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G.R. No. 182331, 18 April 2012

FACTS: Petitioners were regular employees of the Philippine Banking Corporation (Philbank), each
with at least ten years of service in the company. In 1970, Philbank established a Gratuity Pay Plan
(Old Plan) under which, the employees will be entitled to an additional 50% of their gratuity pay on
top of 150% of one month salary for every year of service they had already received. Later in 2000,
Philbank merged with Global Business Bank, Inc., and operated under the name Global Business
Bank, Inc. As a result of the merger, the respective positions of the petitioners became redundant.
Subsequently, the petitioners availed the Special Separation Program (SSP) wherein they will be
given separation pay equivalent to 150% of their monthly salaries for every year of service. Later,
the petitioners filed separate complaints for non-payment of the said separation pay before the
National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). They alleged that they are still entitled to the
benefits granted under the Gratuity Pay Plan (Old Plan).

The Labor Arbiter promulgated a decision dismissing the complaint and held that the 150% rate
under the Special Separation Program (SSP) could legally cover both the separation pay and the
gratuity pay of complainants. Petitioners appealed before the NRLC. However, the NLRC affirmed
the LAs decision. The petitioners then elevated the case to the Court of Appelas via a Petition
for Certiorari under Rule 65.

ISSUE: Whether the Petition for Certiorari was dismissible due to the failure to file a Motion
for Reconsideration of the NLRCs adverse resolution

RULING: YES. The petitioners unexplained failure to move for the reconsideration of the NLRCs
resolution before applying for a writ of certiorari is reason enough to deny such application.

The petitioners likewise invoke the liberal application of procedural rules. The Court is not
convinced. To begin with, the petitioners do not have the discretion or prerogative to determine the
propriety of complying with procedural rules. The Court had repeatedly emphasized in various
cases involving the tedious attempts of litigants to relieve themselves of the consequences of their
neglect to follow a simple procedural requirement for perfecting a petition for certiorari that he
who seeks a writ of certiorari must apply for it only in the manner and strictly in accordance with
the provisions of the law and the Rules. The petitioners may not arrogate to themselves the
determination of whether a motion for reconsideration is necessary or not. To dispense with the
requirement of filing a motion for reconsideration, the petitioners must show a concrete,
compelling, and valid reason for doing so.

In this case, the petitioners did not bother to explain their omission. Aside from the fact that such
belated effort will not resurrect their application for a writ of certiorari, the reason proffered by the
petitioners does not fall under any of the recognized instances when the filing of a motion for
reconsideration may be dispensed with. Whimsical and arbitrary deviations from the rules cannot
be condoned in the guise of a plea for a liberal interpretation thereof.