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G.R. No.

130866 September 16, 1998


This is case is complaint for illegal dismissal. Private respondent,

Bienvenidi Aricayos, alleges that he started working as Operations
Manager of petitioner St. Martin Funeral Home on February 6,
1995. However, there was no contract of employment executed
between him and petitioner nor was his name included in the semi-
monthly payroll. On January 22, 1996, he was dismissed from his
employment for allegedly misappropriating P38,000.00 which was
intended for payment by petitioner of its value added tax (VAT) to
the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

According to the petitioner, St. Martin Funeral Homes, Aricayos is

an uncle of Amelita Malabed who voluntarily helped in overseeing
the business as indication of gratitude for the financial assistance
given to him by the mother of Amelita.

The labor arbiter ruled in favor of petitioner, confirming that there

was no employer-employee relationship between the two and
hence, there could be no illegal dismissal in such a situation.
The respondent appealed to NLRC but set aside the decision and
remanded the case to the labor arbiter. Petitioner filed a motion for
reconsideration, but was denied by the NLRC. Now, petitioners
appealed to the Supreme Court – alleging that the NLRC committed
grave abuse of discretion.

Issue: Whether or not the petitioner’s appeal/petition for certiorari

was properly filed in the Supreme Court.

However in this case, the Supreme Court took it upon themselves

to review such decisions from the NLRC by virtue of their role under
the check and balance system and the perceived intention of the
legislative body who enacted the new rules.
“It held that there is an underlying power of the courts to scrutinize
the acts of such agencies on questions of law and jurisdiction even
though no right of review is given by statute; that the purpose of
judicial review is to keep the administrative agency within its
jurisdiction and protect the substantial rights of the parties; and that
it is that part of the checks and balances which restricts the
separation of powers and forestalls arbitrary and unjust
The petitioners rightfully filed a motion for reconsideration, but the
appeal or certiorari should have been filed initially to the Court of
Appeals – as consistent with the principle of hierarchy of courts. As
such, the Supreme Court remanded the case to the Court of