G.R. No. 163431, August 28, 2013 - NATHANIEL N. DONGON, Petitioner, v. RAPID MOVERS AND FORWARDERS CO., INC., AND/OR NICANOR E. JAO, JR., Respondents.
G.R. No. 163431, August 28, 2013
NATHANIEL N. DONGON, Petitioner, v. RAPID MOVERS AND FORWARDERS CO., INC., AND/OR NICANOR E. JAO, JR., Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
From the records, it appears that petitioner Rapid is engaged in the hauling and trucking business while private respondent Nathaniel T. Dongon is a former truck helper leadman.In his decision, the Labor Arbiter dismissed the complaint, and ruled that respondent Rapid Movers and Forwarders Co., Inc. (Rapid Movers) rightly exercised its prerogative to dismiss petitioner, considering that: (1) he had admitted lending his company ID to driver Vicente Villaruz; (2) his act had constituted mental dishonesty and deceit amounting to breach of trust; (3) Rapid Movers’ relationship with Tanduay had been jeopardized by his act; and (4) he had been banned from all the warehouses of Tanduay as a result, leaving Rapid Movers with no available job for him.5cralaw virtualaw library
Private respondent’s area of assignment is the Tanduay Otis Warehouse where he has a job of facilitating the loading and unloading [of the] petitioner’s trucks. On 23 April 2001, private respondent and his driver, Vicente Villaruz, were in the vicinity of Tanduay as they tried to get some goods to be distributed to their clients.
Tanduay’s security guard called the attention of private respondent as to the fact that Mr. Villaruz’[s] was not wearing an Identification Card (I.D. Card). Private respondent, then, assured the guard that he will secure a special permission from the management to warrant the orderly release of goods.
Instead of complying with his compromise, private respondent lent his I.D. Card to Villaruz; and by reason of such misrepresentation , private respondent and Mr. Villaruz got a clearance from Tanduay for the release of the goods. However, the security guard, who saw the misrepresentation committed by private respondent and Mr. Villaruz, accosted them and reported the matter to the management of Tanduay.
On 23 May 2001, after conducting an administrative investigation, private respondent was dismissed from the petitioning Company.
On 01 June 2001, private respondent filed a Complaint for Illegal Dismissal. x x x4cralaw virtualaw library
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is REVERSED and SET ASIDE and a new one ENTERED ordering the payment of his backwages from April 25, 2001 up to the finality of this decision and in lieu of reinstatement, he should be paid his separation pay from date of hire on May 2, 1994 up to the finality hereof.Rapid Movers brought a petition for certiorari in the CA, averring grave abuse of discretion on the part of the NLRC, to wit:
SO ORDERED.6cralaw virtualaw library
x x x IN STRIKING DOWN THE DISMISSAL OF THE PRIVATE RESPONDENT [AS] ILLEGAL ALLEGEDLY FOR BEING GROSSLY DISPROPORTIONATE TO THE OFFENSE COMMITTED IN THAT NEITHER THE PETITIONERS NOR ITS CLIENT TANDUAY SUFFERED ANY PECUNIARY DAMAGE THEREFROM THEREBY IMPLYING THAT FOR A DISHONEST ACT/MISCONDUCT TO BE A GROUND FOR DISMISSAL OF AN EMPLOYEE, THE SAME MUST AT LEAST HAVE RESULTED IN PECUNIARY DAMAGE TO THE EMPLOYER;chanr0blesvirtualawlibrary
x x x IN EXPRESSING RESERVATION ON THE GUILT OF THE PRIVATE RESPONDENT IN THE LIGHT OF ITS PERCEIVED CONFLICTING DATES OF THE LETTER OF TANDUAY TO RAPID MOVERS (JANUARY 25, 2001) AND THE OCCURRENCE OF THE INCIDENT ON APRIL 25, 2001 WHEN SAID CONFLICT OF DATES CONSIDERING THE EVIDENCE ON RECORD, WAS MORE APPARENT THAN REAL.7cralaw virtualaw library
There is no dispute that the private respondent lent his I.D. Card to another employee who used the same in entering the compound of the petitioner customer, Tanduay. Considering that this amounts to dishonesty and is provided for in the petitioning Company’s Manual of Discipline, its imposition is but proper and appropriate.Petitioner moved for a reconsideration, but the CA denied his motion on March 22, 2004.9cralaw virtualaw library
It is basic in any enterprise that an employee has the obligation of following the rules and regulations of its employer. More basic further is the elementary obligation of an employee to be honest and truthful in his work. It should be noted that honesty is one of the foremost criteria of an employer when hiring a prospective employee. Thus, we see employers requiring an NBI clearance or police clearance before formally accepting an applicant as their employee. Such rules and regulations are necessary for the efficient operation of the business.
Employees who violate such rules and regulations are liable for the penalties and sanctions so provided, e.g., the Company’s Manual of Discipline (as in this case) and the Labor Code.
The argument of the respondent commission that no pecuniary damage was sustained is off-tangent with the facts of the case. The act of lending an ID is an act of dishonesty to which no pecuniary estimate can be ascribed for the simple reason that no monetary equation is involved. What is involved is plain and simple adherence to truth and violation of the rules. The act of uttering or the making of a falsehood does not need any pecuniary estimate for the act to gestate to one punishable under the labor laws. In this case, the illegal use of the I.D. Card while it may appear to be initially trivial is of crucial relevance to the petitioner’s customer, Tanduay, which deals with drivers and leadmen withdrawing goods and merchandise from its warehouse. For those with criminal intentions can use another’s ID to asport goods and merchandise.
Hence, while it can be conceded that there is no pecuniary damage involved, the fact remains that the offense does not only constitute dishonesty but also willful disobedience to the lawful order of the Company, e.g., to observe at all time the terms and conditions of the Manual of Discipline. Article 282 of the Labor Code provides:“Termination by Employer – An employer may terminate an employment for any of the following causes:cralawlibraryThe constitutional protection afforded to labor does not condone wrongdoings by the employee; and an employer’s power to discipline its workers is inherent to it. As honesty is always the best policy, the Court is convinced that the ruling of the Labor Arbiter is more in accord with the spirit of the Labor Code. “The Constitutional policy of providing full protection to labor is not intended to oppress or destroy management (Capili vs. NLRC, 270 SCRA 488.” Also, in Atlas Fertilizer Corporation vs. NLRC, 273 SCRA 549 , the Highest Magistrate declared that “The law, in protecting the rights of the laborers, authorizes neither oppression nor self-destruction of the employer.”
(a) Serious misconduct or willful disobedience by the employee of the lawful orders of his employer or representative in connection with his work;chanr0blesvirtualawlibrary
x x x.” (Emphasis, supplied)
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition is GRANTED. The assailed 17 June 2002 Decision of respondent Commission in NLRC CA-029937-01 is hereby SET ASIDE and the 10 September 2001 Decision of Labor Arbiter Vicente R. Layawen is ordered REINSTATED. No costs.
SO ORDERED.8cralaw virtualaw library
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN SUSTAINING THE DECISION DATED 10 SEPTEMBER 2001 OF LABOR ARBITER VICENTE R. LAYAWEN WHERE THE LATTER RULED THAT BY LENDING HIS ID TO VILLARUZ, PETITIONER (COMPLAINANT) COMMITTED MISREPRESENTATION AND DECEIT CONSTITUTING MENTAL DISHONESTY WHICH CANNOT BE DISCARDED AS INSIGNIFICANT OR TRIVIAL.10cralaw virtualaw libraryPetitioner argues that his dismissal was discriminatory because Villaruz was retained in his employment as driver; and that the CA gravely abused its discretion in disregarding his showing that he did not violate Rapid Movers’ rules and regulations but simply performed his work in line with the duties entrusted to him, and in not appreciating his good faith and lack of any intention to willfully disobey the company’s rules.
We cannot sustain the argument of Rapid Movers.
(a) “Pagpayag sa paggamit ng iba o paggamit ng maling rekord ng kumpanya kaugnay sa operations, maintenance or materyales o trabaho” (Additional Rules and Regulations No. 2); and (b) “Pagkutsaba sa pagplano o pagpulong sa ibang tao upang labagin ang anumang alituntunin ng kumpanya” (Article 5.28).23
* Vice Associate Justice Martin S. Villarama, Jr., who is on leave, per Special Order No. 1502 dated August 8, 2013.
1Rollo, at 21-30; penned by Associate Justice Andres B. Reyes, Jr. (now Presiding Justice), and concurred in by Associate Justice Buenaventura J. Guerrero (retired/deceased) and Associate Justice Regalado E. Maambong (retired/deceased).
2 Id. at 46-55; penned by Commissioner Victoriano R. Calaycay, and concurred in by Presiding Commissioner Raul T. Aquino and Commissioner Angelita A. Gacutan (now a Member of the Court of Appeals).
3 Id. at 62-70.
4 Id. at 22-23.
5 Id. at 62-70.
6 Id. at 54.
7 Id. at 39-40.
8 Id. at 27-30.nadcralawlibrary
9 Id. at 31.redcralaw
10 Id. at 9.
11 Id. at 145-150.
12 Id. at 152-158.
13 G.R. No. 130866, September 16, 1998, 295 SCRA 494, 503-504.
14 See Talidano v. Falcon Maritime & Allied Services, Inc., G.R. No. 172031, July 14, 2008, 558 SCRA 279, 291; Iloilo La Filipina Uygongco Corporation v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 170244, November 28, 2007, 539 SCRA 178, 187-188; Hanjin Engineering and Construction Co., Ltd., v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 165910, April 10, 2006, 487 SCRA 78, 96.
15Tible & Tible Company, Inc. v. Royal Savings and Loan Association, G.R. No. 155806, April 8, 2008, 550 SCRA 562, 575; Madrigal Transport, Inc. v. Lapanday Holdings Corporation, G.R. No. 156067, August 11, 2004, 436 SCRA 123, 136.
16Nuñez v. GSIS Family Bank, G.R. No. 163988, November 17, 2005, 475 SCRA 305, 316; Tichangco v. Enriquez, G.R. No. 150629, June 30, 2004, 433 SCRA 324, 333.
17Leyte IV Electric Cooperative, Inc. v. Leyeco IV Employees Union-ALU, G.R. No. 157775, October 19, 2007, 537 SCRA 154, 166.
18Dalton-Reyes v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 149580, March 16, 2005, 453 SCRA 498, 509-510.
19 Renumbered pursuant to Republic Act No. 10151 (An Act Allowing The Employment of Night Workers, Thereby Repealing Articles 130 and 131 of Presidential Decree Number Four Hundred Forty-Two, As Amended, Otherwise Known As The Labor Code of the Philippines).
20Coca-Cola Bottlers, Phils., Inc. v. Kapisanan ng Malayang Manggagawa sa Coca-Cola-FFW, G.R. No. 148205, February 28, 2005, 452 SCRA 480, 497; Dimabayao v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 122178, February 25, 1999, 303 SCRA 655, 659; Carlos A. Gothong Lines, Inc. v. NLRC, G.R. No. 96685, February 15, 1999, 303 SCRA 164, 170; Lagatic v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 121004, January 28, 1998, 285 SCRA 251, 257.
21Lakpue Drug, Inc. v. Belga, G.R. No. 166379, October 20, 2005, 473 SCRA 617, 624; St. Michael’s Institute v. Santos, G.R. No. 145280, December 4, 2001, 371 SCRA 383, 393; Escobin v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 118159, April 15, 1998, 289 SCRA 48, 67.
22 Separate Opinion of J. Tinga in Agabon v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 158693, November 17, 2004, 442 SCRA 573, 693.
23Rollo, p. 78.
24Julie’s Bakeshop v. Arnaiz, G.R. No. 173882, February 15, 2012, 666 SCRA 101, 115.red cralawlibrary
25Mendiola v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 159333, July 31, 2006, 497 SCRA 346, 360; Unicorn Safety Glass, Inc. v. Basarte, G.R. No. 154689, November 25, 2004, 444 SCRA 287, 297.
26Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp. v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 116542, July 30, 1996, 260 SCRA 49, 56.
27Coca-Cola Bottlers Phils., Inc. v. Daniel, G.R. No. 156893, June 21, 2005, 460 SCRA 494, 509-510.
28Pioneer Texturizing Corp. v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 118651, October 16, 1997, 280 SCRA 806, 816.
29Almira v. B.F. Goodrich Philippines, Inc., No. L-34974, July 25, 1974, 58 SCRA 120, 131.
30Varias v. Commission on Elections, G.R. No. 189078, March 30, 2010, 617 SCRA 214, 229.