Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1966 > January 1966 Decisions > G.R. No. L-22199 January 31, 1966 MALABON RESTAURANT, ET AL. v. HEARING OFFICER, ET AL.:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. No. L-22199. January 31, 1966.]

MALABON RESTAURANT, ET AL., Petitioners, v. THE HEARING OFFICER, REGIONAL OFFICE NO. 4, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, MANILA, ET AL., Respondents.

Leandro Santos for the petitioners.

L. P. Torres and A. Deloso for the respondents.


SYLLABUS


1. RES JUDICATA; VARYING FORM OF ACTION TO ESCAPE EFFECTS OF THE APPLICATION OF PRINCIPLE. — A party cannot merely vary his form of action or adopt a different way of presenting his case to escape the effects of the application of res judicata, for the policy of the law is to put an end to a litigation. The law cannot allow parties to trifle with the courts by piecemeal litigation. It will overlook form for substance if its main aim is to forestall delay.

2. WORKMEN’S COMPENSATION; REQUISITE IN ORDER THAT CLAIM MAY COME WITHIN JURISDICTION OF WORKMEN’S COMPENSATION COMMISSION. — All that the law requires in order that a claim for injuries or illness may come within the jurisdiction of the Workmen’s Compensation Commission is that there be an employer-employee relationship between the parties (Manila Yatch Club, Inc. v. Workmen’s Compensation Commission, Et Al., L-19258, May 31, 1963). The fact that the employers’ income is less than P10,000.00, or that the employment is not hazardous or deleterious, is merely an affirmative defense which, if not invoked on time, is deemed waived.


D E C I S I O N


BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.:


On August 28, 1962, Antonio Detubio filed with Regional Office No. 4 of the Department of Labor a claim for compensation against his employers, the owners of the Malabon Restaurant, because of the illness he contracted as their cook aggravated by the nature of his employment. Copy of the claim was served on the employers on September 11, 1962 asking them to file their answer in due time.

Counsel for the employers filed a motion requesting an extension of the period within which to file their answer, which was granted by the hearing officer in an order dated September 25, 1962, but despite said extension, the employers failed to file the required answer. Hence, on November 28, 1962, the claimant filed a motion to have his employer declared in default. This motion was set for hearing on December 10, 1962, of which counsel for the employers was notified, and the explanation given by said counsel for his failure to file the answer on time not being satisfactory, the hearing officer declared the employers in default in an order entered on December 27, 1962. After claimant had presented his evidence in support of his claim, the hearing officer rendered decision on February 7, 1963 granting to claimant the compensation to which he is entitled under the law. Counsel for the employers was served copy of the decision by registered mail at his known address, but he failed to receive the same which was returned unclaimed.

On March 27, 1963, at the request of the claimant, the hearing officer issued a certification stating that his decision has already become final and executory for failure of the employers to appeal, and on April 8, 1963, claimant filed before the Court of First Instance of Manila a petition praying that a judgment be rendered based on the decision of the hearing officer in order that the same may be given validity in accordance with law. This decision was rendered on April 19, 1963 furnishing the employers with a copy thereof. On June 8, 1963, claimant filed a motion for a writ of execution, but on June 14, 1963 the employers filed before the Workmen’s Compensation Commission a petition for relief from the decision rendered by the hearing officer. This petition, however, was denied by Commissioner Nieves Baens del Rosario whose decision was affirmed by the Commission en banc. Not satisfied with the decision of the hearing officer, as affirmed by the Workmen’s Compensation Commission, the employers filed before this Court a petition for review, but the same was dismissed for lack of merit.

On December 7, 1963, claimant reiterated his motion for execution of the decision rendered by the court of first instance, but before said motion could be heard the employers filed the present petition for certiorari alleging that the hearing officer, as well as the respondent court, were without jurisdiction when they acted on the claim for compensation filed by Antonio Detubio on the main plea that the business of the employers is small, its capital being less than P10,000.00, while it is not hazardous or deleterious, for which reason they claimed that the decisions they seek to set aside are null and void.

This petition was given due course with injunction upon a bond of P1,500.00 posted by petitioners.

It appears that the hearing officer before whom the claim of Antonio Detubio for compensation was filed, rendered his decision on February 7, 1963 granting him the compensation to which he is entitled under the law and that his decision became final and executory for lack of appeal on the part of petitioners. However, on June 14, 1963, counsel for petitioners filed before the workmen’s Compensation Commission a petition for relief alleging the existence of good reasons constituting excusable neglect on the part of their counsel in failing to appear at the hearing of the case, but the petition was denied, and so petitioners’ counsel filed a petition for review before this Court which was dismissed for lack of merit. But on December 10,1963, when claimant attempted to secure a writ of execution of the decision rendered in his favor by the hearing officer, counsel for petitioners again came to this Court by way of a petition for certiorari seeking to thwart said execution alleging lack of jurisdiction on the claim that the business of petitioners does not come under the Workmen’s Compensation Act.

Considering that the grounds alleged in the petition for review previously interposed by petitioners impugning the validity of the decision of the hearing officer are but a reiteration of the grounds set forth in the petition for certiorari subsequently filed by them with the purpose of setting at naught said decision as well as the execution issued for its enforcement, we are of the opinion that the petition now before us is already barred by the order entered in the previous case dismissing the petition for lack of merit. It is of no moment that the present petition is one for certiorari while the former is one for review since both petitions raise exactly the same grounds. It is well-settled that a party cannot merely vary his form of action or adopt a different way of presenting his case to escape the effects of the application of res judicata, for the policy of the law is to put an end to a litigation. The law cannot allow parties to trifle with the courts by piecemeal litigation. It will overlook form for substance if its main aim is to forestall delay. Such is the only aim of this petition as reflected from the record.

Moreover, the main claim of petitioners that the decision of the hearing officer, as well as that of the Workmen’s Compensation Commission, granting compensation to claimant are nullities because they lack jurisdiction to act thereon because petitioners’ capital is less than P10,000.00 and the employment is not hazardous or deleterious, is untenable for such claim could at most serve as basis for defense and not for annulment of said decision. The only jurisdictional foundation on which an indemnity may be authorized is the existence of an employer-employee relationship, or, as this Court well said, all that the law requires in order that a claim for injuries or illness may come within the jurisdiction of the Workmen’s Compensation Commission is that there be an employer-employee relationship between the parties (Manila Yacht Club, Inc. v. Workmen’s Compensation Commission, Et Al., L-19258, May 31, 1963). Hence, the fact that the employers’ income is less than P10,000.00, or that the employment is not hazardous or deleterious, is merely an affirmative defense which, if not invoked on time, is deemed waived.

And even if this case be considered on its merits we have no other recourse but to dismiss it appearing that petitioners failed to appear before the hearing officer notwithstanding the notice given to them. The reasons given by them for their failure were not given credence by said officer. We are not now in a position to go into this matter since questions of this nature are addressed to the sound discretion of the court a quo.

Wherefore, petition is denied. Costs against petitioners.

Bengzon, C.J., Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Regala, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P. and Zaldivar, JJ., concur.

Barrera, J., took no part.




Back to Home | Back to Main


chanrobles.com



ChanRobles Professional Review, Inc.

ChanRobles Professional Review, Inc. : www.chanroblesprofessionalreview.com
ChanRobles On-Line Bar Review

ChanRobles Internet Bar Review : www.chanroblesbar.com
ChanRobles CPA Review Online

ChanRobles CPALE Review Online : www.chanroblescpareviewonline.com
ChanRobles Special Lecture Series

ChanRobles Special Lecture Series - Memory Man : www.chanroblesbar.com/memoryman





January-1966 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. L-22259 January 19, 1966 FELIPE YUPANGCO & SONS, INC. v. COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS

  • G.R. No. L-20088 January 22, 1966 LUZON STEVEDORING CORP. v. SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM

  • G.R. No. L-20804 January 22, 1966 IN RE: FELIX LIM v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. L-21179 January 22, 1966 IN RE: MARIANO NG v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. L-21198 January 22, 1966 IN RE: LIM CHO KUAN v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. L-21828 January 22, 1966 IN RE: ALFRED BUN THO KHU v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. L-25399 January 27, 1966 MARIANO H. ACUÑA v. CESARIO GOLEZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-18694 January 31, 1966 VALLE BROS., INC. v. PUBLIC SERVICE COMM., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-18866 January 31, 1966 PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DIOSDADO DEVELOS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-18967 January 31, 1966 REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. GREGORIO RODRIGUEZ

  • G.R. No. L-18997 January 31, 1966 PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BAUTIL PEDRO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-19467 January 31, 1966 FAUSTINO SAN JUAN v. SPS JEAN SOCCHI, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-19698 January 31, 1966 CALTEX (PHILIPPINES), INC. v. CONSTANTINO DERPO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-19718 January 31, 1966 PASTOR D. AGO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-20098 January 31, 1966 SILVERIO LATAG v. MARCELO BANOG

  • G.R. No. L-20144 January 31, 1966 PMC v. MANILA PORT SERVICE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-20375 January 31, 1966 IN RE: RAFAEL PE v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. L-20497 January 31, 1966 ANTONIA VDA. DE HUERTA v. DIONISIO H. ACOSTA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-20622 January 31, 1966 IN RE: LIM GUAN v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. L-20738 January 31, 1966 JULIANA SOLORIA, ET AL. v. CEFRONIO DE LA CRUZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-20213 January 31, 1966 MARIANO E. GARCIA v. CHIEF OF STAFF, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-20836 January 31, 1966 ANA ALARCON, ET AL. v. JOSE ESTEVA, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. L-21851 and L-21924-26 January 31, 1966 MARCOS ESCOBAR, ET AL. v. MODESTO R. RAMOLETE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-21333 January 31, 1966 YU AN KIONG v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. L-20803 January 31, 1966 CHAN KIAN v. COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS OF MANILA

  • G.R. No. L-15939 January 31, 1966 ANGELES UBALDE PUIG, ET AL. v. ESTELA MAGBANUA PEÑAFLORIDA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-21046 January 31, 1966 SINFOROSO GALIMA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-21417 January 31, 1966 PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NICOLAS QUINTAB

  • G.R. No. L-21565 January 31, 1966 ENRIQUE M. ALMARIO v. CITY MAYOR, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-21809 January 31, 1966 GIL P. POLICARPIO, ET AL. v. JOSE V. SALAMAT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-22199 January 31, 1966 MALABON RESTAURANT, ET AL. v. HEARING OFFICER, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-22388 January 31, 1966 DR. IRINEO P. SIA, ET AL. v. PABLO CUNETA, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. L-22785, L-22826, L-22937 January 31, 1966 CHAMBER OF TAXICAB SERVICES, INC., ET AL. v. PUBLIC SERVICE COMM., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-24581 January 31, 1966 MIGUEL PEREZ RUBIO v. SAMUEL REYES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-25444 January 31, 1966 WENCESLAO RANCAP LAGUMBAY v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.