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Union Member Relations – Election of Officers (Qualification/ Disqualification) the delegates in the convention still proceeded with the

onvention still proceeded with the election. The body/


00 ATTY. ALLAN S. MONTANO V. ATTY. ERNESTO C. VERCELES delegates were not a Constitutional Convention and had no power to amend the
July 2010, | Del Castillo, J. | FFW Constitution.
 BLR - dismissed the petition. Though it upheld its jurisdiction over the case and
Petitioner/s: Atty. Allan S. Montaño Atty. Verceles' standing (since he was a president of an affiliate union), it held
Respondent/s: Atty. Ernesto C. Verceles that what was applicable was not Section 76 of Article XIX but Section 26 of
Doctrine: The Federation/ Union's Constitutions and By-Laws govern the relationship Article VIII3, and that Montaño sufficiently complied with the requirements and
between and among its members, like ordinary contracts. Hence their provisions have that the delegates unanimously decided that Montaño was qualified to run.
obligatory force upon the federation/ union and its members. What is expressly  CA - set aside the BLR decision. It held that while Sec. 26 did apply, Montaño
stipulated in such are strictly binding on both parties. was not able to comply with this as he was not an officer or member of a
legitimate labor organization. The CA held that he was a legal assistant, thus
Facts: considered a confidential employee, and is this ineligible to join FFW’s rank-and-
 Atty. Montaño worked as legal assistant of Federation of Free Workers (FFW) file union.
Legal Center. Subsequently, he joined the union of rank and file employees, the  Atty. Montaño filed an MR but was denied. Thus he filed the present case with
FFW Staff Association, and eventually became the employees’ union president. the Supreme Court.
Later, he was likewise designated officer in charge of FFW Legal Center.
 During the 21st National Convention and Election of National Officers of FFW,
Ruling:
Atty. Montaño was nominated for the position of National Vice-President.
W/N Montaño was qualified to run for FFW National Vice-President – NO, he
 However, the Commission on Elections of FFW (FFW COMELEC), informed him was unqualified. The FFW Constitution and By-Laws are clear that no member of
that he is not qualified for the position as his candidacy violates the 1998 FFW
the Governing Board shall at the same time perform functions of a rank-and-file staff.
Constitution and By-Laws, particularly Section 761 of Article XIX and Section 252 The FFW National Vice-President is a member of the Governing Board.
(a) of Article VIII, both in Chapter II thereof. Montaño filed an MR. ● There is no dispute that Atty. Montaño, at the time of his nomination and election
 Despite this, the those present in the National Convention allowed the elections for the position was the head of the FFW Legal Center and the President of the
to push through. There, it was opposed by Atty. Ernesto C. Verceles (Atty. FFW Staff association. Even after being elected, he continued to perform his
Verceles), a delegate to the convention and president of University of the East functions as staff member of FFW and no evidence was presented to show that
Employees’ Association (UEEA-FFW), which is an affiliate union of FFW. he tendered his registration.
 Montaño won the elections. ● The FFW COMELEC was correct in disqualifying Atty. Montaño. The FFW
 Verceles protested Montaño’s candidacy before FFW COMELEC unfortunately, COMELEC Is vested with authority and power under the FFW Constitution and
the latter did not timely act on this (they were supposed to resolve all protests By-Laws to screen and determine the qualifications of candidates and their
within five days after the close of the election). eligibility to run for office. Thus it has sufficient authority to adopt its own
 Thus, Verceles, as President of UEEA FFW and officer of the Governing Board interpretation of provisions of the Federation's Constitution and By-Laws and
of FFW, filed before the Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR) a petition for the unless it is shown that there was GAOD, its decision should not be interfered
nullification of the election of Montaño as FFW National Vice-President. with.
 He alleged that, as already ruled by the FFW COMELEC, Atty. Montaño is
not qualified to run for the position because Section 76 of Article XIX of the W/N BLR has jurisdiction over intra-union disputes involving a federation –
FFW Constitution and By-Laws prohibits federation employees from YES. BLR and the Regional Directors of DOLE have concurrent jurisdiction over such
sitting in its Governing Board. disputes.
 In response, Montaño claimed that: (1) the Regional Director of DOLE, and not ● Section 226 of the Labor Code states: "The Bureau of Labor Relations and the
the BLR, had jurisdiction, (2) that the filing of the case was premature because of Labor Relations Divisions in the regional offices of the Department of Labor
the pending protest before the FFW COMELEC by Verceles, and that (3) shall have original and exclusive authority to act, at their own initiative or upon
Verceles had no legal standing since he was not a real party in interest. request of either or both parties, on all inter-union and intra-union conflicts, and
 Meanwhile FFW COMELEC sent a letter to the FFW President, which was later all disputes, grievances or problems arising from or affecting labor-management
used by Verceles in his argument, saying that they actually disqualified Montano,
based on the provisions of the FFW Constitution. Their decision was final, but 3 Section 26. A candidate for the position of National President, National Vice-President, and National
Treasurer shall possess the following qualifications:
1
Section 76. Except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, no Member of the Governing Board shall at a. a candidate must be a bona fide member of the Federation for at least two (2) consecutive years;
the same time be an employee in the staff of the Federation. b. a candidate must be of good moral character and has not been convicted by a final judgment of a crime
involving moral turpitude before a candidate's election to office or during a candidate's incumbency;
2
Section 25. A Candidate/Nominee for the position of Governing Board Member, whether Titular or Deputy c. except the Treasurer, a candidate must serve the Federation full time for the period of his/her incumbency;
shall, except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, possess the following qualifications: d. a candidate for National President and National Vice-President must be or must have been an officer or
a. he/she must be a bona fide member of the Federation for at least two (2) consecutive years and a member member of a legitimate labor organization in the FFW for at least three (3) years. A legitimate labor
of an affiliated organization which is up to date with its monthly dues to the Federation. organization shall mean a duly registered labor union as defined by the Labor Code as Amended.
relations in all workplaces, whether agricultural or non-agricultural, except those
arising from the implementation or interpretation of collective bargaining
agreements which shall be the subject of grievance procedure and/or voluntary
arbitration."

W/N petition to annul Montaño's election was prematurely filed - NO. Atty.
Verceles actually already exhausted the proper remedies.
● Atty. Verceles already sought redress within the organization itself. The rules
provide that the FFW COMELEC shall endeavor to resolve protests during or
immediately after the close of election proceedings. Any unresolved issues
should be resolved within five days from the same.
● Atty. Verceles protested a day after the election yet the FFW COMELEC failed to
timely act upon such protest. Hence Atty. Verceles had no other speedy and
adequate remedy but to file with the courts.

Dispositive
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed May 28, 2004 Decision of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 71731 nullifying the election of Atty. Allan S.
Montaño as FFW National Vice-President and the June 28, 2005 Resolution denying
the Motion for Reconsideration are AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

Notes
None