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[LOPEZ] G.R. No.

154463 September 5, 2006 the respondents job was necessary and part of the business of
CEBU METAL CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. GREGORIO ROBERT Cebu Metal Corp. Under, Art. 280 of the Labor Code, these are
SALILING, ELIAS BOLIDO, MANUEL ALQUIZA, and BENJIE considered regular employees. Hence, they were dismissed
AMPARADO, respondents. without a cause and due process.
Topic: Seasonal Employees 10. NLRC: in favor of Cebu Metal Corp. The respondents were not
regular employees.
Facts: 11. NLRC also held that Labor Arbiter should not have ruled on the
1. Cebu Metal Corporation is a corporation engaged in buying and question of illegal dismissal as respondents invalidly raised such
selling of scrap iron. It has 3 regular employees whose salaries issue (only on a position paper and a year later).
are paid directly by its main office in Cebu, while other are 12. CA: in favor of respondents. It held that Cebu Metal Corp. never
undertaking pakiao work in unloading scarp iron. really made an issue whether the claim for illegal dismissal was
2. Cebu Metal Corporation operates at the Bacolod buying station. validly stated on not. Hence, NLRC abused its discretion in ruling on
Such is mainly a stockyard where scrap metal delivered by an issue not raised on appeal.
suppliers are stockpiled.
3. The supply of scrap metal is not steady as it depends on the Issue: 1.) W/N respondents were regular workers - YES
availability of supplies, among others. The arrivals of trucks that 2.) W/N the NLRCs ruling constituted grave abuse of discretion NO.
deliver scraps are not regular and nor known beforehand by Cebu
Metal Corp. Held:
4. The trucks are owned/rented by different suppliers. Sometimes,
these trucks do not have any truck boys, and in these instances, Respondents were regular workers
Cebu Metal Corp. hires the services of people for unloading the 1. The petty cash vouchers submitted by Cebu Metal Corp showed
scrap metal from these trucks. This is when Cebu Metal Corp. that the respondents were paid on pakiao or task basis. Such
hired pakiao workers for this purpose. irregular nature of the work involved (the stoppage and
5. Among these pakiao workers were the unemployed persons or resumption depended solely on the availability of supplies), it
trisicad drivers standing by in the vicinity, some of whom are the necessarily follows that after the job of unloading was completed,
respondents. and the unloaders were paid, the working relationship has legally
6. As compensation for their services, these workers are paid at the ended. They were then free to offer their services elsewhere.
rate of Php 15.00/ton for each person can unload at least 2 3 2. Their services are needed only when scrap metals are delivered,
tons per hour, or can earn them at least Php 240.00 to Php which occurs only once or twice a week, or sometimes, no
360.00 in eight hours, if work is available. This payment includes delivery at all in a given week. It would be unjust to require Cebu
the cost of living allowance, and 13th month pay. Metal Corp to maintain complainants in the payroll even if there is
7. However, respondents filed a complaint with the Labor Arbiter for no more work to be done.
underpayment of wages, and non-payment of: 1) 13th month pay, 3. Also, not every truck delivery of scrap metal requires the services of
2) holiday pay, and 3) service incentive leave pay. They argued respondents, particularly when a particular truck is accompanied by
that they work 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, 30 days a month. its own "unloader." And whenever required, respondents were not
8. A year after they filed the complaint, they manifested that they will always the ones contracted to unload the trucks since the work was
include the claim for illegal dismissal. Such belated filing was offered to whomever were available at a given time. Hence, since
allegedly due to the fact that they were only dismissed after filing the respondents are not regular employees, there can be no
of complaint. illegal dismissal to speak of.
9. Labor Arbiter: in favor of respondents. It ordered Cebu Metal
Corp to reinstate the respondents, with backwages. It found that
NLRC did not gravely abuse their discretion
1. In the case at bar, it is quite apparent that no grave abuse of
discretion can be attributed to the NLRC. Its decision simply
expressed an observation, to wit:
a. Moreover, We note that in the complaint filed last
January 10, 1997, the issue of illegal dismissal was not
raised as a cause of action although it was later
discussed in their position paper filed on January 12,
1998.
2. The use of the word "moreover" clearly expresses NLRC's
position in treating the matter of the non-inclusion of the issue of
illegal dismissal in the complaint merely as an add-on, adjunct or
a supplement to its finding that respondents were not regular
employees of Cebu Metal Corp.
3. At any rate, the Court is clothed with authority to review matters,
even if they are not assigned as errors in their appeal, if it finds
that their consideration is necessary in arriving at a just decision
of the case.