Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 4

THIRDDIVISION

[G.R.No.122955.April15,1998]

ST. THERESAS SCHOOL OF NOVALICHES FOUNDATION and ADORACION


ROXAS, petitioners, vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and
ESTHERREYES,respondents.

DECISION
PURISIMA,J.:

Justitianemininegandaest.Justiceistobedeniedtonone.Thelaw,whileprotectingtherightsof
the employees, authorizes neither the oppression nor destruction of the employer.[1] When the law
angles the scale of justice in favor of labor, the scale should never be so tilted if the result is an
injusticetotheemployer.[2]
The petition at bench seeks to modify the Resolution issued on November 29, 1994 by the
NationalLaborRelationsCommission(NLRC)anditsDecisionof29November,1995inNLRCNCR
CaseNo.00607894.
Petitionerscontendthatthepublicrespondentactedwithgraveabuseofdiscretionamountingto
lackorexcessofjurisdictioninhandingdownitsdispositionwherein,notwithstandingthefindingthat
the dismissal of private respondent was valid, it awarded backwages for the latter, computed from
November12,1993uptothetimeofrenditionofthedecisionunderattack.
Undisputedarethefollowingfacts:

PetitionerAdoracionRoxasisthepresidentofSt.TheresasSchoolofNovalichesFoundation.She
hiredprivaterespondent,EstherReyes,onacontractbasis,fortheperiodfromJune1,1991to
March31,1992.However,privaterespondentcommencedworkonMay2,1991.Duringthesaid
periodofemployment,privaterespondentbecameill.ShewentonaleaveofabsencefromFebruary
17to21andfromFebruary24to28,1992,suchleaveofabsencehavingbeendulyapprovedby
petitionerRoxas.OnMarch2,1992,privaterespondentreportedforwork,butsheonlystayedinher
placeofworkfrom6:48to9:38a.m.Thereafter,sheneverreturned.Forwhatreasondidprivate
respondentstopworking?

Petitionerstheorizethattheprivaterespondentabandonedherwork.Ontheotherhand,thelatter
maintainsthatshewasreplaced.WhenshewentbacktoworkonFebruary20,1992,shefoundout
thathertable,chair,andotherbelongingsweremovedtoacorneroftheiroffice,andshewas
replacedbyAnnieRoxas,daughterofpetitionerAdoracionRoxas.Shetriedtocontactheremployer
butthelattercouldnotbefoundwithintheschoolpremises.

OnMarch25,1992,petitionerssentprivaterespondentaletterbyregisteredmail,informingherthat
hercontract,duetoexpireonMarch31,1992,wouldnotberenewed.Priorthereto,oronMarch3,
1992,tobeprecise,theprivaterespondentinstitutedNLRCNCRCaseNo.00030148192[3]against
thehereinpetitionersforunfairlaborpracticebasedonharassment,illegaldismissal,13thmonthpay,
allowances,removalofdeskandchairformplaceofwork,andrefusaltocommunicate,moraland
exemplarydamages.[4]OnNovember12,1993,absentanyamicablesettlementhammeredoutby
theparties,theLaborArbitercameoutwithadecision,disposing,thus:
WHEREFORE,responsivetotheforegoing,judgmentisherebyordereddeclaringcomplainant(sic)
dismissalfromtheserviceillegal.Respondentisherebyorderedtoreinstatecomplainanttoher
formerpositionwithoutlossofseniorityrightsandtopayforfullbackwagesfromthetimeofdismissal
toheractualreinstatementintheamountofSeventySixThousandSevenHundredOne(P76,701.00)
Pesos.

RespondentisherebyorderedtopaycomplainantP25,000asmoraldamagesandP10,000bywayof
exemplarydamages.

Respondent(sic)arefurtherassessedattorneysfeesof10%oftheaward.

OnDecember7,1993,afterpostingthenecessarysupersedeasbond,petitionersappealedthe
aforesaiddecisiontotheNLRC.

OnJanuary12,1994,privaterespondentpresentedaMotionforPartialExecutionofthe
reinstatementaspectoftheLaborArbitersdecision.

OnApril5,1994,whennoactionwastakenbytheLaborArbiteronhermotion,shefiledaMotionfor
ImmediateResolution,and,onJuly13,1994,afterthreemonths,stillwithoutanyactiontakenbythe
sameLaborArbiteronheryearning,theprivaterespondentsentinasecondMotionforImmediate
Resolution.However,LaborArbiterRaulT.AquinowasappointedasCommissioneroftheNLRC,
therebyleavingsubjectmotionsofprivaterespondentunresolved.

OnNovember29,1994,petitionersappeal,docketedasNLRCNCRCaseNo.00607894,was
resolvedintheassailedResolutionoftheoftheSecondDivisionoftheNLRCdisposing,asfollows:

WHEREFORE,allpremisesconsidered,thedecisionoftheLaborArbiterbelowdatedNovember12,
1993isherebyreversedandsetasideandanotheronerendered,declaringtheseparationofEsther
Reyesfromservicelegalandvalid.

However,respondentisdirectedtopaythebackwagesofhereincomplainantfromNovember12,
1993uptothedateofthepromulgationofthisResolution.

Therefrom,bothpartiesmovedforreconsiderationpetitionersassailingtheawardofbackwagesin
favorofprivaterespondent.

OnNovember29,1995,thesameSecondDivisionofNLRCrendereditschallengedDecision,
denyingsubjectmotionsforreconsideration.

SometimeinFebruary1996,theprivaterespondentfiledwithNLRCaMotionforExecution,through
thedecidingLaborArbiter.Butuntilnow,nowritofexecutionissued.Unfortunatelyforprivate
respondent,sheneverinterposedanyappealfromNLRCsruling,upholdingthevalidityofher
dismissal.Itisthereforesettled,beyondthereachofthiscourtspowerofreview,thatprivate
respondentsemploymentwasvalidlyterminated.

On the part of petitioners, they have come here to question the award of backwages for the
privaterespondent,whosedismissalhasbeenupheldwithfinality.
Beforedelvingintoandpassingupontheproprietyoftheassailedawardofbackwages,whichis
thecoreofthePetitionbeforeus,thecourttakesnoteoftheundisputedfactthatprivaterespondent
wasemployedonacontractbasis.
Article280oftheLaborCodedoesnotproscribeorprohibitanemploymentcontractwithafixed
period provided the same is entered into by the parties, without any force, duress or improper
pressure being brought to bear upon the employee and absent any other circumstance vitiating
consent. It does not necessarily follow that where the duties of the employee consist of activities
usuallynecessaryordesirableintheusualbusinessoftheemployer,thepartiesareforbiddenfrom
agreeingonaperiodoftimefortheperformanceofsuchactivities.Thereisthusnothingessentially
contradictorybetweenadefiniteperiodofemploymentandthenatureoftheemployeesduties.[5]
Itgoeswithoutsayingthatcontractsofemploymentgoverntherelationshipoftheparties.Inthis
case,privaterespondentscontractprovidedforafixedtermofnine(9)months,fromJune1,1991to
March31,1992.Suchstipulation,notbeingcontrarytolaw,morals,goodcustoms,publicorderand
publicpolicy,isvalid,bindingandmustberespected.[6]
It bears stressing that private teachers are subject to special rules with respect to requisites for
theirpermanentemploymentandsecurityoftenure,towit:

1.Hemustbeafulltimeteacher

2.Hemusthaverenderedatleastthreeconsecutiveyearsofserviceand,

3.Suchservicemustbesatisfactory.[7]

ThisisinaccordwiththeManualofRegulationsforPrivateSchoolsissuedbythethenDepartmentof
Education.[8]
Wenowtacklethepivotalpointofinquirytheawardofbackwagesinfavorofprivaterespondent.
Isitproperinlightofthefindingthatherdismissalwasvalid?
The term backwages has been defined as that for earnings lost by a worker due to his illegal
dismissal.[9]Backwagesaregenerallygrantedongroundsofequity.[10]Paymentthereofisaformof
relief that restores the income lost by reason of such unlawful dismissal.[11] It is not private
compensationordamages,butisawardedinfurtheranceandeffectuationofthepublicobjectivesof
the Labor Code. Nor is it a redress of a private right but, rather, in the nature of a command to the
employertomakepublicreparationfordismissinganemployee,eitherduetotheformersunlawfulact
orbadfaith.[12]
Jurisprudenceisfilledtothebrimwithcaseswhereinbackwageswereawardedtoanemployee
illegally dismissed.[13] But where, as in this case of a pitiful employee rendered hapless by her
lawyers inaction or ignorance, the dismissal has been adjudged valid and lawful, the challenged
awardofbackwagesisdecidedlyimproperandcontrarytolawandjurisprudence.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED the Decision of the respondent NLRC rendered on
November29,1995inNLRCNCRCaseNo.00607894isherebyMODIFIEDbydeletingtherefrom
theawardofbackwagesinquestion.Nopronouncementastocosts.
SOORDERED.
Narvasa,C.J.,(Chairman),Romero,andKapunan,JJ.,concur.

[1]PacificMiles,Inc.v.Alonzo,199SCRA617[1991].
[2]PhilippineGeothermal,Inc.v.NLRC,236SCRA371[1994].
[3]Rollo.p.7
[4]Ibid.
[5]BrentSchoolInc.,v.Zamora,etal.,G.R.No.48494,February5,1990.
[6]PantrancoNorthExpress,Inc.v.NLRC,etal.,G.R.No.106654,December16,1994.
[7]CagayanCapitolCollege,etal.,v.NLRC,etal.,G.R.Nos.9001011,September14,1990.
[8]EspirituSantoParochialSchooletal.,v.NLRC,etal,G.R.No.82325,September26,1989.
[9]CitytrustBankingCorporationv.NLRC,G.R.no.104860,July11,1996.
[10]Belaunzaranv.NLRCetal.,G.R.No.120038.December23,1996.

[11]Espejov.NLRCandCooperativeInsuranceofthePhilippines,G.R.No.112678,March29,1996.

[12]ImperialTextileMills,Inc.v.NLRC,etal.,G.R.No.101527,January19,1993.
[13]IndophilAcrylicMfg.Corporationv.NLRC,etal.,G.R.No.96488,September27,1993Lopezv.NLRCetal.,G.R.
No.109166,July6,1995DavaoFreeWorkersFront,etal.,v.CIR,etal,G.R.No.L29356.October31,1974NASSCOv.
CIR,etal.,G.R.No.L31852,June28,1974FeatiUniversity,etal.,G.R.No.L31563,August15,1974InsularLife
AssuranceCo.,Ltd.EmployeesAssociationv.InsularLifeAssuranceCo.,Ltd.,G.R.No.L25291,March10,1977
PhilippineRockProducts,Inc.etal.v.PAPLU,etal.,G.R.No.L32829,August30,1974.