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PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, INC. v. ALEXANDER P.

BICHARA
G.R. No. 213729, September 2, 2015
Facts:
Philippine Airlines, Inc. (PAL) hired Alexander P. Bichara as a flight attendant.
Bichara was included in PAL's Purser Upgrading Program in which he graduated. As
flight purser, he was required to take five (5) check rides for his performance
evaluation and earn at least an 85% rating for each ride. However, Bichara failed in
the two (2) check rides with ratings of 83.46% and 80.63%. Consequently, Bichara was
demoted to the position of flight steward.
Bichara appealed his demotion to PAL, but no action was taken. Hence, he filed
a complaint for illegal demotion against PAL before the National Labor Relations
Commission (NLRC) Regional Arbitration Branch. Labor Arbiter (LA) issued a Decision
(June 16, 1997 Decision) declaring Bichara's demotion as illegal, and accordingly,
ordered PAL to reinstate Bichara to his position as flight purser. PAL filed an appeal
before the NLRC and later before the Court of Appeals (CA), both of which, however,
upheld LAs finding. PAL no longer appealed to the Court, thus, it rendered the June
16, 1997. Decision final and executory.
During the pendency of the illegal demotion case before the CA, PAL
implemented another retrenchment program that resulted in the termination of
Bichara's employment. This prompted him, along with more than 1,400 other
retrenched flight attendants, represented by the Flight Attendants and Stewards
Association of the Philippines (FASAP), to file a separate complaint for unfair labor
practice, illegal retrenchment with claims for reinstatement and payment of salaries,
allowances, backwages, and damages against PAL.
On July 9, 2005, Bichara reached the 60 year-old compulsory retirement age
under the PAL-FASAP Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). On January 31, 2008,
Bichara filed a motion for execution of the LA's June 16, 1997 Decision, which PAL

opposed by arguing that the "complaint for illegal demotionwas overtaken by


supervening events, i.e., the retrenchment in 1998 and his having reached the
compulsory retirement age in 2005."
In an Order dated February 4, 2009, Labor Arbiter (LA) granted Bichara's motion
for execution, thus, directing the issuance of a writ of execution against PAL and/or a
certain Jose Garcia to jointly and severally pay Bichara: (a) separation pay in lieu of
reinstatement equivalent to one (1) month's pay for every year of service counting
from October 28, 1968 up to the present, excluding the period from April 1, 1971 until
May 15, 1975, or a period of 35 years; and (b) attorney's fees in the amount of
P20,000.00.
LA declared that, notwithstanding the pendency before this Court of the illegal
retrenchment case, Bichara's termination was invalid, given that: (a) PAL did not use a
fair and reasonable criteria in effecting the retrenchment; (b) PAL disregarded the
labor arbiters' rulings in the illegal demotion and illegal retrenchment cases which
were both immediately executory; and (c) retrenchment was made during the
pendency of the illegal demotion case without the permission of the court where the
case was pending. For these reasons, Bichara was entitled to reinstatement to his
position as flight purser. However, since Bichara may no longer be reinstated in view
of his compulsory retirement in accordance with the CBA, LA Macam, instead, ordered
PAL to pay Bichara separation pay with the salary base of a flight purser. The NLRC
reversed LA Macam.
Issue:
Whether the monetary award is correctly awarded to Bichara.
Held:
Yes. PAL's supervening retrenchment of its employees, which included Bichara,
in July 1998, and his compulsory retirement in July 2005, prevents the enforcement of

the reinstatement of Bichara to the position of flight purser. Nonetheless, since the
Decision had already settled the illegality of Bichara's demotion with finality, this
Court finds that Bichara should, instead, be awarded the salary differential of a flight
purser from a flight steward from the time of his illegal demotion up until the time he
was retrenched. Notably, unlike LAs award of separation pay in lieu of reinstatement,
the award of salary differential is not dependent on the validity of his termination, as
it is, in fact, intrinsically linked to the illegality of Bichara's demotion. Hence, with
this direct relation, there should be no obstacle in rendering this award.
This Court deems the award of salary differential to be the just and equitable
award under the circumstances herein prevailing. Jurisprudence holds that courts may
modify or alter the judgment to harmonize the same with justice and the facts when
after judgment has been rendered and the latter has become final, facts and
circumstances transpire which render its execution impossible or unjust, as in this
case.
Since Bichara's illegal demotion has been finally decreed, he should be entitled
(a) to backwages, at the salary rate of a flight purser, from the time of retrenchment
up until his compulsory retirement; (b) retirement benefits of a flight purser in
accordance with the existing CBA at the time of Bichara's retirement; and (c)
attorney's fees, moral, and exemplary damages, if any, but only if this Court, in the
FASAP case, finally rules that the subject retrenchment is invalid. Otherwise, he
should only be entitled to the above-stated salary differential, as well as the
corresponding separation pay required under the relevant CBA, or Article 297
(formerly Article 283) of the Labor Code if no such CBA provision exists. The awards of
backwages, and retirement benefits, including attorney's fees, moral, and exemplary
damages, if any, cannot, however, be executed in these proceedings since they are
incidents which pertain to the illegal retrenchment case, hence, executable only
when the FASAP case is finally concluded.

TATEL v. JLFP INVESTIGATING AND SECURITY AGENCY


GR No.206942, February 25,2015
Motion for Reconsideration, December 9, 2015
Facts:
Tatel was hired as a security agent by JLFP. He alleged that he was last posted
at Bagger Werkens Decloedt En Zoon. He was required to work twelve hours every day
from Mondays to Sundays and receive P12, 400.00.
On October 24, 2009, Tatel was placed on a floating status, thus, on May 4,
2010, or after the lapse of six months there from he was not given any assignment. He
then filed a complaint for illegeal dismissal. JLFP denied that Tatel was dismissed and
said that latter was removed from his last post because of several infractions he
committed while on duty. Despite a notice directing tatle back on November 26, 2009
to report back to work, Tatel ignored the same and failed to appear, hence he was
deemed to have abandoned his work.
The NLRC ruled that Tatel have been illegally dismissed. It directed JFLP to
reinstate Tatel to his last position without loss of seniority or diminution of salary and
other benefitsand pay him backwages. It also rejected the defense of JFLP that Tatel
abandoned his work stating that there is no rational explanation why an employee
who had work for more than ten years for his employer, would just abandon his work
and forego whatever benefits were due him for the length of his services. It further
ruled that Tatel was not constructively dismissed but was actually dismissed.
Issue:
1. Whether Tatel was constructively dismissed.
2. Did Tatel abandoned his work?
Held: February 25, 2015
1. Yes. Tatel was constructively dismissed. Constructive dismissal exist when
an act of clear discrimination, insensibility, or disdain, on the part of the
employer has become unbearable as to leave an employee with no

option/choice but to forego continued employment, or when cessation of


work because continued employment is rendered impossible, unreasonable,
or unlikely, as an offer involving a demotion in rank and diminution of pay.
In this case, since the off-period had already lasted for more than 6
months, Tatel was therefore deemed to have been constructively dismissed.
He was not given any assignment from October 23, 2009 until he filed the
case in May 4, 2010.
2. No abandonment. It is belied by the high improbability of Tatel intentionally
abandoning his work, taking into consideration his length of service and,
comitantly, his security of tenure. No rational explanation exists as to why
an employee who had worked for his employer for more than ten years
would just abandon his work to.and forego whatever benefits he may be
entitled
Held: December 9, 2015
1. No. While he was put into a floating status, the employer has actually recalled
him to work before the six-months end. Tatel acknowledged having received
the same, however there was no evidence showing that he complied and
entered work. He was not dismissed as shown by the evidence presented by the
employer. The burden is shifted to the employee to prove that there was illegal
dismissal. Tatel was unable to prove that he was illegally dismissed. Clearly,
Tatels lack of employment for six-months cannot be attributed to the
employer. Thus, he is not entitled to backwages and separation pay. Article 293
of the Labor Code of the Philippines states that "in cases of regular
employment, the employer shall not terminate the services of an employee
except for a just cause or when authorized by this Title. An employee who is
unjustly dismissed from work shall be entitled to reinstatement without loss
of seniority rights and other privileges and to his full backwages, inclusive
of allowances, and to his other benefits or their monetary equivalent
computed from the time his compensation was withheld from him up to the

time of his actual reinstatement." As such, there being no dismissal in this


case, petitioner is not entitled to either backwages or separation pay.
1. However, 2. The court ruled that Tatel did not abandon his work. To
constitute abandonment of work, two elements must be present: first, the
employee must have failed to report for work or must have been absent
without valid or justifiable reason; and second, there must have been a
clear intention on the part of the employee to sever the employeremployee relationship manifested by some overt act. In this case employer
failed to discharge the burden required to prove abandonment. In fact, the
filing of a complaint for illegal dismissal is a proof of Tatels desire to return
to work. No rational explanation exists as to why an employee who had
worked for his employer for more than ten years would just abandon his
work to and forego whatever benefits he may be entitled. Thus, Tatel is
ordered to return to work within fifteen days.
DELA ROSA LINER v. BORELA
GR No. 207286, July29, 2015
Facts:
Calixto, bus driver, and Amarille, conductor of Dela Rosa filed complaints for
underpayment/nonpayment of salaries, holiday pay, overtime pay, service incentive
leave pay, 13th month pay, sick leave and vacation leave, nightshift differential, illegal
deductions, and violation of Wage Order. The employer filed a motion asking the
labor arbiter to dispose of the case by reason of the Compromise Agreement entered
into by the parties which covered all claims and causes of action they had against
each other. The employees opposed contending that the causes of action in the
present case are different from the causes of action settled in the compromise
agreement.
Issue: Was there res judicata by reason of the compromise agreement?
Held:

No. The compromise agreement had been concluded to terminate the illegal
dismissal and unfair labor case then pending with the CA. While the parties agreed
that no further action shall be brought by the parties against each other, their
pointedly stated that they referred to actions on the same ground. The phrase same
ground can only refer to the grounds raise in the first complaint and not to any other
grounds. It likewise cannot be applied to all claims and damages or losses either
party may have against each other whether those damages are known or unknown,
foreseen or unforeseen. This coverage is too sweeping and effectively excludes any
claims by the respondent against petitioner, including those that by law and
jurisprudence cannot be waived without appropriate consideration such as
nonpayment/underpayment wages and overtime pay.
TOYOTA ALABANG v. GAMES
GR No. 206612, August 17, 2015
Facts:
Games, who worked as a foreman for petitioner, allegedly stole its vehicle
lubricants. Subsequently, it charged him with qualified theft before the trial court.
Two years thereafter, or on 24 August 2007, Games filed a Complainant for illegal
dismissal, nonpayment of benefits, and damages against petitioner. The latter,
through counsel, failed to file its Position Paper on the date set on 15 November 2007.
The case was reset several times.
The LA ruled against petitioner and ordered the latter to pay Games
P535,553.07 for his separation pay, back wages, service incentive leave pay and
attorney's fees resulting from his illegal dismissal. Petitioner no longer filed a motion
for reconsideration. As a result, the LA's ruling became final and executory. Petitioner
prayed that the proceedings be reopened, explaining that it had failed to present
evidence because of its counsel's negligence in filing the appropriate pleadings. The
LA denied the claims of petitioner.
The NLRC dismissed the case on the basis of the rule that no appeal may be
taken from an order of execution of a final judgment

Issue:

Whether the case can be reopened

Held:
No. LA's decision finding that petitioner illegally dismissed respondent was
already final and executory because of petitioner's failure to file a timely appeal.
Therefore, the labor dispute between the parties should have been considered a
closed case by then, and no longer subject to appeal. The reopening of a case is an
extraordinary remedy, which, if abused, can make a complete farce of a duly
promulgated decision that has long become final and executory. Hence, there must be
good cause on the movant's part before it can be granted.
Jurisprudence dictates that a final and executory decision of the LA can no
longer be reversed or modified. After all, just as a losing party has the right to file an
appeal within the prescribed period, so does the winning party have the correlative
right to enjoy the finality of the resolution of the case. On this basis, the CA did not
grievously err when it concluded that the ruling of the NLRC denying petitioner's
appeal was not baseless, arbitrary, whimsical, or despotic.
The reopening of a case is, by default, not allowed merely on the ground that
the counsel has been negligent in taking the required steps to protect the interest of
the client, such as timely filing a pleading, appearing during hearings, and perfecting
appeals. An exception arises only when there is good cause and excusable negligence
on the client's part.
The Court cannot give special treatment to petitioner. In our past cases, this
Court already held that the failure of the counsel to file the required position papers
before the LA is not a ground to declare that petitioner had been deprived of due
process; and is not a cause to conclude that the proceedings a quo had been null and
void.
The requirements of due process are satisfied when the parties are given the
opportunity to submit position papers wherein they are supposed to attach all the
documents that would prove their claim in case it be decided that no hearing should

be conducted or was necessary. Here, petitioner, despite being given several chances
to pass its position paper, did not at all comply. Worse, petitioner also had other
instances of negligence. Consequently, this Court cannot redo the whole proceedings
of the Labor Arbiter who had already afforded due process to the former.

ROSALES v. NEW ANJH ENTERPRISE


GR No. 203355, August 18, 2015
Facts:
Petitioners are former employees of New ANJH Enterprise. On February 11,
2010, Noel Awayan, owner of the enterprise, wrote the Director of the Department of
Labor and Employment (DOLE) a letter regarding the ANJHs impending cessation of
operations and the sale of its assets to respondent NH Oil Mill Corp., as well as the
termination of 33 employees.
On February 13, 2010, Noel met the 33 employees to inform them of his plan.
On the same day, he gave them notices informing them of the cessation of operations
effective March 15, 2010 and the sale of its assets He offered them their separation
pay.
The articles of partnership of the new corporation states that Noel has more
than two-thirds of the subscribed capital stock. The remaining shares had been
subscribed by the other Awayan family.
Petitioners then filed a complaint for illegal dismissal. They claimed that he
sale of the assets of the New ANJH to NH Oil was a circumvention of their security of
tenure. The LA ruled that the petitioner had been illegally dismissed and ordered
their reinstatement and payment of P1,006,045.87 corresponding to the petitioners
full backwages. Respondent filed their Notice of Appeal with Appeal Memorandum

along with the motion to reduce bond. They also posted 60% of the award ordered or
P603, 627.52 as their appeal bond.
Issue: Whether the requirements for posting of bond was complied with
Held:
Yes. Rule VI of the New Rules of Procedure of the NLRC provides that the
motion to reduce bond shall be entertained upon the posting of the bond in a
reasonable amount in relation to the monetary award. As to what the reasonable
amount is, the NLRC has wide discretion in determining the reasonableness of the
bond for purposes of perfecting an appeal.
In this case, the NLRC had reconsidered its original position and declared the
60% bond was reasonable given the merits of the jurisdiction provided by respondent
in their Motion for Reconsideration with Motion to Admit Additional Appeal Cash Bond.
This is in accordance with the guidelines established in McBurnie v. Ganzon, that the
posting of provisional cash or surety bond equivalent to 10% of the monetary award
subject of the appeal is sufficient provided that there is meritorious ground.
The following guidelines shall be observed:
(a)
The filing of a motion to reduce appeal bond shall be
entertained by the NLRC subject to the following conditions:
(1) there is meritorious ground; and (2) a bond in a reasonable
amount is posted;
(b)

For purposes of compliance with condition no. (2), a motion


shall be accompanied by the posting of a provisional cash or
surety bond equivalent to ten percent (10%) of the monetary
award subject of the appeal, exclusive of damages and
attorney's fees;

(c)

Compliance with the foregoing conditions shall suffice to


suspend the running of the 10-day reglementary period to
perfect an appeal from the labor arbiter's decision to the
NLRC;

(d)

The NLRC retains its authority and duty to resolve the motion
to reduce bond and determine the final amount of bond that
shall be posted by the appellant, still in accordance with the
standards of meritorious grounds and reasonable amount; and

(e) In the event that the NLRC denies the motion to reduce bond, or
requires a bond that exceeds the amount of the
provisional bond,
the appellant shall be given a fresh period of ten (10) days from
notice of the NLRC order within which to perfect the appeal by
posting the required appeal bond.