[G.R. No. 140990. June 18, 2001]
PHILIPPINES TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP. vs.
Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a
resolution of this Court dated JUN 18 2001.
G.R. No. 140990 (Philippine
Telegraph and Telephone Corporation vs. Araceli Mendoza.)
Before this Court is a petition
for review seeking to reverse and set aside the Resolutions dated September 30,
1999 and November 29, 1999 issued by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SF No.
54996. Respondent Araceli Mendoza was hired by petitioner Philippine Telegraph
and Telephone Corporation (PT&T) as a teletype operator on a contractual
basis for a definite period of 150 days with assignment at PNB, Escolta Branch.
Sometime in January 1993, PNB decided to terminate the services of PT&T and
opted to upgrade its facilities by putting up facsimile machines instead of the
telex machines. The employment contract of respondent was thus terminated.
However, on February 10, 1993, PCIB-Ermita Branch entered into a contract with
PT&T for the installation of telecommunication facilities and the rendition
of services at its premises. Respondent was again hired on a contractual basis
for a period of 150 days. Sometime in 1994 and 1995, respondent received
warnings from petitioner for her habitual tardiness.
Thereafter, respondent was
charged with falsification of entries she allegedly made in her Daily Time
Record. While her administrative case was pending, respondent allegedly went on
absence without official leave starting December 7, 1995 and the branch
supervisor sent her a telegram reminding her of her absence without proper
leave and directing her to report for work. Meanwhile on December 11, 1995,
respondent filed a complaint for illegal dismissal claiming that she was verbally
informed that her employment will be severed on December 7, 1995; that when she
reported for work, she found out that she has no time card and her name was no
longer listed in the logbook and that she was no longer allowed to enter the
office premises by the security guard. Petitioner, on the other hand, averred
that respondent was absent without leave from December 7, 1995 after she was
charged with falsification of her time card and she was continuously absent
from work, ignoring 2 telegrams sent to her.
On April 2, 1998, the Labor
Arbiter rendered judgment directing petitioner PT&T to reinstate respondent
and pay her backwages. On appeal, National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC)
affirmed the LA-decision. Herein petitioner filed a "Petition for Review"
with the Court of Appeals which issued a Resolution dated September 30, 1999
denying the petition and ruling that the "petition for review" was
filed out of time; that the proper remedy should have been a petition for
certiorari; and that there was no motion for reconsideration. The motion for
reconsideration was likewise denied in the Resolution dated November 29, 1999.
Hence, the present petition.
Petitioner contends that the
petition filed with the Court of Appeals was an original special civil action
under Rule 65 and not a petition for review even if the caption was a
"Petition for Review". Petitioner argues that a cursory reading of
the petition would reveal the real nature of the petition; that a motion for
reconsideration is not always a pre-requisite to the filing of a petition for
certiorari; and that the rules should be applied liberally pursuant to Section
6, Rule 1.
In her Comment, respondent
acceded to petitioner's suggestion that the petition filed with the Court of
Appeals was a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 but insists nonetheless
that the same was premature for failure to first file a motion for
reconsideration; and that even if a motion for reconsideration may be dispensed
with, the petition was nevertheless filed out of time.
In its Reply, petitioner argues
that the only issue in this case is whether or not the Court of Appeals, in
dismissing the petition based on technicality, violated petitioner's right to
We agree with the contention of
petitioner, which respondent does not dispute, that the petition it filed with
the Court of Appeals was a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 despite the
caption "Petition for Review". Paragraph 1.1 of the petition itself
filed with the Court of Appeals stated that it is a "petition for
certiorari under Rule 65" and filed "pursuant to Administrative
Matter No. 99-2-01-SC" and that the NLRC allegedly committed grave abuse
of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction (Annex "D", p. 30,
We likewise agree with the
position of petitioner that while the general rule is that a motion for
reconsideration is a condition sine qua non for the filing of petition
for certiorari, the same is not without any exceptions. The filing of a motion
for reconsideration before availing of the remedy of certiorari is not a
condition sine qua non when the issue raised is one purely of law, or
where the error is patent or the disputed order' is void, or the questions
raised on certiorari are the same as those already squarely presented to and
passed upon by the lower court (Progressive Development - Corporation, Inc. vs.
CA, 301 SCRA 637). Petitioner argues that the issues raised before the Court of
Appeals are the very same issues raised before the NLRC; thus the filing of a
motion for reconsideration becomes unnecessary.
Be that as it may, petitioner
admits in the present petition that it inadvertently used the 1998 calendar,
instead of 1999, in computing the period for filing the petition (par. 28,
thereof, p. 15, Rollo). This is fatal. As stated in the assailed resolutions,
which is not disputed by the parties, the NLRC-decision was received by
petitioner on July 21, 1999. Hence, the 60th day for filing the petition for
certiorari was on September 19, 1999, which was a Sunday.
Section 1, Rule 22 of the 1997
Rules on Civil Procedure provides that if the last day of the period falls on a
Saturday, a Sunday, or a legal holiday, the time shall not run until the next
working day. Thus, the next working day should have been September 20, 1999, a
Monday. However, the petition was filed with the Court of Appeals only on
September 21, 1999, a Tuesday, which was indeed filed out of time.
WHEREFORE, finding no
reversible error in the resolutions of the Court of Appeals assailed from, the
petition is hereby DENIED, for lack of merit.
Very truly yours,
JULIETA Y. CARREON
Clerk of Court
Asst. Clerk of Court