Rolando Sasan, Sr. et.al vs. NLRC, EPCI Bank and Helpmate, Inc. G.R. No. 176240
October 17, 2008
EPCI Bank entered into a Contract of Services with Helpmate, Inc. (HI), a domestic corporation primarily engaged in the business of providing janitorial and messengerial services. Pursuant to their contract, HI shall hire and assign workers to EPCI Bank to perform janitorial/messengerial and maintenance services. Sasan among with others were assigned with EPCI Bank. The contract was impliedly renewed year after year.
The Contract for Services between HI and E-PCIBank expired on 15 July 2000. E-PCIBank no longer renewed said contract with HI and, instead, bidded out its janitorial requirements to two other job contractors, Able Services and Puritan. HI designated petitioners to new work assignments, but the latter refused to comply with the same.
Thus, petitioners filed with the Arbitration Branch of the NLRC in Cebu City separate complaints against E-PCIBank and HI for illegal dismissal, with claims for separation pay, service incentive leave pay, allowances, damages, attorney’s fees and costs.
Sasan et. al.’s contention is that they are regular employees of EPCI Bank. EPCI Bank, on the other hand, averred that it entered into a Contract for Services with HI, an independent job contractor which hired and assigned petitioners to the bank to perform janitorial and messengerial services thereat. HI, in its position paper, contend that it was an independent job contractor engaged in the business of providing janitorial and related services to business establishments, and E-PCI Bank was one of its clients. Petitioners were its employees, part of its pool of janitors/messengers assigned to E-PCI Bank.
Labor Arbiter ruled in favor of Sasan et. al. finding that HI was not a legitimate job contractor on the ground that it did not possess the required substantial capital or investment to actually perform the job, work, or service under its own account and responsibility as required under the Labor Code. HI is therefore a labor-only contractor and the real employer of petitioners is E-PCIBank which is held liable to petitioners.
NLRC modified the decision of the Labor Arbiter. It took into consideration the documentary evidence presented by HI for the first time on appeal and, on the basis thereof, declared HI as a highly capitalized venture with sufficient capitalization, which cannot be considered engaged in "labor-only contracting." It also held that the illegal dismissal is prematurely filed, thus, the award for backwages and separation pay is deleted.
Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the NLRC.
WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ACTED IN EXCESS OF THEIR JURISDICTION AND/OR COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN UPHOLDING THE NLRC 4TH DIVISION’S DECISION AND GRAVELY ERRED IN ACCEPTING AND APPRECIATING THE PIECES OF EVIDENCE SUBMITTED BY RESPONDENTS DURING APPEAL, ALL EXISTING DURING THE TIME THE NLRC RAB 7’S TRIAL, CONTRARY TO THIS HONORABLE COURT’S PREVIOUS ESTABLISHED DECISIONS..
Technical rules of evidence are not binding in labor cases. Labor officials should use every reasonable means to ascertain the facts in each case speedily and objectively, without regard to technicalities of law or procedure, all in the interest of due process. The submission of additional evidence before the NLRC is not prohibited by its New Rules of Procedure. After all, rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law or equity are not controlling in labor cases. The NLRC and labor arbiters are directed to use every and all reasonable means to ascertain the facts in each case speedily and objectively, without regard to technicalities of law and procedure all in the interest of substantial justice. In keeping with this directive, it has been held that the NLRC may consider evidence, such as documents and affidavits, submitted by the parties for the first time on appeal. The...
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