Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 17

Republic of the Philippines following to the complainant Seamen who the "Manifestation and Comment" filed by

SUPREME COURT have not withdrawn from the case, namely: the Solicitor General. It is as follows:
Manila Capt. Rogelio H. Bisula, Ruben Arroza,
Juan Gacutno, Leonilo Atok, Nilo Cruz, The records show that private respondents
SECOND DIVISION Alvaro Andrada, Nemesio Adug, Simplicio have a manning contract for a period of one
Bautista, Romeo Acosta and Jose Encabo: (1) year with petitioner in representation of
G.R. No. L-58011-12 July 20, 1982 its principal Kyoei Tanker Co. Ltd. The
1. their earned wages corresponding to terms and conditions of said contract were
VIR-JEN SHIPPING AND MARINE the period from 16 to 19 April 1979; based on the standard contract of the NSB.
SERVICES, INC., petitioner, The manning contract was approved by the
vs. 2. the wages corresponding to the NSB. Aware of the problem that vessels not
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS unexpired portion of their contracts, as paying rates imposed by the International
COMMISSION, ROGELIO BISULA, RUBEN adjusted by the respondent Company Transport Workers Federation (ITF) would
ARROZA, JUAN GACUTNO, LEONILO effective 1 March 1979; be detained or interdicted in foreign ports
ATOK, NILO CRUZ, ALVARO ANDRADA, controlled by the ITF, petitioner and private
NEMESIO ADUG, SIMPLICIO BAUTISTA, 3. the adjusted representation respondents executed a side contract to the
ROMEO ACOSTA, and JOSE ENCABO, allowances of the complainant Seamen who effect that should the vessel M/T Jannu be
respondents. served as officers and who have not required to pay ITF rates when it calls on
withdrawn from the case, namely: Capt. any ITF controlled foreign port, private
Maximo A. Savellano, Jr., for petitioner. Rogelio Bisula, Ruben Arroza, Juan respondents would return to petitioner the
Gacutno, Leonilo Atok and Nilo Cruz; amounts so paid to them.
Solicitor General and Romeo M. Devera for
respondents. 4. their vacation pay equivalent to one- On March 23, 1979, the master of the
half () month's pay after six (6) months of vessel who is one of the private
service and another one-half () month's respondents sent a cable to petitioner, while
pay after the completion of the one-year said vessel was en route to Australia which
BARREDO, J.: contract; is an ITF controlled port, stating that private
respondents were not contented with the
Petition for certiorari seeking the annulment 5. their tanker service bonus equivalent salary and benefits stipulated in the
or setting aside, on the grounds of excess of to one-half () month's pay; and manning contract, and demanded that they
jurisdiction and grave abuse of discretion, of be given 50% increase thereof, as the "best
the decision of the National Labor Relations 6. their earned overtime pay from l to l9 and only solution to solve ITF problem."
Commission in consolidated NSB Cases April 1979. Apparently, reference to "ITF" in private
Nos. 2250-79 and 2252-79 thereof, 1 the respondents' cable made petitioner
dispositive portion of which reads thus: The Secretariat of the National Seamen apprehensive since the vessel at that time
Board is also hereby directed to issue within was en route to Australia, an ITF port, and
WHEREFORE, the Decision appealed from five (5) days from receipt of this Decision would be interdicted and detained thereat,
should be, as it is hereby modified in this the necessary clearances to the suspended should private respondents denounce the
wise: Seamen. (pp. 86-87, Record.) existing manning contract to the ITF and
should petitioner refuse or be unable to pay
Respondent Vir-jen Shipping and Marine The factual and legal background of these the ITF rates, which represent more than
Services, Inc., is hereby ordered to pay the cases is related most comprehensively in 100% of what is stipulated in the manning
contract. Placed under such situation, PROBLEM DUE YOUR PRESENT RATES INDIVIDUAL BASIC PAY WITH THE
petitioner replied by cable dated March 24, ESPECIALLY TANKERS VERY FAR IN FOLLOWING TERMS AND CONDITION
1979 to private respondents, as follows: COMPARISON WITH OTHER SHIPPING STOP EFFECTIVITY OF TWENTY FIVE
AGENCIES IN MANILA. PERCENT INCREASE MUST BE
... WE ARE SURPRISED WITH THIS MARCH/79 STOP INCREASE MUST BE
SUDDEN CHANGE OF ATTITUDE AND to which we replied on March 24, 1979, as COLLECTIBLE ON BOARD EFFECTIVE
DEMANDS FOR WE HAVE THOROUGHLY follows: ABOVE DATE UNTIL DISEMBARKATION
EXPLAINED AND DISCUSSED ALL STOP ALLOTMENT TO ALLOTEES
MATTERS PERTAINING TO YOUR WE ARE SURPRISED WITH SUDDEN REMAIN AS IS STOP REASONABLE
PRESENT EMPLOYMENT AND BELIEVED CHANGE, OF ATTITUDE AND DEMANDS REPALLOWS FOR ALL OFFICERS BE
THAT WE FULLY UNDERSTOOD EACH FOR WE HAVE THOROUGHLY GIVEN EFFECTIVE MARCH/79 STOP
OTHER ... WE SHALL SUFFER AND EXPLAINED AND DISCUSSED ALL BONUS FOR 6 MONTHS SERVICES
ABSORB CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF MATTERS PERTAINING TO YOUR RENDERED BE COLLECTIBLE ON
LOSSES WITH YOUR DEMAND OF FIFTY PRESENT EMPLOYMENT AND BELIEVED BOARD STOP OFFICERS/CREW 30PCT
PERCENT AS WE ARE ALREADY THAT WE FULLY UNDERSTOOD EACH O/T SHUD BE BASED NEW UPGRADED
COMMITTED TO PRINCIPALS OTHER STOP FRANKLY SPEAKING WE SALARY SCALE STOP
THEREFORE TO MINIMIZE OUR LOSSES SHALL SUFFER AND ABSORB MASTER/CHENGR/CHMATE SPECIAL
WE PROPOSE AN INCREASE OF CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF LOSSES COMPENSATION GIVE BY YOUR
TWENTY FIVE PERCENT ON YOUR WITH YOUR DEMAND OF FIFTY COMPANY PRIOR DEPARTURE MANILA
BASIC PAYS PLUS THE SPECIAL PERCENT AS WE ARE COMMITTED TO REMAIN AS IS.
COMPENSATION FOR THIS PRINCIPALS THEREFORE TO MINIMIZE
PARTICULAR VOYAGE ... (p. 7 Comment) OUR LOSSES WE PROPOSE AN to which we replied on March 25, 1979, as
INCREASE OF TWENTY FIVE PERCENT follows:
On March 26, 1979, petitioner wrote a letter ON YOUR BASIC PAY STOP YOUR
to the NSB denouncing the conduct of UNDERSTANDING AND FULL WE AGREE ALL CONDITIONS AND
private respondents as follows: COOPERATION WILL BE VERY MUCH CONFIRM IT SHALL BE PROPERLY
APPRECIATED STOP PLS CONFIRM ENFORCED STOP WILL PREPARE ALL
This is to inform you that on March 24, SOONEST. REQUIRED DOCUMENTS AND WILL BE
1979, we received a cable from Capt. DELIVERED ON BOARD.
Rogelio Bisula, Master of the above- On March 25, 1979 we received the
reference vessel reading as follows: following communication from the Master of For your further information and guidance,
said vessel: the abovementioned demands of the
URINFO ENTIRE JANNU OFFICERS AND officers and crew (25% increase in basic
CREW NOT CONTENTED WITH OFFICERS AND CREW HESITATING TO pay, increase in overtime pay and increase
PRESENT SALARY BASED ON VOLUME GIVE UP DEMAND OF FIFTY PERCENT in representation allowance) involve an
OF WORK TYPE OF SHIP WITH INCREASE BUT FOR THE GOOD AND additional amount of US$3,096.50 per
HAZARDOUS CARGO AND REGISTERED HARMONIOUS RELATIONSHIP ON month, which our company is not in a
IN A WORLDWIDE TRADE STOP WHAT BOARD AND RECONSIDERING YOUR position to shoulder.
WE DEMAND IS ONLY FIFTY PERCENT SUPPOSED TO BE LOSSES IN CASE WE
INCREASE BASED ON PRESENT BASIC CONDITIONALLY COOPERATE WITH We are, therefore, negotiating with our
SALARY STOP THIS DEMAND THE BEST YOUR PROPOSED INCREASE AND Principals, Messrs. Kyoei Tanker Company,
AND ONLY SOLUTION TO SOLVE TWENTY FIVE PERCENT BASED ON Limited, for the amendment of our agency
agreement in the sense that our monthly fee For your information, we have discussed
be increased correspondingly. We have this matter with the owners of the vessel, As we have advised in our afore-mentioned
sent our Executive Vice-President, Mr. particularly the attitude and mentality of your letter, we have negotiated with our
Ericson M. Marquez, to Japan to represent crew on board. Our common and final Principals, Messrs. Kyoei Tanker Co., Ltd.,
us in said negotiation and we will inform you decision is not to grant your request but also to amend our Agency Agreement by
of the results thereof. (Annex "E" of Petition) to terminate our Manning Agreement increasing our monthly fee by US$3,096.50,
effective upon crew's change when the and attached herewith is copy of our letter
In view of private respondents' conduct and vessel arrives at Japan or at any possible dated March 26, 1979 duly received by our
breach of contract, petitioner's principal, port about end April, 1979. Principals on March 31, 1979.
Kyoei Tanker Co., Ltd. terminated the
manning contract in a letter dated April 4, We regret that we have to take this drastic In this connection, we wish to inform your
1979, which reads in part; step in order to protect ourselves from good office that our Principals have refused
further problem if we continue with your to consider our request for an increase and
This is with reference to your letter of March present officers and crew because if their have also advised us of their final decision
26, 1979 and our conference with Mr. demand is granted, there is no guarantee to terminate our Manning Agreement
Ericson Marquez in Tokyo on March 29, that they will not demand further increase in effective upon vessel's arrival in Japan on
1979, regarding the unexpected and salaries in the future when they have or about April 17, 1979.
unreasonable demand for salary increase of chance. Also, as you know the present
your officers and crew on the above vessel. freight market is very bad and we cannot For your further information, we enclose
afford an unexpected increase in cost of herewith xerox copy of the Kyoei Tanker
Frankly speaking, we fully agree with you operations and more so with a troublesome Co., Ltd. letter dated April 4, 1979, which we
that this action taken by your officers and and unreliable crew that you have on board. just received today via airfreight.
crew in demanding increase in their salaries
and overtime after being on board for only In view of the circumstances mentioned This is the first time that a cancellation of
three months was very unreasonable. above, please consider this letter as our this nature has been made upon us, and
Considering the circumstances when the official notice of cancellation of our Manning needless to say, we feel very embarrassed
demand was made, we believe that their Agreement effective upon the date of crew's and disappointed but we have no other
action was definitely abusive and plain change. (Annex "F" of Petition). alternative but to accept the said
blackmail. cancellation.
On April 6, 1979, petitioner wrote the NSB
We regret to advise you that since this asking permission to cancel the manning In view of the foregoing, we respectfully
vessel is only under our management, we contract with petitioner, said letter reading request your authority to cancel our
also cannot afford to grant your request for as follows: Contracts of Employment and to disembark
an increase of US$3,096.50 effective March the entire officers and crew upon vessel's
1, 1979, as demanded by your crew. Your This is with reference to our letter of March arrival in Japan on or about 17th April,
crew should respect their employment 26, 1979, informing you of the sudden and 1979. (Annex "G", of Petition).
contracts which was approved by your unexpected demands of the officers and
government and your National Seamen crew of the above vessel for a twenty five On April 10, 1979, the NSB through its
Board should make sure that all seamen percent (25%) increase in their basic Executive Director Cresencio C. Dayao
should follow their contracts. salaries and overtime, plus an increase of wrote petitioner authorizing it to cancel the
the officers' representation allowances, manning contract. The NSB letter to
involving a total of US$3,096.50 per month. petitioner reads:
existence of such threats and intimidation
We have for acknowledgment your letter of In its petition which contains practically the which the respondent NLRC failed and
6 April 1979 in connection with the above- same facts and circumstances above- refused to consider; and that the evidence
captioned subject. quoted, petitioner submits for Our resolution substantially and conclusively shows that
the following issues: the petitioner Vir-jen was, in fact, threatened
Considering the circumstances enumerated and intimidated into giving such salary
in your letter under reply (and also in your I. That the respondent NLRC acted increases due to such cabled threats and
letter of March 1979), we authorize you to without or in excess of its jurisdiction, or intimidation of the private respondents;
cancel your contracts of employment with with grave abuse of discretion in said NSB
the crew/members of the M/T "Jannu" and Cases Nos. 2250-79 and 2252-79 when it III. That the respondent NLRC acted
you may now disembark the whole adjudged the petitioner Vir-jen liable to the with grave abuse of discretion or without or
compliment upon the vessel's arrival in respondents-seamen for terminating its in excess of jurisdiction when it concluded,
Japan on or about April 17, 1979. employment contracts with them despite the in effect, that the respondents-seamen
fact that prior authorization to terminate or acted within their rights when they imposed
We trust that you will not encounter any cancel said employment contracts and to upon their employer, the herein petitioner,
difficulty in connection with the disembark the said respondents was first their demands for salary and wages
disembarkation of the crew/members. secured from and was granted by, the increases, in disregard of their existing
(Annex "H" of Petition). National Seamen Board, the government NSB-approved contracts of employment,
agency primarily charged with the notwithstanding the substantial and
The seamen were accordingly disembarked supervision and discipline of seamen and conclusive findings of the NSB, the trier of
in Japan and repatriated to Manila. They the approval and enforcement of facts which is in the best position to assess
then filed a complaint with the NSB for employment contracts; the special circumstances of the case, that
illegal dismissal and non-payment of wages. the said respondents breached their
After trial, the NSB found that the II. That the respondent NLRC acted respective contracts of employment with the
termination of the services of the seamen with grave abuse of discretion, or without or petitioner, without securing the prior
before the expiration of their employment in excess of its jurisdiction, or contrary to approval of the NSB as required by the New
contract was justified "when they demanded law and the evidence when it concluded that Labor Code, as amended, and with the use
and in fact received from the company "there is nothing on record to show that of threats, intimidation and coercion, when
wages over and above the contracted rates respondents-seamen made any threat that they demanded and, in fact, received from
which in effect was an alteration and they would complain or report to the ITF the petitioner salaries or wages over and
modification of a valid and existing contract their low wage rates if their demand or above their contracted rates which the
..." (Annex "D", Petition). The seamen proposal for a wage increase was not met", petitioner was "constrained to make" in
appealed the decision to the NLRC which despite the fact that in their cable of March order "to prevent the vessel from being
reversed the decision of the NSB and 23, 1979 to the petitioner, the said interdicted and/or detained by the ITF
required the petitioner to pay the wages and respondents made the following threats and because at the time the demand for salary
other monetary benefits corresponding to impositions: "WHAT WE DEMAND IS ONLY increase was made the vessel was en route
the unexpired portion of the manning 50 PERCENT INCREASE BASED ON to Kwinana, Australia (via Senipah,
contract on the ground that the termination PRESENT BASIC SALARY STOP THIS Indonesia), a port were the ITF is strong
of the said contract by petitioner was DEMAND THE BEST AND ONLY and militant," "for in the event the vessel
without valid cause. Hence, the present SOLUTION TO SOLVE ITF PROBLEMS", would be detained and/or interdicted the
petition. (Pp. 2-9, Manifestation & that there are other substantial and company (petitioner) would suffer more
Comment) conclusive evidence to support the
losses than paying the seamen 25 % appellants in the two (2) aforementioned vs. The Hon. Minister of Labor, et al., G.R
increase of their salary"; NSB cases and making him a beneficiary of No. 50734, prom. February 20, 1981,
its decision, dated July 8, 1981, modifying despite distinct and fundamental differences
IV. That respondent NLRC committed a the NSB decision, dated July 2, 1980, in facts between the Wallem Case and the
grave abuse of discretion or exceeded its despite the fact that way back on October instant case;
jurisdiction or acted contrary to law when it 23, 1980, Acosta had already filed in said
failed and refused to admit and take into NSB cases a pleading, entitled X. That the respondent NLRC
account the ADDENDUM AGREEMENT, "SATISFACTION OF JUDGMENT" in which committed a grave abuse of discretion or
dated December 27, 1978, entered into he manifested that he was not appealing the acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction
between the petitioner and the private NSB decision anymore as the judgment in or acted contrary to law when it failed and
respondents, which would have further his favor was already fully satisfied by the refused to consider and pass upon the
enlightened the respondent NLRC on the petitioner Vir-jen; substantial issues of jurisdiction, law and
"ITF PROBLEMS" insinuated by the private facts and matters of public interests raised
respondents in their cable of March 23, VII. That the respondent NLRC had no by the petitioner in its URGENT
1979 to threaten and intimidate the more jurisdiction to entertain private MOTION/APPELLEE'S MEMORANDUM
petitioner into granting the salary increases respondents' appeal because the NSB ON APPEAL, dated April 24, 1981, and in
in question; decision became final and executory for its MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
failure of said respondents to serve on he AND/OR NEW TRIAL, dated July 20, 1981,
V. That respondent NLRC committed a petitioner a copy of their "APPEAL AND filed in the two (2) cases;
grave abuse of discretion or acted without MEMORANDUM OF APPEAL" within the
or in excess of its jurisdiction or contrary to ten (10) day reglementary period for appeal XI. That the respondent NLRC
law when it ordered the petitioner Vir-jen to and even after the expiration of said period; committed a grave abuse of discretion or
pay, among others, to the private acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or
respondents their "wages corresponding to VIII. That the respondent NLRC had no contrary to law when it failed and refused to
the unexpired portion of their contracts" the jurisdiction to entertain the appeal by the reconsider and set aside its decision
said petitioner having already lost its trust private respondents based on the subject-matter of this petition for certiorari,
and confidence on the private respondents; supposedly verified "APPEAL AND considering Chat if allowed to stand, the
that the employer cannot be legally MEMORANDUM OF APPEAL" because the said decision will open the floodgates for
compelled to continue with the employment supposed signature of the person Filipino seamen to disregard NSB-approved
of persons in whom it has already lost its purportedly verifying the same is forged; contracts of employment with impunity,
trust and confidence; that payment to the and that the new counsel appearing for the leading to the destruction of the Philippine
private respondents of their wages private respondents on appeal was not even manning industry, which is a substantial
corresponding to the unexpired portion of authorized by some of the private source of revenue for the Philippine
their contract would be tantamount to respondents to appear for them; government, as well as the image of the
retaining their services after their employer, Filipino seamen who will undoubtedly
petitioner herein, had already lost its faith IX. That the respondent NLRC become known far and wide as one prone
and trust in them; committed a grave abuse of discretion or to violate the solemnity of employment
acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or contracts, compounded with the use of
VI. That the respondent NLRC contrary to law when it misconstrued, threats, intimidation and blackmail, thereby
committed a grave abuse of discretion or misinterpreted and misapplied to the instant necessitating a policy decision by this
exceeded its jurisdiction in still including and case the ruling of this Honorable Supreme Honorable Supreme Court on the matter for
considering ROMEO ACOSTA as one of the Court in Wallem Philippines Shipping, Inc.
the survival of the manning industry. (Pp. 5- words, since Article 223 of the Labor Code shortened period of ten (10) days fixed by
9, Record.) literally provides thus: Article 223 contemplates calendar days and
not working days. We are persuaded to this
We shall deal first with the jurisdictional Appeal. Decisions, awards, or orders of conclusion, if only because We believe that
issue (No. VII above) to the effect that the the Labor Arbiters or compulsory arbitrators it is precisely in the interest of labor that the
appeal of private respondents from the are final and executory unless appealed to law has commanded that labor cases be
decision of the National Seamen's Board the Commission by any or both of the promptly, if not peremptorily, dispose of.
against them was filed out of time, parties within ten (10) days from receipt of Long periods for any acts to be done by the
considering that copy of said decision was such awards, orders, or decisions. Such contending parties can be taken advantage
received by them on July 9, 1980 and they appeal may be entertained only on any of of more by management than by labor. Most
filed their memorandum of appeal only on the following grounds: labor claims are decided in their favor and
July 23, 1980 or fourteen (14) days later, management is generally the appellant.
whereas under article 223 of the Labor (a) If there is a prima facie evidence of Delay, in most instances, gives the
Code which governs appeals from the abuse of discretion on the part of the labor employers more opportunity not only to
National Seamen's Board to the National Arbiter or compulsory arbitrator; prepare even ingenious defenses, what with
Labor Relations Commission per Article well-paid talented lawyers they can afford,
20(b) of the Code provides that such (b) If the decision, order, or award was but even to wear out the efforts and meager
appeals must be made within ten (10) days. secured through fraud or coercion, including resources of the workers, to the point that
graft and corruption; not infrequently the latter either give up or
In this connection, it is contended in the compromise for less than what is due them.
comment of private respondents that (c) If made purely on questions of law;
petitioner has overlooked that under Section and All the foregoing notwithstanding, and
7, Rule XIII,, Book V of the Implementing bearing in mind the peculiar circumstances
Rules of the Labor Code, the ten-day period (d) If serious errors in the findings of of this case, particularly, the fact that private
specified in Article 223 refers to working facts are raised which would cause grave or respondents must have been misled by the
days and that this Court has already upheld irreparable damage or injury to the implementing rules aforementioned. We
such construction and manner of appellant. have opted to just the same pass on the
computation in Fabula vs. NLRC, G.R. No. merits of the substantial issues herein, even
54247, December 19, 1980. Now, To discourage frivolous or dilatory appeals, as We admonish all concerned to
computing the number of working days from the Commission or the Labor Arbiter shall henceforth act in accordance with our
July 9 to July 23, 1980 We find that there impose reasonable penalty, including fines foregoing view. Verily, the Minister of Labor
were exactly ten (10) days, hence, if We or censures, upon the erring parties. has no legal power to amend or alter in any
adhere to Fabula, the appeal in question material sense whatever the law itself
must be held to have been made on time. the implementing rules may not provide that unequivocally specifies or fixes.
the said period should be computed on the
But petitioner herein maintains that the basis of working days. This, indeed, is a We need not ponder long on the contention
Minister of Labor may not, under the guise legal issue not brought up nor passed upon of petitioner regarding the alleged forgery of
of issuing implementing rules of a law as squarely in Fabula, and petitioner prays that the signature of respondent Rogelio Bisula
authorized by the law itself, go beyond the this Court rule on the point once and for all. and the alleged lack of authority of the new
clear and unmistakable language of the law counsel of respondents, Atty. B. C.
and expand it at his discretion. In other After mature and careful deliberation, We Gonzales, to appear for them. Resolution of
have arrived at the conclusion that the these minor points, considering their highly
controversial nature, so much so that they Filipino crew members (private dictated by national interest. There are
could rationally to our mind, be decided respondents), but also those of other about 120,000 registered seamen with the
either way, may be dispensed with in order Filipino seamen in general as well as the NSB. Only about 50,000 of them are
that We may go to the more country itself. Accordingly, Article 12 of the employed and 70,000 or so are still hoping
transcendentally important main issues Labor Code provides that it is the policy of to be employed. Those Filipino seamen
before Us. the State not only "to insure and regulate already employed on board foreign-going
the movement of workers in conformity with ships should accordingly conduct
As far as issue No. VI above regarding the the national interest" but also "to insure themselves with utmost propriety and abide
inclusion of Romeo Acosta among the careful selection of Filipino workers for strictly with the terms and conditions of their
beneficiaries of the decision herein in overseas employment in order to protect the employment contract, and the NSB should
question, there can be no reason why good name of the Philippines abroad". The see to that, in order that owners of
petitioner should not be sustained. It is National Seamen Board (NSB), which is the foreignowned vessels will not only be
undenied that Acosta has filed a formal agency created to implement said state encouraged to renew their employment
satisfaction of judgment. Indeed, it is quite policies, is thus empowered pursuant to contract but will moreover be induced to hire
relevant to mention at this point that Article 20 of the Labor Code "to secure the other Filipino seamen as against other
originally, there were twenty-eight (28) best possible terms and conditions of competing foreign sailors. (Pp. 15-17,
claimants against petitioner, This number employment for seamen, and to insure Manifestation & Comment of the Solicitor
was first reduced to fifteen (15) then to ten compliance thereof" not only on the part of General)
(10) and finally to nine (9) now, by the owners of the vessel but also on the part
withdrawal of the claimants themselves. of the crew members themselves. Pertinently, the Labor Code of the
These series of withdrawals lend no little Philippines provides for the creation of a
degree to added enlightenment of the Conformably to the power vested in the National Seamen Board (NSB) thus:
discussion hereunder of the adverse NSB, the law requires that all manning
positions of the remaining claimants, on the contracts shall be approved by said agency. ART. 20. National Seamen Board.(a) A
one hand, and the petitioner, on the other. It likewise provides that "it shall be unlawful National Seamen Board is hereby created
to substitute or alter any previously which shall developed and maintain a
To begin with, let it be borne in mind that approved and certified employment contract comprehensive program for Filipino seamen
seamen's contracts of the nature We have without the approval of NSB" (Section 35, employed overseas. It shall have the power
before Us now are not ordinary ones. There Rules and Regulations in the recruitment and duty:
are specie, laws and rules governing them and placement of Filipino seamen aboard
precisely due to the peculiar circumstances foreign going ships) and authorizes the (1) To provide free placement services
that surround them. Relatedly, We quote employer or owner of the vessel to for seamen;
from the Manifestation and Comment of the terminate such contract for just causes
Solicitor General: (Section 32, Ibid). Among such just causes (2) To regulate and supervise the
for termination are "bad conduct and activities of agents or representatives of
The employment contract in question is unwanted presence prejudicial to the safety shipping companies in the hiring of seamen
unlike any ordinary contract of employment, of the ship" (Guidebook for shipping for overseas employment; and secure the
for the reason that a manning contract employers, page 8) and material breach of best possible terms of employment for
involves the interests not only of the said contract. contract seamen workers and secure
signatories thereto, such as the local compliance therewith; and
Filipino recruiting agent (herein petitioner), The stringent rules governing Filipino
the foreign owner of the vessel, and the seamen aboard foreign, going ships are
(3) To maintain a complete registry of all (b) If the decision, order or award was discontinue the employment of herein
Filipino seamen. secured through fraud or coercion, including respondents?
graft and corruption;
(b) The Board shall have original and 3. As a matter of fact, did respondent
exclusive jurisdiction over all matters or (c) If made purely on questions of breach their contract with petitioner, so as to
cases including money claims, involving law;and entitle the latter to take the punitive action
employer-employee relations, arising out of herein complained of?
or by virtue of any law or contracts involving (d) If serious errors in the findings of
Filipino seamen for overseas employment. facts are raised which would cause grave or 4. Was the conformity of petitioner to
The decision of the Board shall be irreparable damage or injury to the pay respondents additional compensation of
appealable to the National Labor Relations appellant. 25% secured by said respondents thru
Commission upon the same grounds threats of grave injury to petitioner who,
provided in Article 223 hereof. The To discourage frivolous or dilatory appeals, therefore, acceded to such increase
decisions of the National Labor Relations the Commission or the Labor Arbiter shall involuntarily?
Commission shall be final and inappealable. impose reasonable penalty, including fines
or censures, upon the erring parties. We feel that the resolution of the instant
The finality and unappealability of the controversy hinges on whether or not it was
decisions of the National Labor Relations In all cases, the appellant shall furnish a violative of law and policy in the light of the
Commission conferred by the above copy of the memorandum of appeals to the peculiar nature of the contracts in question
provisions in cases of the nature now before other party who shall file an answer not later as already explained at the outset of this
Us necessarily limits Our power in the than ten (10) days from receipt thereof. opinion, for the respondents to make the
premises to the exercise of Our plenary demand for an increase of 50% of their
certiorari jurisdiction. And under the scheme xxx xxx xxx respective wages stipulated in their NSB
of said Article 20, in relation to Article 223 of approved contracts while they were already
the same Code, the reviewing authority of In the light of the foregoing perspective of in the midst of the voyage to Kwinana,
the Commission is limited only to the law and policy, all the other issues raised by Australia (an ITF controlled post), pointedly
following instances: petitioner may be disposed of together. mentioning in their cablegram that such
Anyway they revolve basically around the "demand (was) the best and only solution to
Appeal.Decisions, awards, or orders of following questions: solve ITF problem"?
the Labor Arbiters or compulsory arbitrators
are final and executory unless appealed to 1. In the event of conflict in the On these questions, the NSB found and
the Commission by any or both of the conclusions of the National Seamen Board, held:
parties within ten (10) days from receipt of on the one hand, and the National Labor
such awards, orders, or decisions. Such Relations Commission on the other, on a 1. Whether or not the Seamen
appeal may be entertained only on any of matter that is fundamentally an issue of fact, breached their respective employment
the following grounds: which one should prevail? contracts;

(a) If there is prima facie evidence of 2. Under the facts of this case, was it 2. Whether or not the Seamen were
abuse of discretion on the part of the Labor legally proper for the Commission to illegally dismissed by the Company;
Arbiter or compulsory arbitrator; disregard the permission granted by the
NSB to the petitioner to disembark and 3. Whether or not the monetary claims
of the seamen are valid and meritorious;
proposal of 25% increase to prevent the REURVIR-JEN-15 OFFICERS AND CREW
4. Whether or not the monetary claims vessel from being interdicted and/or HESITATING TO GIVE UP DEMAND OF
of the Company are valid and meritorious; detained by the ITF because at the time the 50 PERCENT INCREASE BUT FOR GOOD
demand for salary increase was made the AND HARMONIOUS RELATIONSHIP
5. Whether or not disciplinary action vessel was enroute to Kwinana, Australia ONBOARD AND RECONSIDERING YOUR
should be taken against the Seamen. (via Senipah, Indonesia), a port where the SUPPOSE TO BE LOSSES IN CASE WE
ITF is strong and militant. However, a CONDITIONALLY COOPERATE WITH
With respect to the first issue, the Board perusal of the Cables (Exhs. "D" & "F", "3" & YOUR PROPOSE INCREASE OF 25
believes that the answer should be in the "5") coming from the Seamen addressed to PERCENT BASED ON INDIVIDUAL
affirmative. This is so for the Seamen the Company would show the threatening MONTHLY BASIC PAY WITH FOLLOWING
demanded and in fact received from the manner by which the desire for a salary TERMS AND CONDITIONS AA
Company wages over and above their increase was manifested, contrary to their EFFECTIVITY OF 25 PERCENT
contracted rates, which in effect is an claim that it was merely a request. Aforesaid INCREASE MUST BE MARCH/79 PLUS
alteration or modification of a valid and cables are hereby quoted for ready SPECIAL COMPENSATION MENTIONED
subsisting contract; and the same not reference: URCAB VIRJEN-14 BB NEW COMPANY
having been done thru mutual consent and CIRCULAR ON UPGRADED NEW
without the prior approval of the Board the RYCV-11-12-13-14 RECEIVED URINFO SALARY SCALE DULY SIGNED AND
alteration or modification is contrary to the ENTIRE JANNU OFFICERS AND CREW APPROVED BE FORWARDED KWINANA
provisions of the New Labor Code, as NOT AGREEABLE WITH YOUR AUSTRALIA OR HANDCARRIED BY
amended, more particularly Art. 34 (i) SUGGESTIONS THEY ARE NOT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TO DISCUSS
thereof which states that: CONTENTED WITH PRESENT SALARY MATTERS OFFICIALLY CC 25 PERCENT
BASED IN VOLUME OF WORKS TYPE OF INCREASE MUST BE COLLECTABLE
Art. 34. Prohibited practices.It shall be SHIP WITH HAZARDOUS CARGO AND ONBOARD EFFECTIVE ABOVE DATE
unlawful for any individual, entity, licensee REGISTERED IN A WORLD WIDE TRADE UNTIL DISEMBARKATION STOP
or holder of authority: STOP REGARDING URCABV-14 ALLOTMENT TO ALLOTTEES REMAIN AS
OFFICERS AND CREW NOT IS DD REASONABLE REPALLOWS FOR
xxx xxx xxx INTERESTED IN ITF MEMBERSHIP IF ALL OFFICERS BE GIVEN EFFECTIVE
NOT ACTUALLY PAID WITH ITF RATE MARCH/79 EE BONUS FOR 6 MONTHS
(i) To substitute or alter employment STOP WHAT WE DEMAND IS ONLY 50 SERVICE RENDERED BE COLLECTIBLE
contracts approved and verified by the PERCENT INCREASE BASED ON ONBOARD FF OFFICERS/CREW 30
Department of Labor from the time of actual PRESENT BASIC SALARY STOP THIS PERCENT' OT SHOULD BE BASED NEW
signing thereof by the parties up to and DEMAND THE BEST AND ONLY UPGRADED SALARY SCALE GG
including the period of expiration of the SOLUTION TO SOLVE ITF PROBLEM MASTER/CHENGR/CHMATE SPECIAL
same without the approval of the DUE YOUR PRESENT RATE ESPECIALLY COMPENSATION GIVE BY YOUR
Department of Labor; IN TANKERS VERY FAR IN COMPANY PRIOR DEPARTURE MANILA
COMPARISON WITH OTHER SHIPPING BE REMAIN AS IS STOP THE ABOVE
xxx xxx xxx AGENCIES IN MANILA STOP LET US TERMS AND CONDITIONS SHOULD BE
SHARE EQUALLY THE FRUITS OF PROPERLY ENFORCE AND
The revision of the contract was not done LONELINESS SACRIFICES AND DOCUMENTED ALSO COPIES AND
thru mutual consent for the Company did HARDSHIP WE ARE ENCOUNTERING ON FORWARDED ONBOARD ON ARRIVAL
not voluntarily agree to an increase of wage, BOARD WE REMAIN ... KWINANA AUSTRALIA CONFIRM ...
but was only constrained to make a counter-
While the Board recognizes the rights of the Tanker, Ltd., justified the termination of the greater benefits not only for themselves but
Seamen to seek higher wages provided the Seamen's services. for their families as well ..." and the
increase is arrived at thru mutual consent, it "Constitution itself guarantees the
could not however, sanction the same if the With respect to the third issue the following promotion of social welfare and protection to
consent of the employer is secured thru are the findings of the Board: labor." In this care, records show that it was
threats, intimidation or force. In the case at impressed on the Seamen that their vessel
bar, the Company was compelled to accede As regards the claim of the Seamen for the would be trading only in Caribbean ports.
to the demand of the Seamen for a salary payment of their salaries for the unexpired This was admitted by the Company in its
increase to forestall the possibility of the portion of their employment contracts the cable to the Seamen on 10 January 1979.
vessel being interdicted by the ITF at same should be denied. This is so because After the conclusion of their contracts,
Kwinana, Australia, for in the event the of the findings of the Board that their however, and after they had boarded the
vessel would be detained and/or interdicted dismissal was legal and for a just cause. vessel, the principals of the Company
the Company would suffer more losses than Awards of this nature is proper only in cases directed the vessel to can at different ports
paying the Seamen 25% increase of their where a seafarer is illegally dismissed. (Pp. or to engage in "worldwide trade" which is
148-151, Record) admittedly more difficult and hazardous than
With respect to the second issue, the Board trading in only one maritime area. This is a
believes that the termination of the services Disagreeing with the foregoing findings of substantial change in the original
of the Seamen was legal and in accordance the NSB, the NLRC held: understanding of the parties. Thus, in their
with the provisions of their respective cable asking for a wage increase, the
employment contracts. Considering the The more important issue to be resolved in Seamen expressed their dissatisfaction by
findings of the Board that the Seamen this case, however, is the question of informing the Company that they were "not
breached their contracts, their subsequent whether the Seamen violated their contented with (their) present salary based
repatriation was justified. While it may be employment contracts when they demanded on volume of work, type of ship with
true that the Seamen were hired for a or proposed and in fact accepted wages hazardous cargo and registered in world
definite period their services could be over and above their contracted rates. wide trade."(emphasis supplied.) With such
terminated prior to the completion of the fun Stated otherwise, could the Seamen change in the original agreement of the
term thereof for a just and valid cause. rightfully demand or propose the revision of parties, we find that the Seamen were well
their employment contracts? While they within their rights in demanding for the
It may be stated in passing that Vir-jen concede that they are bound by their revision of their contract rates.
Shipping & Marine Services, Inc., despite contracts, the Seamen claim that their cable
the fact that it was compelled to accede to a asking for the revision of their contract rates We also note that the Company was not
25% salary increase for the Seamen, tried was a valid exercise of their right to exactly in good faith in contracting the
to convince its principal Kyoei Tanker, Ltd. grievance. service of the Seamen. During his briefing in
to an adjustment in their agency fee to Manila, the Company instructed the master
answer for the 25% increase, but the latter The right to grievance is recognized in this of the vessel, complainant Bisula, to
not only denied the request but likewise jurisdiction even if there is a valid and prepare two (2) sets of payrolls, one set
terminated their Manning, Agreement. The subsisting contract, especially where there reflecting the actual salary rates of the
Seamen's breach of their employment are supervening facts or events of which a Seamen and the other showing higher rates
contracts and the subsequent termination of party to the contract was not apprised at the based on Panamanian Shipping articles
the Manning Agreement of Vir-jen Shipping time of its conclusion. As pointed out by the which approximate those prescribed by ITF
& Marine Services, Inc. with the Kyoei Supreme Court in the Wallem case, supra, it for its member seafarers. In compliance with
"is a basic right of all working men to seek this instruction, Bisula prepared the latter
payrolls. These payrolls were intended for condition, it was but well and proper for certain platforms. They certainly believe that
the consumption of ITF if and when the respondents to make a proposal for Vir-jen have no choice because the vessel
vessel called on ports where ITF rates were increase of their wages, which petitioner is going to ITF port so they called a general
operational, the evident purpose being to could accept or reject. We do not see it that meeting conducted at the bridge during my
show ITF that the Company was paying the way. duty hours in the afternoon. All engine and
same rates prescribed by said labor deck personnel were present in that
federation and thereby prevent the Definitely, the reference in the cablegram to meeting. (Pp. 19-20, Record.)
interdiction of the vessel. And when the the conformity of petitioner to respondents'
vessel was en route to Australia, an ITF- demand was "the best and only solution to Well taken, indeed, is the Solicitor General's
controlled port, the Company arranged for ITF problem" had an undertone which observation that:
the Seamen's membership with ITF and naturally placed petitioner hardly in a
actually paid their membership fees without position to answer them with a flat denial. It Private respondents'conduct is uncalled for.
their knowledge and consent, thereby would be the acme of naivete for Us to go While employees may be free to request
exposing them to the danger of being along with the contention that the cablegram their employers to increase their wages,
disciplined by the NSB Secretariat for of March 23, 1979 was a mere proposal and they should not use threat of such a nature
having affiliated with ITF. All these have to had no trace nor tint of threat at all. Indeed, and in such a situation as to put the
be mentioned here to better understand the it is alleged in the petition and there is no employer at their complete mercy and with
feelings of the Seamen when they asked for denial thereof that on April 23, 1979, Chief no choice but to accede to their demands or
the revision of their wage rates. 2 (Pp. 83- Mate Jacobo Catabay of the M/T Jannu, to face bankruptcy. This is what private
85, Record) who was among the claimants at first, respondents did, which is an act of bad
revealed that: conduct prejudicial to the vessel, and a
Comparing these two decisions, We do not material breach of the existing manning
hesitate to hold that the NLRC overstepped On April 23, 1979, Chief Mate Jacobo H. contract. It has adverse consequences that
the boundaries of its reviewing authority and Catabay of the M/T Jannu, in a signed led not only to the termination of the existing
was overlenient. Whether or not statement-report to the petitioner, marked manning contract but to the rejection by
respondents had breached their contract wit and admitted in evidence as Exh. "10-A" Kyoei Tanker Co. Ltd. of petitioner's offer to
petitioner is a factual issue, the peculiar during the trial stated, as follows: supply crew members to three other
nuances of which were better known to the vessels, thereby depriving unemployed
NSB, the fact-finding authority. Indeed, even On our departure at Keelung, we did not Filipino seamen of the opportunity to work
if it was nothing more than the interpretation have destination until three (3) days later on said vessels. Thus, in a letter dated May
of the cablegram sent by respondents to that Harman cabled us to proceed to 17, 1979, Kyoei Tanker Co. Ltd. wrote
petitioner on March 23, 1979 that were the Senipah, Indonesia to load fun cargo to be petitioner as follows:
only question to be resolved, that is, discharged at Kwinana , Australia. Captain
whether or not it carried with it or connoted told everyone that if only we stayed so long This is with reference to your letter of Feb.
a threat which naturally panicked petitioner, with the ship, he will report to ITF personally 23, 1979, submitting your manning offers on
which, to be sure, could be a question of in order to get back wages. In view that we our three (3) managed vessels for delivery
law, still, as We see it, the conclusion of the only worked for three months so the back as follows:
NLRC cannot be justified. wages is so small and does not worth. From
that time on, Chief Engr. and Captain have 1. M/V "Maya" crew,delivery end
The NLRC ruled that in the exercise of their a nightly closed door conference they May, 1979,
right to present any grievances they had arrived at the conclusion to ask for 50%
and in their desire to alleviate their salary increase and they have modified a
2. M/T "Cedar" 28 crew, delivery these two entities framed by the Labor appellate, according to Article 20 (b), read in
end June, 1979, Code, the NSB is not only charged directly relation to Article 223, principally, over
with the administration of shipping questions of law, since as to factual matters,
3. M/T "Global Oath" 30 crew, companies in the hiring of seamen for it may exercise such appellate jurisdiction
delivery end, June 1979. overseas employment by seeing to it that only "if errors in the findings of fact are
our seamen "secure the best possible terms raised which would cause grave or
In this connection, we wish to advise you of employment for contract seamen workers irreparable damage or injury to the
that, as a result of our unpleasant and secure compliance therewith." Its appellant." (par. d)
experience with your crew on the M/T composition as of the time this controversy
"Jannu", owners have decided to give the arose is worth notingfor it is made up of The NLRC has noted in its decision that
manning contracts on the above three the Minister of Labor as Chairman, the respondents were originally made to believe
vessels to other foreign crew instead of your Deputy Minister as Vice Chairman, and a that their ship would go only to the
company. representative each of the Ministries of Caribbean ports and yet after completing
Foreign Affairs, National Defense, trips to Inchon, Korea and Kuwait and
We deeply regret that although your crew Education and Culture, the Central Bank, Keelung, Taiwan, it was suddenly directed
performance on our other four (4) vessels the Bureau of Employment Service, a to call at Kwinana, Australia, an ITF
have been satisfactory, we were unable to worker's organization and an employee's controlled port. The record shows that this
persuade owners to consider your organization and the Executive Director of imputation is more apparent than real, for
Philippine crew because of the bad attitude the Overseas Employment Development respondents knew from the very moment
and actuation of your crew manned on Board. (Article 23, Labor Code) It is such a they were hired that world-wide voyages or
board M/T "Jannu". board that has to approve all contracts of destinations were contemplated in their
Filipino seamen (Article 18, Labor Code). agreement. So much so that corresponding
As we have already advised you, owners And after such approval, the contract steps had to be taken to avoid interference
have spent more than US$30,000.00 to becomes unalterable, it being "unlawful" of or trouble about the ITF upon the ship's
replace the crew of M/T "Jannu" in Japan under Article 34 of the Code "for any arrival at ITF controlled ports. As already
last April 19, 1979 which would have been individual, entity, licensee or holder of stated earlier, the ITF requires the seamen
saved if your crew did not violate their authority: (i) to substitute or alter working on any vessel calling at ports
employment contracts.(Annex "K"of employment contracts approved and controlled by them to be paid the rates fixed
Petition), verified by Department of Labor from the by the ITF which are much higher than
time of actual signing thereof by the parties those provided in the contract's signed here,
In the light of all the foregoing and the law up to and including the period of expiration to the extent of causing tremendous loss if
and policy on the matter, it is submitted that of the same without the approval of the not bankruptcy of the employer.
there was valid justification on the part of Department of Labor." In other words, it is
petitioner and/or its principal to terminate not only that contracts may not be altered or And so, as revealed to the NLRC later, in
the manning contract. (Pp. 12-14, modified or amended without mutual anticipation precisely of such peril to the
Manifestation and Comment of the Solicitor consent of the parties thereto; it is further employer and ultimate unemployment of the
General.) necessary to have the change approved by seamen, in the instant case, the usual
the Department, otherwise, the guilty parties procedure undeniably known to
At first glance it might seem that the would be penalized. respondents of having two payroll's, one
judgment of the NLRC should have more containing the actually agreed rates and the
weight than that of NSB. Having in view, The power of the NLRC in relation to the other ITF rates, the latter to be shown to the
however, the set up and relationship of works and actuations of the NSB is only ITF in order that the ship may not be
detained or interdicted in Kwinana, was caught unaware, or by surprise when they 2. WHEREAS, the parties hereby
followed. But according to the NLRC, this were advised that the ship would proceed to further agree and covenant that should the
practice constitutes deception and bad faith, Kwinana, Australia, even assuming they above-mentioned vessel enter, dock or drop
and worse, it is an effect within the had been somehow informed that they anchor in ports of other countries, the
prohibition against alteration of contracts would sail to the Caribbean. Said side Crewmember shall not demand, ask or
approved by the NSB, considering there is agreements textually provide: receive, and the Company shall have no
nothing to show that NSB was made aware obligation to pay the Crewmember,
of the so-called addendum or side KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS: salaries,, wages and/or benefits over and
agreement to the effect that should the ship above those provided for in the employment
manned by respondents be made to call an This Addendum Agreement entered into by contract submitted to, verified and approved
any ITF controlled port, the contract with ITF and between KYOEI TANKER CO., LTD., by the National Seamen Board, which shall
rates would be shown and, if for any reason, Principals, of the vessel M.T. "JANNU", remain in full force and effect between the
the respondents are required to be actually represented herein by VIR-JEN SHIPPING parties. The Company as well as the
paid higher rates and they are so paid, the & MARINE SERVICES, INC., Manila, Owners,, Charterers, Agents shall neither
excess over the rates agreed in the NSB Philippines, as Manning Agents (hereinafter be held accountable nor liable for any
contract shall be returned to petitioner later. referred to as the Company), amount other than what is agreed upon and
stipulated in the aforesaid NSB-approved
It is of insubstantial moment that the side and Contracts of Employment.
agreement or addendum was not made
known to or presented as evidence before The herein-mentioned officers and crew, 3. WHEREAS, the parties likewise
the NSB. We are persuaded that more or and engaged by the Company as agree that should the vessel enter, dock or
less the NSB knows that the general crewmembers of the vessel M/T "JANNU" drop anchor in any foreign port, and in the
practice is to have such side contracts. with their positions, seaman certificate event that the Company (and/or its Owners,
More importantly, the said side contracts numbers and signatures (hereinafter Charterers, Agents), are forced, pressured,
are not meant at all to alter or modify the referred to as the Crewmember), hereunder coerced or compelled, in any way and for
contracts approved by the NSB. Rather, shown: whatever cause or reason, to pay the
they are precisely purported to enforce them Crewmember either directly or thru their
to the letter, making it clearer that even if W I T N E S S E T H that: respective allottees or other persons,
the ships have to call at ITF controlled ports, salaries and benefits higher than those
the same shall remain to be the real and 1. WHEREAS, the Crewmember is rates imposed in the NSB-approved
binding agreement between the parties, in hired and recruited as a member of the crew contract, the Crewmember hereby agrees
intentional disregard of whatever the ITF on board the vessel M/T "JANNU" with the and binds himself to receive the said
may exact. corresponding Contracts of Employment payment in behalf of, and in trust for, the
submitted to, verified and duly approved by Company (and/or its Owners, Charterers,
We hold that there was no bad faith in the National Seamen Board; that the Agents), and to return the said amount in
having said side contracts, the intent thereof employment contract referred to, has clearly full to the Company or to its agent/s in
being to put into effect the NSB directed defined the rate of salary, wages, and/or Manila, Philippines immediately upon his
arrangements that would protect the ship employment benefits for a period of one (1) and/or his allottees receipt thereof; the
manning industry from unjust and ruinning year (or twelve (12) months), and any Crewmember hereby waives formal written
effects of ITF intervention. Indeed, extension thereof. demand by the Company or its agent/s for
examining the said side agreements, it is the return thereof. The Crewmember hereby
not correct to say that the respondents were fully understands that failure or refusal by
him to return to the Company the said and above those stipulated in the NSB- the Filipino seamen and contributing to the
amount, will render him criminally liable for approved employment contracts of the development of the Philippine manning
Estafa, as provided for in the Revised Penal Crewmember, shag, likewise, be deemed industry.
Code of the Philippines, and in such case, ineffective or void from the beginning as far
the parties hereby agree that any criminal as the Crewmember is concerned, and any 8. That both the Company and the
and/or civil action in connection therewith such increases in salaries or benefits which Crewmember agree and bind themselves
shall be within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Crewmember shall receive pursuant that this Agreement shall be considered an
Philippine Courts. thereto shall be held by the Crewmembers addendum to, or as part of, the NSB-
in trust for the Company with the obligation approved employment contract entered into
4. WHEREAS, if, in order to avoid to return the same immediately upon receipt by the Company and the Crewmember.
delays to the vessels, the Company is thereof, at the Company's or its agent's
forced, pressured, coerced or compelled to office at Manila, Philippines. It is fully IN WITNESS WHEREOF, we have
sign a Collective Bargaining Agreement or understood that the rates of pay and all hereunto affixed our signatures this
any other Agreement with any foreign union, other terms and conditions embodied in the December 28, 1978 at Manila, Philippines.
particularly ITF or ITF affiliated unions, and NSB-approved employment contracts shall
to sign new crews' contract of employment be of continuing validity and effectivity THE COMPANY
stipulating higher wages, salaries or between the parties, irrespective of the VIR-JEN SHIPPING & MARINE
benefits than the NSB-approved contract, countries or ports where the said vessel SERVICES, INC.
the said agreements and contracts shall be shall enter, dock or drop anchor, and
void from the beginning and the irrespective of any agreement which the By:
Crewmember shall be deemed to have Company may enter or may have entered
automatically waived the increased salaries into with any union, particularly ITF or ITF (SGD.) CAPT. RUBEN R. BALTAZAR
and benefits stipulated in the said affiliated unions. Operations Dept.
agreements and employment contracts unto
and in favor of the Company, and shall 6. WHEREAS, it is likewise agreed that THE CREWMEMBERS
remain unalterably bound by the rates, any undertaking made by the Company
terms, and conditions of the NSB-approved and/or the National Seamen Board upon the
contract. request of the Company, imposed by any
foreign union, particularly ITF or ITF
5. WHEREAS, the parties also agree affiliated unions, which will negate or render
that should the Company, as a in effective any provisions of this Name
precautionary or anticipatory measure for agreement, shall also be considered null
the purpose of avoiding costly delays to the and void from the beginning. Position
vessel prejudicial to its own interest, decide
to negotiate and/or enter into any 7. WHEREAS, lastly, this Addendum SC#
agreement in advance with any foreign Agreement is entered into for the mutual
based union, particularly ITF or ITF affiliated interest of both parties in line with the Signature
unions, in any foreign port where the vessel Company's desire to continue the service of
involved herein may enter, dock or drop the Filipino crewmembers on board their
anchor, whatever increases in salaries or vessel and the Crewmembers'desire to
benefits to the Crewmember that the keep their employment on board the subject
Company may be compelled to give, over vessel, thus maintaining the good image of
157762 SGD.

SGD. 9.

5. Renato Oliveros

1. Pacifico Labios O/S

Ruben Arroza A/B 137132

2nd Mate 139045 SGD.

104728 SGD. 10.

SGD. 6. Rogelio Saraza

2. Ramon Javier O/S

Cresenciano Abrazaldo A/B 149635

3rd Mate 170545 SGD.

91663 SGD. 11.

SGD. 7. Nemesio Adug

3. Joaquin Cordero Pumpman

Salvador Caunan A/B 157215

Third Engr. 96556 SGD.

84995 SGD. 12.

SGD. 8. Francisco Benemerito

4. Rodolfo Crisostomo Oiler

Nilo Cruz O/S 89467

4th Engr. 162121 SGD.


13. Romeo Acosta express agreement between the employer
and the ITF representative, under which
Rufino Gutierrez Second Cook said employer bound itself to pay the crew
members salary rates similar to those of
Oiler 159960 ITF. When the crew members in the Wallem
case demanded that they be paid ITF rates,
173663 SGD. they were merely asking their employer to
comply with what had been agreed upon
SGD. 18. with the ITF representative, which conduct
on their part cannot be said to be a violation
14. Delfin Dagohoy of contract but an effort to urge performance
thereof. Such is not the situation in the case
Juol Ram Maul Messman at bar. In the case at bar, petitioner and
private respondents had a side agreement,
Oiler 144096 whereby private respondents agreed to
return to petitioner whatever amounts
84934 SGD. petitioner would be required to pay under
ITF rates. In other words, petitioner and
SGD. 19. private respondents agreed that petitioner
would not pay the ITF rate. When private
15. Jose Encabo respondents used ITF as threat to secure
increase in salary, they violated the
Steve Mario Messman manning contract. Moreover, in the case at
bar, petitioner terminated the manning
Wiper 179551 contract only after the NSB authorized it to
do so, after it found the grounds therefor to
146096 SGD. be valid. On the other hand, the termination
of the manning contract in the Wallem case
SGD. (Pp. 99-103, Annex D-1 of Petition) was without prior authorization from the
NSB.
16. The NLRC has cited Wallem Philippine
Shipping Inc. vs. The Minister of Labor, G. It will be noted that private respondents sent
Simplicio Bautista R. No. 50734-37, February 20, 1981 (102 a cable to petitioner demanding an increase
SCRA 835). No less than the Solicitor of 50% of their basic salary as the only
Chief Cook General maintains that said cited case is not solution to the ITF problem at a time when
controlling: the vessel M/T JANNU was enroute to
169142 Australia, an ITF port. The fact that private
A careful examination of Wallem Philippine respondents mentioned ITF in their cable
SGD. Shipping Inc. vs. The Minister of Labor, G. clearly shows that if petitioner would not
R. No. 50734-37, February, 20, 1981 shows accede to their demands, they would
17. that the same is dissimilar to the case at denounce petitioner to ITF. Thus, Chief
bar. In the Wallem case, there was an
Mate Jacobo Catabay in his report dated Summarizing, We are convinced that since what they really are: acts of coercion, threat
April 23, 1979 (Exh. 10-A) stated: the NSB, considering its official role in and intimidation against which the victim
matters like those now before Us, is the has generally no recourse but to yield at the
On our departure at Keelung, we did not fact-finding body, and there is no sufficient peril of irreparable loss. And when such
have destination until three days later that cogency in the NLRC's finding that there happenings affect the national economy, as
Harman cabled us to proceed to Senipah, was no threat employed by respondents on pointed out by the Solicitor General, they
Indonesia to load fun cargo to be petitioner, and, it appearing further that the must be treated to be in the nature of
discharged at Kwinana, Australia. Captain well prepared Manifestation and Comment economic sabotage. They should not be
told everyone that if only we stayed so long of the Solicitor General supports the tolerated. This Court has to be careful not to
with the ship, he will report to ITF personally decision of the NSB, which body, to Our sanction them.
in order to get back wages. In view that we mind, was in a better position than the
only worked for three months so the back NLRC to appraise the relevant nuances of WHEREFORE, the petition herein is
wages is so small and does not worth. From the actuations of both parties, We are of the granted and the decision of the NLRC
that time on, Chief Engr. and Captain have considered view that the decision of the complained of hereby set aside; the
a nightly closed door conference until they NLRC under question constitutes grave decision of the NSB should stand.
arrived at the conclusion to ask for 50% abuse of discretion and should be set aside
salary increase and they have modified a in favor of the NSB's decision. No costs.
certain platforms. They certainly believe that
Vir-jen have no choice because the vessel In El Hogar Filipino Mutual Building and
is going to ITF port so they called a general Loan Association vs. Building Employees
meeting conducted at the bridge during my Inc., 107 Phil. 473, citing San Miguel
duty hours in the afternoon. All engines and Brewery vs. National Labor Union, 97 Phil.
deck personnel were present in that 378, We emphasized:
meeting. (Emphasis supplied)
Much as we should expand beyond
Reporting the wage scheme to the ITF economic orthodoxy, we hold that an
would mean that the vessel would be employer cannot be legally compelled to
interdicted and detained in Australia unless continue with the employment of a person
petitioner pay the ITF rates, which represent who admittedly was guilty of misfeasance or
more than 100% of what is stipulated in the malfeasance towards his employer, and
manning contract. Petitioner was thus whose continuance in the service of the
forced to grant private respondents an latter is patently inimical to his interest. The
increase of 25% in their basic salary. That law in protecting the rights of the laborer,
such grant of a 25% increase was not authorizes neither the oppression nor self-
voluntary is shown by the fact that petitioner destruction of the employer. (Page 3,
immediately denounced the seamen's Record) (Emphasis supplied)
conduct to NSB and subsequently asked
said agency authority to terminate the It is timely to add here in closing that
manning contract. (Pp. 10-12, Manifestation situations wherein employers are practically
& Comment of Solicitor General) laid in ambush or placed in a position not
unlike those in a highjack whether in the air,
land or midsea must be considered to be