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


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[G.R. No. 157378. June 18, 2003]

TAMBUNTING vs. CORDERO

THIRD DIVISION

Gentlemen:

Quoted hereunder for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated JUN 18 2003.

G.R. No. 157378 (M. Tambunting Home Appliance And Service Center And/Or Miguel Tambunting vs. Luis Cordero And National Labor Relations Commission.)

Before us is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 assailing the October 2, 2002 Decision[1]cralaw of the Court of Appeals affirming the decision of the NLRC which in turn upheld the decision of the labor arbiter declaring petitioners M. Tambunting Home Appliances and Service Center and its manager Miguel A. Tambunting liable for the illegal dismissal of private respondent and consequently ordering them to pay backwages and separation pay to the latter.

Before his dismissal from employment, private respondent worked as a senior technician for petitioner.

In April 1993, while private respondent was on a four-day leave of absence attending the wake of his deceased aunt, he was informed by petitioners' secretary and officer-in-charge that petitioner terminated his employment because the appraisal manager implicated him in certain anomalies intended to defraud petitioners.

Unable to accept the bad news, private respondent immediately reported for work but petitioner Mario Tambunting told him not to report for work anymore.

On June 8, 1993, private respondent filed a complaint for illegal dismissal and non-payment of wages and service incentive leave.

On September 29, 1998, the labor arbiter decided:

Contrary to the assertion of the respondents that the complainant has voluntarily resigned on April 19, 1993, the uncontroverted evidence on record show that complainant was on leave of absence from April 19, 1993 up to April 22, 1993 on account of the death of his aunt. While keeping the vigil on the remains of his departed aunt, Landa Bustamante, the Secretary and Officer-in-Charge of the Tambunting Branch who approved his leave of absence, and some of complainant's co-employees came to pay a visit and condole with the family of his deceased aunt. It was on this occasion that his co-employees informed him that he was already dismissed because he was implicated in the anomaly. perpetrated by Rosemarie Eusebio, the Appraisal Manager of Tambunting Branch. This sad information was confirmed by respondent Miguel Tambunting on April 23, 1993 when complainant went to see him after the burial of his aunt.

Clearly, complainant's dismissal was done without any prior written charge accusing him of his alleged participation in the anomaly perpetrated by Rosemarie Eusebio. Much less was he accorded the chance to be heard and to be furnished a written notice of his dismissal. These actions of the respondents were, therefore, patently illegal because before an employee can be dismissed from his employment, he must be afforded the procedural requirements of just cause and due process. Even the accusation of conspiracy leveled against the complainant is purely an after thought that had been resorted to by the respondents to justify their illegal acts.

xxx      xxx         xxx

WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered declaring the dismissal of complainant Luis B. Cordero as illegal and ordering the respondents to pay him backwages from the time of his dismissal on April 23, 1993 up to the date of this decision amounting to p60,900.00; separation pay in lieu of reinstatement at one (1) month pay per year of his service amounting to P26,100.00; and attorney's fees equivalent to ten percent (10%) of the total amount herein awarded to complainant.

The other monetary claims of complainant are hereby dismissed pursuant to the earlier dispositions made above.

SO ORDERED.

On December 2, 1998 petitioners appealed to the NLRC. On January 15, 2001, the NLRC affirmed the finding of the labor arbiter but deleted the award of attorney's fees. The subsequent motion for reconsideration was denied.

On September 28, 2001, petitioners elevated their case to the Court of Appeals via petition for certiorari.

On October 2, 2002, the Court of Appeals rendered the assailed decision, thus:

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the assailed Decision dated January 15, 2001 of the National Labor Relations Commission, 3rd Division, in NLRC-NCR CA No. 007282-94 is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.

SO ORDERED.

Thus, the instant petition.

Petitioners insist that there was no illegal dismissal because private respondent resigned and executed a quitclaim but the labor tribunal and the Court of Appeals ignored their existence. In the alternative, petitioners argue that, even if there was no resignation, still the dismissal of private respondent was done for valid and sufficient cause.

The Court disagrees.

For resignation to be effective, there must be an intention to relinquish a portion of the term of office accompanied by an act of relinquishment.[2]cralaw These elements were not proved by petitioner.

Settled is the rule that findings of fact of the labor arbiter, when affirmed by the NLRC, are binding upon the Court.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED.

SO ORDERED.

Very truly yours,

(Sgd.)JULIETA Y. CARREON
Clerk of Court



Endnotes:

[1]cralaw Penned by Associate Justice Remedios A. Salazar-Fernando and concurred in by Associate Justices Conrado M. Vasquez Jr. and Regalado E. Maambong of the Eighth Division.

[2]cralaw Words and Phrases, Vol. 37, State vs. Huff, 87 N.E. 141, 144.


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