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114337

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RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila

FIRSTDIVISION

G.R.No.114337September29,1995

NITTOENTERPRISES,petitioner,
vs.

NATIONALLABORRELATIONSCOMMISSIONandROBERTOCAPILI,respondents.

KAPUNAN,J.:

This petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court seeking to annul the decision1rendered by public
respondentNationalLaborRelationsCommission,whichreversedthedecisionoftheLaborArbiter.

Briefly,thefactsofthecaseareasfollows:

PetitionerNittoEnterprises,acompanyengagedinthesaleofglassandaluminumproducts,hiredRobertoCapili
sometime in May 1990 as an apprentice machinist, molder and core maker as evidenced by an apprenticeship
agreement2foraperiodofsix(6)monthsfromMay28,1990toNovember28,1990withadailywagerateofP66.75
whichwas75%oftheapplicableminimumwage.

Ataround1:00p.m.ofAugust2,1990,RobertoCapiliwhowashandlingapieceofglasswhichhewasworkingon,
accidentallyhitandinjuredthelegofanofficesecretarywhowastreatedatanearbyhospital.

Laterthatsameday,afterofficehours,privaterespondententeredaworkshopwithintheofficepremiseswhichwas
not his work station. There, he operated one of the power press machines without authority and in the process
injuredhisleftthumb.PetitionerspenttheamountofP1,023.04tocoverthemedicationofprivaterespondent.

Thefollowingday,RobertoCapiliwasaskedtoresigninaletter3whichreads:

August2,1990

Walasiyangtanggapngutosmulasasuperbisoratwalasiyangexperiensakungpapaanogamitinand
"TOOL" sa pagbuhat ng salamin, sarili niyang desisyon ang paggamit ng tool at may disgrasya at
nadamaypaangisangsekretaryangkompanya.

Sa araw ding ito limang (5) minute ang nakakalipas mula alassingko ng hapon siya ay pumasok sa
shopnahindinamansakopngkanyangtrabaho.Pinakialamanatkinalikotangmakinaatnadisgrasya
niyaangkanyangsarilingkamay.

Nakagastosangkompanyangmgasumusunod:

EmergencyanddoctorfeeP715.00
Medecines(sic)andothers317.04

Bibigyan siya ng kompanya ng Siyam na araw na libreng sahod hanggang matanggal ang tahi ng
kanyangkamay.

Tatanggapinniyaangsahodniyanganimnaaraw,mulaika30ngHulyoatika4ngAgosto,1990.

Ang kompanya ang magbabayad ng lahat ng gastos pagtanggal ng tahi ng kanyang kamay,
pagkataposngsiyamnaarawmulaika2ngAgosto.

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Salahatngnakasulatsaitaas,hinihingingkompanyaangkanyangresignasyon,kasamangkanyang
comfirmasyonatpagayonnaanglahatsaitaasaytotoo.

Naiintindihan ko ang lahat ng nakasulat sa itaas, at ang lahat ng ito ay aking pagkakasala sa hindi
pagsunodsaalintuntuninngkompanya.

(Sgd.)RobertoCapili
RobertoCapili

On August 3, 1990 private respondent executed a Quitclaim and Release in favor of petitioner for and in
considerationofthesumofP1,912.79.4

Three days after, or on August 6, 1990, private respondent formally filed before the NLRC Arbitration Branch,
NationalCapitalRegionacomplaintforillegaldismissalandpaymentofothermonetarybenefits.

OnOctober9,1991,theLaborArbiterrenderedhisdecisionfindingtheterminationofprivaterespondentasvalid
anddismissingthemoneyclaimforlackofmerit.Thedispositiveportionoftherulingreads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the termination is valid and for cause, and the money claims
dismissedforlackofmerit.

The respondent however is ordered to pay the complainant the amount of P500.00 as financial
assistance.

SOORDERED.5

LaborArbiterPatricioP.LiboongavetworeasonsforrulingthatthedismissalofRobertoCapilianwasvalid.First,
privaterespondentwhowashiredasanapprenticeviolatedthetermsoftheiragreementwhenheactedwithgross
negligenceresultingintheinjurynotonlytohimselfbutalsotohisfellowworker.Second,privaterespondenthad
shown that "he does not have the proper attitude in employment particularly the handling of machines without
authorityandpropertraining.6

On July 26, 1993, the National Labor Relations Commission issued an order reversing the decision of the Labor
Arbiter,thedispositiveportionofwhichreads:

WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is hereby set aside. The respondent is hereby directed to
reinstate complainant to his work last performed with backwages computed from the time his wages
werewithhelduptothetimeheisactuallyreinstated.TheArbiteroforiginisherebydirectedtofurther
hearcomplainant'smoneyclaimsandtodisposethemonthebasisoflawandevidenceobtaining.

SOORDERED.7

TheNLRCdeclaredthatprivaterespondentwasaregularemployeeofpetitionerbyrulingthus:

Ascorrectlypointedoutbythecomplainant,wecannotunderstandhowanapprenticeshipagreement
filedwiththeDepartmentofLaboronlyonJune7,1990couldbevalidlyusedbytheLaborArbiteras
basis to conclude that the complainant was hired by respondent as a plain "apprentice" on May 28,
1990.Clearly,therefore,thecomplainantwasrespondent'sregularemployeeunderArticle280ofthe
LaborCode,asearlyasMay28,1990,whothusenjoyedthesecurityoftenureguaranteedinSection
3,ArticleXIIIofour1987Constitution.

Thecomplainantbeingforillegaldismissal(amongothers)itthenbehoovesuponrespondent,pursuant
toArt.227(b)andasruledinEdwinGesulgonvs.NLRC,etal.(G.R.No.90349,March5,1993,3rd
Div.,Feliciano,J.)toprovethatthedismissalofcomplainantwasforavalidcause.Absentsuchproof,
wecannotbutrulethatthecomplainantwasillegallydismissed.8

OnJanuary28,1994,LaborArbiterLibooncalledforaconferenceatwhichonlyprivaterespondent's
representativewaspresent.

OnApril22,1994,aWritofExecutionwasissued,whichreads:

NOW, THEREFORE, finding merit in [private respondent's] Motion for Issuance of the Writ, you are
herebycommandedtoproceedtothepremisesof[petitioner]NittoEnterprisesandJovyFosterlocated
at No. l 74 Araneta Avenue, Portero, Malabon, Metro Manila or at any other places where their
properties are located and effect the reinstatement of herein [private respondent] to his work last
performedorattheoptionoftherespondentbypayrollreinstatement.
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You are also to collect the amount of P122,690.85 representing his backwages as called for in the
dispositiveportion,andturnoversuchamounttothisOfficeforproperdisposition.

Petitionerfiledamotionforreconsiderationbutthesamewasdenied.

Hence,theinstantpetitionforcertiorari.

Theissuesraisedbeforeusarethefollowing:

WHETHERORNOTPUBLICRESPONDENTNLRCCOMMITTEDGRAVEABUSEOFDISCRETION
INHOLDINGTHATPRIVATERESPONDENTWASNOTANAPPRENTICE.

II

WHETHERORNOTPUBLICRESPONDENTNLRCCOMMITTEDGRAVEABUSEOFDISCRETION
INHOLDINGTHATPETITIONERHADNOTADEQUATELYPROVENTHEEXISTENCEOFAVALID
CAUSEINTERMINATINGTHESERVICEOFPRIVATERESPONDENT.

Wefindnomeritinthepetition.

Petitioner assails the NLRC's finding that private respondent Roberto Capili cannot plainly be considered an
apprentice since no apprenticeship program had yet been filed and approved at the time the agreement was
executed.

Petitioner further insists that the mere signing of the apprenticeship agreement already established an employer
apprenticerelationship.

Petitioner'sargumentiserroneous.

Thelawisclearonthismatter.Article61oftheLaborCodeprovides:

Contents of apprenticeship agreement. Apprenticeship agreements, including the main rates of


apprentices,shallconformtotherulesissuedbytheMinisterofLaborandEmployment.Theperiodof
apprenticeshipshallnotexceedsixmonths.Apprenticeshipagreementsprovidingforwageratesbelow
thelegalminimumwage,whichinnocaseshallstartbelow75%percentoftheapplicableminimum
wage, may be entered into only in accordance with apprenticeship program duly approved by the
Minister of Labor and Employment. The Ministry shall develop standard model programs of
apprenticeship.(emphasissupplied)

In the case at bench, the apprenticeship agreement between petitioner and private respondent was executed on
May28,1990allegedlyemployingthelatterasanapprenticeinthetradeof"caremaker/molder."Onthesamedate,
anapprenticeshipprogramwaspreparedbypetitionerandsubmittedtotheDepartmentofLaborandEmployment.
However,theapprenticeshipAgreementwasfiledonlyonJune7,1990.Notwithstandingtheabsenceofapproval
bytheDepartmentofLaborandEmployment,theapprenticeshipagreementwasenforcedthedayitwassigned.

Based on the evidence before us, petitioner did not comply with the requirements of the law. It is mandated that
apprenticeshipagreementsenteredintobytheemployerandapprenticeshallbeenteredonlyinaccordancewith
theapprenticeshipprogramdulyapprovedbytheMinisterofLaborandEmployment.

PriorapprovalbytheDepartmentofLaborandEmploymentoftheproposedapprenticeshipprogramis,therefore,a
conditionsinequononbeforeanapprenticeshipagreementcanbevalidlyenteredinto.

The act of filing the proposed apprenticeship program with the Department of Labor and Employment is a
preliminary step towards its final approval and does not instantaneously give rise to an employerapprentice
relationship.

Article57oftheLaborCodeprovidesthattheStateaimsto"establishanationalapprenticeshipprogramthrough
the participation of employers, workers and government and nongovernment agencies" and "to establish
apprenticeship standards for the protection of apprentices." To translate such objectives into existence, prior
approval of the DOLE to any apprenticeship program has to be secured as a condition sine qua non beforeany
such apprenticeship agreement can be fully enforced. The role of the DOLE in apprenticeship programs and
agreementscannotbedebased.

Hence,sincetheapprenticeshipagreementbetweenpetitionerandprivaterespondenthasnoforceandeffectinthe
absenceofavalidapprenticeshipprogramdulyapprovedbytheDOLE,privaterespondent'sassertionthathewas

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hirednotasanapprenticebutasadeliveryboy("kargador"or"pahinante")deservescredence.Heshouldrightlybe
consideredasaregularemployeeofpetitionerasdefinedbyArticle280oftheLaborCode:

Art. 280. Regular and Casual Employment. The provisions of written agreement to the contrary
notwithstandingandregardlessoftheoralagreementoftheparties,anemploymentshallbedeemed
toberegularwheretheemployeehasbeenengagedtoperformactivitieswhichareusuallynecessary
or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer, except where the employment has been
fixedforaspecificprojectorundertakingthecompletionorterminationofwhichhasbeendetermined
at the time of the engagement of the employee or where the work or services to be performed is
seasonalinnatureandtheemploymentisforthedurationoftheseason.

Anemploymentshallbedeemedtobecasualifitisnotcoveredbytheprecedingparagraph:Provided,
That,anyemployeewhohasrenderedatleastoneyearofservice,whethersuchserviceiscontinuous
orbroken,shallbeconsideredaregularemployeewithrespecttotheactivityinwhichheisemployed
andhisemploymentshallcontinuewhilesuchactivityexists.(Emphasissupplied)

andpursuanttotheconstitutionalmandateto"protecttherightsofworkersandpromotetheirwelfare."9

Petitionerfurtherarguesthat,thereisavalidcauseforthedismissalofprivaterespondent.

ThereisanabundanceofcaseswhereintheCourtruledthatthetwinrequirementsofdueprocess,substantiveand
procedural,mustbecompliedwith,beforevaliddismissalexists.10Withoutwhich,thedismissalbecomesvoid.

Thetwinrequirementsofnoticeandhearingconstitutetheessentialelementsofdueprocess.Thissimplymeans
thattheemployershallaffordtheworkerampleopportunitytobeheardandtodefendhimselfwiththeassistanceof
hisrepresentative,ifhesodesires.

Ampleopportunityconnoteseverykindofassistancethatmanagementmustaccordtheemployeetoenablehimto
prepareadequatelyforhisdefenseincludinglegalrepresentation.11

AsheldinthecaseofPepsiColaBottlingCo.,Inc.v.NLRC:12

Thelawrequiresthattheemployermustfurnishtheworkersoughttobedismissedwithtwo(2)written
noticesbeforeterminationofemployeecanbelegallyeffected:(1)noticewhichapprisestheemployee
of the particular acts or omissions for which his dismissal is sought and (2) the subsequent notice
whichinformstheemployeeoftheemployer'sdecisiontodismisshim(Sec.13,BP130Sec.26Rule
XIV,BookV,RulesandRegulationsImplementingtheLaborCodeasamended).Failuretocomplywith
the requirements taints the dismissal with illegality. This procedure is mandatory, in the absence of
which, any judgment reached by management is void and in existent (Tingson, Jr. vs. NLRC, 185
SCRA498[1990]NationalServiceCorp.vs.NLRC,168SCRA122Ruffyvs.NLRC.182SCRA365
[1990]).

The factisprivaterespondentfiled acaseofillegaldismissalwiththe LaborArbiteronlythreedaysafterhewas


madetosignaQuitclaim,aclearindicationthatsuchresignationwasnotvoluntaryanddeliberate.

Private respondent averred that he was actually employed by petitioner as a delivery boy ("kargador" or
"pahinante").

He further asserted that petitioner "strongarmed" him into signing the aforementioned resignation letter and
quitclaimwithoutexplainingtohimthecontentsthereof.Petitionermadeitcleartohimthatanyway,hedidnothave
achoice.13

Petitioner cannot disguise the summary dismissal of private respondent by orchestrating the latter's alleged
resignation and subsequent execution of a Quitclaim and Release. A judicious examination of both events belies
anyspontaneityonprivaterespondent'spart.

WHEREFORE, finding no abuse of discretion committed by public respondent National Labor Relations
Commission,theappealeddecisionisherebyAFFIRMED.

SOORDERED.

Padilla,Davide,Jr.,BellosilloandHermosisima,Jr.,JJ.,concur.

Footnotes

1Rollo,pp.1215.

2Records,p12.
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3Id.,at13.

4Id.,at14.

5Id.,at.4748.

6Id.,p.47.

7Rollo,pp.1415.

8Ibid.

9Sec.18,Art.II,The1987ConstitutionoftheRepublicofthePhilippines.

10CenturyTextileMills,Inc.v.NLRC,161SCRA528(1988)GoldCityIntegratedPortServices,
Inc. v. NLRC, 189 SCRA 811 (1990) Kwikway Engineering Works v. NLRC, 195 SCRA 526
(1991).

11Abierav.NationalLaborRelationsCommission,215SCRA476(1992).

12210SCRA277(1992).

13OriginalRecord,p.39.

TheLawphilProjectArellanoLawFoundation

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