Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 68

Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila

THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 171153 September 12, 2007

SAN MIGUEL CORPORATION EMPLOYEES UNION–PHILIPPINE TRANSPORT AND GENERAL


WORKERS ORGANIZATION (SMCEU–PTGWO), petitioner,
vs.
SAN MIGUEL PACKAGING PRODUCTS EMPLOYEES UNION–PAMBANSANG DIWA NG
MANGGAGAWANG PILIPINO (SMPPEU–PDMP), respondent1.

DECISION

CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:

In this Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court, petitioner SAN
MIGUEL CORPORATION EMPLOYEES UNION-PHILIPPINE TRANSPORT AND GENERAL
WORKERS ORGANIZATION (SMCEU-PTGWO) prays that this Court reverse and set aside the (a)
Decision2 dated 9 March 2005 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 66200, affirming the
Decision3 dated 19 February 2001 of the Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR) of the Department of
Labor and Employment (DOLE) which upheld the Certificate of Registration of respondent SAN
MIGUEL PACKAGING PRODUCTS EMPLOYEES UNION–PAMBANSANG DIWA NG
MANGGAGAWANG PILIPINO (SMPPEU–PDMP); and (b) the Resolution4 dated 16 January 2006 of
the Court of Appeals in the same case, denying petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration of the
aforementioned Decision.

The following are the antecedent facts:

Petitioner is the incumbent bargaining agent for the bargaining unit comprised of the regular
monthly-paid rank and file employees of the three divisions of San Miguel Corporation (SMC),
namely, the San Miguel Corporate Staff Unit (SMCSU), San Miguel Brewing Philippines (SMBP),
and the San Miguel Packaging Products (SMPP), in all offices and plants of SMC, including the
Metal Closure and Lithography Plant in Laguna. It had been the certified bargaining agent for 20
years – from 1987 to 1997.

Respondent is registered as a chapter of Pambansang Diwa ng Manggagawang Pilipino (PDMP).


PDMP issued Charter Certificate No. 112 to respondent on 15 June 1999. 5 In compliance with
registration requirements, respondent submitted the requisite documents to the BLR for the purpose
of acquiring legal personality.6 Upon submission of its charter certificate and other documents,
respondent was issued Certificate of Creation of Local or Chapter PDMP-01 by the BLR on 6 July
1999.7 Thereafter, respondent filed with the Med-Arbiter of the DOLE Regional Officer in the National
Capital Region (DOLE-NCR), three separate petitions for certification election to represent SMPP,
SMCSU, and SMBP.8 All three petitions were dismissed, on the ground that the separate petitions
fragmented a single bargaining unit.9

On 17 August 1999, petitioner filed with the DOLE-NCR a petition seeking the cancellation of
respondent's registration and its dropping from the rolls of legitimate labor organizations. In its
petition, petitioner accused respondent of committing fraud and falsification, and non-compliance
with registration requirements in obtaining its certificate of registration. It raised allegations that
respondent violated Articles 239(a), (b) and (c) 10 and 234(c)11 of the Labor Code. Moreover,
petitioner claimed that PDMP is not a legitimate labor organization, but a trade union center, hence,
it cannot directly create a local or chapter. The petition was docketed as Case No. NCR-OD-9908-
007-IRD.12

On 14 July 2000, DOLE-NCR Regional Director Maximo B. Lim issued an Order dismissing the
allegations of fraud and misrepresentation, and irregularity in the submission of documents by
respondent. Regional Director Lim further ruled that respondent is allowed to directly create a local
or chapter. However, he found that respondent did not comply with the 20% membership
requirement and, thus, ordered the cancellation of its certificate of registration and removal from the
rolls of legitimate labor organizations.13 Respondent appealed to the BLR. In a Decision dated 19
February 2001, it declared:

As a chartered local union, appellant is not required to submit the number of employees and
names of all its members comprising at least 20% of the employees in the bargaining unit
where it seeks to operate. Thus, the revocation of its registration based on non-compliance
with the 20% membership requirement does not have any basis in the rules.

Further, although PDMP is considered as a trade union center, it is a holder of Registration


Certificate No. FED-11558-LC issued by the BLR on 14 February 1991, which bestowed
upon it the status of a legitimate labor organization with all the rights and privileges to act as
representative of its members for purposes of collective bargaining agreement. On this basis,
PDMP can charter or create a local, in accordance with the provisions of Department Order
No. 9.

WHEREFORE, the appeal is hereby GRANTED. Accordingly, the decision of the Regional
Director dated July 14, 2000, canceling the registration of appellant San Miguel Packaging
Products Employees Union-Pambansang Diwa ng Manggagawang Pilipino (SMPPEU-
PDMP) is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Appellant shall hereby remain in the roster of
legitimate labor organizations.14

While the BLR agreed with the findings of the DOLE Regional Director dismissing the allegations of
fraud and misrepresentation, and in upholding that PDMP can directly create a local or a chapter, it
reversed the Regional Director's ruling that the 20% membership is a requirement for respondent to
attain legal personality as a labor organization. Petitioner thereafter filed a Motion for
Reconsideration with the BLR. In a Resolution rendered on 19 June 2001 in BLR-A-C-64-05-9-00
(NCR-OD-9908-007-IRD), the BLR denied the Motion for Reconsideration and affirmed its Decision
dated 19 February 2001.15

Invoking the power of the appellate court to review decisions of quasi-judicial agencies, petitioner
filed with the Court of Appeals a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 66200. The Court of Appeals, in a Decision dated 9 March
2005, dismissed the petition and affirmed the Decision of the BLR, ruling as follows:

In Department Order No. 9, a registered federation or national union may directly create a
local by submitting to the BLR copies of the charter certificate, the local's constitution and by-
laws, the principal office address of the local, and the names of its officers and their
addresses. Upon complying with the documentary requirements, the local shall be issued a
certificate and included in the roster of legitimate labor organizations. The [herein
respondent] is an affiliate of a registered federation PDMP, having been issued a charter
certificate. Under the rules we have reviewed, there is no need for SMPPEU to show a
membership of 20% of the employees of the bargaining unit in order to be recognized as a
legitimate labor union.

xxxx

In view of the foregoing, the assailed decision and resolution of the BLR are AFFIRMED, and
the petition is DISMISSED.16

Subsequently, in a Resolution dated 16 January 2006, the Court of Appeals denied petitioner's
Motion for Reconsideration of the aforementioned Decision.

Hence, this Petition for Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court where petitioner
raises the sole issue of:

WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED


REVERSIBLE ERROR IN RULING THAT PRIVATE RESPONDENT IS NOT REQUIRED TO
SUBMIT THE NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES AND NAMES OF ALL ITS MEMBERS
COMPRISING AT LEAST 20% OF THE EMPLOYEES IN THE BARGAINING UNIT WHERE
IT SEEKS TO OPERATE.

The present petition questions the legal personality of respondent as a legitimate labor organization.

Petitioner posits that respondent is required to submit a list of members comprising at least 20% of
the employees in the bargaining unit before it may acquire legitimacy, citing Article 234(c) of the
Labor Code which stipulates that any applicant labor organization, association or group of unions or
workers shall acquire legal personality and shall be entitled to the rights and privileges granted by
law to legitimate labor organizations upon issuance of the certificate of registration based on the
following requirements:

a. Fifty pesos (P50.00) registration fee;

b. The names of its officers, their addresses, the principal address of the labor organization,
the minutes of the organizational meetings and the list of the workers who participated in
such meetings;

c. The names of all its members comprising at least twenty percent (20%) of all the
employees in the bargaining unit where it seeks to operate;

d. If the applicant union has been in existence for one or more years, copies of its annual
financial reports; and

e. Four (4) copies of the constitution and by-laws of the applicant union, minutes of its
adoption or ratification and the list of the members who participated in it. 17

Petitioner also insists that the 20% requirement for registration of respondent must be based not on
the number of employees of a single division, but in all three divisions of the company in all the
offices and plants of SMC since they are all part of one bargaining unit. Petitioner refers to Section 1,
Article 1 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), 18 quoted hereunder:

ARTICLE 1
SCOPE

Section 1. Appropriate Bargaining Unit. The appropriate bargaining unit covered by this
Agreement consists of all regular rank and file employees paid on the basis of fixed salary
per month and employed by the COMPANY in its Corporate Staff Units (CSU), San Miguel
Brewing Products (SMBP) and San Miguel Packaging Products (SMPP) and in different
operations existing in the City of Manila and suburbs, including Metal Closure and
Lithography Plant located at Canlubang, Laguna subject to the provisions of Article XV of this
Agreement provided however, that if during the term of this Agreement, a plant within the
territory covered by this Agreement is transferred outside but within a radius of fifty (50)
kilometers from the Rizal Monument, Rizal Park, Metro Manila, the employees in the
transferred plant shall remain in the bargaining unit covered by this Agreement. (Emphasis
supplied.)

Petitioner thus maintains that respondent, in any case, failed to meet this 20% membership
requirement since it based its membership on the number of employees of a single division only,
namely, the SMPP.

There is merit in petitioner's contentions.

A legitimate labor organization19 is defined as "any labor organization duly registered with the
Department of Labor and Employment, and includes any branch or local thereof."20 The mandate of
the Labor Code is to ensure strict compliance with the requirements on registration because a
legitimate labor organization is entitled to specific rights under the Labor Code,21 and are involved in
activities directly affecting matters of public interest. Registration requirements are intended to afford
a measure of protection to unsuspecting employees who may be lured into joining unscrupulous or
fly-by-night unions whose sole purpose is to control union funds or use the labor organization for
illegitimate ends.22 Legitimate labor organizations have exclusive rights under the law which cannot
be exercised by non-legitimate unions, one of which is the right to be certified as the exclusive
representative23 of all the employees in an appropriate collective bargaining unit for purposes of
collective bargaining.24 The acquisition of rights by any union or labor organization, particularly the
right to file a petition for certification election, first and foremost, depends on whether or not the labor
organization has attained the status of a legitimate labor organization.25

A perusal of the records reveals that respondent is registered with the BLR as a "local" or "chapter"
of PDMP and was issued Charter Certificate No. 112 on 15 June 1999. Hence, respondent was
directly chartered by PDMP.

The procedure for registration of a local or chapter of a labor organization is provided in Book V of
the Implementing Rules of the Labor Code, as amended by Department Order No. 9 which took
effect on 21 June 1997, and again by Department Order No. 40 dated 17 February 2003. The
Implementing Rules as amended by D.O. No. 9 should govern the resolution of the petition at bar
since respondent's petition for certification election was filed with the BLR in 1999; and that of
petitioner on 17 August 1999.26

The applicable Implementing Rules enunciates a two-fold procedure for the creation of a chapter or
a local. The first involves the affiliation of an independent union with a federation or national union or
industry union. The second, finding application in the instant petition, involves the direct creation of a
local or a chapter through the process of chartering.27

A duly registered federation or national union may directly create a local or chapter by submitting to
the DOLE Regional Office or to the BLR two copies of the following:
(a) A charter certificate issued by the federation or national union indicating the creation or
establishment of the local/chapter;

(b) The names of the local/chapter's officers, their addresses, and the principal office of the
local/chapter; and

(c) The local/chapter's constitution and by-laws; Provided, That where the local/chapter's
constitution and by-laws is the same as that of the federation or national union, this fact shall
be indicated accordingly.

All the foregoing supporting requirements shall be certified under oath by the Secretary or
the Treasurer of the local/chapter and attested to by its President. 28

The Implementing Rules stipulate that a local or chapter may be directly created by
a federation or national union. A duly constituted local or chapter created in accordance with the
foregoing shall acquire legal personality from the date of filing of the complete documents with the
BLR.29 The issuance of the certificate of registration by the BLR or the DOLE Regional Office is not
the operative act that vests legal personality upon a local or a chapter under Department Order No.
9. Such legal personality is acquired from the filing of the complete documentary requirements
enumerated in Section 1, Rule VI.30

Petitioner insists that Section 3 of the Implementing Rules, as amended by Department Order No. 9,
violated Article 234 of the Labor Code when it provided for less stringent requirements for the
creation of a chapter or local. This Court disagrees.

Article 234 of the Labor Code provides that an independent labor organization acquires legitimacy
only upon its registration with the BLR:

Any applicant labor organization, association or group of unions or workers shall acquire
legal personality and shall be entitled to the rights and privileges granted by law to legitimate
labor organizations upon issuance of the certificate of registration based on the following
requirements:

(a) Fifty pesos (P50.00) registration fee;

(b) The names of its officers, their addresses, the principal address of the labor organization,
the minutes of the organizational meetings and the list of the workers who participated in
such meetings;

(c) The names of all its members comprising at least twenty percent (20%) of all the
employees in the bargaining unit where it seeks to operate;

(d) If the applicant union has been in existence for one or more years, copies of its annual
financial reports; and

(e) Four (4) copies of the constitution and by-laws of the applicant union, minutes of its
adoption or ratification, and the list of the members who participated in it. (Italics supplied.)

It is emphasized that the foregoing pertains to the registration of an independent labor organization,
association or group of unions or workers.
However, the creation of a branch, local or chapter is treated differently. This Court, in the landmark
case of Progressive Development Corporation v. Secretary, Department of Labor and
Employment,31 declared that when an unregistered union becomes a branch, local or chapter, some
of the aforementioned requirements for registration are no longer necessary or compulsory.
Whereas an applicant for registration of an independent union is mandated to submit, among other
things, the number of employees and names of all its members comprising at least 20% of the
employees in the bargaining unit where it seeks to operate, as provided under Article 234 of the
Labor Code and Section 2 of Rule III, Book V of the Implementing Rules, the same is no longer
required of a branch, local or chapter.32 The intent of the law in imposing less requirements in the
case of a branch or local of a registered federation or national union is to encourage the affiliation of
a local union with a federation or national union in order to increase the local union's bargaining
powers respecting terms and conditions of labor.33

Subsequently, in Pagpalain Haulers, Inc. v. Trajano34 where the validity of Department Order No. 9
was directly put in issue, this Court was unequivocal in finding that there is no inconsistency
between the Labor Code and Department Order No. 9.

As to petitioner's claims that respondent obtained its Certificate of Registration through fraud and
misrepresentation, this Court finds that the imputations are not impressed with merit. In the instant
case, proof to declare that respondent committed fraud and misrepresentation remains wanting. This
Court had, indeed, on several occasions, pronounced that registration based on false and fraudulent
statements and documents confer no legitimacy upon a labor organization irregularly recognized,
which, at best, holds on to a mere scrap of paper. Under such circumstances, the labor organization,
not being a legitimate labor organization, acquires no rights. 35

This Court emphasizes, however, that a direct challenge to the legitimacy of a labor organization
based on fraud and misrepresentation in securing its certificate of registration is a serious allegation
which deserves careful scrutiny. Allegations thereof should be compounded with supporting
circumstances and evidence. The records of the case are devoid of such evidence. Furthermore,
this Court is not a trier of facts, and this doctrine applies with greater force in labor cases. Findings of
fact of administrative agencies and quasi-judicial bodies, such as the BLR, which have acquired
expertise because their jurisdiction is confined to specific matters, are generally accorded not only
great respect but even finality.36

Still, petitioner postulates that respondent was not validly and legitimately created, for PDMP cannot
create a local or chapter as it is not a legitimate labor organization, it being a trade union center.

Petitioner's argument creates a predicament as it hinges on the legitimacy of PDMP as a labor


organization. Firstly, this line of reasoning attempts to predicate that a trade union center is not a
legitimate labor organization. In the process, the legitimacy of PDMP is being impugned, albeit
indirectly. Secondly, the same contention premises that a trade union center cannot directly create a
local or chapter through the process of chartering.

Anent the foregoing, as has been held in a long line of cases, the legal personality of a legitimate
labor organization, such as PDMP, cannot be subject to a collateral attack. The law is very clear on
this matter. Article 212 (h) of the Labor Code, as amended, defines a legitimate labor
organization37 as "any labor organization duly registered with the DOLE, and includes any branch or
local thereof."38 On the other hand, a trade union center is any group of registered national unions or
federations organized for the mutual aid and protection of its members; for assisting such members
in collective bargaining; or for participating in the formulation of social and employment policies,
standards, and programs, and is duly registered with the DOLE in accordance with Rule III, Section
2 of the Implementing Rules.39
The Implementing Rules stipulate that a labor organization shall be deemed registered and vested
with legal personality on the date of issuance of its certificate of registration. Once a certificate of
registration is issued to a union, its legal personality cannot be subject to collateral attack. 40 It may
be questioned only in an independent petition for cancellation in accordance with Section 5 of Rule
V, Book V of the Implementing Rules. The aforementioned provision is enunciated in the following:

Sec. 5. Effect of registration. The labor organization or workers' association shall be deemed
registered and vested with legal personality on the date of issuance of its certificate of
registration. Such legal personality cannot thereafter be subject to collateral attack, but may
be questioned only in an independent petition for cancellation in accordance with these
Rules.

PDMP was registered as a trade union center and issued Registration Certificate No. FED-11558-LC
by the BLR on 14 February 1991. Until the certificate of registration of PDMP is cancelled, its legal
personality as a legitimate labor organization subsists. Once a union acquires legitimate status as a
labor organization, it continues to be recognized as such until its certificate of registration is
cancelled or revoked in an independent action for cancellation.41 It bears to emphasize that what is
being directly challenged is the personality of respondent as a legitimate labor organization and not
that of PDMP. This being a collateral attack, this Court is without jurisdiction to entertain questions
indirectly impugning the legitimacy of PDMP.

Corollarily, PDMP is granted all the rights and privileges appurtenant to a legitimate labor
organization,42 and continues to be recognized as such until its certificate of registration is
successfully impugned and thereafter cancelled or revoked in an independent action for cancellation.

We now proceed to the contention that PDMP cannot directly create a local or a chapter, it being a
trade union center.

This Court reverses the finding of the appellate court and BLR on this ground, and rules that PDMP
cannot directly create a local or chapter.

After an exhaustive study of the governing labor law provisions, both statutory and regulatory, 43 we
find no legal justification to support the conclusion that a trade union center is allowed to directly
create a local or chapter through chartering. Apropos, we take this occasion to reiterate the first and
fundamental duty of this Court, which is to apply the law. The solemn power and duty of the Court to
interpret and apply the law does not include the power to correct by reading into the law what is not
written therein.44

Presidential Decree No. 442, better known as the Labor Code, was enacted in 1972. Being a
legislation on social justice,45 the provisions of the Labor Code and the Implementing Rules have
been subject to several amendments, and they continue to evolve, considering that labor plays a
major role as a socio-economic force. The Labor Code was first amended by Republic Act No. 6715,
and recently, by Republic Act No. 9481. Incidentally, the term trade union center was never
mentioned under Presidential Decree No. 442, even as it was amended by Republic Act No. 6715.
The term trade union center was first adopted in the Implementing Rules, under Department Order
No. 9.

Culling from its definition as provided by Department Order No. 9, a trade union center is any group
of registered national unions or federations organized for the mutual aid and protection of its
members; for assisting such members in collective bargaining; or for participating in the formulation
of social and employment policies, standards, and programs, and is duly registered with the DOLE in
accordance with Rule III, Section 2 of the Implementing Rules.46 The same rule provides that the
application for registration of an industry or trade union center shall be supported by the following:

(a) The list of its member organizations and their respective presidents and, in the case of an
industry union, the industry where the union seeks to operate;

(b) The resolution of membership of each member organization, approved by the Board of
Directors of such union;

(c) The name and principal address of the applicant, the names of its officers and their
addresses, the minutes of its organizational meeting/s, and the list of member organizations
and their representatives who attended such meeting/s; and

(d) A copy of its constitution and by-laws and minutes of its ratification by a majority of the
presidents of the member organizations, provided that where the ratification was done
simultaneously with the organizational meeting, it shall be sufficient that the fact of ratification
be included in the minutes of the organizational meeting. 47

Evidently, while a "national union" or "federation" is a labor organization with at least ten locals or
chapters or affiliates, each of which must be a duly certified or recognized collective bargaining
agent;48 a trade union center, on the other hand, is composed of a group of registered national
unions or federations.49

The Implementing Rules, as amended by Department Order No. 9, provide that "a duly registered
federation or national union" may directly create a local or chapter. The provision reads:

Section 1. Chartering and creation of a local/chapter. – A duly registered federation or


national union may directly create a local/chapter by submitting to the Regional Office or to
the Bureau two (2) copies of the following:

(a) A charter certificate issued by the federation or national union indicating the creation or
establishment of the local/chapter;

(b) The names of the local/chapter's officers, their addresses, and the principal office of the
local/chapter; and

(c) The local/chapter's constitution and by-laws; provided that where the local/chapter's
constitution and by-laws is the same as that of the federation or national union, this fact shall
be indicated accordingly.

All the foregoing supporting requirements shall be certified under oath by the Secretary or
the Treasurer of the local/chapter and attested to by its President. 50

Department Order No. 9 mentions two labor organizations either of which is allowed to directly
create a local or chapter through chartering – a duly registered federation or a national union.
Department Order No. 9 defines a "chartered local" as a labor organization in the private sector
operating at the enterprise level that acquired legal personality through a charter certificate, issued
by a duly registered federation or national union and reported to the Regional Office in accordance
with Rule III, Section 2-E of these Rules.51
Republic Act No. 9481 or "An Act Strengthening the Workers' Constitutional Right to Self-
Organization, Amending for the Purpose Presidential Decree No. 442, As Amended, Otherwise
Known as the Labor Code of the Philippines" lapsed52 into law on 25 May 2007 and became
effective on 14 June 2007.53 This law further amends the Labor Code provisions on Labor Relations.

Pertinent amendments read as follows:

SECTION 1. Article 234 of Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended, otherwise known as
the Labor Code of the Philippines, is hereby further amended to read as follows:

ART. 234. Requirements of Registration. — A federation, national union or industry


or trade union center or an independent union shall acquire legal personality and
shall be entitled to the rights and privileges granted by law to legitimate labor
organizations upon issuance of the certificate of registration based on the following
requirements:

(a) Fifty pesos (P50.00) registration fee;

(b) The names of its officers, their addresses, the principal address of the labor
organization, the minutes of the organizational meetings and the list of the workers
who participated in such meetings;

(c) In case the applicant is an independent union, the names of all its members
comprising at least twenty percent (20%) of all the employees in the bargaining unit
where it seeks to operate;

(d) If the applicant union has been in existence for one or more years, copies of its
annual financial reports; and

(e) Four copies of the constitution and by-laws of the applicant union, minutes of its
adoption or ratification, and the list of the members who participated in it.

SECTION 2. A new provision is hereby inserted into the Labor Code as Article 234-A to read
as follows:

ART. 234-A. Chartering and Creation of a Local Chapter. — A duly


registered federation or national union may directly create a local chapter by issuing
a charter certificate indicating the establishment of the local chapter. The chapter
shall acquire legal personality only for purposes of filing a petition for certification
election from the date it was issued a charter certificate.

The chapter shall be entitled to all other rights and privileges of a legitimate labor
organization only upon the submission of the following documents in addition to its
charter certificate:

(a) The names of the chapter's officers, their addresses, and the principal office of
the chapter; and

(b) The chapter's constitution and by-laws: Provided, That where the chapter's
constitution and by-laws are the same as that of the federation or the national union,
this fact shall be indicated accordingly.
The additional supporting requirements shall be certified under oath by the secretary or
treasurer of the chapter and attested by its president. (Emphasis ours.)

Article 234 now includes the term trade union center, but interestingly, the provision indicating the
procedure for chartering or creating a local or chapter, namely Article 234-A, still makes no mention
of a "trade union center."

Also worth emphasizing is that even in the most recent amendment of the implementing
rules,54 there was no mention of a trade union center as being among the labor organizations
allowed to charter.

This Court deems it proper to apply the Latin maxim expressio unius est exclusio alterius. Under this
maxim of statutory interpretation, the expression of one thing is the exclusion of another. When
certain persons or things are specified in a law, contract, or will, an intention to exclude all others
from its operation may be inferred. If a statute specifies one exception to a general rule or assumes
to specify the effects of a certain provision, other exceptions or effects are excluded. 55 Where the
terms are expressly limited to certain matters, it may not, by interpretation or construction, be
extended to other matters.56 Such is the case here. If its intent were otherwise, the law could have so
easily and conveniently included "trade union centers" in identifying the labor organizations allowed
to charter a chapter or local. Anything that is not included in the enumeration is excluded therefrom,
and a meaning that does not appear nor is intended or reflected in the very language of the statute
cannot be placed therein.57 The rule is restrictive in the sense that it proceeds from the premise that
the legislating body would not have made specific enumerations in a statute if it had the intention not
to restrict its meaning and confine its terms to those expressly mentioned.58 Expressium facit
cessare tacitum.59 What is expressed puts an end to what is implied. Casus omissus pro omisso
habendus est. A person, object or thing omitted must have been omitted intentionally.

Therefore, since under the pertinent status and applicable implementing rules, the power granted to
labor organizations to directly create a chapter or local through chartering is given to a federation or
national union, then a trade union center is without authority to charter directly.

The ruling of this Court in the instant case is not a departure from the policy of the law to foster the
free and voluntary organization of a strong and united labor movement, 60 and thus assure the rights
of workers to self-organization.61 The mandate of the Labor Code in ensuring strict compliance with
the procedural requirements for registration is not without reason. It has been observed that the
formation of a local or chapter becomes a handy tool for the circumvention of union registration
requirements. Absent the institution of safeguards, it becomes a convenient device for a small group
of employees to foist a not-so-desirable federation or union on unsuspecting co-workers and pare
the need for wholehearted voluntariness, which is basic to free unionism. 62 As a legitimate labor
organization is entitled to specific rights under the Labor Code and involved in activities directly
affecting public interest, it is necessary that the law afford utmost protection to the parties
affected.63 However, as this Court has enunciated in Progressive Development Corporation v.
Secretary of Department of Labor and Employment, it is not this Court's function to augment the
requirements prescribed by law. Our only recourse, as previously discussed, is to exact strict
compliance with what the law provides as requisites for local or chapter formation. 64

In sum, although PDMP as a trade union center is a legitimate labor organization, it has no power to
directly create a local or chapter. Thus, SMPPEU-PDMP cannot be created under the more lenient
requirements for chartering, but must have complied with the more stringent rules for creation and
registration of an independent union, including the 20% membership requirement.
WHEREFORE, the instant Petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated 09 March 2005 of the Court of
Appeals in CA-GR SP No. 66200 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Certificate of Registration of
San Miguel Packaging Products Employees Union–Pambansang Diwa ng Manggagawang Pilipino
is ORDERED CANCELLED, and SMPPEU-PDMP DROPPED from the rolls of legitimate labor
organizations.

Costs against petitioner.

SO ORDERED.

Ynares-Santiago, Chairperson, Austria_Martinez, Nachura, Reyes, JJ., concur.

Footnotes

1
The Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR) was omitted as public respondent from the title of the
case.

In appeals via Petition for Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court, the tribunal
promulgating the appealed Decision is not impleaded.

2
Penned by Associate Justice Mario L. Guarina III with Associate Justices Marina L. Buzon
and Santiago Javier Ranada, concurring; Rollo, pp. 23-31.

3
CA rollo, pp. 17-21.

4
Rollo, p. 51.

5
Charter Certificate; CA rollo, p. 45.

6
The following documents were submitted:

a. Charter Certificate

b. Constitution and By-Laws

c. Lists and Addresses of Union Officers

d. Financial Report

e. Organization Meeting and Joint Resolution and Petition for Certification Election

7
Certificate of Creation of Chapter/local; CA rollo, p. 44.

8
On 15 June 1999, within the freedom period of the Collective Bargaining Agreement,
respondent filed a Petition for Certification Election covering SMC-SMPP. The three petitions
were consolidated on appeal with an earlier petition for certification election filed by San
Miguel Corporation Employees Union Greater Manila and Canlubang Area (SMCEU-GMCA)
docketed as OS-A-2-17-00.

9
Id. at 18; Section 2 of Rule XI, Book V of the Implementing Rules, as amended by D.O. No.
9 provides that where two or more petitions for certification election involving the same
bargaining unit are filed in one Regional Office, the same shall be automatically
consolidated.

10
Article 239. Grounds for Cancellation of Union Registration. The following shall constitute
grounds for cancellation of union registration:

a. Misrepresentation, false statement or fraud in connection with the adoption or


ratification of the constitution and by-laws or amendments thereto, the minutes of
ratification, and the list of members who took part in the ratification;

b. Failure to submit the documents mentioned in the preceding paragraph within


thirty (30) days from adoption or ratification of the constitution and by-laws of
amendments thereto;

c. Misrepresentation, false statements or fraud in connection with the election of


officers, minutes of the election of officers, the list of voters, or failure to submit these
documents together with the list of the newly elected/appointed officers and their
postal addresses within thirty (30) days from election; x x x.

11
The Labor Code stipulates the following:

Article 234. Requirements of Registration. Any applicant labor organization,


association or group of unions or workers shall acquire legal personality and shall be
entitled to the rights and privileges granted by law to legitimate labor organizations
upon issuance of the certificate of registration based on the following requirements:

a. Fifty pesos (P50.00) registration fee;

b. The names of its officers, their addresses, the principal address of the labor
organization, the minutes of the organizational meetings and the list of the workers
who participated in such meetings;

c. The names of all its members comprising at least twenty percent (20%) of all the
employees in the bargaining unit where it seeks to operate;

d. If the applicant union has been in existence for one or more years, copies of its
annual financial reports; and

e. Four (4) copies of the constitution and by-laws of the applicant union, minutes of
its adoption or ratification and the list of the members who participated in it.

12
CA rollo, pp. 33-39.

13
Id. at 25-32.

14
Id. at 20-21.
15
Id. at 22-24.

16
Rollo, pp. 29-30.

17
Article 234, Labor Code.

18
CA rollo, pp. 31-32.

19
A labor organization is any union or association of employees which exists in whole or in
part for the purpose of collective bargaining or for dealing with employers concerning terms
and conditions of employment. [Section 1(h), Rule 1, Book V of the Implementing Rules, as
amended by Department Order No. 9].

Article 212(g), Labor Code; Section 1(i), Rule 1, Book V of the Implementing Rules, as
20

amended by Department Order No. 9.

21
Article 242 of the Labor Code grants the following:

Rights of Legitimate Labor Organizations. A legitimate labor organization shall have


the right:

(a) To act as the representative of its members for the purpose of collective
bargaining;

(b) To be certified as the exclusive representative of all the employees in an


appropriate collective bargaining unit for purposes of collective bargaining;

(c) To be furnished by the employer, upon written request, with the annual audited
financial statements, including the balance sheet and the profit and loss statement,
within thirty (30) calendar days from the date of receipt of the request, after the union
has been duly recognized by the employer or certified as the sole and exclusive
bargaining representatives of the employees in the bargaining unit, or within sixty
(60) calendar days before the expiration of the existing collective bargaining
agreement, or during the collective bargaining negotiation;

(d) To own property, real or personal, for the use and benefit of the labor
organization and its members;

(e) To sue and be sued in its registered name; and

(f) To undertake all other activities designed to benefit the organization and its
members including cooperative, housing welfare and other projects not contrary to
law.

Progressive Development Corporation v. Secretary, Department of Labor and


22

Employment, G.R. No. 96425, 4 February 1992, 205 SCRA 802, 808.

23
Provided there is compliance with the requirements.

24
San Miguel Foods, Inc-Cebu B-Meg Feed Plant v. Laguesma, 331 Phil. 356, 371 (1996).
25
Progressive Development Corporation-Pizza Hut v. Laguesma, 338 Phil. 310, 321 (1997).

26
Section 1, Rule XXVI, Department Order No. 40, which states:

Section 1. Rules governing prior applications, petitions, complaints, cases. - All


applications, petitions, complaints, cases or incidents commenced or filed prior to the
effectivity of these amendatory Rules shall be governed by the old rules as amended
by Department Order No. 9, series of 1997.

27
Rule VI, Book V, Implementing Rules, as amended by Department Order No. 9.
Additionally, section 2 thereof provides that a duly registered workers' association may
likewise charter any of its branches, subject to the filing of the documents prescribed under
Section 1.

Section 1, Rule VI, Book V of the Implementing Rules, as amended by Department Order
28

No. 9.

Section 3, Rule VI of the Implementing Rules of Book V, as amended by Department


29

Order No. 9, clearly states:

SEC. 3. Acquisition of legal personality by local/chapter. A local/chapter constituted


in accordance with Section 1 of this Rule shall acquire legal personality from the date
of filing of the complete documents enumerated therein. Upon compliance with all
documentary requirements, the Regional Office or Bureau shall issue in favor of the
local/chapter a certificate indicating that it is included in the roster of legitimate labor
organizations. (Laguna Autoparts Manufacturing Corporation v. Office of the
Secretary, Department of Labor and Employment, G.R. No. 157146, 29 April 2005,
457 SCRA 730, 740.

Progressive Development Corporation v. Secretary, Department of Labor and


30

Employment, supra note 22.

31
Id.

32
Progressive Development Corporation v. Secretary, Department of Labor and
Employment, id.; San Miguel Foods, Inc.-Cebu B-Meg Feed Plant v. Laguesma, supra note
24.

Progressive Development Corporation v. Secretary, Department of Labor and


33

Employment, supra note 22.

34
369 Phil. 618, 627 (1999).

35
Progressive Development Corporation–Pizza Hut v. Laguesma, supra note 25.

36
Seastar Marine Services, Inc. v. Bul-An, Jr., G.R. No. 142609, 25 November 2004, 444
SCRA 140, 154-155; Naguiat v. National Labor Relations Commission, 336 Phil. 545, 553
(1997).

37
A labor organization is any union or association of employees which exists in whole or in
part for the purpose of collective bargaining or for dealing with employers concerning terms
and conditions of employment. [Section 1(h), Rule 1, Book V of the Implementing Rules, as
amended by Department Order No. 9].

Article 212(g), Labor Code; Section 1(i), Rule 1, Book V of the Implementing Rules, as
38

amended by Department Order No. 9.

Section 1(p), Rule I, Book V, of the Implementing Rules, as amended by Department


39

Order No. 9.

Tagaytay Highlands International Golf Club Incorporated v. Tagaytay Highlands


40

Employees Union-PGTWO, 443 Phil. 841, 852 (2003).

41
Laguna Autoparts Manufacturing Corporation v. Office of the Secretary, Department of
Labor and Employment, supra note 29.

42
Under Article 234 of the Labor Code, any applicant labor organization, association or
group of unions or workers shall acquire legal personality and shall be entitled to the rights
and privileges granted by law to legitimate labor organizations upon issuance of the
certificate of registration upon compliance with the documentary requirements.

As amended by Department Order No. 9, Department Order No. 40-03, and Department
43

Order No. 40-B-03.

44
Agote v. Lorenzo, G.R. No. 142675, 22 July 2005, 464 SCRA 60, 76.

45
As aptly put by Justice Laurel, social justice is the humanization of laws and the
equalization of

social and economic forces by the state so that justice in its rational and objectively secular
conception may at least be approximated.

Section 1(p), Rule I, Book V, of the Implementing Rules, as amended by Department


46

Order No. 9.

Under a different section; Section 2 (III), Rule III, Book V of the Implementing Rules, as
47

amended by Department Order No. 9.

48
Rule I(m), Book V, Implementing Rules, as amended by Department Order No. 9.

49
Rule (p), id.

50
Section 1, Rule VI, Book V, id.

51
Section 1(i), Rule I, Book V, Implementing Rules, as amended by Department Order No.
40-03.

52
Republic Act No. 9481 was not signed by the President, but lapsed into law by virtue of the
provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
53
Republic Act No. 9481 was published on 30 May 2007 in a newspaper of general
circulation (MALAYA). The date of effectivity is computed 15 days from date of publication.

54
Subsequently amended by Department Order No. 40-B-03, Department Order No. 40-C-
05, and Department Order No. 40-D-05.

55
Black's Law Dictionary, p. 581; Office of the Ombudsman v. Valera, G.R. No. 164250, 5
September 2005, 471 SCRA 715, 746 and City Government of San Pablo, Laguna v. Reyes,
364 Phil. 842, 853 (1999).

56
Sarmiento, III v. Mison, G.R. No. 79974, 17 December 1987, 156 SCRA 549, 552;
Integrated Bar of the Philippines v. Zamora, 392 Phil. 618, 642 (2000).

57
Singapore Airlines Local Employees Association v. National Labor Relations Commission,
215 Phil. 420, 428 (1984).

58
San Pablo Mfg. Corp. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, G.R. No. 147749, 22 June
2006, 492 SCRA 192, 200.

59
Abakada Guro Party List v. Ermita, G.R. No. 168056, 1 September 2005, 469 SCRA 1,
Espiritu v. Cipriano, G.R. No. 32743, February 15, 1974, 55 SCRA 533, 538.

60
Chapter 1, Book V, Labor Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 6715.

61
As embodied under Article 3 of the Labor Code.

Progressive Development Corporation v. Secretary, Department of Labor and


62

Employment, supra note 22.

63
Article 242 of the Labor Code grants the following:

Rights of Legitimate Labor Organizations. A legitimate labor organization shall have


the right:

(a) To act as the representative of its members for the purpose of collective
bargaining;

(b) To be certified as the exclusive representative of all the employees in an


appropriate collective bargaining unit for purposes of collective bargaining;

(c) To be furnished by the employer, upon written request, with the annual audited
financial statements, including the balance sheet and the profit and loss statement,
within thirty (30) calendar days from the date of receipt of the request, after the union
has been duly recognized by the employer or certified as the sole and exclusive
bargaining representatives of the employees in the bargaining unit, or within sixty
(60) calendar days before the expiration of the existing collective bargaining
agreement, or during the collective bargaining negotiation;

(d) To own property, real or personal, for the use and benefit of the labor
organization and its members;
(e) To sue and be sued in its registered name; and

(f) To undertake all other activities designed to benefit the organization and its
members including cooperative, housing welfare and other projects not contrary to
law.

64
Supra note 22.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 177024 October 30, 2009

THE HERITAGE HOTEL MANILA (OWNED AND OPERATED BY GRAND PLAZA HOTEL
CORPORATION)Petitioner,
vs.
PINAG-ISANG GALING AT LAKAS NG MGA MANGGAGAWA SA HERITAGE MANILA (PIGLAS-
HERITAGE),Respondent.

DECISION

ABAD, J.:

This case is about a company’s objections to the registration of its rank and file union for non-
compliance with the requirements of its registration.

The Facts and the Case

Sometime in 2000, certain rank and file employees of petitioner Heritage Hotel Manila (petitioner
company) formed the "Heritage Hotel Employees Union" (the HHE union). The Department of Labor
and Employment-National Capital Region (DOLE-NCR) later issued a certificate of registration1 to
this union.

Subsequently, the HHE union filed a petition for certification election 2 that petitioner company
opposed. The company alleged that the HHE union misrepresented itself to be an independent
union, when it was, in truth, a local chapter of the National Union of Workers in Hotel and Restaurant
and Allied Industries (NUWHRAIN). The company claimed that the HHE union intentionally omitted
disclosure of its affiliation with NUWHRAIN because the company’s supervisors union was already
affiliated with it.3 Thus, the company also filed a petition for the cancellation of the HHE union’s
registration certificate.4

Meanwhile, the Med-Arbiter granted the HHE union’s petition for certification election. 5 Petitioner
company appealed the decision to the Secretary of Labor but the latter denied the appeal.6 The
Secretary also denied petitioner’s motion for reconsideration, prompting the company to file a
petition for certiorari7 with the Court of Appeals.

On October 12, 2001 the Court of Appeals issued a writ of injunction against the holding of the HHE
union’s certification election, effective until the petition for cancellation of that union’s registration
shall have been resolved with finality.8 The decision of the Court of Appeals became final when the
HHE union withdrew the petition for review that it filed with this Court. 9

On December 10, 2003 certain rank and file employees of petitioner company held a meeting and
formed another union, the respondent Pinag-Isang Galing at Lakas ng mga Manggagawa sa
Heritage Manila (the PIGLAS union). This union applied for registration with the DOLE-NCR10 and
got its registration certificate on February 9, 2004. Two months later, the members of the first union,
the HHE union, adopted a resolution for its dissolution. The HHE union then filed a petition for
cancellation of its union registration.11

On September 4, 2004 respondent PIGLAS union filed a petition for certification election 12 that
petitioner company also opposed, alleging that the new union’s officers and members were also
those who comprised the old union. According to the company, the employees involved formed the
PIGLAS union to circumvent the Court of Appeals’ injunction against the holding of the certification
election sought by the former union. Despite the company’s opposition, however, the Med-Arbiter
granted the petition for certification election.13

On December 6, 2004 petitioner company filed a petition to cancel the union registration of
respondent PIGLAS union.14 The company claimed that the documents submitted with the union’s
application for registration bore the following false information:

(a) The List of Members showed that the PIGLAS union had 100 union members; 15

(b) The Organizational Minutes said that 90 employees attended the meeting on December
10, 2003;16

(c) The Attendance Sheet of the meeting of December 10, 2003 bore the signature of 127
members who ratified the union’s Constitution and By-Laws;17 and

(d) The Signature Sheet bore 128 signatures of those who attended that meeting. 18

Petitioner company alleged that the misrepresentation was evidenced by the discrepancy in the
number of union members appearing in the application and the list as well as in the number of
signatories to the attendance and signature sheets. The minutes reported that only 90 employees
attended the meeting. The company further alleged that 33 members of respondent PIGLAS union
were members of the defunct HHE union. This, according to the company, violated the policy against
dual unionism and showed that the new union was merely an alter ego of the old.

On February 22, 2005 the DOLE-NCR denied the company’s petition to cancel respondent PIGLAS
union’s registration for the reason that the discrepancies in the number of members stated in the
application’s supporting documents were not material and did not constitute misrepresentation. As
for the charge of dual unionism, the same is not a ground for canceling registration. It merely
exposed a union member to a possible charge of disloyalty, an internal matter. Here, the members
of the former union simply exercised their right to self-organization and to the freedom of association
when they subsequently joined the PIGLAS union.19

On appeal, the Bureau of Labor Relation (BLR) affirmed the ruling of the DOLE-NCR. It reasoned
that respondent PIGLAS union’s organization meeting lasted for 12 hours. It was possible for the
number of attendees to have increased from 90 to 128 as the meeting progressed. Besides, with a
total of 250 employees in the bargaining unit, the union needed only 50 members to comply with the
20 percent membership requirement. Thus, the union could not be accused of misrepresentation
since it did not pad its membership to secure registration.

As for the issue of dual unionism, it has become moot and academic, said the BLR, because of the
dissolution of the old union and the cancellation of its certificate of registration. 20

Petitioner company filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals, 21 assailing the order of the
BLR. But the latter court dismissed the petition, not being accompanied by material documents and
portions of the record.22 The company filed a motion for reconsideration, attaching parts of the record
that were deemed indispensable but the court denied it for lack of merit. 23 Hence, the company filed
this petition for review under Rule 45.

Issues Presented

The petition presents the following issues:

1. Whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in dismissing the petition for certiorari before it
for failure of petitioner company to attach certain material portions of the record;

2. Whether or not the union made fatal misrepresentation in its application for union
registration; and

3. Whether or not "dual unionism" is a ground for canceling a union’s registration.

The Rulings of the Court

First. While the Court of Appeals correctly dismissed the company’s petition initially for failure to
attach material portions of the record, the court should have bended back a little when petitioner
company subsequently attached those missing materials to its motion for reconsideration. As a
general rule, petitions for certiorari that lack copies of essential pleadings and portions of the record
may be dismissed but this rule has not been regarded as absolute. The omission may be cured. 24

The Court of Appeals has three courses of action when the annexes to the petition are insufficient. It
may dismiss the petition,25 require the submission of the relevant documents, or order the filing of an
amended petition with the required pleadings or documents. A petition lacking in essential pleadings
or portions of the record may still be given due course, or reinstated if earlier dismissed, upon
subsequent submission of the necessary documents or to serve the higher interest of justice. 26

Second. Since a remand of the case to the Court of Appeals for a determination of the substantive
issues will only result in more delays and since these issues have been amply argued by the
opposing sides in the various pleadings and documents they submitted to this Court, the case may
now be resolved on the merits.

Did respondent PIGLAS union commit fraud and misrepresentation in its application for union
registration? We agree with the DOLE-NCR and the BLR that it did not. Except for the evident
discrepancies as to the number of union members involved as these appeared on the documents
that supported the union’s application for registration, petitioner company has no other evidence of
the alleged misrepresentation. But those discrepancies alone cannot be taken as an indication that
respondent misrepresented the information contained in these documents.

The charge that a labor organization committed fraud and misrepresentation in securing its
registration is a serious charge and deserves close scrutiny. It is serious because once such charge
is proved, the labor union acquires none of the rights accorded to registered organizations.
Consequently, charges of this nature should be clearly established by evidence and the surrounding
circumstances.27

Here, the discrepancies in the number of union members or employees stated in the various
supporting documents that respondent PIGLAS union submitted to labor authorities can be
explained. While it appears in the minutes of the December 10, 2003 organizational meeting that
only 90 employees responded to the roll call at the beginning, it cannot be assumed that such
number could not grow to 128 as reflected on the signature sheet for attendance. The meeting
lasted 12 hours from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. There is no evidence that the meeting hall was locked
up to exclude late attendees.1 a vv p h i 1

There is also nothing essentially mysterious or irregular about the fact that only 127 members ratified
the union’s constitution and by-laws when 128 signed the attendance sheet. It cannot be assumed
that all those who attended approved of the constitution and by-laws. Any member had the right to
hold out and refrain from ratifying those documents or to simply ignore the process.

At any rate, the Labor Code28 and its implementing rules29 do not require that the number of
members appearing on the documents in question should completely dovetail. For as long as the
documents and signatures are shown to be genuine and regular and the constitution and by-laws
democratically ratified, the union is deemed to have complied with registration requirements.

Petitioner company claims that respondent PIGLAS union was required to submit the names
of all its members comprising at least 20 percent of the employees in the bargaining unit. Yet the list
it submitted named only 100 members notwithstanding that the signature and attendance sheets
reflected a membership of 127 or 128 employees. This omission, said the company, amounted to
material misrepresentation that warranted the cancellation of the union’s registration.

But, as the labor authorities held, this discrepancy is immaterial. A comparison of the documents
shows that, except for six members, the names found in the subject list are also in the attendance
and signature sheets. Notably, the bargaining unit that respondent PIGLAS union sought to
represent consisted of 250 employees. Only 20 percent of this number or 50 employees were
required to unionize. Here, the union more than complied with such requirement.

Labor laws are liberally construed in favor of labor especially if doing so would affirm its
constitutionally guaranteed right to self-organization.30 Here, the PIGLAS union’s supporting
documents reveal the unmistakable yearning of petitioner company’s rank and file employees to
organize. This yearning should not be frustrated by inconsequential technicalities.

Third. The fact that some of respondent PIGLAS union’s members were also members of the old
rank and file union, the HHE union, is not a ground for canceling the new union’s registration. The
right of any person to join an organization also includes the right to leave that organization and join
another one. Besides, HHE union is dead. It had ceased to exist and its certificate of registration had
already been cancelled. Thus, petitioner’s arguments on this point may also be now regarded as
moot and academic.

WHEREFORE, the Court DENIES the petition and AFFIRMS the decision of the Bureau of Labor
Relations in BLR-A-26-3-05 dated May 26, 2006.

SO ORDERED.

ROBERTO A. ABAD
Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING
Associate Justice
ANTONIO T. CARPIO* MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO**
Associate Justice Associate Justice

ARTURO D. BRION
Associate Justice

ATTESTATION

I attest that the conclusions in the above decision were reached in consultation before the case was
assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.

LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING
Associate Justice
Chairperson, Second Division

CERTIFICATION

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division Chairperson’s Attestation, it is
hereby certified that the conclusions in the above Decision were reached in consultation before the
case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.

REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice

Footnotes

* Designated as additional member in lieu of Associate Justice Mariano C. Del Castillo, per
Special Order No. 757 dated October 12, 2009.

** Designated as additional member in lieu of Associate Justice Conchita Carpio Morales,


per Special Order No. 759 dated October 12, 2009.

1
Rollo, p. 58.

2
Id. at 59-70.

3
Id. at 100.

4
Id. at 109-120.

5
Id. at 99-103.

6
Id. at 218.

7
Docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 65033.

8
Rollo, pp. 137-147.
9
Id. at 293-296.

10
Id. at 192.

11
Id. at 182-190.

12
Id. at 233-241.

13
Id. at 272-274.

14
Id. at 44-55.

15
Id. at 161-162.

16
Id. at 157-158.

17
Id. at 148-154.

18
Id. at 164-171.

19
Id. at 375-377.

20
Id. at 333-338.

21
Docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 97237.

22
Rollo, pp. 33-34.

23
Id. at 289.

24
Air Philippines Corporation v. Zamora, G.R. No. 148247, August 7, 2006, 498 SCRA 59,
69.

25
Last paragraph of Rule 46 of the Rules of Court.

26
Suan v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 150819, July 27, 2006, 496 SCRA 760, 767-768.

San Miguel Corporation Employees Union-Philippine Transport and General Workers


27

Organization v. San Miguel Packaging Products Employees Union-Pambansang Diwa ng


Manggagawang Pilipino, G.R. No. 171153, September 12, 2007, 533 SCRA 125, 144.

28
The pertinent Labor Code provision states:

ART. 234. REQUIREMENTS FOR REGISTRATION

Any applicant labor organization, association or group of unions or workers shall


acquire legal personality and shall be entitled to the rights and privileges granted by
law to legitimate labor organizations upon issuance of the certificate of registration
based on the following requirements:
(a) Fifty (₱50.00) registration fee;

(b) The names of its officers, their addresses, the principal address of the labor
organization, the minutes of the organizational meetings and the list of the workers
who participated in such meetings;

(c) The names of all its members comprising at least twenty percent (20%) of all the
employees in the bargaining unit where it seeks to operate;

(d) If the union has been in existence for one or more years, copies of its annual
financial reports; and

(e) Four (4) copies of the constitution and by-laws of the applicant union, minutes of
its adoption or ratification and the list of the members who participated in it.

29
Rule 3, Section 2.A of Department Order No. 40-03, Series of 2003 states that an
application for registration of an independent labor union must be accompanied by the
following:

1) the name of the applicant labor union, its principal address, the name of its officers
and their respective addresses, approximate number of employees in the bargaining
unit where it seeks to operate, with a statement that it is not reported as a chartered
local of any federation or national union;

2) the minutes of the organizational meeting(s) and the list of employees who
participated in the said meeting(s);

3) the name of all its members comprising at least 20% of the employees in the
bargaining unit;

4) the annual financial reports if the applicant has been in existence for one or more
years, unless it has not collected any amount from the members, in which case a
statement to this effect shall be included in the application;

5) the applicant’s constitution and by-laws, minutes of its adoption and ratification
and the list of the members who participated in it. The list of ratifying members shall
be dispensed with where the constitution and by-laws was ratified or adopted during
the organizational meeting. In such a case, the factual circumstances of the
ratification shall be recorded in the minutes of the organizational meeting(s).

30
San Miguel Corporation (Mandaue Packaging Products Plants) v. Mandaue Packing
Products Plants-San Miguel Packaging Products-San Miguel Corporation Monthlies Rank-
and-File Union-FFW, G.R. No. 152356, August 16, 2005, 467 SCRA 107, 127.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 178989 March 18, 2010

EAGLE RIDGE GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB, Petitioner,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and EAGLE RIDGE EMPLOYEES UNION (EREU), Respondents.

DECISION

VELASCO, JR., J.:

In this petition for certiorari under Rule 65, Eagle Ridge Golf & Country Club (Eagle Ridge) assails
and seeks to nullify the Resolutions of the Court of Appeals (CA) dated April 27, 20071 and June 6,
2007,2 issued in CA-G.R. SP No. 98624, denying a similar recourse petitioner earlier interposed to
set aside the December 21, 2006 Decision3 of the Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR), as reiterated in
a Resolution4 of March 7, 2007.

Petitioner Eagle Ridge is a corporation engaged in the business of maintaining golf courses. It had,
at the end of CY 2005, around 112 rank-and-file employees. The instant case is an off-shot of the
desire of a number of these employees to organize themselves as a legitimate labor union and their
employer’s opposition to their aspiration.

The Facts

On December 6, 2005, at least 20% of Eagle Ridge’s rank-and-file employees—the percentage


threshold required under Article 234(c) of the Labor Code for union registration—had a meeting
where they organized themselves into an independent labor union, named "Eagle Ridge Employees
Union" (EREU or Union),5 elected a set of officers,6and ratified7 their constitution and by-laws.8

On December 19, 2005, EREU formally applied for registration9 and filed BLR Reg. Form No. I-LO,
s. 199810 before the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Regional Office IV (RO IV). In
time, DOLE RO IV granted the application and issued EREU Registration Certificate (Reg. Cert.) No.
RO400-200512-UR-003.

The EREU then filed a petition for certification election in Eagle Ridge Golf & Country Club, docketed
as Case No. RO400-0601-RU-002. Eagle Ridge opposed this petition,11 followed by its filing of a
petition for the cancellation12 of Reg. Cert. No. RO400-200512-UR-003. Docketed as RO400-0602-
AU-003, Eagle Ridge’s petition ascribed misrepresentation, false statement, or fraud to EREU in
connection with the adoption of its constitution and by-laws, the numerical composition of the Union,
and the election of its officers.

Going into specifics, Eagle Ridge alleged that the EREU declared in its application for registration
having 30 members, when the minutes of its December 6, 2005 organizational meeting showed it
only had 26 members. The misrepresentation was exacerbated by the discrepancy between the
certification issued by the Union secretary and president that 25 members actually ratified the
constitution and by-laws on December 6, 2005 and the fact that 26 members affixed their signatures
on the documents, making one signature a forgery.

Finally, Eagle Ridge contended that five employees who attended the organizational meeting had
manifested the desire to withdraw from the union. The five executed individual affidavits
or Sinumpaang Salaysay13 on February 15, 2006, attesting that they arrived late at said meeting
which they claimed to be drinking spree; that they did not know that the documents they signed on
that occasion pertained to the organization of a union; and that they now wanted to be excluded from
the Union. The withdrawal of the five, Eagle Ridge maintained, effectively reduced the union
membership to 20 or 21, either of which is below the mandatory minimum 20% membership
requirement under Art. 234(c) of the Labor Code. Reckoned from 112 rank-and-file employees of
Eagle Ridge, the required number would be 22 or 23 employees.

As a counterpoint, EREU, in its Comment,14 argued in gist:

1) the petition for cancellation was procedurally deficient as it does not contain a certification
against forum shopping and that the same was verified by one not duly authorized by Eagle
Ridge’s board;

2) the alleged discrepancies are not real for before filing of its application on December 19,
2005, four additional employees joined the union on December 8, 2005, thus raising the
union membership to 30 members as of December 19, 2005;

3) the understatement by one member who ratified the constitution and by-laws was a
typographical error, which does not make it either grave or malicious warranting the
cancellation of the union’s registration;

4) the retraction of 5 union members should not be given any credence for the reasons that:
(a) the sworn statements of the five retracting union members sans other affirmative
evidence presented hardly qualify as clear and credible evidence considering the joint
affidavits of the other members attesting to the orderly conduct of the organizational meeting;
(b) the retracting members did not deny signing the union documents; (c) following, Belyca
Corporation v. Ferrer-Calleja15 and Oriental Tin Can Labor Union v. Secretary of Labor and
Employment,16 it can be presumed that "duress, coercion or valuable consideration" was
brought to bear on the retracting members; and (d) citing La Suerte Cigar and Cigarette
Factory v. Director of Bureau of Labor Relations,17 Belyca Corporation and Oriental Tin Can
Labor Union, where the Court ruled that "once the required percentage requirement has
been reached, the employees’ withdrawal from union membership taking place after the filing
of the petition for certification election will not affect the petition," it asserted the applicability
of said ruling as the petition for certification election was filed on January 10, 2006 or long
before February 15, 2006 when the affidavits of retraction were executed by the five union
members, thus contending that the retractions do not affect nor be deemed compelling
enough to cancel its certificate of registration.

The Union presented the duly accomplished union membership forms 18 dated December 8, 2005 of
four additional members. And to rebut the allegations in the affidavits of retraction of the five union
members, it presented the Sama-Samang Sinumpaang Salaysay19 dated March 20, 2006 of eight
union members; another Sama-Samang Sinumpaang Salaysay,20 also bearing date March 20, 2006,
of four other union members; and the Sworn Statement21 dated March 16, 2006 of the Union’s legal
counsel, Atty. Domingo T. Añonuevo. These affidavits attested to the orderly and proper
proceedings of the organizational meeting on December 6, 2005.
In its Reply,22 Eagle Ridge reiterated the grounds it raised in its petition for cancellation and asserted
further that the four additional members were fraudulently admitted into the Union. As Eagle Ridge
claimed, the applications of the four neither complied with the requirements under Section 2, Art. IV
of the union’s constitution and by-laws nor were they shown to have been duly received, issued
receipts for admission fees, processed with recommendation for approval, and approved by the
union president.

Moreover, Eagle Ridge presented another Sinumpaang Salaysay23 of retraction dated March 15,
2006 of another union member. The membership of EREU had thus been further reduced to only 19
or 20. This same member was listed in the first Sama-Samang Sinumpaang Salaysay24 presented by
the Union but did not sign it.

The Ruling of the DOLE Regional Director

After due proceedings, the DOLE Regional Director, Region IV-A, focusing on the question of
misrepresentation, issued on April 28, 2006 an Order 25 finding for Eagle Ridge, its petition to cancel
Reg. Cert. No. RO400-200512-UR-003 being granted and EREU being delisted from the roster of
legitimate labor organizations.

Aggrieved, the Union appealed to the BLR, the recourse docketed as BLR A-C-30-5-31-06 (Case
No. RO400-0602-AU-003).

The Ruling of the BLR

Initially, the BLR, then headed by an Officer-in-Charge (OIC), affirmed26 the appealed order of the
DOLE Regional Director.

Undeterred by successive set backs, EREU interposed a motion for reconsideration, contending
that:

1) Contrary to the ruling of the BLR OIC Director, a certificate of non-forum shopping is
mandatory requirement, under Department Order No. (DO) 40-03 and the Rules of Court,
non-compliance with which is a ground to dismiss a petition for cancellation of a certificate of
registration;

2) It was erroneous for both the Regional Director and the BLR OIC Director to give
credence to the retraction statements of union members which were not presented for
reaffirmation during any of the hearings of the case, contrary to the requirement for the
admission of such evidence under Sec. 11, Rule XI of DO 40-03.

In a Decision dated December 21, 2006, the BLR, now headed by Director Rebecca C. Chato, set
aside the July 28, 2006 order of the BLR OIC Director, disposing as follows:

WHEREFORE, the motion for reconsideration is hereby GRANTED and our Resolution dated 28
July 2006 is hereby VACATED. Accordingly, the Eagle Ridge Employees Union (EREU) shall remain
in the roster of legitimate organizations.

In finding for the Union, the BLR Director eschewed procedural technicalities. Nonetheless, she
found as without basis allegations of misrepresentation or fraud as ground for cancellation of
EREU’s registration.
In turn aggrieved, Eagle Ridge sought but was denied reconsideration per the BLR’s Resolution
dated March 7, 2007.

Eagle Ridge thereupon went to the CA on a petition for certiorari.

The Ruling of the CA

On April 27, 2007, the appellate court, in a terse two-page Resolution,27 dismissed Eagle Ridge’s
petition for being deficient, as:

1. the questioned [BLR] Decision dated December 21, 2006 and the Resolution dated March
7, 2007 Resolution [appended to the petition] are mere machine copies; and

2. the verification and certification of non-forum shopping was subscribed to by Luna C.


Piezas on her representation as the legal counsel of the petitioner, but sans [the requisite]
Secretary’s Certificate or Board Resolution authorizing her to execute and sign the same.

The CA later denied, in its second assailed resolution, Eagle Ridge’s motion for reconsideration,
albeit the latter had submitted a certificate to show that its legal counsel has been authorized, per a
board resolution, to represent the corporation.

The Issues

Eagle Ridge is now before us via this petition for certiorari on the submissions that:

I.

[THE CA] COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR AND GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING
TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN DISMISSING THE COMPANY’S PETITION FOR
CERTIORARI AND DENYING ITS MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION CONSIDERING THAT THE
COMPANY’S PREVIOUS COUNSEL WAS AUTHORIZED TO REPRESENT THE COMPANY IN
THE PETITION FOR CERTIORARI FILED BEFORE THE [CA];

II.

IN ORDER NOT TO FURTHER PREJUDICE THE COMPANY, IT IS RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED


THAT THIS HONORABLE COURT COULD TAKE COGNIZANCE OF THE MERITS OF THIS CASE
AND RESOLVE THAT BASED ON THE EVIDENCE ON RECORD, THERE WAS FRAUD,
MISREPRESENTATION AND/OR FALSE STATEMENT WHICH WARRANT THE CANCELLATION
OF CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRATION OF EREU.28

The Court’s Ruling

We dismiss the petition.

Procedural Issue: Lack of Authority

Certiorari is an extraordinary, prerogative remedy and is never issued as a matter of


right.29 Accordingly, the party who seeks to avail of it must strictly observe the rules laid down by
law.30
Petitions for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court require a "sworn certification of non-forum
shopping as provided in the third paragraph of Section 3, Rule 46." 31 Sec. 3, paragraphs 4 and 6 of
Rule 46 pertinently provides:

SEC. 3. Contents and filing of petition; effect of non-compliance with requirements. — x x x x

xxxx

xxxx

The petitioner shall also submit together with the petition a sworn certification that he has not
theretofore commenced any action involving the same issues in the Supreme Court, the Court
of Appeals x x x, or any other tribunal or agency; if there is such other action or proceeding, he must
state the status of the same x x x.

xxxx

The failure of the petitioner to comply with any of the foregoing requirements shall be
sufficient ground for the dismissal of the petition. (Emphasis supplied.)

Evidently, the Rules requires the petitioner, not his counsel, to sign under oath the requisite
certification against non-forum shopping. Such certification is a peculiar personal representation on
the part of the principal party, an assurance to the court that there are no other pending cases
involving basically the same parties, issues, and cause of action.32

In the instant case, the sworn verification and certification of non-forum shopping in the petition for
certiorari of Eagle Ridge filed before the CA carried the signature of its counsel without the requisite
authority.

Eagle Ridge tried to address its faux pas by submitting its board secretary’s Certificate33 dated May
15, 2007, attesting to the issuance on May 10, 2007 of Board Resolution No. ERGCCI 07/III-01 that
authorized its counsel of record, Atty. Luna C. Piezas, to represent it before the appellate court.

The CA, however, rejected Eagle Ridge’s virtual plea for the relaxation of the rules on the signing of
the verification and certification against forum shopping, observing that the board resolution adverted
to was approved after Atty. Piezas has signed and filed for Eagle Ridge the petition for certiorari.

The appellate court’s assailed action is in no way tainted with grave abuse of discretion, as Eagle
Ridge would have this Court believed. Indeed, a certification of non-forum shopping signed by
counsel without the proper authorization is defective and constitutes a valid cause for dismissal of
the petition.34

The submission of the board secretary’s certificate through a motion for reconsideration of the CA’s
decision dismissing the petition for certiorari may be considered a substantial compliance with the
Rules of Court.35 Yet, this rule presupposes that the authorizing board resolution, the approval of
which is certified to by the secretary’s certification, was passed within the reglementary period for
filing the petition. This particular situation does not, however, obtain under the premises. The records
yield the following material dates and incidents: Eagle Ridge received the May 7, 2007 resolution of
the BLR Director on March 9, 2007, thus giving it 60 days or up to May 8, 2007 to file a petition for
certiorari, as it in fact filed its petition on April 18, 2007 before the CA. The authorization for its
counsel, however, was only issued in a meeting of its board on May 10, 2007 or a couple of days
beyond the 60-day reglementary period referred to in filing a certiorari action. Thus, there was no
substantial compliance with the Rules.

As with most rules of procedure, however, exceptions are invariably recognized and the relaxation of
procedural rules on review has been effected to obviate jeopardizing substantial justice.36 This
liberality stresses the importance of review in our judicial grievance structure to accord every party
litigant the amplest opportunity for the proper and just disposition of his cause, freed from the
constraints of technicalities.37 But concomitant to a liberal interpretation of the rules of procedure
should be an effort on the part of the party invoking liberality to adequately explain his failure to
abide by the rules.381avvp hi1

To us, Eagle Ridge has not satisfactorily explained its failure to comply. It may be true, as Eagle
Ridge urges, that its counsel’s authority to represent the corporation was never questioned before
the DOLE regional office and agency. But EREU’s misstep could hardly lend Eagle Ridge comfort.
And obviously, Eagle Ridge and its counsel erred in equating the latter’s representation as legal
counsel with the authority to sign the verification and the certificate of non-forum shopping in the
former’s behalf. We note that the authority to represent a client before a court or quasi-judicial
agency does not require an authorizing board resolution, as the counsel-client relationship is
presumed by the counsel’s representation by the filing of a pleading on behalf of the client. In filing a
pleading, the counsel affixes his signature on it, but it is the client who must sign the verification and
the certification against forum shopping, save when a board resolution authorizes the former to sign
so.

It is entirely a different matter for the counsel to sign the verification and the certificate of non-forum
shopping. The attestation or certification in either verification or certification of non-forum shopping
requires the act of the principal party. As earlier indicated, Sec. 3 of Rule 46 exacts this requirement;
so does the first paragraph of Sec. 5 of Rule 7 pertinently reading:

SEC. 5. Certification against forum shopping. — The plaintiff or principal party shall certify under
oath in the complaint or other initiatory pleading asserting a claim for relief, or in a sworn certification
annexed thereto and simultaneously filed therewith: (a) that he has not theretofore commenced any
action or filed any claim involving the same issues in any court, tribunal or quasi-judicial agency and,
to the best of his knowledge, no such other action or claim is pending therein; (b) if there is such
other pending action or claim, a complete statement of the present status thereof; and (c) if he
should thereafter learn that the same or similar action or claim has been filed or is pending, he shall
report that fact within five (5) days therefrom to the court wherein his aforesaid complaint or initiatory
pleading has been filed. (Emphasis added.)

It is, thus, clear that the counsel is not the proper person to sign the certification against forum
shopping. If, for any reason, the principal party cannot sign the petition, the one signing on his behalf
must have been duly authorized.39

In addition, Eagle Ridge maintains that the submitted board resolution, albeit passed after the filing
of the petition was filed, should be treated as a ratificatory medium of the counsel’s act of signing the
sworn certification of non-forum shopping.

We are not inclined to grant the desired liberality owing to Eagle Ridge’s failure to sufficiently explain
its failure to follow the clear rules.

If for the foregoing considerations alone, the Court could very well dismiss the instant petition.
Nevertheless, the Court will explore the merits of the instant case to obviate the inequity that might
result from the outright denial of the petition.
Substantive Issue: No Fraud in the Application

Eagle Ridge cites the grounds provided under Art. 239(a) and (c) of the Labor Code for its petition
for cancellation of the EREU’s registration. On the other hand, the Union asserts bona
fide compliance with the registration requirements under Art. 234 of the Code, explaining the
seeming discrepancies between the number of employees who participated in the organizational
meeting and the total number of union members at the time it filed its registration, as well as the
typographical error in its certification which understated by one the number of union members who
ratified the union’s constitution and by-laws.

Before their amendment by Republic Act No. 948140 on June 15, 2007, the then governing Art. 234
(on the requirements of registration of a labor union) and Art. 239 (on the grounds for cancellation of
union registration) of the Labor Code respectively provided as follows:

ART. 234. REQUIREMENTS OF REGISTRATION. –– Any applicant labor organization,


association or group of unions or workers shall acquire legal personality and shall be entitled to the
rights and privileges granted by law to legitimate labor organizations upon issuance of the certificate
of registration based on the following requirements:

(a) Fifty pesos (P50.00) registration fee;

(b) The names of its officers, their addresses, the principal address of the labor organization,
the minutes of the organizational meetings and the list of workers who participated in
such meetings;

(c) The names of all its members comprising at least twenty percent (20%) of all the
employees in the bargaining unit where it seeks to operate;

xxxx

(e) Four copies (4) of the constitution and by-laws of the applicant union, minutes of its
adoption or ratification and the list of the members who participated in it.41

xxxx

ART. 239. GROUNDS FOR CANCELLATION OF UNION REGISTRATION. –– The following shall
constitute grounds for cancellation of union registration:

(a) Misrepresentation, false statements or fraud in connection with the adoption or


ratification of the constitution and by-laws or amendments thereto, the minutes of
ratification, and the list of members who took part in the ratification;

xxxx

(c) Misrepresentation, false statements or fraud in connection with the election of


officers, minutes of the election of officers, the list of voters, or failure to submit these
documents together with the list of the newly elected/appointed officers and their postal
addresses within thirty (30) days from election.42 (Emphasis supplied.)

A scrutiny of the records fails to show any misrepresentation, false statement, or fraud committed by
EREU to merit cancellation of its registration.
First. The Union submitted the required documents attesting to the facts of the
organizational meeting on December 6, 2005, the election of its officers, and the adoption of
the Union’s constitution and by-laws. It submitted before the DOLE Regional Office with its
Application for Registration and the duly filled out BLR Reg. Form No. I-LO, s. 1998, the
following documents, to wit:

(a) the minutes of its organizational meeting 43 held on December 6, 2005 showing 26
founding members who elected its union officers by secret ballot;

(b) the list of rank-and-file employees44 of Eagle Ridge who attended the
organizational meeting and the election of officers with their individual signatures;

(c) the list of rank-and-file employees45 who ratified the union’s constitution and by-
laws showing the very same list as those who attended the organizational meeting
and the election of officers with their individual signatures except the addition of four
employees without their signatures, i.e., Cherry Labajo, Grace Pollo, Annalyn
Poniente and Rowel Dolendo;

(d) the union’s constitution and by-laws46 as approved on December 6, 2005;

(e) the list of officers47 and their addresses;

(f) the list of union members48 showing a total of 30 members; and

(g) the Sworn Statement49 of the union’s elected president and secretary. All the
foregoing documents except the sworn statement of the president and the secretary
were accompanied by Certifications50by the union secretary duly attested to by the
union president.

Second. The members of the EREU totaled 30 employees when it applied on December 19,
2005 for registration. The Union thereby complied with the mandatory minimum 20%
membership requirement under Art. 234(c). Of note is the undisputed number of 112 rank-
and-file employees in Eagle Ridge, as shown in the Sworn Statement of the Union president
and secretary and confirmed by Eagle Ridge in its petition for cancellation.

Third. The Union has sufficiently explained the discrepancy between the number of those
who attended the organizational meeting showing 26 employees and the list of union
members showing 30. The difference is due to the additional four members admitted two
days after the organizational meeting as attested to by their duly accomplished Union
Membership forms. Consequently, the total number of union members, as of December 8,
2005, was 30, which was truthfully indicated in its application for registration on December
19, 2005.

As aptly found by the BLR Director, the Union already had 30 members when it applied for
registration, for the admission of new members is neither prohibited by law nor was it
concealed in its application for registration. Eagle Ridge’s contention is flawed when it
equated the requirements under Art. 234(b) and (c) of the Labor Code. Par. (b) clearly
required the submission of the minutes of the organizational meetings and the list of workers
who participated in the meetings, while par. (c) merely required the list of names of all the
union members comprising at least 20% of the bargaining unit. The fact that EREU had 30
members when it applied for registration on December 19, 2005 while only 26 actually
participated in the organizational meeting is borne by the records.
Fourth. In its futile attempt to clutch at straws, Eagle Ridge assails the inclusion of the
additional four members allegedly for not complying with what it termed as "the sine qua
non requirements" for union member applications under the Union’s constitution and by-
laws, specifically Sec. 2 of Art. IV. We are not persuaded. Any seeming infirmity in the
application and admission of union membership, most especially in cases of independent
labor unions, must be viewed in favor of valid membership.

The right of employees to self-organization and membership in a union must not be


trammeled by undue difficulties. In this case, when the Union said that the four employee-
applicants had been admitted as union members, it is enough to establish the fact of
admission of the four that they had duly signified such desire by accomplishing the
membership form. The fact, as pointed out by Eagle Ridge, that the Union, owing to its scant
membership, had not yet fully organized its different committees evidently shows the direct
and valid acceptance of the four employee applicants rather than deter their admission—as
erroneously asserted by Eagle Ridge.

Fifth. The difference between the number of 26 members, who ratified the Union’s
constitution and by-laws, and the 25 members shown in the certification of the Union
secretary as having ratified it, is, as shown by the factual antecedents, a typographical error.
It was an insignificant mistake committed without malice or prevarication. The list of those
who attended the organizational meeting shows 26 members, as evidenced by the
signatures beside their handwritten names. Thus, the certification’s understatement by one
member, while not factual, was clearly an error, but neither a misleading one nor a
misrepresentation of what had actually happened.

Sixth. In the more meaty issue of the affidavits of retraction executed by six union members,
we hold that the probative value of these affidavits cannot overcome those of the supporting
affidavits of 12 union members and their counsel as to the proceedings and the conduct of
the organizational meeting on December 6, 2005. The DOLE Regional Director and the BLR
OIC Director obviously erred in giving credence to the affidavits of retraction, but not
according the same treatment to the supporting affidavits.

The six affiants of the affidavits of retraction were not presented in a hearing before the
Hearing Officer (DOLE Regional Director), as required under the Rules Implementing Book V
of the Labor Code covering Labor Relations. Said Rules is embodied in Department Order
No. (DO) 40-03 which was issued on February 17, 2003 and took effect on March 15, 2003
to replace DO 9 of 1997. Sec. 11, Rule XI of DO 40-03 specifically requires:

Section 11. Affirmation of testimonial evidence. – Any affidavit submitted by a party to


prove his/her claims or defenses shall be re-affirmed by the presentation of the
affiant before the Med-Arbiter or Hearing Officer, as the case may be. Any affidavit
submitted without the re-affirmation of the affiantduring a scheduled hearing shall not
be admitted in evidence, except when the party against whom the affidavit is being offered
admits all allegations therein and waives the examination of the affiant.

It is settled that affidavits partake the nature of hearsay evidence, since they are not
generally prepared by the affiant but by another who uses his own language in writing the
affiant’s statement, which may thus be either omitted or misunderstood by the one writing
them.51 The above rule affirms the general requirement in adversarial proceedings for the
examination of the affiant by the party against whom the affidavit is offered. In the instant
case, it is required for affiants to re-affirm the contents of their affidavits during the hearing of
the instant case for them to be examined by the opposing party, i.e., the Union.
For their non-presentation and consonant to the above-quoted rule, the six affidavits of
retraction are inadmissible as evidence against the Union in the instant case. Moreover, the
affidavit and joint-affidavits presented by the Union before the DOLE Regional Director were
duly re-affirmed in the hearing of March 20, 2006 by the affiants. Thus, a reversible error was
committed by the DOLE Regional Director and the BLR OIC Director in giving credence to
the inadmissible affidavits of retraction presented by Eagle Ridge while not giving credence
to the duly re-affirmed affidavits presented by the Union.

Evidently, the allegations in the six affidavits of retraction have no probative value and at the
very least cannot outweigh the rebutting attestations of the duly re-affirmed affidavits
presented by the Union.

Seventh. The fact that six union members, indeed, expressed the desire to withdraw their
membership through their affidavits of retraction will not cause the cancellation of registration
on the ground of violation of Art. 234(c) of the Labor Code requiring the mandatory minimum
20% membership of rank-and-file employees in the employees’ union.

The six retracting union members clearly severed and withdrew their union membership. The
query is whether such separation from the Union can detrimentally affect the registration of
the Union.

We answer in the negative.

Twenty percent (20%) of 112 rank-and-file employees in Eagle Ridge would require a union
membership of at least 22 employees (112 x 205 = 22.4). When the EREU filed its
application for registration on December 19, 2005, there were clearly 30 union members.
Thus, when the certificate of registration was granted, there is no dispute that the Union
complied with the mandatory 20% membership requirement.

Besides, it cannot be argued that the six affidavits of retraction retroact to the time of the
application of registration or even way back to the organizational meeting. Prior to their
withdrawal, the six employees in question were bona fide union members. More so, they
never disputed affixing their signatures beside their handwritten names during the
organizational meetings. While they alleged that they did not know what they were signing, it
bears stressing that their affidavits of retraction were not re-affirmed during the hearings of
the instant case rendering them of little, if any, evidentiary value.

With the withdrawal of six union members, there is still compliance with the mandatory
membership requirement under Art. 234(c), for the remaining 24 union members constitute
more than the 20% membership requirement of 22 employees.

Eagle Ridge further argues that the list of union members includes a supervisory employee.
This is a factual issue which had not been raised at the first instance before the DOLE
Regional Director and cannot be appreciated in this proceeding. To be sure, Eagle Ridge
knows well who among its personnel belongs or does not belong to the supervisory group.
Obviously, its attempt to raise the issue referred to is no more than an afterthought and
ought to be rejected.

Eighth. Finally, it may not be amiss to note, given the factual antecedents of the instant
case, that Eagle Ridge has apparently resorted to filing the instant case for cancellation of
the Union’s certificate of registration to bar the holding of a certification election. This can be
gleaned from the fact that the grounds it raised in its opposition to the petition for certification
election are basically the same grounds it resorted to in the instant case for cancellation of
EREU’s certificate of registration. This amounts to a clear circumvention of the law and
cannot be countenanced.

For clarity, we reiterate the following undisputed antecedent facts:

(1) On December 6, 2005, the Union was organized, with 26 employees of Eagle
Ridge attending;

(2) On December 19, 2005, the Union filed its formal application for registration
indicating a total of 30 union members with the inclusion of four additional members
on December 8, 2005 (Reg. Cert. No. RO400-200512-UR-003 was eventually issued
by the DOLE RO IV-A);

(3) On January 10, 2006, the Union filed before the DOLE RO IV-A its petition for
certification election in Eagle Ridge;

(4) On February 13, 2006, Eagle Ridge filed its Position Paper opposing the petition
for certification election on essentially the same grounds it raised in the instant case;
and

(5) On February 24, 2006, Eagle Ridge filed the instant case for cancellation of the
Union’s certificate of registration on essentially the same grounds it raised in its
opposition to the Union’s petition for certification election.

Evidently, as the Union persuasively argues, the withdrawal of six member-employees from the
Union will affect neither the Union’s registration nor its petition for certification election, as their
affidavits of retraction were executed after the Union’s petition for certification election had been
filed. The initial five affidavits of retraction were executed on February 15, 2006; the sixth, on March
15, 2006. Indisputably, all six were executed way after the filing of the petition for certification
election on January 10, 2006.

In Eastland Manufacturing Company, Inc. v. Noriel,52 the Court emphasized, and reiterated its earlier
rulings,53 that "even if there were less than 30% [the required percentage of minimum membership
then] of the employees asking for a certification election, that of itself would not be a bar to
respondent Director ordering such an election provided, of course, there is no grave abuse of
discretion."54 Citing Philippine Association of Free Labor Unions v. Bureau of Labor Relations,55 the
Court emphasized that a certification election is the most appropriate procedure for the desired goal
of ascertaining which of the competing organizations should represent the employees for the
purpose of collective bargaining.56

Indeed, where the company seeks the cancellation of a union’s registration during the pendency of a
petition for certification election, the same grounds invoked to cancel should not be used to bar the
certification election. A certification election is the most expeditious and fairest mode of ascertaining
the will of a collective bargaining unit as to its choice of its exclusive representative. 57 It is the fairest
and most effective way of determining which labor organization can truly represent the working
force. It is a fundamental postulate that the will of the majority, if given expression in an honest
election with freedom on the part of the voters to make their choice, is controlling.58

The Court ends this disposition by reproducing the following apt excepts from its holding in S.S.
Ventures International, Inc. v. S.S. Ventures Labor Union (SSVLU) on the effect of the withdrawal
from union membership right before or after the filing of a petition for certification election:
We are not persuaded. As aptly noted by both the BLR and CA, these mostly undated written
statements submitted by Ventures on March 20, 2001, or seven months after it filed its petition for
cancellation of registration, partake of the nature of withdrawal of union membership executed after
the Union’s filing of a petition for certification election on March 21, 2000. We have in precedent
cases said that the employees’ withdrawal from a labor union made before the filing of the
petition for certification election is presumed voluntary, while withdrawal after the filing of
such petition is considered to be involuntary and does not affect the same. Now then, if
a withdrawal from union membership done after a petition for certification election has been
filed does not vitiate such petition, is it not but logical to assume that such withdrawal cannot
work to nullify the registration of the union? Upon this light, the Court is inclined to agree with the
CA that the BLR did not abuse its discretion nor gravely err when it concluded that the affidavits of
retraction of the 82 members had no evidentiary weight. 59 (Emphasis supplied.)

WHEREFORE, premises considered, we DISMISS the instant petition for lack of merit.

Costs against petitioner.

SO ORDERED.

PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.


Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

RENATO C. CORONA
Associate Justice
Chairperson

ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA DIOSDADO M. PERALTA


Associate Justice Associate Justice

JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA


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.

RENATO C. CORONA
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.

REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice
Footnotes

1
Rollo, pp. 282-283. Penned by Associate Justice Romeo F. Barza and concurred in by
Associate Justices Mariano C. del Castillo (now a member of the Court) and Arcangelita M.
Romilla-Lontok.

2
Id. at 297-300.

3
Id. at 232-235. Penned by Director Rebecca C. Chato.

4
Id. at 242-244.

5
Id. at 54-55.

6
Id. at 57-58.

7
Id. at 60-61.

8
Id. at 63-72.

9
Id. at 50-53, dated December 13, 2005.

10
Id. at 79-80, dated December 14, 2005.

11
Through a position paper; id. at 98-104, dated February 10, 2006.

12
Id. at 43-49, dated February 23, 2006, entitled "In Re: Petition to Cancel the Registration
Certificate of Eagle Ridge Employees Union (EREU); Eagle Ridge Golf & Country Club,
petitioner vs. Eagle Ridge Employees Union, respondent."

13
Id. at 81-85.

14
Id. at 86-97, dated March 20, 2006.

15
No. L-77395, November 29, 1988, 168 SCRA 184.

16
G.R. No. 116779, August 28, 1998, 294 SCRA 640.

17
G.R. No. 55674, July 25, 1983, 123 SCRA 679.

18
Rollo, pp. 105-108.

19
Id. at 109-111.

20
Id. at 112-113.

21
Id. at 114-115.
22
Id. at 116-126, dated March 25, 2006.

23
Id. at 138.

24
Id. at 109-111.

25
Id. at 139-148. Penned by Regional Director Atty. Maximo B. Lim.

26
Id. at 206, per Resolution of July 28, 2006.

27
Id. at 283.

28
Id. at 24.

29
Nisce v. Equitable PCI Bank, Inc., G.R. No. 167434, February 19, 2007, 516 SCRA 231,
251; Cervantes v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 166755, November 18, 2005, 475 SCRA 562.

30
University of Immaculate Concepcion v. Secretary of Labor and Employment, G.R. No.
143557, June 25, 2004, 432 SCRA 601.

31
Last sentence of Secs. 1, 2, and 3 of Rule 65.

32
United Residents of Dominican Hill, Inc. v. Commission on the Settlement of Land
Problems, G.R. No. 135945, 7 March 2001, 353 SCRA 782.

33
Rollo, p. 288, issued by Eagle Ridge Corporate Secretary Mariza Santos-Tan.

34
Sapitan v. JB Line Bicol Express, Inc., G.R. No. 163775, October 19, 2007, 537 SCRA
230, 241.

Varorient Shipping Co., Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 164940,
35

November 28, 2007, 539 SCRA 131, 138.

36
Far Corporation v. Magdaluyo, G.R. No. 148739, November 19, 2004, 443 SCRA 218; Go
v. Tong, G.R. No. 151942, November 27 2003, 416 SCRA 557, 567; Fajardo v. Cas, G.R.
No. 140356, March 20, 2001, 354 SCRA 736; Ginete v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 127596,
September 24, 1998, 296 SCRA 38.

37
Yambao v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 140894, November 27, 2000, 346 SCRA 141, 146.

38
Enriquez v. Enriquez, G.R. No. 139303, August 25, 2005, 468 SCRA 77, 86.

Sapitan v. JB Line Bicol Express, Inc., supra note 34; citing Fuentebella and Rolling Hills
39

Memorial Park, Inc. v. Castro, G.R. No. 150865, June 30, 2006, 494 SCRA 183, 190.

40
"An Act Strengthening the Workers’ Constitutional Right to Self-Organization," took effect
on June 15, 2007 after due publication.

41
As amended by RA 9481, Art. 234 now reads:
ART. 234. REQUIREMENTS OF REGISTRATION. –– A federation, national union or
industry or trade union center or an independent union shall acquire legal personality
and shall be entitled to the rights and privileges granted by law to legitimate labor
organizations upon issuance of the certificate of registration based on the following
requirements:

(a) Fifty pesos (P50.00) registration fee;

(b) The names of its officers, their addresses, the principal address of the
labor organization, the minutes of the organizational meetings and the list of
workers who participated in such meetings;

(c) In case the applicant is an independent union, the names of all its
members comprising at least twenty percent (20%) of all the employees in
the bargaining unit where it seeks to operate;

(d) If the applicant union has been in existence for one or more years, copies
of its annual financial statements; and

(e) Four copies of the constitution and by-laws of the applicant union,
minutes of its adoption or ratification, and the list of the members who
participated in it.

42
As amended by RA 9481, the grounds for cancellation of registration has been reduced to
three; thus, Art. 239 now reads:

ART. 239. GROUNDS FOR CANCELLATION OF UNION REGISTRATION. –– The


following may constitute grounds for cancellation of union registration:

(a) Misrepresentation, false statement or fraud in connection with the


adoption or ratification of the constitution and by-laws or amendments
thereto, the minutes of ratification, and the list of members who took part in
the ratification;

(b) Misrepresentation, false statements or fraud in connection with the


election of officers, minutes of the election of officers, and the list of voters;

(c) Voluntary dissolution by the members.

43
Rollo, pp. 54-55.

44
Id. at 57-58.

45
Id. at 60-61.

46
Id. at 63-72.

47
Id. at 73-74.

48
Id. at 77.
49
Id. at 76.

50
Id. at 56, 59, 62, 73, 75 and 78.

51
Tating v. Marcella, G.R. No. 155208, March 27, 2007, 519 SCRA 79, 88 [citations omitted].

52
No. L-45528, February 10, 1982, 111 SCRA 674.

53
Scout Ramon Albano Memorial College v. Noriel, No. L-48347, October 3, 1978, 85 SCRA
494; National Mines and Allied Workers Union v. Luna, No. L-46722, June 15, 1978, 83
SCRA 607; Monark International, Inc. v. Noriel, Nos. L-47570-71, May 11, 1978, 83 SCRA
114; Kapisanan ng mga Manggagawa sa La Suerte v. Noriel, No. L-45475, June 20, 1977,
77 SCRA 414.

54
Eastland Manufacturing Company, Inc. v. Noriel, supra note 52, at 675-676.

55
No. L-42115, January 37, 1976, 69 SCRA 132.

56
Eastland Manufacturing Company, Inc. v. Noriel, supra note 52, at 676.

57
Consolidated Farms, Inc. II v. Noriel, No. L-47752, July 31, 1978, 84 SCRA 469, 472.

58
Philippine Association of Free Labor Unions v. Bureau of Labor Relations, supra note 55,
at 139.

59
G.R. No. 161690, July 23, 2008, 559 SCRA 435, 443-444.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. 169717 March 16, 2011

SAMAHANG MANGGAGAWA SA CHARTER CHEMICAL SOLIDARITY OF UNIONS IN THE


PHILIPPINES FOR EMPOWERMENT AND REFORMS (SMCC-SUPER), ZACARRIAS JERRY
VICTORIO-Union President,Petitioner,
vs.
CHARTER CHEMICAL and COATING CORPORATION, Respondent.

DECISION

DEL CASTILLO, J.:

The right to file a petition for certification election is accorded to a labor organization provided that it
complies with the requirements of law for proper registration. The inclusion of supervisory
employees in a labor organization seeking to represent the bargaining unit of rank-and-file
employees does not divest it of its status as a legitimate labor organization. We apply these
principles to this case.

This Petition for Review on Certiorari seeks to reverse and set aside the Court of Appeal’s March 15,
2005 Decision1 in CA-G.R. SP No. 58203, which annulled and set aside the January 13, 2000
Decision2 of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in OS-A-6-53-99 (NCR-OD-M-9902-
019) and the September 16, 2005 Resolution3 denying petitioner union’s motion for reconsideration.

Factual Antecedents

On February 19, 1999, Samahang Manggagawa sa Charter Chemical Solidarity of Unions in the
Philippines for Empowerment and Reforms (petitioner union) filed a petition for certification election
among the regular rank-and-file employees of Charter Chemical and Coating Corporation
(respondent company) with the Mediation Arbitration Unit of the DOLE, National Capital Region.

On April 14, 1999, respondent company filed an Answer with Motion to Dismiss 4 on the ground that
petitioner union is not a legitimate labor organization because of (1) failure to comply with the
documentation requirements set by law, and (2) the inclusion of supervisory employees within
petitioner union.5

Med-Arbiter’s Ruling

On April 30, 1999, Med-Arbiter Tomas F. Falconitin issued a Decision6 dismissing the petition for
certification election. The Med-Arbiter ruled that petitioner union is not a legitimate labor organization
because the Charter Certificate, "Sama-samang Pahayag ng Pagsapi at Authorization," and
"Listahan ng mga Dumalo sa Pangkalahatang Pulong at mga Sumang-ayon at Nagratipika sa
Saligang Batas" were not executed under oath and certified by the union secretary and attested to
by the union president as required by Section 235 of the Labor Code 7 in relation to Section 1, Rule
VI of Department Order (D.O.) No. 9, series of 1997. The union registration was, thus, fatally
defective.
The Med-Arbiter further held that the list of membership of petitioner union consisted of 12
batchman, mill operator and leadman who performed supervisory functions. Under Article 245 of the
Labor Code, said supervisory employees are prohibited from joining petitioner union which seeks to
represent the rank-and-file employees of respondent company.

As a result, not being a legitimate labor organization, petitioner union has no right to file a petition for
certification election for the purpose of collective bargaining.

Department of Labor and Employment’s Ruling

On July 16, 1999, the DOLE initially issued a Decision8 in favor of respondent company dismissing
petitioner union’s appeal on the ground that the latter’s petition for certification election was filed out
of time. Although the DOLE ruled, contrary to the findings of the Med-Arbiter, that the charter
certificate need not be verified and that there was no independent evidence presented to establish
respondent company’s claim that some members of petitioner union were holding supervisory
positions, the DOLE sustained the dismissal of the petition for certification after it took judicial notice
that another union, i.e., Pinag-isang Lakas Manggagawa sa Charter Chemical and Coating
Corporation, previously filed a petition for certification election on January 16, 1998. The Decision
granting the said petition became final and executory on September 16, 1998 and was remanded for
immediate implementation. Under Section 7, Rule XI of D.O. No. 9, series of 1997, a motion for
intervention involving a certification election in an unorganized establishment should be filed prior to
the finality of the decision calling for a certification election. Considering that petitioner union filed its
petition only on February 14, 1999, the same was filed out of time.

On motion for reconsideration, however, the DOLE reversed its earlier ruling. In its January 13, 2000
Decision, the DOLE found that a review of the records indicates that no certification election was
previously conducted in respondent company. On the contrary, the prior certification election filed by
Pinag-isang Lakas Manggagawa sa Charter Chemical and Coating Corporation was, likewise,
denied by the Med-Arbiter and, on appeal, was dismissed by the DOLE for being filed out of time.
Hence, there was no obstacle to the grant of petitioner union’s petition for certification election, viz:

WHEREFORE, the motion for reconsideration is hereby GRANTED and the decision of this Office
dated 16 July 1999 is MODIFIED to allow the certification election among the regular rank-and-file
employees of Charter Chemical and Coating Corporation with the following choices:

1. Samahang Manggagawa sa Charter Chemical-Solidarity of Unions in the Philippines for


Empowerment and Reform (SMCC-SUPER); and

2. No Union.

Let the records of this case be remanded to the Regional Office of origin for the immediate conduct
of a certification election, subject to the usual pre-election conference.

SO DECIDED.9

Court of Appeal’s Ruling

On March 15, 2005, the CA promulgated the assailed Decision, viz:

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The assailed Decision and Resolution dated
January 13, 2000 and February 17, 2000 are hereby [ANNULLED] and SET ASIDE.
SO ORDERED.10

In nullifying the decision of the DOLE, the appellate court gave credence to the findings of the Med-
Arbiter that petitioner union failed to comply with the documentation requirements under the Labor
Code. It, likewise, upheld the Med-Arbiter’s finding that petitioner union consisted of both rank-and-
file and supervisory employees. Moreover, the CA held that the issues as to the legitimacy of
petitioner union may be attacked collaterally in a petition for certification election and the infirmity in
the membership of petitioner union cannot be remedied through the exclusion-inclusion proceedings
in a pre-election conference pursuant to the ruling in Toyota Motor Philippines v. Toyota Motor
Philippines Corporation Labor Union.11 Thus, considering that petitioner union is not a legitimate
labor organization, it has no legal right to file a petition for certification election.

Issues

Whether x x x the Honorable Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of discretion tantamount to
lack of jurisdiction in granting the respondent [company’s] petition for certiorari (CA G.R. No. SP No.
58203) in spite of the fact that the issues subject of the respondent company[’s] petition was already
settled with finality and barred from being re-litigated.

II

Whether x x x the Honorable Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of discretion tantamount to
lack of jurisdiction in holding that the alleged mixture of rank-and-file and supervisory employee[s] of
petitioner [union’s] membership is [a] ground for the cancellation of petitioner [union’s] legal
personality and dismissal of [the] petition for certification election.

III

Whether x x x the Honorable Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of discretion tantamount to
lack of jurisdiction in holding that the alleged failure to certify under oath the local charter certificate
issued by its mother federation and list of the union membership attending the organizational
meeting [is a ground] for the cancellation of petitioner [union’s] legal personality as a labor
organization and for the dismissal of the petition for certification election.12

Petitioner Union’s Arguments

Petitioner union claims that the litigation of the issue as to its legal personality to file the subject
petition for certification election is barred by the July 16, 1999 Decision of the DOLE. In this decision,
the DOLE ruled that petitioner union complied with all the documentation requirements and that
there was no independent evidence presented to prove an illegal mixture of supervisory and rank-
and-file employees in petitioner union. After the promulgation of this Decision, respondent company
did not move for reconsideration, thus, this issue must be deemed settled.

Petitioner union further argues that the lack of verification of its charter certificate and the alleged
illegal composition of its membership are not grounds for the dismissal of a petition for certification
election under Section 11, Rule XI of D.O. No. 9, series of 1997, as amended, nor are they grounds
for the cancellation of a union’s registration under Section 3, Rule VIII of said issuance. It contends
that what is required to be certified under oath by the local union’s secretary or treasurer and
attested to by the local union’s president are limited to the union’s constitution and by-laws,
statement of the set of officers, and the books of accounts.

Finally, the legal personality of petitioner union cannot be collaterally attacked but may be
questioned only in an independent petition for cancellation pursuant to Section 5, Rule V, Book IV of
the Rules to Implement the Labor Code and the doctrine enunciated in Tagaytay Highlands
International Golf Club Incoprorated v. Tagaytay Highlands Empoyees Union-PTGWO.13

Respondent Company’s Arguments

Respondent company asserts that it cannot be precluded from challenging the July 16, 1999
Decision of the DOLE. The said decision did not attain finality because the DOLE subsequently
reversed its earlier ruling and, from this decision, respondent company timely filed its motion for
reconsideration.

On the issue of lack of verification of the charter certificate, respondent company notes that Article
235 of the Labor Code and Section 1, Rule VI of the Implementing Rules of Book V, as amended by
D.O. No. 9, series of 1997, expressly requires that the charter certificate be certified under oath.

It also contends that petitioner union is not a legitimate labor organization because its composition is
a mixture of supervisory and rank-and-file employees in violation of Article 245 of the Labor Code.
Respondent company maintains that the ruling in Toyota Motor Philippines vs. Toyota Motor
Philippines Labor Union14 continues to be good case law. Thus, the illegal composition of petitioner
union nullifies its legal personality to file the subject petition for certification election and its legal
personality may be collaterally attacked in the proceedings for a petition for certification election as
was done here.

Our Ruling

The petition is meritorious.

The issue as to the legal personality of petitioner union is not barred by the July 16, 1999 Decision of
the DOLE.

A review of the records indicates that the issue as to petitioner union’s legal personality has been
timely and consistently raised by respondent company before the Med-Arbiter, DOLE, CA and now
this Court. In its July 16, 1999 Decision, the DOLE found that petitioner union complied with the
documentation requirements of the Labor Code and that the evidence was insufficient to establish
that there was an illegal mixture of supervisory and rank-and-file employees in its membership.
Nonetheless, the petition for certification election was dismissed on the ground that another union
had previously filed a petition for certification election seeking to represent the same bargaining unit
in respondent company.

Upon motion for reconsideration by petitioner union on January 13, 2000, the DOLE reversed its
previous ruling. It upheld the right of petitioner union to file the subject petition for certification
election because its previous decision was based on a mistaken appreciation of facts.15 From this
adverse decision, respondent company timely moved for reconsideration by reiterating its previous
arguments before the Med-Arbiter that petitioner union has no legal personality to file the subject
petition for certification election.
The July 16, 1999 Decision of the DOLE, therefore, never attained finality because the parties timely
moved for reconsideration. The issue then as to the legal personality of petitioner union to file the
certification election was properly raised before the DOLE, the appellate court and now this Court.

The charter certificate need not be certified under oath by the local union’s secretary or treasurer
and attested to by its president.

Preliminarily, we must note that Congress enacted Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9481 16 which took effect
on June 14, 2007.17 This law introduced substantial amendments to the Labor Code. However, since
the operative facts in this case occurred in 1999, we shall decide the issues under the pertinent legal
provisions then in force (i.e., R.A. No. 6715,18 amending Book V of the Labor Code, and the rules
and regulations19 implementing R.A. No. 6715, as amended by D.O. No. 9,20

series of 1997) pursuant to our ruling in Republic v. Kawashima Textile Mfg., Philippines, Inc. 21

In the main, the CA ruled that petitioner union failed to comply with the requisite documents for
registration under Article 235 of the Labor Code and its implementing rules. It agreed with the Med-
Arbiter that the Charter Certificate, Sama-samang Pahayag ng Pagsapi at Authorization, and
Listahan ng mga Dumalo sa Pangkalahatang Pulong at mga Sumang-ayon at Nagratipika sa
Saligang Batas were not executed under oath. Thus, petitioner union cannot be accorded the status
of a legitimate labor organization.

We disagree.

The then prevailing Section 1, Rule VI of the Implementing Rules of Book V, as amended by D.O.
No. 9, series of 1997, provides:

Section 1. Chartering and creation of a local chapter — A duly registered federation or national union
may directly create a local/chapter by submitting to the Regional Office or to the Bureau two (2)
copies of the following:

(a) A charter certificate issued by the federation or national union indicating the creation or
establishment of the local/chapter;

(b) The names of the local/chapter’s officers, their addresses, and the principal office of the
local/chapter; and

(c) The local/chapter’s constitution and by-laws provided that where the local/chapter’s
constitution and by-laws [are] the same as [those] of the federation or national union, this fact
shall be indicated accordingly.

All the foregoing supporting requirements shall be certified under oath by the Secretary or the
Treasurer of the local/chapter and attested to by its President.

As readily seen, the Sama-samang Pahayag ng Pagsapi at Authorization and Listahan ng mga
Dumalo sa Pangkalahatang Pulong at mga Sumang-ayon at Nagratipika sa Saligang Batas are not
among the documents that need to be submitted to the Regional Office or Bureau of Labor Relations
in order to register a labor organization. As to the charter certificate, the above-quoted rule indicates
that it should be executed under oath. Petitioner union concedes and the records confirm that its
charter certificate was not executed under oath. However, in San Miguel Corporation (Mandaue
Packaging Products Plants) v. Mandaue Packing Products Plants-San Miguel Corporation Monthlies
Rank-and-File Union-FFW (MPPP-SMPP-SMAMRFU-FFW),22 which was decided under the
auspices of D.O. No. 9, Series of 1997, we ruled –

In San Miguel Foods-Cebu B-Meg Feed Plant v. Hon. Laguesma, 331 Phil. 356 (1996), the Court
ruled that it was not necessary for the charter certificate to be certified and attested by the
local/chapter officers. Id. While this ruling was based on the interpretation of the previous
Implementing Rules provisions which were supplanted by the 1997 amendments, we believe
that the same doctrine obtains in this case. Considering that the charter certificate is prepared
and issued by the national union and not the local/chapter, it does not make sense to have the
local/chapter’s officers x x x certify or attest to a document which they had no hand in the
preparation of.23 (Emphasis supplied)

In accordance with this ruling, petitioner union’s charter certificate need not be executed under oath.
Consequently, it validly acquired the status of a legitimate labor organization upon submission of (1)
its charter certificate,24 (2) the names of its officers, their addresses, and its principal office, 25 and (3)
its constitution and by-laws26— the last two requirements having been executed under oath by the
proper union officials as borne out by the records.

The mixture of rank-and-file and supervisory employees in petitioner union does not nullify its legal
personality as a legitimate labor organization.

The CA found that petitioner union has for its membership both rank-and-file and supervisory
employees. However, petitioner union sought to represent the bargaining unit consisting of rank-and-
file employees. Under Article 24527 of the Labor Code, supervisory employees are not eligible for
membership in a labor organization of rank-and-file employees. Thus, the appellate court ruled that
petitioner union cannot be considered a legitimate labor organization pursuant to Toyota Motor
Philippines v. Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation Labor Union 28 (hereinafter Toyota).

Preliminarily, we note that petitioner union questions the factual findings of the Med-Arbiter, as
upheld by the appellate court, that 12 of its members, consisting of batchman, mill operator and
leadman, are supervisory employees. However, petitioner union failed to present any rebuttal
evidence in the proceedings below after respondent company submitted in evidence the job
descriptions29 of the aforesaid employees. The job descriptions indicate that the aforesaid
employees exercise recommendatory managerial actions which are not merely routinary but require
the use of independent judgment, hence, falling within the definition of supervisory employees under
Article 212(m)30 of the Labor Code. For this reason, we are constrained to agree with the Med-
Arbiter, as upheld by the appellate court, that petitioner union consisted of both rank-and-file and
supervisory employees.

Nonetheless, the inclusion of the aforesaid supervisory employees in petitioner union does not divest
it of its status as a legitimate labor organization. The appellate court’s reliance on Toyota is
misplaced in view of this Court’s subsequent ruling in Republic v. Kawashima Textile Mfg.,
Philippines, Inc.31 (hereinafter Kawashima). In Kawashima, we explained at length how and why
the Toyota doctrine no longer holds sway under the altered state of the law and rules applicable to
this case, viz:

R.A. No. 6715 omitted specifying the exact effect any violation of the prohibition [on the co-
mingling of supervisory and rank-and-file employees] would bring about on the legitimacy of
a labor organization.
It was the Rules and Regulations Implementing R.A. No. 6715 (1989 Amended Omnibus Rules)
which supplied the deficiency by introducing the following amendment to Rule II (Registration of
Unions):

"Sec. 1. Who may join unions. - x x x Supervisory employees and security guards shall not be
eligible for membership in a labor organization of the rank-and-file employees but may join,
assist or form separate labor organizations of their own; Provided, that those supervisory
employees who are included in an existing rank-and-file bargaining unit, upon the effectivity of
Republic Act No. 6715, shall remain in that unit x x x. (Emphasis supplied) and Rule V
(Representation Cases and Internal-Union Conflicts) of the Omnibus Rules, viz:

"Sec. 1. Where to file. - A petition for certification election may be filed with the Regional Office which
has jurisdiction over the principal office of the employer. The petition shall be in writing and under
oath.

Sec. 2. Who may file. - Any legitimate labor organization or the employer, when requested to bargain
collectively, may file the petition.

The petition, when filed by a legitimate labor organization, shall contain, among others:

xxxx

(c) description of the bargaining unit which shall be the employer unit unless circumstances
otherwise require; and provided further, that the appropriate bargaining unit of the rank-and-
file employees shall not include supervisory employees and/or security guards. (Emphasis
supplied)

By that provision, any questioned mingling will prevent an otherwise legitimate and duly registered
labor organization from exercising its right to file a petition for certification election.

Thus, when the issue of the effect of mingling was brought to the fore in Toyota, the Court, citing
Article 245 of the Labor Code, as amended by R.A. No. 6715, held:

"Clearly, based on this provision, a labor organization composed of both rank-and-file and
supervisory employees is no labor organization at all. It cannot, for any guise or purpose, be a
legitimate labor organization. Not being one, an organization which carries a mixture of rank-
and-file and supervisory employees cannot possess any of the rights of a legitimate labor
organization, including the right to file a petition for certification election for the purpose of
collective bargaining. It becomes necessary, therefore, anterior to the granting of an order
allowing a certification election, to inquire into the composition of any labor organization
whenever the status of the labor organization is challenged on the basis of Article 245 of the
Labor Code.

xxxx

In the case at bar, as respondent union's membership list contains the names of at least twenty-
seven (27) supervisory employees in Level Five positions, the union could not, prior to purging itself
of its supervisory employee members, attain the status of a legitimate labor organization. Not being
one, it cannot possess the requisite personality to file a petition for certification election." (Emphasis
supplied)
In Dunlop, in which the labor organization that filed a petition for certification election was one for
supervisory employees, but in which the membership included rank-and-file employees, the Court
reiterated that such labor organization had no legal right to file a certification election to represent a
bargaining unit composed of supervisors for as long as it counted rank-and-file employees among its
members.

It should be emphasized that the petitions for certification election involved


in Toyota and Dunlop were filed on November 26, 1992 and September 15, 1995, respectively;
hence, the 1989 Rules was applied in both cases.

But then, on June 21, 1997, the 1989 Amended Omnibus Rules was further amended by
Department Order No. 9, series of 1997 (1997 Amended Omnibus Rules). Specifically, the
requirement under Sec. 2(c) of the 1989 Amended Omnibus Rules – that the petition for certification
election indicate that the bargaining unit of rank-and-file employees has not been mingled with
supervisory employees – was removed. Instead, what the 1997 Amended Omnibus Rules requires is
a plain description of the bargaining unit, thus:

Rule XI
Certification Elections

xxxx

Sec. 4. Forms and contents of petition. - The petition shall be in writing and under oath and shall
contain, among others, the following: x x x (c) The description of the bargaining unit.

In Pagpalain Haulers, Inc. v. Trajano, the Court had occasion to uphold the validity of the 1997
Amended Omnibus Rules, although the specific provision involved therein was only Sec. 1, Rule VI,
to wit:

"Section. 1. Chartering and creation of a local/chapter.- A duly registered federation or national union
may directly create a local/chapter by submitting to the Regional Office or to the Bureau two (2)
copies of the following: a) a charter certificate issued by the federation or national union indicating
the creation or establishment of the local/chapter; (b) the names of the local/chapter's officers, their
addresses, and the principal office of the local/chapter; and (c) the local/ chapter's constitution and
by-laws; provided that where the local/chapter's constitution and by-laws is the same as that of the
federation or national union, this fact shall be indicated accordingly.

All the foregoing supporting requirements shall be certified under oath by the Secretary or the
Treasurer of the local/chapter and attested to by its President."

which does not require that, for its creation and registration, a local or chapter submit a list of its
members.

Then came Tagaytay Highlands Int'l. Golf Club, Inc. v. Tagaytay Highlands Employees Union-
PGTWO in which the core issue was whether mingling affects the legitimacy of a labor organization
and its right to file a petition for certification election. This time, given the altered legal milieu, the
Court abandoned the view in Toyota and Dunlopand reverted to its pronouncement in Lopez that
while there is a prohibition against the mingling of supervisory and rank-and-file employees in one
labor organization, the Labor Code does not provide for the effects thereof. Thus, the Court held that
after a labor organization has been registered, it may exercise all the rights and privileges of a
legitimate labor organization. Any mingling between supervisory and rank-and-file employees in its
membership cannot affect its legitimacy for that is not among the grounds for cancellation of its
registration, unless such mingling was brought about by misrepresentation, false statement or fraud
under Article 239 of the Labor Code.

In San Miguel Corp. (Mandaue Packaging Products Plants) v. Mandaue Packing Products Plants-
San Miguel Packaging Products-San Miguel Corp. Monthlies Rank-and-File Union-FFW, the Court
explained that since the 1997 Amended Omnibus Rules does not require a local or chapter to
provide a list of its members, it would be improper for the DOLE to deny recognition to said local or
chapter on account of any question pertaining to its individual members.

More to the point is Air Philippines Corporation v. Bureau of Labor Relations, which involved a
petition for cancellation of union registration filed by the employer in 1999 against a rank-and-file
labor organization on the ground of mixed membership: the Court therein reiterated its ruling
in Tagaytay Highlands that the inclusion in a union of disqualified employees is not among the
grounds for cancellation, unless such inclusion is due to misrepresentation, false statement or fraud
under the circumstances enumerated in Sections (a) and (c) of Article 239 of the Labor Code.

All said, while the latest issuance is R.A. No. 9481, the 1997 Amended Omnibus Rules, as
interpreted by the Court in Tagaytay Highlands, San Miguel and Air Philippines, had already set the
tone for it. Toyota and Dunlop no longer hold sway in the present altered state of the law and the
rules.32 [Underline supplied]

The applicable law and rules in the instant case are the same as those in Kawashima because the
present petition for certification election was filed in 1999 when D.O. No. 9, series of 1997, was still
in effect. Hence, Kawashimaapplies with equal force here. As a result, petitioner union was not
divested of its status as a legitimate labor organization even if some of its members were
supervisory employees; it had the right to file the subject petition for certification election.

The legal personality of petitioner union cannot be collaterally attacked by respondent company in
the certification election proceedings.

Petitioner union correctly argues that its legal personality cannot be collaterally attacked in the
certification election proceedings. As we explained in Kawashima:

Except when it is requested to bargain collectively, an employer is a mere bystander to any petition
for certification election; such proceeding is non-adversarial and merely investigative, for the
purpose thereof is to determine which organization will represent the employees in their collective
bargaining with the employer. The choice of their representative is the exclusive concern of the
employees; the employer cannot have any partisan interest therein; it cannot interfere with, much
less oppose, the process by filing a motion to dismiss or an appeal from it; not even a mere
allegation that some employees participating in a petition for certification election are actually
managerial employees will lend an employer legal personality to block the certification election. The
employer's only right in the proceeding is to be notified or informed thereof.

The amendments to the Labor Code and its implementing rules have buttressed that policy even
more.33

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The March 15, 2005 Decision and September 16, 2005
Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 58203 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The
January 13, 2000 Decision of the Department of Labor and Employment in OS-A-6-53-99 (NCR-OD-
M-9902-019) is REINSTATED.

No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO


Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

RENATO C. CORONA
Chief Justice
Chairperson

PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR. TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO


Associate Justice Associate Justice

JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ


Associate Justice

CERTIFICATION

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, and the Division Chairperson's attestation, it
is hereby certified 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.

RENATO C. CORONA
Chief Justice

Footnotes

1
Rollo, pp. 29-36; penned by Associate Justice Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe and concurred in
by Associate Justices Elvi John S. Asuncion and Hakim S. Abdulwahid.

2
Id. at 74-75.

3
Id. at 38.

4
Id. at 214-223.

5
Id. at 215-220.

6
Id. at 40-50.

7
Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended.

8
Rollo, pp. 52-54.

9
Id. at 75.
10
Id. at 36.

11
335 Phil. 1045 (1997).

12
Rollo, pp. 12-13.

13
443 Phil. 841 (2003).

14
Supra note 11.

15
Upon reconsideration, the DOLE noted that the other union which allegedly filed a prior
petition for certification election was prevented from doing so because its petition for
certification election was filed out of time. Thus, there was no obstacle to the conduct of a
certification election in respondent company.

16
"An Act Strengthening the Workers’ Constitutional Right to Self-Organization, Amending
for the Purpose Presidential Decree No. 442, as Amended, Otherwise Known as the Labor
Code of the Philippines."

17
Republic v. Kawashima Textile Mfg., Philippines, Inc., G.R. No. 160352, July 23, 2008,
559 SCRA 386, 396.

18
"An Act to Extend Protection to Labor, Strengthen the Constitutional Rights of Workers to
Self-Organization, Collective Bargaining and Peaceful Concerted Activities, and Foster
Industrial Peace and Harmony." Effective March 21, 1989.

19
Approved on May 24, 1989.

20
Effective: June 21, 1997.

21
Supra note 17 at 396-397.

22
504 Phil. 376 (2005).

23
Id. at 400.

24
DOLE records, p. 51.

25
Id. at 43-44.

26
Id. at 25-40.

27
Article 245. Ineligibility of Managerial Employees to Join Any Labor Organization; Right of
Supervisory Employees.— x x x Supervisory employees shall not be eligible for membership
in the collective bargaining unit of the rank-and-file employees but may join, assist or form
separate collective bargaining units and/or legitimate labor organizations of their own. x x x

28
Supra note 11.
Respondent company claimed that the batchman, mill operator and leadman perform,
29

among others, the following functions:

Prepares, coordinates and supervises work schedules and activities of subordinates


or helpers in their respective area of responsibility.

1. Recommends the reduction, increase, transfer and number of employees


assigned to them.

2. Sees to it that daily production schedules and outputs are carried on time.

3. Coordinates with their respective managers the needed raw materials and the
quality of finished products. (Rollo, p. 220)

30
Article 212(m) of the Labor Code, states in part: "Supervisory employees are those who, in
the interest of the employer, effectively recommend such managerial actions if the exercise
of such authority is not merely routinary or clerical in nature but requires the use of
independent judgment. x x x"

31
Supra note 17.

32
Id. at 402-407.

33
Id. at 408.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 163532 March 10, 2010

YOKOHAMA TIRE PHILIPPINES, INC., Petitioner,


vs.
YOKOHAMA EMPLOYEES UNION, Respondent.

RESOLUTION

CARPIO, J.:

This is a petition1 for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. The petition challenges
the 16 January 2004 Decision2 and 12 May 2004 Resolution3 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP
No. 65460. The Court of Appeals affirmed the 12 March4 and 3 May5 2001 Resolutions of the Bureau
of Labor Relations (BLR) in BLR-A-C-7-2-05-01, reversing the 18 December 2000 Decision6 of the
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Regional Office No. 3, San Fernando, Pampanga
(Regional Office), in Case No. RO300-0001-CP-002.

Yokohama Employees Union (YEU) is the labor organization of the rank-and-file employees of
Yokohama Tire Philippines, Inc. (YTPI). YEU was registered as a legitimate labor labor union on 10
September 1999.

YEU filed before the Regional Office a petition for certification election. YTPI filed before the
Regional Office a petition7 dated 24 January 2000 for the revocation of YEU’s registration. YTPI
alleged that YEU violated Article 239(a) 8 of the Labor Code: (1) YEU fraudulently included the
signature of a certain Ronald O. Pineda (Pineda) in the organizational documents; (2) Pineda was
not aware of any election of union officers; (3) YEU fraudulently obtained the employees’ signatures
by making them believe that they were signing a petition for a 125% increase in the minimum wage,
not a petition for registration; (4) the employees did not belong to a single bargaining unit; and (5)
YEU fraudulently stated in its organizational meeting minutes that its second vice president was
Bernard David, not Bernardo David.

In its 18 December 2000 Decision, the Regional Office granted the 24 January 2000 petition. The
Regional Office held that YEU committed misrepresentation: (1) YEU failed to remove Pineda’s
signature from the organizational documents despite instructions to do so; and (2) YEU declared that
it conducted an election of union officers when, in truth, it did not.

YEU appealed the 18 December 2000 Decision to the BLR. In its 12 March 2001 Resolution, the
BLR reversed the 18 December 2000 Decision. The BLR found that (1) Pineda did not approach any
officer of YEU to have his signature removed from the organizational documents; (2) Pineda’s
affidavit that no election of officers took place was unreliable and inconsistent with his earlier written
statement; (3) the affidavit of a certain Rachelle Gonzales (Gonzales) that no election of officers took
place was unreliable and inconsistent with her earlier resignation letter; (4) the affidavit of a certain
Arthur Calma (Calma) did not state that no election of officers took place; (5) at least 82 other
members of YEU did not question the legality of YEU’s organization; and (6) 50 YEU members
executed a Sama-Samang Pahayag9 stating that:
3. Noong ika-25 ng Hulyo 1999, kami ay dumalo sa isang pulong para sa pag-oorganisa ng aming
Unyon at pagraratipika ng Saligang Batas at Alituntunin nito. x x x

xxxx

5. Walang katotohanan ang alegasyon ng Yokohama na walang naganap na pagpupulong kaugnay


ng pag-oorganisa o pagtatayo namin ng Unyon. Nakakatuwa ring isipin ang alegasyon ng kompanya
na hindi namin lubos na naiintindihan ang aming kapasyahang magtayo at sumapi sa aming Unyon.

6. Malinaw na ginagawa ng kompanya ang lahat ng paraan upang hadlangan ang aming karapatan
sa pag-oorganisa at kilalanin bilang kinatawan ng lahat ng mga regular na manggagawa para sa
sama-samang pakikipagtawaran.

7. Sa kabila ng lahat ng ito, kami ay lubos pa ring naninindigan sa aming Unyon at patuloy na
ipaglalaban ang aming karapatan sa pag-oorganisa at sa sama-samang pakikipagtawaran;10

The BLR also held that (1) YTPI was estopped from questioning the fact that the Sama-Samang
Pahayag was an unsworn document since it filed the 24 January 2000 petition for the revocation of
YEU’s registration based on unsworn documents; (2) the fact that there was no express mention of
an election of union officers in the Sama-Samang Pahayag did not necessarily mean that no election
occurred; (3) there was an organizational meeting and an organizational meeting may include an
election of union officers; (4) any infirmity in the election of union officers may be remedied under the
last paragraph11 of Article 241 of the Labor Code and under Rule XIV of DOLE Department Order
No. 9; and (5) cancellation of union registration must be done with great caution.

YTPI filed before the BLR a motion12 for reconsideration. In its 3 May 2001 Resolution, the BLR
denied the motion for lack of merit.

YTPI filed before the Court of Appeals a petition13 for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.
In its 16 January 2004 Decision, the Court of Appeals denied the petition and held that the BLR did
not commit grave abuse of discretion: (1) Pineda’s affidavit that no election of officers took place was
unreliable and inconsistent with his earlier written statement; (2) Gonzales’ affidavit that no election
of officers took place was unreliable and inconsistent with her earlier resignation letter; (3) Calma’s
affidavit was unreliable because he admitted that he stayed at the organizational meeting for only 20
minutes; (4) the affidavit of a certain Bernardino David (David) that no election of officers took place
was unreliable and inconsistent with his earlier sinumpaang salaysay; (5) David’s affidavit was only
filed before the BLR when YTPI filed its motion for reconsideration of the BLR’s 12 March 2001
Resolution; (6) Pineda did not approach any officer of YEU to have his signature removed from the
organizational documents; (7) the Sama-Samang Pahayag was entitled to credit even if it was an
unsworn document; (8) the allegation that the signatures of a certain Denry Villanueva (Villanueva)
and a certain Apolinar Bognot (Bognot) in the Sama-Samang Pahayag were forged was only raised
for the first time before the BLR when YTPI filed its motion for reconsideration of the BLR’s 12 March
2001 Resolution; (9) Villanueva and Bognot were not signatories to YEU’s organizational
documents; (10) cancellation of union registration must be done with great caution; (11) YTPI, in
filing the petition for revocation of YEU’s registration, had the burden of proving that YEU committed
fraud and misrepresentation; and (12) YTPI failed to prove that YEU committed fraud and
misrepresentation. 1a vvphi 1

YTPI filed before the Court of Appeals a motion14 for reconsideration. In its 12 May 2004 Resolution,
the Court of Appeals denied the motion for lack of merit.
Hence, the present petition. YTPI raises as issues that (1) the Court of Appeals erred in finding that
YEU did not commit fraud or misrepresentation, and (2) the Court of Appeals erred in holding that
YTPI had the burden of proving that YEU committed fraud and misrepresentation.

The petition is unmeritorious.

The Court of Appeals found that YEU did not commit fraud or misrepresentation:

Anent whether an election of officers was conducted or not, the petitioner relied largely on
the affidavit of Pineda to substantiate its claim that no election of officers was held by the union.
However, respondent BLR Director accorded greater credence to Pineda’s handwritten statement,
wherein he made references to at least 2 meetings he had attended during which he had signed the
organizational documents, than to Pineda’s later affidavit, whereby he denied any knowledge of the
holding of an election. A perusal of the affirmative handwritten statement easily explains why the
public respondent preferred it to the negating affidavit, to wit:

Noong unang araw na pumirma ako galing ako sa graveyard. Pagkatapos yung
pangalawang meetinggraveyard din ako, pinapirma ako doon sa siyam (9) na pirasong papel noong
umagang pag-uwi namin. x x x

July 25, 99 - Unang Pirmahan

July 26, 99 - Pinirmahan ko ang siyam na piraso

July 27, 99 - Pinatatanggal ko ang aking pangalan sa listahan

The petitioner also relied on the affidavit of Ma. Rachelle Gonzales attesting that there was no
election of officers, but respondent BLR Director dismissed the affidavit as nothing but the
petitioner’s belated attempt to establish its claim about the election being held considering that
Gonzales did not even intimate such matter in her handwritten resignation letter to YEU.

Another affidavit, that of Arthur Calma, stated that no election was held, but, again, respondent BLR
Director gave Calma’s affidavit scant consideration because the affiant admittedly remained in the
YEU office for only 20 minutes. In contrast, the public respondent accorded more weight to
the sama-samang pahayag executed by 50 YEU members who averred about the holding of an
organizational meeting. The public respondent justifiably favored the latter, deeming the meeting to
include the holding of an election of officers, for, after all, Art. 234, (b), Labor Code, does not itself
distinguish between the two.

Respondent BLR Director is further assailed for not taking into consideration the affidavit asserting
that no election of officers was ever conducted, which Bernardino David, YEU’s second vice
president, executed. The omission is not serious enough, however, because the affidavit was
submitted only when the petitioner moved for the reconsideration of the questioned decision, and
because the affidavit was even inconsistent with David’s earlier sinumpaang salaysay, whereby he
attested to his attendance at the organizational meeting and to his election thereat as vice president.

As to the inclusion of Pineda’s signature in the organizational documents, the BLR Director correctly
ruled that evidence to prove the participation of YEU in the failure to delete Pineda’s signature from
the organizational documents was wanting. It is not deniable that Pineda never approached any
officer of YEU; and that Pineda approached a certain Tonton whom he knew to be a union
organizer but who was not an officer of the union nor an employee of the company.
If the petitioner was [sic] sincere and intent on this imputed error, its effort to show so does not [sic]
appear in the record. What appears is its abject failure to establish Tonton’s actual identity. The
petitioner seemed content in making the insinuation in the petition for certiorari that Tonton was
widely recognized as the organizer behind the creation of YEU. That was not enough.

In sum, the BLR Director was neither capricious nor whimsical in his exercise of judgment, and,
therefore, did not commit grave abuse of discretion. For certiorari to lie, more than mere abuse of
discretion is required to be established by the petitioner. Herein, no degree of abuse of discretion
was attendant.15

YTPI claims that the Court of Appeals erred in finding that YEU did not commit fraud or
misrepresentation. YTPI stated that:

There was evidence that respondent committed fraud and misrepresentation in its failure to omit the
name of Ronald Pineda prior to the filing of the respondents organizational documents with the
Department of Labor and Employment. On the other hand, the Regional Director held that there
was no election of officers that had taken place during respondent’s alleged organizational
meeting as there was no proof of such election.16(Emphasis in the original)

The Court is not convinced. A petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court
should include only questions of law — questions of fact are not reviewable. A question of law exists
when the doubt centers on what the law is on a certain set of facts, while a question of fact exists
when the doubt centers on the truth or falsity of the alleged facts. There is a question of law if the
issue raised is capable of being resolved without need of reviewing the probative value of the
evidence. Once the issue invites a review of the evidence, the question is one of fact. 17

Whether YEU committed fraud and misrepresentation in failing to remove Pineda’s signature from
the list of employees who supported YEU’s application for registration and whether YEU conducted
an election of its officers are questions of fact. They are not reviewable.

Factual findings of the Court of Appeals are binding on the Court. Absent grave abuse of discretion,
the Court will not disturb the Court of Appeals’ factual findings. 18 In Encarnacion v. Court of
Appeals,19 the Court held that, "unless there is a clearly grave or whimsical abuse on its part,
findings of fact of the appellate court will not be disturbed. The Supreme Court will only exercise its
power of review in known exceptions such as gross misappreciation of evidence or a total void of
evidence." YTPI failed to show that the Court of Appeals gravely abused its discretion.

The Court of Appeals held that YTPI had the burden of proving that YEU committed fraud and
misrepresentation:

The cancellation of union registration at the employer’s instance, while permitted, must be
approached with caution and strict scrutiny in order that the right to belong to a legitimate labor
organization and to enjoy the privileges appurtenant to such membership will not be denied to the
employees. As the applicant for cancellation, the petitioner naturally had the burden to present proof
sufficient to warrant the cancellation. The petitioner was thus expected to satisfactorily establish that
YEU committed misrepresentations, false statements or fraud in connection with the election of its
officers, or with the minutes of the election of officers, or in the list of votes, as expressly required in
Art. 239, (c), Labor Code. But, as the respondent BLR Director has found and determined, and We
fully agree with him, the petitioner simply failed to discharge its burden. 20

YTPI claims that the Court of Appeals erred in holding that YTPI had the burden of proving that YEU
committed fraud and misrepresentation. YTPI stated that:
5.5 In the Decision dated 16 January 2004, the Honorable Court of Appeals upheld the BLR
Director’s ruling that the petitioner had the burden of proving that subject election of officers never
took place.

5.6 However, the petitioner does not have the burden of proof vis-à-vis whether or not the said
elections took place. The respondent has the burden of proof in showing that an election of
officers took place.21 (Emphasis in the original)

The Court is not convinced. YTPI, being the one which filed the petition for the revocation of YEU’s
registration, had the burden of proving that YEU committed fraud and misrepresentation. YTPI had
the burden of proving the truthfulness of its accusations — that YEU fraudulently failed to remove
Pineda’s signature from the organizational documents and that YEU fraudulently misrepresented
that it conducted an election of officers.

In Heritage Hotel Manila v. Pinag-Isang Galing at Lakas ng mga Manggagawa sa Heritage


Manila,22 the employer filed a petition to revoke the registration of its rank-and-file employees’ union,
accusing it of committing fraud and misrepresentation. The Court held that the petition was rightfully
denied because the employer failed to prove that the labor union committed fraud and
misrepresentation. The Court held that:

Did respondent PIGLAS union commit fraud and misrepresentation in its application for union
registration? We agree with the DOLE-NCR and the BLR that it did not. Except for the evident
discrepancies as to the number of union members involved as these appeared on the documents
that supported the union’s application for registration, petitioner company has no other evidence
of the alleged misrepresentation. But those discrepancies alone cannot be taken as an indication
that respondent misrepresented the information contained in these documents.

The charge that a labor organization committed fraud and misrepresentation in securing its
registration is a serious charge and deserves close scrutiny. It is serious because once such
charge is proved, the labor union acquires none of the rights accorded to registered
organizations. Consequently, charges of this nature should be clearly established by evidence
and the surrounding circumstances.23 (Emphasis supplied)

WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition. We AFFIRM the 16 January 2004 Decision and 12 May 2004
Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 65460.

SO ORDERED.

ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

ARTURO D. BRION
Associate Justice

MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO ROBERTO A. ABAD


Associate Justice Associate Justice

JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ


Associate Justice
ATTESTATION

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

ANTONIO T. CARPIO
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 Resolution had been reached in consultation before the
case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.

REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice

Footnotes

1
Rollo, pp. 9-31.

2
Id. at 38-46. Penned by Associate Justice Lucas P. Bersamin, with Associate Justices
Renato C. Dacudao and Elvi John S. Asuncion concurring.

3
Id. at 48.

4
Id. at 139-149. Penned by Director IV Hans Leo J. Cacdac.

5
Id. at 150-153.

6
Id. at 131-138. Penned by Regional Director Ana C. Dione.

7
Id. at 92-98.

8
Article 239(a) of the Labor Code provides:

ART. 239. Grounds for cancellation of union registration. — The following shall
constitute grounds for cancellation of union registration:

(a) Misrepresentation, false statement or fraud in connection with the adoption or


ratification of the constitution and by-laws or amendments thereto, the minutes of
ratification, and the list of members who took part in the ratification.

9
Rollo, pp. 120-130.

10
Id. at 120.
11
The last paragraph of Article 241 of the Labor Code provides that:

Any violation of the above rights and conditions of membership shall be a ground for
cancellation of union registration or expulsion of officer from office, whichever is
appropriate. At least thirty percent (30%) of all the members of a union or any
member or members specially concerned may report such violation to the Bureau.
The Bureau shall have the power to hear and decide any reported violation to mete
the appropriate penalty.

12
Rollo, pp. 154-174.

13
Id. at 49-85.

14
Id. at 180-195.

15
Id. at 42-44.

16
Id. at 17-18.

17
Pagsibigan v. People, G.R. No. 163868, 4 June 2009, 588 SCRA 249, 256.

18
Encarnacion v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 101292, 8 June 1993, 223 SCRA 279, 282.

19
Id. at 284.

20
Rollo, p. 45.

21
Id. at 19.

22
G.R. No. 177024, 30 October 2009.

23
Id.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 196276 June 4, 2014

TAKATA (PHILIPPINES) CORPORATION, Petitioner,


vs.
BUREAU OF LABOR RELATIONS and SAMAHANG LAKAS MANGGAGAWA NG TAKATA
(SALAMAT),Respondents.

DECISION

PERALTA, J.:

Before us is a petition for review on certiorari filed by petitioner TAKATA Philippines Corporation
assailing the Decision1 dated December 22, 2010 and the Resolution2 dated March 28, 2011 of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 112406.

On July 7, 2009, petitioner filed with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Regional
Office a Petition3for Cancellation of the Certificate of Union Registration of Respondent Samahang
Lakas Manggagawa ng Takata (SALAMA1) on the ground that the latter is guilty of
misrepresentation, false statement and fraud with respect to the number of those who participated in
the organizational meeting, the adoption and ratification of its Constitution and By-Laws, and in the
election of its officers. It contended that in the May 1, 2009 organizational meeting of respondent,
only 68 attendees signed the attendance sheet, and which number comprised only 17% of the total
number of the 396 regular rank- and-file employees which respondent sought to represent, and
hence, respondent failed to comply with the 20% minimum membership requirement. Petitioner
insisted that the document "Pangalan ng mga Kasapi ng Unyon" bore no signatures of the alleged
119 union members; and that employees were not given sufficient information on the documents
they signed; that the document "Sama-Samang Pahayag ng Pagsapi" was not submitted at the time
of the filing of respondent's application for union registration; that the 119 union members were
actually only 117; and, that the total number of petitioner's employees as of May 1, 2009 was 470,
and not 396 as respondent claimed.4

Respondent denied the charge and claimed that the 119 union members were more than the 20%
requirement for union registration. The document "Sama-Samang Pahayag ng Pagsapi sa Unyon"
which it presented in its petition for certification election5 supported their claim of 119 members.
Respondent also contended that petitioner was estopped from assailing its legal personality as it
agreed to a certification election and actively participated in the pre-election conference of the
certification election proceedings.6 Respondent argued that the union members were informed of the
contents of the documents they signed and that the 68 attendees to the organizational meeting
constituted more than 50% of the total union membership, hence, a quo rumexisted for the conduct
of the said meeting.7

On August 27, 2009, DOLE Regional Director, Atty. Ricardo S. Martinez, Sr., issued a
Decision8 granting the petition for cancellation of respondent's certificate of registration, the
dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, from the foregoing considerations, the petition is hereby GRANTED. Accordingly, the
respondent Union Certificate of Registration No. RO400A-2009-05-01-UR-LAG, dated May 19, 2009
is hereby REVOCKED (sic) and /or CANCELLED pursuant to paragraph (a) & (b), Section 3, Rule
XIV of Department Order No. 40-03 and the Samahang Lakas ng Manggagawa ng TAKATA
(SALAMAT) is hereby delisted from the roll of legitimate labor organization of this office. 9

In revoking respondent's certificate of registration, the Regional Director found that the 68
employees who attended the organizational meeting was obviously less than 20% of the total
number of 396 regular rank-and-file employees which respondent sought to represent, hence, short
of the union registration requirement; that the attendance sheet which contained the signatures and
names of the union members totalling to 68 contradicted the list of names stated in the document
denominated as "Pangalan ng mga Kasaping Unyon." The document "Sama-Samang Pahayag ng
Pagsapi" was not attached to the application for registration as it was only submitted in the petition
for certification election filed by respondent at a later date. The Regional Director also found that the
proceedings in the cancellation of registration and certification elections are two different and entirely
separate and independent proceedings which were not dependent on each other.

Dissatisfied, respondent, through Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) Paralegal Officer,


Domingo P. Mole, filed a Notice and Memorandum of Appeal10 with the Bureau of Labor Relations
(BLR). However, on September 28,2009, respondent, through its counsels, Attys.

Napoleon C. Banzuela, Jr. and Jehn Louie W. Velandrez, filed an Appeal Memorandum with Formal
Entry of Appearance11 to the Office of the DOLE Secretary, which the latter eventually referred to the
BLR. Petitioner filed an Opposition to the Appeals 12 praying for their dismissal on the ground of forum
shopping as respondent filed two separate appeals in two separate venues; and for failing to avail of
the correct remedy within the period; and that the certificate of registration was tainted with fraud,
misrepresentation and falsification.

In its Answer,13 respondent claimed that there was no forum shopping as BMP's Paralegal Officer
was no longer authorized to file an appeal on behalf of respondent as the latter's link with BMP was
already terminated and only the Union President was authorized to file the appeal; and that it
complied with Department Order No. 40-03.

On December 9, 2009, after considering respondent's Appeal Memorandum with Formal Entry of
Appearance and petitioner's Answer, the BLR rendered its Decision14 reversing the Order of the
Regional Director, the decretal portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, the appeal is hereby GRANTED. The Decision of Regional Director Ricardo S.
Martinez, Sr., dated 27 August 2009, is hereby REVERSEDand SET ASIDE.

Accordingly, Samahang Lakas Manggagawa ng TAKATA (SALAMAT) shall remain in the roster of
labor organizations.15

In reversing, the BLR found that petitioner failed to prove that respondent deliberately and
maliciously misrepresented the number of rank-and-file employees. It pointed out petitioner's basis
for the alleged noncompliance with the minimum membership requirement for registration was the
attendance of 68 members to the May 1, 2009 organizational meeting supposedly comprising only
17% of the total 396 regular rank-and-file employees. However, the BLR found that the list of
employees who participated in the organizational meeting was a separate and distinct requirement
from the list of the names of members comprising at least 20% of the employees in the bargaining
unit; and that there was no requirement for signatures opposite the names of the union members;
and there was no evidence showing that the employees assailed their inclusion in the list of union
members.

Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, which was denied by the BLR in a Resolution 16 dated
January 8, 2010.

Undaunted, petitioner went to the CA via a petition for certiorari under Rule 65.

After the submission of the parties' respective pleadings, the case was submitted for decision.

On December 22, 2010, the CA rendered its assailed decision which denied the petition and
affirmed the decision of the BLR. Petitioner's motion for reconsideration was denied in a Resolution
dated March 29, 2011.

Hence this petition for review filed by petitioner raising the following issues, to wit:

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE AND SERIOUS ERROR IN


AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF PUBLIC RESPONDENT BLR AND NOT FINDING ANY
VIOLATION BY SAMAHANG LAKAS MANGGAGAWA SA TAKATA (SALAMAT) OF THE RULE ON
FORUM SHOPPING IN THE FILING OF TWO VERIFIED APPEALS FOR AND ITS BEHALF. BOTH
OF THE APPEALS SHOULD HAVE BEEN DISMISSED OUTRIGHT BY PUBLIC RESPONDENT
BLR, ON GROUND OF FORUM SHOPPING.

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE


APPLICATION FOR REGISTRATION OF SAMAHANG LAKAS MANGGAGAWA SA TAKATA
(SALAMAT) WAS COMPLIANT WITH THE LAW. CONSIDERING THE CIRCUMSTANCES
OBTAINING IN THE REGISTRATION OF SALAMAT, IT IS CLEAR THAT THE SAME IS TAINTED
WITH FRAUD, MISREPRESENTATION AND FALSIFICATION. SALAMAT DID NOT POSSESS
THE REQUIREDNUMBER OF MEMBERS AT THE TIME OF FILING OF ITS APPLICATION FOR
REGISTRATION, HENCE, IT SHOULD BE HELD GUILTY OF MISREPRESENTATION, AND
FALSE STATEMENTS AND FRAUD IN CONNECTION THEREWITH.17

Anent the first issue, petitioner contends that respondent had filed two separate appeals with two
different representations at two different venues, in violation of the rule on multiplicity of suits and
forum shopping, and instead of dismissing both appeals, the appeal erroneously filed before the
Labor Secretary was the one held validly filed, entertained and even granted; that it is not within the
discretion of BLR to choose which between the two appeals should be entertained, as it is the fact of
the filing of the two appeals that is being prohibited and not who among the representatives therein
possessed the authority.

We are not persuaded.

We find no error committed by the CA in finding that respondent committed no forum shopping. As
the CA correctly concluded, to wit:

It is undisputed that BMP Paralegal Officer Domingo P. Mole was no longer authorized to file an
appeal on behalf of union SALAMAT and that BMP was duly informed that its services was already
terminated. SALAMAT even submitted before the BLR its "Resolusyon Blg. 01-2009" terminating the
services of BMP and revoking the representation of Mr. Domingo Mole in any of the pending cases
being handled by him on behalf of the union. So, considering that BMP Paralegal Officer Domingo P.
Mole was no longer authorized to file an appeal when it filed the Notice and Memorandum of Appeal
to DOLE Regional Office No. IV-A, the same can no longer be treated as an appeal filed by union
SALAMAT. Hence, there is no forum shopping to speak of in this case as only the Appeal
Memorandum with Formal Entry of Appearance filed by Atty. Napoleon C. Banzuela, Jr. and Atty.
Jehn Louie W. Velandrez is sanctioned by SALAMAT.18

Since Mole's appeal filed with the BLR was not specifically authorized by respondent, such appeal is
considered to have not been filed at all. It has been held that "if a complaint is filed for and in behalf
of the plaintiff who is not authorized to do so, the complaint is not deemed filed.

An unauthorized complaint does not produce any legal effect."19

Respondent through its authorized representative filed its Appeal Memorandum with Formal Entry of
Appearance before the Labor Secretary, and not with the BLR. As the appeal emanated from the
petition for cancellation of certificate of registration filed with the Regional Office, the decision
canceling the registration is appealable to the BLR, and not with the Labor Secretary. However,
since the Labor Secretary motu propio referred the appeal with the BLR, the latter can now act on it.
Considering that Mole's appeal with the BLR was not deemed filed, respondent’s appeal, through
Banzuela and Associates, which the Labor Secretary referred to the BLR was the only existing
appeal with the BLR for resolution. There is, therefore, no merit to petitioner's claim that BLR chose
the appeal of Banzuela and Associates over Mole's appeal.

The case of Abbott Laboratories Philippines, Inc. v. Abbott Laboratories Employees Union 20 cited by
petitioner is not at all applicable in this case as the issue therein is the authority of the Labor
Secretary to review the decision of the Bureau of Labor Relations rendered in the exercise of its
appellate jurisdiction over decision of the Regional Director in cases involving cancellations of
certificate of registration of labor unions. We found no grave abuse of discretion committed by the
Secretary of Labor in not acting on therein petitioner's appeal. The decision of the Bureau of Labor
Relations on cases brought before it on appeal from the Regional Director are final and executory.
Hence, the remedy of the aggrieved party is to seasonably avail of the special civil action of certiorari
under Rule 65 and the Rules of Court. In this case, after the Labor Secretary motu propio referred
respondent's appeal filed with it to the BLR which rendered its decision reversing the Regional
Director, petitioner went directly to the CA via a petition for certiorari under Rule 65.

As to the second issue, petitioner seeks the cancellation of respondent's registration on grounds
offraud and misrepresentation bearing on the minimum requirement of the law as to its membership,
considering the big disparity in numbers, between the organizational meeting and the list of
members, and so misleading the BLR that it obtained the minimum required number of employees
for purposes of organization and registration.

We find no merit in the arguments.

Art. 234 of the Labor Code provides:

ART. 234. Requirements of Registration. - A federation, national union or industry or trade union
center or an independent union shall acquire legal personality and shall be entitled to the rights and
privileges granted by law to legitimate labor organizations upon issuance of the certificate of
registration based on the following requirements:

(a) Fifty pesos (₱50.00)registration fee;


(b) The names of its officers, their addresses, the principal address of the labor organization,
the minutes of the organizational meetings and the list of the workers who participated in
such meetings;

(c) In case the applicant is an independent union, the names of all its members comprising at
least twenty percent (20%) of all the employees in the bargaining unit where it seeks to
operate;

(d) If the applicant union has been in existence for one or more years, copies of its annual
financial reports; and

(e) Four copies of the constitution and by-laws of the applicant union, minutes of its adoption
or ratification, and the list of the members who participated in it."

And after the issuance of the certificate of registration, the labor organization's registration could be
assailed directly through cancellation of registration proceedings in accordance with Articles 238 and
239 of the Labor Code. And the cancellation of union certificate of registration and the grounds
thereof are as follows:

ART. 238. Cancellation of Registration. - The certificate of registration of any legitimate labor
organization, whether national or local, may be cancelled by the Bureau, after due hearing, only on
the grounds specified in Article 239 hereof.

ART. 239. Grounds for Cancellation of Union Registration. - The following may constitute grounds
for cancellation of union registration:

(a) Misrepresentation, false statement or fraud in connection with the adoption or ratification
of the constitution and by-laws or amendments thereto, the minutes of ratification, and the list
of members who took part in the ratification;

(b) Misrepresentation, false statements or fraud in connection with the election of officers,
minutes of the election of officers, and the list of voters;

(c) Voluntary dissolution by the members.

Petitioner's charge that respondent committed misrepresentation and fraud in securing its certificate
of registration is a serious charge and must be carefully evaluated. Allegations thereof should be
compounded with supporting circumstances and evidence.21 We find no evidence on record to
support petitioner's accusation.

Petitioner's allegation of misrepresentation and fraud is based on its claim that during the
organizational meeting on May 1, 2009, only 68 employees attended, while respondent claimed that
it has 119 members as shown in the document denominated as "Pangalan ng mga Kasapi ng
Unyon;" hence, respondent misrepresented on the 20% requirement of the law as to its membership.

We do not agree.

It does not appear in Article 234 (b) of the Labor Code that the attendees in the organizational
meeting must comprise 20% of the employees in the bargaining unit. In fact, even the Implementing
Rules and Regulations of the Labor Code does not so provide. It is only under Article 234 (c) that
requires the names of all its members comprising at least twenty percent (20%) of all the employees
in the bargaining unit where it seeks to operate. Clearly, the 20% minimum requirement pertains to
the employees’ membership in the union and not to the list of workers who participated in the
organizational meeting. Indeed, Article 234 (b) and (c) provide for separate requirements, which
must be submitted for the union's registration, and which respondent did submit. Here, the total
number of employees in the bargaining unit was 396, and 20% of which was about 79. Respondent
submitted a document entitled "Pangalan ng Mga Kasapi ng Unyon" showing the names of 119
employees as union members, thus respondent sufficiently complied even beyond the 20%
minimum membership requirement. Respondent also submitted the attendance sheet of the
organizational meeting which contained the names and signatures of the 68 union members who
attended the meeting. Considering that there are 119 union members which are more than 20% of
all the employees of the bargaining unit, and since the law does not provide for the required number
of members to attend the organizational meeting, the 68 attendees which comprised at least the
majority of the 119 union members would already constitute a quorum for the meeting to proceed
and to validly ratify the Constitution and By-laws of the union. There is, therefore, no basis for
petitioner to contend that grounds exist for the cancellation of respondent's union registration. For
fraud and misrepresentation to be grounds for cancellation of union registration under Article 239 of
the Labor Code, the nature of the fraud and misrepresentation must be grave and compelling
enough to vitiate the consent of a majority of union members.22

Petitioner's claim that the alleged union members signed documents without adequate information is
not persuasive. The one who alleges a fact has the burden of proving it and a mere allegation is not
evidence.23 In fact, we note that not one of those listed in the document denominated as "Pangalan
ng Mga Kasaping Unyon" had come forward to deny their membership with respondent. Notably, it
had not been rebutted that the same union members had signed the document entitled "Sama-
Samang Pahayag ng Pagsapi," thus, strengtheningtheir desire to be members of the respondent
union.

Petitioner claims that in the list of members, there was an employee whose name appeared twice
and another employee who was merely a project employee. Such could not be considered a
misrepresentation in the absence of showing that respondent deliberately did so for the purpose of
increasing their union membership. In fact, even if those two names were not included in the list of
union members, there would still be 117 members which was still more than 20% of the 396 rank-
and-file employees.

As to petitioner's argument that the total number of its employees as of May 1, 2009 was 470, and
not396 as respondent claimed, still the 117 union members comprised more than the 20%
membership requirement for respondent's registration.

In Mariwasa Siam Ceramics v. Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment, 24 we said:

For the purpose of de-certifying a union such as respondent, it must be shown that there was
misrepresentation, false statement or fraud in connection with the adoption or ratification of the
constitution and by-laws or amendments thereto, the minutes of ratification; or, in connection with
the election of officers, the minutes of the election of officers, the list of voters, or failure to submit
these documents together with the list of the newly elected-appointed officers and their postal
addresses to the BLR.

The bare fact that two signatures appeared twice on the list of those who participated in the
organizational meeting would not, to our mind, provide a valid reason to cancel respondent’s
certificate of registration. The cancellation of a union’s registration doubtless has an impairing
dimension on the right of labor to self-organization. For fraud and misrepresentation to be grounds
for cancellation of union registration under the Labor Code, the nature of the fraud and
misrepresentation must be grave and compelling enough to vitiate the consent of a majority of union
members. 1âwphi1

In this case, we agree with the BLR and the CA that respondent could not have possibly committed
misrepresentation, fraud, or false statements. The alleged failure of respondent to indicate with
mathematical precision the total number of employees in the bargaining unit is of no moment,
especially as it was able to comply with the 20% minimum membership requirement. Even if the total
number of rank-and-file employees of petitioner is 528, while respondent declared that it should only
be 455, it still cannot be denied that the latter would have more than complied with the registration
requirement.25

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition for review is DENIED. The Decision dated
December 22, 2010 and the Resolution dated March 28, 2011 of the Court of Appeals, in CA-G.R.
SP No. 112406, are AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

DIOSDADO M. PERALTA
Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.


Associate Justice
Chairperson

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.

PRESBITER J. VELASCO, JR.


Associate Justice
Chairperson, Third Division

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

* Designated Acting Member, per Special Order No. 1691, dated May 22, 2014.

1Penned by Associate Justice Fiorito S. Macalino, with Associate. Justices Juan Q.


Enriquez, Jr. and Ramon M. Bato, Jr., concurring; rollo, pp. 328-336.

2 Id. at 375-376.

3 Id. at 48-67.

4 Annex "D," Reply to Comment, id. at 73-83.

5 Docketed as RO400-A- 0905- LAG -RU -004

6 Rollo, pp. 68-72.

7 Id. at 84-89.

8 Id. at 90-98; Docketed asRO400-A-0904-RFO-AU-001.

9 Id. at 98.

10 Id. at 99-107.

11 Id. at 108-119.

12 Id. at 120-186.

13 Id. at 187-189.

14 Id. at 191-196; Per Director IV Rebecca C. Chato; Docketed as BLR-A-C-43-10-1-09.

15 Id. at 196. (Emphasis in the original)

16 Id. at 233-234.

17 Id. at 17-18.

18 Id. at 333.

19 Tamondong v. Court of Appeals, 486 Phil. 729, 741 (2004).

20 380 Phil. 364 (2000).


21San Miguel Corporation Employees Union-Phil. Transport and General Workers Org. v.
San Miguel Packaging Products Employees Union-Pambansang Diwang Manggagawang
Pilipino,559 Phil. 549, 566-567 (2007).

Mariwasa Siam Ceramics, Inc. v. Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment,
22

G.R. No. 183317, December 21, 2009, 608 SCRA 706, 716 (2009).

P.T. Cerna Corporation v. Court of Appeals, G..R. No. 91622, April 6, 1993, 221 SCRA 19,
23

25.

24 Supra note 22.

25 Id. at 715-716.