[G.R. No. L-14442. June 30, 1961. ]
EQUITABLE BANKING CORPORATION and GO KIM PAH, Petitioners-Appellees, v. REGIONAL OFFICE NO. 3 OF THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR and ALEJO GARCIA, Respondents-Appellants.
Tañada, Teehankee & Carreon for Petitioners-Appellees.
Solicitor General for respondent-appellant Department of Labor.
Ernesto C. Hidalgo for respondent-appellant Alejo Garcia.
1. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; GOVERNMENT SURVEY AND REORGANIZATION COMMISSION; JURISDICTION; GRANT OF ORIGINAL AND EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTION OVER MONEY CLAIMS OF LABORERS TO REGIONAL OFFICES VOID. — The grant by the Government Survey and Reorganization Commission to the regional offices of the Department of Labor of original and exclusive jurisdiction over cases involving money claims, including overtime pay, unpaid wages, wages for Sundays and legal holidays, etc, is not authorized by the provisions of Republic Act No. 997, the legislature not having intended to grant authority to the Reorganization Commission to deprive the courts of jurisdiction over said claims and transfer them to the regional offices.
D E C I S I O N
Appeal from a decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila, Hon. Antonio Cañizares presiding, declaring that Regional Office No. 3 of the Department of Labor has no jurisdiction to hear and decide the claim of Alejo Garcia for overtime pay, vacation pay and separation pay, and ordering the said regional office to desist and refrain from proceeding with the trial of the said claim of Alejo Garcia.
On July 15, 1957, Alejo Garcia filed with Regional Office No. 3 a complaint against the Equitable Banking Corporation and Go Kim Pah to collect from them the total amount of P2,000 representing unpaid overtime pay, vacation pay and separation pay supposedly earned by Garcia as Janitor-messenger in the defendant corporation from August 14, 1951 to June 12, 1957. On August 7, 1957, defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground that the grant of power to regional offices in Reorganization Plan NO. 20-A is null and void as it constitutes an undue delegation of legislative power. Garcia filed an amended complaint and defendants again reiterated their motion to dismiss the same. The Regional Office denied the motion to dismiss, so the Equitable Banking Corporation and Go Kim Pah filed a petition for prohibition in the Court of First Instance of Manila, and praying for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction against the regional office and its officers to desist from proceeding with the case. Upon filing a bond, the court issued a writ of preliminary injunction prayed for by petitioners. After hearing the case, the Court of First Instance of Manila rendered judgment, holding:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"But even granting that Reorganization Plan No. 20-A was deemed approved by Congress, by the force of Section 6 of Republic Act No. 997, as amended, the same could only be valid insofar as and to the extent that its provision faithfully conform to the authority granted by the enabling statutes, Republic Acts Nos. 997 and 1241. And while the authority granted by the said statutes referred exclusively to the reorganization of departments, bureaus and offices of the Executive Branch, Section 25 of Reorganization Plan No. 20-A in effect also reorganized the Judicial Branch, by divesting the Courts of First Instance and Justice of the Peace Courts of their exclusive and original jurisdiction over money claims, and by transferring such jurisdiction to the offices of the Executive Department, namely, the Regional Offices of the Department of Labor. To the extent that it has done so, Reorganization Plan No. 20-A is unconstitutional, and therefore, invalid, because there was an undue delegation of judicial power to said offices, which are administering strictly judicial functions exercised by Hearing Officers, who are merely designated as such either by the Chief of the Labor Operations Section, or the Chief Hearing Officer, with the approval of the Regional Administrator." (Annex "A", p. 12 of brief of Garcia).
Against the above judgment prohibiting the regional office from continuing with the trial of the case, the present appeal before Us was prosecuted.
The judgment of the court below prohibiting the regional office from proceeding with the trial of the claim of Alejo Garcia must be sustained. In the cases, (Jose Carominas, Jr., Et. Al. v. Labor Standards Commission, Et Al., G.R. No. L-14837, June 30, 1961; Manila Central University v. Calupitan, Et Al., G.R. No. L-15483, June 30, 1961; Wong Chun v. Diego Carlim, Et Al., G.R. No. L-13940, June 30, 1961; Balrodgan Co., Ltd., Et. Al. v. Fuentes, Et Al., G.R. No. L- 15015, June 30, 1961) recently decided by Us, We have held that the grant to regional offices of original and exclusive jurisdiction over cases involving money claims, including overtime pay, unpaid wages, wages for Sundays and legal holidays, etc. is not authorized by the provisions of Republic Act No. 997, the legislature not having intended to grant authority to the reorganization Commission to deprive the courts of jurisdiction over said claims and transfer them to regional offices.
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby affirmed with costs against the Respondents-Appellants.
Bengzon, C.J., Padilla, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Paredes, Dizon, De Leon and Natividad, JJ., concur.