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BAR REVIEWER ON LABOR LAW 2014 (2nd) Edition - By Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan

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[G.R. No. 140990. June 18, 2001]




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 due process.

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, Rollo).

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,


Clerk of Court


Asst. Clerk of Court

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