G.R. No. 201663, March 31, 2014
EMMANUEL M. OLORES, Petitioner, v. MANILA DOCTORS COLLEGE AND/OR TERESITA O. TURLA, Respondent.
D E C I S I O N
Respondent is a private higher educational institution dedicated to providing academic degrees and certificate courses related to Allied Medical Services and Liberal Arts and Sciences.In a Decision4 dated December 8, 2010, the Labor Arbiter found merit in petitioner’s charge for illegal dismissal. However, it dismissed petitioner’s claim for regularization. The decretal portion of said decision reads:
[Petitioner] was hired as a part–time faculty of respondent on 07 November 2005. He was assigned at the Humanities Department of the College of Arts and Sciences. Thereafter, he signed fixed term employment contracts as part–time instructor. From 03 November 2008, [petitioner] signed fixed term employment contracts, this time as a full– time instructor.
For the second semester of academic year 2009–2010, [petitioner] was given the following load assignments:
Subject Year/Section No. of Students Bioethics BSN 11–B6 46 Bioethics BSN 11–B7 40 Bioethics BSN 11–A3 40 Bioethics BSN 11–A4 40 Bioethics BSN – A10 41 Philosophy of Man PSYCH 11 23 Philosophy of Man HNCA 1 43
Respondent’s course syllabus for Bioethics and Philosophy of Man outlined the grading system as follows:
Philosophy of Man
- Class Standing (40%)
Quizzes; Recitation; Individual/Group Oral Presentation; Reflection/Reaction Papers
- Midterm/Final Examinations (60%)
The midterm/final examination questionnaires for Bioethics and Philosophy of Man were divided into two (2) parts with the following corresponding points:
- Class Standing (40%)
Term Paper and Completion of Reflection Papers; Group Debates on Current Issues; Group Presentation/Discussion; Exercises/Seat Work/ Board Work; Recitation; Quizzes; Long Test
- Midterm/Final Examinations (60%)”
Bioethics Philosophy of Man Part I Multiple Choice 65 pts 60 pts Part II Essay 15 pts 20 pts Total 80 pts 80 pts
[Petitioner] submitted the final grades of his students to Mr. Jacinto Bernardo, Jr. (Bernardo), the chair of the Humanities Area. On 13 April 2010, Bernardo charged [petitioner] with gross misconduct and gross inefficiency in the performance of duty. [Petitioner] was accused of employing a grading system not in accordance with the system because he: a) added 50 pts to the final examination raw scores; b) added 50 pts to students who have not been attending classes; c) credited only 40% instead of 60% of the final examination; d) did not credit the essay questions; and e) added further incentives (1–4 pts) aside from 50 pts. In so doing, [petitioner] gave grades not based solely on scholastic records.
On 14 April 2010, [petitioner] submitted his answer stating that he: a) did not add 50 pts to the raw scores as verified by the dean and academic coordinator; b) made certain adjustments to help students pass; c) did not credit the essay questions because these have never been discussed in the meetings with Bernardo; and d) did have the judgment to give an incentive for a task well done. Also on this date, [petitioner] wrote a letter to respondent’s Human Resources Manager asking that he should now be granted a permanent status.
Meanwhile, summer classes started on 15 April 2010 without [petitioner] having signed an employment contract.
Acting on the report of Bernardo, respondent created the Manila Doctors Tribunal (MDT) which was tasked to ascertain the truth. The MDT sent notices of hearing to [petitioner].
During the administrative hearing, [petitioner] stood pat on his answer. He, however, elucidated on his points by presenting slides.
On 31 May 2010, the MDT submitted its recommendation to the president of respondent. The culpability of [petitioner] was established, hence, dismissal was recommended. On 07 June 2010, respondent terminated the services of [petitioner] for grave misconduct and gross inefficiency and incompetence.
Aggrieved by the decision of respondent, [petitioner] filed a case for: a) illegal dismissal with a claim for reinstatement; b) non–payment of service incentive leave and 13th month pay; c) moral and exemplary damages; d) attorney’s fees; and e) regularization.3
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby made finding the [petitioner] to have been illegally dismissed from employment. Concomitantly, the respondent school is hereby ordered to reinstate him as faculty member under the same terms and conditions of his employment, without loss of seniority rights but without backwages. However, instead of being reinstated, the [petitioner] is hereby given the option to receive a separation pay equivalent to his full month’s pay for every year of service, a fraction of at least six months to be considered a full year or the amount of P100,000.00 (his monthly salary of P20,000.00) multiplied by the equivalent of five years’ service.Respondent appealed from the aforesaid decision to the NLRC. However, the same was denied in a Resolution6 dated February 10, 2011. The NLRC reasoned that respondent’s appeal was not accompanied by neither a cash nor surety bond, thus, no appeal was perfected from the decision of the Labor Arbiter. Pertinent portion of said resolution reads:
Other claims are dismissed for lack of merit.
Records disclose that the appeal was not accompanied by neither a cash nor surety bond as mandated by Section 6, Rule VI of the 2005 Revised Rules of Procedure of the NLRC, to wit –Respondent, thus, sought reconsideration of the NLRC’s resolution.“SECTION 6. BOND. – In case the decision of the Labor Arbiter involves a monetary award, an appeal by the employer may be perfected only upon the posting of a bond, which shall either be in the form of cash deposit or surety bond equivalent in amount to monetary award, exclusive of damages and attorney’s fees.”The Supreme Court in Rural Bank of Coron (Palawan) Inc. vs. Annalisa Cortes, December 6, 2006, emphasized that:“In the case at bar, petitioner did not post a full or partial appeal bond within the prescribed period, thus, no appeal was perfected from the Decision of the Labor Arbiter. For this reason, the decision sought to be appealed to the NLRC had become final and executory, and therefore, immutable. Clearly then, the NLRC has no authority to entertain the appeal much less to reverse the decision of the Labor Arbiter. Any amendment or alteration made which substantially affects the final and executory judgment is null and void for lack of jurisdiction, including the entire proceeding held for that purpose.”On account of this infirmity, We are (sic) do not have the jurisdictional competence to entertain the appeal.
WHEREFORE, the appeal is DISMISSED for Non–Perfection.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appeal is GRANTED. The 08 December 2010 Decision if Reversed and a new one entered: a) dismissing the complaint for lack of merit; and b) ordering respondent Manila Doctors College to pay [petitioner]’s service incentive leaves for the last three years.Resultantly, petitioner filed a certiorari petition with the CA.
It appears that petitioner has not shown that other than this special civil action under Rule 65, he has no plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law against his perceived grievance.Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration against said resolution.
It is now settled in our jurisdiction that while it is true that the only way by which a labor case may reach this Court is through a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, it must, however, be shown that the NLRC acted without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion, and there is no appeal, nor any plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. Section 15, Rule VII of the 2005 Revised Rules of Procedure of the NLRC, which allows the aggrieved party to file a motion for reconsideration of any decision, resolution or order of the NLRC, constitutes a plain, speedy and adequate remedy which said party may avail of. Accordingly, in the light of the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies, a motion for reconsideration must first be filed before the special civil action for certiorari may be availed of.
In the instant case, the records do not show and neither does petitioner make a claim that it filed a motion for reconsideration of the challenged decision before it came to us through this action. It had not, as well, suggested any plausible reason for direct recourse to this Court against the decision in question.
WHEREFORE, the instant special civil action for certiorari is DISMISSED.
Essentially, the issues are: (1) whether respondent’s appeal with the NLRC was perfected despite its failure to post a bond; and (2) whether the CA erred in dismissing petitioner’s Rule 65 petition.
THE COURT OF APPEALS FAR DEPARTED FROM ACCEPTED AND USUAL COURSE OF JURISPRUDENCE WHEN IT IGNORED THE GROSSLY ERRONEOUS DECISION OF THE NLRC GIVING DUE COURSE TO AN APPEAL WITHOUT THE POSTING OF A BOND AS MANDATED BY ARTICLE 223 OF THE LABOR CODE AND THE 2005 NLRC RULES OF PROCEDURE.
THE COURT OF APPEALS FAR DEPARTED FROM THE ACCEPTED AND USUAL COURSE OF JURISPRUDENCE WHEN IT FAILED TO RULE THAT THE NLRC DID NOT ACQUIRE JURISDICTION TO REVERSE THE 08 DECEMBER 2010 DECISION OF THE LABOR ARBITER IN FAVOR OF PETITIONER, HENCE, THE SAME BECAME FINAL, EXECUTORY AND UNAPPEALABLE ON THE PART OF RESPONDENTS.
THE COURT OF APPEALS FAR DEPARTED FROM THE ACCEPTED AND USUAL COURSE OF JURISPRUDENCE WHEN IT REQUIRED PETITIONER TO FILE ANOTHER MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION AND GIVE THE NLRC MULTIPLE OPPORTUNITIES TO RECONSIDER THE CASE BEFORE FILING A PETITION FOR CERTIORARI.
THE COURT OF APPEALS FAR DEPARTED FROM THE ACCEPTED AND USUAL COURSE OF JURISPRUDENCE WHEN IT FAILED TO REALIZE THAT CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE INSTANT CASE, NONETHELESS, FALLS UNDER THE EXCEPTIONS THE REQUIREMENT OF A MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION PRIOR TO THE FILING OF A PETITION FOR CERTIORARI.
THE NLRC FAR DEPARTED FROM THE ACCEPTED AND USUAL COURSE OF JURISPRUDENCE WHEN IT FAILED TO RULE THAT PETITIONER HAD ALREADY ATTAINED REGULAR STATUS AND REVERSED THE FINDING OF LABOR ARBITER AMANSEC THAT PETITIONER WAS ILLEGALLY DISMISSED.11
SECTION 4. Requisites for Perfection of Appeal. – (a) The appeal shall be: 1) filed within the reglementary period provided in Section 1 of this Rule; 2) verified by the appellant himself in accordance with Section 4, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court, as amended; 3) in the form of a memorandum of appeal which shall state the grounds relied upon and the arguments in support thereof, the relief prayed for, and with a statement of the date the appellant received the appealed decision, resolution or order; 4) in three (3) legibly type written or printed copies; and 5) accompanied by i) proof of payment of the required appeal fee; ii) posting of a cash or surety bond as provided in Section 6 of this Rule; iii) a certificate of non–forum shopping; and iv) proof of service upon the other parties.The posting of a bond is indispensable to the perfection of an appeal in cases involving monetary awards from the decisions of the Labor Arbiter. The lawmakers clearly intended to make the bond a mandatory requisite for the perfection of an appeal by the employer as inferred from the provision that an appeal by the employer may be perfected “only upon the posting of a cash or surety bond.” The word “only” makes it clear that the posting of a cash or surety bond by the employer is the essential and exclusive means by which an employer’s appeal may be perfected. Moreover, the filing of the bond is not only mandatory, but a jurisdictional requirement as well, that must be complied with in order to confer jurisdiction upon the NLRC. Non–compliance therewith renders the decision of the Labor Arbiter final and executory. This requirement is intended to assure the workers that if they prevail in the case, they will receive the money judgment in their favor upon the dismissal of the employer’s appeal. It is intended to discourage employers from using an appeal to delay or evade their obligation to satisfy their employees’ just and lawful claims.16
x x x x
SECTION 6. BOND. – In case the decision of the Labor Arbiter or the Regional Director involves a monetary award, an appeal by the employer may be perfected only upon the posting of a bond, which shall either be in the form of cash deposit or surety bond equivalent in the amount to the monetary award, exclusive of damages and attorney’s fees.15
|Where the order is a patent nullity, as where the court a quo has no jurisdiction;
|Where the questions raised in the certiorari proceedings have been duly raised and passed upon by the lower court, or are the same as those raised and passed upon in the lower court;
Where there is an urgent necessity for the resolution of the question and any further delay would prejudice the interests of the Government or of the petitioner or the subject matter of the action is perishable;
|Where, under the circumstances, a motion for reconsideration would be useless;
|Where petitioner was deprived of due process and there is extreme urgency for relief;
|Where, in a criminal case, relief from an order of arrest is urgent and the granting of such relief by the trial court is improbable;
|Where the proceedings in the lower court are a nullity for lack of due process;
|Where the proceeding was ex parte or in which the petitioner had no opportunity to object; and
|Where the issue raised is one purely of law or where public interest is involved.19
The rationale for the requirement of first filing a motion for reconsideration before the filing of a petition for certiorari is that the law intends to afford the tribunal, board or office an opportunity to rectify the errors and mistakes it may have lapsed into before resort to the courts of justice can be had. In the present case, the NLRC was already given the opportunity to review its ruling and correct itself when the respondent filed its motion for reconsideration of the NLRC’s initial ruling in favor of petitioner. In fact, it granted the motion for reconsideration filed by respondent and reversed its previous ruling and reinstated the decision of the Labor Arbiter dismissing the complaint of the petitioner. It would be an exercise in futility to require the petitioner to file a motion for reconsideration since the very issues raised in the petition for certiorari, i.e., whether or not the petitioner was constructively dismissed by the respondent and whether or not she was entitled to her money claims, were already duly passed upon and resolved by the NLRC. Thus, the NLRC had more than one opportunity to resolve the issues of the case and in fact reversed itself upon reconsideration. It is highly improbable or unlikely under the circumstances that the Commission would reverse or set aside its resolution granting a motion for reconsideration.21All told, the petition is meritorious. However, since this Court is not a trier of facts,22 we cannot rule on the substantive issue of the case, i.e., whether petitioner has attained regular status, inasmuch as the CA has not yet passed upon the factual issues raised by the parties.
* Designated Acting Member in lieu of Associate Justice Jose Catral Mendoza, per Special Order No. 1656 dated March 27, 2014.
1 Penned by Associate Justice Ramon A. Cruz, with Associate Justices Romeo F. Barza and Antonio L. Villamor, concurring; rollo, pp. 47–48.
2Id. at 50–52.
3Id. at 68–71.
4Id. at 93–103.
5Id. at 102–103.
6Id. at 90–92.
7Id. at 91. (Emphasis in the original)
8Id. at 67–88.
9Id. at 88.
10Id. at 47–48. (Emphasis in the original)
11Id. at 16–17.
12Art. 223. Appeal. Decisions, awards, or orders of the Labor Arbiter are final and executory unless appealed to the Commission by any or both parties within ten (10) calendar days from receipt of such decisions, awards, or orders. Such appeal may be entertained only on any of the following grounds:
In case of a judgment involving a monetary award, an appeal by the employer may be perfected only upon the posting of a cash bond issued by a reputable bonding company duly accredited by the Commission in the amount equivalent to the monetary award in the judgment appealed from.
- If there is prima facie evidence of abuse of discretion on the part of the Labor Arbiter;
- If the decision, order or award was secured through fraud or coercion, including graft and corruption;
- If made purely on questions of law; and
- If serious errors in the findings of facts are raised which would cause grave or irreparable damage or injury to the appellant.
In any event, the decision of the Labor Arbiter reinstating a dismissed or separated employee, insofar as the reinstatement aspect is concerned, shall immediately be executory, even pending appeal. The employee shall either be admitted back to work under the same terms and conditions prevailing prior to his dismissal or separation or, at the option of the employer, merely reinstated in the payroll. The posting of a bond by the employer shall not stay the execution for reinstatement provided herein.
To discourage frivolous or dilatory appeals, the Commission or the Labor Arbiter shall impose reasonable penalty, including fines or censures, upon the erring parties.
In all cases, the appellant shall furnish a copy of the memorandum of appeal to the other party who shall file an answer not later than ten (10) calendar days from receipt thereof.
The Commission shall decide all cases within twenty (20) calendar days from receipt of the answer of the appellee. The decision of the Commission shall be final and executory after ten (10) calendar days from receipt thereof by the parties.
Any law enforcement agency may be deputized by the Secretary of Labor and Employment or the Commission in the enforcement of decisions, awards or orders. (As amended by Section 12, Republic Act No. 6715, March 21, 1989) (Emphasis supplied)
13Mindanao Times Corporation v. Confesor, G.R. No. 183417, February 5, 2010, 611 SCRA 748, 752.
14Ramirez v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 182626, December 4, 2009, 607 SCRA 752, 760.
15 Emphasis supplied.
16McBurnie v. Ganzon, G.R. Nos. 178034 & 178117; G.R. Nos. 186984–85, September 18, 2009, 600 SCRA 658, 667.
17Metro Transit Organization, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 440 Phil. 743, 751 (2002).
18Alcosero v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 116884, March 26, 1998, 288 SCRA 129, 137–138.
19Abraham v. National Labor Relations Commission, 406 Phil. 310, 316 (2001). (Emphasis supplied)
20Id. at 316–317.
21Id. (Emphasis supplied)
22Spouses Andrada v. Pilhino Sales Corporation, G.R. No. 156448, February 23, 2011, 644 SCRA 1, 8–9