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106 Phil. 532

[ G.R. No. L-12587, November 27, 1959 ]




In January 1957,  the Balaquezon Transportation Labor Union (Chapter  VII-B) filed in the Court  of  Industrial Relations  several complaints for  unfair labor  practices  against the Laguna Tayabas Bus Company because it had interfered with the employees' right to organize themselves by  dismissing  them on  account of  union  activities and by  sponsoring  a  company union  (cases Nos.  1117-ULP, 1153-ULP and 1171-ULP).  On 23  February 1957, Pascual Y. Reyes, acting prosecutor  of the  Court charged the Laguna Tayabas Bus Company with unjustifiably dismissing on  22 November  1956 Pedro Ordono,  a  driver of the Company, because of his union activities (case No. 1192-ULP, Annex B).  On 25 June 1957 the complaining  union  moved to consolidate the four cases (Annex A).   On 25 June 1957, it declared and went on strike to prevent  the the Company from further laying off its  employees who were  members  of the complaining  union and from aiding   a  company  union the  Laguna Tayabas Bus Company Employee's Association.  On 2 July 1957 Dr. Marcelino T. Enriquez, representative  of the complaining union,  filed  a charge against the Company  for  aiding and  abetting  a company union (Annex C). "To resolve the strike in the Laguna area,  which  had paralyzed the transportation facilities" in  the  provinces of  Quezon, Rizal and Laguna, on  6  July 1957 the complaining union, the Laguna  Tayabas Bus Company and the Laguna Tayabas Bus Company Employees' Association entered into a temporary  agreement and as a result thereof the picket lines  were withdrawn or recalled.  Upon the suggestion of the.then Secretary of Labor Agapito  C. Braganza the two labor unions and the company agreed to  hold  an election under the supervision of the Department  of  Labor on  9, 10 and 11 July  1957 from 9:30  a.m. to  7:00 p.m. at the regional office No.  Ill, San Pablo City, and all1 employees listed  in the payrolls of the Company as of 25 June 1957, shall be eligible (entitled)  to  vote at such election and that the labor union winning  or  chosen to be the collective bargaining representative would take charge  of the enforcement  of  the  collective  bargaining  agreement dated 13 November  1954 until  13 November  1957 (Annex A to Annex E of the petition-for certiorari).   On 9 July 1957,. the same parties  covenanted in a supplementary  agreement to hold the  election  on 16 and  17 July instead of 9, 10 and  11 July 1957 as  previously agreed upon and, if the election should not be finished in two days,  to extend it to 18 July 1957, and reiterated the agreement as to the  employees  who  would be  qualified or  entitled to vote at the election  (Annex B to Annex E of the petition for certiorari). On 10 July 1957 the complaining union charged the  Company  with  interfering,  restraining  and coercing its  employees  in the  exercise of their  right to self-organization   (case No'.  1376-ULP, Annex  D).   As. agreed  upon  in the supplementary agreement, the election was held on  16, 17 and 18 July 1957 tinder the supervision of the Department of Labor. However, the counting and  canvassing of the ballots cast could not be made because  Dr.  Marcelino T. Enriquez, the  president  of the complaining  union, refused to  surrender the  keys  to the ballot boxes,  and the  reason  for such refusal  was the alleged interference with the election  by the  Laguna Tayabas  Bus  Company  that, made the  employees of the Eastern Tayabas  Bus Lines vote at  the election.
 On  22 July 1957 the Laguna  Tayabas Bus Company Employees'  Association  brought an action in the Court of First Instance of Laguna praying for a writ of  prohibitory and mandatory injunction against the Balaquezon Transportation Labor Union commanding the last mentioned  union to desist from interrupting the work of the Company by staging  a strike  or otherwise,  which, the Company learned  from a news  item appearing  in the Manila Times of  19 July 1957,  was impending; Dr. Marcelino  T. Enriquez, the president of  the labor union,  to produce the keys to the ballot boxes; and the Board  of Election and Canvassers to proceed immediately with the; counting of the ballots and to announce the result thereof (civil  case No.  SP-105);  On the same day; upon filing of a bond in the sum of P2,000 by  the Laguna Tayabas  Bus Company  Employees' Association,  the Court issued ex parte the preliminary writ of  prohibitory  injunction enjoining the Balaquezon  Transportation Labor Union from  interfering with and interrupting the  work and  business of the Laguna Tayabas Bus  Company and/ or the Batangas  Transportation Company  (Annexes  F and  F-1),  In a  separate order bearing  the same date, the Court directed the  Board of Canvassers to count and canvass the ballots and declare the  result of the  election, warning the  members thereof that,  should they fail to so count  and canvass the ballots  as directed, they would be required to appear and show cause why they should not be held  in contempt of court  (Annex G).  On  24 July 1957 the Balaquezon Transportation Labor Union filed in the Court of Industrial Relations a petition for a certification election which is still pending (case No. 474-MC, Annex H).
 The Balaquezon  Transportation Labor Union comes to this  Court by a petition for a  writ  of certiorari and prohibition with  prelimnary injunction to annul the  preliminary  writ of prohibitory injunction issued ex parte by the Court of  First Instance of  Laguna and to enjoin it to proceed with the trial  and  determination of the case.  Upon the filing of  a bond  in the sum of P1,000 a preliminary writ of injunction was issued.
 The Balaquezon transportation Labor Union, the petitioner herein, claims  that the  preliminary writ of prohibitory  injunction issued  by the Court of First  Instance of Laguna is  illegal and void,  for the reason that it was issued without notice and hearing, contrary to the express provision of section 9 (d)  of Republic Act No. 875 otherwise known as the Industrial  Peace Act  which reads in part as follows: 
No court of the Philippines shall  have jurisdiction to issue a any or permanent injunction  in any case involving or growing out of a labor dispute, as herein defined except after hearing the testimony of witnesses in  open court  (with opportunity  for cross-examination) in support  of the  allegations of a  complaint made under oath, and testimony in opposition thereto * * * (Italics supplied),
and that by not  complying with  the  above-quoted procedural  requirement,  the respondent  Court  was  without jurisdiction  to issue the aforementioned  writ.
The respondents Laguna Tayabas  Bus Company Employees' Association and the  Laguna  Tayabas  Bus Company, however, counter that the case in the Court of First Instance of Laguna does not involve  a labor dispute but the enforcement of the agreement of 6 July 1957 and the supplemental agreement of 9 July 1957 which were entered into by them with the labor union, the petitioner herein, and that for this reason the said Court has jurisdiction to  issue ex  parte  the writ in  question  pursuant to the exceptional  provisions  of sections 4 and 5, Rule 60, of the Rules of Court.
 There is  no doubt that  a labor dispute is involved in the case instituted in the  respondent Court.   From the very start,  there had  been  complaints  filed by the herein petitioner charging the respondent company with unfair labor practices.  As a matter of fact, on 25 June  1957 the members of the labor  union, petitioner herein,  went on  strike.   Because of the strike, the agreement of 6 July supplemented by another dated 9 July 1957 was entered into by the  parties thereto as an immediate and temporary measure (relief)[1] for the purpose of stopping in the meantime the strike which had  "disrupted the means of transportation  in Quezon,  Rizal and Laguna  provinces.  The cessation of the strike as a result of  the  two  agreements did not terminate or end the labor dispute existing between the petitioner herein and the respondents Laguna Tayabas Bus Company and Laguna Tayabas  Bus Company Employees' Association.   There are many more steps to be taken.  Although  paragraph 4 of the agreement of 6 July stipulates  "that all pending  cases  in the Court of the Philippines between the parties in  connection with these disputes shall be  terminated  by the  parties and  withdrawn," yet  such stipulation  does  not mean that  there was no longer  any labor  dispute between  the parties thereto. Immediately after the signing of the two agreements,  on  10 July 1957 in  the Court of Industrial Relations the herein petitioner charged the respondent Company with interference with the employees' right to self-organization  (case No. 1376-ULP,  Annex D).   After  the elections on 16,  17 and 18 July 1957, or on 24 July 1957, the herein petitioner filed in the Court of Industrial Relations a petition  for a certification  election  thereby questioning or  impugning the result of the elections held on the said dates, despite paragraph 5 of the agreement of 6 July 1957 which  provides and stipulates that
The parties  hereto agree that the winning union shall  administer the collective  bargaining  agreement between the LTB Bus Assn. which shall remain in force until November 13, 1957  (when it) shall then be  reviewed for modification,  provided further that the unions therein represented shall respect the result of the voluntary election and agree that it shall be  final. (Italics supplied.)
 Where  the contracting labor  unions or any of them does not abide  by the result of  the election,  the  election thus held to determine which of the two labor unions shall be the exclusive  representative of all the employees in the unit to enforce the collective bargaining agreement  becomes  ineffectual.  Clearly,  the case at bar  involves  a labor dispute.
 The  respondents contend  that the refusal of the herein petitioner  to  comply  with its undertaking  in  the two agreements does not give rise to a labor dispute as defined by law, for  the refusal does not concern terms, tenure or conditions of employment between the  Laguna Tayabas Bus Company  and the Balaquezon Transportation Labor Union; and  that a labor dispute can exist only between employees or a  labor union and an employer but not between two labor unions.  The determination as to which of the  two labor unions should take charge and enforce the bargaining agreement of  13  November 1954 concluded with the Company is within the definition of the term "labor  dispute"  which  provides that  it includes controversy "concerning  the association  or representation of persons in negotiating, fixing, maintaining, changing or seeking to arrange  terms or conditions of employment, regardless of whether the disputants  stand in the proximate relation of employer and employee." (1)
Granting that the respondent court had jurisdiction to issue the writ it issued, still it was issued irregularly and, therefore, illegal and void, because the respondent court did  not follow  and observe  the procedure  outlined  and provided for  in section 9(d)  of Republic Act No. 875.[2]
 The writs of certiorari and prohibition prayed for are granted and  the writ of preliminary  injunction  heretofore issued is made final.  The preliminary writ of; prohibitory injunction issued ex parte or  without hearing by the  Court of First Instance  of Laguna in civil case No. SP-105 is  annulled  and  set  aside, without special pronouncement as  to costs.

Paras, C. J.,  Bengzon, Montemayor, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Reyes, J. B. L., Endencia, Barrera, and Gutierrez David, JJ.,  concur.

[1] The wording of the agreement says so.

(1) Section 2(j), Republic Act No. 875.

(2) Reyes vs. Tan,  99, Phil., .680; .62 Off. Gaz., 6187;  Allied  Free Workers' Union vs. Apostol, 102 Phil., 292; 54 Off. Gaz., 981;  and Association  Watchmen and  Security Union  (PTWO) vs. United States  Lines, 101 Phil., 896; 54 Off. Gaz., 7397.