On September 27, 1990, petitioner GLOWHRAIN, a legitimate labor organization and exclusive bargaining agent of the rank-and-file employees of private respondent Silahis International Hotel (SILAHIS), filed a notice of strike against the latter for alleged harassment, arbitrary transfer of employees and illegal suspension and termination of petitioner Bondoc, a hotel employee and union officer. Conciliation proceedings before the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) were conducted without success. To avert the strike, the dispute was certified for compulsory arbitration by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to public respondent National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) 1 where the parties submitted position papers, reply and evidences.
After hearing, the NLRC rendered judgment 2 the dispositive portion of which reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing considerations, judgment is hereby rendered, declaring the dismissal of Apolonio Bondoc valid and legal, and consequently dismissing his complaint for lack of merit; however, let Bondoc’s earned payroll reinstatement, as directed in the Order, dated October 31, 1990, of the Secretary of Labor and Employment, be treated as financial assistance and deemed cancelled as of the promulgation of this Decision.
SO ORDERED." 3
Failing in their motion for reconsideration, 4 petitioners filed this petition for certiorari
under Rule 65 imputing grave abuse of discretion to the NLRC in ruling that petitioner Bondoc was dismissed for cause and with due process. 5
The antecedents, as found by the NLRC, are as follows: 6
"O[n] four separate occasions from August 20, 1990 to August 23, 1990, head waiter Bondoc accosted his female co-employee Vima Valenzuela and threatened her with bodily harm, aside from hurling at her slanderous statements and invectives, thus subjecting her to harassments (sic) and vexations. First, on August 20, 1990 at around 5:00 A.M. while Valenzuela was reading a newspaper after duty, Bondoc approached her and threatened to oust her from the company, warning that her days were numbered, and even throwing a crumpled paper at her. Second, at around 9:50 A.M. of the same day, Bondoc again approached Valenzuela while she was about to punch her time card and shouted invectives at here, threatening her with physical harm and saying her days were numbered. This kind of harassment was repeated moments later. For the third time, on August 21, 1990 Bondoc continued to harass with threats Valenzuela who was then at the PAGCOR canteen in the presence of her co-employees and hotel guests. Fourth incident, on August 23, 1990, while Valenzuela was at the canteen taking her break with a co-employee, Bondoc appeared and bullied her, uttering "Bilang na ang araw mo. Mag-ingat ka paglabas mo sa Silahis."cralaw virtua1aw library
"The Affidavit of Valenzuela was corroborated by the sworn statements of her co-employees, namely, Agnes Bonifacio and Christine Alegao (Annexes "3", "4", and "5", Silahis Position Paper) and these declarations under oath were not denied by Bondoc.
"The record moreover reveals that Valenzuela became the object of Bondoc’s ire after she reported to her assistant managers an incident regarding the supposedly unauthorized bringing of food by a waiter to the union office where Bondoc was then waiting.
"Valenzuela reported the threats to the police and the series of incidents to hotel management. Silahis, through its personnel manger, issued an office memorandum, dated September 3, 1990 (Annex "6"), charging Bondoc with violation of company rules and asking him to submit his written explanation for the imputed offenses. Instead of submitting an explanation, he merely indicated by way of marginal note that he was receiving the memo "under protest" and referred to an incident report of August 20, 1990. Thereafter, Silahis conducted its own investigation and, on September 6, 1990, preventively suspended Bondoc (Annex "6").
On October 4, 1990, SILAHIS issued a memorandum whereby petitioner Bondoc’s services were terminated effective October 6, 1990. Claiming that he was illegally dismissed, petitioner Bondoc sought the help of petitioner GLOWHRAIN. This labor dispute is among the grounds that led to the strike earlier mentioned.
In dismissal cases, there must be observance of (1) the procedural requirement that the employee was accorded due process — basic of which is the opportunity to be heard and (2) the substantive requirement that the dismissal is for a cause provided in the Labor Code. 7 The employer has the burden of proving that both requirements are satisfied. 8
Anent the procedural requirement, Rule XIV, Book V, of the Omnibus Rules Implementing The Labor Code outlines the procedure for termination of employment, to wit:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Sec. 1. Security of tenure and due process. — No worker shall be dismissed except for a just or authorized cause provided by law and after due process.
"Sec. 2. Notice of dismissal. — Any employer who seeks to dismiss a worker shall furnish him a written notice stating the particular acts or omissions constituting the grounds for his dismissal. In cases of abandonment of work, the notice shall be served at the worker’s last known address.
x x x
"Sec. 5. Answer and hearing. — The worker may answer the allegations stated against him in the notice of dismissal within a reasonable period from receipt of such notice. The employer shall afford the worker ample opportunity to be heard and to defend himself with the assistance of his representatives, if he so desires.
"Sec. 6. Decision to dismiss. — The employer shall immediately notify a worker in writing of a decision to dismiss him stating clearly the reasons therefor.
"Sec. 7. Right to contest dismissal. — Any decision taken by the employer shall be without prejudice to the right of the worker to contest the validity or legality of his dismissal by filing a complaint with the Regional Branch of the Commission.
x x x
"Sec. 11. Report on dismissal. — The employer shall submit a monthly report to the Regional Office having jurisdiction over the place of work all dismissals effected by him during the month, specifying therein the names of the dismissed workers, the reasons for their dismissal, the dates of commencement and termination of employment, the positions last held by them and such other information as may be required by the Ministry (Department) for policy guidance and statistical purposes." (Emphasis supplied
SILAHIS failed to furnish petitioner Bondoc either of the required notices, which are:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
(a) a notice containing a statement of the particular acts or omissions for which his dismissal is sought, and
(b) after affording the employee an opportunity to be heard, another notice informing the latter of the employer’s decision to dismiss him. 9
Contrary to SILAHIS’ claim, its September 3, 1990 memorandum which reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"SILAHIS INTERNATIONAL HOTEL
TO: MR. APOLONIO BONDOC
F & B Casino — A/Headwaiter
FROM: Personnel Manager
DATE: September 3, 1990
RE: POLICE REPORT
On the attached written report of the W.P.D. Police Station No. 7, please explain within 24 hours after receipt of this memorandum, why no disciplinary action should be taken against you for having violated Rule No. V "Disturbing Peace & Order", Section 2, page 41 of our Employee’s Handbook RE: "Threat or Inflicting Bodily Harm" — Threatening or intimidating another with bodily harm or does something illegal or immoral to another employee or his family in connection with his job, or against guest/s.
Grave Threats (4 counts) and slander to co-employee with infliction upon the employee’s honor is a violation of Company Rules & Regulations.
Please submit your written explanation, failure on your part to comply with (sic) is giving up your right to be heard, and Management has the right to take necessary legal action.
For your strict compliance.
TEDDY M. JIMENEZ REYNALDO DE LOS REYES
Personnel Manager Casino Service Manager
x x x," 10
is not substantial compliance with the first kind of notice. The memorandum does not state with particularity the acts and omission for which petitioner is being charged. The statement therein directing petitioner Bondoc to explain "why no disciplinary action should be taken against you for having violated Rule No. V ‘Disturbing Peace and Order’, Section 2" of the Employee’s Handbook is couched in too general terms, without any narration whatsoever as to how petitioner Bondoc committed said infractions. It thus cannot be said that petitioner Bondoc was informed with particularity of the acts and omissions for which he is being charged.
Neither can SILAHIS’ October 4, 1990 memorandum be considered compliance with the second required notice. That memorandum, reading:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"TO: MR. APOLONIO BONDOC
F & B Casino Headwaiter
DATE: October 4, 1990
Your case has been deliberated thoroughly by the Management regarding your grave threat to Ms. Vima Valenzuela, F & B Checker on different occasions, August 19, 20, 21 and 23, 1990, inside the hotel premises, and after reviewing all supporting documents at hand, sworn statements of witnesses, Police Crime Report dated 29 August 1990, and your explanation letter on August 26, 1990, addressed to Mr. Ren de los Reyes, Casino Service Manager, the Management concluded that you are guilty of having violated:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
Rule IV — Threat, Coercion
Section 2. Threatening or intimidating another with bodily harm or does something illegal or immoral to the other employee or his family in connection with his job or against guests.
For this reason, your employment service with the Company is being terminated effective October 06, 1990.
For your information and strict compliance.
Recommending Approval:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
(Sgd.) TEDDY M. JIMENEZ (Sgd.) JOEL TADURAN
Approved by:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
(Sgd.) MICHAEL WILSON" 11 (Emphasis supplied
does not "clearly" cite the reason for the dismissal, contrary to the requirements set by Section 6, Rule XIV, Book V of the Omnibus Rules, which provides:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"SEC. 6. Decision to dismiss. — The employer shall immediately notify a worker in writing of a decision to dismiss him stating clearly the reasons therefor."cralaw virtua1aw library
The conclusion that petitioner Bondoc was guilty of having violated Rule IV, Section 2 of the Company Rules is, as in the September 3, 1990 memorandum, lacking in specification.
Aside from its failure to give notices, SILAHIS appears to have rendered its judgment of dismissal without affording petitioner the opportunity to be heard personally. This is evident from the fact that upon petitioner Bondoc’s receipt on September 6, 1990 of a SILAHIS memorandum 12 placing him under preventive suspension effective on even date, another memorandum from the Chief of Security of SILAHIS was issued 13 — a BAN ORDER to be precise — banning petitioner Bondoc from entering the hotel premises pending the resolution of this case to take effect on the same date of September 6, 1990. There was, thus, no way for petitioner Bondoc to have personally attended the hearing/s that might have been conducted at any time between September 6, 1990 and October 4, 1990 when SILAHIS handed down its decision to terminate his services.
The SILAHIS October 4, 1990 memorandum, nonetheless, would want to impress that its judgment of dismissal duly considered petitioner Bondoc’s explanation on the matter. We again quote a portion of said memorandum, to wit:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"x x x
Your case has been deliberated thoroughly by the Management regarding your grave threat to Ms. Vima Valenzuela, F & B Checker on different occasions, August 19, 20, 21 and 23, 1990, inside the hotel premises and after reviewing all supporting documents at hand, sworn statements of witnesses, Police Crime Report dated 29 August 1990, and your explanation letter on August 26, 1990, addressed to Mr. Ren de los Reyes, Casino Service Manager, the Management concluded that you are guilty of having violated:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
x x x"
The August 26, 1990 explanation-letter adverted to in said memorandum of termination, however, could not have possibly referred to the charges (Grave Threats and Slander) for which petitioner Bondoc’s dismissal is being sought, considering that it antedates SILAHIS’ September 3, 1990 memorandum (earlier quoted) wherein petitioner Bondoc was, for the first time, required to explain away in writing said charges. It thus becomes equally evident that the dismissal in reality did not take into account any written explanation from petitioner — brought about either by mere inadvertence in having considered an entirely different explanation, or by a deliberate act of SILAHIS of ignoring any evidence on behalf of petitioner Bondoc.
Let it be stressed anew that a dismissal without the benefit of a hearing prior to his termination violates an employee’s constitutional right to due process which requires that the person sought to be dismissed must be given a chance to answer the charges against him before he is dismissed. 14
On the substantive aspect, it however appears that petitioner Bondoc does not deny having uttered the following statements to his co-employee Vima Valenzuela on different occasions, to wit:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
— "Di bale bilang na rin naman ang araw mo."cralaw virtua1aw library
— "Sige lang, patawa tawa ka pa, eh bilang na bilang na ang araw mo."cralaw virtua1aw library
— "Matakot ka sa diyos, bilang na ang araw mo; Mag-ingat ka sa paglabas mo sa Silahis Hotel."cralaw virtua1aw library
— "Unggoy . . . ulol" .
These statements unquestionably partake the form of Threat or Coercion, as defined and penalized under Section 2, Rule V of SILAHIS’ General Company Rules which reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Section 2 Threat, Coercion
Threatening or intimidating another with bodily harm or does something illegal or immoral to the other employee or his family in connection with his job, or against guest."cralaw virtua1aw library
This offense of Threat/Coercion, under the company rules’ "System of Sanctions," 15 is categorized as a third to fourth degree (3º to 4º) violation, with a fourth commission of said infraction warranting the penalty of dismissal. Petitioner Bondoc having made four (4) threatening/coercive remarks as aforementioned, dismissal indeed was the appropriate sanction. We thus quote with approval the following disquisitions made by respondent NLRC, to wit:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
". . . we uphold the right of the company to dismiss Bondoc for violation of reasonable disciplinary rules and for committing series of serious misconduct. Let it be stressed that the company is engaged in hotel business which is a dollar earning industry and, as such, it has the duty to maintain an atmosphere of peace and tranquility (sic) within its premises, and expect from its employees to observe orderly conduct.’To condone (Bondoc’s) conduct will erode the discipline that an employer should uniformly apply so that it can expect compliance to the same rules and regulations by its employees’, to paraphrase the Highest Tribunal (148 SCRA 532 (1987)).
To be sure, ‘an employer cannot be compelled to continue with the employment of workers guilty of acts of misfeasance or malfeasance, and whose continuance in the service of the employer is clearly inimical to its interest, and that the law, in protecting the rights of workers, authorizes neither the oppression nor self-destruction of employer.’ (San Miguel Corporation v. NLRC, 173 SCRA (sic) ). It was likewise held that where the continued employment of an employee poses a serious and imminent threat to the life and property of the employer or his co-employees, preventive suspension is proper. (Manila Doctors Hospital v. NLRC, 135 SCRA 262, 268 (1985). There is more reason for dismissal where the employee’s acts of misconduct and willful breach of trust are repeatedly committed by the employee (Piedad v. Lanao Del Norte Electric Co., Inc., 153 SCRA 500 ). One final word ‘the employer’s obligation to give his workers just compensation and treatment carries with it the collorary (sic) right to expect from the worker’s adequate work, diligence and good conduct.’ (Firestone Tire and Rubber Company of the Philippines v. Lariosa, 148 SCRA 187, 190-191 )." 16
In fine, petitioner Bondoc’s dismissal, being based on just cause, is in order. Petitioner Bondoc is nevertheless entitled to indemnity for violation of his right to due process. The amount of indemnity being dependent on the factual circumstances of each case, 17 a P2,000.00 award to petitioner would be appropriate.chanrobles.com : virtual lawlibrary
WHEREFORE, save for the MODIFICATION ordering private respondent SILAHIS INTERNATIONAL HOTEL INC. to pay petitioner Apolonio Bondoc two thousand pesos (P2,000.00) as indemnity for non-observance of due process, the assailed NLRC March 29, 1991 decision declaring the validity of petitioner’s dismissal is hereby AFFIRMED in all other respects.
Davide, Jr., Melo and Panganiban, JJ.
, is on leave.
1. Order dated October 31, 1990 signed by Labor Secretary Ruben Torres; Rollo, pp. 46-47.
2. Promulgated on March 27, 1991, with Commissioner Romeo Putong ponente and Presiding Commissioner Bartolome Carale and Commissioner Vicente Velos III, concurring. (See Annex "A").
3. Rollo, p. 41; NLRC Decision, p. 15.
4. The NLRC Resolution promulgated on September 27, 1991 denying the motion for reconsideration was signed by two of the three Commissioners and certified by a different Presiding Commissioner (Edna Bonto-Perez). The latter took no part in the Resolution.
5. Petition, p. 11.
6. NLRC Decision, pp. 9-11; Rollo, pp. 35-37.
7. Ranises v. NLRC, G.R. No. 111914, September 24, 1996; Jones v. NLRC, 250 SCRA 668 (1995); Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative, Inc. v. NLRC, 316 Phil. 959; Oania v. NLRC, 244 SCRA 668 (1995); Articles 277(b) and 282 of the Labor Code as amended.
8. Salaw v. NLRC, 202 SCRA 7, 12.
9. See Sections 2, 5 and 6 of Rule XIV, Book V of the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code; Philippine Savings Bank v. NLRC, G.R. No. 111173, September 4, 1996; Pampanga II Electric Cooperative, Inc. v. NLRC, 250 SCRA 31 (1995); Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. v. NLRC, 210 SCRA 277 (1992).
10. Annex "10", Rollo, p. 94.
11. Annex "11", Rollo, p. 95.
12. Annex G, Rollo, p. 55.
13. Annex F, Rollo, p. 54.
14. Pili v. NLRC, 217 SCRA 338.
15. Annex 9, Rollo, p. 93.
16. NLRC Decision, pp. 13-14; Rollo, 39-40.
17. Magnolia Dairy Products v. NLRC, 252 SCRA 483 (1996); Falguera v. Linsangan, 251 SCRA 377 (1996); Cabudahon v. NLRC, 251 SCRA 129 (1996); Worldwide Papermills’ Inc. v. NLRC, 313 Phil. 834; Alhambra Industries, Inc. v. NLRC, 238 SCRA 232 (1994); Reta v. NLRC, 232 SCRA 613 (1994); Wenphil v. NLRC, 170 SCRA 69 (1990).