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024 Farley Fulache, Manolo Jabonero, David Castillo,

Jeffrey Lagunzad, Atinen v. ABS-CBN


Topic: Collective Bargaining

AUTHOR:

FACTS: (chronological order)


Regularization Issue
1. The petitioners filed 2 separate complaints for regularization, ULP, and several money claims against ABS-CBN
Cebu.
1.1 The petitioners were drivers, cameramen, editors, and Teleprompters.
1.2 The petitioners alleged that on Dec. 17, 1999, that the ABSCBN-EU and the respondent entered into a CBA
effective from 12/11/99 to 12/10/2002;
1.3 And upon learning of the CBA, they discovered that they were excluded from the coverage because the
respondent considers them as temporary employees.
1.4 They also allege that they must be considered regular employees because they are employees of the
respondent for over a year now, thus should be considered as regular employees.
2. On the part of the respondent, it countered that:
2.1 ABS-CBN claimed that to cope with fluctuating business conditions, it contracts on a case-to-case basis the
services of persons who possess the necessary talent, skills, training, expertise or qualifications to meet the
requirements of its programs and productions. These contracted persons are called talents and are
considered independent contractors who offer their services to broadcasting companies.
2.2 Instead of salaries, ABS-CBN pointed out that talents are paid a pre-arranged consideration called talent fee
taken from the budget of a particular program and subject to a ten percent (10%) withholding tax. Talents do
not undergo probation. Their services are engaged for a specific program or production, or a segment thereof.
Their contracts are terminated once the program, production or segment is completed.
2.3 ABS-CBN alleged that the petitioners services were contracted on various dates by its Cebu station as
independent contractors/off camera talents, and they were not entitled to regularization in these capacities.
3. The 2 complaints were consolidated and assigned to Labor Arbiter Rendoque.
4. Labor Arb. Rendoque: the employees are regular employees of the respondent.
5. ABSCBN appealed to the NLRC alleging that the petitioners are independent contractors.
Illegal Dismissal Issue
6. Meanwhile, pending appeal with the NLRC, the petitioners were dismissed due to their refusal to sign contracts of
employment with Able Services.
7. The petitioners filed a case for illegal dismissal.
8. The respondents countered:
8.1 The respondent reviewed its structure and organizational requirements and concluded that the roles occupied
by the petitioners (ie messengerial, janitorial, utility, makeup, wardrobe, etc.) were better handled by legitimate
service contractors.
8.2 Also, the respondent contends that assuming they were indeed illegally dismissed, their relationship was so
strained and that one of the petitioners (Atinen) already executed a quitclaim and release.
9. The case was also handled by Labor Arbiter Rendoque.
10. Labor Arb.: the contracting out of the roles mentioned are valid.
10.1
LA also held that the roles of the petitioners were redundant.
10.2
However, LA awarded the petitioners 1 months salary for every year of service.
11. The respondent appealed he award of the LA to the NLRC.
NLRC decision on Regularization and Illegal Dismissal Issue
12. NLRC:
12.1
On regularization issue (LA affirmed)
12.1.1 There was an employer-employee relationship because the respondent exercised control over the
petitioners.
12.1.2 Further the NLRC held that the petitioners are regular workers because they work they did was usually

13.

14.

15.

16.
17.

18.
19.

20.
21.

necessary or desirable in the trade or business of the respondent.


12.1.3 The petitioners couldnt be considered contractual because they werent paid for the result of their
work, but rather they were paid on a monthly basis.
12.2
On illegal dismissal issue (LA reversed)
12.2.1 the petitioners were illegally dismissed
12.2.2 backwages and separation pay must be paid instead of reinstatement.
The petitioners filed their MR alleging:
13.1
Fulache, Jabonero, Castillo, and Lagunzad are entitled to reinstatement, backwages, salary increase,
other CBA benefits, etc.
The respondents also filed their own MR alleging:
14.1
Fulache, Jabonero, Castillo, and Lagunzad were independent contractors whose services were
terminated due to redundacncy thus no backwages should be paid.
14.2
Also, the petitioners are not entitled to CBA benefits because they never claimed benefits to such in their
position paper filed before the LA, and also the NLRC failed to make a clear finding theyre aprt of the
bargaining unit.
NLRC on MR:
15.1
on regularization issue: (LA decision reinstated)
15.1.1 petitioners are regular employees entitled to the benefits of such.
15.2
On illegal dismissal issue: (LA decision reinstated)
15.2.1 despite the petitioners being recognized as regulars, they are still redundant.
Second MR of the petitioners denied being a prohibited pleading.
Petitioners filed petitioner under R65 with the CA alleging:
17.1
NLRC acted with GAD in denying them CBA benefits, finding that theyre not part of the bargaining unit,
and not granting reinstatement.
The respondent questioned the propriety of the R65 petition.
18.1
Respondent argued that proper remedy was to appeal the reinstated decision of the LA.
CA: ruled against the respondent holding that the petitioner under R65 was jusitified because there being no plain,
adequate, and speedy remedy.
19.1
On the merits, CA held that the petitioners failed to prove theyre entitled to CBA benefits.
19.2
CA also held that the NLRC was correct in reinstating the decision of the LA holding that the petitioners
were not illegally dismissed because the petitioners positions were redundant.
19.3
Except for separation pay, CA did not grant backwages, damages, and attorneys fees as prayed for.
MR of the petitioners with the CA denied.
Hence this petition. SA WAKAS!
21.1
Petitioner contends that the CA erred in not considering the evidence they submitted to bolster their claim
that theyre part of the bargaining unit.
21.2
That the CA also erred in not ordering the respondent to pay salaries, allowances, CBA benefits despite
the declaration of the NLRC that theyre regular employees.
21.3
That the CA erred in declaring that drivers are redundant contrary to jurisprudence.

ISSUE(S):
Whether or not the CA erred in holding that theyre not entitled to CBA benefits?
HELD:
RATIO:
1. The petitioners are members of the appropriate bargaining unit because they are regular rank-and-file
employees and do not belong to any of the excluded categories. Specifically, nothing in the records shows
that they are supervisory or confidential employees; neither are they casual nor probationary employees. Most

importantly, the labor arbiters decision of January 17, 2002affirmed all the way up to the CA levelruled against
ABS-CBNs submission that they are independent contractors. Thus, as regular rank-and-file employees, they fall
within CBA coverage under the CBAs express terms and are entitled to its benefits.
2. We see no merit in ABS-CBNs arguments that the petitioners are not entitled to CBA benefits because:
2.1 they did not claim these benefits in their position paper;
2.2 the NLRC did not categorically rule that the petitioners were members of the bargaining unit; and
2.3 there was no evidence of this membership.
3. To further clarify what we stated above, CBA coverage is not only a question of fact, but of law and
contract.>> The factual issue is whether the petitioners are regular rank-and-file employees of ABS-CBN.>> The
tribunals below uniformly answered this question in the affirmative.>> From this factual finding flows legal effects
touching on the terms and conditions of the petitioners regular employment.>> This was what the labor arbiter
meant when he stated in his decision that henceforth they are entitled to the benefits and privileges attached to
regular status of their employment.
4. By law, illegally dismissed employees are entitled to reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and other
privileges and to full backwages, inclusive of allowances, and to other benefits or their monetary equivalent from
the time their compensation was withheld from them up to the time of their actual reinstatement. The four
dismissed drivers deserve no less.