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G.R.No.140992.March25,2004.

SAMAHANGMANGGAGAWASASULPICIOLINES,INC.
NAFLU,RODOLFOALINDATO,ROQUETAN,JESSIELIM,
SUSANTOPACIO,LYDDAPASCUAL,BERNARDO
ALCANTARA,GELACIODESQUITADO,RODRIGO
AVELINO,LEONARDOANDRADE,DANILOCHUA,
AMANDOEUGENIO,CALVINLOPEZ,ANDRESBASCO,
JR.,andCIRILOALON,petitioners,vs.SULPICIOLINES,
INC.,respondent.

LaborLaw;Strikes;Thecoolingoffperiodandthesevendaystrike
banafterthestrikevotereportwereintendedtobemandatory.Wethus
holdthatforfailingtocomplywiththemandatoryrequirementsof
Article263(c)and(f)oftheLaborCode,thestrikemountedby
petitioneruniononMay20,1994isillegal.InGoldCityIntegratedPort
Service,Inc.vs.NLRC,westressedthatthelanguageofthelawleaves
noroomfordoubtthatthecoolingoffperiodandthesevendaystrike
banafterthestrikevotereportwereintendedtobemandatory.

Same;Same;UnderRepublicActNo.6715,therulenowisthat
suchrequirementsasthefilingofanoticeofstrike,strikevote,and
noticegiventotheDepartmentofLaboraremandatoryinnature.We
explainedinNationalFederationofLaborvs.NLRCthatwiththe
enactmentofRepublicActNo.6715whichtookeffectonMarch21,
1989,therulenowisthatsuchrequirementsasthefilingofanoticeof
strike,strikevote,andnoticegiventotheDepartmentofLaborare
mandatoryinnature.Thus,eveniftheunionactedingoodfaithinthe
beliefthatthecompanywascommittinganunfairlaborpractice,ifno
noticeofstrikeandastrikevotewereconducted,thesaidstrikeis
illegal.
Same;Same;DefinitionofaStrike;WordsandPhrases;Theterm
strikeshallcomprisenotonlyconcertedworkstoppages,butalso
slowdowns,massleaves,sitdowns,attemptstodamage,destroyor
sabotageplantequipmentandfacilitiesandsimilaractivities.Ina
desperateattempttojustifyitsposition,petitionerinsiststhatwhat
transpiredonMay20,1994wasnotastrikebutmerelyaonedaywork
absenceorasimpleactofabsenteeism,Wearenotconvinced.A
strike,asdefinedinArticle212(o)oftheLaborCode,asamended,
meansanytemporarystoppageofworkbytheconcertedactionof
employeesasaresultofanindustrialorlabordispute.Theterm
strikeshallcomprisenotonlyconcertedworkstoppages,butalso
slowdowns,massleaves,sitdowns,attemptstodamage,destroyor
sabotageplantequipmentandfacilities,andsimilaractivities.

PETITIONforreviewonCertiorariofthedecisionand
resolutionoftheCourtofAppeals.

ThefactsarestatedintheopinionoftheCourt.

Flores,Saladero,Bunao&OlaliaLawOfficesfor
petitioners.
RuferD.Tolentinoforprivaterespondent.
SANDOVALGUTIERREZ, J.: **

Astrikeisapowerfulweaponoftheworkingclass.Butlikea
sensitiveexplosive,itmustbehandledcarefully,lestitblows
upintheworkersownhands. Thus,therighttostrikehasto
1

bepursuedwithintheboundsoflaw.

Forourresolutionistheinstantpetitionforreviewon
certiorariunderRule45ofthe1997RulesofCivilProcedure,
asamended,assailingtheDecision datedMay28,1999and
2
theResolution datedNovember25,1999renderedbythe
3

CourtofAppealsinCAG.R.SPNo.51322,
entitledSamahangManggagawasaSulpicioLines,Inc.
NAFLUvs.NationalLaborRelationsCommissionand
SulpicioLines,Inc.

Thefactualantecedentsasgleanedfromtherecordsare:

OnFebruary5,1991,SulpicioLines,Inc.(herein
respondent)andtheSamahangManggagawasaSulpicioLines
Inc.NAFLU(hereinpetitioner)executedacollective
bargainingagreement(CBA)withatermoffive(5)years(from
October17,1990toOctober16,1995).

Afterthree(3)yearsoronDecember15,1993,petitioner
unionandrespondentcompanystartedtheirnegotiationon
theCBAseconomicprovisions. Butthisnegotiationremained
4

atstalemate.

OnMarch1,1994,petitionerfiledwiththeNational
ConciliationandMediationBoard(NCMB),NationalCapital
Region,anoticeofstrikeduetocollectivebargainingdeadlock,
docketedasNCMBNCRNS0311894.

Foritspart,respondent,onMarch21,1994,filedwiththe
OfficeoftheSecretary,DepartmentofLaborandEmployment
apetitionprayingthattheLaborSecretaryassume
jurisdictionoverthecontroversy.

OnMarch23,1994,formerLaborSecretaryNievesR.
ConfesorissuedanOrderassumingjurisdictionoverthelabor
disputepursuanttoArticle263(g)oftheLaborCode,as
amended,thus:

WHEREFOREPREMISESCONSIDERED,thisOfficeassumesjurisdictionoverthelabor
disputeatSulpicioLines,Inc.pursuanttoArticle263(g)oftheLaborCode,asamended.
Accordingly,anystrikeorlockoutwhetheractualorintendedisherebyenjoined.
Further,thepartiesaredirectedtoceaseanddesistfromcommittinganyandallacts
thatmightexacerbatethesituation.
SOORDERED.

Meanwhile,onMay20,1994,petitionerfiledwiththeNCMBa
secondnoticeofstrikeallegingthatrespondentcompany
committedacts constitutingunfairlaborpracticeamountingto
5

unionbusting,docketedasNCMBNCR0526194.

Provokedbyrespondentsallegedunfairlaborpractice/s,
petitionerunionimmediatelyconductedastrikevote.Thus,on
May20,1994,about9:30oclockinthemorning,167rankand
fileemployees,officersandmembersofpetitioner,didnot
reportforworkandinsteadgatheredinfrontofPier12,North
HarboratManila.

Asaremedialmeasure,formerLaborSecretaryConfesor
issuedanOrderdatedMay20,1994directingthestriking
employeestoreturntowork;andcertifyingthelabordispute
totheNationalLaborRelationsCommission(NLRC)for
compulsoryarbitration.Thiscertifiedlabordisputewas
docketedasNLRCCaseNo.CC008394.

Meanwhile,respondentcompanyfiledwiththeNLRCa
complaintforillegalstrike/clearancefortermination,
docketedasNLRCNCRCaseNo.00050470594.
OnSeptember29,1995,theNLRCissueda
Resolution declaringthestrikeofpetitionersofficersand
6

membersillegal,withnoticetorespondentoftheoptionto
terminatetheir(petitionersofficers)employment.Inthesame
Resolution,theNLRCdismissedpetitionerscomplaintagainst
respondent,thus:
WHEREFORE,premisesconsidered,afteracarefulandjudiciousconsiderationofthe
facts,argumentsandevidencethusadduced,itistheconsideredopinionoftheCommission
thattheunion(SamahangManggagawasaSulpicioLines,Inc.)hadclearlyengagedinan
illegalstrikeonMay20,1994,whenitsofficersandmembersactivelyparticipatedinawell
concertedrefusal,stoppageandcessationtorenderworkatSulpicioLines,Inc.Inclear
violationnotonlyoftheproceduralrequirementsofavalidstrike,butworse,inclearand
blatantcontraventionoftheassumptionorderoftheSecretaryofLaborandEmployment.
Consequently,thefollowingunionofficersnamedinthecomplaint,towit:

1)AllanF.Aguhar 9)RodrigoAvelino
2)RodolfoAlindato 10)LeonardoAndrade
3)RoqueTan 11)DaniloChua
4)JessieLim 12)AmandoEugenio
5)SusanTopacio 13)CalvinLopez
6)LyddaPascual 14)AndresRasco,Jr.
7)BernardoAlcantara 15)CiriloAlon
8)GelacioDequitado
aredeclaredtohavelosttheiremploymentstatuswiththecompany,andthelattermay
now,ifitsodesires,terminatetheiremploymentwithit.Theunionscomplaintagainstthe
companyisherebyDISMISSEDforlackofmerit.SOORDERED.

Petitionerfiledamotionforreconsiderationbutwasdeniedby
theNLRCinaResolution datedJanuary15,1996.
7

OnMarch19,1996,petitionerfiledwiththisCourta
petitionforcertiorariassailingtheNLRCResolutions.
PursuanttoourrulinginSt.MartinsFuneralHomevs.
NLRC, wereferredthepetitiontotheCourtofAppealsforits
8

appropriateactionanddisposition.

OnMay28,1999,theCourtofAppealsrenderedaDecision
affirmingtheNLRCResolutions.TheAppellateCourtheld(1)
thattheNLRChasjurisdictiontoresolvetheissueoflegality
ofthestrike;(2)thattheMay20,1994temporarywork
stoppagebytheofficersandmembersofpetitioneramounted
toanillegalstrike;(3)thatevenassumingthatrespondent
committedunfairlaborpractice/s,still,thestrikeisillegal
becauseitfailedtocomplywiththemandatoryprocedural
requirementsofavalidstrikeunderArticle263(c)and(f)of
theLaborCode,asamended;and(4)thatthedismissalof
petitionersofficerswhoknowinglyparticipatedinanillegal
strikeisinaccordancewithArticle264(a)oftheLaborCode,
asamended.

OnOctober20,1995,petitionerfiledamotionfor
reconsiderationbutwasdeniedbytheCourtofAppealsina
ResolutiondatedNovember25,1999.

Hence,thispetitionforreviewoncertiorari.Petitioneralleged
thattheCourtofAppealsseriouslyerred(1)inholdingthat
theonedayworkstoppageofpetitionersofficersandmembers
isanillegalstrike;(2)insustainingthedismissalfromthe
serviceofitsofficers;and(3)inrulingthattheNLRChas
jurisdictionoverapetitiontodeclarethestrikeillegal.

Thebasicissueforourdeterminationiswhetherthestrike
stagedbypetitionersofficersandmembersisillegal.Articles
263and264oftheLaborCode,asamended,provide:
ART.263.STRIKES,PICKETINGANDLOCKOUTS.
xxx
(c)Incasesofbargainingdeadlocks,thedulycertifiedorrecognizedbargainingagent
mayfileanoticeofstrikexxxwiththeMinistry(nowDepartment)atleast30daysbefore
theintendeddatethereof.Incasesofunfairlaborpractice,theperiodofnoticeshallbe15
daysandintheabsenceofadulycertifiedorrecognizedbargainingagent,thenoticeof
strikemaybefiledbyanylegitimatelabororganizationinbehalfofitsmembers.
However,incaseofdismissalfromemploymentofunionofficersdulyelectedinaccordance
withtheunionconstitutionandbylaws,whichmayconstituteunionbustingwherethe
existenceoftheunionisthreatened,the15daycoolingoffperiodshallnotapplyandthe
unionmaytakeactionimmediately.
xxx
(f)Adecisiontodeclareastrikemustbeapprovedbyamajorityofthetotalunion
membershipinthebargainingunitconcerned,obtainedbysecretballotinmeetingsor
referendacalledforthatpurpose.xxx.Thedecisionshallbevalidforthedurationofthe
disputebasedonsubstantiallythesamegroundsconsideredwhenthestrikeorlockoutvote
wastaken.TheMinistry(nowDepartment)mayatitsowninitiativeorupontherequestof
anyaffectedparty,supervisetheconductofthesecretballoting.Ineverycase,theunionxx
xshallfurnishtheMinistry(nowDepartment)theresultsofthevotingatleastsevendays
beforetheintendedstrikeorlockout,subjecttothecoolingoffperiodhereinprovided.
xxx.
ART.264.PROHIBITEDACTIVITIES.
(a)Nolabororganizationoremployershalldeclareastrikeorlockoutwithoutfirst
havingbargainedcollectivelyinaccordancewithTitleVIIofthisBookorwithoutfirst
havingfiledthenoticerequiredintheprecedingarticleorwithoutthenecessarystrikeor
lockoutvotefirsthavingbeenobtainedandreportedtotheMinistry(nowDepartment).
xxx.

FollowingaretheImplementingGuidelinesoftheabove
provisionsissuedbytheDepartmentofLaborand
Employment:
1. AstrikeshallbefiledwiththeDepartmentofLaborand
Employmentatleast15daysiftheissuesraisedare
unfairlaborpracticeoratleast30daysiftheissue
involvedbargainingdeadlock.However,incaseof
dismissalfromemploymentofunionofficersdulyelected
inaccordancewiththeunionconstitutionandbylaws,
whichmayconstituteunionbustingwheretheexistence
oftheunionisthreatened,the15daycoolingoffperiod
shallnotapplyandtheunionmaytakeaction
immediately;
2. Thestrikeshallbesupportedbyamajorityvoteofthe
membersoftheunionobtainedbysecretballotina
meetingcalledforthepurpose;and
3. AstrikevoteshallbereportedtotheDepartmentofLabor
and
Employmentatleastseven(7)daysbeforetheintendedstrike.
Thereisnoshowingthatthepetitionerunionobservedthe7
daystrikeban;andthattheresultsofthestrikevotewere
submittedbypetitionerstotheDepartmentofLaborand
Employmentatleastseven(7)daysbeforethestrike.

Wethusholdthatforfailingtocomplywiththemandatory
requirementsofArticle263(c)and(f)oftheLaborCode,the
strikemountedbypetitioneruniononMay20,1994isillegal.

InGoldCityIntegratedPortService,Inc.vs.NLRC, we
9

stressedthatthelanguageofthelawleavesnoroomfordoubt
thatthecoolingoffperiodandthesevendaystrikebanafter
thestrikevotereportwereintendedtobemandatory.

Butpetitionerinsiststhatthestrikecanstillbedeclared
legalforitwasdoneingoodfaith,beinginresponsetowhatits
officersandmembershonestlyperceivedasunfairlabor
practiceorunionbustingcommittedbyrespondent.

Petitionersaccusationofunionbustingisbereftofany
proof.Wescannedtherecordsverycarefullyandfailedto
discernanyevidencetosustainsuchcharge.

InTiuvs.NLRC, weheld:10

xxx.Itistheunion,therefore,whohadtheburdenofprooftopresentsubstantialevidence
tosupportitsallegations(ofunfairlaborpracticescommittedbymanagement).
xxx.
xxx,butinthecaseatbarthefactsandtheevidencedidnotestablishevenatleasta
rationalbasiswhytheunionwouldwieldastrikebasedonallegedunfairlaborpracticesit
didnotevenbothertosubstantiateduringtheconciliationproceedings.Itisnotenough
thattheunionbelievedthattheemployercommittedactsofunfairlaborpracticewhenthe
circumstancesclearlynegateevenaprimafacieshowingtowarrantsuchabelief.

WeexplainedinNationalFederationofLaborvs.NLRC that 11

withtheenactmentofRepublicActNo.6715whichtookeffect
onMarch21,1989,therulenowisthatsuchrequirementsas
thefilingofanoticeofstrike,strikevote,andnoticegiventothe
DepartmentofLaboraremandatoryinnature.Thus,evenif
theunionactedingoodfaithinthebeliefthatthecompanywas
committinganunfairlaborpractice,ifnonoticeofstrikeanda
strikevotewereconducted,thesaidstrikeisillegal.

Inadesperateattempttojustifyitsposition,petitioner
insiststhatwhattranspiredonMay20,1994wasnotastrike
butmerelyaonedayworkabsence orasimpleactof
12

absenteeism. 13

Wearenotconvinced.Astrike,asdefinedinArticle212(o)
oftheLaborCode,asamended,meansanytemporary
stoppageofworkbytheconcertedactionofemployeesasa
resultofanindustrialorlabordispute.Thetermstrikeshall
comprisenotonlyconcertedworkstoppages,butalso
slowdowns,massleaves,sitdowns,attemptstodamage,
destroyorsabotageplantequipmentandfacilities,andsimilar
activities. 14

Thebasicelementsofastrikearepresentinthecaseatbar.
First,petitionersofficersandmembersnumbering167,ina
concertedmanner,didnotreportforworkonMay20,1994;
second,theygatheredinfrontofrespondentsofficeatPier12,
NorthHarboratManilatoparticipateinastrikevoting
conductedbypetitioner;andthird,suchunionactivitywasan
aftermathofpetitionerssecondnoticeofstrikebyreasonof
respondentsunfairlaborpractice/s.Clearly,whattranspired
thenwasastrikebecausethecessationofworkbypetitioners
concertedactionresultedfromalabordispute.

Invokingcompassion,petitionerpleadsthatitsofficerswho
participatedintheonedaystrikeshouldnotbedismissedfrom
theservice,consideringthatrespondentsbusinessactivities
werenotinterrupted,muchlessparalyzed.Whilewe
sympathizewiththeirplight,however,wemusttakecarethat
inthecontestbetweenlaborandcapital,theresultsachieved
arefairandinconformitywiththelaw. 15

PertinentisArticle264(a)ofthesameCode,thus:

ART.264.PROHIBITEDACTIVITIES.
xxx.Anyunionofficerwhoknowinglyparticipatesinanillegalstrikeandanyworker
orunionofficerwhoknowinglyparticipatesinthecommissionofillegalactsduringa
strikemaybedeclaredtohavelosthisemploymentstatus:Provided,Thatmere
participationofaworkerinalawfulstrikeshallnotconstitutesufficientgroundfor
terminationofhisemployment,evenifareplacementhadbeenhiredbytheemployer
duringsuchlawfulstrike.
xxx.
Itisworthreiteratingthatthestrikeisillegalforfailureof
petitionertosubmitthestrikevotetotheDepartmentofLabor
andEmploymentatleastseven(7)dayspriorthereto.Also,
petitionerfailedtoprovethatrespondentcompanycommitted
anyunfairlaborpractice.Amidthisbackground,
theparticipationoftheunionofficersinanillegalstrike
forfeitstheiremploymentstatus.

InTelefunkenSemiconductorsEmployeesUnionFFWvs.
SecretaryofLaborandEmployment, weexplained 16

Theeffectsofsuchillegalstrikes,outlinedinArticle265(nowArticle264)oftheLabor
Code,makeadistinctionbetweenworkersandunionofficerswhoparticipatetherein.
Aunionofficerwhoknowinglyparticipatesinanillegalstrikeandanyworkerorunion
officerwhoknowinglyparticipatesinthecommissionofillegalactsduringastrikemaybe
declaredtohavelosttheiremploymentstatus.Anordinarystrikingworkercannotbe
terminatedformereparticipationinanillegalstrike.Theremustbeproofthathecommitted
illegalactsduringastrike.Aunionofficer,ontheotherhand,maybeterminatedfromwork
whenheknowinglyparticipatesinanillegalstrike,andlikeotherworkers,whenhe
commitsanillegalactduringastrike.

Moreover,petitionermaintainsthattheLaborArbiter,notthe
NLRC,shouldhavetakencognizanceofthecaseatbar.Wedo
notagree.
InInternationalPharmaceuticals,Inc.v.SecretaryofLabor
andEmployment, weheld: 17

xxx[T]heSecretarywasexplicitlygrantedbyArticle263(g)oftheLaborCodetheauthorityto
assumejurisdictionoveralabordisputecausingorlikelytocauseastrikeorlockoutinanindustry
indispensabletothenationalinterest,anddecidethesameaccordingly.Necessarily,thisauthority
toassumejurisdictionoverthesaidlabordisputemustincludeandextendtoallquestionsand
controversiesarisingtherefrom,includingcasesoverwhichtheLaborArbiterhasexclusive
jurisdiction(italicssupplied).
Inthesamemanner,whentheSecretaryofLaborandEmploymentcertifiesthelabor
disputetotheNLRCforcompulsoryarbitrationthelatterisconcomitantlyempoweredto
resolveallquestionsandcontroversiesarisingtherefromincludingcasesotherwise
belongingoriginallyandexclusivelytotheLaborArbiter.

WHEREFORE,thepetitionisDENIED.TheDecisionand
ResolutionoftheCourtofAppealsdatedMay28,1999and
November25,1999areherebyAFFIRMED.
SOORDERED.
CoronaandCarpioMorales,JJ.,concur.
Vitug(Chairman),J.,OnOfficialLeave.
Petitiondenied,judgmentandresolutionaffirmed.

Note.Therighttostrike,whileconstitutionally
recognizedisnotwithoutlegalconstrictions.(GreatPacific
LifeEmployeesUnionvs.GreatPacificLifeAssurance
Corporation,303SCRA113[1999])