside the release & quitclaim executed by the attorney-in-fact; and not
Seaman’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP), GCI’s considering the P20,000 already received by Merridy Jane through
collective bargaining agent. Nelson’s widow, Merridy Jane, her attorney-in-fact.
thereafter claimed for death benefits through the grievance CA: granted petition and referred case to the NCMB for the
procedure of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) designation of the Voluntary Arbitrator or constitution of a panel of
between AMOSUP and GCI. However, the grievance Voluntary Arbitrators for the appropriate resolution of the issue on the
procedure was “declared deadlocked” as petitioners refused to matter of the applicable CBA provision. It ruled that while the suit
grant the benefits sought by the widow. filed by Merridy Jane is a money claim, the same basically involves
 5 March 2001: Merridy Jane filed a complaint with the NLRC the interpretation and application of the provisions in the subject
Sub-Regional Arbitration Board in General Santos City CBA. As such, jurisdiction belongs to the voluntary arbitrator and not
against GCI for death and medical benefits and damages. the labor arbiter; MR denied
 8 March 2001: Joven Mar, Nelson’s brother, received
P20,000.00 from R pursuant to article 20(A)2 of the CBA and ISSUE: W/N LA had jurisdiction over the case
signed a “Certification” acknowledging receipt of the amount
and releasing AMOSUP from further liability. Merridy Jane HELD: No.
contended that she is entitled to the aggregate sum of Ninety
Thousand Dollars ($90,000) pursuant to Article 20 (A)1 of Arguments
the CBA. Merridy Jane averred that the P20,000 already  Petitioner: Sec. 10 of RA 8042 (Migrant Workers &
received by Joven Mar should be considered advance Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995) vests jurisdiction on the
payment of the total claim of US$90,000. appropriate branches of the NLRC to entertain disputes
regarding the interpretation of a collective bargaining
agreement involving migrant or overseas Filipino workers; in the interpretation or application of any of the provisions of this
while Article 217 (c) of the Labor Code which, in turn, Agreement, or enforcement of Company policies, the same shall
confers jurisdiction upon voluntary arbitrators over be settled through negotiation, conciliation or voluntary
interpretation or implementation of collective bargaining arbitration. The Company and the Union further agree that they will
agreements and interpretation or enforcement of company use their best endeavor to ensure that any dispute will be discussed,
personnel policies. resolved and settled amicably by the parties hereof within ninety (90)
 Respondents: Article 217, paragraph (c) as well as Article days from the date of filing of the dispute or conflict and in case of
261 of the Labor Code remain to be the governing provisions failure to settle thereof any of the parties retain their freedom to take
of law with respect to unresolved grievances arising from the appropriate action."
interpretation and implementation of collective bargaining From the foregoing, it is clear that the parties, in the first place, really
agreements. Under these provisions of law, jurisdiction intended to bring to conciliation or voluntary arbitration any dispute
remains with voluntary arbitrators. or conflict in the interpretation or application of the provisions of their
CBA. It is settled that when the parties have validly agreed on a
RATIO: procedure for resolving grievances and to submit a dispute to
A careful reading of RA8042 would show that there is no specific voluntary arbitration then that procedure should be strictly observed.
provision which provides for jurisdiction over disputes or unresolved Also, the above-quoted provisions of the CBA are in consonance with
grievances regarding the interpretation or implementation of a CBA. Rule VII, Section 7 of the present Omnibus Rules and Regulations
Section 10 simply speaks, in general, of “claims arising out of an Implementing the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of
employer-employee relationship or by virtue of any law or contract 1995, as amended by Republic Act No. 10022, which states that “[f]or
involving Filipino workers for overseas deployment including claims OFWs with collective bargaining agreements, the case shall be
for actual, moral, exemplary and other forms of damages.” submitted for voluntary arbitration in accordance with Articles 261
On the other hand, Articles 217(c) and 261 of the Labor Code are and 262 of the Labor Code.”
very specific in stating that voluntary arbitrators have jurisdiction
over cases arising from the interpretation or implementation of Section 29 of the prevailing Standard Terms and Conditions
collective bargaining agreements. Governing the Employment of Filipino Seafarers on Board Ocean
In the present case, the basic issue raised by Merridy Jane in her Going Vessels, promulgated by the Philippine Overseas Employment
complaint filed with the NLRC is: which provision of the subject Administration (POEA), provides as follows:
CBA applies insofar as death benefits due to the heirs of Nelson are Section 29. Dispute Settlement Procedures. − In cases of
concerned. The Court agrees with the CA in holding that this issue claims and disputes arising from this employment, the
clearly involves the interpretation or implementation of the said parties covered by a collective bargaining agreement shall
CBA. Thus, the specific or special provisions of the Labor Code submit the claim or dispute to the original and exclusive
govern. jurisdiction of the voluntary arbitrator or panel of
arbitrators. If the parties are not covered by a collective
Article 13.1 of the CBA between GCI and AMOSUP provides: "The bargaining agreement, the parties may at their option submit
Company and the Union agree that in case of dispute or conflict the claim or dispute to either the original and exclusive
jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Commission
(NLRC), pursuant to Republic Act (RA) 8042, otherwise St. Martin Funeral Home vs. NLRC
known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of
1995 or to the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the REGALADO, J.:
voluntary arbitrator or panel of arbitrators. If there is no
provision as to the voluntary arbitrators to be appointed by FACTS:
the parties, the same shall be appointed from the accredited
voluntary arbitrators of the National Conciliation and Private respondent alleges that he started working as Operations
Mediation Board of the Department of Labor and Manager of petitioner St. Martin Funeral Home on February 6, 1995.
Employment. However, there was no contract of employment executed between
him and petitioner nor was his name included in the semi-monthly
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration payroll. On January 22, 1996, he was dismissed from his employment
(POEA) shall exercise original and exclusive jurisdiction to for allegedly misappropriating P38,000.00. Petitioner on the other
hear and decide disciplinary action on cases, which are hand claims that private respondent was not its employee but only the
administrative in character, involving or arising out of uncle of Amelita Malabed, the owner of petitioner St.Martin’s Funeral
violations of recruitment laws, rules and regulations involving Home and in January 1996, the mother of Amelita passed away, so
employers, principals, contracting partners and Filipino the latter took over the management of the business.
seafarers.
Amelita made some changes in the business operation and private
With respect to disputes involving claims of Filipino seafarers respondent and his wife were no longer allowed to participate in the
wherein the parties are covered by a collective bargaining management thereof. As a consequence, the latter filed a complaint
agreement, the dispute or claim should be submitted to the charging that petitioner had illegally terminated his employment. The
jurisdiction of a voluntary arbitrator or panel of arbitrators. It is labor arbiter rendered a decision in favor of petitioner declaring that
only in the absence of a collective bargaining agreement that no employer-employee relationship existed between the parties and
parties may opt to submit the dispute to either the NLRC or to therefore his office had no jurisdiction over the case.
voluntary arbitration.
ISSUE: WON the decision of the NLRC are appealable to the Court
The above interpretation of the DOLE, DFA and POEA is also in of Appeals.
consonance with the policy of the state to promote voluntary
arbitration as a mode of settling labor disputes (Section 3, Article XIII RULING:
and LC 211).
The Court is of the considered opinion that ever since appeals from
the NLRC to the SC were eliminated, the legislative intendment was
that the special civil action for certiorari was and still is the proper
vehicle for judicial review of decisions of the NLRC. The use of the
word appeal in relation thereto and in the instances we have Philippine Transmarine Carriers v. Leandro Legaspi
June 19, 2013| J. Mendoza| NLRC; LA
noted could have been a lapsus plumae because appeals by certiorari
and the original action for certiorari are both modes of judicial review
SUMMARY: A seafarer, Legaspi, was claiming disability benefits
addressed to the appellate courts. The important distinction between
under a CBA to the amount of USD80,000.00 and sick pay to the
them, however, and with which the Court is particularly concerned
amount of USD1,320. After the proceedings with LA, he was
here is that the special civil action for certiorari is within the
awarded his claim plus 10% attorney’s fees. The LA decision was
concurrent original jurisdiction of this Court and the Court of
affirmed by the NLRC. NLRC also denied PTC’s MR and an entry of
Appeals; whereas to indulge in the assumption that appeals by
judgment was issued to certify that the decision was already final.
certiorari to the SC are allowed would not subserve, but would
Legaspi commenced execution proceedings and the company was
subvert, the intention of the Congress as expressed in the sponsorship
constrained to pay the full judgment award. Paying Legaspi, they
speech on Senate Bill No. 1495.
executed a document recognizing that the payment would not bar
PTC’s right to file a petition for Certiorari (elevating it to the CA) and
Therefore, all references in the amended Section 9 of B.P No. 129 to
if it succeeds, Legaspi would return the money paid to him because of
supposed appeals from the NLRC to the Supreme Court are
the execution proceedings. CA ruled that Legaspi was entitled to only
interpreted and hereby declared to mean and refer to petitions for
USD60k and PTC manifested that the decision should be modified
certiorari under Rule65. Consequently, all such petitions should
and asked Legaspi to return the excess amount of USD29,452.00 to
henceforth be initially filed in the Court of Appeals in strict
the company. CA denied this motion and ruled that the petition should
observance of the doctrine on the hierarchy of courts as the
have been dismissed for being moot and academic because the NLRC
appropriate forum for the relief desired.
decision had already become final and executory ten days after the
denial of MR and that the company had already paid the money (in
fact it was paid before petition was filed). SC held that NLRC
decision was subject to judicial review of the CA by filing a petition
for certiorari within 60 days from notice of decision or resolution
being assailed. Thus, the NLRC decision could still be modified or
nullified.

DOCTRINE: In cases where a petition for certiorari is filed after the


expiration of the 10-day period under the 2011 NLRC Rules of
Procedure but within the 60-day period under Rule 65 of the Rules of
Court, the CA can grant the petition and modify, nullify and reverse a
decision or resolution of the NLRC

FACTS:
• Respondent Leandro Legaspi was employed as Utility Pastry • CA: The CA partially granted the petition for certiorari and
on board the vessel "Azamara Journey" under the employment of modified the assailed resolutions of the NLRC, awarding only
petitioner Philippine Transmarine Carriers, Inc. US$60,000.00 pursuant to the CBA between Celebrity Cruise Lines
• Legaspi’s employment was covered by a Collective and Federazione Italianaa Transporti CISL.
Bargaining Agreement (CBA) wherein it was agreed that the o Unaware of a) the September 5, 2010 entry of judgment of
company shall pay a maximum disability compensation of up to the NLRC, b) the October 22, 2010 payment of US$81,320.00, and c)
US$60,000.00 only. the writ of execution issued by the LA, the CA rendered its Decision,
• While on board the vessel, respondent suffered "Cardiac dated June 29, 2011.
Arrest S/P ICD Insertation." • Petitioner: since it had already paid the total amount of
• He was checked by the ship’s doctor and was prescribed US$89,452.00, it was entitled to the return of the excess payment in
medications. the amount of US$29,452.00.
• On November 14, 2008, respondent was repatriated to receive • CA: denied the motion and ruled that the petition should have
further medical treatment and examination. The company designated been dismissed for being moot and academic because:
physician assessed his condition to be Disability Grade 2. o the assailed decision of the NLRC had become final and
• Not satisfied, respondent filed a complaint for full and executory on September 5, 2010, and
permanent disability compensation against petitioner before the Labor o the said judgment had been satisfied on October 22, 2010,
Arbiter (LA). even before the filing of the petition for certiorari on November 8,
• LA: Ruled in favor of Legaspi (See Notes for awards) 2010
o Award was based on the ITF Cruise Ship Model Agreement o Cited Career Philippines Ship Management v. Geronimo
for Catering Personnel, not on the CBA. Madjus : the satisfaction of the monetary award rendered the petition
• Not satisfied, petitioner appealed the LA decision before the for certiorari moot.
NLRC • Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied
• NLRC: Affirmed the decision of the LA. by the CA in its assailed July 20, 2012 Resolution.
• Petitioner agreed to pay respondent US$81,320.00. The terms • Petitioner:
and conditions of said payment were embodied in the Receipt of o They filed its petition for certiorari within the 60-day
Judgment Award with Undertaking, wherein respondent reglementary period and, thus, the NLRC resolutions could not have
acknowledged receipt of the said amount and undertook to return it to attained finality
petitioner in the event the latter’s petition for certiorari would be Cites Delima v. Gois : NLRC cannot declare that a decision
granted. has become final and executory because the period to file the petition
o It was also agreed upon that the remaining balance would be has not yet expired
given on the next scheduled conference. The finality of the NLRC judgment did not render the petition
• On November 8, 2010, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari moot and academic because such is null and void ab initio
with the CA o The Receipt of the Judgment Award with Undertaking (which
• In the meantime, LA issued a writ of execution which noted was never refuted by respondent) clearly stated that the payment of
petitioner’s payment of the amount of US$81,320.00.
the judgment award was without prejudice to its right to file a petition Section 4 Rule XI of the 2011 NLRC Rules of Procedure, provides
for certiorari with CA that a petition for certiorari filed with the CA shall not stay the
Career Philippines (cited by CA) not applicable because not execution of the assailed decision unless a restraining order is issued.
on all fours with this case • Leonis Navigation case said:
Applicable case should be Leonis Navigation Co. Inc v. o “The CA, therefore, could grant the petition for certiorari if it
Villamater: satisfaction of the monetary award by the employer does finds that the NLRC, in its assailed decision or resolution, committed
not render the petition for certiorari moot before the CA grave abuse of discretion by capriciously, whimsically, or arbitrarily
• Respondent: reiterates the CA ruling; voluntary satisfaction disregarding evidence that is material to or decisive of the
by petitioner of the full judgment award rendered the case moot controversy; and it cannot make this determination without looking
into the evidence of the parties.”
RULING: Petition GRANTED o “Necessarily, the appellate court can only evaluate the
materiality or significance of the evidence, which is alleged to have
Whether or not petition for Certiorari is moot and academic—NO been capriciously, whimsically, or arbitrarily disregarded by the
• Section 14, Rule VII of the 2011 NLRC Rules of Procedure NLRC, in relation to all other evidence on record. Notably, if the CA
provides that decisions, resolutions or orders of the NLRC shall grants the petition and nullifies the decision or resolution of the
become final and executory after ten (10) calendar days from receipt NLRC on the ground of grave abuse of discretion amounting to
thereof by the parties, and entry of judgment shall be made upon the excess or lack of jurisdiction, the decision or resolution of the NLRC
expiration of the said period is, in contemplation of law, null and void ab initio; hence, the decision
• In St. Martin Funeral Home v. NLRC, however, it was ruled or resolution never became final and executory.”
that judicial review of decisions of the NLRC may be sought via a
petition for certiorari before the CA under Rule 65 of the Rules of NOTES:
Court; and under Section 4 thereof, petitioners are allowed sixty (60) • US$80,000.00 or its peso equivalent at the time of payment as
days from notice of the assailed order or resolution within which to permanent disability compensation; US$1,320.00 or its peso
file the petition. equivalent as sick wages;
• Hence, in cases where a petition for certiorari is filed after the
expiration of the 10-day period under the 2011 NLRC Rules of
Procedure but within the 60-day period under Rule 65 of the Rules of
Court, the CA can grant the petition and modify, nullify and reverse a
decision or resolution of the NLRC.
• Accordingly, in this case, although the petition for certiorari
was not filed within the 10-day period, petitioner timely filed it before
the CA within the 60-day reglementary period under Rule 65.
• Thus, CA’s review of the decisions or resolutions of the
NLRC under Rule 65, particularly those which have already been
executed, does not affect their statutory finality, considering that
CASE DIGEST: Abbott Laboratories Phil. et.al. v. Pearlie Ann F. (a) she will handle the staff of Hospira ALSU and will directly report
Alcaraz [G.R. No. 192571, July 23, 2013] to Almazar on matters regarding Hopira’s local operations,
Subject: Labor Law – Probationary employees – Standards to operational budget, and performance evaluation of the Hospira ALSU
qualify as a regular employee Staff who are on probationary status;
Decision (Perlas-Bernarbe, J.) (b) she must implement Abbott’s Code of Good Corporate Conduct
Dissent (Brion, J.) (Code of Conduct), office policies on human resources and finance,
FACTS: and ensure that Abbott will hire people who are fit in the
On June 27, 2004, Abbott Laboratories, Philippines (Abbott) caused organizational discipline;
the publication in a major broadsheet newspaper of its need for a (c) Kelly Walsh, Manager of the Literature Drug Surveillance Drug
Medical and Regulatory Affairs Manager who would: (a) be Safety of Hospira, will be her immediate supervisor;
responsible for drug safety surveillance operations, staffing, and (d) she should always coordinate with Abbott’s human resource
budget; (b) lead the development and implementation of standard officers in the management and discipline of the staff;
operating procedures/policies for drug safety surveillance and (e) Hospira ALSU will spin off from Abbott in early 2006 and will be
vigilance; and (c) act as the primary interface with internal and officially incorporated and known as Hospira, Philippines; and
external customers regarding safety operations and queries. (f) the processing of information and/or raw material data subject of
Alcaraz – who was then a Regulatory Affairs and Information Hospira ALSU operations will be strictly confined and controlled
Manager at Aventis Pasteur Philippines, Incorporated (another under the computer system and network being maintained and
pharmaceutical company like Abbott) – showed interest and operated from the United States. For this purpose, all those involved
submitted her application on October 4, 2004. in Hospira ALSU are required to use two identification cards: one, to
On December 7, 2004, Abbott formally offered Alcaraz the above- identify them as Abbott’s employees and another, to identify them as
mentioned position which was an item under the company’s Hospira Hospira employees.
Affiliate Local Surveillance Unit (ALSU) department. On March 3, 2005, Maria Olivia T. Yabut-Misa, Abbott’s Human
In Abbott’s offer sheet, it was stated that Alcaraz was to be Resources (HR) Director, sent Alcaraz an e-mail which contained
employed on a probationary basis. an explanation of the procedure for evaluating the performance
Later that day, she accepted the said offer and received an electronic of probationary employees and further indicated that Abbott had
mail (e-mail) from Abbott’s Recruitment Officer, Teresita C. only one evaluation system for all of its employees. Alcaraz was
Bernardo (Bernardo), confirming the same. Attached to Bernardo’s also given copies of Abbott’s Code of Conduct and Probationary
e-mail were Abbott’s organizational chart and a job description Performance Standards and Evaluation (PPSE) and Performance
of Alcaraz’s work. Excellence Orientation Modules (Performance Modules) which
On February 12, 2005, Alcaraz signed an employment contract she had to apply in line with her task of evaluating the Hospira
which stated that she was to be placed on probation for a period ALSU staff.
of six (6) months beginning February 15, 2005 to August 14, 2005. Abbott’s PPSE procedure mandates that the job performance of a
During Alcaraz’s pre-employment orientation, Allan G. Almazar, probationary employee should be formally reviewed and
Hospira’s Country Transition Manager, briefed her on her duties discussed with the employee at least twice: first on the third month
and responsibilities as Regulatory Affairs Manager: and second on the fifth month from the date of employment.
The necessary Performance Improvement Plan should also be terminated effective May 19, 2005. The letter detailed the reasons
made during the third-month review in case of a gap between the for Alcaraz’s termination – particularly, that Alcaraz:
employee’s performance and the standards set. These performance (a) did not manage her time effectively;
standards should be discussed in detail with the employee within (b) failed to gain the trust of her staff and to build an effective rapport
the first two (2) weeks on the job. It was equally required that a with them;
signed copy of the PPSE form must be submitted to Abbott’s (c) failed to train her staff effectively; and
Human Resources Department (HRD) and shall serve as (d) was not able to obtain the knowledge and ability to make sound
documentation of the employee’s performance during his/her judgments on case processing and article review which were
probationary period. This shall form the basis for recommending the necessary for the proper performance of her duties.
confirmation or termination of the probationary employment. Alcaraz felt that she was unjustly terminated from her employment
On April 20, 2005, Alcaraz had a meeting with Cecille Terrible, and thus, filed a complaint for illegal dismissal and damages against
Abbott’s former HR Director, to discuss certain issues regarding Abbott and its officers, namely, Misa, Bernardo, Almazar, Walsh,
staff performance standards. In the course thereof, Alcaraz Terrible, and Feist. She claimed that she should have already been
accidentally saw a printed copy of an e-mail sent by Walsh to considered as a regular and not a probationary employee given
some staff members which essentially contained queries regarding Abbott’s failure to inform her of the reasonable standards for her
the former’s job performance. Alcaraz asked if Walsh’s action regularization upon her engagement as required under Article
was the normal process of evaluation. Terrible said that it was 295 of the Labor Code. In this relation, she contended that while her
not. employment contract stated that she was to be engaged on a
On May 16, 2005, Alcaraz was called to a meeting with Walsh and probationary status, the same did not indicate the standards on
Terrible where she was informed that she failed to meet the which her regularization would be based. She further averred
regularization standards for the position of Regulatory Affairs that the individual petitioners maliciously connived to illegally
Manager. Thereafter, Walsh and Terrible requested Alcaraz to dismiss her when:
tender her resignation, else they be forced to terminate her (a) they threatened her with termination;
services. She was also told that, regardless of her choice, she (b) she was ordered not to enter company premises even if she was
should no longer report for work and was asked to surrender her still an employee thereof; and
office identification cards. She requested to be given one week to (c) they publicly announced that she already resigned in order to
decide on the same, but to no avail. humiliate her.
On May 17, 2005, Alcaraz told her administrative assistant, Claude Abbott maintained that Alcaraz was validly terminated from her
Gonzales (Gonzales), that she would be on leave for that probationary employment given her failure to satisfy the prescribed
day. However, Gonzales told her that Walsh and Terrible already standards for her regularization which were made known to her at the
announced to the whole Hospira ALSU staff that Alcaraz already time of her engagement.
resigned due to health reasons. The Labor Arbiter ruled in Abbott’s favor. The NLRC reversed,
On May 23, 2005, Walsh, Almazar, and Bernardo personally upholding Alcaraz’s allegations. The CA affirmed the NLRC
handed to Alcaraz a letter stating that her services had been decision.
ISSUES:
1) WON Alcaraz was sufficiently informed of the reasonable further notified that Abbott had only one evaluation system for all of
standards to qualify her as a regular employee its employees; and
MAJORITY: YES. Abbott clearly conveyed to Alcaraz her duties (h) Moreover, Alcaraz had previously worked for another
and responsibilities as Regulatory Affairs Manager prior to, during pharmaceutical company and had admitted to have an “extensive
the time of her engagement, and the incipient stages of her training and background” to acquire the necessary skills for her job.
employment. On this score, the Court finds it apt to detail not only the Considering the totality of the above-stated circumstances, Alcaraz
incidents which point out to the efforts made by Abbott but also those was well-aware that her regularization would depend on her ability
circumstances which would show that Alcaraz was well-apprised of and capacity to fulfill the requirements of her position as Regulatory
her employer’s expectations that would, in turn, determine her Affairs Manager and that her failure to perform such would give
regularization: Abbott a valid cause to terminate her probationary
(a) On June 27, 2004, Abbott caused the publication in a major employment. Verily, basic knowledge and common sense dictate
broadsheet newspaper of its need for a Regulatory Affairs Manager, that the adequate performance of one’s duties is, by and of
indicating therein the job description for as well as the duties and itself, an inherent and implied standard for a probationary
responsibilities attendant to the aforesaid position; this prompted employee to be regularized; such is a regularization standard
Alcaraz to submit her application to Abbott on October 4, 2004; which need not be literally spelled out or mapped into technical
(b) In Abbott’s December 7, 2004 offer sheet, it was stated that indicators in every case.
Alcaraz was to be employed on a probationary status; DISSENT (Brion, J.): NO. The Offer Sheet was designed to
(c) On February 12, 2005, Alcaraz signed an employment contract inform Alcaraz of the compensation and benefits package offered
which specifically stated, inter alia, that she was to be placed on to her by Abbott and can in no way be read as a statement of the
probation for a period of six (6) months beginning February 15, 2005 applicable probationary employment standard. It was
to August 14, 2005; communicated even prior to engagement when the parties were
(d) On the day Alcaraz accepted Abbott’s employment offer, Bernardo negotiating, not at the point of engagement as the law requires.
sent her (d) On the day Alcaraz accepted Abbott’s employment offer, The pre-employment orientation on Alcaraz’s duty to implement
Bernardo sent her copies of Abbott’s organizational structure and her Abbott’s Code of Conduct, office policies and training
job description through e-mail; program likewise cannot be characterized as performance
(e) Alcaraz was made to undergo a pre-employment orientation where standards; they simply related to activities aimed at acquainting
Almazar informed her that she had to implement Abbott’s Code of and training Alcaraz on her duties and not for the purpose of
Conduct and office policies on human resources and finance and that informing her of the performance standards applicable to
she would be reporting directly to Walsh; her. What stands out is that they do not pertain specifically to
(f) Alcaraz was also required to undergo a training program as part Alcaraz and the required performance standard applicable for her
of her orientation; qualification for regular employment; they related to the staff
(g) Alcaraz received copies of Abbott’s Code of Conduct and Alcaraz managed and supervised. Additionally, these were all
Performance Modules from Misa who explained to her the procedure relayed prior to or after Alcaraz was engaged by Abbott.
for evaluating the performance of probationary employees; she was An important distinction to remember at this point is that Alcaraz’s
knowledge of the duties that her work entailed, and her
knowledge of the employer’s performance standard, are two measure of how these duties and responsibilities should be
distinct matters separately requiring the presentation of delivered. They are separate elements and the latter element is
independent proof. missing in the present case.
MAJORITY: Keeping with [the Omnibus Rules Implementing the 2nd. The ponencia glosses over the communication aspect. Not only
Labor Code], an employer is deemed to have made known the must there be express performance standards; there must be effective
standards that would qualify a probationary employee to be a communication. If no standards were provided, what would be
regular employee when it has exerted reasonable efforts to communicated?
apprise the employee of what he is expected to do to accomplish 3rd. The ponencia badly contradicts itself in claiming that actual
during the trial of probation.This goes without saying that the communication of specific standards might not be necessary “when
employee is sufficiently made aware of his probationary status as well the job is self-descriptive in nature, for instance, in the case of maids,
as the length of time of the probation. cooks, drivers, or messengers.” Alcaraz, in the first place, was
The exception to the foregoing is when the job is self-descriptive never a maid, cook, driver or a messenger and cannot be placed
in nature, for instance, in the case of maids, cooks, drivers, or under this classification; she was hired and employed as a human
messengers. Also in Aberdeen Court, Inc v. Agustin, it has been held resources manager, in short, a managerial employee. Plain and
that the rule on notifying a probationary employee of the common sense reasoning by one who ever had been in an
standards of regularization should not be used to exculpate an employment situation dictates that the job of a manager cannot be
employee in a manner contrary to basic knowledge and common self-explanatory, in the way the ponencia implied; the complexity of
sense in regard to which there is no need to spell out a policy or a managerial job must necessarily require that the level of
standard to be met. In the same light, an employee’s failure to performance to be delivered must be specified and cannot simply be
perform the duties and responsibilities which have been clearly assumed based on the communication of the manager’s duties and
made known to him constitutes a justifiable basis for a responsibilities.
probationary employee’s non-regularization. 4th. The ponencia also forgets that what these “performance
DISSENT (Brion, J.): Based on these premises, the ponencia then standards” or measures cannot simply be assumed because they
deftly argues that because the duties and responsibilities of the are critically important in this case, or for that matter, in any case
position have been explained to Alcaraz, an experienced human involving jobs whose duties and responsibilities are not simple or
resource specialist, she should have known what was expected for self-descriptive. If Alcaraz had been evaluated or assessed in the
her to attain regular status. The ponencia’s reasoning, however, is manner that the company’s internal rules require, these standards
badly flawed. would have been the basis for her performance or lack of it. Last but
1st. The ponencia impliedly admits that no performance standards not the least, Alcaraz’s services were terminated on the basis of the
were expressly given but argues that because Alcaraz had been performance standards that, by law, the employer set or prescribed at
informed of her duties and responsibilities (a fact that was and is not the time of the employee’s engagement. If none had been prescribed
disputed), she should be deemed to know what was expected of her in the first place, under what basis could the employee then be
for purposes of regularization. This is a major flaw that the ponencia assessed for purposes of termination or regularization?
satisfies only via an assumption. The ponencia apparently forgets 2) WON Alcaraz was validly terminated from her employment
that knowledge of duties and responsibilities is different from the
MAJORITY: NO. Abbott failed to follow the above-stated performance standard, the evidence failed to show that Alcaraz did
procedure in evaluating Alcaraz. For one, there lies a hiatus of not meet this standard in a manner and to the extent equivalent to
evidence that a signed copy of Alcaraz’s PPSE form was submitted to the “just cause” that the law requires.
the HRD. It was not even shown that a PPSE form was completed to In defense of Abbott’s failure to observe the two-notice requirement,
formally assess her performance. Neither was the performance the ponencia argues that a different procedure applies when
evaluation discussed with her during the third and fifth months of her terminating a probationary employee; the usual two-notice
employment. Nor did Abbott come up with the necessary requirement does not govern, citing for this purpose Section 2, Rule I,
Performance Improvement Plan to properly gauge Alcaraz’s Book VI of the Implementing Rules of the Labor Code. The ponencia,
performance with the set company standards. however, forgets that the single notice rule applies only if the
The Court modified Agabon v. NLRC in the case of Jaka Food employee is validly on probationary basis; it does not apply where
Processing Corporation v. Pacot where it created a distinction the employee is deemed a regular employee for the company’s
between procedurally defective dismissals due to a just cause, on one failure to provide and to communicate a prescribed performance
hand, and those due to an authorized cause, on the other. standard applicable to the probationary employee.
If the dismissal is based on a just cause under Article 296 of the 3) WON the individual petitioners herein are liable
Labor Code but the employer failed to comply with the notice MAJORITY: NO. Other than her unfounded assertions on the
requirement, the sanction to be imposed upon him should be matter, there is no evidence to support the fact that the individual
tempered because the dismissal process was, in effect, initiated by petitioners herein, in their capacity as Abbott’s officers and
an act imputable to the employee employees, acted in bad faith or were motivated by ill will in
If the dismissal is based on an authorized cause under Article 297 terminating Alcaraz’s services. The fact that Alcaraz was made to
but the employer failed to comply with the notice requirement, the resign and not allowed to enter the workplace does not necessarily
sanction should be stiffer because the dismissal process was indicate bad faith on Abbott’s part since a sufficient ground existed
initiated by the employer’s exercise of his management for the latter to actually proceed with her termination. On the alleged
prerogative. loss of her personal belongings, records are bereft of any showing that
Alcaraz’s dismissal proceeded from her failure to comply with the the same could be attributed to Abbott or any of its officers.
standards required for her regularization. As such, it is DISSENT (Brion, J.): YES. The NLRC exhaustively discussed
undeniable that the dismissal process was, in effect, initiated by Abbott’s bad faith, as demonstrated by the actions of the individual
an act imputable to the employee, akin to dismissals due to just petitioners:
causesunder Article 296 of the Labor Code. Therefore, the Court First, Alcaraz was pressured to resign:
deems it appropriate to fix the amount of nominal damages at the (1) she was threatened with termination, which will surely damage
amount of P30,000.00, consistent with its rulings in her reputation in the pharmaceutical industry;
both Agabon and Jaka. (2) she was asked to evacuate her Commission and ordered not to
DISSENT (Brion, J.): YES. Alcaraz was dismissed as she “failed to enter the Company’s premises even if she was still an Abbott
qualify as regular employee in accordance with the prescribed employee; and
standards set by the Company.” Even granting for the sake of (3) Terrible and Walsh made a public announcement to the staff that
argument that Abbott had apprised Alcaraz of an applicable Alcaraz already resigned even if in reality she did not.
The CA also described in detail the abrupt and oppressive manner in AMA Computer College-Santiago City, Inc. vs. Chelly P. Nacino,
which Alcaraz’s employment was dismissed by Abbott: G.R. No. 162739, February 12, 2008)
On May 23, 2005, Alcaraz still reported for work since Abbott had
not yet handed the termination notice to her. However, the security FACTS:
guard did not allow her to enter the Hospira ALSU office pursuant
to Walsh[’s] instruction. She requested Walsh that she be allowed to Aggrieved, Nacino filed on December 13, 2002 a Complaint10 for
enter the company premises to retrieve her last remaining things in Illegal Suspension and Termination before the National Conciliation
her office which are mostly her personal belongings. She was allowed and Mediation Board (NCMB) in Tuguegarao City. On January 10,
to enter. However, she was surprised to see her drawers already 2003, Maria Luanne M. Jali-jali (Jali-jali), AMA's representative,
unlocked and, when she opened the same, she discovered that her signed the submission Agreement, accepting the jurisdiction of
small brown envelope x x x, white pouch containing the duplicate Voluntary Arbitrator Nicanor Y. Samaniego (Voluntary Arbitrator)
keys, and the staff’s final evaluation sheets were over the controversy.
missing.Alcaraz informed Bernardo about the incident. The latter
responded by saying she was no longer an employee of the company Before the Voluntary Arbitrator, the parties agreed to settle the case
since May 19, 2005. amicably, with Nacino discharging and releasing AMA from all his
Alcaraz reported the matter to the Pasig Police Station and asked for claims in consideration of the sum of P7,719.81. The
help regarding the theft of her properties. The Pasig Police incident Decision11 embodying the Compromise Agreement and the
report stated as follows: corresponding Quitclaim and Release,12 both dated February 21,
x x x x When confronted by the suspect, in the presence of one SOCO 2003, were duly prepared and signed, but the check in payment of the
officer and staff, named Christian Perez, Kelly Walsh allegedly consideration for the settlement had yet to be released.
admitted that she was the one who opened the drawer and got the
green folders containing the staff evaluations. The Reportee was told On April 1, 2003, Nacino died in an accident. On April 15, 2003, the
by Kelly Walsh that her Rolex wristwatch will be returned to her Voluntary Arbitrator rendered the assailed Decision,13 ordering
provided that she will immediately vacate her office. Nacino's reinstatement and the payment of his backwages and
On the same date, Alcaraz’s termination letter dated May 19, 2005 13th month pay. Therein, the Voluntary Arbitrator manifested that,
was handed to her by Walsh, Almazar and Bernardo. due to AMA's failure to pay the sum of P7,719.81, Nacino withdrew
RESULT: CA reversed. In favor of Abbott. from the Compromise Agreement, as shown by the conduct of a
hearing on March 15, 2003 where both parties appeared and were
directed to file their position papers. The Voluntary Arbitrator also
stated that Nacino complied, but AMA failed to file its position paper
and to appear before him despite summons. On May 7, 2003, the
Voluntary Arbitrator issued a Writ of Execution14 upon motion of
Nacino's surviving spouse, one Bernadeth V. Nacino. AMA filed a
Motion to Quash the said Writ but the Voluntary Arbitrator allegedly
refused to receive the same.15 Thus, on May 22, 2003, the heirs of On the other hand, the heirs of Nacino refused to receive this Court's
Nacino were able to garnish AMA's bank deposits in the amount Resolution requiring them to file their Comment18 and, as such, were
of P52,021.70. considered to have waived their right to file the same.19

On June 16, 2003, AMA filed a Petition16 for Certiorari under Rule The instant petition lacks merit.
65 before the CA. On June 23, 2003, the CA dismissed the said
petition because it was a wrong mode of review. It held that the Pertinent is our ruling in Centro Escolar University Faculty and
proper remedy was an appeal by way of Rule 43 of the Rules of Civil Allied Workers Union-Independent v. Court of Appeals,20 where we
Procedure. Accordingly, the CA opined, an erroneous appeal shall be held:
dismissed outright pursuant to Section 2, Rule 50 of the Rules of Civil
Procedure. We find that the Court of Appeals did not err in holding that
petitioner used a wrong remedy when it filed a special civil
AMA filed its Motion for Reconsideration but the CA denied it in its action on certiorari under Rule 65 instead of an appeal under
Resolution dated March 3, 2004. Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. The Court held
in Luzon Development Bank v. Association of Luzon
Hence, this petition based on the sole ground that: Development Bank Employees that decisions of the voluntary
arbitrator under the Labor Code are appealable to the Court of
THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS Appeals. In that case, the Court observed that the Labor Code
ERROR OF LAW IN DISMISSING THE PETITION FOR was silent as regards the appeals from the decisions of the
CERTIORARI UNDER RULE 65 OF THE 1997 RULES OF voluntary arbitrator, unlike those of the Labor Arbiter which
CIVIL PROCEDURE FILED BY HEREIN PETITIONER. may be appealed to the National Labor Relations
Commission. The Court noted, however, that the voluntary
AMA claims that Jali-jali was misinformed and misled in signing the arbitrator is a government instrumentality within the
Submission Agreement, subjecting AMA to the jurisdiction of the contemplation of Section 9 of Batas Pambansa Blg. (BP) 129
Voluntary Arbitrator; that the Voluntary Arbitrator's Decision was which provides for the appellate jurisdiction of the Court of
issued under the Labor Code and, as such, the same is not appealable Appeals. The decisions of the voluntary arbitrator are akin to
under Rule 43, as provided for by Section 217 thereof, but under Rule those of the Regional Trial Court, and, therefore, should first
65 of the Rules of Civil Procedure; and that the petition be appealed to the Court of Appeals before being elevated to
for certiorari is the only plain, speedy and adequate remedy in this this Court. This is in furtherance and consistent with the
case since the Voluntary Arbitrator acted with grave abuse of original purpose of Circular No. 1-91 to provide a uniform
discretion in disregarding the parties' compromise agreement, in procedure for the appellate review of adjudications of all
rendering the assailed Decision, and in issuing the Writ of Execution quasi-judicial agencies not expressly excepted from the
without affording AMA its right to due process. coverage of Section 9 of BP 129. Circular No. 1-91 was later
revised and became Revised Administrative Circular No. 1-
95. The Rules of Court Revision Committee incorporated said Verily, rules of procedure exist for a noble purpose, and to disregard
circular in Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. The such rules in the guise of liberal construction would be to defeat such
inclusion of the decisions of the voluntary arbitrator in the purpose. Procedural rules are not to be disdained as mere
Rule was based on the Court's pronouncements in Luzon technicalities. They may not be ignored to suit the convenience of a
Development Bank v. Association of Luzon Development party. Adjective law ensures the effective enforcement of substantive
Bank Employees. Petitioner's argument, therefore, that the rights through the orderly and speedy administration of justice. Rules
ruling in said case is inapplicable in this case is without merit. are not intended to hamper litigants or complicate litigation. But they
help provide for a vital system of justice where suitors may be heard
We are not unmindful of instances when certiorari was granted following judicial procedure and in the correct forum. Public order
despite the availability of appeal, such as (a) when public welfare and and our system of justice are well served by a conscientious
the advancement of public policy dictates; (b) when the broader observance by the parties of the procedural rules.25
interest of justice so requires; (c) when the writs issued are null and
void; or (d) when the questioned order amounts to an oppressive WHEREFORE, the instant Petition is DENIED for lack of merit.
exercise of judicial authority. 21 However, none of these recognized The assailed Court of Appeals Resolutions dated June 23, 2003 and
exceptions attends the case at bar. AMA has sadly failed to show March 3, 2004 are hereby AFFIRMED. Costs against the petitioner.
circumstances that would justify a deviation from the general rule.

While it is true that, in accordance with the liberal spirit which


pervades the Rules of Court and in the interest of justice, a petition
for certiorari may be treated as having been filed under Rule 45, the
petition for certiorari filed by petitioner before the CA cannot be
treated as such, without the exceptional circumstances mentioned
above, because it was filed way beyond the 15-day reglementary
period within which to file the Petition for Review.22 AMA received
the assailed Decision of the Voluntary Arbitrator on April 15, 2003
and it filed the petition for certiorari under Rule 65 before the CA
only on June 16, 2003.23 By parity of reasoning, the same
reglementary period should apply to appeals taken from the decisions
of Voluntary Arbitrators under Rule 43. Based on the foregoing
disquisitions, the assailed Decision of the Voluntary Arbitrator had
already become final and executory and beyond the purview of this
Court to act upon.24