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Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
July-1996 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 116600 July 3, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. REYNALDO LANDICHO

  • G.R. No. 119527 July 3, 1996 - EVELYN J. GARCIA v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121910 July 3, 1996 - NATIONAL WATERWORKS AND SEWERAGE AUTHORITY, ET AL. v. NLRC

  • G.R. Nos. 98121-22 July 5, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO R. SALAZAR

  • G.R. No. 100629 July 5, 1996 - ENELYN E. PEÑA, ET AL. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 100699 July 5, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDGAR C. GUTIERREZ

  • G.R. No. 102377 July 5, 1996 - ALFREDO SAJONAS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 102998 July 5, 1996 - BA FINANCE CORPORATION v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 105583 July 5, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ELEUTERIO TAMPON

  • G.R. No. 106296 July 5, 1996 - ISABELO T. CRISOSTOMO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106413 July 5, 1996 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. TACLOBAN CITY ICE PLANT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107698 July 5, 1996 - GLORIA Z. GARBO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107824 July 5, 1996 - SUPERCLEAN SERVICES CORPORATION v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109173 July 5, 1996 - CITY OF CEBU v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111324 July 5, 1996 - ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MANILA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111549 July 5, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARTEMIO P. ORTALEZA

  • G.R. Nos. 113178 & 114777 July 5, 1996 - RADIO COMMUNICATIONS OF THE PHIL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113549 July 5, 1996 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113827 July 5, 1996 - PHILIPPINE AIRLINES INC. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113948 July 5, 1996 - ARMANDO NICOLAS v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 114002 July 5, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ELEUTERIO C. COMPENDIO, JR.

  • G.R. No. 115216 July 5, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DAVID CABILES

  • G.R. No. 115825 July 5, 1996 - FRANKLIN DRILON v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116208 July 5, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ESMAEL SALIDO

  • G.R. No. 116693 July 5, 1996 - PURITA DE LA PEÑA, ET AL. v. PEDRO R. DE LA PEÑA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118203 July 5, 1996 - EMILIO A. SALAZAR, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118231 July 5, 1996 - VICTORIA L. BATIQUIN, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 118284 July 5, 1996 - MAMERTO REFUGIA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118562 July 5, 1996 - ANGLO-KMU v. SAMANA BAY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118691 July 5, 1996 - ALEJANDRO BAYOG, ET AL. v. ANTONIO M. NATINO, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 118712 & 118745 July 5, 1996 - LAND BANK OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118824 July 5, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO GARCIA

  • G.R. No. 119069 July 5, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO EXCIJA

  • G.R. No. 119845 July 5, 1996 - ANTONIO M. GARCIA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120949 July 5, 1996 - ARACELI RAMOS FONTANILLA v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. 121180 July 5, 1996 - GERARD A. MOSQUERA v. DELIA H. PANGANIBAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121592 July 5, 1996 - ROLANDO P. DELA TORRE v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122807 July 5, 1996 - ROGELIO P. MENDIOLA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-91-712 July 9, 1996 - BEN D. MARCES, SR. v. PAUL T. ARCANGEL

  • G.R. No. 88189 July 9, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TIBURCIO ABALOS

  • G.R. No. 103922 July 9, 1996 - SANTIAGO LAND DEVELOPMENT COMPANY v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 104312 July 9, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIO CABALLERO

  • G.R. No. 109563 July 9, 1996 - PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 114058 July 10, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ZALDY B. FRANCISCO

  • G.R. No. 74495 July 11, 1996 - DUMEZ COMPANY, ET AL. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 80437-38 July 11, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBERTO B. ABORDO

  • G.R. Nos. 94376-77 July 11, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ELMER O. BELGA

  • G.R. No. 103174 July 11, 1996 - AMADO B. TEODORO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 103968 July 11, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DIMSON M. GARDE

  • G.R. No. 104860 July 11, 1996 - CITYTRUST BANKING CORPORATION v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106418 July 11, 1996 - DANIEL L. BORBON II, ET AL. v. SERVICEWIDE SPECIALISTS, INC., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109156 July 11, 1996 - STOLT-NIELSEN MARINE SERVICES (PHILS.) INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110207 July 11, 1996 - FLORENTINO REYES, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116221 July 11, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALEJANDRO G. GABRIS

  • Adm. Matter No. P-93-995 July 12, 1996 - ROBERTO JALBUENA v. EGARDO GELLADA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 88126 July 12, 1996 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 96795 July 12, 1996 - ANTONIO M. CORRAL v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108926 July 12, 1996 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 116128 & 116461 July 12, 1996 - ALLIED BANKING CORP. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121139 July 12, 1996 - ISIDRO B. GARCIA v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 88822 July 15, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALEJANDRO M. TUVILLA

  • G.R. No. 117661 July 15, 1996 - DANIEL VILLANUEVA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 83437-38 July 17, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WILFREDO R. GUARIN

  • G.R. No. 98458 July 17, 1996 - COCOLAND DEV. CORP. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 102037 July 17, 1996 - MELANIO IMPERIAL v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106977 July 17, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. AQUILIO ACABO

  • G.R. Nos. 109396-97 July 17, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO S. OARGA

  • G.R. No. 114795 July 17, 1996 - LUCITA Q. GARCES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116728 July 17, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODELIO S. CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 120496 July 17, 1996 - FIVE STAR BUS CO., INC., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-96-1088 July 19, 1996 - RODOLFO G. v. HERNANDO C. DOMAGTOY

  • G.R. Nos. 70168-69 July 24, 1996 - RAFAEL T. MOLINA, ET AL. v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 95940 July 24, 1996 - PANTRANCO NORTH EXPRESS, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108052 July 24, 1996 - PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110241 July 24, 1996 - ASIA BREWERY, INC. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 115008-09 July 24, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANIEL C. QUIJADA

  • G.R. No. 120043 July 24, 1996 - AMERICAN HOME ASSURANCE CO., ET AL v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120099 July 24, 1996 - EDUARDO T. RODRIGUEZ v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120303 July 24, 1996 - FEDERICO GEMINIANO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET Al.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-96-1336 July 25, 1996 - JOCELYN TALENS-DABON v. HERMIN E. ARCEO

  • G.R. No. 95223 July 26, 1996 - ALLIED BANKING CORPORATION v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 105673 July 26, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANTONIO MAGANA

  • G.R. Nos. 105690-91 July 26, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. RODOLFO CAGUIOA, SR.

  • G.R. No. 110731 July 26, 1996 - SHOPPERS GAIN SUPERMART, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111127 July 26, 1996 - ENGRACIO FABRE, JR., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112175 July 26, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODOLFO DIAZ

  • G.R. Nos. 114280 & 115224 July 26, 1996 - PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, INC. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115683 July 26, 1996 - DELIA MANUEL v. DAVID ALFECHE, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118434 July 26, 1996 - SIXTA C. LIM v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119225 July 26, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODRIGO G. ABUTIN

  • G.R. No. 119328 July 26, 1996 - PROVIDENT INT’L. RESOURCES INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119673 July 26, 1996 - IGLESIA NI CRISTO (INC.) v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-93-783 July 29, 1996 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. FILOMENO PASCUAL

  • G.R. Nos. 97556 & 101152 July 29, 1996 - DAMASO S. FLORES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111639 July 29, 1996 - MIDAS TOUCH FOOD CORPORATION v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 114313 July 29, 1996 - MGG MARINE SERVICES, INC., ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-95-1148 July 30, 1996 - PEDRO ROQUE, ET AL. v. ZENAIDA GRIMALDO

  • G.R. No. 102557 July 30, 1996 - ALFONSO D. ZAMORA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108028 July 30, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CRISTINA M. HERNANDEZ

  • G.R. No. 116512 July 30, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LEOPOLDO BACANG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116542 July 30, 1996 - HONGKONG AND SHANGHAI BANKING CORP. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118590 July 30, 1996 - D.M. CONSUNJI, INC. v. RAMON S. ESGUERRA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122241 July 30, 1996 - BOARD OF OPTOMETRY, ET AL. v. ANGEL B COLET, ET. AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 111517-19 July 31, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROGER N. AUSTRIA

  • G.R. No. 112233 July 31, 1996 - COKALIONG SHIPPING LINES v. OMAR U. AMIN

  • G.R. No. 112611 July 31, 1996 - CLARA ATONG VDA. DE PANALIGAN, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116015 July 31, 1996 - GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119306 July 31, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANTE BELTRAN

  • G.R. No. 121917 July 31, 1996 - ROBIN CARIÑO PADILLA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122274 July 31, 1996 - SUSAN V. LLENES v. ISAIAS P. DICDICAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122749 July 31, 1996 - ANTONIO A. S. VALDES v. RTC, BRANCH 102, QUEZON CITY, ET AL.

  •  





     
     

    G.R. No. 116542   July 30, 1996 - HONGKONG AND SHANGHAI BANKING CORP. v. NLRC, ET AL.

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    THIRD DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 116542. July 30, 1996.]

    THE HONGKONG AND SHANGHAI BANKING CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATION COMMISSION and EMMANUEL A. MENESES, Respondents.


    D E C I S I O N


    PANGANIBAN, J.:


    What species of dishonesty would constitute a ground for termination? Is a provision in the employees’ handbook stating that "any form of dishonesty" shall constitute "serious offense(s) calling for termination" valid and binding upon the respondent NLRC?

    These questions are answered by this Court in resolving the instant petition for certiorari which seeks a partial reversal of the Decision 1 of the respondent National Labor Relations Commission 2 promulgated on April 19, 1994 insofar as it directs reinstatement of private respondent to his former position.

    The Antecedent Facts

    The undisputed facts, as summarized in the Labor Arbiter’s decision, are as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Complainant is a regular rank and file employee of Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp. Ltd., with office address at Royal Match Building, Ayala Avenue, Makati, Metro Manila. He started working with the said bank in July 1986 as a clerk until his dismissal on February 17, 1993.

    It appears that on February 3, 1993, complainant called the bank to inform the latter that he had an upset stomach and would not be able to report for work. His superior, however, requested him to report for work because the department he was then in was undermanned but complainant insisted that it was impossible for him to report for work, hence, he was allowed to go on sick leave on that day.

    Later on that day, the bank called complainant at his given Tel. No. 521-17-54 in order to obtain vital information from him, but the bank was informed by the answering party at the phone number given by complainant that complainant had left early that morning.

    When complainant reported for work the following day, February 4, 1993, he was asked by his superior to explain why he was not at his residence on February 3, 1993 when he was on sick leave because of an upset stomach.

    Complainant explained that he indeed suffered from an upset stomach and that he even consulted Dr. Arthur Logos at 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon of the same day and the reason why he could not be reached by telephone was because he had not been staying at his given residence for over a week.

    On February 4, 1993 the bank called up Dr. Logos to verify the truth of complainant’s statement but the doctor denied that he examined or attended to complainant on February 3, 1993 and the last time complainant consulted him was in December 1992. For this reason, the bank directed complainant to explain his acts of dishonesty because allegedly he was not honest in telling the bank that he had an upset stomach on February 3, 1993, and that he consulted Dr. Logos on that day.

    In his written statement, by way of answer to the memorandum, complainant insisted that he had diarrhea on February 3, 1993 and attached a certification from his aunt where he stayed from the evening of February 2, 1993 and the whole day of February 3, 1993 as well as a certification from his uncle named Andre R. Lozano attesting to the conversation between complainant and Melvin Morales regarding the whereabouts of complainant on that day. Complainant further admitted that his statement about his not staying at his house for one week and his consulting a doctor was incorrect, but that the said statement was not given with malicious intention or deceit or meant to commit fraud against the bank, its operations, customers and employees. The said statement according to him was impulsive reaction as a result of his emotional stress he had been going through because of his marital problems. He pleaded for leniency such that instead of termination, he be given a lighter penalty.

    However, on February 16, 1993, the bank came out with a memorandum from the Vice-President, Human Resources Department terminating his services effective March 16, 1993 pursuant to Article 13, Section VI of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the union of the rank and file employees of the bank and the company and the bank’s Code of Conduct.

    The following day, February 17, 1993, the bank sent complainant another memorandum directing him to settle his outstanding loan amounting to PH P179,834.00, net of a month’s salary the bank was paying him in lieu of notice not later than June 16, 1993. The import of the said letter was while the effectivity of the said termination is March 16, 1993, the company opted to pay him in lieu of the notice from February 17, 1993 up to March 16, 1993 his pay without having to report for work."cralaw virtua1aw library

    Noting that the bank’s Employee Handbook made "any form of dishonesty" a cause for termination, the labor arbiter 3 ruled said ground to be overly broad, and stated that" (f)or us to agree that any form of dishonesty committed by an employee of the bank is a ground for dismissal, is to say the least stretching the import of the aforecited rule too far." The arbiter instead held that the offenses of dishonesty contemplated by the aforementioned rule which would warrant termination of services are those involving deceit and resulting in loss of trust and confidence. The arbiter further found that the private respondent’s proffered excuse, assuming it to be false, did not result in any damage to the bank, and therefore the bank had no reason to lose its trust and confidence in the private respondent on account of such manner of dishonesty. Additionally, the labor arbiter did not find in the record any proof that private respondent was not really suffering from diarrhea as claimed.

    Thus, in her decision dated August 13, 1993, the arbiter declared the termination illegal and ordered petitioner bank to reinstate private respondent to his former position without loss of seniority rights and with backwages.

    On appeal, the respondent Commission sustained the arbiter’s findings and ruled that —

    ". . . For while there is a semblance of truth to the charge of respondent (herein petitioner bank) that complainant (private respondent) had been dishonest as to his whereabouts on February 3, 1993, such act of dishonesty cannot be considered so serious (as) to warrant complainant’s outright dismissal. The dishonesty that complainant had committed cannot be considered depraved. It was a simple kind of dishonesty that was committed not in connection with his job. . ."cralaw virtua1aw library

    Brushing aside petitioner bank’s argument about strained relations, the NLRC reasoned that the private respondent’s falsehoods were not of such nature as to have actually caused animosity between the private respondent and the petitioner bank, and even if there was any such strained relations,." . . it was not of so serious a nature or of such a degree as to justify his termination . . .." Thus, the NLRC ordered petitioner "to reinstate complainant to his former position but without backwages", considering that private respondent was not entirely faultless" since "he committed a certain degree of dishonesty in lying."cralaw virtua1aw library

    Now before this Court, petitioner argues 4 that the dismissal is reasonable and valid "pursuant to its Employee Handbook, specifically, Appendix A thereto which provides for serious offenses calling for termination . . ." .

    The Issue


    Petitioner raises the following reason to warrant this review:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Public respondent acted with grave abuse of discretion when it unilaterally curtailed and restricted petitioner’s inherent and inalienable prerogative to set and impose reasonable disciplinary rules and regulations."cralaw virtua1aw library

    In short, the issue, as summed up by the Solicitor General, is whether or not the NLRC committed grave abuse of discretion in ruling that private respondent’s act of making a false statement as to the real reason for his absence on February 3, 1993 did not constitute such dishonesty as would warrant his termination from service.

    The Court’s Ruling


    The petition is bereft of merit.

    Petitioner insists that private respondent should be dismissed in accordance with rules contained in its employees’ handbook titled Working Together, Appendix A 5 of which reads as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Appendix A

    Serious Offenses

    Calling For

    Termination — Any form of dishonesty, like but not limited to the following:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    — fraud

    — making false or artificial entries in the books or records of the Bank

    — failing to turn over money entrusted by a client for the Bank within a specified time

    — theft of bank property

    — using company funds/assets for any unofficial purpose.

    — Any violation of the Bank’s Code of Conduct which has penal consequences under relevant local laws.

    — Deliberately inflicting or attempting to inflict bodily injury upon a co-employee on Bank premises, or in case it is committed elsewhere, for reasons which are work-related.

    — Sabotage or causing damage to work or equipment of the Bank, or any underhanded interference in Bank operations.

    — Any other serious offense analogous to the above."cralaw virtua1aw library

    While the foregoing text makes "any form of dishonesty . . ." a "serious offense calling for termination," such general statement must however be understood in the context of the enumeration of offenses, all of which are directly related to the function of the petitioner as a banking institution. It is unarguable that private respondent’s false information concerning his whereabouts on February 3, 1993 is not a fraud, nor a false entry in the books of the bank; neither is it a failure to turn over clients’ funds, or theft or use of company assets, or anything "analogous" as to constitute a serious offense meriting the extreme penalty of dismissal.

    Like petitioner bank, this Court will not countenance nor tolerate ANY form of dishonesty. But at the same time, we cannot permit the imposition of the maximum penalty authorized by our labor laws for JUST ANY act of dishonesty, in the same manner that death, which is now reinstated as the supreme sanction under the penal laws of our country, is not to be imposed for just any killing. The penalty imposed must be commensurate to the depravity of the malfeasance, violation or crime being punished. A grave injustice is committed in the name of justice when the penalty imposed is grossly disproportionate to the wrong committed.

    In the context of the instant case, dismissal is the most severe penalty an employer can impose on an employee. It goes without saying that care must be taken, and due regard given to an employee’s circumstances, in the application of such punishment. Moreover, private respondent’s acts of dishonesty — his first offense in his seven years of employment, as noted by the respondent NLRC — did not show deceit nor constitute fraud and did not result in actual prejudice to petitioner. Certainly, such peremptory dismissal is far too harsh, too severe, excessive and unreasonable under the circumstances.

    Besides, by ordering private respondent’s reinstatement without granting backwages, the NLRC effectively penalized him by disallowing compensation for the three years counted from the time he received notice of his dismissal on February 23, 1993.

    Under Art. 282 of the Labor Code, "an employer may terminate an employment for any of the following causes:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    (a) Series misconduct or willful disobedience by the employee of the lawful orders of his employer or representative in connection with his work;

    (b) Gross and habitual neglect by the employee of his duties;

    (c) Fraud or willful breach by the employee of the trust reposed in him by his employer or duly authorized representative;

    (d) Commission of a crime or offense by the employee against the person of his employer or any immediate member of his family or his duly authorized representative; and

    (e) Other causes analogous to the foregoing."cralaw virtua1aw library

    None of the above apply in the instant case. To be lawful, the cause for termination must be a serious and grave malfeasance to justify the deprivation of a means of livelihood. This is merely in keeping with the spirit of our Constitution and laws which lean over backwards in favor of the working class, and mandate that every doubt must be resolved in their favor. 6

    Petitioner further contends that the NLRC arbitrarily imposed its value judgment and standard on petitioner’s disciplinary rules, thereby unilaterally restricting the Bank’s power and prerogative to discipline its employees according to reasonable rules and regulations. We do not agree. Precisely, the employer’s prerogative and power to discipline and terminate an employee’s services may not be exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner as to erode or render meaningless the constitutional guarantees of security of tenure and due process. 7 Our labor laws, both substantive and procedural, require strict compliance before an employee may be dismissed. 8 Clearly, it is the NLRC’s right and duty to review employers’ exercise of their prerogative to dismiss so as to prevent abuse and arbitrariness.

    Petitioner points to GTE Directories Corporation v. Sanchez 9 as authority for its contention that, since the disciplinary rule cited in its Handbook has not been declared illegal or improper by competent authority, "the employees ignore or disobey them at their peril." This is absurd. As pointed out by the Solicitor General: 10

    ". . ., the cited GTE case is not applicable to the present case because of an entirely different factual setting. This case merely involves a simple reportorial requirement which the workers had deliberately and unjustifiably ignored. Besides, the management imposed the penalty of dismissal only after the workers failed to comply with (the) requirement for the sixth time and after the workers were already meted out the less severe penalty of suspension.

    In the case at bar, it would have been different if private respondent had also been suspended first and despite that, he still continued to defy the disciplinary rule. Meneses, indeed, was a "first offender" which is consistent at this point to his being human, who occasionally commits mistakes just like anybody else."cralaw virtua1aw library

    Indeed, upholding petitioner’s argument (that the NLRC cannot review petitioner’s disciplinary rules) would mean upsetting the entire labor arbitral machinery, for it would result in depriving the labor arbiter and the NLRC of their jurisdiction to determine the justness of a cause for dismissal as granted by Arts. 217 and 218 of the Labor Code.

    This petition is an unwarranted attack against workers’ right to security of tenure. It must be, as it is hereby, demolished at first sight.

    WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED, there being no showing of grave abuse of discretion on the part of the respondent NLRC.

    SO ORDERED.

    Narvasa, C.J., Davide, Jr., Melo and Francisco, JJ., concur.

    Endnotes:



    1. Rollo, pp. 14-23.

    2. Second Division, composed of Comm. Rogelio I. Rayala, ponente, and Pres. Comm. Edna Bonto-Perez and Comm. Domingo H. Zapanta, concurring.

    3. Ceferina J. Diosana.

    4. Petition, pp. 3-4; rollo, pp. 4-5.

    5. Rollo, p. 32-33.

    6. Vide, Art. 4, Labor Code of the Philippines.

    7. Cf. De Ysasi III v. NLRC, 231 SCRA 173 (March 11, 1994).

    8. BPI Credit Corporation v. NLRC, 234 SCRA 441 (July 25, 1994).

    9. 197 SCRA 452 (May 27, 1991).

    10. Memorandum, pp. 13-14; rollo, pp. 141-142.

    G.R. No. 116542   July 30, 1996 - HONGKONG AND SHANGHAI BANKING CORP. v. NLRC, ET AL.


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