G.R. No. 188914, December 11, 2013 - JOCELYN HERRERA-MANAOIS, Petitioner, v. ST. SCHOLASTICA'S COLLEGE, Respondent.
G.R. No. 188914, December 11, 2013
JOCELYN HERRERA–MANAOIS, Petitioner, v. ST. SCHOLASTICA’S COLLEGE, Respondent.
D E C I S I O N
The Permanency Board reviewed your case and after a thorough deliberation, the members decided not to renew your contract for school year 2003–2004.Manaois sought clarification and reconsideration of the decision of SSC to terminate her services. SSC denied her request in a letter dated 11 July 2003. Consequently, she filed a complaint for illegal dismissal, payment of 13th month pay, damages, and attorney’s fees against SSC.
With due consideration to your services, the institution had granted your request for a three–year extension to finish your master’s degree. However, you failed to comply with the terms which you yourself had requested. In addition, your specialization cannot be maximized at SSC due to the college’s curriculum changes and streamlining.
It is with your best interest in mind and deep regret on our part that we have to let you go. A new environment may be able to provide you more avenues and opportunities where you can utilize your graduate studies in Creative Writing to the fullest.
Art. 281. Probationary employment. Probationary employment shall not exceed six (6) months from the date the employee started working, unless it is covered by an apprenticeship agreement stipulating a longer period. The services of an employee who has been engaged on a probationary basis may be terminated for a just cause or when he fails to qualify as a regular employee in accordance with reasonable standards made known by the employer to the employee at the time of his engagement. An employee who is allowed to work after a probationary period shall be considered a regular employee. (Emphases supplied)chanroblesvirtualawlibraryWe agree with the CA in setting aside the NLRC Decision and in ruling that the requirement to obtain a master’s degree was made known to Manaois. The contract she signed clearly incorporates the rules, regulations, and employment conditions contained in the SSC Faculty Manual, viz:14
I. EMPLOYMENTThe SSC Faculty Manual in turn provides for the following conditions in order for a faculty member to acquire permanent employment status:15
x x x
- x x x
- After having read and understood in full the contents of the COLLEGE UNIT’s current FACULTY MANUAL, the FACULTY MEMBER agrees to faithfully perform all the duties and responsibilities attendant to her position as PROBATIONARY FULL–TIME FACULTY MEMBER and comply with all the rules, regulations and employment conditions of the SCHOOL, as provided in said FACULTY MANUAL including any amendment/s pertinent to her position as may be hereinafter incorporated therein.
- The SCHOOL has the right to terminate the FACULTY MEMBER’S services for just cause such as, among others, failure to comply with any of the provisions of the FACULTY MANUAL pertinent to her status as FULL–TIME PROBATIONARY FACULTY MEMBER. (Emphases supplied)
B. PERMANENCYViewed next to the statements and actions of Manaois – i.e., the references to obtaining a master’s degree in her application letter, in the subsequent correspondences between her and SSC, and in the letter seeking the extension of a teaching load for the school year 2003–2004; and her submission of certifications from UP and from her thesis adviser – we find that there is indeed substantial evidence proving that she knew about the necessary academic qualifications to obtain the status of permanency.
x x x
- Prior to the end of the probationary period, the faculty member formally applies for permanency to her/his Department Chair/Coordinator. The Department Chair/Coordinator, in consultation with the faculty member, reviews the applicant’s over–all performance. If the records show that the criteria for permanency are met, the applicant is recommended for permanency to the Promotions and Permanency Board by the Department Chair/Coordinator. In certain instances (i.e., when the Department Chair/Coordinator does not give a recommendation for permanency), the Academic Dean can exercise her prerogative to recommend the applicant.
CRITERIA FOR PERMANENCY
- The faculty member must have completed at least a master’s degree.
- The faculty member must manifest behavior reflective of the school’s mission–vision and goals.
- The faculty member must have consistently received above average rating for teaching performance as evaluated by the Academic Dean, Department Chair/Coordinator and the students.
- The faculty member must have manifested more than satisfactory fulfillment of duties and responsibilities as evidenced by official records especially in the areas of: x x x
- The faculty member must manifest awareness of and adherence to the school’s code of ethics for faculty.
- The faculty member must be in good physical health and manifest positive well being. (Emphasis supplied)
B. ACCORDING TO RANKAs correctly pointed out by the CA, the aforecited minimum requirements provided for the rank of instructor merely refer to how instructors are ranked, and not to the academic qualifications required to attain permanency. It must be noted that the section in the SSC Faculty Manual on the ranking of instructors cover those who are still on probationary employment and those who have already attained permanency. It would therefore be erroneous to simply read the section on the ranking of instructors – without taking into consideration the previously quoted section on permanency – in order to determine the academic qualifications for the position of permanent full–time faculty member with the rank of instructor. Thus, to properly arrive at the criteria, the sections on both the permanency and the ranking of an instructor, as provided in the SSC Manual, must be read in conjunction with each another.
Only full–time and half–time faculty members are ranked. Subsidiary faculty members follow a separate ranking system. Based on academic preparation, fulfillment of duties and responsibilities, performance, research, output and/or community service, a full–time or half–time faculty member may be appointed to any of the following ranks:
There are 4 probationary ranks and 8 permanent ranks
a. Minimum Requirements
b. Promotion within the Rank
- A bachelor’s degree with at least 25% masteral units completed
- At least 2 years of teaching experience or its equivalent (i.e., 1 year supervisory or professional experience)
- A minimum of 1 year in the present level for promotion to Instructor 2, 3, 4, and 5; a minimum of 2 years for promotion to Instructor 6, 7 and 8.
- An Instructor at any level may be promoted to the rank of Assistant Professor upon fulfillment of all the qualifications and requirements of the said rank. (Emphases supplied)
Section 89. Conditions of Employment. Every private school shall promote the improvement of the economic, social and professional status of all its personnel.Considering that petitioner ultimately sought for the position of a permanent full–time instructor, we must further look into the following provisions under the 1992 Manual, which set out the minimum requirements for such status:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
In recognition of their special employment status and their special role in the advancement of knowledge, the employment of teaching and non–teaching academic personnel shall be governed by such rules as may from time to time be promulgated, in coordination with one another, by the Department of Education, Culture and Sports and the Department of Labor and Employment.
Conditions of employment of non–academic non–teaching school personnel, including compensation, hours of work, security of tenure and labor relations, shall be governed by the appropriate labor laws and regulations.
Section 92. Probationary Period. Subject in all instances to compliance with Department and school requirements, the probationary period for academic personnel shall not be more than three (3) consecutive years of satisfactory service for those in the elementary and secondary levels, six (6) consecutive regular semesters of satisfactory service for those in the tertiary level, and nine (9) consecutive trimesters of satisfactory service for those in the tertiary level where collegiate courses are offered on the trimester basis.
Section 93. Regular or Permanent Status. Those who have served the probationary period shall be made regular or permanent. Full–time teachers who have satisfactorily completed their probationary period shall be considered regular or permanent. (Emphases supplied)chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
Section 44. Minimum Faculty Qualifications. The minimum qualifications for faculty for the different grades and levels of instruction duly supported by appropriate credentials on file in the school shall be as follows:(a) Holder of a master’s degree, to teach largely in his major field; or, for professional courses, holder of the appropriate professional license required for at least a bachelor’s degree. Any deviation from this requirement will be subject to regulation by the Department.
x x x
(1) For undergraduate courses, other than vocational:
Section 45. Full–time and Part–time Faculty. As a general rule, all private schools shall employ full–time academic personnel consistent with the levels of instruction.Thus, pursuant to the 1992 Manual, private educational institutions in the tertiary level may extend “full–time faculty” status only to those who possess, inter alia, a master’s degree in the field of study that will be taught. This minimum requirement is neither subject to the prerogative of the school nor to the agreement between the parties. For all intents and purposes, this qualification must be deemed impliedly written in the employment contracts between private educational institutions and prospective faculty members. The issue of whether probationers were informed of this academic requirement before they were engaged as probationary employees is thus no longer material, as those who are seeking to be educators are presumed to know these mandated qualifications. Thus, all those who fail to meet the criteria under the 1992 Manual cannot legally attain the status of permanent full–time faculty members, even if they have completed three years of satisfactory service.
Full–time academic personnel are those meeting all the following requirements:a. Who possess at least the minimum academic qualifications prescribed by the Department under this Manual for all academic personnel;All teaching personnel who do not meet the foregoing qualifications are considered part–time.
b. Who are paid monthly or hourly, based on the regular teaching loads as provided for in the policies, rules and standards of the Department and the school;
c. Whose total working day of not more than eight hours a day is devoted to the school;
d. Who have no other remunerative occupation elsewhere requiring regular hours of work that will conflict with the working hours in the school; and
e. Who are not teaching full–time in any other educational institution.
x x x
Section 47. Faculty Classification and Ranking. At the tertiary level, the academic teaching positions shall be classified in accordance with academic qualifications, training and scholarship preferably into academic ranks of Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, and Instructor, without prejudice to a more simplified or expanded system of faculty ranking, at the option of the school.
Any academic teaching personnel who does not fall under any of the classes or ranks indicated in the preceding paragraph shall be classified preferably as professorial lecturer, guest lecturer, or any other similar academic designation on the basis of his qualifications. (Emphases supplied)chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
Section 93 of the 1992 Manual of Regulations for Private Schools provides that full–time teachers who have satisfactorily completed their probationary period shall be considered regular or permanent. Moreover, for those teaching in the tertiary level, the probationary period shall not be more than six consecutive regular semesters of satisfactory service. The requisites to acquire permanent employment, or security of tenure, are (1) the teacher is a full–time teacher; (2) the teacher must have rendered three consecutive years of service; and (3) such service must have been satisfactory.For the foregoing reasons, we rule that there is no legal obligation on the part of SSC to reappoint Manaois after the lapse of her temporary appointment. We thus affirm in toto the findings of fact of the CA and rule that SSC is not guilty of illegal dismissal.
As previously held, a part–time teacher cannot acquire permanent status. Only when one has served as a full–time teacher can he acquire permanent or regular status. The petitioner was a part–time lecturer before she was appointed as a full–time instructor on probation. As a part–time lecturer, her employment as such had ended when her contract expired. Thus, the three semesters she served as part–time lecturer could not be credited to her in computing the number of years she has served to qualify her for permanent status.
Petitioner posits that after completing the three–year [full–time instructor on] probation with an above–average performance, she already acquired permanent status. On this point, we are unable to agree with petitioner.
Completing the probation period does not automatically qualify her to become a permanent employee of the university. Petitioner could only qualify to become a permanent employee upon fulfilling the reasonable standards for permanent employment as faculty member. Consistent with academic freedom and constitutional autonomy, an institution of higher learning has the prerogative to provide standards for its teachers and determine whether these standards have been met. At the end of the probation period, the decision to re–hire an employee on probation, belongs to the university as the employer alone. (Emphases supplied)chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
1 Both the Decision dated 27 February 2009 and the Resolution dated 22 July 2009 in CA–G.R. SP. No. 101382 were penned by CA Associate Justice Rosmari D. Carandang. Associate Justices Teresita Dy–Liacco Flores and Apolinario D. Bruselas, Jr. concurred in the Decision, while Associate Justices Remedios Salazar–Fernando and Apolinario D. Bruselas, Jr. concurred in the Resolution. See: rollo, pp. 35–57.
2 The Resolution dated 27 July 2007 was penned by NLRC Commissioner Gregorio O. Bilog, III and concurred in by Commissioner Tito F. Genilo. Presiding Commissioner Lourdes C. Javier took no part in the proceedings. See: rollo, pp. 58–67.
3 CA rollo, p. 38.
4 Id. at 39.
5 Id. at 40–43.
6 Id. at 47.
7 Id. at 48.
8 Id. at 38.
9 The Decision dated 16 July 2004 was penned by labor arbiter Ramon Valentin C. Reyes. See: rollo, pp. 69–78.
10Rollo, pp. 59–67.
11Colegio del Santisimo Rosario v. Rojo, G.R. No. 170388, 4 September 2013; Mercado v. AMA Computer College–Parañaque City, Inc., G.R. No. 183572, 13 April 2010, 618 SCRA 218; Magis Young Achievers’ Learning Center v. Manalo, G.R. No. 178835, 13 February 2009, 579 SCRA 421; International Catholic Migration Commission v. National Labor Relations Commission, 251 Phil. 560 (1989).
14 CA rollo, pp. 40–42.
15 Id. at 43.
16 Id. at 124.
17Lacuesta v. Ateneo de Manila University, 513 Phil. 329 (2005); University of Santo Tomas v. National Labor Relations Commission, 261 Phil. 483 (1990).
18Colegio del Santisimo Rosario v. Rojo, supra note 11; Lacuesta v. Ateneo de Manila University, supra; La Salette of Santiago, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 82918, 11 March 1991, 195 SCRA 80; Cagayan Capitol College v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. Nos. 90010–11, 14 September 1990, 189 SCRA 658.
19See: Colegio del Santisimo Rosario v. Rojo, supra note 11; Mercado v. AMA Computer College–Parañaque City, Inc., supra note 11; Magis Young Achievers’ Learning Center v. Manalo, supra note 11; Lacuesta v. Ateneo de Manila University, supra note 17; Cagayan Cagayan Capitol College v. National Labor Relations Commission, supra; University of Santo Tomas v. National Labor Relations Commission, supra note 17.
20 The Commission on Higher Education has issued the 2008 Manual of Regulations for Private Higher Education (CHED Memorandum Order No. 40, Series of 2008) during the pendency of this case.
21 Department of Education, Culture and Sports Order No. 92, S. 1992 (10 August 1992).
22Lacuesta v. Ateneo de Manila University, supra note 17; Cagayan Capitol College v. National Labor Relations Commission, supra note 18; University of Santo Tomas v. National Labor Relations Commission, supra note 17.
23 Supra note 17, at 336–337.