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PHILIPPINE FRUITS AND VEGETABLE INDUSTRIES, INC. vs. HON. RUBEN D.

TORRES, in his capacity as


Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment and TRADE UNION OF THE PHILIPPINES AND
ALLIED SERVICES (TUPAS

July 3, 1992

In 1988, Med-Arbiter Basa issued an Order granting the petition for Certification election filed by the
Trade Union of the Philippines and Allied Services (TUPAS). Said order directed the holding of a
certification election among the regular and seasonal workers of the Philippine Fruits and Vegetables,
Inc. After a series of pre-election conferences, all issues relative to the conduct of the certification
election were threshed out except that which pertains to the voting qualifications of the hundred ninety
four (194) workers enumerated in the lists of qualified voters submitted by TUPAS. Election transpired
and only 168 of the questioned workers actually voted. This was opposed by the company and objected
the proceeding. However, it was subsequently agreed upon that workers whose names were
inadvertently omitted in the list of qualified voters were allowed to vote, subject to challenge. Only 38
of them voted in the election. Subsequently, since the majority votes of the employees were not
reached, a need to open the 168 challenged vote was necessary, this was again objected by the
company. Eventually, the petitioner-company filed a protest but was then denied. After the denial of its
motion for reconsideration by the Secretary of Labor, the company filed for a petition for certiorari in
the Court alleging that the Secretary of Labor committed manifest error in upholding the certification of
TUPAS as the sole bargaining agent mainly on an erroneous ruling that the protest against the
canvassing of the votes cast by 168 dismissed workers was filed beyond the reglementary period.

ISSUE: Whether or not the protest was belatedly filed

HELD:

Yes. The Court ruled that that the formal protest of petitioner PFVII was filed beyond the
reglementary period. Under Section 4, Rule VI, Book V of the Implementing Rules of the Labor Code:

Sec. 4. Protest to be decided in twenty (20) working days. — Where the protest is formalized before the
med-arbiter with five (5) days after the close of the election proceedings, the med-arbiter shall decide
the same within twenty (20) working days from the date of formalization…xxx

The Court stated the two requirements in order that a protest filed thereunder would prosper:
(1) The protest must be filed with the representation officer and made of record in the minutes of the
proceedings before the close of election proceedings, and (2) The protest must be formalized before the
Med-Arbiter within five (5) days after the close of the election proceedings.

The records of the case clearly disclosed that petitioner, after filing a manifestation of protest on
December 16, 1988, election day, only formalized the same on February 20, 1989, or more than two
months after the close of election proceedings . As explained correctly by the Solicitor General, the
phrase "close of election proceedings" as used in Sections 3 and 4 of the pertinent Implementing Rules
refers to that period from the closing of the polls to the counting and tabulation of the votes as it could
not have been the intention of the Implementing Rules to include in the term "close of the election
proceedings" the period for the final determination of the challenged votes and the canvass thereof, as
in the case at bar which may take a very long period. 6 Thus, if a protest can be formalized within five
days