G.R. No. 189871, August 13, 2013 - DARIO NACAR, Petitioner, v. GALLERY FRAMES AND/OR FELIPE BORDEY, JR., Respondents.
G.R. No. 189871, August 13, 2013
DARIO NACAR, Petitioner, v. GALLERY FRAMES AND/OR FELIPE BORDEY, JR., Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
With the foregoing, we find and so rule that respondents failed to discharge the burden of showing that complainant was dismissed from employment for a just or valid cause. All the more, it is clear from the records that complainant was never afforded due process before he was terminated. As such, we are perforce constrained to grant complainant’s prayer for the payments of separation pay in lieu of reinstatement to his former position, considering the strained relationship between the parties, and his apparent reluctance to be reinstated, computed only up to promulgation of this decision as follows:cralawlibraryRespondents appealed to the NLRC, but it was dismissed for lack of merit in the Resolution5 dated February 29, 2000. Accordingly, the NLRC sustained the decision of the Labor Arbiter. Respondents filed a motion for reconsideration, but it was denied.6cralaw virtualaw library
SEPARATION PAY Date Hired = August 1990 Rate = P198/day Date of Decision = Aug. 18, 1998 Length of Service = 8 yrs. & 1 month P198.00 x 26 days x 8 months = P41,184.00 BACKWAGES Date Dismissed = January 24, 1997 Rate per day = P196.00 Date of Decisions = Aug. 18, 1998 a) 1/24/97 to 2/5/98 = 12.36 mos. P196.00/day x 12.36 mos. = P62,986.56 b) 2/6/98 to 8/18/98 = 6.4 months Prevailing Rate per day = P62,986.00 P198.00 x 26 days x 6.4 mos. = P32,947.20 T O T A L = P95.933.76
x x x x
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered finding respondents guilty of constructive dismissal and are therefore, ordered:
SO ORDERED.4cralaw virtualaw library
- To pay jointly and severally the complainant the amount of sixty-two thousand nine hundred eighty-six pesos and 56/100 (P62,986.56) Pesos representing his separation pay;chanr0blesvirtualawlibrary
- To pay jointly and severally the complainant the amount of nine (sic) five thousand nine hundred thirty-three and 36/100 (P95,933.36) representing his backwages; and
- All other claims are hereby dismissed for lack of merit.
Petitioner argues that notwithstanding the fact that there was a computation of backwages in the Labor Arbiter’s decision, the same is not final until reinstatement is made or until finality of the decision, in case of an award of separation pay. Petitioner maintains that considering that the October 15, 1998 decision of the Labor Arbiter did not become final and executory until the April 17, 2002 Resolution of the Supreme Court in G.R. No. 151332 was entered in the Book of Entries on May 27, 2002, the reckoning point for the computation of the backwages and separation pay should be on May 27, 2002 and not when the decision of the Labor Arbiter was rendered on October 15, 1998. Further, petitioner posits that he is also entitled to the payment of interest from the finality of the decision until full payment by the respondents.
WITH DUE RESPECT, THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED, COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AND DECIDED CONTRARY TO LAW IN UPHOLDING THE QUESTIONED RESOLUTIONS OF THE NLRC WHICH, IN TURN, SUSTAINED THE MAY 10, 2005 ORDER OF LABOR ARBITER MAGAT MAKING THE DISPOSITIVE PORTION OF THE OCTOBER 15, 1998 DECISION OF LABOR ARBITER LUSTRIA SUBSERVIENT TO AN OPINION EXPRESSED IN THE BODY OF THE SAME DECISION.26cralaw virtualaw library
In concrete terms, the question is whether a re-computation in the course of execution of the labor arbiter's original computation of the awards made, pegged as of the time the decision was rendered and confirmed with modification by a final CA decision, is legally proper. The question is posed, given that the petitioner did not immediately pay the awards stated in the original labor arbiter's decision; it delayed payment because it continued with the litigation until final judgment at the CA level.Consequently, from the above disquisitions, under the terms of the decision which is sought to be executed by the petitioner, no essential change is made by a recomputation as this step is a necessary consequence that flows from the nature of the illegality of dismissal declared by the Labor Arbiter in that decision.29 A recomputation (or an original computation, if no previous computation has been made) is a part of the law – specifically, Article 279 of the Labor Code and the established jurisprudence on this provision – that is read into the decision. By the nature of an illegal dismissal case, the reliefs continue to add up until full satisfaction, as expressed under Article 279 of the Labor Code. The recomputation of the consequences of illegal dismissal upon execution of the decision does not constitute an alteration or amendment of the final decision being implemented. The illegal dismissal ruling stands; only the computation of monetary consequences of this dismissal is affected, and this is not a violation of the principle of immutability of final judgments.30cralaw virtualaw library
A source of misunderstanding in implementing the final decision in this case proceeds from the way the original labor arbiter framed his decision. The decision consists essentially of two parts.
The first is that part of the decision that cannot now be disputed because it has been confirmed with finality. This is the finding of the illegality of the dismissal and the awards of separation pay in lieu of reinstatement, backwages, attorney's fees, and legal interests.
The second part is the computation of the awards made. On its face, the computation the labor arbiter made shows that it was time-bound as can be seen from the figures used in the computation. This part, being merely a computation of what the first part of the decision established and declared, can, by its nature, be re-computed. This is the part, too, that the petitioner now posits should no longer be re-computed because the computation is already in the labor arbiter's decision that the CA had affirmed. The public and private respondents, on the other hand, posit that a re-computation is necessary because the relief in an illegal dismissal decision goes all the way up to reinstatement if reinstatement is to be made, or up to the finality of the decision, if separation pay is to be given in lieu reinstatement.
That the labor arbiter's decision, at the same time that it found that an illegal dismissal had taken place, also made a computation of the award, is understandable in light of Section 3, Rule VIII of the then NLRC Rules of Procedure which requires that a computation be made. This Section in part states:[T]he Labor Arbiter of origin, in cases involving monetary awards and at all events, as far as practicable, shall embody in any such decision or order the detailed and full amount awarded.Clearly implied from this original computation is its currency up to the finality of the labor arbiter's decision. As we noted above, this implication is apparent from the terms of the computation itself, and no question would have arisen had the parties terminated the case and implemented the decision at that point.
However, the petitioner disagreed with the labor arbiter's findings on all counts - i.e., on the finding of illegality as well as on all the consequent awards made. Hence, the petitioner appealed the case to the NLRC which, in turn, affirmed the labor arbiter's decision. By law, the NLRC decision is final, reviewable only by the CA on jurisdictional grounds.
The petitioner appropriately sought to nullify the NLRC decision on jurisdictional grounds through a timely filed Rule 65 petition for certiorari. The CA decision, finding that NLRC exceeded its authority in affirming the payment of 13th month pay and indemnity, lapsed to finality and was subsequently returned to the labor arbiter of origin for execution.
It was at this point that the present case arose. Focusing on the core illegal dismissal portion of the original labor arbiter's decision, the implementing labor arbiter ordered the award re-computed; he apparently read the figures originally ordered to be paid to be the computation due had the case been terminated and implemented at the labor arbiter's level. Thus, the labor arbiter re-computed the award to include the separation pay and the backwages due up to the finality of the CA decision that fully terminated the case on the merits. Unfortunately, the labor arbiter's approved computation went beyond the finality of the CA decision (July 29, 2003) and included as well the payment for awards the final CA decision had deleted - specifically, the proportionate 13th month pay and the indemnity awards. Hence, the CA issued the decision now questioned in the present petition.
We see no error in the CA decision confirming that a re-computation is necessary as it essentially considered the labor arbiter's original decision in accordance with its basic component parts as we discussed above. To reiterate, the first part contains the finding of illegality and its monetary consequences; the second part is the computation of the awards or monetary consequences of the illegal dismissal, computed as of the time of the labor arbiter's original decision.28cralaw virtualaw library
II. With regard particularly to an award of interest in the concept of actual and compensatory damages, the rate of interest, as well as the accrual thereof, is imposed, as follows:cralawlibraryRecently, however, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Monetary Board (BSP-MB), in its Resolution No. 796 dated May 16, 2013, approved the amendment of Section 234 of Circular No. 905, Series of 1982 and, accordingly, issued Circular No. 799,35 Series of 2013, effective July 1, 2013, the pertinent portion of which reads:
1. When the obligation is breached, and it consists in the payment of a sum of money, i.e., a loan or forbearance of money, the interest due should be that which may have been stipulated in writing. Furthermore, the interest due shall itself earn legal interest from the time it is judicially demanded. In the absence of stipulation, the rate of interest shall be 12% per annum to be computed from default, i.e., from judicial or extrajudicial demand under and subject to the provisions of Article 1169 of the Civil Code.
2. When an obligation, not constituting a loan or forbearance of money, is breached, an interest on the amount of damages awarded may be imposed at the discretion of the court at the rate of 6% per annum. No interest, however, shall be adjudged on unliquidated claims or damages except when or until the demand can be established with reasonable certainty. Accordingly, where the demand is established with reasonable certainty, the interest shall begin to run from the time the claim is made judicially or extrajudicially (Art. 1169, Civil Code) but when such certainty cannot be so reasonably established at the time the demand is made, the interest shall begin to run only from the date the judgment of the court is made (at which time the quantification of damages may be deemed to have been reasonably ascertained). The actual base for the computation of legal interest shall, in any case, be on the amount finally adjudged.
3. When the judgment of the court awarding a sum of money becomes final and executory, the rate of legal interest, whether the case falls under paragraph 1 or paragraph 2, above, shall be 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.33cralaw virtualaw library
The Monetary Board, in its Resolution No. 796 dated 16 May 2013, approved the following revisions governing the rate of interest in the absence of stipulation in loan contracts, thereby amending Section 2 of Circular No. 905, Series of 1982:Thus, from the foregoing, in the absence of an express stipulation as to the rate of interest that would govern the parties, the rate of legal interest for loans or forbearance of any money, goods or credits and the rate allowed in judgments shall no longer be twelve percent (12%) per annum - as reflected in the case of Eastern Shipping Lines40 and Subsection X305.1 of the Manual of Regulations for Banks and Sections 4305Q.1, 4305S.3 and 4303P.1 of the Manual of Regulations for Non-Bank Financial Institutions, before its amendment by BSP-MB Circular No. 799 - but will now be six percent (6%) per annum effective July 1, 2013. It should be noted, nonetheless, that the new rate could only be applied prospectively and not retroactively. Consequently, the twelve percent (12%) per annum legal interest shall apply only until June 30, 2013. Come July 1, 2013 the new rate of six percent (6%) per annum shall be the prevailing rate of interest when applicable.Section 1. The rate of interest for the loan or forbearance of any money, goods or credits and the rate allowed in judgments, in the absence of an express contract as to such rate of interest, shall be six percent (6%) per annum.
Section 2. In view of the above, Subsection X305.136 of the Manual of Regulations for Banks and Sections 4305Q.1,37 4305S.338 and 4303P.139 of the Manual of Regulations for Non-Bank Financial Institutions are hereby amended accordingly.
This Circular shall take effect on 1 July 2013.
1 Penned by Associate Justice Vicente S. E. Veloso, with Associate Justices Rebecca De Guia-Salvador and Ricardo R. Rosario, concurring; rollo, pp. 33-48.
2Id. at 32.
3Id. at 79-84.
4Id. at 82-84. (Emphasis supplied.)
5Id. at 85-93.
6 Resolution dated July 24, 2000, id. at 94-96.
7Rollo, p. 35.
8Id. at 35-36.nadcralawlibrary
9Id. at 36.redcralaw
10Id. at 100.
12Id. at 101.
13Id. at 97-102.
14Id. at 37.
15Id. at 103-108.
16Id. at 109-113.
17Id. at 114-117.
18Id. at 101.
19Id. at 40.
20Id. at 65-69.
21Id. at 70-74.
22Id. at 60-64.
23Id. at 58-59.
24Id. at 33-48.red cralawlibrary
25Id. at 32.
26Id. at 27.
27 G.R. No. 172149, February 8, 2010, 612 SCRA 10.
28Session Delights Ice Cream and Fast Foods v. Court of Appeals (Sixth Division), supra, at 21-23.
29Id. at 25.
30Id. at 25-26.
31Id. at 26.
32 G.R. No. 97412, July 12, 1994, 234 SCRA 78.
33Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, supra, at 95-97. (Citations omitted; italics in the original).
34 SECTION 2. The rate of interest for the loan or forbearance of any money, goods or credits and the rate allowed in judgments, in the absence of express contract as to such rate of interest, shall continue to be twelve percent (12%) per annum.
35 Rate of interest in the absence of stipulation; Dated June 21, 2013.
36§ X305.1 Rate of interest in the absence of stipulation. The rate of interest for the loan or forbearance of any money, goods or credits and the rate allowed in judgments, in the absence of expressed contract as to such rate of interest, shall be twelve percent (12%) per annum.cralaw
37 The Section is under Q Regulations or Regulations Governing Non-Bank Financial Institutions
Performing Quasi-Banking Functions. It reads:cralawlibrary
§ 4305Q.1 (2008 - 4307Q.6) Rate of interest in the absence of stipulation. The rate of interest for the loan or forbearance of any money, goods or credit and the rate allowed in judgments, in the absence of express contract as to such rate of interest, shall be twelve percent (12%) per annum.
38 The Section is under S Regulations or Regulations Governing Non-Stock Savings and Loan Associations. It reads:cralawlibrary
§ 4305S.3 Interest in the absence of contract. In the absence of express contract, the rate of interest for the loan or forbearance of any money, goods or credit and the rate allowed in judgment shall be twelve percent (12%) per annum.
39 The Section is under P Regulations or Regulations Governing Pawnshops. It reads:cralawlibrary
§ 4303P.1 Rate of interest in the absence of stipulation. The rate of interest for a loan or forbearance of money in the absence of an expressed contract as to such rate of interest, shall be twelve percent (12%) per annum. (Circular No. 656 dated 02 June 2009)
40Supra note 32, at 95-97.
41 G.R. No. 192986, January 15, 2013, 688 SCRA 530, 547.
42Supra note 32.