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Mariveles Shipyard V CA G.R. No.

144134;
November 11, 2003; 41 SCRA !3
"e#ember $, 2010
R%&e' (bliCo) #ase di*es+, #ivil la,, di*es+, mariveles v #a, obli#o) &eave a #omme)+
Facts:
Sometime on October 1993, Mariveles Shipyard Corporation engaged the services of Longest Force
nvestigation and Sec!rity "gency, nc# to render sec!rity services at its premises# $!rs!ant to their
agreement, Longest Force deployed its sec!rity g!ards, the private respondents herein, at the petitioner%s
shipyard in Mariveles, &ataan#
"ccording to petitioner, it religio!sly complied 'ith the terms of the sec!rity contract 'ith Longest Force,
promptly paying its bills and the contract rates of the latter# (o'ever, it fo!nd the services being rendered
by the assigned g!ards !nsatisfactory and inade)!ate, ca!sing it to terminate its contract 'ith Longest
Force on "pril 199*# Longest Force, in t!rn, terminated the employment of the sec!rity g!ards it had
deployed at petitioner%s shipyard#
On September 199+, private respondents filed a case for illegal dismissal, !nderpayment of 'ages
p!rs!ant to the $,$SOS"-$".$"O rates, non-payment of overtime pay, premi!m pay for holiday and
rest day, service incentive leave pay, 13th month pay and attorney%s fees, against both Longest Force and
petitioner, before the Labor "rbiter# /he case so!ght the g!ards% reinstatement 'ith f!ll bac0 'ages and
'itho!t loss of seniority rights#
Longest Force admitted that it employed private respondents and assigned them as sec!rity g!ards at the
premises of petitioner rendering a 11 ho!rs d!ty per shift for the said period# t li0e'ise admitted its
liability as to the non-payment of the alleged 'age differential in the total amo!nt of $1,+12,31* b!t
passed on the liability to petitioner
/he petitioner denied any liability on acco!nt of the alleged illegal dismissal, stressing that no employer-
employee relationship e4isted bet'een it and the sec!rity g!ards# t f!rther pointed o!t that it 'o!ld be
the height of in5!stice to ma0e it liable again for monetary claims 'hich it had already paid# "nent the
cross-claim filed by Longest Force against it, petitioner prayed that it be dismissed for lac0 of merit#
$etitioner averred that Longest Force had benefited from the contract6 it 'as no' estopped from
)!estioning said agreement on the gro!nd that it had made a bad deal#
/he Labor "rbiter rendered 5!dgment that Longest Force and Mariveles Shipping be 5ointly and severally
liable to pay the money claims of the complainants# $etitioner appealed the foregoing to the ,L7C# /he
labor trib!nal, affirmed the decision of the Labor "rbiter# $etitioner moved for reconsideration, b!t this 'as
denied by the ,L7C#
/he petitioner then filed a special civil action for certiorari assailing the ,L7C 5!dgment for having been
rendered 'ith grave ab!se of discretion 'ith the Co!rt of "ppeals# /he Co!rt of "ppeals denied d!e
co!rse to the petition and dismissed it o!tright#
ss!e:
8O, Longest Force sho!ld be held solely and !ltimately liable#
(eld:
$etitioner%s liability is 5oint and several 'ith that of Longest Force, p!rs!ant to "rticles 13+, 139 and 139
of the Labor Code 'hich provide as follo's:
"7/# 13+# CO,/7"C/O7 O7 S:&CO,/7"C/O7# ; 8henever an employer enters into a contract 'ith
another person for the performance of the former%s 'or0, the employees of the contractor and of the
latter%s s!bcontractor, if any, shall be paid in accordance 'ith the provisions of this Code#
n the event that the contractor or s!bcontractor fails to pay the 'ages of his employees in accordance
'ith this Code, the employer shall be 5ointly and severally liable 'ith his contractor or s!bcontractor to
s!ch employees to the e4tent of the 'or0 performed !nder the contract, in the same manner and e4tent
that he is liable to employees directly employed by him#
"7/# 139# ,.7<C/ <M$LO=<7# ; /he provisions of the immediately preceding "rticle shall li0e'ise
apply to any person, partnership, association or corporation 'hich, not being an employer, contracts 'ith
an independent contractor for the performance of any 'or0, tas0, 5ob or pro5ect#
"7/# 139# SOL."7= L"&L/= # ; /he provisions of e4isting la's to the contrary not'ithstanding,
every employer or indirect employer shall be held responsible 'ith his contractor or s!bcontractor for any
violation of any provision of this Code# For p!rposes of determining the e4tent of their civil liability !nder
this Chapter, they shall be considered as direct employers#
n this case, 'hen petitioner contracted for sec!rity services 'ith Longest Force as the sec!rity agency
that hired private respondents to 'or0 as g!ards for the shipyard corporation, petitioner became an
indirect employer of private respondents p!rs!ant to "rticle 139 abovecited# Follo'ing "rticle 13+, 'hen
the agency as contractor failed to pay the g!ards, the corporation as principal becomes 5ointly and
severally liable for the g!ards% 'ages# /his is mandated by the Labor Code to ens!re compliance 'ith its
provisions, incl!ding payment of stat!tory minim!m 'age#
/he sec!rity agency is held liable by virt!e of its stat!s as direct employer, 'hile the corporation is
deemed the indirect employer of the g!ards for the p!rpose of paying their 'ages in the event of fail!re of
the agency to pay them# /his stat!tory scheme gives the 'or0ers the ample protection consonant 'ith
labor and social 5!stice provisions of the 1929 Constit!tion# $etitioner cannot evade its liability by claiming
that it had religio!sly paid the compensation of g!ards as stip!lated !nder the contract 'ith the sec!rity
agency# Labor standards are enacted by the legislat!re to alleviate the plight of 'or0ers 'hose 'ages
barely meet the spiraling costs of their basic needs# Labor la's are considered 'ritten in every contract#
Stip!lations in violation thereof are considered n!ll# Similarly, legislated 'age increases are deemed
amendments to the contract# /h!s, employers cannot hide behind their contracts in order to evade their
>or their contractors% or s!bcontractors%? liability for noncompliance 'ith the stat!tory minim!m 'age#
(o'ever, the co!rt emphasi@es that the solidary liability of petitioner 'ith that of Longest Force does not
precl!de the application of the Civil Code provision on the right of reimb!rsement from his co-debtor by
the one 'ho paid# "s held in .el 7osario A Sons Logging <nterprises, nc# v# ,L7C , the 5oint and several
liability imposed on petitioner is 'itho!t pre5!dice to a claim for reimb!rsement by petitioner against the
sec!rity agency for s!ch amo!nts as petitioner may have to pay to complainants, the private respondents
herein# /he sec!rity agency may not see0 e4c!lpation by claiming that the principal%s payments to it 'ere
inade)!ate for the g!ards% la'f!l compensation# "s an employer, the sec!rity agency is charged 'ith
0no'ledge of labor la's6 and the ade)!acy of the compensation that it demands for contract!al services
is its principal concern and not any other%s#