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SALINAS JR. V.

NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION


November 24, 1999 | J. Purisima
Construction in favor of labor, Art. 4
MND

DOCTRINE: It is basic and irrefragable rule that in interpreting the provisions of the Labor Code and its
IRRs, the workingman’s welfare should be the primordial and paramount consideration. Article 4 of the
Labor Code provides that “all doubts in the implementation and interpretation of the provisions of the
Labor Code including its implementing rules and regulations shall be resolved in favor of labor.”
CASE SUMMARY: Petitioners assail the decision of the NLRC which held that they were mere project
employees. Given the circumstances of their work (see facts), the SC adjudged that they were regular employees,
despite it not being explicitly stated in their successive contracts.

FACTS:
 Petitioners (Alonzo, Salinas, Samulde, and Cortez) are employees of Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Company
of Manila (AG & P). Some of them worked as laborers, carrier operator, forklift operator, lubeman,
carpenter etc. for as early as 1979 up to 1989.
 The petitioners filed separate complaints against Atlantic Gulf for illegal dismissals, which were
consolidated and jointly heard by the Labor Arbiter. The LA found that petitioners were project
employees, meaning that they were employed for different specific projects, and that their work relation
with Atlantic Gulf is governed by Policy Instruction No. 20. This was affirmed by the NLRC ratiocinating
that the petitioners’ separation from service was a result of the completion of the project or its phase,
which does not constitute an illegal dismissal.
o Note: Policy Instruction No.20 requires the employer to report to the nearest Public Employment
Office the fact of termination of project employee as a result of the completion of the project or
any phase thereof.
 Petitioners argue that they are regular employees:
o That they had been covered by a number of contracts renewed continuously, with periods ranging
from 5 to 9 years
o That they performed the same kind of work throughout their employment, and such was usually
necessary and desirable in the trade or business of the corporation
o That their work did not end on a project-to-project basis
o That no report was ever submitted to the nearest public employment office every time petitioners’
employment was terminated pursuant to Policy Instruction No, 20.
 Respondent maintains that the petitioners were under project employment, which is not deemed regular
but a separate category. It cited that Department Order 19 amended Policy Instruction No. 20, which
allows re-hiring of project workers on a project to project basis and which considers the report of
termination of employment a mere “indicator” of project employment.

ISSUE: Whether or not the petitioners are regular and not project employees? (Regular employees)

RULING:

The Court ruled that the petitioners are indeed regular employees. In the Caramol case, the petitioner
was deemed a regular employee as manifested by “the successive employment contracts where he was made to
perform the same kind of work as a rigger, which was usually necessary or desirable in the usual trade or business
of AG &P.” In the case of Samson, the Court has pronounced: “The mandate in Article 281 of the Labor Code,
which pertinently prescribes that the ‘provisions of written agreement to the contrary notwithstanding and
regardless of the oral agreements of the parties, an employment shall be deemed to be regular where the employee
has been engaged to perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of
the employer’ and that ‘any employee who has rendered at least one year of service, whether such service is
continuous or broken shall be considered a regular employee with respect to the activity in which he is employed
and his employment shall continue while such actually exists,’ should apply in the case of petitioner (Samson).”

The Court also said that D.O. 19 did not totally dispense with the notice requirement, but instead, made
provisions therefor, and considered it as one of the “indicators” that a worker is a project employee. In Section
6.1 of the DO, it reads:
“6.1. Requirements of labor and social legislations.—(a) The construction company and
the general contractor and/or subcontractor referred to in Sec. 2.5 shall be responsible for
the workers in its employ on matters of compliance with the requirements of existing laws
and regulations on hours of work, wages, wage-related benefits, health, safety and social
welfare benefits, including submission to the DOLE-Regional Office of Work
Accident/Illness Report, Monthly Report on Employees’
Terminations/Dismissals/Suspensions and other reports. x x x.”

This provision is prospective in effect, otherwise, it would be prejudicial to the employees and would run
counter to the constitutional mandate on social justice and protection to labor, and such interpretation is more in
accord with the purpose of the D.O.

It is basic and irrefragable rule that in interpreting the provisions of the Labor Code and its IRRs,
the workingman’s welfare should be the primordial and paramount consideration. Article 4 of the Labor
Code provides that “all doubts in the implementation and interpretation of the provisions of the Labor
Code including its implementing rules and regulations shall be resolved in favor of labor.”\

In this case, the petitioners had been providing AG & P continuous and uninterrupted services except for
a day or so gap in their successive employment contracts. They had been performing the same kinds of work
which were usually necessary for the business of the company. The periods were undoubtedly imposed to preclude
their acquisition of security of tenure, and must be struck down for being contrary to public policy, morals, good
customs, and public order.

DISPOSITION:

NOTES: