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PNB v.

Ramon Brigido Velasco


11 September 2008, Reyes
Facts
This is a tale of a bank officer-depositor clinging to his position after violating bank regulations and
falsifying his passbook to cover up a false transaction. (Couldnt help copy-pasting this)
Velasco, a P! "udit officer, and his #ife !elen, $aintained a dollar savings account at P! %scolta.
&hile he #as in P! 'igao, "lbay on official business, he #ithdre# ()*,+++ fro$ his account. ,is
account had ()*,-./.+0 at that ti$e. 1ince the 'igao !ranch is an off-line branch2one #ith no net#ork
connection or co$puter linkage #ith other P! branches and the head office, the transaction #as not
posted in the co$puter of the %scolta branch. The transaction #as evidenced by an 3nteroffice 1avings
"ccount &ithdra#al 1lip aka the Ticket %4change Center (T%C). The T%C #as received by the %scolta
branch but the #ithdra#al re$ained unrecorded in the %scolta branch. 5n the prete4t that he received a
call fro$ his brother infor$ing hi$ that he #as sent ()*k, Velasco updated his dollar savings account by
depositing ()6.0. and found that he had a balance of ()*,-./.+). ,e and his #ife then $ade several
inter-branch #ithdra#als totaling to ()*k7 and subse8uently closed their account.
"l$ost a year later, #hen an audit #as conducted at P! %scolta, the 3nternal "udit 9ept (3"9)
discovered the interbranch #ithdra#al in P! 'igao. Velasco #as notified of the glitch and he clai$ed
that he :ust confir$ed #ith his brother that the ()*k deposit #as not $ade after all. ,e then paid the ()*k
#ithdra#al by delivering ; checks in the a$ount of (*k each.
Velasco #as $ade to e4plain the incident. "t first, he clai$ed that the #ithdra#al at 'igao #as a <no
book= #ithdra#al2#ithout presentation to the bank teller of the savings passbook but that his #ithdra#al
#as acco$$odated as he #as kno#n to the staff at 'igao, being a for$er colleague. The <no book=
#ithdra#al clai$ #as confir$ed by P! 'igao.
Velasco #as then for$ally charged #ith 9ishonesty, >rave ?isconduct, and@or Conduct >rossly
Pre:udicial to the !est 3nterest of the 1ervice. The charge alleged that the no book #ithdra#al #as a
violation of the regulations of the bank, that he should have presented a letter of introduction #hen he
$ade the no book #ithdra#al and that he is presu$ed to kno# that his #ithdra#al and the alleged
deposit #ere not reflected on his passbook, thus, he #as able to appropriate ()*k for his personal
benefit, free of interest, to the da$age and pre:udice of P!.
P! #ithheld his rice and sugar subsidy, dental@optical@outpatient $edical benefits, consolidated $edical
benefits, co$$utation of hospitaliAation benefits, clothing allo#ance, longevity pay, anniversary bonus,
Christ$as bonus and cash gift, perfor$ance incentive a#ard, and $id-year financial assistance. ,e #as
also subse8uently placed under preventive suspension for B+ days. (!" only provides #or $0 days%
Velasco sub$itted his "ns#er to the charge against hi$. This ti$e, he clai$ed that his #ithdra#al #as
#ith passbook and attached a copy of his passbook #ith the #ithdra#al entry. ,e clai$ed that his first
e4planation #as $ade under pressing circu$stances and that he could not find his passbook #hich #as
#ith his #ife #ho could not be contacted.
Velasco #as e4onerated of the charges of dishonesty and conduct pre:udicial to the best interest of
service. ,e #as found guilty of grave $isconduct, $itigated by length of service and absence of actual
loss to P!. ,is penalty #as forced resignation #ith benefits. Velasco filed for illegal suspension, illegal
dis$issal and da$ages before the 'CC.
The '" dis$issed the co$plaint. ,e said that Velasco is e4pected to kno# bank procedures, having been
an %% and officer of P! for ). years. Velasco should have kno#n that there #as inconsistency
regarding the a$ount reflected on his passbook. The '" found Velascos clai$ regarding the $oney
supposedly deposited by his brother as a fli$sy e4cuse and the #ithdra#al entry on his passbook a
forgery. Velascos preventive suspension #as found reasonable considering the sensitive nature of his
position and in order to protect the records of P!. The #ithdra#al of his benefits #as also held to be
reasonable but the '" found that Velasco should be paid his salary.
5n appeal, the 'CC affir$ed the '" #ith the $odification that the a$ount of unpaid salary due to
Velasco #as reduced.
The C" reversed the '" and 'CC and ordered P9 to pay Velasco his separation pay plus back#ages.
"ccording to the C", the failure of Velasco to present his passbook and a letter of introduction does not
constitute $isconduct. "ssu$ing for the sake of argu$ent that he co$$itted a serious $isconduct in not
properly $onitoring his account #ith ordinary diligence and prudence, the sa$e $ay be said of P!
#hen it failed to $ake the necessary posting of his #ithdra#al. 'astly, the alleged offense of Velasco is
not #ork-related to constitute :ust cause for his dis$issal.
&ss'e
&5 Velasco co$$itted serious $isconduct (there #as also a procedural issue on the proper re$edy to
C", it should have been a Cule /* petition and not appeal)
(eld)Ratio *+S
"rt 6.6 of the 'C enu$erates the :ust causes #here an %C $ay ter$inate the services of an %%, to #itD
a) 1erious $isconduct or #illful disobedience by the e$ployee of the la#ful orders of his e$ployer
or representative in connection #ith his #orkE
b) >ross and habitual neglect by the e$ployee of his dutiesE
c) Fraud or #illful breach by the e$ployee of the trust reposed in hi$ by his e$ployer or duly
authoriAed representativeE
d) Co$$ission of a cri$e or offense by the e$ployee against the person of his e$ployer or any
i$$ediate $e$ber of his fa$ily or his duly authoriAed representativeE and
e) 5ther causes analogous to the foregoing.
?isconduct is defined as <i$proper and #rongful conduct. 3t is the transgression of so$e established and
definite rule of action, a forbidden act, a dereliction of duty, #illful in character, and i$plies #rongful intent
and not $ere error in :udg$ent= ("ustria v. 'CC).
5rdinary $isconduct #ould not :ustify ter$ination of the services of an %%. The la# is e4plicit that
$isconduct should be serious. . 3t is settled that in order for $isconduct to be serious, Git $ust be of such
grave and aggravated character and not $erely trivial or uni$portant.G "s a$plified by :urisprudence, the
$isconduct $ust ()) be seriousE (6) relate to the perfor$ance of the e$ployees dutiesE and (;) sho# that
the e$ployee has beco$e unfit to continue #orking for the e$ployer.
()) Velascos $isconduct is serious. ,e violated bank rules #hen he transacted a <no-book=
#ithdra#al (1C also did not believe his latter clai$ that it #as a #ith passbook #ithdra#al
especially since the no book transaction #as confir$ed by the 'igao officers). "side fro$ failing
to present his passbook, he did not present a letter of introduction ('53) as $andated under a
bank circular #hich re8uires an '53 before a depositor #ithdra#s fro$ his Peso 1avings account
out-of-to#n.
The said re8uire$ents #ere necessary, especially in the 'igao !ranch, in order for the
negotiating branch to deter$ine or ascertain the available balance and speci$en signature of the
#ithdra#ing party. "lso, the $aintaining branch, upon issuance of the '53 shall place a <hold= on
the account in the co$puter as an internal control procedure.
The 1C construed the circular liberally so as to include not only peso savings account but also
dollars. 5ther#ise, there can be a circu$vention of the rule. e$o potest facere per aliu$ 8ud
non potest facere per directu$. o one is allo#ed to do indirectly #hat he is prohibited to do
directly. 1inu$an ay hindi pinapayagang ga#in nang hindi tu#iran ang ipinagbaba#al ga#in nang
tu#iran.
"s an audit officer, Velasco should be the first to ensure that banking la#s, policies, rules and
regulations are strictly observed and applied by its officers in the day to day transactions. "nent
the C"s finding that Velasco is not guilty of serious $isconduct since P! itself ad$itted that no
book transactions #ithout an '5H is considered co$$on practice. "lso, the C" said that P!
should have also charged the officers in 'igao #ho approved the no book transaction.
The 1C, ho#ever, said that the fact that such transaction is a co$$on practice is no e4cuse.
Velasco could not feign ignorance of the rules. "lso, it is P!s option #ho to charge or punish.
1C also held that factual findings of 8uasi-:udicial agencies, #hich have ac8uired e4pertise in
$atters entrusted to their :urisdiction, are accorded not only respect but also finality if they are
supported by substantial evidence.
(6) Velascos $isconduct relates to the perfor$ance of duties. Velasco has dual personality,
depositor and officer of P!. &hen he #ithdre# in 'igao, he failed to present his passbook and
an '53. ,is $isconduct #as aggravated #hen he tried to cover up his infractions by falsifying his
passbook.
(;) ,e has beco$e unfit to continue #orking at P!. That it is his first offense is of no $o$ent
because he holds a $anagerial position. %$ployers are allo#ed #ide latitude of discretion in
ter$inating $anagerial e$ployees #ho, by virtue of their position, re8uire full trust and
confidence in the perfor$ance of their duties. ?anagerial e$ployees like Velasco are tasked to
perfor$ key and sensitive functions and are bound by $ore e4acting #ork ethics. 3ndeed, not
even his ). years of service could e4onerate hi$.
The C" erred #hen it directed P! to pay separation pay and back#ages. P! has no other liability to
Velasco e4cept for his unpaid #ages fro$ ?ay to Iuly, )BB/. P! is under the :urisdiction of the 'C
#hose 1ecs . and B of of Cule JJ333, !ook V of the 3$ple$enting Cules stateD
1ection .. Preventive 1uspension. K The e$ployer $ay place the #orker concerned under preventive
suspension if his continued e$ploy$ent poses a serious and i$$inent threat to the life or property of the
e$ployer or his co-#orkers.
1ection B. o preventive suspension shall last longer than thirty (;+) days. The e$ployer shall thereafter
reinstate the #orker in his for$er or in a substantially e8uivalent position or the e$ployer $ay e4tend the
period of suspension provided that during the period of e4tension, he pays the #ages and other benefits
due to the #orker. 3n such case, the #orker shall not be bound to rei$burse the a$ount paid to hi$
during the e4tension if the e$ployer decides, after co$pletion of the hearing, to dis$iss the #orker.
PNB ,as t,e rig,t to preventively s'spend Velasco d'ring t,e pendency o# t,e administrative case
against ,im. &t -as obvio'sly done as a meas're o# sel#.protection. &t -as necessary to sec're t,e
vital records o# PNB -,ic,, in vie- o# t,e position o# Velasco as internal a'ditor, are easily
accessible to ,im. /important part%
Velasco #as preventively suspended for $ore than thirty (;+) days as of ?ay 60, )BB/, #hile the records
bear that Velasco #as paid his salaries fro$ "ugust ), )BB/ to 5ctober ;), )BB/.L0BM Thus, the 'CC is
correct in its holding that he $ay recover his salaries fro$ ?ay 60, )BB/ to Iuly ;), )BB/.
The la# i$poses great burdens on the e$ployer. 5ne needs only to look at the varied provisions of the
'abor Code. 3ndeed, the la# is tilted to#ards the plight of the #orking $an. The 'abor Code is titled that
#ay and not as G%$ployer Code.G "s one "$erican ruling puts it, the protection of labor is the highest
office of our la#s.
Corollary to this, ho#ever, is the right of the e$ployer to e4pect fro$ the e$ployee no less than ade8uate
#ork, diligence and good conduct. "s ?r. Iustice Ioseph ?cNenna of the Hnited 1tates 1upre$e Court
said in "riAona Copper Co. v. ,a$$er, GLtMhe difference bet#een the position of the e$ployer and the
e$ployee, si$ply considering the latter as econo$ically #eaker, is not a :ustification for the violation of
the rights of the for$er.G (dahil $ahilig si sir sa 8uotable 8uotes)