Go v. CA: 158922 : 158922 : May 28, 2004 : J. Ynares-Santiago : First
Division : Decision
[G.R. NO. 158922 : May 28, 2004]
FERNANDO GO, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS and MOLDEX
PRODUCTS, INC., Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
This is a Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court
seeking the reversal of the decision1 of the Court of Appeals dated June 30,
2003, in CA-G.R. SP No. 73349, which set aside the twin resolutions2 of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).
The antecedent facts are as follows:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
On April 26, 1986,
petitioner Moldex Products, Inc. hired private
respondent, Fernando Go as a salesman with a monthly salary of One Thousand Six
Hundred Ninety One Pesos (P1,691.00) and an allowance of Five Hundred Ten Pesos
(P510.00). 3 Over the years, private respondent worked himself within petitioners corporate
structure until he eventually attained the rank of Senior Sales Manager with a
monthly compensation of Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) and an average sales
commission of Fifteen Thousand Pesos (P15,000.00) per month.4 cralawred
As the Senior Sales Manager of private respondent, petitioner was
responsible for overseeing and managing the sales force of the company such as
dealing with clients, getting orders, entering into agreement with clients,
subject to the approval of higher management.5 cralawred
Sometime in the middle of 1998, petitioners attention was called
by Antonio Roman, the Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of
respondent corporation, regarding the discovery of alleged anomalies
purportedly committed by the sales people under the Commercial and Industrial
Division of the respondents Marketing Department. The anomalies stemmed from
the disbursement of funds by the respondent to government officials for the
purpose of getting big supply contracts from the government.6 cralawred
It appears that sometime in 1998, the accounts handled by the
petitioner and his staff experienced collection problems. This difficulty in
collection necessitated the conduct of an investigation by the respondent,7 which led to the discovery of anomalies.Among the sales personnel investigated was a member of petitioners
division. Consequently, respondent corporation dismissed a number of its
For its part, respondent claimed that it also questioned
petitioner and that obviously feeling guilty for not exercising effective
supervision over his subordinates, (petitioner) submitted a letter of
resignation9 dated October 12, 1998 but
effective on November 16, 1998.10 Respondent added that petitioner went on leave from October 12, 1998 to November 16, 1998.While on leave, petitioner worked for the
release of his clearance and the payment of 13th month pay and leave
On the other hand, petitioner averred that he was not
investigated.During his talk with the
higher management of the respondent corporation, petitioner contended that the
sales people who were found to be involved in the anomalies were directly
getting instructions, relative to the disbursement of funds to government
officials, from respondents personnel who were occupying management positions
higher than that of the petitioner.11 cralawred
Petitioner further alleged that after the investigation, he was
surprised to receive an advice from the respondent that his services were being
terminated by the latter on account of command responsibility.But since the petitioner was not involved in
the anomalies, he was promised payment of separation pay, commission and other
benefits due him on account of his long and dedicated employment with the
respondent.In addition, the respondent
also granted to petitioner a distributorship agreement for the right to be a
distributor of its products.In
exchange, petitioner was asked to submit a courtesy resignation to the
respondent.12 Thereafter, petitioners responsibility as the senior sales manager of the respondent
was eventually stripped from him.
On March 21, 2000,
petitioner filed with the NLRC a complaint13 for constructive dismissal, separation pay, service incentive leave including
damages and attorneys fees against the respondent.14 The case was docketed as NLRC NCR Case No. 00-03-01684-2000 and it was raffled
to the office of Labor Arbiter Ermita T. Abrasaldo-Cuyuca.
On April 30, 2001,
Labor Arbiter Abrasaldo-Cuyuca rendered a Decision15 the dispositive portion of which states:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the complainant
and against the respondent.
dismissal of complainant to be illegal;
2.Ordering respondent to pay complainant his backwages in the amount of P1,597,916.67;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
3.To pay complainant his
separation pay in the amount of P375,000.00
Ten Percent of the total award as attorneys fees.
Respondent appealed16 the aforesaid decision to the NLRC.On May 31, 2002, the Third Division of
the NLRC promulgated a Resolution17 which affirmed with modification the Labor Arbiters decision.As modified, the NLRC deleted the award of
attorneys fees for lack of factual basis but it affirmed the rest of the Labor
Arbiters award in favor of herein petitioner.The dispositive portion of the decision reads:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is hereby AFFIRMED, with
modification deleting the award of attorneys fees.
Respondent sought a reconsideration of the NLRC decision which
was denied in a Resolution18 dated July 31, 2002.Respondent filed a Petition for Certiorari with the Court of Appeals.19 cralawred
As stated earlier, the Court of Appeals annulled and set aside
the twin resolutions of the NLRC.In
arriving at its decision, the Court of Appeals relied heavily on the annexes20 attached to the affidavit21 of Antonio Roman, the Senior Executive Vice and Chief Operating Officer of the
respondent.The said annexes purportedly
showed that, contrary to the allegations of the petitioner that he was stripped
of his responsibility as a sales manager, he was actively performing his normal
duties and functions between the periods of July and September 1998, the months
immediately prior to his resignation on October 12, 1998.
Hence, this Petition for Review , raising the following arguments:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
The Court of Appeals committed reversible error considering that:
1.It weighed at face value the sworn
statement of Antonio Roman and its annexes, which were both presented for the
first time on appeal;
2.It ruled that herein petitioner was not
constructively dismissed rather he voluntarily resigned from the respondent;
3.It held that the petitioners witnesses are
biased and therefore tainted with prejudice against the private respondent;
4.It ruled that the resignation of the
petitioner was not a result of the manipulation and deception of the private
5.It held that the NLRC committed grave abuse
of discretion when it misappreciated the facts and
rendered judgment contrary to established evidence.22 cralawred
The petition lacks merit.
It is a well-established rule that the jurisdiction of the
Supreme Court in cases brought before it from the Court of Appeals via Rule 45
of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, is limited to reviewing
errors of law.23 This Court is not a trier of facts.In the exercise of its power of review, the
findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are conclusive and binding and
consequently, it is not our function to analyze or weigh evidence all over
The above rule, however, is not iron-clad.In Siguan v. Lim ,25 we enumerated the instances when the factual findings of the Court of Appeals
are not deemed conclusive, to wit: (1) when the conclusion is a finding
grounded entirely on speculations, surmises or conjectures; (2) when the inference
made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; (3) when there is grave
abuse of discretion; (4) when the judgment is based on a misapprehension of
facts; (5) when the findings of facts are conflicting; (6) when the Court of
Appeals, in making its findings went beyond theissues of the case and the same is contrary to the admission of
boththe appellant and the appellee; (7) when the findings are contraryto those of the trial court; (8) when the
findings are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they
are based; (9) when the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the
petitioners main and reply brief are not disputed by the respondent; and when
(10) the findings of fact are premised on the supposed evidence and contradicted
by the evidence on record.
In the instant case, the issue is shrouded by a conflict of
factual perception.We are constrained
to review the factual findings of the Court of Appeals, because the conflict
falls within the ambit of one of the recognized exceptions to the
conclusiveness of its findings, i.e.,
when its findings of facts contradict those of the lower court, in this case
that of the Labor Arbiter and the agency which exercised adjudicative functions
over him, the NLRC.
The principal issue to be resolved in this case is whether or not
the petitioner was constructively dismissed.Petitioner claims that his separation from employment with the
respondent was a case of constructive dismissal, an allegation which the
respondent refutes with its own set of evidence pointing to the petitioners
After a careful review of the records of this case, we find
sufficient reasons to uphold respondents contention.
Constructive dismissal exists where there is a cessation of work
because continued employment is rendered impossible, unreasonable or unlikely.26 It is present when an employees functions, which were originally supervisory
in nature, were reduced, and such reduction is not grounded on valid grounds
such as genuine business necessity.27 cralawred
Petitioner contends that he felt compelled to tender his
resignation on October 12, 1998
because after the discovery of anomalies perpetrated by sales people under him,
he started getting shabby treatment from the company, and that slowly, he was divested
of his duties and responsibilities as the Senior Sales and Marketing Manager of
the respondent.He, however, maintains
that his resignation was involuntary.
In support of his contention, the petitioner submitted the
respective affidavits of Mario Carangan III28 and Floriza Tuazon,29 his former co-employees, who both alleged that petitioner was one of the
officers of respondent who was stripped of responsibilities and duties while
the investigation of the anomalies was going on.
By way of rebuttal, the respondent challenged the contents of the
sworn statements for being purely hearsay. With respect to the sworn statement
of Ms. Floriza G. Tuazon,
respondent argues that Ms. Tuazon resigned even
before the petitioner.Thus, she could
not be privy to the events involving petitioner which transpired after her
resignation.More specifically, the
cause of petitioners resignation on October
12, 1998 was no longer within the competence of Ms. Tuazon.30 The sworn statement of Mr. Mario Carangan III also
suffers from the same infirmity.
As correctly observed by the Court of Appeals:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
It should be remembered that the petitioner has submitted a letter
of resignation. It is thus incumbent upon him to substantiate his claim that
his resignation was not voluntary but in truth was actually a constructive
The failure of the petitioner to fully substantiate his claim
that the respondent stripped him of his duties and functions is fatal to his
present petition.Except for the sworn
statements previously discussed, which we have found to be lacking in probative
value, petitioner did not present any other proof of the alleged stripping of
his functions by the respondent.Petitioners bare allegations of constructive dismissal, when uncorroborated
by the evidence on record, cannot be given credence.
Further, respondent presented copies of its confidential sales
evaluation form32 which prove that, contrary to the allegations of the petitioner, he was still
performing his duties and responsibilities one month prior to his
resignation.This clearly negates his
allegations that he was stripped of his duties.
Apparently, petitioner fully exercised the prerogatives and the
responsibilities of his office as the Senior Sales Manager of the respondent during
the time that the said functions were supposedly removed from him.Therefore, there can be no constructive
dismissal to speak of.He who asserts
must prove.33 cralawred
Moreover, after petitioner resigned, he went on leave from October 12, 1998 to November 16, 1998, the date of the effectivity of his resignation.While on leave, he worked for the release of
his clearance and the payment of his 13th month pay and leave pay
benefits.In doing so, he in fact
performed all that an employee normally does after he resigns.Petitioner has taken his theory of coerced or
manipulated resignation out of the equation. If indeed the petitioner was
forced into resigning from the respondent, he would not have sought to be
cleared by the respondent and to be paid the monies due him.Resignation is the formal pronouncement or
relinquishment of an office.34 The voluntary nature of petitioners acts has manifested itself clearly and
belie his claim of constructive dismissal.
The totality of the evidence indubitably shows that petitioner
resigned from employment without any coercion or compulsion from
respondent.His resignation was
voluntary.As such, he shall only be
entitled to his 13th month pay and leave pay benefits.These, however, have already been paid to him
by respondent.35 cralawred
petition is DENIED and the decision of the Court Appeal dated June 30, 2003 is AFFIRMED.The complaint for constructive dismissal
filed by respondent Fernando Go against petitioner is ordered DISMISSED.
Panganiban, Carpio, and Azcuna, JJ., concur.
Davide, Jr., C.J., on official leave.
1 Penned by Justice Romeo A. Brawner and concurred in
by Justices Eliezer R. de los
Santos and Regalado
2 NLRC Resolution dated May 31, 2002
and July 31, 2002; Original
Records, pp. 35-43.
4 Original Records, p. 121.
7 Original Records, p. 122.
11 Original Records,p. 51.
pp. 128-146.The appeal was docketed as
CA No. 028714-02.
17 Id.,pp. 35-43, penned by Commissioner Ireneo B. Bernardo; concurred in by Presiding Commissioner
Lourdes C. Javier and Commissioner Tito F. Genilo.
23 Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation v. Alfa RTW
Manufacturing Corporation, et al., G.R. No. 133877, 14 November 2001.
24 Alejandro Gabriel, et al. v. Spouses Mabanta, et al., G.R. No. 142403, 26 March 2003.
28 Original Records, p. 82.
32 Original Records, pp. 174-183.
33 2 Jones on Evidence, 2nd Ed. Section 491.
34 Section II, Rule XIV, Book V of the Revised Rules Implementing the Labor Code.
35 Original Records, p. 72.
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