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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
 

   
August-2009 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.C. No. 7399 - Antero J. Pobre v. Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago

  • A.M. No. 08-6-352-RTC - Query of Atty. Karen M. Silverio-Buffe, former Clerk of Court, Branch 81, Romblon, Romblon, on the prohibition from engaging in the private practice of law

  • A.M. No. 08-11-7-SC - Re: Request of National Committee on Legal Aid to exempt legal aid clients from paying filing, docket and other fees.

  • A.M. No. 09-6-9-SC - Query of Mr. Roger C. Prioreschi re exemption from legal and filing fees of the Good Shperd Foundation, Inc.

  • A.M. No. P-06-2282 - Lolita S. Regir v. Joel Regir

  • A.M. No. P-07-2390 - Office of the Court Administrator v. Lyndon L. Isip, Sheriff IV, RTC, OCC, City of San Fernando, Pampanga

  • A.M. No. P-08-2436 Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 06-2394-P - Teopicio Tan v. Salvacion D. Sermonia, Clerk IV, MTCC, Iloilo City

  • A.M. No. P-08-2501 - Wilson B. Tan v. Jesus F. Hernando

  • A.M. No. P-08-2553 Formerly A.M. OCA IPI No. 98-455-P - Leo Mendoza v. Prospero V. Tablizo

  • A.M. No. P-08-2571 Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 07-2651-P - Simeon Guari o, et al. v. Cesar F. Ragsac, et al.

  • A.M. No. P-09-2610 Formerly A.M. OCA IPI No. 09-3072-P - Hector P. Teodosio v. Rolando R. Somosa, et al.

  • A.M. No. P-09-2665 - Judge Alma Crispina B. Collado-Lacorte v. Eduardo Rabena

  • A.M. No. RTJ-07-2031 Formerly OCA IPI No. 06-2484-RTJ - Adelpha E. Malabed v. Judge Enrique C. Asis, RTC, Br. 16, Naval Biliran

  • A.M. No. RTJ-08-2124 Formerly A.M. OCA IPI No. 07-2631-RTJ and A.M. NO. RTJ-08-2125 Formerly A.M. OCA IPI No. 07-2632-RTJ - Judge Rizalina T. Capco-Umali, RTC, Br. 212, Mandaluyong City v. Judge Paulita B. Acosta-Villarante, RTC, Br. 211, Mandaluyong City

  • A.M. No. RTJ-08-2138 - Olga M. Samson v. Judge Virgilio G. Caballero

  • G.R. No. 130223 - Rural Bank of Sta. Barbara (Pangasinan), Inc. v. The Manila mission of the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 130371 & G.R. No. 130855 - Repbulic of the Philippines v. Ferdinand R. Marcos II and Imelda R. Marcos

  • G.R. No. 149241 - Dart Philippines, Inc. v. Spouses Francisco and Erlinda Calogcog

  • G.R. No. 149988 - Ramie Velenzuela v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 150887 - Francisco Madrid and Edgardo Bernardo v. Spouses Bonifacio Mapoy and Felicidad Martinez

  • G.R. No. 151932 - Henry Ching Tiu, et al. v. Philippine Bank of Communications

  • G.R. No. 152579 - Sameer Overseas Placement Agency, Inc. v. Mildred R. Santos, etc. et al.

  • G.R. No. 153690, G.R. No. 157381 and G.R. No. 170889 - David Lu v. Paterno Lu Ym, Sr., et al.

  • G.R. No. 154652 - Prudencio M. Reyes, Jr. v. Simplicio C. Belisario and Emmanuel S. Malicdem

  • G.R. No. 155174 - D.M. Consunji, Inc. v. Duvaz Corporation

  • G.R. No. 156660 - Ormoc Sugarcane Planters' Association, Inc. (OSPA), Occidental Leyte Farmer's Multi-Purpose Cooperative Inc., et al. v. The Court of Appeals (Special Former Sixth Division), et al.

  • G.R. No. 157374 - Heirs of Cayetano Pangan and Consuelo Pangan v. Spouses Rogelio Perreras and Priscilla G. Perreras

  • G.R. No. 160346 - Purita A. Pahud, et al. v. Court of Appeals, et al.

  • G.R. No. 160379 - Republic of the Philippines through the Department of Public Works and Highways v. Court of Appeals and Rosario Rodriguez Reyes

  • G.R. No. 160610 - Judelio Cobarrubias v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 160743 - Cornelia Baladad (Represented by Heinrich M. Angeles and Rex Aaron A. Baladad) v. Sergio A. Rublico and Spouses Laureano E. Yupano

  • G.R. No. 161042 - Republic of the Philippines v. Agripina Dela Raga

  • G.R. No. 161419 - Eugenio Encinares v. Dominga Achero

  • G.R. No. 162355 - Sta. Lucia East Commercial Corporation v. Hon. Secretary of Labor and Employment, et al.

  • G.R. No. 162518 - Rodrigo Sumiran v. Spouses Generoso Damaso and Eva Damaso

  • G.R. No. 163505 - Gualberto Aguanza v. Asian Terminal, Inc., et al.

  • G.R. No. 163788 - Ester B. Maralit v. Philippine National Bank

  • G.R. No. 164324 - Tanduay Distillers, Inc. v. Ginebra San Miguel, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 164789 - Christian Assembly, Inc. v. Sps. Avelino C. Ignacio and Priscilla R. Ignacio

  • G.R. NOS. 164813 & G.R. No. 174590 - Lowe, Inc., et al. v. Court of Appeals and Irma Mutuc

  • G.R. No. 165116 - Maria Soledad Tomimbang v. Atty. Jose Tomimbang

  • G.R. No. 165450 and G.R. No. 165452 - Francis F. Yenko, et al., (etc.) v. Raul Nestor C. Gungon

  • G.R. No. 165697 & G.R. No. 166481 - Antonio Navarro v. Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company

  • G.R. No. 166470 & G.R. No. 169217 - Cecilio C. Hernandez, Ma, Victoria C. Hernandez-Sagun, Teresa C. Hernandez-Villa Abrille and Natividad Cruz-Hernandez v. Jovita San Juan-Santos

  • G.R. No. 166738 - Rowena Padilla-Rumbaua v. Eduardo Rumbaua

  • G.R. No. 166879 - A. Soriano Aviation v. Employees Association of A. Soriano Aviation, et al.

  • G.R. No. 167230 - Spouses Dante and Ma. Teresa Galura v. Math-Agro Corporation

  • G.R. No. 167304 - People of the Philippines v. Sandiganbayan (Third Division) and Victoria Amante

  • G.R. No. 168910 - Republic Cement Corporation v. Peter Guinmapang

  • G.R. No. 168982 - People of the Philippines v. Dir. Cesar P. Nazareno, Dir. Evelino Nartatez, Dir. Nicasio Ma. S. Custodio and The Sandiganbayan

  • G.R. No. 169870 - People of the Philippines v. Elegio An

  • G.R. No. 170137 - People of the Philippines v. Randy Magbanua alias "Boyung" and Wilson Magbanua.

  • G.R. No. 170672 - Judge Felimon Abelita, III v. P/Supt. German Doria and SPO3 Cesar Ramirez

  • G.R. No. 170674 - Foundation Specialist, Inc. v. Betonval Ready Concrete, Inc., et al.

  • G.R. No. 171035 - William Ong Genato v. Benjamin Bayhon, et al.

  • G.R. No. 171169 - GC Dalton Industries, Inc. v. Equitable PCI Bank

  • G.R. No. 171313 - People of the Philippines v. Edgar Trayco y Masola

  • G.R. No. 171674 - Department of Agrarian Reform (etc.) v. Carmen S. Tongson

  • G.R. No. 171732 - People of the Philippines v. Edgar Denoman y Acurda

  • G.R. No. 171951 - Amado Alvarado Garcia v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 172537 - Jethro Intelligence & Security Corporation and Yakult, Inc. v. The Hon. Secretary of Labor and Employment, et al.

  • G.R. No. 172680 - The Heirs of the Late Fernando S. Falcasantos, etc., et al. v. Spouses Fidel Yeo Tan and Sy Soc Tiu, et al.

  • G.R. No. 174209 - Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company v. Rizalina Raut, et al.

  • G.R. No. 175345 - Baltazar L. Payno v. Orizon Trading Corp./ Orata Trading and Flordeliza Legaspi

  • G.R. No. 175605 - People of the Philippines v. Arnold Garchitorena Y Camba a.k.a. Junior, Joey Pamplona a.k.a. Nato, and Jessie Garcia y Adorino

  • G.R. No. 176487 - Republic of the Philippines, represented by the Department of Public Works and Highways v. Far East Enterprises, Inc., et al.

  • G.R. No. 176511 - Spouses Obdulia H. Espejo and Hildelberto T. Espejo v. Geraldine Coloma Ito

  • G.R. No. 176906 - Andrew B. Nudo v. Hon. Amado S. Caguioa, et al.

  • G.R. No. 176917 & G.R. No. 176919 - Continental Cement Corp., v. Filipinas (PREFAB) Systems, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 177134 - People of the Philippines v. Rachel Angeles y Naval Alias Russel Angeles y Cabal

  • G.R. No. 177508 - Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency (BANAT) Partylist represented by Salvador B. Britanico v. Commission on Elections

  • G.R. No. 177741 - People of the Philippines v. Willie Rivera

  • G.R. NOS. 178188, 181141, 181141 and 183527 - Olympic Mines and Development Corp., v. Platinum Group Metals Corporation

  • G.R. No. 178797 - Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co., v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue

  • G.R. No. 178984 - Erlinda Mapagay v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 179280 - People of the Philippines v. Pedro Calangi alias Haplas

  • G.R. No. 179293 - Eden Llamas v. Ocean Gateway Maritime and Management, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 179905 - Republic of the Philippines v. Neptuna G. Javier

  • G.R. No. 179941 - People of the Philippines v. Lito Macabare y Lopez

  • G.R. No. 180357 - Pioneer Insurance and Surety Corporation v. Heirs of Vicente Coronado, et al.

  • G.R. No. 180380 - Raymund Madali and Rodel Madali v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 180594 - People of the Philippines v. Ismael Mokammad, et al.

  • G.R. No. 180824 - Urban Consolidated Constructors Philippines, Inc. v. The Insular Life Assurance Co., Inc.

  • G.R. No. 180921 - People of the Philippines v. Bernardo Rimando, Jr. y Basilio alias "JOJO"

  • G.R. No. 180988 - Julie's Franchise Corporation, et al. v. Hon. Chandler O. Ruiz, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 10, Dipolog City, et al.

  • G.R. No. 181516 - Cesario L. Del Rosario v. Philippine Journalists, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 181845 - The City of Manila, Liberty M. Toledo in her capacity as the Treasurer of Manila, et al. v. Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 181972 - Philippine Hoteliers, Inc./Dusit Hotel Nikko-Manila v. National Union of Workers in Hotel, Restaurant, and Allied Industries (NUWHARAIN-APL-IUF) Dusit Hotel Nikko Chapter

  • G.R. No. 182267 - Pagayanan R. Hadji-Sirad v. Civil Service Commission

  • G.R. No. 182311 - Fidel O. Chua and Filiden Realty and Development Corporation v. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, et al.

  • G.R. No. 182380 - Robert P. Guzman v. Commission on Elections, Mayor Randolph S. Ting and Salvacion Garcia

  • G.R. No. 182528 - People of the Philippines v. Marian Coroche y Caber

  • G.R. No. 182792 - People of the Philippines v. Pepito Neverio

  • G.R. No. 183059 - Ely Quilatan & Rosvida Quilatan-Elias v. Heirs of Lorenzo Quilatan, et al.

  • G.R. No. 183196 - Chona Estacio and Leopoldo Manliclic v. Pampanga I, Electric Cooperative, Inc. and Loliano E. Allas

  • G.R. No. 183329 - Rufino C. Montoya v. Transmed Manila Corporation Mr. Edilberto Ellena and Great Lake Navigation Co., Ltd.

  • G.R. No. 183366 - Ricardo C. Duco v. The Hon. Commission on Elections, First Division, and Narciso B. Avelino

  • G.R. No. 183526 - Violeta R. Lalican v. The Insular Life Assurance Company Limited, as represented by the President Vicente R. Avilon

  • G.R. No. 184005 - Top Art Shirt Manufacturing Inc., Maximo Arejola and Tan Shu Keng v. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Inc., and the Court of the Appeals

  • G.R. No. 184337 - Heirs of Federico C. Delgado and Annalisa Pesico v. Luisito Q. Gonzales and Antonio T. Buenaflor

  • G.R. No. 184905 - Lambert S. Ramos v. C.O.L. Realty Corporation

  • G.R. No. 185004 - People of the Philippines v. Armando Ferasol

  • G.R. No. 185711 - People of the Philippines v. Reynaldo Sanz Laboa

  • G.R. No. 185712 - People of the Philippines v. Lilio U. Achas

  • G.R .No. 185723 - People of the Philippines v. Edwin Mejia

  • G.R .No. 185841 - People of the Philippines v. Ismael Diaz @ Maeng and Rodolfo Diaz @ Nanding

  • G.R. No. 186080 - Julius Amanquiton v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 186129 - People of the Philippines v. Jesus Paragas Cruz

  • G.R. No. 186224 - Constancio D. Pacanan, Jr. v. Commission on Elections and Francisco M. Langi, Sr.

  • G.R. No. 186379 - People of the Philippines v. Bienvenido Lazaro @ Bening

  • G.R. No. 186381 - People of the Philippines v. Clemencia Arguelles y Talacay

  • G.R. No. 186420 - People of the Philippines v. Samuel Anod

  • G.R. No. 186496 - People of the Philippines v. Dante Gragasin Y Par

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    G.R. No. 166879 - A. Soriano Aviation v. Employees Association of A. Soriano Aviation, et al.

      G.R. No. 166879 - A. Soriano Aviation v. Employees Association of A. Soriano Aviation, et al.

    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    SECOND DIVISION

    [G.R. NO. 166879 : August 14, 2009]

    A. SORIANO AVIATION, Petitioner, v. EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION OF A. SORIANO AVIATION, JULIUS S. VARGAS IN HIS CAPACITY AS UNION PRESIDENT, REYNALDO ESPERO, JOSEFINO ESPINO, GALMIER BALISBIS, GERARDO BUNGABONG, LAURENTE BAYLON, JEFFREY NERI, ARTURO INES, REYNALDO BERRY, RODOLFO RAMOS, OSWALD ESPION, ALBERT AGUILA, RAYMOND BARCO, REYNANTE AMIMITA, SONNY BAWASANTA, MAR NIMUAN AND RAMIR LICUANAN, Respondents.

    D E C I S I O N

    CARPIO MORALES, J.:

    On May 22, 1997, A. Soriano Aviation (petitioner or the company) which is engaged in providing transportation of guests to and from Amanpulo and El Nido resorts in Palawan, and respondent Employees Association of A. Soriano Aviation (the Union), the duly-certified exclusive bargaining agent of the rank and file employees of petitioner, entered into a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) effective January 1, 1997 up to December 31, 1999. The CBA included a "No-Strike, No-Lock-out" clause.

    On May 1 & 12, and June 12, 1997, which were legal holidays and peak season for the company, eight mechanics-members of respondent Union, its herein co-respondents Albert Aguila (Aguila), Reynante Amimita (Amimita), Galmier Balisbis (Balisbis), Raymond Barco (Barco), Gerardo Bungabong (Bungabong), Josefino Espino (Espino), Jeffrey Neri (Neri) and Rodolfo Ramos, Jr. (Ramos), refused to render overtime work.

    Petitioner treated the refusal to work as a concerted action which is a violation of the "No-Strike, No-Lockout" clause in the CBA. It thus meted the workers a 30-day suspension. It also filed on July 31, 1997 a complaint for illegal strike against them, docketed as NLRC Case No. 07-05409-97, which was later dismissed at its instance in order to give way to settlement, without prejudice to its re-filing should settlement be unavailing.

    The attempted settlement between the parties having been futile, the Union filed a Notice of Strike with the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) on October 3, 1997, attributing to petitioner the following acts: (1) union busting, (2) illegal dismissal of union officer, (3) illegal suspension of eight mechanics, (4) violation of memorandum of agreement, (5) coercion of employees and interrogation of newly-hired mechanics with regard to union affiliation, (6) discrimination against the aircraft mechanics, (7) harassment through systematic fault-finding, (8) contractual labor, and (9) constructive dismissal of the Union President, Julius Vargas (Vargas).

    As despite conciliation no amicable settlement of the dispute was arrived at, the Union went on strike on October 22, 1997.

    Meanwhile, pursuant to its reservation in NLRC Case No. 07-05409-97, petitioner filed a Motion to Re-Open the Case which was granted by Labor Arbiter Manuel P. Asuncion by Order of October 21, 1997.

    By Decision1 dated September 28, 1998 rendered in petitioner's complaint in NLRC Case No. 07-05409-97, the Labor Arbiter declared that the newly implemented work-shift schedule was a valid exercise of management prerogative and the refusal of herein individual respondents to work on three consecutive holidays was a form of protest by the Union, hence, deemed a concerted action. Noting that the Union failed to comply with the formal requirements prescribed by the Labor Code in the holding of strike, the strike was declared illegal.

    The Union appealed to the NLRC which dismissed it in a per curiam Decision2 dated September 14, 1999, and the subsequent motion for reconsideration was denied by Resolution dated November 11, 1999.

    In the interim or on June 16, 1998, eight months into the "second strike," petitioner filed a complaint against respondents before the Labor Arbiter, praying for the declaration as illegal of the strike on account of their alleged pervasive and widespread use of force and violence and for the loss of their employment, citing the following acts committed by them: publicly shouting of foul and vulgar words to company officers and non-striking employees; threatening of officers and non-striking employees with bodily harm and dousing them with water while passing by the strike area; destruction of or inflicting of damage to company property, as well as private property of company officers; and putting up of placards and streamers containing vulgar and insulting epithets including imputing crime on the company.

    By Decision3 of June 15, 2000, Labor Arbiter Ramon Valentin C. Reyes declared the "second strike" illegal. Taking judicial notice of the September 28, 1998 Decision of Labor Arbiter Asuncion, he noted that as the Union went on the "first strike" on a non-strikeable issue ─ the questioned change of work schedule, it violated the "No-Strike, No-Lockout" clause in the CBA and, in any event, the Union failed to comply with the requirements for a valid strike.

    The Labor Arbiter went on to hold that the Union deliberately resorted to the use of violent and unlawful acts in the course of the "second strike," hence, the individual respondents were deemed to have lost their employment.

    On appeal, the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) affirmed in toto the Labor Arbiter's decision, by Resolution4 dated October 31, 2001. It held that even if the strike were legal at the onset, the commission of violent and unlawful acts by individual respondents in the course thereof rendered it illegal.

    Its motion for reconsideration having been denied by Resolution5 dated December 14, 2001, the Union appealed to the Court of Appeals.

    By the assailed Decision of April 16, 2004,6 the appellate court reversed and set aside the NLRC ruling, holding that the acts of violence committed by the Union members in the course of the strike were not, as compared to the acts complained of in Shell Oil Workers' Union v. Shell Company of the Philippines,7 First City Interlink Transportation Co., Inc., v. Roldan-Confesor8 and Maria Cristina Fertilizer Plant Employees Association v. Tandaya, 9 (this case was applied by the Labor Arbiter in his Decision of September 28, 2008) where the acts of violence resulted in loss of employment, concluded that the acts in the present case were not as serious or pervasive as in these immediately-cited cases to call for loss of employment of the striking employees.

    Specifically, the appellate court noted that at the time petitioner filed its complaint in June 1998, almost eight months had already elapsed from the commencement of the strike and, in the interim, the alleged acts of violence were committed only during nine non-consecutive days, viz: one day in October, two days in November, four days in December, all in 1997, and two days in January 1998. To the appellate court, these incidents did not warrant the conversion of an otherwise legal strike into an illegal one, and neither would it result in the loss of employment of the strikers. For, so the appellate court held, the incidents consisted merely of name-calling and using of banners imputing negligence and criminal acts to the company and its officers, which do not indicate a degree of violence that could be categorized as grave or serious to warrant the loss of employment of the individual strikers found to be responsible.

    By Resolution of January 25, 2005, the appellate court denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration, hence, the present petition.

    Petitioner insists that, contrary to the appellate court's finding, the questioned acts of the strikers were of a serious character, widespread and pervasive; and that the Union's imputation of crime and negligence on its part, and the prolonged strike resulted in its loss of goodwill and business, particularly the termination of its lease and air-service contract with Amanpulo, the loss of its after-sales repair service agreement with Bell Helicopters, the loss of its accreditation as the Beechcraft service facility, and the decision of El Nido to put up its own aviation company.

    Apart from the acts of violence committed by the strikers, petitioner bases its plea that the strike should be declared illegal on the violation of the "No-Strike-No-Lockout" clause in the CBA, the strike having arisen from non-strikeable issues. Petitioner proffers that what actually prompted the holding of the strike was the implementation of the new shift schedule, a valid exercise of management prerogative.

    In issue then is whether the strike staged by respondents is illegal due to the alleged commission of illegal acts and violation of the "No Strike-No Lockout" clause of the CBA and, if in the affirmative, whether individual respondents are deemed to have lost their employment status on account thereof.

    The Court rules in the affirmative.

    The Court notes that, as found by the Labor Arbiter in NLRC Case No. 07-05409-97, the first strike or the mechanics' refusal to work on 3 consecutive holidays was prompted by their disagreement with the management-imposed new work schedule. Having been grounded on a non-strikeable issue and without complying with the procedural requirements, then the same is a violation of the "No Strike-No Lockout Policy" in the existing CBA. Respecting the second strike, where the Union complied with procedural requirements, the same was not a violation of the "No Strike - No Lockout" provisions, as a "No Strike-No Lockout" provision in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is a valid stipulation but may be invoked only by employer when the strike is economic in nature or one which is conducted to force wage or other concessions from the employer that are not mandated to be granted by the law. It would be inapplicable to prevent a strike which is grounded on unfair labor practice.10 In the present case, the Union believed in good faith that petitioner committed unfair labor practice when it went on strike on account of the 30-day suspension meted to the striking mechanics, dismissal of a union officer and perceived union-busting, among others. As held in Malayang Samahan ng mga Manggaggawa sa M. Greenfield v. Ramos:11

    On the submission that the strike was illegal for being grounded on a non-strikeable issue, that is, the intra-union conflict between the federation and the local union, it bears reiterating that when respondent company dismissed the union officers, the issue was transformed into a termination dispute and brought respondent company into the picture. Petitioners believed in good faith that in dismissing them upon request by the federation, respondent company was guilty of unfair labor practice in that it violated the petitioner's right to self-organization. The strike was staged to protest respondent company's act of dismissing the union officers. Even if the allegations of unfair labor practice are subsequently found out to be untrue, the presumption of legality of the strike prevails. (Emphasis supplied)cralawlibrary

    Be that as it may, the Court holds that the second strike became invalid due to the commission of illegal action in its course.

    It is hornbook principle that the exercise of the right of private sector employees to strike is not absolute. Thus Section 3 of Article XIII of the Constitution provides:

    SECTION 3. x x x

    It shall guarantee the rights of all workers to self-organization, collective bargaining and negotiations and peaceful concerted activities, including the right to strike in accordance with law. They shall be entitled to security of tenure, humane conditions of work, and a living wage. They shall also participate in policy and decision-making processes affecting their rights and benefits as may be provided by law. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)cralawlibrary

    Indeed, even if the purpose of a strike is valid, the strike may still be held illegal where the means employed are illegal. Thus, the employment of violence, intimidation, restraint or coercion in carrying out concerted activities which are injurious to the right to property renders a strike illegal. And so is picketing or the obstruction to the free use of property or the comfortable enjoyment of life or property, when accompanied by intimidation, threats, violence, and coercion as to constitute nuisance.12

    Apropos is the following ruling in Sukhothai Cuisine v. Court of Appeals:13

    Well-settled is the rule that even if the strike were to be declared valid because its objective or purpose is lawful, the strike may still be declared invalid where the means employed are illegal. Among such limits are the prohibited activities under Article 264 of the Labor Code, particularly paragraph (e), which states that no person engaged in picketing shall:

    a) commit any act of violence, coercion, or intimidation or

    b) obstruct the free ingress to or egress from the employer's premises for lawful purposes, or

    c) obstruct public thoroughfares.

    The following acts have been held to be prohibited activities: where the strikers shouted slanderous and scurrilous words against the owners of the vessels; where the strikers used unnecessary and obscene language or epithets to prevent other laborers to go to work, and circulated libelous statements against the employer which show actual malice; where the protestors used abusive and threatening language towards the patrons of a place of business or against co-employees, going beyond the mere attempt to persuade customers to withdraw their patronage; where the strikers formed a human cordon and blocked all the ways and approaches to the launches and vessels of the vicinity of the workplace and perpetrated acts of violence and coercion to prevent work from being performed; and where the strikers shook their fists and threatened non-striking employees with bodily harm if they persisted to proceed to the workplace. Permissible activities of the picketing workers do not include obstruction of access of customers. (emphasis supplied)

    The appellate court found in the present case, as in fact it is not disputed, that the acts complained of were the following:14

    1. On 29 October 1997, while Robertus M. Cohen, personnel manager of the Company, was eating at the canteen, petitioner Rodolfo Ramos shouted "insults and other abusive, vulgar and foul-mouthed word" with the use of a megaphone, such as, "sige, ubusin mo yung pagkain," "kapal ng mukha mo;" that when he left the canteen to go back to his office he was splashed with water from behind so that his whole back was drenched; that when he confronted that strikers at the picket line accompanied by three (3) security guards, to find out who was responsible, he was told by petitioner Oswald Espion who was then holding a thick piece of wood approximately two (2) feet long to leave.

    2. On the same day, 29 October 1997, petitioners Julius Vargas, Jeffrey Neri, and Rodolfo Ramos, together with Jose Brin, shouted to Capt. Ben Hur Gomez, the chief operating officer of the Company, in this wise, "Matanda ka na, balatuba ka pa rin. Mangungurakot ka sa kompanya!"

    3. In the morning of 11 November 1997, petitioner Ramos was reported to have shouted to Mr. Maximo Cruz, the Mechanical and Engineering Manager of the Company, "Max, mag-resign ka na, ang baho ng bunganga mo!"

    4. In the afternoon of the same day, 11 November 1997, petitioner Jeffrey Neri was said to have shouted these words - "Max, mag-resign ka na, ang baho ng bunganga mo!" to Mr. Maximo Cruz;

    5. On 12 November 1997. petitioners Julius Vargas, Jeffrey Neri, Oswald Espion, Raymond Barco, together with Jose Brin, were reported to have shouted to Capt. Gomez and Mr. Maximo Cruz, "Matanda ka na, balatuba ka pa rin! Max, ang baho ng bunganga mo, kasing baho ng ugali mo!"

    6. On the same day, 12 November 1997, petitioner Oswald Espion was said to have shouted to the non-striking employees and officers of the Company, "putang-ina ninyo!"

    7. Also, on 12 November 1997, petitioner Oswald Espion was reported to have thrown gravel and sand to the car owned by Celso Villamor Gomez, lead man of the Company, as the said car was traveling along company premises near the picket line; (apart from the marks of mud, gravel and sand found on the entire body of the car, no heavy damages, however, appears to have been sustained by the car)."

    8. On 08 December 1997, petitioners Julius Vargas, Rey Espero, Rey Barry, Galmier Balisbis, Rodolfo Ramos, Sonny Bawasanta and Arturo Ines, together with Jose Brin, shouted, "Max, ang sama mo talaga, lumabas ka dito at pipitpitin ko ang mukha mo!" "Cohen, inutil ka talaga. Nagpahaba ka pa ng balbas para kang tsonggo!" Cohen, lumabas ka dito at hahalikan kita."

    9. On 10 December 1997, petitioners Vargas and Espion were reported to have shouted to Mr. Maximino Cruz, "Hoy, Max Cruz, wala kang alam dyan, huwag kang poporma-porma dyan!" and then flashed the "dirty finger" at him;

    10. On 15 December 1997, petitioner Neri was said to have shouted to non-striking employees at the canteen, "Hoy, mga iskerol, kain lang ng kain, mga putangina ninyo!"

    11. Also on 15 December 1997, petitioners Vargas, Neri, Espion, Mar Nimuan, Ramir Licuanan, Albert Aguila and Sonny Bawasanta, together with Jose Brin, splashed water over Edmund C. Manibog, Jr., security guard of the Company;

    12. On 20 December 1997, the strikers admittedly lit and threw firecrackers purportedly outside the Company premises, as part of a noise barrage, while the Company was having its Christmas party inside the Company premises;

    13. On 14 January 1998, when Chris A. Oballas, collector of the Company, boarded a public utility jeepney where Jose Brin, a striker, was also passenger, Jose Brin was said to have shouted to the other passengers and driver of the jeepney, "Mga pasahero, driver, itong tao ito sherol, ang kapal ng mukha. Iyong pinagtrabahuhan namin kinakain nito, ibenebent[a] kami nito, hudas ito! Mga pasahero, tingnan niyo, hindi makatingin-tingin sa akin, hindi makapagsalita. Hoy, tingin ka sa akin, napahiya ka sa mga ginagawa mo ano?" and, that when Chris Oballas was alighting from the jeepney, he was kicked on his leg by Jose Brin; and,

    14. On 15 January 1998, while Julio Tomas, Avionics Technician of the Company, and his girlfriend, Elizabeth Gali, also an employee of the Company, were waiting for their ride, several union members shouted to Elizabeth Gali, Beth iwanan mo na yang taong yan, walang kwentang tao yan!" "Beth, paano na yung pinagsamahan natin?" irked, Julio Tomas upon boarding the passenger jeepney with his girlfriend threw a P2.00 coin in the direction of the picketers, the coin hit the windshield of a privately-owned jeepney belonging to petitioner Espion which was parked alongside the premises of the strike area; The act of Tomas, provoked the petitioners Espion and Amimita to follow Tomas, who when left alone inside the tricycle after his girlfriend took a separate tricycle to her home, was approached by petitioners Espion and Amimita; petitioner Espion then threw a P2.00 coin at him, and while pointing a baseball bat to his face shouted, "Huwag mong uulitin yung ginawa mo kundi tatamaan ka sa akin!" (Emphasis and italics in the original)

    The Court notes that the placards and banners put up by the striking workers in the company premises read: "ANDRES SORIANO AVIATION, INC. CAUGHT IN THE ACT, ATTEMPTING TO BRIBE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS BEWARE, NOW A NAME YOU CAN TRASH," "ASAI DETERIORATING SAFETY RECORD KILLS 2 DEAD + VARIOUS (IN PLANE CRASH) FLIGHT MISHAPS BEWARE," "FLY AT YOUR OWN RISK," "ANDRES SORIANO AVIATION, INC. DETERIORATING SAFETY RECORD KILLS INNOCENT PEOPLE IN PLANE CRASH, THE CAUSE: UNTRAINED MECHANICS DOING AIRCRAFT RELEASE, THE RESULT: SLIPSHOD MAINTENANCE AND SLOPPY PLANE INSPECTION," "WANNA FLY BLIND?," "BENHUR GOMEZ DRAGS COMPANY TO DEBT AND SHAMEFUL EXPERIENCE (MAHIYA KA NAMAN, OY!)," "A. SORIANO AVIATION, INC., DEAD PEOPLE IN PLANE CRASH," "ELY BONIFACIO (MASAKIT ANG TOTOO) MAGNANAKAW NG PIYESA, PALITAN NA RIN! TINGNAN NYO KUNG NAGNANAKAW," "MEKANIKO DE EROPLANO Y HUELGA UN VIAJE DE PELIGRO, AIRCRAFT MANAGEMENT BULOK; "A. SORIANO AVIATION KILLS PEOPLE FOR LAX OVERSIGHT OF SAFETY PROC." "(ELY BONIFACIO-PATALSIKIN NA RIN," "MANDARAMBONG" "MUKHANG KWARTA," "SAAN MO DINALA ANG DORNIER SPECIAL TOOLS? IKAW HA!)," "ELY BONIFACIO KAWATAN BANTAY SALAKAY," "AMANPULO AND EL NIDO GUESTS, BEWARE OF ASAI FLIGHTS, AIRCRAFT MECHANICS STILL ON STRIKE," "GOING TO BORACAY AND EL NIDO IS GOOD BUT FLYING WITH A. SORIANO AVIATION? THINK TWICE!" "ACHTUNG: A SORIANO AVIATION DEAD PEOPLE IN PLANE CRASH INSURANCE ENTITLEMENTS DENIED DUE TO CAR VIOLATIONS," "UNDRESS SORIANO AVIATION, INC. UNRELIABLE FIXED BASED OPERATOR KILLS PEOPLE FOR LAX OVERSIGHT OF SAFETY PROCEDURES."

    It cannot be gainsaid that by the above-enumerated undisputed acts, the Union committed illegal acts during the strike. The Union members' repeated name-calling, harassment and threats of bodily harm directed against company officers and non-striking employees and, more significantly, the putting up of placards, banners and streamers with vulgar statements imputing criminal negligence to the company, which put to doubt reliability of its operations, come within the purview of illegal acts under Art. 264 and jurisprudence.

    That the alleged acts of violence were committed in nine non-consecutive days during the almost eight months that the strike was on-going does not render the violence less pervasive or widespread to be excusable. Nowhere in Art. 264 does it require that violence must be continuous or that it should be for the entire duration of the strike.ςηαñrοblεš νιr†υαl lαω lιbrαrÿ

    The appellate court took against petitioner its filing of its complaint to have the strike declared illegal almost eight months from the time it commenced. Art. 264 does not, however, state for purposes of having a strike declared as illegal that the employer should immediately report the same. It only lists what acts are prohibited. It is thus absurd to expect an employer to file a complaint at the first instance that an act of violence is alleged to be committed, especially, as in the present case, when an earlier complaint to have the refusal of the individual respondents to work overtime declared as an illegal strike was still pending - an issue resolved in its favor only on September 25, 1998.

    The records show that the Union went on strike on October 22, 1997, and the first reported harassment incident occurred on October 29, 1997, while the last occurred in January, 1998. Those instances may have been sporadic, but as found by the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC, the display of placards, streamers and banners even up to the time the appeal was being resolved by the NLRC works against the Union's favor.

    The acts complained of including the display of placards and banners imputing criminal negligence on the part of the company and its officers, apparently with the end in view of intimidating the company's clientele, are, given the nature of its business, that serious as to make the "second strike" illegal. Specifically with respect to the putting up of those banners and placards, coupled with the name-calling and harassment, the same indicates that it was resorted to to coerce the resolution of the dispute - the very evil which Art. 264 seeks to prevent.

    While the strike is the most preeminent economic weapon of workers to force management to agree to an equitable sharing of the joint product of labor and capital, it exerts some disquieting effects not only on the relationship between labor and management, but also on the general peace and progress of society and economic well-being of the State.15 If such weapon has to be used at all, it must be used sparingly and within the bounds of law in the interest of industrial peace and public welfare.

    As to the issue of loss of employment of those who participated in the illegal strike, Sukhothai16 instructs:

    In the determination of the liabilities of the individual respondents, the applicable provision is Article 264(a) of the Labor Code:

    Art. 264. Prohibited Activities ' (a) x x x

    x x x

    x x x x Any union officer who knowingly participates in an illegal strike and any worker or union officer who knowingly participates in the commission of illegal acts during an illegal strike may be declared to have lost his employment status: Provided, That mere participation of a worker in a lawful strike shall not constitute sufficient ground for termination of his employment, even if a replacement had been hired by the employer during such lawful strike.

    x x x

    In Samahang Manggagawa sa Sulpicio Lines, Inc.-NAFLU v. Sulpicio Lines, Inc., this Court explained that the effects of such illegal strikes, outlined in Article 264, make a distinction between workers and union officers who participate therein: an ordinary striking worker cannot be terminated for mere participation in an illegal. There must be proof that he or she committed illegal acts during a strike. A union officer, on the other hand, may be terminated from work when he knowingly participates in an illegal strike, and like other workers, when he commits an illegal act during an illegal strike. In all cases, the striker must be identified. But proof beyond reasonable doubt is not required. Substantial evidence available under the attendant circumstances, which may justify the imposition of the penalty of dismissal, may suffice.17 (Emphasis supplied)cralawlibrary

    The liability for prohibited acts has thus to be determined on an individual basis.ςrαlαω A perusal of the Labor Arbiter's Decision, which was affirmed in toto by the NLRC, shows that on account of the staging of the illegal strike, individual respondents were all deemed to have lost their employment, without distinction as to their respective participation.

    Of the participants in the illegal strike, whether they knowingly participated in the illegal strike in the case of union officers or knowingly participated in the commission of violent acts during the illegal strike in the case of union members, the records do not indicate. While respondent Julius Vargas was identified to be a union officer, there is no indication if he knowingly participated in the illegal strike. The Court not being a trier of facts, the remand of the case to the NLRC is in order only for the purpose of determining the status in the Union of individual respondents and their respective liability, if any.

    WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Court of Appeals Decision and Resolution dated April 16, 2004 and January 25, 2005, respectively, are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Resolutions dated October 31, 2001 and December 14, 2001 of the National Labor Relations Commission affirming the Decision of the Labor Arbiter in NLRC-NCR Case No. 00-06-04890-98 are AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION in light of the foregoing discussions.

    The case is accordingly REMANDED to the National Labor Relations Commission for the purpose of determining the Union status and respective liabilities, if any, of the individual respondents.

    SO ORDERED.

    Endnotes:


    * Additional member per Special Order No. 671 in lieu of Senior Associate Justice Leonardo A. Quisumbing who is on official leave.

    ** Additional member pursuant to Adm. Matter Circular No. 84-2007, as amended, in lieu of Associate Justice Arturo D. Brion who took no part.

    1 Records, Vol. I, pp. 367-382.

    2 Id. at 447-493.

    3 Id. at 499-520.

    4 Id., unnumbered. Penned by Commissioner Victoriano R. Calaycay and concurred in by Presiding Commissioner Raul T. Aquino and Commissioner Angelita A. Gacutan.

    5 Vide Entry of Judgment, id., unnumbered.

    6 Penned by Associate Justice Perlita J. Tria Tirona with the concurrence of Associate Justice B.A. Adefuin-dela Cruz and Associate Justice (now Associate Justice of this Court) Arturo D. Brion; CA rollo, pp. 667-679.

    7 G.R. No. L-28607, May 31, 1971, 39 SCRA 276.

    8 G.R. No. 106316, May 5, 1997, 272 SCRA 124.

    9 G.R. No. L-29217, May 11, 1978, 83 SCRA 56..

    10 Vide Panay Electric Co. v. NLRC, G.R. No. 102672, October 4, 1995, 248 SCRA 688.

    11 G.R. No. 113907, February 28, 2000, 326 SCRA 428, 468.

    12 Philippine Diamond Hotel, G.R. No. 158075, June 30, 2006, 494 SCRA 195.

    13 G.R. No. 150437, July 17, 2006, 495 SCRA 336.

    14 Vide Decision, pp. 674-677.

    15 Vide Pilipino Telephone Corp., v. PILTEA, et, al., G.R. No. 160058, June 22, 2007, 525 SCRA 361.

    16 Supra note 10.

    17 Sukhothai, supra.

    G.R. No. 166879 - A. Soriano Aviation v. Employees Association of A. Soriano Aviation, et al.


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