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PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. No. L-4877. February 26, 1952. ]

LAND SETTLEMENT and DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. CALEDONIA PILE WORKERS’ UNION, REPAIR SHOP WORKERS’ UNION and CARLOS RAMOS, Respondents.

Leovigildo Monasterial, for Petitioner.

Jose Chiuco and Vicente T. Ocampo, for Respondents.

SYLLABUS


1. COURT OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS; STRIKES; NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES TO SET THE MACHINERY OF THE COURT OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS IN MOTION. — The requirement of sec. 4 of Commonwealth Act No. 103 that "the number of employees, laborers, . . . involved" shall be more than 30 means nothing more than that a lesser number may not set the machinery of the Court of Industrial Relations in motion. It does not mean that a court’s decision, once the court has legally taken cognizance of the case, may not comprise employees and workers other than those who signed the demands or were identified with the walkout. Workers involved in a dispute include other workers, unionists or not, who are presumed to be interested in the outcome of the demands or strike one way or the other.

2. APPEAL FROM COURT OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS; EVIDENCE; WHEN COURT MAY SEEK ENLIGHTENMENT FROM THE BRIEFS. — Where, on the matter of the sufficiency of the evidence, the petition for review does not enlighten the Supreme Court on what the record of the case revealed, the Supreme Court has to rely on the adverse party’s brief for information on the feature of the controversy.


D E C I S I O N


TUASON, J.:


The question for determination is the authority of the Court of Industrial Relations to apply its decision in the mother or main case to provincial employees and laborers of the herein petitioner, LASEDECO, formerly Machinery and Equipment Department of the National Development Company known for short as MED-NDC. The petitioner challenges that authority on several grounds to be hereafter more particularly stated.

The essential facts of the case as gathered from the petition are these.

The Caledonia Pile Workers’ Union and Repair Shop Workers’ Union are labor organizations whose members were employees and laborers of the now defunct MED-NDC. On November 6, 1948, these unions, through their respective presidents, filed with the Court of Industrial Relations a petition, docketed as Case No. 220-V, airing labor grievances against and making demands upon their employer. One of the demands was for a "general increase of one peso (P1.00) for all employees and laborers of the above-mentioned organizations."cralaw virtua1aw library

On November 4, after trial, the Court of Industrial Relations entered a decision fixing the salaries and wages of the MED-NDC’S employees and laborers as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"1. — El salario minimo diario sera P5.00;

"2. — Todos los que ahora reciben jornales diarios de P5.00, recibiran un aumento de 10;

"3. — Los que ahora reciben salarios mensuales de P120.00, P125.00 y P130.00, recibiran un aumento de P10.00 mensuales cada uno; y

"4. — Un aumento de 5% a todos los que reciben P150.00 mensuales. "Este aumento entrara en vigor desde el 1.0 de enero de este año."cralaw virtua1aw library

On March 13, 1951, the unions and the LASEDECO (the MED-NDC having been dissolved) submitted to the Court a stipulation of facts and asked to know on the basis thereof whether the above wage and salary increases "appertain and apply to the employees and laborers of the MED-NDC who used to work in its tractor pools in the provinces."cralaw virtua1aw library

On March 28, before a ruling was handed down on the stipulation and motion just mentioned, Carlos Ramos, a retired employee of the MED-NDC who, during the whole period of his employment had worked at the MED-NDC Tractor Pool in the province of Bataan, filed a motion in which he claimed payment of the differential between the salary paid him and the salary at the new rate set by the court. To this claim the LASEDECO objected, alleging that Ramos was not embraced by the decision because he had worked in the provinces. Acting on Ramos motion, the court made an order declaring that "the benefit of said salary increases (in the decision of November 4, 1949) was granted to all employees of the respondents (MED-NDC) without taking into consideration whether they are members of the petitioners (Unions) or not or whether they are working in Manila or in the provinces," and requiring the LASEDECO "to pay Carlos Ramos the salary increase of P5.00 a month from January 1, 1949 up to December 22, 1950." Subsequently, the Court entered a second order of the same tenor on the parties’ request for a specification of its decision.

Motions for reconsideration of the two orders mentioned having been denied by the court in banc, the LASEDECO brought this petition for review.

The main ground of attack upon the orders in question is that the Provincial Tractor Pools workers were not parties to Case No. 220-V and that there is no evidence warranting the application of the decision to the said workers.

The petitioner takes the point that only members of a labor union who made demands, struck, picketed or otherwise made common cause with the strikers, are entitled to the benefits won in a labor dispute.

Section 4 of Commonwealth Act No. 103 relied upon by the petitioner does not support its proposition. The requirement of the Section invoked that "the number of employees, laborers, . . . involved" shall be more than 30, means, in our opinion, nothing more than that a lesser number may not set the machinery of the Court of Industrial Relations in motion. It does not mean that the court’s decision, once the court has legally taken cognizance of a case, may not comprise employees and workers other than those who signed the demands or were identified with the walkout. It has been held that workers involved in a dispute include other workers, unionists or not, who are presumed to be interested in the outcome of the demands or strike one way or another. (Parsons Hardware Inc. v. Court of Industrial Relations and Parsons Workers and Employees Union, 73 Phil. 481; Leyte Land Transportation Company Inc. v. Leyte Farmers and Laborers Union, 80 Phil., 842.)

And it is only right and proper that this be so. To limit the granting of wage increases and other privileges to the striking workers would in its effect put a premium on strikes. To tie the hands of the court against extending such increases and privileges to other employees similarly situated or probably more deserving, would be a certain invitation to new lockouts which it is the prime object of the law to prevent, and to penalize or discourage loyalty and patience on the part of workers who would expect improvement of their lot without being forced to resort to radical measures.

On the matter of the sufficiency of the evidence the petition does not enlighten this Court on what the record of CIR Case No. 220-V revealed. We have, therefore, to rely on the adverse party’s briefs for information on this feature of the controversy. The following is a brief statement in the said briefs of the facts material to the case, facts which, in our opinion, amply sustain the decision or orders under review.

The Caledonia Pile, the Repair Shop and the Provincial Tractor Pools are intimately related to one another. The Caledonia Pile, which was located in Manila, was the storehouse, and the Repair Shop, also located in Manila, was the main establishment where reconditioning and major repairs of tractors were handled. The tractors so repaired or reconditioned were sold in Manila or sent to the Tractor Pools in the provinces for lease to farmers. The Tractor Pools also received their supplies and equipment from the Repair Shop, which in turn obtained its spare parts and other needed materials from the Caledonia Pile, and "the expenses in the operation of the Repair Shop are charged to the funds of the Tractor Pools." Broken and disabled tractors in the provinces which could not be repaired in the Tractor Pools were brought back to the Repair Shop to be put in condition to be operated.

The Caledonia Pile, the Repair Shop and the Provincial Tractor Pools and their employees were so intermeshed that some of the participants in the first strike, staged by the Caledonia Pile workers and the Repair Shop workers from October 16, 1949, were among the first employees assigned to Provincial Tractor Pools, which were organized only after the aforesaid strike, as maintainers and operators. And during the second strike of the Caledonia Pile and Repair Shop workers in March, 1949, the functions of the Tractor Pools were paralyzed with the stoppage of work in Manila because of their dependence upon the Repair Shop and the Caledonia Pile for supplies, tools, equipment and spare parts. What is more, some of the Tractor Pools workers who were members of the striking unions came to Manila in the course of the second strike and joined in the picketing.

As regards the economic and living conditions of Provincial Tractor Pools employees and workers, our attention is called to the fact that most of them had been recruited from the Repair Shop, that the assignment of many of them was provisional, and that by reason of the temporary nature of their provincial detail they kept their families in the city where they had their permanent homes. It does not appear that these provincial employees and workers were given extra compensation in the form of per diems. In these circumstances, it would seem that there was greater warrant for these provincial employees and workers to receive increased remuneration than workers who were kept in Manila and maintained only one home.

The decision of November 4, 1949, had become final when the present petition for certiorari was filed, and the contention that the said petition was tardy is not without merit. The orders under review were just a reiteration of the above decision and in no substantial way departed from or modified the award which had become executory. In fact, from all indications both parties understood that decision to embrace provincial as well as Manila employees and workers, for the payrolls presented by the Unions following the rendition of the decision included all the workers in the Provincial Tractor Pools, and the LASEDECO paid the salaries or wages of some of them at the new rate of compensation. It was the LASEDECO’S refusal to pay other’s salaries under the new scale which gave rise to the move, said to have been suggested by LASEDECO, to seek from the court a clarification of its decision.

This move, by the way, was a tacit recognition on the part of LASEDECO of the existence of sufficient allegations and evidence to bring its provincial employees within the scope of the decision. By the principle of estoppel the LASEDECO is precluded from impeaching the sufficiency of the evidence and the court’s authority after it (LASEDECO) has virtually induced court to act. The LASEDECO’S move was not to test the court’s jurisdiction and the sufficiency of the pleadings and the evidence, but to find out the intent of the decision; actually the move proceeded on the assumption that the requisites mentioned existed.

The petition therefore is denied with costs.

Paras, C.J., Feria, Pablo, Bengzon, Padilla, Montemayor, Reyes, Jugo and Bautista Angelo, JJ., concur.

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