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2.

Servana filed a complaint for illegal dismissal and nonpayment of benefits against
TAPE, alleging that on 2 March 2000, he received a memorandum informing him of
1. TELEVISION AND PRODUCTION EXPONENTS v. SERVANA,
G.R. No. 167648. January 28, 2008 his impending dismissal on account of TAPE’s decision to contract the services of a
Kazel Celeste professional security agency. At the time of his termination, respondent was receiving
a monthly salary of P6,000.00. He claimed that the holiday pay, unpaid vacation and
NATURE Petition for review under Rule 45 sick leave benefits and other monetary considerations were withheld from him. He
Petitioner/s Television and Production Exponents (TAPE), inc. And/or Antonio P. Tuviera further contended that his dismissal was undertaken without due process and violative
Respondent Roberto C. Servaña of existing labor laws, aggravated by nonpayment of separation pay.
Ponente Tinga, J.. 3. In its Motion to Dismiss, TAPE countered that the labor arbiter had no jurisdiction
over the case in the absence of an employer-employee relationship between the par-
ties. TAPE asserted that Servana was initially a security guard of Radio Philippines
RECIT READY DIGEST
Network (RPN); that he was tasked to assist TAPE during its productions specifically
FACTS: to control the crowd; that when RPN severed its relationship with the security agency,
Servana filed a complaint for illegal dismissal and nonpayment of benefits against TAPE. The TAPE engaged the services of Servana, and that it was agreed that Servana would
Labor Arbiter ruled that Servaña’s dismissal is valid on the ground of redundancy but though render services until such time that TAPE shall have engaged the services of a security
he was not illegally dismissed he is still entitled to be paid a separation pay which is amounting agency; that in 1995, when his contract with RPN expired, Servana was retained as a
to one month pay for every year of service which totals to P78,000.00. talent and a member of the support group until such time that TAPE shall have en-
gaged the eservices of a professional security agency; that TAPE issued a memoranda
TAPE appealed and argued that Servaña is not entitled to receive separation pay for he is con- to all talents, whose functions would be rendered redundant by the engagement of the
sidered as a talent and not as a regular employee; that as such, there is no employee-employer security agency, informing them of the management’s decision to terminate their ser-
relationship between TAPE and Servaña. The National Labor Relations Commission ruled in vices.
favor of TAPE. It ruled that Servaña is a program employee. Servaña appealed before the Court 4. TAPE averred that respondent was an independent contractor falling under the talent
of Appeals. The Court of Appeals reversed the NLRC and affirmed the LA. The CA further group category and was working under a special arrangement which is recognized in
ruled that TAPE and its president Tuviera should pay for nominal damages amounting to the industry. Respondent for his part insisted that he was a regular employee having
P10,000.00. been engaged to perform an activity that is necessary and desirable to TAPEE’s busi-
ness for thirteen (13) years.
SC affirmed CA. Servaña is a regular employee. In determining Servaña’s nature of employ- 5. The Labor Arbiter (LA) declared Servana to be a regular employee of TAPE, relying
ment, the Supreme Court employed the Four Fold Test which was present in the case of Sevana. on the nature of work of Servana, which is securing and maintaining order in the stu-
dio, as necessary and desireable in the usual business activity of TAPE. The LA also
ruled that the termination was valid on the ground of redundancy, and ordered the
payment of respondent’s separation pay.
DOCTRINE. 6. On appeal, the NLRC reversed the LA and considered Servana a mere program em-
Jurisprudence is abound with cases that recite the factors to be considered in determining the ployee. Servana’s MR was denied.
existence of employer-employee relationship, namely: (a) the selection and engagement of the 7. CA reversed the NLRC decision and found that Servana was a regular employee.
employee; (b) the payment of wages; (c) the power of dismissal; and (d) the employer’s power TAPE’s MR was denied.
to control the employee with respect to the means and method by which the work is to be
accomplished. The most important factor involves the control test. Under the control test, there ISSUE/S and RULING.
is an employer-employee relationship when the person for whom the services are performed Whether there is an employer-employee relationship between TAPE and Servana
reserves the right to control not only the end achieved but also the manner and means used to
achieve that end. Jurisprudence is abound with cases that recite the factors (four-fold test) to be considered in
determining the existence of employer-employee relationship, namely: (a) the selection and en-
gagement of the employee; (b) the payment of wages; (c) the power of dismissal; and (d) the
employer’s power to control the employee with respect to the means and method by which the
FACTS work is to be accomplished.
1. Television and Production Exponents, Inc. (TAPE) is a domestic corporation engaged
in the production of television programs, such as the long-running variety program, Under the control test, there is an employer-employee relationship when the person for whom
“Eat Bulaga!.” Its president is Antonio P. Tuviera (Tuviera). Respondent Roberto C. the services are performed reserves the right to control not only the end achieved but also the
Servaña had served as a security guard for TAPE from March 1987 until he was ter- manner and means used to achieve that end.
minated on 3 March 2000.

LABOR LAW 1 | DIGEST GROUP NAME | PROFESSOR


In concluding that Servana was a regular employee, the four-fold test was applied. Control is manifested in the bundy cards submitted by respondent in evidence. He was
required to report daily and observe definite work hours. The bundy cards which
1. Whether the employer conducted the selection and engagement of the employee – showed that Servaña was required to report to work at fixed hours of the day mani-
YES fested the fact that TAPE does have control over him. Otherwise, Servaña could have
reported at any time during the day as he may wish.
The selection and hiring of Servana was done by TAPE. In fact, TAPE themselves
admitted having engaged the services of Servana only in 1995 after TAPE severed its TAPE further denies exercising control over respondent and maintains that the latter
relations with RPN Channel 9. By informing Servana through the Memorandum that is an independent contractor. Aside from possessing substantial capital or investment,
his services will be terminated as soon as the services of the newly hired security a legitimate job contractor or subcontractor carries on a distinct and independent busi-
agency begins, TAPE in effect acknowledged Servana to be their employee. For the ness and undertakes to perform the job, work or service on its own account and under
right to hire and fire is another important element of the employer-employee relation- its own responsibility according to its own manner and method, and free from the
ship. control and direction of the principal in all matters connected with the performance of
the work except as to the results thereof. TAPE failed to establish that respondent is
Servaña was selected and engaged by TAPE when he was absorbed as a “talent” in an independent contractor. TAPE failed to show that Servana has substantial capital
1995. He is not really a talent, as termed by TAPE, because he performs an activity or investment to be qualified as an independent contractor.
which is necessary and desirable to TAPE’s business and that is being a security guard.
Further, the primary evidence of him being engaged as an employee is his employee Regardless of whether or not respondent had been performing work that is necessary or desirable
identification card. An identification card is usually provided not just as a security to the usual business of TAPE, respondent is still considered a regular employee under Article
measure but to mainly identify the holder thereof as a bona fide employee of the firm 2801 of the Labor Code
who issues it.
As a regular employee, respondent cannot be terminated except for just cause or when author-
2. Whether there was payment of wages by the employer to the employee – YES ized by law. It is clear from the tenor of the 2 March 2000 Memorandum that respondent’s
termination was due to redundancy.
Servana claims to have been receiving P5,444.44 as his monthly salary while TAPE
prefers to designate such amount as talent fees. Wages, as defined in the Labor Code, DECISION.
are remuneration or earnings, however designated, capable of being expressed in Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in
terms of money, whether fixed or ascertained on a time, task, piece or commission that only petitioner Television and Production Exponents, Inc. is liable to pay respondent the
basis, or other method of calculating the same, which is payable by an employer to an amount of P10,000.00 as nominal damages for non- compliance with the statutory due process
employee under a written or unwritten contract of employment for work done or to be and petitioner Antonio P. Tuviera is accordingly absolved from liability.
done, or for service rendered or to be rendered. It is beyond dispute that respondent SO ORDERED.
received a fixed amount as monthly compensation for the services he rendered to
TAPE. NOTE/S:
Regular Employee Defined:
3. Whether employer has the power to dismiss employee – YES One having been engaged to perform an activity that is necessary and desirable to a company’s
business.
The Memorandum sent to Servana informing him of his impending dismissal evi-
denced TAPE’s power to dismiss Servana.

4. Whether employee has the power of control over the employee – YES

1
“Art. 280. Regular and Casual Employment – The provisions of written agreement to the contrary not- An employment shall be deemed to be casual if it is not covered by the preceding paragraph. Provided, that,
withstanding and regardless of the oral agreement of the parties, an employment shall be deemed to be any employee who has rendered at least one year of service, whether such service is continuous or broken,
regular where the employee has been engaged to perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable shall be considered a regular employee with respect to the activity in which he is employed and his employ-
in the usual business or trade of the employer, except where the employment has been fixed for a specific ment shall continue while such activity exists.”
project or undertaking the completion or termination of which has been determined at the time of engage-
ment of the employee or where the work or service to be performed is seasonal in nature and employment
is for the duration of the season.
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