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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
 

   
February-1997 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 99039 February 3, 1997 - FORD PHIL., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 100748 February 3, 1997 - JOSE BARITUA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108547 February 3, 1997 - FELICIDAD VDA. DE CABRERA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 112761-65 February 3, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PORFERIO M. PEPITO

  • G.R. No. 114183 February 3, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JESUS BORJA

  • G.R. No. 119310 February 3, 1997 - JULIETA V. ESGUERRA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119935 February 3, 1997 - UNITED SOUTH DOCKHANDLERS, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122156 February 3, 1997 - MANILA PRINCE HOTEL v. GSIS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123332 February 3, 1997 - AUGUSTO GATMAYTAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118915 February 4, 1997 - CAPITOL MEDICAL CENTER-ACE-UFSW v. BIENVENIDO LAGUESMA, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-94-1110 February 6, 1997 - MELENCIO S. SY v. CARMELITA S. MONGCUPA

  • Adm. Matter No. P-96-1203 February 6, 1997 - ERNESTO A. REYES v. NORBERTO R. ANOSA

  • G.R. No. 110668 February 6, 1997 ccc zz

    SMITH, BELL & CO., INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111682 February 6, 1997 - ZENAIDA REYES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117982 February 6, 1997 - COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118843 February 6, 1997 - ERIKS PTE. LTD. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 118950-54 February 6, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LUCRECIA GABRES

  • G.R. No. 119322 February 6, 1997 - COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 98252 February 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RENE JANUARIO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110391 February 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DOLORES DE LEON

  • G.R. No. 112191 February 7, 1997 - FORTUNE MOTORS (PHILS.) CORP., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 112714-15 February 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANTONIO SAGARAL

  • G.R. No. 117472 February 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LEO ECHEGARAY

  • G.R. No. 119657 February 7, 1997 - UNIMASTERS CONGLOMERATION, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 119772-73 February 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NIGEL RICHARD GATWARD

  • G.R. No. 125249 February 7, 1997 - JIMMY S. DE CASTRO v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-95-1161 February 10, 1997 - JESUS N. BANDONG v. BELLA R. CHING

  • G.R. No. 108894 February 10, 1997 - TECNOGAS PHIL. MFG. CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109887 February 10, 1997 - CECILIA CARLOS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117702 February 10, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CRISPIN YPARRAGUIRRE

  • G.R. No. 124553 February 10, 1997 - ROSARIO R. TUASON v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-95-1070 February 12, 1997 - MARIA APIAG, ET AL. v. ESMERALDO G. CANTERO

  • Adm. Matter No. P-87-100 February 12, 1997 - FELISA ELIC VDA. DE ABELLERA v. NEMESIO N. DALISAY

  • Adm. Matter No. P-96-1231 February 12, 1997 - ISAIAS P. DICDICAN v. RUSSO FERNAN, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 68166 February 12, 1997 - HEIRS OF EMILIANO NAVARRO v. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 104666 February 12, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BIENVENIDO OMBROG

  • G.R. No. 115129 February 12, 1997 - IGNACIO BARZAGA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116511 February 12, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. COLOMA TABAG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118025 February 12, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. REBECCO SATOR

  • G.R. No. 120769 February 12, 1997 - STANLEY J. FORTICH v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125531 February 12, 1997 - JOVAN LAND v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126013 February 12, 1997 - HEINZRICH THEIS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107554 February 13, 1997 - CEBU INT’L. FINANCE CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108763 February 13, 1997 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112968 February 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARSENIO LETIGIO

  • G.R. No. 114144 February 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FLORENTINO ABAD

  • G.R. Nos. 114711 & 115889 February 13, 1997 - GARMENTS and TEXTILE EXPORT BOARD v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122728 February 13, 1997 - CASIANO A. ANGCHANGCO v. OMBUDSMAN, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-96-217 February 17, 1997 - MANUEL F. CONCEPCION v. JESUS V. AGANA, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ 97-1369 February 17, 1997 - OCTAVIO DEL CALLAR v. IGNACIO L. SALVADOR, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 103501-03 & 103507 February 17, 1997 - LUIS A. TABUENA v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119247 February 17, 1997 - CESAR SULIT v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119536 February 17, 1997 - GLORIA S. DELA CRUZ v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121017 February 17, 1997 - OLIVIA B. CAMANAG v. JESUS F. GUERRERO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122165 February 17, 1997 - ALA MODE GARMENTS, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123823 February 17, 1997 - MODESTO G. ESPAÑO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 96249 February 19, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALIPIO QUIAMCO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 114396 February 19, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WILLIAM ROBERT BURTON

  • G.R. No. 118140 February 19, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANTE PIANDIONG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121084 February 19, 1997 - TOYOTA MOTOR PHILS. CORP. v. TOYOTA MOTOR PHILS. CORP. LABOR UNION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107916 February 20, 1997 - PERCIVAL MODAY, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112288 February 20, 1997 - DELSAN TRANSPORT LINES, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-94-1034 February 21, 1997 - LEWELYN S. ESTRELLER v. SOFRONIO MANATAD, JR.

  • G.R. No. 73399 February 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RAMON ABEDES

  • G.R. No. 117394 February 21, 1997 - HINATUAN MINING CORP. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. SDC-97-2-P February 24, 1997 - SOPHIA ALAWI v. ASHARY M. ALAUYA

  • G.R. No. 110427 February 24, 1997 - CARMEN CAÑIZA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-94-1195 February 26, 1997 - ROMEO NAZARENO, ET AL. v. ENRIQUE M. ALMARIO

  • G.R. No. 94237 February 26, 1997 - BUILDING CARE CORP. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 105294 February 26, 1997 - PACITA DAVID-CHAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107671 February 26, 1997 - REMMAN ENTERPRISES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109849 February 26, 1997 - MAXIMINO FUENTES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110098 February 26, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BUENAFE AZUGUE

  • G.R. No. 111538 February 26, 1997 - PARAÑAQUE KINGS ENTERPRISES, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116033 February 26, 1997 - ALFREDO L. AZARCON v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123404 February 26, 1997 - AURELIO SUMALPONG v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-97-1368 February 27, 1997 - ERNESTO RIEGO, ET AL. v. EMILIO LEACHON, JR.

  •  





     
     

    G.R. No. 119935   February 3, 1997 - UNITED SOUTH DOCKHANDLERS, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    SECOND DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 119935. February 3, 1997.]

    UNITED SOUTH DOCKHANDLERS, INC., Petitioner, v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION (Fourth Division) and BEATO SINGURAN, Respondents.

    Jose A. Boquecosa, Jr. for Petitioner.

    Seno Mendoza and Associates Law Office for Private Respondent.


    SYLLABUS


    1. LABOR LAW; LABOR RELATIONS; SEPARATION PAY; AN EMPLOYEE FOUND GUILTY OF SERIOUS MISCONDUCT OR OTHER ACTS AFFECTING HIS MORAL CHARACTER IS NOT ENTITLED TO SEPARATION PAY. — It is settled that an employee found guilty of serious misconduct or other acts reflecting his moral character is not entitled to separation pay. Thus, in the leading case of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. v. National Labor Relations Commission this Court, en banc, held: "We hold that henceforth separation pay shall be allowed as a measure of social justice only in those instances where the employee is validly dismissed for causes other than serious misconduct or those reflecting on his moral character. Where the reason for the valid dismissal is, for example, habitual intoxication or an offense involving moral turpitude, like theft or illicit sexual relations with a fellow worker, the employer may not be required to give the dismissed employee separation pay, or financial assistance, or whatever other name it is called, on the ground of social justice.

    2. ID.; SOCIAL JUSTICE; SOCIAL JUSTICE CANNOT BE USED TO SHIELD A WRONGDOING. — Respondent cannot use social justice to shield wrongdoing. He occupied a position of trust and confidence. Petitioner relied on him to protect the properties of the company. Respondent betrayed thus trust when he ordered the subject lamp posts to be delivered to the Adelfa Homeowners’ Association. The offense he committed involves moral turpitude. Indeed, a City Prosecutor found probable cause to file an information for qualified theft against him.

    3. ID.; RECOVERY OF THE STOLEN GOODS DOES NOT LESSEN THE GRAVITY OF RESPONDENT’S MISDEED. — It is incorrect to state that Singuran committed a minor misdeed because of the recovery of the stolen posts. It is unrebutted that the posts were not returned voluntarily, but only after the discovery of their loss and upon demand by petitioner. The fact that USDI did not suffer pecuniary damage will not obliterate respondent’s betrayal of the trust and confidence reposed by petitioner.


    D E C I S I O N


    PUNO, J.:


    Petitioner United South Dockhandlers, Inc. (USDI) seeks to reverse the decision of the National Labor Relations Commission, dated December 19, 1994, for awarding Beato Singuran separation pay equivalent to 15 months per year of service despite his alleged serious misconduct.

    USDI provides arrastre, stevedoring and other related cargo-handling services to all domestic vessels berthed at the government-owned Port of Cebu.

    Respondent Beato Singuran worked for USDI for about seventeen (17) years. He was its foreman/timekeeper when he was dismissed on May 25, 1993.

    The records show that two (2) metal lamp posts in the custody of USDI were reported missing. The lamp posts were part of the bad order cargoes (discargadas) unloaded from a vessel of Sulpicio Lines, Inc., a client of USDI, and kept at the pier area where respondent Singuran was assigned. On February 20, 1993, without the consent of USDI, Singuran ordered his subordinates to load the lamp posts into a cargo truck and had them delivered to Adelfa Homeowners Association.

    Petitioner put respondent under preventive suspension pending his investigation which was set on March 26, 1993 and April 13, 1993. Singuran admitted he took the subject lamp posts and manifested that it was unnecessary to conduct an investigation. He returned the lamp posts upon USDI’s demand. On May 25, 1993, he received his letter of dismissal. 1

    In return, Singuran filed a complaint for illegal dismissal with prayer for reinstatement and backwages against USDI before the Regional Arbitration Branch of the National Labor Relations Commission. 2

    On April 29, 1994, Labor Arbiter Dominador A. Almirante dismissed respondent’s complaint. He ruled that Singuran occupied a position of trust and confidence; that he was afforded procedural due process; and that there was a valid cause to dismiss him based on loss of trust and confidence due to dishonesty. Despite said findings, the labor arbiter found the dismissal too severe a penalty. Thus, Singuran was awarded separation pay. 3 The rationale for the award is quoted below:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Ordinarily, an employee who has been dismissed from the service on a legal ground does not deserve an award of separation pay. In this case, considering the length of service of the complainant of almost 18 years without any prior derogatory record, we feel that the extreme penalty of dismissal is disproportionately imposed. Respondent did not suffer any material damage by the infraction committed by complainant, the lump [sic] posts subject of the offense having been returned by him to respondent (USDI). The value of the subject items, although not having been alleged, can be gleaned to be minimal . . ."cralaw virtua1aw library

    "x       x       x"

    Petitioner appealed to the NLRC.

    On December 19, 1994, the labor arbiter’s decision was affirmed by the Fourth Division (Cebu City) of the National Labor Relations Commission. 4 It held:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "We find no reversible error in the appealed Decision.

    "The complainant is a long-service employee and his small misdeed herein should not be used to sever his right to tenurial security and lifeline not only for himself but likewise for his family. Moreover, as the Labor Arbiter has found, this is a case of a first offense and the lamp post, apparently of small value, was returned. In other words, there was no damage done.

    "Discipline to be meaningful must be corrective and progressive, not punitive.

    "However, the complainant did not question the award of the Labor Arbiter.

    "WHEREFORE, the instant appeal is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. Consequently, the appealed Decision is hereby AFFIRMED.

    "SO ORDERED."cralaw virtua1aw library

    USDI’s motion for reconsideration was denied. 5 Hence, this petition.

    Petitioner contends that Singuran was dismissed for a valid cause, and considering the nature and gravity of his offense, he should not have been given separation pay by public respondents.

    In its Comment filed on November 17, 1995, 6 the Solicitor General supported the stand of petitioner that respondent Singuran is not entitled to separation pay because of his misconduct. Nonetheless, NLRC maintains that equity and compassionate justice demand that Singuran be awarded separation pay equivalent to 15 days month pay per year of service. 7

    We grant the petition.

    The issue before us is not novel. It is settled that an employee found guilty of serious misconduct or other acts reflecting his moral character is not entitled to separation pay. Thus, in the leading case of Philippine Long Distance Telephone, Co. v. National Labor Relations Commission 8 this Court, en banc, held:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "The Court feels that distinctions are in order. We note that heretofore the separation pay, when it was considered warranted, was required regardless of the nature or degree of the ground proved, be it mere inefficiency or something graver like immorality or dishonesty. The benediction of compassion was made to cover a multitude of sins, as it were, and to justify the helping hand to the validly dismissed employee whatever the reason for his dismissal. This policy should be re-examined. It is time we rationalize the exception, to make it fair to both labor and management, especially to labor.

    "x       x       x

    "We hold that henceforth separation pay shall be allowed as a measure of social justice only in those instances where the employee is validly dismissed for causes other than serious misconduct or those reflecting on his moral character. Where the reason for the valid dismissal is, for example, habitual intoxication or an offense involving moral turpitude, like theft or illicit sexual relations with a fellow worker, the employer may not be required to give the dismissed employee separation pay, or financial assistance, or whatever other name it is called, on the ground of social justice.

    "A contrary rule would, as the petitioner argues, have the effect of rewarding rather than punishing the erring employee for his offense. And we do not agree that the punishment is his dismissal only and that the separation pay has nothing to do with the wrong he has committed. Of course it has. Indeed, if the employee who steals from the company is granted separation pay even as he is validly dismissed, it is not unlikely that he will commit a similar offense in his next employment because he thinks he can expect a like leniency if he is again found out. This kind of misplaced compassion is not going to do labor in general any good as it will encourage the infiltration of its ranks by those who do not deserve the protection and concern of the Constitution.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

    "The policy of social justice is not intended to countenance wrongdoing simply because it is committed by the underprivileged. At best it may mitigate the penalty but it certainly will not condone the offense. Compassion for the poor is not an imperative of every humane society but only when the recipient is not a rascal claiming an undeserved privilege. Social justice cannot be permitted to be refuge of scoundrels any more than can equity be an impediment to the punishment of the guilty. Those who invoke social justice may do so only if their hands are clean and their motives blameless and not simply because they happen to be poor. This great policy of our Constitution is not meant for the protection of those who have proved they are not worthy of it, like the workers who have tainted the cause of labor with the blemishes of their own character."cralaw virtua1aw library

    The above doctrine has been consistently applied by this Court in a long line of cases. 9

    Respondent cannot use social justice to shield wrongdoing. 10 He occupied a position of trust and confidence. Petitioner relied on him to protect the properties of the company. Respondent betrayed this trust when he ordered the subject lamp posts to be delivered to the Adelfa Homeowners’ Association. The offense he committed involves moral turpitude. 11 Indeed, a City Prosecutor found probable cause to file an information for qualified theft against him.

    It is incorrect to state that Singuran committed a minor misdeed because of the recovery of the stolen posts. It is unrebutted that the posts were not returned voluntarily, but only after the discovery of their loss and upon demand by petitioner. The fact that USDI did not suffer pecuniary damage will not obliterate respondent’s betrayal of the trust and confidence reposed by petitioner. 12 Neither would his length of service justify his dishonesty or mitigate his liability. 13 His length of service with petitioner even aggravates his offense. He should have been more loyal to petitioner company from which he has derived his family bread and butter for seventeen (17) years.

    WHEREFORE, the decision of the National Labor Relations Commission in NLRC Case No. V-0247-94, is MODIFIED by deleting the award for separation pay in favor of private respondent Beato Singuran.

    SO ORDERED.

    Regalado, Romero, Mendoza and Torres, Jr., JJ., concur.

    Endnotes:



    1. In addition to the administrative sanctions, Singuran was also charged criminally before the Office of the City Prosecutor in Cebu City. In a Resolution issued on October 7, 1993, Prosecutor Eva Achas-Igot recommended the filing of the corresponding information for qualified theft against Singuran. See Rollo, pp. 33-35.

    2. Docketed as RAB-VII-06-0516-93.

    3. Rollo, pp. 17-26.

    4. Decision penned by Commissioner Amorito V. Cañete and concurred in by Presiding Commissioner Irenea E. Ceniza and Commissioner Bernabe S. Batuhan; Rollo, pp. 28-30.

    5. Resolution, dated April 3, 1995; Rollo, p. 31.

    6. Rollo, pp. 111-120.

    7. Citing Villuga v. NLRC, G.R. No. 75038, August 3, 1993, 225 SCRA 537.

    8. No. L-80609, August 23, 1988, 164 SCRA 671.

    9. Pacaña v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 83513, April 18, 1989, 172 SCRA 473; Del Castillo, Jr. v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. 75413, August 10, 1989, 176 SCRA 229; Pampanga II Electric Cooperative, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 107541, November 16, 1995, 250 SCRA 31.

    10. Pampanga II Electric Cooperative, Inc. v. Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 107541, November 16, 1995, 250 SCRA 31.

    11. Pangasinan III Electric Cooperative, Inc., v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 89876, November 13, 1992, 215 SCRA 669.

    12. University of the East v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. 71065, November 22, 1985, 140 SCRA 296.

    13. Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes, Inc. v. Maalat and National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 86693, July 2, 1990, 187 SCRA 108.

    G.R. No. 119935   February 3, 1997 - UNITED SOUTH DOCKHANDLERS, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.


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