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Serrano vs.

Gallant Maritime Services


Facts
Petitioner was hired by Gallant Maritime with 12 months contract as a Chief Offi
cer with basic salart of $1,400 a month. On the date of his departure he was con
strained to accept a downgraded employment for a contract for the position of Se
cond Officer with monthly salary of $1,000.00 with the assurance that he would b
e made Chief Officer after a month.
Gallant did not deliver on their promise so the petitioner refused to stay as se
cond officer and repatriated to the Philippines. Petitioners employment contract
was for a period of 12 months but he only served 2 months and 7 days leaving an
unexpired portion of 9 months and 23 days.
Serrano filed with the Labor Arbiter a complaint against the respondents for con
structive dismissal and for payment of money claims of unexpired portion plus le
ave amounting to $26,442.73. And the Labor Arbiter declared the dismissal of the
petitioner illegal and awarding the monetary benefits which amounted to $8,770.
00 representing the Serrano's salary for three months of unexpired portion of th
e aforesaid contract of employment.
Serrano and Gallant appealed to NLRC where it modified the decision of the Labor
Artbiter in ordering Gallant to pay Serrano $4,200.00 where the overtime and va
cation pay was not proven to have been actually performed.
The CA affirmed the NLRC ruling and it was appealed to the SC. Serrano filed a M
otion for Partial Reconsideration, but this time he questioned the constitutiona
lity of the last clause in the 5th paragraph of Section 10 of RA 8042.
ISSUES:
1. Whether or not the subject clause violates Section 10, Article III of the Con
stitution on non-impairment of contracts;
2. Whether or not the subject clause violate Section 1, Article III of the Const
itution, and Section 18, Article II and Section 3, Article XIII on labor as a pr
otected sector.
HELD:
On the first issue.
The answer is in the negative. Petitioner s claim that the subject clause unduly i
nterferes with the stipulations in his contract on the term of his employment an
d the fixed salary package he will receive is not tenable.
The subject clause may not be declared unconstitutional on the ground that it im
pinges on the impairment clause, for the law was enacted in the exercise of the
police power of the State to regulate a business, profession or calling, particu
larly the recruitment and deployment of OFWs, with the noble end in view of ensu
ring respect for the dignity and well-being of OFWs wherever they may be employe
d.
On the second issue.
The answer is in the affirmative.
To Filipino workers, the rights guaranteed under the foregoing constitutional pr
ovisions translate to economic security and parity.

Upon cursory reading, the subject clause appears facially neutral, for it applie
s to all OFWs. However, a closer examination reveals that the subject clause has
a discriminatory intent against, and an invidious impact on, OFWs at two levels
:
First, OFWs with employment contracts of less than one year vis--vis OFWs with em
ployment contracts of one year or more;
Second, among OFWs with employment contracts of more than one year; and
Third, OFWs vis--vis local workers with fixed-period employment;
The subject clause singles out one classification of OFWs and burdens it with a
peculiar disadvantage.
Thus, the subject clause in the 5th paragraph of Section 10 of R.A. No. 8042 is
violative of the right of petitioner and other OFWs to equal protection.
The subject clause or for three months for every year of the unexpired term, whic
hever is less in the 5th paragraph of Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8042 is DECL
ARED UNCONSTITUTIONAL.