G.R. No. 200575, February 05, 2014
INTEL TECHNOLOGY PHILIPPINES, INC., Petitioner, v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION AND JEREMIAS CABILES, Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
Are there any clearance requirements I need to fulfil as I move as a local hire to Hong Kong starting February 1?? I am still on my expat assignment in Chengdu till it ends January 31. Then immediately I become a HK local employee so I don’t technically repatriate and work back to my home site Philippines at all. Nevertheless, I still need to close I think my employment there and so that all my ES benefits and clearance will be closed like conversion of my vacation leaves to cash, carry over of my service tenure in CV to HK etc. Please do let me know what process I need to go through or would an email notification be enough?On January 23, 2007, Intel Phil., through Penny Gabronino (Gabronino), replied as follows:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Another issue I would like to clarify is with regard to my retirement benefits. I will celebrate my 10th year of service with Intel on April 16, 2007. However, because I will be moving to Hong Kong as a local hire starting February 1, would I still be entitled to retirement benefits?? Do we roundup the years of service if its close enough to 10 years?? If not, what other alternatives I have or do I just lose my years of service at Intel Philippines? Any possibility that I keep my 9.5 years and start from there when I work in the Philippines again in the future??6ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
Jerry – you are not eligible to receive your retirement benefit given that you have not reached 10 years of service at the time you moved to Hong Kong. We do not round up the years of service.On January 31, 2007, Cabiles signed the job offer.8cralawlawlibrary
There will [be] no gap in your years of service. So in case that you move back to the Philippines your total tenure of service will be computed less on the period that you are out of Intel Philippines.7 [Emphasis supplied]
WHEREFORE, premises considered, Respondents are hereby ordered to pay complainant the amount of Four Hundred Nineteen Thousand Eight Hundred Sixty–Eight and 77/100 Hong Kong Dollars (HKD419,868.77) or its Peso equivalent as retirement pay with legal interest until satisfied, and to pay attorney’s fees equivalent to ten percent (10%) of the judgment award.The NLRC Ruling
WHEREFORE, the appealed Decision is MODIFIED. Respondent–appellant Intel Technology Phil., Inc. is ordered to pay complainant–appellee Jeremias Cabiles the sum [xx] of Four Hundred Nineteen Thousand Eight Hundred Sixty Eight and 77/100 Hong Kong Dollars (HKD419,868.77) or its equivalent in Philippine peso as retirement pay together with legal interest thereon and attorney’s fees computed at ten percent (10%) of the award.Intel Phil. moved for reconsideration but its motion was denied in the NLRC Resolution,12 dated February 9, 2011.
The individual respondents–appellants Grace Ong, Nida delos Santos, Penny Gabronino and Pia Viloria are RELIEVED from any personal liability resulting from the foregoing.
NOW, THEREFORE, you are commanded to proceed to the premises of respondent INTEL TECHNOLOGY PHILIPPINES, INCORPORATED located at Gateway Business Park, Javalera, General Trias, Cavite or anywhere in the Philippines where it could be located to collect the amount of Three Million Two Hundred One Thousand Three Hundred Ninety Eight Pesos and Sixty Centavos (P3,201,398.60) and turn over the same to this Office for appropriate disposition.As ordered by the NLRC, Intel Phil. satisfied the judgment on December 13, 2011 by paying the amount of P3,201,398.60 which included the applicable withholding taxes due and paid to the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Cabiles received a net amount of P2,485,337.35, covered by the Bank of the Philippine Islands Manager’s Check No. 0000000806.16
You are likewise directed to collect from the respondents the amount of Thirty One Thousand Five Hundred Ten Pesos (P31,510.00) representing the execution fees pursuant to the provisions of the NLRC Manual of Execution of Judgment.
In case you fail to collect the said amount in cash, you are directed to cause the satisfaction of the same out of the respondents’ chattels or movable goods or in the absence thereof, out of the immovable properties not exempt from execution and return this Writ of Execution to the undersigned not more than five (5) years from receipt hereof together with the report not later than thirty (30) days from receipt and every thirty (30) days thereafter pursuant to Section 12, Rule XI of the 2001 NLRC Rules of Procedures.15ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
Intel Phil. insists as serious error the CA’s affirmation of the NLRC decision holding it liable for the retirement benefits claimed by Cabiles. It contends that he is disqualified to receive the benefits for his failure to complete the required minimum ten (10) years of service as he resigned to assume new responsibilities with Intel HK effective February 1, 2007.
The Court of Appeals committed serious error in dismissing the Petition for Certiorari without expressing clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which its decision was based.
The Court of appeals committed serious and reversible error in not finding that respondent NLRC gravely abused its discretion when it ruled that private respondent was entitled to retire under Intel Philippines’ retirement plan.
The Court of Appeals committed serious and reversible error in not finding that respondent NLRC gravely abused its discretion in annulling private respondent’s quitclaim.
The Court of Appeals committed serious and reversible error in not finding that Cabiles has the legal obligation to return all the amounts paid by Intel pursuant to the writ of execution.19ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
Cabiles views his employment with Intel HK as a continuation of his service with Intel Phil. alleging that it was but an assignment by his principal employer, similar to his assignments to Intel Arizona and Intel Chengdu. Having rendered 9.5 years of service with Intel Phil. and an additional seven months with Intel HK, he claims that he had completed the required 10 year continuous service21 with Intel Phil., thus, qualifying him for retirement benefits.
(a) for his entitlement to retirement pay as he was under the employ of Intel Phil. for more than ten (10) years in accordance with the prevailing retirement policy; (b) for the nullity of the quitclaim as he was misled to believe that he was disqualified to receive retirement benefits; and (c) for his right to receive legal interest, damages and attorney’s fees.
Are there any clearance requirements I need to fulfil as I move as a local hire to Hong Kong starting February 1?? I am still on my expat assignment in Chengdu till it ends January 31. Then immediately I become a HK local employee so I don’t technically repatriate and work back to my home site Philippines at all. Nevertheless, I still need to close I think my employment there and so that all my ES benefits and clearance will be closed like conversion of my vacation leaves to cash, carry over of my service tenure in CV to HK etc. Please do let me know what process I need to go through or would an email notification be enough?This communication manifested two of his main concerns: a) clearance procedures; and b) the probability of getting his retirement pay despite the non–completion of the required 10 years of employment service. Beyond these concerns, however, was his acceptance of the fact that he would be ending his relationship with Intel Phil. as his employer. The words he used – local hire, close, clearance – denote nothing but his firm resolve to voluntarily disassociate himself from Intel Phil. and take on new responsibilities with Intel HK.
Another issue I would like to clarify is with regard to my retirement benefits. Will celebrate my 10th year of service with Intel on April 16, 2007. However, because I will be moving to Hong Kong as a local hire starting February 1, would I still be entitled to retirement benefits?? Do we roundup the years of service if its close enough to 10 years?? If not, what other alternatives I have or do I just lose my years of service at Intel Philippines? Any possibility that I keep my 9.5 years and start it from there when I work in the Philippines again in the future??26 [Emphases supplied]
1. the selection and engagement of the employee;As applied, all of the above benchmarks ceased upon Cabiles’ assumption of duties with Intel HK on February 1, 2007. Intel HK became the new employer. It provided Cabiles his compensation. Cabiles then became subject to Hong Kong labor laws, and necessarily, the rights appurtenant thereto, including the right of Intel HK to fire him on available grounds. Lastly, Intel HK had control and supervision over him as its new Finance Manager. Evidently, Intel Phil. no longer had any control over him.
2. the payment of wages;
3. the power of dismissal; and
4. the employer’s power to control the employee’s conduct.28ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
Not all waivers and quitclaims are invalid as against public policy. If the agreement was voluntarily entered into and represents a reasonable settlement, it is binding on the parties and may not later be disowned simply because of a change of mind. It is only where there is clear proof that the waiver was wangled from an unsuspecting or gullible person, or the terms of settlement are unconscionable on its face, that the law will step in to annul the questionable transaction. But where it is shown that the person making the waiver did so voluntarily, with full understanding of what he was doing, and the consideration for the quitclaim is credible and reasonable, the transaction must be recognized as a valid and binding undertaking.In Callanta v. National Labor Relations Commission,31 this Court ruled that:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
It is highly unlikely and incredible for a man of petitioner’s position and educational attainment to so easily succumb to private respondent company’s alleged pressures without even defending himself nor demanding a final audit report before signing any resignation letter. Assuming that pressure was indeed exerted against him, there was no urgency for petitioner to sign the resignation letter. He knew the nature of the letter that he was signing, for as argued by respondent company, petitioner being “a man of high educational attainment and qualification, x x x he is expected to know the import of everything that he executes, whether written or oral.32ChanRoblesVirtualawlibraryHere, the NLRC concluded in its February 9, 2011 Resolution33 that the Waiver was executed merely to allow Intel Phil. to escape its obligation to pay the retirement benefits, thus, violative of law, morals, and public policy. The Court, however, sees no clear evidence in the records showing that Cabiles was constrained into signing the document. Also, it cannot be said that Cabiles did not fully understand the consequences of signing the Waiver. Being a person well–versed in matters of finance, it would have been impossible for him not to have comprehended the consequences of signing a waiver. Failing to see any evidence to warrant the disregard of the Waiver, the Court is unable to affirm the CA and, hence, declares it as valid and binding between Cabiles and Intel Phil..
I, Jeremias P. Cabiles, Filipino, of legal age and a resident of xxx hereby acknowledge receipt from Intel Technology Philippines, Inc. (the Company) the amount of xxx, in full and complete settlement of all benefits due me by reason of my lawful separation from the Company effective February 1, 2007.In consideration of the foregoing:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Suffice it to state that nothing is clearer than the words used in the Waiver duly signed by Cabiles – that all claims, in the present and in the future, were waived in consideration of his receipt of the amount of P165,857.62. Because the waiver included all present and future claims, the non–accrual of benefits cannot be used as a basis in awarding retirement benefits to him.
1. I release, remise and forever discharge the Company, its successors–in–interest, its stockholders, its officers, directors, agents or employees from any action, sum of money, damages, claims and demands whatsoever, which in law or in equity I ever had, now have, or which I, my heirs, successors and assigns hereafter may have by reason of any matter, cause or thing whatsoever, up to the time of these presents, the intention thereof being to completely and absolutely release the Company, its successors–in–interest, xxx from all liabilities arising wholly, partially, or directly from my employment with the Company. xxx xxx xxx 5. I acknowledge that I have received all amounts that are now or in the future may be due me from the Company. I also acknowledge that during the entire period of my employment with the Company, I received or was paid all compensation, benefits and privileges, to which I am entitled under all laws and policies of the Company by reason of my past employment and/or engagement therewith, and if I hereafter be found in any manner to be entitled to any amount, the aforementioned monetary amount is a full and final satisfaction of any and all such undisclosed claims. (Emphasis supplied)34
1Rollo, pp. 69–71. Penned by Associate Justice Normandie B. Pizarro, with Associate Justice Amelita G. Tolentino and Associate Justice Rodil V. Zalameda concurring.
2 Id. at 73–74.
3 Id. at 113–123. Penned by Commissioner Angelo Ang Palaña, with Commissioners Herminio V. Suelo and Numeriano D. Villena concurring.
4 Id., Position Paper, pp. 267–272. Penned by Labor Arbiter Enrico Angelo C. Portillo.
5Rollo, pp. 368–369.
6 Id. at 581.
7 Id. at 582.
8 Id. at 369.
9 Id. at 211.
10 Id. at 272.
11 Id. at 122.
12 Id. at 125–137.
13 Id. at 69–71.
14 Id. at 789–790.
15 Id. at 790.
16 Id. at 792.
17 Id. at 794–799.
18 Id. at 73.
19 Id. at 31–32.
20 Id. at 820–850.
21 Intel Philippines Retirement Policy provides:
Section 7. Resignation Retirement BenefitA participant who, with 60 days prior notice to the Company, resigns from the Company with the completion of at least ten (10) years of Plan Service, but without having entitlement to the benefit mentioned in Section 2 to Section 6 of this Article, shall be entitled to a lump sum benefit of Pensionable Salary per year of Pensionable Service. xxx22Cirtek Employees Labor Union–Federation of Free Workers v. Cirtek Electronics, Inc., G.R. No. 190515, January 6, 2011, 650 SCRA 656.
23Timoteo H. Sarona v. NLRC, Royale Security Agency and Cesar S. Tan, G.R. No. 185280, January 18, 2012, 663 SCRA 394, 415.
24Go v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 158922, May 28, 2004, 430 SCRA 358, 367
25San Miguel Properties Philippines, Inc. v. Gucaban, G.R. No. 153982, July 18, 2011, 654 SCRA 18, 28–29.
26Rollo, p. 581.
27 Id. at 853.
28Victorio Meteor v. Creative Creatures Inc., G.R. No. 171275, July 13, 2009, 592 SCRA 481, 492.
29 G.R. No. L–30773, 18 February 1970, 31 SCRA 637.
30 G.R. No. 188002, February 1, 2010, 611 SCRA 261, citing Periquet v. NLRC, 264 Phil. 1115, 1122 (1990).
31 G.R. No. 105083, August 20, 1993, 225 SCRA 526.
32 Id. at 535.
33Rollo , pp. 403–415.
34 Id. at 211.