G.R. No. 160827, June 18, 2014
NETLINK COMPUTER INCORPORATED, Petitioner, v. ERIC DELMO, Respondent.
D E C I S I O N
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered declaring complainant as illegally and unjustly dismissed and respondents are ordered to reinstate complainant to his former position without loss of seniority rights with full backwages and other benefits and respondents are hereby ordered to pay complainant as follows:cralawlawlibraryThe reinstatement aspect is immediately executory even pending appeal. In case reinstatement is no longer feasible, complainant shall be paid separation pay of one-month pay for every year of service. All other claims are hereby dismissed.
P161,000.00 – Backwages, basic pay and allowances from Nov. 1996 to Sept. 1998
15,000.00 – 13th month pay for 1996 to 1998
993,558.89 – unpaid commissions
P1,169,558.89 – Total
plus US$7,588.30 – unpaid commissions
plus 10% attorney’s fees
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision of the Labor Arbiter a quo is hereby SET ASIDE and a new one ENTERED, ordering the respondents-appellants to pay the following:cralawlawlibraryThe NLRC denied the motion for reconsideration, after which Netlink filed a petition for certiorari in the CA.
1. TWO THOUSAND PESOS (P2,000.00) as indemnity for failure to observe procedural due process;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
2. Unpaid commission in the amount of P993,558.89;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
3. US$7,588.30 as unpaid commission;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
4. P15,000.00 representing the 13th month pay for 1996, 1997, and 1998;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
5. 10% attorney’s fees of the total amount awarded.
In the present case, since the payment of the commission is made to depend on the future and uncertain event – which is the payment of the accounts by the persons who have transacted business with the petitioner, without payment by the former to the latter, the obligation to pay the commission has not yet arisen.
The evidence on record shows that the ALCATEL, private respondent’s biggest client has not paid fully the amount it owes to the petitioner as of March 10, 1998. (Rollo, pp. 101, 397, 398) The obligation therefore, on the part of the petitioner to pay the private respondent for his commission for the said unpaid account has not yet arisen. Thus it is a grave abuse of discretion on the part of the public respondent to make petitioner liable to the private respondent for the payment of the said commission, when it is clear on the record, as We have discussed above, that the obligation therefor has not yet arisen.
Perusal of the records, likewise, show that petitioner failed to refute by evidence that the private respondent is not entitled to the P993, 558.89 commission. Petitioner however claimed that since the amounts out of which the commission will be taken has not yet been paid fully, petitioner must, likewise, not be made liable for the said commission. However, public respondent committed grave abuse of discretion when it disregard the evidence on record which is not disputed by the private respondent that out of the total commissions of the private respondent, petitioner has paid the petitioner in the amount of P216,799.45 in the form of advance payment. (Rollo, p. 12)
In view of the foregoing discussions, therefore, the advance payment made by the petitioner in favor of the private respondent in the amount of P216, 799.45 must be deducted to the P993, 558.89 unpaid commission of the private respondent. The difference amounting to P776, 779.44 must likewise be deducted to the amount of P4, 066.19 which represents the amount which the petitioner had admitted as the net commission payable to private respondent. The difference thereof amounting to P772, 713.25 shall represent the unpaid commission which shall be payable to the private respondent by the petitioner upon payment of the accounts out of which such commission shall be taken.
We, likewise, agree with the petitioner that the private respondent is not entitled to 13th month pay in the years 1997 and 1998. The order of the public respondent making the petitioner liable to the private respondent for the 13th month pay of the latter in the years 1997 and 1998 is contrary to its findings that there are valid and just cause for the termination of the private respondent from employment, although private respondent was not given his right to due process. (Rollo, pp. 32-33) The rule applicable in the present case is the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Sebuguero vs National Labor Relations Commission [248 SCRA 532, 547 (1995)] where it was ruled that “where the dismissal of an employee is in fact for a just and valid cause and is so proven to be but he is not accorded his right to due process, i.e., he was not furnished the twin requirements of notice and the opportunity to be heard, the dismissal shall be upheld but the employer must be sanctioned for non-compliance with the requirements of or for failure to observe due process.” Hence, petitioner should not be made to pay the 13th month pay to private respondent whose employment was terminated for cause but without due process in 1996.
x x x x
Thus, private respondent is entitled only to a 13th month pay computed pro-rata from January 1996 to November 1996 which as properly computed by the petitioner amounts to P4, 584.00. (Rollo, p. 11)
With respect to the other arguments of the petitioner, this Court is not persuaded.
Petitioner failed to refute by evidence that private respondent is not entitled to the commissions payable in US dollars. Neither is there any reason for us to agree with the petitioner that the computation of these commissions must be based on the value of [the] Peso in relation to a Dollar at the time of sale. As properly observed by the Labor Arbiter a quo, viz: “Likewise the devaluation of the peso cannot be used as a shield against the complainant because that should have been the lookout of the respondent company in providing for such a clause that in case of devaluation, the price agreed upon should be at the exchange rate when the contract of sale had been consummated. For the lack of foresight and inefficiency of the respondent company and as regards its contracts or agreements with its clientele, the complainant should not be made to suffer.” (Labor Arbiter Ricardo Olairez’ Decision, September 23, 1998, pp. 11-12, Rollo, pp. 328-329) In this regard therefore, We uphold the well settled rule that “the findings of facts of the NLRC, particularly where the NLRC and the Labor Arbiter are in agreement, are deemed binding and conclusive upon the Court.” (Permex, Inc. vs National Labor Relations Commission, 323 SCRA 121, 126).
x x x x
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the assailed Resolutions are hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION, ordering the petitioner to pay the private respondent the following:cralawlawlibrary
1. TWO-THOUSAND PESOS (P2,000.00) as indemnity for failure to observe procedural due process;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
2. P4,066.19 representing the unpaid commissions that have accrued in favor of the private respondent;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
3. P776,779.44 payable to the private respondent upon payment of the accounts out of which the said amount will be taken;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
4. P4,584.00 representing the unpaid 13th month pay of the private respondent;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
5. US$7,588.30 as unpaid commission;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
6. 10% attorney’s fees of the total amount awarded excluding the amount contained in the No.3 of this Order.
Section 1. All monetary obligations shall be settled in the Philippine currency which is legal tender in the Philippines. However, the parties may agree that the obligation or transaction shall be settled in any other currency at the time of payment.We remarked in C.F. Sharp & Co. v. Northwest Airlines, Inc.11 that the repeal of Republic Act No. 529 had the effect of removing the prohibition on the stipulation of currency other than Philippine currency, such that obligations or transactions could already be paid in the currency agreed upon by the parties. However, both Republic Act No. 529 and Republic Act No. 8183 did not stipulate the applicable rate of exchange for the conversion of foreign currency-incurred obligations to their peso equivalent. It follows, therefore, that the jurisprudence established under Republic Act No. 529 with regard to the rate of conversion remains applicable. In C.F. Sharp, the Court cited Asia World Recruitment, Inc. v. NLRC,12 to the effect that the real value of the foreign exchange-incurred obligation up to the date of its payment should be preserved.
The award of attorney's fees must, likewise, be upheld in line of (sic) the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Consolidated Rural Bank (Cagayan Valley), Inc. vs. National Labor Relations Commission, 301 SCRA 223, 235, where it was held that "in actions for recovery of wages or where an employee was forced to litigate and thus incur expenses to protect her rights and interests, even if not so claimed, an award of attorney's fees equivalent to ten percent (10%) of the total award is legally and morally justifiable. There is no doubt that in the present case, the private respondent has incurred expenses for the protection and enforcement of his right to his commissions.18WHEREFORE, the Court DENIES the petition for review on certiorari; AFFIRMS the decision promulgated on May 9, 2003; and ORDERS the petitioner to pay the costs of suit.
1Rollo, p. 49.
3 Id. at 49-50.
4 Id. at 50.
5 Id. at 354.
6 Id. at 66.
7 Id. at 48-58; penned by Associate Justice Bennie A Adefuin-De law Cruz (retired), with the concurrence of Associate Justice Jose L. Sabio, Jr. (retired/deceased) and Associate Justice Hakim S. Abdulwahid.
8 Id. at 490-492.
9 Id. at 495-499.
10An Act Repealing Republic Act Numbered Five Hundred Twenty-Nine, As Amended, Entitled “An Act To Assure the Uniform Value of Philippine Coin and Currency.”
11 G.R. No. 133498, April 18, 2002, 381 SCRA 314, 319-320.
12 G.R. No. 113363, August 24, 1999, 313 SCRA 1, 17.
13 Article 100. Prohibition against elimination or diminution of benefits. - Nothing in this Book shall be construed to eliminate or in any way diminish supplements, or other employee benefits being enjoyed at the time of promulgation of this Code.
14 G.R. No. 85073, August 24, 1993, 225 SCRA 562, 567.
15 G.R. No. 102132, March 19, 1993, 220 SCRA 197, 205.
16 No. L-57636, May 16, 1983, 122 SCRA 267, 275-277.
17 G.R. No. 152456, April 28, 2004, 428 SCRA 239, 249.
18Rollo, p. 57.