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Insular Life Assurance Co v.

National Labor Relations Commission


FACTS
- While under contract with the insurance company, Melecio Basiao was authorized to sell
insurance and receive commission.
- 4 years after such contract, another contract was made making him an agency manager wherein
which he made an agency which sells the same insurance with the same commission.
- The company terminated the contract in 1979 and in this case despite repeated appeals, his
request to not terminate the contract has been denied.
- Of course a case was filed with the MOLE wherein which Basiao won.

ISSUE/S
- the chief issue of jurisdiction. Because the main question really is whether or not there exists an
employer employee relationship.
Held
- There is no employer-employee relationship
- The court in this case used the control test wherein in the determination of an employer employee
relationship the following elements are generally considered, Namely:
1. Selection and engagement of the employee
2. Payment of wages
3. Power of dismissal
4. Power to control the employee’s conduct
- in the present case, there exists no control over the supposed employee’s conduct, in the case at
bar, Basiao’s contract with the company does not show any rules or regulation to which
Basiao/agents must comply to, much less that any rules existed or were issued which effectively
controlled or restricted his choice of methods of selling insurance.
- The Court, therefore, rules that under the contract invoked by him, Basiao was not an employee
of the petitioner, but a commission agent, an independent contractor whose claim for unpaid
commissions should have been litigated in an ordinary civil action.

Insular Life Assurance v. NLRC


FACTS
- The case, eerily similar to the previoius appointed De Los Reyes as an agent, and then as an Acting
Unit manager which had the same functions as the previous case (and more).
- In this case he was informed that his services were no longer required and he filed a case with the
NLRC where insular immediately objected stating that it there is no employer-employee
relationship citing the previous case.

Issue
- WON there exists an employer-employee relationship

Held
- Yes, there is an employer-employee relationship
- The acting unit manager performed administrative functions necessary and beneficial to the
business of insular.
- The court in this case applied a different case wherein in this case, according to the contract, De
Los Santos’ functions clearly benefited the business of insular life.
- A cursory reading of their respective functions as enumerated in their contracts reveals that the
company practically dictates the manner by which their jobs are to be carried out x x x x We need
elaborate no further.
- Exclusivity of service, control of assignments and removal of agents under private respondent’s
unit, collection of premiums, furnishing of company facilities and materials as well as capital
described as Unit Development Fund are but hallmarks of the management system in which
herein private respondent worked. This obtaining, there is no escaping the conclusion that private
respondent Pantaleon de los Reyes was an employee of herein petitioner.

Whilemina S. Orozco v. CA/Philippine Daily Inquirer


Facts
- The case involves the status of a newspaper columnist and the question on whether or not such
is an employee of a newspaper.
- Orozco was a newspaper columnist writing on feminist views on a weekly column on the PDI. She
had been doing such weekly column for 3 years until her dismissal on 1991.
- Aggrieved by the petitioners termination, she filed a complaint for illegal dismissal before the
NLRC and the labor arbiter rendered a decision in favor of herein petitioner for the following
reasons:
o Respondent company exercised full and complete control over the means and method by
which complainants work that of a regular columnist had to be accomplished. This control
might not be found in an instruction, verbal or oral, given to complainant defining the
means and method she should write her column. Rather, this control is manifested and
certained (sic) in respondents admitted prerogative to reject any article submitted by
complainant for publication.
- The CA set aside the decision after a petition to the Supreme Court which remanded the case to
the former. In this wise, the CA held that the NLRC misappreciated the facts and rendered a ruling
wanting in substantial evidence which stated:
o with regards (sic) to the control test, the public respondent NLRCs ruling that the
guidelines given by petitioner PDI for private respondent to follow, e.g. in terms of space
allocation and length of article, is not the form of control envisioned by the guidelines set
by the Supreme Court. The length of the article is obviously limited so that all the articles
to be featured in the paper can be accommodated. As to the topic of the article to be
published, it is but logical that private respondent should not write morbid topics such as
death because she is contributing to the lifestyle section. Other than said given
limitations, if the same could be considered limitations, the topics of the articles
submitted by private respondent were all her choices. Thus, the petitioner PDI in deciding
to publish private respondents articles only controls the result of the work and not the
means by which said articles were written.
o As such, the above facts failed to measure up to the control test necessary for an
employer-employee relationship to exist.

ISSUE/S
- WON petitioner is an employee of the PDI with respect to the control test.

HELD
- No, Petitioner Orozco is not an employee.
- The existenfe of an employer employee relationship is essentially a question of fact. Considering
that there is direct conflict in both the NLRC and the CA’s decision. The SC made their own
evaluation of the facts of the case.
- The court has constantly adhered to the 4 fold test. But in most cases, the most important is the
POWER OF CONTROL. In fact, the other elements may even be disregarded as the court has
already previously held.
- The test therefore is whether the employer controls or has reserved the right to control the
employee, not only as to the work done, but also as to the means and methods by which the same
is accomplished.
- BUT, not all rules imposed by the hiring party on the hired party indicate that the latter is an
employee of the former. Rules which serve as general guidelines towards the achievement of
mutually desired result is not indicative of the power of control.
o REALISTICALLY, it would be a rare contract of service that gives untrammeled freedom to
the party hired and eschews any intervention whatsoever in hos performance of the
engagement.
- THE TEST THEREFORE IN THIS CASE USED BY THE COURT IS WHETHER THE RULES SET MEANT TO
CONTROL NOT JUST THE RESULTS, BUT ALSO THE MEANS AND METHOD TO BE USED BY THE HIRED
PARTY IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE SUCH RESULTS.
- Petitioner was engaged as a columnist for her talent, skill, experience, and her unique viewpoint
as a feminist advocate. How she utilized all these in writing her column was not subject to
dictation by respondent. As in Sonza, respondent PDI was not involved in the actual performance
that produced the finished product. It only reserved the right to shorten petitioners articles based
on the newspapers capacity to accommodate the same. This fact, we note, was not unique to
petitioners column. It is a reality in the newspaper business that space constraints often dictate
the length of articles and columns, even those that regularly appear therein.
- Furthermore, respondent PDI did not supply petitioner with the tools and instrumentalities she
needed to perform her work. Petitioner only needed her talent and skill to come up with a column
every week. As such, she had all the tools she needed to perform her work.

Sonza v. ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation


FACTS
- Jay Sonza signed an agreement with ABS-CBN to be a talent for radio and television. He resigned
because of failure to reach an agreement. He then complained about not getting his labor
standard benefits. ABS-CBN merely stated that there was no employer-employee relationship
stating that a talent cannot be considered an employee of petitioner.

ISSUE
- WON an employer employee existed between petitioner and ABS-CBN

HELD
- NO, There existsts no employer-employee relationship between petitioner and ABS-CBN
- We find that ABS-CBN was not involved in the actual performance that produced the finished
product of SONZA’s work. ABS-CBN did not instruct SONZA how to perform his job. ABS-CBN
merely reserved the right to modify the program format and airtime schedule “for more effective
programming.” ABS-CBN’s sole concern was the quality of the shows and their standing in the
ratings. Clearly, ABS-CBN did not exercise control over the means and methods of performance
of SONZA’s work.
- In any event, not all rules imposed by the hiring party on the hired party indicate that the latter is
an employee of the former. In this case, SONZA failed to show that these rules controlled his
performance. We find that these general rules are merely guidelines towards the achievement of
the mutually desired result, which are top-rating television and radio programs that comply with
standards of the industry.
- Being an exclusive talent does not by itself mean that SONZA is an employee of ABS-CBN. Even an
independent contractor can validly provide his services exclusively to the hiring party. In the
broadcast industry, exclusivity is not necessarily the same as control.