On or about 1710 hrs. June 25, 2002 PSG ARTIFICIO JOSE assigned to BF CITYLAND CORPORATION, under influence of liquor arrived to (sic) TLC BLDG. To verify their salaries to RP GUARDIANS SECURITY AGENCY EMPLOYEES. After knowing (sic) no (sic) salaries to received on that time or day, he irked (sic) and bad (sic) mounting all employee of RP GUARDIAN'S OFFICE and before leaving the TLC Bldg. (sic) He shouted to arson (sic) the RP GUARDIAN'S OFFICE, on that moment I (sic) pacifying him to RAMBO, PSG ARTIFICIO JOSE but he ignored me.7
On July 29, 2002, complainant received two (2) separate Memoranda from his employer. One Memo immediately placed him under preventive suspension effective that very day. It further directed him "to report to this Office and submit an answer in writing immediately upon receipt of this Memo x x x." Complainant received this at about 2:00 P.M., July 29, 2002.
Another Memo, likewise dated July 29, 2002, and also received on the same day by complainant directed him "to appear before this Office on Monday, August 12, 2002 (10:00 A.M.) to answer the charges leveled against you x x x."
A sensible person who received two separate Memo directing him first to "answer in writing immediately"; and, second, to appear on August 12, 2002 would be "confused," to say the least. How much more herein complainant who might have felt that the whole [world] had fallen on him on that fateful day of July 29, 2002 as he received Memos (with attached letter-accusations) after another.
Feeling aggrieved and confused, he sought the assistance of this tribunal to air his predicament and plight. This should not be taken against him. It should be borne in mind that when he was directed to immediately answer in writing, he did not stand on equal footing with his superiors.
From the foregoing, the suspensions of complainant, is illegal. And under the peculiar circumstances, this illegal suspension ripened into an illegal dismissal.
Even as the complainant does not seek reinstatement when he filed this cases, he is nevertheless entitled to backwages, albeit limited. Complainant is also entitled to separation pay in lieu of reinstatement, the computation thereof to be reckoned not from 1979 but only from 1986.
As to money claims, the supporting documents submitted by the respondents prove that other than the payment of ECOLA and the refund of the P30.00 monthly Trust Fund, herein complainant had been duly paid of his money claims.11
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered declaring respondents guilty of illegal suspension/lay-off and illegal dismissal.
Since the complainant does not seek reinstatement, he is entitled to limited backwages and separation pay.
Respondent RP. Guardian Security Agency, Inc., is hereby ordered to pay complainant as follows:
All other claims herein sought and prayed for are hereby denied for lack of legal and factual bases.12
- Limited backwages computed from July 29, 2002 up to the date of this Decision in the amount of P217,033.79;
- In lieu of reinstatement, separation pay equivalent to one-half (1/2) month's salary for every year of service computed from 1986 in the amount of P81,507.60;
- ECOLA from November 5, 2001 up to July 31, 2002, in the amount of P6,628.50; and
- Refund of P30.00 monthly contribution to Trust Fund in the amount of P5,970.00;
- Ten percent (10%) of the total award as attorney's fees in the amount of P31,113.99.
x x x While it is true that preventive suspension can ripen into a constructive dismissal when such goes beyond the 30 day maximum period allowable by law, such is not prevailing in the case at bar as it was complainant who chose to file a complaint and have due process before the courts of law. It was complainant who terminated the relationship with respondents by asking for separation pay in lieu of reinstatement when the fact of dismissal has not yet happened. From the documents presented, complainant was put on preventive suspension pending investigation of company violations which were supported by documentary evidences on July 29, 2002. He was set to be heard on August 12, 2002 but before the respondents could hear his side, he filed this instant complaint on August 5, 2002, pre-empting the administrative investigation undertaken by respondents.14
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision of the Labor Arbiter is hereby VACATED and SET ASIDE and a new one entered, ordering respondents to reinstate complainant to his former position without loss of seniority rights. All other claims are hereby dismissed for lack of merit.15
WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONER MAY BE TERMINATED FROM HIS EMPLOYMENT ON THE VERY DATE HE RECEIVED A LETTER FOR HIS PURPORTED RELIEF WITHOUT FIRST BEING GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO ANSWER THE CHARGES LEVELED AGAINST HIM AND BEING INFORMED OF [THE] NATURE AND CAUSE OF HIS DISMISSAL.
WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONER MAY BE VALIDLY SUSPENDED FOR AN INDEFINITE PERIOD WITHOUT BEING CONSIDERED DISMISSED CONSTRUCTIVELY FROM HIS EMPLOYMENT.
WHETHER OR NOT THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE ASSAILED RESOLUTIONS OF THE NLRC WHICH MISTAKENLY APPLIED THE RULING IN GLOBE-MACKAY AND RADIO VS. NLRC, G.R. NO. 82511, MARCH 3, 1992 TO THE INSTANT CASE.
WHETHER OR NOT AN EMPLOYEE WHO LOYALLY AND EFFICIENTLY SERVED HIS EMPLOYER FOR TWENTY THREE (23) YEARS BE VALIDLY TERMINATED FROM EMPLOYMENT WITHOUT VIOLATING HIS RIGHTS TO DUE [PROCESS]ON THE PRETEXT OF A PURPORTED CHARGE WHICH DID NOT SET FORTH THE DETAILS, PLACE, AND TIME OF THEIR ALLEGED COMMISSION.
WHETHER OR NOT THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT GIVING CREDENCE TO THE FINDINGS OF FACTS OF THE LABOR ARBITER WHICH HAS A FIRST HAND AND DIRECT CONTACT WITH THE PARTY-LITIGANTS.
WHETHER OR NOT AN EMPLOYEE WHOSE RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS EMPLOYER WAS STRAINED BY THE FILING OF A LEGITIMATE LABOR COMPLAINT BE CORRECTLY ORDERED REINSTATED.18
SEC. 8. Preventive suspension. - The employer may place the worker concerned under preventive suspension if his continued employment poses a serious and imminent threat to the life or property of the employer or of his co-workers.
SEC. 9. Period of suspension. - No preventive suspension shall last longer than thirty (30) days. The employer shall thereafter reinstate the worker in his former or in a substantially equivalent position or the employer may extend the period of suspension provided that during the period of extension, he pays the wages and other benefits due to the worker. In such case, the worker shall not be bound to reimburse the amount paid to him during the extension if the employer decides, after completion of the hearing, to dismiss the worker.
x x x even assuming that one of the fellow guards, PSG Edu had an axe to grind against complainant that's why he wrote the letter asking for the latter's investigation on certain violations he has committed, the allegation that complainant committed irregularity on company's policy on relieving time was amply supported by the logbook. In fact, the labor arbiter in her decision even cited that accusation boils [down] to the alleged irregularity of complainant in the observance of relieving of time. Further, on July 25, 2002, complainant was again reported for reporting under the influence of liquor and badmouthed respondent's employees with threat to "arson" the respondent's office. Such report came from another guard in the name of PSG Gutierrez, who had no axe to grind against complainant. The allegation was also not denied by complainant. Respondents therefore could not be faulted in putting complainant under preventive suspension pending investigation of his alleged acts especially that he was the head guard.21
1 Penned by Associate Justice Sesinando E. Villon, with Associate Justices Edgardo P. Cruz and Rosalinda Asuncion-Vicente, concurring. Rollo, pp. 25-37.
2 Id. at 38.
3 CA rollo, pp. 18-25.
4 Rollo, pp. 79-92.
5 Id. at 39.
6 CA rollo, p. 83.
7 Rollo, p. 87.
8 1. References: a) RPGSAI Circular No. 2 dtd January 6, 2002
b) Attached letter request for investigation fm PSG Edu dtd July 25, 2002
c) Verbal instruction from client
2. In connection with the above references, you are hereby temporarily relieved from your post and placed under preventive suspension effective July 29, 2002 pending investigation of the offense/s you have allegedly committed. Hence, FA issued to you, is hereby recalled effective this date.
3. Further, you are directed to report to this Office and submit an answer in writing immediately upon receipt of this memo, to the following offenses to wit:
a) Conduct unbecoming of a Security Guard
Abandonment of post during night shift duty
Irregularities in the observance of proper relieving time
which are contrary to the pertinent provisions of Agency Policies and RA 5487, as amended.
For your guidance and strict compliance.
(SGD) PSUPT ANTONIO A. ANDRES (inact)
By (SGD) JOSE P. ARTIFICIO
Signature above printed name (Please print legibly)
Date and Time 1400 Hr 7-29-02. Id. at 36.
9 Id. at 27.
10 Id. at 221.
11 Id. at 90-91.
12 Id. at 91-92.
13 Id. at 114.
14 Id. at 118.
15 Id. at 120.
16 Id. at 129.
17 Id. at 25.
18 Id. at 12-13.
19 Maricalum Mining Corporation v. Decorion, G.R. No. 158637, 12 April 2006, 487 SCRA 182, 188; Valiao v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 146621, 30 July 2004, 435 SCRA 543, 554.
20 Challenge Socks Corporation v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 165268, 8 November 2005, 474 SCRA 356, 363.
21 Rollo, pp. 119-120.
22 Tanala v. National Labor Relations Commission, 322 Phil. 342, 349-350 (1996) cited in Solid Bank v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 165951, 30 March 2010.