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Case No.

17
LWV Construction Corporation v. Marcelo Dupo
G.R. No. 172342, July 13, 2009
FACTS:
Petitioner LWV, a domestic corporation recruiting Filipino workers, hired respondent as
Civil Structural Superintendent to work in Saudi Arabia for its principal, Mohammad Al-Mojil
Group/Establishment (MMG). Sometime February 1992, respondent signed his first overseas
employment contract. It was renewed five times and all were fixed-period, renewable contracts
for 1 year. The 6th and last contract stated that respondent's employment starts upon reporting to
work and ends when he leaves the work site. When respondent left Saudi Arabia for the
Philippines on April 30, 1999 and thereby termination his 6th contract, he informed MMG
through LWV that he needs to extend his vacation because his son was hospitalized. He also
sought a promotion with salary adjustment. In reply, MMG informed him that his promotion is
subject to management's review; that his services are still needed; that he was issued a plane
ticket for his return flight to Saudi Arabia; and that his decision regarding his employment must
be made within 7 days, otherwise, MMG "will be compelled to cancel his slot." On July 6, 1999,
respondent resigned.
Under the Law of Saudi Arabia, an employee who rendered at least 5 years in a company
within the jurisdiction of Saudi Arabia, is entitled to the so-called long service award which is
known to others as longevity pay of at least one half month pay for every year of service. In
excess of five years an employee is entitled to one month pay for every year of service. When he
followed up his claim for long service award and the MMG failed to respond, he filed a
complaint for payment of service award against LWV before the NLRC. Aside from the
allegation that it was already paid by MMG after his 6th contract ended, LWV argued that the
action has prescribed when respondent filed the compliant 1 year and 7 months after his 6 th
contract ended, using Article 13 of the Saudi Labor Law as basis which provides that action to
enforce payment of service award must be filed one year from the termination of the labor
contract for a specific period.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the action against petitioner has prescribed with Article 13 of the Saudi
Labor Law as basis.
HELD:
No, the Supreme Court held that what will apply on this particular case is not Art. 13 of
the Saudi Labor Law but Art. 291 of the Philippine Labor Code which provides for a 3 year
prescription period for all money claims from employee-employer relationship. A foreign
procedural law shall not be applied even if the action is based upon a foreign substantive law.
The Court did not apply the Art. 48 of the Code of Civil Procedure which provides that if the
laws of the state or country where the cause of action arose, the action is barred, it shall also be
barred in the Philippine island because the Court, in light of the provisions of the 1987
Constitution, Art. 48 cannot be applied ex proprio vigore insofar as it ordains the application of
the provision of the Saudi Law. The courts of the forum will not enforce any foreign claim
obnoxious to the forums public policy. To enforce the one-year prescriptive period of the Amiri
Decree No. 23 of 1976 as regards the claims in question would contravene the public policy on
the protection to labor. The Court therefore leaned on the constitutional provision of on
protection to labor rather that adopting the provision of the foreign law.