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ART.

225

[G.R. No. 120567. March 20, 1998]

PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, INC., petitioner, vs., NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, FERDINAND
PINEDA and GODOFREDO CABLING, respondents.

Facts: Private respondents are flight stewards of the petitioner. Both were dismissed from the service for
their alleged involvement in the currency smuggling in Hong Kong. Aggrieved by said dismissal, private
respondents filed with the NLRC a petition for injunction. The NLRC issued a temporary mandatory
injunction enjoining petitioner to cease and desist from enforcing its Memorandum of dismissal.

In support of the issuance of the writ of temporary injunction, the NLRC adopted the view that:
(1) private respondents cannot be validly dismissed on the strength of petitioner's Code of Discipline
which was declared illegal by this Court for the reason that it was formulated by the petitioner without
the participation of its employees (2) the whimsical, baseless and premature dismissals of private
respondents which "caused them grave and irreparable injury" is enjoinable as private respondents are
left "with no speedy and adequate remedy at law' except the issuance of a temporary mandatory
injunction; (3) the NLRC is empowered not only to restrain any actual or threatened commission of any or
all prohibited or unlawful acts but also to require the performance of a particular act in any labor dispute,
which, if not restrained or performed forthwith, may cause grave or irreparable damage to any party; and
(4) the temporary mandatory power of the NLRC was recognized by this Court.

Petitioner moved for reconsideration arguing that the NLRC erred in granting a temporary
injunction order when it has no jurisdiction to issue an injunction or restraining order since this may be
issued only under Article 218 of the Labor Code if the case involves or arises from labor disputes.

The NLRC denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration. The now petitioner, for one, cannot
validly claim that NLRC cannot exercise its injunctive power under Article 218 (e) of the Labor Code on the
pretext that what NLRC have here is not a labor dispute as long as it concedes that as defined by law,
Labor Dispute includes any controversy or matter concerning terms or conditions of employment.

Issue: WON the NLRC even without a complaint for illegal dismissal filed before the labor arbiter, entertain
an action for injunction and issue such writ enjoining petitioner Philippine Airlines, Inc. from enforcing its
Orders of dismissal against private respondents, and ordering petitioner to reinstate the private
respondents to their previous positions.

Ruling: No. It is an essential requirement that there must first be a labor dispute between the contending
parties before the labor arbiter. In the present case, there is no labor dispute between the petitioner and
private respondents as there has yet been no complaint for illegal dismissal filed with the labor arbiter by
the private respondents against the petitioner. The petition for injunction directly filed before the NLRC
is in reality an action for illegal dismissal. Thus, the NLRC exceeded its jurisdiction when it issued the
assailed Order granting private respondents' petition for injunction and ordering the petitioner to
reinstate private respondents. Under the Labor Code, the ordinary and proper recourse of an illegally
dismissed employee is to file a complaint for illegal dismissal with the labor arbiter. In the case at bar,
private respondents disregarded this rule and directly went to the NLRC through a petition for injunction
praying that petitioner be enjoined from enforcing its dismissal orders. Furthermore, an examination of
private respondents' petition for injunction reveals that it has no basis since there is no showing of any
urgency or irreparable injury which the private respondents might suffer.

An injunction, as an extraordinary remedy, is not favored in labor law considering that it generally
has not proved to be an effective means of settling labor disputes. It has been the policy of the State to
encourage the parties to use the non-judicial process of negotiation and compromise, mediation and
arbitration. Thus, injunctions may be issued only in cases of extreme necessity based on legal grounds
clearly established, after due consultations or hearing and when all efforts at conciliation are exhausted
which factors, however, are clearly absent in the present case.

Injunction is a preservative remedy for the protection of one's substantive rights or interest. It is
not a cause of action in itself but merely a provisional remedy, an adjunct to a main suit. It is resorted to
only when there is a pressing necessity to avoid injurious consequences which cannot be remedied under
any standard of compensation. The application of the injunctive writ rests upon the existence of an
emergency or of a special reason before the main case be regularly heard. The essential conditions for
granting such temporary injunctive relief are that the complaint alleges facts which appear to be sufficient
to constitute a proper basis for injunction and that on the entire showing from the contending parties,
the injunction is reasonably necessary to protect the legal rights of the plaintiff pending the litigation.
Injunction is also a special equitable relief granted only in cases where there is no plain, adequate and
complete remedy at law
LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs.
SEVERINO LISTANA, SR., respondent.

G.R. No. 152611 August 5, 2003

Facts of the case:

Private respondent Listana voluntarily offered to sell his land of 246.0561 ha. in Sorsogon to the government,
through the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program
(CARP). DAR valued the property at P5,871,689.03 but Listana refused to sell at that price, so the
Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB), in an administrative proceeding determined the
just compensation of the land at P10,956,963.25 and ordered the Land Bank of the Philippines to pay the
same to Listana. A writ of execution was issued by PARAD to that effect but it was apparently not complied
with by LBP so a Motion for Contempt was filed by Listana with the PARAD against petitioner LBP. PARAD
granted the Motion for Contempt and cited for indirect contempt and ordered the arrest of ALEX A.
LORAYES, the Manager of LBP. LBP obtained a preliminary injunction from the Regional Trial Court of
Sorsogon enjoining DARAB from enforcing the arrest order against Lorayes. Listana filed a special civil action
for certiorari with the Court of Appeals. CA nullified the order of the RTC. Consequently, petitioner LBP filed
a petition for review with the Supreme Court.

Issue:

Whether the order for the arrest of petitioner's manager, Mr. Alex Lorayes by the PARAD, was valid.

Ruling:
The arrest order issued by PARAD against Lorayes was not valid because the contempt proceedings initiated
through an unverified "Motion for Contempt" filed by the respondent with the PARAD were themselves
invalid. Said proceedings were invalid for the following reasons:

First, the Rules of Court clearly require the filing of a verified petition with the Regional Trial Court, which
was not complied with in this case. The charge was not initiated by the PARAD motu proprio; rather, it was
by a motion filed by respondent.

Second, neither the PARAD nor the DARAB have jurisdiction to decide the contempt charge filed by the
respondent. The issuance of a warrant of arrest was beyond the power of the PARAD and the DARAB.
Consequently, all the proceedings that stemmed from respondent?s "Motion for Contempt," specifically the
Orders of the PARAD dated August 20, 2000 and January 3, 2001 for the arrest of Alex A. Lorayes, are null
and void.

FEDERICO S. ROBOSA vs. NATIONAL L


ABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION G.R. N
o. 176085, February 8, 2012
FACTS:

The NLRC issued a TRO and directed CTMI, De Luzuriaga and other company executiv
es to cease and desist from dismissing any member of the union and from implementing
memorandum terminating the services of the sales drivers, and to immediately reinstat
e them if the dismissals have been effected.

Allegedly, the respondents did not comply with the NLRC’s resolution. They instead mo
ved to dissolve the TRO and opposed the union’s petition for preliminary injunction. Th
en, the NLRC upgraded the TRO to a writ of preliminary injunction.The respondents mo
ved for reconsideration. The union opposed the motion and urgently moved to cite the r
esponsible CTMI officers in contempt of court.

Meanwhile, the NLRC heard the contempt charge and issued a resolution dismissing the
charge. It ordered the labor arbiter to proceed hearing the main case on the merits.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the NLRC has contempt powers.

HELD:
Yes. Under Article 218 the Labor Code, the NLRC (and the labor arbiters) may hold any
offending party in contempt, directly or indirectly, and impose appropriate penalties in
accordance with law. The penalty for direct contempt consists of either imprisonment or
fine, the degree or amount depends on whether the contempt is against the Commission
or the labor arbiter. The Labor Code, however, requires the labor arbiter or the Commis
sion to deal with indirect contempt in the manner prescribed under Rule 71 of the Rules
of Court. Rule 71 of the Rules of Court does not require the labor arbiter or the NLRC to
initiate indirect contempt proceedings before the trial court. This mode is to be observe
d only when there is no law granting them contempt powers. As is clear under Article 21
8(d) of the Labor Code, the labor arbiter or the Commission is empowered or has jurisdi
ction to hold the offending party or parties in direct or indirect contempt. Robosa, et al.,
therefore, have not improperly brought the indirect contempt charges against the respo
ndents before the NLRC.

SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 230682. November 29, 2017]

JOLO'S KIDDIE CARTS/FUN4KIDS/MARLO U.


CABILI, petitioners, vs. EVELYN A. CABALLA and ANTHONY M.
BAUTISTA,respondents.

DECISION

PERLAS-BERNABE, J : p

Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari 1 are the Resolutions


dated July 28, 2016 2 and February 22, 2017 3 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in
CA-G.R. SP No. 146460 which dismissed the petition for certiorari 4 filed by
petitioners Jolo's Kiddie Carts/Fun4Kids/Marlo U. Cabili (petitioners), due to a
technical ground, i.e., non-filing of a motion for reconsideration before filing a
petition for certiorari.cSEDTC

The Facts

The instant case stemmed from a complaint 5 for illegal dismissal,


underpayment of salaries/wages and 13th month pay, non-payment of overtime
pay, holiday pay, and separation pay, damages, and attorney's fees filed by
Evelyn A. Caballa (Caballa), Anthony M. Bautista (Bautista; collectively,
respondents), and one Jocelyn 6 S. Colisao (Colisao) against petitioners before
the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). Respondents and Colisao
alleged that petitioners hired them as staff members in the latter's
business; Caballa and Bautista were assigned to man petitioners' stalls in SM
Bacoor and SM Rosario in Cavite, respectively, while Colisao was assigned in
several SM branches, the most recent of which was in SM North EDSA. 7 They
were paid a daily salary that reached P330.00 for a six (6)-day work week from
9:45 in the morning until 9:00 o'clock in the evening. 8 They claimed that they
were never paid the monetary value of their unused service incentive leaves,
13th month pay, overtime pay, and premium pay for work during holidays; and
that when petitioners found out that they inquired from the Department of Labor
and Employment about the prevailing minimum wage rates, they were
prohibited from reporting to their work assignment without any justification. 9
For their part, 10 petitioners denied dismissing respondents and Colisao,
and maintained that they were the ones who abandoned their work. 11 They
likewise maintained that they paid respondents and Colisao their wages and
other benefits in accordance with the law and that their money claims were
bereft of factual and legal bases. 12

The Labor Arbiter's (LA) Ruling

In a Decision 13 dated November 27, 2015, the LA dismissed the case


insofar as Colisao is concerned for failure to prosecute. 14However, the LA ruled
in favor of respondents, and accordingly, ordered petitioners to solidarily pay
them the following, plus attorney's fees equivalent to ten percent (10%) of the
total monetary awards:
SeparationBackwages Wage 13th Moral Exemplary Total
Pay Differential month damages damages
pay
Caballa 60,580.00 109,870.80 75,156.12 10,608.00 10,000.00 5,000.00 P271,214.92
Bautista 60,580.00 112,294.00 74,480.12 10,608.00 10,000.00 5,000.00 272,962.12
–––––––––––
––
544,177.04
Plus 10% Attorney's Fees 54,417.70
–––––––––––
––
GRAND TOTAL P598,594.7415
The LA found that respondents' adequate substantiation of their claim
that they were no longer given any work assignment and were not allowed to
go anywhere near their respective workstations, coupled with petitioners' failure
to prove abandonment, justifies the finding that respondents were indeed
dismissed without just cause nor due process. 16
Aggrieved, petitioners appealed 17 to the NLRC.

The NLRC Ruling

In a Decision 18 dated April 28, 2016, the NLRC modified the LA ruling,
finding no illegal dismissal nor abandonment of work. Accordingly, the NLRC
ordered petitioners to reinstate respondents to their former or substantially
equivalent positions without loss of seniority rights and privileges; deleted the
awards for payment of backwages, separation pay, and moral and exemplary
damages; and affirmed the rest of the awards. 19 For this purpose, the NLRC
attached a Computation of Monetary Award 20 detailing the monetary awards
due to respondents, as follows: (a) for Caballa, P15,623.00 as holiday pay,
P109,870.80 as wage differential, and P75,156.12 as 13th month pay; (b) for
Bautista, P15,623.00 as holiday pay, P112,294.00 as wage differential, and
P74,480.12 as 13th month pay; and (c) attorney's fees amounting to ten
percent (10%) of the total monetary value awarded. 21
Anent the procedural matters raised by petitioners, the NLRC ruled
that: (a) petitioners waived the issue of improper venue when they failed to
raise the same before the filing of position papers; and (b) respondents
substantially complied with the requirement of verifying their position papers,
and thus, the same is not fatal to their complaint. 22 As to the merits, while the
NLRC agreed with the LA's finding that there was no abandonment on the part
of respondents, the latter were unable to adduce any proof that petitioners
indeed committed any overt or positive act operative of their dismissal. 23 In
view of the finding that there was neither dismissal on the part of petitioners nor
abandonment on the part of respondents, the NLRC ordered the latter's
reinstatement but without backwages. Finally, the NLRC held that respondents
should be entitled to their holiday pay as it is a statutory benefit which payment
petitioners failed to prove. 24
Dissatisfied, petitioners directly filed a petition for certiorari 25 before the
CA, without moving for reconsideration before the NLRC. SDAaTC

The CA Ruling
In a Resolution 26 dated July 28, 2016, the CA denied the petition due to
petitioners' failure to file a motion for reconsideration before the NLRC prior to
the filing of a petition for certiorari before the CA. It held that the prior filing of
such motion before the lower tribunal is an indispensable requisite in elevating
the case to the CA via certiorari, and that petitioners' failure to do so resulted in
the NLRC ruling attaining finality. 27
Petitioners moved for reconsideration, 28 but the same was denied in a
Resolution 29 dated February 22, 2017; hence, this petition. 30

The Issue Before the Court

The issues for the Court's resolution are whether or not the CA was
correct in: (a) dismissing the petition for certiorari before it due to petitioners'
non-filing of a prior motion for reconsideration before the NLRC;
and (b) effectively affirming the NLRC ruling, which not only increased
respondents' awards of wage differential and 13th month pay, but also awarded
an additional monetary award as holiday pay.

The Court's Ruling

The petition is partly meritorious.

I.

As a rule, the filing of a motion for reconsideration is a condition sine qua


non to the filing of a petition for certiorari. 31 The rationale for this requirement
is that "the law intends to afford the tribunal, board or office an opportunity to
rectify the errors and mistakes it may have lapsed into before resort to the
courts of justice can be had." 32 Notably, however, there are several recognized
exceptions to the rule, one of which is when the order is a patent nullity. 33
In this case, records show that the LA ruled in favor of respondents, and
accordingly, ordered petitioners to pay them the following monetary awards:
SeparationBackwages Wage 13th Moral Exemplary Total
Pay Differential month damages damages
pay
Caballa 60,580.00 109,870.80 75,156.12 10,608.0010,000.00 5,000.00 P271,214.92
Bautista 60,580.00 112,294.00 74,480.12 10,608.0010,000.00 5,000.00 272,962.12
––––––––––

544,177.04
Plus 10% Attorney's Fees 54,417.70
––––––––––

GRAND TOTAL P598,594.74

Upon petitioners' appeal to the NLRC, the LA ruling was modified,


deleting the awards for separation pay, backwages, moral damages, and
exemplary damages, while affirming the awards for wage differential and 13th
month pay. In the Computation of Monetary Award 34attached to the NLRC
ruling — which according to the NLRC itself, shall form part of its decision 35 —
it was indicated that Caballa's awards for wage differential and 13th month pay
are in the amounts of P109,870.80 and P75,156.12, respectively; while the
awards in Bautista's favor were pegged at P112,294.00 and P74,480.12,
respectively. However, a simple counterchecking of the NLRC's computation
with the LA ruling readily reveals that: (a) the amounts of P109,870.80 and
P112,294.00 clearly pertain to the awards of backwages, which were already
deleted in the NLRC ruling; (b) the amounts of P75,156.12 and P74,480.12
pertain to the awards of wage differential; and (c) the amount of P10,608.00
which pertain to the awards of 13th month pay for both respondents, were no
longer reflected in the NLRC computation. While this is obviously just an
oversight on the part of the NLRC, it is not without any implications as such
oversight resulted in an unwarranted increase in the monetary awards due to
respondents. Clearly, such an increase is a patent nullity as it is bereft of any
factual and/or legal basis.
Verily, the CA erred in dismissing the petition for certiorari filed before it
based on the aforesaid technical ground, as petitioners were justified in
pursuing a direct recourse to the CA even without first moving for
reconsideration before the NLRC. In such instance, court procedure dictates
that the case be remanded to the CA for a resolution on the merits. However,
when there is already enough basis on which a proper evaluation of the merits
may be had, as in this case, the Court may dispense with the time-consuming
procedure of remand in order to prevent further delays in the disposition of the
case and to better serve the ends of justice. 36 In view of the foregoing — as
well as the fact that petitioners pray for a resolution on the merits 37 — the Court
finds it appropriate to exhaustively resolve the instant case.

II.
It must be stressed that to justify the grant of the extraordinary remedy
of certiorari, petitioners must satisfactorily show that the court or quasi-judicial
authority gravely abused the discretion conferred upon it. Grave abuse of
discretion connotes judgment exercised in a capricious and whimsical manner
that is tantamount to lack of jurisdiction. To be considered "grave," discretion
must be exercised in a despotic manner by reason of passion or personal
hostility, and must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive
duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined by or to act at all in
contemplation of law. 38
In labor cases, grave abuse of discretion may be ascribed to the NLRC
when its findings and conclusions are not supported by substantial evidence,
which refers to that amount of relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to justify a conclusion. Thus, if the NLRC's ruling has basis
in the evidence and the applicable law and jurisprudence, then no grave abuse
of discretion exists and the CA should so declare and, accordingly, dismiss the
petition. 39
Guided by the foregoing considerations and as will be explained
hereunder, the Court finds that the NLRC did not gravely abuse its discretion in
ruling that: (a) petitioners are barred from raising improper venue and that the
verification requirement in respondents' position paper was substantially
complied with; and (b) respondents were neither dismissed by petitioners nor
considered to have abandoned their jobs. However and as already discussed,
the NLRC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction when it awarded respondents increased monetary benefits without
any factual and/or legal bases. acEHCD

III.

Anent the first procedural issue, petitioners insist that since respondents
worked in Cavite, they should have filed their complaint before the Regional
Arbitration Branch IV of the NLRC and not in Manila, pursuant to Section 1,
Rule IV of the 2011 NLRC Rules of Procedure. As such, the LA in Manila where
the complaint was filed had no jurisdiction to rule on the same. 40 However,
such insistence is misplaced as the aforesaid provision of the 2011 Rules of
Procedure clearly speaks of venue and not jurisdiction. Moreover, paragraph
(c) of the same provision explicitly provides that "[w]hen venue is not objected
to before the first scheduled mandatory conference, such issue shall be
deemed waived." Here, the NLRC aptly pointed out that petitioners only raised
improper venue for the first time in their position paper, 41and as such, they are
deemed to have waived the same.
In this relation, Article 224 (formerly Article 217) 42 of the Labor Code, as
amended, clearly provides that the LAs shall have exclusive and original
jurisdiction to hear and decide, inter alia, termination disputes and money
claims arising from employer-employee relations, as in this case. As such, the
LA clearly had jurisdiction to resolve respondents' complaint.
Another procedural issue raised by petitioners is that respondents signed
the Verification and Affidavit of Non-Forum Shopping attached to their Position
Paper a day earlier than the date such pleading was filed by their counsel. In
this regard, petitioners assert that such is a fatal infirmity that necessitates the
dismissal of respondents' complaint. 43 However, the NLRC correctly ruled that
respondents' substantial compliance with the requirement, coupled with their
meritorious claims against petitioners, necessitates dispensation with the strict
compliance with the rules on verification and certification against forum
shopping in order to better serve the ends of justice. InFernandez v.
Villegas, 44 the Court held:
The Court laid down the following guidelines with respect to non-
compliance with the requirements on or submission of a defective
verification and certification against forum shopping, viz.:
1) A distinction must be made between non-compliance with the
requirement on or submission of defective verification, and non-
compliance with the requirement on or submission of defective
certification against forum shopping.
2) As to verification, non-compliance therewith or a defect
therein does not necessarily render the pleading fatally defective.
The court may order its submission or correction or act on the
pleading if the attending circumstances are such that strict
compliance with the Rule may be dispensed with in order that the
ends of justice may be served thereby.
3) Verification is deemed substantially complied with when one
who has ample knowledge to swear to the truth of the allegations in the
complaint or petition signs the verification, and when matters alleged in
the petition have been made in good faith or are true and correct.
4) As to certification against forum shopping, non-
compliance therewith or a defect therein, unlike in verification, is
generally not curable by its subsequent submission or correction
thereof, unless there is a need to relax the Rule on the ground of
"substantial compliance" or presence of "special circumstances or
compelling reasons."
5) The certification against forum shopping must be signed by all
the plaintiffs or petitioners in a case; otherwise, those who did not sign
will be dropped as parties to the case. Under reasonable or justifiable
circumstances, however, as when all the plaintiffs or petitioners share a
common interest and involve a common cause of action or defense, the
signature of only one of them in the certification against forum shopping
substantially complies with the Rule.
6) Finally, the certification against forum shopping must be
executed by the party-pleader, not by his counsel. If, however, for
reasonable or justifiable reasons, the party-pleader is unable to sign, he
must execute a Special Power of Attorney designating his counsel of
record to sign on his behalf.
xxx xxx xxx
Besides, it is settled that the verification of a pleading is only
a formal, not a jurisdictional requirement intended to secure the
assurance that the matters alleged in a pleading are true and
correct. Therefore, the courts may simply order the correction of
the pleadings or act on them and waive strict compliance with the
rules, as in this case.
xxx xxx xxx
Similar to the rules on verification, the rules on forum shopping
are designed to promote and facilitate the orderly administration of
justice; hence, it should not be interpreted with such absolute
literalness as to subvert its own ultimate and legitimate objectives.
The requirement of strict compliance with the provisions on
certification against forum shopping merely underscores its
mandatory nature to the effect that the certification cannot
altogether be dispensed with or its requirements completely
disregarded. It does not prohibit substantial compliance with the
rules under justifiable circumstances, as also in this
case. 45 (Emphases and underscoring supplied)

IV.

In Claudia's Kitchen, Inc. v. Tanguin, 46 the Court was faced with a


situation where, on the one hand, the employee claimed she was illegally
dismissed by her employer; on the other, the employer denied ever dismissing
such employee and even accused the latter of abandoning her job, as in this
case. In resolving the matter, the Court extensively discussed:
In cases of illegal dismissal, the employer bears the burden of
proof to prove that the termination was for a valid or authorized
cause.But before the employer must bear the burden of proving
that the dismissal was legal, the employees must first establish by
substantial evidence that indeed they were dismissed. If there is no
dismissal, then there can be no question as to the legality or
illegality thereof. In Machica v. Roosevelt Services Center, Inc., the
Court enunciated:
The rule is that one who alleges a fact has the
burden of proving it; thus, petitioners were burdened
to prove their allegation that respondents dismissed
them from their employment. It must be stressed that
the evidence to prove this fact must be clear, positive and
convincing. The rule that the employer bears the burden
of proof in illegal dismissal cases finds no application here
because the respondents deny having dismissed the
petitioners.SDHTEC

xxx xxx xxx


The Court further agrees with the findings of the LA, the NLRC[,]
and the CA that Tanguin was not guilty of abandonment. Tan Brothers
Corporation of Basilan City v. Escudero extensively discussed
abandonment in labor cases:
As defined under established jurisprudence,
abandonment is the deliberate and unjustified refusal of an
employee to resume his employment. It constitutes
neglect of duty and is a just cause for termination of
employment under paragraph (b) of Article 282 [now
Article 296] of the Labor Code. To constitute
abandonment, however, there must be a clear and
deliberate intent to discontinue one's employment
without any intention of returning. In this regard, two
elements must concur: (1) failure to report for work or
absence without valid or justifiable reason; and (2) a
clear intention to sever the employer-employee
relationship, with the second element as the more
determinative factor and being manifested by some
overt acts. Otherwise stated, absence must be
accompanied by overt acts unerringly pointing to the fact
that the employee simply does not want to work anymore.
It has been ruled that the employer has the burden of proof
to show a deliberate and unjustified refusal of the
employee to resume his employment without any intention
of returning. 47(Emphases and underscoring supplied)
As aptly ruled by the NLRC, respondents failed to prove their allegation
that petitioners dismissed them from work, as there was no indication as to how
the latter prevented them from reporting to their work stations; or that the
petitioners made any overt act that would suggest that they indeed terminated
respondents' employment. 48 In the same vein, petitioners failed to prove that
respondents committed unequivocal acts that would clearly constitute intent to
abandon their employment. It may even be said that respondents' failure to
report for work may have been a direct result of their belief, albeit misplaced,
that they had already been dismissed by petitioners. Such mistaken belief on
the part of the employee should not lead to a drastic conclusion that he has
chosen to abandon his work. 49 More importantly, respondents' filing of a
complaint for illegal dismissal negates any intention on their part to sever their
employment relations with petitioners. 50 To reiterate, abandonment of position
is a matter of intention and cannot be lightly inferred, much less legally
presumed, from certain equivocal acts. 51
In light of the finding that respondents neither abandoned their
employment nor were illegally dismissed by petitioners, it is only proper for the
former to report back to work and for the latter to reinstate them to their former
positions or a substantially-equivalent one in their stead. In this regard,
jurisprudence provides that in instances where there was neither dismissal by
the employer nor abandonment by the employee, the proper remedy is to
reinstate the employee to his former position but without the award of
backwages. 52
As for respondents' money claims for holiday pay, wage differential, and
13th month pay, the NLRC properly observed that petitioners failed to show that
payment has been made. As such, they must be held liable for the same. It is
well-settled that "with respect to labor cases, the burden of proving payment of
monetary claims rests on the employer, the rationale being that the pertinent
personnel files, payrolls, records, remittances and other similar documents —
which will show that overtime, differentials, service incentive leave and other
claims of workers have been paid — are not in the possession of the worker
but in the custody and absolute control of the employer." 53 However and as
already adverted to earlier, the awards of wage differential and 13th month pay
due to respondents must be adjusted to properly reflect the computation made
by the LA, in that: (a) Caballa is entitled to wage differential and 13th month pay
in the amounts of P75,156.12 and P10,608.00, respectively; while (b) Bautista's
entitlement to such claims are in the amounts of P74,480.12 and P10,608.00,
respectively.
In the same manner, the NLRC correctly awarded attorney's fees to
respondents, in light of Article 111 (a) of the Labor Code which states that: "[i]n
cases of unlawful withholding of wages, the culpable party may be assessed
attorney's fees equivalent to ten percent (10%) of the amount of wages
recovered," as in this case. AScHCD

Finally, all monetary awards due to respondents shall earn legal interest
at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum from the finality of this Decision until
fully paid, pursuant to prevailing jurisprudence. 54
WHEREFORE, the petition is PARTLY GRANTED. The Resolutions
dated July 28, 2016 and February 22, 2017 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
SP No. 146460 are hereby SET ASIDE. Accordingly, the Decision dated April
28, 2016 of the National Labor Relations Commission
isAFFIRMED with MODIFICATION, ordering petitioners Jolo's Kiddie
Carts/Fun4Kids/Marlo U. Cabili to pay:
a) Respondent Evelyn A. Caballa the amounts of P15,623.00 as holiday
pay, P75,156.12 as wage differential, and P10,608.00 as 13th
month pay, plus attorney's fees amounting to ten percent (10%) of
the aforesaid monetary awards. Further, said amounts shall then
earn legal interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum from
the finality of the Decision until fully paid; and
b) Respondent Anthony M. Bautista the amounts of P15,623.00 as
holiday pay, P74,480.12 as wage differential, and P10,608.00 as
13th month pay, plus attorney's fees amounting to ten percent
(10%) of the aforesaid monetary awards. Further, said amounts
shall then earn legal interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per
annum from the finality of the Decision until fully paid.
Finally, the Temporary Restraining Order dated May 26, 2017 issued in
relation to this case is hereby LIFTED. The Decision dated April 28, 2016 of the
National Labor Relations Commission in NLRC NCR Case No. 03-03168-15
(NLRC LAC No. 02-000701-16), as modified, shall be implemented in
accordance with this Decision.
SO ORDERED.
||| (Jolo's Kiddie Carts v. Caballa, G.R. No. 230682, [November 29, 2017])
[G.R. No. 178379. August 22, 2017.]

CRISPIN S. FRONDOZO, * DANILO M. PEREZ, JOSE A. ZAFRA,


ARTURO B. VITO, CESAR S. CRUZ, NAZARIO C. DELA CRUZ,
and LUISITO R. DILOY, petitioners, vs. MANILA ELECTRIC
COMPANY, respondent.

DECISION

CARPIO, J : p

The Case
Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari 1 assailing the 6
March 2007 Decision 2 and the 14 June 2007 Resolution 3 of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 95747. The Court of Appeals affirmed the 28
February 2006 Resolution 4 and the 26 May 2006 Resolution 5 of the National
Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) which granted the prayer for preliminary
injunction of respondent Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) and denied
therein petitioners' motion for reconsideration.HTcADC

The Antecedent Facts


The case originated from a Notice of Strike (first strike) filed on 16 May
1991 by the MERALCO Employees and Workers Association (MEWA),
composed of MERALCO's rank-and-file employees, on the ground of Unfair
Labor Practice (ULP). Conciliation conferences conducted by the National
Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) failed to settle the dispute and
resulted to a strike staged by MEWA on 6 June 1991. In an Order dated 6 June
1991, 6 then Acting Secretary Nieves R. Confesor of the Department of Labor
and Employment (DOLE) certified the labor dispute to the NLRC for compulsory
arbitration, ordered all the striking workers to return to work, and directed
MERALCO to accept the striking workers back to work under the same terms
and conditions existing prior to the work stoppage.
On 26 July 1991, MERALCO terminated the services of Crispin
S. Frondozo (Frondozo), Danilo M. Perez (Perez), Jose A. Zafra (Zafra), Arturo
B. Vito (Vito), 7 Cesar S. Cruz (Cruz), Nazario C. dela Cruz (N. dela Cruz),
Luisito R. Diloy (Diloy), and Danilo D. Dizon (Dizon) for having committed
unlawful acts and violence during the strike.
On 25 July 1991, MEWA filed a second Notice of Strike (second strike)
on the ground of discrimination and union busting that resulted to the dismissal
from employment of 25 union officers and workers. Then DOLE Secretary
Ruben D. Torres issued an Order dated 8 August 1991 8 that certified the
issues raised in the second strike to the NLRC for consolidation with the first
strike and strictly enjoined any strike or lockout pending resolution of the labor
dispute. The Order also directed MERALCO to suspend the effects of
termination of the employees and re-admit the employees under the same
terms and conditions without loss of seniority rights.
The labor dispute resulted to the filing of two complaints for illegal
dismissal:
(1) NLRC NCR Case No. 00-08-04146-92 filed by Dizon, Diloy, Patricio
Maniacop, Wilfredo Lagason, Venancio Arguzon, Jr., Rogelio
Antonio, Lauro Garcia, Alfredo Badilla, Jr., and Reynaldo Javier;
and
(2) NLRC NCR Case No. 00-12-06878-92 filed by MEWA, Reynaldo M.
Caberte (Caberte), Alfredo dela Cruz (A. dela Cruz), Nataner F.
Pingol (Pingol), Vincent G. Rallos, Enrique T. Barrientos
(Barrientos), Melchor E. Banaga (Banaga), Zafra, Perez, Vito, N.
dela Cruz, Cruz, and Frondozo.
The NLRC consolidated the two illegal dismissal cases with NLRC NCR
CC No. 000021-91 (In the Matter of the Labor Dispute at the Manila Electric
Company) and NLRC NCR Case No. 00-05-03381-93 (MEWA v. MERALCO).
On 23 January 1998, the NLRC's First Division rendered a Decision, 9 the
dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered:
1. denying the motion for reconsideration of Patricio Maniacop, et al. [the
nine (9) quitclaiming complainants] in NLRC Case No. 00-08-04146-92;
2. upholding Meralco's dismissal of Jose A. Zafra, Alfredo dela Cruz,
Reynaldo M. Caberte, Nataner F. Pingol, Vincent G. Rallos, Enrique
Barrientos, Danilo M. Perez, Arturo B. Vito, Nazario C. dela Cruz,
Melchor E. Banaga, Cesar S. Cruz, and Crispin S. Frondozo in view of
the illegal acts they committed during the subject strike;
3. directing complainants Danilo Dizon and Luisito Diloy as well as
respondent Meralco to submit a memorandum of arguments relative to
NLRC NCR Case No. 00-08-04146-92; and
4. directing MEWA and Meralco to submit memorandum of arguments
in support of their respective position in NLRC NCR CC No. 000021-91.
Labor Arbiter Adolfo C. Babiano is directed to continue handling
this case and to submit periodic report[s] thereon.
SO ORDERED. 10
However, in a Decision promulgated on 14 December 2001, 11 the NLRC
First Division modified the 23 January 1998 Decision and ruled:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision of January 23,
1998 is hereby MODIFIED: aScITE

1. Declaring the illegality of the strike of June 6-8, 1991 on the basis of
the uncontested facts and allegations of the respondent;
2. As a matter of consequence, the officers and members who
participated therein and who committed the illegal acts perforce are
hereby deemed to have lost their employment status;
3. The dismissal of complainants Jose Zafra, Vicente G. Rallos, Enrique
T. Barrientos, Reynaldo M. Caberte, Cesar S. Cruz, Nazario C. dela
Cruz, Arturo B. Vito, Melchor E. Banaga, Alfredo dela Cruz, Nataner F.
Pingol, Danilo M. Perez, and Crispin S. Frondozo [is] hereby declared
unjustified, their participation in the commission of the prohibited and
illegal acts not having been proved;
4. Accordingly, respondent is hereby ordered to reinstate the twelve (12)
complainants, without however, payment of backwages, complainants
themselves having admitted participation in the strike.
SO ORDERED. 12
In an Order dated 29 May 2002, 13 the NLRC ruled on the motions for
reconsideration filed by MERALCO, Dizon and Diloy, and the 12 respondents
in NLRC NCR Case No. 00-12-06878-92, as follows:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision appealed
from is, as it is hereby MODIFIED: ordering respondent MANILA
ELECTRIC COMPANY to reinstate to their former or equivalent
positions DANILO DIZON and LUISITO DILOY, without loss of seniority
rights and payment of backwages computed from the time of their
dismissal.
The rest of the decretal portion of the Decision of December 14,
2001 stays.
SO ORDERED. 14
From the 14 December 2001 Decision and 29 May 2002 Order of the
NLRC, two petitions for certiorari were filed before the Court of Appeals:
1. CA-G.R. SP No. 72480 filed by MERALCO; and
2. CA-G.R. SP No. 72509 filed by Frondozo, Barrientos, Pingol,
Caberte, Zafra, Perez, Cruz, A. dela Cruz, and Banaga.
MERALCO moved for the consolidation of the two cases but the motion
was denied.
On 31 July 2002, the NLRC issued an Entry of Judgment 15 stating that
the 29 May 2002 NLRC Order became final and executory on 19 July 2002. On
3 October 2002, Labor Arbiter Veneranda C. Guerrero (Labor Arbiter Guerrero)
issued a Writ of Execution 16 directing the reinstatement of the
14 17respondents. In a Manifestation dated 24 January 2003, 18 MERALCO
informed the NLRC of the payroll reinstatement of the 14 respondents.
On 30 May 2003, the Court of Appeals' Special Second Division
promulgated its Decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 72480 19 in favor of MERALCO.
The Court of Appeals found that the strike of 6-8 June 1991 was illegal because
it occurred despite an assumption order by the DOLE Secretary and because
of the commission of illegal acts marred with violence and coercion. The
dispositive portion of the Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, petition is hereby granted.
The decision of the Labor Arbiter dated 16 January 1998 and ruling of
the NLRC dated 23 January 1998 are reinstated. Private respondents
Jose Zafra, Vincent G. Rallos, Enrique T. Barrientos, Reynaldo M.
Caberte, Cesar S. Cruz, Nazario C. [d]ela Cruz, Arturo B. Vito, Melchor
E. Banaga, Alfredo dela Cruz, Nataner F. Pingol, Danilo M. Perez,
Crispin S. Frondozo, Danilo Dizon and Luisito Diloy are dismissed from
service.
SO ORDERED. 20
In view of the 30 May 2003 Decision of the Court of Appeals' Special
Second Division dismissing the 14 respondents from the service, MERALCO
stopped their payroll reinstatement.
On 11 June 2003, Labor Arbiter Guerrero approved the computation of
backwages and ordered the issuance of a Writ of Execution for the satisfaction
of the judgment award. MERALCO filed a Manifestation calling the attention of
Labor Arbiter Guerrero to the 30 May 2003 Decision of the Court of Appeals'
Special Second Division in CA-G.R. SP No. 72480. In an Order dated 7 October
2003, Labor Arbiter Guerrero ruled that the Court of Appeals' 30 May 2003
Decision had not attained finality and as such, respondents should be
reinstated from the time they were removed from the payroll until their
actual/payroll reinstatement based on their latest salary prior to their dismissal.
An Alias Writ of Execution 21 was issued on 10 October 2003 for the satisfaction
of the judgment award which resulted to the garnishment of MERALCO's funds
deposited with Equitable-PCI Bank.
Dizon, Diloy, and the other respondents filed their respective motions for
reconsideration in CA-G.R. SP No. 72480, which the Court of Appeals' (Former)
Special Second Division denied in its 18 December 2003 Resolution.
On 27 January 2004, the Court of Appeals' Fourteenth Division
promulgated its Decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 72509 22 as follows:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition is
PARTIALLY GIVEN DUE COURSE. The assailed Decision of
December 14, 2001 and the Order of May 29, 2002 of public respondent
National Labor Relations Commission are hereby MODIFIED in that
respondent MERALCO is ordered to pay the petitioners full backwages
computed from July 26, 1991, when they were illegally dismissed, up to
the date of their actual reinstatement in the service.
HEITAD

SO ORDERED. 23
MERALCO filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied in the
Resolution of 17 August 2004.
The respondents moved for the issuance of an Alias Writ of Execution for
the satisfaction of their accrued wages arising from the recall of their payroll
reinstatement. On 10 June 2004, Labor Arbiter Guerrero granted the motion.
On 14 June 2004, a Second Alias Writ of Execution 24 was issued directing the
Sheriff to cause the reinstatement of the respondents and to collect the amount
of P2,851,453 representing backwages from 14 December 2001 to 15 January
2003 and from 1 June 2003 to 1 June 2004. 25 MERALCO filed a motion to
quash the Second Alias Writ of Execution but it was denied on 2 July 2004. On
20 July 2004, the Sheriff reported that the amount of P2,879,967.53 garnished
funds had been delivered to and deposited with the NLRC Cashier for the
satisfaction of the monetary award. 26 However, the reinstatement portion of the
judgment remained unimplemented due to the failure of MERALCO to reinstate
the respondents.
On 6 February 2004, Dizon and Diloy filed a petition before this Court
assailing the 30 May 2003 Decision and 18 December 2003 Resolution of the
Court of Appeals' Special Second Division in CA-G.R. SP No. 72480. The case
was docketed as G.R. No. 161159.
On 12 February 2004, Frondozo, Barrientos, Pingol, Caberte, Perez,
Cruz, A. dela Cruz, and Banaga filed a petition before this Court assailing the
same 30 May 2003 Decision and 18 December 2003 Resolution of the Court of
Appeals' Special Second Division in CA-G.R. SP No. 72480. The case was
docketed as G.R. No. 161311.
On 11 October 2004, MERALCO filed a petition before this Court
questioning the 27 January 2004 and 17 August 2004 Decision of the Court of
Appeals' Fourteenth Division promulgated in CA-G.R. SP No. 72509. The case
was docketed as G.R. No. 164998.
In a Resolution dated 23 February 2004, 27 this Court's Third Division
denied the petition in G.R. No. 161159 on the ground that the petitioners failed
to show that a reversible error had been committed by the Court of Appeals in
rendering its Decision.
In a Resolution dated 3 March 2004, the Court's Second Division referred
G.R. No. 161311 for consolidation with G.R. No. 161159. 28
In a Resolution dated 24 May 2004, 29 the Court's Third Division denied
with finality the petitioners' motion for reconsideration of the 23 February 2004
Resolution denying the petition in G.R. No. 161159 on the ground that no
substantial arguments were raised to warrant a reconsideration of the Court's
Resolution. In the same Resolution, the Court denied the petition in G.R. No.
161311 for failure of petitioners therein to show that a reversible error had been
committed by the appellate court.
Petitioners in G.R. No. 161311 filed a motion for reconsideration of the
24 May 2004 Resolution denying their petition. In its 28 July 2004
Resolution, 30the Court's Third Division denied the motion with finality as no
substantial arguments were raised to warrant a reconsideration of the
Resolution.
The 23 February 2004 Resolution became final and executory on 15 July
2004. 31 The 24 May 2004 Resolution became final and executory on 2
September 2004. 32
In a Resolution dated 15 June 2005, 33 the Court's First Division denied
the petition in G.R. No. 164998 for MERALCO's failure to file a reply, amounting
to failure to prosecute. MERALCO filed a motion for reconsideration but it was
denied in the Resolution of 22 August 2005. The 15 June 2005 Resolution
became final and executory on 4 October 2005. 34
Meanwhile, MERALCO filed two motions before the NLRC: (1) a motion
for reconsideration and/or appeal filed on 5 July 2004 assailing the 10 June
2004 Order of Labor Arbiter Guerrero granting the issuance of the Second Alias
Writ of Execution and directing the payment of backwages of P2,851,453 to
respondents and ordering their reinstatement actually or in the payroll, which
was accompanied by a bond equivalent to the amount of the accrued
backwages; and (2) an urgent motion for the issuance of a temporary
restraining order and/or preliminary injunction filed on 13 July 2004 directed
against the Second Alias Writ of Execution pending the resolution of its first
motion.
The Resolutions of the NLRC
In a Resolution dated 28 February 2006, 35 the NLRC granted the prayer
for preliminary injunction of MERALCO. The NLRC considered the difficulty in
proceeding with the execution given the conflicting decisions of the Court of
Appeals' Special Second Division in CA-G.R. SP No. 72480 and the Court of
Appeals' Fourteenth Division in CA-G.R. SP No. 72509 that were also passed
upon by this Court, respectively, in G.R. Nos. 161159 and 161311 and in G.R.
No. 164998. The NLRC ruled:
At the outset, it must be stated that while this Commission has
broad powers within its sphere of jurisdiction, it cannot encroach on
judicial power which is the exclusive domain of the courts. The Court of
Appeals has two contrasting rulings, one upholding the legality of
complainants' dismissal, and the other declaring such dismissal illegal.
This Commission has no power to overrule what has been decided by
the courts. This is especially true with respect to judgments that have
become final and executory not only at the level of the Court of Appeals,
but also of the Supreme Court.
Indeed, there is an insurmountable obstacle in the execution of
the decision favoring complainants. If We let execution proceed, We will
disregard the Court of Appeals' ruling in the MERALCO petition. On the
other hand, We cannot declare complainants to have been legally
dismissed as this will contravene the Court of Appeals' ruling in
the Frondozo petition.
Confronted with this dilemma, and in deference to the exercise of
the judicial power as the courts may find appropriate, this Commission
has no recourse but to enjoin all proceedings until the parties would have
exhausted all available judicial remedies toward the possible
reconciliation of the contrasting decisions.
WHEREFORE, there being no speedy or adequate remedy in the
ordinary course of law, MERALCO's prayer for preliminary injunction is
GRANTED. All proceedings with this Commission as well as with the
Labor Arbiter are hereby enjoined and suspended until further orders
from the appropriate court. ATICcS

SO ORDERED. 36
Two sets of respondents filed their respective motions for
reconsideration. In its Resolution promulgated on 26 May 2006, 37 the NLRC
denied the motions.
Frondozo, Perez, Zafra, Vito, Cruz, N. dela Cruz, and Diloy filed a petition
for certiorari before the Court of Appeals assailing the 28 February 2006 and
26 May 2006 Resolutions of the NLRC.
The Decision of the Court of Appeals
In its 6 March 2007 Decision, the Court of Appeals affirmed the 28
February 2006 and 26 May 2006 Resolutions of the NLRC. According to the
Court of Appeals, MERALCO's recourse was due to the two separate petitions
before it (CA-G.R. SP No. 72480 and CA-G.R. SP No. 72509) that resulted in
two contradictory rulings on the matter of petitioners' dismissal. The Court of
Appeals acknowledged that the execution of a final judgment is a matter of right
on the part of the prevailing party and is mandatory and ministerial on the part
of the court or tribunal issuing the judgment. However, the Court of Appeals
stated that a suspension or refusal of execution of judgment or order on
equitable grounds can be justified when there are facts or events transpiring
after the judgment or order had become final and executory, thus materially
affecting the judgment obligation.
The Court of Appeals stated:
In the case at bar, finality of the CA Decision in SP No. 72480 on
May 24, 2004, is a supervening event which transpired after the CA
Decision in SP 72509 (which was in favor of petitioners) had become
final and executory, and which decision directly contradicts the ruling in
the said case. It may also be noted that the Resolution of the Supreme
Court's Third Division in G.R. No. 161311 categorically declared that the
petition filed by herein petitioners is being denied for their failure to show
that a reversible error has been committed by the appellate court in
rendering the decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 72480. Hence, with the denial
with finality of the petition for review in G.R. No. 161159 (161311) the
CA Decision in SP 72480 upholding the dismissal of petitionershas
clearly become a legal obstacle to the enforcement of the final and
executory decision in SP 72509 which in effect declared petitioners to
have been illegally dismissed and upheld their right to back wages
computed from December 14, 2001 and up to the date of their actual
reinstatement.
In fine, no grave abuse of discretion was committed by the NLRC
in granting preliminary injunction to private respondent MERALCO and
enjoining or suspending all proceedings for the implementation of the
2nd alias writ of execution earlier issued by Labor Arbiter Guerrero with
respect to the back wages/monetary award and reinstatement of
petitioners pursuant to the May 29, 2002 Decision of the NLRC as
affirmed/modified by the CA Decision in SP No. 72509.
As to the contention of petitioners that the NLRC should have
instead proceeded to reconcile or harmonize the conflicting decisions
rendered by the two (2) divisions of the Court, We find the same
untenable and runs against established principles of immutability of final
judgments in this jurisdiction. In fact, nothing is more settled in law than
that once a judgment attains finality it thereby becomes immutable
and unalterable. It may no longer be modified in any respect, even if
modification is meant to correct what is perceived to be an erroneous
conclusion of fact or law, and regardless of whether the modification is
attempted to be made by the court rendering it or by the highest court of
the land.
We cannot but concur with the NLRC's pronouncement that
MERALCO has no speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course
of law for the preservation of its rights and interests, at least insofar only
and solely as to avoid the injurious consequences of the 2nd alias writ
of execution relative to the reinstatement aspect of the final decision in
CA-G.R. No. SP 72509. 38
The dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals' Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the present petition is
hereby DENIED DUE COURSE and accordingly DISMISSED for lack of
merit. The challenged Resolutions dated February 28, 2006 and May
26, 2006 of the National Labor Relations Commission are hereby
AFFIRMED.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED. 39 (Italicization in the original)
The petitioners in CA-G.R. SP No. 95747 filed a motion for
reconsideration. In its 14 June 2007 Resolution, the Court of Appeals denied
the motion for lack of merit.
Hence, the petition for review filed before this Court by Frondozo, Perez,
Zafra, Vito, Cruz, N. dela Cruz, and Diloy. 40
Petitioners alleged that the Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of
discretion in upholding the 28 February 2006 and 26 May 2006 Resolutions of
the NLRC, in not passing upon the issues of reinstatement and release of the
garnished amount against MERALCO, and in ruling that the Decision in CA-
G.R. SP No. 72480 is considered a bar in the implementation of the Decision
in CA-G.R. SP No. 72509.
The Issue
Whether the Court of Appeals committed a reversible error in upholding
the NLRC in issuing the writ of preliminary injunction prayed for by MERALCO.
The Ruling of this Court
The petition has no merit.
The Court of Appeals cited the 2005 Revised Rules of Procedure of the
NLRC which provides that "[u]pon issuance of the entry of judgment, the
Commission, motu proprio or upon motion by the proper party, may cause the
execution of the judgment in the certified case." According to the Court of
Appeals, the 2005 Revised Rules of Procedure of the NLRC did not make a
distinction between decisions or resolutions decided by the Labor Arbiter and
those decided by the Commission in certified cases when an order of
reinstatement is involved. Thus, even when the employer had perfected an
appeal, the Labor Arbiter must issue a writ of execution for actual or payroll
reinstatement of the employees illegally dismissed from the service. The Court
of Appeals also cited Article 223 of the Labor Code which provides that the
reinstatement aspect of the Labor Arbiter's Decision is immediately executory.
In this case, the applicable rule is Article 263 of the Labor Code and the
NLRC Manual on Execution of Judgment, as amended by Resolution No. 02-
02, series of 2002. Section 1, Rule III of the NLRC Manual on Execution of
Judgment provides: TIADCc

Section 1. Execution Upon Final Judgment or Order. Execution


shall issue only upon a judgment or order that finally disposes of an
action or proceeding, except in specific instances where the law
provides for execution pending appeal.
Article 263 (i) of the Labor Code, on the other hand, provides:
(i) The Secretary of Labor and Employment, the Commission or the
voluntary arbitrator shall decide or resolve the dispute within thirty (30)
calendar days from the date of the assumption of jurisdiction or the
certification or submission of the dispute, as the case may be. The
decision of the President, the Secretary of Labor and Employment, the
Commission or the voluntary arbitrator shall be final and executory ten
(10) calendar days after receipt thereof by the parties.
A judicial review of the decisions of the NLRC may be filed before the Court of
Appeals via a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court but the
petition shall not stay the execution of the assailed decision unless a restraining
order is issued by the Court of Appeals. 41
In this case, the NLRC issued an Entry of Judgment stating that the 29
May 2002 NLRC Order became final and executory on 19 June 2002; a Writ of
Execution was issued; and MERALCO complied with the payroll reinstatement
of petitioners. However, with the promulgation of the 30 May 2003 Decision of
the Court of Appeals' Special Second Division, finding that the 6-8 June 1991
strike was illegal, illegal acts marred with violence and coercion were
committed, and dismissing petitioners from the service, MERALCO stopped the
payroll reinstatement. This prompted petitioners to move for the issuance of an
Alias Writ of Execution for the satisfaction of their accrued wages arising from
the recall of their payroll reinstatement which Labor Arbiter Guerrero granted
on 10 June 2004. Later, a second Alias Writ of Execution was issued.
As both the NLRC and the Court of Appeals stated, they were confronted
with two contradictory Decisions of two different Divisions of the Court of
Appeals. The petitions questioning these two Decisions of the Court of Appeals
were both denied by this Court and the denial attained finality. The Court of
Appeals sustained the NLRC that the 30 May 2003 Decision of the Court of
Appeals' Special Second Division is a subsequent development that justified
the suspension of the Alias Writs of Execution.
There are instances when writs of execution may be assailed. They are:
(1) the writ of execution varies the judgment;
(2) there has been a change in the situation of the parties making
execution inequitable or unjust;
(3) execution is sought to be enforced against property exempt from
execution;
(4) it appears that the controversy has been submitted to the judgment
of the court;
(5) the terms of the judgment are not clear enough and there remains
room for interpretation thereof; or
(6) it appears that the writ of execution has been improvidently issued,
or that it is defective in substance, or issued against the wrong party, or
that the judgment debt has been paid or otherwise satisfied, or the writ
was issued without authority. 42
The situation in this case is analogous to a change in the situation of the
parties making execution unjust or inequitable. MERALCO's refusal to reinstate
petitioners and to pay their backwages is justified by the 30 May 2003 Decision
in CA-G.R. SP No. 72480. On the other hand, petitioners' insistence on the
execution of judgment is anchored on the 27 January 2004 Decision of the
Court of Appeals' Fourteenth Division in CA-G.R. SP No. 72509. Given this
situation, we see no reversible error on the part of the Court of Appeals in
holding that the NLRC did not commit grave abuse of discretion in suspending
the proceedings. Grave abuse of discretion implies that the respondent court or
tribunal acted in a capricious, whimsical, arbitrary or despotic manner in the
exercise of its jurisdiction as to be equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. 43 Thus, this
Court declared:
The term "grave abuse of discretion" has a specific meaning. An
act of a court or tribunal can only be considered as with grave abuse of
discretion when such act is done in a "capricious or whimsical exercise
of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction." The abuse of
discretion must be so patent and gross as to amount to an "evasion of a
positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or
to act at all in contemplation of law, as where the power is exercised in
an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion and hostility."
Furthermore, the use of a petition for certiorari is restricted only to "truly
extraordinary cases wherein the act of the lower court or quasi-judicial
body is wholly void." From the foregoing definition, it is clear that the
special civil action of certiorari under Rule 65 can only strike an act down
for having been done with grave abuse of discretion if the petitioner
could manifestly show that such act was patent and gross. x x x. 44
Clearly, the NLRC did not act in a capricious, whimsical, arbitrary, or
despotic manner. It suspended the proceedings because it cannot revise or
modify the conflicting Decisions of the Court of Appeals.
However, we need to resolve the issue on the conflicting Decisions in
order to put an end to this litigation.
The Court of Appeals stated that "the finality of the CA Decision in SP
No. 72480 on May 24, 2004, is a supervening event which transpired after the
CA Decision in SP No. 72509 (which was in favor of petitioners) had become
final and executory." 45 This is not accurate. The Decision in CA-G.R. SP No.
72480 was promulgated on 30 May 2003. The Decision in CA-G.R. SP No.
72509 was promulgated on 27 January 2004. Even when the cases were
elevated to this Court, G.R. No. 161159 and G.R. No. 161311 were resolved
first before G.R. No. 164998. The Court's 23 February 2004 Resolution and the
24 May 2004 Resolution, both favoring MERALCO, became final and executory
on 15 July 2004 and 2 September 2004, respectively, while the Resolution of
15 June 2005 which denied MERALCO's petition for review became final and
executory on 4 October 2005, over a year after the final resolutions in G.R. Nos.
161159 and 161311. AIDSTE

Further, contrary to the finding of the Court of Appeals that CA-G.R. SP


Nos. 72480 and 72509 attained finality without this Court actually passing upon
the merits of the illegal dismissal aspect, this Court actually ruled on the merits
of CA-G.R. SP No. 72480. The Court's Third Division denied the petition in G.R.
No. 161159 in its 23 February 2004 Resolution on the ground that the
petitioners failed to show that a reversible error had been committed by the
Court of Appeals in rendering its Decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 72480. The
Court's Third Division also denied the petition in G.R. No. 161311 in its 24 May
2004 Resolution for failure of the petitioners to show that a reversible error had
been committed by the appellate court in the same case, CA-G.R. SP No.
72480.
In Agoy v. Araneta Center, Inc., 46 this Court explained that "[w]hen the
Court does not find any reversible error in the decision of the CA and denies
the petition, there is no need for the Court to fully explain its denial, since it
already means that it agrees with and adopts the findings and conclusions of
the CA. The decision sought to be reviewed and set aside is correct." Hence,
the Court's Third Division adopted the findings and conclusions reached by the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 72480 which dismissed petitioners from
the service. The finality of the denial of the petitions in G.R. Nos. 161159 and
161311 should be given greater weight than the denial of the petition in G.R.
No. 164998 on technicality. It can also be interpreted that, in effect, the finality
of the denial of the petitions in G.R. Nos. 161159 and 161311 also removed the
jurisdiction of the Court's First Division and bound it to the final resolution in
G.R. Nos. 161159 and 161311. The Court's First Division denied MERALCO's
petition for failure to prosecute only on 15 June 2005, long after the denial of
the petitions in G.R. Nos. 161159 and 161311 became final and executory on
15 July 2004 and 2 September 2004, respectively.
WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition. We REMAND this case to the
National Labor Relations Commission for the execution of the 23 February 2004
and the 24 May 2004 Resolutions of this Court's Third Division in G.R. Nos.
161159 and 161311 in accordance with this Decision.
SO ORDERED.
||| (Frondozo v. Manila Electric Co., G.R. No. 178379, [August 22, 2017])
ARTICLE 227

MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY, Petitioner,


vs.
JAN CARLO GALA, Respondent.
We resolve the petition for review on certiorari,1 seeking to annul the
decision2 and the resolution3 of the Court of Appeals (CA) .
FACTS:

Respondent Jan Carlo Gala commenced employment with the petitioner Meralco
Electric Company (Meralco) as a probationary lineman. He was assigned at
Meralco’s Valenzuela Sector. He initially served as member of the crew of
Meralco’s Truck No. 1823 supervised by Foreman Narciso Matis. After one
month, he joined the crew of Truck No. 1837 under the supervision of Foreman
Raymundo Zuñiga, Sr.
Barely four months on the job, Gala was dismissed for alleged complicity in
pilferages of Meralco’s electrical supplies, particularly, for the incident which
took place on May 25, 2006. On that day, Gala and other Meralco workers were
instructed to replace a worn-out electrical pole at the Pacheco Subdivision in
Valenzuela City. Gala and the other linemen were directed to join Truck No. 1891,
under the supervision of Foreman Nemecio Hipolito.
Despite Gala’s explanation, Meralco proceeded with the investigation and
eventually terminated his employment on July 27, 2006.4 Gala responded by
filing an illegal dismissal complaint against Meralco.5
The Compulsory Arbitration Rulings

Labor Arbiter Teresita D. Castillon-Lora dismissed the complaint for lack of


merit. She held that Gala’s participation in the pilferage of Meralco’s property
rendered him unqualified to become a regular employee.
Gala appealed to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). In its
decision of May 2, 2008,7 the NLRC reversed the labor arbiter’s ruling. It found
that Gala had been illegally dismissed, since there was “no concrete showing of
complicity with the alleged misconduct/dishonesty[.]”8 The NLRC, however,
ruled out Gala’s reinstatement, stating that his tenure lasted only up to the end of
his probationary period. It awarded him backwages and attorney’s fees.
Both parties moved for partial reconsideration; Gala, on the ground that he
should have been reinstated with full backwages, damages and interests; and
Meralco, on the ground that the NLRC erred in finding that Gala had been illegally
dismissed. The NLRC denied the motions. Relying on the same grounds, Gala and
Meralco elevated the case to the CA through a petition for certiorari under Rule
65 of the Rules of Court.
The CA Decision

The CA denied Meralco’s petition for lack of merit and partially granted Gala’s
petition. It concurred with the NLRC that Gala had been illegally dismissed, a
ruling that was supported by the evidence. It opined that nothing in the records
show Gala’s knowledge of or complicity in the pilferage. It found insufficient the
joint affidavit10 of the members of Meralco’s task force testifying that Gala and
two other linemen knew Llanes.
The CA modified the NLRC decision and ordered Gala’s reinstatement with full
backwages and other benefits. The CA also denied Meralco’s motion for
reconsideration. Hence, the present petition for review on certiorari.12
ISSUE:

Whether Gala’s reinstatement despite his probationary status is proper.


The Court’s Ruling

We find merit in the petition.


Contrary to the conclusions of the CA and the NLRC, there is substantial evidence
supporting Meralco’s position that Gala had become unfit to continue his
employment with the company. Gala was found, after an administrative
investigation, to have failed to meet the standards expected of him to become a
regular employee and this failure was mainly due to his “undeniable knowledge,
if not participation, in the pilferage activities done by their group, all to the
prejudice of the Company’s interests.”21
The evidence on record established Gala’s presence in the worksite where the
pilferage of company property happened.1âwphi1 It also established that it was
not only on May 25, 2006 that Llanes, the pilferer, had been seen during a
Meralco operation. He had been previously noticed by Meralco employees,
including Gala (based on his admission),23 in past operations. If Gala had seen
Llanes in earlier projects or operations of the company, it is incredulous for him
to say that he did not know why Llanes was there or what Zuñiga and Llanes
were talking about. To our mind, the Meralco crew (the foremen and the
linemen) allowed or could have even asked Llanes to be there during their
operations for one and only purpose — to serve as their conduit for pilfered
company supplies to be sold to ready buyers outside Meralco worksites.
We consider, too, and we find credible the company submission that the Meralco
crew who worked at the Pacheco Subdivision in Valenzuela City on May 25, 2006
had not been returning unused supplies and materials, to the prejudice of the
company. From all these, the allegedly hearsay evidence that is not competent in
judicial proceedings (as noted above), takes on special meaning and relevance.
With respect to the video footage of the May 25, 2006 incident, Gala himself
admitted that he viewed the tape during the administrative investigation,
particularly in connection with the accusation against him that he allowed Llanes
(binatilyong may kapansanan sa bibig) to board the Meralco trucks.26 The choice
of evidence belongs to a party and the mere fact that the video was shown to Gala
indicates that the video was not an evidence that Meralco was trying to suppress.
Gala could have, if he had wanted to, served a subpoena for the production of the
video footage as evidence. The fact that he did not does not strengthen his case
nor weaken the case of Meralco.
On the whole, the totality of the circumstances obtaining in the case convinces us
that Gala could not but have knowledge of the pilferage of company electrical
supplies on May 25, 2006; he was complicit in its commission, if not by direct
participation, certainly, by his inaction while it was being perpetrated and by not
reporting the incident to company authorities. Thus, we find substantial evidence
to support the conclusion that Gala does not deserve to remain in Meralco’s
employ as a regular employee. He violated his probationary employment
agreement, especially the requirement for him “to observe at all times the
highest degree of transparency, selflessness and integrity in the performance of
their duties and responsibilities[.]”27 He failed to qualify as a regular
employee.28
For ignoring the evidence in this case, the NLRC committed grave abuse of
discretion and, in sustaining the NLRC, the CA committed a reversible error.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is GRANTED. The
assailed decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals are SET
ASIDE. The complaint is DISMISSED for lack of merit.

NATIONWIDE SECURITY AND ALLIED SERVICES,


INC., petitioner, vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS, NATIONAL
LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and JOSEPH DIMPAZ,
HIPOLITO LOPEZ, EDWARD ODATO, FELICISIMO PABON and
JOHNNY AGBAY, respondents.

RESOLUTION

QUISUMBING, J : p

This petition for certiorari seeks the reversal and setting aside of the
Decision 1 dated January 31, 2002 and the Resolution 2 dated September 12,
2002 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 65465. The
appellate court had affirmed the January 30, 2001 3 and April 20, 2001
Resolutions of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).
The factual antecedents of this case are as follows.
Labor Arbiter Manuel M. Manansala found
petitioner Nationwide Security and Allied Services, Inc., a security agency, not
liable for illegal dismissal in NLRC NCR 00-01-00833-96 and 00-02-01129-96
involving eight security guards who were employees of the petitioner. However,
the Labor Arbiter directed the petitioner to pay the
aforementioned security guards P81,750.00 in separation pay, P8,700.00 in
unpaid salaries, P93,795.68 for underpayment and 10% attorney's fees based
on the total monetary award. 4
Dissatisfied with the decision, petitioner appealed to the NLRC which
dismissed its appeal for two reasons — first, for having been filed beyond the
reglementary period within which to perfect the appeal and second, for filing an
insufficient appeal bond. It disposed as follows:
WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, it is hereby ordered
that:
1. the instant appeal be considered DISMISSED; and,
2. the Decision appealed from be deemed FINAL and
EXECUTORY. aCIHcD

SO ORDERED. 5
Its motion for reconsideration having been denied, petitioner then
appealed to the Court of Appeals to have the appeal resolved on the merits
rather than on pure technicalities in the interest of due process.
The Court of Appeals dismissed the case, holding that in a special action
for certiorari, the burden is on petitioner to prove not merely reversible error,
but grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of or excess of jurisdiction on
the part of public respondent NLRC. The dispositive portion of its decision
states:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition is hereby
DISMISSED. The questioned Resolutions dated 30 January 2001 and
20 April 2001 of the National Labor Relations Commission are
accordingly AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED. 6
The Court of Appeals likewise denied the petitioner's motion for
reconsideration. 7 Hence, this petition which raises the following issues:
I.
WHETHER OR NOT TECHNICALITIES IN LABOR CASES
MUST PREVAIL OVER THE SPIRIT AND INTENTION OF THE LABOR
CODE UNDER ARTICLE 221 THEREOF WHICH STATES:
"In any proceeding before the Commission or any of the
Labor Arbiters, the rules of evidence prevailing in courts of Law or
equity shall not be controlling and it is the spirit and
[i]ntention of this Code that the Commission and its members
and Labor Arbiters shall use every and all reasonable means
to ascertain the facts in each case speedily and objectively
and without [regard] to technicalities of law or procedure, all
[i]n the interest of due process." Emphasis added.
II.
WHETHER OR NOT THE DOCTRINE IN THE CASE OF STAR
ANGEL HANDICRAFT vs. NLRC, et al., 236 SCRA 580
AND ROSEWOOD PROCESSING, INC. VS. NLRC, G.R. [No.] 116476,
May 21, 1998 FINDS APPLICATION IN THE INSTANT CASE [;] TSacAE

III.
WHETHER OR NOT SEPARATION PAY IS JUSTIFIED AS
AWARD IN CASES WHERE THE EMPLOYEE IS TERMINATED DUE
TO CONTRACT EXPIRATION AS IN THE INSTANT CASE; AND
IV.
WHETHER OR NOT THE REQUIREMENT ON CERTIFICATION
AGAINST FORUM SHOPPING WHICH WAS RAISED BEFORE THE
NLRC IS ENFORCEABLE IN THE INSTANT CASE. 8
Petitioner contends that the Court of Appeals erred when it dismissed its
case based on technicalities while the private respondents contend that the
appeal to the NLRC had not been perfected, since the appeal was filed outside
the reglementary period, and the bond was insufficient. 9 AECacT

After considering all the circumstances in this case and the submission
by the parties, we are in agreement that the petition lacks merit.
At the outset it must be pointed out here that the petition for certiorari filed
with the Court by petitioner under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is
inappropriate. The proper remedy is a petition for review under Rule 45 purely
on questions of law. There being a remedy of appeal via petition for review
under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court available to the petitioner, the filing of a
petition for certiorari under Rule 65 is improper.
But even if we bend our Rules to allow the present petition
for certiorari, still it will not prosper because we do not find any grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack of or excess of jurisdiction on the
part of the Court of Appeals when it dismissed the
petition of the security agency. We must stress that under Rule 65, the
abuse of discretion must be so patent and gross as to amount to an
evasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law,
or to act at all in contemplation of law, as where the power is exercised in an
arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility. 10 No
such abuse of discretion happened here. The assailed decision by
the Court of Appeals was certainly not capricious nor arbitrary, nor was it a
whimsical exercise of judgment amounting to a lack of jurisdiction. 11 TIEHDC

The Labor Code provides as follows:


ART. 223. Appeal. — Decisions, awards, or orders of the Labor
Arbiter are final and executory unless appealed to the Commission by
any or both parties within ten (10) calendar days from receipt of such
decisions, awards, or orders. Such appeal may be entertained only on
any of the following grounds:
(a) If there is prima facie evidence of abuse of discretion on the
part of the Labor Arbiter;
(b) If the decision, order or award was secured through fraud or
coercion, including graft and corruption;
(c) If made purely on questions of law, and
(d) If serious errors in the findings of facts are raised which would
cause grave or irreparable damage or injury to the appellant.
In case of a judgment involving a monetary award, an appeal by
the employer may be perfected only upon the posting of a cash or surety
bond issued by a reputable bonding company duly accredited by the
Commission in the amount equivalent to the monetary award in the
judgment appealed from.
xxx xxx xxx
The New Rules of Procedure of the NLRC states:
Section 1. Periods of appeal. — Decisions, resolutions or
orders of the Labor Arbiter shall be final and executory unless appealed
to the Commission by any or both parties within ten (10) calendar days
from receipt thereof; and in case of decisions, resolutions or
orders of the Regional Director of the Department of Labor and
Employment pursuant to Article 129 of the Labor Code, within five (5)
calendar days from receipt thereof. If the 10th or 5th day, as the case
may be, falls on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, the last day to perfect
the appeal shall be the first working day following such Saturday,
Sunday or holiday.
No motion or request for extension of the period within which to
perfect an appeal shall be allowed.
In the instant case, both the NLRC and the Court of Appeals found that
petitioner received the decision of the Labor Arbiter on July 16, 1999. This
factual finding is supported by sufficient evidence, 12 and we take it as binding
on us. Petitioner then simultaneously filed its "Appeal Memorandum",
"Notice of Appeal" and "Motion to Reduce Bond", by registered mail on July 29,
1999, under Registry Receipt No. 003098. 13 These were received by the NLRC
on July 30, 1999. 14 The appeal to the NLRC should have been perfected, as
provided by its Rules, within a period of 10 days from receipt by petitionerof the
decision on July 16, 1999. Clearly, the filing of the appeal — three days
after July 26, 1999 — was already beyond the reglementary period and in
violation of the NLRC Rules and the pertinent Article on Appeal in the Labor
Code. CHDAEc

Failure to perfect an appeal renders the decision final and


executory. 15 The right to appeal is a statutory right and one who seeks to
avail of the right must comply with the statute or the rules. The rules, particularly
the requirements for perfecting an appeal within the reglementary period
specified in the law, must be strictly followed as they are considered
indispensable interdictions against needless delays and for the orderly
discharge of judicial business.16 It is only in highly meritorious cases that
this Court will opt not to strictly apply the rules and thus prevent a grave injustice
from being done. 17 The exception does not obtain here. Thus, we are in
agreement that the decision of the Labor Arbiter already became final and
executory because petitioner failed to file the appeal within 10 calendar days
from receipt of the decision.
Clearly, the NLRC committed no grave abuse of discretion in dismissing
the appeal before it. It follows that the Court of Appeals, too, did not err, nor
gravely abuse its discretion, in sustaining the NLRC Order, by dismissing the
petition for certiorari before it. Hence, with the primordial issue resolved, we find
no need to tarry on the other issues raised by petitioner.
WHEREFORE, the Decision dated January 31, 2002 and the Resolution
dated September 12, 2002 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 65465
are AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
(Nationwide Security and Allied Services, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No.
|||

155844 (Resolution), [July 14, 2008], 580 PHIL 135-143)


DIAMOND TAXI and/or BRYAN ONG v. FELIPE LLAMAS, JR.

FACTS: Respondent Llamas, a taxi driver for petitioner Diamond Taxi (owned and operated by Petitioner
Bryan Ong), filed a complaint for illegal dismissal against petitioner before the Labor Arbiter. Denying the
charge against them, petitioners alleged that respondent has been absent without official leave for several days
from July 14, 2005 until August 1, 2005. They submitted a copy of the attendance logbook showing that
respondent has been absent on the said dates. They claimed that respondent has violated several traffic
regulations in the years of 2000-2005 and that they issued to him several memoranda for insubordination and
refusal to heed management instructions. They further claimed that the aforementioned acts constituted as
grounds for the termination of Llamas Employment.

Llamas failed to seasonably file his position paper. Hence, the Labor Arbiter dismissed respondent complaint
for lack of merit. Respondent filed his position paper and claimed that he failed to seasonably file his position
paper because his previous counsel, despite his repeated pleas, had continuously deferred compliance with the
LA orders for its submission. Hence, he was forced to secure the services of another counsel in order to
comply with the LA directive.

In his position paper, Llamas alleged that he had a misunderstanding with Aljuver Ong, Bryan brother and
operations manager of Diamond Taxi, on July 13, 2005. He reported for work on July 14, 2005 but Bryan
refused to give him the key to his assigned taxi cab unless he would sign a prepared resignation letter. He did
not sign the resignation letter. He reported for work again on July 15 and 16, 2005, but Bryan insisted that he
sign the resignation letter prior to the release of the key to his assigned taxi cab. Hence, the filing of the illegal
dismissal complaint.

Llamas filed before the LA a motion for reconsideration of its decision dismissing his complaint. The LA
treated Llamas Motion as an appeal. The NLRC dismissed for non-perfection Llamas Motion. It pointed out
that Llamas failed to attach the required certification of non-forum shopping per Section 4, Rule VI of the 2005
NLRC Rules. Llamas moved to reconsider NLRC resolution and attached the required certification of non-
forum shopping in his motion but the same was denied which impelled Llamas to file a petition for certiorari
before the CA.

The CA reversed and set aside the assailed NLRC resolution and ruled that the NLRC had acted with grave
abuse of discretion when it dismissed Llamas' appeal purely on a technicality. The CA ruled further that
petitioners failed to prove overt acts showing Llamas' clear intention to abandon his job. It was found,
however, that petitioners placed Llamas in a situation where he was forced to quit as his continued
employment has been rendered impossible, unreasonable or unlikely, i.e., making him sign a resignation letter
as a precondition for giving him the key to his assigned taxi cab. These acts amounted to constructive
dismissal. The CA additionally noted that Llamas immediately filed the illegal dismissal case that proved his
desire to return to work and negates the charge of abandonment.
ISSUES: [1] Whether or not the CA encroached on the NLRC exclusive jurisdiction to review the merits
of the LA decision?
[2] Whether or not the NLRC committed grave abuse of discretion in dismissing Llamas' appeal on
mere technicality?
[3] Whether or not Llamas abandoned his work?

HELD: The Court found no error in the course that the CA took in resolving Llamas' petition for certiorari.
The CA may resolve factual issues by express legal mandate and pursuant to its equity jurisdiction.

The CA, in labor cases elevated to it via petition for certiorari, can grant prerogative writs when it finds that
the NLRC acted with grave abuse of discretion in arriving at its factual conclusions. To make this finding, the
CA necessarily has to view the evidence if only to determine if the NLRC ruling had basis in evidence. It is in
the sense and manner that the CA, in a Rule 65 certiorari petition before it, had to determine whether grave
abuse of discretion on factual issues attended the NLRC dismissal of Llamas' appeal.

Dismissal of an appeal based on mere technicalities inconsistent to the constitutional mandate to protect
labor

The Court agreed with the CA in ruling that the NLRC committed grave abuse of discretion in dismissing
Llamas' appeal.

Article 227 of the Labor Code mandates that the Commission and its members and the Labor Arbiters shall use
every and all reasonable means to ascertain the facts in each case speedily and objectively and without regard
to technicalities of law or procedure, all in the interest of due process. A strict and rigid application, which
would result in technicalities that tend to frustrate rather than promote substantial justice, should not be
allowed.

The CA correctly regarded the respondent as constructively dismissed. Constructive dismissal exists when
there is cessation of work because continued employment is rendered impossible, unreasonable or unlikely.

Petitioners failed to establish the alleged abandonment of respondent. Mere absence of the employee does not
constitute abandonment. It was pointed out by the CA that Llamas filed the complaint two days from the third
time he was refused access to his assigned taxi cab. Respondent could not be deemed to have abandoned his
work.

Samarca v. Arc-Men Industries, Inc., 459 Phil. 506 laid down the elements of abandonment: 1) x x x the
employee must have failed to report for work or must have been absent without valid or justifiable reason; and
(2) x x x there must have been a clear intention [on the part of the employee] to sever the employer-employee
relationship manifested by some overt act. DENIED.

SARA LEE PHILIPPINES v. EMILINDA D. MACATLANG, GR No. 180147, 2015-01-14


Facts:
In the Decision dated 4 June 2014, this Court directed SLPI, Aris, SLC, Cesar Cruz, and
FAPI, collectively known as the Corporations, to post P725 Million, in cash or surety bond,
within 10 days from the receipt of the Decision.
On 30 October 2004, the Labor Arbiter found the dismissal of 5,984 Aris employees illegal
and awarded them monetary benefits amounting to P3,453,664,710.86.
The Corporations filed a Notice of Appeal with Motion to Reduce Appeal Bond. They
posted a P4.5 Million bond. The NLRC granted the reduction of the appeal bond and
ordered the Corporations to post an additional P4.5 Million bond.
The 5,984 former Aris employees, represented by Emilinda Macatlang (Macatlang petition),
filed a petition for review before the Court of Appeals insisting that the appeal was not
perfected due to failure of the Corporations to post the correct amount of the bond which
is... equivalent to the judgment award.
The Court of Appeals, on 26 March 2007, ordered the Corporations to post an additional
appeal bond of P1 Billion.
In our Decision dated 4 June 2014, we modified the Court of Appeals' Decision
The Corporations are directed to post P725 Million, in cash or surety bond, within TEN (10)
days from the receipt of this DECISION.
Issues:
The Corporations score this Court for failing to consider the ruling in McBurnie v. Ganzon[4]
which purportedly required only the posting of a bond equivalent to 10% of the monetary
award.
Ruling:
The Corporations gravely misappreciated the ruling in McBurnie. The 10% requirement
pertains to the reasonable amount which the NLRC would accept as the minimum of the
bond that should accompany the motion to reduce bond in order to suspend the period to
perfect an... appeal under the NLRC rules. The 10% is based on the judgment award and
should in no case be construed as the minimum amount of bond to be posted in order to
perfect appeal.
McBurnie made it clear that the... percentage of bond set is provisional
The NLRC retains its authority and duty to resolve the motion and determine... the final
amount of bond that shall be posted by the appellant, still in accordance with the standards
of "meritorious grounds" and "reasonable amount." Should the NLRC, after considering the
motion's merit, determine that a greater amount or the full amount of the bond needs to... be
posted by the appellant, then the party shall comply accordingly. The appellant shall be
given a period of 10 days from notice of the NLRC order within which to perfect the appeal
by posting the required appeal bond.
DELA ROSA LINER VS. BORELA
GR NO: 207286
DATE: July 29, 2015
PETITIONER: DELA ROSA LINER, INC. AND/OR ROSAURO DELA ROSA, SR AND NORA DELAROSA

RESPONDENTS: CALIXTO B. BORELA AND ESTELO A. AMARILE

Facts: On September 23, 2011, respondents Calixto Borela, bus driver, and Estelo Amarille, conductor,
filed separate complaints (later consolidated) against petitioners Dela Rosa Liner, Inc., a public transport
company for underpayment/non- payment of salaries and other benefits, and violation of Wage Order
Nos. 13, 14, 15 and 16.

In a motion dated October 26, 2011, the petitioners asked the labor arbiter to dismiss the case
for forum shopping. They alleged that on September 28, 2011, the CA 13th Division disposed of a similar
case between the parties after they entered into a compromise agreement which covered all claims and
causes of action they had against each other in relation to the respondents' employment. The respondents
opposed the motion, contending that the causes of action in the present case are different from the
causes of action settled in the case the petitioners cited

LA: upheld the petitioners' position and dismissed the complaint on grounds of forum shopping.

NLRC: held that the respondents could not have committed forum shopping as there was no identity of
causes of action between the two cases.

CA: found no grave abuse of discretion in the NLRC ruling that the respondents did not commit forum
shopping when they filed their second complaint.

ISSUE: Whether or not the second complaint is barred by the rule on forum shopping or by the principle
of res judicata.

HELD: NO. Contrary to the petitioners' submission, respondents' second complaint, a money claim, is not
a "similar case" to the first complaint. Thus, the filing of the second complaint did not constitute forum
shopping and the judgment in the first case is not a res judicata ruling that bars the second complaint

The first complaint charged the petitioners with illegal dismissal and unfair labor practice; while
the second complaint was based on the petitioners' alleged nonpayment/underpayment of their salaries
and monetary benefits, and violation of several wage orders. As the CA aptly cited, the elements of forum
shopping are: (1) identity of parties; (2) identity of rights asserted and relief prayed for, the relief being
founded on the same facts; and (3) identity of the two preceding particulars such that any judgment
rendered in the other action will, regardless of which party is successful, amount to res judicata in the
action under consideration. We concur with the CA that forum shopping and res judicata are not
applicable in the present case. There is no identity of rights asserted and reliefs prayed for, and the
judgment rendered in the previous action will not amount to res judicata in the action now under
consideration. There is also no identity of causes of action in the first complaint and in the second
complaint because the same facts or evidence would not support both actions.

We likewise cannot accept the compromise agreement's application "to all claims and damages
or losses either party may have against each other whether those damages or losses are known or
unknown, foreseen or unforeseen." This coverage is too sweeping and effectively excludes any claims by
the respondents against the petitioners, including those that by law and jurisprudence cannot be waived
without appropriate consideration such as nonpayment or underpayment of overtime pay and wages.

MAGSAYSAY MARITIME CORPORATION/EDUARDO MANESE


and PRINCESS CRUISE LINES, LTD., petitioners, vs.
CYNTHIA DE JESUS, respondent.

DECISION

LEONEN, J : p

A conditional settlement of a judgment award may be treated as a


compromise agreement and a judgment on the merits of the case if it turns out
to be highly prejudicial to one of the parties.
This resolves the Petition for Review on Certiorari 1 filed
by Magsaysay Maritime Corporation, Eduardo Manese, 2 and Princess Cruise
Lines, Limited (petitioners) assailing the August 17, 2012 Decision 3 and
October 19, 2012 Resolution 4 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No.
119393. The assailed Court of Appeals Decision upheld the November 24,
2010 Decision 5 and February 28, 2011 Resolution 6 of the National Labor
Relations Commission in NLRC NCR LAC No. 08-000481-09 (NLRC NCR No.
(M) 09-13352-08).
On February 28, 2006, Magsaysay Maritime Corporation (Magsaysay),
the local manning agent of Princess Cruise Lines, Limited, hired
Bernardine De Jesus (Bernardine) as an Accommodation Supervisor for the
cruise ship Regal Princess. Based on the contract of employment 7 that he
signed, Bernardine was to receive a basic monthly wage of US$388.00 for a
period of 10 months. AIDSTE

On March 9, 2006, Bernardine boarded Regal Princess and he eventually


disembarked 10 months later, or on January 16, 2007, after his contract of
employment ended. 8
Bernardine was soon diagnosed with Aortic Aneurysm and on March 15,
2007, he had a coronary angiography. On March 21, 2007, he underwent a Left
Axillofemoral Bypass. 9 He died on March 26, 2007. 10
On September 24, 2008, respondent Cynthia De Jesus (Cynthia),
Bernardine's widow, filed a complaint 11 against Magsaysay for "payment of
death benefits, medical expenses, sickness allowance, damages, and
attorney's fees." 12 Cynthia and Magsaysay were unable to amicably settle the
case; hence, they were directed to submit their respective position papers. 13
On June 30, 2009, the Labor Arbiter granted Cynthia's complaint and
directed Magsaysay to pay her claims for death benefits, additional benefits,
burial expenses, and attorney's fees. 14
The Labor Arbiter ruled that it was highly improbable that Bernardine
developed a cardio-vascular disease which would lead to his death merely two
(2) months after his repatriation. 15
The Labor Arbiter held that Cynthia sufficiently established that her
husband suffered chest pains while he was still aboard the Regal Princess. She
claimed that he had reported his condition but he was not provided with medical
attention. Furthermore, he had also asked for medical attention upon his
repatriation, but his request was once again denied. 16 The dispositive portion
of the Labor Arbiter Decision read:
WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, judgment is
hereby rendered finding respondents liable to pay, jointly and severally,
complainant's claims for death benefits under the POEA Standard
Employment Contract, amounting to US$50,000.00 and additional
benefits amounting to US$21,000.00 for complainant's three (3) minor
children, in Philippine currency at the prevailing rate of exchange at the
time of payment; US$1,000.00 representing burial expenses; and
attorney's fees of ten percent (10%) of the total monetary award.
All other claims are denied.
SO ORDERED. 17
On November 24, 2010, the National Labor Relations
Commission 18 denied Magsaysay's appeal.
The National Labor Relations Commission upheld the Labor Arbiter's
finding that Bernardine's cardio-vascular disease was work-related. 19
The National Labor Relations Commission also noted that while the
general rule in compensability of death is that a seafarer's death must have
occurred during the term of the employment contract, an exception to this rule
is when a seafarer contracted an illness while under the contract and this illness
caused his death: 20
In such case, even if the seaman died after the term of the contract, his
beneficiaries are entitled to death compensation and benefits. Thus,
[w]here a seaman contracts an illness during the term of his employment
and such illness causes the death of the seaman even after the term of
his contract, the beneficiaries of the seaman are entitled, as a matter of
right, to death compensation and benefits. 21
As for Bernardine's failure to submit himself to a post-employment
medical examination, the National Labor Relations Commission remarked that
this Court had already ruled that it could be dispensed with. Furthermore, the
National Labor Relations Commission pointed out that the failure to undergo a
post-employment medical examination within three (3) days from repatriation
leads to the forfeiture of medical benefits and sickness allowance, not death
benefits. 22 The dispositive portion of the National Labor Relations Commission
Decision read:
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the labor arbiter a quo dated June
30, 2009 rendered in NLRC NCR Case No. (M) 09-13352-08 is
hereby AFFIRMED in toto.
SO ORDERED. 23 (Emphasis in the original)
On May 13, 2011, Magsaysay filed a Petition for Certiorari 24 before the
Court of Appeals.
On June 30, 2011, Magsaysay paid Cynthia P3,370,514.40 as
conditional satisfaction of the judgment award against it and without prejudice
to its Petition for Certiorari pending before the Court of Appeals. 25
On July 1, 2011, in light of the conditional settlement between the parties,
the Labor Arbiter considered the case closed and terminated but without
prejudice to Magsaysay's pending petition before the Court of Appeals. 26
On August 17, 2012, the Court of Appeals 27 dismissed the petition for
being moot and academic. 28 On October 19, 2012, the Court of
Appeals 29 denied Magsaysay's motion for reconsideration. 30
On December 19, 2012, petitioners filed their Petition for Review
on Certiorari 31 where they continue to assert that the Court of Appeals erred in
dismissing their Petition for Certiorari for being moot and academic. Petitioners
emphasize that Leonis Navigation v. Villamater 32 stated that if the Court of
Appeals grants a petition for certiorari, the assailed decision of the National
Labor Relations Commission will become void ab initio and will never attain
finality. 33
Petitioners maintain that Leonis ruled that even if the employer
voluntarily pays the judgment award, the seafarer's beneficiary is estopped
from claiming that the controversy has ended with the Labor Arbiter's Order
closing and terminating the case. This is because the beneficiary acknowledged
that the payment received "was without prejudice to the final outcome of the
petition for certiorari pending before the [Court of Appeals]." 34
Furthermore, petitioners claim that Bernardine's death was not
compensable under the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency Standard
Employment Contract (POEA-SEC) because he died after his contract of
employment was terminated. 35 Petitioners put forth that "[f]rom then on,
petitioners' responsibilities and obligations to the deceased seafarer had
ceased." 36
Petitioners also highlight that Bernardine was not repatriated due to
illness but because of the completion of his contract. 37 Additionally, Bernardine
failed to submit himself to a post-employment medical examination within three
(3) days from his repatriation, as required by the POEA-SEC. Thus, petitioners
claim that there was no basis for the death benefits claimed by Cynthia.
Petitioners point out that Bernardine did not complain of any illness during
the de-briefing session conducted before his repatriation. 38
Nonetheless, even if Bernardine complied with the rule on post-
employment medical examination, petitioners contend that Aortic Aneurysm,
which caused Bernardine's death, was not a compensable occupational
disease under the POEA-SEC. They aver that it cannot be presumed that the
cause of his death was work-related. They posit that respondent utterly failed
to substantiate her claim that her husband's death was work-related. 39
On February 13, 2013, this Court required respondent Cynthia to
comment on the Petition for Review. 40
On May 3, 2013, respondent filed her Comment 41 where she stresses
that the ruling in Career Philippines Ship Management, Inc. v. Madjus 42 is
applicable to her case since both cases pertain to voluntary satisfaction of
claims for death benefits. 43 Furthermore, just like in Career Philippines, by
accepting the monetary award from petitioners, respondent will no longer have
any available remedy against them, while petitioners are still free to pursue any
of the remedies available to them. 44
Respondent also argues that the issues raised before this Court are the
same factual issues already threshed out before the Court of Appeals and the
National Labor Relations Commission. Respondent contends that the findings
of the administrative tribunals are supported by substantial evidence; hence,
they should be accorded great weight and respect by this Court. 45
Respondent denies that her husband failed to comply with the three (3)-
day reporting requirement and claims that her husband even asked to be
provided with medical attention upon his repatriation, but his request was
denied:
The petitioners merely told him to take a rest and after that, he
will be re-deployed again. Seaman De Jesus could not have
immediately filed a disability claim (as suggested by petitioners)
because he was not yet examined by a doctor due to the refusal of
petitioners to provide post-employment medical attention. He was also
hoping that his condition would improve after taking a rest, as suggested
by petitioners.
However, his condition did not improve until he suffered aortic
aneurism on March 14, 2007. 46 (Emphasis in the original)
On August 12, 2013, this Court required petitioners to reply to the
Comment. 47
On November 4, 2013, petitioners filed their Reply 48 where they deny
respondent's allegation that they voluntarily offered to pay the full judgment
award. They claim that they even opposed respondent's Motion for the
Issuance of a Writ of Execution and were just forced to pay the judgment award
since their petition before the Court of Appeals did not stay the judgment
award. 49
Petitioners reiterate that the Court of Appeals erred in dismissing the
petition on the ground that the payment of the judgment award rendered the
petition moot and academic because the payment made to respondent was
without prejudice to the then pending petition before the Court of Appeals. 50
Petitioners argue that the labor tribunals committed grave abuse of
discretion in awarding death benefits to Cynthia and her three (3) minor children
considering that Bernardine's death was not compensable under the POEA-
SEC and that respondent failed to prove her claims of compensability with
substantial evidence. 51
The parties filed their respective memoranda on February 12,
2014 52 and March 24, 2014, 53 in compliance with this Court's December 2,
2013 Resolution. 54
This Court resolves the following issues:
First, whether or not the payment of money judgment has rendered the
Petition for Certiorari before the Court of Appeals moot and academic; and
Second, whether or not the award of death benefits was issued with
grave abuse of discretion.
The petition is devoid of merit.
I
Petitioners cite Leonis Navigation v. Villamater 55 to support their claim
that their payment of the judgment award did not render the Petition
for Certiorari before the Court of Appeals moot and
academic. Leonis stated: EcTCAD

Simply put, the execution of the final and executory decision or


resolution of the NLRC shall proceed despite the pendency of a petition
for certiorari, unless it is restrained by the proper court. In the present
case, petitioners already paid Villamater's widow, Sonia, the amount of
[P]3,649,800.00, representing the total and permanent disability award
plus attorney's fees, pursuant to the Writ of Execution issued by the
Labor Arbiter. Thereafter, an Order was issued declaring the case as
"closed and terminated." However, although there was no motion for
reconsideration of this last Order, Sonia was, nonetheless, estopped
from claiming that the controversy had already reached its end with the
issuance of the Order closing and terminating the case. This is because
the Acknowledgment Receipt she signed when she received petitioners'
payment was without prejudice to the final outcome of the petition
for certiorari pending before the CA. 56
Respondent, in turn, cites Career Philippines Ship Management, Inc. v.
Madjus 57 to substantiate her claim that the Conditional Satisfaction of
Judgment Award was akin to an amicable settlement, rendering the Petition
for Certiorari before the Court of Appeals moot and
academic. Career Philippines stated:
As for the "Conditional Satisfaction of Judgment," the Court holds
that it is valid, hence, the "conditional" settlement of the judgment award
insofar as it operates as a final satisfaction thereof to render the case
moot and academic.
xxx xxx xxx
Finally, the Affidavit of Claimant attached to the "Conditional
Satisfaction of Judgment" states:
xxx xxx xxx
5. That I understand that the payment of the judgment
award of US$66,000.00 or its peso equivalent of
PhP2,932,974.00 includes all my past, present and
future expenses and claims, and all kinds of benefits
due to me under the POEA employment contract and
all collective bargaining agreements and all labor laws
and regulations, civil law or any other law whatsoever
and all damages, pains and sufferings in connection
with my claim.
6. That I have no further claims whatsoever in any theory
of law against the Owners of MV "Tama Star" because of
the payment made to me. That I certify and warrant that I
will not file any complaint or prosecute any suit of
action in the Philippines, Panama, Japan or any
country against the shipowners and/or released
parties herein after receiving the payment of
US$66,000.00 or its peso equivalent of PhP2,932,974.00
(emphasis and underscoring supplied)
In effect, while petitioner had the luxury of having other remedies
available to it such as its petition for certiorari pending before the
appellate court, and an eventual appeal to this Court, respondent, on the
other hand, could no longer pursue other claims, including for interests
that may accrue during the pendency of the case. 58 (Emphasis in the
original)
Philippine Transmarine Carriers, Inc. v. Legaspi 59 clarified that this Court
ruled against the employer in Career Philippines not because the parties
entered into a conditional settlement but because the conditional satisfaction of
judgment was "highly prejudicial to the employee." 60
The agreement stated that the payment of the monetary award was
without prejudice to the right of the employer to file a petition
for certiorari and appeal, while the employee agreed that she would no
longer file any complaint or prosecute any suit of action against the
employer after receiving the payment. 61
Equitable considerations were the underlying basis for the ruling
in Career Philippines 62 and this was accentuated in Philippine Transmarine
Carriers, Inc. v. Pelagio, 63 which summarized the ruling in Philippine
Transmarine Carriers, Inc. v. Legaspi as follows:
Ultimately, in Philippine Transmarine, the Court ruled that since
the agreement in that case was fair to the parties in that it provided
available remedies to both parties, the certiorari petition was not
rendered moot despite the employer's satisfaction of the judgment
award, as the respondent had obliged himself to return the payment if
the petition would be granted. 64
In the instant case, the parties entered into a compromise agreement
when they executed a Conditional Satisfaction of Judgment Award. 65
Article 2028 of the Civil Code defines a compromise agreement as "a
contract whereby the parties, by making reciprocal concessions, avoid a
litigation or put an end to one already commenced." Parties freely enter into a
compromise agreement, making it a judgment on the merits of the case with
the effect of res judicata upon them. 66
While the general rule is that a valid compromise agreement has the
power to render a pending case moot and academic, being a contract, the
parties may opt to modify the legal effects of their compromise agreement to
prevent the pending case from becoming moot. 67
In the Conditional Satisfaction of Judgment Award, 68 respondent
acknowledged receiving the sum of P3,370,514.40 from petitioners as
conditional payment of the judgment award. Both parties agreed that the
payment of the judgment award was without prejudice to the
pending certiorari proceedings before the Court of Appeals and was only made
to prevent the imminent execution being undertaken by respondent and the
National Labor Relations Commission. Finally, in the event the judgment award
of the labor tribunals is reversed by the Court of Appeals or by this Court,
respondent agreed to return whatever she would have received back to
petitioners and in the same vein, if the Court of Appeals or this Court affirms
the decisions of the labor tribunals, petitioners shall pay respondent the balance
of the judgment award without need of demand. 69
Respondent, for herself and for her three (3) minor children with
Bernardine, then signed a Receipt of Payment 70 where she reiterated the
undertakings she took in the Conditional Satisfaction of Judgement Award.
However, in the Affidavit of Heirship, 71 respondent was prohibited from
seeking further redress against petitioners, making the compromise agreement
ultimately prejudicial to respondent: HSAcaE

I, CYNTHIA P. DE JESUS, with residence at 157 Isarog St., La


Loma, Quezon City, Philippines, after being duly sworn, depose and say:
xxx xxx xxx
[7.] That I understand that the payment of the judgment award
of US$79,200.00 or its peso equivalent plus
of Php3,370,514.40 includes all my past, present and future expenses
and claims, and all kinds of benefits due to me under the POEA
employment contract and all collective bargaining agreements and all
labor laws and regulations, civil law or any other law whatsoever and all
damages, pains and sufferings in connection with my claim;
[8.] That I have no further claims whatsoever in any theory of law
against the Owners of "REGAL PRINCESS" because of the payment
made to me. That I certify and warrant that I will not file any complaint or
prosecute any suit or action in the Philippines, United States of America,
Liberia, Kuwait, Panama, United Kingdom or any other country against
the shipowners and/or the released parties herein after receiving the
payment of US$79,200.00 or its peso equivalent
of Php3,370,514.40[.] 72 (Emphasis supplied)
This prohibition on the part of respondent to pursue any of the available
legal remedies should the Court of Appeals or this Court reverse the judgment
award of the labor tribunals or prosecute any other suit or action in another
country puts the seafarer's beneficiaries at a grave disadvantage. Thus, Career
Philippines is applicable and the Court of Appeals did not err in treating the
conditional settlement as an amicable settlement, effectively rendering the
Petition for Certiorari moot and academic.
II
Despite our previous disquisition, this Court will still take up the second
issue brought before it for resolution.
Madridejos v. NYK-Fil Ship Management, Inc. 73 discussed that
generally, this Court limits itself to questions of law in a Rule 45 petition:
As a rule, we only examine questions of law in a Rule 45 petition.
Thus, "we do not re-examine conflicting evidence, re-evaluate the
credibility of witnesses, or substitute the findings of fact of the [National
Labor Relations Commission], an administrative body that has expertise
in its specialized field." Similarly, we do not replace our "own judgment
for that of the tribunal in determining where the weight of evidence lies
or what evidence is credible." The factual findings of the National Labor
Relations Commission, when confirmed by the Court of Appeals, are
usually "conclusive on this Court." 74
This Court sees no reason to depart from this rule.
Section 20 (A) of the POEA-SEC requires that for a seafarer to be
entitled to death benefits, he must have suffered a work-related death during
the term of his contract. This provision reads:
SECTION 20. COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS. —
A. COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS FOR DEATH
1. In case of work-related death of the seafarer, during the term of
his contract the employer shall pay his beneficiaries the
Philippine Currency equivalent to the amount of Fifty
Thousand US dollars (US$50,000) and an additional
amount of Seven Thousand US dollars (US$7,000) to each
child under the age of twenty-one (21) but not exceeding
four (4) children, at the exchange rate prevailing during the
time of payment.
xxx xxx xxx
4. The other liabilities of the employer when the seafarer dies as a
result of work-related injury or illness during the term of
employment are as follows:
a. The employer shall pay the deceased's beneficiary all
outstanding obligations due the seafarer under this
Contract.
b. The employer shall transport the remains and personal
effects of the seafarer to the Philippines at employer's
expense except if the death occurred in a port where
local government laws or regulations do not permit
the transport of such remains. In case death occurs
at sea, the disposition of the remains shall be handled
or dealt with in accordance with the master's best
judgment. In all cases, the employer/master shall
communicate with the manning agency to advise for
disposition of seafarer's remains.
c. The employer shall pay the beneficiaries of the seafarer
the Philippines [sic] currency equivalent to the
amount of One Thousand US dollars (US$1,000) for
burial expenses at the exchange rate prevailing
during the time of payment.
However, Section 32-A of the POEA-SEC acknowledges the possibility
of "compensation for the death of the seafarer occurring after the employment
contract on account of a work-related illness" 75 as long as the following
conditions are met:
(1) The seafarer's work must involve the risks described herein;
(2) The disease was contracted as a result of the seafarer's exposure to
the described risks;
(3) The disease was contracted within a period of exposure and under
such other factors necessary to contract it;
(4) There was no notorious negligence on the part of the seafarer. 76

Furthermore, a cardio-vascular disease may be considered occupational


under Section 32-A (11) if any of the established conditions are met: AcICHD

The following diseases are considered as occupational when


contracted under working conditions involving the risks described
herein:
xxx xxx xxx
11. Cardio-Vascular Diseases. Any of the following conditions must
be met:
a. If the heart disease was known to have been present
during employment, there must be proof that an acute
exacerbation was clearly precipitated by the unusual
strain by reasons of the nature of his work.
b. The strain of work that brings about an acute attack must
be sufficient severity and must be followed within 24
hours by the clinical signs of a cardiac insult to
constitute causal relationship.
c. If a person who was apparently asymptomatic before
being subjected to strain at work showed signs and
symptoms of cardiac injury during the performance of
his work and such symptoms and signs persisted, it
is reasonable to claim a causal relationship. 77
In fulfilling these requisites, respondent must present no less than
substantial evidence. Substantial evidence is defined as "such amount of
relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify
a conclusion." 78
Both labor tribunals found that Bernardine first experienced chest pains
while he was still onboard the cruise ship, i.e., during the term of his
employment contract. It was likewise established that while Bernardine
requested medical attention when he started to feel ill and upon his repatriation,
his requests were repeatedly ignored. The Labor Arbiter held:
Complainant has clearly established that her husband's condition
was suffered while he was on board the vessel and during the term of
his employment contract with the respondents. Strict rules of evidence
are not applicable in claims for compensation and disability benefits.
Against the self-serving denials of the respondents, complainant has
shown that her husband, prior to his death, suffered chest pains while
on board and reported his condition but he was not allowed to seek
medical attention. When he was repatriated, he asked the respondents
anew for medical check up but his request was again denied. Having
substantially established that the causative circumstances leading to her
husband's death had transpired during his employment. We find that
complainant is entitled to the death compensation and other benefits
under the POEA Standard Contract. Probability and not the ultimate
degree of certainty is the test of proof in compensation proceedings[.] 79
While the National Labor Relations Commission opined:
Evidently, the disease which led to the death of
Bernardine de Jesus is work-related, and in this regard, We believe that
complainant-appellee presented sufficient evidence to show the nature
of the maritime employment of her late husband, as well as the disease
he suffered from and its causal relationship to
hismaritime employment. 80
The findings of the labor tribunals correspond with the unassailed fact
that Bernardine died from a cardio-vascular disease merely two (2) months after
his repatriation. This Court concurs with the Labor Arbiter's observation that it
was improbable for Bernardine to have developed and died from a cardio-
vascular disease within the two (2) short months following his repatriation:
Seaman de Jesus died just over two (2) months from his
repatriation. It is quite improbable for him to develop cardio-vascular
disease which caused his death during that short span of time. Medical
studies cited on record recognize the fact that it is medically impossible
to acquire cardiovascular illnesses merely days or weeks prior to one's
death. . .
It is therefore evident that the illness which caused
Seaman de Jesus' death occurred during the term of his employment
contract, though it may not have fully manifested at once. The fact that
the seaman's work exposed him to different climates and unpredictable
weather also helped trigger the onset of his disease. There is therefore
a reasonable connection between the conditions of employment and
work actually performed by the deceased seafarer and his illness. 81
Being factual in nature, this Court sees no reason to disturb the findings
of the labor tribunals as it has usually given deference to the findings of fact of
administrative agencies which have acquired expertise in their specific
jurisdiction. Their factual findings are generally binding upon this Court, absent
a showing a grave abuse of discretion. 82
WHEREFORE, this Court resolves to deny the Petition. The assailed
Court of Appeals Decision dated August 17, 2012 and Resolution dated
October 19, 2012 in CA-G.R. SP No. 119393 are hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED. TAIaHE

||| (Magsaysay Maritime Corp. v. De Jesus, G.R. No. 203943, [August 30, 2017])
ART. 229