Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1988 > May 1988 Decisions > G.R. No. 78604 May 9, 1988 - BATAAN SHIPYARD and ENGINEERING CO., INC. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. 78604. May 9, 1988.]

BATAAN SHIPYARD and ENGINEERING CO., INC., Petitioner, v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, HON. FRANCISCO JOSE, JR., HON. VLADIMIR P. L. SAMPANG, JOSE G. CRUZ and NATIONAL FEDERATION OF LABOR UNIONS, Respondents.

Wilfredo A. Villanueva for Petitioner.

The Solicitor General for public respondents.

Francisco de los Reyes for Private Respondents.


SYLLABUS


1. LABOR LAW; EMPLOYMENT; TERMINATION THEREOF; RETRENCHMENT OF EMPLOYEES WHO ARE OFFICERS AND MEMBERS OF UNION CONSTITUTES UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICE. — Under the circumstances obtaining in this case, We are inclined to believe that the Company had indeed been discriminatory in selecting the employees who were to be retrenched. All of the retrenched employees are officers and members of the NAFLU. The record of the case is bereft of any satisfactory explanation from the Company regarding this situation. As such, the action taken by the firm becomes highly suspect. It leads Us to conclude that the firm had been discriminating against membership in the NAFLU, an act which amounts to interference in the employees’ exercise of their right of self-organization. Under Article 249 of the Labor Code of the Philippines, such interference is considered an act of unfair labor practice on the part of the Company.


D E C I S I O N


GANCAYCO, J.:


This is a Petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. It seeks to set aside a Resolution of the National Labor Relations Commission.

The record of the case discloses that the herein petitioner Bataan Shipyard & Engineering Co., Inc. (BASECO) is a corporate entity duly organized under the laws of the Philippines. Its principal office is in Port Area, Manila. On the other hand, the herein private respondent National Federation of Labor Unions (NAFLU) is a labor organization registered with the Department of Labor and Employment. The Company has around a thousand employees in its payroll and more than a hundred of them belong to the said labor organization.

Sometime before 1984, the Company filed with the herein respondent National Labor Relations Commission an application for the retrenchment of 285 of its employees on the ground that the firm had been incurring heavy losses since the end of 1979. The case was docketed as NLRC Case No. RABIII-2-536-82. In the meantime, some employees who had been on sick leave earlier were considered retrenched. All of those so retrenched happen to be officers and members of the NAFLU.chanrobles.com : virtual law library

As expected, the NAFLU submitted an opposition to the said application in representation of the affected employees. Those employees retrenched earlier joined the case as individual complainants. The parties submitted their respective position papers and memoranda.

In a Decision dated January 30, 1984, the Executive Labor Arbiter of the respondent Commission declared the retrenchment undertaken by the Company legal and valid. As a consequence thereof, the firm was ordered to pay the separation benefits of the retrenched employees. The Executive Labor Arbiter also observed that the Company had discriminated against the members of the NAFLU in the selection of the employees to be retrenched. Thus, the firm was found guilty of unfair labor practice and was ordered to pay each of the individual complainants six months backwages as a penalty therefor. 1

The Company appealed the case to the corresponding division of the respondent Commission and challenged the legality of the ruling of the Executive Labor Arbiter to the effect that it had discriminated in the retrenchment arrangements it had undertaken. The Company likewise questioned the legality of the award for backwages.

In its Resolution promulgated on December 27, 1985, the Third Division of the respondent Commission affirmed the Decision of the Executive Labor Arbiter. 2 The Commission pointed out that the Company had failed to satisfactorily explain why all of the employees it had retrenched were officers and members of the NAFLU. The Commission went on to say that the management was in a position to know who of the employees on leave were affiliated with the said labor organizations. This view prompted the Commission to conclude that the NAFLU officers and members so retrenched were being discriminated against by reason of their affiliation in the labor organization.chanrobles lawlibrary : rednad

On June 10, 1987, the Company elevated the case to this Court by way of the instant Petition for certiorari 3 and sought the annulment or modification of the Resolution of the respondent Commission as well as the Decision of the Executive Labor Arbiter insofar as the ruling on unfair labor practice and backwages is concerned. The Company maintains that the respondent Commission committed a grave abuse of discretion, amounting to loss of jurisdiction, in finding the firm guilty of having committed an act of unfair labor practice when all the while the retrenchment it had sought was held to be legal and valid. The thrust of the Petition is that the Company cannot be considered guilty of committing an act of unfair labor practice in effecting a valid retrenchment.

The Office of the Solicitor General, representing the respondent Commission, submitted a Comment on the Petition on September 9, 1987. 4 The Solicitor General points out that while the retrenchment undertaken by the Company is legal, the prerogative to do so should not be confused with the manner in which the prerogative is exercised and that such exercise must be made without abuse of discretion because employment — the livelihood of the working class — is at stake. The Solicitor General adds that inasmuch as the Company was found guilty of discriminatory acts in the selection of employees to be retrenched, it cannot escape liability by simply claiming that the retrenchment is legal and that to do so would encourage discriminatory dismissals in other business enterprises. 5

In support of the argument that the findings of fact made by the respondent Commission is supported by substantial evidence, the Solicitor General had this to say —

"The ‘substantial evidence’ test was more than adequately met by private respondents because the evidence is clear that membership or non-membership in the NAFLU was the determining factor in the selection of the employees to be retrenched.

"The record of this case is bereft of any guideline employed by petitioner in determining who were to be laid off, such as the following: (1) ability to perform the work; (2) physical fitness; (3) old age (4) disablement; (5) security in work; and (6) financial hardship of certain workers. These factors should at least be decided by a committee. In the absence of any guideline in the implementation of the retrenchment and the clear evidence that only NAFLU members were retrenched, it is quite evident that there was unfair labor practice committed by petitioner in the implementation of a valid and legal retrenchment." 6

On account of these reasons, the Solicitor General sought the dismissal of the instant Petition for lack of merit.chanrobles law library : red

In due time, the case was deemed submitted for decision.

After a careful examination of the entire record of the case, We find the instant Petition devoid of merit.

It is not disputed that the retrenchment undertaken by the Company is valid. However, the manner in which this prerogative is exercised should not be tainted with abuse of discretion. Labor is a person’s means of livelihood. He cannot be deprived of his labor or work without due process of law. 7 Retrenchment strikes at the very heart of one’s employment. While the right of an employer to dismiss an employee is conceded in a valid retrenchment, the right differs from and should not be confused with the manner in which such right is exercised. It should not be oppressive and abusive since it affects one’s person and property. 8 Due process of law demands nothing less.

Under the circumstances obtaining in this case, We are inclined to believe that the Company had indeed been discriminatory in selecting the employees who were to be retrenched. All of the retrenched employees are officers and members of the NAFLU. The record of the case is bereft of any satisfactory explanation from the Company regarding this situation. As such, the action taken by the firm becomes highly suspect. It leads Us to conclude that the firm had been discriminating against membership in the NAFLU, an act which amounts to interference in the employees’ exercise of their right of self-organization. Under Article 249 of the Labor Code of the Philippines, such interference is considered an act of unfair labor practice on the part of the Company, to wit —

"ART. 249. Unfair labor practices of employers. — It shall be unlawful for an employer to commit any of the following unfair labor practices:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"(a) To interfere with, restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of their right to self-organization.;

x       x       x


The respondent Commission and the Executive Labor Arbiter took these considerations into account in resolving the dispute. This being so, it cannot be said that the respondent Commission committed a grave abuse of discretion, amounting to loss of jurisdiction, in finding BASECO guilty of having committed an act of unfair labor practice despite the valid retrenchment. Accordingly, the writ of certiorari prayed for by the petitioner cannot issue.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant Petition for certiorari is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. The restraining order of June 22, 1987 is hereby dissolved. We make no pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.

Narvasa, Cruz and Griño-Aquino, JJ., concur.

Endnotes:



1. Pages 16 to 21, Rollo.

2. Pages 12 to 15, Rollo.

3. Pages 2 to 11, Rollo.

4. Pages 73 to 79, Rollo.

5. Pages 4 and 5, Comment; pages 76 and 77, Rollo.

6. Pages 6 and 7, Comment; pages 78 and 79, Rollo.

7. Phil. Movie Pictures Workers’ Association v. Premiere Productions, Inc., 92 Phil. 843 (1953).

8. De Leon v. National Labor Relations Commission, 100 SCRA 691 (1980).




Back to Home | Back to Main


chanrobles.com



ChanRobles On-Line Bar Review

ChanRobles Internet Bar Review : www.chanroblesbar.com





May-1988 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. L-47717 May 2, 1988 - IGNACIO PASCUA, ET AL. v. HEIRS OF SEGUNDO SIMEON, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 76353 May 2, 1988 - SOPHIA ALCUAZ, ET AL. v. PHILIPPINE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-43446 May 3, 1988 - FILIPINO PIPE AND FOUNDRY CORPORATION v. NATIONAL WATERWORKS AND SEWERAGE AUTHORITY

  • G.R. No. L-39272 May 4, 1988 - EUGENIA SALAMAT VDA. DE MEDINA v. FERNANDO A. CRUZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-66183 May 4, 1988 - RICARDO O. MONTINOLA, JR. v. REPUBLIC PLANTERS BANK, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-67451 May 4, 1988 - REALTY SALES ENTERPRISE, INC., ET AL. v. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-74410 May 4, 1988 - PABLO MAYOR v. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-53984 May 5, 1988 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDUARDO V. ANTONIO

  • G.R. No. L-70987 May 5, 1988 - GREGORIO Y. LIMPIN, JR., ET AL. v. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-78605 May 5, 1988 - NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-53907 May 6, 1988 - MODERN FISHING GEAR LABOR UNION v. CARMELO C. NORIEL, ET AL

  • G.R. Nos. L-57719-21 May 6, 1988 - WILFREDO DAVID v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 76595 May 6, 1988 - PACIFIC ASIA OVERSEAS SHIPPING CORPORATION v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. R-254-MTJ and 88-1-2807-MCTC May 9, 1988 - COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. RICARDO M. MAGTIBAY

  • G.R. No. L-30964 May 9, 1988 - SY CHIE JUNK SHOP, ET AL. v. FOITAF, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-43825 May 9, 1988 - CONTINENTAL MARBLE CORP., ET AL. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-46303 May 9, 1988 - VICENTE S. UMALI v. JORGE COQUIA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-47968 May 9, 1989

    LINA MONTILLA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-48064 May 9, 1988 - ANTHONY POWERS, ET AL. v. DONALD I. MARSHALL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-49893 May 9, 1988 - DANIEL C. ASPACIO v. AMADO G. INCIONG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-51278 May 9, 1988 - HEIRS OF RAMON PIZARRO, SR. v. FRANCISCO Z. CONSOLACION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-54090 May 9, 1988 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ABRAHAM P. SERANILLA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-56505 May 9, 1988 - MAXIMO PLENO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-56923 May 9, 1988 - RAMON J. ALEGRE v. MANUEL T. REYES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-57061 May 9, 1988 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MANGUIGIN MACATANA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-57280 May 9, 1988 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF RIZAL, BRANCH IV, QUEZON CITY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-68940 May 9, 1988 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MATEO ABAGON, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-77227 May 9, 1988 - COMMANDER REALTY, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 78604 May 9, 1988 - BATAAN SHIPYARD and ENGINEERING CO., INC. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-81190 May 9, 1988 - MATIAS B. AZNAR III, ET AL. v. JUANITO A. BERNAD, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. R-6-RTJ May 11, 1988 - PELAGIO SICAT v. FERNANDO S. ALCANTARA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-38426 May 11, 1988 - PEDRO DE VILLA v. ISMAEL MATHAY, SR.

  • G.R. No. L-48848 May 11, 1988 - FEDERATION OF FREE WORKERS, ET AL. v. AMADO G. INCIONG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-48889 May 11, 1989

    DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MIDPANTAO L. ADIL

  • G.R. No. L-65680 May 11, 1988 - JOSE B. SARMIENTO v. EMPLOYEES’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L79644 May 11, 1988 - LORENZO SHIPPING CORPORATION v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-53873 May 13, 1988 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALFREDO C. LAYA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-47379 May 16, 1988 - NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • A.C. No. 3153 May 17, 1988 - JUANITO L. HAW TAY v. EDUARDO SINGAYAO

  • G.R. No. L-58652 May 20, 1988 - ALFREDO B. RODILLAS v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-50242 May 21, 1988 - E. RAZON, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-53966 May 21, 1988 - IN RE: JOSE B. YUSAY, ET AL. v. TERESITA Y. RAMOS

  • G.R. No. L-60487 May 21, 1988 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. L-72069 & L-72070 May 21, 1988 - COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS v. COURT OF TAX APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 77465 May 21, 1988 - UY TONG, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 78343 May 21, 1988 - HEIRS OF RICARDO OLIVAS v. FLORENTINO A. FLOR, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-37409 May 23, 1988 - NICOLAS VALISNO v. FELIPE ADRIANO

  • G.R. No. L-47414 May 23, 1988 - ELIODORO T. ISCALA v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 71863 May 23, 1988 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALEJANDRO POLICARPIO KHAN

  • G.R. No. L-73491 May 23, 1988 - CONCEPCION B. TUPUE v. JOSE URGEL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 74907 May 23, 1988 - PEDRO S. LACSA v. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-76258 May 23, 1988 - JUANITO S. AMANDY v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 79010 May 23, 1988 - GENEROSO CORTES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-30751 May 24, 1988 - PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK v. GENERAL ACCEPTANCE AND FINANCE CORPORATION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-38570 May 24, 1988 - DOMINGO PADUA v. VICENTE ERICTA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-57145 May 24, 1988 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VALENTIN ATUTUBO

  • G.R. No. L-66575 May 24, 1988 - ADRIANO MANECLANG, ET AL. v. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 71909 May 24, 1988 - JANE CUA, ET AL. v. CARMEN LECAROS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 80066 May 24, 1988 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MAXIMIANO ASUNCION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-36007 May 25, 1988 - FERNANDO GALLARDO v. JUAN BORROMEO

  • G.R. No. L-61093 May 25, 1988 - ELIGIO P. MALLARI, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-65483 May 25, 1988 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SILVINO T. VILLANUEVA

  • G.R. No. 74451 May 25, 1988 - EQUITABLE BANKING CORPORATION v. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 77859 May 25, 1988 - CENTURY TEXTILE MILLS, INC., ET AL. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-64349 May 27, 1988 - CARLOS CARPIO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. L-46188 May 28, 1988 - HELENA ALMAZAR v. PEDRO D. CENZON, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-46556 May 28, 1988 - NAPOLEON O. CARIN v. EMPLOYEES’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-51101 May 28, 1988 - RUFINO NAZARETH, ET AL. v. RENATO S. SANTOS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-53650 May 28, 1988 - VIRGINIA M. RAMOS v. ABDUL-WAHID A. BIDIN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-56362 May 28, 1988 - TOMASITA AQUINO v. PEDRO T. SANTIAGO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-56429 May 28, 1988 - BANCO FILIPINO SAVINGS AND MORTGAGE BANK v. FIDEL PURISIMA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-58997 May 28, 1988 - MARCELINO TIBURCIO v. JOSE P. CASTRO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-60937 May 28, 1988 - WALTER ASCONA LEE, ET AL. v. MANUEL V. ROMILLO, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-61223 May 28, 1988 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CONRADO L. MERCADO

  • G.R. No. L-61464 May 28, 1988 - BA FINANCE CORPORATION v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-66884 May 28, 1988 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VICENTE TEMBLOR

  • G.R. No. 77047 May 28, 1988 - JOAQUINA R-INFANTE DE ARANZ, ET AL. v. NICOLAS GALING, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-38303 May 30, 1988 - HONGKONG & SHANGHAI BANKING CORPORATION v. RALPH PAULI, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-43866 May 30, 1988 - PETRONIO COLLADO, ET AL. v. HAROLD M. HERNANDO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-48757 May 30, 1988 - MAURO GANZON v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. L-67158, 67159, 67160, 67161, & 67162 May 30, 1988 - CLLC E.G. GOCHANGCO WORKERS UNION, ET AL. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-24842 May 31, 1988 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. ALEJANDRO CARDENAS

  • G.R. No. L-36480 May 31, 1988 - ANDREW PALERMO v. PYRAMID INSURANCE CO., INC.

  • G.R. No. L-36773 May 31, 1988 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF CAMARINES SUR, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-54290 May 31, 1988 - DON PEPE HENSON ENTERPRISES, ET AL. v. IRINEO PANGILINAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-57650 May 31, 1988 - CATALINO Y. TINGA v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. L-59801 May 31, 1988 - LEONOR P. FERNANDEZ, ET AL. v. FRANCIS J. MILITANTE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-67948 May 31, 1988 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NAPOLEON MONTEALEGRE

  • G.R. No. 78775 May 31, 1988 - JOSE UNCHUAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 80774 May 31, 1988 - SAN MIGUEL CORPORATION v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-81805 May 31, 1988 - VAR-ORIENT SHIPPING CO., INC., ET AL. v. TOMAS D. ACHACOSO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 82330 May 31, 1988 - DIAL CORPORATION, ET AL. v. CLEMENTE M. SORIANO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 82568 May 31, 1988 - ALFREDO R.A. BENGZON, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.