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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. 120276   July 24, 1997 - SINGA SHIP MANAGEMENT PHILS., INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    SECOND DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 120276. July 24, 1997.]

    SINGA SHIP MANAGEMENT PHILS., INC., Petitioner, v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and WINEFREDO Z. SUA, Respondents.

    Magsalin, Pobre, Lapid & Villanueva for Petitioner.

    Roger S. Bonifacio for Private Respondent.

    SYNOPSIS


    Private respondent, a radio officer on board the vessel M/V Singa Wilstream, was charged by the petitioner with desertion, insubordination and grave abuse of authority for having went on shore leave, together with some members of the crew, while the vessel was anchored in Los Angeles, California. The captain reprimanded them for returning late at 8:30 in the evening and admonished the Respondent. The respondent shouted at the captain and hurled invectives at him and the bosun. While the bosun and other crew members were in the mess hall watching television, out of nowhere private respondent appeared and he suddenly grabbed an air pistol from his waist and with the pistol’s handle struck the bosun hitting his nape and forehead. Later in the morning, the chief officer saw the respondent leaving the ship, tried to dissuade him but he refused. The ship was left without a radio officer and was not allowed to leave Los Angeles. The ship was placed on "off-hire" for two days until a replacement arrived. The respondent denied the charges, and alleged that it was the ship captain who abused his authority and violated the terms of the employment contract; that the master compelled respondent to operate the radio equipment for the former’s personal whims and caprices; that the captain malversed the ship’s funds and slashed the food budget; that he also eliminated their transportation fees to and from the shore and other privileges; that the master harbored ill feelings against Respondent.

    The POEA found private respondent to have voluntarily resigned from his employment and awarded him his unpaid leave, allotment and shipboard pay, but ordered him to reimburse petitioner for replacement costs. The NLRC modified the POEA decision and found that the private respondent did not voluntarily resign but was dismissed by the ship captain. It deleted the award in favor of petitioner but affirmed the award in favor of the private Respondent.

    The Supreme Court held that private respondent’s act of leaving the vessel was precipitated by a heated argument between him and the ship captain. The words uttered by the private respondent do not indicate a firm intention to leave and not to return to his job. They do not establish the intent to abandon his job. The totality of the circumstances of the case does not show animo non revertendi and he cannot be deemed to have deserted the vessel. Private respondent was, at the height of his argument with the captain, ordered by the latter to disembark from the vessel. This order to disembark was an order of dismissal from his job after he had assaulted the bosun.

    Private respondent’s dismissal was, however, upheld. The master was acting in the performance of his duty when he demanded from the private respondent an explanation for his group’s tardiness. Instead of giving an explanation, the private respondent shouted at the master and cursed him. This was an act of gross disrespect and insubordination against his superior and the highest official of the vessel. His unprovoked assault on the bosun was made in the presence of several people. His assault upon a member of the ship’s crew with sufficient provocation is tantamount to serious misconduct which strips him of his right to his salary for the unexpired portion of his employment contract.

    Judgment modified.


    SYLLABUS


    1. LABOR AND SOCIAL LEGISLATION; LABOR CODE; OVERSEAS EMPLOYMENT; DESERTION, DEFINED. — Desertion has been defined as (1) a seaman’s abandonment of duty by quitting ship, not only without leave or permission, but without justifiable cause, before termination of engagement; and (2) with the intent of not returning to the ships’ duty. It is essential that there be an animo non revertendi, an intention not to return. Once the facts constituting the abandonment and intent not to return are proven, the seaman may be dismissed by the master, or he may be suspended by the POEA for three years as minimum penalty or delisted from the POEA registry as maximum penalty.

    2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; INTENT TO ABANDON, NOT ESTABLISHED IN CASE AT BAR. — In the case at bar, private respondent’s act of leaving the vessel was precipitated by a heated argument between him and the ship captain. Respondent arrived late from shore leave. The master reprimanded him and refused to pay for their service boat. So he shouted at the master "Fuck your ass captain! I don’t want to sail with you!" Later, he appeared at the crew mess hall and overheard the bosun talking about him. This made him angry and he struck the bosun with his pistol. A while later, private respondent was seen with baggage in hand leaving the ship and uttering the words: "Sorry, but I don’t want to sail with the captain!" Contrary to petitioner’s allegations, the words private respondent uttered do not indicate the firm intention to leave and not to return to his job. At best, the words can be interpreted as expressing what private respondent felt towards his master. They do not unequivocably establish the intent to abandon his job, never to return. Neither do his acts reinforce this intent to abandon. After hurling invectives at the master, private pondent calmed down and returned to his cabin. The record is silent as to the events that occurred after he struck the bosun. In fine the totality of the circumstances of the case does not show animo non revertendi and private respondent cannot be deemed to have deserted the vessel.

    3. ID.; ID.; ID.; TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT; DISMISSAL; MANIFESTED WHERE SEAMAN WAS ORDERED TO DISEMBARK DURING HAD A HEATED ARGUMENT WITH SHIP CAPTAIN. — We agree with the finding of the respondent Commission that private respondent was, at the height of their argument, ordered by the captain to disembark from the vessel. To the mind of private respondent, the order to disembark was an order of dismissal from his Job especially after he had assaulted the bosun. This explains why after the incident he did not report to petitioner’s office in Manila nor did he file a complaint with the POEA. Moreover, being a seaman and radio officer was private respondent’s means of livelihood. It is hard to believe that he, simply because of a conflict with the ship captain, would decide to abandon his work and not return to it. As noted by the Solicitor General, private respondent would not intentionally get himself stranded in a foreign land without means of support if he was not dismissed. The fact that he did not voluntarily resign but was dismissed from his employment is more in keeping with the ordinary experience of mankind.

    4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; VALID WHERE SEAMAN COMMITTED GROSS DISRESPECT AND INSUBORDINATION AGAINST HIS SUPERIOR. — His dismissal was, however, with a valid cause. The master was acting in the performance of his duty when he particularly demanded from the private respondent an explanation for his group’s tardiness. Private respondent was the highest ranking employee in the group. But instead of giving an explanation, private respondent shouted at the master and cursed him. This was an act of gross disrespect and insubordination against his superior and the highest official of the vessel. Worse was private respondent’s unprovoked assault on the bosun. This was made in the presence of several people who executed separate statements narrating the incident. Private respondent did not deny nor refute the statements, much less did he explain his aggressive behavior. A seaman’s assault with a pistol handle upon a member of the ship’s crew without sufficient provocation is tantamount to serious misconduct in connection with his work and a just cause for termination of employment.

    5. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; MISCONDUCT STRIPS SEAMAN OF HIS RIGHT TO SALARY FOR UNEXPIRED PERIOD OF CONTRACT. — We have ruled that such misconduct strips him of his right to his salary for the unexpired potion of the employment contract.

    6. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; PAYMENT OF UNPAID LEAVE, ALLOTMENT AND SHIPBOARD PAY MANDATED. — Nevertheless, private respondent’s claims for unpaid leave, allotment and shipboard pay cover the month of July 1989 and do not cover the unexpired portion of the contract. The respondent Commission did not err in granting said claims for the reason that private respondent rendered work for July prior to his dismissal.

    7. ID.; ID.; ID.; EMPLOYER CANNOT SEEK REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES INCURRED IN HIRING REPLACEMENT FOR A DISMISSED SEAMAN. — Petitioner’s claim for expenses incurred in hiring a replacement for private respondent cannot be sustained. Section H (5), Part II of the POEA Standard Employment Contract Governing the Employment of All Filipino Seamen on Board Ocean-Going Vessels is not applicable. Private respondent did not voluntarily resign. He was dismissed. It was only incumbent upon petitioner to look for his replacement.


    D E C I S I O N


    PUNO, J.:


    Petitioner Singa Ship Management Phils., Inc. seeks to annul or modify the decision of respondent National Labor Relations Commission in NLRC NCR CA No. 002446-91 ordering petitioner to pay respondent Winefredo Z. Sua U.S. $3, 232.00 for the cost of his repatriation.

    Petitioner is the local manning agent of Singa Ship Management Pte., Ltd., a company based in Singapore. Private respondent was employed by petitioner as radio officer on board the vessel M/V Singa Wilstream from November 28, 1988 to September 1989 with a monthly salary of U.S. $850.00.

    On December 20, 1989, petitioner filed a complaint against private respondent before the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) Adjudication Office for desertion, insubordination, and grave abuse of authority. 1 Petitioner alleged that on July 27, 1989, when the M/V Singa Wilstream was anchored in Los Angeles, California, private respondent and some members of the crew, went on shore leave. By the end of the day, the group missed the last boat and hired a service boat to take them to the ship. They arrived on the ship at 8:30 in the evening. The ship captain and master, Bryan Pereira, together with some officers were at the bridge. The captain reprimanded them for returning late 2 and admonished private respondent in particular, being the highest-ranking member in the group. Private respondent who was drunk shouted: "Fuck your ass, captain! I don’t want to sail with you!" Bosun 3 Rodolfo Sarmiento, who was nearby, was ordered to take private respondent to his cabin. Private respondent, however, cried out: "Fuck you two, two of you!" and hurled invectives at the captain and the bosun. Eventually, the other crew members pacified private respondent and brought him down to his cabin.

    The bosun proceeded to the mess hall where five (5) crew members were watching television. He took a seat beside them. Out of nowhere, private respondent appeared and went to the bosun saying "Why you want to challenge me?" The bosun replied "Why, spark?" 4 Suddenly, private respondent grabbed an air pistol from his waist and with the pistol’s handle struck the bosun hitting his nape and forehead. The bosun stood up but was prevented by the others from fighting back. The crew separated the two. The bosun’s head bled profusely and had to be given first aid treatment.

    Later, at about 1:00 in the morning, Chief Officer Rakesh Nanda went down to inspect the bunker. He saw private respondent lowering his bag to the bunker barge. The chief officer tried to dissuade private respondent from leaving the ship. The latter refused saying: "Sorry, but I don’t what to sail with the captain!" Private respondent boarded the barge and left the ship.

    The chief officer reported to the captain who informed the Coast Guard of private respondent’s desertion. The ship was left without a radio officer and was not allowed to leave Los Angeles. The ship was placed on "off-hire" for two (2) days until a replacement arrived. Petitioner prayed for the imposition against private respondent of the appropriate sanctions under the POEA Standard Contract of Employment and for reimbursement of the following sums of money:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "1. U.S. $3,232.00 or its peso equivalent at the time of payment representing agency and replacement cost;

    2. U.S. $18,287.14 or its peso equivalent at the time of payment representing off-hire expenses;

    3. Ten per cent (10%) of the total award as and for attorney’s fees." 5

    Private respondent filed an "Answer with Compulsory Counterclaim" and alleged that it was the ship captain who abused his authority and violated the terms of the employment contract; that the master himself, contrary to ship rules and regulations, compelled private respondent to operate the radio equipment for his (the master’s) personal whims and caprices; that the captain malversed the ship’s funds and slashed the food budget starving the entire crew for several days in the high seas; that he also eliminated their transportation fees to and from the shore and such other privileges; that the master harbored ill-feelings against private respondent after the latter led his crewmates in informing him of their sentiments; and that after private respondent left the ship, he refused to return his clothes and pay his salary and leave pay. By way of counterclaim, private respondent prayed for:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "1) U.S. $1,354.33 representing unpaid leave pay;

    2) U.S. $612.00 representing unpaid allotment for July 1989;

    3) U.S. $497.25 representing unpaid shipboard pay for July 1989;

    4) Unexpired portion of his contract equivalent to two (2) months, more or less (August and September 1989);

    5) Moral and exemplary damages in such amount as this Honorable Office may deem appropriate, and

    6) Attorney’s fees in such amount as this Office may fix." 6

    The POEA rendered a decision on October 24, 1991 finding that private respondent voluntarily resigned from his employment and was awarded U.S. $2,463.58 for unpaid leave, allotment and shipboard pay. At the same time, the POEA awarded petitioner U.S. $3,232.00 as reimbursement for replacement costs. The POEA ordered that:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "WHEREFORE, premises considered, respondent WINEFREDO Z. SUA is hereby ordered to pay to complainant SINGA SHIP MANAGEMENT PHILIPPINES the amount of THREE THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED TWO U.S. DOLLARS (U.S. $3,232.00) representing costs of his repatriation or its peso equivalent at the time of payment.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary:red

    Meanwhile, respondent is hereby given a stern warning not to commit the same offense, otherwise, the corresponding disciplinary action will be imposed against him.

    On the other hand, SINGA SHIP MANAGEMENT PHILIPPINES is hereby ordered to pay WINEFREDO Z. SUA the amount of TWO THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED SIXTY THREE U.S. DOLLARS and 58/100 (U.S. $2,463.58) representing unpaid shipboard pay, unpaid allotment to the month of July 1989 inclusive of leave pay or its peso equivalent at the time of payment.

    Considering further that Singa Ship Management Philippines is awarded the amount of U.S. $3,232.00 and Winefredo A. Sua the amount of U.S. $2,463.58 said amount shall be offset. Hence WINEFREDO Z. SUA is ordered and directed to pay the SINGA SHIP MANAGEMENT PHILIPPINES the amount of U.S. $768.42 or its peso equivalent at the time of payment representing the difference of the offset amount in favor of Singa.

    All other claims of both parties are dismissed for lack of merit." 7

    Private respondent appealed to the National Labor Relations Commission. On March 9, 1995, the Commission modified the decision of the POEA Administrator after finding that private respondent did not voluntarily resign but was dismissed by the ship captain. It deleted the award of U.S. $3,232.00 in favor of petitioner and affirmed the award of U.S. $2,463.58 in favor of private respondent, viz:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "WHEREFORE, premises considered, the assailed decision is affirmed with the modification that the order to respondent to pay complainant the amount of U.S. $3,232.00 representing repatriation expenses is deleted for being without valid basis." 8

    Hence this petition.

    Petitioner claims that:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "1. Respondent NLRC gravely abused its discretion when it reversed the POEA’s decision by misconstruing and making a wrong interpretation of the act of "desertion;"

    2. Respondent NLRC gravely abused its discretion when it affirmed the POEA’s decision by not applying the corresponding administrative penalty as provided in the POEA standard format Contract of Employment;

    3. Respondent NLRC gravely abused its discretion when it modified the POEA’s decision by deleting the award in favor of petitioner inspite of substantial and convincing evidence in support thereof;

    4. Respondent NLRC gravely abused its discretion when it disregarded the time-honored principle that a person is liable for all the logical consequences of his act." 9

    We affirm.

    "Desertion," in maritime law, is defined as:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "The act by which a seaman deserts and abandons a ship or vessel, in which he had engaged to perform a voyage, before the expiration of his time, and without leave. By desertion, in maritime law, is meant, not a mere unauthorized absence from the ship, without leave, but an unauthorized absence from the ship with an intention not to return to her service; or as it is often expressed, animo non revertendi, that is, with an intention to desert." 10

    Desertion has been defined as (1) a seaman’s abandonment of duty by quitting ship, not only without leave or permission, but without justifiable cause, before termination of engagement; and (2) with the intent of not returning to the ship’s duty. 11 It is essential that there be an animo non revertendi, an intention not to return. 12 Once the facts constituting the abandonment and intent not to return are proven, the seaman may be dismissed by the master, or he may be suspended by the POEA for three years as minimum penalty or delisted from the POEA registry as maximum penalty. 13

    In the case at bar, private respondent’s act of leaving the vessel was precipitated by a heated argument between him and the ship captain. Respondent arrived late from shore leave. The master reprimanded him and refused to pay for their service boat. So he shouted at the master "Fuck your ass captain! I don’t want to sail with you!" Later, he appeared at the crew mess hall and overheard the bosun talking about him. 14 This made him angry and he struck the bosun with his pistol. A while later, private respondent was seen with baggage in hand leaving the ship and uttering the words: "Sorry, but I don’t want to sail with the captain!"

    Contrary to petitioner’s allegations, the words private respondent uttered do not indicate the firm intention to leave and not to return to his job. At best, the words can be interpreted as expressing what private respondent felt towards his master. They do not unequivocably establish the intent to abandon his job, never to return. Neither do his acts reinforce this intent to abandon. After hurling invectives at the master, private respondent calmed down and returned to his cabin. The record is silent as to the events that occurred after he struck the bosun. In fine the totality of the circumstances of the case does not show animo non revertendi and private respondent cannot be deemed to have deserted the vessel.

    We agree with the finding of the respondent Commission that private respondent was, at the height of their argument, ordered by the captain to disembark from the vessel. 15 To the mind of private respondent, the order to disembark was an order of dismissal from his job especially after he had assaulted the bosun. This explains why after the incident he did not report to petitioner’s office in Manila nor did he file a complaint with the POEA. Moreover, being a seaman and radio officer was private respondent’s means of livelihood. It is hard to believe that he, simply because of a conflict with the ship captain, would decide to abandon his work and not return to it. As noted by the Solicitor General, private respondent would not intentionally get himself stranded in a foreign land without means of support if he was not dismissed. 16 The fact that he did not voluntarily resign but was dismissed from his employment is more in keeping with the ordinary experience of mankind.chanrobles.com : virtual lawlibrary

    His dismissal was, however, with a valid cause. The master was acting in the performance of his duty when he particularly demanded from the private respondent an explanation for his group’s tardiness. Private respondent was the highest ranking employee in the group. But instead of giving an explanation, private respondent shouted at the master and cursed him. This was an act of gross disrespect and insubordination against his superior and the highest official of the vessel. 17 Worse was private respondent’s unprovoked assault on the bosun. This was made in the presence of several people who executed separate statements narrating the incident. 18 Private respondent did not deny nor refute the statements, much less did he explain his aggressive behavior.

    A seaman’s assault with a pistol handle upon a member of the ship’s crew without sufficient provocation is tantamount to serious misconduct in connection with his work and a just cause for termination of employment. 19 We have ruled that such misconduct strips him of his right to his salary for the unexpired portion of the employment contract. 20

    Nevertheless, private respondent’s claims for unpaid leave, allotment and shipboard pay cover the month of July 1989 and do not cover the unexpired portion of the contract. The respondent Commission did not err in granting said claims for the reason that private respondent rendered work for July prior to his dismissal.

    Petitioner’s claim for expenses incurred in hiring a replacement for private respondent cannot be sustained. Section H (5), Part II 21 of the POEA Standard Employment Contract Governing the Employment of All Filipino Seamen on Board Ocean-Going Vessels 22 is not applicable. Private respondent did not voluntarily resign. He was dismissed. It was only incumbent upon petitioner to look for his replacement.

    IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is dismissed. The decision of the National Labor Relations Commission is affirmed. No costs.

    SO ORDERED.

    Regalado, Romero and Mendoza, JJ., concur.

    Torres, Jr., J., is on official leave.

    Endnotes:



    1. Complaint, Annex "C" to the Petition, Rollo, p. 42.

    2. Ship rules and regulations on shore leave require them to be back at the ship at 5:00 P.M. (Petition, p. 6, Rollo, p. 13.)

    3. Also referred to as "boatswain" (Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, p. 244 [1971]),

    4. "Spark" is seaman’s lingo for radio officer (Petition, p. 8, Rollo, p. 15).

    5. POEA Decision, p. 3, Rollo, p. 90.

    6. Answer with Compulsory Counterclaim, Annex "D", Rollo, pp. 70-71.

    7. POEA Decision, pp. 8-9, Rollo, 95-96.

    8. NLRC Decision, p. 12, Rollo, p. 39,

    9. Petition, pp. 11-12, Rollo, pp. 18-19.

    10. Black’s Law Dictionary, Revised Fifth Edition, p. 402 citing The Cripple Creek, D.C. Pa. 52 F. Supp. 710, 712 [1943] and The Youngstown, C. C.A. La., 110 F. 2d 968, 970 [1940].

    11. Flynn v. Waterman, S.S. Corporation, D.C.N.Y., 44 F. Supp 50, 51 [1942]; The M.S. Elliot, 277 F. 800 [1909]; The Mary C. Conery, 9 F. 222, 223 [1881] see also Words and Phrases "Desertion — In Maritime Law."cralaw virtua1aw library

    12. The Cripple Creek, supra, at 712.

    13. Table of Offenses and Corresponding Administrative Penalties, Appendix "2" to the POEA Standard Employment Contract Governing the Employment of All Filipino Seamen on Board Ocean-Going Vessels: Rollo. p. 50.

    14. Annexes "C-5h,", "C-5k," to the Petition, Rollo, pp. 63, 66.

    15. NLRC Decision, p. 10, Rollo, p. 37; POEA Decision, P. 6, Rollo, p. 93.

    16. Comment of the Public Respondent, p. 11, Rollo, p. 152.

    17. De la Cruz, v. National Labor Relations Commission, 177 SCRA 626, 627 [1989]; Asian Design & Mfg. Corporation v. Min. of Labor, 142 SCRA 79, 80-81 11986].

    18. "Annexes "C-5f," "C-5g," "C-5h," "C-5i," "C-5j," "C-5k," "C-5l" to the Petition, Rollo pp. 60-66.

    19. Haverton Shipping, Ltd. v. National Labor Relations Commission, 135 SCRA 685, 689, 691 [1985].

    20. Id., at 692.

    21. Section H (5) reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "A seaman who requests for early termination of his contract shall be liable for his repatriation cost as well as the transportation cost of his replacement."cralaw virtua1aw library

    22. Rollo, p. 47.

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


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