The principal issue in this case is whether or not respondent was illegally terminated from his employment.

Petitioner’s main contention is that the Court of Appeals erred in failing to consider that respondent’s actions of allowing the opening of fictitious accounts, facilitating the anomalous transactions of Wynster Chua, participating in the unauthorized lending activities of Wynster Chua, convincing bank clients to invest in the CNRI, and failing to report and stop such activities constituted serious misconduct, willful disobedience to the lawful orders of the employer in connection with his work, and gross and habitual neglect of his duties. Since the acts of respondent, according to petitioner, already constitute just causes for dismissal, petitioner asserts that respondent was legally dismissed and therefore not entitled to the monetary award in the assailed decision.

It should be noted that respondent’s alleged infractions are the same acts which had been declared by the Labor Arbiter—and affirmed by the NLRC and the Court of Appeals—as not constitutive of just cause for dismissal. According to the forums below, their uniform verdict of illegal dismissal is supported by substantial evidence.

More specifically, it was established that respondent did not allow the opening of a fictitious account since the account name John B.K. Chua was the Chinese name of Wynster Chua. The account was opened before respondent became the Branch Manager but was merely a cashier and in his capacity then he had no authority to approve new accounts. There was no proof that the account was used for any illegal purpose, the same having been used for payments of PLDT, electric and water bills of Wynster Chua. The account had also passed several auditing procedures by petitioner itself. Wynster Chua was even able to obtain an accommodation for bills purchase using said account. There was likewise no evidence that the interbranch transactions made by Wynster Chua to respondent’s account was for an illegal purpose or for Wynster Chua’s unauthorized lending activities. It was pointed out that the use by Wynster Chua of the name “John A.J. Jazal” in making such interbranch deposits does not translate to respondent’s facilitating alleged anomalous transactions. Respondent had no way of knowing that Wynster Chua used a different name in making interbranch deposits unless he was informed beforehand. In any case, no proof was presented that respondent knew that the deposits came from one John A.J. Jazal.

As to the charge that respondent actively participated in soliciting investors for the CNRI, in particular convincing Emilia Laño Borromeo to withdraw her money with petitioner bank and invest it in CNRI, this was belied by the Affidavit[ executed by Borromeo stating that she voluntarily withdrew her money with petitioner bank since it offered very low interest rates. Petitioner alleges that Borromeo had written a letter dated 16 June 2000 addressed to the bank demanding from the latter the payment or return of her deposit in the total sum of P4,100,000.00 which she placed with the CNRI as investment. However, the letter had not been admitted in evidence before the Labor Arbiter but was merely attached to petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration of the Labor Arbiter’s Decision. Said letter cannot prevail over the sworn statement, especially when the letter did not form part of the records of the case.

Petitioner could also not be held liable for failing to disclose and stop the lending activities of Wynster Chua and CNRI. CNRI had its principal office and operations at the Cebu North Road branch, while respondent was Branch Manager of the Ramos branch. The CNRI was outside respondent’s area of responsibility. It was also established that other credit union cooperatives existed and operated in other branches of the bank but the officers and employees responsible were not disciplined.

The petition seeks a reversal of the findings of facts of the forums below and raises issues the resolution of which involves a review of the evidence presented by both parties. The Court has repeatedly ruled that the findings of the Labor Arbiter, when affirmed by the NLRC and the Court of Appeals, are binding on the Supreme Court, unless patently erroneous. It is not the function of this Court to analyze or weigh all over again the evidence already considered in the proceedings below. The jurisdiction of this Court in a petition for review on certiorari is limited to reviewing only errors of law, not of fact, unless the factual findings being assailed are not supported by the evidence on record or the impugned judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts. Both exceptions are not present in the case at bar.

The Labor Arbiter had found that petitioner failed to observe due process in terminating respondent’s employment and on that basis awarded moral, exemplary, and nominal damages in addition to separation pay and backwages. On appeal, the NLRC in its Decision affirmed the Labor Arbiter’s findings that there was no just cause to dismiss respondent, extensively quoted with approval passages in the Labor Arbiter’s Decision concerning its finding about the absence of just cause. The NLRC no longer discussed whether due process had been observed by petitioner and instead proceeded to its determination of awards for other benefits prayed for by petitioner. However, the dispositive portion of the NLRC Decision deleted the awards for moral, exemplary, and nominal damages. The Court of Appeals, for its part, affirmed the finding that there was no compliance with the due process requirements in terminating respondent. The appellate court cited San Antonio v. NLRC as basis in saying that consultations and conferences, like the one conducted in this case, may not be valid substitutes for actual observance of notice and hearing.

This Court must disagree, however, with the determination that there was no due process in effecting respondent’s dismissal. In the dismissal of employees, it has been consistently held that the twin requirements of notice and hearing are essential elements of due process. The employer must furnish the worker with two written notices before termination of employment can be legally effected: (a) a notice apprising the employee of the particular acts or omissions for which his dismissal is sought, and (b) a subsequent notice informing the employee of the employer’s decision to dismiss him. With regard to the requirement of a hearing, the essence of due process lies simply in an opportunity to be heard, and not that an actual hearing should always and indispensably be held.

In the case at bar, petitioner appears to have complied with these requirements. Petitioner furnished respondent with a memorandum dated 16 January 1998 informing him that he had been found to have committed acts constituting serious misconduct and requiring him to explain why he should not be dismissed for cause for such acts. Respondent submitted his written explanation and later, petitioner set up a conference attended by respondent and other employees connected with the creation and operation of CNRI to give them further opportunity to be heard on the charges against them. Despite the explanations, petitioner still decided to dismiss respondent from the service and subsequently informed him of its decision through the Interoffice Letter dated 12 February 1998.

San Antonio v. NLRC may not be applied to the case at bar since it is not on all fours with the facts of the case. In San Antonio, after petitioner therein, in compliance with the company’s directive, had explained why he should not be disciplinarily dealt with, he received forthwith the company’s decision to dismiss him from employment. No hearing or a semblance thereof was conducted, unlike in the case at bar, where respondent’s written explanation was followed by a conference before petitioner’s final decision to terminate his employment.

Finding that petitioner had observed due process in terminating respondent’s employment, the award of moral, exemplary, and nominal damages has no basis and was correctly deleted in the decision of the NLRC as affirmed by the Court of Appeals.
We affirm the award of “other benefits” in the assailed Decision, since such benefits were included in the prayer in petitioner’s complaint as “bonuses and other benefits,” reiterated in his position paper as “all his lawful claims,” and in his other pleadings as “such other reliefs,” and respondent’s entitlement thereto had been duly proven.

WHEREFORE, the petition for review is DENIED and the Decision dated 24 September 2002 and Resolution dated 20 January 2003 of the Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.

SO ORDERED.

SOURCE: [ G.R. NO. 157028, January 31, 2006 ]METROPOLITAN BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, PETITIONER, VS. LUIS B. BARRIENTOS, RESPONDENT. Tags: Alcantara Alcoy moral damages Alegria actual damages Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan compensatory damages Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan attorney’s fees Tudela exemplary damages Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker nominal damages Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy temperate damages Luz liquidated damages Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust physical suffering shocked horrified mental anguish fright serious anxiety besmirched reputation sleepless nights wounded feelings moral shock social humiliation similar injuries

The pivotal issue for resolution is whether petitioners are entitled to the death benefits provided for under the POEA Standard Employment Contract.

1. In case of death of the seaman during the term of his Contract, the employer shall pay his beneficiaries the Philippine Currency equivalent to the amount of US$50,000 and an additional amount of US$7,000 to each child under the age of twenty-one (21) but not exceeding four children at the exchange rate prevailing during the time of payment.

xxxx


3. The other liabilities of the employer when the seaman dies as a result of injury or illness during the term of employment are as follows:

a. The employer shall pay the deceased’s beneficiary all outstanding obligations due the seaman under this Contract.

xxxx


c. In all cases, the employer shall pay the beneficiaries of seamen the Philippine Currency equivalent to the amount of US$1,000 for burial expenses at exchange rate prevailing during the time of payment. (Underscoring supplied)

In order to give effect to the aforequoted benefits, it must be shown that the employee died during the effectivity of the contract of employment.

Part I, Section H, Nos. 1 and 2(a) of the POEA Standard Employment Contract provide:

Section H. Termination of Employment

  1. The employment of the seaman shall cease on expiration of the contract period indicated in the Crew Contract unless the Master and the Seaman, by mutual consent, in writing, agree to an early termination in which case the seaman is entitled to earned wages and benefits only.
  2. The master shall have the right to discharge or sign off the seaman at any place abroad in accordance with the terms and conditions of this Contract and specifically for the following reasons:
    1. If the seaman is incompetent, or is continuously incapacitated for the duties for which he was employed by reason of illness or injury (Underscoring supplied)

Upon mutual consent of Aya-ay and respondents, he was on July 5, 1995 repatriated on account of his eye injury. Thus his employment had been effectively terminated on that particular date.

At all events, under the October 15, 1994 Contract of Employment, Aya-ay ceased to be an employee on September 26, 1995,[36] hence, he was no longer an employee when he died on December 1, 1995.

It is, therefore, crucial to determine whether Aya-ay died as a result of, or in relation to, the eye injury he suffered during the term of his employment. If the injury is the proximate cause, or at least increased the risk, of his death for which compensation is sought, recovery may be had for said death.

Unless there is substantial evidence showing that: (a) the cause of Aya-ay’s death was reasonably connected with his work; or (b) the sickness/ailment for which he died is an accepted occupational disease; or (c) his working conditions increased the risk of contracting the disease for which he died, death compensation benefits cannot be awarded.

Aya-ay died due to CVA or stroke, a disease not listed as a compensable illness under Appendix 1 of the POEA Standard Employment Contract.

Hence, it was incumbent on petitioners to present substantial evidence, or such relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion, that the eye injury sustained by Aya-ay during the term of his employment with respondents caused, or increased the risk of, CVA.

Substantial evidence is more than a mere scintilla. The evidence must be real and substantial, and not merely apparent; for the duty to prove work-causation or work-aggravation imposed by law is real and not merely apparent.

To buttress their position that there is a causal link between Aya-ay’s eye injury and his death, petitioners argue as follows:

If only Aya-ay, Jr. was immediately medically treated by a competent doctor and not by the respondents’ Captain with, among others, salt water, severe corneal infection (admitted and stated in paragraph 11 of the respondents’ Answer) could have been prevented. If the same was prevented, there will be no need for a “corneal graft” (Annex “2”, respondent’s Answer). If “corneal graft” have (sic) been unnecessary, there will be no “corneal graft rejection” and “repeat corneal transplantation” (Annex “4”, respondents’ Answer). If not because of the recommended “repeat corneal transplantation”, Dr. Anthony King could not have granted cardiac clearance. The seafarer was subjected to extreme anxiety and depression about the thought of totally losing his right eye. His blood pressure would not have risen and would not have suffered from CVA or stroke. He would not have died on December 1, 1995. Clearly, it is the negligence and fault of the respondents in taking for granted the situation of Aya-ay, Jr. that led to his untimely demise. The complications in his eye triggered the series of infections and operations and other procedures on the poor seafarer. These (sic) series of events logically presented, were (sic) more than enough to constitute substantial evidence.

Refuting petitioners’ arguments, respondents aver that, among other things, “there is no established link between seaman Aya-ay’s eye injury and the CVA that killed him; otherwise stated, the former is not the cause of the latter. CVA is not a ‘natural consequence’ of such an injury.”

That a seaman died several months after his repatriation for illness does not necessarily mean that: (a) he died of the same illness; (b) his working conditions increased the risk of contracting the illness which caused his death; and (c) the death is compensable, unless there is some reasonable basis to support otherwise.

This Court finds that under the circumstances petitioners’ bare allegations do not suffice to discharge the required quantum of proof of compensability. Awards of compensation cannot rest on speculations or presumptions. The beneficiaries must present evidence to prove a positive proposition.

While petitioners attempted to scientifically establish that Aya-ay’s eye injury resulted to, or increased the risk of, CVA by resorting to a “detailed medical discussion” lifted from medical sources and subjecting them to their own layman’s interpretation and randomly applying them to the circumstances attendant to the case, the same fails. Without an expert witness to evaluate and explain how the statements contained in such medical sources actually relate to the facts surrounding the case, they are insufficient to establish the nexus to support their claims.

Petitioners nevertheless argue that there is no need to resort to the intricacies of the Rules on Evidence to establish that the death of Aya-ay was caused by the eye injury, citing Section 10, Rule VII of the Rules of Procedure of the NLRC:

Section 10. Technical rules not binding. – The rules of procedure and evidence prevailing in courts of law and equity shall not be controlling and the Commission shall use every and all reasonable means to ascertain the facts in each case speedily and objectively, without regard to technicalities of law or procedure, all in the interest of due process.

That administrative quasi-judicial bodies like the NLRC are not bound by technical rules of procedure in the adjudication of cases does not mean that the basic rules on proving allegations should be entirely dispensed with. A party alleging a critical fact must still support his allegation with substantial evidence. Any decision based on unsubstantiated allegation cannot stand as it will offend due process.

xxx the liberality of procedure in administrative actions is subject to limitations imposed by basic requirements of due process. As this Court said in Ang Tibay v. CIR, the provision for flexibility in administrative procedure “does not go so far as to justify orders without a basis in evidence having rational probative value.” More specifically, as held in Uichico v. NLRC:

It is true that administrative and quasi-judicial bodies like the NLRC are not bound by the technical rules of procedure in the adjudication of cases. However, this procedural rule should not be construed as a license to disregard certain fundamental evidentiary rules.

While this Court commiserates with petitioners’ plight, absent substantial evidence from which reasonable basis for the grant of death benefits prayed for can be drawn, it is left with no alternative but to deny their petition.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated January 24, 2002 and the Resolution dated September 10, 2002 of the Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED.

Costs against petitioners.

SO ORDERED.

SOURCE: [ G.R. NO. 155359, January 31, 2006 ]SPOUSES PONCIANO AYA-AY, SR. AND CLEMENCIA AYA-AY, PETITIONERS, VS. ARPAPHIL SHIPPING CORP., AND MAGNA MARINE, INC., RESPONDENTS. Tags: Alcantara Alcoy moral damages Alegria actual damages Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan compensatory damages Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan attorney’s fees Tudela exemplary damages Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker nominal damages Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy temperate damages Luz liquidated damages Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust physical suffering shocked horrified mental anguish fright serious anxiety besmirched reputation sleepless nights wounded feelings moral shock social humiliation similar injuries

The sole issue is whether the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the resolution of the NLRC, which upheld the decision of the Labor Arbiter that petitioners illegally dismissed private respondents who should therefore receive separation pay, backwages, attorney’s fees and salary differential.

The Ruling of the Court


The petition is without merit.

Factual Findings of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC


We uphold the ruling of the Court of Appeals sustaining the findings of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC that petitioners illegally dismissed private respondents. The Court of Appeals held that the evidence on record supported such findings.

Factual findings of labor officials, who possess the expertise in matters within their jurisdiction, have conclusive effect on this Court provided substantial evidence support such factual findings. More so in this case, where the findings of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC coincide, and the Court of Appeals sustained such findings.

As found by the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC, petitioners failed to prove their assertion that Alcovendas voluntarily resigned. Petitioners assert that Alcovendas stole his letter of resignation. However, the Prosecutor dismissed for insufficiency of evidence the charge for qualified theft against Alcovendas for allegedly stealing company documents, including his own letter of resignation. In the labor case, petitioners also failed to present substantial evidence to establish the charge of qualified theft against Alcovendas.

Petitioners were likewise unable to support their claim that Labrador was involved in faking the licenses of security guards who were not qualified. The Labor Arbiter held:

Respondents herein alleged that Labrador was validly terminated on June 5, 1993 for dishonesty involving the faking of guards’ licenses. Again, this alleged offense was never established by evidence. Invisible on record are the supposed documents issued to Labrador such as the notice of offense, notice requiring him to explain and the sworn statement of witnesses attesting to the charge. Even the very letter of termination dated June 14, 1993 served to Labrado[r] terminating the latter’s services does not contain the alleged cause for his termination. We therefore rule that the termination of complainant Labrador from employment was contrary to law.[11]

Petitioners also failed to substantiate their claim that Tacanloy engaged in black propaganda to discredit petitioners’ reputation. The Labor Arbiter held that petitioners failed to establish fraud and breach of trust on the part of Tacanloy which would justify termination of his employment.

We find no reason to deviate from the findings of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC. Petitioners failed to substantiate their allegations and accusations against private respondents. Although proof beyond reasonable doubt is not required, substantial evidence is necessary and the burden lies on the employer to establish that there was no illegal dismissal. This is in accord with Article 277 of the Labor Code, which explicitly states that the employer has the burden of proving that the termination of the employee is for a valid or authorized cause. The petitioners failed to discharge this burden, which makes a finding for illegal dismissal inevitable.

Loss of Trust and Confidence


Article 282(c) of the Labor Code provides that an employer may terminate an employee for fraud or willful breach by the employee of the trust reposed in him by his employer or duly authorized representative. An employer cannot be compelled to continue the employment of an employee who is guilty of acts inimical to the interest of the employer and which justifies loss of confidence in the employee. However, the right of an employer to terminate an employee based on loss of confidence must not be exercised arbitrarily and without just cause.

In Northwest Tourism Corp. v. Court of Appeals, Former Special Third Division, we held:

Loss of trust and confidence as a ground for dismissal does not entail proof beyond reasonable doubt of the employee’s misconduct. However, the evidence must be substantial and must establish clearly and convincingly the facts on which the loss of confidence in the employee rests. To be a valid reason for dismissal, loss of confidence must be genuine. Uncorroborated assertions and accusations by the employer will not suffice, otherwise it will jeopardize the constitutional guaranty of security of tenure of the employee.

In this case, petitioners failed to prove the acts and misconduct imputed upon private respondents which would justify their dismissal on the ground of loss of confidence.

Salary Differential, Attorney’s Fees, Separation Pay, and Backwages


We affirm the award of salary differential. As found by the Labor Arbiter, PMVSIA paid private respondents wages which were below the minimum rate for security guards as prescribed and adopted by the Philippine Association of Detective [and Protective] Agency Operators, Inc. (PADPAO). Petitioners failed to refute the Labor Arbiter’s finding of underpayment of wages.

We also sustain the award of attorney’s fees. We have held that “[i]n actions for recovery of wages or where an employee was forced to litigate and incur expenses to protect his rights and interest, he is entitled to an award of attorney’s fees.”

We, however, modify the amount of separation pay. The payment of separation pay may be granted when reinstatement is no longer feasible. Separation pay is equivalent to one (1) month pay for every year of service up to the finality of this Decision. Thus, the computation for the separation pay should be adjusted accordingly.

Finally, we rule that private respondents are entitled to backwages. Article 279 of the Labor Code reads:

ART. 279. Security of Tenure. – In cases of regular employment, the employer shall not terminate the services of an employee except for a just cause or when authorized by this Title. An employee who is unjustly dismissed from work shall be entitled to reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and other privileges and to his full backwages, inclusive of allowances, and to his other benefits or their monetary equivalent computed from the time his compensation was withheld from him up to the time of his actual reinstatement.

In accordance with this provision, illegally dismissed private respondents are entitled to full backwages, inclusive of allowances and other benefits. Where reinstatement is no longer possible, as in this case, the backwages shall be computed from the time of the employee’s illegal termination up to the finality of the decision.

WHEREFORE, we AFFIRM with MODIFICATION the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 31 March 1999 and its Resolution dated 23 June 1999. We SUSTAIN the award of salary differential and attorney’s fees. We REMAND this case to the Labor Arbiter for the computation, within thirty days from receipt of this Decision, of separation pay and backwages, inclusive of allowances and other benefits due to Teodulo C. Alcovendas, Cesar W. Labrador and Jordan T. Tacanloy, from the time of their illegal dismissal until the finality of this Decision.

SO ORDERED.

SOURCE: [ G.R. NO. 139159, January 31, 2006 ]PHILIPPINE MILITARY VETERANS SECURITY AND INVESTIGATION AGENCY AND/OR RAMON MACOROL, PETITIONERS, VS. COURT OF APPEALS, NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, TEODULO C. ALCOVENDAS, CESAR W. LABRADOR, AND JORDAN T. TACANLOY, RESPONDENTS. Tags: Alcantara Alcoy moral damages Alegria actual damages Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan compensatory damages Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan attorney’s fees Tudela exemplary damages Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker nominal damages Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy temperate damages Luz liquidated damages Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust physical suffering shocked horrified mental anguish fright serious anxiety besmirched reputation sleepless nights wounded feelings moral shock social humiliation similar injuries

THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A MOST GRIEVOUS ERROR WHEN IT DID NOT EXPRESSLY RULE ON THE ISSUE OF THE RIGHT OF PETITIONERS TO BACKWAGES AND IN EFFECT AFFIRMED THE TERRIBLY WRONG RULING OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION THAT PETITIONERS HAVE NO RIGHT TO BACKWAGES

Petitioners are no longer pleading for exoneration from the administrative charges filed against them. Instead, petitioners are merely asking for the payment of back wages computed from the time they could not teach pursuant to Secretary Cariño’s dismissal orders minus the six months suspension until their actual reinstatement.[8]

Petitioners have no right to back wages because they were neither exonerated nor unjustifiably suspended.  Petitioners admitted participating in the teachers’ strike which disrupted the education of public school students.  For this offense, the CSC reduced Secretary Cariño’s dismissal orders to six months suspension without pay.  The Court has already put to rest the issue of the award of back wages to public school teachers whom the CSC reinstated in the service after commuting Secretary Cariño’s dismissal orders to six months suspension without pay.[9] In Alipat v. Court of Appeals,[10] the Court denied the teachers’ claim for back wages stating thus:

This Court has also resolved the issue of whether back wages may be awarded to the teachers who were ordered reinstated to the service after the dismissal orders of Secretary Cariño were commuted by the Civil Service Commission to six (6) months’ suspension.  The issue was resolved in the negative in Bangalisan vs. Court of Appeals on the ground that the teachers were neither exonerated nor unjustifiably suspended.  The Bangalisan case also ruled that the immediate implementation of the dismissal orders, being clearly sanctioned by law, was not unjustified.  The Court held that as regards the payment of back salaries during the period of suspension of a member of the civil service who is subsequently ordered reinstated, the payment of back wages may be decreed if “he is found innocent of the charges which caused the suspension and when the suspension is unjustified.”

Citing the Bangalisan ruling, this Court in Jacinto vs. Court of Appeals held that when the teachers have given cause for their suspension – i.e., the unjustified abandonment of classes to the prejudice of their students – they were not fully innocent of the charges against them although they were eventually found guilty only of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and not grave misconduct or other offense warranting their dismissal from the service; “being found liable for a lesser offense is not equivalent to exoneration.”[11]

The facts in this case are substantially the same as those in Bangalisan v. Court of Appeals,[12]De la Cruz v. Court of Appeals,[13]Alipat v. Court of Appeals[14] and Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports v. Court of Appeals.[15] In these cases, the Court categorically declared that the payment of back wages during the period of suspension of a civil servant who is subsequently reinstated is proper if he is found innocent of the charges and the suspension is unjustified.  These two circumstances are absent in the present case.  When a court has laid down a principle of law as applicable to a certain state of facts, it will adhere to that principle and apply it to all future cases where the facts are substantially the same.[16]

WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition.  We AFFIRM the Decision dated 31 July 1996 and Resolution dated 29 February 2000 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP Nos. 37794-99 and SP Nos. 37800-05.  Costs against petitioners.

SO ORDERED.

SOURCE: [ G.R. NOS. 142332-43, January 31, 2005 ]YOLANDA BRUGADA, ANGELINA CORPUZ, EVELYN ESCANO, SHIRLEY GARMA, DEDAICA JUSAY, PARSIMA LERIA, SONIA C. MAHINAY, ADELA SOLO, ELSIE SOMERA, VIRGINIA TALICURAN, JOSE S. VALLO, AND TEOFILA VILLANUEVA, PETITIONERS, VS. THE SECRETARY OF EDUCATION, CULTURE AND SPORTS, RESPONDENT. Tags: Alcantara Alcoy moral damages Alegria actual damages Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan compensatory damages Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan attorney’s fees Tudela exemplary damages Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker nominal damages Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy temperate damages Luz liquidated damages Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust physical suffering shocked horrified mental anguish fright serious anxiety besmirched reputation sleepless nights wounded feelings moral shock social humiliation similar injuries

When is the payment of damages as well as attorney’s fees proper?

In a Supreme Court case, the following damages were awarded:

“xxx

The RTC awarded moral damages, exemplary damages, attorney’s fees, plus P2,000.00 for every appearance, and costs of litigation.

.
Moral damages are meant to compensate the claimant for any physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and similar injuries unjustly caused. Petitioner Rosalina has adequately established the factual basis for the award of moral damages when she testified that she felt shocked and horrified upon knowing of the foreclosure sale.

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However, we find the RTC’s award of P2,000,000.00 excessive and unconscionable, and reduce the salve to P100,000.00.
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Exemplary damages are imposed by way of example for the public good, in addition to moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory damages. We reduce the RTC’s award of P500,000.00 to P30,000.00.
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Attorneys fees are allowed when exemplary damages are awarded and when the party to a suit is compelled to incur expenses to protect his interest. We find the RTC’s award of attorney’s fees in the amount of P100,000.00 proper.

xxx”

From the case of SPOUSES GILDARDO LOQUELLANO and ROSALINA JULIET B. LOQUELLANO, petitioners, xxx

Alcantara Alcoy moral damages Alegria actual damages Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan compensatory damages Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan attorney’s fees Tudela exemplary damages Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker nominal damages Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy temperate damages Luz liquidated damages Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust physical suffering shocked horrified mental anguish fright serious anxiety besmirched reputation sleepless nights wounded feelings moral shock social humiliation similar injuries

As a general rule, an employee who voluntarily resigns from employment is not entitled to separation pay

The Facts

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Petitioner Del Rio is an employee of respondent DPO Philippines, Inc. (DPO) which is a Belgian multi-national food distribution company. He was tasked to set up the operations in Cebu to cover Visayas and Mindanao. Respondent DPO succeeded with its business operations in Cebu and thereafter, petitioner was able to establish respondent’s office in Davao.

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On September 7, 2009, petitioner submitted his notice of resignation which would take effect on October 7, 2009. At the time of his resignation, he was holding the position of Assistant Country Manager. In a letter dated September 14, 2009, respondent DPO accepted petitioner’s resignation. On October 11, 2009, respondent DPO published in a newspaper that petitioner has resigned from DPO Philippines, Inc. effective October 7, 2009.

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Petitioner realized that after October 7, 2009, he was not yet paid of his salary for the period of September 16, 2009 to October 7, 2009. Petitioner sought from respondent DPO payments of his unpaid salaries, accrued leave credits and separation pay, but all of these were denied.

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Aggrieved, petitioner, on October 9, 2009, filed a complaint with the Regional Arbitration Branch of the NLRC in Cebu City for recovery of his monetary claims.

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Respondents, for their part, averred that after petitioner resigned, they came to know that in the last part of his employment, he was engaged in activities in direct competition with the business of respondent DPO, which is a violation of the non-competition clause of his contract of employment. On or about August 28, 2009, which was 10 days prior to the date of his resignation letter, petitioner was able to secure from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) the registration of a corporation named Judphilan Foods which has the same primary purpose as that of respondent DPO.
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Respondent DPO was unhappy and disappointed with petitioner’s act of disloyalty and betrayal but it still offered petitioner the amount of P110,692.75 inclusive of his salary from September 16-30, 2009 and October 1-6, 2009; 13th month pay; tax refund; and commissions for August and September 2009. Petitioner refused what was offered to him insisting that aside from what respondent DPO offered, he is also entitled to separation pay and cash conversion of his leave credits.
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Respondent DPO asserted that petitioner is not entitled to conversion of unused leave credits from 2006 to 2008 because the same had been forfeited in accordance with the company policy. While his unused leave credits for 2009 was applied as terminal leave after he tendered his resignation. Respondent DPO also asserted that petitioner is not entitled to separation pay because he was the one who voluntarily resigned.

xxx

In their Reply to petitioner’s Position Paper, respondents explained that the separation pay was given to Legaspi and Martinez in exchange for their resignation in order to spare the company of the pain of having to terminate them. Respondent DPO explained that it knows of the disloyalty of Martinez and Legaspi and their connivance with petitioner, but rather than terminating them, respondent asked them to tender their resignation with a promise of a separation pay.

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In their Verified Memorandum of Appeal, respondents explained that the separation pay given to Legaspi and Martinez was not strictly separation pay, but in consideration of their resignation, more of a gift, an act of generosity because Legaspi and Martinez’s resignation was more of a favor to the company as it was spared of going through litigation if it would terminate the employees. In other words, Legaspi and Martinez were given the said pay because they were forced to resign.

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In their Motion for Reconsideration, respondents maintained that the payments to Legaspi and Martinez were made after their resignations were tendered and accepted, or two months thereafter. Hence, there can be no company policy or practice to speak of. In the said motion, respondents likewise averred that even assuming that by doing so, it became a company practice, it was created after the resignation of petitioner. Verily, petitioner cannot avail of it, because at the time it became a practice, he was already resigned.

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Even if these arguments were not considered by the NLRC and the Labor Arbiter in their Decisions, this does not preclude the CA from considering them, especially if they were raised and became part of the records.
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It is a well-settled rule that the NLRC’s factual findings, if supported by substantial evidence, are entitled to great respect and even finality, unless it was shown that it simply and arbitrarily disregarded evidence before it or had misapprehended evidence to such an extent as to compel a contrary conclusion if such evidence had been properly appreciated. 21 The CA, therefore, may review the factual findings of the NLRC and reverse its ruling if it finds that the NLRC disregarded and misappreciated the evidence extant on records.

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In the same manner, factual findings of the CA are generally not subject to this Court’s review under Rule 45. However, the general rule on the conclusiveness of the factual findings of the CA is also subject to well-recognized exceptions such as, where the CA’s findings of facts contradict those of the lower court, or the administrative bodies, as in this case. 22 Since their findings are at variance, we are compelled to review factual questions and make a further calibration of the evidence at hand.
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There is no dispute that petitioner resigned from his employment. This fact is established by the letter of resignation dated September 7, 2009 sent by petitioner to respondents and was even admitted by the latter.
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Suffice it to say, an employee who voluntarily resigns from employment is not entitled to separation pay, except when it is stipulated in the employment contract or the CBA, or it is sanctioned by established employer practice or policy. The cited exceptions do not obtain in this case. As correctly found by the CA, there was no employment contract, much less a CBA, which contained the stipulation that would grant separation pay to resigning employees. Neither was there a company practice or policy that was proven to exist in the instant case.

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In his attempt to prove that there was a company practice of giving separation pay to resigning employees, petitioner presented the payslips of Martinez and Legaspi showing that they received separation pay after they resigned. We are not convinced.
To be considered a company practice, the giving of the benefits should have been done over a long period of time, and must be shown to have been consistent and deliberate. As records would show, the giving of the monetary benefit by respondents in favor of Legaspi and Martinez is merely an isolated instance. From the beginning of respondents’ business and up until petitioner’s resignation took effect on October 7, 2009, there was no showing that payments of such benefit had been made by respondents to their employees who voluntarily resigned. The first and only instance when such a benefit was given to resigned employees was on or after November 15, 2009 — not because it was a company practice but only to pave the way for Legaspi and Martinez’s graceful exit, so to speak.

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As explained by respondents, the said benefit was not intended as a separation pay but more of a promise or an assurance to Legaspi and Martinez that they would be paid a benefit if they tender their resignation. Given respondents’ knowledge of Legaspi and Martinez’s acts of disloyalty and betrayal of trust, respondents opted to give them an alternative way of exit, in lieu of termination. Respondents’ decision to give Legaspi and Martinez a graceful exit is perfectly within their prerogative. It is settled that there is nothing reprehensible or illegal when the employer grants the employee a chance to resign and save face rather than smear the latter’s employment record.

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Relying on respondents’ assurance, Legaspi and Martinez tendered their resignation and it is incumbent upon respondents to make good of their promise. As held in Alfaro v. Court of Appeals, 27 an employer who agrees to expend such benefit as an incident of the resignation should not be allowed to renege in the performance of such commitment. And true enough, after Legaspi and Martinez resigned, they were paid the promised benefit.
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This was not the case for petitioner. There was no promise given to him. Rather, petitioner resigned on his own volition. Respondents did not make any commitment to petitioner that he would be paid after his voluntary resignation.
Based on the foregoing, it becomes all too apparent that the CA committed no reversible error in issuing the assailed decision and ruling that petitioner voluntarily resigned from his employment. Thus, the granting of separation pay in his favor has no basis in law and jurisprudence, and must be deleted.

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WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is DENIED. Accordingly, the Decision dated November 6, 2013 and the Resolution dated February 7, 2014 of the Court of Appeals-Cebu City in CA-G.R. CEB-SP No. 05921, are hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

Tags Alcantara Alcoy Alegria Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan Tudela Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy Luz Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust

REVISED RULES OF THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION; REQUIREMENT OF VERIFIED POSITION PAPER APPLICABLE ONLY IN PROCEEDINGS BEFORE LABOR ARBITERS.

REVISED RULES OF THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION; REQUIREMENT OF VERIFIED POSITION PAPER APPLICABLE ONLY IN PROCEEDINGS BEFORE LABOR ARBITERS. — Petitioner asseverates that the NLRC erroneously anchored its ruling on Section 2, Rule VII of its Revised Rules. A perusal of this provision shows that the requirement of a verified position paper is applicable only in proceedings before the Labor Arbiters.

LACK OF VERIFICATION OF POSITION PAPER A FORMAL RATHER THAN A SUBSTANTIAL DEFECT. — There is a need to rectify another faux pas of the NLRC, namely, that Section 2, Rule VII of its Revised Rules is “not only procedural but also jurisdictional.” Even prior to the questioned decision of the NLRC, We have had an occasion to rule squarely that the lack of verification of the position paper is a formal, rather than a substantial defect. It is not fatal in this case. It could have been easily corrected by requiring an oath. xxx

VERIFIED ANSWER A SUBSTANTIAL COMPLIANCE WITH SECTION 2, RULE VII THEREOF; CASE AT BAR. — The filing of a verified answer by petitioner before the POEA is a matter of record. Granting arguendo that it was still necessary for petitioner to verify its defenses and allegations in the position paper, the verified answer was in substantial compliance with Section 2, Rule VII of the Revised Rules of the NLRC. After all, the averments and defenses raised in its position paper are mere clarifications of averments and defenses in the answer.

PHILIPPINE OVERSEAS EMPLOYMENT ADMINISTRATION RULES AND REGULATIONS; REQUIREMENT OF VERIFICATION APPLIES ONLY TO ANSWER. — Sections 2 and 5, Rule III, Book VI of the POEA Rules and Regulations do not require verification of position papers. The requirement of verification applies only to an answer.

SECTIONS 2 AND 5, RULE III, BOOK VI THEREOF APPLICABLE TO CASE AT BAR. — Petitioner correctly invokes the applicability in this case of Sections 2 and 5, Rule III, Book VI of the POEA Rules and Regulations, which provide: “Section 2. Filing of Answer. Within the period indicated in paragraph 1 of Section 1 hereof, the respondent shall file a verified answer, not a motion to dismiss, incorporating therein all pertinent documents in support of his defense. “Section 5. Judgment Based on Position Paper. Whenever summary judgment is not appropriate, the Hearing Officer shall direct the parties to the case to simultaneously submit their position papers and/or memoranda within fifteen (15) calendar days from notice after which the case shall be deemed submitted for decision.” instead of Section 2, Rule VII of the Revised Rules of the NLRC which provides: “Section 2. Submission of position papers. — During the initial conference/hearing, or immediately thereafter, the Labor Arbiter shall require the parties to simultaneously submit to him their respective verified position papers, which shall cover only the issues raised in the complaint, accompanied by all supporting documents then available to them and the affidavits of their witnesses which shall take the place of their direct testimony. The parties shall thereafter not be allowed to allege, or present evidence to prove, facts not referred to and any cause or causes of action not included in their complaint or position papers, affidavits and other documents. The parties shall furnish each other with copies of the position papers, together with the supporting affidavits and documents submitted by them.” Sections 2 and 5, Rule III, Book VI of the POEA Rules and Regulations are the governing provisions because this case concerns adjudication proceedings before the POEA, which has the “original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide all cases involving employer-employee relation arising out of or by virtue of . . . (a) contract involving Filipino workers for overseas employment . . .” (Section 1, Rule I, Book VI of the POEA Rules and Regulations). As pointed out by petitioner, verification of the position paper is not required therein; only the answer is required to be verified. From cd asia

FIRST DIVISION [G.R. No. 87644. April 20, 1992.] G & P MANPOWER SERVICES, petitioner, vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ORLANDO S. JIMENEZ AND ARMANDO S. JIMENEZ, respondents. Alcantara Alcoy Alegria Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan Tudela Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy Luz Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu