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PNB, petitioner, vs. FLORENCE O. CABANSAG, respondent.


FACTS:
In late 1998, [herein Respondent Florence Cabansag] arrived in
Singapore as a tourist. She applied for employment, with the
Singapore Branch of the Philippine National Bank. At the time, the
Singapore PNB Branch was under the helm of Ruben C. Tobias, a
lawyer, as General Manager, with the rank of Vice-President of
the Bank. She applied for employment as Branch Credit Officer, at
a total monthly package of $SG4,500.00, effective upon
assumption of duties after approval. Ruben C. Tobias found her
eminently qualified and wrote on October 26, 1998, a letter to the
President of the Bank in Manila, recommending the appointment
of Florence O. Cabansag, for the position.

On December 7, 1998, Ruben C. Tobias wrote a letter to Florence
O. Cabansag offering her a temporary appointment, as Credit
Officer, at a basic salary of Singapore Dollars 4,500.00, a month
and, upon her successful completion of her probation to be
determined solely, by the Bank, she may be extended at the
discretion of the Bank, a permanent appointment and that her
temporary appointment was subject to certain terms and
conditions.

Cabansag accepted the position and assumed office. In the
meantime, the Philippine Embassy in Singapore processed the
employment contract of Florence O. Cabansag and, on March 8,
1999, she was issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment
Administration, an Overseas Employment Certificate, certifying
that she was a bona fide contract worker for Singapore.

Barely three (3) months in office, Tobias told Cabansag that her
resignation was imperative as a cost-cutting measure of the
Bank. Tobias, likewise, told Cabansag that the PNB Singapore
Branch will be sold or transformed into a remittance office and
that, in either way, she had to resign from her employment. She
then asked Ruben C. Tobias that she be furnished with a Formal
Advice from the PNB Head Office in Manila. However, Ruben C.
Tobias flatly refused. Florence O. Cabansag did not submit any
letter of resignation.

On April 16, 1999, Ruben C. Tobias again summoned Florence O.
Cabansag to his office and demanded that she submit her letter of
resignation, with the pretext that he needed a Chinese-speaking
Credit Officer to penetrate the local market, with the information
that a Chinese-speaking Credit Officer had already been hired and
will be reporting for work soon. She was warned that, unless she
submitted her letter of resignation, her employment record will
be blemished with the notation DISMISSED spread thereon.
Without giving any definitive answer, Florence O. Cabansag asked
Ruben C. Tobias that she be given sufficient time to look for
another job. Ruben C. Tobias told her that she should be out of
her employment by May 15, 1999.

However, on April 19, 1999, Ruben C. Tobias again summoned
Florence O. Cabansag and adamantly ordered her to submit her
letter of resignation. She refused. On April 20, 1999, she received
a letter from Ruben C. Tobias terminating her employment with
the Bank.

On January 18, 2000, the Labor Arbiter rendered judgment in
favor of the Complainant and against the Respondents. PNB
appealed the labor arbiters Decision to the NLRC. In a Resolution
dated June 29, 2001, the Commission affirmed that Decision.
Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals which rendered a
decision in favor of Florence Cabansag.

ISSUE
Whether or not the arbitration branch of the NLRC in the National
Capital Region has jurisdiction over the instant controversy.

HELD
The jurisdiction of labor arbiters and the NLRC is specified in
Article 217 of the Labor Code and more specifically, Section 10 of
RA 8042 reads in part:

SECTION 10. Money Claims. Notwithstanding any provision of
law to the contrary, the Labor Arbiters of the National Labor
Relations Commission (NLRC) shall have the original and exclusive
jurisdiction to hear and decide, within ninety (90) calendar days
after the filing of the complaint, the claims arising out of an
employer-employee relationship or by virtue of any law or
contract involving Filipino workers for overseas deployment
including claims for actual, moral, exemplary and other forms of
damages.

Based on the foregoing provisions, labor arbiters clearly have
original and exclusive jurisdiction over claims arising from
employer-employee relations, including termination disputes
involving all workers, among whom are overseas Filipino workers
(OFW). We are not unmindful of the fact that respondent was
directly hired, while on a tourist status in Singapore, by the PNB
branch in that city state. Prior to employing respondent,
petitioner had to obtain an employment pass for her from the
Singapore Ministry of Manpower. Securing the pass was a
regulatory requirement pursuant to the immigration regulations
of that country.

Noteworthy is the fact that respondent likewise applied for and
secured an Overseas Employment Certificate from the POEA
through the Philippine Embassy in Singapore. The Certificate,
issued on March 8, 1999, declared her a bona fide contract
worker for Singapore. Under Philippine law, this document
authorized her working status in a foreign country and entitled
her to all benefits and processes under our statutes. Thus, even
assuming arguendo that she was considered at the start of her
employment as a direct hire governed by and subject to the
laws, common practices and customs prevailing in Singapore she
subsequently became a contract worker or an OFW who was
covered by Philippine labor laws and policies upon certification by
the POEA. At the time her employment was illegally terminated,
she already possessed the POEA employment
Certificate. Whether employed locally or overseas, all Filipino
workers enjoy the protective mantle of Philippine labor and social
legislation, contract stipulations to the contrary notwithstanding.

For purposes of venue, workplace shall be understood as the
place or locality where the employee is regularly assigned when
the cause of action arose. It shall include the place where the
employee is supposed to report back after a temporary detail,
assignment or travel. In the case of field employees, as well as
ambulant or itinerant workers, their workplace is where they are
regularly assigned, or where they are supposed to regularly
receive their salaries/wages or work instructions from, and report
the results of their assignment to their employers.

Under the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995
(RA 8042), a migrant worker refers to a person who is to be
engaged, is engaged or has been engaged in a remunerated
activity in a state of which he or she is not a legal resident; to be
used interchangeably with overseas Filipino worker.*21+
Undeniably, respondent was employed by petitioner in its branch
office in Singapore. Admittedly, she is a Filipino and not a legal
resident of that state. She thus falls within the category of
migrant worker or overseas Filipino worker.

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JMM Promotion and Management, Inc. vs. CA, G.R. No. 120095,
August 5, 1996; 260 SCRA 319 (Labor Standards Artist Record
Book as a requirement for overseas employment contract)

Facts:
The deployment of female entertainers to Japan was controlled
by the government through Department Order No. 3, wherein
said entertainers were required an Artist Record Book as a
precondition to the processing by the POEA of any contract for
overseas employment. Petitioners contends that overseas
employment is a property right within the meaning of the
Constitution and avers that the alleged deprivation thereof
through the onerous requirement of an ARB violates due process
and constitutes an invalid exercise of police power.

Issue:
WON an Artist Record Book is a valid requirement for overseas
employment.

Held:
Yes. The ARB requirement and the questioned Department order
related to its issuance were issued pursuant to a valid exercise of
police power which considers the welfare of Filipino performing
artists, particularly the women.

EXECUTIVE SECRETARY V. CA 429 SCRA 81 (2004)

FACTS:
The Asian Recruitment Council Philippine Chapter, Inc. (ARCOPhil)
filed on July 17, 1995 a petition for declaratory relief under Rule
63 0f the Rules of Court with the RTC of Quezon City to declare as
unconstitutional portions of RA 8042, otherwise known as the
Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 with a plea
for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or a writ of
preliminary injunction enjoining the government from enforcing
the said portions of the law. The questioned portions of the said
RA deal with illegal recruitment, penalties for illegal recruitment,
anon the venue of criminal action for illegal recruitment.

On August 1, 1995, the trial court issued a temporary restraining
order on the implementation or effectivity of the questioned
provisions based on the allegations of the private respondents
that they will suffer grave or irreparable damage or injury if the
law is implemented.

ARCO-Phil was joined in the petition by eleven other corporations
which were allegedly members of the organization when it filed
an amended petition. The amended petition also questioned
other sections of the law which dealt with the overseas
deployment only of skilled Filipino workers alleging discrimination
against unskilled workers.

Respondent averred that the aforequoted provisions of Rep. Act
No. 8042 violate Section 1, Article III of the Constitution.
According to the respondent, Section6(g) and (i) discriminated
against unskilled workers and their families and, as such, violated
the equal protection clause, as well as Article II, Section 12
and Article XV, Sections 1 and 3(3) of the Constitution.

As the law encouraged the deployment of skilled Filipino workers,
only overseas skilled workers are granted rights. The respondent
stressed that unskilled workers also have the right to seek
employment abroad. According to the respondent, the right of
unskilled workers to due process is violated because they are
prevented from finding employment and earning a living abroad.
It cannot be argued that skilled workers are immune from abuses
by employers, while unskilled workers are merely prone to such
abuses. It was pointed out that both skilled and unskilled workers
are subjected to abuses by foreign employers. Furthermore, the
prohibition of the deployment of unskilled workers abroad would
only encourage fly-by-night illegal recruiters.

The respondent justified its plea for injunctive relief on the
allegation in its amended petition that its members are exposed
to the immediate and irreparable anger of being deprived of their
right to a livelihood and other constitutional rights without due
process, on its claim that a great number of duly licensed
recruitment agencies have stopped or suspended their operations
for fear that (a)their officers and employees would be prosecuted
under the unjust and unconstitutional penal provisions of Rep. Act
No. 8042 and meted equally unjust and excessive penalties.

Petitioners filed a petition with the court of Appeals assailing the
order and the writ with the court of Appeals on the grounds that
it has not shown any convincing proof that in fact damage or
injury would result in the implementation of the questioned
statute. The Court however dismissed the petition.

ISSUE:
WONthe appellate court erred in affirming the trial courts order and the writ it
Issued

HELD:
The SC also held that the assailed order and writ of preliminary
injunction is mooted by case law. The SC cited various cases it had
earlier decided on apply RA8042. By these rulings, the SC, in
effect, affirmed the validity of the assailed provisions. Hence the
enforcement of the provisions cannot be enjoined unless the SC,
by final judgment declares the provisions to be unconstitutional.

In Peoplev.Diaz:
We held that Rep. Act No. 8042 is but an amendment of the
Labor Code of the Philippines and is not an ex-post facto law
because it is not applied retroactively

In JMMPromotionandManagement,Inc.v.CourtofAppeals:
The issue of the extent of the police power of the State to
regulate a business, profession or calling vis--vis the equal
protection clause and the non-impairment clause of the
Constitution were raised and we held, thus:

A profession, trade or calling is a property right within the meanin
g of our constitutional guarantees. One cannot be deprived of the
right to work and the right to make a living because these rights
are property rights, the arbitrary and unwarranted deprivation of
which normally constitutes an actionable wrong. Nevertheless, no
right is absolute, and the proper regulation of a profession,
calling, business or trade has always been upheld as a legitimate
subject of a valid exercise of the police power by the state
particularly when their conduct affects either the execution of
legitimate governmental functions, the preservation of the State,
the public health and welfare and public morals.

According to the maxim, sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas, it
must of course be within the legitimate range of legislative action
to define the mode and manner in whichever one may so use his
own property so as not to pose injury to himself or others. In any
case, where the liberty curtailed affects at most the rights of
property, the permissible scope of regulatory measures is
certainly much wider.

To pretend that licensing or accreditation requirements violate
the due process clause is to ignore the settled practice, under the
mantle of the police power, of regulating entry to the practice of
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various trades or professions. Professionals leaving for abroad are
required to pass rigid written and practical exams before they are
deemed fit to practice their trade. Seamen are required to take
tests determining their seamanship. Locally, the Professional
Regulation Commission has begun to require previously licensed
doctors and other professionals to furnish documentary proof
that they had either re-trained or had undertaken continuing
education courses as a requirement for renewal of their licenses

It is not claimed that these requirements pose an unwarranted
deprivation of a property right under the due process clause. So
long as professionals and other workers meet reasonable
regulatory standards no such deprivation exists


People v Panis 142 SCRA 664 (1986)

Facts:
Four informations were filed on January 9, 1981, in the Court of
First Instance of Zambales and Olongapo City alleging that Serapio
Abug, private respondent herein, "without first securing a license
from the Ministry of Labor as a holder of authority to operate a
fee-charging employment agency, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and criminally operate a private fee-charging
employment agency by charging fees and expenses (from) and
promising employment in Saudi Arabia" to four separate
individuals named therein, in violation of Article 16 in relation to
Article 39 of the Labor Code.

Abug filed a motion to quash on the ground that the informations
did not charge an offense because he was accused of illegally
recruiting only one person in each of the four informations. Under
the proviso in Article 13(b), he claimed, there would be illegal
recruitment only "whenever two or more persons are in any
manner promised or offered any employment for a fee."

The posture of the petitioner is that the private respondent is
being prosecuted under Article 39 in relation to Article 16 of the
Labor Code; hence, Article 13(b) is not applicable. However, as the
first two cited articles penalize acts of recruitment and placement
without proper authority, which is the charge embodied in the
informations, application of the definition of recruitment and
placement in Article 13(b) is unavoidable.

Issue:
Whether or not the petitioner is guilty of violating Article 13(b) of
P. D. 442, otherwise known as the Labor Code.

Held:
Article 13(b) of P. D. 442, otherwise known as the Labor Code,
states that, "(b) 'Recruitment and placement' refers to any act of
canvassing, 'enlisting, contracting, transporting, hiring, or
procuring workers, and includes referrals, contract services,
promising or advertising for employment, locally or abroad,
whether for profit or not: Provided, That any person or entity
which, in any manner, offers or promises for a fee employment to
two or more persons shall be deemed engaged in recruitment and
placement."

As we see it, the proviso was intended neither to impose a
condition on the basic rule nor to provide an exception thereto
but merely to create a presumption. The presumption is that the
individual or entity is engaged in recruitment and placement
whenever he or it is dealing with two or more persons to whom,
in consideration of a fee, an offer or promise of employment is
made in the course of the "canvassing, enlisting, contracting,
transporting, utilizing, hiring or procuring (of) workers."

At any rate, the interpretation here adopted should give more
force to the campaign against illegal recruitment and placement,
which has victimized many Filipino workers seeking a better life in
a foreign land, and investing hard-earned savings or even
borrowed funds in pursuit of their dream, only to be awakened to
the reality of a cynical deception at the hands of their own
countrymen


THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,plaintiff-appelleevs. CAROL M. DELA
PIEDRA,accused-appellant
G.R.No.121777(350SCRA163)January 24, 2001KAPUNAN,J.

FACTS:
On the afternoon of January 30, 1994, Maria Lourdes Modesto
and Nancy Araneta together with her friends Jennelyn Baez, and
Sandra Aquino went to the house of Jasmine Alejandro, after
having learned that a woman is there to recruit job applicants
for Singapore. Carol dela Piedra was already briefing some people
when they arrived. Jasmine, on the other hand, welcomed and
asked them to sit down.

They listened to the recruiter who was then talking about thebr
eakdown of the fees involved: P30, 000 for the visa and the round
trip ticket, and P5, 000 as placement fee and for the processing of
the papers. The initial payment was P2, 000, while P30, 000 will
be by salary deduction. The recruiter said that she was
recruiting nurses for Singapore. Araneta, her friends and
Lourdes then filled up bio-data forms and were required to
submit pictures and a transcript of records. After the interview,
Lourdes gave the initial payment of P2, 000 to Jasmine, who
assured her that she was authorized to receive the money.
Meanwhile, in the morning of the said date, Erlie Ramos, Attorney
II of the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA), received
a telephone call from
an unidentified woman inquiring about the legitimacy of the recru
itment conducted by a certain Mrs. Carol Figueroa.

Ramos, whose duties include the surveillance of suspected illegal
recruiters, immediately a friend, a certain Mayet Bellotindos so
they could both go the place where the recruitment was
reportedly being undertaken.

Upon arriving at the reported area at around 4:00 p.m.,
Bellotindos entered the house and pretended to be an applicant.
Ramos remained outside and stood on the pavement, from where
he was able to see around six (6) persons in the sala. Ramos
even heard a woman, identified as Carol Figueroa, talks about the
possible employment she has to provide in Singapore and the
documents that the applicants have to comply with. Fifteen (15)
minutes later, Bellotindos came out with a bio-data form in hand.
Thereafter, Ramos conferred with a certain Capt. Mendoza of the
Criminal Investigation Service (CIS) to organize the arrest of the
alleged illegal recruiter. A surveillance team was then organized
to confirm the report. After which, a raid was executed.
Consequently,
Carol was charged and convicted by the trial court of illegal
recruitment.

Upon appeal, accused questions her conviction for illegal
recruitment in large scale and assails, as well, the constitutionality
of the law defining and penalizing said crime.

First, accused submits that Article 13 (b) of the Labor Code
defining recruitment and placement is void for vagueness and,
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thus, violates the due process clause. The provision in question
reads:
ART. 13. Definitions.
(a) x x x.
(b)
Recruitment and placement refers to any act of canvassing,enli
sting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring or procuring
workers, and includes referrals, contract services, promising or
advertising for employment, locally or abroad,
whether for profit or not:

Provided, That any person or entity which, in any manner, offers
or promises for a fee employment to two or more persons shall
be deemed engaged in recruitment and placement.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not sec. 13 (b) of P.D. 442, as amended, otherwise
known as the illegal recruitment law is unconstitutional as it
violates the due process clause.
(2) Whether or not accused was denied equal protection and
therefore should be exculpated

HELD:
For the First issue, dela Piedra submits that Article 13 (b) of the
Labor Code defining recruitment and placement is void for
vagueness and, thus, violates the due process clause.

Due process requires that the terms of a penal statute must be
sufficiently explicit to inform those who are subject to it what
conduct on their part will render them liable to its penalties. In
support of her submission, dela Piedra invokes People vs. Panis,
where the Supreme Court criticized the definition of
recruitment and placement. The Court ruled, however, that her
reliance on the said case was misplaced. The issue in Panis was
whether, under the proviso of Article 13 (b), the crime of illegal
recruitment could be committed only whenever two or more
persons are in any manner promised or offered any employment
for a fee. In this case, the Court merely bemoaned the lack of
records that would help shed light on the meaning of the proviso.

The absence
of such records notwithstanding, the Court was able to arrive at a
reasonable interpretation of the proviso by applying principles in
criminal law and drawing from the language and intent of the law
itself. Section 13(b), therefore, is not a perfectly vague act
whose obscurity is evident on its face. If at all, the proviso therein
is merely couched in imprecise language that was salvaged by
proper construction. It is not void for vagueness.
Dela Piedra further argues that the acts that constitute
recruitment and placement suffer from over breadth since by
merely referring a person for employment; a person may be
convicted of illegal recruitment.

That Section 13 (b) encompasses what appellant apparently
considers as customary and harmless acts such as labor or
employment referral(referring an applicant, according to
appellant, for employment to a
prospective employer) does not render the law overbroad.

Evidently, Dela Piedra misapprehends concept of over breadth.

A statute may be said to be overbroad where it operates to inhibit
the exercise of individual freedoms affirmatively guaranteed by
the Constitution, such as the freedom of speech or religion.

A generally
worded statute, when construed to punish conduct which cannot
be constitutionally punished is unconstitutionally vague to the
extent that it
fails to give adequate warning of the boundary between the
constitutionally permissible and the constitutionally impermissible
applications of the statute.

(2)Anent the second issue, Dela Piedra invokes the equal
protection clause in her defense. She points out that although the
evidence purportedly shows that
Jasmine Alejandro handed out application forms and even
received Lourdes Modestos payment, appellant was the only
one criminally charged.
Alejandro, on the other hand, remained scot-free.

From this, she concludes that the prosecution discriminated
against her on grounds of regional origins.

Appellant is a Cebuana while Alejandro is a Zamboanguea, and
the alleged crime took place in Zamboanga City. The Supreme
Court held that the argument has no merit. The prosecution of
one guilty person while others equally guilty are not prosecuted,
is not, by itself, a denial of the equal protection of the laws.

The unlawful administration by officers of a statute fair on its
face, resulting in its unequal application to those who are entitled
to be treated alike, is not a denial of equal protection unless there
is shown to be present in it an element of intentional or
purposeful discrimination. But a discriminatory purpose is
not presumed, there must be a showing of clear and intentional
discrimination.In the case at bar, Dela Piedra has failed to show
that, in charging her, there was a clear and intentional
discrimination on the part of the prosecuting officials.

Furthermore, the presumption is that the prosecuting officers
regularly performed their duties, and this presumption can be
overcome only by proof to the contrary, not by mere speculation.

As said earlier, accused has not presented any evidence to
overcome this presumption. The mere allegation that dela Piedra,
a Cebuana, was charged with
thecommission of a crime, while a Zamboanguea, the guilty part
y inappellants eyes, was not, is insufficient to support a
conclusion that the prosecution officers denied appellant equal
protection of the laws.

People vs. Ortiz-Miyake September 16, 1997 GR No. 115338-39
Regalado, J.:

Facts:
Appellant Ortiz-Miyake promised Elenita Marasigan, complainant,
a job as a factory worker in Taiwan for a fee lower than that
recruitment agency she first went to. But later, she was required
to make additional payment. She was not issued receipts despite
her persistence. Marasigan never departed for Taiwan.

Upon verification with the Philippine Overseas Employment
Administration (POEA), it was revealed that appellant was not
authorized to recruit workers. They went to court but Marasigan
was the only one who testified during the trial. The prosecution
wanted to prove that two other complainants were also
victimized by appellant. In lieu of their testimonies, they
presented their relatives. Both testified that Generillo and Del
Rosario were victimized by the appellant but was never there
when negotiations and payments were made with the appellant.

Accused Ortiz-Miyake was charged with illegal recruitment in
large scale in the Regional Trial Court of Makati on the complaint
made by Elenita Marasigan and other defendants.
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Issue:
WON accused is guilty of illegal recruitment in large scale.

Ruling:
Appellant is only guilty of simple illegal recruitment.

In illegal recruitment, the number of persons victimized is
determinative. Where illegal recruitment is committed against a
lone victim, the accused may be convicted of simple illegal
recruitment which is punishable with a lower penalty. Where the
offense is committed against three or more persons, it is qualified
to illegal recruitment in large scale which provides a higher
penalty.

In illegal recruitment in large scale, it is necessary that there is
sufficient evidence proving that the offense was committed
against three or more persons. The testimonies of the relatives of
the other two complainants lack personal knowledge of the actual
circumstances surrounding the charges made by Generilo and Del
Rosario.

For insufficiency of evidence and in absence of the third element
of illegal recruitment in large scale, the Court cannot affirm the
conviction made by the RTC.


BECMEN SERVICE EXPORTER AND PROMOTION, INC. vs.
SPOUSES SIMPLICIO and MILA CUARESMA, WHITE FALCON
SERVICES, INC. and JAIME ORTIZ GR No. 182978-79 SPOUSES
SIMPLICIO AND MILA CUARESMA vs. WHITE FALCON SERVICES,
INC. and BECMEN SERVICE EXPORTER, INC. GR No. 184298-99
April 7, 2009

FACTS:
On January 6, 1997, Jasmin Cuaresma (Jasmin) was deployed by
Becmen Service Exporter and Promotion, Inc. (Becmen) to serve
as assistant nurse in Al-Birk Hospital in the Kingdom of Saudi
Arabia (KSA), for a contract duration of three years, with a
corresponding salary of US$247.00 per month. Over a year later,
she died allegedly of poisoning. Jessie Fajardo, a co-worker of
Jasmin, narrated that on June 21, 1998, Jasmin was found dead by
a female cleaner lying on the floor inside her dormitory room with
her mouth foaming and smelling of poison.
Based on the police report and the medical report of the
examining physician of the Al-Birk Hospital, who conducted an
autopsy of Jasmins body, the likely cause of her death was
poisoning. Jasmins body was repatriated to Manila on September
3, 1998. The following day, the City Health Officer of Cabanatuan
City conducted an autopsy and the resulting medical report
indicated that Jasmin died under violent circumstances, and not
poisoning as originally found by the KSA examining physician. The
toxicology report of the NBI, however, tested negative for non-
volatile, metallic poison and insecticides.

Simplicio and Mila Cuaresma (the Cuaresmas), Jasmins parents
and her surviving heirs, received from the Overseas Workers
Welfare Administration (OWWA) the following amounts:
P50,000.00 for death benefits; P50,000.00 for loss of life;
P20,000.00 for funeral expenses; and P10,000.00 for medical
reimbursement.

On November 22, 1999, the Cuaresmas filed a complaint against
Becmen and its principal in the KSA, Rajab & Silsilah Company
(Rajab), claiming death and insurance benefits, as well as moral
and exemplary damages for Jasmins death, Jasmins death was
work-related, having occurred at the employers premises; that
under Jasmins contract with Becmen, she is entitled to iqama
insurance coverage; that Jasmin is entitled to compensatory
damages in the amount of US$103,740.00, which is the sum total
of her monthly salary of US$247.00 per month under her
employment contract, multiplied by 35 years (or the remaining
years of her productive life had death not supervened at age 25,
assuming that she lived and would have retired at age 60).

In their position paper, Becmen and Rajab insist that Jasmin
committed suicide, citing a prior unsuccessful suicide attempt
sometime in March or April 1998 and relying on the medical
report of the examining physician of the Al-Birk Hospital. They
likewise deny liability because the Cuaresmas already recovered
death and other benefits totaling P130,000.00 from the OWWA.
They insist that the Cuaresmas are not entitled to iqama
insurance because this refers to the issuance not insurance
of iqama, or residency/work permit required in the KSA. On the
issue of moral and exemplary damages, they claim that the
Cuaresmas are not entitled to the same because they have not
acted with fraud, nor have they been in bad faith in handling
Jasmins case.

While the case was pending, Becmen filed a manifestation and
motion for substitution alleging that Rajab terminated their
agency relationship and had appointed White Falcon Services, Inc.
(White Falcon) as its new recruitment agent in the Philippines.
Thus, White Falcon was impleaded as respondent as well, and it
adopted and reiterated Becmens arguments in the position paper
it subsequently filed.

ISSUES:
(1.) whether the Cuaresmas are entitled to monetary claims, by
way of benefits and damages, for the death of their daughter
Jasmin.
2) whether or not Jasmins death be considered as work-
connected and thus compensable even while she was not on
duty;

HELD:
Article 19 of the Civil Code provides that every person must, in
the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act
with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good
faith. Article 21 of the Code states that any person who wilfully
causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to
morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter
for the damage. And, lastly, Article 24 requires that in all
contractual, property or other relations, when one of the parties
is at a disadvantage on account of his moral dependence,
ignorance, indigence, mental weakness, tender age or other
handicap, the courts must be vigilant for his protection.

Clearly, Rajab, Becmen and White Falcons acts and omissions are
against public policy because they undermine and subvert the
interest and general welfare of our OFWs abroad, who are
entitled to full protection under the law. They set an awful
example of how foreign employers and recruitment agencies
should treat and act with respect to their distressed employees
and workers abroad. Their shabby and callous treatment of
Jasmins case; their uncaring attitude; their unjustified failure and
refusal to assist in the determination of the true circumstances
surrounding her mysterious death, and instead finding satisfaction
in the unreasonable insistence that she committed suicide just so
they can conveniently avoid pecuniary liability; placing their own
corporate interests above of the welfare of their employees all
these are contrary to morals, good customs and public policy, and
constitute taking advantage of the poor employee and her
familys ignorance, helplessness, indigence and lack of power and
6

resources to seek the truth and obtain justice for the death of a
loved one.

Giving in handily to the idea that Jasmin committed suicide, and
adamantly insisting on it just to protect Rajab and Becmens
material interest despite evidence to the contrary is against
the moral law and runs contrary to the good custom of not
denouncing ones fellowmen for alleged grave wrongdoings that
undermine their good name and honor.

Whether employed locally or overseas, all Filipino workers enjoy
the protective mantle of Philippine labor and social legislation,
contract stipulations to the contrary notwithstanding. This
pronouncement is in keeping with the basic public policy of the
State to afford protection to labor, promote full employment,
ensure equal work opportunities regardless of sex, race or creed,
and regulate the relations between workers and employers. This
ruling is likewise rendered imperative by Article 17 of the Civil
Code which states that laws which have for their object public
order, public policy and good customs shall not be rendered
ineffective by laws or judgments promulgated, or by
determinations or conventions agreed upon in a foreign country.

The relations between capital and labor are so impressed with
public interest,and neither shall act oppressively against the
other, or impair the interest or convenience of the public. In case
of doubt, all labor legislation and all labor contracts shall be
construed in favor of the safety and decent living for the laborer.

The grant of moral damages to the employee by reason of
misconduct on the part of the employer is sanctioned by Article
2219 (10) of the Civil Code, which allows recovery of such
damages in actions referred to in Article 21.

Thus, in view of the foregoing, the Court holds that the Cuaresmas
are entitled to moral damages, which Becmen and White Falcon
are jointly and solidarily liable to pay, together with exemplary
damages for wanton and oppressive behavior, and by way of
example for the public good.

On the second issue:

While the employers premises may be defined very broadly not
only to include premises owned by it, but also premises it leases,
hires, supplies or uses, we are not prepared to rule that the
dormitory wherein Jasmin stayed should constitute employers
premises as would allow a finding that death or injury therein is
considered to have been incurred or sustained in the course of or
arose out of her employment. There are certainly exceptions, but
they do not appear to apply here. Moreover, a complete
determination would have to depend on the unique
circumstances obtaining and the overall factual environment of
the case, which are here lacking.
WHEREFORE, Rajab & Silsilah Company, White Falcon Services,
Inc., Becmen Service Exporter and Promotion, Inc., and their
corporate directors and officers are found jointly and solidarily
liable and ORDERED to indemnify the heirs of Jasmin Cuaresma,
spouses Simplicio and Mila Cuaresma, the following amounts: (1)
TWO MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P2,500,000.00)
as moral damages; (2) TWO MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND
PESOS (P2,500,000.00) as exemplary damages; (3)Attorneys fees
equivalent to ten percent (10%) of the total monetary award.