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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-1997 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 96649-50 July 1, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LYNDON V. MACOY

  • G.R. No. 109660 July 1, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO NELL

  • G.R. No. 124914 July 2, 1997 - JESUS UGADDAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123074 July 4, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERNANDO M. FERNANDEZ

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-94-1017 July 7, 1997 - OSCAR B. LAMBINO v. AMADO A. DE VERA

  • Adm. Matter No. P-97-1245 July 7, 1997 - BENIGNO G. GAVIOLA v. NOEL NAVARETTE

  • G.R. No. 105760 July 7, 1997 - PNB v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107193 July 7, 1997 - EUGENIO TENEBRO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112006 July 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBERTO S. DE VERA

  • G.R. No. 114275 July 7, 1997 - IÑIGO F. CARLET v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116962 July 7, 1997 - MARIA SOCORRO CACA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 118940-41 & 119407 July 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GREGORIO MEJIA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119872 July 7, 1997 - REMEDIOS NAVOA RAMOS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122206 July 7, 1997 - RAFAEL ARCEGA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 105284 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. IGNACIO ZUMIL

  • G.R. No. 106099 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. AGUSTIN SOTTO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109814 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERNANDO MAALAT

  • G.R. No. 112797 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NIDA ALEGRO

  • G.R. No. 114265 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GREGORIO MAGALLANES

  • G.R. No. 115307 July 8, 1997 - MANUEL LAO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115703 July 8, 1997 - EPIFANIO L. CASOLITA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117501 July 8, 1997 - SOLID HOMES, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122308 July 8, 1997 - PURITA S. MAPA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. SC-96-1 July 10, 1997 - DAMASO S. FLORES v. BERNARDO P. ABESAMIS

  • Adm. Matter No. P-97-1236 July 11, 1997 - MADONNA MACALUA v. DOMINGO TIU, JR.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-97-1249 July 11, 1997 - PACITA SY TORRES v. FROILAN S. CABLING

  • G.R. No. 104865 July 11, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VICTORIANO PONTILAR, JR.

  • G.R. Nos. 113511-12 July 11, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO SINOC

  • G.R. No. 115033 July 11, 1997 - PONCIANO T. MATANGUIHAN, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123204 July 11, 1997 - NATIONWIDE SECURITY AND ALLIED SERVICES, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-95-1158 July 14, 1997 - EUFEMIA BERCASIO v. HERBERTO BENITO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106153 July 14, 1997 - FLORENCIO G. BERNARDO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108838 July 14, 1997 - PAGCOR v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 116528-31 July 14, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIETO ADORA

  • G.R. No. 108492 July 15, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NOEL BANIEL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118078 July 15, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. OSCAR VILLANUEVA

  • G.R. No. 123379 July 15, 1997 - BAROTAC SUGAR MILLS, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 115439-41 July 16, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 120437-41 July 16, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARMANDO ALVARIO

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-97-1382 July 17, 1997 - REXEL M. PACURIBOT v. RODRIGO F. LIM, JR.

  • G.R. No. 105002 July 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DIARANGAN DANSAL

  • G.R. No. 108634 July 17, 1997 - ANTONIO P. TAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111165 July 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROGELIO MERCADO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113257 July 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOHNNY LASCOTA

  • G.R. No. 114742 July 17, 1997 - CARLITOS E. SILVA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118860 July 17, 1997 - ROLINDA B. PONO v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120262 July 17, 1997 - PAL, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125195 July 17, 1997 - SAMAHAN NG MGA MANGGAGAWA SA BANDOLINO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-96-1362 July 18, 1997 - DSWD, ET AL. v. ANTONIO M. BELEN, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-95-1283 July 21, 1997 - DAVID C. NAVAL, ET AL. v. JOSE R. PANDAY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108488 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODENCIO NARCA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111002 July 21, 1997 - PACIFIC MARITIME SERVICES, INC., ET AL. v. NICANOR RANAY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117402 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROLLIE L. ALVARADO

  • G.R. No. 119184 July 21, 1997 - HEIRS OF FELICIDAD CANQUE v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121768 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DOMINGO CASTILLO, JR.

  • G.R. Nos. 122250 & 122258 July 21, 1997 - EDGARDO C. NOLASCO v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124347 July 21, 1997 - CMS STOCK BROKERAGE, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125510 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RENATO LISING

  • G.R. No. 111933 July 23, 1997 - PLDT v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 112429-30 July 23, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODOLFO P. CAYETANO

  • G.R. Nos. 118736-37 July 23, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TANG WAI LAN

  • Adm. Matter No. P-96-1205 July 24, 1997 - OSCAR P. DE LOS REYES v. ESTEBAN H. ERISPE, JR.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-97-1383 July 24, 1997 - JOSE LAGATIC v. JOSE PEÑAS, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 104663 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DAVID SALVATIERRA

  • G.R. No. 105004 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DIONISIO MAROLLANO

  • G.R. No. 107723 July 24, 1997 - EMS MANPOWER & PLACEMENT SERVICES v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111211 July 24, 1997 - ABS-CBN EMPLOYEES UNION, ET AL., v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113235 July 24, 1997 - VICTORINA MEDINA, ET AL. v. CITY SHERIFF, MANILA, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 113366-68 July 24, 1997 - GREGORIO ISABELO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116635 July 24, 1997 - CONCHITA NOOL, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116736 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BENJAMIN ORTEGA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118458 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RICKY DELA CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 120276 July 24, 1997 - SINGA SHIP MANAGEMENT PHILS., INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121075 July 24, 1997 - DELTA MOTORS CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121867 July 24, 1997 - SMITH KLINE & FRENCH LAB., LTD. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127262 July 24, 1997 - HUBERT WEBB, ET AL. v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL., ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter Nos. 95-6-55-MTC & P-96-1173 July 28, 1997 - REPORT ON AUDIT IN THE MTC OF PEÑARANDA, NUEVA ECIJA

  • G.R. No. 102858 July 28, 1997 - DIRECTOR OF LANDS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 103209 July 28, 1997 - APOLONIO BONDOC, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110823 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROCHEL TRAVERO

  • G.R. No. 112323 July 28, 1997 - HELPMATE, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113344 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ATANACIO LUTO

  • G.R. No. 116668 July 28, 1997 - ERLINDA A. AGAPAY v. CARLINA V. PALANG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116726 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LEONARDO P. DE LA CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 118822 July 28, 1997 - G.O.A.L., INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119000 July 28, 1997 - ROSA UY v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119649 July 28, 1997 - RICKY GALICIA, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119868 July 28, 1997 - PAL, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120072 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FLORENTINO I. MESA

  • G.R. No. 123361 July 28, 1997 - TEOFILO CACHO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126556 July 28, 1997 - NELSON C. DAVID v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117742 July 29, 1997 - GEORGE M. TABERRAH v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • SBC Case No. 519 July 31, 1997 - PATRICIA FIGUEROA v. SIMEON BARRANCO, JR.

  • G.R. No. 97369 July 31, 1997 - P.I. MANPOWER PLACEMENTS, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 99030 July 31, 1997 - PLDT v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106582 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RUPERTO BALDERAS

  • G.R. No. 107802 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JASON NAREDO

  • G.R. No. 108399 July 31, 1997 - RAFAEL M. ALUNAN III, ET AL. v. ROBERT MIRASOL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108619 July 31, 1997 - EPIFANIO LALICAN v. FILOMENO A. VERGARA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113689 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELIPE SANGIL, SR.

  • G.R. No. 113958 July 31, 1997 - BANANA GROWERS COLLECTIVE, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116060 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CLEMENTE DE LA PEÑA

  • G.R. No. 116292 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JIMMY PEÑERO

  • G.R. No. 119068 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANTE CASTRO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121027 July 31, 1997 - CORAZON DEZOLLER TISON, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121157 July 31, 1997 - HEIRS OF SEGUNDA MANINGDING, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123561 July 31, 1997 - DELIA R. NERVES v. CSC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124678 July 31, 1997 - DELIA BANGALISAN, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  •  





     
     

    G.R. No. 111002   July 21, 1997 - PACIFIC MARITIME SERVICES, INC., ET AL. v. NICANOR RANAY, ET AL.

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    SECOND DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 111002. July 21, 1997.]

    PACIFIC MARITIME SERVICES, INC., MALAYAN INSURANCE CORPORATION and CROWN SHIP MANAGEMENT, INC., Petitioners, v. NICANOR RANAY and GERARDO RANAY, and NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, Respondents.

    Montilla Law Office, for Petitioners.

    Manuel T . Collado for Private Respondents.

    SYNOPSIS


    Petitioner Pacific Maritime Services engaged the services of private respondents Nicanor Ranay and Gerardo Ranay as laundrymen aboard the vessel M/V "Star Princess." Their employment contracts prude the following uniform compensation package: (1) basic monthly salary of US$300.00; (2) fixed overtime pay of US$150.00; and (3) leave pay equivalent to six days’ wages. Their contracts were to be effective for ten months from the date of hiring.

    On February 14, 1989, the private respondents boarded the vessel, which immediately left the Philippines. After working for only three months and thirteen days, however, private respondents were ordered to disembark. They were subsequently repatriated to the Philippines on May 27, 1989.

    In a complaint filed with the POEA, the private respondents challenged the legality of their dismissal on the ground that it was effected without prior notice and without just cause. They prayed for recovery of all unpaid salaries, overtime pay and leave pay which had accrued and could have accrued were it not for the pretermination of their contracts.

    Petitioner Pacific opposed the complaint and argued that private respondents’ employment was terminated due to misconduct, insubordination, non-observance of proper hours of work and damage to the laundry of the vessel’s crew and passengers.

    The POEA Administrator ruled that private respondents’ dismissal was illegal for failure of petitioners to prove the legality thereof and to afford them due process. He found merit in private respondents’ claim that they were not paid their salaries, overtime and vacation leave pay up to May 29, 1989, since the vouchers failed to show that the checks intended to cover the amounts for the private respondents were duly acknowledged and received by them.

    Petitioners appealed to the NLRC, which dismissed said appeal and affirmed the decision of the POEA petition. Hence, this petition.

    The principle is that the employer bears the burden of establishing by substantial evidence the facts supporting a valid dismissal. The petitioners have failed to do so. The petitioners also failed to afford private respondents procedural due process. The records are devoid of any proof that the required notices were sent to respondents and a reasonable opportunity accorded them to be heard.

    As to petitioners’ alleged payments to private respondents, their mere presentation of photocopies of two RCBC checks and two vouchers containing the computation of private respondents’ remuneration does not conclusively establish payment, for by themselves checks and supporting vouchers do not evidence payment. There is no certainty that these were ever delivered to, much less encashed by, private respondents. Absent any evidence to the effect, petitioners are deemed to have failed to discharge their financial burden to private Respondent.

    "As a general rule, one who pleads payment has the burden of proving it. Even where the plaintiff must allege non-payment, the general rule is that the burden rests on the defendant to prove payment, rather than on the plaintiff to prove non-payment. The debtor has the burden of showing with legal certainty that the obligation has been discharged by payment." (Jimenez v. NLRC , 256 SCRA 84 [1996])


    SYLLABUS


    LABOR AND SOCIAL LEGISLATION; WAGES; PAYMENT THEREOF; ONE WHO PLEADS PAYMENT HAS THE BURDEN OF PROVING IT, AS A GENERAL RULE; NOT ESTABLISHED IN CASE AT BAR. — The mere presentation of photocopies of two (2) RCBC checks and two vouchers containing the computation of private respondents’ remuneration does not conclusively establish payment. In this regard, we call attention to our latest ruling in Jimenez v. National Labor Relations Commission, [256 SCRA 84 (1996).] thus:" As a general rule, one who pleads payment has the burden of proving it. Even where the plaintiff must allege non-payment, the general rule is that the burden rests on the defendant to prove payment, rather than on the plaintiff to prove non-payment. The debtor has the burden of showing with legal certainty that the obligation has been discharged by payment. When the existence of a debt is fully established by the evidence contained in the record, the burden of proving that it has been extinguished by payment devolves upon the debtor who offers such a defense to the claim of the creditor . . . The positive testimony of a creditor may be sufficient of itself to show non-payment, even when met by indefinite testimony of the debtor. Similarly, the testimony of the debtor may also be sufficient to show payment, but, where his testimony is contradicted witness, the issue may be determined against the debtor since he has the burden of proof. The testimony of the debtor creating merely an inference of payment will not be regarded as conclusive on that issue." The existence of the checks and the supporting vouchers simply establishes the fact that petitioners admit their monetary liability to private respondents and their intention to pay the latter’s unpaid salaries, overtime pay and leave pay. To reiterate, these documents, standing alone, do not evidence payment. There is no certainty that these were ever delivered to, much less encashed by, private respondents. Absent any evidence to that effect, petitioners are deemed to have failed to discharge their burden of proving their affirmative allegation of prior payment in the amount of P1,919.85 each to private respondents in spite of the latter’s mere denial of said payment.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary


    D E C I S I O N


    ROMERO, J.:


    That a man’s job is a property right within the ambit of Constitutional protection has been long recognized and accepted in law; hence, we are circumspect and vigilant whenever a worker comes to this Court complaining of illegal dismissal. In each such case, we require the employer to prove by substantial evidence the facts constituting the ground for dismissal, 1 and that termination has been effected with strict observance of both procedural and substantive due process. It is by these standards that the Court has judged the instant petition.

    Petitioner Pacific Maritime Services, Inc. (Pacific, for brevity), is a duly licensed manning agency while its co-petitioners, Malayan Insurance Corporation and Crown Ship Management, Inc., are the former’s bonding company and principal, respectively. On February 1, 1989, Pacific engaged the services of private respondents Nicanor Ranay and Gerardo Ranay as laundrymen. Their employment contracts, both dated February 1, 1989, and duly approved by the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA), provided for the following uniform compensation package: (1) basic monthly salary of US$300.00; (2) additional fixed overtime pay in the amount of US$150.00; and (3) leave pay equivalent to six days’ wages. These contracts were supposed to be effective for ten months from the date of hiring.

    On February 14, 1989, private respondents boarded the vessel M/V "Star Princess," where they were assigned to work, and which immediately left the Philippines. After working for only three months and thirteen days, however, private respondents were ordered to disembark. They were subsequently repatriated to the Philippines on May 27, 1989.

    Because of their dismissal, private respondents filed on August 14, 1989, a complaint against petitioners before the POEA, challenging the legality of their dismissal on the ground that the same was effected without prior notice and without just cause. Consequently, they prayed for recovery of all unpaid salaries, overtime pay and leave pay which had accrued and could have accrued were it not for the pretermination of their contracts.

    Pacific opposed the complaint, contending that the dismissal of private respondents was validly made. It argued that private respondents’ employment was terminated due to serious misconduct, insubordination, non-observance of proper hours of work and damage to the laundry of the vessel’s crew and passengers. To support these allegations, petitioners presented a telefax transmission, 2 its lone evidence, purportedly executed and signed by a certain Armando Villegas. Said document made an account of the incidents which allegedly prompted Pacific to terminate private respondents’ services, among which were: (1) the assault on the person of Armando Villegas himself by Gerardo Ranay coupled with the latter’s utterance of the words "Putang-ina mo!" in the presence of at least four other crew members; (2) Gerardo Ranay’s failure to report for work for three consecutive days; (3) Nicanor Ranay’s tardiness in going to his working area and having a drinking spree with his brother Gerardo; and (4) failure of private respondents to adjust to their working environment. The records, however, do not reveal that petitioners ever presented any corroborative or additional evidence to buttress this allegation other than photocopies of two Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation checks both for P1,919.85 and both dated October 3, 1989, allegedly paid to private respondents by Pacific, and computations of private respondents’ wages, overtime pay and leave pay. 3

    On the basis of the parties’ submission, then POEA Administrator Jose N. Sarmiento rendered a decision 4 dated November 6, 1990, which ruled that private respondents’ dismissal was illegal for failure of petitioners to prove the legality thereof and to afford them due process. He refused to give credence to the report made by Armando Villegas which was prepared long after the events referred to therein had taken place. Accordingly, he ordered petitioners to pay private respondents each in the amount of US$2,925.00 corresponding to their salaries for the unexpired 6 and 1/2-month portion of their employment contracts; P15,566.85 each for their unpaid salaries, overtime pay and leave pay; and plane fare for the return trip to the Philippines. Furthermore, he found merit in private respondents’ claim that they were not paid their salaries, overtime and vacation leave pay up to May 29, 1989, since the vouchers failed to show that the checks intended to cover the amounts for the private respondents were duly acknowledged and received by them. He pointed out that the columns for "Received by" and "Date" were all in blank and that, at any rate, the amount of P1,919.85 covered by each check was insufficient to pay for what would be rightfully due to private respondents.

    Aggrieved, petitioners appealed to the NLRC. On April 19, 1993, the Commission dismissed said appeal and affirmed the decision of the POEA. 5 Hence, this petition.

    As stated at the outset, the merit of this petition depends on petitioners’ strict compliance with the requirements of both procedural and substantive due process, as well as their observance of the principle that it is the employer who bears the burden of establishing by substantial evidence the facts supporting a valid dismissal. Upon careful and meticulous scrutiny of the records, however, the Court finds that the petition falls short of these standards. We are, therefore, constrained to deny it and uphold the decision of the POEA and the NLRC.

    The Court concedes that assault, invectives, obscene insult or offensive words against a superior and imbibing intoxicating drinks during work may constitute serious misconduct which would justify the dismissal of an employee found guilty thereof. We likewise agree that gross neglect of duties as shown by tardiness and absenteeism, as well as willful disobedience and insubordination, equally deserve the same penalty. These grounds are in fact well-supported by jurisprudence. 6 These are not, however, the real and crucial issues. Before even determining whether the acts complained of constitute serious misconduct, insubordination, tardiness or absenteeism, it is necessary to determine if, in the first place, the petitioners sufficiently established these acts by substantial evidence. On this point, the Court rules that petitioners failed to do so.

    Petitioners’ reliance on the telefax transmission signed by Armando Villegas is woefully inadequate in meeting the required quantum of proof which is substantial evidence. For one thing, the same is uncorroborated. Although substantial evidence is not a function of quantity but rather of quality, the peculiar environmental circumstances of the instant case demand that something more should have been proffered. According to the account of Villegas, it appears that the incidents he was referring to transpired with the knowledge of some crew members. The alleged assault by Gerardo Ranay on Villegas, for instance, was supposedly witnessed by at least four other crew members. Surprisingly, none of them was called upon to testify, either in person or through sworn statements. Worse, Villegas himself who omitted some vital details in his report, such as the time and date of the incidents referred to, was not even presented as witness so that private respondents and the POEA hearing officer could have been given an opportunity to cross-examine and propound clarificatory questions regarding matters averred by him in the telefax transmission. 7 Moreover, although signed, the same was not under oath and, therefore, of dubious veracity and reliability although admissible. 8 Likewise, the motive is suspect and the account of the incidents dangerously susceptible to bias since it came from a person with whom private respondents were at odds. All told, petitioners failed to make up for the weakness of the evidence upon which they confidently anchored the merits of their case.

    Likewise, the belated submission of the report by Villegas, long after the incidents referred to had taken place and after the complaint had been lodged by private respondents, weighs heavily against its credibility. Petitioners did not show any convincing reason why said report was only accomplished on September 22, 1989. They merely argued that as in criminal cases, the witness is usually reluctant to report an incident. At any rate, with present technology, a ship out at sea is not so isolated that its captain cannot instantly communicate with its office. It would appear that the report, filed several months later, is but an afterthought.

    Aside from petitioners’ failure to establish the facts constituting the grounds for dismissing private respondents, the Court also takes into account against petitioners their glaring omission to afford private respondents procedural due process, the indispensable elements of which are notice and hearing. We observe that the records are devoid of any proof indicating that the required notices were sent to respondents and a reasonable opportunity accorded them to be heard. The POEA and the NLRC similarly failed to find any, leading to the inescapable conclusion that the dismissal of private respondents was even tainted with procedural infirmity.chanroblesvirtual|awlibrary

    The Court, however, notwithstanding the employer’s breach of procedural due process, is disinclined to award damages in line with recent jurisprudence. 9

    As regards petitioners’ contention that both the POEA and the NLRC overlooked the alleged payments they made to private respondents, we rule that the same deserves little consideration. The mere presentation of photocopies of two (2) RCBC checks 10 and two vouchers 11 containing the computation of private respondents’ remuneration does not conclusively establish payment. In this regard, we call attention to our latest ruling in Jimenez v. National Labor Relations Commission, 12 thus:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "As a general rule, one who pleads payment has the burden of proving it. Even where the plaintiff must allege non-payment, the general rule is that the burden rests on the defendant to prove payment, rather than on the plaintiff to prove non-payment. The debtor has the burden of showing with legal certainty that the obligation has been discharged by payment.

    When the existence of a debt is fully established by the evidence contained in the record, the burden of proving that it has been extinguished by payment devolves upon the debtor who offers such a defense to the claim of the creditor. . . .

    x       x       x


    The positive testimony of a creditor may be sufficient of itself to show non-payment, even when met by indefinite testimony of the debtor. Similarly, the testimony of the debtor may also be sufficient to show payment, but, where his testimony is contradicted by the other party or by a disinterested witness, the issue may be determined against the debtor since he has the burden of proof . The testimony of the debtor creating merely an inference of payment will not be regarded as conclusive on that issue." (Emphasis supplied, Citations omitted).

    The existence of the checks and the supporting vouchers simply establishes the fact that petitioners admit their monetary liability to private respondents and their intention to pay the latter’s unpaid salaries, overtime pay and leave pay. To reiterate, these documents, standing alone, do not evidence payment. There is no certainty that these were ever delivered to, much less encashed by, private respondents. Absent any evidence to that effect, petitioners are deemed to have failed to discharge their burden of proving their affirmative allegation of prior payment in the amount of P1,919.85 each to private respondents in spite of the latter’s mere denial of said payment.

    WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. The April 19, 1993, decision of respondent National Labor Relations Commission is hereby AFFIRMED.

    SO ORDERED.

    Regalado and Mendoza, JJ., concur.

    Puno and Torres, Jr., JJ., are on leave.

    Endnotes:



    1. Molave Tours Corporation v. National Labor Relations Commission, 250 SCRA 325 (1995).

    2. Rollo, pp. 34-36.

    3. Ibid., pp. 68-71.

    4. Id., pp. 28-33.

    5. Id., pp. 18-26.

    6. Dela Cruz v. National Labor Relations Commission, 177 SCRA 626 (1989); Asian Design and Manufacturing Corporation v. Hon. Deputy Minister of Labor, 142 SCRA 79 (1986); Haverlon Shipping Ltd. v. National Labor Relations Commission, 135 SCRA 685 (1985); Reta v. National Labor Relations Commission, 232 SCRA 613 (1994); Zenco Sales, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission, 234 SCRA 689 (1994).

    7. Sections 5 and 6, Rule III, Book VII of the POEA Rules and Regulations provide in part:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "SEC. 5. Clarifying Questions. — In cases where the Hearing Officer finds that there are complicated factual issues involved that cannot be resolved through position paper or memorandum, he may direct the parties and their witnesses to appear before him to answer clarifying questions." (Emphasis supplied)

    "SEC. 6. Nature of Proceedings.

    x       x       x


    The Hearing Officer may avail himself of all reasonable means to ascertain the facts of the case, including ocular inspection, where appropriate, and examination of informed persons." (Emphasis supplied)

    8. Com Savings Bank v. National Labor Relations Commission, 257 SCRA 307 (1996).

    9. MGG Marine Services, Inc. and/or Doroteo C. Garlan and Cesar Rotilo v. National Labor Relations Commission and Elizabeth A. Molina, G.R. No. 114313, July 29, 1996.

    10. Check Nos. 952587 and 952586.

    11. Voucher Nos. 9283 and 9282.

    12. 256 SCRA 84 (1996).

    G.R. No. 111002   July 21, 1997 - PACIFIC MARITIME SERVICES, INC., ET AL. v. NICANOR RANAY, ET AL.


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