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[191] Radio Philippines Network v.

Ruth Yap plus 4 others Court also ruled that the respondents’ allegation of the delays in the payment of their
salary is not of the petitioners’ fault but is instead due to misunderstandings as to the
678 SCRA 148 | August 1, 2012 | Reyes exact place and time of the fortnightly payments, or because of the fact that while
respondents refused payment through ATM, they were tardy in collecting them from
Petitioners: RADIO PHILIPPINES NETWORK, INC., and/or MIA CONCIO, RADIO
the Bank of Commerce at Broadcast City Branch or from the NLRC cashier.
PHILIPPINES NETWORK, INC., and/or MIA CONCIO, President, LEONOR LINAO, General
Manager, LOURDES ANGELES, President, LEONOR LINAO, General Manager, LOURDES PROVISIONS APPLICABLE
ANGELES, HRD Manager, and IDA BARRAMEDA, AGM-Finance HRD Manager, and IDA
BARRAMEDA, AGM-Finance,. Art. 223, Labor Code
Respondents: RUTH F. YAP, MA. FE DAYON, MINETTE BAPTISTA, BANNIE EDSEL, MA. FE
x x x In any event, the decision of the Labor Arbiter reinstating a dismissed or
DAYON, MINETTE BAPTISTA, BANNIE EDSEL SAN MIGUEL, and MARISA LEMINA
separated employee, insofar as the reinstatement aspect is concerned, shall
Topic: Wage - Place of Payment (Rule) immediately be executory, even pending appeal. The employee shall either be
admitted back to work under the same terms and conditions prevailing prior to his
SUMMARY dismissal or separation or, at the option of the employer, merely reinstated in the
payroll. The posting of a bond by the employer shall not stay the execution for
In this case, Ma’am Ruth Yap and 4 others were employees of petitioner company reinstatement provided herein. x x x
Radio Philippines Network, Inc (RPN) and are former members of RPN Employees
Union (RPNEU). On November 26, 2004, RPN and RPNEU entered into a Collective Rule VIII, Omnibus Rule Book III
Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with a union security clause providing that a member
who has been expelled from the union shall also be terminated from the company. SECTION 4. Place of payment. — As a general rule, the place of payment shall be
Respondents were then involved in a conflict with other members of RNEU so they at or near the place of undertaking. Payment in a place other than the work place
were expelled from the union. Subsequently, upon the union’s request, RPN notified shall be permissible only under the following circumstances:
the respondents of the termination of their employment. This prompted the
(a) When payment cannot be effected at or near the place of work by reason of the
respondents to file a complaint for illegal dismissal and non-payment of benefits. The
deterioration of peace and order conditions, or by reason of actual or impending
LA sided with the respondents and ordered their reinstatement with payment of
emergencies caused by fire, flood, epidemic or other calamity rendering payment
backwages and full benefits and without loss of seniority right.
thereat impossible;
On October 31, 2006, respondents returned to RPN to collect their salaries, but they
DOCTRINE
were barred entry and a clash between them and the security guards manning the
gate even occurred which resulted to some of them being injured. When they It has been held that in case of strained relations or non-availability of positions, the
managed to enter RPN’s lobby, the company’s Assistant General Manager for employer is given the option to reinstate the employee merely in the payroll in
Finance ordered the guards to take them back outside the gate, where she said they order to avoid the intolerable presence in the workplace of the unwanted
would be paid their salaries. With this incident, respondents led with the LA a employee since such presence would be inimical to its interest or would demoralize
Manifestation and Urgent Motion to Cite for Contempt against the petitioners alleging the co-employees.
that there was no compliance yet to the earlier LA order. LA granted the motion so
petitioners filed a petition for certiorari in the CA. The CA dismissed their complaint FACTS
due to their failure to attach copies of certain pertinent pleadings. Petitioner then filed
for a motion for reconsideration but this was likewise denied by the said court. Hence, 1) Parties in the case:
this petition for review.
 Radio Philippines Network, Inc. (RPN) - government sequestered
The Court in this case held that petitioners are not guilty of indirect contempt because corporation with address at Broadcast City, Capitol Hills Drive, Quezon City,
they were successfully able to prove that they complied with the LA’s order of o Concio, Linao, Barrameda, and Angeles - President, General
reinstating the respondents. Specifically, after the order, RPN restored the Manager, Assistant General Manager (AGM) for Finance, and
respondents in its payroll without diminution of their benefits and privileges, or loss of Human Resources Manager, respectively, of RPN who were
seniority rights. The Court noted that such restoration of the respondents in the impleaded and charged with indirect contempt
payroll is sufficient compliance to the LA order because the physical restoration of the  Respondents Yap, San Miguel, Dayon, Lemina, Baptista - employees of
respondents to their former positions would be impractical and would hardly promote RPN and former members of the Radio Philippines Network Employees
the best interest of both parties as the resentment and enmity between the parties Union (RPNEU), the bargaining agent of the rank-and-file employees of the
have so strained their relationship and even provoked antipathy and antagonism. The said company.
2) November 26, 2004: RPN and RPNEU entered into a Collective Bargaining o Later that afternoon, the respondents somehow managed to
Agreement (CBA) with a union security clause providing that a member who has enter the RPN lobby.
been expelled from the union shall also be terminated from the company.  AGM for Finance Barrameda came out, but instead of
meeting them, Barrameda ordered the guards to take
3) A conflict arose between the respondents and other members of RPNEU. them back outside the gate, where she said they
would be paid their salaries.
 November 9, 2005: the RPNEU's Grievance and Investigation Committee
recommended to the union's board of directors the expulsion of the
 Claiming that RPNEU President Reynato Sioson also assisted the guards in
respondents from the union.
physically evicting them, they concluded from their violent ouster that Concio
 January 24, 2006: the union wrote to RPN President Concio demanding
and Linao played a direct role in their expulsion from RPNEU.
the termination of the respondents' employment from the company.
 The respondents prayed the following:
4) February 17, 2006: RPN notified the respondents that their employment would o LA issue an order finding Concio and Linao liable for contempt
be terminated effective March 20, 2006. after hearing;
o Respondents be reinstated with full benefits, or in case of payroll
5) The respondents then led with the Labor Arbiter (LA) a complaint for illegal reinstatement, that they be paid every 15th and 30th of the month
dismissal and non-payment of benefits. as with all regular employees;
o Their salaries shall be paid at the Cashier's Office,
 September 27, 2006: the LA ordered the reinstatement of the o They shall not be prevented from entering the premises of
respondents with payment of backwages and full benefits and without loss RPN
of seniority rights after finding that the petitioners failed to establish the
legal basis of the termination of respondents' employment. 8) November 14, 2006: the respondents led a Motion for the Issuance of Writ of
o The LA also directed the company to pay the respondents Execution/Garnishment, alleging that in addition to the violent events of October 31,
certain aggregate monetary benefits. 2006, the respondents were again forcibly denied entry into RPN to collect their
13th month pay on November 10, 2006
6) October 27, 2006: Petitioner, through counsel submitted a Manifestation and
Compliance dated October 25, 2006 to the LA. A copy of the said Manifestation was  They prayed that a writ of execution/garnishment be issued in order to
sent to the respondents by registered mail on even date. implement the decision of the LA.

7) November 3, 2006: Alleging that there was no compliance yet as aforestated and 9) Petitioners denied any liability for the narrated incidents
that no notice was received, respondents led with the LA a Manifestation and
Urgent Motion to Cite for Contempt against the petitioners.  Insisted that the respondents had been duly informed through a letter dated
November 10, 2006 of their payroll reinstatement.
 Therein, they narrated the following incidents:  Explained that because of the intra-union dispute between the
 October 27, 2006: They went to RPN to present themselves to the respondents and the union leaders, they deemed it wise not to allow the
petitioners for actual reinstatement to their former positions. They arrived respondents inside the company premises to prevent any more
while a mass was being celebrated at the lobby, at which they were allowed untoward incidents, and to release their salaries only at the gate.
to attend while waiting for RPN General Manager Linao to meet them. o For this reason, the respondents were asked to open an ATM
o Linao informed them that they had been reinstated, but only in account with the Land Bank, Quezon City Circle Branch, where
the payroll their salaries would be deposited every 5th and 20th day of the
 October 31, 2006 at 11 a.m: Respondents returned to RPN to collect month, rather than on the 15th and 30th along with the other
their salaries, it being a payday; but they were barred entry upon strict employees
orders of Concio and Linao.
o The respondents returned in the afternoon but were likewise 10) January 19, 2007: Respondents moved for the issuance of an alias writ of
stopped by eight (8) guards now manning the gate. execution covering their unpaid salaries for January 1-15, 2007, claiming that the
 Respondents nonetheless tried to push their way in, petitioners did not show up at the agreed place of payment, and reiterating their
but the guards manhandled them (pulled them by the hair demand to be paid on the 15th and 30th of the month at RPN, along with the rest of
and arms and pushed them back to the street: some even the employees.
endured having their breasts mashed, their blouses pulled up
and their bags grabbed away)
11) January 30, 2007: the petitioners denied these claims and insisted that they  CA stated that the petitioners should have attached these supporting
could only pay the respondents' salaries on the 5th and 20th of the month, documents because without them, the allegations contained in their
conformably with the company's cash flows. petition for certiorari are nothing but bare assertions.

12) Petitioner also filed several manifestations to the LA to prove its compliance 18) With the CA’s denial of their Motion for Reconsideration, they filed this current
with the LA Order: Petition for Review before the Supreme Court.

 February 20, 2007: petitioners manifested to the LA that the respondents ISSUES, HELD. RATIO
could collect their salaries at the Bank of Commerce in Broadcast City
Branch, Quezon City. 1) [PROCEDURAL, YOU MAY SKIP THIS] W/N CA’s dismissal of petitioner’s petition for
 March 9, 2007: petitioners manifested that the respondents' salaries for certiorari for failing to attach the copies of the mentioned pleadings is proper? – YES
the second half of February 2007 were ready for pick-up since March 5,  In the Rules of Court:
2007.
 Section 1 of Rule 65 requires the attachment of the relevant pleadings to
 March 15, 2007: petitioners informed the LA that the respondents refused the petition
to collect their salaries.
 Section 3, Rule 46 states that failure to comply with any of the
o To prove their good faith, they stated that the respondents' salaries
documentary requirements, such as the attachment of relevant pleadings,
shall, henceforth, be deposited at the National Labor Relations
"shall be sufficient ground for the dismissal of the petition.
Commission (NLRC)-Cashier on the 5th and 20th of every month.
o It authorizes the dismissal of a petition for failure to attach relevant,
13) May 3, 2007: Unswayed by these manifestations, the LA cited the petitioners not merely incidental, pleadings.
for indirect contempt for "committing disobedience to lawful order."
 The Court therefore sustains the appellate court's dismissal of a petition on
 On appeal, the NLRC dismissed the same in a Resolution dated May 27, technical grounds, unless considerations of equity and substantial justice present
2008, and on August 15, 2008 it also denied the petitioners' motion for cogent reasons to hold otherwise. Leniency cannot be accorded absent valid
reconsideration. and compelling reasons for such procedural lapse.

14) November 3, 2008: Petitioners led with the CA a petition for certiorari with 2) W/N the petitioner’s manner of reinstating the respondents in payroll is proper? –
prayer for a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction YES, it is the exercise of management prerogative

15) November 14, 2008: the CA dismissed the petition for failure to attach  In Pioneer Texturizing Corp. v. NLRC, it was held that an order
copies of pertinent pleadings mentioned in the petition, namely: reinstating a dismissed employee is immediately self-executory without
need of a writ of execution, in accordance with the third paragraph of Article
 respondents' Motion for the Issuance of an Alias Writ of Execution 223 of the Labor Code.
 petitioners' Opposition to said motion o The article states that the employee entitled to reinstatement
 petitioners’ manifestations on February 20, March 9, and March 15, 2007 "shall either be admitted back to work under the same terms and
conditions prevailing prior to his dismissal or separation or, at the
16) In their motion for reconsideration, the petitioners pleaded with the CA not to option of the employer, merely reinstated in the payroll."
"intertwine" the LA's contempt order with the main case for illegal dismissal,  Thus, even if the employee is able and raring to return
now subject of a separate petition for certiorari in the said court. to work, the option of payroll reinstatement belongs to
the employer.
 They contended that the respondents' Urgent Motion to Cite for Contempt,
 The general policy of labor law is to discourage interference with an
and Motion for the Issuance of Writ of Execution/Garnishment, and the
employer's judgment in the conduct of his business.
petitioners' Opposition hereto, suffice to resolve the charge of indirect
o Even as the law is solicitous of the welfare of the employees, it
contempt against them.
must also protect the right of an employer to exercise what are
17) March 9, 2009: CA denied the petitioners' motion for reconsideration, citing clearly management prerogatives.
again the failure to submit the documents it enumerated in its Resolution dated o As long as the company's exercise of judgment is in good faith
November 14, 2008. to advance its interest and not for the purpose of defeating or
circumventing the rights of employees under the laws or valid
agreements, such exercise will be upheld.
 It has been held that in case of strained relations or non-availability of o It also appears that the salaries for October 2006 to January 2007
positions, the employer is given the option to reinstate the employee were already delivered, as stated in the Order of the LA dated May
merely in the payroll in order to avoid the intolerable presence in the 3, 2007
workplace of the unwanted employee since such presence would be o As also claimed by the petitioners, the salary checks for February
inimical to its interest or would demoralize the co-employees. to May 15, 2007 were deposited with the NLRC's cashier.
o While payroll reinstatement would in fact be unacceptable because o RPN has been asking the respondents to open ATM accounts
it sanctions the payment of salaries to one not rendering service, it to facilitate the deposit of their salaries, but they have refused.
may still be the lesser evil compared to the intolerable presence o RPN also attached to its petition photocopies of the biweekly
in the workplace of an unwanted employee. cash vouchers for the individual salaries of the respondents
from January to August 2010.
 IN THE CASE AT BAR, the physical restoration of the respondents to their  The vouchers show in detail their gross individual monthly
former positions would be impractical and would hardly promote the best salaries, withholdings for income tax and member's
interest of both parties. premiums for SSS, Pag-IBIG and Philhealth, and net
o The resentment and enmity between the parties have so salaries for the period September 2008 to April 2009.
strained their relationship and even provoked antipathy and  The salaries were also shown to have been ready for
antagonism release on the 15th and 30th of the month.
 As amply borne out by the physical clashes (e.g.,
October 31 incident) that had ensued every time the 4) W/N petitioner is guilty of indirect contempt? – NO
respondents attempted to enter the RPN compound,
 To be considered contemptuous, an act must be clearly contrary to or
respondents' presence in the workplace will not only be
prohibited by the order of the court or tribunal.
distracting but even disruptive
o A person cannot, for disobedience, be punished for contempt
o The proposal to pay the respondents' salaries through ATM
unless the act which is forbidden or required to be done is
cards, now a wide practice cannot be said to be prejudicial or
clearly and explicitly defined, so that there can be no reasonable
oppressive since it would not entail any unusual effort by the
doubt or uncertainty as to what specific act or thing is forbidden or
respondents to collect their money.
required.
o As to the respondents' demand to be paid their salaries on the
 IN THE CASE AT BAR, there was no sufficient basis for the charge of
15th and 30th of the month along with the other employees,
indirect contempt against the petitioners, and that the same was made
instead of on the 5th and 20th days, petitioners reason that the
without due regard for their right to exercise their management
salaries must be staggered due to RPN's erratic cash flows.
prerogatives to preserve the viability of the company and the harmony of
 The law only requires that the fortnightly intervals be
the workplace.
observed.
o After the order of reinstatement of the respondents, RPN forthwith
3) W/N petitioner have substantially complied in good faith with the terms of payroll restored them in its payroll without diminution of their benefits
reinstatement? - YES and privileges, or loss of seniority rights.
o Respondents regularly received their salaries and benefits,
 The petitioners insist that the respondents were immediately reinstated, notwithstanding that the company has been in financial straits.
albeit in the payroll and their salaries have since been regularly paid o Any delays appear to have been due to misunderstandings as
without fail. to the exact place and time of the fortnightly payments, or
o Granting that there were occasional delays, it was because of because the respondents were tardy in collecting them from the
respondents’ recalcitrant demands as to the place and schedule of Bank of Commerce at Broadcast City Branch or from the NLRC
payment, and their refusal to cooperate in the opening of their ATM cashier.
accounts. o The petitioners tried proposing opening an ATM accounts for them,
 The Court agreed with petitioners that they have substantially complied but the respondents rejected the idea
with the LA's Decision ordering the respondents' payroll reinstatement
because of the presence of the following circumstances: RULING
o On April 22, 2009, the respondents executed a quitclaim and
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is GRANTED. The Order dated
release covering the period from March to September 2006.
May 3, 2007 of the Labor Arbiter finding petitioners guilty of indirect contempt is
REVERSED