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74 Phil. 232

[ G.R. No. 48346, June 29, 1943 ]




The petition for  a writ of certiorari in this case, dated June 3, 1941, seeks the reversal of the order of the Court of Industrial Relations, of March 13, 1941, denying the  Destileria Ayala y Cia., Inc. (petitioner herein) Authority to dismiss Francisco Serrano as cashier of said company, directing petitioner herein to rein state Serrano to his former position and to pay him his salary during his suspension

It appears that an industrial depute between petitioner herein and its laborers affiliated with the "Liga National Obrera de Filipinas." one of the respondents herein was certified to the Court of Industrial Relations on November 20, 1940 by the Under-Secretary of Labor.  Among the demands involved was the restoration  of the old scale of salaries.  One of the employees concerned was Francisco Serrano, whose old monthly compensation of P120 was alleged to have been reduced to P77. Serrano was one of the signers of the motion of the  Liga Nacional Obrera de Filipinas" dated December 4,  1940, supplementing its demand for the return to the former scaie  of salaries.  A few days later, that is December 4, 1940, petitioner herein asked the Court of Industrial Relations for authority to dismiss Francisco  Serrano as cashier on the ground of negligence.  On December 24, 1940, this motion was supplemented by a petition to said Court of Industrial Relations for authority to suspend Serrano, with the assuranee by the Destileria Avala y Cia., Inc., petitioner herein, that if Serrano s reinstatement was ordered by the Court  of Industrial Relations, petitioner herein would nay him his salary during the period of suspension.  This petition for suspension  was framed on the same date, with the understanding just mentioned. Before the Court of Industrial Relations, Serrano was charged with negligence for having failed to demand from Antonio Valdez a collector of petitioner herein.  Bill No. 2049 on August 12, 1940.  Antonio Valdez later confessed to having misappropriated P37.50 corresponding to Bill No, 2049, and another amount, P52.50, which was a part of his collection on  November 22, 1940.  After hearing, the Court of industrial Relations on March 13, 1941  held that Serrano had committed no negligence; that  there was no valid and sufficient reason for his discharge; and that the real motive of petitioner herein for desiring to dismiss Serrano was the latter's affiliation with a labor union and his act of joining his co-workers in their efforts to improve heir lot.   The aforesaid Court held:
"In view of the  facts and circumstances shown above the Court concludes that Serrano had not committed any negligence in the performance of his duties as charged and that there is no  valid and sufficient reason for his  discharge.

"From all what appears, the Court is inclined  to  believe that the alleged negligence of Serrano was not the real or motivating reason behind respondent's action in seeking  his dismissal.  The evidence and  the record  are  barren  of any  other controlling  which  may  impel the respondent to  seek the dismissal of an employee who has  rendered  long years of  faithful and efficient service in a position of trust and confidence like Serrano expect his actuation of joining the movement for the improvement of his lot and that of his co-workers.  He was one of the those who demanded the restoration of the former scale of salaries, and objective palpably against the wishes and pecuniary interest of his employer made more painful because it is the last thing expected from him who ranks high among his co-workers both in position and in the degree of trust enjoyed. Such an act cannot be viewed by the employer other than pure disloyalty from one whom it had retained in its payrolls for years and years.  It is therefore. Sot surprising if respondent considers his continuance in the service as undesirable.

"The view that Serrano's union affiliation and activities  was the  real motive which impelled respondent's desire to dismiss him becomes more evident when it is taken into account that if there are employees who could be considered negligent in the performance of their duties in connection with the anomalies committed by Valdez, these persons are no other than Fidel Policarpio and Vicente Luckichih, the former, by not notifying his sureriors of the delay in the payment  of Bill No. 2049, and the latter, for having allowed the use of original receipt No. 13895 (Exhibit D) from the  stub of receipts under his custody and possession.  Apparently,  no action was taken by  respondent against these two employees who are not affiliated with  the union and who did not affix their signatures in the petition relative to salary restoration. The Court, therefore, is fully convinced that respondent had all the reasons to discriminate and retaliate against Serrano and to realize such objective, it had resorted to hide the real motive behind the veil and guise of the present charges.

"In view of all the foregoing, the Court finds that Serrano is absolutely free from blame and is innocent of the charges imputed against him and respondent's petition seeking authority to dismiss him is hereby denied.  The respondent is directed to reinstate Serrano to his former position  and, in conformity with its assurance given before the hearing, to pay him the salary  he ought to have earned from the date of his suspension to that of his reinstatement.
The authority of the Court of Industrial Relation, in rendering the above judgment was based on section 19 of Commonwealth Act No. 103, in connection with section 5 of Commonwealth Act No. 213, which read as follow:

ACT No. 103
"SEC. 19 Implied condition in every contact of employment. In every contract of employment or tenancyt, whether verbal or written, it is an implied condition that when any dispute between the employer or landlord  and the employee, tenant or laborer has been submitted to the Court of Industrial Relations for settlement or arbitration, pursuant to the provisions of the Act, and pending award or decision by it, the employee, tenant or laborer  shall not strike or walk out of his employment and when so enjoined by the Court after hearing  and when public interest so requires and if he has already done so, that he shall forthwith return to if, upon order of the Court which shall be issued only after hearing when public interest so requires or when the dispute cannot, in its opinion, be promptly decided or settled; and if the employees, tenants or laborers fail to return to work, the Court may authorize he employer or landlord to accept other employees, tenants or laborers  A condition shall further be implied that while such dispute is pending m the Court, the employer or landlord shall refrain from accepting other employees, tenants or laborers, unless with the express authority of the Court, and shall permit the continuation  in the service  of his employees, tenants or laborers under  the last terms and conditions existing before the dispute arose:  Provided, That within fifteen days after the declaration of the strike, employers will not be allowed to engage the services of strike breakers.  A violation by the employers or landlord or by the employee, tenant or laborer of such an order or the implied contractual condition set forth in this section shall be punishable as in all other cases of contempt of a Court of First Instance."
ACT No. 213

"SEC. 5. Any person or persons, landlord or landlords, corporation or corporations or their agents, partnership or partnerships or their agents, who intimidate or coerce any employee or laborer or tenant under his or their employ, with the intent of preventing such employee or laborer or tenant from joining any registered legitimate labor organization of his own miss such employee or laborer or tenant from his employment for having joined, or for being a member of, any registered legitimate labor organization, shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment of not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding one thousand  pesos, or both, at the discretion of the court."
Inasmuch as the findings of fact by the Court of Industrial Relations cannot be inquired into by us, and that Court having found that Francisco Serrano was absolutely free from blame, said Court committed no error in denying petitioner herein authority to dismiss him, and ordering the payment of his salary during suspension.  At  the time the order appealed from was issued,  section 19 of Commonwealth Act No. 103 and section 5 of Commonwealth Act No. 213 were in full force and effect. We find that the order of the Court of Industrial Relations was fully warranted by the legal provisions aforementioned.  However, these statutory provisions are not only inconsistent with the present circumstances but the Court of Industrial Relations has been abolished.  Executive Order No. 1 by the Chairman of the Executive Commission, dated January 30, 1942 which organized the Central Administrative Organs and Judicial Courts, did not reconstitute the Court of Industrial Relations, and no government agency has been created to carry out the functions formerly exercised by that Court.  Consequently,  the order of that Court  which  is  questioned  in  this proceeding is effective only until January 30, 1942 when the Court of Industrial Relations ceased to exist.

Therefore, the order of the Court of Industrial Relations is hereby modified in the sense that the petitioner herein, in pursuance of its own undertaking, must pay the salary of Francisco Serrano during the period of his suspension up to and including January 30, 1942,  but that the petitioner herein was not, and is not now, under any obligation to reinstate him after that date.  Thus modified, the order appealed from is hereby affirmed, without any findings as to costs.

Yulo, C. J., Moran, Ozaeta and Paras, JJ., concur.