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17. Aurora Land Projects vs NLRC private responden.

the power of control refers merely to


the existence of the power and not to the actual exercise
FACTS: Private respondent Honorio Dagui was hired by thereof. It is not essential for the employer to actually
Doa Aurora Suntay Tanjangco in 1953 to take charge of supervise the performance of duties of the employee; it
the maintenance and repair of the Tanjangco is enough that the former has a right to wield the power.
apartments and residential buildings. He was to perform
carpentry, plumbing, electrical and masonry work. Upon Status: He was Regular employee under article 280. an
the death of Doa Aurora Tanjangco in 1982, her employment shall be deemed to be regular where the
daughter, petitioner Teresita Tanjangco Quazon, took employee has been engaged to perform activities which
over the administration of all the Tanjangco properties. are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business
On June 8, 1991, private respondent Dagui received the or trade of the employer. The jobs assigned to private
shock of his life when Mrs. Quazon suddenly told him: respondent as maintenance man, carpenter, plumber,
"Wala ka nang trabaho mula ngayon,"[3] on the alleged electrician and mason were directly related to the
ground that his work was unsatisfactory. On August 29, business of petitioners as lessors of residential and
1991, private respondent, who was then already sixty- apartment buildings. Moreover, such a continuing need
two (62) years old, filed a complaint for illegal dismissal for his services by herein petitioners is sufficient
with the Labor Arbiter. evidence of the necessity and indispensability of his
services to petitioners' business or trade. Owing to
LA: Respondents Aurora Plaza and/or Teresita private respondent's length of service, he became a
Tanjangco Quazon are hereby ordered to pay the regular employee, by operation of law, one year after he
complainant the total amount of ONE HUNDRED was employed in 1953 and subsequently in 1982.
NINETY FIVE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED TWENTY If dismissed illegally: Yes. the rule that the twin
FOUR PESOS (P195,624.00) representing requirements of due process, substantive and
complainant's separation pay and the ten (10%) percent procedural, must be complied with, before a valid
attorney's fees within ten (10) days from receipt of this dismissal exists.[28] Without which the dismissal
Decision. becomes void.[29] the employer must furnish the worker
All other issues are dismissed for lack of merit. sought to be dismissed with two written notices before
termination of employee can be legally effected: (1)
Aurora appealed to NLRC notice which apprises the employee of the particular
acts or omissions for which his dismissal is sought; and
NLRC: The Commission affirmed, with modification, the (2) the subsequent notice which informs the employee
Labor Arbiter's decision in a Resolution promulgated of the employer's decision to dismiss him (Section 13,
that complainant must be paid separation pay in the BP 130; Sections 2-6, Rule XIV, Book V Rules and
amount of P88,920.00 instead of P177,840.00. The Regulations Implementing the Labor Code as
award of attorney's fees is hereby deleted. amended). Failure to comply with the requirements
taints the dismissal with illegality.
Petitioner elevated the case. Petitioners insist that
private respondent had never been their employee. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is partly GRANTED
Since the establishment of Aurora Plaza, Dagui served and the Resolution of the public respondent National
therein only as a job contractor. Dagui had control and Labor Relations Commission dated March 16, 1994 is
supervision of whoever he would take to perform a hereby MODIFIED in that the award of separation pay
contracted job. On occasion, Dagui was hired only as a against the petitioners shall be reckoned from the date
"tubero" or plumber as the need arises in order to unclog private respondent was re-employed by the petitioners
sewerage pipes. Every time his services were needed, in 1982, until June 8, 1991. In addition to separation
he was paid accordingly. It was understood that his job pay, full backwages are likewise awarded to private
was limited to the specific undertaking of unclogging the respondent, inclusive of allowances, and other benefits
pipes. In effect, petitioners would like us to believe that or their monetary equivalent pursuant to Article
private respondent Dagui was an independent 279[46] of the Labor Code
contractor, particularly a job contractor, and not an
18. Mylene Carvajal v. Luzon Dev Bank
employee of Aurora Plaza.
FACTS: Carvajal was employed as a trainee-teller by
ISSUE: Whether or not private respondent Honorio
Luzon Development Bank (Bank) under a six-month
Dagui was an employee of petitioners; and (2) If he
probationary employment contract. Ramirez is the
were, whether or not he was illegally dismissed.
President and CEO of the Bank. A month into her
HELD: Control Test of Employer- Employee employment, she was send a Memorandum directing
relationship: (a) the selection and engagement of the her to explain in writing why she should not be subjected
employee; (b) the payment of wages; (c) the power of to disciplinary action for her eight tardiness on
dismissal; and (d) the employer's power to control the November 2003. A second Memorandum was sent to
employee's conduct. All these elements are present in her on January for her again chronic tardiness on
the case at bar. Private respondent was hired in 1953 December 2003. She submitted her written
by Doa Aurora Suntay Tanjangco. Dagui was not explanations for both events and manifested her
compensated in terms of profits for his labor or services acceptance of the consequences of her actions. She
like an independent contractor. Rather, he was paid on was terminated for three days effective 21 January
a daily wage basis at the rate of P180.00. Doa Aurora 2004. However, on 22 January, her termination was
and later her daughter petitioner Teresita Quazon lifted but at the same time, her services were
evidently had the power of dismissal for cause over the terminated. In the respondents’ position paper to the
LA, they explained that the reasons for her absence are
chronic tardiness, absenteeism and failure to perform In Abbotts offer sheet, it was stated that Alcaraz was to
satisfactorily as a probationary employee. be employed on a probationary basis. Later that day,
she accepted the said offer and received an electronic
LA Decision: The petitioner was illegally dismissed mail (e-mail) from Abbotts Recruitment Officer,
because she was not afforded the notice in writing petitioner Teresita C. Bernardo (Bernardo), confirming
informing her of what the Bank would like to bring out to the same. Attached to Bernardos e-mail were Abbotts
her for the latter to answer in writing. organizational chart and a job description of Alcarazs
work.
NLRC Decision: NLRC affirmed the decision of the LA.
During Alcarazs pre-employment orientation, petitioner
CA Decision: The CA found that the petitioner was not Allan G. Almazar (Almazar), Hospiras Country
entitled to backwages because she was rightfully Transition Manager, briefed her on her duties and
dismissed for failure to meet the employment standards. responsibilities as Regulatory Affairs Manager.
Petitioner Kelly Walsh (Walsh), Manager of the
Literature Drug Surveillance Drug Safety of Hospira, will
ISSUE: Whether the petitioner can be considered a
be her immediate supervisor. Petitioner Maria Olivia T.
regular employee at the time of her dismissal.
Yabut-Misa (Misa), Abbotts Human Resources (HR)
Director, sent Alcaraz an e-mail which contained an
HELD: No. Carvajal’s appointment letter reads that explanation of the procedure for evaluating the
“Possible extension of this contract will depend on the performance of probationary employees.
job requirements of the Bank and your overall
performance. Performance review will be conducted During the course of her employment, Alcaraz noticed
before possible renewal can take effect.” Therefore, that some of the staff had disciplinary problems. Thus,
petitioner knew, at the time of her engagement, that she she would reprimand them for their unprofessional
must comply with the standards set forth by respondent behavior such as non-observance of the dress code,
and perform satisfactorily in order to attain regular moonlighting, and disrespect of Abbott officers.
status. Even the NLRC upheld the petitoner’s However, Alcarazs method of management was
probationary status, stating that reinstatement is not considered by Walsh to be "too strict."
synonymous to regularization.
Alcaraz was called to a meeting with Walsh and
Although probationary employees also enjoy security of Terrible, Abbotts former HR Director, where she was
tenure, he may still be terminated because of just and informed that she failed to meet the regularization
authorized causes of termination and the additional standards for the position of Regulatory Affairs
ground under Article 281 of the Labor Code, i.e. the Manager. Walsh, Almazar, and Bernardo personally
probationary employee may also be terminated for handed to Alcaraz a letter stating that her services had
failure to qualify as a regular employee in accordance been terminated effective May 19, 2005. The letter
to the reasonable standards set by the employer. detailed the reasons for Alcarazs termination. Alcaraz
Punctuality is a reasonable standard imposed on every felt that she was unjustly terminated from her
employee, whether in government or private sector. employment and thus, filed a complaint for illegal
This, together with absenteeism, underperformance dismissal and damages against Abbott and its officers,
and mistake in clearing a check are infractions that namely, Misa, Bernardo, Almazar, Walsh, Terrible, and
cannot be tantamount to satisfactory standards. Feist. She claimed that she should have already been
considered as a regular and not a probationary
In addition to the abovementioned, it has been employee given Abbotts failure to inform her of the
previously held in PDI vs. Magtibay, Jr., that the second reasonable standards for her regularization upon her
requirement under Article 281 does not require notice engagement as required under Article 295 of the Labor
and hearing. Due process of law for this second ground Code.
consists of making the reasonable standards expected
of the employee during his probationary period known LA decision: LA dismissed Alcarazs complaint for lack
to him at the time of his engagement. By the very nature of merit. The LA rejected Alcarazs argument that she
of probationary employment, the employee knows from was not informed of the reasonable standards to qualify
the very start that he will be under close observation and as a regular employee.
continuous scrutiny by his supervisors. If termination is
for cause, it may be done at anytime during the NLRC Decision: The NLRC reversed the findings of the
probation. LA and ruled that there was no evidence showing that
Alcaraz had been apprised of her probationary status
19. Abbot vs Alcaraz and the requirements which she should have complied
with in order to be a regular employee
FACTS: Petitioner Abbott Laboratories, Philippines
(Abbott) caused the publication in a major broadsheet CA decision: Affirmed NLRC’s
newspaper of its need for a Medical and Regulatory
Affairs Manager. Alcaraz - who was then a Regulatory ISSUE: WON Alcaraz was illegally dismissed
Affairs and Information Manager at Aventis Pasteur
Philippines, Incorporated (another pharmaceutical HELD: The probationary employee may also be
company like Abbott) showed interest and submitted terminated for failure to qualify as a regular employee in
her application.
accordance with the reasonable standards made known emailed Aliling to express dissatisfaction with the
by the employer to the employee at the time of the latter’s performance.
engagement. hus, the services of an employee who has
been engaged on probationary basis may be terminated
for any of the following: (a) a just or (b) an authorized On September 25, 2004, Joseph R. Lariosa (Lariosa),
cause; and (c) when he fails to qualify as a regular Human Resources Manager of WWWEC, asked Aliling
employee in accordance with reasonable standards to report to the Human Resources Department to
prescribed by the employer. (Article 295) Labor Code. explain his absence taken without leave from
September 20, 2004. Aliling responded two days later.
Alcaraz was well-aware that her regularization would
He denied being absent on the days in question,
depend on her ability and capacity to fulfill the
requirements of her position as Regulatory Affairs attaching to his reply-letter a copy of his timesheet
Manager and that her failure to perform such would give which showed that he worked from September 20 to
Abbott a valid cause to terminate her probationary 24, 2004. Aliling’s explanation came with a query
employment. regarding the withholding of his salary corresponding
to September 11 to 25, 2004. On October 15, 2004,
Hence, since the reasonableness of Alcaraz's
Aliling tendered his resignation to San Mateo.
assessment clearly appears from the records, her
termination was justified. Bear in mind that the quantum
of proof which the employer must discharge is only While WWWEC took no action on his tender, Aliling
substantial evidence which, as defined in case law, nonetheless demanded reinstatement and a written
means that amount of relevant evidence as a apology, claiming in a subsequent letter dated October
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support 1, 2004 to management that San Mateo had forced him
a conclusion, even if other minds, equally reasonable,
to resign. Lariosa’s response-letter of October 1, 2004,
might conceivably opine otherwise.14 To the Court's
mind, this threshold of evidence Abbott amply overcame informed Aliling that his case was still in the process of
in this case. being evaluated. On October 6, 2004, Lariosa again
wrote, this time to advise Aliling of the termination of
WHEREFORE, the motion for reconsideration dated his services effective as of that date owing to his “non-
August 23, 2013 of the Court's Decision dated July 23, satisfactory performance” during his probationary
2013 in this case is hereby DENIED.
period. Records show that Aliling, for the period
20. Armando Aliling vs Jose Feliciano indicated, was paid his outstanding salary.

FACTS: Respondent Wide Wide World Express However, or on October 4, 2004, Aliling filed a
Corporation (WWWEC) offered to employ petitioner Complaint for illegal dismissal due to forced
Armando Aliling (Aliling) on June 2, 2004 as “Account resignation, nonpayment of salaries as well as damages
Executive (Seafreight Sales),” with a compensation
with the NLRC against WWWEC. Appended to the
package of a monthly salary of PhP 13,000,
transportation allowance of PhP 3,000, clothing complaint was Aliling’s Affidavit dated November 12,
allowance of PhP 800, cost of living allowance of PhP 2004, in which he stated: “5. At the time of my
500, each payable on a per month basis and a 14th engagement, respondents did not make known to me
month pay depending on the profitability and availability the standards under which I will qualify as a regular
of financial resources of the company. The offer came employee.” Refuting Aliling’s basic posture, WWWEC
with a six (6)-month probation period condition with this
stated that in the letter offer and employment contract
express caveat: “Performance during probationary
period shall be made as basis for confirmation to adverted to, WWWEC and Aliling have signed a letter
Regular or Permanent Status.” of appointment on June 11, 2004 containing the terms
of engagement.
On June 11, 2004, Aliling and WWWEC inked an
Employment Contract under the terms of conversion to WWWEC also attached to its Position Paper a memo
regular status shall be determined on the basis of work dated September 20, 2004 in which San Mateo asked
performance; and employment services may, at any
Aliling to explain why he should not be terminated for
time, be terminated for just cause or in accordance with
the standards defined at the time of engagement. failure to meet the expected job performance,
considering that the load factor for the GX Shuttles for
However, instead of a Seafreight Sale assignment, the period July to September was only 0.18% as
WWWEC asked Aliling to handle Ground Express (GX), opposed to the allegedly agreed upon load of 80%
a new company product launched on June 18, 2004 targeted for August 5, 2004. According to WWWEC,
involving d domestic cargo forwarding service for Aliling, instead of explaining himself, simply submitted
Luzon. Marketing this product and finding daily a resignation letter
contracts for it formed the core of Aliling’s new
assignment. A month after, Manuel F. San Mateo III LA: issued a decision declaring that the grounds upon
(San Mateo), WWWEC Sales and Marketing Director, which complainant’s dismissal was based did not
conform not only the standard but also the compliance
required under Article 281 of the Labor Code, issue of petitioner’s alleged failure to achieve his
Necessarily, complainant’s termination is not justified quota, as a ground for terminating employment, strikes
for failure to comply with the mandate the law the Court as a mere afterthought on the part of
requires. Respondents should be ordered to pay WWWEC. Consider: Lariosa’s letter of September 25,
salaries corresponding to the unexpired portion of the 2004 already betrayed management’s intention to
contract of employment and all other benefits dismiss the petitioner for alleged unauthorized
amounting to a total of P35,811.00 covering the period absences. Aliling was in fact made to explain and he did
from October 6 to December 7, 2004. The Labor Arbiter so satisfactorily. But, lo and behold, WWWEC
explained that Aliling cannot be validly terminated for nonetheless proceeded with its plan to dismiss the
noncompliance with thw quota threshold absent a petitioner for nonsatisfactory performance, although
prior advisory of the reasonable standards upon which the corresponding termination letter dated October 6,
his performance would be evaluated 2004 did not even specifically state Aliling’s “non-
satisfactory performance,” or that Aliling’s termination
Both parties appealed to NLRC was by reason of his failure to achieve his set quota.
Employees must be reminded that while probationary
NLRC: The separate motions for reconsideration were employees do not enjoy permanent status, they enjoy
also denied by the NLRC. the constitutional protection of security of tenure.
They can only be terminated for cause or when they
CA: CA anchored its assailed action on the strength of otherwise fail to meet the reasonable standards made
the following premises: (a) respondents failed to prove known to them by the employer at the time of their
that Aliling’s dismal performance constituted gross and engagement. Respondent WWWEC miserably failed to
habitual neglect necessary to justify his dismissal; (b) prove the termination of petitioner was for a just cause
not having been informed at the time of his nor was there substantial evidence to demonstrate the
engagement of the reasonable standards under which standards were made known to the latter at the time
he will qualify as a regular employee, Aliling was of his engagement. Hence, petitioner’s right to security
deemed to have been hired from day one as a regular of tenure was breached.
employee; and (c) the strained relationship existing
between the parties argues against the propriety of 3) To effect a legal dismissal, the employer must show
reinstatement. not only a valid ground therefor, but also that
procedural due process has properly been observed.
ISSUEs: When the Labor Code speaks of procedural due
1) Whether petitioner is a regular employee. process, the reference is usually to the two (2)-written
2) Whether petitioner was illegally dismissed.or his notice rule envisaged in Section 2 (III), Rule XXIII, Book
right to security of tenure was violated. V of the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code.
3) Whether Aliling’s right to procedural due process
was violated. 4) As of that date June 11, 2004, Aliling became part of
4) Whether Aliling is entitled to backwages and the WWWEC organization as a regular employee of the
separation pay in lieu of reinstatement. company without a fixed term of employment. Thus,
he is entitled to backwages reckoned from the time he
HELD: was illegally dismissed on October 6, 2004, with a PhP
1) Petitioner was regularized from the time of the 17,300.00 monthly salary, until the finality of this
execution of the employment contract on June 11, Decision. Article 279 of the Labor Code, as amended by
2004, although respondent company had arbitrarily Section 34 of Republic Act 6715 instructs: Art. 279.
shortened his tenure. As pointed out, respondent Security of Tenure. - In cases of regular employment,
company did not make known the reasonable the employer shall not terminate the services of an
standards under which he will qualify as a regular employee except for a just cause or when authorized
employee at the time of his engagement. Hence, he by this Title. An employee who is unjustly dismissed
was deemed to have been hired from day one as a from work shall be entitled to reinstatement without
regular employee. loss of seniority rights and other privileges and to his
2) To justify fully the dismissal of an employee, the full backwages, inclusive of allowances, and to his
employer must, as a rule, prove that the dismissal was other benefits or their monetary equivalent computed
for a just cause and that the employee was afforded from the time his compensation was withheld from
due process prior to dismissal. As a complementary him up to the time of his actual reinstatement. The law
principle, the employer has the onus of proving with intends the award of backwages and similar benefits to
clear, accurate, consistent, and convincing evidence accumulate past the date of the Labor Arbiter’s
the validity of the dismissal. The attendant decision until the dismissed employee is actually
circumstances in the instant case aptly show that the reinstated. But if, as in this case, reinstatement is no
longer possible, this Court has consistently ruled that and selling capabilities only after the publication of the
backwages shall be computed from the time of illegal directory, and that it takes about eighteen
dismissal until the date the decision becomes final.
(18) months before his worth as a telephone sales
Additionally, Aliling is entitled to separation pay in lieu representative can be fully evaluated inasmuch as the
of reinstatement on the ground of strained advertisement solicited by him for a particular year are
relationship. The basis for the payment of backwages published in the directory only the following year."
is different from that for the award of separation pay.
Separation pay is granted where reinstatement is no The records show that the private... respondent
terminated the services of petitioners Iluminada Ver
longer advisable because of strained relations between
Buiser and Cecilia Rillo-Acuña on May 14, 1981 and
the employee and the employer. Backwages represent peti-tioner Ma. Mercedes P. Intengan on May 18, 1981
compensation that should have been earned but were for their failure to meet their sales quotas.
not collected because of the unjust dismissal. The basis
for computing backwages is usually the length of the On appeal, Deputy Minister Vicente Leogardo, Jr. of the
employee's service while that for separation pay is the Ministry of Labor issued an Order dated January 7,
1983, affirming the Regional Director's Order dated
actual period when the employee was unlawfully
September 21, 1982, wherein it ruled that the petitioners
prevented from working. have not attained permanent status since private
respondent... was justified in requiring a longer period
Dispositive Portion: WHEREFORE, the petition is of probation, and that the termination of petitioners'
PARTIALLYGRANTED. The assailed Resolutions of services was valid since the latter failed to meet their
respondent (Third Division) National Labor Relations sales quotas.
Commission are AFFIRMED, with the following
The Hon. Regional Director and the Hon. Deputy
MODIFICATION/CLARIFICATION: Respondent Wide Minister committed grave abuse of discretion
Wide World Express Corp. is liable to pay Armando amounting to lack of jurisdiction in ruling that the
Aliling the following: (a) backwages reckoned from probationary employment of petitioners herein is
October 6, 2004 up to the finality of this Decision based eighteen (18) months instead of the mandated six (6)
on a salary of PhP 17,300 a month, with interest at 6% months under the Labor
per annum on the principal amount from October 6,
Code, and in consequently further ruling that petitioners
2004 until fully paid; (b) the additional sum equivalent are not entitled to security of tenure while under said
to one (1) month salary for every year of service, with probation for 18 months.
a fraction of at least six (6) months considered as one
whole year based on the period from June 11, 2004 The Hon. Regional Director and the Hon. Deputy
(date of employment contract) until the finality of this Minister committed grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack of jurisdiction in ruling that petitioners
Decision, as separation pay; (c) PhP 30,000 as nominal
were dismissed for a just and valid cause.
damages; and (d) Attorney’s Fees equivalent to 10% of
the total award. The Hon. Regional Director and the Hon. Deputy
Minister committed grave abuse of discretion
21. Iluminada Ver Buiser vs. Vicente Leogardo amounting to lack of jurisdiction in ruling that petitioners
are not entitled to the commissions they have earned
FACTS: Petitioners were employed by the private and accrued during their period of employment.
respondent GENERAL TELEPHONE DIRECTORY
COMPANY as sales representatives and charged with Petitioners contend that under Articles 281-282 of the
the duty of soliciting advertise-ments for inclusion in a Labor Code, having served the respondent company
telephone directory. continuously for over six (6) months, they have become
automatically regular employees notwithstanding an
The records show that petitioners Iluminada Ver Buiser agreement to the contrary
and Ma. Mercedes P. Intengan entered into an
"Employment Contract (on Probationary Status)" on Policy Instruction No. 11 of the Minister of Labor and
May 26, 1980 with private respondent, a corporation Employment has clarified any and all doubts on the
engaged in the business of publication and circulation period of probationary employment
of the directory of... the Philippine Long Distance
Telephone Company. Petitioner Ma. Cecilia Rillo-Acuña Petitioners anchor their claim for commission pay on the
entered into the same employment contract on June 11, Collective Agreement (CBA) of September 1981, in
1980 with the private respondent. support of their third assignment of error. Petitioners
cannot avai... of this agreement since their services had
The company hereby employs the employee as been terminated in May, 1981, at a time when the CBA
telephone sales representative on a probationary status of
for a period of eighteen (18) months,... The Employee
recognizes the fact that the nature of the telephone September, 1981 was not yet in existence.
sales representative's job is such that the company
would be able to determine his true character, conduct
For certiorari to lie, "there must be capricious, arbitrary suspension before the NLRC. The case was docketed
and whimsical exercise of power, the very antithesis... as NLRC NCR CASE NO. RAB-IV-3-13593-01-C.
of the judicial prerogative in accordance with centu...
ries of both civil and common law traditions."
On March 19, 2001, petitioner issued respondents their
Issues: This is a petition for certiorari seeking to set Notice of Termination,[11] each to take effect similarly
aside the Order of the Deputy Minister of Labor and on March 31, 2001, citing the foregoing grounds. In
Employment, affirming the Order of the Regional addition, petitioner informed respondents that they did
Director, National Capital Region, in Case No. NCR- not qualify as regular employees for their failure to meet
STF-5-2851-81... which dismissed the petitioners'... the performance standards made known to them at the
complaint for alleged illegal dismissal and unpaid start of their probationary period.
commission.

petitioners filed with the National Capital Region,


Ministry of Labor and Employment, a complaint for Respondents then amended their initial complaint, to
illegal dismissal with claims for back-wages, earned include illegal dismissal.
commissions and other benefits, docketed as Case No.
NCR-STF-5-2851-81.

Ruling: The Regional Director of said ministry, in an After the submission of the parties position papers, on
Order dated September 21, 1982, dismissed the November 29, 2001, Labor Arbiter Vicente R. Layawen
complaints of the petitioners, except the claim for rendered a Decision dismissing the complaint.[12] He
allowances which private respondent was ordered to concluded that the termination of the respondents
pay. A reconsideration of the Order was sought by the probationary employment was justified because of their
petitioners in a motion... filed on September 30, 1982. failure to submit vital teaching documents. Specifically,
This motion, however, was treated as an appeal to the Pe Benito failed to submit her day book/lesson plans;
Minister of Labor. while Balaguer failed to submit the subject syllabi and
he had no record of class requirements as to quizzes,
Hence, this petition for certiorari on the alleged ground seatworks, homeworks, and recitation which were
that public respondent committed grave abuse of supposed to be the bases in rating the students
discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. this petition performance.[13] More importantly, the Labor Arbiter
for certiorari on the alleged ground that public found respondents guilty of serious misconduct
respondent committed grave abuse of discretion warranting their dismissal from service because of
amounting to lack of jurisdiction. We reject petitioners' maliciously spreading false accusation against the
contentions. They have no basis in law. school through the mass media. These acts, according
to the Labor Arbiter, made them unfit to remain in the
On the second assignment of error that public schools roster of teachers.
respondent committed grave abuse of discretion in
ruling that petitioners were dismissed for a just and valid LA: validated the preventive suspension of respondents
cause. The National Labor Relations Commission and for their having used the classroom as venue in
General Telephone Directory Co.", G.R. No. L-64459, spreading uncorroborated charges against petitioner,
July 25, 1983, the petition for certiorari which raised the thus posing a serious threat to petitioners business and
same issue against the herein private respondent was reputation as a respectable institution
dismissed by this Court for lack of merit.
NLRC: he Commission affirmed[16] the Labor Arbiters
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of disposition in its entirety. The Commission concluded
merit. that respondents acts, taken together, constitute
serious misconduct, warranting their dismissal from
22. Woodridge School vs. Joanne Pe Benito service.

Facts: CA: CA granted the petition and set aside the NLRC
On February 28, 2001, petitioner sent two separate ruling in a decision. he appellate court declared the
Memoranda[10] to respondents placing them under preventive suspension of respondents invalid because
preventive suspension for a period of thirty days on the it was based on the alleged violation of school
following grounds: 1) uttering defamatory remarks regulations on the wearing of uniform, tardiness or
against the school principal in the presence of their co- absence, and maliciously spreading false accusations
teachers; 2) announcing to the students and teachers against the school, grounds that do not pose a serious
their alleged immediate termination from service; 3) threat to the life or property of the employer or of the
tardiness; 4) spreading false accusations against workers.[18] Contrary to the Labor Arbiter and the
petitioner; 5) absence without official leave; and 6) Commissions findings, the CA concluded that
appearing on television and speaking over the radio to respondents acts do not constitute serious misconduct.
malign petitioner. In the same memoranda, Respondents act of exposing the alleged NSAT/NEAT
respondents were required to explain in writing within anomaly, as well as raising the other issues haunting
seventy-two (72) hours why they should not be the school administration, only indicates their concern
terminated from their employment. This prompted for the integrity of the government examination and of
respondents to commence an action for illegal the school. The use of the mass media was simply the
respondents response to the petitioners inaction on FACTS: On February 7, 1995, PDI hired Magtibay, on
their grievances.[19] No bad faith could be attributed to contractual basis, to assist, for a period of five months
respondents in acting the way they did. from February 17, 1995, the regular phone operator.
Before the expiration of Magtibays contractual
The appellate court likewise refused to sustain employment, he and PDI agreed to a fifteen-day
petitioners contention that respondents failed to qualify contract extension, or from July 17, 1995 up to July 31,
for permanent employment, as there was no sufficient 1995, under the same conditions as the existing
evidence to prove the same.[20] The appellate court contract.
emphasized that because respondents are
probationary employees, legal protection extends only After the expiration of Magtibays contractual
to the period of their probation.[21] The dismissal employment, as extended, PDI announced the creation
breached their probationary employment, and being and availability of a new position for a second telephone
tainted with bad faith, the court upheld the award of operator who would undergo probationary employment.
moral and exemplary damages.[22] Apparently, it was PDIs policy to accord regular
employees preference for new vacancies in the
ISSUE: WON they were illegally dismissed. company. Thus, Ms. Regina M. Layague, a PDI
employee and member of respondent PDI Employees
HELD: The Labor Code commands that before an Union (PDIEU), filed her application for the new
employer may legally dismiss an employee from the position. However, she later withdrew her application,
service, the requirement of substantial and procedural paving the way for outsiders or non-PDI employees, like
due process must be complied with.[42] Under the Magtibay in this case, to apply.
requirement of substantial due process, the grounds for
termination of employment must be based on just[43] or After the usual interview for the second telephone
authorized causes.[44] operator slot, PDI chose to hire Magtibay on a
probationary basis for a period of six (6) months. The
The notices of termination sent by petitioner to signing of a written contract of employment followed.
respondents stated that the latter failed to qualify as
regular employees.[38] However, nowhere in the On March 13, 1996, or a week before the end the
notices did petitioner explain the details of said failure agreed 6-month probationary period, PDI officer Benita
to qualify and the standards not met by respondents. del Rosario handed Magtibay his termination paper,
grounded on his alleged failure to meet company
The tenor of the manifesto indicated good faith, as the standards.
teachers, in fact, expressly stated that their ultimate
objective was not to put the school down, but to work for Magtibay anchored his case principally on the postulate
some changes which would be beneficial to the that he had become a regular employee by operation of
students, teachers, the school and the country as a law, considering that he had been employed by and had
whole. worked for PDI for a total period of ten months, i.e., four
months more than the maximum six-month period
The totality of the acts of respondents cannot be provided for by law on probationary employment. He
characterized as misconduct under the law, serious also claimed that he was not apprised at the beginning
enough to warrant the severe penalty of dismissal. This of his employment of the performance standards of the
is especially true because there is no finding of malice company, hence, there was no basis for his dismissal.
or wrongful intent attributable to respondents. Finally, he described his dismissal as tainted with bad
faith and effected without due process.
petitioner insists that respondents preventive
suspension was proper, in view of the latters acts of PDI, for its part, denied all the factual allegations of
utilizing their time, not to teach, but to spread rumors Magtibay, adding that his previous contractual
that the former was about to cease operation.[52] employment was validly terminated upon the expiration
of the period stated therein. Pressing the point, PDI
The law is clear on this matter. While the employer may alleged that the period covered by the contractual
place the worker concerned under preventive employment cannot be counted with or tacked to the
suspension, it can do so only if the latters continued period for probation, inasmuch as there is no basis to
employment poses a serious and imminent threat to the consider Magtibay a regular employee. PDI additionally
life or property of the employer or of his co-workers.[53] claimed that Magtibay was dismissed for violation of
In this case, the grounds relied upon by petitioner in company rules and policies, such as allowing his lover
placing respondents under preventive suspension were to enter and linger inside the telephone operators booth
the alleged violation of school rules and regulations on and for failure to meet prescribed company standards
the wearing of uniform, tardiness or absence, and which were allegedly made known to him at the start
maliciously spreading false accusations against the through an orientation seminar conducted by the
school.[54] These grounds do not, in any way, pose a company.
threat to the life or property of the school, of the teachers
or of the students and their parents. Hence, we affirm LA: Found r PDI and accordingly dismissed Magtibays
the CAs conclusion that respondents preventive complaint for illegal dismissal. The Labor Arbiter
suspension was illegal. premised his holding on the validity of the previous
contractual employment of Magtibay as an independent
23. Phil Daily Inquirer V Leon Magtibay contract. He also declared as binding the stipulation in
the contract specifying a fixed period of employment. which in turn constitute sufficient manifestations of his
According to the Labor Arbiter, upon termination of the inadequacy to meet reasonable employment norms.
period stated therein, the contractual employment was
also effectively terminated, implying that Magtibay was All employees, be they regular or probationary, are
merely on a probationary status when his services were expected to comply with company-imposed rules and
terminated inasmuch as the reckoning period for regulations, else why establish them in the first place.
probation should be from September 21, 1995 up to Probationary employees unwilling to abide by such
March 31, 1996 as expressly provided in their rules have no right to expect, much less demand,
probationary employment contract. In fine, it was the permanent employment. We, therefore find sufficient
Labor Arbiters position that Magtibays previous factual and legal basis, duly established by substantial
contractual employment, as later extended by 15 days, evidence, for PDI to legally terminate Magtibays
cannot be considered as part of his subsequent probationary employment effective upon the end of the
probationary employment. 6-month probationary period.

Apart from the foregoing consideration, the Labor Unlike under the first ground for the valid termination of
Arbiter further ruled that Magtibays dismissal from his probationary employment which is for just cause, the
probationary employment was for a valid reason. Albeit second ground does not require notice and hearing.
the basis for termination was couched in the abstract, Due process of law for this second ground consists of
i.e., you did not meet the standards of the company, making the reasonable standards expected of the
there were three specific reasons for Magtibays employee during his probationary period known to him
termination, to wit: (1) he repeatedly violated the at the time of his probationary employment. By the very
company rule prohibiting unauthorized persons from nature of a probationary employment, the employee
entering the telephone operators room; (2) he knows from the very start that he will be under close
intentionally omitted to indicate in his application form observation and his performance of his assigned duties
his having a dependent child; and (3) he exhibited lack and functions would be under continuous scrutiny by his
of sense of responsibility by locking the door of the superiors.
telephone operators room on March 10, 1996 without
switching the proper lines to the company guards so PDI was only exercising its statutory hiring prerogative
that incoming calls may be answered by them. when it refused to hire Magtibay on a permanent basis
upon the expiration of the six-month probationary
The Labor Arbiter likewise dismissed allegations of period.
denial of due process and the commission by PDI of
unfair labor practice. WHEREFORE, the assailed decision dated May 25,
2004 of the CA in CA G.R. SP No. 78963 is hereby
NLRC: NLRC reversed and set aside said decision, REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and the earlier resolution
effectively ruling that Magtibay was illegally dismissed. dated September 23, 2002 of the NLRC in NLRC Case
According to the NLRC, Magtibays probationary No. 00-03-01945-96 is declared NULL and VOID. The
employment had ripened into a regular one. earlier decision dated July 29, 1996 of the Labor Arbiter
in NLRC Case No. 011800-96, dismissing respondent
CA: Affirmed the decision of NLRC. etitioner PDI failed Leon Magtibay, Jr.s complaint for alleged illegal
to prove that such rules and regulations were included dismissal, is REINSTATED.
in or form part of the standards that were supposed to
be made known to respondent Magtibay at the time of 25. Mcarthur Malicdem vs. Marulas
his engagement as telephone operator. Particularly, as
regards the first stated infraction xxx petitioner PDI, FACTS: Malicdem and Flores were first hired by
contrary to its assertion, stated in its position paper, Marulas as extruder operators in 2006, as shown by
motion for reconsideration and in this petition that their employment contracts. They were responsible for
respondent Magtibay failed to abide by the rules and the bagging of filament yarn, the quality of pp yarn
regulations of the company issued by Ms. Benita del package and the cleanliness of the work place area.
Rosario regarding the entry of persons in the operators Their employment contracts were for a period of one (1)
booth when respondent was already working for year. Every year thereafter, they would sign a
petitioner PDI. Further, nowhere can it be found in the Resignation/Quitclaim in favor of Marulas a day after
list of Basic Responsibility and Specific Duties and their contracts ended, and then sign another contract for
Responsibilities (Annex D of the petition) of respondent one (1) year. Until one day, on December 16, 2010,
Magtibay that he has to abide by the duties, rules and Flores was told not to report for work anymore after
regulations that he has allegedly violated. The being asked to sign a paper by Marulas’ HR Head to the
infractions considered by petitioner PDI as grounds for effect that he acknowledged the completion of his
the dismissal of respondent Magtibay may at most be contractual status. On February 1, 2011, Malicdem was
classified as just causes for the termination of the latters also terminated after signing a similar document. Thus,
employment. both claimed to have been illegally dismissed.

ISSUE: WON Magtibay was illegally dismissed? Marulascountered that their contracts showed that they
were fixed–term employees for a specific undertaking
HELD: NO. PDI invokes the second ground under the which was to work on a particular order of a customer
premises. It is on record that Magtibay committed for a specific period. Their severance from employment
obstinate infractions of company rules and regulations, was due to the expiration of their contracts.
Under Article 281 of the Labor Code, however, “an
On February 7, 2011, Malicdem and Flores lodged a employee who is allowed to work after a probationary
complaint against Marulas and Mancilla for illegal period shall be considered a regular employee.” When
dismissal. an employer renews a contract of employment after the
lapse of the six–month probationary period, the
LA: endered a decision5 in favor of the respondents, employee thereby becomes a regular employee. No
finding no illegal dismissal. He ruled that Malicdemand employer is allowed to determine indefinitely the fitness
Flores were not terminated and that their employment of its employees.14 While length of time is not the
naturally ceased when their contracts expired. The LA, controlling test for project employment, it is vital in
however, ordered Marulas to pay Malicdem and Flores determining if the employee was hired for a specific
their respective wage differentials. undertaking or tasked to perform functions vital,
necessary and indispensable to the usual business of
Malicdem appealed to NLRC trade of the employer.15 Thus, in the earlier case of
Maraguinot, Jr. v. NLRC,16 it was ruled that a project or
NLRC: Partially granted their appeal with the award of work pool employee, who has been: (1) continuously,
payment of 13th month pay, service incentive leave and as opposed to intermittently, rehired by the same
holiday pay for three (3) years. employer for the same tasks or nature of tasks; and (2)
those tasks are vital, necessary and indispensable to
Malicdem filed MFR in NLRC but the latter denied the the usual business or trade of the employer, must be
same, so they filed pet for cert under rule 65 with CA deemed a regular employee.

CA: A denied the petition,9 finding no grave abuse of The respondents cannot use the alleged expiration of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the employment contracts of the petitioners as a shield
the part of the NLRC. It ruled that the issue of whether of their illegal acts. The project employment contracts
or not the petitioners were project employees or regular that the petitioners were made to sign every year since
employees was factual in nature and, thus, not within the start of their employment were only a stratagem to
the ambit of a petition for certiorari. Moreover, it violate their security of tenure in the company.
accorded respect and due consideration to the factual
findings of the NLRC, affirming those of the LA, as they Now that it has been clearly established that the
were supported by substantial evidence. petitioners were regular employees, their termination is
considered illegal for lack of just or authorized causes.
On the substantive issue, the CA explained that “the Under Article 279 of the Labor Code, an employee who
repeated and successive rehiring of project employees is unjustly dismissed from work shall be entitled to
do not qualify them as regular employees,as length of reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and other
service is not the controlling determinant of the privileges and to his full back wages, inclusive of
employment tenure of a project employee, but whether allowances, and to his other benefits or their monetary
the employment has been fixed for a specific project or equivalent computed from the time his compensation
undertaking, its completion has been determined at the was withheld from him up to the time of his actual
time of the engagement of the employee.”10 reinstatement. The law intends the award of back
wages and similar benefits to accumulate past the date
Corollarily, considering that there was no illegal of the LA decision until the dismissed employee is
dismissal, the CA ruled that payment of backwages, actually reinstated.
separation pay, damages, and attorney’s fees had no
factual and legal bases. Hence, they could not be 26. Universidad de Sta. Maria vs. Marvin Sambajon
awarded to the petitioners.
FACTS: Universidad de Sta. Isabel (petitioner) is a non-
Appealed via rule 45 in SC stock, non-profit religious educational institution in Naga
City. Petitioner hired Marvin-Julian L. Sambajon, Jr.
ISSUE: WON they were dismissed illegally? (respondent) as a full-time college faculty member with
the rank of Assistant Professor on probationary status,
HELD: Yes. The petitioners have convincingly as evidenced by an Appointment Contract4 dated
shownthat they should be considered regular November 1, 2002, effective November 1, 2002 up to
employees and, as such, entitled to full backwages and March 30, 2003.
other entitlements.
After the aforesaid contract expired, petitioner
A reading of the 2008 employment contracts,13 continued to give teaching loads to respondent who
denominated as “Project Employment Agreement,” remained a full-time faculty member of the Department
reveals that there was a stipulated probationary period of Religious Education for the two semesters of school-
of six (6) months from its commencement. It was year (SY) 2003-2004 (June 1, 2003 to March 31, 2004);
provided therein that in the event that they would beable and two semesters of SY 2004-2005 (June 2004 to
to comply with the company’s standards and criteria March 31, 2005).5
within such period, they shall be reclassified as project
employees with respect to the remaining period of the Sometime in June 2003, after respondent completed his
effectivity of the contract. course in Master of Arts in Education, major in
Guidance and Counseling, he submitted the
corresponding Special Order from the Commission on
Higher Education (CHED), together with his credentials employment. A probationary appointment is made to
for the said master’s degree, to the Human Resources afford the employer an opportunity to observe the
Department of petitioner for the purpose of salary fitness of a probationary employee while at work, and to
adjustment/increase. Subsequently, respondent’s ascertain whether he will become a proper and efficient
salary was increased, as reflected in his pay slips employee.
starting October 1-15, 2004.6 He was likewise re-
ranked from Assistant Professor to Associate It is well settled that the employer has the right or is at
Professor. liberty to choose who will be hired and who will be
denied employment. In that sense, it is within the
In a letter dated October 15, 2004 addressed to the exercise of the right to select his employees that the
President of petitioner, Sr. Ma. Asuncion G. Evidente, employer may set or fix a probationary period within
D.C., respondent vigorously argued that his salary which the latter may test and observe the conduct of the
increase should be made effective as of June 2003 and former before hiring him permanently.22 The law,
demanded the payment of his salary differential. The however, regulates the exercise of this prerogative to fix
school administration thru Sr. Purita Gatongay, D.C., the period of probationary employment. While there is
replied by explaining its policy on re-ranking of faculty no statutory cap on the minimum term of probation, the
members. Respondent insisted on his demand for law sets a maximum "trial period" during which the
retroactive pay. In a letter dated January 10, 2005, Sr. employer may test the fitness and efficiency of the
Evidente reiterated the school policy on re-ranking of employee.
teachers.
The probationary employment of teachers in private
The Faculty Manual provides that a permanent teacher schools is not governed purely by the Labor Code. The
is not entitled to re-ranking oftener than once every two Labor Code is supplemented with respect to the period
years. From this it should be obvious that, with all the of probation by special rules found in the Manual of
more reason, a probationary teacher would not be Regulations for Private Schools.24 On the matter of
entitled to "evaluation," which could result in re-ranking probationary period, Section 92 of the 1992 Manual of
or "adjustment in salary" oftener than once every two Regulations for Private Schools regulations states:
years. The respondent found the explanation Section 92. Probationary Period. – Subject in all
insufficient and not clear enough. So he pointed a case instances to compliance with the Department and
of another faculty member and pleaded for his salary school requirements, the probationary period for
differential. academic personnel shall not be more than three (3)
consecutive years of satisfactory service for those in the
A dialogue was then held between them. However, on elementary and secondary levels, six (6) consecutive
February 26, 2005, respondent received his letter of regular semesters of satisfactory service for those in the
termination. tertiary level, and nine (9) consecutive trimesters of
satisfactory service for those in the tertiary level where
Thus he filed a complaint for Illegal Dismissal collegiate courses are offered on a trimester basis.
(Emphasis supplied.)
LA: ruled that there was no just or authorized cause in Thus, it is the Manual of Regulations for Private
the termination of respondent’s probationary Schools, and not the Labor Code, that determines
employment. Consequently, petitioner was found liable whether or not a faculty member in an educational
for illegal dismissal. All other claims and charges are institution has attained regular or permanent status.25
DISMISSED for lack of legal and factual basis. Section 9326 of the 1992 Manual of Regulations for
Private Schools provides that full-time teachers who
Petitioner appealed to NLRC have satisfactorily completed their probationary period
shall be considered regular or permanent.
NLRC: NLRC rendered its Decision affirming the Labor
Arbiter and holding that respondent had acquired a Notwithstanding the limited engagement of
permanent status pursuant to Sections 91, 92 and 93 of probationary employees, they are entitled to
the 1992 Manual of Regulations for Private Schools, in constitutional protection of security of tenure during and
relation to Article 281 of the Labor Code, as amended. before the end of the probationary period.41 The
services of an employee who has been engaged on
CA: CA sustained the conclusion of the NLRC that probationary basis may be terminated for any of the
respondent had already acquired permanent status following: (a) a just or (b) an authorized cause; and (c)
when he was allowed to continue teaching after the when he fails to qualify as a regular employee in
expiration of his first appointment-contract on March 30, accordance with reasonable standards prescribed by
2003. However, the CA found it necessary to modify the the employer
decision of the NLRC to include the award of back
wages to respondent. Thus, while no vested right to a permanent appointment
had as yet accrued in favor of respondent since he had
ISSUE: whether respondent’s probationary not completed the prerequisite three-year period (six
employment was validly terminated by petitioner. consecutive semesters) necessary for the acquisition of
permanent status as required by the Manual of
HELD: A probationary employee is one who is on trial Regulations for Private Schools43 -- which has the force
by the employer during which the employer determines of law44 -- he enjoys a limited tenure. During the said
whether or not said employee is qualified for permanent probationary period, he cannot be terminated except for
just or authorized causes, or if he fails to qualify in
accordance with reasonable standards prescribed by
petitioner for the acquisition of permanent status of its
teaching personnel.

No just or authorized cause was given by petitioner.


Prior to this, respondent had consistently achieved
above average rating based on evaluation by
petitioner’s officials and students. He had also been
promoted to the rank of Associate Professor after
finishing his master’s degree course on his third
semester of teaching. Clearly, respondent’s termination
after five semesters of satisfactory service was illegal.
Respondent therefore is entitled to continue his three-
year probationary period,

WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is


PARTLY GRANTED. The Decision dated March 25,
2011 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP Nos.
108103 & 108168 is hereby MODIFIED. Petitioner
Universidad de Sta. Isabel is hereby DIRECTED to PAY
respondent Marvin-Julian L. Sambajon, Jr. back wages
corresponding to his full monthly salaries for one
semester (1st semester of SY 2005-2006) and pro-rated
13th month pay.