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G.R. No. 206020,
April 14, 2015
TOPIC: Election law, prior restraint of free speech, posting of campaign materials on
PUV and public terminals, captive-audience doctrine
The right to participate in electoral processes is a basic and fundamental right in any
democracy. It includes not only the right to vote, but also the right to urge others to vote
for a particular candidate. The right to express ones preference for a candidate is
likewise part of the fundamental right to free speech. Thus, any governmental
restriction on the right to convince others to vote for a candidate carries with it a heavy
presumption of invalidity.
On January 15, 2013, the COMELEC promulgated Resolution No. 9615, which provided
for the rules implementing R.A. No. 9006 in connection with the May 13, 2013 national
and local elections and subsequent elections. Section 7 thereof, which enumerates the
prohibited forms of election propaganda, pertinently provides:
SEC. 7. Prohibited Forms of Election Propaganda. During the campaign
period, it is unlawful:
(f) To post, display or exhibit any election campaign or propaganda material outside of
authorized common poster areas, in public places, or in private properties without the
consent of the owner thereof.
(g) Public places referred to in the previous subsection (f) include any of the following:
5. Public utility vehicles such as buses, jeepneys, trains, taxi cabs, ferries, pedicabs and
tricycles, whether motorized or not;
6. Within the premises of public transport terminals, such as bus terminals, airports,
seaports, docks, piers, train stations, and the like.
The violation of items [5 and 6] under subsection (g) shall be a cause for the revocation
of the public utility franchise and will make the owner and/or operator of the
transportation service and/or terminal liable for an election offense under Section 9 of
Republic Act No. 9006 as implemented by Section 18 (n) of these Rules.
Petitioner sought for clarification from COMELEC as regards the application of
REsolution No. 9615 particularly Section 7(g) items (5) and (6), in relation to Section
7(f), vis--vis privately owned public utility vehicles (PUVs) and transport terminals.
The petitioner then requested the COMELEC to reconsider the implementation of the
assailed provisions and allow private owners of PUVs and transport terminals to post
election campaign materials on their vehicles and transport terminals.

The COMELEC en banc issued Minute Resolution No. 13-0214, which denied the
petitioners request to reconsider the implementation of Section 7(g) items (5) and (6),
in relation to Section 7(f), of Resolution No. 9615.
Whether or not Section 7(g) items (5) and (6), in relation to Section 7(f), of
Resolution No. 9615 are constitutional.
The Supreme Court held that the said provisions of Resolution No. 9615 are null and
void for being repugnant to Sections 1 and 4, Article III of the 1987 Constitution.
Section 7(g) items (5) and (6), in relation to Section 7(f), of Resolution No.
9615 are prior restraints on speech
Section 7(g) items (5) and (6), in relation to Section 7(f), of Resolution No. 9615
unduly infringe on the fundamental right of the people to freedom of speech. Central to
the prohibition is the freedom of individuals, i.e., the owners of PUVs and private
transport terminals, to express their preference, through the posting of election
campaign material in their property, and convince others to agree with them.
Pursuant to the assailed provisions of Resolution No. 9615, posting an election
campaign material during an election period in PUVs and transport terminals carries
with it the penalty of revocation of the public utility franchise and shall make the owner
thereof liable for an election offense.
The prohibition constitutes a clear prior restraint on the right to
freeexpression of the owners of PUVs and transport terminals. As a result
of the prohibition, owners of PUVs and transport terminals are forcefully
and effectively inhibited from expressing their preferences under the pain
of indictment for an election offense and the revocation of their franchise
or permit to operate.
The assailed prohibition on posting election campaign materials is an
invalid content-neutral regulation repugnant to the free speech clause.
A content-neutral regulation, i.e., which is merely concerned with the
incidents of the speech, or one that merely controls the time, place or manner, and
under well-defined standards, is constitutionally permissible, even if it restricts the right
to free speech, provided that the following requisites concur:

The government regulation is within the constitutional power of the Government;

It furthers an important or substantial governmental interest;
The governmental interest is unrelated to the suppression of free expression; and
The incidental restriction on freedom of expression is no greater than is essential
to the furtherance of that interest.

Section 7(g) items (5) and (6) of Resolution No. 9615 are content-neutral
regulations since they merely control the place where election campaign materials may
be posted. However, the prohibition is still repugnant to the free speech clause as it fails
to satisfy all of the requisites for a valid content-neutral regulation.
Section 7(g) items (5) and (6), in relation to Section 7(f), of Resolution No.
9615, are not within the constitutionally delegated power of the COMELEC
under Section 4, Article IX-C of the Constitution. Also, there is absolutely no
necessity to restrict the right to free speech of the owners of PUVs and transport
The COMELEC may only regulate the franchise or permit to operate and not
the ownership per se of PUVs and transport terminals.
In the instant case, the Court further delineates the constitutional grant of supervisory
and regulatory powers to the COMELEC during an election period. As worded, Section
4, Article IX-C of the Constitution only grants COMELEC supervisory and regulatory
powers over the enjoyment or utilization of all franchises or permits for the operation,
inter alia, of transportation and other public utilities. The COMELECs constitutionally
delegated powers of supervision and regulation do not extend to the ownership per se of
PUVs and transport terminals, but only to the franchise or permit to operate the same.
Section 7(g) items (5) and (6) of Resolution No. 9615 are not within the
constitutionally delegated power of the COMELEC to supervise or regulate
the franchise or permit to operate of transportation utilities. The posting of
election campaign material on vehicles used for public transport or on transport
terminals is not only a form of political expression, but also an act of ownership it has
nothing to do with the franchise or permit to operate the PUV or transport terminal.
Section 7(g) items (5) and (6) of Resolution No. 9615 are not justified under
the captive-audience doctrine.
The captive-audience doctrine states that when a listener cannot, as a practical
matter, escape from intrusive speech, the speech can be restricted. The
captive-audience doctrine recognizes that a listener has a right not to be
exposed to an unwanted message in circumstances in which the
communication cannot be avoided.
A regulation based on the captive-audience doctrine is in the guise of censorship, which
undertakes selectively to shield the public from some kinds of speech on the ground that
they are more offensive than others. Such selective restrictions have been upheld only
when the speaker intrudes on the privacy of the home or the degree of captivity makes it
either impossible or impractical for the unwilling viewer or auditor to avoid exposure.
Thus, a government regulation based on the captive-audience doctrine may not be
justified if the supposed captive audience may avoid exposure to the otherwise
intrusive speech. The prohibition under Section 7(g) items (5) and (6) of
Resolution No. 9615 is not justified under the captive-audience doctrine; the
commuters are not forced or compelled to read the election campaign materials posted

on PUVs and transport terminals. Nor are they incapable of declining to receive the
messages contained in the posted election campaign materials since they may simply
avert their eyes if they find the same unbearably intrusive.
Lehmans case not applicable
The COMELEC, in insisting that it has the right to restrict the posting of election
campaign materials on PUVs and transport terminals, cites Lehman v. City of Shaker
Heights, a case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. In Lehman, a policy of the city
government, which prohibits political advertisements on government-run buses, was
upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court held that the advertising
space on the buses was not a public forum, pointing out that advertisement space on
government-run buses, although incidental to the provision of public transportation, is
a part of commercial venture. In the same way that other commercial ventures need
not accept every proffer of advertising from the general public, the citys transit system
has the discretion on the type of advertising that may be displayed on its vehicles.
In Lehman, the political advertisement was intended for PUVs owned by the city
government; the city government, as owner of the buses, had the right to decide which
type of advertisements would be placed on its buses.
Lehman actually upholds the freedom of the owner of the utility vehicles, i.e., the city
government, in choosing the types of advertisements that would be placed on its
properties. In stark contrast, Section 7(g) items (5) and (6) of Resolution No. 9615
curtail the choice of the owners of PUVs and transport terminals on the advertisements
that may be posted on their properties.
Also, the city government in Lehman had the right, nay the duty, to refuse political
advertisements on their buses. Considering that what were involved were facilities
owned by the city government, impartiality, or the appearance thereof, was a necessity.
In the instant case, the ownership of PUVs and transport terminals remains private;
there exists no valid reason to suppress their political views by proscribing the posting of
election campaign materials on their properties.
Prohibiting owners of PUVs and transport terminals from posting election
campaign materials violates the equal protection clause.
Section 7(g) items (5) and (6) of Resolution No. 9615 do not only run afoul of the free
speech clause, but also of the equal protection clause. One of the basic principles on
which this government was founded is that of the equality of right, which is embodied in
Section 1, Article III of the 1987 Constitution.
It is conceded that the classification under Section 7(g) items (5) and (6) of Resolution
No. 9615 is not limited to existing conditions and applies equally to the members of the
purported class. However, the classification remains constitutionally impermissible
since it is not based on substantial distinction and is not germane to the purpose of the
law. A distinction exists between PUVs and transport terminals and private

vehicles and other properties in that the former, to be considered as such,

needs to secure from the government either a franchise or a permit to
operate. Nevertheless, as pointed out earlier, the prohibition imposed
under Section 7(g) items (5) and (6) of Resolution No. 9615 regulates the
ownership per se of the PUV and transport terminals; the prohibition does
not in any manner affect the franchise or permit to operate of the PUV and
transport terminals.
As regards ownership, there is no substantial distinction between owners of PUVs and
transport terminals and owners of private vehicles and other properties. As already
explained, the ownership of PUVs and transport terminals, though made available for
use by the public, remains private. If owners of private vehicles and other
properties are allowed to express their political ideas and opinion by
posting election campaign materials on their properties, there is no cogent
reason to deny the same preferred right to owners of PUVs and transport
terminals. In terms of ownership, the distinction between owners of PUVs
and transport terminals and owners of private vehicles and properties is
merely superficial. Superficial differences do not make for a valid
The fact that PUVs and transport terminals are made available for use by
the public is likewise not substantial justification to set them apart from
private vehicles and other properties. Admittedly, any election campaign material
that would be posted on PUVs and transport terminals would be seen by many people.
However, election campaign materials posted on private vehicles and other places
frequented by the public, e.g.,commercial establishments, would also be seen by many
people. Thus, there is no reason to single out owners of PUVs and transport terminals
in the prohibition against posting of election campaign materials.
Section 7(g) items (5) and (6), in relation to Section 7(f), of Resolution No. 9615 violate
the free speech clause; they are content-neutral regulations, which are not within the
constitutional power of the COMELEC issue and are not necessary to further the
objective of ensuring equal time, space and opportunity to the candidates. They are not
only repugnant to the free speech clause, but are also violative of the equal protection
clause, as there is no substantial distinction between owners of PUV s and transport
terminals and owners of private vehicles and other properties.
On a final note, it bears stressing that the freedom to advertise ones political candidacy
is clearly a significant part of our freedom of expression. A restriction on this freedom
without rhyme or reason is a violation of the most valuable feature of the democratic
way of life.

SSS vs Azote
Case Digest GR 209741 April 15, 2015
In 1994, Edgardo submitted his SSS Form E-4 with his wife Edna and their children
as beneficiaries. When he died in 2005, Edna tried to claim the death benefits as
the wife of a deceased member but it was denied. It appears from the SSS records
that Edgardo had another set of SSS Form E-4 in 1982 where his former wife
Rosemarie and their child were designated as beneficiaries. Edna did not know that
Edgardo was previously married to another woman. She then filed for a petition
before the SSS, and notice was sent to Rosemarie but she made no answer. The
SSC dismissed Ednas petition because the SSS Form E-4 designating Rosemarie
and her child was not revoked by Edgardo, and that she was still presumed to be
the legal wife as Edna could not proved that Edgardos previous marriage was
annulled or divorced.
Issue: W/N Edna is entitled to the SSS benefits as the wife of a deceased member
No. The law in force at the time of Edgardos death was RA 8282. Applying Section
8(e) and (k) thereof, only the legal spouse of the deceased-member is qualified to
be the beneficiary of the latters SS benefits. Here, there is a concrete proof that
Edgardo contracted an earlier marriage with another individual as evidenced by
their marriage contract.
Since the second marriage of Edgardo with Edna was celebrated when the Family
Code was already in force. Edna, pursuant to Art 41 of the Family Code, failed to
establish that there was no impediment or that the impediment was already
removed at the time of the celebration of her marriage to Edgardo. Edna could not
adduce evidence to prove that the earlier marriage of Edgardo was either annulled
or dissolved or whether there was a declaration of Rosemaries presumptive death
before her marriage to Edgardo. What is apparent is that Edna was the second wife
of Edgardo. Considering that Edna was not able to show that she was the legal
spouse of a deceased-member, she would not qualify under the law to be the
beneficiary of the death benefits of Edgardo.
Although the SSC is not intrinsically empowered to determine the validity of
marriages, it is required by Section 4(b) (7) of R.A. No. 828229 to examine available
statistical and economic data to ensure that the benefits fall into the rightful

Smart vs Solidum
Case Digest GR 204646 April 15 2015
Solidum was dismissed for dishonesty-related offenses. The Labor Arbiter ruled that
he was illegally dismissed and thereby entitled to reinstatement and full back
wages. Solidum received the copy of LAs decision on July 13, 2006. Smart appealed
before the NLRC. While appeal was pending, the LA issued writs of execution
covering the period of July 21, 2006 to January 22, 2009 for the collection of
Solidums the accrued salaries, allowances, benefits, incentives and bonuses.
In January 26, 2009, the NLRC reversed the LAs decision. Solidum filed a motion for
While waiting for the NLRC resolution, on May 4, 2009, Solidum filed before the LA
an ex parte motion for a writ of execution to be issued ordering the sheriff to collect
from Smart his salaries, etc. which accrued from January 21, 2009 to April 20, 2009.
The LA, however, denied the issuance of writ of execution on the ground that the
NLRC has reversed its decision, so that Solidum is no longer entitled to his claim of
reinstatement when the NLRC decision was rendered.
In May 29, 2009, the NLRC denied Solidums motion for reconsideration. Copy of the
decision was mailed to Solidum on July 11, 2009. In its entry of judgment, it was
confirmed that the NLRC May 29, 2009 resolution has become final and executory
on August 10, 2009.
Issue 1: W/N the Labor Arbiter is correct in denying the issuance of writ of execution
No. The Labor Arbiter should have issued the writ of execution because its
reinstatement order was still enforceable for the period of January 21 to April 20,
It is a well-settled jurisprudential rule that employees are entitled to their accrued
salaries, allowances, benefits, incentives and bonuses until the NLRCs reversal
of the labor arbiters order of reinstatement becomes final and executory.
Here, the NLRCs May 29, 2009 resolution on Solidums motion for reconsideration
became final on August 10, 2009, as shown in the entry of judgment. Hence,
Solidum is entitled to his reinstatement salaries and benefits which started from July
13, 2006 and until August 10, 2009.
Issue 2: W/N August 10, 2009 is the true date of finality of the May 29, 2009
Yes. Since the Entry of Judgment confirms that August 10, 2009 is the date of
finality of the NLRC decision promulgated on May 29, 2009, then it is so.
As a general rule under Sec 14 of the 2002 New Rules of NLRC Procedure, decisions
of the NLRC shall become final after 10 days from the receipt of the decision by the

parties. But when there is delay as shown by the absence of return card or
certification from the post office, the finality of the decision shall be determined by
the Clerk of Court by giving 60 calendar days from the mailing of the decision.
Here, it appears that there was no return card or certification or it was delayed after
the copy of the decision was mailed on June 11, 2009. Hence, an allowance of 60
calendar days was given for the delay making it final and executory only on August
10, 2009

Ceriola v. NAESS Shipping Philippines, Inc.

G.R. No. 193101; April 20, 2015
Perez, J.:
In a Petition for Review on Certiorari, petitioner Nicanor Ceriola challenges the
decision of the CA in setting aside the Resolution of the NLRC. The assailed
resolution denied the petitioners motion for reconsideration on his claims for
disability benefit under the POEA-SEC for seamen.
Petitioner Nicanor Ceriola was employed as a seafarer on board various vessels of
respondent NAESS Shipping Philippines, Inc. He was first deployed on board the
vessel GAS AL AHMADI. For re-deployment purposes, petitioner reported for
extensive medical examination where he was diagnosed to be suffering from early
stage of Lumbar Spondylosis. He was re-deployed for two successive contracts on
board the vessel GAS AL BURGAN. In between these employment contracts,
petitioner underwent medical examination because of severe back pains. The
results showed that the dislocation of petitioners lumbar vertebrae had aggravated.
Reckoned from the period of July 2001 to April 2002, the fact of the labor tribunals
and the appellate court conflicts the results of petitioners medical examinations.
Based on the CAs finding never during his work on board did petitioner complain of
any medical condition. There was never a proof presented that whatever medical
condition he complained of was caused by work-related illness or injury. It appears
from the record that petitioner never underwent post-employment medical
examination as required under Section 20 (B) of the POEA SEC.
Petitioner claims disability benefits for a work related injury or illness during the
term of his contract. Petitioner asseverates that his illness of "Lumbar Spondylosis"
is work related given that he experienced such while on board respondents vessel
in 1999, albeit he was given a "fit to work" certification effective for two (2) years
from year 2000. He then points out that during his last employment contract from
July 2001 to April 2002, his illness worsened and became aggravated resulting in a
diagnosis of "herniated disc L3L4 and L4L5."
Whether or not the illness is contracted during the course of employment hence,
No. Because of the conflicting factual findings of the labor tribunals and the
appellate court on petitioners actual medical condition after his last employment
contract, the SC reiterates the parameter of work related illness in resolving
petitioners claim for disability benefits. Under Section 20 (B) (3) of the 1996 POEASEC, for the employer to be liable: (1) the injury or illness must occur during the
term of contract, disputably presumed to be work related; (2) the injury or illness is
work related; and (3) the work related injury or illness is determined in a mandatory
post- employment medical examination by a company designated physician within

three (3) working days of the seafarers return. Claiming entitlement to benefits
under the law, petitioner must establish his right thereto by substantial evidence.
In Wallem Maritime Services, Inc. v. NLRC and Inductivo, the SC upheld the
exception to the mandatory requirement of the postemployment medical
examination: when the seaman is physically incapacitated from complying with the
requirement. Indeed, for a man who was terminally ill and in need of urgent medical
attention one could not reasonably expect that he would immediately resort to and
avail of the required medical examination, assuming that he was still capable of
submitting himself to such examination at that time. In Interorient Maritime
Enterprises, Inc. v. Remo, the SC carved another exception, not found in the law, i.e.
when the employer refuses to refer the seafarer to a companydesignated physician.
In the instant case, however, petitioner did not submit himself to a postemployment medical examination within three (3) days from his return. At the least,
petitioner should have reported that he was suffering from symptoms of his illness
while on board respondents vessel during the term of his last employment contract.


756 SCRA 196
April 20, 2015
Imbo was charged in the following Information:
On or about the period comprised from October 14, 2003 up to January 25, 2004, in Quezon City
Philippines, [Imbo], with force and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously commit acts of lasciviousness upon [AAA], his own daughter, 11 years old, a minor,
by then and there forcing her to remove her shorts, mashing her breasts and private parts and
kissing her, thereby subjecting said complainant to sexual abuse, with lewd design and against
her will, which act debases, degrades or demeans the intrinsic worth of dignity of [AAA] as a
human being, to the damage and prejudice of the said offended party.
Imbo claimed that his wife CCC, AAA's mother merely fabricated such a story(In AAA's story
she screamed for her mother CCC 3 times and was not heard and she was only able to tell her
mother about the incident in the following morning) that he had raped his daughter. Ultimately,
Imbo claimed that on the night in question, within the period from 14 October 2003 to 25
January 2004, no crime occurred, his days ending as did his workday which were from 8:30 a.m.
to 5:00 p.m.
The RTC convicted Imbo of the crime of Acts of Lasciviousness and was sentenced to suffer an
indeterminate sentence of FOURTEEN (14) YEARS, EIGHT (8) MONTHS OF RECLUSION
RECLUSION TEMPORAL AS MAXIMUM in accordance with Section 5 of Republic Act No.
7610, otherwise known as the Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation
and Discrimination.
W/N the Imbo is liable for the Crime of Acts of Lasciviousness
W/N Imbo is subject to the Penalty Imposed Under Sec 5 of RA7610 despite the fact that the
information failed to indicate its applicability?
Yes, Imbo has undoubtedly committed the Acts of Lasciviousness as all the elements of the crime
was sufficiently proven through the lone testimony of AAA which the court has held in more
than one occasion as more than sufficient to establish the guilt of the accused.1
1 Under Article 336 of the RPC, the elements of the crime of Acts of Lasciviousness are:(1)
That the offender commits any act of lasciviousness or lewdness;
(2) That it is done under any of the following circumstances:
a. By using force or intimidation; or
b. When the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; or
c. By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority; and
d. When the offended party is under 12 years of age.
(3) That the offended party is another person of either sex.

Yes, Imbo is Liable since under Sec 5 of RA 7610 such as in this When AAA a child was coerced
by her Father to indulge in acts of lasciviousness as sufficiently proven in the information .2
With regard to the Penalty the court found that the RTC's decision should be modified by
applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law. According to the Courts The Indeterminate Sentence
Law is applicable to prison sentence both for an offense punished by the RPC and an offense
punished "by any other law." The correct application of the Indeterminate Sentence Law has long
been clarified in People v. Simon which ruled that the underscored portion of Section 1 of the
Indeterminate Sentence Law, i.e. the "offense is punished by any other law," indubitably refers to
an offense under a special law where the penalty imposed was not taken from and is without
reference to the RPC.
The minimum term should be within the range of the penalty next lower to that prescribed by the
RPC, i.e. reclusion temporal in its minimum period of twelve (12) years and one (1) day to
fourteen (14) years and eight (8) months.
As for the maximum term of the imposable penalty on petitioner, the lower courts while correct,
should have mentioned Section 31(c), Article XII of R.A. No. 7610. The provision takes into
consideration the relationship between the parties, petitioner being AAAs father
With the aggravating circumstance of relationship and applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law,
the penalty imposed by the lower courts of seventeen (17) years, four (4) months of reclusion
temporal correctly does not exceed the maximum of the penalty range of reclusion temporal in
its medium period (14 years, 4 months and 1 day to 17 years and 4 months).

2 The elements of sexual abuse under Section 5, Article III of R.A. No. 7610 are:1.
The accused commits the act of sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct;
2. The said act is performed with a child exploited in prostitution or subjected to
other sexual abuse; and
3. The child, whether male or female, is below 18 years of age.


G.R. No. 183587,

April 20, 2015

TOPIC: Approval of rehabilitation plan

Lexber is a domestic corporation engaged in the business of housing, construction, and real
estate development. Among those who availed of Lexbers housing projects are respondent
Spouses Dalman, who bought a house and lot under a contract to sell in Lexbers Regal Lexber
Homes at Tuba, Benguet.
Because of the 1997 Asian financial crisis and other external factors, Lexbers financial
condition deteriorated. It was forced to discontinue some of its housing projects, including the
one where the Spouses Dalmans purchased property is located.
As Lexber could no longer pay its creditors, it filed a petition for rehabilitation with prayer for
the suspension of payments on its loan obligations. Among its creditors are the Spouses Dalman
who are yet to receive their purchased house and lot, or, in the alternative, a refund of their
payments which amounted to P900,000.00.
In an order dated June 12, 2007, the trial court gave due course to Lexbers rehabilitation petition
and appointed Atty. Rafael Chris F. Teston (Atty. Teston) as rehabilitation receiver. It further
ordered Atty. Teston to evaluate Lexbers rehabilitation plan and recommend the necessary
actions to be taken.
The Spouses Dalman filed a motion for reconsideration from this order and argued that
consistent with Rule 4, Section 1114 of the Interim Rules of Procedure on Corporate
Rehabilitation (Interim Rules), the trial court should have dismissed outright the rehabilitation
petition because it failed to approve the rehabilitation plan within 180 days from the date of the
initial hearing.
Whether or not the petition shall be automatically dismissed after the lapse of 180 days from the
date of the initial hearing.
No. The Court held that the lapse of the 180-day period for the approval of the rehabilitation plan
should not automatically result to the dismissal of the rehabilitation petition.
Section 11. Period of the Stay Order The stay order shall be effective from the date of its
issuance until the dismissal of the petition or the termination of the rehabilitation proceedings.

The petition shall be dismissed if no rehabilitation plan is approved by the court upon the lapse
of one hundred eighty (180) days from the date of the initial hearing. The court may grant an
extension beyond this period only if it appears by convincing and compelling evidence that the
debtor may successfully be rehabilitated. In no instance, however, shall the period for approving
or disapproving a rehabilitation plan exceed eighteen (18) months from the date of filing of the
The records of the present case show that on May 4, 2007, Lexber filed a motion for the
extension of the period for the approval of the rehabilitation plan. However, the trial court never
issued a resolution on this motion. Instead, on June 12, 2007, it issued an order giving due course
to the petition. The records also reveal that after the initial hearing, the trial court had to conduct
additional hearings even after the lapse of the 180-day period.
Under these circumstances, the Court concludes that Lexber could not be faulted for the nonapproval of the rehabilitation plan within the 180-day period. A petitioner-corporation should not
be penalized if the trial court needed more time to evaluate the rehabilitation plan. Notably, in the
present case, Lexber filed a motion for the extension of the 180-day period. However, the trial
court did not issue a resolution on this motion. Instead, it issued an order giving due course to the
petition, which also fell within the 18-month limit prescribed under the law.


LOWITO AMOR, ET. AL., Respondents.
[G.R. No. 182800; April 20, 2015 ]
TOPIC: Closure of Business (Art. 283); a. Cessation of business operations
FACTS: (chronological order)
1. Respondents Lowito Amor, Rollybie Ceredon, Julius Cesar, Ronito Martinez and Fermin Tabili, Jr. were regular
employees of petitioner Manila Mining Corporation, a domestic corporation which operated a mining claim in
Placer, Surigao del Norte,

In compliance with existing environmental laws, petitioner maintained a tailing pond, a tailings containment
facility required for the storage of waste materials generated by its mining operations. When the mine tailings
being pumped into the tailing pond reached the maximum level in, petitioner temporarily shut down its mining
operations pending approval of its application to increase said faciltys capacity by the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources-Environment Management Bureau (DENR-EMB).


Although the DENR-EMB issued a temporary authority for it to be able to continue operating the tailing
pond for another six (6) months and to increase its capacity, petitioner failed to secure an extension
permit when said temporary authority eventually lapsed.


Petitioner served a notice, informing its employees and the Department of Labor and Employment
Regional Office No. XII (DOLE) of the temporary suspension of its operations for six months and the
temporary lay-off of two-thirds of its employees. After the lapse of said period, petitioner notified the
DOLE that it was extending the temporary shutdown of its operations for another six months.


Adversely affected by petitioners continued failure to resume its operations, respondents filed the complaint for
constructive dismissal and monetary claims before the Regional Arbitration Branch of the National Labor
Relations Commission (NLRC).


Executive Labor Arbiter Benjamin E. Pelaez held petitioner liable for constructive dismissal in view of the
suspension of its operations beyond the six-month period allowed under Article 2867 of the Labor Code of the
Philippines - finding that the cause of suspension of petitioners business was not beyond its control. The labor
arbiter awarded, among others, separation pay to respondents.


The NLRC reversed the appealed decision. Finding that the continued suspension of petitioners operations was
due to circumstances beyond its control, the NLRC ruled that, under Article 283 of the Labor Code,
respondents were not even entitled to separation pay considering the eventual closure of their employers
business due to serious business losses or financial reverses.


Respondents filed the Rule 65 petition for certiorari before the CA. Aside from the fact that the Labor Arbiter
decision had already attained finality, respondents faulted the NLRC for applying Article 283 of the Labor Code
absent allegation and proof of compliance with the requirements for the closure of an employers business due
to serious business losses. On the other hand, petitioner insist that the cessation of its operations was due to
causes beyond its control, petitioner argued that the subsequent closure of its business due to business losses
exempted it from paying separation pay.


The CA rendered the herein assailed decision, granting respondents petition and decreed that the Labor
Arbiters Decision had already attained finality and, for said reason, had been placed beyond the NLRCs power
of review.

10. Petitioner seeks the reversal of the CAs resolution.

ISSUE(S): Whether or not petitioners cessation of its operations was due to causes beyond its control, hence, the
closure of its business due to business losses exempted it from paying separation pay.
NO. Closure of petitioners business was not beyond its control. Petitioner is liable for separation pay to
Without necessarily resulting to a termination of employment, an employer may at any rate, bona fide
suspend the operation of its business for a period of not exceeding six months under Article 286 of the Labor
Code.43 While the employer is, on the one hand, duty bound to reinstate his employees to their former
positions without loss of seniority rights if the operation of the business is resumed within six months,
employment is deemed terminated where the suspension exceeds said period. 44
Not having resumed its operations within six months from the time it suspended its operations on 27 July
2001, it necessarily follows that petitioner is liable to pay respondents separation pay 45 computed at one (1)
month pay or at least one-half (1/2) month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher,46 as well as the
damages and attorneys fees adjudicated by the Labor Arbiter. Without proof of the serious business losses it
allegedly sustained and/or compliance with the reportorial requirements under Article 283 of the Labor Code,
petitioner cannot expediently plead exemption from said liabilities due to the supposed financial reverses
which led to the eventual closure of its business.
It is essentially required that the alleged losses in business operations must be proven for, otherwise, said ground for
termination would be susceptible to abuse by scheming employers who might be merely feigning business losses or
reverses in their business ventures in order to ease out employees.47 The condition of business losses justifying
retrenchment is normally shown by audited financial documents like yearly balance sheets and profit and loss
statements as well as annual income tax returns48 which were not presented in this case.
Neither can petitioner evade said liabilities on the strength of the 28 July 2005 Decision rendered by the CA's
Twenty-Second Division in CAG.R. SP No. 00072, entitled Rosita Asumen, et al. v. National Labor Relations
Commission, et al., where its employees' claim for separation pay was denied on account of the subsequent closure
of its business due to serious business losses and financial reverses.49 Although the employees Rule 45 petition for
review on certiorari had been,50 the ruling in said case can hardly be considered binding on respondents who were
not parties thereto.
As for the inequality in benefits which would supposedly result if the CA's assailed decision and resolution
were not reversed, suffice it to say that this Court had sustained the claim for separation pay of petitioner's
employees in the case of Manila Mining Corp Employees Association-Federation of Free Workers Chapter, et
al. v. Manila Mining Corporation, et al.51 Stare decisis is inapplicable; the matter of separation pay for petitioner's
employees has been decided case to case.

Begino v. ABS-CBN
G.R. No. 199166, 20 April 2015.
Respondent ABS-CBN, through Respondent Villafuerte, engaged the services of Petitioners as
cameramen, editors or reporters for TV Broadcasting. Petitioners signed regularly renewed Talent
Contracts (3 months - 1 year) and Project Assignment Forms which detailed the duration, budget and
daily technical requirements of a particular project. Petitioners were tasked with coverage of news items
for subsequent daily airings in Respondents TV Patrol Bicol Program.
The Talent Contract has an exclusivity clause and provides that nothing therein shall be deemed or
construed to establish an employer-employee relationship between the parties.
Petitioners filed against Respondents a complaint for regularization before the NLRC's Arbitration branch.
In support of their complaint, Petitioners claimed that they worked under the direct control of Respondent
Villafuerte - they were mandated to wear company IDs, they were provided the necessary equipment,
they were informed about the news to be covered the following day, and they were bound by the
companys policy on attendance and punctuality.
Respondents countered that, pursuant to their Talent Contracts and Project Assignment Forms,
Petitioners were hired as talents to act as reporters, editors and/or cameramen. Respondents further
claimed they never imposed control as to how Petitioners discharged their duties. At most, they were
briefed regarding the general requirements of the project to be executed.
While the case was pending, Petitioners contracts were terminated, prompting the latter to file a second
complaint for illegal dismissal.
The Arbitration Branch ruled that Petitioners were regular employees, and ordered Respondents to
reinstate the Petitioners.
The NLRC affirmed the ruling, but the CA overturned the decision.
ISSUE: W/N Petitioners are regular employees of Respondents.
Of the criteria to determine whether there is an employer-employee relationship, the so-called "control
test" is generally regarded as the most crucial and determinative indicator of the said relationship.
Under this test, an employer-employee relationship is said to exist where the person for whom the
services are performed reserves the right to control not only the end result but also the manner and
means utilized to achieve the same.
Notwithstanding the nomenclature of their Talent Contracts and/or Project Assignment Forms and the
terms and condition embodied therein, petitioners are regular employees of ABS-CBN.
As cameramen, editors and reporters, it appears that Petitioners were subject to the control and
supervision of Respondents which provided them with the equipment essential for the discharge of their

functions. The exclusivity clause and prohibitions in their Talent Contract were likewise indicative of
Respondents' control over them, however obliquely worded.
Also, the presumption is that when the work done is an integral part of the regular business of the
employer and when the worker does not furnish an independent business or professional service, such
work is a regular employment of such employee and not an independent contractor.

G.R. No. 203993

April 20, 2015
Commercial Law: Section 21 of the Corporation Code explicitly provides that one who assumes an obligation to an ostensible
corporation, as such, cannot resist performance thereof on the ground that there was in fact no corporation. (Doctrine of Estoppel)
Petitioner, as officer-in-charge of the Aircraft Hangar at the Davao International Airport, Davao City, entered into a MOA with Captain
Allan J. Clarke, President of International Environmental University, whereby for a period of 4 years, unless pre-terminated by both
parties with 6 months advance notice, the former shall allow the latter to use the aircraft hangar space at the said Airport
"exclusively for company aircraft/helicopter."
About five months thereafter, petitioner sent a letter to Capt. Clarke complaining that the hangar space was being used "for trucks
and equipment, vehicles maintenance and fabrication," and threatened to cancel the MOA if such were not stopped immediately. In
another letter, he reiterated his threat and offered a vacant space along the airport road that was available for Capt. Clarkes
operations. Unsatisfied, he again sent three letters demanding respondent to vacate the premises otherwise the company will apply
for immediate electrical disconnection.
Respondent then filed a complaint against petitioner for breach of contract before the RTC claiming that: (a) petitioner had
disconnected its electric and telephone lines; (b) upon petitioners instruction, security guards prevented its employees from entering
the leased premises by blocking the hangar space with barbed wire; and (c) petitioner violated the terms of the MOA when he took
over the hangar space without giving respondent the requisite six (6)-month advance notice of termination.
In his defense, petitioner alleged that: (a) respondent had no cause of action against him as the MOA was executed between him
and Capt. Clarke in the latters personal capacity; (b) there was no need to wait for the expiration of the MOA because Capt. Clarke
performed highly risky works in the leased premises that endangered other aircrafts within the vicinity; and (c) the six (6)-month
advance notice of termination was already given in the letters he sent to Capt. Clarke.
The RTC issued a Writ of Preliminary Injunction ordering petitioner to immediately remove all his aircrafts parked within the leased
premises; allow entry of respondent by removing the steel gate installed thereat; and desist and refrain from committing further acts
of dispossession and/or interference in respondents occupation of the hangar space. For failure to comply, respondent filed a
petition for indirect contempt against petitioner.
RTC: Petitioner is guilty of indirect contempt and liable for breach of contract for illegally terminating the MOA even before the
expiration of the term thereof. The MOA was executed by the parties not only in their personal capacities but also in representation
of their respective corporations or entities.
CA: Affirmed RTCs finding of petitioners liability for breach of contract.
The CA ruled that, while there was no corporate entity at the time of the execution of the MOA on March 1, 2000 when Capt. Clarke
signed as "President of International Environmental University," petitioner is nonetheless estopped from denying that he had
contracted with respondent as a corporation, having recognized the latter as the "Second Party" in the MOA that "will use the hangar
space exclusively for company aircraft/helicopter." Petitioner was likewise found to have issued checks to respondent from May 3,
2000 to October 13, 2000, which belied his claim of contracting with Capt. Clarke in the latters personal capacity.
MR: Petitioner raised an additional issue stating that the death of Capt. Clarke allegedly warranted the dismissal of the case. Motion
is denied. Capt. Clark is merely an agent of respondent, thus, his death extinguished only the agency between him and respondent.
1. Whether or not Capt. Clarke is an indispensable party. NO
2. Whether or not respondent is liable for breach of contract. -YES
The petition lacks merit.
1. The CA is correct in denying the motion to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction. Failure to implead Capt. Clarke does not divest
the court of jurisdiction since he is merely an agent of respondent. While Capt. Clarkes name and signature appeared on the MOA,
his participation was, nonetheless, limited to being a representative of respondent. As a mere representative, Capt. Clarke acquired
no rights whatsoever, nor did he incur any liabilities, arising from the contract between petitioner and respondent. Therefore, he was
not an indispensable party to the case at bar.
2. From the very language itself of the MOA entered into by petitioner whereby he obligated himself to allow the use of the hangar
space "for company aircraft/helicopter," petitioner cannot deny that he contracted with respondent. Petitioner further acknowledged

this fact in his final letter dated July 23, 2002, where he reiterated and strongly demanded the former to immediately vacate the
hangar space his "company is occupying/utilizing."
Section 21 of the Corporation Code explicitly provides that one who assumes an obligation to an ostensible corporation, as such,
cannot resist performance thereof on the ground that there was in fact no corporation. Clearly, petitioner is bound by his obligation
under the MOA not only on estoppel but by express provision of law. As aptly raised by respondent in its Comment to the instant
petition, it is futile to insist that petitioner issued the receipts for rental payments in respondents name and not with Capt. Clarkes,
whom petitioner allegedly contracted in the latters personal capacity, only because it was upon the instruction of an employee.
Indeed, it is disputably presumed that a person takes ordinary care of his concerns, and that all private transactions have been fair
and regular. Hence, it is assumed that petitioner, who is a pilot, knew what he was doing with respect to his business with
Be that as it may, it is settled that courts have no power to relieve parties from obligations they voluntarily assumed, simply because
their contracts turn out to be disastrous deals or unwise investments.
The lower courts, therefore, did not err in finding petitioner liable for breach of contract for effectively evicting respondent from the
leased premises even before the expiration of the term of the lease. The Court reiterates with approval the ratiocination of the RTC
that, if it were true that respondent was violating the terms and conditions of the lease, "[petitioner] should have gone to court to
make the [former] refrain from its 'illegal' activities or seek rescission of the [MOA], rather than taking the law into his own hands."

G.R. No. 206540

April 20, 2015
ALICE G. AFRICA, Petitioner, vs. INSURANCE SAVINGS AND INVESTMENT AGENCY, INC. (ISIA) represented by its President,
DELIA DE BORJA; acting Register Of Deeds, Las Pias City, ATTY. ABRAHAM N. VERMUDEZ, Respondents.
Remedial Law (Civil Procedure): An agent, as party, may sue without joining the principal except when the contract involves things
belonging to the principal.
This case involves a parcel of land covered by TCT No. 38910-A registered in the name of Spouses Orfinada. Such property was
the subject of 4 cases related to its ownership and titling. The cases resulted in conflicting rulings.
Respondent ISIA filed a Special Civil Action for Mandamus under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court against the Register of Deeds of Las
Pias City seeking the cancellation of TCT No. 38910A and the issuance of a new title in favour of the ISIA. ISIA alleged that it
purchased from Spouses Orfinada the subject property as evidenced by a Deed of Sale executed 18 May 1981; paid the taxes and
fees for the transfer; and completed the requirements for the transfer of title. However, the Registrar of Deeds denied the registration
of the sale on the ground that another owners duplicate of the subject title is in possession of Alice Africa.
In turn, Africa filed a Vehement Opposition on the instant petition contending that the sale between ISIA and Spouses Orfinada is
tainted with fraud hence not valid. Nevertheless, the RTC granted ISIAs Petition for Mandamus. Both Africa and RoD filed separate
MRs. Both were denied.
Hence, Africa filed this Petition for Certiorari on behalf of the Spouses Orfinada. She alleged that her contract of agency with the
Spouses Orfinada is coupled with interest without explicitly stating her interest therein.
Issue: Whether or not Africa has legal capacity to file the Petition for Certiorari in her own name. NO
The Court denied the Petition on the ground that Africa is not a proper party under Rule 3, Section 3 of the Rules of Court which
Sec. 3. Representatives as parties.Where the action is allowed to be prosecuted or defended by a representative or someone
acting in a fiduciary capacity, the beneficiary shall be included in the title of the case and shall be deemed to be the real party in
interest. A representative may be a trustee of an express trust, a guardian, an executor or administrator, or a party authorized by law
or these Rules. An agent acting in his own name and for the benefit of an undisclosed principal may sue or be sued without joining
the principal except when the contract involves things belonging to the principal.
Section 3 of Rule 3 of the Rules of Court is explicit on the requirement that an agent as party may sue without joining the principal
except when the contract involves things belonging to the principal. The herein subject property is ostensibly owned by the Spouses
Orfinada covered by TCT No. 38910-A registered in their names. This TCT No. 38910-A is one of the titles ISIA seeks to annul as
part of its claim of ownership over vast tracts of land bounded by the Pasig River in the North, by the Tunisan River in the South, by
Laguna de Bay in the East, and by the Manila de Bay in the West. xx Africas belated claim of ownership via purchase cannot make
her a proper party to this case and circumvent the requirements for establishing ownership over the subject property.