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Republic of the Philippines

Municipal Trial Court


Branch 5
Baguio City

Mr. Uzumaki Naruto, plaintiff Civil Case No. 2


Accompanied by his Attorney –in – fact, for:Unlawful Detainer
Atty. Poging Attorney

-versus-

Mr. Uchiha Sasuke, Defendant


x-----------------------------------------x

COMPLAINT

COMES NOW, the plaintiff together with the undersigned counsel to this most honorable
court, MOST RESPECTFULLY STATES THAT;

1. The Plaintiff is of legal age, married and a resident of Puguis, La Trinidad Benguet. The Defendant is
likewise of legal age, married and temporary residing at Petersville Subdivision, Baguio City.
2. The Plaintiff is the owner of the two-storey house unit located at the Petersville Subdivision, Baguio City,
and having the residential address of PV 123 as evidenced by pertinent documents like tax declaration
and deed of sale. ( EXHIBIT “A” )
3. The Defendant is the lessee of the house unit that is owned by the Plaintiff as evidenced by the written
contract of lease that both parties signed. (Exhibit “B”)
4. The Plaintiff and the Defendant came up with a written agreement of Lease on June 26, 2007, which they
both agreed upon and was duly signed by the two parties as shown in their contract of lease. (Exhibit “B”)
5. Item No. 16 of the contract which the defendant signed expressly provides that he will only be occupying
the property for one (1) year, after which, he will vacate the house when that term expires. (Exhibit “B”)
6. The contract also provides that the defendant should also take care of the property and its premises” with
the utmost diligence”.
7. On June 28, 2008, the plaintiff, after returning from Japan, was surprised to discover that the defendant
did not vacate the property as he expected. Worse, he installed a “sari-sari store” in the original building
structure of the house unit.
8. The plaintiff confronted the defendant about it but the defendant claimed that it was a “DEED OF SALE”
which they signed and not a “CONTRACT OF LEASE” and therefore, the defendant is the new owner of
the house unit.
9. On August 20, 2008, after continuous demands, the defendant constantly refuses to vacate the house
unit and even invited relatives to stay with him.
10. The defendant willfully and maliciously violated the agreement which they mutually agreed upon, and
which the defendant signed.

PRAYER

WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is most respectfully prayed of this Honorable Court that
judgement be rendered in favor of the plaintiff and that after judgement;

a. The defendant shall vacate the house unit owned by the plaintiff.
b. The defendant shall be ordered to pay P 120, 000 for the Attorney’s Fees.

Such other reliefs and remedies under the premises are likewise prayed for.

Baguio City, Philippines, this 28th day of September 2008.

Poging Attorney
Counsel for the Plaintiff
PTR No. 18909595:1-04-07:B.C.
IBP No, 693095:1-04-07:B.C.
Roll No. 42481:5-10-97: Manila
Rm. 4 2/F Baguio Boating Center
180 Burnham Lake, Baguio City
VERIFICATION AND CERTIFICATION

I, Mr. Uzumaki Naruto, of Legal age, married, Filipino Citizen and a resident of Puguis, La Trinidad
Benguet, after being sworn according to law, hereby depose and state that;

1. I am a plaintiff in the above-stated case;


2. I caused the preparation of the foregoing complaint;
3. I have read the contents thereof and the facts stated therein are true and correct of my personal knowledge
and/or on the basis of copies of documents and records in my possession;
4. I have not commenced any other action or proceeding involving the same issues in the Supreme Court, the
Court of Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency;
5. To the best of my knowledge and belief, no such action or proceeding is pending in the Supreme Court, the
Court of Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency;
6. If I should thereafter learn that a similar action or proceeding has been filed or is pending before the
Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency, I undertake to report that fact within
five (5) days therefrom to this Honorable Court.

Uzumaki Naruto
Complainant

In witness thereof, I, Mr. Poging Attorney, counsel of the plaintiff, have herunto set my hand this 29 th of
September at Baguio City.

Poging Attorney
Counsel for the Plaintiff
PTR No. 18909595:1-04-07:B.C.
IBP No, 693095:1-04-07:B.C.
Roll No. 42481:5-10-97: Manila
Rm. 4 2/F Baguio Boating Center
180 Burnham Lake, Baguio City
Republic of the Philippines
Department of Justice
NATIONAL PROSECUTION SERVICE OFFICE OF THE PROVINCIAL PROSECUTOR
Province of Samar
Calbayog City

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Complainant,

‐versus‐

ERICSON ACOSTA, Respondent.

NPS NO. VIII‐09d‐INV‐110‐00230 For: ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF EXPLOSIVES

COUNTER AFFIDAVIT

I, ERICSON ACOSTA, of legal age, married, and a resident of 8th Annapolis, Cubao, Quezon City,
after being duly sworn in accordance with law, hereby depose and state that:

1. I am a Freelance Journalist doing research on Human Rights violations and the protection of
the environment in Samar for the Alliance of Concerned Samareñ os (ACOS) and the
Kapunungan han Gudti nga Parag‐uma ha Weste han Samar (KAPAWA). Copies of some of my
Research Works and Articles are hereto attached.

2. On February 13, 2011, having just completed my research task the previous day, I left the
village center of Barangay Bay‐ang, San Jorge, Samar at a little past 9 o’ clock in the morning,
and headed for what the barrio folk call their “port” – an unmarked quay by the river which was
less than an hour’s walk via mountain trail, where a pump boat was scheduled to pick me up at
the said place and bring me to San Jorge town proper.

3. I was joined by Vicente Dacles, the Barangay Secretary, and several other residents of Bay‐
ang who were all going to town as well for some business.

4. Dacles was at the head of our pack, followed closely by myself, while the rest, who were
mostly women and children, were falling behind by at least a hundred meters.

5. At around 10:00 am, as we were just some 200 meters away from our destination, we caught
sight of a platoon of soldiers who motioned us (Dacles and myself) to stop. I at once noticed
that the soldiers were resting and cooking by the left side of the trail.

6. One of them approached us alertly and asked where we came from and where we were
going. Dacles said that we came from the village and that a pump boat was waiting for us
nearby as we were headed for town.

7. The soldier then inquired if we knew where they could fetch water. Dacles turned around
and pointed to an area somewhere, and gave the soldier brief directions on how to get there.
He even added that if it became difficult to locate, the soldier could just ask the rest of our
company who were lagging behind. The soldier then told us to carry on, and so we did.

8. Barely a minute after we had started walking again, another group of soldiers (this time
merely a team) had appeared in front of us. One soldier asked the same questions – where did
we come from? Where were we going? Dacles simply repeated the answers he gave earlier.
9. Dacles also told the soldier that we had already passed through the main body of the platoon
and had in fact given the soldiers there directions where to get drinking water. The soldier told
us we can go.

10. But just as we were turning our backs to him, the soldier again ordered us to halt. He was
intently eyeing the mini‐knapsack that I was carrying. He said: “Ano ‘yang nasa bag mo?”

11. Before I could even reply, the soldier, in brisk movements, had un‐slung the knapsack from
my shoulders and had zipped it open. It was my computer notebook and some other
complimentary gadgets he found inside my mini‐knapsack.

12. The soldier was quite surprised by what he saw. “Nasa bundok ka tapos may laptop ka?” the
soldier said.

13. The soldier and his team led us quickly back to where the main body of the platoon was.
There the soldiers took turns doing body search on me. They emptied my pockets and my sling
pouch; they checked my sides, ran their hands through every part of my body and lifted the
hem of my shirt up to my neck looking for concealed weapons. They did not find any.

14. One soldier handed me my computer and told me to turn it on. I told them that the
batteries had already drained out. I pressed the power button to show them that the computer
won’t boot. But another soldier scolded me for pressing the button saying that I might have
consciously and slyly triggered the computer to self‐destruct.

15. Then the soldiers, five to seven of them at a time, started to harangue me almost in unison,
with raised voices and intermittent invectives and threats. They said: “NPA ka! Mataas siguro
ranggo mo kaya ka may laptop! Mag‐ingat ka sa mga kilos mo baka makatikim ka! Huwag kang
tumakbo! Ayusin mo ang mga sagot mo kung ayaw mong masaktan!”

16. I tried to explain to them that I was doing research in the area but whatever I said was
drowned it seemed by their intense excitement to badger and harass me.

17. This went on for several minutes until our other companions from Bay‐ang finally arrived at
the scene.

18. A soldier asked the women of the group if they knew me. The women said yes and that they
were supposed to go to town with me. Another soldier butted in and shouted and berated the
group, “Mga sinungaling kayo,” said the soldier, “NPA ang taong ito!”

19. An officer finally intervened. He introduced himself as the commanding officer of the
platoon. He told my companions that they’re all free anyway to go to where they were
supposed to go, and the soldiers will only take with them the Tagalog (me).

20. When asked by the women where I would be brought to, the officer just told them to go.
Hence, Barangay Secretary Dacles and the rest of the Bay‐ang group were compelled to leave
me with the soldiers and went straight to the port.

21. The officer approached me and gave me his name, 2nd Lieutenant Jacob Madarang. He said
that they would bring me to the headquarters of the Charlie Company of the 34 th Infantry
Batallion in Barangay Blanca Aurora. At around 11:00 am, Madarang assigned me a place in the
middle of the formation and the platoon began marching and passing through stretches of
rocky and muddy terrain.

22. We would on irregular intervals stop and rest for a few minutes. I found out that Madarang
was using these rests to try to contact his superiors to inform them of my arrest. The cellphone
signal in the areas was so unstable or was simply absent that it took Madarang all of seven
hours to finally get to a position where a cellphone call was possible.
23. At 6:00 p.m., I saw and heard Madarang talking to someone on his cellphone. He was
consistent in addressing that someone as “sir” so I thought that he was in fact conversing with
one of his superiors.

24. I immediately got the drift of the said conversation. It seemed that Madarang was being
told not to bring me anymore to the Company headquarters, but just to “get rid” of me instead.
Madarang on the other hand was sort of lobbying or politely insisting that it was wiser to bring
me to headquarters for interrogation as he strongly felt that that they could extract from me
some valuable information. I also heard him say: “Tagalog ito, sir. Baka taga‐legal front ito ng
national o mula sa isang national organ”.

25. After the phone call, Madarang told his men that they would indeed bring me to the Charlie
Company HQ in Blanca. He also commanded a soldier to tie me by the waist before we marched
again.

26. An hour and a half later at another stop, Madarang ordered one of his men to give me a
jacket, and so I was given one, a fatigue army upper garment, and I put it on. At first I thought
of it as some simple gesture of humanitarian concern on the part of the young lieutenant.

27. As soon however as we entered a village center (this was the barangay immediately before
Barangay Blanca), I found out what the jacket was really all about. The soldier behind me who
was also the one holding my leash suddenly placed his right arm upon my shoulders. The act
made it appear that this soldier and me were casually walking like pals as the platoon passed
through the dimly lit streets of the village. The platoon had to make sure that no one in the
barrio saw the unit with a captive.

28. We arrived finally at Charlie Company HQ in Blanca at around 9:00 pm. Madarang formally
turned me and my things over to his superior. The latter introduced himself to me as the
company commander. I’m not so sure now however if he had given me his name or his rank. At
any rate his “welcome remarks” confirmed without doubt my earlier gut‐feel. He said
“Pasalamat ka binuhay ka pa. Sabi ko kanina sa mga tao ko h’wag ka nang dalhin dito at i‐charge
ka na lang sa encounter.”

29. The company commander then told me to rest for a few minutes while waiting for the
Batallion commander. Being familiar with the rights of a person under arrest, I told him that it
would be best to turn me over to the nearest police detachment immediately and that I would
need a lawyer. He didn’t give me any answer as if he didn’t hear me. Somebody then took a
picture of me using a cellphone.

30. While waiting for the battalion commander, I saw and heard an army officer briefing the
personnel on camp regarding my arrest and detention. The officer stressed that no one outside
the HQ or the immediate community around the camp must be told the Charlie Company was
holding me. The human rights groups he said would probably start searching for me the next
day or the day after that and so they had to be really strict that my presence in the HQ did not
leak.

31. The battalion commander and his entourage arrived at around 10:00 to 10:30 pm. This also
signaled the start of my interrogation. At the outset I reiterated that my arrest, detention and
interrogation were all beyond the bounds set by law. I said that if they are in any way
contemplating on charging me with something, then they should just bring me to the nearest
police detachment and that I would urgently be needing the assistance of my lawyer. An officer
showed his irritation and loudly and emphatically said: “Legal procedure kayo nang legal
procedure eh kayo nga ang iligal!” In that case, I said it would really be best for me to refuse to
answer their questions.

32. The interrogation by at least 8 military persons taking turns, commenced 10:30 p.m. of the
13th of February and stretched up to 6:00 pm of the 15th of February. Within this span (more or
less 44 hours) I was only allowed two (2) hours of sleep which was actually made possible
because my interrogators themselves already got too tired and sleepy.

33. I was subjected to various lines of questioning to which I would always remind my
interrogators that I could only answer questions regarding basic personal data. My
interrogators in turn would show gentle, patient persistence that alternated with not so veiled
threats that said that the only real road to my safety is cooperation with the military.

34. On the 15th of February, at around 6:00 p.m., the colonel (whom I had only known as
“William” after hearing another officer address him as such) told me that they would bring me
to the San Jorge Municipal Police Headquarters. We rode an SUV and it took us less than an
hour to reach San Jorge PNP.

35. Upon arriving at the vicinity of San Jorge PNP, the colonel and the other officers went
straight into the headquarters building while I was left inside the vehicle with my guard
soldiers.

36. After about 20 minutes, one soldier, who had earlier entered the said building with the
colonel, returned to the vehicle and in an urgent tone asked my guard soldiers if they had
brought “the grenade.” One of the soldiers in the SUV said yes, and took out from a small bag a
grenade and gave it

to the soldier who asked for it. The latter went back to the building quite in a hurry. It was at
this time that I guessed and realized that I might just be charged with a crime that had
something to do with the grenade.

37. A few minutes more, I was led inside the PNP building. A police officer named Lucero
received me and informed me that I am being charged with illegal possession of explosive. I saw
one soldier place the grenade on an office table and another police officer who was occupying
the said table pick the explosive up and nonchalantly inspected it. Lucero then said that the
blotter procedure could wait until morning, before the inquest in Calbayog City.

38. Meanwhile Lucero told me that I would be brought to the Gandara Hospital to be examined
by a medico‐legal practitioner. The colonel and his men drove me to the said hospital and there
Lucero presented me to the medico‐legal around 8:00 pm. They then brought me back to San
Jorge PNP. The colonel and his men made sure that I was securely locked up before leaving.

39. The young San Jorge PNP chief, Pagulayan started chatting with me from outside my
detention cell. I told him that I needed to contact my family by phone to inform them of my
situation and whereabouts. The police chief said that he can’t allow me to make that call. I
pleaded using a different tact but mainly by invoking that I have the right to a phone call. He
countered by saying that he can’t do anything because the colonel never mentioned anything
about it.

40. On the 16th of February at 7:30 a.m., I completed the blotter procedure. The police made
me fill up some forms, took my fingerprints and mug shots. And around 8:00 a.m., the colonel
and his men arrived at the San Jorge PNP. They were all in stylish casual civilian clothes.

41. The colonel talked briefly with the police officers then his group left for Calbayog City where
the police told me earlier I would be inquest. A few minutes after the colonel left, I was made
to ride the police pick‐up with my hands handcuffed behind me. We arrived at the Calbayog
City Hall of Justice at around 9:00 a.m.

42. At the Hall of Justice my police escorts headed by Lucero led me inside a prosecutor’s office.
They told me to wait while Lucero prepared the papers of my complainants. Some of the
colonel’s men were also in that office. Lucero never attempted to explain to me the details of
the procedure on his volition. When I asked some questions while he was talking to the
prosecutor’s secretary, Lucero just flared up and told me to shut up. I sensed that the presence
of the colonel and his men was giving the police officer some undue pressure.

43. From what I gathered from Lucero and the secretary’s Winaray conversation, there was
some hitch in the inquest schedule. The stenographer was not available, according to the
secretary. Worse, the prosecutor was out and the secretary had no idea when he would be
coming back. The secretary advised Lucero to go to another office and try to consult with some
legal personnel there.

44. We went to the said office, so did the colonel and his men. It was a relatively big office
space with many tables and employees. Lucero consulted with some people and I heard that, in
lieu of an inquest, he was advised to facilitate the filing of the complaint directly to the office of
the judge.

45. Lucero then expressed his dilemma with my custodial detention in that he was
apprehensive of bringing me back to San Jorge PNP. He said that they would have a problem
with my

maintenance and that furthermore, he was not sure how they would perform in case the NPA
tried to rescue me.

46. Lucero then asked if it were legally possible to hand me back to the military as he had a few
hours earlier been briefed by the colonel that the 8th ID was willing to take me in under some
special custodial arrangements. It was here that I decided to intervene. I made sure that my
voice was loud and clear for all the employees in that big office to hear. I stood up and said that
the idea was highly irregular and definitely illegal. I then drew their attention towards the
colonel and his men by pointing at their group while saying that these men in civilian clothes
were the soldiers and officers who illegally arrested me and are now my complainants, and I
would never allow them to take me into custody.

47. I heard a lady employee remark, “Ah, mga sundalo pala sila!” and I saw the approving,
sympathetic glances and gestures of some of the employees. Then one employee told Lucero
that I could not be brought back to the military and the best alternative was to bring me to the
sub‐provincial jail.

48. Then I said, in the same loud and clear voice that someone should tell Lucero that I’m
entitled to a phone call, a right that the San Jorge PNP deprived of me despite my pleas and
despite the very critical situation that my family was in faraway Metro Manila. Another
employee told Lucero that, yes, the San Jorge PNP should have allowed me to call my family.
The employee, sensing that I still had more issues to present, told Lucero to bring me to the
Public Attorney’s Office (PAO).

49. At the PAO, I mentioned to one of the lawyers that I might need the service of one of their
attorneys especially because I have yet to contact my family and my private lawyer thanks to
the police and the military’s complete disregard of my rights. The colonel, as if trying to wash
his hands, stood up and announced that he’s willing to let me use his phone. I said OK, so the
colonel and I left the PAO and went outside the Hall of Justice.

50. Outside the Hall of Justice, the colonel gave me his phone and I was able to contact my
mother. But just as I was giving my mother the details of my situation, the colonel told me to
end the call. He took his phone and left with his men.

51. After this the San Jorge policemen brought me to the sub‐provincial jail where I was
remitted around 1:30 p.m.
52. I later learned that a Complaint for Illegal Possession of Explosives was filed against me
before the Regional Trial Court of Calbayog City at 10:30 a.m. of February 16, 2011 or seventy
two (72) hours and thirty (30) minutes after my arrest on February 13, 2011 at 10:00 a.m.

53. I vehemently deny that “the hand grenade” was confiscated in my possession or under my
control, but was in truth only planted by the military who arrested me.

54. In my arrest and continued detention, my constitutional and human rights were violated. To
summarize:

a. I was arrested without warrant while not committing any crime or doing anything illegal;

2. I was not informed of the reason for my arrest at the time of my arrest;
3. I was denied the right to counsel;
4. I was denied a phone call and prevented from contacting my family or my lawyer;
5. I was subjected to prolonged interrogation for 44 hours;
6. During tactical interrogation, I was physically and psychologically tortured;
7. I was deprived of sleep, threatened, intimidated, coerced and forced to admit
membership in the NPA;
8. The evidence against me, “the grenade”, was planted;
9. The complaint against me was filed in court only after 72 hours and 30 minutes after my
arrest; and,
10. I was detained in a military camp, which is not of civilian jurisdiction.

55. This Counter Affidavit is being executed to attest to the truth of all the foregoing facts and
events and to disclaim all the accusations against me.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto affixed my signature on this 11 th day of April, 2011 at
Calbayog City.

ERICSON ACOSTA (sgd.)

Affiant

SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me this 11th day of April, 2011 at Calbayog City.

I hereby CERTIFY that I have personally examined the affiant and that I am satisfied that he has
voluntarily executed and understood his Counter‐Affidavit.

AGUSTIN M. AVALON (sgd.)

Asst. Prov. Prosecutor

(also signed by JULIAN F. OLIVA, JR., counsel)


Republic of the Philippines
Department of Labor and Employment
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION
National Capital Region Arbitration Branch
Quezon City

JESUS T SOCORRO,

Complainant,

- versus -

Respondents.

x ---------------------------------------------x

NLRC-RAB Case No. NCR-07-11054-11

Hon. Labor Arbiter ROMELITA N RIOFLORIDO

MARKETING CORP .,

JOSE

REPLY
COMPLAINANT, through the undersigned counsels and to this Honorable Office, most respectfully
submits this Reply to Respondents’ Position Paper –

1. Respondents alleged in their position paper that Complainant was receiving quite a “comfortable”
compensation package of P53,000/month prior to severance of his employment. While Complainant
admits such an amount he receives as his monthly salary from UNISPORT, he begs to contend that the
compensation is nowhere near being comfortable. Taking into account the fact that Complainant basically
structured and established the initial operation of UNISPORT, until such time that it reached its stature
and position in the market, the amount he is getting as monthly pay is not as much as he deserves;

2. In addition, it is bears emphasizing that Complainant’s work does not only include simple task of
procuring sales in a limited area and market. When Benjie Valenzuela, sales manager of Luzon, resigned
back in 2009, he was the one who took over his place and cover the Luzon market for sales. In the coming
year of 2010, when the sales manager of Visayas also left UNISPORT, Complainant was also disposed
off to replace the position in the Visayas market. This goes to show only that while Complainant was
backing up and covering market areas of Luzon and Visayas, which supposedly should be filled-in by two
(2) different managers, he was actually holding three (3) positions at one time, yet, his salary was nailed
to P53,000.00. Respondents now had the audacity to call Complainant’s salary comfortable;

3. Complainant strongly denies that he insisted in resigning out of UNISPORT. In support of their theory
that Complainant did so voluntarily, they argued that the resignation letter was made in Complainant’s
own handwriting; that he applied for employment clearance17; and that he surrendered all office tools and
gadgets issued to him by UNISPORT.

4. First, the fact that Complainant applied for an employment clearance, does not ipso facto conclude that
the resignation was freely made. In fact the Release and Quitclaim form attached thereto was never filled-
out nor signed by Complainant. Complainant was left without any choice but to apply for a clearance
considering that he was told that he can only get the payment of his due commission and unpaid salaries
after the completion of his clearance;

5. Second, he returned the issued laptop and mobile phones as he deemed it appropriate considering that
these things were not his own but of the company. There is just no reason for Complainant to withhold
the same. Third, while the resignation letter is indeed written in Complainant’ s own handwriting, the
same does not at all paint a picture of voluntary resignation;

6. Complainant firmly reiterates that the execution of said letter was undertaken under relentless
compulsion and pressure coming from Respondent Eleanor Ocampo. To start with, the resignation letter
was prepared in front and in the very presence of Ocampo. She was practically directing Complainant as
regards what his letter of resignation should contain. Even the date appearing in the letter suggests a clear
notion that someone was directing him the things ought to be written therein. The letter was initially dated
July 1, 2011, but what could Complainant be possibly thinking when he changed the effectivity of his
resignation to June 30 if not that someone actually ordered him to do so, and, when complainant is fully
aware that resignation must be made with at least 30 days prior notice to his employer;

7. Again Complainant was required to draft a resignation letter right there and then with the false promise
of paying his commissions at the soonest possible time. If Respondents truly intended to give
Complainant what is due him, why is it that to date not a single centavo was paid to him? Worse, he is
even being demanded to pay the loan he supposedly owe UNISPORT. And, although Complainant admits
that he has an existing loan obligation with the Respondent company, is that the right treatment that
should be accorded to someone who has practically spent 13 years of his best life to establish, develop
and improve UNISPORT. Complainant will never deny his loan obligation, but what truly hurts him is
that it now appears that Respondents had totally discounted and disacknowledged Complainant’s worth
and contribution to the company by shoving off to his face that he is not deserving of anything, not even
compassion;

8. Complainant was constructively dismissed by Respondents. He was thrown with overwhelming


circumstances prompting him to feel that he has no place in the company. The following are but just of
the particulars and conditions which eventually constrained Complainant to let go of his employment;

a. Memorandum18 issued in 2008 directed against the Complainant although depicted as if meant for every
and all employees’ notice;

b. Complainant was held for days inside Respondent Ocampo’s office where he was verbally pressured
and psychologically stressed out by respondent;

c. Email (Annex F) dated June 14, 2011 sent by Respondent Ocampo urging him to explain the drop in
sales when she knew all along that the very problem was the design she herself chose for the products;

d. Email (Annex G) dated June 15, 2011, Respondent Ocampo declared her ill-will against Complainant
by stating “WE WILL RETIRE HIM” ;

e. Email (Annex H) dated June 15, 2011, sent by Respondent Ocampo to everyone with words like;
“decided to lessen accounts of jts xxx” (referring to Jesus T Socorro);

f. June 16, 2011 – Respondent Ocampo verbally told Complainant to just resign and take a rest and that
they will just give him his commissions;

g. Email (Annex I) sent by Respondent Ocampo inciting other individuals to go against Complainant;

h. Resignation Letter is in itself a proof that Complainant was directed and forced to resign;

i. Respondent Ocampo after forcing Complainant to resign, by means of deception, made it appear that
Complainant would be receiving something when in truth and in fact, Respondent had really no intention
to do so;

333
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9. There is no truth that Complainant willingly wanted to separate himself from UNISPORT and that he
insisted to resign. The animosity of Respondent Ocampo against Complainant, as she exhibited in various
emailssent to various employees, would evidently disclose her ulterior motive of putting Complainant
under extreme condition of stress until such time he was forced to resign. On this matter, Respondent
Ocampo was successful.

10. As regards the claim of Respondents for payment of Complainant’s loan obligation, while admittedly
the same in fact is true; Respondents cannot just automatically deduct the same against his 13th month pay
and unpaid commissions. There is no agreement, whether verbal or written, no contract was ever entered
into by Complainant with Respondents allowing them to deduct automatically the employee’s loan from
those that are due him under the law. Since no notice was ever given him, this is completely a violation of
Complainant’s right to due process. If Respondents want to recover Complainant’s loan obligation, there
is an appropriate forum for that. It is wrong to muddle such issue in this controversy as the same should
not in any manner affect Complainant’s right granted by the Constitution and labor laws;

11. Lastly, Complainant emphasizes that it is a horn-book doctrine that the courts in deciding cases
between labor and employer, they should be guided by the time-honored principle that if doubt exists
between the evidence presented by the employer and the employee, the scales of justice must be tilted in
favor of the latter. The rule in controversies between a laborer and his master distinctly states that doubts
reasonably arising from the evidence, or in the interpretation of agreements and writing, should be
resolved in the former’s favor20;

52. Considering that Complainant was indeed constructively illegally dismissed, he is entitled to be paid
his backwages, unpaid commission, moral and exemplary damages, attorney’s fees and separation pay in
lieu of reinstatement;

PRAYER

WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is respectfully prayed of this Honorable Office that after due
consideration of this case, judgment be rendered declaring Complainant constructively illegally dismissed
and order Respondents to be jointly and severally liable to pay his backwages, separation pay, unpaid
commissions, damages and attorney’s fees.

Praying for such other relief just and equitable under the premises. Pasig City for Quezon City, 06
October 2011.

JAWID

JAWID LAW OFFICE

Counsel for Complainant

Unit 910 Antel Global Corporate Center

Nr 3 Doña Julia Vargas Avenue, Ortigas CBD, Pasig City


Tel Nos. 782-42-97 / 687-5363 Mobile Nos. 0918-9115853 /

0932-8827435 counsellor12@rocketmail.com

By:

ARIEL GENARO GARCIA

PTR Nr 10113456;01.04.11;Las

IBP Lifetime Member Nr 01904 Roll Nr39314


MCLE Compliance Nr IV -

CHATO ANCHETA CABIGAS

Email Add.

PHILIPPINE LEGAL FORMS 2015

1142858;01.05.11;Taguig City City

0002307;08.03.11

Copy Furnished

UNISPORT MARKETING CORP JOSE YU, ELEANOR YU OCAMPO Respondents


497 President Quirino Avenue., Ext., Corner Zulueta St., Paco,
Manila, NCR 1007
Republic of the Philippines
Department of Labor and Employment
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION
National Capital Region Arbitration Branch
Quezon City

JESUS T SOCORRO,

Complainant,

- versus -

NLRC-RAB Case No. NCR-07-11054-11

Hon. Labor Arbiter ROMELITA N RIOFLORIDO

UNISPORT
YU, ELEANOR YU OCAMPO,

JOSE

MARKETING CORP .,

REJOINDER
COMPLAINANT, through the undersigned counsels and to this Honorable Office, most respectfully
submits this Reply –

1. Respondents, in their Reply, attached the affidavit of Unisport’ s President, Mr Jose Y u, who made
various allegations that are wholly irrelevant to controvert the material allegation of constructive illegal
dismissal and corresponding proofs proffered by Complainant;

2. Mr Yu even declared that although Complainant’s job and duties are indeed multifarious, his theory is
that they were far from being stressful. To reiterate the purposes of Complainant’s job, are as follows:

To deliver the assigned nationwide sales quota for the year; To supervise the sales force in the
implementation of the sales

program;

To complement with Consignment and Boutique Section in the implementation of overall corporate
strategies;

To administer the daily activities of the Collection Unit


To assist the CMSO in the development of marketing plans and sales program.

3.
stressful, the same observation runs counter against the very purpose of Complainant’s job. It is his
responsibility to see to it that he delivers the assigned sales quota for the year. Even an ordinary
person, not adept to the intricacies of the sales world, would find it difficult to think in the outstretched
imagination that procuring sales quota is like a walk in a park. Let alone to be burdened with additional
multitude of duties, such as, but not limited to: providing strategic and operating guidelines to the sales
force, taking care of the collection of payables, ensuring proper disposition and receipt of deliveries,
directly handling key accounts in Metro Manila, developing sales program and training, directly
handling sales complaint beyond the level of the sales force and making periodic rounds to key
provincial customers to sustain business relation;

4. Mr Yu also denies Complainant’s allegations in paragraphs 3, 4, and 5 of his Position Paper. He


mentioned that, Complainant’s alleged claim that he single-handedly developed measures intended to
increase the sales output, is fallacious. To start with, Complainant never said that he single-

While Mr Y u’ s opinion that Complainant’ s job was never handedly developed measures adopted in
sales. Complainant merely pointed out that the strategies used in increasing the sales mostly originated
from his ideas which were later on adopted by the sales workforce to boost sales output;

5. What is mostly depressing in this case is that, Mr Yu, under paragraph 6 of Respondents’ Reply, in
desperate attempt to reject Complainant’s cause, opted to attack the very person of Complainant by
imputing against him the disposition of being a drunkard, a womanizer, and even his working habits.
These allegations apparently were embodied in an Incident Report21 made by a certain Dolores R
Resuello and a document22 containing several imputations allegedly signed by a certain Ms Macam;

6. These documents are wanting of any probative value. It is a basic rule on evidence that the moral
character of a party is generally inadmissible. It may be admitted only when the issue of pertinent
character is itself involved in the case.23 Also, not only that the allegations in the incident report are self-
serving, the incident report itself does not have any evidentiary weight considering that it can be easily
prepared at any time, even at present, with printed date allegedly pertaining to a 2008 incident.
Complainant would also wish to make an observation anent the written cellphone number on the incident
report. From this standpoint, what appears is that the same is written in order to relate it to a cellphone bill
of Bradgate Marketing Corporation indicating several calls made to the same cellphone number. The only
problem is that such billing statement alone could never prove who made the calls much less the identity
of the owner of such cellphone number;

7. In this case, Complainant’s primary cause of action against Respondents is that his working
environment was attended with so much animosity, insecurity and hatred against him. The circumstances
Complainant had to put up with at the company starting at the time he suffered stroke were so much for
him to bear. Adding insult to the injury, Mr Yu’s daughter Eleanor

Ocampo maliciously paved the way in order to make Complainant’s remaining days with the company so
strenuous and unyielding;

8. In Mr Yu’s own statement, he maintained that the purpose of the Memorandum24 is to REWARD
those who EXERTED EFFORT to attain their targets and PENALIZE those who had lackluster
sales performance. The subject Memorandum provides the following mandated Sales Quota:

2009 QUOTA Php 85,000,000.00


QUOTA RATE OF COMMISSION
Above 100% 1.03%
91% - 100% 1.00%
86% - 90% 0.90%
81% - 85% 0.85%
76% - 80% 0.80%
75% and Below .0.00%
2010 QUOTA Php 95,000,000.00
QUOTA RATE OF COMMISSION
Above 100% 0.96%
91% - 100% 0.93%
86% - 90% 0.84%
81% - 85% 0.79%
76% - 80% 0.74%
75% and Below .0.00%
2011 QUOTA Php 85,000,000.00
QUOTA RATE OF COMMISSION
Above 100% 0.93%
91% - 100% 0.90%

86% - 90% 0.81%


81% - 85% 0.76%
76% - 80% 0.72%
75% and Below .0.00%

9. While Mr Yu claims that the purpose of the new commission scheme is to reward those who exert
effort to attain the target quota, this appears quite contrary to the figures reflected in the memorandum.
Observe the change of commission rate from 2009, 2010 to 2011. The AMOUNT OF COMMISSION
WHICH A SALESMAN MAY RECEIVE CLEARLY DECREASES in the years following
through;

10. Now Respondent Yu argues that the purpose of the commission scheme is to REW ARD those who
exerted effort to attain the quota sales. How can this be true when the commission rate is markedly
reduced and diminished while the sales percentage quota is retained. One does not need to have a brilliant
mind to realize that there can never be a REWARD in this case WHEN THE COMMISSION IS
DISCOUNTED while the TOTAL SALES QUOTA REQUIRED EVERY YEAR INCREASES;

11. While more effort is required to be extracted from the salesmen, the corresponding commissions
pertinent thereto never commensurate the exertion put forth by them. It seems to us that whether one
attains the quota or not, the memorandum leads to the same effect - dissatisfaction and disheartenment on
the part of the salesmen.

12. Mr Yu averred that the memorandum is an exercise of management prerogative. He added under
second stanza, paragraph 10 of their Reply that he also made it a policy to withhold any commission
from those who have been sick leave for a continuous one-month period. Evidently, what Respondent
sought to impose against an employee who had just suffered from illness is to hold back the commission
due from him at the moment he needs it the most. Clearly, compassion for the sick is not one of the
virtues being practiced by Respondents. This merely bolsters the allegation of Complainant that the
memorandum was ill-motivated and was issued to personally attack and further aggravate the poor health
condition of Complainant;

13. Respondents also questioned why the 2008 Memorandum was used as basis of the charge of
constructive dismissal when Complainant separated from Unisport only on July 1, 2011. In reply to this
query, it bears emphasizing that the Memorandum was not the sole basis utilized by Complainant in his
claim for constructive illegal dismissal. The memorandum merely ignited the series of harassment and
discrimination undertaken against him, by and through his daughter Eleanor Ocampo;

14. In addition to the memorandum, several correspondences sent through e-mail evidencing Respondent
Ocampo’s display of disdain and contempt against Complainant literally led him to feel the stress in
staying and pressured him in letting go of his employment;

15. Words used in the emails such as, “WE WILL RETIRE HIM”, “DECIDED TO LESSEN THE
ACCOUNTS OF JTC” and “I’M EMPOWERING ALL OF YOU SO THAT YOU HAVE A
VOICE SO THAT JTS WILL ALSO LEARN TO WORK WITH YOU AND HINDI PARANG
BOSING DATING NYA... AKO LANG ANG BOSING DITO HAHA, which literally call for employees
to rise up against Complainant are too hard pieces of evidence showing that up to the last days of
Complainant in the company, Respondent Ocampo made it so difficult for him to continue working at
Unisport;

16. Lastly, in the sworn statement of Efren Grandana, he denied having shown Complainant a written
directive from Respondent Ocampo, to compute his accrued benefits. This bare denial cannot stand
against an affirmative allegation of an employee. Nonetheless, in the regular course of business, the
accounting department undertakes the computation of whatever is due an employee. However, this
procedure was no longer followed by the cohorts of Respondent Ocampo who were also equally
responsible in pressuring Complainant to leave the company;
17. Efren Granada also allegedly saw only Complainant in writing his resignation letter without
Respondent Ocampo. This declaration is a blatant lie. All the while Complainant was writing his
resignation letter, he was in the very presence of Ocampo who directed the matters to be written therein.
Noteworthy to state, in the normal course of events, an employee most willing to resign would not have
drafted, prepared and written the same inside the company premises, or at the very least, in the presence
of his own boss;

PRAYER

WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is respectfully prayed of this Honorable Office that after due
consideration of this case, judgment be rendered declaring Complainant constructively illegally dismissed
and order Respondents to be jointly and severally liable to pay his backwages, separation pay, unpaid
commissions, damages and attorney’s fees.

Praying for such other relief just and equitable under the premises. Pasig City for Quezon City, 27
October 2011.

JAWID LAW OFFICE

Counsel for Complainant

Unit 910 Antel Global Corporate Center

Nr 3 Doña Julia Vargas Avenue, Ortigas CBD, Pasig City


Tel Nos. 782-42-97 / 687-5363 Mobile Nos. 0918-9115853 /

0932-8827435 counsellor12@rocketmail.com

By:

Email Add.

Piñas City

0001196;01.19.11

1142858;01.05.11;Taguig City City

0002307;08.03.11

Copy Furnished

CHATO ANCHETA CABIGAS

PTR Nr A- IBP Nr 858976; 03.31.11; Makati

UNISPORT MARKETING CORP JOSE YU, ELEANOR YU OCAMPO Respondents


497 President Quirino Avenue., Ext., Corner Zulueta St., Paco,

Manila, NCR 1007


MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
OF THE ORDER, DATED MARCH 17, 2016

THE DEFENDANTS, by counsel, respectfully state:

1. PURPOSE. - The subject matter of this motion for partial reconsideration is


the Order, dated March 17, 2016, of the Honorable Court.

2. MATERIAL DATES. – The undersigned counsel for the defendants personally received
a copy of the said Order in open court during the hearing held on March 18, 2016 at
8:30 AM. His 15th day to file this motion expires on April 2, 2016, Saturday. Hence,
his final legal deadline would expire on April 4, 2016, Monday, the next working
day, per the Rule of Court.

3. THE ORDER, DATED MARCH 17, 2016. - The Order denied the defendants’ motion
to dismiss, by way of special affirmative defenses alleged in their earlier supplemental
responsive pleading, “without prejudice to the (said special affirmative defenses)
being raised and appreciated during the pretrial and trial”.

The two (2) bases for the denial, as contained in the Order, are as follows:

(a) That the special affirmative defenses raised by the defendants “are technicalities
and matters which are evidentiary in nature”; and

(b) That “they are best threshed out in the crucible of trial”.
4. ISSUE. – It will be recalled that in their “SUPPLEMENTAL RESPONSIVE PLEADING
(In Compliance with Paragraph. 4 of the OMNIBUS ORDER, Dated October 20, 2015)
With EX PARTE MOTION TO SET A PRELIMINARY HEARING ON THE SPECIAL
AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES”, dated November 3, 2015, the defendants argued the
certain procedural, legal and antecedent issues, which are matters of record and
which are purely legal issues without need of evidence presentation.

This motion for partial reconsideration respectfully submits that the Honorable
Court erred in not dismissing the instant case for the following reasons:

(a) The instant petition lacks a valid verification and anti-forum shopping certification
for LACK OF AUTHORITY OF xxx to execute the same.

(b) The instant petition is tantamount to an UNSIGNED PLEADING, for lack of a valid
legal authority of XXX to institute the same in the form of a proper, valid and timely
Board Resolution of the corporate plaintiff.

(c) The instant petition is a mere scrap of paper that fails to comply with the full valid and
mandatory requirements to commence an INITIATORY PLEADING.

(d) One such basic and fundamental requirement is a proper and valid Board
Resolution of the corporate plaintiff that serves as the proper and valid legal
authority of XXX to commence the instant petition by signing the verification and
anti-forum shopping certification thereof.

(e) Hence, it fails to state a cause of action, for which reason, it must be dismissed.

(f) The foregoing issue/ground is a PURELY LEGAL ISSUE and a MATTER OF


RECORD that can be resolved by the Honorable Court by applying, at this early stage,
the relevant provisions of the Rules of Court and the relevant Jurisprudence.

(g) The foregoing issue/ground needs no evidence presentation for its disposal, the
same being a purely legal issue and a matter of record.

(h) The foregoing issue/ground need not wait for the pretrial stage of this case (as held
in the questioned Order) for its final disposal by this Honorable Court.

5. THE GLARING LACK OF LEGAL AUTHORITY OF XXX XXX TO EXECUTE THE


VERIFICATION AND ANTI-FORUM SHOPPING CERTIFICATION OF THE INSTANT
PETITION BY REASON OF THE PATENTLY QUESTIONABLE AND INVALID BOARD
RESOLUTION ATTACHED THERETO.

XXX, the alleged corporate secretary of the corporate plaintiff, has no legal
authority to execute the verification and anti-forum shopping certification in the
instant civil action and her act of executing the verification and anti-forum shopping
certification of the instant petition is ultra vires for the reasons reiterated hereinbelow:

(a) Par. 1 of Board Resolution No. 006-2015, dated April 17, 2015, of the board of
directors of the petitioner, which is attached to the instant petition as Annex
“A” thereof, speaks only of a CRIMINAL CASE, not a civil action.

(b) The specific powers granted to Xxx under Par. 2 of the board resolution do not
expressly include the power to execute verification and an anti-forum shopping
certification. The clause “to sign any and all pleadings, papers and documents relative
thereto” stated in Line No. 7 and Line No. 8 of Par. 2 of the board resolution does not
expressly refer to the power to execute verification and an anti-forum-shopping
certification.

(c) The phrase “relative thereto” contained in the aforecited clause (i.e., “to sign any and
all pleadings, papers and documents relative thereto”) expressly refers to the phrase
“appropriate CRIMINAL CASE” clearly stated in Par. 1 of the board resolution.
(d) The board resolution, which is not under oath, is not supported by a notarized
Corporate Secretary’s Certificate to attest, under pain of perjury, to (a) the due
execution and authenticity thereof and (b) the veracity of the contents thereof.

(e) For lack of authority of Xxx to commence the instant civil action and/or for exercising
an ultra vires act of filing the instant civil action, and as explained in the foregoing
paragraphs, the petition may be deemed to be an UNSIGNED PLEADING. The rule is
that “an unsigned pleading produces no legal effect” (Sec. 3, Rule 7).

(f) FURTHER, and more importantly, the Court should note that Par. 1 the verification
and anti-forum shopping certification, dated March 13. 2015, executed by Xxx
was expressly an specifically based and premised on an alleged Board
Resolution No. 003-2015, dated March 12, 2015, as her alleged legal authority to
execute the verification and anti-forum shopping certification and to commence the
instant civil action.

(g) She alleges in her said verification and anti-forum shopping certification, dated
March 13. 2015, that the alleged Board Resolution No. 003-2015, dated March 12,
2015, was attached as Annex “A” to the instant petition. It was not so.

(h) The document that is attached as Annex “A” of the instant petition is not the
alleged Board Resolution No. 003-2015, dated March 12, 2015 mentioned in Xxx’s
signed verification and anti-forum shopping certification, dated March 13. 2015, but
another and unrelated alleged Board Resolution No. 006-2015, dated April 17,
2015.

(i) Please note, further, that the verification and anti-forum shopping certification signed
by Xxx is dated March 13, 2015. But the alleged Board Resolution No. 006-2015,
dated April 17, 2015, attached as Annex “A” of the petition is not dated March 13,
2015 but April 17, 2015 and does not refer to the instant civil action but to a criminal
action.

(j) Hence, at the time Xxx actually executed on March 13, 2015, under oath and under
pain of perjury, the verification and anti-forum shopping certification of the instant
petition she HAD NO LEGAL AUTHORITY to do so.

(k) There was a “huge antedated time gap of 35 days”between the date Xxx signed the
verification and anti-forum shopping certification which is March 13, 2015 and the date
of the board resolution (which purports to be her legal authority) marked as Annex “A”
of the petition which is April 17, 2015.

(l) In addition to the rule that “an unsigned pleading produces no legal effect” (Sec. 3,
Rule 7), Sec. 5, Rule 7 expressly provides that the failure of a petitioner to comply with
the requirements for a valid, legal and proper verification and anti-forum shopping
certification for an initiatory pleading “shall not be curable by mere amendment of the
complaint or other initiatory pleading but shall be cause for the dismissal of the case
without prejudice, unless otherwise provided, upon motion and after hearing.”

(m) Under Sec. 1 (g), Rule 16, a petition may be dismissed if it “fails to state a cause of
action”. An unsigned pleading (for lack of authority of Xxx to execute the
verification and anti-forum shopping certification) is mere scrap of paper because it
fails to state a cause of action.

(n) To repeat: Xxx signed the verification and anti-forum shopping certification of the
instant petition on March 13, 2015 while the board resolution (Annex “A” thereof)
allegedly empowering her to commence a “criminal action” (not a civil action)
against the herein respondents was dated April 17, 2015 - or a gap of thirty-five (35)
days or five (5) weeks. The obvious legal conclusion is that at that time that Xxx
allegedly signed the verification and anti-forum shopping certification of the petition
on March 13, 2015 she had no legal authority do so, considering that the board
resolution which allegedly served as her legal authority was passed by the
illegitimate Maca board only much later on April 17, 2015.
6. THE ISSUES OF “FAILURE OT STATE A CAUSE OF ACTION” AND THE “LACK
OF AUTHORITY” OF XXX ARE PROCEDURAL ANTECENDENTS THAT MUST
FIRST BE RESOLVED WITH TOP PRIORITY, PREFERENCE AND UTMOST
DISPATCH BEFORE THE PRETRIAL AND TRIAL STAGES OF THIS CASE.

It must be noted that his motion is premised on “FAILURE TO STATE A CAUSE OF


ACTION” (not “lack of cause of action”) and the “LACK OF AUTHORITY” of XXX to
commence this action because the Board Resolution attached as Annex “A” to the
instant petition is improper, invalid, dubious, and questionable ON ITS FACE.

The issues of “failure to state a cause of action” and the “lack of legal authority” of
XXX by reason of an improper and invalid Board Resolution (i.e., Annex “A”, Petition)
are MATTERS OF RECORDwhich can be resolved by simply analyzing Annex “A” of
the instant petition.

The issues of “failure to state a cause of action” and “lack of legal authority” are
PURELY LEGAL ISSUES.

They require NO EVIDENCE PRESENTATION.

All that is needed is to analyze the Board Resolution (Annex “A”) in question.

They are NOT MATTERS OF EVIDENCE THAT MUST BE TRIED ON THE MERITS IN
A PROTRACTED, TEDIOUS, COSTLY, PROLONGED, AND PAINFUL TRIAL ON THE
MERITS AND APPELLATE REVIEWS OF THIS CASE.

They may be and must be resolved PRIOR TO THE PRETRIAL AND TRIAL STAGES
of the instant case for the sake of procedural orderliness and the doctrine of speedy
justice WITHOUT WAITING FOR ANY FURTHER DILATORY PROCEEDING.

They are PROCEDURAL ANTECEDENTS that must be given top priority for resolution
of the Court before pretrial and trial stages of the case if judicial orderliness is to be
preserved and if fidelity to Rule 16 is to be observed.

7. JURISPRUDENCE.

A. “FAILURE TO STATE CAUSE OF ACTION” VS. “LACK OF CAUSE OF ACTION.”

The defendants respectfully cite the 2011 decision of the Supreme Court in the case
of DOLORES ADORA MACASLANG vs. RENATO AND MELBA ZAMORA, G.R. No.
156375, May 30, 2011.

In the said case, the Supreme Court held that “failure to state a cause of action” and
“lack of cause of action” are really different from each other.

“Failure to state a cause of action” refers to the “insufficiency of the


pleading”, and is “a ground for dismissal under Rule 16 of the Rules of Court”.

The herein defendants submit that it does not need to wait for pretrial or for trial
on the merits.

The herein defendants submit that the lack of a proper and valid Board
Resolution authorizing XXX to commence the civil action is means “insufficiency of
the pleading”.

Its legal effect is the “failure to state a cause of action”.

The herein defendants submit that the pleading so filed with such a fatal defect is
an “unsigned pleading” and hence, a “mere scrap of paper”, as discussed in the
foregoing sections above.
On the other hand, according to the aforecited Supreme Court in the aforecited
decision, “lack of cause action” refers to a situation where the “evidence does not
prove the cause of action alleged in the pleading”.

It needs trial on the merits because a DEMURRER TO EVIDENCEmay be filed after


termination of the presentation of evidence-in-chief of the plaintiff.

THUS:

“x x x.

Failure to state a cause of action and lack of cause of action are really different
from each other. On the one hand, failure to state a cause of action refers to the
insufficiency of the pleading, and is a ground for dismissal under Rule 16 of
the Rules of Court. On the other hand, lack of cause action refers to a situation
where the evidence does not prove the cause of action alleged in the pleading.
Justice Regalado, a recognized commentator on remedial law, has explained the
distinction:

xxx What is contemplated, therefore, is a failure to state a cause of actionwhich is


provided in Sec. 1(g) of Rule 16. This is a matter of insufficiency of
the pleading. Sec. 5 of Rule 10, which was also included as the last mode for raising
the issue to the court, refers to the situation where the evidence does not prove a
cause of action. This is, therefore, a matter of insufficiency of evidence. Failure to
state a cause of action is different from failure to prove a cause of action. The
remedy in the first is to move for dismissal of the pleading, while the remedy in the
second is to demur to the evidence, hence reference to Sec. 5 of Rule 10 has been
eliminated in this section. The procedure would consequently be to require the pleading
to state a cause of action, by timely objection to its deficiency; or, at the trial, to file
a demurrer to evidence, if such motion is warranted. (Emphasis added).

X x x.” (Emphasis added).


UNSIGNED PLEADING.

On the legal issue of USIGNED PLEADINGS, the herein defendants respectfully cite
the case of REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the Land
Registration Authority vs. KENRICK DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, G.R. No.
149576, August 8, 2006.

In the aforecited case, the Supreme Court held that an unsigned pleading is
invalid and it produces no legal effect.

Thus, it must be DISMISSED outright via a motion to dismiss or as a special


affirmative defense.

It further held that “procedural requirements” (which have often been


“disparagingly labeled as mere technicalities”) have their own valid raison d'etre in
the “orderly administration of justice”.

It furthermore held that to summarily brush such procedural requirements or


technicalities may result in “arbitrariness and injustice.”

THUS:
“X x x.

No doubt, Atty. Garlitos could not have validly given blanket authority for just
anyone to sign the answer. The trial court correctly ruled that respondents answer
was invalid and of no legal effect as it was an unsigned pleading. Respondent was
properly declared in default and the Republic was rightly allowed to present evidence ex
parte.

Respondent insists on the liberal application of the rules. It maintains that even if
it were true that its answer was supposedly an unsigned pleading, the defect was a
mere technicality that could be set aside.
Procedural requirements which have often been disparagingly labeled as
mere technicalities have their own valid raison d'etre in the orderly administration
of justice. To summarily brush them aside may result in arbitrariness and
injustice.

The Courts pronouncement in Garbo v. Court of Appeals is relevant:

Procedural rules are [tools] designed to facilitate the adjudication of cases.


Courts and litigants alike are thus [enjoined] to abide strictly by the rules. And while the
Court, in some instances, allows a relaxation in the application of the rules, this, we
stress, was never intended to forge a bastion for erring litigants to violate the rules with
impunity. The liberality in the interpretation and application of the rules applies only in
proper cases and under justifiable causes and circumstances. While it is true that
litigation is not a game of technicalities, it is equally true that every case must be
prosecuted in accordance with the prescribed procedure to insure an orderly and
speedy administration of justice.

8. RELIEF.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is respectfully prayed that the ORDER,


dated March 17, 2016, be partially reconsidered:

(a) By declaring the fatal defect and/or absence of the legal authority of Xxx Xxx
to commence the instant action in behalf of the corporate plaintiff;

(b) By declaring that the petition “fails to state a cause of action”; and

(c) By declaring the instant petition is an “unsigned pleading” without any legal
and valid effect.

AND THAT ON THE BASIS OF THE FOREGOING, the instant petition be


DIMSISSED outright without prejudice, per Rule 16.

FURTHER, the herein defendants pray for such and other reliefs as may be
deemed just and equitable in the premises.

Las Pinas City, March 30, 2016

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 208321 July 30, 2014

WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY PHILIPPINES, Petitioner,


vs.
NOWELLA REYES, Respondent.

DECISION

VELASCO, JR., J.:

Nature of the Case

The issue in this petition boils down to the legality of respondent Nowella Reyes' termination as
University Treasurer of petitioner Wesleyan University - Philippines (WUP) on the ground of loss of
trust and confidence. Petitioner prays in this recourse that We reverse the February 28, 2013
Decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 122536 which declared respondent's
termination illegal.

The Facts
On March 16, 2004, respondent Nowella Reyes was appointed as WUP's University Treasurer on
probationary basis. A little over a year after, she was appointed as full time University Treasurer.

On April 27, 2009, a new WUP Board of Trustees was constituted. Among its first acts was to
engage the services of Nepomuceno Suner & Associates Accounting Firm (External Auditor) to
investigate circulating rumors on alleged anomalies in the contracts entered into by petitioner and in
its finances.

Discovered following an audit were irregularities in the handling of petitioner’s finances, mainly, the
encashment by its Treasury Department of checks issued to WUP personnel, a practice purportedly
in violation of the imprest system of cash management, and the encashment of various crossed
checks payable to the University Treasurer by Chinabank despite management’s intention to
merelyhave the funds covered thereby transferred from one of petitioner’s bankaccounts to another.
The External Auditor’s report embodied the following findings and recommendations:1

Treasury Department (Cash Management):

Findings:

1. It was noted that checks consisting of various checks payable to teachers, staffs
and other third parties had been the subject of encashment directly with the Treasury
Department under the stewardship of Mrs. Nowella A. Reyes,the University
Treasurer. This practice is a clear violation of imprest system of cash management,
hence, resulting to unsound accounting practice. This laxity in cash management of
those checks were paid as intended for them. Recommendations:

For internal control reasons, the treasury should not accept any check encashment
from its daily collections. Checks are being issued for encashment with our
depository bank for security reasons. The mere acceptance of checks from the
collections is tantamount to cash disbursement out of collections.

Findings:

2. It was also noted that various checks payable to the Treasurer of WUP x x x had
been negotiated for encashment directly to China Bank – Cabanatuan Branch, while
the intention of the management for these checks were merely for fund transfer with
the other account maintained at China Bank. This practice is a violation not only in
the practice of accounting/cash custodianship but had been mingled with spurious
elements. Unfortunately, check vouchers relating to this exception are nowhere to be
found or not on file.

Findings:

3. A crossed check payable to the Treasurer – [WUP] x x x had been negotiated for
encashment to China Bank – Cabanatuan Branch despite of the restriction indicated
in the face of the check. Unfortunately, the used check was no longer found on file.

As a result of said audit, petitioner served respondent a Show Cause Order and
placed her under preventive suspension.2 The said Show Cause Order required her
to explain the following matters found by the External Auditors:

(a) your encashment of Php300,000.00 ofa crossed check you issued


payable to yourself (Chinabank Check No. 000873613 dated 26 November
2008) x x x;

(b) the encashment of various checks without any supporting vouchers x x x;

(c) unliquidated cash advances in the aggregate amount of Php9.7 million x x


x.3

On June 18, 2009, respondent submitted her Explanation. Following which, WUP’s Human
Resources Development Office (HRDO) conducted an investigation. Finding respondent’s
Explanation unsatisfactory, the HRDO, on July 2, 2009, submitted an Investigation Report4 to the
University President containing its findings and recommending respondent’s dismissal as University
Treasurer.

Upon receipt of her notice of termination on July 9, 2009, respondent post-haste filed a complaint for
illegal dismissal with the Arbitration Branch of the National Labor Relations Commission. She
contended that her dismissal was illegal, void and unjust, for the following reasons:
First,her 60-day preventive suspension violated the Labor Code provisions prohibiting such
suspensions tolast for more than thirty (30) days. Thus, the fact that she was not reinstated to her
former position before the lapse of thirty (30) days, amounted to constructive
dismissal;5 Second,there was a violation of her right to substantive and procedural due process, as
evidencedby petitioner’s failure to apply the pertinent due process provisions under its Administrative
and Personnel Policy Manual;6 and

Finally,the charges against her werebased on mere suspicion and speculations and unsupported by
evidence.7

Petitioner, for its part, predicated its defense on the contention that respondent was a highly
confidential employee who handled significant amounts of money as University Treasurer and that
the irregularities attributed to her in the performance ofher duties justify her dismissal on the basis of
loss of trust and confidence.8

Petitioner also averred that the 60-day preventive suspension thus imposed does not necessarily
make suchsuspension void, inasmuch as the law merely requires that after a 30-day preventive
suspension, the affected employee shall automatically be reinstated. But in the case of respondent,
there was no need for her automatic reinstatement inasmuch as she was duly terminated within the
30-day period of her preventive suspension.9Moreover, respondent was duly afforded her right to
due process since WUP substantially complied with the twin-notice rule.

Ruling of the Labor Arbiter

On December 15, 2010, Labor Arbiter Reynaldo V. Abdon rendered a Decision finding for
respondent. The dispositive portion of the Labor Arbiter Decision reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered, DECLARING that complainant


Nowella Reyes x x x [was] illegally dismissed by respondent Wesleyan University Philippines.

Accordingly, respondent Wesleyan University Philippines through its President is hereby DIRECTED
to:

(1) Reinstate complainant Nowella Reyes to her former or equivalent position without loss of
seniority right;

(1.1) Since reinstatement is immediately executory, to render a Report of


Compliance to this Office within ten (10) days from receipt of this Decision.

(2) Pay complainant Reyes her backwages, from the time of her dismissal until
reinstatement, the present sum of which is ₱429,000.00;

(3) Pay complainant Reyes, her 13th month pay in the sum of ₱52,000; her shared (sic) in
related learning experience fee, ₱12,000.00; clothing allowance, ₱6,000.00; Honorarium as
member of standing committees, ₱4,000.00; and her vacation leave credits in the sum of
₱17,862.59;

(4) Pay complainant Reyes, moral damages in the sum of ₱150,000.00, exemplary damages
in the amount of ₱100,000.00, and 10% attorney’s fees in the sum of ₱77,086.25;

xxxx

SO ORDERED.10

The Labor Artbiter noted, as respondent has insisted, that the charges against the latter were based
on mere rumors and speculations. As observed too by the Labor Arbiter, petitioner itself was in the
wrong because it had no proper policies on its accounting and financial procedures and that the
encashment and accommodation of checks to personnel, especially after banking hours, had been
the practice of its previous and present administrations. Thus, it was unfair to put all the blame on
respondent without any evidence that her actionswere highly irregular, unfair or unjustified.11

As regards petitioner’sfindings on the alterations in the Check Disbursement Voucher (CDV),


unliquidated cash advances and duplicate checks, the Labor Arbiter found and wrote:

Anent the alleged finding of the university that there was material alteration on the documents as
regards the Check Disbursement Voucher (CDV), for allegedly there was an absence of Board
Resolution entry in the CDV filed in the Accounting while the copy submitted by the Treasurer has a
Board Resolution entry as well as the word ATM on the payee portion on the photocopy as crossed
out while in the original it was not crossed out, respondent cannot summarily state that complainant
was at fault. The Human Resource should have conducted an in-depth investigation on this matter.
Unfortunately, respondent just followed the twin-notice rule, and did not conduct a thorough
administrative investigation in accordance with their own internal rules and policies in the Manual.
Consequently, this Office has serious doubt that such matter was the fault of the complainant for the
blame may fall on the accounting personnel who is handling the CDV.

With respect to the unliquidated cash advances, it is not likewise the fault of the complainant. She
pointed out that follow ups of the liquidation is [sic] being handled by the auditor, while respondent
claims that she was previously handling the same before it was transferred to Accounting Office in
August 2008. We see no evidence to prove that the liquidation is being handled by the complainant
prior to August 2008. Moreover, it is common practice thatthe Treasurer disburses the funds such as
cash advances but the liquidation must be done by the beneficiary of the fund, and the responsible
people who should follow up the liquidation is the accounting office.

With respect to the duplicate checks, the same were done by a syndicate or individuals not
connectedwith the University. The bank has already admitted responsibility in the encashment of
these checks and had returned the amounts to the respondent University, thus complainant has no
fault about this incident.12

Ruling of the NLRC

Petitioner filed an appeal withthe National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) which was granted
in the tribunal’s Decision dated July 11, 2011, declaring that respondentwas legally dismissed.
However, petitioner was ordered to pay respondent her proportionate 13th month pay, the monetary
value of her vacation leave, and attorney’s fees.

Adopting a stance entirely opposite to that of the Labor Arbiter, the NLRC held that respondent failed
to controvert and disprove the established charges of petitioner (as appellant-respondent) and
insteadconveniently put the blame on other departments for her inculpatory acts. The NLRC opined
that her termination was not motivated by the change of petitioner’s officers but by the University’s
goal to promote the economy and efficiency of its Treasury Department.13

In net effect, the NLRC found petitioner’s contention of loss of trust and confidence in respondent
with sufficient basis. While respondent, so the NLRC notes, may not have been guilty ofwillful breach
of trust, the fact that she held a highly confidential position, and considering that anomalous
transactions transpired under her command responsibility, provided petitioner with ample ground
todistrust and dismiss her.14 The NLRC explained:

In this case, complainant-appellee [herein respondent] may not have been guilty of willful breach of
trust. But as Treasurer of [WUP] who handles and supervises all monetary transactions in the
University and being a highly confidential employee at that, holding trust and confidence and after
considering the series of irregular and anomalous transactions that transpired under complainant-
appellee’s command responsibility, respondent has basis or ample reason to distrust complainant-
appellee. Thus, we cannot justly deny [WUP] the authority to dismiss complainant-appellee.

The principle of respondent (sic) superior or command responsibility may be cited as basis for the
termination of employment of managerial employees based on loss of trust and confidence. In the
Etcuban case (Ibid) the Supreme Court in upholding the validity of petitioner-employee’s dismissal
on the ground of loss of trust and confidence, ruled that even if the employee x x x had no actual and
direct participation in the alleged anomalies, his failure to detect any anomaly that would normally fall
withinthe scope of his work reflects his ineffectiveness and amounts to gross negligence and
incompetence which are likewise justifiable grounds for his irregularity, for what is material is that his
actuations were more than sufficient to sow in his employer the seed of mistrust and loss of
confidence.

As found by the External Auditor, complainant-appellee should have implemented an imprest system
of cash management in order to secure the indicated payees in those checks and they were paid of
the checks as intended for them. It appears that checks payable to teachers, staffs and other third
parties had beenthe subject of encashment directly with the Treasury Department x x x and this is an
unsound accounting practice.

Moreover, the External Auditors found that various checks payable to the Treasurer of Wesleyan
University has been negotiated for encashment directly to China Bank-Cabanatuan Branch while the
intention of the management for those checks weremerely for fund transfer with the other account
maintained at China Bank. That this practice violated accounting or cash custodianship and check
vouchers are nowhere to be found.
Further, the crossed check payable to the Treasurer (complainantappellee) in the amount of
₱300,000.00 dated 26 November 2008 had been negotiated for encashment to China Bank –
Cabanatuan Branch despite of restriction indicated in the face of the check and that the used check
was no longer found on file. There is a need for a clear policy when to issue crossed-checks or
otherwise and the use of debit/credit memo to transfer one account to another with the same bank.
That these acts of violation of cash and check custodianship by complainant-appellee resulted in the
loss of respondent-appellant thus affecting the economy of the respondent-appellant institution.

In view of our finding that respondents-appellants (sic) has validly terminated complainant-appellee
the latter’s claim for damages and attorney’s fees lacks sufficient factual and legal basis.
Accordingly, the Labor Arbiter’s decision directing the reinstatement of complainantappellee with full
backwages ishereby vacated and set aside.15

The NLRC denied respondent’s motion for reconsideration in a Resolution dated September 29,
2011.Therefrom, respondent went on Certiorari to the CA, inCA-G.R. SP No. 122536.

Ruling of the Court of Appeals

On February 28, 2013, the CA, through its assailed Decision,16 found the NLRC’s ruling tainted with
grave abuse of discretion and reinstated the Decision of the Labor Arbiter. The fallo of the CA
Decision reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the assailed Decision and Resolution of the National Labor
Relations Commission dated July 11, 2011 and September 29, 2011 are REVERSED and SET
ASIDE. The Decision of the Labor Arbiter dated December 15, 2010 is hereby REINSTATED,
subject to the modification that if reinstatement is no longer feasible, petitioner shall be awarded
separation pay equivalent to one month salary for every year ofservice reckoned from the time of
employment to the finality of this decision.17

Holding that respondent’s termination was unjust, the CA, in virtual restoration of the findings and
conclusions of the Labor Arbiter, pointed out, among others, that: (1) respondent sufficiently
countered all charges against her; (2) it had been the practice of the previous and present
administrations of petitioner to encash and accommodate checks of WUP personnel; thus, it would
be unjust to penalize respondent for observing a practice already in place when she assumed office;
(3) the duty to liquidate cash advances is assigned to the internal auditor; (4) it has been established
that the encashments of spurious duplicate checks were perpetrated by individuals not connected
with WUP, and that the bank admitted responsibility therefor and had returned the amount involved
to petitioner; (5) there was no imputation of any violation of the University’s Administration and
Personnel Policy Manual; (6) while the acts complained of violated the imprest system of cash
management, there was no showing that the said system had been adopted and observed in the
school’s accounting and financial procedures; and (7) there was no showing that respondent had the
responsibility to implement changes in petitioner’s accounting system even if it were not in
accordance with the generally accepted principles of accounting.18

Hence, the instant petition.

The Issues

For consideration herein are the following issues raised by petitioner:

1. Whether or not the CA over-reached its power of review under Rule 65 of the Rules of
Court when it reversed the judgment of the NLRC; and

2. Whether or not the CA erred in finding respondent illegally dismissed by petitioner on the
ground of loss of trust and confidence.

The Court’s Ruling

The petition is impressed with merit. The CA erred in reinstating the Labor Arbiter’s Decision and in
finding that respondent was illegally dismissed.

The CA’s power of review

We first resolve the procedural issue raised in this recourse. Petitioner contends that the CA over-
reached its power of review under Rule 65 when it substituted its own judgment over errors of
judgment that it found in the NLRC Decision, stressing that the province of a writ of certiorari is to
correct only errors of jurisdiction and not errors of judgment.
This contention is misplaced. It is settled that under Section 9 of Batas Pambansa Blg.129,19 as
amended by Republic Act No. 7902,20 the CA, pursuant to the exercise of its original jurisdiction over
petitions for certiorari, is specifically given the power to pass upon the evidence, if and when
necessary, to resolve factual issues. Sec. 9 clearly states:

The Court of Appeals shall have the power to try cases and conduct hearings, receive evidence and
perform any and all acts necessary to resolve factual issues raised in cases falling within its original
and appellate jurisdiction, including the power to grant and conduct new trials or further proceedings.
xxx

Hence, the appellate court acted within its sound discretion when it re-evaluated the NLRC’s factual
findings and substituted the latter’s own judgment.

Loss of trust and confidence as a ground for termination

We now proceed to the substantive issue on the propriety of respondent’s dismissal due to loss of
trust and confidence.As provided in Art. 282(c) of Presidential Decree No. 442, otherwise known as
the Labor Code of the Philippines:

Article 282. Termination by employer.An employer may terminate an employment for any of the
following causes:

xxxx

c. Fraud or willful breach by the employee of the trust reposed in him by his employer or duly
authorized representative;

We explained in M+W Zander Philippines, Inc. v. Enriquez21 the requisites of a valid dismissal based
on loss of trust and confidence. As the case elucidates:

Article 282 (c) of the Labor Code allows an employer to terminate the services of an employee for
loss of trust and confidence. Certain guidelines must be observed for the employer to terminate an
employee for loss of trust and confidence. We held in General Bank and Trust Company v. Court of
Appeals, viz.:

[L]oss of confidence should not be simulated. It should not be used as a subterfuge for causes which
are improper, illegal, or unjustified. Loss of confidence may not be arbitrarily asserted in the face of
overwhelming evidence to the contrary. It must be genuine, not a mere afterthought tojustify earlier
action taken in bad faith.

The first requisite for dismissal on the ground of loss of trust and confidence is that the employee
concerned must be one holding a position of trust and confidence.

There are two classes of positions of trust: managerial employees and fiduciary rank-and-file
employees.

Managerial employees are defined as those vested with the powers or prerogatives to lay down
management policies and to hire, transfer, suspend, lay-off, recall, discharge,assign or discipline
employees or effectively recommend such managerialactions. They refer to those whose primary
duty consists of the management of the establishment in which they are employed or of a
department or a subdivision thereof, and to other officers or members of the managerialstaff.
Officers and members of the managerial staff perform work directlyrelated to management policies
of their employer and customarily and regularly exercise discretion and independent judgment.

The second class or fiduciary rank-and-file employees consist of cashiers, auditors, property
custodians, etc., or those who, in the normal exercise of their functions, regularlyhandle significant
amounts of money or property. These employees, though rank-and-file, are routinely charged with
the care and custody of the employer’s money or property, and are thus classified as occupying
positions of trust and confidence.22

xxxx

The second requisite of terminating an employee for loss of trust and confidence is that there must
be an act that would justify the loss of trust and confidence. To be a valid cause for dismissal, the
loss of confidence must be based on a willful breach of trust and founded on clearly established
facts.23
To summarize, the first requisite is that the employee concerned must be one holding a position of
trust and confidence, thus, one who is either: (1) a managerial employee; or (2) a fiduciary rank-and-
file employee, who, in the normal exercise of his or her functions, regularly handles significant
amounts of money or property of the employer. The secondrequisite is that the loss of confidence
must be based on a willful breach of trust and founded on clearly established facts.

In Lima Land, Inc. v. Cuevas,24 We discussed the difference between the criteria for determining the
validity of invoking loss of trust and confidence as a ground for terminating a managerial employee
on the one hand and a rank-and-file employee on the other. In the said case, We held that with
respect to rank-and-file personnel, loss of trust and confidence, as ground for valid
dismissal,requires proof of involvement in the alleged events in question, and that mere
uncorroborated assertions and accusations by the employer would not suffice. Withrespect to a
managerial employee, the mere existence of a basis for believing that such employee has breached
the trust of his employer would suffice for his dismissal. The following excerpts from Lima Land are
instructive:

As firmly entrenched in our jurisprudence, loss of trust and confidence, as a just cause for
termination of employment, is premised on the fact that an employee concerned holds a position
where greater trust is placed by management and from whom greater fidelity to duty is
correspondingly expected. This includes managerial personnel entrusted with confidence on delicate
matters, such as the custody, handling, or care and protection of the employer’s property.The
betrayal of this trust is the essence of the offense for which an employee is penalized.

It must be noted, however, that ina plethora of cases, this Court has distinguished the treatment of
managerial employees from that of rank-and-file personnel, insofar as the application of the doctrine
of loss of trust and confidence is concerned. Thus, with respect to rank-and-file personnel, loss of
trust and confidence, as ground for valid dismissal, requires proof of involvement in the alleged
events in question, and that mere uncorroborated assertions and accusations by the employer will
not be sufficient. But as regards a managerial employee, the mere existence of a basis for believing
that such employee has breached the trust of his employer would suffice for his dismissal. Hence, in
the case of managerial employees, proof beyond reasonable doubt is not required, it being sufficient
that there is some basis for such loss of confidence, such as when the employer has
reasonableground to believe that the employee concerned is responsible for the purported
misconduct, and the nature of his participation therein renders him unworthy of the trust and
confidence demanded of his position.

On the other hand, loss of trust and confidence as a ground of dismissal has never been intended to
afford an occasion for abuse because of its subjective nature. It should not be used as a subterfuge
for causes which are illegal, improper, and unjustified. It must be genuine, not a mere afterthought
intended to justify an earlier action taken in bad faith. Let it not be forgotten that what is at stake is
the means of livelihood, the name, and the reputation of the employee. To countenance an arbitrary
exercise of that prerogative is to negate the employee’s constitutional right to security of tenure.25

Respondent’s employment classification is irrelevant in light of her proven willful breach

There is no doubt that respondent held a position of trust; thus, greater fidelity is expected of her.
She was not an ordinary rank-and-file employee but an employee occupying a very sensitive
position. As University Treasurer, she handled and supervised all monetary transactions and was
the highest custodian of funds belonging to WUP.26 To be sure, in the normal exercise of her
functions, she regularly handled significant amounts of money of her employer and managed a
critical department.

The presence of the first requisite iscertain. So is as regards the second requisite. Indeed, the Court
finds that petitioner adequately proved respondent’s dismissal was for a just cause, based on a
willful breach of trust and founded on clearly established facts as required by jurisprudence. At the
end of the day, the question of whether she was a managerial or rank-andfile employee does not
matter in this case because not only is there basis for believing that she breached the trust of her
employer, her involvement in the irregularities attending to petitioner’sfinances has also been
proved.

To recall, petitioner, per its account, allegedly lost trust and confidence in respondent owing to any
or an interplay of the following events: (1) she encashed a check payable to the University Treasurer
in the amount of three hundred thousand pesos (PhP 300,000); (2) she encashed crossed checks
payable to the University Treasurer, when the intention of management in this regard was to merely
transfer funds from one of petitioner’s accounts to another in the same bank; (3) she allowed the
Treasury Department to encash the checks issued to WUP personnel rather than requiring the latter
to have said checks encashed by the bank, in violation of the imprest system of accounting; (4) she
caused the disbursement of checks without supporting check vouchers; (5) there were unliquidated
cash advances; and (6) spurious duplicate checks bearing her signature were encashed causing
damage to petitioner.
We disagree with the CA’s finding that respondent has sufficiently countered all inculpatory
allegations and accusations against her. On the contrary, We find that here, there was anadmitted,
actual and real breach of duty committed by respondent, which translates into a breach of trust and
confidence in her. For perspective, respondent’s explanation as to the charges against her is as
follows:

1. That the alleged crossed check issued by her payable to THE TREASURER – WUP was
done in the exercise of her duty and function as such, and not with her name and not to
herself and personal favor, and that said check had been prepared passing through the
usual system; 2. That the University heads were the beneficiaries of said amount who
strongly requested that their love giftbe given, hence, the encashment;

3. That the amount of the check was properly disposed of as evidenced by the document
bearing the signatures of recipients;

4. That the Office to pointto if vouchers and supporting documents will have to be checked
concerning payments made is the Accounting Office;

5. That cash advances to various University personnel pass through her office in the
exercise of her duties assuch but the office who follow up the liquidation of payments
received is the Office of the University Auditor;

6. That respondent Reyes adopted her reply on the show-cause order in the investigation
previously conducted by Dr. Jeremias Garcia about the duplicated checks alleging among
others:

a) She and her staff confirmed that only the checks issued to General Capulong and
Leodigario David were encashed by the University Teller;

b) The check issued to Norma de Jesus was encashed by the Pick-up Chinabank
Teller on December 5, 2008 while collecting deposits from the University with the
assistance of the University teller;

c) That the check issued to Mercedes was not encashed with the University teller but
with WEMCOOP;

d) As to the encashment and accommodation of checks to personnel, it has been the


practice of previousand present administration moreso when employees cannot
anymore go to Chinabank to transact business as it is mostly beyond banking hours
when checks are ready for disbursement;

e) That Respondent’s department has no control over fraudulent transactions done


outside the University, that it is the Bank’s duty to protect its clients as tothe proper
procedures to secure our account;

f) That the computer system program of the University’s depository bank has very
limited capabilities to detect fraudulent entries;

g) That the signature verifier also had been remiss in carefully checking the
authenticity ofprevious signatories.27

a. Respondent’s encashment of checks

As it were, respondent did not deny, in fact admitted, the encashment of the three hundred thousand
peso (PhP 300,000) crossed check payable to the University Treasurer which covered the total
amount of the "love gift" for administrative and academic officials of WUP. Neither did she deny the
fact that the Treasury Department encashed checks issued to WUP personnel rather than requiring
them to have the checks encashed by the bank. Instead, she explained that the beneficiaries of the
amounts strongly requested that their love gifts be given in cash, hence the encashment of the PhP
300,000 crossed check and, thereafter, the accommodation and encashment of their checks directly
by the Treasury Department. Moreover, she submitted a document bearing the signatures of the
recipients of the "love gift" as proof that the amount was disposed properly.28 She further insisted that
this was the usual practice of the University and that she merely accommodated the requests of
WUP personnel especially when Chinabank was already closed.

Jurisprudence has pronounced that the crossing of a check means that the check may not be
encashed but only deposited in the bank.29 As Treasurer, respondent knew or is at least expected to
be aware of and abide by this basic banking practice and commercial custom. Clearly, the issuance
of a crossed check reflects management’s intention to safeguard the funds covered thereby, its
special instruction to have the same deposited to another account and its restriction on its
encashment.

Here, respondent, as aptly detailed inthe auditor’s report, disregarded management’s intentions and
ignored the measures in place to secure the handling of WUP’s funds. By encashing the crossed
checks, respondent put the funds covered thereby under the riskof being lost, stolen, co-mingled
with other funds or spent for other purposes. Furthermore, the accommodation and encashment by
the Treasury Department of checks issued to WUP personnel were highly irregular. First, WUP, not
being a bank, had no business encashing the checks of its personnel.30 More importantly, in
encashing the said checks, the Treasury Department made disbursements contrary to the wishes
ofmanagement because, in issuing said checks, management has madeclear its intention that
monies therefor would be sourced from petitioner’s deposit with Chinabank, under a specific
account, and not from the cash available in the Treasury Department.

That the encashment of crossed checks and payment of checks directly to WUP personnel had been
the practice of the previous and present administration of petitioner is of no moment. To Our mind,
this was simply respondent’s convenient excuse, a poorlydisguised afterthought, when her
unbecoming carelessness in managing WUP’s finances was exposed. Moreover, the prevalence of
this practice could have been contained if only respondent consistently observed the regular
procedure for encashing crossed checks and properly handled requests for accommodation of
checks issued to the WUP personnel.

b. Unliquidated cash advances

On the matter of unliquidated cash advances in the aggregate amount of nine million seven hundred
thousand pesos (PhP 9,700,000), respondent explained that while it was true that cash advances to
WUP personnel passed through her office in the exercise of her duties as University Treasurer, the
office that follows up the liquidation of advances received is the office of the University
Auditor.31 However, granting that the responsibility of handling the liquidation of cash advances is no
longer lodged in her office, there is proof showing that before the Treasury Department was relieved
of said responsibility, the total unliquidated cash advances was even bigger, amounting to eleven
million five hundred thirty-three thousand two hundred thirty pesos and thirty-seven centavos (PhP
11,533,230.37). There is nothing in the records before us showing that respondent denied the
following findings in the Investigation Report of the WUP’s Human Resource Development Office
(HRDO)on this matter, to wit:

In the matter of unliquidated cash advances in the aggregate amount of Php9.7million as found by
the External Auditors, respondent’s contention was that cash advances tovarious University
personnel pass through her office in the exercise of her duties as such but the office who follows up
the liquidation of payments received is the Office of the University Auditor.

On the inquiry done x x x of the Internal Auditor, Treasury and Accounting officer on July 1, 2009, it
was found out that the responsibility of handling cash advances and liquidation report was
transferred from Treasury Office to Accounting Office on August 2008, when Ms. Luzviminda Torres,
the personnel handling the same detailed at the Treasury Office went on leave. It was transferred to
Ms. Julieta Mateo. What was surprising was that as per certification and summary submitted by Ms.
Mateo, the amount of unliquidated cash advances previous to August 2008, when the same was
under the responsibility of the Treasury Office, was even bigger with the total amount of ELEVEN
MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THIRTY THREE THOUSAND, TWO HUNDRED THIRTY PESOS AND
THIRTY SEVEN CENTAVOS (Attached as Annex "G")

Even if there is truth in the contention of herein Respondent that she was no longer the one in
charge of the liquidation proceedings, the same would not absolve her from gross negligence of
duties. The fact that the said function was with her office until August 2008, with unliquidated cash
advances even bigger, still showed that she reneged in her duties which she had overlooked for so
long. She now mistakenly points the responsibility to the Office of the University Auditor. These
informations are enough to be considered as Respondent’s acts constitutive of breach of trust and
confidence.32

xxx

c. Other irregularities inrespondent’s performance

In all, We find the Investigation Report of the HRDO a credible, extensive and thorough account of
respondent’s involvementin incidents which are sufficient grounds for petitioner’s loss of trust and
confidence in her, to wit:

Respondent Nowella C. Reyes has committed breach of trust and confidence in the conduct of her
office.
In her answer, Respondent admitted the encashment of the crossed check with the defense that the
same was done in the performance of her duty, not for her personal use but because of the request
of University heads who wanted their love gifts begiven. She alsoadmitted habitual encashment of
checks issued by the University to its personnel on the basis of practice of previous administration.

The charge against Respondent of the act of improper encashment of a check, which aside from
being irregular is clearly violative of imprest system of cash management. Moreover, the same being
a crossed check, should not be negotiated for encashment to Chinabank – Cabanatuan Branch
because of the restriction indicated on its face, which Mrs. Reyes, by reason of her office knew very
well.

During the investigation conducted, it was revealed that the check disbursement voucher attached
by Respondent on her answer to justify the regularity of its issuance and eventual encashment was
not exactly the same as the one filed at the Accounting Office. It showed that the photocopy of the
original CDV which was attached by Respondent (attached as Annex "E"of this report) bear some
material alterations, namely:

1. The absence of entry of the Board Resolution which was reflected as a sort of inquiry by
the Internal Auditor, and which at present was left blank on the original, as compared to the
photocopy submitted by respondent bearing an entry of the Board Resolution number;

2. The word ATM on the payee portion of the CDV in the original as compared to the
photocopy wherein the entry ATM was crossed out.

During a discussion with the external auditors, it was categorically stated by them that during the
courseof external audit, said document was inexistent in the records presented by the Accounting
and Treasurer’s Offices. The production of the photocopy by Respondent already altered only after
the suspension was effected cast doubt on the regularity of its issuance, negating her otherwise
claim. Another significant observation was that the original copy of CDV (attached as Annex "F" of
this report) and corresponding signatures of administrative heads who received payments showed
folded marks halfways, with the fastener holes unmatched, showing that those two documents were
not really filed together, as regularly done, and the same were not filed in the regular course and
must have been kept previously on a different manner in possession of person other than the office
which must file the same.

xxxx

On the last charge in the show cause order specifically the existence of duplicate checks in the
account of the University amounting to Php 1.050 Million, included in Respondent’s defenses were
that among the checks duplicated, only two of them were encashed with the University Teller, and
the check originally named to Norma de Jesus as payee was paid by the pick-up teller only through
the assistance of the University teller.

Again, Respondent’s defense were void of truth and merit. The act of encashing checks issued by
the Treasury Office, clearly violative of imprest system of cash management which Mrs. Reyes by
reason of her office knew very well, showed that Respondent directly reneged in her duty to observe
economic security measures.

As found on the documents attachedto the Investigation report of Dr. Garcia which had been
expressly adopted by herein respondent in her answer is an Affidavit of Norma de Jesus stating that
she actually encashed the check with the personnel of the Treasury Office particularly Shirley
Punay, who gave her the amountequivalent days after the check was handed to the Treasury office.

However noble the intention of herein Respondent in helping her fellow workers in the University by
her acts of accommodation by encashing their checks directly withthe Treasury Office when
Chinabank was already closed, the same still reneged in her duty to protect the economic security of
the University. An act of misconduct which caused [sic]33

An employer cannot be compelled toretain an employee who is guilty of acts inimical to the interests
of the employer. A company has the right to dismiss its employees if only as a measure of self-
protection. This is all the more true in the case of supervisors or personnel occupying positions of
responsibility.34 In this case, let it be remembered that respondent was not an ordinary rank-and-file
employee as she was no less the Treasurer who was in charge of the coffers of the University. It
would be oppressive to require petitioner to retain in their management an officer who has admitted
to knowingly and intentionally committing acts which jeopardized its finances and who was
untrustworthy in the handling and custody of University funds.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, we GRANTthe petition. The assailed Decision of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 122536 is, thus, SET ASIDE. The Decision of the National Labor
Relations Commission in NLRC RAB III Case No. 07-15131-09 is REINSTATED.

SO ORDERED.

PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.


Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

DIOSDADO M. PERALTA
Associate Justice

MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR.* JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA


Associate Justice Associate Justice

MARVIC MARIO VICTOR F. LEONEN


Associate Justice

ATTESTATION

I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case
was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court's Division.

PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.


Associate Justice
Chairperson

CERTIFICATION

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division Chairperson's Attestation, I
certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case
was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court's Division.

MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO


Chief Justice

Footnotes

* Acting member per Special Order No. 1691 dated May 22. 2014.

1
Rollo, p. 36.

2
Id. at 47.

3
Id.

4
Id. at 58-62.

5
Id. at 23.

6
Id.

7
Id.

8
Id.

9
Id. at 24.

10
Id. at 24-25.

11
Id. at 39.
12
Id. at 40.

13
Id. at 62.

14
Id. at 63.

15
Id. at 63-64.

Penned by Associate Justice Pricilla J. Baltazar-Padilla and concurred in by Associate


16

Justices Rosalinda Asuncion-Vicenteand Agnes Reyes-Carpio.

17
Rollo, p. 41.

18
Id. at 37-38.

19
An Act Reorganizing the Judiciary, Appropriating Funds therefor, and for Other Purposes.

An Act Expanding the Jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals, Amending for the Purpose
20

Section Nine of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as Amended, Known as the Judiciary
Reorganization Act of 1980.

21
G.R. No. 169173, June 5, 2009, 588 SCRA 590.

22
Id. at 602-604.

23
Id. at 606.

24
G.R. No. 169523, June 16, 2010, 621 SCRA 36.

25
Id. at 46-47.

26
Rollo, p. 52.

27
Id. at 61-62.

28
Id. at 97.

Bataan Cigar and Cigarette Factory, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 93048, March 3,
29

1994, 230 SCRA 643.

30
By definition, a check is a written order addressed to a bank or a person carrying on the
business of banking, by a party having money in their hands, requesting them to pay on
presentment, to a person named therein or to bearer or order, a named sum of money. See
Moran v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 105836, March 7, 1994, 230 SCRA 799.

31
Rollo, p. 98.

32
Id. at 59-60.

33
Id. at 58-60.

34
MGG Marine Services, Inc. v. NLRC, G.R. No. 114313, July 29, 1996, 259 SCRA 664
LEGAL WRITING
Submitted by:

Ramon D. Villanueva Jr.


JD-1B

Submitted to:

Atty. Dephra Jane A. Villoso