Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1979 > December 1979 Decisions > G.R. Nos. L-36752-53 December 18, 1979 - COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC HIGHWAYS, ET AL. v. FRANCISCO P. BURGOS, ET AL.:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. Nos. L-36752-53. December 18, 1979.]

THE COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC HIGHWAYS and THE DISTRICT ENGINEER OF THE FIRST ENGINEERING DISTRICT OF CEBU, Petitioners, v. HON. FRANCISCO P. BURGOS, in his capacity as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Cebu; Branch II; THE PROVINCE OF CEBU; THE PROVINCIAL AUDITOR OF CEBU; THE PROVINCIAL TREASURER OF CEBU; and BUENAVENTURA BRAGAS, CRESCENCIO CAÑETE, ANDRES CAÑETE, TEOFILO CACANOG, PLACIDO CUIZON, CERILO DONAYRE, CAMIA HERMOSA, VIRGINIO LAVELLES, JUAN MAGHANOY, LUCIO MARAMARA, BRIGIDO NEMIL, FRANCISCO NOVAL, ILUMINADO ORTIZ, CESAR PAÑARES, LUCAS PARADIANG, JESUS PEPITO, CARLOS QUINAPONDAN, EUTIQUIO RACAZA, ROSARIO SEN, RICARDO TAGALOG and AURELIO ZABALA, Respondents.


D E C I S I O N


FERNANDO, C.J.:


On June 14, 1979, this Court received a pleading entitled Compromise Agreement. It reads as follows:" [Come Now] the parties in the above captioned subject case through their respective duly authorized incumbent officials and attorney-in-fact, assisted by their respective counsels and to this Honorable Supreme Court respectfully submit the following Compromise Agreement; [Whereas], respondents former Governor Rene Espina, former Vice-Governor and Governor Osmundo G. Rama, and former Provincial Board Members Pablo P. Garcia, Valeriano Carillo and Reynaldo M. Mendiola, who were sued in their official capacities, have long ceased to hold office; [Whereas] Gov. Eduardo R. Gullas, incumbent Provincial Governor of Cebu, has been authorized by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to negotiate and conclude an amicable settlement of this case; [Whereas], after a series of conferences the latest of which was called upon the initiative of Honorable Eduardo R. Gullas, Provincial Governor of the respondent Province of Cebu, during which Gov. Gullas pointed out the desirability of settling this case in the interest of all parties concerned; [Whereas], the private respondents-employees who were duly represented by their respective counsels duly subscribe with Gov. Gullas’ views of the desirability of settling this case noting that the deplorable conditions of some roads and bridges in the Province of Cebu await much-needed funds for their immediate repair and/or improvement, and considering, on the other hand, the sad plight of the private respondents-employees who have been out of job since July 1, 1968 up to the present date; [Whereas], the parties after conferring together have agreed on all the terms and conditions of the final and complete settlement of this case. [Now Therefore], for and in consideration of the foregoing, the parties agree, as they hereby agree, to enter into a Compromise Agreement in the above-captioned case under the following terms and conditions: 1. The respondent Province of Cebu represented in this act by Gov. Eduardo R. Gullas, duly authorized by proper resolution of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, hereby agrees to immediately appropriate and pay full back wages and salaries as awarded by the trial Court in its decision to all the private respondents-employees from and after July 1, 1968, the date of their termination, up to the date of the approval of the herein Compromise Agreement by the Honorable Supreme Court, except for those who are qualified for compulsory retirement whose back salaries and wages shall be limited up to the effective date of their retirement; 2. That the private respondents-employees waive, as they hereby waive, their demand for reinstatement; 3. That private respondents-employees who are qualified for compulsory retirement as of the date of approval of this Compromise Agreement shall be allowed to retire in accordance with the enlisting retirement laws with the private respondent Province of Cebu appropriating and paying the Government’s share of the GSIS retirement and insurance premiums. For purposes of this Compromise Agreement, the services of the private respondents-employees from July 1, 1968 shall be considered continuous and uninterrupted; 4. That the respondent Province of Cebu agrees to pay gratuity pay and/or optional retirement benefits to private respondents-employees qualified for optional retirement as of the date of the approval of this Compromise Agreement, under R.A. 660, as amended, and whose services shall likewise be deemed continuous and uninterrupted for purposes of this Compromise Agreement provided that where the law grants an employee the option to choose under what law he should retire, such option shall be recognized in respect to the herein private respondents-employees; and provided that the decision of the GSIS relative to any question of retirement shall be final and binding; 5. That private respondents-employees shall be entitled to collect their accumulated sick leave and vacation leave pay which shall be paid from JJ funds to be held in trust for the purpose as well as benefits under the Medicare and Workmens Compensation Act; 6. Those private respondents-employees who have died shall be paid back salaries and wages and retirement benefits through their heirs up to the time of their death upon presentation of the corresponding death certificate or other satisfactory proof. 7. That the petitioner Commissioner of Public Highways (now Minister of Public Highways) and his subordinates, as well as respondent officials and/or former officials of the Province of Cebu, are absolved of any and all personal and other civil liabilities of whatsoever nature; 8. That upon approval by this Honorable Supreme Court of the herein Compromise Agreement the writ of preliminary injunction issued by the lower Court is deemed automatically vacated and lifted but the amounts covering the salaries and back wages as well as those covering the retirement and insurance premiums of respondent Province of Cebu payable to the GSIS pertaining to the retirement of private respondents-employees qualified to retire under paragraphs 3 and 4 hereof shall be earmarked for the payment of said obligations and shall be held in trust by the Province for said purposes; 9. That the amounts payable to the employees concerned represented by Atty. Ramon B. Ceniza subject to said lawyer’s charging and retaining liens. [Whereas], the Honorable Supreme Court is most respectfully prayed to approve the foregoing Compromise Agreement and to render judgment which shall be immediately executory in accordance therewith, without costs. Cebu City (for Manila)." 1 It was signed by Provincial Governor Eduardo R. Gullas for the Province of Cebu, Atty. Justino K. Hermosisima, counsel for respondents Cebu Province and its present and former officials, by Atty. Ramon B. Ceniza, as counsel for private respondents-employees as well as their attorney-in-fact. Minister Baltazar Aquino expressed his conformity. He was assisted by Assistant Solicitor General Vicente V. Mendoza.

In a supplemental manifestation and motion filed on June 28, 1979 by the Commissioner of Public Highways and the Provincial Government and officials of Cebu, it was alleged that in such compromise agreement, Case No. L-49076 was included involving as it did "former laborers in the Cebu Public Highways who were in the same and identical situation" [and that] as such compromise agreement was signed not only in Manila but in Cebu, what was submitted to this Court was undated. It reiterated the prayer for its approval.chanrobles.com.ph : virtual law library

While at first, there was an opposition to its approval by counsel for respondents, Raul H. Sesbreño, on October 31, 1979, he filed this urgent ex parte manifestation, which insofar as pertinent, stated: "That they [respondents] are, therefore, withdrawing whatever objections they have against the approval of the compromise agreement submitted by the Commissioner of Public Highways, thru the Honorable Solicitor General. It may be noted that the compromise agreement of similar substance submitted in G.R. No. L-34843 with which these cases were ordered consolidated, was already approved by this Superiority per its judgment dated July 5, 1979." 2 As he made clear, he "joins the Honorable Solicitor General in seeking the approval of the [Compromise Agreement] by this Superiority." 3

WHEREFORE, the objection to the compromise agreement having been withdrawn, it is approved by this Court. Let the parties observe strictly the terms thereof. That is the judgment of this Court. No costs.

Teehankee, Barredo, Makasiar, Antonio, Aquino, Santos, Fernandez, Guerrero, Abad Santos, De Castro and Melencio-Herrera, JJ., concur.

Concepcion Jr., J., took no part.

Endnotes:



1. Compromise Agreement, 1-5.

2. Urgent Ex Parte Manifestation.

3. Ibid.




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