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G.R. No. 164774, April 12, 2006

Petitioners: Star Paper Corporation, Josephine Ongsitco, and Sebastian Chua

Respondents: Ronaldo V. Simbol, Wilfreda N. Comia, and Lorna E. Estrella

Ponente: J. Puno


At bar is a Petition for Review on Certiorari of the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated August 03, 2004
in CA-G.R. SP No. 73477 reversing the decision of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC)
which affirmed the ruling of the Labor Arbiter. The following facts were presented:

(a) The respondents were all regular employees of the company;

(b) On October 27, 1993, Simbol was hired by the company. He met Alma Dayrit, also an employee of
the company. He married her on June 27, 1998. Prior to the marriage, Ongsitco advised the couple that
should they decide to get married, one of them should resign pursuant to a company policy promulgated
in 1995. Simbol resigned on June 20, 1998.

(c) On February 5, 1997, Comia was hired by the company. She met Howard Comia, a co-employee
whom she married on June 1, 2000. Ongsitco likewise reminded them pursuant to the aforementioned
company policy. Comia resigned on June 30, 2000.

(d) Simbol and Comia alleged that they did not resign voluntarily; they were compelled to resign in view of
an illegal company policy.

(e) On July 29, 1994, Estrella was hired by the company. She met Luisito Zuniga, also a co-worker,
whom petitioners claimed to be a married man who got Estrella impregnated. The company allegedly
could have terminated her services due to immorality but she opted to resign on December 21, 1999.

(f) Estrella alleged that she had a relationship with co-worker Zuniga who misrepresented himself as a
married but a separated man. After he got her pregnant, she discovered that he was not
separated. Thus, she severed her relationship with him to avoid dismissal due to company policy.

(g) On November 30, 1999, Estrella met an accident and had to recuperate for twenty-one (21) days as
advised by the doctor of the Orthopaedic Hospital. On December 21, 1999 but she found out that her
name was on hold at the gate. She was directed to the personnel office and handed a memorandum that
stated that she was being dismissed for immoral conduct. Estrella was asked to submit an explanation
but she was dismissed nonetheless. She resigned because she was in dire need of money and
resignation could give her the thirteenth month pay.

On May 31, 2001, Labor Arbiter Del Rosario dismissed the complaint for lack of merit.

On January, 11, 2002, NLRC affirmed the decision of the Labor Arbiter.
On August 8, 2002, NLRC denied the respondents Motion for Reconsideration through a Resolution.

On August 3, 2004, the CA reversed the NLRC decision and declared that:

(a) The petitioners dismissal from employment was illegal:

(b) The private respondents are ordered to reinstate the petitioners to their former positions without loss
of seniority rights with full backwages from the time of their dismissal until actual reinstatement; and

(c) The private respondents are to pay petitioners attorneys fees amounting to 10% of the award and the
cost of the suit.

Hence, this petition.


The issues raised by this petition are:

(1) Whether or not the CA erred in holding that the subject 1995 policy/ regulation is violative of the
constituional rights towards marriage and the family of employees and of Article 136 of the Labor Code:

(2) Whether or not the respondents resignations were far from voluntary.


(1) No. The CA did not err in holding that the subject 1995 policy/ regulation is violative of the
constitutional rights towards marriage and the family of employees and or Article 136 of the Labor Code:

(ARTICLE 136. Stipulation against marriage. It shall be unlawful for an employer to require as a
condition of employment or continuation of employment that a woman employee shall not get married, or
to stipulate expressly or tacitly that upon getting married, a woman employee shall be deemed resigned
or separated, or to actually dismiss, discharge, discriminate or otherwise prejudice a woman employee
merely by reason of her marriage.)

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