R Transport Corp v. Ejandra : 148508 : May 20, 2004 : J. Corona : Third
Division : Decision
[G.R. NO. 148508 : May
R TRANSPORT CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. ROGELIO
D E C I S I O N
Before us is a Petition for Review of the decision1 of the Court of Appeals2 dated December 22, 2000 dismissing
the Petition for Certiorari of the decision of the National Labor
Relations Commission3 (NLRC) dated May 30, 1997.
The latter affirmed the decision4 of the labor arbiter dated February
27, 1997 holding petitioner liable for illegal dismissal and
directing private respondents reinstatement.
Private respondent Rogelio Ejandra alleged that, for almost six
years, from July 15, 1990
to January 31, 1996, he
worked as a bus driver of petitioner R Transport Corporation.
He plied the route Muntilupa-Alabang-Malanday-Monumento-UE-Letre-Sangandaan
from 5:00 a.m. up to 2:00
a.m. the next day and was paid 10% of his daily earnings.
On January 31, 1996,
an officer of the Land Transportation Office (LTO),
Guadalupe Branch, Makati
City, apprehended him for obstruction
of traffic for which his license was confiscated. Upon his arrival at
petitioners garage, he immediately reported the incident to his manager, Mr.
Oscar Pasquin, who gave him
P500 to redeem his license.
The following day, he went to LTO, Guadalupe
Branch, to claim it but he was told that it had not yet been turned over by the
officer who apprehended him.
able to retrieve his license only after a week.
On February 8, 1996,
private respondent informed Mr. Pasquin that he was ready to report for
However, he was told that the
company was still studying whether to allow him to drive again.
Private respondent was likewise accused of
causing damage to the bus he used to drive.
Denying the charge, private respondent blamed the person who drove the
said bus during his absence, considering that the damage was sustained during
the week that he did not drive the bus. Mr. Pacquin nonetheless told him Magpahinga
ka muna at tatawagin ka na lang namin kung kailangan ka na para magmaneho.
Magbakasyon ka muna, bata. When respondent asked how long he had to rest,
the manager did not give a definite time.
Petitioner denied private respondents allegations and claimed
that private respondent, a habitual absentee, abandoned his job.
To belie private respondents allegation
that his license had been confiscated, petitioner asserted that, had it been
true, he should have presented an apprehension report and informed petitioner
of his problems with the LTO. But he did not.
Petitioner further argued that private respondent was not an employee
because theirs was a contract of lease and not of employment, with petitioner
being paid on commission basis.
On February 23, 1997,
labor arbiter Rogelio Yulo rendered his decision in favor of private
The dispositive portion of
the decision read:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
PREMISES CONSIDERED, judgment is hereby rendered finding the
dismissal of Rogelio Ejandra to be without just cause and, therefore, illegal
and ORDERING R-Transport to REINSTATE him to his former position without loss
of seniority and other benefits and to pay him backwages from the time of his
dismissal until actual reinstatement.
SO ORDERED.5 cralawred
Labor arbiter Yulo gave no weight to petitioners claim that
private respondent abandoned his work.
His one-week absence did not constitute abandonment of work considering
that it took him the whole week to reclaim his license.
Private respondent could not retrieve it
unless and until the apprehending officer first transmitted it to their
His inability to drive for
petitioner that whole week was therefore not his fault and petitioner could be
held liable for illegal dismissal.
process was not accorded to private respondent who was never given the
opportunity to contest the charge of abandonment.Moreover, assuming actual abandonment, petitioner should have
reported such fact to the nearest employment office of the Department of Labor
and Employment. But no such report was ever made.
On May 30, 1997,
the NLRC rendered a decision affirming the decision of the labor arbiter:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appeal is hereby DISMISSED and
the appealed decision AFFIRMED in toto.
SO ORDERED.6 cralawred
In disputing petitioners claim that private respondent was not
its employee and was not therefore entitled to notice and hearing before
termination, the NLRC held that:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
It is very clear that (sic) from no less than appellants
admission, that complainant was not afforded his right to due process prior to
the severance of his employment with respondents. (First par. p.3, respondents
Appeal Memorandum, p. 45, Rollo)
Appellants defense of denying the existence of employer-employee
relationship with the complainant based on the manner by which complainant was
being paid his salary, cannot hold water.
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