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WALLEM MARITIME SERVICES vs.

NLRC
263 SCRA 174

FACTS:
Joselito Macatuno, private respondent, was a seaman on board the
M/T Fortuna of Liberian registry. He was hired by Wallem
Shipmanagament Ltd. Thru its manning agent Wallem Maritime Services
Inc. Macatuno’s contract of employment covers 10 months.
While the vessel was berthed at the port of Kawasaki, Japan, an
altercation took place between Macatuno and Gurimbao, a fellow Filipino
against a cadet/apprentice officer of the same nationality as the captain
of the vessel. The cadet/apprentice ordered Gurimbao to shove and
throw dirty and oily water at the port of Japan. The latter protested since
such act is against the laws of Japan. However, the cadet/apprentice
insisted on his orders so Gurimbao complied with it. Having finished his
job, Gurimbao sought the aid of Macatuno to approach the
cadet/apprentice about his “improper and unauthorized act.” When the
two Filipinos approached the cadet/apprentice, the latter reacted
violently so Macatuno LEB“pushed” the latter twice on his chest while
Gurimbao “mildly hit his arm.”
The captain witnessed the altercation and entered the incident in
the tanker’s logbook. He summoned the two Filipinos at his cabin. The
captain told them to pack their things as their services are being
terminated. As a consequence, the two were repatriated to the
Philippines where they lodged complaints for illegal dismissal with the
POEA. Petitioners contend that the two Filipinos had been
delinquent on board the vessel as shown by the records of the captain’s
logbook
The POEA found that the private respondents Macatuno and
Gurimabao’s dismissals were illegal. The NLRC affirmed the decision of
the POEA. Hence, the instant petition.

ISSUE:
Whether the dismissal of the two seamen were illegal.

RULING/DECISION:
The Court upheld the decision of the NLRC in finding that the
private respondents were illegally dismissed.
Petitioners did not submit as evidence to the POEA the logbook
itself but was merely a typewritten collation of excerpts from what could
be the logbook. Hence, as the typewritten excerpts from then “logbook”
were the only pieces of evidence presented by petitioners to support the
dismissal of private respondent have no probative value at all,
petitioners’ cause must fail.
That the workers involvement in the incident was “mustered” or
convened thereafter by the captain is inconsequential. It is sufficient
compliance with the law which, requires, as a vital component of due
process, observance of the twin requirements of notice and hearing
before dismissing an employee.

LEB