Bill of Rights: Section 1 - No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.
G.R. No. 185829. April 25, 2012.
Armando Ailing, Petitioner
Jose B. Feliciano, Manuel F. San Mateo III, et al., Respondents
Via a letter dated June 2, 2004, respondent Wide Wide World Express Corporation (WWWEC) offered to employ petitioner Armando Aliling (Aliling) as “Account Executive (Seafreight Sales),” with the following compensation package: a monthly salary of PhP 13,000, transportation allowance of PhP 3,000, clothing allowance of PhP 800, cost of living allowance of PhP 500, each payable on a per month basis and a 14th month pay depending on the profitability and availability of financial resources of the company. The offer came with a six (6)-month probation period condition with this express caveat: “Performance during probationary period shall be made as basis for confirmation to Regular or Permanent Status.”
On June 11, 2004, Aliling and WWWEC inked an Employment Contract under the following terms, among others:
· Conversion to regular status shall be determined on the basis of work performance; and
· Employment services may, at any time, be terminated for just cause or in accordance with the standards defined at the time of engagement.
Training then started. However, instead of a Seafreight Sale assignment, WWWEC asked Aliling to handle Ground Express (GX), a new company product launched on June 18, 2004 involving domestic cargo forwarding service for Luzon. Marketing this product and finding daily contracts for it formed the core of Aliling’s new assignment.
Barely a month after, Manuel F. San Mateo III (San Mateo), WWWEC Sales and Marketing Director, emailed Aliling to express dissatisfaction with the latter’s performance.
Thereafter, in a letter of September 25, 2004, Joseph R. Lariosa (Lariosa), Human Resources Manager of WWWEC, asked Aliling to report to the Human Resources Department to explain his absence taken without leave from September 20, 2004.
Aliling responded two days later. He denied being absent on the days in question, attaching to his reply-letter a copy of his timesheet which showed that he worked from September 20 to 24, 2004. Aliling’s explanation came with a query regarding the withholding of his salary corresponding to September 11 to 25, 2004.
In a separate letter dated September 27, 2004, Aliling wrote San Mateo stating: “Pursuant to your instruction on September 20, 2004, I hereby tender my resignation effective October 15, 2004.” While WWWEC took no action on his tender, Aliling nonetheless demanded reinstatement and a written apology, claiming in a subsequent letter dated October 1, 2004 to management that San Mateo had forced him to resign.
Lariosa’s response-letter of October 1, 2004, informed Aliling that his case was still in the process of being evaluated. On October 6, 2004, Lariosa again wrote, this time to advise Aliling of the termination of his services effective as of that date owing to his “non-satisfactory performance” during his probationary period. Records show that Aliling, for the period indicated, was paid his outstanding salary which consisted of:
PhP 4,988.18 (salary for the September 25, 2004 payroll)
PhP 6,975.46 Total
Earlier, however, or on October 4, 2004, Aliling filed a Complaint for illegal dismissal due to forced resignation, nonpayment of salaries as well as damages with the NLRC against WWWEC. Appended to the complaint was Aliling’s Affidavit dated November 12, 2004, in which he stated: “5. At the time of my engagement, respondents did not make known to me the standards under which I will qualify as a regular employee.”
Refuting Aliling’s basic posture, WWWEC stated in its Position Paper dated November 22, 2004 that, in addition to the letter-offer and employment contract adverted to, WWWEC and Aliling have signed a letter of appointment on June 11, 2004 containing the following terms of engagement:
Additionally, upon the effectivity of your probation, you and your immediate superior are required to jointly define your objectives compared with the job requirements of the position. Based on the pre-agreed objectives, your performance shall be reviewed on the 3rd month to assess your competence and work attitude. The 5th month Performance Appraisal shall be the basis in elevating or confirming your employment status from Probationary to Regular.
Failure to meet the job requirements during the probation stage means that your services may be terminated without prior notice and without recourse to separation pay.
WWWEC also attached to its Position Paper a memo dated September 20, 2004 in which San Mateo asked Aliling to explain why he should not be terminated for failure to meet the expected job performance, considering that the load factor for the GX Shuttles for the period July to September was only 0.18% as opposed to the allegedly agreed upon load of 80% targeted for August 5, 2004. According to WWWEC, Aliling, instead of explaining himself, simply submitted a resignation letter.
In a Reply-Affidavit dated December 13, 2004, Aliling denied having received a copy of San Mateo’s September 20, 2004 letter.
Whether or not there was a due process.
No. The petition is partly meritorious.
Petitioner is a regular employee.
On a procedural matter, petitioner Aliling argues that WWWEC, not having appealed from the judgment of CA which declared Aliling as a regular employee from the time he signed the employment contract, is now precluded from questioning the appellate court’s determination as to the nature of his employment.
Petitioner errs. The Court has, when a case is on appeal, the authority to review matters not specifically raised or assigned as error if their consideration is necessary in reaching a just conclusion of the case. We said as much in Sociedad Europea de Financiacion, SA v. Court of Appeals, “It is axiomatic that an appeal, once accepted by this Court, throws the entire case open to review, and that this Court has the authority to review matters not specifically raised or assigned as error by the parties, if their consideration is necessary in arriving at a just resolution of the case.”
The Labor Arbiter cryptically held in his decision dated April 25, 2006 that:
Be that as it may, there appears no showing that indeed the said September 20, 2004 Memorandum addressed to complainant was received by him. Moreover, complainant’s tasked where he was assigned was a new developed service. In this regard, it is noted:
“Due process dictates that an employee be apprised beforehand of the conditions of his employment and of the terms of advancement therein. Precisely, implicit in Article 281 of the Labor Code is the requirement that reasonable standards be previously made known by the employer to the employee at the time of his engagement (Ibid, citing Sameer Overseas Placement Agency, Inc. vs. NLRC, G.R. No. 132564, October 20, 1999).
From our review, it appears that the labor arbiter, and later the NLRC, considered Aliling a probationary employee despite finding that he was not informed of the reasonable standards by which his probationary employment was to be judged.
The CA, on the other hand, citing Cielo v. National Labor Relations Commission, ruled that petitioner was a regular employee from the outset inasmuch as he was not informed of the standards by which his probationary employment would be measured. The CA wrote:
Petitioner was regularized from the time of the execution of the employment contract on June 11, 2004, although respondent company had arbitrarily shortened his tenure. As pointed out, respondent company did not make known the reasonable standards under which he will qualify as a regular employee at the time of his engagement. Hence, he was deemed to have been hired from day one as a regular employee.
WWWEC, however, excepts on the argument that it put Aliling on notice that he would be evaluated on the 3rd and 5th months of his probationary employment. To WWWEC, its efforts translate to sufficient compliance with the requirement that a probationary worker be apprised of the reasonable standards for his regularization. WWWEC invokes the ensuing holding in Alcira v. National Labor Relations Commission to support its case:
Conversely, an employer is deemed to substantially comply with the rule on notification of standards if he apprises the employee that he will be subjected to a performance evaluation on a particular date after his hiring. We agree with the labor arbiter when he ruled that:
In the instant case, petitioner cannot successfully say that he was never informed by private respondent of the standards that he must satisfy in order to be converted into regular status. This rans counter to the agreement between the parties that after five months of service the petitioner’s performance would be evaluated. It is only but natural that the evaluation should be made vis-à-vis the performance standards for the job. Private respondent Trifona Mamaradlo speaks of such standard in her affidavit referring to the fact that petitioner did not perform well in his assigned work and his attitude was below par compared to the company’s standard required of him.
WWWEC’s contention is untenable.
To note, the June 2, 2004 letter-offer itself states that the regularization standards or the performance norms to be used are still to be agreed upon by Aliling and his supervisor. WWWEC has failed to prove that an agreement as regards thereto has been reached. Clearly then, there were actually no performance standards to speak of. And lest it be overlooked, Aliling was assigned to GX trucking sales, an activity entirely different to the Seafreight Sales he was originally hired and trained for. Thus, at the time of his engagement, the standards relative to his assignment with GX sales could not have plausibly been communicated to him as he was under Seafreight Sales. Even for this reason alone, the conclusion reached in Alcira is of little relevant to the instant case.
Finally, legal interest shall be imposed on the monetary awards herein granted at the rate of 6% per annum from October 6, 2004 (date of termination) until fully paid.
Bill of Rights: Section 12 (P. 1) - Rights of a Person under Custodial Investigation
G.R. No. 169431, April 3, 2007
People of the Philippines, Appellee
Jerry Rapeza y Francisco, Appellant
Rapeza, the appellant, is a native of Samar, illiterate and was staying with Regino in Regino's house, 40 meters away from the victims' house. Several days after Rapeza's arrival, the killings took place.
In two separate information, Rapeza, together with Regino was charged with the murder of spouses Cesar Ganzon and Priscilla Libas.
First information narrates that on October 21, 1995 around 4pm at Culion, Palawan, Rapeza together with Regino conspired, confederating together and mutually helped each other, with evident premeditation, treachery and abuse of superior strength and feloniously attacked and killed with bladed weapons the victims.
Regino was at large, so Rapeza was the only one arraigned and pleaded not guilty.
Prosecution: On October 21, 1995, unidentified woman went to Culion and reported a killing that took place in Sitio Cawa-Cawa, Culion. The officer in charge sent to the victims' house, the investigating team saw two blooded bodies, which was later identified as Libas and Ganzon. The autopsy reports show that the common cause of death was hypovolemic shock secondary to massive bleeding from multiple stab wounds and both bodies were in the early stage of decomposition. Upon information supplied, appellant had wanted to confess to the crimes. The appellant was found fishing in Asinan Island and invited the latter for questioning. Appellant expressed his willingness to make confession in the presence of a lawyer. The appellant was brought to the police station and later brought to the house of the only available lawyer in the municipality- Atty. Reyes. Because Atty. Reyes is suffering from rheumatism and the typewriter in the police station was out of order, the custodial investigation took place at the house of atty. Reyes in the presence of VM Marasigan of CULION, 2 SB officials, interpreter and SPO2 Gapas (officer in charge).
Rapeza narrated the crime and was signed and was notarized. Thereafter, a complaint for multiple murder was filed against Regino who was likewise arrested. MTC of Culion conducted preliminary investigation. Finding probable cause only against Rapeza, Regino was ordered released. Provincial prosecutor however reversed the finding of the Trial Court by including Regino in the information, but then the latter had left Culion already.
Defense: Rapeza testified that he did not know the victims and that he has nothing to do with their deaths. He did not voluntarily surrender to the police but was "invited" by SPO2 Gapas to the police station. He was detained from 11 o’clock in the morning of Oct. 22, 1995 up to the morning of Oct. 23, 1995 before his extrajudicial statement was allegedly taken. Regino too was arrested with him. While in detention, he told the police that it was Regino who did the killing but the police did not believe him. Rapeza was told to sign a document for his release but because he could not sign, the officer took his thumb, dipped it in ink and marked it on the document. Rapeza denied going to the house of Atty. Reyes or meeting the alleged interpreter. When he was brought to the MTC, the counsel did not assist him, he was later brought to a hut in the mountain where he was told to go farther, which he refused for fear of being shot.
On the basis of appellant's extrajudicial confession, the RTC found him guilty. The RTC held that the accused is guilty with conspiracy. Case was elevated to the CA for review but RTC’s judgement was affirmed
Therefore, this is an appeal from the decision of the court of appeals affirming the consolidated judgment of the RTC of Palawan where Jerry Rapeza was found guilty of two counts of murder sentenced to the penalty of reclusion perpetua for each count, plus indemnity for the heirs of the two victims.
1) Whether his guilt was proven beyond reasonable doubt, and
2) Whether the qualifying circumstance of evident premeditation was likewise proven beyond reasonable doubt.
(1) Upon careful examination of the alleged confession and the testimony of the witnesses, the Court hold that the alleged confession is inadmissible and must perforce be discarded.
Thus, the Court has consistently held that an extrajudicial confession, to be admissible, must conform to the following requisites: 1) the confession must be voluntary; 2) the confession must be made with the assistance of a competent and independent counsel, preferably of the confessant’s choice; 3) the confession must be express; and 4) the confession must be in writing. In this juncture, the appellant should have been informed of his constitutional rights as he was already considered a suspect, contrary to the finding of the trial court that the mandatory constitutional guidelines only attached when the investigators started to propound questions to appellant on 23 October 1995 in the house of Atty. Reyes.
In order to comply with the constitutional mandates, there should likewise be meaningful communication to and understanding of his rights by the appellant, as opposed to a routine, peremptory and meaningless recital thereof. Since comprehension is the objective, the degree of explanation required will necessarily depend on the education, intelligence, and other relevant personal circumstances of the person undergoing investigation.
In this case, it was established that at the time of the investigation appellant was illiterate and was not well versed in Tagalog. This fact should engender a higher degree of scrutiny in determining whether he understood his rights as allegedly communicated to him, as well as the contents of his alleged confession.
The extra-judicial confession was allegedly made in Tagalog when accused-appellant is admittedly not well versed in said language. Even if the confession was made in the presence of an interpreter, there is no showing that the rights of a person under investigation were effectively explained and/or interpreted to accused-appellant. The interpreter was not even presented in Court to prove that said rights were translated in a language understood by accused-appellant.
(2) The constitutional requirement obviously had not been observed. Settled is the rule that the moment a police officer tries to elicit admissions or confessions or even plain information from a suspect, the latter should, at that juncture, be assisted by counsel, unless he waives this right in writing and in the presence of counsel. Appellant did not make any such waiver.
Assuming that Atty. Reyes did assist appellant, still there would be grave doubts as to his competence and independence as appellant’s counsel for purposes of the custodial investigation.
(3) It is settled that a confession is presumed voluntary until the contrary is proved and the confessant bears the burden of proving the contrary. The trial court found that appellant’s bare denials failed to overcome this presumption. However, several factors constrain us to hold that the confession was not given under conditions that conduce to its admissibility.
First, the confession contains facts and details which appear to have been supplied by the investigators themselves. Second, the prosecution failed to establish the actual date of the killings. The actual date of the commission of the crimes is material in assessing the credibility of the prosecution witnesses and of the admissibility of the alleged confession.
(4) Confession was not sufficiently corroborated.
As a general rule, a confession must be corroborated by those to whom the witness who testified thereto refers as having been present at the time the confession was made or by any other evidence. The inconsistencies in the testimonies of the police officers as well as any lingering doubt as to the credibility of appellant’s statement could have been laid to rest by the testimonies of Atty. Reyes, of Abad, and of those allegedly present during the custodial investigation. However, they were not presented in court.
Consequently, the non-production of these material witnesses raises a doubt which must be resolved in favor of appellant and the confession should be disregarded as evidence. Verily, we are left with the unconvincing testimony of two police officers against whose abuse of authority the Constitution protects the appellant. As their respective testimonies are sated with inconsistencies and hearsay evidence, we find the same insufficient bases to hold appellant’s extrajudicial confession admissible against him.
Bill of Rights: Section 4 - Freedom of Speech
G.R. No. 180291, July 27, 2010
GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM (GSIS) and WINSTON F. GARCIA, in his capacity as PRESIDENT and GENERAL MANAGER of the GSIS, Petitioners,
DINNAH VILLAVIZA, ELIZABETH DUQUE, ADRONICO A. ECHAVEZ, RODEL RUBIO, ROWENA THERESE B. GRACIA, PILAR LAYCO, and ANTONIO JOSE LEGARDA, Respondents.
Petitioner Winston Garcia (PGM Garcia), as President and General Manager of the GSIS, filed separate formal charges against respondents Dinnah Villaviza, Elizabeth Duque, Adronico A. Echavez, Rodel Rubio, Rowena Therese B. Gracia, Pilar Layco, and Antonio Jose Legarda for Grave Misconduct and/or Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service pursuant to the Rules of Procedure in Administrative Investigation (RPAI) of GSIS Employees and Officials, III, D, (1, c, f) in relation to Section 52A (3), (20), Rule IV, of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (URACCS), in accordance with Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987, committed as follows:
· That on 27 May 2005, respondent, wearing red shirt together with some employees, marched to or appeared simultaneously at or just outside the office of the Investigation Unit in a mass demonstration/rally of protest and support for Messrs. Mario Molina and Albert Velasco, the latter having surreptitiously entered the GSIS premises;
· That some of these employees badmouthed the security guards and the GSIS management and defiantly raised clenched fists led by Atty. Velasco who was barred by Hearing Officer Marvin R. Gatpayat in an Order dated 24 May 2005 from appearing as counsel for Atty. Molina pursuant to Section 7 (b) (2) of R.A. 6713 otherwise known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees;
· That respondent, together with other employees in utter contempt of CSC Resolution No. 021316, dated 11 October 2002, otherwise known as Omnibus Rules on Prohibited Concerted Mass Actions in the Public Sector caused alarm and heightened some employees and disrupted the work at the Investigation Unit during office hours.
This episode was earlier reported to PGM Garcia, through an office memorandum dated May 31, 2005, by the Manager of the GSIS Security Department (GSIS-SD), Dennis Nagtalon. On the same day, the Manager of the GSIS Investigation Unit (GSIS-IU), Atty. Lutgardo Barbo, issued a memorandum to each of the seven (7) respondents requiring them to explain in writing and under oath within three (3) days why they should not be administratively dealt with.
Respondents Duque, Echavez, Rubio, Gracia, Layco, and Legarda, together with two others, submitted a letter-explanation to Atty. Barbo dated June 6, 2005. Denying that there was a planned mass action, the respondents explained that their act of going to the office of the GSIS-IU was a spontaneous reaction after learning that their former union president was there. Aside from some of them wanting to show their support, they were interested in that hearing as it might also affect them. For her part, respondent Villaviza submitted a separate letter explaining that she had a scheduled pre-hearing at the GSIS-IU that day and that she had informed her immediate supervisor about it, attaching a copy of the order of pre-hearing. These letters were not under oath.
PGM Garcia then filed the above-mentioned formal charges for Grave Misconduct and/or Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service against each of the respondents, all dated June 4, 2005. Respondents were again directed to submit their written answers under oath within three (3) days from receipt thereof. None was filed.
On June 29, 2005, PGM Garcia issued separate but similarly worded decisions finding all seven (7) respondents guilty of the charges and meting out the penalty of one (1) year suspension plus the accessory penalties appurtenant thereto.
On appeal, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) found the respondents guilty of the lesser offense of Violation of Reasonable Office Rules and Regulations and reduced the penalty to reprimand. The CSC ruled that respondents were not denied their right to due process but there was no substantial evidence to hold them guilty of Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service. Instead,
The actuation of the appellants in going to the IU, wearing red shirts, to witness a public hearing cannot be considered as constitutive of such offense. Appellants’ (respondents herein) assembly at the said office to express support to Velasco, their Union President, who pledged to defend them against any oppression by the GSIS management, can be considered as an exercise of their freedom of expression, a constitutionally guaranteed right.
PGM Garcia sought reconsideration but was denied. Thus, PGM Garcia went to the Court of Appeals via a Petition for Review under Rule 43 of the Rules on Civil Procedure. The CA upheld the CSC in this wise:
The Civil Service Commission is correct when it found that the act sought to be punished hardly falls within the definition of a prohibited concerted activity or mass action. The petitioners failed to prove that the supposed concerted activity of the respondents resulted in work stoppage and caused prejudice to the public service. Only about twenty (20) out of more than a hundred employees at the main office, joined the activity sought to be punished. These employees, now respondents in this case, were assigned at different offices of the petitioner GSIS. Hence, despite the belated claim of the petitioners that the act complained of had created substantial disturbance inside the petitioner GSIS’ premises during office hours, there is nothing in the record that could support the claim that the operational capacity of petitioner GSIS was affected or reduced to substantial percentage when respondents gathered at the Investigation Unit. Despite the hazy claim of the petitioners that the gathering was intended to force the Investigation Unit and petitioner GSIS to be lenient in the handling of Atty. Molina’s case and allow Atty. Velasco to represent Atty. Molina in his administrative case before petitioner GSIS, there is likewise no concrete and convincing evidence to prove that the gathering was made to demand or force concessions, economic or otherwise from the GSIS management or from the government. In fact, in the separate formal charges filed against the respondents, petitioners clearly alleged that respondents “marched to or appeared simultaneously at or just outside the office of the Investigation Unit in a mass demonstration/rally of protest and support for Mssrs. Mario Molina and Albert Velasco, the latter surreptitiously entered the GSIS premises.” Thus, petitioners are aware at the outset that the only apparent intention of the respondents in going to the IU was to show support to Atty. Mario Molina and Albert Velasco, their union officers. The belated assertion that the intention of the respondents in going to the IU was to disrupt the operation and pressure the GSIS administration to be lenient with Atty. Mario Molina and Albert Velasco, is only an afterthought.
WHETHER AN ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL MAY APPLY SUPPLETORILY THE PROVISIONS OF THE RULES OF COURT ON THE EFFECT OF FAILURE TO DENY THE ALLEGATIONS IN THE COMPLAINT AND FAILURE TO FILE ANSWER, WHERE THE RESPONDENTS IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS DID NOT FILE ANY RESPONSIVE PLEADING TO THE FORMAL CHARGES AGAINST THEM.
The Court finds no merit in the petition.
Petitioners primarily question the probative value accorded to respondents’ letters of explanation in response to the memorandum of the GSIS-IU Manager. The respondents never filed their answers to the formal charges. The petitioners argue that there being no answers, the allegations in the formal charges that they filed should have been deemed admitted pursuant to Section 11, Rule 8 of the Rules of Court which provides:
SECTION 11. Allegations not specifically denied deemed admitted.— Material averment in the complaint, other than those as to the amount of liquidated damages, shall be deemed admitted when not specifically denied. Allegations of usury in a complaint to recover usurious interest are deemed admitted if not denied specifically and under oath.
According to the petitioners, this rule is applicable to the case at bench pursuant to Rule 1, Section 4 of the Rules of Court which reads:
SECTION 4. In what cases not applicable. – These Rules shall not apply to election cases, land registration, cadastral, naturalization and insolvency proceedings, and other cases not herein provided for, except by analogy or in a suppletory character and whenever practicable and convenient.
The Court does not subscribe to the argument of the petitioners. Petitioners’ own rules, Rule XI, Section 4 of the GSIS’ Amended Policy and Procedural Guidelines No. 178-04, specifically provides:
If the respondent fails to file his Answer within five (5) working days from receipt of the Formal Charge for the supporting evidence, when requested, he shall be considered to have waived his right to file an answer and the PGM or the Board of Trustees, in proper cases, shall render judgment, as may be warranted by the facts and evidence submitted by the prosecution.
A perusal of said section readily discloses that the failure of a respondent to file an answer merely translates to a waiver of “his right to file an answer.” There is nothing in the rule that says that the charges are deemed admitted. It has not done away with the burden of the complainant to prove the charges with clear and convincing evidence.
It is true that Section 4 of the Rules of Court provides that the rules can be applied in a “suppletory character.” Suppletory is defined as “supplying deficiencies.”It means that the provisions in the Rules of Court will be made to apply only where there is an insufficiency in the applicable rule. There is, however, no such deficiency as the rules of the GSIS are explicit in case of failure to file the required answer. What is clearly stated there is that GSIS may “render judgment as may be warranted by the facts and evidence submitted by the prosecution.”
Even granting that Rule 8, Section 11 of the Rules of Court finds application in this case, petitioners must remember that there remain averments that are not deemed admitted by the failure to deny the same. Among them are immaterial allegations and incorrect conclusions drawn from facts set out in the complaint. Thus, even if respondents failed to file their answer, it does not mean that all averments found in the complaint will be considered as true and correct in their entirety, and that the forthcoming decision will be rendered in favor of the petitioners. We must not forget that even in administrative proceedings, it is still the complainant, or in this case the petitioners, who have the burden of proving, with substantial evidence, the allegations in the complaint or in the formal charges.
Bill of Rights: Section 4 - Freedom of Expression
G.R. No. L-31195 June 5, 1973
PHILIPPINE BLOOMING MILLS EMPLOYMENT ORGANIZATION, NICANOR TOLENTINO, FLORENCIO, PADRIGANO RUFINO, ROXAS MARIANO DE LEON, ASENCION PACIENTE, BONIFACIO VACUNA, BENJAMIN PAGCU and RODULFO MUNSOD, Petitioners,
PHILIPPINE BLOOMING MILLS CO., INC. and COURT OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, Respondents.
The petitioner Philippine Blooming Mills Employees Organization (hereinafter referred to as PBMEO) is a legitimate labor union composed of the employees of the respondent Philippine Blooming Mills Co., Inc., and petitioners Nicanor Tolentino, Florencio Padrigano, Rufino Roxas, Mariano de Leon, Asencion Paciente, Bonifacio Vacuna, Benjamin Pagcu and Rodulfo Munsod are officers and members of the petitioner Union. PBMEO decided to stage a mass demonstration in front of Malacañang to express their grievances against the alleged abuses of the Pasig Police.
Petitioners claim that on March 1, 1969, they decided to stage a mass demonstration at Malacañang on March 4, 1969, in protest against alleged abuses of the Pasig police, to be participated in by the workers in the first shift (from 6 A.M. to 2 P.M.) as well as those in the regular second and third shifts (from 7 A.M. to 4 P.M. and from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M., respectively); and that they informed the respondent Company of their proposed demonstration.
The Philippine Blooming Mills Inc., called for a meeting with the leaders of the PBMEO after learning about the planned mass demonstration. During the meeting, the planned demonstration was confirmed by the union. But it was stressed out by the union that the demonstration was not a strike against the company but was in factual exercise of the laborers inalienable constitutional right to freedom of expression, freedom of speech and freedom for petition for redress of grievances.
The company asked them to cancel the demonstration for it would interrupt the normal course of their business which may result in the loss of revenue. This was backed up with the threat of the possibility that the workers would lose their jobs if they pushed through with the rally.
A second meeting took place where the company reiterated their appeal that while the workers may be allowed to participate, those from the 1st and regular shifts should not absent themselves to participate, otherwise, they would be dismissed. Since it was too late to cancel the plan, the rally took place and the officers of the PBMEO were eventually dismissed for a violation of the ‘No Strike and No Lockout’ clause of their Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The lower court decided in favour of Philippine Blooming Mills Co., Inc., and the officers of the PBMEO were found guilty of bargaining in bad faith. The PBMEO’s motion for reconsideration was subsequently denied by the Court of Industrial Relations for being filed two days late.
Whether or not the workers who joined the strike violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement?
While the Bill of Rights also protects property rights, the primacy of human rights over property rights is recognized. Because these freedoms are "delicate and vulnerable, as well as supremely precious in our society" and the "threat of sanctions may deter their exercise almost as potently as the actual application of sanctions," they "need breathing space to survive," permitting government regulation only "with narrow specificity." Property and property rights can be lost thru prescription; but human rights are imprescriptible.
In the hierarchy of civil liberties, the rights of free expression, free assembly and petition, are not only civil rights but also political rights essential to man's enjoyment of his life, to his happiness and to his full and complete fulfillment. Thru these freedoms the citizens can participate not merely in the periodic establishment of the government through their suffrage but also in the administration of public affairs as well as in the discipline of abusive public officers. The citizen is accorded these rights so that he can appeal to the appropriate governmental officers or agencies for redress and protection as well as for the imposition of the lawful sanctions on erring public officers and employees.
Bill of Rights: Section 6 - Liberty of Abode
G.R. No. L-14639, March 25, 1919
ZACARIAS VILLAVICENCIO, ET AL., Petitioners
JUSTO LUKBAN, ET AL., Respondents
The Mayor of the city of Manila, Justo Lukban, for the best of all reasons, to exterminate vice, ordered the segregated district for women of ill repute, which had been permitted for a number of years in the city of Manila, closed. Between October 16 and October 25, 1918, the women were kept confined to their houses in the district by the police. Presumably, during this period, the city authorities quietly perfected arrangements with the Bureau of Labor for sending the women to Davao, Mindanao, as laborers; with some government office for the use of the coastguard cutters Corregidor and Negros, and with the Constabulary for a guard of soldiers.
At any rate, about midnight of October 25, the police, acting pursuant to orders from the chief of police, Anton Hohmann and the Mayor of the city of Manila, Justo Lukban, descended upon the houses, hustled some 170 inmates into patrol wagons, and placed them aboard the steamers that awaited their arrival. Said women are inmates of the houses of prostitution situated in Gardenia Street, in the district of Sampaloc.
The women were given no opportunity to collect their belongings, and apparently were under the impression that they were being taken to a police station for an investigation. They had no knowledge that they were destined for a life in Mindanao. They had not been asked if they wished to depart from that region and had neither directly nor indirectly given their consent to the deportation. The involuntary guests were received on board the steamers by a representative of the Bureau of Labor and a detachment of Constabulary soldiers. The two steamers with their unwilling passengers sailed for Davao during the night of October 25.
The vessels reached their destination at Davao on October 29. The women were landed and receipted for as laborers by Francisco Sales, provincial governor of Davao, and by Feliciano Yñigo and Rafael Castillo. The governor and the hacendero Yñigo, who appear as parties in the case, had no previous notification that the women were prostitutes who had been expelled from the city of Manila.
That when the petitioners filed for habeas corpus, the respondents moved to dismiss the case saying that those women were already out of their jurisdiction and that , it should be filed in the city of Davao instead.
The court ruled in favor of the petitioner with the instructions;
For the respondents to have fulfilled the court's order, three optional courses were open: (1) They could have produced the bodies of the persons according to the command of the writ; or (2) they could have shown by affidavit that on account of sickness or infirmity those persons could not safely be brought before the court; or (3) they could have presented affidavits to show that the parties in question or their attorney waived the right to be present.
The writ of Habeas Corpus was filed by the petitioners, with the prayer that the respondents produce around 170 women whom Justo Lukban et, al deported to Davao. Liberty of abode was also raised versus the power of the executive of the Municipality in deporting the women without their knowledge in his capacity as Mayor.
The court concluded the case by granting the parties aggrieved the sum of 400 pesos each, plus 100 pesos for nominal damage due to contempt of court. Reasoning further that if the chief executive of any municipality in the Philippines could forcibly and illegally take a private citizen and place him beyond the boundaries of the municipality, and then, when called upon to defend his official action, could calmly fold his hands and claim that the person was under no restraint and that he, the official, had no jurisdiction over this other municipality.
We believe the true principle should be that, if the respondent is within the jurisdiction of the court and has it in his power to obey the order of the court and thus to undo the wrong that he has inflicted, he should be compelled to do so. Even if the party to whom the writ is addressed has illegally parted with the custody of a person before the application for the writ is no reason why the writ should not issue. If the mayor and the chief of police, acting under no authority of law, could deport these women from the city of Manila to Davao, the same officials must necessarily have the same means to return them from Davao to Manila. The respondents, within the reach of process, may not be permitted to restrain a fellow citizen of her liberty by forcing her to change her domicile and to avow the act with impunity in the courts, while the person who has lost her birthright of liberty has no effective recourse. The great writ of liberty may not thus be easily evaded.
We find, therefore, both on reason and authority, that no one of the defense offered by the respondents constituted a legitimate bar to the granting of the writ of habeas corpus.