G.R. No. 189851, June 22, 2016
INTEC CEBU INC., AKIHIKO KAMBAYASHI AND WATARU SATO, Petitioners, v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, ROWENA REYES, ROWENA ODIONG, HYDEE AYUDA, TERESITA BERIDO, CRISTINA LABAPIZ, GEMMA JUMAO-AS, SIGMARINGA BAROLO, LIGAYA B. ANADON, DONALINE DELA TORRE, JOY P. LOMOD, JACQUELINE A. FLORES, SUSAN T. ALIÑO, ANALYN P. ABALLE, CAROLINE A. LABATOS, LENITH F. ROMANO, LEONILA B. FLORES, CECILIA G. PAPELLERO, AGNES C. CASIO, VIOLETA O. MATCHETE, CANDIDA I. CRUJIDO, CLAUDIA B. CUTAMORA, ROSALIE R. POLICIOS, GENELYN C. MUÑEZ, ALOME MIGUE, ELSIE ALCOS, LYDIALYN B. GODINEZ AND MYRNA S. LOGAOS, Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
For our resolution is this Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court assailing the Decision1 dated 22 April 2009 and Resolution2 dated 31 July 2009 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 03471. The challenged decision reversed the judgment3 of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) and reinstatement of the Decision4 of the Labor Arbiter. The Labor Arbiter ruled that respondent employees were constructively dismissed.
As culled from the records of the case, the following antecedent facts appear:
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibraryPetitioner Intec Cebu Inc. (Intec) is engaged in the manufacture and assembly of mechanical system and printed circuit board for cassette tape recorder, CD and CD ROM player while the following respondents were hired by Intec in 1997 and 1998, respectively, as production workers:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
Respondents alleged that in 2005, their working days were reduced from 6 to 2-4 days. Intec apparently explained that reduction in working days was due to lack of job orders. However, respondents discovered that Intec hired around 188 contractual employees tasked to perform tasks which respondents were regularly doing. On 17 May 2006, private respondents claimed that they were effectively terminated from employment as shown in the Establishment Termination Report6 submitted to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). Two (2) days later, respondents filed a complaint for illegal dismissal.
- Rowena Reyes
- Rowena R. Odiong
- Hydee P. Ayuda
- Teresita C. Berido
- Cristina S. Labapiz
- Gemma T. Jumao-as
- Sigmaringa B. Barolo
- Ligaya B. Anadon
- Donaline dela Torre
- Joy P. Lomod
- Jacqueline A. Flores
- Susan T. Alino
- Analyn P. Aballe
- Caroline A. Labatos
- Lenith F. Romano
- Leonila B. Flores
- Cecilia G. Papellero
- Agnes C. Casio
- Violeta O. Matchete
- Candida I. Crujido
- Claudia B. Cutamora
- Rosalie R. Policios
- Genelyn C. Muñez
- Alome Migue,
- Elsie Alcos
- Lydialyn B. Godinez
- Myrna S. Logaos
- Jenife Espinosa
- Maria Fe Tomo
- Jocelyn Casiban
- Ailyn Bagyao
- Josephine Casino
- Pilar Batajoy
- Juliet Teofilo
- Cheryl Sugarol
- Rechel Daitol
- Janette Quidong5
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered declaring complainants to have been illegally (constructively) dismissed from their employment. Consequently, the respondents INTEC CEBU, INC., WATARU SATO AND AKIHIRO KAMBAYASHI, are hereby directed to PAY jointly and severally the following complainants of the amounts indicated opposite their names as appearing in the attached Computation sheet consisting of two (2) pages, in concept of separation pay and backwages in the total amount of SIX MILLION NINE HUNDRED SIXTY-SEVEN THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED TWENTY-FOUR PESOS (P6,967,924.00), in cash or in check payable to NLRC-RAB VII, Cebu City, through the Cashier of this Arbitration Branch within ten (10) days from receipt of this Decision.On 14 December 2007, the NLRC set aside the Decision of the Labor Arbiter and held that Intec suffered tremendous financial losses which justified the reduction of working days. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
All other claims are DISMISSED for insufficiency of evidence and for lack of jurisdiction. The claims and the case against respondents Feliciana Tero and Cheryl Inso are DISMISSED for lack of merit.7chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
WHEREFORE, the assailed decision is SET ASIDE and a new one entered declaring that complainants were not dismissed either actually or constructively. Considering, however, all attendant factors as discussed, respondent Intec Cebu, Inc. is hereby directed to give all thirty-seven (37) complainants their respective separation pay based on one-half month salary per year of service, or the grand total amount of ONE MILLION ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED THIRTY-FIVE PESOS (P1,125,735.00) as earlier computed per assailed decision.Intec elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals. In a Decision dated 22 April 2009, the Court of Appeals reversed the NLRC and reinstated the Decision of the Labor Arbiter with respect to respondents herein. As for Jenife Espinosa, Maria Fe Tomo, Jocelyn Casiban, Ailyn Bagyao, Josephine Casino, Pilar Batajoy, Juliet Teofilo, Cheryl Sugarol, Rechel Daitol and Janette Quidong, the case was dismissed for their failure to sign the verification of certification of non-forum shopping in their petition.
Complainants are NOT entitled to backwages.8chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
FIRST: BY OVERTURNING ITS OWN RESOLUTION DISMISSING OUTRIGHT THE PRIVATE RESPONDENTS' PETITION FOR CERTIORARI, AND THEREBY GIVING DUE COURSE TO THEIR MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION, WITH THE MANIFEST ADVANCE PRONOUNCEMENT THAT THE SAID MOTION WOULD EVENTUALLY BE GRANTED.Intec claims that the reduction of the number of working days was undertaken to forestall business losses as proven by the audited financial statements of Intec for the years 2001-2006. Intec insists that the workers they employed from TESDA and Sisters of Mary were on-the-job trainees and they were already employed prior to the implementation of the reduced working days policy of the company. Moreover, Intec stresses that these workers were retained to enable the company to comply with the urgent off-and-on job orders of Pentax which could not be accomplished by the regular employees.
SECOND: BY DISREGARDING THE FACTUAL FINDINGS OF THE HONORABLE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, 4th DIVISION, CEBU CITY, THAT THE PRIVATE RESPONDENTS "WERE NOT DISMISSED EITHER ACTUALLY OR CONSTRUCTIVELY."
THIRD: BY CAPRICIOUSLY ASSERTING THAT THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS OF THE PETITIONERS ARE SELF-SERVING AND OF DOUBTFUL VERACITY AS THEY WERE NOT PREPARED BY AN INDEPENDENT AUDITOR, WHICH ASSERTION IS IN EFFECT AN ASSAULT UPON THE INTEGRITY AND HONESTY OF THE AUDITOR.
FOURTH: BY CIRCUMVENTING THE DOCTRINE LAID DOWN BY THIS HONORABLE COURT IN THE CASE OF "JARDINE DAVIS, INC. vs. THE NLRC, ET AL.", G.R. 26272, JULY 28, 1999, THAT RESORT TO JUDICIAL REVIEW OF THE DECISION OF THE NLRC BY WAY OF SPECIAL CIVIL ACTION FOR CERTIORARI UNDER RULE 65 OF THE RULES OF COURT IS CONFINED ONLY TO ISSUES OF WANT OF JURISDICTION AND GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION ON THE PART OF THE LABOR TRIBUNAL, BARRING AN INQUIRY AS TO THE CORRECTNESS OF THE EVALUATION OF EVIDENCE WHICH HAS THE BASIS OF LABOR AGENCY IN REACHING A CONCLUSION;
FIFTH: ASSUMING, WITHOUT HOWEVER ADMITTING, THAT THE PRIVATE RESPONDENTS ARE ENTITLED TO SEPARATION PAY AND BACKWAGES, AS DETERMINED BY THE LABOR ARBITER, THE COMPUTATION OF BENEFITS RECEIVEABLE - WHICH CONTAINS GLARING SERIOUS ERROR, IF REINSTATED, AS THE COURT OF APPEALS, 18th DIVISION, WANTED IT TO BE.9chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
An examination of Intec's financial statements for 2005-2006 shows that while Intec suffered a net loss of P9,240,929.00 in 2005, it earned a net income of P9,568,674.00 in 2006. The period covered in the financial statement of 2006 is from May 2005-April 2006. It was only on the 9th month of operation did Intec decide to carry out the reduced work day scheme. Note that the reduced work day scheme was implemented only in January 2006. Unless evidence is shown by the company that the income for 2006 was earned only between the months of January to April, it is safe to presume that at the time the reduced work day scheme was being implemented, the company was still benefiting from its gains as shown in the numbers for 2006.
SUMMARY OF INTEC'S NET INCOME (LOSS) 31 APRIL 2001-2006
Net Income Net Loss Totals April 30, 2001 (9,708,820.00) (9,708,820.00) April 30, 2002 (5,928,636.00) (5,928,636.00) April 30, 2003 4,669,180.00 4,669,180.00 April 30, 2004 4,726,326.00 4,726,326.00 April 30, 2005 (9,240,929.00) (9,240,929.00) April 30, 2006 9,568,674.00 9,568,674.00 TOTAL 18,964,180.00 (24,878,385.00) (5,914,205.00)11
1Rollo, pp. 35-45; Penned by Associate Justice Amy C. Lazaro-Javier with Associate Justice Francisco P. Acosta and Rodil V. Zalameda concurring.
2 Id. at 76.
3 Id. at 45-49; Penned by Commisioner Oscar S. Uy with Commissioners Violeta O. Bantug and Aurelio D. Menzon concurring.
4 Id. at 50-63; Presided by Labor Arbiter Jermelina Pasignajen-Ay-Ad.
5 Id. at 64-65.
6 Id. at 116-129.
7 Id. at 62.
8 Id. at 48.
9 Id. at 14-15.
10Royal Plant Workers Union v. Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines. - Cebu Plant, 709 Phil. 350, 364 (2013).
12 Id. at 102.
13Mcmer Corporation, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 193421, 4 June 2014, 725 SCRA 1, 13.
14MZR Industries v. Colambot, 716 Phil. 617, 627-628 (2013).
15Spouses Dacuduo v. Secretary Gonzales, 701 Phil. 96, 107 (2013).
16Tan v. Spouse Antazo, 659 Phil. 400, 404 (2011).
17Cathay Pacific Steel Corp. v. Court of Appeals, 531 Phil. 620, 631 (2006).