and ABELARDO YABUT, SR.,
G. R. No. 116184
October 2, 1997
LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION
E C I S I O N
and DOUGLAS DE LA PAZ,
Douglas de la
Paz, theorizing that his appointment
as regular radio announcer from Officer-in-Charge and/or Acting Station
Manager was done without due process and just cause, instituted the
labor case. He obtained a favorable judgment from the Labor Arbiter as
well as from the National Labor Relations Commission [NLRC]. The Nation
Broadcasting Corporation [NBC] and its President, Abelardo Yabut, Sr.,
are now before this Court assailing the Resolution of the NLRC.
De la Paz started
in 1979 as a radio announcer
in AM Radio Station DXRB Butuan owned and operated by petitioner NBC.
19 August 1991, he was assigned as Officer-in-Charge and/or Acting
Manager pending the appointment of a Station Manager after the former
Manager resigned. Petitioner NBC however appeared dissatisfied with his
performance. Thus on 5 November 1991, he was reverted to radio
and on 12 November 1991 was placed under suspension after he was said
have violated various directives of the management. Consequently, in
1992 he commenced the instant labor case before the NLRC Arbitration
in Butuan City.cralaw
De la Paz claimed
that despite the improvement
in the financial position of the radio station during his stint as
and/or Station Manager, he was still demoted to the position of regular
announcer based on alleged unsubstantiated reports, without due process
nor just cause. And, even before he could be apprised of his demotion,
it was already announced over the air lanes of the radio station,
him to succumb to a mild stroke and be confined in a hospital where he
was served a notice of suspension. He was then forced to go on leave.
his return, he was dismayed to find out that someone else had taken
his regular slot without informing him first. He was thus assigned to
programs and was warned that if he did not accept the new assignments
services would be terminated. He submitted that his demotion and
to other programs were tantamount to constructive dismissal.cralaw
On 21 October
1992, Labor Arbiter Marissa Macaraig-Guillen
ruled that there was no constructive dismissal at all since it was made
clear that De la Paz was appointed Station Manager only in an acting
not on a permanent basis. Likewise it is on record that petitioner NBC
manifested that it was willing to accept De la Paz back to his old
as regular announcer of the programs he used to hold, but he never
for it. De la Paz was however granted service incentive leave pay and
month pay, and was also awarded moral and exemplary damages and
fees for having been maligned over the radio station's air lanes and
being sent "threateningmemorandums."
Judgment is hereby rendered ordering
Nation Broadcasting Corporation to permit complainant Douglas de la Paz
to return to work to his regular position of radio announcer with his
schedule of radio programs and field work as discussed in this Decision.
Respondents is [sic] also hereby directed
pay complainant the sum of FIFTY-FOUR THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED SEVEN PESOS
AND SIX CENTAVOS [P54,507.06] representing service incentive leave pay,
13th month pay, moral and exemplary damages and attorney's fees.
NBC appealed to
the NLRC. On 3 May 1994 the NLRC
modified the decision of the Labor Arbiter by deleting the award for
incentive leave pay and 13th month pay as "[t]hese claims were not
or alleged either in the complaint or position paper of complainant."
The decision appealed from is Affirmed
and the appeal Dismissed for lack of merit. The Labor Arbiter is
and directed to determine the practicability of the reinstatement of
preparatory to the execution of the judgment. Should the reinstatement
be found impractical after due proceedings, complainant's granted
of separation pay at the rate of one  month pay for every year of
inclusive of other fringe benefits complainant may be entitled, if any.
Finally, the monetary awards for 13th month pay and service incentive
pay are deleted for lack of basis. No findings as to costs.
argues that "[t]he finding of the
Labor Arbiter that there was definitely no constructive dismissal
have closed the door for the prayer for damages and attorney's fees.
all the basis for claiming damages and attorney's fees was found to be
inexistent. There being no constructive dismissal, there is no
upon which the award of damages and attorney's fees can stand on."
NBC submits that the cause of action for the award of damages and
fees, i.e., when it supposedly allowed De la Paz to be maligned
over the radio station's air lanes causing his health to worsen and his
reputation besmirched, is not within the jurisdiction of the Labor
but within the competence of the civil courts. Hence, the Labor Arbiter
erred in awarding damages and attorney's fees to De la Paz after
that there was no constructive dismissal, and the NLRC committed grave
abuse of discretion when it affirmed the award "there being evidence
that respondents [NBC and its President and General Manager Abelardo
Sr.] acted with bad faith in the manner the constructive discharge of
(De la Paz) was effected."
Article 217 of the Labor Code provides:
Art. 217. Jurisdiction of Labor
the Commission.- (a) Except as otherwise provided under this
Code, the Labor Arbiters shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction
to hear and decide the following cases involving all workers
4. Claims for actual, moral, exemplary and other forms of damages
from employer-employee relations.
In Air Material
Wing Savings and Loan Association,
Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission
we said that labor arbiters have original and exclusive jurisdiction
money claims of workers when such claims have some reasonable
with the employer-employee relationship. For sure, the money claims of
workers referred to in Par. 4, Art. 217 of the Labor Code are those
out of or in connection with the employer-employee relationship or some
aspect or incident of such relationship.
jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter
is not limited to money claims arising out of an illegal dismissal
but all money claims arising out of employer-employee relationships. In
the instant case, as found by both the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC, De
Paz was treated unfairly. Thus, as aptly pointed out by the
The records reveal that prior to private
receipt of his reclassification from Officer-In-Charge/Station Manager
to that of a radio announcer, his reclassification was the subject of a
verbal tirade by one of DXRB's announcers, Mr. Jay Solis. Mr. Jay Solis
was later appointed as DXRB's Officer-In-Charge, replacing private
This act of petitioner through Mr. Solis, "did not only cause great
to private respondent but caused him to be confined in the hospital
of hypertension and chest pains resulting from his emotional reaction
the radio announcement [Labor Arbiter's Decision, p. 21]. Worst,
through DXRB's new Officer-In-Charge, Mr. Jay Solis, repeatedly
private respondent through a series of memoranda to report to his work
schedule as radio announcer despite prior permission to be on sick
due to his confinement in the hospital [Annex "T," Records, p. 196].
After private respondent's failure to
his work, he was given another memorandum assigning him to a different
announcing schedule which was found by public respondent to be
and unbearable [NLRC Decision, p. 8]. These acts taken together, show
abuse of their rights and prerogative to manage its employees,
an act oppressive to labor.
acts complained of arose out of an
employer-employee relationship which is within the jurisdiction and
of the Labor Arbiter and, on appeal, the NLRC. For petitioner NBC would
not have any reason at all to assail respondent De la Paz over its air
lanes and send the latter unpleasant memoranda were it not for the fact
that the latter was an unappreciated employee. Most certainly his
for damages was anchored on the termination of his services. Verily,
Arbiter Marissa Macaraig-Guillen was well within her jurisdiction in
instant case when she awarded moral and exemplary damages and
With regard to
the issue of reinstatement or payment
of separation pay, we sustain the view of the Solicitor General that:
Petitioners cannot object to private
reinstatement or payment of separation pay since it does not carry with
it payment of back wages. This is in contrast to an award of an illegal
dismissal which results in the twin reliefs of reinstatement and
of back wages. The order of reinstatement or payment of separation pay
can be granted in the concept of equitable remedy which is in
with the purpose of the State Policies explicitly provided in Article
of the 1987 Constitution, thus:
"Section 9. The State shall promote a
dynamic social order that will ensure the prosperity and independence
the nation and free the people from poverty through policies that
adequate social services, promote full employment, a rising standard of
living and improved quality of life for all.
"Section 18. The State affirms labor as
social economic force. It shall protect the rights of workers and
After all, it
is on record that petitioner NBC has
manifested that it was willing to accept De la Paz back to his old
as radio announcer of the same programs he used to hold.
We, therefore, see no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the NLRC
that will prejudice the welfare of private respondent Douglas de la Paz.
being no grave abuse of discretion
committed by public respondent National Labor Relations Commission, the
petition is DISMISSED.cralaw
Vitug, Kapunan and Hermosisima, Jr.,
Sub-Regional Arbitration Branch No. X, Butuan City.
Decision of Labor Arbiter Marissa Macaraig-Guillen, p. 22; Rollo, p. 50.
Id., pp. 24-25; Id., pp. 52-53.
Fifth Division, Cagayan de Oro City; Resolution penned by Presiding
Musib M. Buat and concurred in by Commissioners Oscar N. Abella and
G. Gonzaga, Jr.
Resolution of the NLRC, p. 9; Rollo, p. 62.
Petition for Certiorari, p. 7; Rollo, p. 8.
Resolution of the NLRC, p. 9; id., p. 62.
G. R. No. 111870, 30 June 1994, 233 SCRA 592.
Comment of the Solicitor General, p. 9; Rollo, p. 103.
Id., p.10; id., p. 104.
Decision of the Labor Arbiter, p. 18; Id., p. 46.