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GERARDO RIVERA VS HON.

EDGARDO ESPIRITU
GR NO. 135547, JANUARY 23, 2002

FACTS:

This is a special civil action for certiorari and prohibition. Petitioners herein charged public
respondent for grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction for the acts taken with
regard to the enforcement of the collective bargaining agreement between PAL and its union, the PAL
Employees Association. The Airline Pilots Association of the Philippines (ALPAP) went on a three-week
strike. As a result of its losses, PAL adopted a rehabilitation plan and downsized its labor force by more
than 1/3 of the employees. On the other hand, the PAL Employees Association went on a strike to protest
the retrenchment made by the PAL which affected the union members. The PAL management requested
for the suspension of the Collective Bargaining Agreement for 10 years. PAL and PALEA then proposed
an agreement. That PALEA agrees subject to ratification to the suspension of the PAL-PALEA CBA for a
period of 10 years.

ISSUE:

Was the PAL-PALEA agreement stipulating on the suspension of the CBA agreement for a
period of 10 years valid?

RULING: Yes. The PAL-PALEA agreement stipulating the suspension of the PAL-PALEA CBA
agreement for 10 years is valid.

Article 253-A of the Labor Code provides that:

ART. 253-A. Terms of a Collective Bargaining Agreement. Any Collective Bargaining


Agreement that the parties may enter into shall, insofar as the representation aspect is concerned, be for a
term of five (5) years. No petition questioning the majority status of the incumbent bargaining agent shall
be entertained and no certification election shall be conducted by the Department of Labor and
Employment outside of the sixty-day period immediately before the date of expiry of such five-year term
of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. All other provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement
shall be renegotiated not later than three (3) years after its execution. Any agreement on such other
provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement entered into within six (6) months from the date of
expiry of the term of such other provisions as fixed in such Collective Bargaining Agreement, shall
retroact to the day immediately following such date. If any such agreement is entered into beyond six
months, the parties shall agree on the duration of the retroactivity thereof. In case of a deadlock in the
renegotiation of the collective bargaining agreement, the parties may exercise their rights under this Code.

A CBA is a contract executed upon request of either the employer or the exclusive bargaining
representative incorporating the agreement reached after negotiations with respect to wages, hours of
work and all other terms and conditions of employment, including proposals for adjusting any grievances
or questions arising under such agreement. The primary purpose of a CBA is the stabilization of labor-
management relations in order to create a climate of a sound and stable industrial peace.

The assailed PAL-PALEA agreement was the result of voluntary collective bargaining
negotiations undertaken in the light of the severe financial situation faced by the employer, with the
peculiar and unique intention of not merely promoting industrial peace at PAL, but preventing the latters
closure. There is no conflict between the PAL-PALEA CBA Agreement and Article 253 of the Labor
Code. The law has two-fold purpose. First is to promote industrial stability and predictability while other
one is to assign specific timetables wherein negotiations become a matter of right and requirement. While
the said agreement has served its first purpose, nothing in Art 253-A prohibits the parties from waiving or
suspending the mandatory timetables and agreeing on the remedies to enforce the same.

In the case at bar, the imposition of respondents of 10 year suspension of the PAL-PALEA
agreement did not contravene the protection to labor policy of the Constitution. The agreement afforded
full protection to labor; promoted the shared responsibility between workers and employers; ad the
exercised voluntary modes in settling disputes, including conciliation to foster industrial peace.

OPINION:

I agree with the ruling of the Supreme Court. The 1987 Constitution guarantee the rights of all
workers to collective bargaining. While the Labor Code provides for the 5-year effectivity of the
Collective Bargaining Agreement, the 10 year suspension of the CBA made by the PAL-PALEA was
held as valid and not contrary to public policy. The 5-year effectivity is the general rule for the validity of
the collective bargaining agreement. While this case Gerardo Rivera vs Espiritu is the exception to the
rule. The CBA may be suspended for a period of 10 years if there are compelling reasons or in certain
circumstances. The 10-year suspension period of the CBA was only made by the PAL in order to recoup
from their losses. The Labor Code does not prohibit the parties from waiving or suspending the CBA. For
an agreement to be considered as invalid, it must be made in contravention to the purpose of the
Constitution and the law. It will be only considered as invalid and contrary to public policy if PAL
terminated or voluntary decided to terminate the CBA. However, there was no termination or unilaterally
terminate it. Hence, the suspension for a period of 10 years of the CBA between PAL-PALEA is
considered as valid.