G.R. No. L-19007 April 30, 1964
PHILIPPINE COAL MINER'S UNION, Petitioner, vs. CEBU PORTLAND CEMENT CO., HON. ARSENIO I. MARTINEZ, EMILIANO C. TABIGNE and AMADO C. BUGAYONG,
Ricardo P. Bacaltos and Esteban C. Manuel for petitioner.
PAREDES, J.:chanrobles virtual law library
On December 28, 1948, the Philippine Land-Air-Sea Labor Union, PLASLU for short, presented before the Court of Industrial Relations a petition, (CIR Case No. 241-V), asking that said Court order the Cebu Portland Cement Company, CEPOC, for short, to accept their demands, among which are the observance of the eight-hour labor law, increase in salaries, payment of overtime pay for work performed on Sundays and Holidays, and rights to vacation and sick leaves. The CIR rendered judgment on April 27, 1951, in favor of the Union.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
On October 12, 1956, the PLASLU presented a petition in said case No. 241-V, seeking that the benefits of the awards in the decision of April 27, 1951, be extended to all the employees of the CEPOC, including those in Vigan, Bauang, Dagupan, Baguio, Romblon, Iloilo, Bacolod, Davao, Bacnotan, Argao and Malangas. While this motion was pending resolution, the PLASLU in a petition dated December 23, 1958, prayed for the verification by the Court's Examiner of the computation made by the Accounting and Auditing Departments of the CEPOC, which amounted to P112,000.00, purportedly due to the employees and laborer of the Malangas Coal Mines, CEPOC, as salary differentials.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
The motion of October 12, 1956, was opposed by the CEPOC on various grounds, foremost of which were the of basis to hold: that the employees and laborers in the provincial branches were members of the PLASLU; and the Notice of Termination of Award, which render the Decision of April 27, 1951, without force and effect.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
On November 3, 1959, the CIR, resolving the motions an opposition, stated -
On February 9, 1959, before the promulgation of the above Resolution, the Philippine Coal Miner's Union (PCMU, for short), in behalf of the employees and laborer of the Malangas Coal Mines in Zamboanga del Sur, own and operated by the CEPOC, filed a petition (Case No. 6-V-DB, Davao Branch) with the CIR, asking that the CEPOC be adjudged to pay to said employees and laborers overtime pay for services rendered on Sundays and Holidays, from 1951 and additional overtime pay for Saturdays, from July 1, 1957, pursuant to Republic Act No. 1880.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
CEPOC, answering the petition, after the usual Admissions and Denials, interposed the following defenses -
After due trial, the CIR, speaking thru Judge Baltazar M. Villanueva, rendered judgment ordering the respondent CEPOC:
The Court en banc acting on the motion for consideration, presented by the CEPOC, voted for a partial reconsideration of the decision, by excluding the award consisting of the overtime wages for services rendered on Sundays and legal holidays from July 1, 1951 to December 31, 1955. The majority of the Court, explaining its action,
A dissenting vote was registered by Judge Villanueva against the above order.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
There are two dominant issues presented before Us for resolution, to wit:chanrobles virtual law library
First, whether or not res adjudicata has been properly alleged as defense; andchanrobles virtual law library
Second, granting that it is alleged, whether there exists res adjudicata under the facts and circumstances obtaining in the present case.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
The respondent, in its answer dated March 13, 1959, did not interpose the special defense of res judicata, relied upon in the majority decision of the Court en banc. In said answer, the respondent alleged as its defense, in avoidance of petitioners cause of action, four special and affirmative defenses, to wit: (1) lack of jurisdiction; (2) prescription; (3) payment, and (4) "under the facts and the law, petitioners are not entitled to the relief prayed for (supra). This notwithstanding respondent contend that the defense of res adjudicata was pleaded under the fourth averment. This contention is devoid of merit, because sec. 9, Rule 9 of the Rules provides that all such grounds of defense, as would raise issues of fact, must be specifically pleaded. The allegation "petitioner is not entitled to the relief prayed for" is vague not specific and "comprehends almost all defenses under the sun". Not having interposed the defense of res judicata, either in a motion to dismiss or in its answer, respondent, is deemed to have waived it (sec. 10, Rule 9). They can not be pleaded for the first time at the trial or on appeal. The three exceptions to the rule are (a) lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter which may be alleged it any stage of the proceedings, even for the first time on appeal; (b) failure to state a cause of action which may also be asserted at any stage of the proceedings, but not later than the, trial and (c) improper venue, which may be urged prior to trial (I Moran's Comments on the Rules of Court, pp. 168-69, and cases cited therein).chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Granting for a moment, that the said averment is a sufficient allegation of res adjudicata, having reference to the requisites of this defense, We still hold that, factually, there is no prior final judgment at all to speak of. According to the trial court, the final judgment which bars the present action the, order dated November, 3, 1959 (Exh. 17) in case No. 241-V of the CIR, the pertinent portions of which were heretofore reproduced (supra). The CEPOC filed a motion for reconsideration (Exh. 8) of this Order on the ground that (a) it was void for lack of fair and full hearing (b) it deprived CEPOC of property without due process of law, for lack of evidence that the workers at CEPOC's subsidiaries were bona fide employees and laborers of CEPOC on April 27, 1951 (c) it was contrary to law (d) the awards made in said decision of April 27, 1951 could not be extended to subsidiaries of the CEPOC acquired and organized after the rendition of the decision: with prayer that a day be set for reception of evidence as to the merits of PLASLU's claim. His Honor, Judge Martinez, in connection with said motion for reconsideration commented thus. "We believe that those matters can be very well taken up in a hearing after the examiner of the Court (CIR) shall have submitted his report in compliance with the Order of November 3, 1959." Even the trial Court believe that the said order of November 3, 1959, was interlocutory. The, order was aimed at giving the parties a chance to adduce evidence in support of their respective contentions, such as the existence of bona fide employees and laborers at respondent's branch plant in Malangas, as of April 27, 1951, and the nature, extent and merits of their claim for extra compensation. It was not an order or judgment determinative of an issue of fact pending before the court. It was an interlocutory order, because it required the parties to perform certain acts for final adjudication of awards. It might be considered a void Order, because the court that issued it did no longer have authority or jurisdiction to entertain the subject-matter thereof, inasmuch as the decision of April 27, 1951 (in case No. 241-V), basis of the order in question, had ceased to have force and effect, upon the filing on July 11, 1956, of respondent "notice to terminate the award" (sec. 17 of C.A. No. 103), and that it was superfluous, as far as overtime compensation is concerned, because that right is provided by the Eight-Hour Labor Law (Com. Act No. 444 and Rep. Act No. 1880). This being the case, no basic right of the workers in the Malangas Coal Mines, for overtime pay was decided. In fact, in the order of the Court of January 19, 1960, the parties were required to submit their respective versions of the computations, and to make them as the basis of their claims. Hearings were being conducted only in relation to the amount involved.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
There is also no identity of parties, subject matter and cause of action between Case No. 241-V and the present case No. 6-V-Davao. Case No. 241-V was filed 13 years ago, on December 28, 1948, by the PLASLU against the CEPOC. The PLASLU'S affiliates then compromised the employees and laborers of CEPOC at the latter's plant in Tinaan, Naga, Cebu. The subject matter and cause of action in said cases relates to the demand of said labor union for concessions (the law traditional demands of labor), in favor of the employees and laborers of CEPOC which was decided by the CIR on April 27, 1951, granting said concessions. On October 12, 1956, the PLASLU commenced an incident in the case by asking for the extension of the benefits and awards granted in the decision of April 27, 1951, to other branches of CEPOC and for the Court examiner to go over the records of CEPOC for the purpose of determining the money value thereof. CEPOC opposed on the ground among others, that (1) the decision of April 27, 1951, ceased to be effective; (2) the PLASLU was not the proper party, since there was no showing that the branch personnel of CEPOC at Malangas were members of the PLASLU; and (3) the subject-matter of the motion was beyond the scope of and was not contemplated or embraced in the said decision of April 27, 1951. In case No. 6-V-Davao (present suit), the Philippine Coal Miner's Union (PCMU) is a separate and distinct labor union, has its place or operation in Malangas, Zamboanga del Sur, and its affiliates comprised 255 employees and laborers of the CEPOC at Malangas; it was organized as a labor union in February, 1958, after the Malangas Coal Mines became a unit of CEPOC in 1951. The subject matter and cause of action in this case relate to the demand for the payment to the employees and laborers at Malangas Coal Mines additional compensation for overtime service covering the period July 1, 1951 up to the present and to implement Rep. Act No. 1880, as implemented by Executive Order No. 251, series of 1957, and to pay the same employees and laborers additional compensation for work rendered on Saturdays effective July 1, 1957. The present suit is an independent action prosecuted by a separate and independent union, composed of members exclusively employed by CEPOC at Malangas, which were not shown to be members of the PLASLU.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
IN VIEW HEREOF, petition for certiorari is granted, and the resolution of the respondent Court en banc dated July 19, 1961 is reversed, insofar as it excluded therefrom the award of P112,762.20, contained in the trial court's decision dated June 20, 1960. Costs against the respondent Cebu Portland Cement Company.
Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Dizon, Regala, and Makalintal, JJ., concur.
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