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Manila Electric Co.

vs Quisumbing On the retroactivity of the CBA Arbitral Award, the Court


Facts: held that the labor laws are silent as to when an arbitral award in
The Secretary of Labor rendered a decision in which the a labor dispute where the Secretary had assumed jurisdiction by
parties were directed to execute a Collective Bargaining virtue of Article 263 (9) of the Labor Code shall retroact. In
Agreement wherein the wages of the employees of MERALCO general, a CBA negotiated within six months after the expiration
would be increased. Some alleged members of private of the existing CBA retroacts to the day immediately following
respondent union (Union for brevity) filed a motion for such date and if agreed thereafter, the effectivity depends on the
intervention while a separate intervention was filed by the agreement of the parties.
supervisor’s union (FLAMES) of petitioner Manila Electric Co. On the other hand, the law is silent as to the retroactivity
Petitioner warns that if the wage increase of P2,200.00 per of a CBA arbitral award or that granted not by virtue of the mutual
month as ordered by the Secretary is allowed it would simply pass agreement of the parties but by intervention of the government.
the cost covering such increase to the consumers through an Despite the silence of the law, the Court rules herein that CBA
increase in the rate of electricity. Petitioner also claims that its arbitral awards granted after six months from the expiration of
actual total net income for 1996 was P5.1 billion. However, an the last CBA shall retroact to such time agreed upon by both
estimate by the All Asia financial analyst stated that petitioner’s employer and the employees or their union. Absent such an
net operating income for the same year was about P5.7 billion, a agreement as to retroactivity, the award shall retroact to the first
figure which the Union relies on to support its claim. Petitioner day after the six-month period following the expiration of the last
claims that based on Sec. 253 – A, its retroactivity shall be agreed day of the CBA should there be one. In the absence of a CBA, the
upon by the parties but since there was no agreement to that Secretary's determination of the date of retroactivity as part of
effect, it shall be given a prospective effect. The Union on the his discretionary powers over arbitral awards shall control.
other hand claims that it shall retroact from the time granted by
the Secretary. The Union claims that Article 253-A cannot be Agabon vs NLRC
properly applied to herein case because it speaks of agreements Facts:
by and between the parties, and not arbitral awards. Therefore Private respondent Riviera Home Improvements, Inc. is
in the absence of law prohibiting the effectivity of arbitral awards engaged in the business of selling and installing ornamental and
issued by the Secretary of Labor pursuant to Article 263 (g), the construction materials. It employed petitioners Virgilio Agabon
Secretary is deemed vested with plenary and discretionary and Jenny Agabon as gypsum board and cornice installers.
powers to determine the effectivity thereof. Petitioners were dismissed due to abandonment of work.
Petitioners then filed a complaint for illegal dismissal and
Issues: (1) Whether or not the increase on the wages of the payment of money claims. Petitioners assert that they were
employees would result to increase in the rate of electricity; (2) dismissed because the private respondent refused to give them
When is the reckoning period for the retroactive effect of the assignments unless they agreed to work on a "pakyaw" basis.
arbitral awards They did not agree on this arrangement because it would mean
losing benefits as Social Security System (SSS) members.
Ruling: Petitioners also claim that private respondent did not comply
No. An increase in the prices of electric current needs with the twin requirements of notice and hearing. Private
the approval of the appropriate regulatory government agency respondent, on the other hand, maintained that petitioners were
and does not automatically result from a mere increase in the not dismissed but had abandoned their work. According to
wages of petitioner's employees. The Court held that the 5.7 private respondent, petitioners did not report for work because
billion which was the Secretary’s basis for granting the P2,200.00 they had subcontracted to perform installation work for another
is higher than the actual net income of P5.1 billion admitted by company. Petitioners also demanded for an increase in their
petitioner. It would be proper then to increase the Court's award wage to P280.00 per day. When this was not granted, petitioners
of P1,900.00 to P2,000.00 for the two years of the CBA award. stopped reporting for work and filed the illegal dismissal case.
The Court held that it does "not seek to enumerate in this
decision the factors that should affect wage determination" Issue: (1) Whether or not the petitioners were illegally dismissed;
because collective bargaining disputes particularly those (2) Whether or not the private respondent did not comply with
affecting the national interest and public service "requires due the requirements of notice and hearing
consideration and proper balancing of the interests of the parties
to the dispute and of those who might be affected by the Ruling:
dispute." The Court takes judicial notice that the new amounts Article 282 of the Labor Code enumerates the just
granted herein are significantly higher than the weighted average causes for termination by the employer: (a) serious misconduct
salary currently enjoyed by other rank-and-file employees within or willful disobedience by the employee of the lawful orders of
the community. It should be noted that the relations between his employer or the latter's representative in connection with the
labor and capital is impressed with public interest which must employee's work; (b) gross and habitual neglect by the employee
yield to the common good. Neither party should act oppressively of his duties; (c) fraud or willful breach by the employee of the
against the other or impair the interest or convenience of the trust reposed in him by his employer or his duly authorized
public. representative; (d) commission of a crime or offense by the
employee against the person of his employer or any immediate
member of his family or his duly authorized representative; and Jaka Food Processing Corporation v. Pacot
(e) other causes analogous to the foregoing. Facts:
Abandonment is the deliberate and unjustified refusal of Respondents Darwin Pacot, Robert Parohinog, David
an employee to resume his employment. It is a form of neglect of Bisnar, Marlon Domingo, Rhoel Lescano and Jonathan Cagabcab
duty, hence, a just cause for termination of employment by the were earlier hired by petitioner JAKA Foods Processing
employer. For a valid finding of abandonment, these two factors Corporation (JAKA, for short) until the latter terminated their
should be present: (1) the failure to report for work or absence employment on August 29, 1997 because the corporation was "in
without valid or justifiable reason; and (2) a clear intention to dire financial straits". It is not disputed, however, that the
sever employer-employee relationship. The Court held that termination was effected without JAKA complying with the
subcontracting for another company clearly showed the requirement under Article 283 of the Labor Code regarding the
intention of petitioners to sever the employer-employee service of a written notice upon the employees and the
relationship with private respondent. Private respondent at that Department of Labor and Employment at least one (1) month
time warned petitioners that they would be dismissed if this before the intended date of termination. Respondents separately
happened again. Petitioners disregarded the warning and filed with the Regional Arbitration Branch of the National Labor
exhibited a clear intention to sever their employer-employee Relations Commission (NLRC) complaints for illegal dismissal,
relationship. underpayment of wages and nonpayment of service incentive
Dismissals based on just causes contemplate acts or leave and 13th month pay against JAKA and its HRD Manager,
omissions attributable to the employee while dismissals based on Rosana Castelo. The Labor Arbiter rendered a decision declaring
authorized causes involve grounds under the Labor Code which the termination illegal and ordering JAKA to reinstate
allow the employer to terminate employees. A termination for an respondents with full back wages, and separation pay if
authorized cause requires payment of separation pay. When the reinstatement is not possible. On an appeal, the CA rendered a
termination of employment is declared illegal, reinstatement and decision ordering JAKA to pay petitioners separation pay, the
full backwages are mandated under Article 279. proportionate amount of 13th month pay and full back wages
Procedurally, (1) if the dismissal is based on a just cause from the time their employment was terminated. JAKA then filed
under Article 282, the employer must give the employee two the present petition.
written notices and a hearing or opportunity to be heard if
requested by the employee before terminating the employment: Issue: What are the legal implications of a situation where an
a notice specifying the grounds for which dismissal is sought a employee is dismissed for cause but such dismissal was effected
hearing or an opportunity to be heard and after hearing or without the employer's compliance with the notice requirement
opportunity to be heard, a notice of the decision to dismiss; and under the Labor Code; Whether or not the CA correctly awarded
(2) if the dismissal is based on authorized causes under Articles full back wages and separation pay to respondents
283 and 284, the employer must give the employee and the
Department of Labor and Employment written notices 30 days Ruling:
prior to the effectivity of his separation. A dismissal for just cause under Article 282 implies that
In the present case, the dismissal is for just or authorized the employee concerned has committed, or is guilty of, some
cause but due process was not observed. The dismissal should be violation against the employer, i.e. the employee has committed
upheld because it was established that the petitioners some serious misconduct, is guilty of some fraud against the
abandoned their jobs to work for another company. Private employer or has neglected his duties. Thus, it can be said that the
respondent, however, did not follow the notice requirements and employee himself initiated the dismissal process. On another
instead argued that sending notices to the last known addresses breath, a dismissal for an authorized cause under Article 283 does
would have been useless because they did not reside there not necessarily imply delinquency or culpability on the part of the
anymore. Unfortunately for the private respondent, this is not a employee. Instead, the dismissal process is initiated by the
valid excuse because the law mandates the twin notice employer's exercise of his management prerogative. The clear-
requirements to the employee's last known address. Thus, it cut distinction between a dismissal for just cause under Article
should be held liable for non-compliance with the procedural 282 and a dismissal for authorized cause under Article 283 is
requirements of due process. Where the employer had a valid further reinforced by the fact that in the first, payment of
reason to dismiss an employee but did not follow the due process separation pay, as a rule, is not required, while in the second, the
requirement, the dismissal may be upheld but the employer will law requires payment of separation pay.
be penalized to pay an indemnity to the employee. This became Accordingly, it is wise to hold that: (1) if the dismissal is
known as the Wenphil or Belated Due Process Rule. based on a just cause under Article 282 but the employer failed
Where the dismissal is for a just cause, as in the instant to comply with the notice requirement, the sanction to be
case, the lack of statutory due process should not nullify the imposed upon him should be tempered because the dismissal
dismissal, or render it illegal, or ineffectual. However, the process was, in effect, initiated by an act imputable to the
employer should indemnify the employee for the violation of his employee; and (2) if the dismissal is based on an authorized cause
statutory rights. The indemnity to be imposed should be stiffer to under Article 283 but the employer failed to comply with the
discourage the abhorrent practice of "dismiss now, pay later." notice requirement, the sanction should be stiffer because the
dismissal, process was initiated by the employer's exercise of his
management prerogative.
The records before us reveal that, indeed, JAKA was circumstances: (1) he was transferred to the Butuan-Surigao-
suffering from serious business losses at the time it terminated Agusan sales area, (2) he suffered a diminution in pay, (3) he was
respondents' employment. It is, therefore, established that there excluded from attending seminars and training sessions for
was ground for respondents' dismissal, i.e., retrenchment, which medical representatives, and (4) he was prohibited from
is one of the authorized causes enumerated under Article 283 of promoting respondent’s products which were competing with
the Labor Code. Likewise, it is established that JAKA failed to Astra’s products.
comply with the notice requirement under the same Article. Glaxo argued that Tecson’s reassignment does not
Considering the factual circumstances in the instant case and the amount to constructive dismissal and that its policy is aimed at
above ratiocination, we, therefore, deem it proper to fix the preventing a competitor company from gaining access to its
indemnity at P50,000.00. secrets, procedures and policies. Astra’s products were in direct
However, the Court held that the CA erred when it competition with 67% of the products sold by Glaxo. Glaxo also
ordered JAKA to pay separation pay equivalent to 1 month salary. points out that Tecson can no longer question the assailed
The rule is that in all cases of business closure or cessation of company policy because when he signed his contract of
operation or undertaking of the employer, the affected employee employment, he was aware that such policy was stipulated
is entitled to separation pay. The exception is when the closure therein.
of business or cessation of operations is due to serious business
losses or financial reverses; duly proved, in which case, the right Issue: Whether or not Tecson was constructively dismissed
of affected employees to separation pay is lost for obvious
reasons. Ruling:
No. Glaxo’s policy prohibiting an employee from having
Duncan Association of Detailman-PTGWO vs Glaxo Wellcome a relationship with an employee of a competitor company is a
Facts: valid exercise of management prerogative. Glaxo has a right to
Petitioner Pedro A. Tecson (Tecson) was hired by guard its trade secrets, manufacturing formulas, marketing
respondent Glaxo Wellcome Philippines, Inc. (Glaxo) as medical strategies and other confidential programs and information from
representative. Thereafter, Tecson signed a contract of competitors, especially so that it and Astra are rival companies in
employment which stipulates that he agrees to disclose to the highly competitive pharmaceutical industry. The Constitution
management any existing or future relationship by consanguinity recognizes the right of enterprises to adopt and enforce such a
or affinity with coemployees or employees of competing drug policy to protect its right to reasonable returns on investments
companies and should management find that such relationship and to expansion and growth. The law also recognizes that
poses a possible conflict of interest, to resign from the company. management has rights which are also entitled to respect and
In such case, the management and the employee may also enforcement in the interest of fair play.
explore the possibility of a “transfer to another department in a The assailed company policy which forms part of
non-counterchecking position” or preparation for employment respondent’s Employee Code of Conduct and of its contracts with
outside the company after six months. Tecson was initially its employees, such as that signed by Tecson, was made known
assigned to market Glaxo’s products in the Camarines Sur- to him prior to his employment. The stipulations therein have the
Camarines Norte sales area. Subsequently, Tecson entered into a force of law between them and, thus, should be complied with in
romantic relationship with Bettsy, a Branch Coordinator of Astra good faith.
Pharmaceuticals (Astra), a competitor of Glaxo. She supervised The Court finds no merit in petitioners’ contention that
the district managers and medical representatives of her Tecson was constructively dismissed. Constructive dismissal is
company and prepared marketing strategies for Astra. Tecson defined as a quitting, an involuntary resignation resorted to when
married Bettsy in September 1998. Tecson’s superiors reminded continued employment becomes impossible, unreasonable, or
him that he and Bettsy should decide which one of them would unlikely; when there is a demotion in rank or diminution in pay;
resign from their jobs, although they told him that they wanted or when a clear discrimination, insensibility or disdain by an
to retain him as much as possible. Tecson requested for time to employer becomes unbearable to the employee. None of these
comply with the company policy and explained that Astra was conditions are present in the instant case. Glaxo properly
planning to merge with Zeneca, another drug company and exercised its management prerogative in reassigning Tecson to
Bettsy was planning to avail of the redundancy package to be the Butuan City sales area.
offered by Astra. With Bettsy’s separation from her company, the In the case at bar, the record shows that Glaxo gave
potential conflict of interest would be eliminated. Glaxo Tecson several chances to eliminate the conflict of interest
transferred Tecson to the Butuan City-Surigao City-Agusan del Sur brought about by his relationship with Bettsy. Glaxo likewise
sales area. Tecson brought the matter to Glaxo’s Grievance acceded to his repeated requests for more time to resolve the
Committee. Glaxo, however, remained firm in its decision. Tecson conflict of interest. When the problem could not be resolved after
defied the transfer order and continued acting as medical several years of waiting, Glaxo was constrained to reassign
representative in the Camarines Sur- Camarines Norte sales area. Tecson to a sales area different from that handled by his wife for
Petitioner brought the present petition questioning the Astra. Notably, the Court did not terminate Tecson from
validity of the company’s policy prohibiting its employees from employment but only reassigned him to another area where his
marrying an employee of a competitor. They also argue that home province, Agusan del Sur, was included.
Tecson was constructively dismissed as shown by the following
Yrasuegui v. Philippine Airlines is possible for him to lose weight given the proper attitude,
FACTS: determination, and self-discipline. Indeed, during the
THIS case portrays the peculiar story of an international clarificatory hearing on December 8, 1992, petitioner himself
flight steward who was dismissed because of his failure to adhere claimed that “[t]he issue is could I bring my weight down to ideal
to the weight standards of the airline company. The proper weight which is 172, then the answer is yes. I can do it now.”
weight for a man of his height and body structure is from 147 to Petitioner has only himself to blame. He could have easily availed
166 pounds, the ideal weight being 166 pounds, as mandated by the assistance of the company physician, per the advice of PAL.
the Cabin and Crew Administration Manual of PAL. In 1984, the In fine, We hold that the obesity of petitioner, when placed in the
weight problem started, which prompted PAL to send him to an context of his work as flight attendant, becomes an analogous
extended vacation until November 1985. He was allowed to cause under Article 282(e) of the Labor Code that justifies his
return to work once he lost all the excess weight. But the problem dismissal from the service. His obesity may not be unintended,
recurred. He again went on leave without pay from October 17, but is nonetheless voluntary. As the CA correctly puts it,
1988 to February 1989. “[v]oluntariness basically means that the just cause is solely
Despite the lapse of a ninety-day period given him to attributable to the employee without any external force
reach his ideal weight, petitioner remained overweight. On influencing or controlling his actions. This element runs through
January 3, 1990, he was informed of the PAL decision for him to all just causes under Article 282, whether they be in the nature of
remain grounded until such time that he satisfactorily complies a wrongful action or omission. Gross and habitual neglect, a
with the weight standards. Again, he was directed to report every recognized just cause, is considered voluntary although it lacks
two weeks for weight checks, which he failed to comply with. the element of intent found in Article 282(a), (c), and (d).”
On April 17, 1990, petitioner was formally warned that a
repeated refusal to report for weight check would be dealt with NOTES:
accordingly. He was given another set of weight check dates, The dismissal of petitioner can be predicated on the
which he did not report to. On November 13, 1992, PAL finally bona fide occupational qualification defense. Employment in
served petitioner a Notice of Administrative Charge for violation particular jobs may not be limited to persons of a particular sex,
of company standards on weight requirements. Petitioner insists religion, or national origin unless the employer can show that sex,
that he is being discriminated as those similarly situated were not religion, or national origin is an actual qualification for performing
treated the same. the job. The qualification is called a bona fide occupational
On June 15, 1993, petitioner was formally informed by qualification (BFOQ). In short, the test of reasonableness of the
PAL that due to his inability to attain his ideal weight, “and company policy is used because it is parallel to BFOQ. BFOQ is
considering the utmost leniency” extended to him “which valid “provided it reflects an inherent quality reasonably
spanned a period covering a total of almost five (5) years,” his necessary for satisfactory job performance.”
services were considered terminated “effective immediately.” The business of PAL is air transportation. As such, it has
committed itself to safely transport its passengers. In order to
LABOR ARBITER: held that the weight standards of PAL are achieve this, it must necessarily rely on its employees, most
reasonable in view of the nature of the job of petitioner. particularly the cabin flight deck crew who are on board the
However, the weight standards need not be complied with under aircraft. The weight standards of PAL should be viewed as
pain of dismissal since his weight did not hamper the imposing strict norms of discipline upon its employees.
performance of his duties. The primary objective of PAL in the imposition of the
weight standards for cabin crew is flight safety.
NLRC affirmed. Separation pay, however, should be awarded in favor of the
employee as an act of social justice or based on equity. This is so
CA: the weight standards of PAL are reasonable. Thus, petitioner because his dismissal is not for serious misconduct. Neither is it
was legally dismissed because he repeatedly failed to meet the reflective of his moral character.
prescribed weight standards. It is obvious that the issue of
discrimination was only invoked by petitioner for purposes of Manuel v. N.C. Construction Supply
escaping the result of his dismissal for being overweight. Facts:
In June 1995, the security guards of N.C. Construction
ISSUE: WON he was validly dismissed. Supply caught an employee stealing from the company premises.
The said employee then admitted that the incident was part of a
HELD: YES series of theft involving four other employees, namely, Eddie
A reading of the weight standards of PAL would lead to Manuel, Romeo Bana, Rogelio Pagtama, Jr., and Joel Rea. The
no other conclusion than that they constitute a continuing four were then invited to the police station for questioning. The
qualification of an employee in order to keep the job. The owner of N.C. Construction sent his lawyer, Atty. Ramon Reyes to
dismissal of the employee would thus fall under Article 282(e) of interrogate the four employees.
the Labor Code. Manuel et al admitted the crime imputed against them
In the case at bar, the evidence on record militates before Atty. Reyes. They agreed that in exchange for N.C.
against petitioner’s claims that obesity is a disease. That he was Construction not filing a case, they will resign as employees
able to reduce his weight from 1984 to 1992 clearly shows that it instead. But after resigning, the four former employees sued N.C.
Construction for illegal dismissal. They now claim that their Punzal’s superiors required her to explain her actions which
admission made in the police station before Atty. Reyes was found such as unacceptable. She was then dismissed from
coerced by the lawyer and that they were without the assistance employment due to improper conduct or act of discourtesy or
of counsel which is violative of their constitutional rights. disrespect and making malicious statements concerning
company officer. Punzal filed before the National Labor Relations
ISSUE: Whether or not Manuel et al were dismissed without valid Commission (NLRC) a complaint for illegal dismissal against ETSI,
cause. Geisert, and Remudaro.

HELD: No. Manuel et al were positively identified by witnesses as The complaint was dismissed by the Labor Arbiter. On
part of the series of theft. This was not sufficiently controverted appeal, the NLRC found that while she was indeed guilty of
by them. Under Article 282 of the Labor Code, such act authorizes misconduct, the penalty of dismissal was disproportionate to her
the employer to terminate the services of an employee for loss of infraction. The Court of Appeals held that Punzal’s dismissal was
trust and confidence, provided that the loss of confidence arises in order.
from particular proven facts.
ISSUE: Whether or not there was a valid cause to dismiss Punzal
What is the quantum of proof needed?
Substantial evidence or such relevant evidence which a HELD: A cordial or, at the very least, civil attitude, according due
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion deference to one’s superiors, is still observed, especially among
and not proof beyond reasonable doubt as in criminal case. high-ranking management officers. The Court takes judicial
Anent the issue of threat and intimidation, there was no sufficient notice of the Filipino values of pakikisama and paggalang which
proof presented by Manuel et al to prove that the lawyer coerced are not only prevalent among members of a family and
them to make the admission. community but within organizations as well, including work sites.
Anent the issue that Atty. Reyes’s interrogation of them An employee is expected to extend due respect to management,
without the presence of counsel if violative of their constitutional the employer being the "proverbial hen that lays the golden egg,"
rights, such argument is misplaced. The right to counsel accorded so to speak. An aggrieved employee who wants to unburden
by the Constitution only applies to criminal cases and only on himself of his disappointments and frustrations in his job or
custodial investigations. In this case, this is not a criminal case and relations with his immediate superior would normally approach
Manuel et al were not under custodial investigation when they said superior directly or otherwise ask some other officer possibly
were interrogated by Atty. Reyes. It is also of no moment that to mediate and discuss the problem with the end in view of
Atty. Reyes’s interrogation happened in a police station. What settling their differences without causing ferocious conflicts. No
Atty. Reyes did was a private administrative investigation for the matter how much the employee dislikes the employer
interest of his employer, the N.C. Construction. professionally, and even if he is in a confrontational disposition,
However, Manuel et al are entitled to damages he cannot afford to be disrespectful and dare to talk with an
(P1,000.00 each) because it appears that although they were unguarded tongue and/or with a bileful pen.
dismissed for a just cause, their dismissal was without the proper
procedure (twin-notice rule not observed by NC Construction). Punzal sent the e-mail message in reaction to Geisert’s
The two-notice rule provides: decision which he had all the right to make. That it has been a
The employer must furnish the worker with two written tradition in ETSI to celebrate occasions such as Christmas,
notices before termination of employment can be legally birthdays, Halloween, and others does not remove Geisert’s
effected: prerogative to approve or disapprove plans to hold such
(1) notice which apprises the employee of the particular celebrations in office premises and during company time. Given
acts or omissions for which his dismissal is sought, and the reasonableness of Geisert’s decision that provoked Punzal to
(2) the subsequent notice which informs the employee send the second e-mail message, the observations of the Court of
of the employer’s decision to dismiss him. Appeals that "the message x x x resounds of subversion and
undermines the authority and credibility of management" and
Punzal v. ETSI Technologies Inc., that petitioner "displayed a tendency to act without
FACTS: Petitioner Lorna Dising Punzal (Punzal) had been management’s approval, and even against management’s will"
working for respondent ETSI Technologies, Inc. (ETSI) as are well taken.
Department Secretary. Punzal sent an e-mail message to her
officemates announcing the holding of a Halloween Party that Lopez v. Alturas Group of Companies
was to be held in the office. Her immediate superior, respondent FACTS:
Carmelo Remudaro advised her to first secure the approval of the Quirico Lopez (petitioner) was hired by respondent
SVP, respondent Werner Geisert. When Geisert did not approve Alturas Group of Companies in 1997 as truck driver. Ten years
of the plan, Punzal then sent a second e-mail to her officemates later or sometime in November 2007, he was dismissed after he
that states ―Geisert was so unfair . . . para bang palagi siyang was allegedly caught by respondent’s security guard in the act of
iniisahan sa trabaho. . . Anyway, solohin na lang niya bukas ang attempting to smuggle out of the company premises 60 kilos of
office." scrap iron worth P840 aboard respondents’ Isuzu Cargo
Aluminum Van with Plate Number PHP 271 that was then
assigned to him. When questioned, petitioner allegedly admitted requests for one or that he manifests that he wants a formal
to the security guard that he was taking out the scrap iron hearing on the charges against him.
consisting of lift springs out of which he would make axes.
Petitioner, in compliance with the Show Cause Notice Pascual v. Board of Medical Examiners
dated December 5, 2007 issued by respondent company’s Human Facts:
Resource Department Manager, denied the allegations by a Petitioner Arsenio Pascual, Jr. filed an action for
handwritten explanation written in the Visayan dialect. prohibition against the Board of Medical Examiners. It was
Finding petitioner’s explanation unsatisfactory, alleged therein that at the initial hearing of an administrative
respondent company terminated his employment by Notice of case for alleged immorality, counsel for complainants announced
Termination effective December 14, 2007 on the grounds of loss that he would present as his first witness the petitioner.
of trust and confidence, and of violation of company rules and Thereupon, petitioner, through counsel, made of record his
regulations. In issuing the Notice, respondent company also objection, relying on the constitutional right to be exempt from
took into account the result of an investigation showing that being a witness against himself. Petitioner then alleged that to
petitioner had been smuggling out its cartons which he had sold, compel him to take the witness stand, the Board of Examiners
in conspiracy with one Maritess Alaba, for his own benefit to thus was guilty, at the very least, of grave abuse of discretion for
prompt it to file a criminal case for Qualified Theft against him failure to respect the constitutional right against self-
before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bohol. It had in fact incrimination.
earlier filed another criminal case for Qualified Theft against The answer of respondent Board, while admitting the
petitioner arising from the theft of the scrap iron. facts stressed that it could call petitioner to the witness stand and
interrogate him, the right against self-incrimination being
ISSUE: Whether or not petitioner was not afforded procedural available only when a question calling for an incriminating answer
due process. is asked of a witness. They likewise alleged that the right against
self-incrimination cannot be availed of in
RULING: anadministrative hearing.
This Court has held that there is no violation of due Petitioner was sustained by the lower court in his plea
process even if no hearing was conducted, where the party was that he could not be compelled to be the first witness of the
given a chance to explain his side of the controversy. What is complainants, he being the party proceeded against in
frowned upon is the denial of the opportunity to be heard. an administrative charge for malpractice. Hence, this appeal by
Petitioner was given the opportunity to explain his side respondent Board.
when he was informed of the charge against him and required to
submit his written explanation with which he complied. Issue: Whether or Not compelling petitioner to be the first
The above rulings are a clear recognition that the witness of the complainants violates the Self-
employer may provide an employee with ample opportunity to Incrimination Clause.
be heard and defend himself with the assistance of a
representative or counsel in ways other than a formal
hearing. The employee can be fully afforded a chance to respond Held:
to the charges against him, adduce his evidence or rebut the The Supreme Court held that in
evidence against him through a wide array of methods, verbal or an administrative hearing against a medical practitioner for
written. alleged malpractice, respondent Board of Medical Examiners
After receiving the first notice apprising him of the cannot, consistently with the self-incrimination clause, compel
charges against him, the employee may submit a written the person proceeded against to take the witness stand without
explanation (which may be in the form of a letter, memorandum, hisconsent. The Court found for the petitioner in accordance with
affidavit or position paper) and offer evidence in support thereof, the well-settled principle that "the accused in a criminal case may
like relevant company records (such as his 201 file and daily time refuse, not only to answer incriminatory questions, but, also, to
records) and the sworn statements of his witnesses. For this take the witness stand." If petitioner would be compelled to
purpose, he may prepare his explanation personally or with the testify against himself, he could suffer not the forfeiture of
assistance of a representative or counsel. He may also ask the property but the revocation of his license as a medical
employer to provide him copy of records material to his practitioner. The constitutional guarantee protects as well the
defense. His written explanation may also include a request that right to silence: "The accused has a perfect right to remain silent
a formal hearing or conference be held. In such a case, the and his silence cannot be used as a presumption of his guilt." It is
conduct of a formal hearing or conference becomes mandatory, the right of adefendant "to forego testimony, to remain silent,
just as it is where there exist substantial evidentiary disputes or unless he chooses to take the witness stand — with undiluted,
where company rules or practice requires an actual hearing as unfettered exercise of his ownfree genuine will."
part of employment pretermination procedure. The reason for this constitutional guarantee, along with
The right to counsel and the assistance of one in other rights granted an accused, stands for a belief that while
investigations involving termination cases is neither crime should not go unpunished and that the truth must be
indispensable nor mandatory, except when the employee himself revealed, such desirable objectives should not
be accomplished according to means or methods offensive to the
high sense of respect accorded the human personality. More and
more in line with the democratic creed, the deference accorded
an individual even those suspected of the most heinous crimes is
given due weight. The constitutional foundation underlying the
privilege is the respect a government ... must accord to the
dignity and integrity of its citizens.