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CONCEPCION, complainants
VS. L.A. JOVENCIO LI. MAYOR, JR., respondent
AC NO. 7430. FEBRUARY 15, 2012
Before the court is a disbarment case filed by the complainants against the respondent arbiter for gross misconduct and the
violation of the lawyer’s oath. On September 5, 2006, a certain David Edward Toze filed a complaint for illegal dismissal before the
Labor Arbiter Branch of the NLRC against the members of the Board of Trustees of the International School Manila, impleaded among
the party respondents are complainants Martin Lahm III and James P. Concepcion. The complaint was raffled to the sala of the
respondent, Labor Arbiter Jovencio Mayor Jr,. During the proceeding, David Tozze filed a Verified Motion for the issuance of T.R.O.
and/or Preliminary Injunction against the complainants. The counsel for the complainants asked for additional time to oppose and make
a comment to the said motion. Thereafter, the respondent arbiter issued an Order that directs the parties to maintain the status quo
ante. On account of the Order, David Toze was immediately reinstated and assumed his position as the superintendent of the school.
The complainants sought the reconsideration of the Order. They also filed a motion for an early resolution of their motion to dismiss the
case. However respondent maintained his Order despite the motions filed by the complainants. The respondent maintains that the
Order was issued by him based on the TRO and/or Preliminary Injunction against the respondents and upon the illegal dismissal case
pending before the respondents.
ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent does not have the authority to issue a temporary restraining order and/or a preliminary
When the law is sufficiently basic, a judge owes it to his office to know and to simply apply it. Anything less would be
constitutive of gross ignorance of the law. In the case at bench, we find the respondent guilty of gross ignorance of the law.
Acting on the motion for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction, the respondent
issued the September 14, 2006 Order requiring the parties to maintain the status quo ante until the said motion had been resolved. It
should be stressed, however, that at the time the said motion was filed, the 2005 Rules of Procedure of the National Labor Relations
Commission (NLRC) is already in effect.
Under the 2005 Rules of Procedure of the NLRC, the labor arbiters no longer has the authority to issue writs of preliminary
injunction and/or temporary restraining orders. The role of the labor arbiters, with regard to the issuance of writs of preliminary
injunctions and/or writ of preliminary injunction, at present, is limited to reception of evidence as may be delegated by the NLRC.
In stubbornly insisting that he has the authority to issue writs of preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order
contrary to the clear import of the 2005 Rules of Procedure of the NLRC, the respondent violated Canon 1 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility which mandates lawyers to obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal processes. All told, we find
the respondent to have committed gross ignorance of the law, his acts as a labor arbiter in the case below being inexcusable thus
unquestionably resulting into prejudice to the rights of the parties therein.
NLRC(1st Division), HON. TALUSAN & SAN MIGUEL CORPORATION (SMC), respondents
G.R. No. 91980 June 27, 1991
IBM, which is said to represent 4,500 employees of SMC in the NCR, presented to the company a “demand” for correction of
the significant distortion in the worker’s wages pursuant to RA 6727 or Wage Rationalization Act. But the union claimed that the
company ignored said demand by offering a measly P7.00 per day as against the proposal of the Union of P25.00 or the reduced
proposal of P15.00. In connection with this, the workers refused to work more than 8 hours a day as a legitimate means of compelling
SMC to correct the wage distortion. The abandonment of the long-standing schedule of work and the reversion to the 8-hour shift
apparently caused substantial losses to SMC.
Thus, SMC filed with the Arbitration Branch of the NLRC a complaint against the union and its members to “declare the
strike/slowdown illegal and to terminate the union officers”. However, no relief was yielded to the SMC so it filed a complaint directly
with the NLRC to “enjoin and restrain illegal slowdown and for damages, with prayer for the issuance of a cease-and-desist and a
TRO”. Before acting on the application for restraining order, The NLRC first directed SMC to present evidence in support of the
application before a commissioner, L.A. Carmen Talusan. The Union filed with the Supreme Court a petition for certiorari and
prohibition. It contended that the slowdown was a legitimate mean to compel SMC to follow the wage distortion and that as an
essentially appellate body NLRC has no jurisdiction to act on the plea for injunction at the first instance.
(1) Whether or not the strike/slowdown was legal.
The strike was illegal. The legality of these activities is usually dependent on the legality of the purposes sought to be attained and
the means employed therefor. It goes without saying that these joint or coordinated activities may be forbidden or restricted by law or
The legislative intent that solution of the problem of wage distortions shall be sought by voluntary negotiation or abitration, and not
by strikes, lockouts, or other concerted activities of the employees or management, is made clear in the rules implementing RA 6727.
Section 16, Chapter I of these implementing rules, after reiterating the policy that wage distortions be first settled voluntarily by the
parties and eventually by compulsory arbitration, declares that, "Any issue involving wage distortion shall not be a ground for a
Moreover, the collective bargaining agreement between the SMC and the Union clearly states and prescribes that settlement of "all
disputes, disagreements or controversies of any kind" should be achieved by the stipulated grievance procedure and ultimately by
arbitration. The partial strike or concerted refusal by the Union members to follow the five-year-old work schedule which they had
therefore been observing, resorted to as a means of coercing correction of "wage distortions," was therefore forbidden by law and
contract and, on this account, illegal.
(2) Whether or not the NLRC may act on the plea for injunction.
Among the powers expressly conferred on the Commission by Article 218 is the power to "enjoin or restrain any actual or
threatened commission of any or all prohibited or unlawful acts or to require the performance of a particular act in any labor dispute
which, if not restrained or performed forthwith, may cause grave or irreparable damage to any party or render ineffectual any decision
in favor of such party . . ."
The record reveals that the Commission exercised the power directly and plainly granted to it and that it faithfully observed the
procedure and complied with the conditions for the exercise of that power prescribed. It acted on SMC's application for immediate
issuance of a temporary restraining order ex parte on the ground that substantial and irreparable injury to its property would transpire
before the matter could be heard on notice; it, however, first direct SMC Labor Arbiter Carmen Talusan to receive SMC's testimonial
evidence in support of the application and thereafter submit her recommendation thereon; it found SMC's evidence adequate and
issued the temporary restraining order upon bond. No irregularity may thus be imputed to the respondent Commission in the issuance
of that order.