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FRANCISCO P. CANDO, ​Petitioner​, v.

NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and


PILIPINAS BANK, ​Respondents​.

Balgos & Perez for ​Petitioner​.

Pastor M. Reyes, Jr. for ​Private Respondent​.

Pablo R. Cruz collaborating counsel for ​Private Respondent​.

DECISION

GANCAYCO, ​J.​:

Facts:

Francisco P. Cando has been an employee of the Pilipinas Bank since 1974. He was the
senior distributing clerk of the respondent bank and a ranking officer of the Pilipinas Bank
Employees Union. The union declared a strike on September of 1984 for a month. Then
Minister of Labor Blas Ople issued an order enjoining the strike and directing the striking
workers to return to work. While the other striking employees went back to work, the petitioner
failed to report for work. The petitioner was on a leave of absence from November 5 to 21,
1984. However, he did not return for work of four months--from October 29, 1984 to the end of
February 1985. His time cards for the months of December 1984 and January 1985 have written
entries like union matter and hearing. His time card for February 1985 was devoid of any entry
at all.

On March 4, 1985, the respondent bank instructed the petitioner to make a written
explanation, within 48 hours, why appropriate disciplinary measures should not be taken against
him. Petitioner wrote that his absences were prompted by various matters affecting the union
which needed immediate attention.

An ad hoc investigating committee was created. After an administrative charge for gross
and habitual neglect in the performance of duties had been filed against the petitioner, the
committee informed him about the nature and possible consequences thereof. The committee
also informed him that he must submit a reply within seventy-two hours and that he had the
option of requesting a formal hearing where he may present evidence and avail of the
assistance of a counsel. Petitioner submitted a reply but did not request for a formal hearing. A
memorandum dated May 2, 1985 was issued to the petitioner informing him that he was
terminated from his employment effective May 7, 1985 and that his termination was for gross
and habitual neglect in the performance of duties through absences without official leave.

The petitioner filed a complaint for illegal dismissal against the respondent bank before
the NLRC. The labor arbiter sustained the dismissal of the petitioner. Then the complaint was
elevated to the the First Division of the Commission. The Commission sustained the dismissal
and ordered the respondent bank to pay separation pay comprising of one month salary for
every year of service rendered. Ultimately, petitioner elevated the case to the Supreme Court.

Issue: WON there is a just cause of termination.

Ruling:
The court ruled in the affirmative. As an employee, the petitioner is expected to be aware
of the rules and regulations of the bank regarding leaves of absences. As observed by the
Commission, the absences of the petitioner were not authorized. On this score,his dismissal
appears to be warranted. In addition, his testimony before the labor arbiter betrays his
assertions that his absences were brought by union matters. He cannot recall any single case
that would correspond to his excuse of union matter or hearing. Herein petitioner hid under the
cloak of “I cannot recall” during the cross-examination. In addition, his argument that his
absence were condoned by his superiors has no legal basis. The respondent bank took
measures to look into his alleged violations of the bank rules and regulations governing leaves
of absences. An investigation ensued that he was given the opportunity to defend himself.
Inasmuch as the findings of facts made by the Commission are supported by substantial
evidence, the same will be accorded with respect and finality.