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OMANFIL INTERNATIONAL MANPOWER V. NLRC G.R. No.

130339 | December 22, 1998 Doctrine: In February 1993, Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co., Ltd., through its local agent, Omanfil International Manpower Development Corporation, engaged Eduardo Felipe to work as a rigger in Malaysia. In June 1993, the ferry boat in which Eduardo was assigned met an accident. His body was never found. A provision in the Malaysia labor law provides: Where death has resulted from the injury, a lump sum equal to forty five months earnings or fourteen thousand four hundred ringgit [RM], whichever is the less; A local labor office in Malaysia then wrote a letter to Hyundai advising the latter of the computation it arrived at, to wit; 45 months x US $620.04 (monthly salary of Eduardo) = US $27,902.02. RM14,400 which is equivalent to US $5,393.29 is less than US $27,902.02, hence, Hyundai deposited the lesser amount with the said labor office. The wife of Eduardo, Lora Felipe, does not agree that Hyundai is liable for the lesser amount hence she filed a labor case against Hyundais agent, Omanfil. The labor arbiter ordered Omanfil to pay $27,902.02 to Lora. This was affirmed by the National Labor Relations Commission. It was ruled that the Malaysian labor law is susceptible to two interpretations because it is vague; that in case of doubt of labor laws, it must be construed in favor of the laborer. ISSUE: Whether or not the National Labor Relations is correct. HELD: No. The Malaysian Law in question is not vague. Clearly what is due to Lora as death benefit (for her dead husband) is 14,400 Malaysian Ringgit since that amount is less than US $27,902.02. Further, it appears that the Director General of Labor of Malaysia certified that Eduardo is only entitled to a maximum of RM14,000.00 pursuant to the labor law in question. This certification is duly authenticated by Mr. Bayani V. Mangibin, our Consul General in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Such authentication of the said Certification, which provides an interpretation of said foreign labor law by none other than the Director of Labor of Malaysia is proof of the foreign law. Further still, this was never contested by Lora.