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Part 2

Chartered Bank EEs Assn v. Ople, G.R. No. L-44717


FACTS • On May 20, 1975, the Chartered Bank Employees Association, representing its monthly
salaried employee members, filed a complaint with Regional Office of the Ministry of Labor for
nonpayment of their employer, Chartered Bank, of ten unworked legal holidays from Nov. 1,
1974
• Under their existing CBA, monthly salaried employees are paid on a 40 hour, five day work
week, and that overtime performed on Sundays, legal and special holidays is to be paid time
and a half rate
• The salaries of the bank’s monthly salaried employees do not get deducted for holidays that
occur within the month
• On arbitration with the NLRC, the bank was ordered to pay its monthly employees ten legal
holidays
• On appeal, Minister of Labor set aside NLRC decision and issued Policy Instruction No.9,
clarifying the policy of the ten paid legal holidays
• Minister of Labor, as per PI No. 9, posited that the ten legal holidays law (PD 850) was
intended to benefit principally those employees paid on a daily rate, and that in the case of the
monthly paid employees, only those whose monthly salary did not yet include payment for the
ten paid legal holidays are entitled to the benefit. Further, the rule for monthly salaried workers
is, if the monthly pay is uniform from Jan to Dec, he is presumed to have been paid the ten
legal holidays, and only when deductions are made on the monthly salary on account of a
holiday as it occurs within the month, then he is entitled to the ten legal holidays paid
ISSUE WON the Minister of Labor erred in the issuance of PI No. 9
RULING MoL erred in the issuance of PI No. 9. It is elementary in the rules of statutory construction that
when the language of the law is clear and unequivocal the law must be taken to mean exactly what
it says. In the case at bar, the provisions of the Labor Code on the entitlement to the benefits of
holiday pay are clear and explicit it provides for both the coverage of and exclusion from the benefit.
In Policy Instruction No. 9, the then Secretary of Labor went as far as to categorically state that the
benefit is principally intended for daily paid employees, when the law clearly states that every worker
shall be paid their regular holiday pay. This is flagrant violation of the mandatory directive of Article 4
of the Labor Code, which states that 'All doubts in the implementation and interpretation of the
provisions of this Code, including its implementing rules and regulations, shall be resolved in favor
of labor.' Moreover, it shall always be presumed that the legislature intended to enact a valid and
permanent statute which would have the most beneficial effect that its language permits (Orlosky v.
Hasken, 155 A. 112) While it is true that the contemporaneous construction placed upon a statute
by executive officers whose duty is to enforce it should be given great weight by the courts, still if
such construction is so erroneous, as in the instant case, the same must be declared as null and
void. It is the role of the Judiciary to refine and, when necessary correct constitutional (and/or
statutory) interpretation, in the context of the interactions of the three branches of the government,
almost always in situations where some agency of the State has engaged in action that stems
ultimately from some legitimate area of governmental power (The Supreme Court in Modern Role,
C.B. Swisher 1958, p. 36).