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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
 

   
April-2006 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.M. No. 04-6-332-RTC - REPORT ON THE INVESTIGATION CONDUCTED ON THE ALLEGED SPURIOUS BAILBONDS ETC.

  • A.M. No. 2005-18-SC - RE: ANONYMOUS COMPLAINT AGAINST MR. RODEL M. GABRIEL

  • A.M. No. 2005-07-SC - RE: FAILURE OF JOSE DANTE E. GUERRERO TO REGISTER HIS TIME IN AND OUT ETC.

  • A.M. No. 2005-07-SC - RE: FAILURE OF JOSE DANTE E. GUERRERO TO REGISTER HIS TIME IN AND OUT ETC.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-04-1568 - THEODORE C. BRITANICO VS. JUDGE WENIE D. ESPINOSA ETC.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-04-1568 - THEODORE C. BRITANICO v. JUDGE WENIE D. ESPINOSA ETC.

  • A.M. No. P-03-1739 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR VS. NORMALYN P. NACURAY

  • A.M. No. P-06-2158 - JUDGE DOMINGO C. SAN JOSE, JR. VS. ROBERT T. CAMURONGAN

  • A.M. No. P-06-2110 and A.M. NO. P-03-1692 - CRISTETA D. ORFILA v. ESTIFANA S. ARELLANO

  • A.M. No. P-06-2159 - ABSENCE WITHOUT OFFICIAL LEAVE (AWOL) OF EDWIN V. GARROBO ETC.

  • A.M. No. P-06-2166 - DR. JOSEFA T. DIGNUM VS. PALAO M. DIAMLA, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-03-1739 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. NORMALYN P. NACURAY

  • A.M. No. P-06-2110 and A.M. NO. P-03-1692 - CRISTETA D. ORFILA v. ESTIFANA S. ARELLANO

  • A.M. No. P-06-2158 - JUDGE DOMINGO C. SAN JOSE, JR. v. ROBERT T. CAMURONGAN

  • A.M. No. P-06-2159 - ABSENCE WITHOUT OFFICIAL LEAVE (AWOL) OF EDWIN V. GARROBO ETC.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-05-1920, A. M. No. RTJ-99-1432, A.M. NO. RTJ-01-1623 adn A. M. No. 10425-Ret. - CONCERNED TRIAL LAWYERS OF MANILA VS. JUDGE LORENZO B. VENERACION

  • A.M. No. P-06-2166 - DR. JOSEFA T. DIGNUM v. PALAO M. DIAMLA, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-06-1993 - AUGUSTUS M. GONZALES VS. JUDGE ANTONIO B. BANTOLO

  • A.M. No. RTJ-05-1941 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR VS. JUDGE LOURDES M. GARCIA-BLANCO, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-06-1993 - AUGUSTUS M. GONZALES v. JUDGE ANTONIO B. BANTOLO

  • A.M. No. RTJ-05-1941 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. JUDGE LOURDES M. GARCIA-BLANCO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132388 - RAFAEL M. FAJARDO, ET AL. v. MAYOR ALFREDO S. LIM, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122880 - FELIX AZUELA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 134030 - ASAPHIL CONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION v. VICENTE TUASON, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139762 - RADIO COMMUNICATIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140862 - WILSON GO, ET AL. v. ANITA RICO

  • G.R. No. 141168 - ABESCO CONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, ET AL. v. ALBERTO RAMIREZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141393 - CATHERINE A. YEE v. HON. ESTRELLITA P. BERNABE

  • G.R. No. 143307 - LU DO, ET AL. v. AZNAR BROTHERS REALTY CO.

  • G.R. No. 144075 - DAVAO MERCHANT MARINE ACADEMY, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144320 - NATIVIDAD ARIAGA VDA. DE GURREA, ET AL. v. ENRIQUE SUPLICO

  • G.R. No. 145229 - ROMEO L. DAVALOS, SR. v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 145878 - MARCIANO BLANCO v. FELIMON RIVERA

  • G.R. No. 146217 - ANUNCIO C. BUSTILLO v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 146556 - DANILO L. PAREL v. SIMEON B. PRUDENCIO

  • G.R. No. 147748 - VISITACION GAVINA GAW v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 147912 - RUSSEL DE LOS SANTOS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 148443 - COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE v. THE HONORABLE ROSE MARIE ALONZO - LEGASTO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 148273 - MILAGROS SIMON, ET AL. v. GUIA W. CANLAS

  • G.R. No. 150280 - UNIVERSITY OF THE EAST v. MARIBETH ANG WONG

  • G.R. No. 152149 - BENJAMIN SUBIDO v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 153022 - NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION v. AGUSTIN A. ZOZOBRADO

  • G.R. No. 153827 - ASIAN CONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION v. PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL INTERNATIONAL BANK

  • G.R. No. 154282 - VANGIE BARRAZONA v. REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 156521 - JULITO OPERIANO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 156615 - NICOLAS PADILLO v. MR. BADERE APAS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 157331 - ARNOLD ALVA v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 158268 - RHODA CASTOR-GARUPA v. ECC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 158637 - MARICALUM MINING CORPORATION v. ANTONIO DECORION

  • G.R. No. 158883 - PHILIPPINE TRANSMARINE CARRIERS, INC. v. JOHN MELCHOR A. LAURENTE

  • G.R. No. 159354 - UNITED PHILIPPINE LINES, INC., ET AL. v. FRANCISCO D. BESERIL

  • G.R. No. 159507 - ANICETO G. SALUDO, JR. v. AMERICAN EXPRESS INTERNATIONAL, INC., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 159457 - NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION v. PHILIPPINE ELECTRIC PLANT OWNERS ASSOCIATION (PEPOA), INC

  • G.R. No. 159828 - KASAPIAN NG MALAYANG MANGGAGAWA SA COCA-COLA v. THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 159887 - BERNARDO REMIGIO v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 160351 - NOEL VILLANUEVA v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 160614 - LEONARDO M. DALWAMPO, ET AL. v. QUINOCOL FARMERS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 161811 - THE CITY OF BAGUIO, ET AL. v. FRANCISCO NI O, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 162774 - SPS. EDMUNDO T. OSEA AND LIGAYA R. OSEA v. ANTONIO G. AMBROSIO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 163269 - ROLANDO C. RIVERA v. SOLIDBANK CORPORATION

  • G.R. No. 163217 - CELESTINO MARTURILLAS v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 164225 - JUHARY A. GALO v. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 164774 - STAR PAPER CORPORATION, ET AL. v. RONALDO D. SIMBOL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 164929 - ERNELIZA Z. MAMARIL v. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION

  • G.R. No. 165727 - TOWER INDUSTRIAL SALES, ET AL. v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 165881 - OSCAR VILLAMARIA, JR. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 165910 - HANJIN ENGINEERING, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 165934 - United Philippine Lines, Inc., et al. v. Francisco D. Beseril

  • G.R. No. 166040 - Niel F. Llave v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 167033 - ESTRELITA "NENG" JULIANO v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 167193 - IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS v. ENGR. ASHRAF KUNTING

  • G.R. No. 167048 - MARIETTA T. CAUGMA, ET AL. v. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 167639 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. PRINCIPALIA MANAGEMENT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 167798 and G.R. NO. 167930 - KILUSANG MAYO UNO, ET AL. v. THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 167959 - FILIPINAS SYSTEMS "FILSYSTEMS," INC., ET AL. VS. ERNESTO GATLABAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 168222 - SPS. TEODULO RUMARATE, ET AL. v. HILARIO HERNANDEZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 168736 - SPS. ADELINA S. CUYCO AND FELICIANO U. CUYCO v. SPS. RENATO CUYCO AND FILIPINA CUYCO

  • G.R. No. 168821 - GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM (GSIS) v. JAIME A. VALENCIANO

  • G.R. No. 169108 - INTERCONTINENTAL BROADCASTING CORPORATION (IBC-13) v. HON. ROSE MARIE ALONZO LEGASTO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 169393 - TONY L. BENWAREN v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 169777, G.R. NO. 169659, G.R. NO. 169660, G.R. NO. 169667, G.R. NO. 169834 and G.R. NO. 171246 - SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, ET AL. v. EDUARDO R. ERMITA ETC.

  • G.R. No. 170695 - UNITED OVERSEAS BANK PHILIPPINES, INC. v. SIONY CHING AND TOWNTEC REALTY & DEVELOPMENT CORP

  • G.R. No. 169838, G.R. NO. 169848 and G.R. NO. 169881 - BAYAN, ET AL. v. EDUARDO ERMITA, ET AL.

  •  





     
     

    G.R. No. 165727 - TOWER INDUSTRIAL SALES, ET AL. v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

      G.R. No. 165727 - TOWER INDUSTRIAL SALES, ET AL. v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    FIRST DIVISION

    [G.R. NO. 165727 : April 19, 2006]

    TOWER INDUSTRIAL SALES and JOHN KENNETH OCAMPO, Petitioners, v. Hon. COURT OF APPEALS (Fifteenth Division), National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC, third Division) and RUFO PAMALO, JR., Respondents.

    D E C I S I O N

    CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:

    The right to file a special civil action of certiorari is neither a natural right nor an essential element of due process; a writ of certiorari is a prerogative writ, never demandable as a matter of right, and never issued except in the exercise of judicial discretion. Hence, he who seeks a writ of certiorari must apply for it only in the manner and strictly in accordance with the provisions of the law and the Rules.1

    This Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court impugns the Resolution2 dated 31 March 2004 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 82933 dismissing the Petition for Annulment of the decision of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), which found private respondent Rufo Pamalo, Jr. to have been illegally dismissed. Said Resolution of the Court of Appeals succinctly stated:

    This petition for annulment of the NLRC decision suffers from the following fatal deficiencies:

    (1) Per reading of the petition, this petition is treated as a petition for certiorari under Rule 65, not being a petition for annulment of NLRC decision;

    (2) Only Photostat copies were attached of the assailed NLRC decision dated November 29, 2002;

    (3) No certified true copies of pleadings and other supporting documents filed before the Labor Arbiter and NLRC were attached to the petition;

    (4) The Verification does not comply with Sec. 4, Rule 7 of the Revised Rules of Court, as amended, which failed to manifest that the allegations were based on authentic records.

    WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED.3

    Likewise impugned in this Petition for Certiorari is the Resolution4 of the Court of Appeals dated 31 August 2004, denying the Motion for Reconsideration.

    The following facts are undisputed:

    Tower Industrial Sales, a company engaged in selling various brands of home appliances and managed by petitioner John Kenneth Ocampo, employed private respondent as a company driver in 1987. He worked everyday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and his last salary was pegged at P285.00 a day.5

    On 12 February 2002, private respondent filed a Complaint with the Labor Arbiter for unfair labor practice and claimed overtime pay, premium for holiday pay and service incentive leave pay against Alon Development Corp. and/or Tower Industrial Sales, and Fernando Ocampo,6 owner of both Alon Development Corp. and Tower Industrial Sales, and father of petitioner John Kenneth Ocampo.7

    On 19 February 2002, a week after private respondent commenced the complaint with the Labor Arbiter, Fernando Ocampo issued a memorandum to the private respondent requiring him to explain his absence without official leave on said date.8

    On 4 March 2002, another memorandum was issued to the private respondent requiring him to explain his absence from work on said date without permission from management and calling his attention to the fact that he had not submitted any explanation relative to the memorandum issued to him on 19 February 2002.9

    On 6 March 2002, private respondent submitted his handwritten explanation regarding his absences, saying that with respect to his absence on 19 February 2002, at around 9:00 a.m., his wife left word to a certain Carol of petitioners' office that he cannot come to work as he was attending a wedding of a relative wherein he was a sponsor. He also explained that he failed to report for work on 4 March 2002 because he attended the hearing of the case he filed against the petitioners before the Labor Arbiter.10

    Prior to the above incidents, private respondent was also given a memorandum on 1 August 2001 as a warning for his absences in the month of July 2001. Moreover, he was given another memorandum on 13 August 2001 for damage to company property when he bumped a tree while driving the company's Toyota Camry car. He was required to pay half of the expenses for the repair of the damaged car.11

    On 9 March 2002, Fernando Ocampo issued a memorandum putting private respondent on preventive suspension pending investigation of his case for gross misconduct, habitual tardiness and destruction of company property, and further requiring him to attend the hearing on 4 April 2002 at 3:00 p.m. at the conference room of petitioners' office. Petitioners' security guard, a certain Mr. Cornelio Rivera, allegedly handed a copy of the memorandum to private respondent, but the latter purportedly refused to acknowledge receipt thereof.

    Private respondent did not appear at the investigation on 4 April 2002.12 Instead, on 18 April 2002, he filed an Amended Complaint for Illegal Dismissal on 9 March 2002 and claimed for overtime pay, premium for holiday pay and separation pay. In his position paper, he prayed for 13th month pay, service incentive leave pay, overtime pay and legal holiday pay in addition to the charge of illegal dismissal.13

    On 16 April 2002, Fernando Ocampo issued a notice of termination to the private respondent effective 9 March 2002 for gross misconduct and for committing acts prejudicial to the interest of the company.14

    On 29 November 2002, the Labor Arbiter rendered a decision in favor of petitioners, finding that private respondent was validly dismissed.

    Rising to the occasion, private respondent filed a timely appeal to the NLRC.

    On 28 November 2003, the NLRC reversed the Decision of the Labor Arbiter, disposing as follows:

    WHEREFORE, the appeal is GRANTED. Respondent Tower Industries Sales is ordered to reinstate the complainant and to pay him full backwages computed from his date of dismissal on March 14, 2002 up to his reinstatement, which is partially computed in the amount of one hundred seventy five thousand three hundred eighty eight pesos and 77/100 (P175,388.77), plus legal holiday pay of P8,500.00.15 (Emphasis added)

    Aggrieved by the NLRC decision, petitioners filed a Petition for Annulment of the same before the Court of Appeals.

    The Court of Appeals denied said Petition for Annulment on the grounds which, for emphasis, are herein reiterated:

    (1) Per reading of the petition, this petition is treated as a petition for certiorari under Rule 65, not being a petition for annulment of NLRC decision;

    (2) Only Photostat copies were attached of the assailed NLRC decision dated November 29, 2002;

    (3) No certified true copies of pleadings and other supporting documents filed before the Labor Arbiter and NLRC were attached to the petition;

    (4) The Verification does not comply with Sec. 4, Rule 7 of the Revised Rules of Court, as amended, which failed to manifest that the allegations were based on authentic records.16

    On 15 July 2004, petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration, which the Court of Appeals denied for having been filed 71 days late and for lack of merit.

    In a last ditch effort at vindication, petitioners filed the present petition for certiorari raising the following issues:

    I. Whether the nlrc had gravely abused its discretion when it reversed the arbiter's decision upholding the dismissal from employment of private respondent;

    II. Whether the petitioners are liable to pay private respondent his backwages;

    III. whether the petitioners are obligated to reinstate the private respondent as driver despite strained relationship with the petitioners; andcralawlibrary

    IV. Whether the honorable court of appeals had gravely abused its discretion when it denied the petition OF the petitioners and theN likewise denied their motion for reconsideration.17

    The fundamental issues needing resolution are: (1) whether or not the dismissal of private respondent was valid, and (2) whether or not the Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of discretion in dismissing CA-G.R. SP No. 82933 on purely technical grounds.

    We shall discuss these issues jointly.

    In brief, petitioners decry the decision of the NLRC for its failure to give weight to the evidence adduced by petitioners that private respondent's role as driver is vital to the viability of the business of petitioners, which demands that goods be delivered on time. Thus, petitioners lament that private respondent's proclivity to go on absences without leave, his habitual tardiness, and destruction of company property are detrimental to their business, which tendency smacks of gross misconduct - a just cause for the termination of employees under the Labor Code.18

    We deviate from petitioners' standpoint.

    Article 277 of the Labor Code, which guarantees the right of an employee to security of tenure, provides that -

    (b) Subject to the constitutional right of workers to security of tenure and their right to be protected against dismissal except for a just and authorized cause and without prejudice to the requirement of notice under Article 283 of this code the employer shall furnish the worker whose employment is sought to be terminated a written notice containing a statement of the causes for termination and shall afford the latter ample opportunity to be heard and to defend himself with the assistance of his representative if he so desires in accordance with company rules and regulations x x x. (Emphasis supplied).

    It is clear therefrom that the dismissal of private respondent may be sustained only if shown to have been made for a just and authorized cause and with due process.

    In conjunction with the above-mentioned policy of the law, it is well-encrypted in our jurisprudence that the employer has the burden of proving that the dismissal is for just cause, and failure to do so would necessarily mean that the dismissal was unjustified and, therefore, illegal. It is the employer who must prove its validity, and not the employee who must prove its invalidity. To allow an employer to dismiss an employee based on mere allegations and generalities would place the employee in a dangerous situation. He would be at the mercy of his employer and the right to security of tenure, which this Court is bound to protect, would be unduly emasculated.19

    Patently, the Labor Arbiter clearly lost sight of the foregoing doctrine when he held that the claim of private respondent that he was illegally dismissed suffers from lack of substantial proof to warrant an affirmative finding that he was illegally dismissed without just cause.20

    In contrast, respondent NLRC, mindful that it is the employer which has the onus probandi to show that private respondent's dismissal was based on a valid ground, evaluated the evidence presented before the Labor Arbiter and concluded that the charges hurled by petitioners against private respondent to justify his termination were baseless.

    Doctrinally, the findings of fact of the NLRC are conclusive on this Court, absent a showing that they were reached arbitrarily.21 Here, the Court finds no cogent reason to deflect from the findings of the NLRC. We are, thus, bound by the findings of the NLRC that the alleged infractions of private respondent do not constitute gross misconduct to warrant his dismissal from service. Indeed, petitioners cannot rely merely on the weakness of the defense of private respondent or on his failure to present evidence to disprove the charge of gross misconduct. In the absence of substantial evidence, the contentions of petitioners are self-serving and incapable of showing that the dismissal of private respondent was justified.22

    Rightly so, we give the stamp of approval to the following factual findings of the NLRC that the acts committed by private respondent that were characterized by the petitioners as gross misconduct, i.e., his absences from work on 19 February 2002 and 4 March 2002 without prior permission from the petitioners, as well as his past absences in the month of July 2001 and damage to the company car when he bumped it against a tree on 11 August 2002, are past infractions that the latter had already been duly penalized for the commissions thereof. Past infractions cannot be collectively taken as a justification for his dismissal from the service.23

    We hasten to add that anent the damage to petitioners' Toyota Camry car, private respondent had been paying half of the damage of which P250.00 was being deducted to his pay, as the records show.24 Thus, this issue is now water under the bridge and must not be revived anew to rationalize private respondent's dismissal from his work - his bread and butter for the past 15 years prior to his termination.ςηαñrοblεš νιr†υαl lαω lιbrαrÿ

    As regards the absences without official leave incurred on 19 February 2002 and 4 March 2002, we are equally bound by the findings of the NLRC that while they are clear violations of company rules, they cannot be considered as grave enough to amount to gross misconduct. We add that in private respondent's 15 years of service with petitioners, a day or two's absences without prior leave is trivial; hardly of habitual character.

    On another note, we cannot ignore the fact that private respondent's dismissal was spurred by his filing of a labor case against petitioners for overtime pay, service incentive leave, and holiday pay. Private respondent must not be punished for asserting his rights and for tapping all legal avenues to address clear violations of such rights. All things being equal, private respondent's termination soon after he filed the labor case against his erring employer is a badge of bad faith on the part of the latter, undeserving of sympathy from this Court.

    In hindsight, if, indeed, private respondent was a wayward employee, why did petitioners countenance such behavior for no less than 15 years?cralawlibrary

    Neither can this Court give credence to petitioners' argument that the reinstatement of private respondent is no longer possible because of the strained relations between the petitioners, on one hand, and the private respondent on the other. Strained relations must be demonstrated as a fact, adequately supported by evidence on record.25 Mere allegations of such by the petitioners, without evidence, are self-serving. It bears emphasis that the NLRC, based on the evidence presented before it, concluded that reinstatement is still possible in the present case, a finding which we have no reason to disturb.

    Petitioners allege that their strained relations with private respondent resulted from the latter's absences without leave, habitual tardiness and reckless disregard of safety precautions. These are the very same allegations presented by petitioners as justifying reasons for dismissing private respondent and which the NLRC and, now, this Court, declared to be baseless. Petitioners' claim that they will "not feel at ease with private respondent" if he continues to drive for them hardly constitute strained relations. What is more plausible is that petitioners feel some antagonism against private respondent for instituting a labor case against them. As expounded by this Court in Kunting v. National Labor Relations Commission26 '

    "Strained relations," as amplified in Employee's Association of the Philippine American Life Insurance Company v. NLRC, 199 SCRA 628 [1991], must be of such a nature or degree as to preclude reinstatement. But, where the differences between the parties are neither personal nor physical, nor serious, then there is no reason why the illegally dismissed employee should not be reinstated rather than simply given separation pay and backwages. More so if the cause of the perceived "strained relations" is the filing of a complaint for illegal dismissal. As the Court held in Globe-Mackay Cable and Radio Corporation v. NLRC, 206 SCRA 701 [1992], citing Anscor Transport and Terminals v. NLRC, 190 SCRA 147 [1990]; Sibal v. Notre Dame of Greater Manila, 182 SCRA 538 [1990]:

    "Obviously, the principle of 'strained relations' cannot be applied indiscriminately. Otherwise, reinstatement can never be possible simply because some hostility is invariably engendered between the parties as a result of litigation. That is human nature.

    "Besides, no strained relations should arise from a valid and legal act of asserting one's right; otherwise an employee who shall assert his right could be easily separated from the service, by merely paying his separation pay on the pretext that his relationship with his employer had already become strained."

    Still contrary to petitioners' position, this Court cannot attribute any grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Court of Appeals for thwarting their efforts to reverse the NLRC decision. Considering that petitioners failed to show any redeeming value of their petition for annulment of the NLRC decision, which the Court of Appeals treated as a petition for certiorari, it came as no surprise that the Court of Appeals nipped their dilatory tactics in the bud and dismissed said petition outright.

    True, the Court of Appeals anchored the denial of petition for annulment of the NLRC decision on merely technical grounds. Equally true, Rule 1, Section 6 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure27 provides that said rules should be construed liberally to effect substantial justice. All these do not mean, however, that procedural rules are to be ignored or disdained at will to suit the convenience of a party.28

    In MTM Garment Manufacturing Incorporated v. Court of Appeals,29 we stressed that the right to file a special civil action of certiorari is neither a natural right nor an essential element of due process; a writ of certiorari is a prerogative writ, never demandable as a matter of right, and never issued except in the exercise of judicial discretion. Hence, he who seeks a writ of certiorari must apply for it only in the manner and strictly in accordance with the provisions of the law and the Rules.30

    In the same vein, in NYK International Knitwear Corporation v. National Labor Relations Commission,31 this Court did not mince words in ruling that for this Court to issue the extraordinary writ of certiorari to reverse the Court of Appeals' denial of a petition on technical grounds there must exist compelling reason to do so. Thus -

    The members of this Court are not unmindful that in exceptional cases and for compelling reasons, we have disregarded similar procedural defects in order to correct a patent injustice made. However, petitioners here have not shown any compelling reason for us to relax the rule. Petitioners are hereby reminded that the right to file a special civil action of certiorari is neither a natural right nor a part of due process. A writ of certiorari is a prerogative writ, never demandable as a matter of right, never issued except in the exercise of judicial discretion. Hence, he who seeks a writ of certiorari must apply for it only in the manner and strictly in accordance with the provisions of the law and the Rules.32

    Hence, inasmuch as the NLRC decision was based on substantial evidence on record and its conclusions were in rhyme with the applicable law and prevailing jurisprudence on the matter, there is, therefore, not an iota of doubt as to the soundness of said decision to warrant a relaxation by the Court of Appeals of the technical rules of procedure.

    For our part, given the factual milieu of this case, there is nothing legally revolting about the assailed resolution of the Court of Appeals to warrant the issuance of the extraordinary writ of certiorari that petitioners pray from this Court.

    As a postscript, private respondent remains unemployed to date, despite diligent efforts to hunt for a job, because of his advanced age.33 This all the more behooves this Court to affirm the impugned resolutions of the Court of Appeals and write finis to this case lest the beneficence of the rule on security of tenure continue to elude the private respondent through the protracted twists and turns of this case.

    WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. The Resolution34 dated 31 March 2004 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 82933 and the Resolution35 dated 31 August 2004, denying the Motion for Reconsideration, are hereby AFFIRMED.

    With costs.

    SO ORDERED.


    Endnotes:


    1 MTM Garment Manufacturing, Incorporated v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 152336, 9 June 2005, 460 SCRA 55, 66.

    2 Penned by Associate Justice Vicente Q. Roxas with Associate Justices Rodrigo V. Cosico and Mariano C. del Castillo, concurring; Rollo, pp. 112-113.

    3 Rollo, pp. 112-113.

    4 Id. at 123.

    5 Id. at 90.

    6 Fernando Ocampo Ochua in other parts of the records, Id. at 29.

    7 Id. at 90, 93, 79.

    8 Id. at 90.

    9 Id.

    10 Id. at 90-91.

    11 Id. at 91.

    12 Id.

    13 Id.

    14 Id. at 92.

    15 Id. at 95.

    16 Id. at 112-113.

    17 Id. at 16.

    18 Id. at 17.

    19 Sanyo Travel Corporation v. National Labor Relations Commission, 345 Phil. 346, 357 (1997).

    20 Rollo, p. 75.

    21 Sanyo Travel Corporation v. National Labor Relations Commission, supra note 19 at 358.

    22 Id.

    23 Lopez v. National Labor Relations Commission, 358 Phil. 141, 150 (1998).

    24 Rollo, p. 38.

    25 Paguio Transport Corporation v. National Labor Relations Commission, 356 Phil. 158, 171 (1998).

    26 G.R. No. 101427, 8 November 1993, 227 SCRA 571, 578-579.

    27 SEC. 6. Construction. - These Rules shall be liberally construed in order to promote their objective of securing a just, speedy and inexpensive disposition of every action and proceeding.

    28 MTM Garment Manufacturing, Incorporated v. Court of Appeals, supra note 1.

    29 Id.

    30 Id. at 66.

    31 445 Phil. 654 (2003).

    32 Id. at 662.

    33 Rollo, p. 165.

    34 Rollo, p. 112.

    35 Id. at 123.

    G.R. No. 165727 - TOWER INDUSTRIAL SALES, ET AL. v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.


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