2013 in review: Allinanutshelll report

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Digest: Cebu Royal Plant vs Minister of Labor

G.R. No. L-58639 August 12, 1987

CEBU ROYAL PLANT (SAN MIGUEL CORPORATION), vs.
THE HONORABLE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LABOR and RAMON PILONES

Subject: Labor Standards

FACTS:

Ramon Pilones, private respondent, was employed on February 16, 1978 on a probationary period of employment for six (6) months with petitioner CRP. After said period, he underwent medical examination for qualification as regular employee but the results showed that he is suffering from PTB minimal. Consequently, he was informed of the termination of his employment by respondent since his illness was not curable within 6 months.

Pilones complained against his termination before the Ministry of Labor which dismissed the same. The dismissal was reversed by the public respondent who ordered the reinstatement and payment of back wages.

Granting reinstatement, the public respondent argues that Pilones was already a permanent employee at the time of his dismissal and so was entitled to security of tenure. The alleged ground for his removal, to wit, “pulmonary tuberculosis minimal,” was not certified as incurable within six months as to justify his separation and that the petitioner should have first obtained a clearance, as required by the regulations then in force, for the termination of his employment.

CRP claims that the private respondent was still on probation at the time of his dismissal and so had no security of tenure. The dismissal was necessary for the protection of the public health, as he was handling ingredients in the processing of soft drinks which were being sold to the public.

ISSUE: Whether the dismissal was proper.

HELD:

No. The dismissal was not proper. Under Article 282 of the Labor Code, “an employee who is allowed to work after a probationary period shall be considered a regular employee.” Pilones was already on permanent status when he was dismissed on August 21, 1978, or four days after he ceased to be a probationer. As such, he could validly claim the security of tenure guaranteed to him by the Constitution and the Labor Code.

The petitioner claims it could not have dismissed the private respondent earlier because the x-ray examination was made only on August 17, 1978, and the results were not immediately available. That excuse is untenable. We note that when the petitioner had all of six months during which to conduct such examination, it chose to wait until exactly the last day of the probation period.

The applicable rule on the ground for dismissal invoked against him is Section 8, Rule I, Book VI, of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Labor Code which states that ‚Äúthe employer shall not terminate his employment unless there is a certification by a competent public health authority that the disease is of such nature or at such a stage that it cannot be cured within a period of six (6) months even with proper medical treatment.‚ÄĚ The record does not contain the certification required by the above rule. Hence, dismissal was illegal.

It is also worth noting that the petitioner’s application for clearance to terminate the employment of the private respondent was filed with the Ministry of Labor only on August 28, 1978, or seven days after his dismissal.¬†As the NLRC has repeatedly and correctly said, the prior clearance rule (which was in force at that time) was not a “trivial technicality.” It required “not just the mere filing of a petition or the mere attempt to procure a clearance” but that “the said clearance be obtained prior to the operative act of termination.

Although we must rule in favor of his reinstatement, this must be conditioned on his fitness to resume his work, as certified by competent authority.

**Another Doctrine under Sec4 of Labor Code on construction:

Concern for the lowly worker who, often at the mercy of his employers, must look up to the law for his protection. Fittingly, that law regards him with tenderness and even favor and always with faith and hope in his capacity to help in shaping the nation’s future. It is error to take him for granted. He deserves our abiding respect. How society treats him will determine whether the knife in his hands shall be a caring tool for beauty and progress or an angry weapon of defiance and revenge. The choice is obvious, of course. If we cherish him as we should, we must resolve to lighten “the weight of centuries” of exploitation and disdain that bends his back but does not bow his head.

Digest: People vs Vera Reyes

People v. Vera Reyes, 67 Phil 190

Subject: Labor Standards

Doctrine: Police Power (Basis of State’s power to intervene)¬†

Facts:

The defendant was charged with a violation of Act No. 2549, as amended by Acts Nos. 3085 and 3958 The information alleged that from September 9 to October 28, 1936, and for the some time after, the accused, in his capacity as president and general manager of the Consolidated Mines, having engaged the services of Severa Velasco de Vera as stenographer, at an agreed salary of P35 a month willfully and illegally refused to pay the salary of said stenographer corresponding to the above-mentioned period of time, which was long due and payable, in spite of her repeated demands.

The accused interposed a demurrer on the ground that the facts alleged in the information do not constitute any offense, and that even if they did, the laws penalizing it are unconstitutional.

After the hearing, the court sustained the demurrer, declaring unconstitutional the last part of section 1 of Act No. 2549 as last amended by Act No. 3958, which considers as an offense the facts alleged in the information, for the reason that it violates the constitutional prohibition against imprisonment for debt, and dismissed the case, with costs de oficio.

 

In this appeal the Solicitor-General contends that the court erred in declaring Act No. 3958 unconstitutional.

ISSUE: Whether the said constitutional provision is unconstitutional.

HELD:

No. The last part of section 1 considers as illegal the refusal of an employer to pay, when he can do so, the salaries of his employees or laborers on the fifteenth or last day of every month or on Saturday of every week, with only two days extension, and the nonpayment of the salary within the periods specified is considered as a violation of the law.

 The same Act exempts from criminal responsibility the employer who, having failed to pay the salary, should prove satisfactorily that it was impossible to make such payment.

The court held that this provision is null because it violates the provision of section 1 (12), Article III, of the Constitution, which provides that no person shall be imprisoned for debt.

We do not believe that this constitutional provision has been correctly applied in this case. A close perusal of the last part of section 1 of Act No. 2549, as amended by section 1 of Act No. 3958, will show that its language refers only to the employer who, being able to make payment, shall abstain or refuse to do so, without justification and to the prejudice of the laborer or employee. An employer so circumstanced is not unlike a person who defrauds another, by refusing to pay his just debt. In both cases the deceit or fraud is the essential element constituting the offense. The first case is a violation of Act No. 3958, and the second isestafa punished by the Revised Penal Code. In either case the offender cannot certainly invoke the constitutional prohibition against imprisonment for debt.

Another doctrine:

Police power is the power inherent in a government to enact laws, within constitutional limits, to promote the order, safety, health, morals, and general welfare of society. (12 C. J., p. 904.) In the exercise of this power the Legislature has ample authority to approve the disputed portion of Act No. 3958 which punishes the employer who, being able to do so, refuses to pay the salaries of his laborers or employers in the specified periods of time.

Undoubtedly, one of the purposes of the law is to suppress possible abuses on the part of employers who hire laborers or employees without paying them the salaries agreed upon for their services, thus causing them financial difficulties.

Without this law, the laborers and employees who earn meager salaries would be compelled to institute civil actions which, in the majority of cases, would cost them more than that which they would receive in case of a decision in their favor.

Digest: Calalang vs Williams

MAXIMO CALALANG vs A. D. WILLIAMS, ET AL.,

G.R. No. 47800 December 2, 1940

Doctrine: Social Justice                   

LAUREL, J.:

Facts:

 

The National Traffic Commission, in its resolution of July 17, 1940, resolved to recommend to the Director of the Public Works and to the Secretary of Public Works and Communications that animal-drawn vehicles be prohibited from passing along the following for a period of one year from the date of the opening of the Colgante Bridge to traffic:

1) Rosario Street extending from Plaza Calderon de la Barca to Dasmari√Īas

Street from 7:30Am to 12:30 pm and from 1:30 pm to 530 pm; and

2)  along Rizal Avenue extending from the railroad crossing at Antipolo Street to

Echague Street from 7 am to 11pm

The Chairman of the National Traffic Commission on July 18, 1940 recommended to the Director of Public Works with the approval of the Secretary of Public Works the adoption of thethemeasure proposed in the resolution aforementioned in pursuance of the provisions of theCommonwealth Act No. 548 which authorizes said Director with the approval from the Secretary of the Public Works and Communication to promulgate rules and regulations to regulate and control the use of and traffic on national roads.

On August 2, 1940, the Director recommended to the Secretary the approval of the recommendations made by the Chairman of the National Traffic Commission with modifications. The Secretary of Public Works approved the recommendations on August 10,1940. The Mayor of Manila and the Acting Chief of Police of Manila have enforced and caused to be enforced the rules and regulation. As a consequence, all animal-drawn vehicles are not allowed to pass and pick up passengers in the places above mentioned to the detriment not only of their owners but of the riding public as well.

Issues:

1) Whether the rules and regulations promulgated by the respondents pursuant to the provisions of Commonwealth Act NO. 548 constitute an unlawful inference with legitimate business or trade and abridged the right to personal liberty and freedom of locomotion?

2) Whether the rules and regulations complained of infringe upon the constitutional precept regarding the promotion of social justice to insure the well-being and economic security of all the people?

Held:

1) No. The promulgation of the Act aims to promote safe transit upon and avoid obstructions on national roads in the interest and convenience of the public. In enacting said law, the National Assembly was prompted by considerations of public convenience and welfare. It was inspired by the desire to relieve congestion of traffic, which is a menace to the public safety. Public welfare lies at the bottom of the promulgation of the said law and the state in order to promote the general welfare may interfere with personal liberty, with property, and with business and occupations. Persons and property may be subject to all kinds of restraints and burdens in order to secure the general comfort, health, and prosperity of the State. To this fundamental aims of the government, the rights of the individual are subordinated. Liberty is a blessing which should not be made to prevail over authority because society will fall into anarchy. Neither should authority be made to prevail over liberty because then the individual will fall into slavery. The paradox lies in the fact that the apparent curtailment of liberty is precisely the very means of insuring its preserving.

2) No. Social justice is ‚Äúneither communism, nor despotism, nor atomism, nor anarchy,‚ÄĚ but the humanization of laws and the equalization of social and economic forces by the State so that justice in its rational and objectively secular conception may¬† at least be approximated. Social justice means the promotion of the welfare of all the people, the adoption by the Government of measures calculated to insure economic stability of all the competent elements of society, through the maintenance of a proper economic and social equilibrium in the interrelations of the members of the community, constitutionally, through the adoption of measures legally justifiable, or extra-constitutionally, through the exercise of powers underlying the existence of all governments on the time-honored principles of salus populi estsuprema lex.

Social justice must be founded on the recognition of the necessity of interdependence among divers and diverse units of a society and of the protection that should be equally and evenly extended to all groups as a combined force in our social and economic life, consistent with the fundamental and paramount objective of the state of promoting health, comfort and quiet of all persons, and of bringing about ‚Äúthe greatest good to the greatest number.‚ÄĚ

Digest: Filipinas Synthetic FIber Corp vs De los Santos

Subject: Torts and Damages

Doctrine: Violation of Rules and Statutes

[G.R. No. 152033, March 16, 2011] 

FILIPINAS SYNTHETIC FIBER CORPORATION, PETITIONER, VS. WILFREDO DE LOS SANTOS, BENITO JOSE DE LOS SANTOS, MARIA ELENA DE LOS SANTOS AND CARMINA VDA. DE LOS SANTOS, RESPONDENTS.

PERALTA, J.:

FACTS:

 On September 30, 1984, Teresa Elena Legarda-de los Santos, the wife of respondent Wilfredo de los Santos was fetched by Wilfredo’s brother Armando, husband of respondent Carmina Vda. de los Santos, from Rizal Theater to after Teresa’s theater performance. Armando drove a 1980 Mitsubishi Galant Sigma, a company car assigned to Wilfredo. Two other members of the cast of production joined Teresa Elena in the Galant Sigma.

Around 11:30 p.m., while travelling along the Katipunan Road (White Plains), the Galant Sigma collided with the shuttle bus owned by petitioner and driven by Alfredo S. Mejia (Mejia), an employee of petitioner Filipinas Synthetic Corp. The Galant Sigma was dragged about 12 meters from the point of impact, across the White Plains Road landing near the perimeter fence of Camp Aguinaldo, where the Galant Sigma burst into flames and burned to death beyond recognition all four occupants of the car.

A criminal charge for reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property with multiple homicide was brought against Mejia, which was decided in favor of Mejia (shuttle driver). A consolidated civil case was filed by the families of the deceased against Mejia. The RTC ruled in favor of herein respondents.  After the denial of the motion for reconsideration, petitioner appealed to the CA and the CA affirmed the decision of the RTC. Hence this petition stating that the respondent court erred in finding Mejia negligent, such not being supported by evidence on record.

ISSUE: Whether Mejia was negligent

HELD:

Petitioner argues that the RTC admitted that De los Santos made a turn along White Plains Road without exercising the necessary care which could have prevented the accident from happening.¬†According to petitioner, the sudden turn of the vehicle used by the victims should also be considered as negligence on the part of the driver of that same vehicle, thus, mitigating, if not absolving petitioner’s liability. However, the said argument deserves scant consideration.

It was well established that Mejia was driving at a speed beyond the rate of speed required by law, specifically Section 35 of Republic Act No. (RA) 4136. Under the New Civil Code,¬†unless there is proof to the contrary, it is presumed that a person driving a motor vehicle has been negligent if at the time of the mishap, he was violating any traffic regulation. Apparently, in the present case, Mejia’s violation of the traffic rules does not erase the presumption that he was the one negligent at the time of the collision. Even apart from statutory regulations as to speed, a motorist is nevertheless expected to exercise ordinary care and drive at a reasonable rate of speed commensurate with all the conditions encountered¬†which will enable him to keep the vehicle under control and, whenever necessary, to put the vehicle to a full stop to avoid injury to others using the highway.

A closer study of the Police Accident Report, Investigation Report and the sketch of the accident would reveal nothing but that the shuttle bus was traveling at such a reckless speed that it collided with the car bearing the deceased. 

WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review is hereby DENIED. Consequently, the Decision of the Court of Appeals, dated August 15, 2001, is hereby AFFIRMED with theMODIFICATION that the moral damages be reduced to P50,000.00.