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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
 

   
March-1997 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 51765 March 3, 1997 - REPUBLIC PLANTERS BANK v. ENRIQUE A. AGANA, SR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 93397 March 3, 1997 - TRADERS ROYAL BANK v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 99425 March 3, 1997 - ANTONIO RAMOS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 100487 & 100607 March 3, 1997 - ARTURO JULIANO v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106581 March 3, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RENATO FLORES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110419 March 3, 1997 - UERM-MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTER, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 114383 March 3, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOEL COREA

  • G.R. No. 116437 March 3, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PABLITO ANDAN

  • G.R. No. 117161 March 3, 1997 - RAMON INGLES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120704 March 3, 1997 - BARTOLOME C. CARALE, ET AL. v. PAMPIO A. ABARINTOS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123321 March 3, 1997 - ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MANILA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123361 March 3, 1997 - TEOFILO CACHO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125198 March 3, 1997 - MSCI-NACUSIP v. NWPC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 84449 March 4, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BENEDICTO JAVIER, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 102876 March 4, 1997 - BATAAN SHIPYARD AND ENG’G CORP. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118607 March 4, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JULITO FRANCO

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-96-1335 March 5, 1997 - INOCENCIO BASCO v. LEO H. RAPATALO

  • G.R. No. 126576 March 5, 1997 - RICARDO M. ANGOBUNG v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 83598 March 7, 1997 - LEONCIA BALOGBOG, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 94994-95 March 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LILIBETH CACO

  • G.R. No. 106212 March 7, 1997 - PROGRESS HOMES, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108395 March 7, 1997 - HEIRS OF TEODORO GUARING, JR. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 108604-10 March 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FEDERICO A. BURCE

  • G.R. No. 113420 March 7, 1997 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113905 March 7, 1997 - LEOPOLDO ALICBUSAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116211 March 7, 1997 - MEYNARDO POLICARPIO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116512 March 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WILLIAM O. CASIDO, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-96-1353 March 11, 1997 - DANILO B. PARADA v. LORENZO B. VENERACION

  • G.R. No. 127066 March 11, 1997 - REYNALDO O. MALONZO v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117169 March 12, 1997 - PHILTREAD WORKERS UNION, ET AL. v. NIEVES R. CONFESOR, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121917 March 12, 1997 - ROBIN CARIÑO PADILLA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 99301 & 99343 March 13, 1997 - VICTOR KIERULF, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 100333 March 13, 1997 - HILARIO MAGCALAS, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 103611 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CESAR HERBIETO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107131 March 13, 1997 - NFD INT’L. MANNING AGENTS, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108454 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TEDDY QUINAO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109779 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NESTOR MAÑOZCA

  • G.R. No. 110067 March 13, 1997 - LINDA T. ALMENDRAS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111478 March 13, 1997 - GEORGE F. SALONGA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111567 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TEODORICO AVILLANO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116123 March 13, 1997 - SERGIO NAGUIAT, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116228 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EPIFANIO GAYON, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116352 March 13, 1997 - J. & D.O. AGUILAR CORP. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 116596-98 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LORENZO TOPAGUEN

  • G.R. No. 117266 March 13, 1997 - CONTEMPT PROCEEDINGS AGAINST VENTURA O. DUCAT, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 117955-58 March 13, 1997 - HERMINIGILDO TOMARONG, ET AL. v. ANTONIO C. LUBGUBAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119058 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ERLINDA VILLARAN

  • G.R. No. 120853 March 13, 1997 - RUDY ALMEDA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122427 March 13, 1997 - BENJAMIN LAZA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123881 March 13, 1997 - VIVA PRODUCTIONS, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 91694 March 14, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SABAS CALVO, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 97626 March 14, 1997 - PHIL. BANK OF COMMERCE, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 114387 March 14, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALEJANDRO DEVILLERES

  • G.R. No. 120592 March 14, 1997 - TRADERS ROYAL BANK EMPLOYEES UNION v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121765 March 14, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RANDOLF B. MONTEALTO

  • G.R. No. 122646 March 14, 1997 - ADELIA C. MENDOZA v. ANGELITO C. TEH, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112229 March 18, 1997 - RAYMOND PE LIM v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 114924-27 March 18, 1997 - DANTE NACURAY, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119321 March 18, 1997 - CATALINO F. BAÑEZ, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Bar Matter No. 712 March 19, 1997 - PETITION OF AL ARGOSINO TO TAKE THE LAWYER’S OATH

  • G.R. Nos. 100382-100385 March 19, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIO TABACO

  • G.R. No. 111157 March 19, 1997 - ITOGON-SUYOC MINES, INC. v. OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117029 March 19, 1997 - PELTAN DEVELOPMENT, INC., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121112 March 19, 1997 - FELICIDAD MIRANO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127325 March 19, 1997 - MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO, ET AL. v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-95-1159 March 20, 1997 - COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. WILLIAM C. SEVILLO

  • G.R. No. 88684 March 20, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CESAR LACBANES

  • G.R. No. 95551 March 20, 1997 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. CONCEPCION S. ALARCON VERGARA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107019 March 20, 1997 - FRANKLIN M. DRILON, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116404 March 20, 1997 - FRANCISCO LUNA, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117218 March 20, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GERRY NALANGAN

  • G.R. No. 119599 March 20, 1997 - MALAYAN INSURANCE CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127456 March 20, 1997 - JESUS A. JARIOL, ET AL. v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-96-1091 March 21, 1997 - WILFREDO NAVARRO v. DEOGRACIAS K. DEL ROSARIO

  • G.R. No. 107699 March 21, 1997 - ALEX JACOBO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116692 March 21, 1997 - SAMAR II ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117097 March 21, 1997 - SAMAHAN NG OPTOMETRISTS SA PILIPINAS, ET AL. v. ACEBEDO INTL. CORP., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118436 March 21, 1997 - HEIRS OF MANUEL A. ROXAS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118836 March 21, 1997 - FEDERICO DORDAS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122728 March 21, 1997 - CASIANO A. ANGCHANGCO, JR. v. OMBUDSMAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123037 March 21, 1997 - TEODORO Q. PEÑA v. HRET, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-96-1184 March 24, 1997 - NBI, ET AL. v. RODOLFO TULIAO

  • G.R. No. 106588 March 24, 1997 - RAUL H. SESBREÑO v. CENTRAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-89-318 March 25, 1997 - LUCIANA Vda. DE ARAGO v. PATERNO T. ALVAREZ

  • G.R. No. 96229 March 25, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GLORIOSA S. NAVARRO

  • G.R. No. 124137 March 25, 1997 - ROY M. LOYOLA v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126298 March 25, 1997 - PATRIA C. GUTIERREZ v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 99032 March 26, 1997 - RICARDO A. LLAMADO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 101817 March 26, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELIPE IMMACULATA

  • G.R. No. 107801 March 26, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROSARIA V. IGNACIO

  • G.R. No. 110613 March 26, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDGAR VILLANUEVA

  • G.R. No. 113470 March 26, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO CORBES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115951 March 26, 1997 - ZEBRA SECURITY AGENCY, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117378 March 26, 1997 - GIL CAPILI, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117408 March 26, 1997 - NATIONAL INVESTMENT AND DEV. CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117604 March 26, 1997 - CHINA BANKING CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118332 March 26, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. IRENEO PEREZ

  • G.R. No. 119528 March 26, 1997 - PAL, INC. v. CIVIL AERONAUTICS BOARD, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121031 March 26, 1997 - ROSAURO I. TORRES v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122013 March 26, 1997 - JOSE C. RAMIREZ v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124333 March 26, 1997 - NATIVIDAD P. ARAGON v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119877 March 31, 1997 - BIENVENIDO ONGKINGCO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

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    G.R. No. 121112   March 19, 1997 - FELICIDAD MIRANO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    SECOND DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 121112. March 19, 1997.]

    FELICIDAD MIRANO, ANABELLE CIPRES, LINA ARMEDILLO, LEONCIA CALANOG, NELIA CIPRES, ESTELITA MALAPITAN, SHIRLEY MENDOZA, EDITHA PEREZ, PRISCA PAGLINAWAN, ERLINDA SAJER, CESAR MALAPITAN, ZORAIDA MIRANO, NENITA BONSOL, VERONICA FARAON, RONA DE GUZMAN, LUCITA ROSAS, NICETA MALAPITAN, and PACITA VALENCIA, Petitioners, v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, GRANDOE PHILIPPINES INDUSTRIES, INC. and ROBERTO MAGNAYE, Respondents.

    Valerio de Guzman & Dionido Law offices, for Petitioners.

    Sycip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan for Private Respondents.


    SYLLABUS


    1. LABOR AND SOCIAL LEGISLATION; LABOR CODE; EMPLOYMENT; DISMISSAL; REQUISITES FOR VALID DISMISSAL. — Before an employee can be validly dismissed: (a) the employee must be afforded due process; and (b) the dismissal must be for any of the causes specified in Article 282 of the Labor Code. The first refers to procedural due process, while the second involves substantive due process.

    2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; DUE PROCESS; REQUISITES. — It is familiar learning that the essence of due process in administrative proceedings is an opportunity to explain one’s side or an opportunity to seek reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. Thus, the Labor Code requires the employer to furnish the employee a written notice containing a statement of the cause for termination and to afford said employee ample opportunity to be heard and to defend himself with the assistance of his representative, if he so desires. The employer is also required to notify the worker in writing of the decision to dismiss him, stating clearly the reasons therefor. We have held in Radio Communications of the Philippines, Inc. v. NLRC , that it is not enough that the employee be served with written notices, viz: (1) notice stating the charges against him., and (2) notice of the decision to dismiss him. The employee must be afforded the opportunity to be heard and to defend himself with the assistance of his representative, if he so desires. Similarly, in Segismundo v. NLRC , we stressed that the "ample opportunity" contemplated by law connotes every kind of assistance that management must accord the employee to enable him to prepare adequately for his defense, including legal representation. Consultations or conferences are not a substitute for the actual observance of notice and hearing.

    3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; FALSIFICATION OF SIGNATURE OF COMPANY PHYSICIAN TO AVAIL OF SSS SICKNESS BENEFIT, SERIOUS MISCONDUCT. — Petitioners cannot downgrade the seriousness of their offenses. They committed falsifications. These are crimes punished by the Revised Penal Code itself. Their commission constitutes serious misconduct. Nor can petitioners avoid liability by claiming that the SN Forms are not company records but SSS documents. Their use is covered by Item No. 12 of the Schedule of Offenses and Penalties which provides." . . knowingly using falsified record or document." Petitioners knew that the commission of this offense is punishable by dismissal in view of its seriousness. They cannot therefore complain of its harshness.


    D E C I S I O N


    PUNO, J.:


    The present case stemmed from two (2) consolidated cases for illegal dismissal 1 filed by eighteen (18) former employees 2 (petitioners) of Grandoe Philippines Industries, Inc. (private respondent), before Regional Arbitration Branch No. 4 of the National Labor Relations Commission.

    Petitioners were dismissed on February 13, 1993, for falsifying or forging medical reports while claiming sickness benefits with the Social Security System.

    The procedure before any employee of private respondent can avail of sickness benefits from the Social Security System (SSS) is not disputed. He must first accomplish a Sickness Notification Form (SN Form) and present himself to the company physician, Dr. Pedro Rosales, for a medical check-up. After the check-up, Dr. Rosales will reflect his findings on the SN Form and sign it. The employee then will file the SN Form with the personnel department for submission to the SSS.

    On January 9, 1993, SSS returned to private respondent the SN Form filed by petitioner Lucita Rosas for failure to attach her complete blood count (CBC) examination report. The CBC report was needed to check her alleged illness, "anemia." Plant Personnel Supervisor Yolly Mendoza-Panganiban ordered the company’s nurse, Elenita Magnaye, to secure a copy of the CBC report from Dr. Rosales. Dr. Rosales denied having conducted a CBC examination on Rosas. He disowned his signature on Rosas’ SN Form. 3

    Dr. Rosales reported the forgery to private Respondent. Upon his request, the SN Forms filed by Rosas’ co-employees between the months of December 1992 and January 1993 were sent to him for verification. He discovered that the medical findings on twenty five (25) SN Forms, including those filed by petitioners, were fabricated. His signature on the SN Forms were forged. 4

    Private respondent investigated the anomaly. It sent written notices to the employees concerned, including petitioners, requiring them to explain why they should not be disciplined for submitting falsified medical reports. The management also interviewed other employees to pinpoint the authors of the scam.

    In their written explanations, petitioners denied knowledge of the forgery. All claimed they gave their SN Forms to Teresita Manalo, their co-employee and director of their union, who allegedly promised to secure the signature of Dr. Rosales for them. Manalo admitted to Dr. Rosales that she forged his signature on the SN Forms upon the request of her co-employees. In her written explanation 5 to private respondent, she reiterated her admission, thus:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Inaamin ko po na gumawa ako. Ang alam ko po ay makakatulong ako sa mga taong nakikiusap sa akin. Ang hiling ko lang ho sana kung ano man and magiging desisyon para sa akin, iyong galing sa inyong mga puso dahil apdo man ay matamis namnamin kapag sa puso nanggagaling. (Emphasis supplied)

    "Salamat po.

    The anomaly was exposed in DZBR, a local radio station in Batangas. Learning the anomaly, SSS Provincial Officer Alicia Panganiban warned that they would take legal action against private respondent if it failed to impose disciplinary action against its perpetrators.

    Twenty-one (21) out of the twenty-five (25) employees investigated were recommended for dismissal for violating Item No. 12 of the company’s schedule of Offenses and Penalties. The rule, punishable by dismissal on first offense, states:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Misrepresentation or concealment of material fact in employment application, falsifying company records or documents or knowingly using falsified record or document."cralaw virtua1aw library

    On February 13, 1993, private respondent dismissed its erring employees, including herein petitioners.

    Petitioners assailed their dismissal as illegal before the Regional Arbitration Branch of the National Labor Relations Commission. On June 30, 1994, Labor Arbiter Pedro C. Ramos rendered judgment 6 in favor of petitioners. The arbiter held that petitioners were denied due process because the written notices did not mention the particular acts or omissions constituting the grounds for their dismissal. He also ruled that petitioners were not afforded ample opportunity to be heard and to defend themselves with the assistance of their representative. He also found bad faith in the dismissal of petitioners, hence, moral and exemplary damages were awarded in their favor. The dispositive portion of the arbiter’s decision states:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered, as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    1. Declaring respondent company guilty of illegal dismissal, as charged;

    2. Ordering the respondent, thru its Plant Manager, to reinstate all the complainants to their former or equivalent positions without loss of seniority rights and other privileges, under the same terms and conditions obtaining at the time of their illegal dismissal on February 13, 1993, either physically or in the payroll as mandated by Republic Act No. 6715, otherwise known as the Herrera Law, immediately upon receipt of this decision; or if reinstatement is no longer possible, to pay the complainants their separation pay in the total amount of Eight Hundred Sixty-Four Thousand Four Hundred Fifty-Nine Pesos & 70/100 (P864,459.70);

    3. Ordering the respondent company to pay complainants their full backwages, including holiday pay, 13th month pay and other benefits, partially computed as of June 30, 1994, in the amount of One Million One Hundred Ninety Thousand One Hundred Sixty-Six Pesos & 70/100 (P1,190,166.70);

    4. Ordering the respondent to pay the complainants their total moral damages in the amount of Three Hundred Sixty Thousand Pesos (P360,000.00) and exemplary damages in another amount of Three Hundred Sixty Thousand Pesos (P360,000.00), and attorney’s fees in the amount of Two Hundred Seventy-Seven Thousand Four Hundred Sixty-Two Pesos (P277,462.00).

    SO ORDERED."cralaw virtua1aw library

    On December 16, 1995, the National Labor Relations Commission affirmed the labor arbiter’s ruling, 7 except that, it disallowed the award for moral damages, exemplary damages and attorney’s fees.

    Private respondent filed a Partial Motion for Reconsideration and a Supplement to Partial Motion for Reconsideration 8 assailing NLRC’s finding that petitioners were illegally dismissed. It cited circumstances proving petitioners’ conspiracy with self-confessed forger Teresita Manalo, viz:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "(1) The fraudulent scheme was initiated by the complainants-appellees (petitioners) themselves as they were the ones who obtained their respective SSS Sickness Notification Forms.

    "(2) The (petitioners) were the ones who filled up their respective Sickness Notification Forms and who supplied the fake illnesses indicated therein. The illnesses were obviously fake as the (petitioners) never even bothered to seek medical assistance from the resident physician, Dr. Pedro Rosales.

    "(3) The (petitioners) gave their Sickness Notification Forms to Teresita Manalo knowing that Teresita Manalo will forge Dr. Rosales’ signature as they cannot possibly be signed by Dr. Rosales because they had not presented themselves for medical examination.

    "(4) After Teresita Manalo’s forgery of Dr. Rosales’ signature, the forms were submitted by the complainants (petitioners) to the company."cralaw virtua1aw library

    On June 26, 1995, the NLRC granted the partial motion for reconsideration, thus: 9

    "WHEREFORE, the Motion for Reconsideration is GRANTED and our Decision dated December 16, 1994 is hereby SET ASIDE. The appealed decision of Labor Arbiter Pedro C. Ramos, dated 30 June 1994, in the above-entitled cases is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the complaints a quo are hereby dismissed for lack of merit. However, respondents are hereby directed to indemnify complainants in the amount of P1,000.00 each.

    "SO ORDERED."cralaw virtua1aw library

    Hence, this petition where it is contended that public respondent NLRC gravely abused its discretion in: (1) dismissing petitioners’ complaints for illegal dismissal, and (2) denying them awards for moral and exemplary damages and attorney’s fees despite clear and convincing evidence to the contrary.

    We affirm that petitioners were dismissed for cause but without the observance of due process.

    Before an employee can be validly dismissed: (a) the employee must be afforded due process; and (b) the dismissal must be for any of the causes specified in Article 282 of the Labor Code. 10 The first refers to procedural due process, while the second involves substantive due process.

    First, on the procedural aspect.

    It is familiar learning that the essence of due process in administrative proceedings is an opportunity to explain one’s side or an opportunity to seek reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. 11 Thus, the Labor Code 12 requires the employer to furnish the employee a written notice containing a statement of the cause for termination and to afford said employee ample opportunity to be heard and to defend himself with the assistance of his representative, if he so desires. The employer is also required to notify the worker in writing of the decision to dismiss him, stating clearly the reasons therefor.

    In the case at bar, petitioners were duly notified of the charges levelled against them. The records show that on January 15, 1993, petitioners were made to explain why they submitted "sickness notifications bearing (the) false signature of Dr. Pedro Rosales for purposes of claiming sickness benefits." 13 In another notice, 14 dated February 1, 1993, they were apprised of the particular acts or omissions constituting the bases for their investigation. The notice reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Reports received by this department shows that . . . you were absent from your work. You filed a SSS sickness notification for the purpose of claiming a monetary benefit from the SSS compensating for loss of income due to alleged illness. Your sickness was allegedly certified and signed by our company physician, Dr. Pedro Rosales. We presented to our company physician the sickness notification you filed to check the veracity of your claim. Dr. Rosales filed a complaint of [sic] forgery on his signature attesting that you never made a medical consultation nor did he ever attend to you on the alleged illness you claim.

    The aforementioned omission is a serious violation of our rules and regulation penalized by immediate dismissal.

    You’re therefore requested to explain within 24 hours upon receipt hereof why your employment will not be terminated for cause on such omission.

    (Sgd.) GUILLERMO D. DELA CRUZ

    Personnel/Administrative Manager"

    However, we find that no hearing was conducted before petitioners were dismissed by private Respondent. As observed by the labor arbiter:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    ". . . What the respondents did was to gather information from other employees but the complainants were not allowed to confront these witnesses/employees. After personal interviews made by Ma. Yolly Mendoza, Personnel Supervisor, of the complainants, Ms. Teresita Manalo, Dr. Pedro Rosales and other employees, she discussed the matter with top management and then decided to terminate the complainants without giving the latter any opportunity to defend themselves with the assistance of their representative or lawyer."cralaw virtua1aw library

    We have held in Radio Communications of the Philippines, Inc. v. NLRC, 15 that it is not enough that the employee be served with written notices, viz: (1) notice stating the charges against him; and (2) notice of the decision to dismiss him. The employee must be afforded the opportunity to be heard and to defend himself with the assistance of his representative, if he so desires. Similarly, in Segismundo v. NLRC, 16 we stressed that the "ample opportunity" contemplated by law connotes every kind of assistance that management must accord the employee to enable him to prepare adequately for his defense, including legal representation. Consultations or conferences are not a substitute for the actual observance of notice and hearing.

    Nonetheless, there is just cause to dismiss petitioners. The records show that petitioners deliberately violated the rules established by their employer as regards their applications for sickness benefits. They did not undergo any medical examination to justify their claims. They gave their SN Forms to Teresita Manalo to "secure" the signature of Dr. Rosales without submitting to Dr. Rosales for the required medical check-up. Dr. Rosales attested that his signature was forged by Manalo. Manalo admitted the falsification and claimed she did so upon the request of petitioners.chanrobles.com : virtual lawlibrary

    It is futile for petitioners to disclaim lack of knowledge or participation in the act of Manalo. They acquiesced to the act because they filed the falsified SN Forms to their office for submission to the SSS, knowing fully well that Dr. Rosales could not have signed the SN Forms without their medical examination.

    Petitioners further contend that the forged SN Forms are SSS documents and not part of company records, hence, they are not covered by Item No. 12 of the Schedule of Offenses and Penalties. They maintain that even if the SN Forms are considered company records, the penalty of dismissal is too harsh considering that the SSS and the management did not sustain monetary loss on account of the incident. Petitioners also allege that Manalo prevaricated their participation in the anomaly in connivance with private respondent to avoid payment of their separation pay. They point out that Manalo was not criminally charged by private respondent for forging Dr. Rosales’ signature.

    The contentions deserve scant consideration.

    Article 282 of the Labor Code enumerates the just causes of dismissal, viz:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

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

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

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

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

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

    Petitioners cannot downgrade the seriousness of their offenses. They committed falsifications. These are crimes punished by the Revised Penal Code itself. Their commission constitutes serious misconduct. Nor can petitioners avoid liability by claiming that the SN Forms are not company records but SSS documents. Their use is covered by Item No. 12 of the Schedule of Offenses and Penalties which provides." . . knowingly using falsified record or document." Petitioners knew that the commission of this offense is punishable by dismissal in view of its seriousness. They cannot therefore complain of its harshness.

    Finally, there is no scintilla of evidence to sustain petitioners’ wild charge that private respondent and Manalo conspired to fabricate the charge against them. The mere failure of private respondent to charge Manalo criminally does not establish petitioners’ claim. Moreover, Manalo has left the employment of private Respondent.

    IN VIEW WHEREOF, the present petition is DISMISSED. Costs against petitioners.

    SO ORDERED.

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

    Endnotes:



    1. Docketed as NLRC Case No. RAB-10-2-4795-93-b, entitled "Felicidad Mirano, Et. Al. v. Grandoe Philippines Industries and Roberto Magnaye" and NLRC Case No. RAB-IV-4-4956-93B, entitled "Pacencia C. Valencia v. Grandoe Philippines Industries and Roberto Magnaye."cralaw virtua1aw library

    2. Anabelle Cipres, Lina Armedillo, Leoncia Calanog, Nelia Cipres, Estelita Malapitan, Niceta Malapitan, Shirley Mendoza, Editha Perez, Prisca Paglinawan, Erlinda Sajer, Cesar Malapitan, Zenaida Mirano, Nenita Bonsal, Veronica Faraoan, Rona De Guzman, Lucita Rosas Felicidad Mirano, and Pacencia Valencia.

    3. Affidavit of Dr. Rosales, dated April 17, 1993, Rollo, pp. 97-99.

    4. Rollo, pp. 97-99.

    5. Ibid., p. 123.

    6. Annex "E" of Petition, Rollo, pp. 133-158.

    7. Penned by Commissioner Ireneo B. Bernardo, concurred in by Presiding Commissioner Lourdes C. Javier and Commissioner Joaquin A. Tanodra; see Rollo, pp. 203-213.

    8. See Annexes "I" and "J", Rollo, pp. 214-233.

    9. Decision, dated June 26, 1995, Rollo, pp. 234-241.

    10. Comsavings Bank v. National Labor Relations Commission, Et Al., G.R. No. 98456, June 14, 1996.

    11. Pizza Hut v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 117059, January 29, 1996, 252 SCRA 531.

    12. Article 277 (b), Labor Code; Sections 2, 5 and 6, Rule XIV, Book V of the

    Implementing Rules and Regulations.

    13. Rollo, p. 107.

    14. Ibid., p. 95.

    15. G.R. No. 102958, June 25, 1993, 223 SCRA 656.

    16. G.R. No. 112203, December 13, 1994, 239 SCRA 167.

    G.R. No. 121112   March 19, 1997 - FELICIDAD MIRANO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.




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