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SEVILLA v.

CA
160 SCRA 171; April 15, 1998
DOCTRINE: It is the essence of this contract that the agent renders services in
representation or on behalf of another. In the case at bar, Sevilla solicited airline
fares, but she did so for and on behalf of her principal, TWS.
FACTS: On the strength of a contract, Tourist World Service Inc. (TWS) leased the
premises belonging to Mrs. Segundina Noguera for the formers use as a branch
office. Lina Sevilla bound herself solidarily liable with TWS for the prompt payment
of the monthly rentals thereon. When the branch office was opened, it was run by
appellant Sevilla payable to TWS by any airline for any fare brought in on the efforts
of Sevilla, 4% was to go to Sevilla and 3% was to be withheld by TWS.
TWS appears to have been informed that Sevilla was connected with a rival firm,
the Philippine Travel Bureau, and, since the branch office was anyhow losing, the
TWS considered closing down its office. Two resolutions of the TWS board of
directors were passed to abolish the office of the manager and vice president of the
branch office and authorizing the corporate secretary to receive the properties in
the said branch office.
Subsequently, the corporate secretary went to the branch office, and finding the
premises locked and being unable to contact Sevilla, padlocked the premises to
protect the interests of TWS.
When neither Sevilla nor her employees could enter the locked premises, she filed a
complaint against TWS with a prayer for the issuance of a mandatory preliminary
injunction.
The trial court dismissed the case holding that TWS, being the true lessee, was
within its prerogative to terminate the lease and padlock the premises. It likewise
found that Sevilla was a mere employee of TWS and as such, was bound by the acts
of her employer.
The CA affirmed. Hence this petition.
ISSUE: Whether or not there was an employer-employee relationship between TWS
and Sevilla?
HELD NO. It was a principal-agent relationship. In this jurisdiction, there has been
no uniform test to determine the existence of an employer-employee relation. In
general, We have relied on the so-called right of control test, where the person for
whom the services are performed reserves a right to control not only the end to be
achieved but also the means to be used in reaching such end. In addition, the
existing economic conditions prevailing between the parties, like the inclusion of the
employee in the payrolls, are also considered in determining the existence of an
employer-employee relationship.
Sevilla was not subject to control by TWS either as to the result of the enterprise
or as to the means used in connection therewith.
Under the contract of lease, Sevilla bound herself in solidum for the rental
payments; an arrangement that would belie the claims of a master-servant
relationship for a true employee cannot be made to part with his own money in
pursuance of his employers business, or otherwise assume liability thereof.
Sevilla was not in the companys payroll. She retained 4% in commissions from
airline bookings, the remaining 3% going to TWS. Unlike an employee who usually
earns a fixed salary, she earned compensation in fluctuating amounts depending on
her booking successes.
The fact that Sevilla has been designated branch manager does not make her,
ergo, TWS employee. Employment is determined by the right of control test and
certain economic parameters. Titles are weak indicators.
When Sevilla agreed to man TWS Ermita branch office, she did so pursuant to a
contract of agency. It is the essence of this contract that the agent renders services
in representation or on behalf of another. In the case at bar, Sevilla solicited
airline fares, but she did so for and on behalf of her principal, TWS.

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