Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wage Order No. NCR-15

The National Wages and Productivity Commission has posted Wage Order No. NCR-15, effective July 1, 2010 on its website.







 DAILY MINIMUM WAGE RATES
National Capital Region (NCR) 
a/ 
Per Wage Order No. NCR-15
 b/
Effective 01 July 2010
Sector/Industry
Minimum Wage under Wage Order No. NCR 14
Basic Wage Increase Under W.O. No. NCR 15
New Minimum Wage Rates
Non-Agriculture
P 382.00
P22.00
P 404.00
Agriculture (Plantation and Non Plantation)
P 345.00
P22.00
P 367.00
Private Hospitals with bed capacity of 100 or less
P 345.00
P22.00
P 367.00
Retail/Service Establishments employing 15 workers or less
P 345.00
P22.00
P 367.00
Manufacturing Establishments regularly employing less than 10 workers
P 345.00
P22.00
P 367.00




a/
Covers the Cities of Caloocan, Las Pinas, Makati, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Manila, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Paranaque, Pasay, Pasig, Quezon, San Juan, Taguig and Valenzuela and the Municipalities of Pateros. 
b/
Grants a P22.00 per day basic wage increase to all minimum wage workers in the private sector in the region.
W.O. issued 07 June 2010, published at Philippine Star on 16 June 2010.




Read the whole text:

Continue reading "Wage Order No. NCR-15"

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Marmosy Trading, Inc. v. CA; G.R. No. 170515; May 6, 2010



SECOND DIVISION




MARMOSY TRADING, INC. and VICTOR MORALES,

Petitioners,









- versus -











COURT OF APPEALS, NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, HON. LABOR ARBITER ELIAS H. SALINAS and JOSELITO HUBILLA,

Respondents.



G.R. No. 170515







Present:



CARPIO, J.,

Chairperson,

BRION,

DEL CASTILLO,

ABAD, and

PEREZ, JJ.











Promulgated:



May 6, 2010


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D E C I S I O N





PEREZ, J.:





This is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals dated 14 July 2005 in CA G.R. SP No. 85989, affirming the Resolution of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) dated 30 January 2004 in CA No. 021367-99, ordering the levy on execution on the real property of herein petitioner Victor Morales. Likewise assailed is the resolution of the appellate court dated 16 November 2005,[2] which denied the motion for reconsideration filed by petitioners Marmosy Trading, Inc. and Victor Morales.



The facts of the case are as follows:



Petitioner Marmosy Trading, Inc. is a domestic corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the Republic of the Philippines. It acts as a distributor of various chemicals from foreign suppliers. Petitioner Victor Morales is the President and General Manager of Marmosy Trading, Inc. Respondent Joselito Hubilla was hired as a Technical Salesman pursuant to an appointment letter dated 12 February 1991. Petitioner Marmosy Trading, Inc. terminated respondent’s services effective 15 July 1997.[3]



Owing to his termination, respondent filed a case for illegal dismissal, illegal deduction and diminution of benefits against petitioners before the Labor Arbiter, docketed as NLRC NCR Case No. 00-07-05054-97.[4]



On 31 May 1999, Labor Arbiter Daniel C. Cueto rendered a Decision[5] against petitioners, the dispositive portion of which reads:



WHEREFORE, on account of the foregoing considerations, judgment is hereby rendered declaring the termination of the services of the complainant to be illegal and without just and valid cause.



Accordingly, respondents are hereby ordered to reinstate the complainant to his former position, or in case the same is no longer available, to other equivalent position without loss of seniority rights and other benefits and privileges. Respondents are likewise hereby ordered to pay complainant his full backwages and other benefits which he should have received had his services not been terminated, from July 15, 1997, until actually reinstated, after crediting respondents the separation pay paid to the complainant and other accountabilities in the total amount of P61,052.74 and 10% thereof as and by way of attorney’s fees.



The total award is tentatively computed as follows:



1. Backwages



07/15/97-05/31/99 = 22.53 months

P5,950.00 x 22.53 P134,053.50



2. 13th Month Pay



1/12 of P134,053.50 11,171.13

P145,224.63



3. Attorney’s Fee



10% of P145,224.63 14,522.46

Total Monetary Award P159,747.09



Less: Accountabilities:



Separation Pay P35,402.20

Tax Deficiency 1996 4,420.59

Tax Deficiency 1997 229.75

Car Loan Balance 21,000.00 61,052.74

TOTAL P98,694.35



All other claims are hereby denied for lack of merit.





Petitioners filed an Appeal[6] to the NLRC docketed as CA No. 021367-99. The NLRC issued a Resolution[7] dated 31 May 2000 denying the appeal for lack of merit. This Resolution of the NLRC became final and executory on 26 June 2000.[8] Respondent then filed a Motion for the issuance of a writ of execution.[9] Petitioners, for their part, further filed a petition to the Court of Appeals docketed as CA G.R. SP No. 60226. The Court of Appeals issued a Resolution dated 22 August 2000 dismissing outright the petition in CA G.R. SP No. 60226 filed by the petitioners on the ground of procedural infirmities, such as, failure to file a motion for reconsideration of the NLRC Resolution dated 31 May 2000, and failure to append to the petition relevant and pertinent pleadings.[10] This resolution likewise became final and executory and an Entry of Judgment was issued by the appellate court on 25 November 2000.[11]



Petitioners elevated the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA G.R. SP No. 60226 to this Court by a petition for review docketed as G.R. No. 145881. This Court resolved to deny the petition in G.R. No. 145881 filed by the petitioners, in a Resolution dated 7 February 2001, for the late filing of the petition and failure to show reversible error on the part of the Court of Appeals.[12] Entry of Judgment was issued on 13 August 2001.[13]



Respondent then resorted to a motion for the issuance of an alias writ of execution.[14] On 28 August 2001, Labor Arbiter Elias H. Salinas issued a writ of execution[15] addressed to the NLRC Sheriff, the dispositive portion of which reads:



NOW THEREFORE, you are hereby commanded to proceed to the premises of respondent Marmosy Trading, Inc. located at ITC Building 337 Gil Puyat Avenue Extension, Makati City, or wherever they may be found, to collect the total sum of TWO HUNDRED NINETY SIX THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED SIXTY PESOS and TEN CENTAVOS (PHP296,160.10) representing complainant’s total monetary award and to turn over the said amount collected to the NLRC Cashier for disposition to herein complainant.



In case you failed (sic) to collect said amount in cash from the respondents, you are to cause the satisfaction of the same to be made out of the movables or chattels, or in the absence thereof, from the immovable properties of the respondents not exempt from execution.



You are to return this Alias Writ of Execution with your corresponding report of the proceedings undertaken thereon within sixty (30) (sic) days from receipt hereof.





A Motion for Reconsideration,[16] with Motion to Recall the Writ of Execution dated 5 September 2001 was filed by the petitioners. They assailed the computation made by the Labor Arbiter and averred that the company had stopped its operations as of June, 1997; that there is no position to which respondent can be reinstated or appointed; and that respondent had already been paid his separation pay. In a supplement to their own computation of the monetary award given to respondent, petitioners showed that in actuality, respondent still owes them the amount of P22,383.15, when they ceased operations at the end of 1997 and respondent had already received his separation pay.



Petitioners’ motion for reconsideration was denied by the Labor Arbiter in an Order dated 22 October 2001 but the monetary award in favor of respondent was corrected to read as P274,823.70, and the Sheriff was directed to proceed with the execution.[17]



Undeterred, petitioners again filed before the NLRC a “Memorandum of Appeal with Prayer for Injunction” assailing the 22 October 2001 Order of the Labor Arbiter.[18] Respondent countered by filing an opposition on the ground of failure to file a supersedeas bond on the part of the petitioners and that no new issues were raised therein.[19]



In an Order dated 22 May 2002,[20] the above Appeal of the petitioners was dismissed by the NLRC for failure to file a supersedeas bond. The NLRC in the same order affirmed in toto the 22 October 2001 Order of the Labor Arbiter. Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration dated 21 June 2002.[21] The motion for reconsideration was denied for lack of merit in a resolution dated 22 August 2002 issued by the NLRC. The NLRC likewise emphasized that no further motions for reconsideration shall be entertained.[22]



Acting on respondent’s ex-parte motion for the re-computation of his monetary award and for the issuance of an alias writ of execution dated 19 November 2002,[23] Labor Arbiter Elias Salinas issued on 11 March 2003 an alias Writ of Execution[24] addressed to the NLRC Sheriff, the dispositive portion of which reads:



NOW THEREFORE, you are hereby commanded to proceed to the premises of respondents MARMOSY TRADING INC. located at ITC Building 337 Gil Puyat, Avenue Extension, Makati (sic) City or wherever they can be found within the jurisdiction of the Republic of the Philippines, to collect the sum of TWO HUNDRED FIFTY ONE THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED TWENTY SEVEN PESOS AND TWELVE CENTAVOS (P251,927.12), representing complainant’s computed monetary award and to deposit the said amount to the Cashier NLRC, for disposition to herein complainant.



In case you failed (sic) to collect the amount in cash, you are to cause the satisfaction of the same out of the movables, chattels and in the absence thereof, to the immovable not exempt from execution.



You are allowed to collect execution fees in accordance with the Procedures of the NLRC Manuals (sic) on Execution.



You are to return this writ within ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY (180) days from receipt hereof with the corresponding report of the proceedings.

Pursuant to the writ of execution issued by Labor Arbiter Elias Salinas, the Sheriff garnished petitioners account with Equitable-PCI Bank in the amount of P22,896.58,[25] which was later released to the NLRC cashier and, thereafter, turned over to the respondent as partial satisfaction of the judgment in his favor.



Petitioners objected to the garnishment by filing a motion for reconsideration and to recall the order of release and alias writ of execution alleging that the account with Equitable-PCI Bank belongs to both petitioner Marmosy Trading, Inc. and petitioner Victor Morales; that only petitioner Marmosy Trading, Inc. was the employer of respondent whereas petitioner Victor Morales, who was president of the Marmosy Trading, Inc. when the complaint was filed, is only a nominal party.



Petitioners’ motion for reconsideration was denied by Labor Arbiter Elias Salinas in an Order dated 23 June 2003.[26] Petitioners again appealed to the NLRC. This appeal was dismissed for lack of merit in the Resolution of the NLRC dated 30 January 2004.[27]



The pertinent portion of the NLRC Resolution dated 30 January 2004 is quoted hereunder:



As borne by the records, individual respondent Victor H. Morales is the President and General Manager of [respondent] Marmosy Trading Inc. As correctly ruled being the President at the same time General Manager of the Corporation, [Respondent] Morales is therefore to be held responsible for the corporation’s obligations to the workers including complainant especially when as alleged the company had already closed its business operations. The termination of the existence of a corporation requires the assumption of the company’s liabilities and there is no responsible officer but the President who must assume full responsibility of the consequences of the closure.

Petitioners’ motion for reconsideration[28] was denied for lack of merit by the NLRC in a Resolution[29] dated 20 July 2004. The Resolution became final and executory on 8 October 2004.[30]



From the above NLRC Resolution, petitioners again elevated the case to the Court of Appeals via a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 docketed as CA G.R. SP No. 85989. The petition was denied in a Decision[31] of the Court of Appeals dated 14 July 2005. The Court of Appeals explained that:



The writ of execution commanded the Sheriff to proceed to the premises of petitioners located in Makati City or wherever they can be found to collect the sum of PhP251,927.12. Since petitioner Morales was likewise ordered in the decision sought to be executed to pay private respondent, the Sheriff properly levied on his real property. Section 2 Rule 4 of the NLRC Manual on Execution of Judgment provides that the Sheriff or proper officer shall enforce the execution of a money judgment by levying on all the property, real and personal, of the losing party, of whatever name and nature and which may be disposed of for value, not exempt from execution.[32]



The fallo of the decision rendered by the Court of Appeals states:



Wherefore, the Petition is Dismissed for lack of merit.[33]



Petitioners’ motion for reconsideration met the same fate in the appellate court’s Resolution[34] dated 16 November 2005.



Hence, this petition on the lone issue of whether or not the decision dated 14 July 2005 and the resolution dated 16 November 2005 of the Court of Appeals in CA G.R. SP No. 85989, which allowed the notice of levy to be annotated on the title of the real property registered under Transfer Certificate of Title No. 59496 in the name of petitioner Victor Morales, are in accordance with law and existing jurisprudence.[35]



The petition is not meritorious.



At the outset, the Court takes notice of the fact that petitioners already exhausted all the remedies available to them since the time the Labor Arbiter rendered his decision dated 31 May 1999. In fact, said decision of the Labor Arbiter was elevated all the way up to this Court by the petitioners via G.R. No. 145881. We denied this petition in a Resolution dated 7 February 2001.[36] Execution in favor of the respondent ought to have taken place as a matter of right.[37] From the finality of G.R. No. 145881, this case was remanded to the Labor Arbiter for execution. Regrettably, due to the series of pleadings, motions and appeals to the NLRC, including petitions to the Court of Appeals, filed by the petitioners, they have so far successfully delayed the execution of the final and executory decision in this case. The decision of the Labor Arbiter, rendered on 31 May 1999, has been elevated to, for review by, the NLRC, the Court of Appeals and finally this Court which entered judgment on the matter nine years ago, or on 13 August 2001. Until the present, the decision in 1999 has not yet been executed.



The Labor Arbiter’s decision has long become final and executory and it can no longer be reversed or modified.



The Court has on occasion ruled that:

Now, nothing is more settled in law than when a final judgment becomes executory, it thereby becomes immutable and unalternable. The judgment may no longer be modified in any respect, even if the modification is meant to correct what is perceived to be an erroneous conclusion of law or fact, and regardless of whether the modification is attempted to be made by the court rendering it or by the highest court of the land. The only recognized exception are the correction of clerical errors or the making of so-called nune pro tunc entries which cause no injury to any party, and, of course, where the judgment is void x x x.[38]





We disfavor delay in the enforcement of the labor arbiter’s decision. Once a judgment becomes final and executory, the prevailing party should not be denied the fruits of his victory by some subterfuge devised by the losing party. Final and executory judgments can neither be amended nor altered except for correction of clerical errors, even if the purpose is to correct erroneous conclusions of fact or of law.[39] Trial and execution proceedings constitute one whole action or suit such that a case in which execution has been issued is regarded as still pending so that all proceedings in the execution are proceedings in the suit.[40]



Furthermore, petitioners did not succeed in overturning the decisions of the NLRC and the Court of Appeals. As well, this Court denied petitioners’ petition in G.R. No. 145881.



Everything considered, what should be enforced thru an order or writ of execution in this case is the dispositive portion of the Labor Arbiter’s decision as affirmed by the NLRC, the Court of Appeals and this Court. Since the writ of execution issued by the Labor Arbiter does not vary but is in fact completely consistent with the final decision in this case, the order of execution issued by the Labor Arbiter is beyond challenge.

It is no longer legally feasible to modify the final ruling in this case through the expediency of a petition questioning the order of execution. This late in the day, petitioner Victor Morales is barred, by the fact of a final judgment, from advancing the argument that his real property cannot be made liable for the monetary award in favor of respondent. For a reason greater than protection from personal liability, petitioner Victor Morales, as president of his corporation, cannot rely on our previous ruling that “to hold a director personally liable for debts of a corporation and thus pierce the veil of corporate fiction, the bad faith or wrongdoing of the director must be established clearly and convincingly.”[41] Judgments of courts should attain finality at some point lest there be no end in litigation.[42] The final judgment in this case may no longer be reviewed, or in any way modified directly or indirectly, by a higher court, not even by the Supreme Court.[43] The reason for this is that, a litigation must end and terminate sometime and somewhere, and it is essential to an effective and efficient administration of justice that, once a judgment has become final, the winning party be not deprived of the fruits of the verdict. Courts must guard against any scheme calculated to bring about that result and must frown upon any attempt to prolong controversies.[44]



WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is DENIED for lack of merit and the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA G.R. SP No. 85989 dated 14 July 2005, and the Resolution of the same court dated 16 November 2005 are AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners.





SO ORDERED.






JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ

Associate Justice












WE CONCUR:











ANTONIO T. CARPIO

Associate Justice

Chairperson













ARTURO D. BRION MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO

Associate Justice Associate Justice













ROBERTO A. ABAD

Associate Justice









ATTESTATION



I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision were reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.









ANTONIO T. CARPIO

Associate Justice

Chairperson, Second Division









CERTIFICATION



Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, and the Division Chairperson’s Attestation, it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the above Decision were reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.









REYNATO S. PUNO

Chief Justice




[1] Penned by Associate Justice Marina L. Buzon with Associate Justices Mariano L. Guarina III and Santiago Javier Ranada concurring. Rollo, p. 34.

[2] Id. at 33.

[3] Records, Vol. I, p.10

[4] Id. at 1.

[5] Rollo, p. 63.

[6] Records, Vol. I, p. 45.

[7] Id. at 380.

[8] Id. at 395.

[9] Id. at 396.

[10] Penned by Associate Justice Renato C. Dacudao with Justices Cancio C. Garcia and Bennie Adefuin-De La Cruz concurring; Records, Vol. II, p. 171.

[11] Records, Vol. I, p. 397.

[12] Records Vol. II, p. 27.

[13] Id. at 28.

[14] Id. at 29.

[15] Rollo, p. 75.

[16] Records, Vol. I, p. 418.

[17] Id. at 449.

[18] Id. at 508.

[19] Id. at 578.

[20] Records, Vol. II, p. 48.

[21] Id. at 55.

[22] Id. at 70.

[23] Id. at 79.

[24] Id. at 204.

[25] Id. at 135.

[26] Id. at 228.

[27] Records, Vol. I, p. 593.

[28] Rollo, p. 129.

[29] Id. at 136.

[30] Records, Vol. I, last page not numbered.

[31] Rollo, p. 34.

[32] Id. at 42.

[33] Id. at 211.

[34] Id. at 33.

[35] Id. at 230.

[36] Records, Vol. II, p. 27.

[37] Rule 39. Execution, Satisfaction and Effect of Judgments:

Section 1. Execution upon judgments or final orders. – Execution shall issue as a matter of right, on motion, upon a judgment or order that disposes of the action or proceeding upon the expiration of the period to appeal therefrom if no appeal has been duly perfected.

[38] J.D. Legaspi Construction v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 143161, 2 October 2002, 390 SCRA 233, 239 citing Manning International Corp. v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 83018, 13 March 1991, 195 SCRA 155,161.

[39] Aboitiz Shipping Employees Association v. Trahano, 348 Phil. 910, 915 (1997).

[40] Ysmael v. Court of Appeals, 339 Phil. 361, 376 (1997).

[41] Carag v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R No. 147590, 2 April 2007, 520 SCRA 28.

[42] Per Resolution in G.R. No. 144948, entitled “C-E Construction Corp./Ambrosio Salazar v. Raymundo Hernandez.”

[43] C-E Construction Corp. v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 180188, 25 March 2009.

[44] Sacdalan v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 128967, 20 May 2004, 428 SCRA 586, 599 cited in Obieta v. Cheok, G.R. No. 170072, 3 September 2009.
Continue reading "Marmosy Trading, Inc. v. CA; G.R. No. 170515; May 6, 2010"

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

NCR Workers to get P22 Wage Increase

After a two-year pause, minimum wages in the NCR will increase by P22.00 a day in basic pay, bringing up the minimum wage level from P345-P382 to P367-P404.

The new wage hike will cover all minimum wage earners in the private sector in the NCR, and will take effect 15 days from publication of the Wage Order in a newspaper of general circulation.

The last wage adjustment was granted in June 2008 consisting of a P15.00 increase in basic pay and P5 COLA that was later integrated. No wage hike was granted afterwards due to the global economic difficulties.

As in previous Wage Orders, exemption may be granted to certain type of establishments such as distressed establishments and those whose total assets are not more than P3 million, retail/service establishments regularly employing not more than 10 workers and establishments adversely affected by natural calamities. 
There are some 4.2 million workers in the NCR, of which 2.18 million are minimum wage earners.

In case of wage distortion, those receiving above the minimum wage may likewise be given an adjustment in their wages after negotiation between the employer and the workers or union. 

The wage adjustment was arrived at after a series of consultations and public hearing on the petition for P75 across-the-wage increase filed by the TUCP.

Any party not satisfied with the new wage hike may file an appeal to the NWPC through the Wage Board, within 10 days from publication of the wage order.

Continue reading "NCR Workers to get P22 Wage Increase"

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Golden Ace Builders v. Talde; G.R. No. 187200; May 5, 2010






FIRST DIVISION




GOLDEN ACE BUILDERS and ARNOLD U. AZUL,

Petitioners,







- versus -









JOSE A. TALDE,

Respondent.




G.R. No. 187200





Present:



PUNO, C.J., Chairperson,

CARPIO MORALES,

LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,

BERSAMIN, and

VILLARAMA, JR., JJ.





Promulgated:

May 5, 2010







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D E C I S I O N





CARPIO MORALES, J.:

Jose A. Talde (respondent) was hired in 1990 as a carpenter by petitioner Golden Ace Builders of which its co-petitioner Arnold Azul (Azul) is the owner-manager. In February 1999, Azul, alleging the unavailability of construction projects, stopped giving work assignments to respondent, prompting the latter to file a complaint[1] for illegal dismissal.







By Decision[2] of January 10, 2001, the Labor Arbiter ruled in favor of respondent and ordered his immediate reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and other privileges, and with payment of full backwages, which at that time was computed at P144,382.23, and the amount of P3,236.37 representing premium pay for rest days, service incentive leave pay and 13th month pay.



Pending their appeal to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) and in compliance with the Labor Arbiter’s Decision, petitioners, through counsel, advised respondent to report for work in the construction site within 10 days from receipt thereof. Respondent submitted, however, on May 16, 2001 a manifestation[3] to the Labor Arbiter that actual animosities existed between him and petitioners and there had been threats to his life and his family’s safety, hence, he opted for the payment of separation pay. Petitioners denied the existence of any such animosity.



Meanwhile, the NLRC dismissed petitioners’ appeal by Resolution[4] of April 22, 2002, holding that respondent was a regular employee and not a project employee, and that there was no valid ground for the termination of his services. Petitioners’ motion for reconsideration was denied by Resolution[5] of August 6, 2002.



Petitioners’ appeal to the Court of Appeals was dismissed by Decision[6] of August 12, 2004 which attained finality on September 15, 2004.



As an agreement could not be forged by the parties on the satisfaction of the judgment, the matter was referred to the Fiscal Examiner of the NLRC who recomputed at P562,804.69 the amount due respondent, which was approved by the Labor Arbiter by Order[7] of July 5, 2005. A writ of execution[8] dated July 8, 2005 was thereupon issued.



Finding the amount exorbitant, petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration with the NLRC, contending that since respondent refused to report back to work, he should be considered to have abandoned the same, hence, the recomputation of the wages and benefits due him should not be beyond May 15, 2001, the date when he manifested his refusal to be reinstated.



By Resolution[9] of March 9, 2006, the NLRC granted petitioners’ motion and accordingly vacated the computation. It held that since respondent did not appeal the Decision of the Labor Arbiter granting him only reinstatement and backwages, not separation pay in lieu thereof, he may not be afforded affirmative relief; and since he refused to go back to work, he may recover backwages only up to May 20, 2001, the day he was supposed to return to the job site. Respondent’s motion for reconsideration was denied by the NLRC by Resolution[10] of June 30, 2006, hence, he filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals.



By Decision[11] of September 10, 2008, the appellate court set aside the NLRC Resolutions, holding that respondent is entitled to both backwages and separation pay, even if separation pay was not granted by the Labor Arbiter, the latter in view of the strained relations between the parties. The appellate court disposed:



WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing premises, judgment is hereby rendered by us GRANTING the petition filed in this case. The assailed RESOLUTIONS dated 30, 2006 and March 9, 2006 of the NLRC are hereby SET ASIDE.



Thus, the full backwages and separation pay to be awarded to the petitioner shall be computed as follows:



Full Backwages as of June 30, 2005 = P562,804.69

Separation Pay:

P220.00 x 26 days = P5,720,00

P5,720/month x 8 years = 45,760.00

P608,564.69



We also award an additional 10% of the total monetary award by way of attorney’s fees for the expenses incurred by the petitioner to protect his rights and interests. Furthermore, when the decision of this Court as to the monetary award becomes final and executory, the rate of legal interest shall be imposed at 12% per annum from such finality until its satisfaction, this interim period being deemed to be by then an equivalent to a forbearance of credit.



SO ORDERED. (emphasis in the original)



Petitioners’ motion for reconsideration was denied by Resolution[12] of March 12, 2009, hence, the present petition for review on certiorari.



Petitioners assail the appellate court’s award of separation pay. They assailed too as contrary to prevailing jurisprudence the computation of backwages from the time of dismissal up to actual reinstatement. They contend that, in effect, the appellate court modified an already final and executory decision.



The petition fails.



The basis for the payment of backwages is different from that for the award of separation pay. Separation pay is granted where reinstatement is no longer advisable because of strained relations between the employee and the employer. Backwages represent compensation that should have been earned but were not collected because of the unjust dismissal. The basis for computing backwages is usually the length of the employee’s service while that for separation pay is the actual period when the employee was unlawfully prevented from working.[13]



As to how both awards should be computed, Macasero v. Southern Industrial Gases Philippines[14] instructs:



[T]he award of separation pay is inconsistent with a finding that there was no illegal dismissal, for under Article 279 of the Labor Code and as held in a catena of cases, an employee who is dismissed without just cause and without due process is entitled to backwages and reinstatement or payment of separation pay in lieu thereof:



Thus, an illegally dismissed employee is entitled to two reliefs: backwages and reinstatement. The two reliefs provided are separate and distinct. In instances where reinstatement is no longer feasible because of strained relations between the employee and the employer, separation pay is granted. In effect, an illegally dismissed employee is entitled to either reinstatement, if viable, or separation pay if reinstatement is no longer viable, and backwages.



The normal consequences of respondents’ illegal dismissal, then, are reinstatement without loss of seniority rights, and payment of backwages computed from the time compensation was withheld up to the date of actual reinstatement. Where reinstatement is no longer viable as an option, separation pay equivalent to one (1) month salary for every year of service should be awarded as an alternative. The payment of separation pay is in addition to payment of backwages. (emphasis, italics and underscoring supplied)



















Velasco v. National Labor Relations Commission emphasizes:



The accepted doctrine is that separation pay may avail in lieu of reinstatement if reinstatement is no longer practical or in the best interest of the parties. Separation pay in lieu of reinstatement may likewise be awarded if the employee decides not to be reinstated. (emphasis in the original; italics supplied)



Under the doctrine of strained relations, the payment of separation pay is considered an acceptable alternative to reinstatement when the latter option is no longer desirable or viable. On one hand, such payment liberates the employee from what could be a highly oppressive work environment. On the other hand, it releases the employer from the grossly unpalatable obligation of maintaining in its employ a worker it could no longer trust.[15]



Strained relations must be demonstrated as a fact, however, to be adequately supported by evidence[16] — substantial evidence to show that the relationship between the employer and the employee is indeed strained as a necessary consequence of the judicial controversy.[17]



In the present case, the Labor Arbiter found that actual animosity existed between petitioner Azul and respondent as a result of the filing of the illegal dismissal case. Such finding, especially when affirmed by the appellate court as in the case at bar, is binding upon the Court, consistent with the prevailing rules that this Court will not try facts anew and that findings of facts of quasi-judicial bodies are accorded great respect, even finality.









Clearly then, respondent is entitled to backwages and separation pay as his reinstatement has been rendered impossible due to strained relations. As correctly held by the appellate court, the backwages due respondent must be computed from the time he was unjustly dismissed until his actual reinstatement, or from February 1999 until June 30, 2005 when his reinstatement was rendered impossible without fault on his part.



The Court, however, does not find the appellate court’s computation of separation pay in order. The appellate court considered respondent to have served petitioner company for only eight years. Petitioner was hired in 1990, however, and he must be considered to have been in the service not only until 1999, when he was unjustly dismissed, but until June 30, 2005, the day he is deemed to have been actually separated (his reinstatement having been rendered impossible) from petitioner company or for a total of 15 years.



WHEREFORE, the Court of Appeals Decision dated September 10, 2008 and its Resolution dated March 12, 2009 in C.A. G.R. SP No. 961082 are AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that the amount of separation pay due respondent is, in light of the discussion in the immediately foregoing paragraph, computed at P85,800.00.



SO ORDERED.







CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES

Associate Justice

















WE CONCUR:









REYNATO S. PUNO

Chief Justice

Chairperson










TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO

Associate Justice


LUCAS P. BERSAMIN

Associate Justice












MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR.

Associate Justice













CERTIFICATION





Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, I certify that the conclusions in the above decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.







REYNATO S. PUNO

Chief Justice




[1] Annex “C” of Petition; rollo, p. 87.

[2] Annex “D” of Petition, id. at 88-100. Penned by Labor Arbiter Joselito Villarosa.

[3] Annex “G” of Petition, id. at 109.

[4] Annex “I” of Petition, id. at 115-120. Penned by Commissioner (now Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals) Angelita A. Gacutan and concurred in by Presiding Commissioner Raul T. Aquino and Commissioner Victoriano R. Calaycay.

[5] Annex “K” of Petition, id. at 139-1140. Penned by Commissioner (now Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals) Angelita A. Gacutan and concurred in by Presiding Commissioner Raul T. Aquino and Commissioner Victoriano R. Calaycay.

[6] Annex “L” of Petition, id. at 142-149. Penned by Associate Justice Fernanda Lampas-Peralta and concurred in by Associate Justices Conrado M. Vasquez and Josefina Guevara-Salonga.

[7] Annex “M” of Petition, id. at. 150-151. Penned by Labor Arbiter Cresencio G. Ramos.

[8] Annex “N” of Petition, id. at 152-154. Penned by Labor Arbiter Cresencio G. Ramos.

[9] Annex “P” of Petition, id. at 163-170. Penned by Commissioner (now Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals) Angelita A. Gacutan and concurred in by Presiding Commissioner Raul T. Aquino and Commissioner Victoriano R. Calaycay.

[10] Annex “R” of Petition, id. at 182-183. Penned by Commissioner (now Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals) Angelita A. Gacutan and concurred in by Presiding Commissioner Raul T. Aquino and Commissioner Victoriano R. Calaycay.

[11] Id. at 70-81. Penned by Associate Justice Isaias P. Dicdican and concurred in by Associate Justices Juan Q. Enriquez, Jr. and Marlene Gonzales-Sison.

[12] Id. at. 82-86. Penned by Associate Justice Pampio A. Abarintos and concurred in by Associate Justices Amelita T. Tolentino and Myrna Dimaranan-Vidal.

[13] Equitable v. Sadac, G.R. No. 164772, June 8, 2006, 490 SCRA 380.

[14] G.R. No. 178524, January 30, 2009.



[15] Coca Cola v. Daniel, G.R. No. 156893, June 21, 2005, 460 SCRA 494.

[16] Paguio Transport Corporation v. National Labor Relations Commission, 356 Phil. 158, 171 (1998).

[17] Coca-Cola v. Daniel, supra.
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