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G.R. No.

88795 October 4, 1994

SEABORNE CARRIERS CORPORATION and JERRY RONALDO GATAN, petitioners,


vs.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and ARMANDO A. TERNIDA, respondents.

Atienza, Tabora, Del Rosario & Castillo for petitioners.

Julio F. Andress, Jr. for private respondent.

ROMERO, J.:

The private respondent began working for Seaborne Carriers Corporation (Seaborne) on April 8,
1983 as Tug Master with a monthly salary of P2,475.00. On September 15, 1987, the tugboat he
was manning met an accident. Half of the cost of repairs totalling P5,000.00 was shouldered by
Seaborne. Private respondent was required to pay for the other half, and an initial salary deduction
of P250.00 was actually made by Seaborne. On September 24, 1987, he sought permission to go on
leave of absence to ask from the Department of Labor and Employment if such deduction was legal,
but this request was not granted. Instead, he was asked by petitioner Gatan, Seaborne's president
and manager, to tender his resignation. When he refused to resign, as he had not yet received any
separation pay, he was dismissed.

A complaint was then filed by the private respondent against Seaborne for illegal dismissal, illegal
deduction, and unpaid wages, which was later amended to include petitioner Gatan as party-
respondent and to embrace claims for overtime pay, holiday pay, 13th month pay, sick leave pay,
damages, and attorney's fees.

Labor Arbiter Eduardo G. Magno rendered judgment on August 5, 1988, the dispositive portion of
which reads thus:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered declaring the dismissal of the


complainant as illegal. Respondent is hereby ordered to reinstate complainant to his
former position without loss of seniority rights but without backwages. Backwages will
lie upon refusal of respondent to reinstate complainant. However, respondent is
hereby ordered to pay complainant the amount of Two Hundred Fifty (P250.00)
Pesos representing the amount illegally deducted from complainant.

SO ORDERED.

The private respondent appealed to the National Labor Relations Commission which, in a decision
promulgated on March 21, 1989, modified the labor arbiter's ruling, to wit:

WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby MODIFIED, ordering the


respondents to reinstate complainant to his former position, without loss of seniority
right and other privileges, with full backwages from the date his salary is (sic)
withheld from him until his actual reinstatement, and to pay complainant his holiday
pay, 13th month pay, service incentive leave benefits for 1987 and 1988, plus the
amount illegally deducted from his salary, and attorney's fees of 10% of the total
amount herein awarded.
SO ORDERED.

Petitioners' first and second motions for reconsideration were both denied by the public respondent
for lack of merit.

In this petition, the petitioners are asking the Court to set aside and nullify the NLRC's decision dated
March 21, 1989, and the resolutions denying their motions for reconsideration, on the following
grounds: (a) the NLRC erred in concluding that the private respondent is entitled to service incentive
leave benefits as well as holiday and 13th month pay; and (b) the NLRC erred in holding petitioner
Jerry Ronaldo Gatan personally liable, with the petitioner corporation, for the payment of backwages,
holiday pay, 13th month pay, service incentive leave benefits, and attorney's fees.

Having limited the issues to these two questions, the other portions of the challenged decision are
deemed admitted by the petitioners. Hence, we will no longer dwell on the issue of dismissal,
reinstatement, award of backwages and attorney's fees, and reimbursement of the amount illegally
deducted from the private respondent's salary.

The petitioners aver that the award to private respondent should not have included service incentive
pay because it was never sought in the complaint and the private respondent is already enjoying
vacation leave benefits, which bars the employee from entitlement to the yearly service incentive
leave benefit mandated by Article 95 of the Labor Code.

With regard to the award of 13th month pay and holiday pay, the petitioners allege that the private
respondent failed to prove or establish that he is entitled to the same, and that he did not specify
which holiday or what year he was not paid said benefits.

These arguments are untenable.

The private respondent's allegation of non-payment of these benefits, to which he is by law entitled,
is a negative allegation which need not be supported by evidence unless it is an essential part of the
cause of action. 1 It must be noted that the main cause of action of the private respondent is his illegal
dismissal, and the claim for the monetary benefits is but an incident of the protest against such dismissal.
Thus, the burden of proving that payment of said benefits has been made rests upon the party who will
suffer if no evidence at all is presented by either party, that is, the petitioners as private respondent's
employer.

This brings us to the second issue raised by the petitioners: Should Jerry Ronaldo Gatan, as
president and general manager of Seaborne be held responsible to the private respondent for the
payment of backwages and other monetary benefits awarded by the NLRC?

The petitioners rely on the case of Garcia v. NLRC, et al., 2 where the personal liability of corporate
officers to dismissed employees was made to depend on whether such officers acted with evident malice
and bad faith. They argue that the assailed decision did not make any finding that Jerry Gatan acted
maliciously or in bad faith in terminating the services of private respondent.

This contention is meritorious.

All that the evidence shows is that petitioner Gatan ordered the private respondent to resign and
dismissed him when he failed to do so without considering the reason for such refusal, which is the
non-payment of his separation pay. There is nothing on record which would prove the insinuation
that Jerry Gatan sanctioned the deduction of P250.00 from private respondent's salary, as well as
the denial of the latter's request for leave of absence.
These factors are simply not sufficient to convince this Court that petitioner Gatan acted with malice
and in bad faith in the termination of private respondent's employment. In this regard only, the
assailed decision dated
March 21, 1989 should be accordingly modified.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the instant petition is DISMISSED and the liability of petitioner
Seaborne Carriers Corporation to private respondent is hereby affirmed. Petitioner Jerry Ronaldo
Gatan is, however, exempted from said liability for lack of material proof on his culpability. Let the
records of this case be remanded to the public respondent for immediate execution of judgment.

SO ORDERED.

Melo and Vitug, JJ., concur.

Feliciano and Bidin, JJ., are on leave.


G.R. No. L-12075 May 29, 1959

NATIONAL RICE AND CORN CORPORATION (NARIC), petitioner,


vs.
NARIC WORKERS UNION, ET AL., respondents.

Zosimo Q. Pizarro for for petitioner.


Vicente T. Ocampo for respondent NARIC Worker's Union.
Edilberto J. Pangan fo respondent CIR.

BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.:

In Case No. 746-V of the Court of Industrial Relations, entitled NARIC Workers Union vs. National
Rice and Corn Corporation, the industrial court promulgated a decision dated February 15, 1956
directing that the corporation pay to its workers 25 per cent additional compensation for night work
rendered by them.

On May 21, 1956, upon motion of the union, the industrial court issued an order directing its chief
examiner, or any of his assistants, to compute the additional compensation for night work granted in
the decision covering the period from October 3, 1952 to February 16, 1953. The chief examiner
acted as directed and submitted his report to the court on August 7, 1956. The report shows that
there are 163 workers and employees of the corporation who have rendered night work from
October 3, 1952, to February 16, 1953 and the 25 per cent additional compensation of said workers
and employees computed on the basis of their respective monthly salaries amounted to P5,221.84.

On September 24, 1956, the union filed with the court a petition for execution of the decision praying
that the corporation be ordered to deposit with the court the said sum of P5,221.84. On September
27, 1956, the corporation filed its opposition contending that said motion is premature because the
report of the examiner has not yet been passed upon and approved by the court and therefore is not
yet final.

The motion, as well as the opposition, were set for hearing, during which the chief examiner was
called upon to explain his report. He stated that in making his report he considered any all work
performed between 6:00 o'clock in the afternoon and 6:00 o'clock in the morning as "night work" and
accordingly has awarded each employee or worker an additional compensation of 25 per cent for
"night work". He further stated that if a particular employee worked from 8:00 o'clock in the morning
to 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon and then rendered overtime service from 5:00 o'clock in the
afternoon of the same day to 7:00 o'clock in the evening of the same day, he considered the work
from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. as overtime work and entitled to 25 per cent additional compensation as
overtime work, and the same work from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. as both overtime work and night work and
therefore entitled to 25 per cent additional compensation as overtime work and another 25 per cent
additional compensation as night work.

Notwithstanding the opposition of the corporation to the report of the chief examiner as explained by
him, the industrial court issued an order on December 28, 1956 approving the same and ordering
the corporation to deposit with said court the amount of P5,221.84 within five days from receipt of
the order. On January 3, 1957, the corporation filed a motion for reconsideration praying that a
recomputation of the additional compensation due the employees be ordered, but the Court of
Industrial Relations en banc issued a resolution on February 13, 1957 stating that it finds no
sufficient justification for altering or modifying its previous order, Hence the present petition for
review.
The main issue raised by the corporation is: "Should the employee performing his regular eight
hours work during the daytime from 8:00 o'clock in the morning to 12:00 o'clock at noon and from
1:00 o'clock to 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon . . . be paid for his services from 5:00 o'clock to 9:00 in
the afternoon as "overtime work" and at the same time be paid from 6:00 o'clock to 9:00 o'clock in
the evening as night work?"

The respondent court, in issuing its order of December 28, 1956, as well as its resolution en
banc dated February 13, 1957, has in effect held that "night work" is any and all work rendered
between 6:00 o'clock in the afternoon and 6:00 o'clock in the morning, and consequently, if a certain
employee performs his regular eight hours up to 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon and renders overtime
from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. of the same day, the said employee is entitled to an additional
compensation for overtime services from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and at the same time to additional
compensation for "night work" from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. for the very same work. In other words,
respondent court upheld the manner of computation made by its chief examiner in implementing its
decision rendered on February 15, 1956. This interpretation of the term "night work" is, according to
the corporation, erroneous for it runs counter to the definition given to said term by this Court in Shell
Company of the Philippines vs. National Labor Union, 81 Phil., 315; 46 Off. Gaz., 97.

Thus, in said case, the following comment was made: "The night work which the Shell Company
demands of its laborers is not merely an overtime work in the sense in which this word is issued in
Act No. 444, but it is in reality a complete working day also of eight hours, only that, instead of its
being done at daytime, it is performed at night. In other words, the night work referred to here is not
an excess, extension or overtime of the regular work during the day time, but it is rather another kind
of work absolutely independent of the work being done during the day. For this reason, there are two
shifts: the shift of laborers who work during the day and the shift of those who work at night."
(Translated into English)

While it is true that this Court made the above comment in the aforementioned case, it does not
intend to convey the idea that work done at night cannot also be an overtime work. The comment
only served to emphasize that the demand which the Shell company made upon its laborers is not
merely an overtime work but night work and so there was need to differentiate night work from
daytime work. In fact, the company contended that there was no law that required the payment of
additional compensation for night work unlike an overtime work which is covered by Commonwealth
Act No. 444 (Eight Hour Labor Law). And this Court in that case said that while there was no law
actually requiring payment of additional compensation for night work, the industrial court has the
power to determine the wages that night workers should receive under Commonwealth Act No. 103,
and so it justified the additional compensation given to night workers by the industrial court in the
Shell case for "hygienic, medical, moral, cultural and sociological reasons." That case therefore
cannot be invoked as an authority for concluding that one who does night work cannot be paid
additional compensation for the same work as overtime. One is paid for his work done during the
night and the other is paid because it is excess of the regular eight-hour work may be legally
required to do. One is done for reasons of health and the other because of an express mandate of
the law (Commonwealth Act No. 444). We find therefore correct the computation made by the chief
examiner as affirmed by the industrial court.

The logic of this conclusion may be better seen by an example. Let us suppose that the workers of
an industrial company work in three shifts: one from 8:00 o'clock a.m. to 4:00 o'clock p.m.; another
from 4:00 o'clock p.m. to 12:00 o'clock p.m.; and still another from 12:00 o'clock p.m. to 8:00 o'clock
a.m. Supposing that night work begins from 6:00 o'clock p.m. and ends at 6:00 o'clock a.m. (Article
13, New Civil Code.) Under the law and jurisprudence, the first shift workers will have to be paid a
compensation as day workers; the second shift workers will have to be partly as day workers and
partly as night workers; and the third workers will have to be partly paid as night workers and partly
as day workers.

Supposing again that the second shift workers, for some justifiable reasons, are required to extend
their work from 12:00 o'clock p.m. to 2:00 o'clock a.m. Under the law, they are entitled to additional
compensation for overtime work on the basis of their wages as night workers. If the first shift workers
were required to extend their work up to 8:00 o'clock p.m., is it not fair and logical that for the two
hours they work at night (6:00 to 8:00) they also be paid an overtime compensation on the basis of
wages paid for night workers? This is the only logical conclusion based on our ruling in the Shell
case which requires payment of additional compensation for night work. In other words, work done
at night should be paid more than work done by the chief examiner. Respondent court is there-
workers regular hour of duty, he should also be paid additional compensation for overtime work. This
is what was done by the chief examiner. Respondent court is therefore justified in affirming his
report.

Wherefore, the order and resolution appealed from are affirmed, with costs against petitioner.

Paras, C.J., Bengzon, Padilla, Reyes, A., Labrador and Endencia, JJ., concur.
G.R. No. L-16223 February 27, 1962

FERMIN REOTAN, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
NATIONAL RICE AND CORN CORPORATION, defendant-appellant.

G.R. No. L-16224 February 27, 1962

SILVESTRE REOTAN, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
NATIONAL RICE AND CORN CORPORATION, defendant-appellant.

G.R. No. L-16225 February 27, 1962 .

PRAXEDES BALANE, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
NATIONAL RICE AND CORN CORPORATION, defendant-appellant.

Galindez and Ilustre for plaintiff-appellee.


Salamanca, Laureta and Sebastian for defendant-appellant.

CONCEPCION, J.:

Appeal by the National Rice and Corn Corporation, hereafter referred to as the NARIC, from a
decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila in the above entitled three (3) cases, which were
jointly tried, sentencing the NARIC: (a) in Case No. 27483 (CA-G.R. No. 20151-R), to pay to Fermin
Reotan P5,806.61, with interest thereon at the rate of 6% per annum from September 14, 1955, plus
P500.00 as attorney's fees, and the costs; (b) in Case No. 27484 (CA-G.R. No. 20152-R), to pay to
Silvestre Reotan P3,647.03, with interest at the same rate and from the same date, and P500 as
attorney's fees, as well as the costs; and (c) in Case No. 27485 (CA-G.R. No. 20153-R), to pay to
Praxedes Balane P3,819.48, with the same rate of interest and from the same date, aside from P500
as attorney's fees, in addition to the costs.

Plaintiffs Fermin Reotan, Silvestre Reotan and Praxedes Balane were guards-watchmen in the
agencies or branches of the NARIC in Naga, Camarines Sur, Tabaco, Albay, and Daet, Camarines
Norte, respectively, the first, from December 1, 1946 to March 31, 1954, the second, from July 12,
1949 to February 12, 1954, and, the last, from September 12, 1949 to March 31, 1952. Inasmuch as
these agencies had each only two (2) guards-watchmen, the latter had been required by their
immediate superiors to work in two (2) shifts of 12 hours daily each, except when they were on
vacation or sick leave of absence. Having made demands of payment of the corresponding overtime
compensation which were not heeded by the NARIC, on July 15, 1954, plaintiffs filed their respective
claims for overtime with the Wage Administration Service, which, on February 16, 1955, rendered
decision in their favor. Inasmuch as, this notwithstanding, the NARIC persisted in its refusal to pay
said compensation, plaintiffs instituted the present separate actions, which were jointly heard and
disposed of in one decision, as above stated.
That plaintiffs had rendered the overtime services aforementioned has been fully established, not
only by their testimony and that of the corresponding officers-in-charge of the agencies of the NARIC
in Naga, Tabaco, and Daet, but, also, by their respective time-records, most of which duly certified
and found correct as to the prescribed office hours, and bearing the signatures of the officers-in-
charge were introduced in evidence. It was, also, proven satisfactorily that, some time-records
had been destroyed by anay, and consequently, could not be produced in court, and that said
overtime services were rendered by order of the aforementioned officers-in-charge, because it was
necessary to protect the properties of the NARIC therein and because the request of said officers for
authority to engage additional guards had not been approved by the management.

Upon the other hand, the NARIC maintains: (1) that its President-Manager had ordered that "except
in special cases of overtime work specifically approved by the management to be with pay, no
payment of overtime work will be approved", for pursuant to Resolution No. 479 of its Board of
Directors, "no overtime nor meal allowance shall be allowed unless previously approved by the
General Manager and only in cases of absolute necessity"; (2) that this case should be dismissed
because, upon petition filed by the NARIC Workers' Union in Case No. 746-V(8) of the Court of
Industrial Relations, the same extended to the NARIC workers in the provinces, the benefits of a
partial decision, rendered in said case, on February 16, 1953, granting differential pay to NARIC
workers in Manila who had rendered night work, overtime and work on Sundays and legal holidays,
for which reason an examiner of the Court of Industrial Relations reported thereto, inter alia, that
plaintiffs herein, namely, Fermin Reotan, Silvestre Reotan and Praxedes Balane were entitled for
such work, during the period from February 1945 to January 1953, to the sum of P5.82, P193.30 and
P151.23, respectively; (3) that the Eight-Hour Labor Law is inapplicable to the NARIC; and (4) that
the period during which said plaintiffs were on leave of absence should not have been included in
the computation of the amounts due them by way of overtime according to the decision appealed
from.

1. The authority of the officers-in-charge of the NARIC agencies in Naga, Tabaco and Daet to
require plaintiffs herein to render overtime services is not questioned. What the NARIC
contests is its obligation to pay for the aforementioned services, its President-Manager
having specifically instructed said officers-in-charge, in pursuance of a resolution of the
Board of Directors that there would be no compensation for said services "unless previously
approved by the General Manager and only in cases of absolute necessity". The lower Court
overruled this pretense upon the ground that: .

Section 6 of Commonwealth Act No. 444 specifically provides that 'any agreement or
contract between the employer and the laborer or employee contrary to the provision
of this Act shall be null and void ab initio'. Even in cases of disaster or calamity, to
prevent loss of life and property, Section 3 of said Commonwealth Act No. 444
provides that 'in all such cases the laborers and employees shall be entitled to
receive compensation for the overtime work performed at the same rate as the
regular wages or salary, plus at least 25 per centum additional'. Section 4 of the
same Act provides that 'no person, firm, or corporation ... shall compel an employee
or laborer to work during Sundays and legal holidays, unless he is paid an additional
sum of at least 25 per centum of his regular remuneration." .

We are fully in accord with this view, which is in line with our decision in Manila Railroad Co.
vs. CIR, G.R. No. L-4614 July 31, 1952) in which he held that: .

If the work performed was necessary, or that it benefited the company or that the
employee could not abandon his work at the end of his eight hour work because
there was no substitute ready to take his place and he performed overtime services
upon the order of his immediate superior, notwithstanding the fact that there was a
standing circular to the effect that before overtime work may be performed with pay,
the approval of the corresponding department head should be secured, such
overtime services are compensable inspite of the fact that said overtime services
were rendered without the prior approval of the Department Head.

2. On August 3, 1954 when the petition of counsel for the NARIC Workers Union for
extension, to the NARIC employees in the provinces, of the benefits of the partial decision in
Case No. 746-V(8) of the Court of Industrial Relations, dated February 16, 1953, granting
additional compensation or differential pay to NARIC employees in Manila for overtime work
and work rendered on Sundays and legal holidays, was filed plaintiffs herein were no
longer employees of the NARIC. Hence, insofar as they are concerned, said petition involved
no more than an ordinary claim for the recovery of a sum of money, which was beyond the
jurisdiction of the Court of Industrial Relations (Mindanao Bus Employees Labor Union vs.
Mindanao Bus Co., G.R. No. L-9795, December 28, 1957; Price Stabilization Corp.
[PRISCO] vs. CIR. et al., L-13806, May 23, 1960; Ajax International Corp. vs. Seguritan, et
al., L-16038, October 25, 1960; Sampaguita Pictures, Inc., et al. vs. CIR, et al., L-16404,
October 25, 1960; Pan American World Airways System [Philippines] vs. Pan American
Employees Association, L-16275, February 23, 1961; Philippine Wood Products, et al. vs.
CIR, et al., L-15270, June 30, 1961; Manila Port Service, et al. vs. CIR, et al., L-16994, June
30, 1961).

What is more, it appears from the affidavits of plaintiffs herein neither the admissibility nor
the accuracy of which has been impugned by the NARIC that the attorney for the NARIC
Workers' Union who filed said petition had not been authorized by said plaintiffs to represent
them in the aforementioned Case No. 746-V(8). Indeed, months before the presentation of
the above-mentioned petition of counsel for the NARIC Workers' Union, or on July 15, 1954,
plaintiffs herein had filed with the Wage Administration Service of the Department of Labor
their respective claims for the overtime services involved in the cases at bar.

Again, the same were filed on September 14, 1955, or ten (10) months before the filing of
the report of the examiner of the Court of Industrial Relations, dated July 10, 1956, stating
that the amounts due to plaintiffs herein as differential pay were P5.82, P193.80 and
P151.23, respectively. In any event, the NARIC does not claim that this report of the
examiner has been approved by said court. Hence, the plea of res adjudicata is groundless
and the lower court did not err in sustaining its jurisdiction to hear and decide these cases. 1wph1.t

3. In support of the theory that the Eight Hour Labor Law is inapplicable thereto, the NARIC
relies upon the case of Tabora vs. Montelibano (52 Off. Gaz., 3058), in which we held that
employees of the NARIC may not be removed except in accordance with the provisions of
the Civil Service Law and regulations. Being concerned merely with the fixity of the tenure of
such employees, said case is not decisive on the question under consideration.

The Civil Service Law was, also, invoked the Price Stabilization Corporation vs. Court of
Industrial Relations, G.R. No. L-9797 (November 29, 1957) and Price Stabilization
Corporation vs. Court of Industrial Relations, No. L-9288 (December 29, 1958), to bolster up
the theory that the Eight Hour Labor Law was not applicable to the petitioners in both cases.
Yet, this contention was overruled, upon the ground that "section 10, Executive Order No.
350, Series of 1951, providing that officers and employees of the PRISCO are subject to the
Civil Service Law ... refer to the fixed tenure of office of its officers and employees who may
be removed only for cause as provided by law", citing precisely the case, among others,
of Tabora vs. Montelibano, supra. Moreover, we then said explicitly that the PRISCO.
... is a government-owned corporation run and operated like any ordinary corporation
which may realize profits and incur losses and the jurisdiction of the Court of
Industrial Relations in labor disputes involving government-owned corporations is
recognized. Moreover, it is a well-established doctrine that when the Government
engages in business, it abdicates part of its sovereign prerogatives and descends to
the level of a citizen, and thereby subjects itself to the laws and regulations
governing the relation of labor and management. Additional compensation for
overtime, Sundays and legal holidays' work, and for night time work, have been
granted to labor.

The applicability of this ruling to the NARIC becomes more apparent when we consider that
the same, like the Price Stabilization Corporation (PRISCO), has been credited inter alia to
stabilize prices with the only difference that the former is concerned with those of rice and
corn (Republic Act No. 663, Section 1), whereas the latter seeks to prevent "scarcity,
monopolization, hoarding, speculation, manipulation and profiteering affecting the supply,
distribution and movement" (and hence we stabilize the price) not only of rice and corn, but,
also of other products and that the Civil Service Law has been made applicable to the
NARIC by the same Executive Order No. 399, Series of 1951, which extended its operation
to the PRISCO.

4. It appearing that Fermin Reotan had been on leave of absence for 36 days and that
Silvestre Reotan and Praxedes Balane had been absent for one (1) day and four (4) days,
respectively, and that these absences had not been considered in computing the overtime
compensation due said plaintiffs, it is clear that the corresponding deductions should be
made therefrom.

With this modification, the decision appealed from is hereby affirmed, therefore, in all other respects,
and let these cases be remanded to the lower court for determination of the amount of said
deductions, without special pronouncement as to the costs of this instance. It is so ordered.

Bengzon, C.J., Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Paredes, Dizon and De
Leon, JJ., concur.
G.R. No. L-39387 June 29, 1982

PAMPANGA SUGAR DEVELOPMENT CO., INC., petitioner,


vs.
COURT OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS AND SUGAR WORKERS ASSOCIATION, respondents.

MAKASIAR, J.:

Petitioner Pampanga Sugar Development Company, Inc. seeks the reversal of the order dated June
6, 1974 of respondent Court of Industrial Relations awarding to respondent Sugar Workers
Association's (Union) counsel attorney's fees equivalent to 20% of the judgment in CIR Case No.
4264- ULP and ordering the lower court's Examining Division to compute the wage and fringe
benefits differentials due the 28 individual workers who did not execute quitclaims as well as
attorney's fees corresponding to 20% of the benefits due to 53 workers who entered into agreements
waiving their rights and benefits under the decision dated December 4, 1972 in the aforecited case;
also, the setting aside of the CIR resolution of September 3, 1974 denying petitioner's motion for
reconsideration of the questioned order (pp. 15 & 57, rec.).

For a better appreciation of this case, certain prefatory facts must be recalled. Sometime in
February, 1956, the workers' affiliates of respondent Union staged a strike against petitioner
company. This labor dispute was certified by the President to the Court of Industrial Relations which
was docketed as Case No. 13-IPA. After six years, the said Court issued an order on November 8,
1962 directing petitioner company to reinstate the members of respondent union. On March 12,
1963 some 88 union members were thus reinstated by petitioner. However, petitioner discriminated
against the reemployed workers with respect to wage rates, off-season pay, cost of living allowance,
milling bonus and Christmas bonus by depriving them of aforesaid benefits or by granting to some
members benefits lesser than those given to members of the Pasudeco Workers Union, another
labor group in the service of petitioner. By reason of such denial and/or grant of lower benefits to
respondent's members because of their union affiliation and union activities, respondent filed with
the CIR a complaint dated September 10, 1964 for unfair labor practice against petitioner which case
was docketed as Case No. 4264-ULP.

On December 4, 1972, the CIR handed down a decision adjudging herein petitioner guilty of unfair
labor practice acts as charged and finding the same to have been committed, and thereby directing
petitioner to cease and desist from further committing the said unfair labor practice acts and directing
petitioner to pay wage differentials to certain workers and fringe benefits as would be found due and
payable to them and to readmitted seasonal and casual members of respondent union totalling 88
with the exception of 7 workers.

In a resolution dated May 28, 1973, the CIR denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration of
aforesaid decision filed on December 14, 1972. Petitioner appealed the above decision and
resolution to this Court on June 15, 1973 praying in its petition for the nullification of said decision
and motion for being contrary to law, and for the rendition of a new judgment dismissing CIR Case
No. 4264-ULP.

This Court, in its resolution of July 31, 1973, denied the said petition for review (docketed as G.R.
No. L-36994) for lack of merit. Petitioner then moved for reconsideration of aforesaid denial which
was denied on October 4, 1973 for lack of merit. Said resolution denying the motion for
reconsideration thus became final and executory on October 12, 1973.

With the finality of the December 4, 1972 decision having been settled, respondent Union filed with
the CIR a motion for computation of final judgment and a petition for attorney's lien both dated
October 17, 1973 (pp. 47 & 50, rec.).

Petitioner company filed its answer to motion for computation of final judgment and the petition for
attorney's lien under date of November 20, 1973 (p. 52, rec.).

The CIR, acting on the aforesaid motions of respondent Union, issued its order of June 6, 1974
approving and granting to respondent's counsel, Atty. Ignacio Lacsina, attorney's fees equivalent to
20% of the total amount of final judgment or whatever recovery or settlement is made and directing
its Examining Division to compute the wage and fringe benefits differentials due the 28 individual
workers who did not waive or quitclaim their rights established by the decision of December 4, 1972
as well as the attorney's fees equivalent to 20% of the total wage and fringe benefits differentials due
the fifty-three (53) individual workers who executed agreements with the company waiving and
quitclaiming their rights, benefits and privileges under the aforesaid decision (pp. 15 & 57, rec.).

Petitioner moved for reconsideration of aforecited order on June 26, 1974 and on July 5, 1974, the
arguments supporting said motion for reconsideration followed (pp. 63 & 65, rec.).

Respondent Union then filed its motion to strike out the motion for reconsideration dated July 23,
1974 (p. 72, rec.). In a resolution of September 3, 1974, respondent lower court denied petitioner's
motion for reconsideration.

Thus, this appeal from the subject order and resolution of the CIR.

Petitioner alleges the following assignment of errors:

1. The Court of Industrial Relations erred in awarding attorney's fees to the union's counsel
equivalent to 20% of the total amount of final judgment or whatever recovery or settlement is made
thereunder; because, aside from being inequitable, exorbitant, excessive and unconscionable, the
same is without legal basis.

2. The Court of Industrial Relations erred in ordering the Chief of its examining division or his duly
authorized representative to examine the payrolls, vouchers, books of account and other pertinent
documents of petitioner, and to compute the wage and fringe-benefits differentials allegedly due the
members of respondent Union because such examination and computation have become academic.

3. The Court of Industrial Relations erred in not denying or dismissing the two motions filed by
respondent union on October 18, 1973 praying therein that the union's counsel be awarded
attorney's fees and that an order be issued directing the examining division of the court to compute
the wage and fringe benefits differentials allegedly due the members of the union under the decision
of December 4, 1972.
Respondents, however, contend that

1. The issue of quitclaims is now res judicata;

2. The CIR finding that 81 members of respondent union are entitled to adjudged
benefits is no longer alterable after decision has become final;

3. The CIR power to adjust unfair labor practices is unaffected by individual


settlements;

4. The rights of labor are unwaivable; quitclaims null and void; and

5. The question regarding alleged unreasonableness of award of attorney's fees, not


raised before Court a quo, is barred on appeal.

After a careful evaluation of the petitioners' and respondents' pleadings, this Court, finds the
allegations of petitioner to be without merit.

On the first assignment of error, paragraph (a), the petitioner failed to raise the issue before the trial
court. This Court notes that petitioner's answer to the motion for computation of final judgment and to
petition for attorney's lien filed by the respondent in the trial court did not raise the foregoing issue. It
is a well-settled doctrine in this jurisdiction that issues not raised in the trial court may not be raised
on appeal. Otherwise, there will be no end to litigations thus defeating the ends of justice.

Nevertheless, this Court finds the allegations to be devoid of merit. Petitioner's contention that there
is no basis for respondent's petition for attorney's lien filed with the trial court containing allegations
relative to attorney's fees as agreed upon between him and his client, the complainant Sugar
Workers' Association, is untenable. The written conformity of the President of said Sugar Workers
Association on behalf thereof confirms the existence of such an agreement on attorney's fees and
constitutes an irrefutable evidence of such agreement. The trial court, therefore, had sufficient
evidence upon which it based its decision. The petitioner did not contest the allegations contained in
the respondent's petition for attorney's lien before the trial court. This constitutes an implied
admission thereof. Moreover, it is evident from the tenor of the trial court's order issued on June 6,
1974 that the said court carefully evaluated the respondent's petition for attorney's lien and even
reduced the percentage from 25 IC to 20 %.

On the first assignment of error, paragraph (b), this Court likewise finds the same to be without merit.
This issue has already been resolved by this Court when the petitioner filed its first petition
for certiorari (G.R. No. L- 36994) seeking nullification of the trial court's judgment on the same issue.
Petitioner's allegations were rejected by this Court in said case. It may not now be repeated and
raised on appeal before this Court, the same being res judicata.

Be that as it may, the allegations of petitioner to the effect that by reason of the quitclaims there is
nothing upon which the attorney's lien attaches, is not valid. This Court finds the quitclaims not
valid. Firstly, said quitclaims were secured on December 27, 1972 by petitioner after it lost its case in
the lower court when the latter promulgated its decision on the case on December 4, 1972.
Obviously in its desire to deny what is due the sugar workers concerned and frustrate the decision of
the lower court awarding benefits to them, it used its moral ascendancy as employer over said
workers to secure said quitclaims. Predicated on said quitclaims, petitioner filed a petition for
certiorari before this Court but the same was denied by the Court on July 31, 1973 and October 4,
1973. Petitioner now has the audacity to return before this Court still invoking said quitclaims, which
We again reject.

Secondly, while rights may be waived, the same must not be contrary to law, public order, public
policy, morals or good customs or prejudicial to a third person with a right recognized by law (Art. 6,
New Civil Code). The quitclaim agreements contain the following provisions in paragraph I 1, No. 3,
thereof:

3. Nothing herein stipulated shall be construed as an admission and/or recognition by


the Party of The Second Part of its failure refusal and/or omission as employer, to
faithfully comply with the pertinent laws, rules and regulations and/or agreements,
nor its liability therefor and thereunder.

Needless to state, the foregoing provisions are contrary to law, It exempts the petitioner from any
legal liability. The above- quoted provision renders the quitclaim agreements void ab initio in their
entirety since they obligated the workers concerned to forego their benefits, while at the same time,
exempted the petitioner from any liability that it may choose to reject. This runs counter to Article 22
of the New Civil Code which provides that no one shall be unjustly enriched at the expense of
another.

Thirdly, the alleged quitclaim agreements are contrary to public policy. Once a civil action is filed in
court, the cause of action may not be the subject of compromise unless the same is by leave of the
court concerned. Otherwise, this will render the entire judicial system irrelevant to the prejudice of
the national interest. Parties to litigations cannot be allowed to trifle with the judicial system by
coming to court and later on agreeing to a compromise without the knowledge and approval of the
court. This converts the judiciary into a mere tool of party-litigants who act according to their whims
and caprices. This is more so when the court has already rendered its decision on the issues
submitted.

In the case at bar, the lower court has already rendered a decision on the issues presented before
the alleged quitclaims agreements were made. The quitclaim agreements were secured by petitioner
while it filed a petition for certiorari before this Court for a review of the lower court's decision. The
quiclaim agreements taken together with the petitioner's petition for certiorari of the trial court's
decision clearly and unmistakably shows the bad faith of the petitioner and its outright refusal to
comply with its legal obligations. And now it has the temerity to attempt to use this Court as its
instrument for the purpose.

This Court rejects the contention of petitioner to the effect that the lien of an attorney on the
judgment or decree for the payment of money and the preference thereof which he has secured in
favor of his client takes legal effect only from and after, but not before notice of said lien has been
entered in the record and served on the adverse party, citing the cases of Menzi and Co. vs. Bastida
(63 Phil. 16) and Macondray & Co. vs. Jose (66 Phil. 590) in support thereof.

This Court finds the petitioner's contentions and citations applicable only when the case has already
been decided with finality. In the case at bar, the original case was decided with finality only after this
Court denied the petitioner's motion for reconsideration of this Court's denial of its petition for
certiorari on the lower court's decision.

This Court is appalled by the attempt of petitioner to mislead it by alleging that the lower court
recognized the validity and effectivity of the 53 individual agreements when it declared allegedly that
"rights may be waived. " The records show that the lower court qualified its statement to the effect
that the waiver must not be contrary to law, public order, public policy, morals or good customs, or
prejudicial to a third person with a right recognized by law citing Article 6 of the New Civil Code. This
attempt by petitioner casts a serious doubt on the integrity and good faith not only of the petitioner
but also of its counsel.

This Court rejects the allegation of petitioner to the effect that the 53 agreements gave substance to
the policy of the Industrial Peace Act of encouraging the parties to make all reasonable efforts to
settle their differences by mutual agreement, citing the case of Filomena Dionela, et al. vs. CIR, et al.
(L-18334, August 31, 1963).

Petitioner's contention and the case cited in support thereof apply only where there is good faith on
the part of the party litigants. In the case at bar, petitioner acted with evident bad faith and malice.
Petitioner secured the 53 quitclaim agreements individually with the 53 sugar workers without the
intervention of respondent's lawyer who was representing them before the lower court. This
subterfuge is tantamount to a sabotage of the interest of respondent association. Needless to say,
the means employed by petitioner in dealing with the workers individually, instead of collectively
through respondent and its counsel, violates good morals as they undermine the unity of respondent
union and fuels industrial disputes, contrary to the declared policy in the Industrial Peace Act.

This Court likewise rejects petitioner's allegation that the 53 quitclaim agreements were in the nature
of a compromise citing the case of Republic vs. Estenzo, et al., (L-24656, September 25, 1968, 25
SCRA 122) and Articles 2028 and 2040 of the New Civil Code.

Petitioner's allegations and citations apply only to compromises between the party-litigants done in
good faith. In the case at bar, there was no compromise between the petitioner and the respondent
Sugar Workers Association. In respect of the 53 quitclaims, these are not compromise agreements
between the petitioner and respondent union. They are separate documents of renunciation of
individual rights. Compromise involves the mutual renunciation of rights by both parties on a parity
basis. The quitclaims, however, bind the workers to renounce their rights while the petitioner not only
does not renounce anything but also acquires exemption from any legal liability in connection
therewith.

On the First Assignment of Error, Paragraph (c), the petitioner anchors his allegations on the
technical procedural requirements of Section 37, Rule 138 of the New Rules of Court. This Court,
however, finds petitioner's allegation without merit. Said provision of the Rules of Court is meant to
protect the interest of an attorney's client and the adverse party by seeing to it that they are given the
opportunity to contest the creation of the attorney's lien. It will be noted from the records that the
client Sugar Workers Union was not only notified but also affixed its conformity to the respondents'
motion for attorney's lien. With respect to the adverse party, the petitioner in this case, said adverse
party's interest was amply protected by the lower court when the latter admitted petitioner's answer
to respondent's motion for computation of final judgment and to respondent's counsel's petition for
attorney's lien. Petitioner did not raise the aforesaid technicality in its answer before the lower court.
It cannot now raise it for the first time on appeal.

On the First Assignment of Error, Paragraph (d), this Court finds petitioner's allegations to the effect
that the attorney's fees awarded are inequitable, exorbitant, excessive and unconscionable, citing in
the process the case of Meralco Workers' Union vs. Gaerlan (32 SCRA 419), completely without
basis nor merit.

Again, petitioner did not raise this issue in the lower court. It cannot now raise said issue for the first
time on appeal before this Court. Nevertheless, petitioner has failed to prove any of its allegations.
Hence, this Court finds the same worthless. The Meralco case does not apply in this case for the
reason that the facts and circusmtances are entirely different.
On the Second Assignment of Error, this Court finds petitioner's allegation to the effect that the lower
court erred in ordering the computation of judgment on the ground that by reason of the quitclaim
agreements the computation of judgment has become academic, to be without merit and grossly
inane.

The allegations of petitioner are premised on its previous allegations regarding the quitclaims. This
Court has earlier stated that the quitclaim agreements are void ab initio. The lower court was correct
in directing the computation of judgment, there being a basis therefor.

On the Third Assignment of Error, this Court likewise finds petitioner's allegations which are based
on its allegations in support of the first and second assignments of errors, without merit, as
heretofore discussed.

WHEREFORE, THE PETITION IS HEREBY DISMISSED AND RESPONDENT CIR (NOW THE
NLRC) IS HEREBY DIRECTED TO IMPLEMENT ITS ORDER DATED JUNE 6,1974.

COSTS AGAINST PETITIONER.

SO ORDERED.

Plana, Vasquez, Relova and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ., concur.

Teehankee (Chairman), J., concur in the result.

Melencio-Herrera, J., is on leave.


[G.R. No. 115755. December 4, 2000]

IMELDA B. DAMASCO, petitioner, vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, MANILA GLASS SUPPLY
and BONIFACIO K. SIA, respondents.

[G.R. No. 116101. December 4, 2000]

BONIFACIO K. SIA and MANILA GLASS SUPPLY, petitioners, vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS
COMMISSION, LABOR ARBITER DOMINADOR B. SALUDARES, DEPUTY SHERIFF ANTONIO T. DATU and
IMELDA B. DAMASCO, respondents.

DECISION

QUISUMBING, J.:

These two petitions for certiorari seek to annul the decision promulgated by public respondent National
Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) on March 21, 1994 in NLRC CA No. L-001159, and its resolution
dated May 11, 1994, which denied petitioners respective motions for reconsideration.

Ms. Imelda Damasco is the petitioner in G.R. No. 115755 and private respondent in G.R. No. 116101. She
was a regular sales clerk in Manila Glass Supply in Olongapo City.

Manila Glass Supply is private respondent in G.R. No. 115755 and petitioner in G.R. No. 116101. It is a
sole proprietorship engaged in the sale of glass with main store in Olongapo City and branch in Metro
Manila. Bonifacio K. Sia is private respondent in G.R. No. 115755 and petitioner in G.R. No. 116101. He is
the owner of Manila Glass Supply.

The factual background of this case as summarized by the labor arbiter is as follows:

That she [Damasco] was employed by respondents [Manila Glass Supply and Bonifacio K. Sia] as Sales
Clerk on January 30, 1992, receiving lately a daily wage of P140.00; that as sales clerk, she was ordered
to do almost all the works related to the glass business of respondents including the cutting, sales and
delivery of glass as well as balancing, accounting and checking of capital and profits every end of the
month; that she was made to work from 8:30 in the morning up to 9:30 in the evening continuously from
Monday to Sunday without having been paid overtime pay, rest day pay and holiday pay; that during the
period of her employment, she was not paid any 13th month pay as well as five (5) days service incentive
leave pay; that on August 28, 1992 at around 7:00 oclock in the evening, while she was working,
respondent Bonifacio Sia called her up and told her to finish all her works that night, but she told
respondent that she would not be able to finish them all because it was already late; that she then lef
respondents room but respondent called her again and asked her why she could not finish what she was
told to do, to which complainant [Damasco] answered that it was already late and there were still a lot of
things to do; that respondent asked her what she was doing since he (respondent) lef for Manila, to
which complainant told him that she was attending to the sales, to the field and to other things relative
to the business of respondent, to which respondent got mad at her; that respondent asked complainant
why she was not teaching her two (2) other co-workers on what to do, and she answered she would not
do it anymore because if the other co-workers should commit mistakes in accounting, she was the first
one to be lambasted by respondent and even required to share in paying the shortages; that when
respondent heard this, he picked up and swiped an ashtray in front of complainant and it broke, afer
which, he threw some notebooks at complainant who began to tremble in fear and her whole body
shook; respondent ordered her to go out of the room, lambasted her again and told her that he
(respondent)does not want to see her face anymore (ayaw ko nang makita ang pagmumukha mo rito);
that afer respondent had lef, complainant again trembled and she could not prevent herself from
crying, her co-workers applied alcohol on her because her body was cold, given water to drink and afer
about an hour, complainant decided not to finish her work anymore because she felt weak; that one of
his co-workers, Alma, brought her home and since then, she did not report for work anymore because
she developed a phobia of respondent

Disputing the claim of complainant, respondents maintain as follows: That sometime in the late part of
August 1992, complainant was instructed by respondent to report for work in their store in Metro
Manila as there is a necessity for her detail thereat for reasons that the employees there are new and do
not have the experience and know-how in running the store specifically with regards (sic) to the sale of
glass; that complainant manifested her objection to such detail for reasons that her husband is working
in Olongapo City and she does not want to work in Manila; that thereafer, complainant did not report
for work in the respondents store in Olongapo City, so respondent sent some of his employees to the
house of complainant but were told that she is sick and cannot report for work; that sometime in the
first week of January 1993, respondent received a copy of the instant complaint filed by complainant;
that immediately, respondent thru counsel sent a letter to complainant directing her to report for work
on January 13, 1993 at its store in Olongapo City; that complainant ignored the letter despite receipt
thereof, hence, on January 15, 1993, respondent again sent complainant another letter directing her to
report for work on January 22, 1993 but just the same, complainant failed and refused to report for
work; that it is not true as claimed by complainant that respondent shouted at her and swiped an
ashtray from the table and threw at her some notebooks. [1]

On December 7, 1992, Damasco filed before the NLRC Regional Arbitration Branch in San Fernando,
Pampanga, a complaint against Bonifacio Sia and Manila Glass Supply (jointly referred hereafer as Sia for
easy reference). In the one-page complaint form of the NLRC, Damasco indicated that she is suing her
employer for illegal dismissal and non-payment of overtime pay.[2] However, in her complaint affidavit
and position paper filed later before the labor arbiter, Damasco additionally charged her employer with
non-payment of 13th month pay, service incentive leave pay, holiday pay and night shif differential.[3]
On September 2, 1993, the labor arbiter rendered judgment in favor of Ms. Damasco. The labor official
declared that Sia has not shown any just or authorized cause in terminating the services of Damasco,
except for wild, generalized and self-serving statements that Damasco committed serious misconduct or
willful disobedience of the lawful orders in connection with her work. The labor arbiter also ruled that
Damasco is entitled to 13th month pay, service incentive leave pay, holiday pay, overtime pay, and
disposed of the case, thus:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby entered in favor of the complainant and against
respondents, ordering the latter, as follows:

1.To pay the total sum of P112,570.32 representing unpaid 13th month pay, holiday pay, overtime and
premiums pay, five (5) days service incentive leave pay, backwages and separation pay of complainant;

2.To pay attorneys fees in the sum of P11,257.00 which is ten (10%) percent of the award; and

3.All other claims or issues, for want of substantial evidence, are hereby DISMISSED.

SO DECIDED.[4]

On appeal, the NLRC upheld the labor arbiters finding that Damasco was illegally dismissed but modified
the labor officials judgment, thus:

PREMISES CONSIDERED, the Decision of September 2, 1993, is hereby MODIFIED. Respondents are
directed to pay complainant the following:

I. Backwages .. P43,680.00

II. Separation Pay 36,400.00

III. 13th month pay . 10,920.00

IV. Service Incentive Leave Pay 2,100.00

V. Holiday Pay .. 4,200.00

VI. Attorneys fees .. 1,722.00

--------------

T O T A L ----- P99,022.00

SO ORDERED.[5]

Both parties filed motions for reconsideration which were denied.

On July 4, 1994, the NLRC issued an entry of judgment stating that the aforesaid judgment of the labor
tribunal has become final and executory.
On July 7, 1994, the labor arbiter, upon motion of Damasco, issued a writ of execution. In compliance
therewith, public respondent deputy sheriff issued the next day a notice of garnishment addressed to
Far East Bank and Trust Company, Olongapo City, against all credits and deposits of Bonifacio Sia and/or
Manila Glass Supply maintained in said bank, sufficient to cover the monetary award in favor of
Damasco.[6]

In her petition, Damasco alleged that the NLRC committed grave abuse of discretion:

IN DELETING THE AWARD FOR OVERTIME PAY AND REDUCING THE ATTORNEYS FEES IN FAVOR OF
PETITIONER.[7]

In his memorandum, Sia raised the following issues for resolution, thus:

WHETHER OR NOT PUBLIC RESPONDENT LABOR ARBITER SALUDARES DEPRIVED PETITIONERS OF THEIR
RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS AND THUS COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISRCRETION, AMOUNTING TO LACK
OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION

WHETHER OR NOT PUBLIC RESPONDENT NLRC COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION,


AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION, IN AFFIRMING, ALBEIT WITH MODIFICATIONS, THE
LABOR ARBITERS PATENTLY NULL AND VOID DECISION.[8]

In our view, the crucial issue for resolution is whether or not the NLRC committed grave abuse of
discretion in affirming the decision of the labor arbiter which held that Damasco was illegally dismissed
from her job.

On August 1, 1994, we decided to consolidate the two petitions inasmuch as they involve the same
parties and intertwined issues. Likewise, we issued a temporary restraining order, effective immediately
and continuing until further orders from this Court, enjoining the parties concerned from implementing
the subject writ of execution and notice of garnishment dated July 7 and 8, 1994, which were
respectively issued by the labor arbiter and deputy sheriff of NLRC Regional Arbitration Branch III, San
Fernando, Pampanga.[9]

We note that both petitioners did not comply with the rule on certification against forum shopping. The
certifications in their respective petitions were executed by their lawyers, which is not correct.[10] The
certification of non-forum shopping must be by the petitioner or a principal party and not the attorney.
This procedural lapse on the part of petitioners could have warranted the outright dismissal of their
actions.[11]

But, the Court recognizes the need to resolve these two petitions on their merits as a matter of social
justice involving labor and capital. Afer all, technicality should not be allowed to stand in the way of
equitably and completely resolving herein the rights and obligations of these parties.[12] Moreover, we
must stress that technical rules of procedure in labor cases are not to be strictly applied if the result
would be detrimental to the working woman.[13]

Sia contends that he was deprived of his right to due process as the labor arbiter failed to conduct a
hearing for the reception of evidence. He also claims that the labor arbiters finding that Damasco was
illegally dismissed is not supported by substantial evidence. On the contrary, Sia insists, Damasco
abandoned her work as she refused to be detailed at her employers store in Metro Manila.

Sias contentions are beref of merit. His words cannot hide the oppressive acts obviously directed to
deprive Ms. Damasco of her employment and erode her dignity as a worker.

It is now axiomatic that the essence of due process in administrative proceedings is simply an
opportunity to explain ones side or an opportunity to seek reconsideration of the action or ruling
complained of.[14] A formal or trial-type hearing is not at all times and in all instances essential to due
process, the requirements of which is satisfied where parties are afforded fair and reasonable
opportunity to explain their side of the controversy at hand.[15]

As noted by the Solicitor General and petitioner Damasco, the labor arbiter set the case several times for
preliminary conference but the parties failed to reached an amicable settlement.[16] The labor arbiter
then ordered the parties to submit their position papers. In compliance therewith, the parties submitted
position papers where they set out and argued the factual as well as the legal bases of their position.
Damasco filed her position paper, computation of money claims and affidavit. For his part, Sia filed his
position paper and affidavit. Damasco, in turn, filed her affidavit in reply to the affidavit of Sia. Afer both
parties had filed their replies, the case was deemed submitted for resolution as the labor arbiter did not
find it necessary to conduct a trial-type hearing. Note that the filing of position papers and supporting
documents fulfills the requirements of due process.[17] Further, it is within the discretion of the labor
arbiter to determine if there is a need for a hearing.[18] Thus, we cannot subscribe to Sias posturing that
the labor arbiter gravely abused its discretion when he dispensed with the hearing to receive further
evidence.[19]

Moreover, Sia was given additional opportunity to argue his case on appeal before the NLRC in a
memorandum and motion for reconsideration which pleadings were likewise considered by that labor
agency in the course of resolving the case. Sia cannot thereafer interpose lack of due process since he
was given sufficient time and ample chances to be heard in the present case. Consequently, the alleged
defect in the proceedings in the labor arbiter, if there be any, should be deemed cured.[20] All told, Sias
due process argument must fail.

On Sias assertion that the labor arbiters finding is not supported by ample evidence, suffice it to state
that judicial review of labor cases does not go as far as to evaluate the sufficiency of evidence upon
which the labor arbiter and NLRC based their determinations.[21] Moreover, this Court does not review
supposed errors in the decision of the NLRC which raise factual issues because findings of agencies
exercising quasi-judicial functions are accorded not only respect but even finality aside from the
consideration that this Court is not a trier of facts.[22] In any case, in our view, the labor arbiter used
every reasonable means to ascertain the facts by giving the parties ample opportunity to present
evidence. It is worth stressing that in controversies between a worker and her employer doubts
reasonably arising from evidence or in the interpretation of agreements should be resolved in the
formers favor.[23] Thus, the labor arbiter had reasonable ground to sustain the version of Ms. Damasco
on how she was unceremoniously dismissed from her job. Furthermore, Sia did not quite succeed to
convince theNLRC to rule otherwise. Finally, the mere fact that the worker seeks reinstatement and
backpay directly rebuts the employers bare claim of abandonment by the worker of his employment.

Thus, going now to the specific issue of abandonment, we find no merit in Sias allegation that Ms.
Damasco abandoned her job. To constitute abandonment, two elements must concur: (1) the failure to
report for work or absence without valid or justifiable reason, and (2) a clear intention to sever the
employer-employee relationship, with the second element as the more determinative factor when
manifested by some overt acts.[24] Abandoning ones job means the deliberate, unjustified refusal of the
employee to resume his employment and the burden of proof is on the employer to show a clear and
deliberate intent on the part of the employee to discontinue employment.

In this case, there are no overt acts established by Sia from which we can infer the clear intention of
Damasco to desist from employment. Sias letters dated January 7 and 15, 1993, for Damasco to report
for work deserve scant consideration. Note that those orders were made four months afer Damasco
was told not to show herself again in the store, and afer Sia had received a copy of Damascos complaint
for illegal dismissal. It is indeed highly incredible for an employer to require his employee without an
approved leave to report to work only afer four months of absence. If at all, the charge of abandonment
is disingenuous to say the least. Moreover, as noted by the NLRC, it was unlikely that Damasco had
abandoned her job for no reason at all considering the hardship of the times. In addition, if Damasco had
truly forsaken her job, she would not have bothered to file a complaint for illegal dismissal against her
employer and prayed for reinstatement. An employee who forthwith took steps to protect her layoff
could not by any logic be said to have abandoned her work.[25]

As to Sias allegation that Ms. Damasco committed serious misconduct or willful disobedience of lawful
order in connection with her work, we find no tenable support. Even if Sia directed her to be assigned at
his store in Metro Manila, her act of refusing to be detailed in Metro Manila could hardly be
characterized a willful or intentional disobedience of her employers order. It was Sias order that appears
to us whimsical if not vindictive. Reassignment to Metro Manila is prejudicial to Ms. Damasco, as she and
her family are residing in Olongapo City. This would entail separation from her family and additional
expenses on her part for transportation and food. Damascos reassignment order was unreasonable,
considering the attendant circumstances.[26]

In sum, we conclude there is no valid and just cause to terminate the employment of Ms. Damasco. The
NLRC did not gravely abuse its discretion in upholding the finding of the labor arbiter that Ms. Damascos
dismissal was not for cause.

An employee who is unjustly dismissed from work is entitled to reinstatement without loss of seniority
rights and other privileges as well as to his full backwages, inclusive of allowances, and to other benefits
or their monetary equivalent computed from the time his compensation was withheld from him up to
the time of his actual reinstatement.[27]

However, in our view, the circumstances obtaining in this case do not warrant the reinstatement of Ms.
Damasco. Antagonism caused a severe strain in the relationship between her and her employer. A more
equitable disposition would be an award of separation pay equivalent to one (1) months pay for every
year of service with the employer.[28]

Now, as regards Ms. Damascos contention that public respondent gravely abused its discretion in
deleting the award for overtime pay for lack of factual basis, we find the same impressed with merit. We
note that Sia has admitted in his pleadings that Damascos work starts at 8:30 in the morning and ends
up at 6:30 in the evening daily, except holidays and Sundays. However, Sia claims that Damascos basic
salary of P140.00 a day is more than enough to cover the one hour excess work which is the
compensation they allegedly agreed upon.[29]

Judicial admissions made by parties in the pleadings, or in the course of the trial or other proceedings in
the same case are conclusive, no further evidence being required to prove the same, and cannot be
contradicted unless previously shown to have been made through palpable mistake or that no such
admission was made.[30] In view of Sias formal admission that Ms. Damasco worked beyond eight hours
daily, the latter is entitled to overtime compensation. No further proof is required. Sia already admitted
she worked an extra hour daily. Thus, public respondent gravely erred in deleting the award of overtime
pay to Ms. Damasco on the pretext that the claim has no factual basis.

Still, even assuming that Damasco received a wage which is higher than the minimum provided by law, it
does not follow that any additional compensation due her can be offset by her pay in excess of the
minimum, in the absence of an express agreement to that effect. Moreover, such arrangement, if there
be any, must appear in the manner required by law on how overtime compensation must be
determined. For it is necessary to have a clear and definite delineation between an employees regular
and overtime compensation to thwart violation of the labor standards provision of the Labor Code.[31]

With regard to the award of attorneys fees the ten percent (10%) attorneys fees is provided for in Article
111 of the Labor Code. Considering the circumstances of this case, said award is in order.

WHEREFORE, in G.R. No. 115755, the petition is GRANTED. The judgment of the Labor Arbiter in favor of
petitioner Imelda B. Damasco dated September 2, 1993 is REINSTATED in full. In G.R. No. 116101, the
petition of Bonifacio K. Sia and Manila Glass Supply is DISSMISSED for lack of merit. Costs against
petitioners Bonifacio K. Sia and Manila Glass Supply.

SO ORDERED.

Bellosillo, (Chairman), Mendoza, Buena, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.